But he put that to bed, quite literally, and stormed back on Wednesday with a fresh outlook and some classy tennis to win 6-7 (6-8), 7-5, 6-2, 7-5.
The victory continues a fine year for the beaten Queen’s finalist and, if he can get past Australia’s Alex Bolt on Thursday, he could meet Roger Federer in the round.
“In that opening set I had a couple of chances, but threw in some double-faults – it was a complete donation,” he said. “So I made a conscious decision to be a little more calm on court and really enjoy it out there.”
Norrie had lost the first set in a tie-break before the interruption.
The second set when the pair resumed on Wednesday was just as tight, Norrie having three chances to level in the tenth game.
He wouldn’t be denied, though, and when France’s Pouille next served, Norrie stunned his opponent with an impossible-seeming backhand, scrabbling even just to connect then sending the ball flying into the diagonally-opposite corner.
If that shot showed his flair, then one in the opening game of the third, break point down, and under pressure from a wicked bounce off the top of the net, demonstrated his composure.
Norrie has a protracted back-story – born in South Africa to a Scottish father and Welsh mother, he was raised in New Zealand where the family moved after a robbery in Johannesburg, then was tutored in tennis in Texas.
As if to compensate for the long-winded CV, Norrie likes to keep it quick and punchy on the court, and his athleticism ensured he stayed on top in the set, breaking Pouille twice more to take an overall lead.
In the fourth he was twice broken by his opponent, but came right back at him. An extraordinary rally, won by Norrie when he’d looked beaten several times, was the decisive moment.
Norrie puts his good form down to having works on the “fundamentals” of serve and return. He’s not thinking about the prospect of Federer because Bolt will be “crafty”.