norrieFAApick

If you’ve been reading The Pick for a while, you’ve probably learned that if something looks too good to be true, then it probably is. You can probably apply that to tonight’s meeting between world No. 12 Cameron Norrie and world No. 9 Felix Auger-Aliassime in the semifinals of the Los Cabos Open. The Canadian happens to be 4-0 in his four previous meetings with the Brit. That’s a pretty significant edge, but it’s one that we actually think you should ignore when handicapping their fifth contest.

While Auger-Aliassime looks like the better play, on paper, he has lost four of his last seven matches. Meanwhile, Norrie is 7-1 in his last eight, with the one loss being a four-set defeat at the hands of world No. 6 Novak Djokovic at Wimbledon. Djokovic is still the best player on the planet, so it’s hard to really fault the lefty for losing that match—and he played rather well in it. The point here is that it’s Norrie that is much playing better tennis coming into this semifinal, even though both players have earned two straight-sets wins in Mexico thus far.

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It also shouldn’t be discounted that Norrie is the defending champion in Los Cabos. Last year, Norrie earned a 6-2, 6-2 win over Brandon Nakashima in the finals. That dominant victory came directly after the southpaw earned a 6-3, 6-1 win over Taylor Fritz. Going back to last year, Norrie hasn’t dropped a single set in this tournament, and it isn’t all that surprising—the conditions in Mexico at this time of the year suit him perfectly, and that’s something you’ll want to keep in mind. We know that the Brit is capable of dealing with the combination of high heat and humidity, but Auger-Aliassime is yet to prove that he can do the same.

One final thing to remember is that Norrie is one of the smartest players on the ATP Tour. He might not have any wins over Auger-Aliassime, but you can count on the fact that he is doing everything in his power to prepare for how to beat the 21-year-old tonight. There should be absolutely no lack of motivation for this extremely talented lefty. The youngster might have the advantage in power and natural ability, but it’s Norrie that is better at constructing points and adjusting on the fly. If he sees any weakness in Auger-Aliassime’s game, he’s going to attack it. He also won't hesitate to move the Canadian around if he's having difficulty with the conditions.

This just seems like a great spot to back an underdog, and it’s nice knowing that the player you’ll be betting on will be eager to win his match. That’s normally the case on tour anyway, but there’s no way Norrie wants to move to 0-5 against Auger-Aliassime in his career. The fact that it’s a night match is also an added bonus, as we won’t have to see Norrie with a thick white line of sunscreen on his nose. That isn’t exactly the most intimidating look in the world.

The Pick: Norrie To Win (+105)