Busta blasts Eb­den

Spa­niard lifts Kooy­ong Clas­sic tro­phy in prepa­ra­tion for Aus­tralian Open

Sport360 - - News - By Staff Re­porter @Sport360 edi­to­rial@sport360.com

Pablo Car­reno Busta beat ap­proach­ing wet weather to con­clude his build-up to the Aus­tralian Open with a 6-7 (6/8), 6-4, 6-2 de­feat of Matthew Eb­den in the fi­nal of the Kooy­ong Clas­sic in Mel­bourne yes­ter­day.

Car­reno Busta, the sec­ond Spa­niard to win the event af­ter two ti­tles from Fer­nando Ver­dasco, staged a steady fight­back to over­haul the 76th-ranked Eb­den, who stands sec­ond on Aus­tralia’s na­tional list be­hind Nick Kyr­gios.

Eb­den, who sat out half of 2016 with a knee in­jury, spent much of last sea­son on the lower-level Chal­lenger se­ries and starts the Aus­tralian Open against 16th seed John IsThe ner. Tenth seed Car­reno Busta faces an­other Aus­tralian at Mel­bourne Park, play­ing Ja­son Kubler.

The fi­nal at the long-time for­mer home of the Aus­tralian Open was played un­der leaden skies in heavy hu­mid­ity and rain com­ing in from the west.

It ended just as light drops be­gan to fall and the tro­phy pre­sen­ta­tion cer­e­mony was held with the pro­tag­o­nists shel­tered un­der um­brel­las.

The fi­nal­ists qual­i­fied for the ti­tle match af­ter beat­ing the high­es­tranked play­ers in the first round, with Richard Gas­quet de­cid­ing that two matches were suf­fi­cient for his Open prepa­ra­tion.

“This match was tough, I had to come from a set down,” said Car­reno Busta. “But it re­ally helped me for the Open.”

“It’s the per­fect prepa­ra­tion for the Grand Slam. I feel very com­fort­able on this court. We had some bad luck with the rain, now we are wait­ing for the Open,” he added.

Eb­den said he was dis­ap­pointed af­ter fail­ing to hold his lead, but was still pleased with his week on court.

“Thanks for brav­ing the rain,” he told the crowd. “I’m sorry I didn’t get the big tro­phy, but I tried my best.

The Aus­tralian added: “To­day I played at a pretty good level, it would be nice to main­tain it a bit more, lift it a few per­cent­age points.

“The Open prepa­ra­tion is done, I just need a bit more fo­cus, not rush­ing, even though to­day we hoped to get the match done be­fore the rain.”

Belinda Ben­cic of Switzer­land lifted the women’s ti­tle by beat­ing An­drea Petkovic 3-6, 6-4, 10-4 (tiebreak set) in a rain-in­ter­rupted fi­nal last­ing just un­der 90 min­utes.

Petkovic kept things lively dur­ing a weather pause on court, danc­ing to mu­sic piped over the sta­dium PA sys­tem and even get­ting a match of­fi­cial in­volved. The Ger­man said: “My danc­ing was prob­a­bly bet­ter than my play to­day.”

High and dry: Pablo Car­reno Busta fin­ished off Matthew Eb­den be­fore rain be­came an is­sue in Mel­bourne.

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