12 Jan 2019

Sandgren too strong for Norrie in ASB Classic final

7:14 pm on 12 January 2019

American Tennys Sandgren has defeated Auckland-raised Cameron Norrie 6-4 6-2 in the ASB Classic final, ending a disappointing day for hometown heroes.

Tennys Sandgren

Tennys Sandgren Photo: Photosport

Britain-based Norrie's dream of winning an ASB Classic title in front of what he called his home crowd was quickly dashed after an error-riddled defeat to American Tennys Sandgren.

Sandgren's forehand proved pivotal through the long vollies, finding holes in Norries game on the edges and giving him the first set 6-4.

Norrie made an early statement in the second set, winning the first game, but Sandgren returned the favour straight straight away to level the scores.

The 27-year-old American, who had not dropped a set throughout the tournament, continued to force uncharacteristic errors from Norrie by keeping him on the run at both edges of the court. Sandgren broke serve in the third game, and again in the seventh, clinical in claiming the second set 6-2.

"I was down a break early in both sets so coming from behind I never had any score pressure and that was tough," Norrie said.

"I struggled to focus on one thing and it was because of him - he was so solid and didn't give me anything.

"It was tough to mentally prepare, not being in a final before, but I'm almost happy with the loss because I'll get the experience and learn a little bit more."

Sandgren said Norrie had every chance of becoming a force at the elite level in men's tennis, saying the former Kiwi - who reached a career-high ranking of 66 last year - was definitely a player to watch.

"I thought maybe today wasn't his best day. I've seen him play better, against myself anyway.

"He can beat almost anybody he steps on the court with, and if that's the case he can continue to climb and win tournaments and be in the second week of [grand] slams."

Meanwhile New Zealand number one Michael Venus and his South African partner Raven Klaasen fell short of their first doubles title in Auckland going down to New Zealand-born Japanese player Ben McLachlan and German Jay-Lennard Struff 6-3 6-4 in the final.

Michael Venus

Michael Venus Photo: Photosport

It was not McLachlan and Struff's first encounter against the hometown favourites, having defeated them in the final in Tokyo last year, before a return match in Shanghai where Venus and Klaasen gained revenge.

It was being unable to control Struff's return that hurt them the most, Venus and Klaasen agreed.

"You need to take care of your own service games first and we were unable to do that, and Struff kind of lit us up with quite a few returns," Venus said.

"If you get broken four times in two sets, it doesn't make for a good day at the office."

The busiest player of the tournament, Struff, lost to Norrie in the men's singles semi-final.