Wow, I remember seeing Harrison on steveg's rankings list a couple of weeks back...in the section entitled "falling out of the rankings..."
I guess now he is back, but hopefully he will play a few more events (and win some matches in them). He was probably focusing on juniors instead, last year?
Bit of a disappointment for Dent, but this is a clay event...so this can't be a huge surprise. He probably has the upcoming grass court season partly on his mind.
Actually not too much. He suffered a pretty serious back injury during the summer that kept him from playing the end of last year and beginning of this year. Here is an article on his injury/comeback and the match against Dent:
Harrison takes best shot
He battles back from injury to advance over Taylor Dent
By Mic Huber
Published: Wednesday, May 13, 2009 at 1:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, May 12, 2009 at 10:10 p.m.
LONGBOAT KEY - Taylor Dent met Ryan Harrison at the net with a congratulatory handshake.
Moments later women's tennis star Maria Sharapova tracked down Harrison and gave the 17-year old winner a word of encouragement for a job well done.
Three Manatee County residents, three tennis players who know a lot about injuries and comebacks, commiserating on a night Harrison walked away with one of his biggest wins of his brief professional tennis career.
"This is a win that is really big for me," said Harrison, who beat a player once ranked No. 21 in the world, 7-5, 2-6, 6-1 Tuesday in the first round of the Sarasota Open at The Tennis Gardens at the Longboat Key Club & Resort.
Big because it will help Harrison move up the rankings but bigger because he is feeling healthy.
"It definitely gives you a lot of time to think about how much you want to be here, how much you appreciate what you have because it can all be taken away instantly," Harrison said about the back injury that robbed him of several months of playing time.
After hurting himself in the early summer at Wimbledon, Harrison was sidelined from shortly after the U.S. Open in September until about three weeks ago.
While out of action, Harrison spent a lot of time late last year in rehabilitation. He often worked out next to Sharapova and Dent.
"We saw each other in rehab and talked about our injuries," Harrison said about Sharapova, who just now is coming back from a shoulder injury.
He also received some words of advice from Dent.
"It's nice to be able to talk to him about his injury," Dent said. "I can relate. I told him to be patient and not to rush things. I said, 'You don't want to go through what I did.' "
Incredibly, Harrison did go through some of the same troubles that have plagued Dent for the past three years.
Like Dent, Harrison spent time in a body brace, including a time when -- like Dent -- he had to wear the brace 23 hours a day.
Harrison's injury was a stress fracture of the L-5 disc, which he says was a break all the way through. It was an injury that had he not taken care of, might have needed fusion surgery, the kind Dent underwent.
"What Taylor has done is incredible," Harrison said about the path Dent has taken. "He is a phenomenal player who I look up to tremendously."
A year ago, at the age of 15, Harrison was celebrating becoming the third youngest player since 1990 (following Richard Gasquet and Rafael Nadal) to win a match in an ATP tour level event. Now, following his time away from the court, he is hoping to deliver on the promise he showed that April night at the U.S. Men's Clay Court Championships.
He moved in that direction Tuesday by taking control in the third set to bounce a player who knows how to win, even though he isn't at his most comfortable on clay.
After winning he first set, Harrison saw Dent step up his game in the second set, jumping to a 3-0 lead and evening the match.
Harrison, who is learning match by match, raced to a 5-0 lead, then served out the final game for the win. It was another step in the progression of his professional career.
A week ago in Jacksonville, Harrison beat the No. 2 seeded Paul Todd in the first round, then led 5-3 and 30-0 in the third set in the second round. He proceeded to lose four straight games, and the match, to Daniel Garza.
"The one thing I focused in on and tried to learn from last week was that I started going too big, going for my shots," Harrison said. "I was really focused today on 'what did I do to get to this position?' And, 'I am going to finish it.' "
"Even at 5-0, you can't ever really think anything is in hand, especially at this level because guys will get going. Especially somebody as great as Taylor is. He can get hot."
Tuesday it was Harrison who got hot, particularly with his serving in the third set.
In Tuesday's late feature match, fifth-seeded Xavier Malisse defeated Lester Cook 7-5, 6-2 and will play Bruni Echagaray today.
Laurel Oaks Country Club's Ty Braswell and River Strand's Derek Myers won a doubles match over Geoff Gehrke and James Ward, 6-3, 6-2.