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Harrison makes last eight in Atlanta

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Originally published on: 22/07/11 10:57

Ryan Harrison progressed to the second ATP quarter-final of his career at the Atlanta Tennis Championships after another morale-boosting win.

The 19-year-old American defeated fourth-seeded Xavier Malisse 6-7(3) 6-4 6-4 after sitting out a two-and-a-half hour rain delay to secure a spot in the last eight against Rajeev Ram, knowing that a win would hand him a likely semi-final with defending champion Mardy Fish.

The Bradenton resident, who reached the second round of a Grand Slam for the second time at Wimbledon this year, has now beaten five top-50 ranked opponents in 2011, with his triumph over Malisse adding to earlier victories over Ivan Dodig, Jeremy Chardy, Guillermo Garcia-Lopez and Milos Raonic.

Harrison has also stood tall against the best in the business, taking David Ferrer to five sets at the All England Club, extending Robin Soderling to four at Roland Garros and running Roger Federer close in Indian Wells.

Those results, coupled with his tussles against the game’s top players,  have contributed to the youngster’s burgeoning confidence.

“Ever since the US Open [last year], I have more belief in myself,” said the 6’ right-hander. “A light bulb went off for me knowing that I can beat these guys. Even against Ferrer, Soderling and Roger, I had chances. I know I could play with those guys.”

The world No.120 next faces qualifier Rajeev Ram, who defeated Lleyton Hewitt 7-5 2-6 6-2 to make his first ATP quarter-final since Johannesburg in 2010. Meanwhile, the Atlanta tournament could host a semi-final clash between two of the taller players on the ATP Tour, with John Isner set to face Kevin Anderson if he defeats Yen-Hsun Lu and the 6’8” South African bypasses Gilles Muller.

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