Eubanks Upsets Fritz, Pospisil Wins In Third Set Tiebreak BB&T Atlanta Open Day 2
Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
Georgia Tech’s Christopher Eubanks claimed his first ever ATP main draw match victory, upsetting ATP young gun Taylor Fritz 7-6 6-4. Eubanks showed his power, controlling the match against the struggling Fritz. The first set was nip and tuck, with neither player facing a breakpoint. Eubanks lost one point on serve in the ensuing tiebreak, but Fritz lost two, and with that, the set. In the second set Eubanks went up a break, and then saved the only break point Fritz created the whole match, going on to serve it out 6-4. Fritz struggling on return to make any inroads.
Joining Eubanks in the second round is Atlanta’s own Donald Young, the home favorite dominated Tim Smyczek 6-4 6-2, playing the same comfortable and smooth tennis that has seen him post one of his best seasons on tour in years, Smyczek never made inroads.
Three young Americans weren’t as lucky on day 2 of main draw action. Reilly Opelka had eight match points in the second set, but his serve fell apart in the third set and he ended up losing to veteran Malek Jaziri 5-7 7-6 6-1. The loss is yet another for Opelka, who has struggled this year to close out matches at the tour level, with just one win on tour this year.
Vasek Pospisil won a nip and tuck battle against Bjorn Fratangelo 7-5 4-6 7-6. With the ball flying in the heat, Pospisil took the first set with the only break point chance of the set, he failed to break Fratangelo despite three chances in the second set, and Fratangelo stayed alive with a late break. Pospisil faced a break point in the opening service game of the third, and three more serving 4-4, the American never saw a match point though, failing to take his chances on Pospisil’s service games, he would lose the tiebreak 7-3 in the third set.
American Frances Tiafoe hit with power and moved well for three sets, but fell to the more experienced John Millman. Millman winning 5-7 6-4 7-6 in over two hours. Millman struggled on serve in the opening set late on, he saved two break points at 4-4, but then was broken and dropped the set from 5-5. Tiafoe wasn’t able to keep up his momentum in set 2, he was broken twice, once early on, and even though he got back on serve when Millman was serving for the set, he would get broken in the next game for a third set to ensue. Tiafoe served for the match in the third set, but never had a match point. Millman would break back and then snatch the tiebreak by a narrow margin.
The other singles winners on the day were Kyle Edmund, Peter Gojowczyk, and Dudi Sela. Edmund beat a struggling Marcos Baghdatis 6-3 7-5. Edmund was the better mover, and in the heat Baghdatis wilted a bit, failing to create chances in his return games. Gojowczyk kept up his momentum from a positive week in Newport, he won a later afternoon battle with Guido Pella 4-6 6-3 7-6 even though he was down a set and a break to open the match. The tiebreak was close, but only Gojowczyk had a match point. In a match that was not serve centric, the underpowered Sela beat Konstantin Kravchuk 7-5 6-2, coming back from a break down in the opening set.
In the doubles, the Bryan Brothers avoided being knocked off by Matt Reid and J.P. Smith via a super tiebreak. Qureshi/Ratiwatana beat Donald Young and Nick Monroe in a very close nightcap match, and Koolhof/Sitak beat Cox/Reinberg in yet another super tiebreak.