Ryan Harrison fought off a match point in a second set tiebreak as he capped off the night session at the Memphis Open with a thrilling three set win. Harrison beat Frances Tiafoe for the first time after losing to the 18-year-old last year in Winston-Salem.
Harrison Highlights Day One With Comeback Win
Ryan Harrison finally found the right measure of his game when it mattered most on Monday night. The 23-year-old blew break leads in the first two sets as he found himself in big trouble in a second set tiebreak. Harrison was able to fend off a match point at 7-6 in the breaker, to rally for a 10-8 tiebreak win that evened the match with Frances Tiafoe. Harrison looked to be in control of both of the first two sets as he opened early break leads in both sets. To Tiafoe's credit, he kept fighting back in both instances.
After fighting off three set points in the 10th game of the first set, Tiafoe pushed the set to a tiebreak where he stunned Harrison with a 7-0 result in the breaker. The second set saw Harrison break to a 2-1 lead, but Tiafoe had fought back to even at 3-3. That led the tiebreak where Harrison won four of the last five points to secure the set. In the third set,it was Tiafoe who scored the first break to take a 1-0 lead. Harrison would be forced to fight back this time and he squared the set at 2-2 after Tiafoe blew three break chances in the third game. Service holds would ensue until the 10th game when Harrison broke the 18-year-old to end the match.
For the match, Tiafoe won more points with 114 to Harrison's 105. The difference was the last break, Harrison's fourth of the match on eight chances. Tiafoe was just slightly worse converting breaks with three on seven chances.
Seeds: Kudla Crushes Ram, Groth Out
Only two seeds were in action on Monday. Fifth seeded American Denis Kudla had few issues with Rajeev Ram as he blasted into the second round 6-4, 6-2. Kudla was a rock on serve, winning 36 of 46 points. He did not face a break point in the match. The fifth seed broke Ram once in the opening set and twice in the second. Kudla advances to face Mikhail Kukushkin in the next round. Kukushkin eased past Luca Vanni 6-4, 7-6 (4). Both players flashed solid serves, but it was Vanni broken once and then faltered in the tiebreak that made the difference. Kukushkin saved all three of his break points.
Sixth seed Sam Groth continued his 2016 struggles in the first round. Groth lost two tight tiebreaks to Illya Marchenko to drop his record this season to 1-5. Marchenko was at his best on first serve as he won 42 of 52 points. Groth notched 15 aces in the match, but could not create enough pressure on Marchenko. The Ukranian saw just one break point and he saved it. Marchenko will face Yoshihito Nishioka next. Nishioka beat American Jared Donaldson in the opening round 6-3, 6-4. The Japanese qualifier saved all eight of his break points in the match, while Donaldson was broken three times.