Harris Knocks Out Top Seed Thiem In Dubai

Lloyd Harris (photo: DDFT)

STARNBERG/DUBAI, March 16, 2021

South Africa’s Lloyd Harris earned the biggest win of his career in the second round of the Dubai Tennis Championships on Tuesday evening. The 24-year-old qualifier shocked top-seed and World No. 4 Dominic Thiem of Austria 6-3, 6-4 on Centre Court in the match which lasted an hour and 13 minutes.

Harris won 97 per cents of his first-service points and struck 23 winners to eliminate the US Open champion for a spot in the round of 16.

This is Harris’ first win against a Top 5 player. The 24-year-old claimed his first Top 20 win at last week’s Qatar ExxonMobil Open in Doha against Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland.

“I’m super, super happy with that win. [He is] by far the highest-ranked player I have beaten,” Harris told the ATP Tour.

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 now is giving me a lot of confidence.”

Harris was happy to engage in backhand-to-backhand rallies early in the first set. The Cape Town native proved the more consistent player on the stroke to earn the first break points of the match at 2-1 and he converted his second chance with a cross-court backhand winner.

Throughout the match, Harris held serve without being forced to deuce. The World No. 81 earned the only break of the second set at 3-3, when he rushed Thiem with deep backhand returns and capitalized on two double faults. Harris closed the match with a powerful first serve into Thiem’s backhand.

“I was serving really well. I don’t think I faced any break points,” said Harris. “I took control of those games and [in] one or two games on his serve, I gave myself a good look. I played some of the important points very well. I am very proud of that.”

Harris will meet Serbian 14th seed Filip Krajinovic for a spot in the quarterfinals of the ATP 500 event.