Timely aces by Hijikata and untimely double faults by Rybo give Hijikata a 3-1 lead (up a break).
My draw analysis for Norrie:Cam will open up against Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas in the 2nd round at Monte Carlo (he got a bye in the first round). Ramos-Vinolas beat Tallon Griekspoor earlier today. He's a 34-year-old veteran with an ATP rank of #37. Good on clay.
I think he didn't play Monte Carlo last year was because his ranking wasn't high enough to qualify. Being in the Top 10 now means that he can set his schedule and play wherever he wants. But a year ago, he started at #71 and, fighting the 2-year roll, only gradually advanced. Facu's strategy was to get Cam into the off-ATP250 events (like Estoril) where he was already in the main draw rather than chance qualies at bigger events. It worked because he started making finals and had advanced enough to at least guarantee Slam draws although he still didn't get seeds at the French and Wimbledon. And then he finally broke through at Los Cabos.For whatever reason Norrie didn't play this tournament last year, so I guess he has no points to defend which is great. All gravy. This is also close to the slowest surface/court they will play all year.
My feel is that his game does match clay somewhat well, but not super slow clay like Monte Carlo. Just feel like he needs some speed to have any impactDjokovic got bounced out of Monte Carlo this morning - losing to Davidovich Fokina - so that clears out part of Norrie's bracket (although Hurkacz, Ruud and Alcaraz remain). Ramos-Vinolas is the guy that beat Cam in last year's final at Estoril in 3 sets. Norrie entered 5 clay tourneys last Spring and made 2 finals (Estoril and Lyon) and this will be his first match since entering the Top 10. He says he likes clay and his grind-it-out long rally strategy suits the surface, but I'm not sure if his game actually does. It'll be tomorrow morning.
Won't Cam get points for making it to the 2nd round, even though it was a bye? It's disappointing, but not too unexpected that Ramos-Vinolas would beat him on clay in his first match on that surface in awhile.
Oklahoma State is 11-9 on the season, ranked 44th and are definitely on the NCAA bubble because the usual NCAA cutoff is about at that level and because they have Texas and TCU remaining and could very well not finish over .500 if they lose those and lose in the first round of the Big 12 tourney. This is a relatively bad season for the Cowboys - they're usually stronger. They have W's over Bryant, Lamar, UNLV (twice), UTRGV (twice), Omaha, SMU, Memphis, Tulane and Tulsa and L's to Arkansas, Oregon, Columbia, Pepperdine, Cornell, Middle Tennessee State, OU, Baylor and Tech. Their biggest W's are over the AAC schools. All-time, we're only 14-10 in the lead and most of that is due to Roditi because our longest streak is 8 straight from 2014-18. We won last year's match 4-0; the last time they beat us was in 2019 in the Big12 tourney in Lawrence. We're #1 in the country; we're leading the Big 12 and they're in last place. We'll be heavily favored tomorrow at 5:00 p.m. (CDT) in Stillwater, but it's certainly conceivable that they could pull off the upset if we're caught napping.
Gray is in Nottingham this week for a hard court ITF tourney and he's seeded 4th. He's already beaten Joris de Loore and Daniel Cox, both in tough 3-setters. Tomorrow in the quarters, he's got Billy Harris, a 27-year-old Brit, who's seeded 5th and has an ATP ranking of #402.Gray wins again this morning. Into the quarters