Wild Wednesday as Stollar Shocks Vesnina, Rogers Rocks Keys at @VolvoCarOpen Steve Fogleman and Tony Callaio, Tennis Atlantic
Fanny Stollar, Charleston 2017 (Photo Credit: Tony Callaio, TennisAtlantic.com)
It was a day when the rain never came, until it did. Many higher-ranked players and Americans probably prayed for the rain to come to the Volvo Car Open in the second and third sets of their matches to allow them to regroup mentally, but it didn’t.
The result? What tournament officials would privately consider a disaster: Americans Venus Williams, Madison Keys and Bethanie Mattek-Sands bowed out, as well as fan favorites Monica Puig and 2016 runner-up Elena Vesnina. The rain finally came, postponing the night session and dropping penny-sized hail nearby.
There were at least two silver linings in those storm clouds. Fanny Stollar, virtually unknown before the weekend, was the player to beat Vesnina and enter the round of 16. Having qualified for her first WTA tour event over the weekend, Stollar has now beaten Asia Muhammad and world #13 Elena Vesnina and will face Ostapenko today. And she really didn’t have any time to soak it in.
A jubilant Stollar of Hungry walked into the Media Center for post match press all smiles as she had just completed the biggest victory of her career when she knocked off No.4 seed Russian Elena Vesnina in a stunning upset 7-6(7), 7-6(3).
Stellar, ranked 282 in the world, dispatched Vesnina in the 2:05 match.
“It really feels good (to win), but it’s still not done, so I can’t be so happy about it because the next one is coming up,” said Stollar. “I just felt really calm and confident right now. So I don’t have any pressure on me at all. I’m just having fun and playing.”
Shelby Rogers, 2017 Volvo Car Open (Photo: Tony Callaio, Tennis Atlantic)
Though local fans would surely lament the loss of Madison Keys to the tournament, if someone had to do it, let it be Shelby. They got their wish as the hometown girl at her home tournament, dubbed “Ms. Roger’s Neighborhood” by Bethanie Mattek-Sands, made the most of the home-court advantage. Despite offering Keys chances to stick around, the listless top seed was no match for Rogers in a 4-6, 6-1, 6-1 runaway train ride. Rogers gets Naomi Osaka today and the winner gets Lucic-Baroni or Bertens. There is a real opportunity for Rogers to advance deep into her own neighborhood.
Shelby Rogers, 2017 Volvo Car Open (Photo: Tony Callaio, Tennis Atlantic)
If you listened to Keys and Williams at their press conferences on Monday, neither seemed to have a lot of fire in their belly. For Keys, it’s a slow recovery. For Venus, it’s just the grind of the tour. She jokingly(?) said it was her third time in Charleston, when it was actually her ninth. A senior moment?
Play starts at 11:00 a.m.
VOLVO CAR OPEN – CHARLESTON, SC, USA
APRIL 3 – 9, 2017
RESULTS – APRIL 5, 2017 Women’s Singles – Second Round
S. Rogers (USA) d  M. Keys (USA) 46 61 61
L. Siegemund (GER) d  V. Williams (USA) 64 67(3) 75
[Q] F. Stollar (HUN) d  E. Vesnina (RUS) 76(7) 76(3)
 K. Bertens (NED) d K. Bondarenko (UKR) 62 75
 A. Sevastova (LAT) d A. Petkovic (GER) 63 64
 I. Begu (ROU) d K. Kucova (SVK) 46 62 76(6)
 M. Lucic-Baroni (CRO) d M. Barthel (GER) 63 62
N. Osaka (JPN) d  S. Zhang (CHN) 64 64
 L. Safarova (CZE) d [WC] B. Mattek-Sands (USA) 63 63
J. Ostapenko (LAT) d M. Sakkari (GRE) 62 46 62
[Q] A. Rodionova (AUS) d S. Errani (ITA) 62 62
[LL] O. Jabeur (TUN) d M. Linette (POL) 64 64
D. Kasatkina (RUS) d M. Puig (PUR) 60 67(3) 62
D. Gavrilova (AUS) d A. Riske (USA) 63 61
Women’s Doubles – First Round
 A. Hlavackova (CZE) / S. Mirza (IND) d D. Gavrilova (AUS) / D. Kasatkina (RUS) 16 63 10-3
 L. Hradecka (CZE) / K. Siniakova (CZE) d [Alt] D. Kovinic (MNE) / A. Krunic (SRB) 64 75
