Indian Wells, California — Young American Ryan Harrison survived a tough first round match at the BNP Paribas Open today with a 6-7 (5), 7-6 (2), 6-3 win over Jeremy Chardy of France.
The match opened with the players trading breaks of serve before both held all the way to the tiebreak.
Harrison found himself having to dig deep to hold serve in the middle of the set as the Frenchman pressured him with powerful forehands.
At times, Harrison was hitting too short in the court and Chardy would immediately pounce, dictating play with great affect from his down the line forehand and inside out forehand to Harrison’s backhand.
While Chardy looked the more powerful of the two, Harrison was showing greater variety. Mixing the pace and spin of his shots well, Harrison was able to force Chardy off balance, often preventing Chardy from setting up for one of his powerful groundstrokes.
However, Chardy continued to punish anything Harrison hit short. Harrison was audibly unhappy with the level of his play, but leading 5-4, he earned three set points by taking a love-forty lead on Chardy’s service game. Chardy’s power came to the forefront once again and three straight points in the Frenchman’s favor brought the score to deuce. After a brief deuce/ad trade, Chardy evened the set at 5-5.
Heading into the first set tiebreak, Harrison looked the more likely to win. However, Chardy was able to raise the level of his play, eventually taking the tiebreak on a Harrison double fault.
It was a set that should have been Harrison’s and he did well to not let his frustration get the better of him.
In the second set Harrison looked focused and determined.
After each player held serve, they traded breaks once more before heading into another tiebreak. This time Harrison took a commanding lead in the tiebreak and Chardy was unable to respond.
The third set saw Harrison continue to build momentum. With a 5-0 lead, Chardy found a slight foothold to slow his losing slide. Chardy was able to hold serve, break and then hold again. At 5-3, Harrison served and closed out the third set and the match, 6-3.
At only 18 years of age, Harrison shows tremendous promise as leading the next wave of American talent. Last year he became the first American teenager to beat a Top 20 opponent in a Grand Slam since Roddick (19) at 2001 US Open. Harrison’s win was also at the US Open, defeating then 15th seed, Ivan Ljubicic, in the first round.
In the second round of the BNP Paribas Open, Harrison faces 22 seed, Guillermo Garcia-Lopez from Spain.