World No. 789 Harrison Stuns Garin In Delray Beach
Christian Harrison has had eight surgeries. But at 26, the American’s tennis is starting to shine.
Harrison stunned top seed Cristian Garin 7-6(3), 6-2 on Saturday to reach his first ATP Tour quarter-final at the Delray Beach Open by VITACOST.com. Entering the week, he owned two tour-level singles wins, and now Harrison has doubled that count.
"I just love the sport, I love what I'm doing," Harrison said. "I just can't wait to keep playing and hopefully have a good, healthy next couple of years."
The No. 789 player in the FedEx ATP Rankings is the second-lowest-ranked quarter-finalist in Delray Beach tournament history, trailing only former World No. 3 Juan Martin del Potro, who accomplished the feat as the World No. 1,042 in 2016.
Harrison earned his first Top 50 victory against World No. 22 Garin. The Chilean is one of the toughest baseliners on the ATP Tour, but the home favourite played a more physical brand of tennis, using superior depth with his groundstrokes to keep the top seed from gaining control of points. Harrison earned four service breaks in his 90-minute triumph.
"He played well. He played very good, of course. He's won four matches this week [including qualifying]," Garin said. "These conditions are good for him. He played really flat, really fast. The ball helps his game a lot and I hope he can play like this the rest of the year."
The key moment came at the end of the first set. Harrison was serving for the set at 6-5, 40/0, but Garin was sharp with his passing shots under pressure to break serve and force a tie-break. The four-time ATP Tour titlist earned a quick mini-break, but from 3/1 up he lost six consecutive points and with it, his momentum.
"I just thought about just going to play each point," Harrison said. "Obviously he's a very proven player. There are going to be times when he puts together a bunch of good points. I actually told myself I was lucky to be in that spot because at 4-3, he was up 0/40 on my serve and I came back."
Harrison did not let slip the opportunity, advancing to the last eight in Florida, where he will next play 2020 Rio Open presented by Claro finalist Gianluca Mager. The Italian ousted sixth seed and 2016 champion Sam Querrey 7-6(8), 6-1 earlier in the day.
Mager defeated Christian's brother, Ryan Harrison, 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 in the first round of the main draw.