By Herman Wood
(July 26, 2918) ALTANTA – Local wildcard Donald Young fell to No. 4 seed Matthew Ebden in the opening match on Thursday on stadium court 6-4, 6-4. If Young had gotten through and Frances Tiafoe advanced, it would have been an All-American matchup.
Like Young, Frances Tiafoe was not able to advance against veteran Marcos Baghdatis. In many ways, he was his own worst enemy, with nine double faults and 26 unforced errors for the match. Despite that, Tiafoe was able to keep the match level and on serve to five all in the first set. The break came on a very sloppy-looking backhand to give the game to Baghdatis, who was very happy to serve it out. Baghdatis did not have to work that hard to consolidate the break & take the first set 7-5. Tiafoe’s play continued to look sloppy in his first service game of the second set and he was broken easily. An occasional winner from Tiafoe was about all the resistance he could seem to offer in the second set. Baghdatis put a merciful end to the match with an easy 6-1 second set. Asked about the match, Baghdatis said “Everything went well today!” He was very clear he was happy to be back in Atlanta, finishing the match with a kiss to the court. He will advance to play Matthew Ebden in the next round.
In the final match of the day session, Cameron Norrie took on Jeremy Chardy. Norrie won the battle of stats in the first set, but Chardy won the set with the stat that counted- he broke Norrie in his only break opportunity to take the set 7-5.
In the second set, statistics seemed to catch up to Chardy, as he donated his first service game with a break via double fault. Norrie had an easy time consolidating and the set stayed on serve to Norrie, 6-4.
In the opening game of the third set, Chardy was down 0-15 as Norrie ripped a huge pass to get to 0-30. After a Norrie error, Chardy successfully challenged a call, then made it pay off with another ripped pass. The veteran Chardy pulled it back to 30-40 with an ace, but hit a high bouncing second serve that Norrie looped back. Chardy tried to do too much with it, handing Norrie the break 1-0. Norrie had very little struggle to consolidate the break. Chardy’s forehand really seemed to let him down overall in the match. Both men held very easily, only giving a point here or there on serve until Chardy stepped up to serve down 2-4. He allowed Norrie into the game, giving up a couple of points, but Norrie was not able to capitalize, dropping the game with what should have been a simple backhand rally ball into the net. Norrie put his foot squarely back on the accelerator, serving out a love game to force Chardy to stay in the match with his serve down 3-5. Chardy struggled to get his first serves in, but earned the game to force Norrie to try to close the match with his own serve. Norrie placed his serves very well to Chardy’s backhand and he simply could not muster an effective return. Serving at 40-0, Norrie changed up with a serve to Chardy’s body that he could only fight off. The next ball off the Chardy return was sent down the line with pace and Chardy sent Norrie a ball that he could easily volley for a winner. Game, set, match, Norrie 5-7, 6-4, 6-4. Norrie will take on the winner of the Nicholas Krgyios/Noah Rubin match later in the evening.