MEMPHIS, February 20, 2017
Ryan Harrison won his maiden ATP World Tour title when he beat Nikoloz Basilashvili at the Memphis Open presented by ServiceMaster on Sunday.
The US-American had a nervous start facing two break points in the first game but fought hard to save both and hold his serve. At 1-1 Harrison had chances of his own to break and secured the break to take the lead in the first set 3-1. The 24-year-old managed to hold his next service game and cruised from there to win the 1st set 6-1 in a mere 26 minutes.
The second set was a lot tighter then the first as both players were playing amazing rallies. The Georgian native was the first once again to get break opportunities but Harrison managed to hold his serve. The next game at 2-2 the US-American got three break points and managed to secure the break to lead 3-2. He would hold his serve to make it 4-2 but Basilashvili managed to get more break points in the next game but again Harrison was up to the ask of holding serve. At 5-4 Harrison served for the match and again was facing a lot of pressure and nerves as Basilashvili got two more break points to bring the match back on serve. Harrison came out big firing two straight aces to save the break points and managed to hold his service game to win the match 6-1, 6-4 and the tournament.
“It’s always going to be special, but it’s even better here in front of a group of people that drove up from your hometown and have known you since you were five years old. To do it in front of friends and family and people that saw the work I was putting in and my dedication, it definitely makes it more special,” Harrison told after captured his first ATP World Tour title, saving all 12 break points he faced. The Shreveport native is the second first-time winner this year, joining Sydney champion Gilles Muller.
“This was the first place I saw a professional tennis match, driving up from Shreveport. I will always remember Memphis. All those emotions were coming out there at the end. You have dreams and aspirations in life and for me it’s trying to be as great as I can in tennis. For me to come back here and win this title when I had thought it was impossible, it’s amazing.”
Bidding to become the first player representing the Republic of Georgia to win an ATP World Tour title, Basilashvili was contesting his second final, having finished runner-up in Kitzbühel last year.
“In the first set, I could not find any rhythm. I was not going for my shots and playing very defensive. Ryan was serving really well on the break points. I had a lot of chances in the second set, but the energy wasn’t great today. It hurts so much, but you have to learn from this for the next matches,” Basilashvili said.
Baker And Mektic Prevail
Competing together for just the second time, US-American Brian Baker and Nikola Mektic of Croatia claimed their first ATP World Tour doubles title, winning the final against Ryan Harrison and Steve Johnson from the United States 6-3, 6-4.
“You’re going to be super pumped anytime you win an ATP title, but to win one so close to home is really special. Nikola and I have had instant chemistry so far, so hopefully we can keep it going,” Baker told.
“It’s an amazing feeling. It’s a special feeling to win it with Brian because we really enjoy playing with each other,” Mektic added.