These same two players met at Flushing Meadows last year, with del Potro winning in four sets.
This time, Harrison began rather poorly by his own admission, falling behind 4-0 in only 11 minutes. Both men hit serves at the considerable speed of 130 mph, but the difference was that once the ball was in play, del Potro’s groundstrokes were far more consistent.
“Sometimes you go out there and for whatever reason, it’s not feeling as well as you want it to. At that point, you’ve got to try to just hang in there, hang tough and give yourself a chance. Juan’s obviously such an established player that whenever somebody is not feeling great, he’s very good about staying on top of you and not giving you a whole lot of breathing room,” Harrison said after falling to 0-18 against top-10 players.
“The best guys, whenever they see someone’s off, they just press you, and they just make you feel like you’re under duress all the time,” he added. “So that was kind of the feeling for me out there.”
After pushing a forehand long to get broken at 3-0, Harrison reared back and smashed his equipment on the blue court, earning a warning from the chair umpire for racket abuse. During a particularly rough stretch from late in the first set to early in the second, Harrison dropped 13 consecutive points, a drought that ended right after he dumped a backhand in the net, looked to the sky and yelled. From there, he played evenly against del Potro, until faltering by getting broken in the last game.
Del Potro thinks Harrison’s histrionics help foes.
“It’s easier for us, because we ... (see) our opponent really, really low,” del Potro said after improving to 10-1 at a tournament he won in 2008 and 2009.