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Harrison Wins Battle Of The Americans

Sydney, Australia

Isner© Getty ImagesJohn Isner served 10 aces in his straight sets loss to Ryan Harrison

World No. 68 Ryan Harrison caused an upset at the Apia International Sydney on Wednesday, eliminating top seed John Isner 6-4, 6-4 to post his first Top-15 win.

The younger American, who had lost both his previous meetings with Isner in straight sets, saved all three break points that he faced on serve.

"Had to save a couple break points early, but then once I got past those I felt like I served really well and was able to start cashing in a lot rhythm from the ground," said Harrison.

The 20-year-old said off-season practice at being more aggressive on return games had paid off. "If you take a good crack at a return, even if you miss it by a little bit, at least he feels it.  That can cause some double faults," mused Harrison.

Video courtesy Tennis Australia. Visit the official tournament website

Isner credited his Davis Cup teammate, admitting that he knew to beat Harrison, he'd have to be at the top of his game. The World No. 13 revealed he has a bone bruise in his right knee, and has not yet decided if he'll contest the Australian Open in Melbourne.

"I could play, but from now up until Melbourne I definitely can't practise like I need to," said the top-ranked American. "Certainly I could win a match maybe, a match or two.  I don't see myself winning the whole tournament at this point, that's for sure," said Isner, adding that the injury was hampering his training.

Harrison has never met quarter-final opponent Julien Benneteau, who advanced after sixth seed Radek Stepanek retired injured.

Bernard Tomic, the only ATP World Tour Top 100 player younger than Harrison, also pulled off an upset. The Australian knocked out fifth seed Florian Mayer 7-6(4), 6-2 in one hour and seven minutes, posting his first win over the German in four attempts.

Tomic, who served 14 aces and won 86 per cent of his first serve points, said the result reflected how much he is improving.

"There is talk now that I'm serving really good and my groundstrokes are really good, too.  I'm moving really well.  There is nothing much more I can ask myself at this stage," Tomic said.

The right-hander said hours of serving practice, including aiming at targets, and increasing his upper body strength and flexibility has begun to pay off.

"I think I'm getting much more angle in the court, it's not about how hard you hit the serve," said Tomic, who prides himself on delivering aces out wide at a low trajectory. "I love serving like that.  Even if they get it back, you've got the whole court to do anything you want with the shot," he added.

Video courtesy Tennis Australia. Visit the official tournament website

Tomic meets defending champion Jarkko Nieminen in the quarter-finals. The Finn said he was looking forward to the match, describing the 20-year-old as one of the most promising players on the ATP World Tour.

"It's always nice to play those like players from the new generation," Nieminen said. "I haven't played him yet, so that will be interesting."

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Lionel Maltese


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