MELBOURNE: Pablo Carreno Busta beat approaching wet weather to conclude his buildup 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 here on Friday.
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 Isner. 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 highest-ranked players in the first round, with Richard Gasquet deciding that two matches were sufficient for his Open preparation.Belinda Bencic of Switzerland lifted the women’s title 3-6, 6-4, 10-4 (tiebreak set) to beat Andrea Petkovic in a rain-interrupted final lasting just under 90 minutes.