Australian Ball bounces into Los Angeles Open final
LOS ANGELES: Australian qualifier Carsten Ball stretched his dream run at the Los Angeles Open all the way to the final on Saturday with a 7-5, 7-6 (7/3) win over Argentina's Leonardo Mayer.
The world number 205, who lives in nearby Newport Beach and had never played an ATP-level match prior to this week, will face either two-time champion Tommy Haas or America's Sam Querrey for the title.
"I'm really not thinking about the fact that I'm into a final," said the winner, cheered by his parents courtside at UCLA.
"I just wanted to win the first round at qualifying and then go match by match.
"It's a surprise to get this far but I'm looking forward to Sunday. Both Haas and Querrey are experienced and are playing well. But I like the conditions, the court bounces high, that let's you play aggressive and get to the net."
Ball, son of 1974 Australian Open doubles finalist Syd Ball, fired 10 aces in the 91-minute battle with Mayer, a 22-year-old also playing in the first semi-final of his career.
The South American made his own mark at the French Open this season when he knocked out James Blake in the first round.
Ball, who won a Davis Cup rubber for Australia last September before ever setting foot on an ATP court, secured the first set against Mayer with a break in the final game and recovered in the second after going a break down.
The Australian took command in the second-set tiebreaker, securing his victory on the first of three match points.
Ball, who lives 80 kilometres to the south at Newport Beach, said that even a daily commute of two hours each way didn't bother him as he continues the week of his career.
"I can deal with that," said the player who now stands 4-1 in ATP and Davis Cup play.
"It's great to play at home in front of your friends and family."
Ball is the first qualifier to reach the Los Angeles final in post-1968 Open era history and has never faced either Haas or Querrey.