Sunday, July 27, 2014

BB&T Atlanta Open 2014 - Semifinal Saturday @BBTatlantaopen

My recap of Saturday at the BB&T Atlanta Open at Atlantic Station begins with a point to my Twitter feed, where I spent a lot of time sharing the activities of the day in real-time.  My post here is really just an overflow from the events with some additional pictures I took which weren't shared on Twitter:

Steve Johnson (partner Sam Querrey) serves to Kevin King (partner Michael Venus)
Venus serves to Querrey
Querrey serving (partner Johnson at net)
Querrey-Johnson walking toward your humble photographer (notice ball)
John Isner in full-flight serving to Jack Sock (ball right above Isner's head)
And again, both players off the ground (ball on racquet)
Sock hitting a forehand return above his shoulders
Isner with a backhand return

Only got this one of Sock serving, sorry
I very much enjoyed the doubles match, and hope today's is even better.  The singles was a BORING serving contest between two guys that need backhands if they want to compete with anyone in the top 10.

The tournament was great this year, my first in which I am missing the finals.  Enjoy!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

BB&T Atlanta Open 2014 - Friday's fun @BBTatlantaopen

It was a beautiful if hot Friday at the BB&T Atlanta Open 2014 at Atlantic Station.  Matches started early at high noon with a couple of doubles matches followed by Isner vs. Matosevic, all quarterfinals.  See my Twitter feed for a play-by-play.

The first doubles match featured a couple of players I'd heard of beforehand, most notably Chris Guccione, and a couple that I didn't.  I scored the first set of the first match, which began well for the Australian and his partner, but ended in a tiebreaker loss.  They recovered to win the second, but lost the third set in a one-sided tiebreaker.
Johnson's serve was a big reason why he and Querrey won the match
The second doubles match featured some better pairings and the tennis was much better too.  Doubles specialists Lipsky and Gonzalez matched against a couple of singles players, fellow Californians and friends, that had already been unceremoniously bounced from the singles draw:  Sam Querrey and Steve Johnson.
Querrey and Johnson - both have great smiles, don't you think?
It was a fun match to watch from start to finish, and match point was this 138 MPH ace by Querrey, which I uploaded to YouTube for better resolution than what I posted yesterday on Twitter (and subsequently removed).

After the doubles was over, there was about an hour delay until 4 PM when the first men's quarterfinal match between John Isner and Marinko Matosevic was contested.  By that time, the sun was in full heat and the players were obviously feeling it.
The Isner "hang dawg" is both expected, and tiresome

The players traded breaks in the first set before it ended in a predictable tiebreak won by Isner, who had to come from behind to win it.  The second set began much the same way until Matosevic started to double fault his way to handing Isner the set and the match.

After leading the 1st set tiebreaker, Matosevic's double faults gave the 2nd set/match to Isner
I am looking forward to another great day at the tournament this afternoon, two semi-finals:  a doubles match between Querrey-Johnson and Kevin King-Michael Venus followed by Isner vs. Jack Sock (not before 3 PM).  Check back tomorrow for more pictures and commentary.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

BB&T Atlanta Open 2014 - Tuesday's fun @BBTatlantaopen

What a day!  Started out with some confusion as to when my shift was to begin at the BB&T Atlanta Open at Atlantic Station, but I was able to manage getting there on time for a 2 PM (instead of 4 PM) start with my scorekeeping partner Brian.  First up was two Americans, Tim Smyczek vs. Ryan Harrison, both BB&T tournament regulars.

Unfortunately, Harrison had a long and late night Monday in a doubles match victory, and never really got going; Smyczek took the first set at love, and was up 2-0 in the second before Harrison, who had a couple of trainer visits during the match, managed to win a game.  After getting broken a second time to fall behind 0-3 in the first, Harrison smashed his racquet before receiving a medical timeout for treatment on his foot (blisters?).  Harrison could manage only one more game in the second, falling weakly 0-6, 2-6 in about 53 minutes.

Fortunately the next match was much better:  Atlantan and former #15 in the world Robby Ginepri against Ukrainian Sergiy Stakhovsky, who'd upset Roger Federer in the 2nd round of Wimbledon in 2013, ending the Fed's Grand Slam streak of consecutive quarterfinal appearances at 36.

Breaking his opponent early in the set, Stakhovsky looked to be cruising to take the first, leading 5-3 with break and set points again, but that's when Ginepri showed guile and brilliance, hitting a running forehand rocket from one corner to the other to save the first set point against, and a down-the-line forehand to save another.  After holding for 4-5, Robby then broke and held for a 6-5 lead before Sergiy could hold to force a tiebreaker, which was won by Ginepri in 48 minutes.

However, Robby came out flat in the second, falling behind 0-5 before losing it 3-6.  Now it was his opponent's turn lose his rhythm; Stakhovsky never challenged in the deciding set, losing it at love.  I scored the second two sets, which consumed about the same amount of time as the entire Smyczek-Harrison match.  The hometown crowd was exuberant, especially after Ginepri's interview with the on-court announcer and, afterwards, signing and hitting more than a handful of tennis balls into the stands.

