By Herman Wood
(July 24, 2018) ATLANTA, Georgia – The BB&T Atlanta Open was able to catch up from Monday night’s rain quickly on Tuesday. The rain was a nice birthday present for Donald Young. His match with Ivo Karlovic was halted Monday night by weather when he was a set down. In the heat on Tuesday, he managed to settle in and win in two tiebreak sets. He was down a break in the third set and Karlovic even held a match point. Young was largely positive with fist pumps when he had to dig deep, despite a few abuses of his racquet. “I tried to stay there and stay focused” said Young. He clearly felt good about his chances once he took the match to the breaker. In the third set tiebreak, he led with a mini break, though he gave it back on a simple rally ball to give Karlovic a chance to serve the match out. The veteran Karlovic could not do it. In fact, he double faulted at six all in the tiebreak. With the chance to finish it himself Young could not come through with a first serve, but Karlovic helped him out with a sailing second service return that gave the match to Young, 2-6, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (6) Young received a wild card into the tournament and has made it pay off.
“The opportunity came, and I picked the right spot on a break point and hit a good shot,” Young added. “There we were; we were even again. I knew once that we went to a break. I have won the last three breakers we have played. I was feeling pretty confident on the breaker.”
In the final daytime match on stadium court, Frances Tiafoe took on Marius Copil. Tiafoe got an early break, celebrated with a big fist pump and held on for the set 6-4. Copil served first in the second set, holding twice. Serving at 1-2, Tiafoe double faulted, and got caught scrambling to go down 15-30 in the game. He composed himself, retrieving on one point buying a Copil error on a down the line rip, then let fly with a winner of his own to finally hold to 2-2. Copil showed some touch around the net with drop shots after approaches while still striking authoritative winners. Tiafoe had his 2-3 service game at love, but suddenly let up. His focus returned with a wide serve followed by a down the line winner, then a service winner and he held to three all. After the near break of Tiafoe, Copil allowed Tiafoe into his service game, donating the break of his service game with a double fault. Tiafoe held quickly to 5-3, then largely allowed Copil to hold without much resistance to bring the match onto his racquet. After allowing Copil a couple of points to even the game at thirty all, Tiafoe finished it off with an ace for a 6-4, 6-4 win.
The evening session on Tuesday was college night at the BB&T Atlanta Open. Emil Reinberg, UGA senior took on Mikhail Youzhny. Reinberg had quite the escort to the match with a parade through Atlantic Station led by the University of Georgia cheerleaders, one of the Georgia mascots, Hairy Dawg, and the alumni pep band playing the University of Georgia fight song and other UGA inspirational tunes. The cheerleaders and Hairy lined the entrance to court for Reinberg and the band played. Georgia fans in the crowd were certainly fired up! The pageantry did not seem to bother Youzhny and he seemed good natured about the barking. In fact, Youzny took only two minutes to get through his opening service game. Reinberg managed to get his teeth into just one point. Reinberg showed early patience, with a willingness to rally and work the points. Both men were working hard for points. Reinberg showed he belonged with his serve alone, on a second serve ace to get to 40-30 on his first service game. He followed it up with another tough second serve, this time for a winner. Youzhny started to get rolling on his second service game with an easy love hold. The roll continued with a break of Reinberg’s serve at 15 to take him to 3-1. Reinberg found the top of the tape in several long rallies, many backhand to backhand. Youzhny seemed to be taking the measure of Reinberg in the rallies, holding easily to 4-1. Reinberg was willing to learn from the pro- employing a forehand squash shot to put pressure on Youzhny, just as Youzhny had used it against him in earlier games. In his service game at 1-4, the backhand rallies continued, but Reinberg proved a bit steadier for the moment, to stay close at 2-4. The crowd was heavily behind him, cheering his winners heartily!
It was noticeable in rallies that Youzhny kept his shot just a bit deeper. It opened the court for him to occasionally throw in the drop shot or to run Reinberg that much wider during the point. Serving down 2-5, Reinberg dug a hole in his service game, falling behind in rallies and 30-40 in the game until Youzhny simply showed more patience, pushing the ball back until Reinberg sailed a backhand long giving the first set to Youzhny 6-2.
