Christian Harrison is living a movie script this week at the Delray Beach Open by VITACOST.com, and the World No. 789 is just happy to be enjoying the ride.
The 26-year-old American, who has undergone eight surgeries, defeated 2020 Rio de Janeiro finalist Gianluca Mager 7-6(2), 6-4 on Monday afternoon to reach his first ATP Tour semi-final.
“It feels pretty amazing,” Harrison said on court after the match. “I’m just happy that I have everyone here, all my friends and family around that are here to support, especially here in Delray being so close to home.”
After Eight Surgeries, Christian Harrison Shows He’s Still Standing
Entering the week, Harrison had just two tour-level singles wins. The qualifier has three this tournament alone, and he is also into the doubles semi-finals alongside older brother Ryan Harrison.
“I’m feeling very good. I feel fresh, still. I think a couple days off in between helped,” Harrison said. “One of the days off we only had one doubles, which was probably a good recovery anyway. Looking forward to the semis tomorrow.”
Initially, nerves appeared to be getting to Harrison in his first ATP Tour quarter-final. The home favourite hit two double faults and made two baseline errors in the first game of the match to immediately lose his serve. But Harrison never panicked, and he settled in after that.
“I just kept doing the same thing because I just played a sloppy first game of the match and got broken,” Harrison said. “Then I felt like he was playing solid the whole time, hitting a lot of good first serves, and sometimes there was nothing I could do. I had a lot of break points in the first couple games that I didn’t really get, so I honestly just tried to do the same thing.”
Harrison won 83 per cent of his first-serve points and faced just four break points in the match. Although he only converted two of his 11 break points, the American kept battling to earn more opportunities. At 2-2 in the second set, Mager double faulted a break away, and that was the only advantage Harrison needed.
The World No. 789 is the second-lowest-ranked semi-finalist in tournament history behind Juan Martin del Potro, who accomplished the feat as World No. 1,042 in 2016. This is uncharted territory for the American, who had not played a tour-level main draw since 2018 Newport.
But now, Harrison is two wins from becoming the lowest-ranked ATP Tour titlist in history (since 1990). He will next play fourth seed Hubert Hurkacz or qualifier Roberto Quiroz.
“I’m pretty even keeled right now,” Harrison said. “Just happy to keep playing and hopefully could have two solid matches tomorrow.”