2014/08/01

Monday Dispatch from Atlanta – Withdrawals Provide Opportunities

BB&TAtlantaOpen

By Herman Wood

(July 21, 2014) ATLANTA- Qualifying wrapped up on Monday in Atlanta at the BB&T Open, with the weather finally cooperating. Qualifying dodged rain all weekend, with the second round ending up under the lights last night.  Unfortunately, the qualifying matches today were almost an afterthought with the main draw withdrawals.

Radek Stepanek withdrew due to an injury over the weekend.  He posted on his twitter account “Sad to pull out of the @BBTatlantaopen this week but had fun talking to the media here and signing some autographs :)” along with a picture of a young fan.  Gael Monfils and Richard Gasquet also withdrew, leaving the tournament in a bad spot.  Of the 24 players entered in qualifying, seven will make the main draw, apparently with one directly advancing to the second round.

There was some other ball played this afternoon, with Wimbledon doubles champ Jack Sock getting some basketball tips from Atlanta Hawk Demarre Carroll at a hoop set up by the team just off the USTA YouthTennis court.  Turned out Carroll got schooled in a game of HORSE.  Sock returned the favor with a tennis lesson for Carroll on the court afterwards and then had a press conference with his Wimbledon partner, Vasek Pospisil.  The two will be the top seed in the doubles draw.

Young Americans have quite an opportunity with the withdrawals.  Scheduled matches today feature world number 61 Sam Querrey playing number 64 Steve Johnson.  Official opening ceremonies will follow and lead into local Donald Young playing Dudi Sela.  Another local, Robby Ginepri, will team up with Rhyne Harrison to take on the British duo of Ken and Neal Skupski in the opening round of doubles once the singles match concludes.

 

Herman Wood is in Atlanta covering the BB&T Open action from around the grounds for Tennis Panorama News, follow him on twitter at https://twitter.com/hermanewood.

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The US Open Series Begins this Weekend in Atlanta

 

BB&TAtlantaOpen

By Herman Wood

(July 17, 2014) ATLANTA – Preparation for the US Open is underway.  The BB&T Atlanta Open gets things started on Saturday, July 19th for the men.  Qualifying begins at 10 AM.  The BB&T Atlanta Open is an ATP 250 event, with a 28 player draw, four of which come from the qualifying tournament.  The qualifying field will have 32 players.  The doubles draw is a 16 team field.  Last year’s champ, John Isner, is returning, along with fellow Americans Sam Querrey, Wimbledon doubles champ Jack Sock, and Donald Young.  Gael Monfils, Richard Gasquet, Radek Stepanek, Ivo Karlovic, Ivan Dodig, Lleyton Hewitt, and the other half of the Wimbledon doubles championship team, Vasek Pospisil, are also expected in the tournament.  The tournament aspires to be a mini US Open, with the venue set among the skyscrapers of downtown Atlanta at Atlantic Station.  Atlantic Station is a community within downtown that provides homes for 10,000 people integrated with shopping, restaurants, and retailers that make it a hit with the players.  Besides the attractive venue, players will get a jump on the US Open Series Bonus Challenge, where nearly $40 million in prize money is up for grabs.  This is the third year the tournament has been held at Atlantic Station.

It is a familiar place for Americans, with Isner winning last year, Roddick in 2012, and Fish in 2011.  It has also been comfortable for big man tennis- last year Isner, at 6’10”, overcame Kevin Anderson at 6’8” in three tiebreaks.  Fans in the first couple of rows certainly had to pay attention with the huge serves coming their way.  It is especially familiar for Isner, who competed collegiately just an hour down the road for the University of Georgia Bulldogs, leading the team to a national championship and winning every possible team title in 2007.  He’s usually a fan favorite, with at least a couple of barks from Georgia fans in his favor at each match.  Isner may not be the only recipient of barks; University of Georgia player Austin Smith has accepted a wild card into the main draw. The sophomore from Cumming, Georgia excelled this season as the Bulldogs captured the 2014 SEC Championship. Smith finished with a 35-12 record, and went 9-1 in SEC matches. He has won four USTA Pro Circuit matches. A tournament qualifier in 2011, Smith will be playing his debut ATP main draw match.