Youzhny opened his first service game of the second set with some big serves. Reinberg looked a bit dejected until he managed a return to start a rally he finished with a big forehand down the line for a winner. Youzhny held on, 1-0. Reinberg certainly learned- he stepped up the pace of his serve and took a bit off of his ground strokes in his first service game of the second set. A challenged ace helped Reinberg gain ad in, but a forehand error brought another deuce. Another backhand to backhand rally, finally ending in a Youzhny error earned another ad for Reinberg, but the tape had other ideas. Another challenged ace got Reinberg a third game point that Youzhny again fought off. Youzhny was far more patient with a rally at deuce and Reinberg looked tired in that point and the ensuing ad out. Youzhny was finally the one to yield and it was back to deuce. Rallies and the general flow seemed to take the energy out of Reinberg and Youzny worked him over in the rallies, patiently awaiting the chance to pounce or earn the error. Youzhny finally earned a break to go up 2-0. Reinberg managed pressure occasionally on Youzhny in his service game, but Youzhny fought through it. Reinberg was working hard, but frustration was mounting. He stepped up to serve down 0-5 and a set. Youzhny was swinging freely, directing the action. For the first time at 15-all, Reinberg followed a pressing shot with a foray to the net. He was able to earn the point with a dropper. Youzhny continued to rally, one-handed backhand to two-handed and kept winning points. Finally, after a bit over an hour, Reinberg succumbed with a wide backhand, giving Youzhny the win, 6-2, 6-0. Points were well earned in what the scoreboard showed a runaway. Reinberg comported himself well and gave his all. Youzhny’s experience showed. “Not the best, but it’s all a learning experience.” said Reinberg.
In the last match of the day, Mike Bryan and Frances Tiafoe teamed against Leander Paes and Jamie Cerretani. Doubles is always a draw in Atlanta due to the Atlanta Lawn Tennis Association. The league has approximately 80,000 members that only play doubles, though there is a junior singles ladder. The crowd always appreciates the art and special athleticism of the doubles game. With Mike Bryan and Leander Paes on court, it was certain they would be entertained. Paes pulled off a swinging shot out of the air just a few feet inside the baseline that had every coach in the stands screaming NO, though it didn’t earn him the point. There were clever angles and dying drop shots, along with serious tactics from both Bryan and Paes. The difference, perhaps, was the power of Tiafoe. His service was never really threatened, though the threat of Bryan at the net had something to do with the effectiveness of his serve. Tiafoe also showed some fine touch on volleys, though he did get “Charlie Browned” on a volley. (Remember the Peanuts comic strip where Charlie Brown is pitching in one panel and a ball is flying past him in the next as he is upside down with his clothing going everywhere?) The first set was tight, with Bryan/Tiafoe winning it 7-5 on a game deciding point. The second set was another story, with an early break of Cerretani’s serve setting the tone. Tiafoe/Bryan served for the match at 5-1 after another break of Cerretani and holds of their own. Tiafoe earned the last two points with an overhead blast off of a lob that Paes dropped from orbit. He nearly repaid Cerretani for the earlier volley in a very painful manner with the shot. On the final point, Tiafoe showed the precise part of his diverse game with a beautiful angled dropper. Game, set, match to Bryan/Tiafoe 7-5, 6-1.
Herman Wood is covering the BB&T Atlanta Open for Tennis Panorama News.
Results from the day:
Singles – First Round
 F. Tiafoe (USA) d M. Copil (ROU) 64 64
 J. Chardy (FRA) d R. Berankis (LTU) 64 63
 M. Zverev (GER) d T. Smyczek (USA) 63 67(8) 63
 R. Harrison (USA) d [PR] J. Duckworth (AUS) 46 76(2) 61
M. Youzhny (RUS) d [WC] E. Reinberg (USA) 62 60
[WC] D. Young (USA) d I. Karlovic (CRO) 26 76(5) 76(6)
M. Baghdatis (CYP) d [Q] A. Bolt (AUS) 64 61
T. Fritz (USA) d R. Ramanathan (IND) 64 64
C. Norrie (GBR) d M. Jaziri (TUN) 75 60
[Q] N. Rubin (USA) d [Q] T. Kokkinakis (AUS) 63 64
Doubles – First Round
[WC] C. Eubanks (USA) / D. Young (USA) d M. Ebden (AUS) / J. Withrow (USA) 46 76(3) 10-8
M. Bryan (USA) / F. Tiafoe (USA) d J. Cerretani (USA) / L. Paes (IND) 75 61
ORDER OF PLAY – WEDNESDAY, JULY 25, 2018
STADIUM COURT start 11:00 am
T. Fritz (USA) vs  [WC] H. Chung (KOR)
Not Before 1:00 pm
 R. Harrison (USA) vs L. Lacko (SVK)
Not Before 4:00 pm
M. Youzhny (RUS) vs  M. Zverev (GER)
Not Before 7:00 pm
 J. Isner (USA) vs A. de Minaur (AUS)
M. Arevalo (ESA) / M. Reyes-Varela (MEX) vs  R. Harrison (USA) / R. Ram (USA)
AJC GRANDSTAND start 11:00 am
 D. Sharan (IND) / A. Sitak (NZL) vs R. Arneodo (MON) / J. Chardy (FRA)
Not Before 2:00 pm
 N. Monroe (USA) / J. Smith (AUS) vs [WC] C. Eubanks (USA) / D. Young (USA)
After Suitable Rest – T. Fritz (USA) / C. Norrie (GBR) vs  J. Erlich (ISR) / J. Salisbury (GBR)