Rising tennis star Lloyd Harris has become the first South African to reach the quarterfinals of the US Open since Kevin Anderson in 2017.
Harris put another memorable multimillion-rand performance in New York on Monday evening.
Win or lose, quarter-finalists will net $425 000 (around R6 million) in prize money.
The 24-year-old from Cape Town came from a set down to defeat American 22nd seed Reily Opelka 6-7(6), 6-4, 6-1, 6-3 to secure the biggest win of his professional tennis career in the encounter that lasted just over two hours and 35 minutes.
Harris’ opponent in the quarter-finals will be fourth-seeded 24-year-old German, Alexander Zverev, who was the runner-up at the US Open last year.
In defeating Opelka, Harris managed an impressive 36 aces and was successful with 76% of his first serves.
South Africa’s highest-ranked singles player also managed to convert 6 out 17 breakpoints while only allowing for two breaks off his own service game.
Monday night’s win caps off what has been an incredible Harris who has hit the ground running in 2021 with a best-ever finish at the Australian Open – reaching the third round.
Harris backed it up with a stunning run at the ATP 500 event in Dubai, shocking top seed Dominic Thiem en route to the biggest final of his career.
On Wednesday Harris has a chance to make more history when he faces off against Zverev where a win would see him following the trail blazed by countryman Anderson, who reached the finals in Flushing Meadows four years ago
“He’s definitely been an inspiration to a lot of kids also in South Africa,” Harris said of Anderson.
“That’s been nice. Hopefully, I can also now show them that there is a pathway for more South Africans to come through.”
If Harris does find a way to beat Zverev, then a semi-final against world number one Novak Djokovic or 6th-seed Italian Matteo Berrettini awaits.