Hall Of Fame Open: Isner-Ebden quarter is rematch of 2017 final

(Photo by Ben Solomon/ITHF)

By International Tennis Hall Of Fame/Hall Of Fame Open

Matthew Ebden has reached one singles final in his ATP Tour career, here two years ago. In the 2017 Hall of Fame Open final, he ran into a guy who was serving historically well.

John Isner hadn’t faced a break point the entire tournament, and he kept that streak alive against Ebden en route to a 6-3, 7-6 (4) victory to win his third Newport title. Isner served 17 aces in that match and became just the second player to win a tournament without facing a break point since the ATP began tracking stats in 1991. The first was Tommy Haas in 2007 at Memphis.

Isner’s serve remains his biggest weapon, but after missing about three months with a broken left foot, he said his fitness level is “nowhere near where I would want to be.”

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“Movement isn’t the best part of my game, but when I’m at my best, I’m at least able to play some defense and I don’t feel like I’m able to do that right now,” Isner said after his second-round win over Kamil Majchrzak. “That’s going to come with matches and getting out on the court and hitting balls.”

Matthew Ebden of Australia reached his first and only ATP Tour singles final in 2017, when he lost to John Isner at the Hall of Fame Open.

Matthew Ebden of Australia reached his first and only ATP Tour singles final in 2017, when he lost to John Isner at the Hall of Fame Open.

Today’s Isner-Ebden match will be their sixth on the Tour — Isner leads the series 4-1. Ebden’s only win against Isner came in the first round of the 2018 Australian Open.

Ebden came through qualifying to reach the final here in 2017.

“He was playing very well, so I was I. I had come through a lot of matches that week, so it made for a big week,” Ebden recalled. “But it was a great effort by him to not face a break point. If you’re 7-foot tall and have one of the best serves, then there’s a good chance that will happen, especially on fast courts.”

Isner said he is pain free after breaking his left foot in Miami in March, but still needs to overcome some mental hurdles as he plays his way back to form.

“It’s more of a confidence thing, because for so long, my foot was just hurting,” he said. “I was scared for the longest time to do anything. When I finally got the OK to practice, I was still scared to move and try to cut. I’m just trying to get confidence in my foot.”

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