De Minaur beats Ebden to reach Surbiton final
Alex de Minaur beats Matt Ebden in the Surbiton ATP Challenger semifinals, but Priscilla Hon misses out on an ITF final place.
Teenage sensation Alex de Minaur reached the final of the Surbiton Trophy grass court tournament, beating fellow Australian Matt Ebden 6-4 6-4.
De Minaur, who will move into the top 100 in the world rankings on Monday courtesy of his run at this event, will face top-seeded Frenchman Jeremy Chardy in Sunday’s decider.
Chardy, a former Australian Open quarterfinalist, beat Britain’s Dan Evans earlier in the day to book his place in the final.
In the women’s semi-final, 20-year-old Queenslander Priscilla Hon lost to American Alison Riske 7-5 6-3.
De Minaur, 19, has spent this week working with Davis Cup captain Lleyton Hewitt, who was on the sidelines watching two members of his team doing battle in a 90-minute encounter.
On Sunday ➡️ first grass-court final
On Monday ➡️ Top 100 debut
— ATP Challenger Tour (@ATPChallenger) June 9, 2018
The Sydneysider defended five break points against Ebden, the world No.73 who won this event three years ago, and said it gave him the belief he could beat his more experienced opponent.
“I had to play some very good tennis, Matthew is a great grass court player,” De Minaur said.
“I held off many break points and managed to break him at the end of each set and that proved to be the difference.”
Chardy, who is ranked 86th in the world, beat Evans 6-4 7-6(3). He has never faced de Minaur but the youngster is fully expecting to be thoroughly tested by the wily 31-year-old.
“He is a high-level competitor and I am going to have try and play the match on my terms,” he said.
“I feel like I have been serving really well.That is something I have been trying to improve throughout the year.
“I am also very proud of the way I have been able to keep my focus throughout my matches and not give my opponents any opportunities.”
Ebden, 30, rued several missed chances to break De Minaur’s serve but said he was happy with his lead-up to the grass court season.
“I am disappointed to lose but I have had five or six matches in a row and that is what I wanted,” he said.
“I beat Dustin Brown, who is as good a grass court player as there is and I have been happy with how I have played this week.
“It didn’t quite go my way today and he did well to get some balls, so all credit to Alex.”