South African tennis golden boy Lloyd Harris produced the performance of his life to claim an upset victory over Rafa Nadal at the Citi Open in Washington.
This morning’s quarterfinal victory will undoubtedly go down as Harris’ biggest of his fledging career thus far, as he edged Nadal in a nail bitting spectacle 6-4, 1-6, 6-4 to progress to the Citi Open semifinals.
The Harris-Nadal spectacle lasted all of two hours and ten minutes with the South African again showing his talents and prowess. Harris did not look overawed by the task at hand en-route to this monumental victory with his game plan of meeting his Spanish counterpart’s backhand prowess with going hard and flat on the baseline.
In fact, one could easily argue that Harris beat Nadal at his own game as from a distance it would be assumed that it was Harris who had become synonymous with gaining points and asserting dominance in matches using his forehand prowess. Harris went on to gain nine forehand winners over the two of Nadal, which made the nature of this victory that much more impressive for him.
Reacting to his victory, Harris could not hide his delight nor what it meant to him to defeat a player of the calibre of Nadal
“Today was really special. I think I have had some big wins, and this year I have beat some Grand Slam champions,” Harris said. “But to beat a 20-time Grand Slam champion, and especially in front of a full crowd and with such an amazing atmosphere, it was definitely something very special.”
“I did a lot of good things. I think the best thing was to stay in the moment, keep my composure, and I think I just stayed with my game and stayed playing a consistently good level throughout the match,” Harris said.
“It was a good, quality match, I think. Not easy for me out there. It was pretty physical, but all in all, I’m just super happy with how everything turned out.” Continued Harris.
Nadal had to overcome an injury to his foot just the day before as the top seed managed to dispatch Jack Sock, who undoubtedly would’ve been boosted by a fiery home crowd that was pushing him all the way through, in a match that required a tie-break in the final set for the 34-year old to win.
Harris announced his top level tennis credentials earlier this year after becoming the first qualifier to advance past the quarterfinal from the Dubai Open in the tournaments 29-year history. One of the opponents he had to bypass during that sensational run was Japanese star Kei Nishikori who he now faces in the semifinals.
“It’s going to be a very tough battle and I think a very different game style than I faced today,” Harris said. “
It’s going to be a new challenge and I look forward to it.” He concluded.