Eastbourne | Purcell ends Harris’ hopes to meet Fritz in final

Billy Harris’ hopes of reaching his first tour final were ended by Max Purcell in the last four of the Rothewsay International at Eastbourne and become Britain’s male player to reach the title round, were dashed by Max Purcell who will face Taylor Fritz to establish this year’s champion.

The British No.5 was beaten 6-4 4-6 6-4 in two hours and 15 minutes as the Australian recovered from Harris’ fightback.

The 29-year-old from the Isle of Man was on an excellent run over the last few weeks culminating in his first appearance in the semis of an ATP 250 level event.

But he has to bow out to the more experienced Aussie qualifier ranked 45 places higher than his British opponent to reach his first career tour final.

“I have a new coach this week and I feel everything is coming together this week,” Purcell said. “It feels good. Qualifying last week in Halle gave me confidence, a couple of straight sets matches there. I felt that I was due to get a couple of wins.”
In Saturday’s final Purcell will face two-time champion Taylor Fritz, who held firm in two tie-breaks to defeat another Aussie, Aleksander Vukic 7-6(5) 7-6(4).

The American, the tournament’s top seed, is on course to become the first player to win the event on three occasions has had three straight set wins to make the final round with all but one settled on a tiebreak!

“[Being a former champion] has been helping me all week. I love playing here. The tournament is extra special to me because this is where I got my first title… and hopefully I’ll be back tomorrow to get number three.”

Reflecting on his journey in Devonshire Park and his semi-final win, he added: “I felt like I had a lot of chances to break and I just couldn’t make it happen,

“Perhaps one or two I could have done better but for the majority he played very well, so credit to him. It doesn’t feel good just scraping by in ‘breakers but it gives me a lot of confidence that I am finding ways to win.

“I’m playing fine. It’s tough to judge yesterday and the first three-fourths of this match; in the wind it’s never going to be pretty. I started to find a bit of rhythm in the end when the wind died down. At least I can say that I’m serving well, and I am getting those chances to break. I just need to take them.”

Taylor Fritz aims to become the first player to win Eastbourne three times

(Photo by Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images for LTA)



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