Norrie reaches final in Auckland as Draper loses

    Cameron Norrie will compete to win his fifth tour-level title
    Dates: 16-29 January Venue: Melbourne Park
    Coverage: Daily radio commentaries on 5 Sports Extra/BBC Sport website and app, with selected live text commentaries and match reports on the website and app

    British number one Cameron Norrie reached the final of the ASB Classic in Auckland as he bids to complete his Australian Open preparation with a first title of the season.

    Norrie, the world number 12, will play France’s Richard Gasquet on Saturday.

    The 27-year-old Briton recorded a 6-3 6-4 semi-final win over American Jenson Brooksby.

    Compatriot Jack Draper lost his Adelaide International 2 semi-final against South Korea’s Kwon Soon-woo.

    Rising star Draper, 21, who will face defending champion Rafael Nadal in the Australian Open first round on Monday, fell to a 7-6 (8-6) 6-7 (2-7) 6-3 defeat by the 25-year-old.

    The Australian Open, the first Grand Slam tournament of the season, takes place at Melbourne Park between 16 and 29 January.

    Norrie, raised in Auckland, has won all six matches he has played this year as he warms up for his Australian Open first-round meeting with French wildcard Luca van Assche.

    With a victory over Nadal among his three victories at the United Cup earlier this month, Norrie maintained his fine start to the year with his first straight-set win in Auckland following victories over Marcos Giron and Jiri Lehecka.

    He admitted a lack of concentration “made it tricky” against Giron as the American forced a deciding set, but Norrie was able to recover from falling 2-0 down in his second set against Brooksby and won six of the next eight games to close out the match.

    Upcoming final opponent Gasquet, 36, was given a walkover against injured compatriot Constant Lestienne.

    “I was serving well, hitting my spots well and winning a lot of the longer rallies,” said Norrie. “He’s really tricky, Jenson, he puts the ball in such awkward parts of the court but I was able to use my legs and win some of the longer rallies.”

    Norrie added: “I was able to back up my little lapse in concentration and play a really tidy second set. I think I just played a little bit more of a complete match but I was hitting the ball just as well as the other days.”

    Kwon will play Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis or Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut in the Adelaide final after ending Draper’s hopes of reaching his first ATP Tour final.

    Having levelled the match in a must-win tie-break, Draper lost serve at the start of the deciding set and was unable to recover before Kwon, ranked 84th, broke again to clinch victory.

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