SA’s Harris ousts Shapovalov for first major fourth round
New York — SA’s Lloyd Harris reached the fourth round of a Grand Slam for the first time on Saturday with a 6-4 6-4 6-4 victory over Canadian world No 10 Denis Shapovalov at the US Open.
The 22-year-old Shapovalov, seeded seventh at the hard-court major in 2021, came into Saturday’s match at Louis Armstrong Stadium having lost his only previous meeting against Harris in March.
Since that Dubai meeting, the South African, 24, has made rapid strides in his career, defeating 20-time Grand Slam champion Rafa Nadal in Washington in August and has climbed to a career-best ranking of 46th.
On Saturday, Harris took his chances against an error-prone Shapovalov, the quarter-finalist in 2020 at Flushing Meadows, breaking the left-hander’s serve five times to wrap up the match in 2hr 12 min and make the second week of a Grand Slam for the first time.
“The fourth round is obviously a major accomplishment for me, it’s my first one ever, and I’m looking forward to the next one,” said Harris, who will next face big-serving American Reilly Opelka.
“I can’t wait to be back. Everything has been coming together this season. I feel confident in my game and I want to keep the momentum going.”
Shapovalov had a chance to become the fourth Canadian to make the fourth round at the 2021 US Open but was undone by 40 unforced errors while hitting 24 winners.
In response, Harris committed 23 unforced errors while hitting 27 winners.
Shapovalov had breakpoint chances in the fourth and sixth games of the opening set but Harris saved them before converting his lone opportunity in the seventh game.
The Canadian took early breaks in both the second and third sets but was left frustrated as Harris rallied each time to level things before seizing his opportunities.
In other action, world No 1 Ash Barty became the latest high-profile player to be ousted after the Australian suffered a third-round defeat to American Shelby Rogers on Saturday.
The 43rd-ranked Rogers staged a stunning comeback in the deciding set, recovering from a 5-2 deficit to topple Barty 6-2 1-6 7-6(5) against the backdrop of a roaring Arthur Ashe crowd.
“I am stunned. My heart rate is still very much elevated. I’m very excited with that win,” said Rogers, the last American standing in the women’s draw.
Rogers will face British teenager Emma Raducanu, who extended her dream run at Flushing Meadows with a dominant 6-0 6-1 victory over Spain’s Sara Sorribes Tormo.
Olympic gold medallist Belinda Bencic has yet to drop a set in New York and put on a serving masterclass to beat Jessica Pegula 6-2 6-4 and reach the last 16.
Top seed Novak Djokovic stayed on course for a men’s record 21st major title that would complete the calendar Grand Slam with a 6-7(4) 6-3 6-3 6-2 win over Japan’s Kei Nishikori.
“So far the toughest match of the tournament for me,” the Serbian said. “The pace of the ball and the speed of Nishikori’s tennis today was just higher than the opening two rounds’ opponents that I had.”
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