South African Lloyd Harris needed seven match points to finally dismiss 13th seed Grigor Dimitrov 6-3, 3-6, 7-6(5) and book a spot in the second round of the Madrid Masters on Monday.
The ATP No. 54 who played the March Dubai final against Aslan Karatsev – a first-round Madrid winner over Ugo Humbert 7-5, 6-4 – was making his debut at the major pre-French Open tune-up tournament.
The winner fired a dozen aces and broke the Bulgarian three times. But things got tight in the eighth game of the final set, when Dimitrov saved three match points.
In the eventual tiebreaker, Harris wasted another trio of winning chances while leading 6-3 before finally closing out the decider 7-5.
“It was a big up and down match, I was up a set and a break, then up a break in the third also,” Harris said.
“I got a little bit nervous at the end, but I’m happy to close it out. I started to dictate again at the end.”
Harris managed 34 winners to next face Australian Alex de Minaur.
Elsewhere, American John Isner, well out of his comfort zone both on clay and in Europe, hit 28 aces in a defeat of Serb Miomir Kecmanovic 6-4, 7-6(6).
German Dominic Koepfer defeated Reilly Opelka of the US 6-4, 6-4.
Main photo:- Lloyd Harris needed seven match points to beat Dimitrov – by Corinne Dubreuil ATPTour.com