ATP Tour

Aussie qualifier Ebden reaches first ATP final

Tennis racket (Getty Images)
Tennis racket (Getty Images)

Washington - Australian 249th-ranked qualifier Matthew Ebden advanced to his first career ATP final Saturday by defeating Germany's Peter Gojowczyk 6-3, 6-3 at the Hall of Fame Open.

The 29-year-old South African-born former Commonwealth Games bronze medalist, appearing in his maiden ATP semi-final, needed just 62 minutes to oust his 131st-ranked rival and progress to Sunday's championship match.

"This is pretty cool," Ebden said. "I can't believe it. I'm obviously very happy. Definitely couldn't be happier, not only winning but getting lots of matches."

Ebden, only 3-3 in ATP main draw matches this year until this week, has won six matches in six days on the grass at Newport, Rhode Island, to book a finals berth against either American Bjorn Fratangelo or top seed John Isner.

A left knee injury led to a long 2016 layoff for Ebden that revitalized his game once healthy.

"That helped me turn a corner mentally and just enjoy myself," Ebden said.

Ebden broke Gojowczyk five times and sealed victory on his second match point when the German smacked a backhand wide, becoming the ATP's lowest-ranked finalist this year.

Isner, the world number 21, was set for a later semi-final and first meeting against 142nd-ranked Fratangelo.

Isner, the 2011 and 2012 Newport champion, seeks his 11th career ATP title and first since Atlanta in 2015. His most recent ATP final came at last November's Paris Masters, where he lost to Britain's top-ranked Andy Murray.

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