Midway through the second set of Cameron Norrie's match today the chants started.

At first subtle, they gradually grew throughout the contest, as Norrie carved out an impressive 7-6 (3) 6-3 victory over highly-rated young American Taylor Fritz.

"Come on Kiwi". "Let's Go Kiwi".

It appears Norrie is the new local hero, the one Stanley Street tennis fans have been waiting for.


Sure, he's not actually representing New Zealand at this tournament, having switched his allegiance to Great Britain in 2013.

But that doesn't matter. He's as Kiwi as jandals, Split Enz and rainy Easter weekends.

There's no posh accent, no plum in the throat, no ivory skin. He's the kid who grew up in Bucklands Beach, attended Macleans College and spent his pocket money on pineapple lumps, L & P and steak and cheese pies.

Norrie, who will feature in the ASB Classic semifinals tomorrow, may be playing under the Union Jack, but we're claiming him.

And why not. He had a lot of his tennis education in Auckland, and you can't underestimate the power of that. His departure was both unfortunate and understandable, for a lot of reasons, but that doesn't mean his current success can't be celebrated.

For his part Norrie hopes that his progression at the tournament can inspire a new generation.

"It does feel good to have all my mates watching at home, able to watch me live and see my progression," said Norrie. "It does mean a lot for me and it means a lot for tennis in New Zealand. Hopefully a lot of juniors here can see that a kid who did grow up here in New Zealand, and went to college and did that route and has been successful. Hopefully I've inspired some kids in New Zealand and that is the best thing that can come from this."

And Norrie, who left these shores at the age of 17 to live in London, before a four year stint at Texas Christian University in the United States, has noticed the support.


"I do feel like the crowd is kinda getting behind me," said Norrie. "Especially in those tough moments when I am serving it out. It is helping a lot having them on my side, and I think the opponent is feeling that too."

"I think it is building. The lady on the microphone (on court MC) keeps claiming me as Kiwi so I think that is helping. I did grow up here. It is a very special tournament for me."

Norrie is also being deluged with requests for tickets from family and friends, as well as old school mates who come out of the woodwork.

"I'm getting limited tickets so it is tough to pick and choose," said Norrie. "[I'm] getting bombarded with messages. It's pretty tough to choose who to pick, and some friends come out of nowhere.

Norrie's performance today was his best of the week. He served with variety and guile, handled the 210km/h bombs that Fritz is capable of, defended solidly and managed the big points well.

"I was trying to be the one being more aggressive," said Norrie. "I kept good composure and was able to dictate play and play on my terms in my service games.

The world No 90 dug deep to defend break points in the first set, and was at his best in the tiebreak, especially considering Fritz had the best tiebreak record of anyone on the tour last year.

"It was a big focus for me to try and get some wins in tiebreaks," said Norrie. "I was awful last year in tiebreaks, only won four or five."

Norrie plays his fourth career ATP semifinal tomorrow, after previously getting to the last four at Lyon, Atlanta and Los Cabos.