Holder Cam Norrie kicked off what he called his actual start of summer with a 12th consecutive victory at the ATP event in Lyon to reach the quarter-finals after a bye.
The world No. 14 Brit defeated Belgian veteran Davis Goffin, ranked 113 with a 6-3, 6-4 scoreline in 90 minutes.
Norrie also played the final here against Stefanos Tsitsipas in 2021 and said he’s happy to be back at the scene of a trophy performance.
“It’s pretty unique, in a cycling velodrome in the middle of a park, and it’s always the start of summer for me,” he said of the French venue.
.”I feel really good here… It’s good to be back and good to get a straight-sets win today.”
Norrie improved to 27-9 on the season and is gaining clay confidence after early disappointments in Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Madrid before reaching the Rome fourth round last week where he lost to Novak Djokovic.
“It’s such a special tournament for me, winning my first clay 250 (tournament) this time last year; I really like this tournament,” he said.
Norrie broke on five of his six chances as he won for the 50th time on clay at the ATP level.
“I felt I could have moved a little bit better, but it’s always a few nerves in the first match,” he said of the match.
“I was able to control those in the first set, and I was down an early break in the second and I was able to fight back.”
Norrie will play for a semi-final place against Argentine Sebastian Baez, who beat countryman Pedro Cachin 3-6, 7-5, 6-2.