Billy Harris

Billy Harris masters trick opponent to reach final round of Wimbledon Qualifying

Billy Harris mastered one of the trickiest opponents of his career to fight his way into the final round of Wimbledon Qualifying in Roehampton.

Manxman Harris rallied from a set down to beat 25th seed Hugo Gaston 2-6 7-6(5) 6-4, holding to love when serving for the match to keep his quest for a main draw place alive.

It was a second victory in a row from a set down for the 28-year-old, who had overcome Alexander Ritschard in his opening contest late on Monday night.

Frenchman Gaston has a career high of 58th in the ATP Rankings, having also reached a career high of second in the junior rankings and progressing to the fourth round of Roland Garros in 2020.

And afterwards, Harris admitted that it took him some time to adjust to what was coming over from the other side of the net.

He said: “The first set I started slowly and I got broken in the first game, and I was finding it tricky because he was awkward. 

“I haven’t played anyone quite like that – he’s quite a sneaky player. He chopped it a lot and brought me to the net. It took me a set just to get used to it really. 

“Then I started serving better in the second set, and got used to his different angles that he uses. By the third set I was feeling a lot better.

“It definitely took me that first set, because I was struggling on the return, because he was mixing it up well, but I figured out my serve a bit more in the second set – and then the game changed.”

Victory for the world No.346 over Gaston is one of the biggest of Harris’ career, with the Frenchman currently 209 spots above the Manxman in the ATP Rankings.

But, as the wildcard prepares for Thursday’s third round encounter, he revealed that he was not focusing on anyone’s status in the game.

“I wasn’t really thinking about his ranking coming into it, but I knew it would be tough. I’m just really happy to get through to the other side,” added Harris.

“I’ve been just taking it one match at a time, so it’s all about just trying to prepare for each match.”

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