Ball to play in final

LOS ANGELES — Carsten Ball’s rags-to-riches story continued Saturday at the Los Angeles Tennis Open.

The former Corona del Mar High standout, a qualifier in the tournament and ranked 205th in the world, advanced to today’s final with his seventh consecutive straight-sets win. He defeated Argentina’s Leonardo Mayer, 7-5, 7-6, in the semifinals at the L.A. Tennis Center.

Ball’s victory came a week after contemplating to pull out of the tournament because of a back injury, according to Reuters. Ball, a Newport Beach resident who is representing Australia, had to win three matches of qualifying to bounce into the main draw. But the first qualifying match was nearly his last.

“When I was playing the first round here, in the middle of the match I hurt my back where I wasn’t able to hit a backhand," Ball told reporters of his opening qualifier against South Korean Daniel Yoo a week ago. “Later that day I was almost debating whether to pull out or not because it was giving me pain to walk.

“But I came back the next day and had the trainer work on it and it felt better against [Go] Soeda [in the second round of qualifying]. Since then it has been feeling better and better every day.”

Wins seemed to have helped ease the pain. Ball, 22, had not won a match on the Assn. of Tennis Professionals Tour until this week.

Ball, a CIF Southern Section doubles champion as a freshman for CdM, will face No. 6-seeded Sam Querrey today in the championship match. Querrey will be playing in his third straight ATP final after upsetting top-seeded Tommy Haas of Germany, 6-3, 7-5.

Today’s champion will earn $100,000. The runner-up will be rewarded $52,650.

— From staff reports

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