ORDER OF PLAY – THURSDAY, APRIL 6, 2017
VOLVO CAR STADIUM start 11:00 am
 S. Stosur (AUS) vs  I. Begu (ROU)
Not Before 12:30 pm
A. Beck (GER) vs  C. Wozniacki (DEN) 00
D. Kasatkina (RUS) vs D. Gavrilova (AUS)
 L. Safarova (CZE) vs L. Siegemund (GER)
[Q] A. Rodionova (AUS) vs A. Beck (GER) or  C. Wozniacki (DEN)
Not Before 7:00 pm
S. Rogers (USA) vs N. Osaka (JPN)
D. Jurak (CRO) / A. Rodionova (AUS) vs  L. Hradecka (CZE) / K. Siniakova (CZE)
ALTHEA GIBSON CLUB COURT start 11:00 am
 A. Sevastova (LAT) vs [LL] O. Jabeur (TUN)
[Q] F. Stollar (HUN) vs J. Ostapenko (LAT)
 M. Lucic-Baroni (CRO) vs  K. Bertens (NED)
R. Atawo (USA) / J. Ostapenko (LAT) vs  A. Hlavackova (CZE) / S. Mirza (IND)
 B. Mattek-Sands (USA) / L. Safarova (CZE) vs [WC] E. Halbauer (USA) / S. Kenin (USA)
COURT 3 start 1:00 pm
K. Bondarenko (UKR) / G. Dabrowski (CAN) vs A. Spears (USA) / K. Srebotnik (SLO)
Janowicz, Querrey, Rosol, and Lu are semifinalists at Winston-Salem Open 2014 Eric Logan, Tennis East Coast
Quarterfinal day, my final day at the Winston-Salem Open, was an eventful if disappointing one as the four semifinalists were decided. Spectators arrived to Center Court for four singles matches and one doubles match for the honor of playing on Friday in the semifinals.
The first quarterfinal was played between Taiwanese number one Yen-Hsun Lu and Italian Andreas Seppi. While the two are ranked closely and were both seeded in the 9-16 range at the event, their form could not have been more polar opposite coming into the Wake Forest event. Lu has been in superb form, beating Berdych in Cincinnati and nearing his career high rank. Seppi, on the other hand, has a negative win-loss record this year and seems on the downswing.
Their respective forms were telling as Lu broke early. Seppi had chances to break back, but repeatedly missed returns. In fact, the return seemed to be the source of the vast majority of the Italian’s woes, as it repeatedly found the net and the point was over before it had begun.
Lu reaches the semis and continues a career best year for him
The second set began with a poor Seppi service game, where Lu broke to cheers from his coaching camp. It was around that time that the announcement was made that defined the day for many fans: 2012 champion John Isner had withdrawn from his clash with the big-hitting Czech, seventh seed Lukas Rosol. The marquee match of the day now canceled, the crowd seemed almost to will themselves into emotionally investing in the match at hand.
That task proved difficult as Seppi continued to play woefully- at one point getting a chance to get back on even terms at 15-40 only to miss four consecutive returns. The 6-4 6-4 final score was generous to the fourteenth seed as he struggled to ever make any headway on the Lu serve. The match ended with almost two hours before the next match, which while doubtless a boon to the concession vendors, was unkind to the fans who had to wait in the heat for David Goffin and Jerzy Janowicz to play the only other day session semifinal.
After the match finally began, Janowicz quickly broke. The Belgian’s serve proved an enormous liability, and although throughout the first set Goffin seemed the better player off the ground, the Pole’s potent returns coupled with his own huge serve (which was more reliable than normal) allowed for Janowicz to take the set 6-4 after a game in which the net and the side of the racquet favored him on more than one occasion. In the second set, the confident and aggressive baseline play coupled with excellent retrieval that led Goffin to win 25 straight matches was nowhere to be seen as he was broken twice to lose the match 6-4 6-2. Janowicz would advance to the semifinal to play the winner of the day’s night match.
