LOS ANGELES: American Ryan Harrison captured his first ATP title Sunday (Monday in Manila), winning all 12 break points he faced to defeat Georgia’s Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-1, 6-4 and win the Memphis Open.
Harrison, ranked 62nd, will jump into the world top 50 for the first time since July 2012 by taking the matchup of unseeded 24-year-olds who had not dropped a set all week at the indoor hardcourt event.
The breakthrough victory came after Harrison had lost seven ATP semi-finals but downed compatriot Donald Young to reach the Memphis championship match.
Harrison blasted eight aces in downing Basilashvili, who will rise from a career-best 67th in the rankings despite a loss in his second career final.
Basilashvili, who made a semi-final run last week in Sofia, lost his only prior ATP final to Italy’s Paolo Lorenzi at last July’s Austrian Open.
Harrison saved two break points before holding in the opening game of the match, then broke the Georgian in the fourth and sixth games for a 5-1 lead and held at love to claim the first set in 26 minutes.
A crucial break on his third chance of the fifth game put Harrison ahead 3-2 in the second set.
Serving for the match in the final game, Harrison faced two more break points but saved them both, the first with his final ace of the match, then won his first match point to claim his first crown.
Basilashvili, who ousted top seed Ivo Karlovic in the second round, is entered in next week’s ATP event at Delray Beach, where Karlovic is the second seed and a possible quarterfinals foe for Basilashvili.