Cameron Norrie edged out as Great Britain beaten by Spain in Davis Cup

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Cameron Norrie enhanced his growing reputation but could not prevent Great Britain losing to Spain in the first round of the Davis Cup.

The 22-year-old left-hander, who was born in South Africa and spent much of his childhood in New Zealand, showed remarkable grit against world number 21 Albert Ramos-Vinolas before bowing to a four-set defeat.

Match point

Albert Ramos-Vinolas finally ended the resistance of the excellent Cameron Norrie to send Spain through to the #DavisCup quarterfinals for only the second time since 2012. ?? 3-1 ??

Posted by Davis Cup by BNP Paribas on Sunday, February 4, 2018

He won 7-6 (7/4) 2-6 7-6 (7/4) 6-2, and Spain could celebrate a victory that few doubted they would achieve this weekend, given Andy Murray’s injury-enforced absence from the British ranks.

They secured an unassailable 3-1 lead in the tie, with Britain’s point having been won on Friday by Norrie with his stunning comeback win over Roberto Bautista Agut.

Great Britain captain Leon Smith said: “I can’t speak highly enough of what Cam’s done all weekend and yet again today.

“People might have thought it was a one-off what he produced on Friday, but he did it again today against another really high quality player.”

Norrie, who sits 114th in the world, gave 21st-ranked Ramos-Vinolas a torrid time for long stretches of the match.

“In both breakers anything can happen,” Smith said on BBC Two, “and he pushed him really close.

“I’m really, really proud of him.

“If he needs some sort of reference point to how far he can go, he got it this weekend. The only way is up for him.”

Spain move through to face Germany in the quarter-finals.

As well as being without Murray, recent Australian Open semi-finalist Kyle Edmund was not fit to take the fight to Spain on the host team’s clay court.

Edmund’s hip injury put the onus on Norrie and Liam Broady to step up, and it was Norrie who stood out with his win on Friday and encouraging follow-up on Sunday.

He recovered from 4-0 behind in the opener to force the tie-break that Ramos-Vinolas edged, and to Spanish frustration the British left-hander steamed through the second set to level the contest.

Once the third set went the way of Ramos-Vinolas, after Spanish tempers flared over a series of line calls, it was always asking a lot of Norrie to stage a second spectacular comeback on his Davis Cup debut.

That did prove beyond him but Smith believes Norrie can go away from his week away with the British squad knowing what he has to do to climb higher in the game.

Smith added: “Physically, endurance-wise, he looks in really, really good shape. He’s sitting on the bench even at the end there saying, ‘I feel I could run all day’.

“The big thing for him now is he can get a lot physically more powerful so he can get more power in his strokes.”

Norrie was praised by Andy Murray after his win over Bautista Agut, and it was Jamie Murray on Sunday who was impressed, saying on Twitter: “Take a bow @cam_norrie brilliant performances and effort on your Davis cup debut. You should be super proud of yourself!”

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