One of only two Australian men to participate at the Indian Wells Masters, Matthew Ebden has finally fallen in the fourth round to American John Isner.
It completed an impressive tournament for Ebden who defeated Igor Kunitsyn in the opening round, Frenchman Julien Benneteau in the second and raced to a straight sets victory to pass No. 8 seed Mardy Fish in their third round showdown.
Ebden lost to Isner in straight sets 6-4 7-5 and was not up to the task after winning his first two service games, allowing the American to break his serve with the opening set tied at 2-2.
The 24-year-old Aussie actually broke Isner’s serve first in the second set to take a 4-3 lead but the No.11 seed would again find a way to get himself back into the game and send his opponent home for good.
Ebden’s win against Fish was his first against a top-10 opponent of his career, but the loss to Isner will bring the West Australian’s world ranking up from 91 to rough the No.79 position, roughly around his career high from October last year.
Australia’s best female tennis player, Sam Stosur, had an early exit from the tournament continuing a run of lackluster form from the No.6 seed.
She fell to rival Nadia Petrova in the third round in a hard fought three set battle. Petrova cruised to an easy 6-1 opening set win but Stosur came back with a 6-7 (6-8) second set victory before the Russian was able to grind out a 7-6 (7-5) win in the decider.
The world’s top-3 men’s players have all moved into the competition’s last-8 stage and will battle it for just under US$6 million in prize money. Rafael Nadal defeated Alexandr Dolgopolv in straight sets, Roger Federer came from a set down to defeat Brazil’s Thomaz Bellucci and World No.1 Novak Djokovic needed three sets to get by Spaniard Pablo Andujar.