CAMERON NORRIE will be rewarded with a Wimbledon seeding this week despite being blown away in the Queen’s final.
In a two-hour final, the British No.2 was bombarded by 19 aces as big-hitting Italian Matteo Berrettini lifted the title on his debut 6-4 6-7 6-3.
Cameron Norrie lost the Queens final but has stilled earned a Wimbledon seeding
For Norrie, it was a match of mixed emotions given the natural deflation of losing a third final in seven weeks and no silverware yet to add his CV.
Yet there was also the elation that this run means he will become the 30th Wimbledon seed and avoid the top names in the early rounds.
Norrie will join Dan Evans, 31, in the pot in Friday’s draw, the first time since Tim Henman and Greg Rusedski in 2002 that two Brits were in the top 32 SW19 rankings.
Norrie, 25, said: “I’m really pleased with how I played this week. Matteo was just too good in the end. A couple lapses in concentration from me. That was it.
“So it was massive for me to obviously make the final and then to pick up that seeding. It’s obviously a bit exciting to be seeded.
“Knowing that you’re not going to get drawn against one of the top guys to start is another bonus.
“Looking at the stats, it was racquet-out-of-the-hand kind of stuff. He served very good. I didn’t really get a chance at all.”
Only one Brit – Andy Murray on five occasions – had won the singles title at Queen’s since the Second World War.
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Matteo Berrettini lifted the trophy on his debut
Defeats in finals in Estoril and Lyon – albeit on clay – had proven demoralising for a player still chasing that elusive first title.
Understandably, in front of 2,016 fans, it was hard for Norrie to defend or return the 135mph bombs that Berrettini was routinely sending down the court.
Norrie deserved credit for the way he clinched the second-set tie-break but otherwise he was out-gunned in the decisive set and did not carve out a single break point in the match.
Eastbourne this week remains on the cards but he may decide to skip the seaside tournament and head straight to the Wimbledon ‘bubble’.
The 6ft 5in Berrettini, who looks good and speaks brilliant English, is the first Queen’s debutant winner since Boris Becker in 1985.
Fair to say he will be a hit with the ladies at Wimbledon and he has the weapons to trouble the world’s best.
Who knows on Sunday July 11 there could be the Italian double of Euro 2020 and Wimbledon glory?
Norrie will be feeling confident about his chances at Wimbledon
Berrettini also beat Andy Murray and Dan Murray on his way to Queens glory
The 25-year-old from Rome, who also knocked out Andy Murray and Dan Evans last week, said: “I really hope so and for my country in general. It would be such an historic day.
“When you win a tournament, it means that you’re playing good.
“I’m pushing myself, all the conditions and stuff. I’m really happy the way my mindset is, because I’m really focused.
“I know that I can play good in Wimby. The conditions are different, it’s best-of-five, and all the players have a little bit extra motivation. But I couldn’t think of anything better than this going to Wimby.”
Amazon Prime pundit Greg Rusedki said: “Berrettini served out of a tree. For Norrie to stay in the match for that long was a sensational performance.
“The Italian Stallion as I call him, he looks like the man going into Wimbledon. He will now look to copy Boris Becker and go on to win Wimbledon.
“Yes Novak Djokovic is still the favourite but you have to put his name down all of a sudden who can possibly go deep and possibly win Wimbledon after this performance at this event.”