Last up on the day's docket was a doubles match featuring a couple of players with local ties, albeit on opposite ends of the court.  Donald Young with D. Sharan vs. Kevin King with M. Venus (the only right-handed player on the court).  I was only able to stay to score the first set, which was won easily by the taller pairing (King and Venus) 6-1 in less than 20 minutes.  I understand it got interesting, with Young and partner taking the second before losing 9-11 in the tiebreak decider.

Besides the Ginepri-Stakhovsky battle, the second most exciting part of the day for me was meeting the man behind the tournament's social media feeds.  Zach, who is a college junior that plays collegiate tennis in Pennsylvania, posts all the information on the tourney's Facebook page and tweets out on @BBTatlantaopen too.  Great meeting you today, and thanks for the follow!

For more pictures of yesterday's events, see my Twitter feed @atltennisblog.  Thanks and I'll see you Friday!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

BB&T Atlanta Open 2014 - 1st Day of Qualies @BBTatlantaopen

Yesterday started out very wet and matches were delayed from their original 9 AM start to 10:30, 12:30 and ultimately 1:30 PM because of the weather.

No worries though, everything cleared up quite nicely and several players and their playing partners actually took the court to warm-up and test the conditions on the new stadium court, even while officials prodded various parts of the court (particularly the baseline corners) for moisture.

While waiting for the tennis to begin, I had a chance to catch up with old friends, and meet some new ones.  The staff that had been in place for the first two years of this sponsor's event has changed, starting with PA announcer Kevin Payne.  His replacement hadn't arrived yet, so Sam Crenshaw from 11 Alive was on hand.  I'd met Sam a couple of years ago (documented on these pages) and asked why I hadn't seen MatchPoint on TV this summer.  He said that he hoped the show with Jeff Batten would return next summer.

By 1:00 PM, it looked like all would be well for the day, and the tournament gates were opened for the fans to stream in, albeit a trickle of the most dedicated that were actually on hand to witness the opening of this year's tournament.  I was soon at my post to score the first set of the first qualifying match on stadium court.

I used my twitter account @atltennisblog to record the action in real-time, in what almost seemed like a contest to post the results before the tournament's tweeter did.  See my tweets for even more pictures.  Michael Shabaz from the University of Virginia Cavaliers had a rather easy time defeating Georgia Tech's Nathan Rakitt, who continued to attempt to serve and volley despite being passed rather easily by his opponent.  The final tally 6-2, 6-1.

Unfortunately it was now 2:45 PM, our replacement scorekeepers were on hand and the rest of my Saturday schedule beckoned, so I had to leave.  But I'll be back Tuesday on Twitter and probably Wednesday morning here on Blogger to share my experiences ... until then, enjoy the BB&T Atlanta Open!

Friday, July 18, 2014

BB&T Atlanta Open 2014 @BBTatlantaopen starts tomorrow!

Long time no post.  Very sorry to those that have followed these pages faithfully through the tournament's week each summer.  The good news is, I'll be at it again very shortly ...

That's right, starting tomorrow, I'll be the first shift scorekeeper for this year's BB&T Atlanta Open at Atlantic Station, which gives me a tantalizing view of the stadium court's matches.

So tune in here for pictures and updates of the event.  I won't be on-site every day, but I will be posting updates on the days (or after the days) that I am.

Thanks so much for your continued support and encouragement to provide these updates!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

BB&T Atlanta Open 2013 - pictures and videos from both finals

Sunday was a beautiful day to conclude this year's BB&T Atlanta Open at Atlantic Station, though not quite as cool as Saturday, a nice (if occasional) breeze could be felt during the latter stages of what turned out to  be the longest 3-set match of the year.  There were no breaks of serve and John Isner prevailed over Kevin Anderson 6-7 (3), 7-6 (2), 7-6 (2).  Here are some pictures and videos (of the end of each set) from the singles and doubles finals on Sunday, July 28:
Anderson serves to Isner up 15-0 in the first game
Anderson launches a second serve at Isner
Anderson prepares to return Isner's serve down the middle

Anderson won the first set over Isner 7-6 (3) - watch the HD video on YouTube here!

Our seats were not bad, right next to the cameraman
Another picture of Anderson preparing to return serve
Isner won the second set 7-6 (2) over Anderson - watch the HD video on YouTube here!

Isner prepares to serve to Anderson (ball at top)
Isner launches a serve at Anderson (ball at top)
As Isner prepares another serve, note his shadow
Isner saved one match point, and then a second, while serving at 5-6 to Anderson in the third.  But Isner won in the third set tiebreaker 7-6 (2) to win the Atlanta title on his fourth try (third final).  Click on the links in the previous sentence to watch the videos on YouTube.

In doubles final, Colin Fleming prepares to serve
Note his unusual pre-serve technique

But alas, the Brits couldn't win it, as Roger-Vasselin and Sijsling won the first set 7-6, and the second 6-3.

