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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Tuesday March 16, 2021

Lloyd Harris

Lloyd Harris served his way past Dominic Thiem to reach the third round at Dubai.

Photo Source: Getty Images

It has been a rough ride for Dominic Thiem on the hard courts the 2021. Thankfully for the World No.4, he’ll be switching surfaces now.

Tennis Express

Thiem, who has pulled out of this year’s Miami Open, is on the fast track to clay after being boxed out of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships 6-3, 6-4 on Tuesday.

It was a brilliant serving performance for Harris, who won 29 of 30 first serve points and 40 of 51 points on serve overall. Harris is just one week removed from notching his first ever Top 20 win, which he notched against Stan Wawrinka last week in Doha. The South African did not face a break point in the 72-minute contest.

Harris claims his first career Top 5 win and will face Serbia's Filip Krajinovic in the third round.

“Obviously I’m supper happy with that win,” said Harris, a 24-year-old qualifier. “By far the highest-ranked player I’ve beaten. I look up to Domi a lot. For me it’s a special feeling.”

Thiem never got into the match, and spoke to reporters immediately after the loss, citing his need for a reset.

"Troubles returning his serve and also way too many easy mistakes from my side, from the baseline," Thiem said. "That's what I said a couple of days ago - if I'm not playing my best level, it's not enough against all the players in the draw actually."

The Austrian says he is not overly concerned about his lack of match play in 2021. Thus far he has played only nine matches and lost four.

"That I like to play a lot, that I think was when I was younger, so now I really just need to reset myself a little bit, to really go fresh into the clay season,” he said. “Obviously right now, I'm in a tough period, and it just wouldn't be the right thing to go to Miami, but just to make a little reset, regroup and then hopefully have a good clay season. That is, after these tough weeks my main goal now."

Thiem has been bothered by a foot injury at times in 2021, but he told Tennis Now that the injury was not bothering him today. Still he said that he will likely go for an MRI to check that everything is in working order.

"Well, for example today there was no pain at all in the foot," he said. "It's a little bit on and off and, yeah, maybe I'll do a quick check, a quick MRI, to see how that thing is developing, but it's not really the main issue, it's just that I'm not playing well, that in general it's quite a tough period for me, so I need to see that I'm just starting fresh and really ready for the first clay tournament, wherever I'm going to play."


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