Fish edges Harrison to reach LA final
Date published :
31 Jul 2011 - 01:00:04
Top American Mardy Fish booked his second ATP finals berth in as many weeks on Saturday, but this time it wasn't so easy to turn back the challenge of young compatriot Ryan Harrison.
Harrison, 19, kept his nerve in the face of a first-set onslaught and made world number nine Fish work for a 6-0, 4-6, 7-6 (7/3) semi-final victory at the $619,500 ATP hardcourt tournament in Los Angeles.
In Sunday's final, Fish will face either Latvia's Ernests Gulbis or American Alex Bogomolov, the doubles partners who were facing off across the net in the second singles semi-final later Saturday.
Fish cruised past Harrison in straight sets in the semi-finals in Atlanta last week and went on to win the title.
That was Harrison's first appearance in an ATP semi, and he showed on Saturday that he had learned a lot from the experience.
Fish, the top seed in Los Angeles, came out on fire, racing through the first set in just 20 minutes.
Although Harrison was clearly frustrated, he came out for the second set with renewed conviction, held his serve with authority and converted the only break point of the set for either player to claim the frame on his first set point.
"That was as clean of a set as I could possibly play," Fish said of the opener.
"He kept his level, credit to him. He didn't let up. He could have easily won that match."
Although Fish gained an early edge with a break for a 2-1 lead in the third, Harrison broke back to knot the set at 3-3.
In the tiebreaker, however, Fish's experience paid off as he quickly took a 5-0 lead and sealed the match on his first match point with his seventh ace.
"Tiebreakers are kind of a coin flip," Fish said. "I was lucky to be able to apply some pressure early."
He was full of praise for his young opponent, who cracked the top 100 in the world rankings for the first time on Monday at number 94.
"He's way ahead of where I was at 19," Fish said.