Rafael Nadal stunned in loss to Lloyd Harris
Tennis often brings shock results, but when it comes to the ‘Big Three’ of Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, and Roger Federer, the shocks are increasingly few and far between. However, Nadal has suffered one of the biggest shocks of his career in recent times as he lost to South African journeyman Lloyd Harris. For Harris, the 6-4, 1-6, 6-4 win to take him to the last eight of the Citi Open was without doubt a career highlight victory.
Across three excellent sets of tennis, the duo bit back at one another with impressive form. Nadal, though, was trying to overcome a lingering foot issue that had stuck around since midweek. He defeated Jack Sock in a pulsating match, beating him on a final set tie-breaker. However, the energy used and the physical injury to the foot had obviously taken some kind of toll on Nadal. As the top seed in the tournament, Harris was given little chance – even with a foot injury.
However, an outstanding display and an energetic playing style from Harris was enough to turn the tide of the match in his favour. Taking on a player with 20 Grand Slam wins to his name, Harris knew he was up against it, saying of the victory: “Today was really special. I think I have had some big wins, and this year I have beat some Grand Slam champions… But to beat a 20-time Grand Slam champion, and especially in front of a full crowd and with such an amazing atmosphere, it was definitely something very special.”
Nadal, who looked good at times despite the injury, was also quick to say that he was not making excuses after the game. The World No. 50 is now 2-5 against Top 10 opponents, bolstering an impressive career run.
What happens next?
The Citi Open will see the last eight begin shortly, and it will be up to Harris to keep the form going. Many times, big wins are followed by a shock exit as the conqueror fatigues following so much energy used in the previous round.
Harris, though, was clear that he has intentions of going all the way in this prestigious tournament, saying: “I did a lot of good things. I think the best thing was to stay in the moment, keep my composure, and I think I just stayed with my game and stayed playing a consistently good level throughout the match. It was a good, quality match, I think. Not easy for me out there. It was pretty physical, but all in all, I’m just super happy with how everything turned out.”
The next round will see Harris take on the hugely impressive Japanese star, Kei Nishikori, in the last eight. Nishikori overcame Cameron Norrie in a 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 victory to make his own way to the final eight of the tournament.
On playing the outstanding Japanese star, Harris added: “It’s going to be a new challenge and I look forward to it.”