Janowicz snaps Goffin’s win streak
With Rosol getting the walkover into the semifinals, the only other quarterfinal was contested between Sam Querrey and Guillermo Garcia-Lopez. Querrey had his serve and forehand working and he prevailed 6-7 6-2 6-4 as GGL faded late. In the only doubles match contested yesterday, Jamie Murray and John Peers beat Mariusz Frystenberg and Marcin Matkowski 6-3 6-4.
Sanity Finally Prevails @WSOpen R16 #WSOpen Eric Logan, Tennis East Coast
Groth=147 mph serve
The seeds met in the R16 today at the Winston-Salem Open in North Carolina. The day produced some great drama, a wide variety of quality, and in the end, the majority of favored players advanced.
Action began on center court (and only center court, given the small number of matches on courts two and three) with twelfth seed Edouard Roger-Vasselin considered the underdog against Jerzy Janowicz despite his higher rank. Fresh off a controversial win over Joao Sousa, the Pole came back from a set down to win in a rather messy three set-match. The quality of tennis was low, but there was great drama at the end as Janowicz faced break point from 40-0 up serving for the match before serving out a 4-6 6-3 6-4 win.
Janowicz’s victory was followed by what would be considered the match of the day by most present, where fifth seed Guillermo Garcia-Lopez faced eleventh seeded American Donald Young. A tight first set was decided in a tiebreak in which, after a great effort earlier in the set to save a number of set points, the Spaniard crumbled at 4-5 in the tiebreak, losing both service points. Garcia-Lopez rebounded by breaking twice in the second set by prevailing in numerous beautiful rallies.
In the third, Garcia-Lopez captured the break and looked poised to win when he held two match points serving at 5-4. Young brought the crowd to its feet, however, by saving them with a return winner and a smash off a smash before Garcia-Lopez broke himself on a double fault. After drawing the set to a tiebreak, Young then held two match points at 6-4. Garcia-Lopez saved the first with a forehand winner before Young threw the second away with a double fault of his own. Garcia-Lopez then hit another of his countless forehand winners to set up a third match point on his serve, which he took at last.
The third match on Center court was another low-quality affair, where Sam Querrey dispatched an out-of-sorts Kevin Anderson in a match defined by countless Anderson unforced errors by a score of 7-6(4) 6-4. This match brought an end to the day session on center court, and left the tournament without three of its top four seeds after Robredo and Mayer’s losses in the previous round.
On the outer courts, eight players attempted to punch their tickets into the quarterfinals. Marcel Granollers arrived late to his match against Yen-Hsun Lu and looked thoroughly unprepared to play tennis. The eighth seed fell to the ninth 6-1 6-2 in a match in which he sliced the vast majority of groundstrokes, was kept on the defense constantly, and won only two return points in the second set.
David Goffin continued his win streak with a 6-4 4-6 6-4 score against an unexpectedly game Jarkko Nieminen. Nieminen has been in very poor form in contrast to Goffin’s 24 (now 25) straight victories. In the end, however, Goffin’s game proved more solid than the Finn’s. Lukas Rosol defeated Pablo Andujar 1-6 6-2 6-2 in an up-and-down match that seemed to end with words between the players. Nicolas Mahut was unable to back up his win against Tommy Robredo as he fell 6-4 7-6(7) to Andreas Seppi.
In the night match, top seeded John Isner took on thirteenth seed Mikhail Kukushkin. The Kazakhstani player began
the match extremely poorly, surrendering the first set 6-1 in a flurry of unforced errors amid some good returning by Isner. Kukushkin raised his game in the second to make the match competitive, but was unable to return Isner’s huge serve in critical moments and in the end surrendered 6-1 7-6(3).
