Qualifier Ball reaches LA Tennis Open final

August 1, 2009 06:30 PM
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Sam Querrey upset top seeded Tommy Haas 6-3, 7-5 on Saturday night to reach the finals of the L.A. Tennis Open.

Querrey, the No. 6 seed will play qualifier Carsten Ball, who beat Leonardo Mayer 7-5, 7-6 (3) for the title on Sunday.

Querrey saved three break points in the final game while serving for the match and held off Haas at 0-40.

"I just slowed down and took it one point at a time and really played five good points in a row," Querrey said.

By beating Haas, the 2004 and 2006 champion, Querrey became the first American to reach three straight finals since Andy Roddick in 2004.

"It's great," Querrey said. "I'm confident, playing a lot of matches. "I'm just feeling better with every win."

Querrey improved to 2-3 against Haas, once ranked No. 2 in the world, with both victories this year and is ranked a career-best No. 32 on the tour.

"I think he's improved," Haas said. "[When] I played him the first couple of times, he really still was much younger and going for much more, not being smart about his shots. "Now he selects his shots and has improved. I feel like his serve is really a weapon."

It will be the first professional meeting between Querrey and Ball, who reached the finals for the first time. The two have faced each other numerous times as junior players growing up in Southern California. Their last meeting was at the Easter Bowl final in 2005 that Querrey won 6-3, 6-3.

"He's having an unbelievable week, he's playing really well and serving huge," Querrey said. "Hopefully he can continue on his success throughout the summer. He's my buddy growing up; I'm happy for the guy."

Ball reached his first ATP Tour final with the win over Mayer.

"It's only a bonus to be in the final, win or lose," Ball said. "To be able to play in an ATP Tour tournament on a Sunday is what we all work for."

It was the first meeting between Ball and Mayer, 22-year-olds who were both playing in their first ATP semifinal.

Ball almost withdrew from the tournament after tweaking his back in the first round of qualifying.

But the trainer worked on the injury and Ball felt better each match he played.

"I've definitely pulled it together mentally this week," he said. "I've taken my time, and a little confidence and self-belief goes a long way."

Born in Newport Beach, Calif., Ball is a dual citizen of the U.S. and Australia. His father is former Aussie pro Syd Ball, who played in the Australian Open doubles final in 1974.

By reaching Sunday's final, Ball achieved a career-high ranking of No. 146.