Americans Lead The Way In Atlanta
It was a strong day for home players at the BB&T Atlanta Open, with five of the seven American players in action on Tuesday emerging victorious.
Next Gen ATP Finals contender Frances Tiafoe notched his first win of the North American hard-court season , beating Marius Copil 6-4, 6-4 in 61 minutes. The Delray Beach Open champion converted the only two break points of the match and dropped just four points behind his first serve (31/35) to advance.
Fifth-seeded Tiafoe will meet qualifier Alex Bolt or Marcos Baghdatis in the second round.
Fellow #NextGenATP American Taylor Fritz also scored a 6-4, 6-4 victory, beating Dell Technologies Hall Of Fame Open finalist Ramkumar Ramanathan. Fritz fired 36 winners, including 10 aces, and didn’t face a break point throughout the 64-minute first-round clash.
“I felt pretty good,” Fritz said. “I played solid all the way through… I was able to put a really good game together in the second set to break and [I played] a solid game in the first set and that is all you really need to do.”
Fritz will play Next Gen ATP Finals champion Hyeon Chung for a place in the quarter-finals. “It will be fun. We’ve practised and I really like playing Chung,” Fritz said. “I like his ball… and I think it will be a really good match and I’m excited for it.”
Ryan Harrison recovered from a set down to defeat James Duckworth 4-6, 7-6(2), 6-1. The eighth seed won 75 per cent of first-serve points and saved four of five break points.
Atlanta resident Donald Young was forced to save a match point to book his spot in the second round. The wild card recovered from a set down, withstanding 30 aces, to edge Ivo Karlovic 2-6, 7-6(5), 7-6(6). Noah Rubin also progressed, beating Thanasi Kokkinakis 6-3, 6-4.
“I felt good coming into this [match],” Rubin said. “I played good in qualifying and… I thought I played solid and kept my composure the whole time.”
Seventh seed Mischa Zverev broke the unbeaten start for the Americans with his 6-3, 6-7(8), 6-3 victory over Tim Smyczek. The German fired 11 aces on his way to a second-round meeting with Mikhail Youzhny. The Russian breezed past US wild card Emil Reinberg 6-2, 6-0 and announced he would retire from the sport after this year’s St. Petersburg Open.
Sixth seed Jeremy Chardy scored a debut win in Atlanta, landing 15 aces in a 6-4, 6-3 win over 2015 quarter-finalist Ricardas Berankis of Lithuania. The Libema Open runner-up will face Cameron Norrie in the second round. Norrie cruised to victory against Malek Jaziri 7-5, 6-0.
Did You Know?
Seven of the eight previous editions of the BB&T Atlanta Open have been won by home players. Defending champion John Isner owns a record four titles, with Andy Roddick (2) and Mardy Fish (1) also enjoying success. Australian Nick Kyrgios (2016) is the only player from outside the United States to lift the trophy.