The day’s most dramatic match in doubles ended the same way the most dramatic match in singles had: heartbreak for Donald Young. Young and Nicolas Monroe lost the first set to Florin Mergea and Joao Sousa 6-2 before roaring back to win 5 games in a row and send the match to a supertiebreak at 2-6 6-1. Here, the American team led 7-1 amid a number of bad calls against the Europeans that had even the North Carolina crowd calling out in dismay and had to have Sousa wondering if the officials had a pact against him. Things then began to turn, and it was a tighter 6-9 when Young and Monroe arrived at match point.
On the first match point, Sousa served an ace. The second was dealt with routinely as well. The third, however, was the shot of the tournament thus far. Off of a big Young serve that looked to have the point won, Mergea hit a stunning full stretch backhand return winner that seemed a good deal faster than the aggressive serve. Mergea backed up the shot with a big forehand, and a point later Mergea and Sousa clinched an incredible
In the final match of the day, Sam Groth showed off his enormous serve as he hit 147 miles per hour in the first game of his doubles effort partnership with Chris Guccione. The Australians faced two losers from the singles draw, Marcel Granollers and Pablo Andujar. Some clutch Granollers net play saved four break points, including a set point. Chris Guccione then tightened up to lose all three service points in the first set tiebreak to allow the Spaniards to steal a set in which they were clearly not the better team. In the second, however, they stepped it up a notch to break twice for a 7-6(4) 7-5 win.
Tomorrow’s schedule includes one doubles match, Jamie Murray and John Peers against the veteran Polish team of Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Marcin Matkowski. It also includes four appealing men’s singles quarterfinal matches: John Isner against Lukas Rosol, Andreas Seppi against Yen-Hsun Lu, Jerzy Janowicz against David Goffin, and Sam Querrey against Guillermo Garcia-Lopez. Until then, all eight players should still feel they have a fighting shot at the title in Winston-Salem.
Jerzy Janowicz hasn’t had a great summer. Last year’s ATP phenom has played middling tennis in 2014, including first round losses in Bastad and Toronto. After dropping out of the top 50 after Wimbledon, Janowicz has won two straight here in Cincinnati. He’s on to the third round for the first time in a while and the first time at Western & Southern Open. Janowicz lost in the first round here and in Flushing Meadows last year, so this one had to mean a lot. Janowicz hit 12 aces on his way to a 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 victory over world #8 Grigor Dimitrov in 1:47. I say it had to mean a lot because not me nor anyone in the media requested an interview with him after the match. I had assumed someone else had. Next time.
Genie Bouchard has also had a bummer summer after her first Grand Slam final at Wimbledon. She continued her Summer of Discontent with a 3 set loss to Svetlana Kuznetsova. Bouchard turned the tables on the press afterwards, who tried to remind her that she hasn’t been at the top of her form immediately preceding other Slams in which she’s seen success.
It was good to see her stick up for herself.
“[S]ometimes you guys ask me the questions and then you sound kind of more negative than I feel. I’m like, well, okay”, she responded.
Photo: Christopher Levy for TennisNow.com
Fernando Verdasco went for career win #400 today against 14 seed Marin Cilic, but couldn’t give the Cincy fans an “I was there” moment for them, edged out 7-6(6), 7-6(5). 400 wins is a feat that only 11 other ATP players have pulled off and it will arrive soon enough, just not in Mason.
Photo: Christopher Levy for TennisNow.com
Petra Kvitova, Grigor Dimitrov and Thomas Berdych were all eliminated early in today’s first session. Kvitova was a straight sets victim of Elina Svitolina 6-2, 7-6(2). Svitolina will face Carla Suarez Navarro in the third round.
Dimitrov was upended by Jerzy Janowicz as mentioned above and gets Julien Benneteau in the 3rd round.
Thomas Berdych fell to Yen-Hsun Lu. Lu came back big after dropping the first set and took out the 4 seed, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4. Instead of Berdych, Fabio Fognini will play Lu next. One of them will advance to the quarterfinals. I very briefly spoke with Fognini before he hit the shower today.