Another American, Jack Sock, could very well get on a roll at this tournament.  After winning doubles with Pospisil at Wimbledon, he rolled into Newport and eliminated Isner in the Newport Hall of Fame event on grass just a week ago.  Unfortunately for him, he wasn’t able to keep that momentum and was eliminated by the veteran Lleyton Hewitt, who went on to win the tournament.  Hewitt’s feisty shouts of “C’mon!” have endeared him to the Atlanta fans in past years.  Fresh off his renewed success at Newport, he could very well win Atlanta.  The main draw was just rounded out with the addition of Ryan Harrison and Robby Ginepri.  “We’re ecstatic to welcome back two of our fan favorites in Ryan Harrison and Atlanta metro resident Robby Ginepri,” Tournament Director Eddie Gonzalez said. “One of our goals is to highlight American talent and both of these players are great examples of the fine players this country has produced.”  Harrison won the doubles last year, partnering with Matthew Ebden.  Ginepri appears for the fourth time, with a onetime ranking of fifteen.  He is a graduate of Wheeler High School, just a few miles north of Atlantic Station.  He currently resides in Kennesaw, another couple of miles north.

The draw will be finalized over this weekend with the completion of the qualifying tournament.  Promising American junior Francis Tiafoe has accepted his first tournament qualifying wild card. Tiafoe, 16, is a talented young prodigy who rose to No. 2 in the world junior rankings this spring. Georgia Tech’s Nathan Rakitt and Alabama’s Becker O’Shaughnessey have also accepted qualifying wild cards. Rakitt, a Marietta native and All-ACC selectee, is competing again for the second year. O’Shaughnessey of Macon, Ga., led the Crimson Tide in singles wins (22) this season.

Herman Wood is in Atlanta covering the BB&T Open action from around the grounds for Tennis Panorama News, follow him on twitter at https://twitter.com/hermanewood.

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Roddick Wins Second Title of Season at BB&T Atlanta Open

By Audraine Jackson

Atlanta, GA USA – Under a brutally hot July sun in the deep south 29-year-old Andy Roddick raised the BB&T Atlanta Open championship trophy into the air before a capacity crowd after defeating Luxembourg’s Gilles Muller 1-6, 7-6 (2), 6-2. It was a gesture he has repeated many times in his professional tennis life with 31 ATP World Tour titles already under his belt, but at this stage in his career, titles taste sweeter and number 32 felt like a steady cool breeze on a summer day.

 

“Being a tennis player, a lot of people, they see it on TV. They think about it in terms of one match but it’s almost like a lifestyle. You’ve got to eat right, sleep right. It’s a constant kind of battle when you are out there by yourself a lot,” said Roddick. “To kind of now be approaching numbers that basically tell the story of consistency over time… it’s something I’m proud of. I work pretty hard. I don’t know that I have been able to pull off the shots that Roger or Rafa or someone like that can pull off. But I feel like I’ve done pretty well with what I was given. I sleep well knowing I haven’t really cheated myself.”

 

This title came no easier than many others in a match that lasted two hours and 13 minutes in 91 degree humid conditions under a blazing sun. Roddick had to get past a competitive match with No. 1 seed John Isner that went late into the night to make it to the final. Muller, a left handed player whose highest world ranking reached 42 has experienced an incredible run among marquee players with career victories over Andre Agassi, Rafael Nadal and Roddick in 2005. Despite jumping out fast with a 6-1 victory in the first set forcing two service breaks he lost a close battle in the 2nd when Roddick was able to edge him out in second serve points won and second return points.

 

“I played very well in the first two sets. At the end of the second set, I got very tight,” Muller said.  “I felt like I was in a position to win that match. I was too nervous to close it and then Andy started to play better. He started to return my serves and put a lot of balls in the court. And I started to miss a lot. Maybe I lost the belief in myself to win that match too quickly.”

 

By the third set Roddick became more aggressive, forcing errors and placing balls at speeds and angles difficult to get to. Service points won reached 84 percent while Muller managed only 50. “I know by now the score of a set is irrelevant,” Roddick said. “Whether it’s 7-6 or 6-1, it still counts the same. With most other sports, you get way up in the first quarter and it actually means something in regards to the rest of the game. In tennis, it’s not really the case too often, with the exception of momentum. You just try to start over and put some holds together. I was able to out the second set and I think he might have gotten a little tired in the third.”

