BB&TAtlanta Open Day 5: Hewitt Outlasts Williams; Falla, Karlovic Suffer Bogota Hangover; Dodig Dogged Over Berankis; Blake, Russell Advance
Atlanta, July 24, 2013—Lleyton Hewitt outgritted Rhyne Williams 7-6, 6-4 to reach the quarterfinals of the BB&T Atlanta Open. Rusty Hewitt went up early 5-3, but Rhyne would rely on his serve and power baselining to bring him back to 6-all. In the tiebreak, he went up 6-2 but Rusty fought back, as he always does, eventually taking it 8-6. He was helped by a Williams double fault along the way. In the 2nd set, Rhyno didn’t let up though, continuing to remain focused and hammering away. Just like his match yesterday, Hewitt broke in the final game of the match after a bit of hassle and took it 6-4.
I also will point out Rhyne’s much improved on court attitude. After having developed a reputation for self-beratement and broken racquets, he literally made almost no non-tennis ball hitting sounds on court today or in his match against Denis Kudla. He’s remained calm and focused, even when broken or when making a technical mistake. A+ for attitude.
The Bogota finalists both suffered losses today. Ivo Karlovic was downright sleep-inducing against Matt Ebden. He was broken twice, against all odds, and just couldn’t do it today. Karlo called the trainer, who checked his heartbeat, and he retired at the end of the set to advance the Aussie qualifier to Round 2.
Alejandro Falla played a longer match, but also was upset, losing in 3 sets to Christian Harrison, for Harrison’s first career ATP main draw match win 6-1, 6-7, 6-2. The younger Harrison sprinted out to a strong lead, but the Colombian would play a cleaner, more competitive second set. Midway into that set, however, he called the trainer and got his legs stretched out. The tiebreak and the games proceeding it were incredibly close, with multiple games going to deuce, but the Colombian survived before running out of gas in Set 3 and allowing a fresher Harrison to push his way over the hump.
Harrison carries around a great attitude on and off court, and especially today. He was incredibly courteous interacting with fans and took plenty of time to do so. This seems to be his modus operandi and he is a great up and coming ambassador for the pro game.
Ivan Dodig was dogged against a bipolar Ricardas Berankis 6-1, 6-7, 6-3. Rycka was atrocious in the first set, similar to his start against Zverev the day before, but somehow finished differently and played to his talent level in the 2nd set. He came up with some incredible shots to keep the match alive and take the 2nd set. The problem is that he once again could not maintain that level of play. His typical form would be an amazing moving winner followed by a limp drop shot into the net and a shanked forehand. The passing shots were dynamic between the pair and the match ended on a great volley point/incredible drop shot by Dodig. The Croatian was so pleased with his win after the match that he gave his wristband to a young fan, who was originally just seeking an autograph.
James Blake won in 3 tight sets over Tim Smyczek, who tried being tenacious but just wasn’t quite as good, Blake winning 7-6, 4-6, 7-6. Michael Russell did the same, finishing up a comeback win over Comeback Kid Mardy Fish 4-6, 6-2, 7-5. Fish did not play poorly at all It was just Russell who played extremely well and believe me, they battled. Both of them would have beaten a lot of ATP regulars in their current form today.
In doubles, Guccione/Hewitt got by Gonzalez/Lipsky 3-6 7-6 10-2, Ram/Skupski beat Inglot/Moser 6-4 6-4 and Blake/Sock edged Demoliner/Sa 7-5, 7-6, 10-6.