Serena Williams prevailed in a two set tiebreaker nail-biter, 7-6(7), 7-6(7) over Sam Stosur, who must be wondering what more she could possibly have done to beat the world #1.
A massive win for Steve Johnson over Ernests Gulbis today. The next time he hits the court, Stevie will attempt to become the first qualifying quarterfinalist in 7 years at this event.
And let’s not Roger Federer. Naturally, the 5-time Cincy champion advanced.
And everyone was there to see it, as the tournament announced ‘the Wednesday day session drew a single-session record of 14,336, surpassing the mark of 13,704 that was set at this same session in 2013. Today’s total attendance combing both sessions was 25,686, surpassing the mark of 25,155 that was set on this same day in 2013’.
This is an amazing and not-so-secret event.
ORDER OF PLAY – WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 14, 2014
CENTER COURT start 11:00 am
ATP –  Stan Wawrinka (Switzerland) vs  Marin Cilic (Croatia)
Not Before 1:00 pm
WTA –  Serena Williams (USA) vs  Flavia Pennetta (Italy)
Not Before 2:30 pm
ATP –  Novak Djokovic (Serbia) vs  Tommy Robredo (Spain)
Night Session – Not Before 7:00 pm
ATP – Gael Monfils (France) vs  Roger Federer (Switzerland)
Not Before 9:00 pm
WTA –  Caroline Wozniacki (Denmark) vs  Angelique Kerber (Germany)
GRANDSTAND start 11:00 am
ATP – Julien Benneteau (France) vs Jerzy Janowicz (Poland)
ATP –  Andy Murray (Great Britain) vs  John Isner (USA)
Not Before 3:00 pm
WTA –  Maria Sharapova (RUS) vs Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (Russia)
Not Before 7:00 pm
WTA –  Agnieszka Radwanska (Poland) vs Sabine Lisicki (Germany)
 Bob Bryan (USA) / Mike Bryan (USA) vs Eric Butorac (USA) / Raven Klaasen (South Africa)
COURT 3 start 11:00 am
WTA –  Lucie Safarova (Czech Republic) vs  Simona Halep (Romania)
ATP –  Fabio Fognini (Italy) vs Yen-Hsun Lu (Chinese Taipei)
Not Before 2:30 pm
ATP –  Milos Raonic (Canada) vs [WC] Steve Johnson (USA)
WTA – Svetlana Kuznetsova (Russia) vs  Ana Ivanovic (Serbia)
Not Before 7:00 pm
ATP – Mikhail Youzhny (Russia) vs  David Ferrer (Spain)
COURT 9 start 1:00 pm
WTA –  Carla Suárez Navarro (Spain) vs Elina Svitolina (Ukraine)
Not Before 3:00 pm
WTA – Sloane Stephens (USA) vs  Jelena Jankovic (Serbia)
COURT 4 start 11:00 am
WTA – Anabel Medina Garrigues (Spain) / Yaroslave Shvedova (Kazakhstan) vs Cara Black (Zimbabwe) / Sania Mirza (India)
WTA –  Alla Kudryavtseva (Russia) / Anastasia Rodionova (Russia) vs Marina Erakovic (New Zealand) / Arantza Parra Santonja (Spain)
WTA –  Sara Errani (Italy) / Roberta Vinci (Italy) vs Timea Babos (Hungary) / Kristina Mladenkovic (France)
 Racquel Kops-Jones (USA) / Abagail Spears (USA) vs [WC] Melanie Oudin (USA) / Taylor Townsend (USA)
WTA after suitable rest – Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (Russia) / Lucie Safarova (Czech Republic) vs  Su-Wei Hsieh (Chinese Taipei) / Shuai Peng (China)
Court 6 start not before 1:30 pm
ATP after suitable rest – Marin Cilic (Croatia) / Santiago Gonzalez (Mexico) vs  Alexander Peya (Austria) / Bruno Soares (Brazil)
WTA after suitable rest – Garbine Muguruza (Spain) / Carla Suarez Navarro (Spain) vs  Ekaterina Makarova (Russia) / Elena Vesnina (Russia)
