South Africa’s Lloyd Harris downs Denis Shapovalov to make history in Dubai
DUBAI – South Africa’s Lloyd Harris became the first qualifier to reach the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships final on Friday, when he rallied to defeat Denis Shapovalov 6-7(5), 6-4, 7-6(6).
The South African, who trailed 2-4 in the second set, saved three of the four break points he faced to reach his maiden ATP 500 final. Harris has won seven matches in as many days to make history at the ATP 500. En route to the final, the World No. 81 has won the two biggest matches of his career against World No. 4 Dominic Thiem and World No. 12 Shapovalov.
Harris will face Andrey Rublev or Aslan Karatsev in the championship match. In his only previous tour-level final in Adelaide last year, Harris fell in straight sets to Rublev.
In the final-set tie-break, Harris served well under pressure to keep pace with his opponent. Shapovalov used his forehand to dictate rallies, but Harris earned his place in the final when the Canadian narrowly missed an attempted backhand down the line.
Shapovalov was also aiming to reach his first ATP 500 final and emulate his coach, two-time Dubai finalist Mikhail Youzhny. The Canadian did not drop a set en route to the semi-finals, with wins against Jan-Lennard Struff, Hubert Hurkacz and Jeremy Chardy.