 

Roddick won his second title of the season and his second ATP World Tour victory in Atlanta, the last coming in 2001 on clay. He has an early points lead in the 2012 Emirates Airline US Open Series Bonus Challenge Standings earning 70 in the tournament. He will head to London to join fellow USA teammates in singles and is paired with rival John Isner for doubles, a sight he admits few opponents want to see coming.

 

The BB&T Atlanta Open doubles title went to Matthew Ebden (AUS) and Ryan Harrison (USA) who defeated Xavier Malisse (BEL) and Michael Russell (USA) 6-3, 3-6, 10-6. Both teams knocked off talented top seeded duos to reach the finals. Ebden said it took confidence to pull off the win. “We had a few chances in the second set and felt like we weren’t playing our best tennis. We were pretty confident if we lifted our level a little, we’d come through. We’re very good friends. I think it helps on the court. It’s great to find someone you really enjoy playing with. You get a lot out of it. Not just the wins, but you get improvements in your game.”

 

Harrison, who is also headed to London to join Team USA Tennis, said aggressive play made the difference. “The way we play, we always try to push forward and play aggressive. That’s the way both of us are comfortable playing. It comes down to execution for us. It doesn’t matter if its singles, doubles, triples or whatever it is. If you win titles, you can always build off of it, so we’re really fired up.”

 

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Audraine Jackson covered the BB&T Atlanta Open for Tennis Panorama News July 14-22, 2012. She is a sports blogger, digital journalist and tennis addict. Follow her personal twitter account @atlstoryteller.

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Roddick Halts Isner’s Third Run for a Title at BB&T Atlanta Open

By Audraine Jackson

Atlanta, GA USA – In 2001 Shirley Franklin was elected Atlanta’s first female African-American mayor.  The Braves defeated the Houston Astros in the National League Division Series and an 18-year-old aspiring tennis champion named Andy Roddick  won his first ATP World Tour title in the city when the tournament was played on clay. Eleven years later with a former No. 1 ranking under his belt, a wiser, more experienced 29-year-old Roddick defeated top seeded John Isner  6-4, 6-7(5), 6-4 to move a step closer to earning the title a second time at the BB&T Atlanta Open. “I think it’s good. It was a long time ago, a different surface, a different time of year,” Roddick said. “There are not a lot of parallels but I can say certainly it’s nice to be back in the finals here.”

Both players had loud and vocal fans present as they took the court in a packed, sold out arena under threatening skies that caused a 30 minute rain delay. Isner managed 26 aces to Roddick’s six but the difference was his opponent’s ability to convert points off serves. “I took care of my serve. I did what I was supposed to do. You’re not going to beat John if you get broken a lot.  I was able to play off a little bit of trouble there at the net in the first set. I just competed well. I stayed in it even when I wasn’t real happy about whatever was going on. I kept it together and competed well.”

Isner has made the finals for the past two years losing to Mardy Fish while missing the finals this year in a loss to Roddick. “It didn’t go my way. He was the better player tonight. That’s why he won,” Isner said. “It’s pretty disappointing. Three years in this tournament I lost to two Americans, good friends of mine and it’s tough. I’ve always wanted to win this tournament but it wasn’t to be. It’s really no shame to losing to either one of those guys.”

Roddick will compete for the singles title against Luxembourg’s Gilles Muller, a lefty with a big serve that defeated 8th seeded Go Soeda of Japan 6-4, 6-3 to gain a spot in the finals. Muller’s serve dominated the match with 17 aces, winning over 90 percent of his first serve points in only 74 minutes over his 54th ranked opponent.  Muller said he had no plans to watch the semis but understood he would face a good player in the championship match. A victory would mark his fist title at the Atlanta tournament.

At stake is a trophy along with an $86,270 check for the winner with the runner up receiving $45, 435 and 150 ranking points. Roddick has faced Gilles at least three times losing once in 2005 but readily admitted that loss was a long time ago. “I’m going to have to put a lot of returns in play against him. He will probably try and come to the net more often than John (Isner) and his serve will be coming from a different angle.”