ATP after suitable rest – [WC] Steve Johnson (USA) / Sam Querrey (USA) vs  David Marrero (Spain) / Fernando Verdasco (Spain)
Results – Tuesday, August 12, 2014
Men’s Singles – Second Round
 Roger Federer (Switzerland) d Vasek Pospisil (Canada) 76 (4) 57 62
Yen-Hsun Lu (Taipei) d  Tomas Berdych (Czech Republic) 36 63 64
 Milos Raonic (Canada) d [WC] Robby Ginepri (USA) 62 62
 David Ferrer (Spain) d Philipp Kohlschreiber (Germany) 67 (4) 76 (4) 76 (4)
Jerzy Janowicz (Poland) d  Grigor Dimitrov (Bulgaria) 64 36 63
 Andy Murray (Great Britain) d Joao Sousa (Portugal) 63 63
[WC] Steve Johnson (USA) d  Ernests Gulbis (Latvia) 64 64
 John Isner (USA) d [Q] Marinko Matosevic 63 76 (1)
 Marin Cilic (Crotia) d Fernando Verdasco (Spain) 76 (6) 76 (5)
Gael Monfils (France) d  Roberto Bautista Agut (Spain) 64 61
 Fabio Fognini (Italy) d Lleyton Hewitt (Australia) 61 64
 Tommy Robredo (Spain) d [Q] Sam Querrey (USA) 62 64
Mikahil Youzhny (Russia) d Andreas Seppi (Italy) 63 64
Julien Benneteau (France) d [Q] James Ward (Great Britain) 62 62
Men’s Doubles – Second Round
 Daniel Nestor (Canada) / Nenad Zimonjic (Serbia) d Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (Spain) / Santiago Giraldo (Colombia) 62 63
Robert Lindstedt (Sweden) / Marcin Matkowski (Poland) d  Ivan Dodig (Croatia) / Marcelo Melo (Brazil) 62 64
Vasek Pospisil (Canada) / Jack Sock (USA) d  Leander Paes (India) / Radek Stepanek (Czech Republic) 61 46 10-8
 Julien Benneteau (France) / Edouard Roger-Vasselin (France) d Juan Sebastian Cabal (Colombia) / Tommy Robredo (Spain) 16 64 10-7
Jean-Julien Rojer (Russia) / Horia Tecau (Romania) d  Marcel Granollers (Spain) / Marc Lopez (Spain) 75 76 (5)
Men’s Doubles – First Round
Eric Butorac (USA) / Raven Klaasn (South Africa) d Feliciano Lopez (Spain) / Jurgen Melzer (Austria) 46 36
Women’s Singles – Second Round
 Serena Williams (USA) d Samantha Stosur (Australia) 76 (7) 76 (7)
Elina Svitolina (Ukraine) d  Petra Kvitova (Czech Republic) 62 76 (2)
 Agnieszka Radwanska (Poland) d Kurumi Nara (Japan) 62 62
 Angelique Kerber (Germany) d Ekaterina Makarova (Russia) 64 61
Svetlana Kuznetsova (Russia) d Eugenie Bouchard (Canada) 64 36 62
 Jelena Jankovic (Serbia) d [Q] Annika Beck 61 76 (0)
 Ana Ivanovic (Serbia) d [WC] Christina McHale (USA) 64 60
 Flavia Pennetta (Italy) d [Q] Taylor Townsend (USA) 64 63
Sabine Lisicki (Germany) d  Sara Errani (Italy) 64 26 76 (2)
 Carla Suarez Navarro (Spain) d [Q] Pauline Parmentier (France) 63 75
 Lucie Safarova (Czech Republic) d [Q] Zarina Diyas (Kazakhstan) 64 62
Sloane Stephens (USA) d Barbora Zahlavova (Czech Republic) 75 61
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (Russia) d [Q] Karin Knapp (Italy) 61 63
Women’s Doubles – Second Round
 Sara Errani (Italy) / Roberta Vinci (Italy) Daniela Hantuchova (Croatia) / Barbora Zahlavova Strycova (Czech Republic) 63 75
Kimiko Date-Krumm (Japan) / Andrea Hlavackova (Czech Republic) d  Kveta Peschke (Czech Republic) / Katarina Srebotnik (Croatia) 64 06 10-6
Timea Babos (Hungary) / Kristina Mladenovic (France) d Klaudia Jans-Ignacik (Poland) / Karolina Pliskova (Czech Republic) 66 Ret.
