BNP PARIBAS OPEN 2012
Ebden Takes Down Fish; Isner Up Next
Indian Wells, U.S.A.
Australian qualifier Matthew Ebden knocked out top American Mardy Fish on Monday afternoon in Indian Wells and has his sights set on upsetting the American No. 2, John Isner, for a place in the quarter-finals at the BNP Paribas Open.
“Especially in America, to beat the top player here is an incredible feeling,” said Ebden. “Very big win. I'm pleased with my progress, and got another big American next round. I'm just loving what I'm doing out here. I really love competing hard and tackling the opportunity. I’ll do that again. I will look forward to the next one.”
The 91st-ranked Ebden needed three sets to get by Igor Kunitsyn and No. 32 seed Julien Benneteau in his first two matches this week, but closed out Fish in straight sets, 6-3, 6-4. He went four for five on his break point chances to claim his first win over a Top 10 player.
Ebden is also competing in doubles this week with Ryan Harrison, and hoped to maintain friendly relations with the home country contingent in spite of his singles match-ups this week. “The American guys and the Australian guys, I would hope they get on well, us being all English speaking and trying to take on all the Europeans,” he joked.
Fish has yet to win consecutive matches this season, and dropped to a 5-4 season record. “There's no doubt that this is a low, for sure, for me,” he said. “Obviously you have to stay positive. There's just no way around it. You have to look at the fact that I have worked my butt off to be where I am right now and be 8 in the world, and we've put in a lot of sweat and a lot of work to be here. So just the start of the year is not going to take that away, but I certainly would have liked to have started better.”
Isner advanced with a 7-5, 7-5 win over No. 22 seed Juan Monaco of Argentina with breaks in the final games of each set. “I played a good game at 6-5,” he said. “The second set I felt like I was in all of his service games. It finally paid off for me at the end.”
Harrison joined doubles partner Ebden in the fourth round with a late-night win against Spaniard Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-4, 7-5. “Tonight was a really exciting match,” said Harrison. “Guillermo beat [Andy] Murray the round before, so obviously he’s playing some really good tennis, so I’m glad to be through.”
The 19 year old made his breakthrough last year in Indian Wells, reaching the fourth round before falling to Roger Federer.