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Eubanks to face Sell in Southern California Pro Futures Tournament Singles Finals

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Christopher Eubanks had extra motivation to win matches this week at the Southern California Pro Futures Tournament.

Hours after beating No. 6 Kaichi Uchida of Japan in three sets, 7-6 (2), 3-6, 7-5, at the USTA Pro Circuit $25,000 event being played at USC on Saturday, Atlanta’s Eubanks was still hanging out in the players’ lounge eagerly awaiting the 5:15 p.m. PT kickoff of the Atlanta Falcons-L.A. Rams NFL wild-card playoff game taking place just a few minutes’ walk across campus at the Memorial Coliseum.

“I bought a ticket once the Falcons made it in,” said Eubanks, who bombed in 21 aces against Uchida. “I just kept winning matches so I could go to the game.”

A win by his beloved Falcons Saturday night would be sweet for Eubanks, but a victory over former UCLA player and qualifier Karue Sell in the 11 a.m. final on Sunday would be even nicer for the 21-year-old former Georgia Tech star, who captured his first $25,000 Pro Futures event over the summer when he won at Winston-Salem, N.C.

After splitting sets, Eubanks and Uchida were knotted at 3-all in the third set. Eubanks double-faulted to start the important seventh game but was able to end it with an ace for the 4-3 lead. The players stayed on serve until Eubanks was able to finally jump out to a love-40 lead at 6-5 on Uchida’s serve to eventually win the match in 1 hour, 41 minutes.

After his match, Eubanks spoke with Radio Tennis host Ken Thomas, and told him he spent some of his most formative years learning the game from Donald Young Jr., and Young’s mother and father.

“Donald has been like an older brother to me for the past six or seven years,” said Eubanks, who served as a practice partner and traveled on tour with Donald Young Jr.

Eubanks is not entered in the Long Beach Futures next week but plans to remain in Southern California and try to qualify for the new $150,000 ATP Challenger in Newport Beach the following week.

Sell, 24, won a tight first set against the 27-year-old No. 7-seeded Jan Satral of the Czech Republic to win his 11th consecutive match on the USC courts since last Saturday.

Ranked just inside the world top 700, Sell was broken mid-second set, but clawed back to break at 5-4 and served out the match.

“He was so physical,” said Sell after the match about Satral, who reached a career-high world ranking of No. 163 two years ago. “My legs were heavy at the start and I felt so tired, but I was able to battle back.”

Saturday’s Semifinal Singles Results

q: qualifying;

Christopher Eubanks, U.S., def. Kaichi Uchida, Japan (6), 7-6 (2), 3-6, 7-5

Karue Sell, Brazil (q), def. Jan Satral, Czech Republic (7), 6-4, 6-4

Friday’s Final Doubles Result

Martin Redlicki, U.S./Karue Sell, Brazil, def. Luke Bambridge, Great Britain/Hans Hach Verdugo, Mexico (1), 6-4, 6-3