South African Lloyd Harris reached his first ATP Tour final on Friday at the Adelaide International, battling past American Tommy Paul 6-4, 6-7(3), 6-3 in two hours and nine minutes.
“I’m so excited to be in the final here in Adelaide. Just ecstatic with the match I played,” Harris said. “Looking forward to [the final] tomorrow.”
Harris gave tribute to his coach of many years Anthony Harris who was courtside to give support to his charge. “Anthony has been a huge support and influence in my success, he has been by my side since junior days and whilst hussling the Futures Tour and I am happy that we have made this final.”
Last year, Harris made his first tour-level quarter-final and semi-final in Chengdu as a lucky loser. But the World No. 91 has gone one step further in Adelaide, blasting 13 aces and winning 85 per cent of his first-serve points against the man who is one spot ahead of him in the FedEx ATP Rankings.
This was the first ATP Tour semi-final between two qualifiers since Roberto Carballes Baena beat Andrej Martin in Quito in 2018. Harris was on the back foot towards the end of the second set, despite recouping a break to force a tie-break, as Paul was taking control of rallies more often and not allowing the South African to dictate play.
But Harris, who defeated fourth seed Pablo Carreno Busta and sixth seed Cristian Garin earlier in the ATP 250 tournament, was undeterred. He lost just two first-serve points in the decider en route to his victory.
Harris will play second seed Felix Auger-Aliassime or third seed Andrey Rublev for the trophy.