Cameron Norrie kept hopes alive of a third home winner in the Wimbledon men’s singles in a decade with a dramatic five-set victory over David Goffin in the quarter-finals.
The ninth seed twice recovered from a set down to claim a 3-6 7-5 2-6 6-3 7-5 victory on a raucous Court One and become only the fourth British man in the Open era to reach the last four at the All England Club.
There Norrie faces the immense challenge of trying to stop Novak Djokovic, who is bidding for a fourth consecutive title, but first he can enjoy a moment to rival many of Andy Murray’s great Wimbledon occasions.
Welcome to the semi-finals, @cam_norrie! 🇬🇧
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 5, 2022
The British number one, who had never previously made it past the third round of a grand slam, did not find his best tennis until the fourth set but hung in the contest impressively before eventually wearing his Belgian opponent down.
Norrie clinched victory on his second match point, raising his arms aloft when Goffin netted a forehand after three hours and 28 minutes.
Goffin has had a difficult couple of years, missing last year’s Wimbledon with an ankle injury and then seeing his season cut short by a knee problem, but he has been finding form again this year.
At his best, the 58th-ranked Belgian is one of the cleanest strikers of a ball on tour, and he showed no ill effects from his five-set marathon against Frances Tiafoe in the previous round in the early stages here.
Norrie’s forehand down the line had been the shot of the match against Tommy Paul on Sunday but the tables were turned here as Goffin found the white paint time and again.
He converted his first break point in the sixth game when Norrie just missed a cross-court forehand and went on to deservedly take the set.
The British number one could not find the same level he had against Paul and Steve Johnson in round three, particularly on his forehand.
He battled hard to stay on level terms at the start of the second, saving a break point in the opening game and then coming back from 0-40 to hold at 2-2, with the crowd urging on their man.
His resistance ran out in his next service game but Goffin’s momentum was then unexpectedly broken by a poor game of his own to hand the advantage back.
And Norrie capitalised impressively, creating two set points in the 12th game and taking the first to a roar from the crowd.
The start of the third set saw a real let-down from the home hope, though, who was 4-0 behind in double-quick time.
He gave himself hope by pulling back to 4-2 but could not find the hold of serve that would have put real pressure on Goffin.
A strong start to the fourth was essential and the ‘Norrie, Norrie, Norrie’ chant that took hold during his third-round victory over Johnson was enthusiastically taken up by the crowd.
He was now being watched by royalty, with first the Duchess and then the Duke of Cambridge swapping the Royal Box on Centre Court for a seat in the stands next to Tim Henman.
Norrie found some of his best tennis of the match to put pressure on Goffin, who was starting to show slight signs of fatigue, and, after chasing down a drop shot to create a second break point in a long eighth game, he forced the Belgian to net.
He greeted an unreturnable serve on his third set point with a punch of the air as for the second time this fortnight Norrie recovered from a deficit to engineer a fifth set.
The scales had tipped marginally in favour of the British number one but Goffin showed what a gritty competitor he is against Tiafoe and, serving first, he kept his nose in front until the 11th game, when Norrie’s probing finally earned him the crucial break.