Two American players will compete on opposing teams in the doubles final. Matthew Ebden (AUS) and Ryan Harrison (USA) defeated 1st seeded Colin Fleming (GBR) and Ross Hutchins (GBR) 6-4, 6-4. Xavier Malisse (BEL) and Michael Russell (USA) earned a spot in the finals by defeating Raven Klaasen (RSA) and Donald Young (USA) 6-7(2), 6-4, 10-5.

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Audraine Jackson is covering the BB&T Atlanta Open for Tennis Panorama News July 14-22, 2012. Audraine is a sports blogger, digital journalist and tennis addict. Follow her live updates on @tennisnewsTPN and personal twitter account @atlstoryteller.

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Atlanta Results and Schedule

RESULTS – SATURDAY, 21 JULY, 2012

Singles – Semi-finals
[4] A Roddick (USA) d [1] J Isner (USA) 64 67(5) 64
G Muller (LUX) d [8] G Soeda (JPN) 64 63

Doubles – Semi-finals
M Ebden (AUS) / R Harrison (USA) d [1] C Fleming (GBR) / R Hutchins (GBR) 64 64
X Malisse (BEL) / M Russell (USA) d R Klaasen (RSA) / D Young (USA) 64 46 10-5

SCHEDULE – SUNDAY, 22 JULY, 2012

STADIUM COURT start 3:00 pm
[4] A Roddick (USA) vs G Muller (LUX)
M Ebden (AUS) / R Harrison (USA) vs X Malisse (BEL) / M Russell (USA)

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Atlantic Station is a winner for fans at BB&T Atlanta Open

John and Robert Frierson at BB&T Atlanta Open

By Herman Wood

ATLANTA, Georgia – Atlantic Station is a hopping place! The first semifinal has been completed, with Gilles Muller over Go Soeda 6-4, 6-3 and Ebden/Harrison over Fleming/Hutchins 6-3, 6-3. The stadium has emptied into Atlantic Station, where folks are shopping, eating, drinking, and generally having a great time. Kids are shooting hoops at the Atlanta Hawks tent, playing tennis at the 10 under courts and playing tennis at Publix family zone. John Frierson was taking the opportunity to teach tennis to his son Robert on the 10 and under courts. He was looking forward to the showdown tonight. Olympic folks are here with interactive booths for adults and kids to try their skills in various Olympic events.

Michael Koenig and Jack Hendry

Michael Koenig and Jack Hendry tried their skills at basketball, Paralympic style! The event had them set up in wheelchairs trying to shoot baskets. They found the going significantly tougher than their typical basketball games, but several baskets were made. Their parents were having dinner at a restaurant somewhere at Atlantic Station while they had all kinds of fun! I asked if they were rooting for anyone in particular tonight. “Roddick!” Not for the Georgia boy John Isner? “No, Roddick is the best American.” I’m sure some Georgia Bulldog fans will have something to say about that. I expect a lot of barking!

Eduardo and Andrea Baetti, with Ricardo and Alejandra Hein

Eduardo and Andrea Baetti, with Ricardo and Alejandra Hein, took in the first semifinal match today. Eduardo was sporting a Georgia hat. They didn’t have tickets for the night session but were planning lots of fun at Atlantic Station. He was definitely pulling for John Isner.

The official shirt vendor for the tourney pulled off a major coup overnight. They were able to work with John Isner and his foundation to have T-shirts printed out that say “Team Isner” in Georgia red and black. A portion of sales will go to Isner’s foundation. Sales were moving very briskly as they were already sold out of size large before the afternoon session was done.

 


Everyone seemed to be having a great time and we’re all very happy to be at Atlantic Station. It seems the players weren’t the only ones serving aces.

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Herman Wood is in Atlanta covering the BB&T Open action from around the grounds for Tennis Panorama News, follow him on twitter at https://twitter.com/hermanewood

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Isner, Roddick to meet in BB&T Atlanta Open

By Audraine Jackson

Atlanta, GA USA – John Isner moved closer to reaching the finals for the third straight year at the BB&T Atlanta Open winning a hard fought battle over 19-year old wild card Jack Sock 7-6 (7), 6-4. Isner’s opponent made the first set a grueling match with powerful forehand winners that landed him into a tie break after an hour rain delay. “I came out really flat after the rain delay and that made the set anybody’s set,” Isner said. “I think had it not rained maybe I could have won that set a little bit easier.”

