Lloyd Harris needed a thrilling comeback to reach a milestone second round appearance in the French Open, beating qualifier Czech Republican Lukas Rosol 6-1, 4-6, 2-6, 6-1, 6-2 in a five set classic match at Roland Garros on Monday.
Harris is South Africa’s only hope in the singles event with world number eight, Kevin Anderson, out of competitive action as he recovers from an elbow injury.
The unseeded Capetonian has now progressed past the first round stages of a major tournament for the first time in his emerging career having previously lost out at Wimbledon and the French Open last year; and with the Australian Open earlier this year.
Harris, who is ranked 90th in the world, showcased a spirited fightback after having dominated the first set before the equally lanky Rosol (149th in the world) returned to convincingly claim the following two rounds.
However, while the 33-year-old was still superior with a first serve rate of 67% – in comparison to Harris’ 62% – the latter proved his class against a tiring Rosol.
Harris will face an even more sterner test in the next round when he faces Croatian 13th seed Borna Coric, who needed to also survive an early scare himself before overcoming unseeded Slovenian, Aljaz Bedene, to win 6-1, 6-7 (7/4), 6-4, 6-4.
Another South African participating in the tournament is Raven Klaasen, who is seeded sixth alongside New Zealander Michael Venus.
The duo will be in action on Tuesday afternoon against the pair of Marius Copil (Romania) and Rohan Bopanna (India) at 15:00 South African time.