In a stunning display of tennis on Tuesday at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, 24-year-old Lloyd Harris dispatched No. 1 seed Dominic Thiem 6-3, 6-4 in just over an hour and earned the biggest win of his career.
Thiem has not had the best of times in the Gulf, bowing out to Bautista Agut in Doha, and losing to Harris at the Dubai Duty-Free Tennis Championships. Sending cannons for a first serve, Lloyd stamped his authority on the number-one seed.
Under the lights on a quick court, Thiem did not manage a single breakpoint.
The South African proved the more consistent player on the stroke to earn the first breakpoints of the match at 2-1 and he converted his second chance with a cross-court backhand winner. With a good reach and a 97-per-cent first-serve win, Harris held serve without being forced to deuce.
During the second set, the World No. 81 capitalized on a breakpoint at 3-3 when he rushed Thiem with deep backhand returns and capitalized on two double faults. Thiem is one of the best backhand players on tour, but Harris confidently engaged in backhand-to-backhand rallies.
Dominic’s quest to be the first Austrian since Thomas Muster in 1997 to lift the Dubai trophy is put on hold. For now.
Harris will meet 14th seed Filip Krajinovic for a quarter-final spot. The Serbian saved all four break points he faced to defeat Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 7-5, 6-4 in 80 minutes.
Earlier in the day, Denis Shapovalov came through an intimidating opening match at Dubai Duty Free, defeating Jan-Lennard Struff 6-1 6-3 to reach the third round. A focused Shapovalov looked in control against an opponent that he lost to in the last 4 encounters.
His turnaround in fortunes can also be credited to having former two-time Dubai runner-up Mikhail Youzhny in his coaching corner. Shapovalov said: “Misha told me the balls would be flying, but that pretty much suits my game. My aim to pick my target on my serve and play the way I have during practice.”
Kei Nishikori held off his nerves in the final set as he battled past fifth-seeded Belgian David Goffin 6-3, 7-6(3) over one hour and 53 minutes on Tuesday for a place in the Dubai third round. The World No. 41 expressed his desire to be back in the ATP Top 10 rankings before ending his career.
Aslan Karatsev continued his remarkable run of success since the season began by overcoming number 12 seed and 2020 semi-finalist Dan Evans 6-4 4-6 6-4. Eighth seed Karen Khachanov was stretched to the limit by tournament wild card Alexei Popyrin, edging through 6-4 3-6 7-6(4) after a grueling two hours 16 minutes.
Malek Jaziri’s tournament was ended 7-5 6-2 by 11th-seed Dusan Lajovic, 13th seed Hubert Hurkacz beat Richard Gasquet 6-3 6-4, 16th Jannik Sinner defeated Alexander Bublik 2-6 7-6(2) 6-4 and 17th seed Lorenzo Sonego overwhelmed qualifier Bernabe Zapata Miralles 6-2 6-2.