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Harris enjoys debut to remember at Eastbourne

Billy Harris booked his place in the second round with a 6-4 7-6(7) win against fellow Brit Jacob Fearnley

Billy Harris at the LTA's Rothesay International Eastbourne by (Tom Dulat/Getty Images for LTA)
Billy Harris at the LTA's Rothesay International Eastbourne by (Tom Dulat/Getty Images for LTA)

By Abi Curran

Billy Harris enjoyed a debut to remember at the LTA’s Rothesay International Eastbourne after claiming a straight-sets victory in the first round.

Fresh from the biggest win of his career at the LTA’s cinch Championships last week, Harris came up against Rothesay Open Nottingham champion Jacob Fearnley.

The 29-year-old wildcard broke Fearnley towards the end of the first set before winning a tight tie-break tussle to book his place in the second round with a 6-4 7-6(7) win.

In the middle of an encouraging grass-court season run, Harris admitted his task against first-round opponent and friend Fearnley was no easy feat.

He said: “It was a great atmosphere out here today, the crowd were amazing.

“It’s my first time in Eastbourne, it’s a great court to play on and it felt great out there.

“I definitely gained some confidence from last week but at the same time, it was a very tough match.

“Jacob won his last tournament and beat a lot good players so I knew I had to be really on my game for these matches.

“It’s been amazing the last few weeks and I hope to continue in this tournament and also onto Wimbledon.”

Harris will face USA’s Tommy Paul in the second round following his capture of the LTA’s cinch Championships title at the weekend.

The Isle of Man player broke into the top 150 in West Kensington last week on the way to the quarter-finals, beating Wimbledon Qualifying top seed Giovanni Mpetshi Perricard in straight sets 6-4 7-5.

He secured his first quarter-final on the ATP Tour by doing so and, with all focus currently on Eastbourne, will head to Wimbledon after receiving a wild card last week.

On his next match against Paul, Harris said: “I’m definitely looking forward to that one, I know he’s playing very well at the moment after last week.

“But, I’ll do my best and try and improve on the last time I played him in the Queen’s qualifying last year, I’ve watched him a lot.

“It’s beautiful weather here so, what more do you want?”

For the latest action on the British summer grass court season, check out the LTA website