Novak Djokovic hit by Cameron Norrie smash in edgy Italian Open contest

Novak Djokovic reacts during his straight-sets win over Cameron Norrie

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Novak Djokovic shot Cameron Norrie a chilling stare after being hit by his opponent’s smash when he turned his back on the ball, before wrapping up a 6-3 6-4 win to continue the defence of his Italian Open title.

What looked like a comfortable victory for Djokovic over the British No 1 suddenly became spicy as Norrie broke his opponent’s serve in the second set with a body shot that caught Djokovic on the ankle.

Djokovic had turned his back on the ball in midcourt as Norrie was presented with an easy smash at the net – only for Norrie, seemingly unintentionally, to drill the ball into the Serbian’s legs. Djokovic turned and flashed a cold look in Norrie’s direction, with a real sense of needle developing in the contest.

From there, Djokovic was able to seal victory in order to advance to the quarter-finals, with Norrie lacking the offensive weapons and making too many errors in the baseline rallies to trouble the six-time Italian Open champion. There was a frosty exchange at the net as the players shook hands.

Norrie, who had lost both his previous meetings with Djokovic, dropped serve at the start of the contest and was kept at arm’s length through the rest of the opening set, with Djokovic putting on a tactical masterclass.


Norrie withstood pressure after the smash incident to hold his serve until 4-4, when Djokovic made the decisive move to reach the last eight.

“It was an early start today, strange conditions,” Djokovic said on Amazon Prime Video.

“I finished my warm-up 10 minutes before I went on court so I was rushing a bit with everything. I’m just glad to overcome today’s challenge in straight sets and move on.”

The 35-year-old was serving noticeably slower than usual but he was coy on the reason for an early morning visit to the treatment room.


“Every day is something,” he said. “Thankfully I was able to play and finish the match so hopefully tomorrow I will feel even better.”

Includes reporting from PA

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