Top Seed Isner To Face First-Time Finalist Ebden In Newport
World No. 21 Isner booked his spot in his 23rd tour-level final and first of the year with a comprehensive 6-2, 6-4 victory over Bjorn Fratangelo. The big-hitting American's serve was on song throughout the 73-minute affair, firing 15 aces, while not facing a break point. He won 78 per cent of total service points.
"It went well and was a pretty good match," Isner, who has not dropped serve all week, told reporters. "I served well and started it off well. I was all over him from the get-go. I'm happy to get off the court in just over an hour. I was saying on the Tennis Channel set that now I know what it's like to be Djokovic and Murray and get off the court in an hour in all of my matches.
"I have great memories in Newport. Sometimes that helps when you know in the past that you've won a lot of matches here. I came into this tournament with a pretty good mindset."
Isner previously lifted the Newport trophy in back-to-back years in 2011-12, defeating Olivier Rochus and Lleyton Hewitt for his lone grass-court crowns. The American is bidding to capture his first piece of silverware on the ATP World Tour in nearly two years, when he prevailed in Atlanta in 2015.
"I played [Ebden] at Wimbledon I think three years ago," Isner added. "He's won six matches here and is certainly match tough. He's playing the best tennis in a long time. Grass is his best surface. Tomorrow could be my toughest match and his toughest match as well. We'll be in for a good fight."
Ebden reached his first ATP World Tour final with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Peter Gojowczyk. He claimed five of 11 break chances during the 63-minute encounter. The Aussie rallied after being broken to open the match, executing his gameplan to claim his first meeting with the German.
"This is pretty cool," said Ebden. "First time for this. I'm very happy. I've been building up my game the last six months. I love it here on the grass. I couldn't be happier. Not only winning, but getting all these matches. I've had some good results here in the last six or seven years. Being out for six months last year allowed me to appreciate being on tour and let me turn the corner mentally."
Ebden earned a rather straightforward semi-final victory after a quarter-final battle on Friday against another German - Tobias Kamke - where he rallied from a set down. Having won six matches in six days, he is the fourth qualifier to reach a final this year, joining Mischa Zverev (Geneva), Aljaz Bedene (Budapest) and Guido Pella (Munich).
The Aussie, who opened the 2017 season at No. 699 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, is on the comeback trail after a six-month absence last year following knee surgery. The 29 year old, who reached a career-high No. 61 in 2012, is playing arguably the best tennis of his career. Up to No. 249, he is the lowest-ranked player to reach an ATP World Tour final since 866th-ranked Raemon Sluiter in 's-Hertogenbosch 2009.