Tommy Paul Reaches Maiden ATP Quarterfinal at BB&T Atlanta Open
Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
Young American Tommy Paul had only one ATP level match win in his career prior to the 2017 BB&T Atlanta Open, and already he’s reached his maiden quarterfinal on tour. The 20 year old continued his great season overall defeating tour veteran Malek Jaziri 6-7 6-4 6-3, as he wore down Jaziri despite creating few chances to break serve until the final set. Jaziri’s shotmaking prevailed early, Paul was broken out of the gate, and although he got the match back to 4-4, he would lose the ensuing first set tiebreak from 5-5. In the second set it was dead even until Jaziri slipped up and got broken at 3-3. Paul would serve out the second set without incident, and force a decider. At this point, the heat was causing Jaziri to struggle physically. The younger player, Paul had a fitness edge, and although Jaziri went up a break 3-1 and looked on his way to victory, Jaziri imploded from there, losing five straight games and with it the match, as the Tunisian’s body failed him. Paul capping off a great comeback as the underdog.
Joining Paul in the quarterfinals as an underdog is Lukas Lacko. If Lacko reaches the semifinals he’ll have more ATP wins than he’s had in the last two seasons combined. Lacko got to face Donald Young in round 2, and Young struggled in his home tournament again, crashing out in an hour of play 6-3 6-1. Young generated no break points and lost service games every time he went down a break point. It was a comprehensive performance from Lacko, and a debacle from Young.
Gilles Muller and John Isner setup a battle of big servers. Muller won the afternoon match against Quentin Halys 6-4 6-7 6-3. After breaking in the opening service game, the net broke, and there was a delay in the match. The in-form Muller saved two break points after resumption at 4-3 in the 1st, and then went on to take the set, as Halys never recovered that early break. In the second set both players took advantage of the fast, high bouncing court, there was routine service games, and then a second set tiebreak where Muller imploded on serve, and Halys force a third set. Muller got back focused in the third though, he didn’t waste time, breaking Halys to go up 3-1, he didn’t face a break point on his serve in the third, and although he missed one more shot at a break of serve, he still took the match 6-3 in the third.
John Isner won the last singles match of the day, comfortable on the Atlanta Open courts, and on a winning streak, he eased past Vasek Pospisil 6-3 6-4. Pospisil was atrocious on return, and after going down a break early in the first set, he seemed resigned to dropping the opening set. Isner lost just one point on serve in that first frame. In the second set, Isner would lost just three points on his serve, and never face a break point. Pospisil, was under pressure twice on his serve, and was broken once, as the scoreline hid how far apart Isner and Pospisil were in terms of performance.
In doubles action the winners were Raja/Sharan in three sets over Gonzalez/Lipsky, Chung/Nedunchezhiyan over the Sock brothers, and Molteni/Shamasdin over Ryan Harrison and Michael Venus in three sets.