Querrey follows Ball into LA tennis showdown
LOS ANGELES: Qualifier Carsten Ball stretched his dream run at the Los Angeles Open all the way to Sunday's final, where he faces former junior rival Sam Querrey in a battle of big servers.
The Los Angeles-born Australian Ball will see his 205th ranking rise to 120th should he buck the odds and claim an ATP title ran past Argentine Leonardo Mayer 7-5, 7-6 (7/3) in their semi-final here.
Sixth seed Querrey reached his third final as many events with an upset of two-time winner and top seed Tommy Haas 6-3, 7-5, with the Californian saving three break points in the final game to ice the win.
"I've been playing a lot of matches recently," said Querrey, who came up short in post-Wimbledon trophy bids at Newport and Indianapolis last month. "But the more matches you win, the better the confidence.
"I've been doing a lot of running on the track, 200 (metres), 400 (metres), that is starting to pay off. It may also help that I've been feeling pretty hyper on court."
Ball, who lives in nearby Newport Beach and has happily commuted up to four hours per day ever since qualifying rounds more than a week ago, had never played an ATP-level match prior to this week.
The 22-year-old son of 1974 Australian Open doubles finalist Syd Ball, fired 10 aces in the 91-minute win over Mayer, also playing the first semi-final of his career.
"I'm really not thinking about the fact that I'm into a final," said Ball, troubled a week ago by a back injury. "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. Querrey is playing well. But I like the conditions, the court bounces high, that let's you play aggressive and get to the net."
Querrey's "Samurai" cheer squad of shirtless former high school mates with painted chests got up the nose of Haas, who said that he didn't feel that jeering his errors was called for.
"Those guys just showed they have no class, It's up to Sam to take control of the situation if he wants to," said the 31-year-old German who stood 16-3 since May after winning the Halle title and plying a Wimbledon semi-final against Roger Federer.
"This was not the fifth set of a US Open.
"I'm still playing tennis for the big matches," said the former world number two. "For my first summer hardcourt match, I'm pretty pleased.
"But I could tell that after early chances in the second set, I wasn't mentally there at the end. I'm working to peak at the US Open."
Querrey sent over eight aces and saved all five break points he faced. He owns one title (Las Vegas, 2008) from four career finals.