 

The two were only 27 minutes into the match before it was halted by rain. Conditions became more humid as they resumed the first set with Isner up 4-1 and Sock serving. The first set alone helped pushed the match to over 2 hours, adding in the rain delay it finished well beyond midnight.

 

“That took a little bit out of me. I focused so hard to try to win that second set. I let it slip away a little bit. The second set, it was gross out there. We were both sweating like pigs. Honestly, it was just disgusting. I can’t imagine playing a third set right now.”

 

Isner thanked fans for hanging around under tough conditions late into the night. “I never want to be the last match,” Isner said. “And it’s raining. Thanks for staying until the end. I probably would have left.” With Mardy Fish out due to a turned ankle, Isner will not get the much anticipated rematch with last year’s champion he’d hoped for but will face rival Andy Roddick in a marquee match up to advance to the finals.

 

Roddick made the semis by defeating fellow American Michael Russell 6-3, 6-4 in a two set match that lasted only an hour and 12 minutes. Two-time Olympian Roddick, clad in American stars and stripes tennis shoes, used his powerful serve landing 12 aces to dominate Russell in the match. “I felt good. The hot weather helps. It gives you different options.” Roddick said. “You can kind of go with kicks, slices because everything works in this hot weather. I felt like I could make some speeds pretty accurately. I compare it to pitching a good ballgame. I felt like I could throw any pitch for a strike tonight.”

 

Number 8 seed Go Soeda upset fellow countryman 3rd seed Kei Nishikori in a historic match to advance to the semis 6-2, 6-1. The two players met for the first time in Open Era history (since 1968) with the match broadcast live in Japan during the wee hours of the morning. The only other time two Japanese players met was in 1973 when Jun Kuki defeated Takeshi in Osaka.  Playing with nothing to lose, Go Soeda, 27, overpowered his higher ranked opponent with aggressive ground strokes that pushed Nishikori, 22, far beyond the baseline.  He will face Gilles Muller of Luxembourg who defeated Matthew Ebden of Australia 6-4, 6-4. In doubles action, Colin Fleming (GBR) and Ross Hutchins (GBR) will square off with Matthew Ebden (AUS) and Ryan Harrison (USA) while Xavier Malisse (BEL) and Michael Russell (USA) will see Raven Klaasen (RSA) and Donald Young (USA) to determine who will advance to the finals.

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Audraine Jackson is covering the BB&T Atlanta Open for Tennis Panorama News July 14-22, 2012. Audraine is a sports blogger, digital journalist and tennis addict. Follow her live updates on @tennisnewsTPN and personal twitter account @atlstoryteller.

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Atlanta Results

RESULTS – FRIDAY, 20 JULY, 2012

Singles – Quarter-finals
[1] J Isner (USA) d [WC] J Sock (USA) 76(7) 64
[8] G Soeda (JPN) d [3] K Nishikori (JPN) 62 61
[4] A Roddick (USA) d M Russell (USA) 63 64
G Muller (LUX) d M Ebden (AUS) 64 64

Doubles – Quarter-finals
M Ebden (AUS) / R Harrison (USA) d K Anderson (RSA) / R De Voest (RSA) 67(2) 64 10-4
R Klaasen (RSA) / D Young (USA) d C Ebelthite (AUS) / M Matosevic (AUS) 64 75

 

SCHEDULE – SATURDAY, 21 JULY, 2012

STADIUM COURT start 1:00 pm
[8] G Soeda (JPN) vs G Muller (LUX)
[1] C Fleming (GBR) / R Hutchins (GBR) vs M Ebden (AUS) / R Harrison (USA)

Not Before 7:00 PM
[1] J Isner (USA) vs [4] A Roddick (USA)
X Malisse (BEL) / M Russell (USA) vs R Klaasen (RSA) / D Young (USA)

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Men’s Team USA Tennis Recognized at BB&T Atlanta Open

Jay Berger photo by Audraine Jackson

By Audraine Jackson

Atlanta, GA USA – The US Olympic tennis men’s singles team was introduced to a cheering audience at the BB&T Atlanta Open by tournament director Bob Bryant prior to the featured match between John Isner and Ruben Bemelmans. The introduction was preceded by a video montage highlighting American accomplishments in previous Olympic games including the 1996 Atlanta Centennial Olympics held a few miles south of the venue location.

