Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Harris stuns Thiem in Dubai; lucky loser outs Stephens

Lloyd Harris, who starred in Northern California Challengers in 2018,
 recorded his first victory over a top-five player. 2018 photo by Paul Bauman
   Qualifier Lloyd Harris of South Africa shocked top-seeded Dominic "Home" Thiem, the reigning U.S. Open champion, 6-3, 6-4 today in the second round of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, an ATP 500 tournament in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
   The 6-foot-4 (1.93-meter) Harris won 29 of 30 points on his first serve and did not face a break point against the fourth-ranked Thiem.
   Harris, who won the $100,000 Stockton Challenger and reached the final of the $100,000 Aptos Challenger in Northern California in 2018, recorded his first victory against a top-five player.
   "I'm super, super happy with that win," the 24-year-old Harris, who claimed his first top-20 win against Stan "The Man" Wawrinka, then No. 20, in the first round last week in Doha, Qatar, said in an on-court interview. "(He is) by far the highest-ranked player I have beaten. I look up to Domi a lot, so, for me, it is a special feeling. I am really happy. Just the fact that I am playing good tennis, match in, match out is giving me a lot of confidence."
   Harris, ranked No. 81, is scheduled to play 14th-seeded "Prince" Filip Krajinovic, ranked No. 33, of Serbia on Wednesday for a quarterfinal berth. 
   WTA Tour in Monterrey, Mexico — Sloane "Ranger" Stephens' woes continued with a 6-2, 6-2 loss to Slovakia's Kristina "Aguilera" Kucova, a lucky loser ranked No. 151, in the first round of the Abierto GNP Seguros, a WTA 250 tournament.
   The top-seeded Stephens, a Fresno, Calif., product who will turn 28 on Saturday, fell to 1-7 since the U.S. Open last September. The 2017 U.S. Open champion has tumbled from a career-high No. 3 in 2018 to No. 48.
   ATP Challenger Tour in Cleveland — In a battle of the last two USTA boys 18 national champions, Jenson Brooksby "Brothers," 20, of Carmichael, Calif., in the Sacramento area topped Zachary "Taylor" Svajda, 18, of San Diego 7-6 (4), 7-6 (5) in the opening round of the $52,080 Cleveland Open. 
   Brooksby, who's coming off his first Challenger title in February in Potchefstroom, South Africa, is set to play sixth-seeded Brayden Schnur of Canada for the first time on Wednesday. Schnur held off U.S. qualifier Felix Corwin 7-6 (0), 7-6 (4).

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