In the biggest upset of the 2021 season, Christian Harrison stunned top-seeded Cristian Garin 7-6 (3), 6-2 in the Delray Beach Open second-round. Harrison, ranked No. 789 in the world, found himself down 3-0 in the first set before finding hitting his stride and becoming the second-lowest-ranked quarterfinalist in tournament history.
Harrison has undergone eight surgeries throughout his injury-prone career, but he’s certainly never looked as good as he did on Saturday, winning 13 of the last 18 games in convincing fashion against the world No. 22. The 26-year-old squandered three set points when serving for the first set at 6-5, but regained his composure in the tiebreak, winning six of the last seven points after falling behind 3-1.
Harrison was the aggressor throughout, dominating the points from start to finish against the far too defensive minded Garin. The Chilean owns just a 15-27 record on hard courts, but the win remains by far the biggest of Harrison’s career.
Christian Harrison is on his way to his first quarterfinal of his ATP career after defeating world No.22 and top seed Cristian Garin, 7-6(3) 6-2! @charrison94 | #DBOpen | ???? Andrew Patron pic.twitter.com/hqjZ0iXofC— Delray Beach Open (@DelrayBeachOpen) January 9, 2021
After eight surgeries, most players might have called it quits, but Harrison’s love for the game kept him going.
"I just love the sport, I love what I'm doing," Harrison said. "I just can't wait to keep playing and hopefully have a good, healthy next couple of years.”
Harrison credits his early season success to a consistent offseason routine. His father, Pat Harrison, is a coach at IMG Academy. While many players were stuck quarantining, wondering when they would ever play again, Harrison remained focused, training hard inside the IMG bubble.
“I knew when things started up again I would have an advantage,” Harrison said. “I’ve been in the same routine for months now, working on my fitness and my game. I focused on my transition game, hitting the ball while moving forward, and being unpredictable.”
That unpredictability was apparent against Garin, when Harrison won several key points via drop shots in the first set.”
While Harrison’s run was certainly unpredictable, it’s unlikely to end soon. Harrison will receive an expert scouting report for his quarterfinal opponent Gianluca Mager, who defeated his older brother Ryan in the first round.
“It’s funny because I watched the entire match from the front row,” Harrison said. “Then I talked to Ryan about the match for like an hour.”
In Delray’s third match of the day, 20-year-old Sebastian Korda edged Tommy Paul, 4-6, 6-3, 6-3. After a hot start from Paul, Korda’s fitness edge became apparent as the 20-year-old remained solid, while the errors from Paul added up.
Korda will face the winner of John Isner and Thiago Monteiro in the quarterfinal.