Tak­ing the plunge pays off for Har­ris with Fu­tures ti­tle on home soil

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - SPORT - MIKE DE BRUYN

LLOYD HAR­RIS, one of the bright­est prospects in South African ten­nis, tasted suc­cess at the third and fi­nal Fu­tures tour­na­ment in Stel­len­bosch.

The 18-year-old from Cape Town got his re­venge over Aus­tria’s Lu­cas Mei­dler in an easy 6-2 6-1 vic­tory at the Maties Ten­nis Club, the fi­nal last­ing less than an hour.

In the women’s sin­gles fi­nal, un­seeded Gabriella Tay­lor of Bri­tain fought back from a set down to oust top-seeded Naomi Totka of Hun­gary 4-6 6-2 6-1. The bat­tle lasted al­most two hours and was es­pe­cially sweet for Tay­lor, be­ing her first Fu­tures win.

Har­ris never dropped a set on his way to claim­ing his fourth ti­tle of the year. Ranked in­side the top 500 on the men’s world rank­ings, the teenager will have taken plenty out of what he’s been able to achieve since making his pro­fes­sional de­but ear­lier in the year.

To have made two fi­nals in con­sec­u­tive weeks shows the right-han­der may have what it takes to be a force over the com­ing years.

Get­ting the bet­ter of Mei­der at the sec­ond time of ask­ing will have lifted the Bantry Bay teen’s spir­its. He was beaten in straight sets 7-6 6-1 pre­vi­ously.

“It was a great few weeks of ac­tion for us lo­cals against the for­eign con­tin­gent in the three Fu­tures played,” said Har­ris. “I served well and had good rhythm with my ground strokes off both flanks. And con­fi­dence played a big part as well.

“To have won four ti­tles in my first year in the paid ranks was amaz­ing. I took the big plunge in April to join the big league af­ter care­ful de­lib­er­a­tion with my sup­port staff, who I must say have been key to my suc­cesses.

“My coach An­thony Har­ris in­stalled in me the be­lief that I could make a ca­reer out of the game if I worked hard. I’ve been do­ing just that and much more.”

Har­ris bagged his first Fu­tures ti­tle, and the $ 10 000 prize, in Mozam­bique be­fore go­ing all the way in Zim­babwe and Egypt. His lat­est tri­umph is his best one yet.

“Noth­ing beats play­ing on home soil with your fam­ily watch­ing,” he said. “A bit more pres­sure comes with th­ese fac­tors and I’m just happy to have given those clos­est to me some­thing to smile about.”

Har­ris will look to pick up more sil­ver­ware when he trav­els to Nige­ria next month to com­pete in two Fu­tures tour­na­ments. He will then take a break over the fes­tive pe­riod, with his sights set on play­ing on the sec­ond-tier Chal­lenger tour.

Do­ing well could earn him a shot at qual­i­fy­ing for ATP tour­na­ments. “That’s the premier tier and I see my­self play­ing there one day,” Har­ris added.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.