Norrie, Sandgren to contest Auckland final

AFP

Auckland (AFP) - New Zealand-raised Briton Cameron Norrie and American Tennys Sandgren will contest the ATP Auckland Classic title after winning their semi-finals in contrasting fashion on Friday.

Norrie outlasted Germany's Jan-Lennard Struff in a three-set battle of the big servers 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 while Sandgren comfortably had the measure of Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-4, 6-2.

Sandgren and Norrie have played each other six times in the past, with Norrie winning four of their encounters.

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"Three times in a row he beat me. In consecutive tournaments in the fall of 2017, which wasn't a lot of fun," Sandgren recalled.

Norrie, who was born in South Africa and raised in New Zealand before moving to Britain, broke Struff at 6-5 to take the first set.

Struff took the early initiative in the second set, with Norrie dropping a serve for the first time this week.

There was a further service break each before Struff held on to take the set.

However, Norrie was not to be denied in the decider as he raced to a 3-0 lead and stayed in control from there.

Even when a touch of nerves while serving at 5-3 saw him down 0-30 he was able to steady himself to take the match.

Sandgren, ranked 63 in the world and the last player accepted into the main draw of the tournament, picked up a deciding break early in each set against the 34th-ranked Kohlschreiber and was never under pressure.

Kohlschreiber managed to save two match points at 2-5 in the second set before losing the match with a double fault.

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