Dec. 18, 2010
Sophomore Rhyne Williams had his chances Saturday but lost 4-6, 6-2, 9-7 to third-seeded Ryan Harrison in the semifinals of the USTA Australian Open Wild Card Playoffs.
Williams broke Harrison at 6-6 to take the lead in the tense third set at the Racquet Club of the South in Norcross, Ga. He served for the match at 7-6, but could not seal the victory. Harrison evened the score at 7-7.
Williams said the missed opportunity to finish was not a case of nerves or thinking too far ahead at what could have been his second upset win of the tournament. It was all a matter of not serving as well as he had been.
"I just stopped moving my feet, really," Williams said. "I didn't hit a lot of first serves, which I had been doing."
Harrison took the next two games, eventually winning the match on a double fault by Williams.
Harrison plays Jack Sock in Sunday's final. The winner receives the USTA's wild card directly into the main draw of the Australian Open in January.
Harrison, who played through qualifying and reached the second round of the US Open in September, is currently ranked No. 173 in the ATP World Tour rankings. He won the Australian Open Wild Card Playoff last season.
Williams, a Knoxville native, opened the tournament with a 6-4, 6-0 lopsided upset over 171th-ranked Tim Smyczek on Friday.
The wild card playoff wraps up the Vols' action for the fall season. Tennessee returns to the courts Jan. 5 for the Rainbow Warrior Challenge in Honolulu. The Vols host the SEC Coaches Indoor Championships beginning Jan. 14.
USTA Australian Open Wild Card Playoffs
Racquet Club of the South
Jack Sock def. Denis Kudla, 6-2, 7-5
Ryan Harrison (3) def. Rhyne Williams, 4-6, 6-2, 9-7