Friday, July 26, 2013

BB&T Atlanta Open 2013 - pictures/video of Thursday, July 25

It was another beautiful rain-free day at the tennis tournament; Ryan Harrison and James Blake advanced easily in straight sets against unfamiliar opponents while top seeds John Isner and Kevin Anderson struggled to three set victories.  My trusty scorekeeping partner and I were in the booth for the first two matches on Stadium Court, before the evening slate which included the former UGA star against Harrison's younger brother Christian.  Here are some pictures and video of the day's action:

Harrison leaves the ground to hit a backhand return against Sijsling
Harrison hits a running forehand to set up a miss by his opponent
Sijsling's shot is long, and Harrison wins the point
Harrison shakes hands with his heat wearied opponent
After Harrison won his match 6-4, 6-3, it was James Blake's turn to take the court.
The view was spectacular:
The sponsor's building looms over the Stadium Court
James lets his signature forehand fly
But he wins matches when his backhand is consistent
Blake beat his Russian opponent Donskoy 6-3, 6-2 in plenty of time for the evening's agenda, which included Military Appreciation Night, starting promptly at 7 PM (on schedule for the first time all week). Here was the view over Kennesaw Mountain on my way home last night:
more of God's Glory

Thursday, July 25, 2013

BB&T Atlanta Open 2013 - recap of Wednesday, July 24 pix/video

After a rushed day at work, I got to the tennis tourney to find out that I would be the only one scorekeeping until the evening shift; no problem.  However, it did limit my ability to take pictures and video of key moments in each match etc., and I was too worn out to stay for the evening's slate.  Still, I did manage to get some good pictures and video of the goings-on while I was there.  You be the judge.
Warming up on Stadium Court for his later match was James Blake:
It's pretty obvious that he's not too comfortable at the net:
The first match played on Stadium Court was between Lleyton Hewitt and Rhyne Williams, who had a pretty big serve and a powerful forehand, but lacked the mental strength to close out Hewitt in the first set.  It was actually the Australian that earned the first break and served for the set, but later had to come from 2-6 down in the tiebreaker to win it 8-6.  The American seemed impatient, hitting every serve and shot as hard as he could trying to get the seventh point, enabling the more experienced player to win the game.
I then thought that Hewitt would roll in the second, but I was wrong as Williams held tough until late in the second, when the Australian duplicated his effort at the end of his match the day prior, breaking his opponent in the 10th game to earn the set (6-4) and the match.
Hewitt shakes Williams hand at the end of their match
To see both Hewitt's set closing fist pumps to wife Bec, see my Twitter account. The next match on Stadium featured two Americans - Blake and Tim Smyczek - that (surprisingly) had never played before:
Blake earned the first break (above) but needed tiebreakers to win the first and third sets (and the match) from his opponent.  Today's insider picture features my view of the court (and my workstation, from which 'we' score the matches):
The View from the Top

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

BB&T Atlanta Open 2013 - recap of Tuesday, July 23 w/pictures

The second day of first round tennis matches was a glorious one, until the evening when it started to rain in the second set of the Mardy Fish-Michael Russell match.  Arriving about an hour early from my shift, I had the chance to watch nearly the entire first set on Grandstand between 'Randy' Lu & Kevin King.
Atlanta's relatively clear skyline when I arrived shortly before 3 PM
It was an interesting contrast, not just because Lu is right-handed and King is left-handed, but their styles are different.  Lu hits fairly flat "darts", not unlike James Blake, while King's ball has more loft and topspin.  Having been on tour for a while, Lu - a regular at this tournament - had more consistent groundstrokes throughout their rallies, though (afterward) King told his many fans that it was his opponent's serve to which he had no answer.
Lu is aced by King (to see the ball, look above its shadow on the court)
I posted a couple of pictures yesterday which highlight the strengths of both players:  King's serve, and Lu's groundstrokes.  Lu has an interesting breathing pattern:  he actually exhales before he hits the ball, noticeably without being distracting (unlike some women on the WTA tour;-)
Shortly before Lu would back up his break of King with a hold of his own
Here are a couple of pictures of King finishing his first and second serves to Lu (same point); notice the consistency of his follow-through (and pronation):
King's first serve
King's second serve
After Lu won the first set 6-3, my partner and I needed to get to Stadium Court to score Lleyton Hewitt's match with Ă‰douard Roger-Vasselin.  The men played two identical sets, each holding serve until the 10th game of the set, when the Australian would break the Frenchman to secure the sets (6-4) and the match. Roger-Vasselin did save four match points before losing it. And yes, Lleyton's lovely wife Bec is here; she sits directly across from where he sits on the court. After he won, he turned to her to celebrate with his trademark fist pump.
After the singles, it was time for a doubles match featuring the top seeded pairing of Croatia's Ivan Dodig and Brazil's Marcelo Melo, who'd lost to the Bryan brothers (a no show - due to an injury - at this year's tournament) in the Wimbledon finals. They played the Harrison brothers, and it was evident that their strategy was to pick on the younger and less experienced brother (Christian). Ryan won the doubles final here last year, when he was paired with Matthew Ebden (who is only in the singles draw this year).
After taking the first set 6-3, they ran away with the second set 6-1.  One last item before I go, a real insider look at the Stadium Court:
The view from under the Stadium Court