Women’s Doubles – Second Round
 Ekaterina Makarove (Russia) / Elena Vesnina (Russia) d Gabriela Dabrowski (Canada) / Alicja Rosolska (Poland) 61 61
Anabel Medina Garrigues (Spain) / Yaroslava Shvedova (Kazakhstan) d Andrea Petkovic (Germany) / Magdalena Rybarikova (Slovakia) 64 64
Marina Erakovic (Australia) / Arantxa Parra Santonja (Spain) d Oksana Kalashnikova (Georgia) / Olga Savchuk (Ukraine) 16 64 11-9
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.
Harrison Post Match
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.
Blake Chats With A Baby
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.
Hewitt-Williams and Bogota Finalists Highlight Atlanta on Day 5
The big contest of day in Hotlanta will be Rhyne Williams vs. Lleyton Hewitt in a 2nd round clash at 4 p.m. on Stadium. Williams was sharp against Denis Kudla, and Hewitt was sharp against Edouard Roger-Vasselin. They both seem to be in good shape and I expect a quality contest.
Christian Harrison takes on Bogota finalist Alejandro Falla at 4 p.m. on Grandstand for a spot in the 2nd round.
Bogota champ Ivo Karlovic will coronate the day out on Court 3 against qualifier Matt Ebden. Dr. Ivo was hitting with Brian Baker today, and seemed to be in good spirits.
The other matches will be Fish vs Russell conclusion on Stadium around 7 p.m., Dodig vs. Berankis after 5 p.m. on Grandstand. Those matches will be followed by Hewitt/Guccione vs. Gonzalez/Lipsky nightcap doubles on Grandstand.
Ram/Skupski vs. Inglot/Moser doubles will take place on Court 3 after Karlovic vs. Ebden and Sock/Blake vs. Demoliner/Sa doubles will be the last match on Stadium court, if all goes as planned.
For our final day of onsite coverage in Tallahassee, a pair of early matches will be highlighted.The first is an 11 AM start between Gerald Melzer and Tim Smyczek and the second an after noon start between Facundo Arguello and Wayne Odesnik.
Melzer looked good in his opening round win on Monday, and is comfortable on the clay, while Smyczek also won his opening round match yesterday with enough ease. Smyczek has more experience and has the better ranking, but Melzer has the surface edge. They are also both great movers who employ a full repertoire of shots. They have never met before.
Arguello, meanwhile, is out to avenge his 3-6 0-6 loss to Odesnik two weeks ago in Sarasota in what is their only career meeting. Arguello seemed to struggle through a tough Round 1 match in yesterday’s fiery heat but Odesnik dealt with the same heat and worked out a tough three set win. Fitness should be at a premium in this match between two clay courters.
In other action, Alex Kuznetsov can move even closer to clinching the French Open Wild Card if he can beat Peter Polansky, who cruised through his first round match, while Kuznetsov had a slow start and needed three sets.
A Smiling Donald Young
Donald Young will take on Mischa Zverev and will be looking to extend his career record to 3-0 over the German in their first meeting on clay.
Ryan Harrison will be looking to keep his win streak alive against Alex Bogdanovic, while Suk-Young Jeong will look to continue his success against Cedrik-Marcel Stebe, who should be fresher after a day off.
Jeong Post Win
Denis Kudla will play Bradley Klahn for the first time on clay. Last year, they split meetings at one each.
In the singles night cap, Frank Dancevic takes on Christian Harrison.
Christian in the Nightcap
In doubles, Krajicek/Sandgren will play Basilashvili/Melzer, Bangoura/Carleton will play good friends Kuznetsov/Zverev, and former FSU teammates Aubone/Mirzadeh will take on Davis/R. Harrison.