A couple of days ago, before Rodney Harmon even thought about reaching the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open, he sat in the players' lounge, explaining why he will return to Southern Methodist University for his final year of college.

"I want another year of fun before I go play pro tennis," he said.

Today, Harmon beat eighth-seeded Eliot Teltscher, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (7-1), and found out just how much fun professional tennis can be.

"Are you going back to school?" he was asked. "Yes, " he said. "I mean, you never know."

When the summer began, Harmon never knew he had come so far so soon. "Just sitting here is unbelievable," he said.

In July, he got to the quarterfinals of the D.C. National Bank Tennis tournament, where he lost to Yannick Noah. A week later, he got to the quarterfinals of a tournament in Stowe, Vt.

"I really tried to keep going and working hard and hopefully everything would come together, and everything did at Washington," said Harmon, No. 221 on the computer.

Somehow that seems fitting. Harmon, who is from Richmond, Va., spent many summers working for this day at Rock Creek Tennis Stadium with his coach, Willis Thomas.

"In winters, I would never get to play," he said. "In the summers, we worked together. We've been together 10 years. I'm happy he was here when I won this big match."

A match as big as Harmon. He is 21 and 6 feet 3 1/2. His stature in the sport can only keep growing.

"He is very talented," said Arthur Ashe. "He's got a lot of shots. He moves like a deer. He's very rangy. He needs experience and better shot selection. That's all."