Norrie needed just 73 minutes to dismantle Schwartzman, who finally held serve to open the second set, drawing cheers from the small crowd at Indian Wells Tennis Garden, where attendance has been capped at well below capacity because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“For my biggest match of my career to play like I did and execute like I did was the biggest thing that I’m most happy with,” Norrie said.
Schwartzman earned his only break of the match to tie it 2-all in the second. Norrie ran off the final four games to move into a semifinal against 23rd-seeded Grigor Dimitrov, who beat No. 8 Hubert Hurkacz 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (2).
Schwartzman’s serve deserted him under cloudless skies. He won 13 of 27 points on his first serve and just 3 of 19 on his second serve to go with four double faults.
Hurkacz dropped a set for the first time in the tournament. He trailed 5-2 in the third before winning three straight games to tie it at 5-all. Hurkacz held at 6-all to force the tiebreak. But he appeared exhausted at that point, committing unforced errors on the final three points to lose.
Norrie won his career-best 45th match of the year against 20 losses in reaching his first Masters 1000 semi. He’ll become the No. 1 player in Britain in next week’s rankings.
“It was never really a goal of mine, but it’s definitely a great bonus to be British No. 1,” Norrie said. “I want to keep pushing. I’ve got a lot of things to improve on.”
In quarterfinal matchups Friday, No. 2 Stefanos Tsitsipas plays Nikoloz Basilashvili and No. 3 Alexander Zverev faces Taylor Fritz. Tsitsipas and Zverev are the highest seeds remaining in the men’s draw after Dmitrov beat Daniil Medvedev, the top seed and U.S. Open champion.