 

The event is the last tournament before the 2012 Olympics in London, July 28 – August 5, hosting 12 participants from a variety of countries. Jay Berger, Team USA tennis coach was on hand as part of the introduction. Berger has been the USTA Player Development Head of Men’s Tennis since 2008. The crowd applauded and cheered in a standing ovation for Atlanta native Donald Young who was named first, followed by Ryan Harrison and University of Georgia’s John Isner. Fourth team member Andy Roddick who is also part of the tournament was not present at the introduction. 1984 Olympian and Atlanta native Evander Holyfield joined the lineup on court as the crowd chanted “USA, USA” while waving Team USA flags.

 

Coach Berger, who has spent the week in Atlanta talked about the exciting opportunity for the team and helping players manage the distractions that may come along with a world staged event.  “The Olympics are just an incredible event overall. To participate in China was amazing and to be able to go over there and hopefully help these guys be able to win medals is something I will really cherish the rest of my life and hopefully I will be able to make a difference in how we do over there.” He says he will help players try to balance out the Olympic experience keeping them focused on the main goal while understanding the importance of non-tennis events like the Opening Ceremonies and the atmosphere of the Olympic Village along with any logistical barriers.

 

The tennis competition will be staged at the grass courts at Wimbledon. Young, Harrison and Isner will be making their Olympic debut while Roddick will make his second appearance. 2008 Bronze medalists Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan will return in doubles. Isner and Roddick, who have never teamed before, will round out the men’s US doubles. On the women’s side, undefeated two-time gold medalist Serena Williams will represent the US in singles along with her sister, three time gold medalist Venus Williams, Christina McHale and Varvara Lepchenko. The world’s number 1 doubles team of Liezel Huber and Lisa Raymond will compete along with the Williams sisters who are undefeated in Olympic doubles seeking to gain their third gold medal since 2008.

 

The US has taken home 17 Olympic medals in previous years in men’s and women’s tennis, more than any other nation. Andre Agassi is the last American male to win Olympic gold in men’s singles when he defeated Spain’s Sergi Bruguera in Atlanta in ’96. The last gold in doubles for the US was won by Ken Flach and Robert Seguso when they defeated Spain’s Sergio Casal and Emilio Sanchez at the 1998 Seoul games.

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Audraine Jackson is covering the BB&T Atlanta Open for Tennis Panorama News July 14-22, 2012. Audraine is a sports blogger, digital journalist and tennis addict. Follow her live updates on @tennisnewsTPN and personal twitter account @atlstoryteller.

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Isner Advances, Fish Withdraws in BB&T Atlanta Open

John Isner photo by Audraine Jackson

By Audraine Jackson

ATLANTA, Georgia – Three of the four top seeds advance in the BB&T Atlanta Open. Hometown favorite John Isner gave fans what they came to see by handling Ruben Bemelmans 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 advancing to the quarterfinals. A few unforced errors by his opponent allowed the former UGA All-American to go up 5-4 before closing out the first set. Bemelmans of Belgium gave Isner all he could handle at times but it was his consistent serving scoring 16 aces in the match that made the difference.  “This event helped me build my confidence a lot going into the Olympics”, said Isner.  “I don’t like playing lefties. He’d won four matches already. It’s never easy playing a qualifier. I knew it was going to be tough.”

While most players experienced rain delays, one lasting more than five hours Wednesday, the featured singles match had a 25 minute lighting delay when a circuit breaker overheated. Fans took the opportunity to start an impromptu wave while Isner took the time to adjust his game and his attire. “I was sort of rushing prior to the lights going out. I had changed my clothes completely. I was gross. What took the longest was redoing my socks and ankle bracelets. That takes forever, and I felt bad. When the lights came off, it gave me a lot of time. But I’d rather deal with that than deal with rain.”

