Muller and Isner Setup Big Serving BB&T Atlanta Open Semifinal
Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
Both Gilles Muller and John Isner continued their good form in recent weeks and eased into the semifinals of the BB&T Atlanta Open on Friday. Muller defeated Tommy Paul in just over an hour. The American was overmatched by Muller’s serve as Gilles fired 16 aces in a 6-3 6-1 victory. Muller saved all four break points he faced, and beyond a strong serve, he moved forward on return games as well breaking Paul four times. Paul had a chance to break early in the first set, but lost confidence thereafter. In the second set, Muller broke early and reeled off five straight games from 2-1 up in the second set.
Isner defeated Lukas Lacko 7-5 6-4. Lacko was outclassed by Isner’s high bouncing serve, his positioning on return was poor, and even though he did have a shot to break Isner once in the first set, he failed to take it, and finally Isner got a breakthrough in the first. The second set was close, but Isner broke and held in consecutive games from 4-4 to secure the match. Given the number of games played it was over rather quickly, and Lacko was meek in defeat. Isner fired 13 aces, and won almost 80% of his points on serve. Against Muller he’ll need to considerably improve his return game though.
Ryan Harrison and Kyle Edmund will square off in the other singles semifinal. Chris Eubanks seemed exhausted, as Harrison defeated him 6-1 6-2. Eubanks had 10 double faults, and faced twelve break points in the match, while generating none. Even though he fought hard, the college player was clearly fighting in vain as Harrison dominated proceedings and showed his style. Harrison won the first five games of the match, and Eubanks never found his way back into things.
Despite having fan support, top seed Jack Sock was out of sorts in the late match on Friday night, and Edmund prevailed 6-4 6-1. Unlike the matches earlier in the day, rallies featured more prominently than serves. Edmund only faced one break point in the match though, and that was in a close first set. Sock went up a break 4-3, but lost his momentum due to a health incident with a fan in the stands, and prior to that a short rain delay. Edmund got it back to 4-4, and then won the next two games to take the set. The second set was one way traffic from 1-1, Edmund won five straight games and finished off Sock quickly, never letting him get back into things. Edmund had been bothered by a shoulder issue in the first set, but after the trainer worked on him his groundstrokes were sharper than before.
The Bryan Brothers dominated Chung/Nedunchezhiyan in the doubles to reach the semifinals. They are clear favorites to take the title given their strong form, and fan support.