CAPE TOWN - The big-serving South African tennis star Lloyd Harris is a man on the move.
On Thursday, the unseeded Harris moved into the US Open third round for the first time in four years after he defeated American wild card Ernesto Escobedo 6-4 6-4 6-2 in a second-round clash at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York on Thursday evening.
The 24-year-old Harris backed up his historic US Open third-round entry with a jump on the world rankings where he has moved from 46 to a career-high 39. It is only the second time Harris has reached a Major third round after an excellent start to the Australian Open earlier this year.
For most of the way in the opening two sets, Harris looked like he was having a hit out on a training court against the 25-year-old Escobedo who is way down on the world rankings at 183.
A service break in each of the opening sets saw the Harris race ahead 2-0 after 83 minutes. The third set was equally brief after and ended after 39 minutes when Harris closed out 'game, set and match' with an ace. It was his 21st ace in his straight-sets triumph.
In the third set, Escobedo dropped service three times but for the only time in the match, he broke serve in the sixth game, by which time Harris led 4-2. Harris broke back in the next game (5-2) before hanging Escobedo out to dry (6-2).
Harris will now meet the seventh-seeded Canadian Denis Shapovalov in the third round on Saturday. The world No 11 dished up a masterclass against Spaniard Roberto Baena en route to a 7-6(7) 6-3 6-0 win in 127 minutes.
In their only clash to date, Harris defeated Shapovalov earlier this year at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.