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Billy Harris narrowly misses historic Eastbourne final as Max Purcell advances

Wildcard Billy Harris fell just short of becoming the first Briton to reach the men's singles final at Eastbourne after losing in three sets to Australian Max Purcell at the Rothesay International.

The 29-year-old had reached the quarter-finals at Queen's last week and upset Italian world number 49 Flavio Cobolli in the last round at Devonshire Park.

However, Harris found Australian Purcell, who had came through qualifying, in determined mood to dampen the home crowd as he progressed 6-4 4-6 6-4.

He will meet Taylor Fritz in the final of the ATP 250 event after the American top seed saw off Aleksandar Vukic 7-6 (5) 7-6 (4).

Purcell built on an early break in the first set to open up a 3-1 lead.

Nottingham-born Harris, ranked 139 in the world, recovered to hold his next three service games, but Purcell soon closed things out 6-4.

Purcell kept the pressure on at the start of the second set, with Harris having to save two break points before eventually holding.

Harris again had to dig deep to fend off three more break opportunities in the fifth game before firing down a swift love-game to move 4-3 ahead.

The British number five, set to play Spain's Jaume Munar at Wimbledon on Tuesday, maintained his momentum to force a first break chance of the match in the 10th game.

Although Purcell pulled it back to deuce, another powerful backhand from Harris saw the Australian send his return into the net to leave the match all square.

However, Purcell, the world number 94, then took the early initiative in the deciding set with a break to lead 2-1 before Harris missed an opportunity to immediately break back when he sent a return just long.

It was, though, only a matter of time before Purcell forced a match point, which he secured when Harris sent a return into the net.

In the WTA 500 event, Leylah Fernandez upset defending champion Madison Keys to reach the final, where she will play Daria Kasatkina, last year's runner-up.

The 21-year-old Canadian came through 6-3 3-6 6-3 against the American world number 12 to make a first tournament final appearance on grass.

"It means a lot to me," said Fernandez.

"We have been working super hard over the past couple of months and I am super happy with the results these past few weeks."

Kasatkina came from behind to battle past world number seven Jasmine Paolini, winning 3-6 7-5 6-3 to reach the Eastbourne final for a second successive year.

The Russian had beaten Raducanu in the quarter-finals, while French Open runner-up Paolini had seen off British number one Katie Boulter.

"It's never easy to come to the tournament where you have to defend a lot of points, but I'm really happy that I was able to play good and enjoy myself on court," world number 14 Kasatkina said in her courtside interview.

In the men's doubles, Britain's Neal Skupski and Michael Venus collected back-to-back grass court titles after winning 4-6 7-6 (2) 11-9 in a match tie-break against Australian pair Ebden and John Peers.

Elsewhere on Friday, Britain's Paul Jubb was beaten by Sebastian Ofner in the semi-finals of the Mallorca Championships.

Jubb had come through qualifying to make a first appearance in an ATP Tour main draw and saw off world number 14 Ben Shelton in the last round.

Austrian Ofner, though, built on a solid start to close out a 6-4 7-5 win.

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