Lloyd Harris continued the tennis week of his life on Friday with a 6-7(5), 6-4, 7-6(6) comeback defeat of Denis Shapovalov, putting a qualifier into the ATP Dubai final for the first time in tournament history.
The South African who had never defeated anyone in the Top 20, has now accounted for three of them over the past two weeks in the Gulf: Stan Wawrinka (Doha, first round), Dominic Thiem (Dubai second round) and now Shapovalov in their semi-final.
“I’ve been waiting for some results like this. To have so many of them in one week is a fantastic feeling. I have got one more match to go,” Harris said.
The winner will play for the trophy against either red-hot Russian Andrey Rublev or Asian Karatsev, a shock Australian Open semi-finalist last month.
Saturday’s final on the last day of the local weekend will be the eighth match in as many days for Harris.
“I don’t have many words right now. I am super happy with that win,” Harris said
“Being a set and 2-4 down is mentally and physically a little bit troublesome for me, but I found my best tennis from there.
“I’m just extremely happy with the result right now.”
The No. 81 has appeared in only one other final, losing to Rublev in January, 2020, in Adelaide.
Shapovalov lost his 10th Tour semi-final from 11 played as he went down after more than two and a half hours under a barrage of 12 aces from his opponent.
“This is what I am working for,” Harris said. “This is what I have been putting in the hard yards for.”
After holding the lead, Shapovalov lost his edge, with Harris taking advantage to launch a successful fightback thanks to unforced errors off the Canadian racquet.
Shapovalov came to the court without the loss of a set all week at the Aviation Club.