Kyrgios Upsets Isner to take 2016 BB&T Atlanta Open Title
Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
Nick Kyrgios came to the 2016 BB&T Atlanta Open with a mission, and he left as the champion, after upsetting the favored top seed John Isner on a hot and cloudy afternoon in Atlanta. Kyrgios prevailed in a pair of tiebreaks 7-6 7-6, and he was the player who had the advantage all match, as his aggressive play kept Isner on his back foot, and forced the American into some uncomfortable shots that he couldn’t connect on.
The young Australian now has a pair of ATP 250 titles this season, and despite his usual frustrations, he put on a comprehensive performance against the veteran Isner. Instead of playing in Rio, he’ll now have a week off to prepare for the rest of the Emirates US Open Series, and the US Open where he is a possible dark horse with his big serve.
Isner actually got off to a decent start, generating three break point chances in Kyrgios first service game, but Kyrgios dug deep to hold, and forced break point chances against Isner in two more service games before the match went to a tiebreak. Kyrgios got way ahead in the tiebreak and didn’t look back taking it 7-3.
After Isner took a break and looked ready to go the distance for yet another Atlanta title, he was able to hold his serve all throughout the second set without facing a break point. Kyrgios got to 30-30 up 5-4 with Isner serving, and Isner had a break point chance to break Kyrgios for 6-5, but neither could convert. In the second set tiebreak, there were five straight minibreaks from 1-1. From 2-3 down in the tiebreak Kyrgios won five of the next six points with thunder booming in the distance to take the match. Isner looked unbeatable in Atlanta, but Kyrgios cracked the glass ceiling with his win. He’s the champion in his debut at the tournament.
In the doubles final, Molteni and Zeballos continued their tremendous week as they defeated Brunstrom and Siljestrom 7-6 6-4.
Both Kyrgios and Isner had to come back in their semifinal matches. Kyrgios dropped the second set to Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan, but in the end the Japanese young gun couldn’t touch his serve. Nishioka succumbed to Kyrgios 6-3 3-6 6-3. Isner faced Reilly Opelka in a battle of two of the tallest players on the ATP tour. Despite a strong start for Opelka, he wilted in the third set as Isner kept forcing him to hold. Isner won 6-7 6-4 6-2, as Opelka’s serve quality declined as the match went on, and Isner only got stronger.