Norrie beats rain, Lehecka in Auckland

Cameron Norrie's local knowledge might have helped him prevail in his second-round match at the ASB Tennis Classic which stretched to almost six hours because of rain before he won 6-4 6-7 (4-7) 6-3 over Czech qualifier Jiri Lehecka.

Norrie was born in South Africa but grew up in Auckland before his family moved to Britain.

He says his experience as a young spectator at the Auckland tournament enhanced his desire to be a professional tennis player.

Norrie has returned to his 'home' tournament this year for the first time since he was a finalist in 2019 and took the court on Wednesday as the tournament's second-seeded player.

Rather than the warm homecoming he hoped for he faced a match which began before 1pm and ended well after 6pm and which - after three rain breaks - had to be finished indoors.

The 21-year-old Lehecka proved a tougher obstacle than Norrie may have expected, battling back to level the match after losing the first set and forcing Norrie to work hard to win his way to the quarter-finals.

"It's nice to get this match out of the way," said Norrie, who was on Wednesday confirmed as men's 11th seed for the Australian Open.

"It's tough on the concentration. Throughout the match we had to stop and start, we didn't stay on the court and you're constantly thinking whether you're going to slip on the lines.

"It's not easy and there was a bit of nerves in there.

"Coming back to New Zealand I wanted to play well in front of everyone but Jiri's a good player and so it was not easy."

Norrie won the match in 2 hours, 45 minutes of playing time.

Earlier, third-seeded Diego Schwartzman was forced to retire with a groin injury after dropping the first set of his match with American Jensen Brooksby.

Marcos Giron beat J.J. Wolf 6-4 6-4 in an all-American contest, while Richard Gasquet got the better of Joao Sousa 7-6 (7-2) 6-2.