In a rare final between a wildcard entrant and qualifier, Aslan Karatsev beats South Africa’s Lloyd Harris to win the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Saturday. Photo: @DDFTennis/Twitter
In a rare final between a wildcard entrant and qualifier, Aslan Karatsev beats South Africa’s Lloyd Harris to win the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Saturday. Photo: @DDFTennis/Twitter

Wildcard Aslan Karatsev beats SA’s Lloyd Harris to lift maiden title in Dubai

By Supplied Time of article published Mar 20, 2021

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DUBAI – Aslan Karatsev reached another milestone in his fairytale start to the 2021 ATP Tour season on Saturday, when he beat Lloyd Harris 6-3, 6-2 to claim his maiden ATP Tour title at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.

The 27-year-old ripped 27 winners and saved the two break points he faced to become the third Russian champion on the ATP Tour this season. Karatsev joins Daniil Medvedev (Marseille) and Andrey Rublev (Rotterdam) on that list. All three players were a part of the title-winning Russian team at last month’s ATP Cup.

Karatsev started this season with a 3-10 record at tour-level. The 6’1” right-hander, who reached the Australian Open semi-finals as a qualifier last month, has compiled a 12-2 record this year.

As a result of his run to the Dubai trophy, Karatsev has solidified his position at No. 5 in the FedEx ATP Race To Turin. Medvedev (No. 2) and Rublev (No. 3) also feature in the Top 5 qualification positions for the Nitto ATP Finals.

The World No. 42 is the third wild card to win this ATP 500 event. Karatsev, who beat four seeded players en route to the final, joins Wayne Ferreira (1995) and Thomas Muster (1997) in the exclusive club.

Karatsev made the perfect start to his first ATP Tour final, as he ripped groundstrokes into Harris’ forehand corner to break serve in his first return game. The Russian opened the court well and struck 12 winners in the first set. The Russian dominated behind his second serve return throughout the match (10/12) and clinched the trophy with an overhead winner.

Harris was also aiming to lift his first ATP Tour trophy. The South African won seven matches in as many days to reach his second tour-level championship match (0-2). En route to the final, Harris earned the two biggest wins of his career against World No. 4 Dominic Thiem and World No. 12 Denis Shapovalov.

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