Two-time defending champion Mardy Fish will not have an opportunity to earn a third consecutive Atlanta tour title after being forced to withdraw due to injury.  Fish was leading Gilles Muller of Luxembourg 6-4, 3-2 when he stumbled going for a drop shot injuring his left ankle. “I didn’t have my complete balance and I was coming so close to the net. I was going to go head first into the post,” said Fish. “So I did everything I could to bring my head back. That brought my right leg out sort of sliding, jarring it back.  It was going to be my knee or my ankle or my head.” Fish will await the results of an MRI to determine the extent of the injury.  This year has been a challenging one for the 12th ranked player who recently rejoined the tour after undergoing surgery to address severe arrhythmia.

Australia’s Matthew Ebden advanced after defeating James Blake in their first ever match 6-7 (6), 6-4, 6-4. Ebden referred to Blake as a dangerous offensive player that you sort of have to get on the attack against because if you let him attack too much, he’s too good to beat himself. Blake seemed to struggle in the hot and humid conditions appearing to cramp a few times during play.

Jack Sock faced fellow American Steve Johnson showing incredible resiliency prevailing 7-6 (5), 7-6 (5) in a battle of two wild cards. Two Japanese players will face each other for first time in an ATP quarterfinal as number 3 seed Kei Nishikori of Japan plays Go Soeda, the 8th seed.

All players, including those with a bye have had an opportunity to play on the in town courts with the back drop of a city skyline surrounded by hotels, shops, restaurants and exhibits. “Nothing against the past two venues,” said Isner. “But this is just spectacular. Especially for a 250 event, it’s just cut pretty much right into the city and its right in this great area here in Atlantic Station and there’s a lot going on. When I first saw it on Monday I was pretty impressed. I had seen pictures of it but I really didn’t expect it to be this nice.”

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Audraine Jackson is covering the BB&T Atlanta Open for Tennis Panorama News July 14-22, 2012. Audraine is a sports blogger, digital journalist and tennis addict. Follow her live updates on @tennisnewsTPN and personal twitter account @atlstoryteller.

RESULTS

Thursday’s Second-Round Singles Scores

Matthew Ebden, Australia, def. James Blake, U.S., 6-7 (4), 6-4, 6-4

Gilles Muller, Luxembourg, def. (2) Mardy Fish, U.S., 4-6, 2-3, retired

(wc) Jack Sock, U.S., def. (wc) Steve Johnson, U.S., 7-6 (5), 7-6 (5)

(1) John Isner, U.S., def. (q) Ruben Bemelmans, Belgium, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4

Thursday’s Doubles Scores

Raven Klaasen, South Africa-Donald Young, U.S., def. (2) Santiago Gonzalez, Mexico-Scott Lipsky, U.S., 6-2, 7-6 (5)

Colin Fleming, Great Britain-Ross Hutchins, Great Britain, def. Lukas Dlouhy, Czech Republic-Nicolas Mahut, France, 7-6 (2), 6-2

Matthew Ebden, Australia, def. Ryan Harrison, U.S., def. (3) Treat Huey, Philippines-Dominic Inglot, Great Britain, 6-3, 7-5

Kevin Anderson, South Africa-Rik De Voest, South Africa, def. Paolo Lorenzi, Italy-Rajeev Ram, U.S., 6-3, 6-7 (3), 10-6

Xavier Malisse, Belgium-Michael Russell, U.S, def. (4) Jamie Delgado, Great Britain-Ken Skupski, Great Britain, 7-6 (0), 6-4

Colin Ebelthite (AUS) / Marinko Matosevic (AUS) def. [WC] Kevin King (USA) / Ignacio Taboada (USA) 7-5, 7-5

Friday’s Quarterfinal Schedule

Matthew Ebden, Australia, vs. Gilles Muller, Luxembourg

Go Soeda (8), Japan vs. Kei Nishikori (3), Japan

Andy Roddick (4), U.S., vs. Michael Russell, U.S.

John Isner (1), U.S., or Ruben Bemelmans, Belgium, vs. (wc) Jack Sock, U.S.

Matthew Ebden, Australia-Ryan Harrison, U.S. vs. Kevin Anderson, South Africa-Rik De Voest, South Africa

Colin Ebelthite, Australia-Marinko Matosevic, Australia  vs. Raven Klaasen, South Africa-Donald Young, U.S.

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