Thiem stunned by Harris in second round in Dubai

By Joe Wright 17 March 2021 69
Thiem stunned by Harris in second round in Dubai

Top seed Dominic Thiem was beaten in straight sets in the second round of the Dubai Tennis Championships by Lloyd Harris.

The reigning US Open champion, given a bye for the first round, lost 6-3 6-4 to his South African opponent, who sits 77 places further down the ATP rankings.

The Austrian has endured a difficult start to 2021. He lost in straight sets to Grigor Dimitrov in the last 16 of the Australian Open and was beaten by Roberto Bautista Agut in the quarter-finals in Doha.

It was a first win over a top-five player for Harris, who was not once taken to deuce on serve during their 72 minutes on court.

"I'm super, super happy with that win. [He is] by far the highest-ranked player I have beat," said Harris. "I look up to Domi a lot so, for me, it is a special feeling. I am really happy. Just the fact that I am playing good tennis, match in, match out now is giving me a lot of confidence.

"I was serving really well. I don't think I faced any break points. I took control of those games and [in] one or two games on his serve, I gave myself a good look. I played some of the important points very well. I am very proud of that."

While Thiem is struggling for form, things are looking far better for Andrey Rublev, who beat Emil Ruusuvuori 6-4 6-4 to stretch his winning streak at ATP 500 events to 21 matches.

The world number eight, who will face Taylor Fritz in the next round, equalled Andy Murray for the second-best winning run at this level of the Tour. Roger Federer (28) holds the record.

Third seed Denis Shapovalov beat Jan-Lennard Struff for the loss of just four games, while Bautista-Agut advanced after opponent Matthew Ebden retired in the first set.

Fifth seed David Goffin was beaten in straight sets by Kei Nishikori, who recorded just his third victory of the year.

Karen Khachanov and Jannik Sinner each advanced after three-setters, while Marton Fucsovics and Aslan Karatsev were also taken the distance before progressing.

Hubert Hurkacz, Lorenzo Sonego, Dusan Lajovic, Aljaz Bedene and Filip Krajinovic also won on Tuesday.

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