Ryan Harrison took home his first career ATP Tour title with a 6-1, 6-4 victory over Nikoloz Basilashvili at the Memphis Open. Harrison joins Jack Sock to bring home tournament victories from the States.
Harrison dominates opening set
Both players were confident in reaching the final, Harrison having not dropped a set all week while Basilashvili claimed a huge win over top seed Ivo Karlovic in the second round, carrying the momentum over from his semi final run in Sofia.
He was immediately under pressure as his big weapon, the forehand, was missing the mark and Harrison held a 15-40 lead in the fourth game.
A weak backhand gave the 62nd-ranked American a 3-1 lead and after a consolidation to stretch the advantage to 4-1, he was on the front foot again, looking for some insurance.
He smartly found the Basilashvili backhand again and it paid dividends and when he showed off his improved defensive skills, it was 5-1 and the set was as good as over.
His offensive ability was on display when, serving for the set, he ripped a forehand down the line to set up triple set point, the crowd on their feet. An ace closed out a magnificent opener from the American, needing just 26 minutes to seize the lead.
Harrison takes close second set, wins first title
The second set was a lot closer, Basilashvili going on the attack, his unforced errors significantly reduced, pushing Harrison from side to side.
He was able to produce a couple of break chances in the Americn's opening service game, squandering both, a theme of the second set.
At 2-1, the Georgian had another chance, but a routine backhand was sent into the net, the 67th-ranked Basilashvili wasting another chance. He would be further frustrated when a double fault gave the American the only break he needed.
There would be more break chances for Basilashvili, but as in the previous games, he was unable to take any of his chances, letting 12 in all go by the wayside in the match.
Serving for the match with a 5-4 lead, Harrison fended off two more break chances, closing out the match with his eighth ace after just minutes on court to cap off the finest week of his career.
"It's always special to win a title, and especially your first one," an emotional Harrison said. "But when you're winning it like this in front of our family and friends and people who've come out and supported you ever since I was playing 10 and under events ... it definitely means a lot to win that in front of everybody like that."
Fighting back tears as he continued his victory speech: For me to be where I am now and where I was seven, eight months ago and feeling like there was no light at the end of the tunnel, it's surreal," he said. "I honestly can't believe it. It's just so amazing to me."