By Herman Wood
(July 26, 2018) ATLANTA, GA – In daytime action on Wednesday at the BB&T Atlanta Open, results were a bit mixed for the young Americans. Taylor Fritz fell to Hyeon Chung 6-4, 7-6 (5) in the opening match on stadium court. Chung showed impressive power in the match. The second set was a bit of a see saw affair, with an exchange of service breaks.
Ryan Harrison fared a bit better against Lukas Lacko, despite a slow start. He destroyed a racquet, received a warning, and was down 2-5 before fans had a chance to settle into their seats. He changed his focus, nearly giving up an early break in the second set with a tight, patient hold. After nearly being broken, Harrison took advantage of a little momentum swing and broke Lacko for a 4-2 lead. After a hold, he grabbed momentum with both hands, breaking Lacko again, this time for the second set, 6-2. Lacko pushed back in the third set with an early break of his own. Harrison looked frustrated, but held his composure nicely and stayed close down 2-3. Patience and defense kept paying off as he managed two breaks of Lacko, allowing him to serve out the match for a 2-6, 6-2, 6-3 win. Harrison will face Chung in the next round. The match was graced with the presence of legendary Davis Cup fan Dave Foster. Foster owns an impressive streak of Davis Cup tie attendance, both home and away.
In the evening feature match in the stadium, last year’s champion, John Isner, took on 19 year-old Australian Alex de Minaur. Isner won four of the last five BB&T Atlanta Opens and is always a crowd favorite. Isner was the heart of the UGA tennis team that won a national team championship only sixty miles from the BB&T in Athens, Georgia. Just as in last night’s college night event, there was barking. The partisan crowd never seemed to bother de Minaur. He was formerly ranked number two in the world as a junior. The pictures chosen for his highlight reel on the big screen made him appear to be much younger than nineteen. He entered the match ranked number 68 in the world.
As expected, Isner chose to serve to open the match. His first offering was called an ace, but de Minaur challenged successfully. It was about as much success as he would muster for the evening in his attempts to return Isner’s rockets. On the second serve, de Minaur appeared to try to take a page from Roger Federer, charging in. He only managed to misdirect it a bit, giving Isner a service winner. The match progressed on serve, with Isner patiently returning and rallying as needed. He ran down a few well struck shots from de Minaur, finally coaxing errors for a break to give Isner a 4-2 advantage. With a break in his pocket, Isner was very comfortable. He held easily and chose carefully the time to go for shots on de Minaur’s service game and then loaded up the rocket launcher at 5-3 serving. He put an exclamation mark on the set with a first set ace that was unsuccessfully challenged for 6-3, Isner.
It was apparent to de Minaur that his strategy on Isner’s serve was not working. Perhaps his mind wandered a bit, as Isner broke him on his first service game of the second set. Isner simply was serving too well and de Minaur was not quite as steady as he was when the match started. After a second de Minaur service break, completed with a double fault at ad out, Isner was again content to fire aces and service winners. For the match he had fifteen aces and won 93% of his first serve points. De Minaur never held a break point against Isner, according to official statistics from the ATP tour. He did manage a hold in his last service game, but could not come close when Isner served it out for the win, 6-3, 6-2.
Isner was asked after the match about de Minaur’s unconventional attack of his serve on the first point of the match; ‘I’ve seen it all – people standing in close, in the middle, at the fence.” As to the Atlanta Open, “I’m very happy to be back here. It’s the most successful tourney of my career.” In the next round he will play Mischa Zverev. Isner expects a tough match, as Zverev beat him three times last year. “I’m going to have to play very well.”
RESULTS – JULY 25, 2018
Singles – Second Round
 J. Isner (USA) d A. de Minaur (AUS) 63 62
 [WC] H. Chung (KOR) d T. Fritz (USA) 64 76(5)
 M. Zverev (GER) d M. Youzhny (RUS) 64 62
 R. Harrison (USA) d L. Lacko (SVK) 26 62 63
Doubles – Quarterfinals
 N. Monroe (USA) / J. Smith (AUS) d [WC] C. Eubanks (USA) / D. Young (USA) 63 26 10-4
R. Arneodo (MON) / J. Chardy (FRA) d  D. Sharan (IND) / A. Sitak (NZL) 64 75
 R. Harrison (USA) / R. Ram (USA) d M. Arevalo (ESA) / M. Reyes-Varela (MEX) 75 61
T. Fritz (USA) / C. Norrie (GBR) d  J. Erlich (ISR) / J. Salisbury (GBR) 63 64
ORDER OF PLAY – THURSDAY, JULY 26, 2018
STADIUM COURT start 12:00 noon
 M. Ebden (AUS) vs [WC] D. Young (USA)
M. Baghdatis (CYP) vs  F. Tiafoe (USA)
 J. Chardy (FRA) vs C. Norrie (GBR)
Not Before 7:00 pm
[Q] N. Rubin (USA) vs  N. Kyrgios (AUS)
P. Raja (IND) / K. Skupski (GBR) vs T. Fritz (USA) / C. Norrie (GBR)