South African tennis star Lloyd Harris was happy with the way he responded to losing a tight first set to American Reilly Opelka in the US Open round-of-16.
Harris, who is enjoying a career-high ranking of No. 46 in the world, recovered from a set down to beat world No. 24 Opelka 6-7 (6) 6-4 6-1 6-3 and progress into his maiden Grand Slam quarterfinal at the US Open.
Harris will be fighting against Tokyo Olympics gold medalist Alexander Zverev for a place in the US Open semifinal.
“I thought I played a really good first set, returning well,” Harris said in his on-court interview, per the ATP website. “Throughout the match I served really well and after that first set not going my way, I stayed confident and what an unbelievable feeling this is. The support has been amazing.”
Harris tried to change some things and it paid off
Harris paid the price for failing to to serve out for the opener in the 10th game and to realize a set point in the first-set tie-break and as Opelka converted his first set point to win a tight opener.
After losing a tight first set, Harris responded as he broke Opelka in the 10th game of the second set when the American was serving to stay in the match.
Opelka’s game fell apart after failing to serve out the 10th game of the second set Harris started the third set with a 5-0 lead, before serving out for the set in the seventh game.
Harris then broke Opelka twice in the third set to complete a four-set win.
“It was difficult because he played a superb tie-break in the first set,” Harris added. “I had to keep my head up as I knew I was playing well and at least I managed to turn it around. I tried to make as many returns as possible, which is not easy when the serves are coming at 135 mph. I just had to mix up my return position and it seemed like it paid off.”