Frenchman Jeremy Chardy and Australian Matthew Ebden are separated by just three places in the ATP rankings, and will fight out what could be a tight semifinal in Rosmalen. Chardy, a former top 30 player, has found himself hovering outside the top 60 for the last year and a half, and the 31-year-old will be eager to add to his solitary Tour title. Ebden, after an injury ravaged 2016 season, worked his way back into the top 100 last year, and could reach a career-high ranking in the coming months. But who will come out on top?
Chardy and Ebden have met on three occasions throughout their careers, and it has been the Frenchman who has triumphed in each of these meetings. The first time they met was back in 2012 in the round of 64 at the US Open, and Chardy progressing easily with a 6-4 6-2 6-2 win. The ensuing two matchups were similarly uncompetitive; in 2014, Chardy beat Ebden 7-5 6-0 in Acapulco, and two years later beat him 6-2 6-1 in Delray Beach.
Path to the semifinal
Chardy was perilously close to being knocked out in the first round of the tournament, and hasn’t had a single easy victory yet. In the first round he faced Guillermo Garcia Lopez, and narrowly won through 6-4 6-7 7-6. He then faced top seed Adrian Mannarino, and though he impressively won in straight sets, he was made to work for his 6-4 6-4 win. He then accounted for wildcard Mackenzie McDonald, against whom he won his second third set tiebreak this week in a 6-4 4-6 7-6 win.
Ebden has been a little more comfortable in his run to the semis. After disposing of American Tim Smyczek in the first round 6-2 6-3, he faced third seed Gilles Muller in the second round. He again won in straight sets 6-3 7-5, and subsequently conquered Romania’s Marius Copil in the quarterfinals. He managed a 6-3 6-3 win in a dominant serving performance, earning himself a spot in the semifinals without having dropped a set.
How do they match up?
If past results are anything to go by, the two match up pretty well from Chardy’s perspective. The Frenchman has a game style which can be difficult to play against, with his long arms and tall stature providing him with a powerful serve and a strong, flat forehand. His backhand tends to be his more vulnerable side, and though his first serve is a strength, it is inconsistent, with double faults remaining a perennial problem for the Frenchman.
Ebden spends a lot less time at the baseline than his opponent, preferring to come to the net whenever possible, a technique he claims has statistical backing in relation to its effectiveness. His athleticism enables him to cover the court quickly, and though he doesn’t produce as much power from the baseline or in his serve as many others on the Tour, he is an intelligent player, capable of picking up wins in spite of his limitations.
Though Chardy has had the measure of Ebden in the past, the Australian looks in good position to win his first ever match between the two in Holland. The Frenchman has looked vulnerable throughout the tournament, and though he has come through in the big moments, he could easily have been bundled out a couple of times already. Ebden, in contrast, is playing solid tennis, and will make his way into the final with a three set victory.