ATLANTA (AP) -- Top-seeded John Isner figured he would struggle in his first match Thursday in the Atlanta Open. He had no idea he would barely beat 19-year-old wild-card entry Christian Harrison 7-6 (9), 4-6, 7-5 to avoid an upset and reach the quarterfinals.
Isner is ranked No. 22 in the world. Harrison is No. 373, and was playing his second ATP main draw match.
So even though Isner is accustomed to scuffling when he has had a bye and then plays an opponent who has already warmed up with a win, he didn't foresee needing three sets.
Harrison fought off three match points, and only when Isner boomed his 28th and 29th aces back-to-back -- one game after breaking Harrison for the first and only time -- did Isner win.
"A guy like Christian doesn't have much to lose. A lot of times a person like that can come out and play horrible, or be pretty good. He was very good," Isner said. "I was very fortunate just to win. ... He's up and coming. We use that term a lot, but he really is.
"You never want to win 7-5 in the third, 2
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