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Ryan Harrison into semifinals for second straight week

July 29, 2011 |  3:37 pm


Ryan Harrison, a sometimes hot-tempered 19-year-old from Louisiana kept playing his fight-from-behind tennis Friday at the Farmers Classic at the Los Angeles Tennis Center at UCLA.

Harrison lost the first set then came back to beat 27-year-old veteran Yen-Hsun Lu of Taipai, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.

In two of his three matches this week, Harrison has lost the first set and been down a break in the second. Against Lu, who upset American Andy Roddick two years ago at Wimbledon, Harrison earned a warning from the chair umpire after one of his angry racket tosses and often was mumbling to himself. It is as if Harrison needs to light his emotional spark with a flint made of temper.

In the 2-hour, 24-minute quarterfinal match, Harrison finally seized control with a service break in the seventh game of the final set that came, in part, because Harrison controlled his service returns, keeping the strokes in the court and starting rallies instead of trying for instant winners. He solidified his 4-3 lead by holding serve in a nine-point eighth game where he was down 0-30 and got back to 30-30 with a 117-mile-per-hour ace.

Altogether Harrison defended 10 of the 12 break points Lu earned which offset the fact Lu had 35 winners to 30 for Harrison. In the final set, Harrison served five games and lost the first point in four of them yet he managed to hold serve from behind each time.

Next up for Harrison on Saturday will be the winner of the Friday match between top-seeded Mardy Fish and eighth-seeded Igor Kunitsyn of Russia. Harrison lost to Fish last week in the semifinals of the Atlanta tournament.

Also still to play quarterfinals Friday are second-seeded and 2008 winner Juan Martin del  Potro of Argentina against Ernests Gulbis of Latvia; and American Alex Bogomolov and fourth-seeded Thomaz Bellucci of Brazil.

Harrison is the first teenager to make the semifinals here since Del Potro did it in 2008. Of his slow starting, Harrison said, "I don't know if I'm bad at the beginning or good at coming back but I like to try to get a feel for a match. It helps me figure things out."

Of Harrison, Lu said, "He has a good feeling of how to go forward and win the point." Lu also said that the times when Harrison's temper takes hold and a racket goes flying, it doesn't bother him.

"He's not doing do it to show his opponent up," Lu said. "It's just his way of getting out the emotions when the pressure comes. All the guys act differently. If it's far away, it's not bothering me. It's fine."


Ryan Harrison advances at Farmers Classic

College stars are rookies on the pro tennis circuit

Del Potro defeats Blake at Farmers Classic

-- Diane Pucin

Photo: Ryan Harrison. Credit: Mike Ehrmann / Getty Images.