Norrie, Basilashvili shock ATP finalists
The ATP Masters 1000 event in Indian Wells will be won by a player ranked outside the top 25 for the first time since 2010 with Cameron Norrie and Nikoloz Basilashvili the surprise finalists.
Sunday's clash in the California desert will be Norrie's sixth final of a breakthrough year and first at a Masters 1000 event, after he dismantled Grigor Dimitrov 6-2 6-4.
Basilashvili accounted for Taylor Fritz 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 in their semi-final.
The event has been filled with upsets with 25th-ranked Norrie and world No.36 Basilashvili providing their fair share along the way.
The last man outside the Top 25 to win Indian Wells was Ivan Ljubicic - ranked 26th in 2010.
San Diego-native Fritz was trying to reach the final and have a shot at becoming the tournament's first American winner since Andre Agassi in 2001.
Instead, the 23-year-old fell to 0-5 in 2021 semi-finals.
Big-hitting Georgian Basilashivili - who defeated second-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas last round - proved too much to handle for Fritz.
"His backhand, he definitely hits harder than anybody on tour," Fritz said.
"The way that it comes through the court so hard and flat and deep, nothing you can really do.
"If I wanted to be more aggressive, I would have been opening myself up for a lot more mistakes just trying to hit big off of such a big ball."
Norrie, who won his first ATP title at the Los Cabos Open earlier this year and ensured he would be Britain's No.1 by thumping Diego Schwartzman in the quarter-finals, cruised to victory over an out-of-sorts Dimitrov.
"I've made a conscious decision to be more aggressive in the bigger moments and taking it to the guys," Norrie said after advancing to the biggest final of his career.
With his semi-final win, Norrie will break into the top 20 for the first time when rankings are updated on Monday.
Norrie beat Basilashvili comfortably earlier this year in their only other meeting on tour, and the 26-year-old left-hander will be the favourite on Sunday.
with PA and Reuters
Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.
Sign up for our emails