'Not an easy one to swallow,' says SA's Lloyd Harris after US Open quarterfinal exit

09 September 2021 - 15:32 By Ofentse Ratsie
Lloyd Harris returns against Reilly Opelka of the US during their men’s singles round of 16 match at the 2021 US Open at Billie Jean King National Tennis Centre on September 6 2021 in New York City.
Lloyd Harris returns against Reilly Opelka of the US during their men’s singles round of 16 match at the 2021 US Open at Billie Jean King National Tennis Centre on September 6 2021 in New York City.
Image: Al Bello/Getty Images

SA tennis ace Lloyd Harris’ dream run at the US Open is sadly over after his quarterfinal defeat to Germany’s fourth seed Alex Zverev in New York.

The 24-year-old South African was unable to produce his best during the match against Zverev, who triumphed in straight sets, 7-6 6-3 6-4.

“Yeah, obviously not an easy one to swallow,” said Harris, who is ranked 46th in the world.

“It was really a tough match and I am little bit disappointed. I mean, it was a little bit of a roller coaster match. I had my opportunities and things  didn't exactly go my way.

“Yeah, the level wasn't quite where it needed to be. A little disappointing in that regard but nonetheless, still a lot of positives to take from the week.

“But not an ideal match.”

Harris, who stepped on to the Arthur Ashe stadium court oozing energy, said despite the deflating loss, he had learnt an important lesson.

“I mean, the tournament as a whole was really good,” he said. “It had some big wins, top players, a lot of seeds I took out. Played a five-setter. Physically, I was in good shape. Even after the match.

“I feel like there's a lot I learnt from this week, a lot I can take forward. I mean, I'm really happy with the tournament as a whole, for sure. It's my first quarterfinals at a Grand Slam, so we'll take that.”

But Harris is facing an uphill battle as two major tournaments loom large.

“I have Davis Cup next week. We're playing here in New York,” he said. “So I'll be here for a little bit longer. Then we'll reassess after that, see where my head is at, see where the body's at.

“I'll definitely be around for Indian Wells, that's for sure. Then the Masters is pretty important. Maybe a build-up event before Paris. Not too many weeks left.”

The Cape Town-born star had good reason to be confident having knocked out three seeds in Olympic silver medallist Karen Khachanov, Denis Shapovalov and Reilly Opelka on his way to his first career Grand Slam quarterfinal.

“You get a lot of confidence in your game. You see you can beat all these top players,” he said. “If you go deep into a tournament like this, you've got more belief. Especially in some of the smaller tournaments, when you play some of the guys ranked around the same ranking as me or even lower, you'll definitely go into those matches with a bit more confidence.

“I think hopefully this is just the start of big things. Hopefully, I can turn this into some more good results.”

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