Kyrgios And Verdasco Setup Quarterfinal Clash at 2016 BB&T Atlanta Open
Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
Three of the four Thursday singles matches were routine straight set affairs at the 2016 BB&T Atlanta Open. Nick Kyrgios made his highly anticipated debut in singles against fellow young gun Jared Donaldson in the night match, and he dominated proceedings 7-6 6-3. Kyrgios was strong on serve and he didn’t need much else. Kyrgios saved one break point in the first set, a first set that featured an hour long rain delay, and despite failing to break for the set 6-5 up when given two opportunities, he eased his way through the first set tiebreak.
Donaldson continued to be unable to bother Kyrgios on return, and his own serve wilted in the second set. He went down a double break as Kyrgios upped his game, eager to get off court. Despite getting one of the breaks back, Kyrgios went 5-3 up, and didn’t need to serve again, breaking Donaldson easily to take the match and reach the quarterfinals.
Kyrgios will face another fan favorite, veteran Fernando Verdasco in the quarterfinals. Verdasco broke Julien Benneteau four times in a resounding 6-1 6-3 win and he’s been playing great through two matches in Atlanta. Benneteau was dispatched in less than an hour, and never troubled Verdasco on serve, failing to generate a break point.
The #4 seed Alexandr Dolgopolov wasn’t entirely fit this week, and it showed, as he struggled through a three set loss to the upstart Japanese player Yoshihito Nishioka. Nishioka prevailed 6-3 2-6 6-1, as the first and third sets were over in less than 30 minutes. Dolgopolov failed to produce break points against a breakable Nishioka in either set. The second set saw Nishioka suddenly lose form, but despite that, he didn’t waver heading into the third, and Dolgopolov’s fitness issues revealed themselves, with the Atlanta heat not helping. Dolgopolov and his teammate Sergiy Stakhovsky later withdrew from the doubles match they were scheduled to play against Raja/Sharan.
Argentina’s Horacio Zeballos continued his great run of form in Atlanta this week, as he dispatched Tobias Kamke 6-1 6-4. Kamke got off to a slow start, and Zeballos, who isn’t a great server, wasn’t really under pressure in his service games throughout the match.
In the lone doubles match played Thursday, Demoliner/Garcia-Lopez defeated Marray/Shamasdin.
Six matches on tap for Friday
The doubles matches on Friday will be Eubanks/Kennedy vs. Molteni/Zeballos, and Brunstrom/Siljestrom vs. Monroe/Sitak. in Singles Zeballos faces Nishioka, Verdasco will be opposite Kyrgios, and a pair of All-American battles will take place with Opelka facing Young, and Isner taking on Fritz in the late match.