Christian’s On A Mission: Harrison Sets Up Clash with Top Seed Cristian Garin
Steve Fogleman in Delray Beach
January 9. 2021–-For years, it was young Cristian Harrison who came to Delray Beach to watch his older brother, Ryan, compete in this ATP 250 tournament tucked inside this idyllic beach town. Yesterday, as Cristian Harrison warmed up on the outer court for his first round main draw match, there were only a few fans scattered around the bleachers. Among them was Ryan Harrison, who’d been eliminated from the singles draw on the opening day of the event.
“I’m feeling good. I’m playing a lot of qualies because I don’t have much of a ranking right now,” the younger Harrison said after his straight sets win over Tomas Etcheverry, 6-4, 6-2. After seasons of injuries and more surgeries than you can count on one hand, he knows that court time is precious. “It’s very special,” he told me after the match. “Honestly, to do it in Delray just because some of my first pro tennis memories when I was 13 or 14, coming to this tournament to watch my brother play. I love it here, I love Atlantic Avenue. It sucks that we can’t see it this year with everything going on. It’s special to this in Florida, where I live.”
After getting through the qualifying final in a tiebreak, he breezed through the first round yesterday. Harrison opened the qualifying tournament by knocking out Chile’s Marcelo Barrios Vera. Today, he’ll face the Open’s top seed and #1 Chilean, Cristian Garin, who is currently ranked #22 in the world. “I’ve obviously never played him, but I’ve seen him a lot, in a lot of other tournaments,” he told me. “I don’t think we’ve ever practiced but he’s had a lot of good results.”
He expounded on his fraternal bond with Ryan. “I know how he always wanted it for me, so it sucked for him whenever I was out a lot,” he said. “He could feel my pain when I couldn’t play these tournaments. Now that we’re getting theses chances to be in the same place, we’re making the most of it.”
Indeed, they made the most of it yesterday. After Christian’s singles win, the pair defeated the Texas Twins—Hunter and Yates Johnson, 6-4, 7-6(2), to advance to the quarterfinals in doubles.
SAT., JAN 9 ~ Day Session
11:00am: (2) M. Daniell (NZL) / P. Oswald (AUT) vs A. Molteni (ARG) / H. Nys (MON)
12:30pm: (6) Sam Querrey (USA) vs G. Mager (ITA)2:30pm: (1) Cristian Garin (CHI) vs C. Harrison (USA)
SAT., JAN 9 ~ Evening Session
6:00pm: (5) Tommy Paul (USA) vs S. Korda (USA)
8:00pm: (2) John Isner (USA) vs T. Monteiro (BRA)