Aussie Harris, Without Tour-Level Experience, Could Play At Wimbledon
Aussie Andrew Harris has never played in a tour-level match, but come Monday, he might be playing at The Championships. The 25-year-old reached the final round of Wimbledon qualifying on Wednesday, beating 17th seed Sergiy Stakhovsky 3-6, 6-3, 6-3.
Stakhovsky famously upset Roger Federer in the second round of the grass-court Grand Slam in 2013. Harris, however, has his own compelling background story. The Melbourne native reached No. 6 in the world as a junior and won the 2012 Roland Garros and Wimbledon junior boys' doubles titles with countryman Nick Kyrgios.
Harris ended his junior career after winning the Wimbledon title and then played collegiate tennis at the University of Oklahoma under coach John Roddick, brother of former No. 1 Andy Roddick. The Aussie helped the Sooners reach the 2016 National Collegiate Athletic Association final, falling to the University of Virginia Cavaliers.
Attila Balazs, 30, is one match away from playing in his first tour-level grass-court event. The Hungarian was down 2-6, 1-5 and saved two match points from 4-5 in the second set to beat Illya Marchenko 2-6, 7-6(5), 6-3. Balazs retired in August 2014 and started coaching tennis, but he felt like it was too soon to be on the other side of the net.
“It was just too boring,” Balazs said in April, when he reached the Hungarian Open quarter-finals. “I said that I’m too young for coaching and felt the motivation in myself to make a comeback. I felt that I had nothing to lose and obviously now I’m very happy with the decision.”
He has put the hip injury that made him miss seven months last year behind him as well. Balazs will next meet Spain's Marcel Granollers.
In other action, American Noah Rubin, 2014 Wimbledon boys' singles champion, beat Ecuador's Roberto Quiroz 4-6, 6-1, 6-2 and will next play German Yannick Hanfmann. #NextGenATP Swede Mikael Ymer knocked out fan favourite Dustin Brown of Germany 7-6(5), 6-2.
Brown upset Rafael Nadal in the 2015 Wimbledon second round and, just two weeks ago, beat No. 5 Alexander Zverev at the MercedesCup in Stuttgart. Ymer, who qualified and won his first Grand Slam match at Roland Garros, will meet Austrian Dennis Novak for a place in the main draw.
#NextGenATP Aussie Alexei Popyrin, the fourth seed, will face American Bjorn Fratangelo in the final round as the 19-year-old seeks his Wimbledon main draw debut. The 6'5” Popyrin, who cracked the Top 100 of the ATP Rankings on Monday, beat 27-year-old Mats Moraing of Germany 6-1, 3-6, 6-1.
Fratangelo, who played in the main draw in 2016, reached the third round by edging France's Quentin Halys 3-6, 6-2, 13-11.