Lloyd Harris stuns Rafael Nadal at Citi Open

Lloyd Harris battled past Rafael Nadal in three sets to earn his best career win by ranking and book his spot in the Citi Open quarter-finals.

Lloyd Harris, Anvers 2020

Rafael Nadal has been knocked out of the Citi Open at the second hurdle, upset by South Africa’s Lloyd Harris, the world No 50, who notched his best ever career win over No 3-ranked Nadal, 6-4, 1-6, 6-4 on Thursday night in Washington, D.C.

Nadal’s loss means that the top two seeds fell in successive matches on Stadium Court on Thursday at the Citi Open. Earlier, American Jenson Brooksby, the world No 130, stunned No 2 seed Felix Auger-Aliassime in straight sets.

“It’s a very special moment in my career, probably the best win I have ever had, and to have it in front of fans just makes it so much better,” Harris said on court after the match.

It was another tight tussle for Nadal, who survived an epic three-setter against American wild card Jack Sock on Wednesday night in the U.S. Capital, despite suffering foot pain over the course of the three hour and four-minute encounter.

The serve would prove key in a decisive third set, and by saving all three break points he faced, Harris put scoreboard pressure on Nadal, who played an uncharacteristically loose game while serving to stay alive at 4-5, and was broken.

“I knew I just had to be a little bit more patient, a little bit more solid, and work the points a little bit longer,” Harris said of his approach to set three. “That’s what I tried to do in the third and it really paid off.”

Harris converted his first match point, taking advantage of an errant Nadal forehand that clipped the net cord and popped up high in the air, which enabled the South African to take control with his forehand.

“I was just trying to close my mind and just focus as if it is just another point,” Harris said.

Moments later he was celebrating in the backcourt after brilliantly lifting a lob over Nadal’s head for a clean winner.

Harris improves to 2-5 lifetime against the top-10 with his win. His previous best win came earlier this season when he defeated No 4 Dominic Thiem en route to the Dubai final. Harris will face Japan’s Kei Nishikori in the quarter-finals on Friday at the Citi Open.

Quarter-finals feature five unseeded players

Here is how the quarter-finals shape up in Washington, D.C. Four Americans have reached the last eight – it’s just the fifth time since 1991 that more than three Americans have reached the Citi Open quarter-finals.

Five unseeded players have reached the quarter-finals at the Citi Open for the first time since 2008.

Italy’s Jannik Sinner, the world No 24, is the highest remaining seed.

[14] Harris v Nishikori

McDonald v Kudla

[5] Sinner v Johnson

[11] Millman v Brooksby

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