Monday, July 25, 2011

Photos and video of the ATC 2011 final between Mardy Fish and John Isner

Sunday’s final at the 2011 Atlanta Tennis Championships was won by Mardy Fish over John Isner 3-6, 7-6 (6), 6-2 which was a repeat of the 2010 ATC in more ways than one: Fish also lost the first set to Isner in last year’s final before prevailing in three, though the tiebreaker set was the last (instead of the middle) set of that match.

The match started unusually – a foot fault was called on Isner’s first serve, a let on the second (video) – before Fish won the match’s first point (video). But Isner broke Fish’s serve early in the first set, and held on to win it 6-3 by bouncing a serve over Fish’s head and extended racquet in ad court (video).

Isner squandered opportunities to win this year’s final in straight sets; he took a commanding 5-1 lead in the second set tiebreak, serving for it at 6-4 and receiving at 6-5. But Fish had a service winner to even it at 6-all (video), enabling Mardy to win the last 4 points, taking the tiebreaker 8-6, and the set 7-6, on Isner’s errant forehand (video), to even the match at one set all. Watching the second set transpire, it was obvious that the heat was beginning to affect the big man from the University of Georgia, who’d started conserving his energy during his opponent’s service games early in the set. Fish held a couple of consecutive service games at love before it was 4-all (and then 5-all) when a break for Isner would mean serving for the set and the match (and John stepped up his effort). It was readily apparent that, if Isner didn’t somehow manage to win the second set, he’d be done for the third (despite his marathon effort to win the longest match in history at Wimbledon 2010) … which is exactly how it played out. Fish won the third set easily, breaking Isner’s slowing serve twice, with a crosscourt forehand winner (video) 6-2.

Also played on Sunday at the Racquet Club of the South was the ATC doubles final, which was won by American Alex Bogomolov Jr. and Australian Matthew Ebden over Germany’s Matthias Bachinger and Frank “Franky” Moser 3-6, 7-5, 10-8 which featured a championship point that was also rather unique because Bachinger’s return of Bogomolov’s serve had to be verified by shot spot, resulting in a delayed celebration (video).

We had terrific seats for both matches, so terrific that the Atlanta newspaper’s cameraman setup right behind us and captured this photo of our backs. Ironically, Bill from Special Pops, who I'd seen earlier in the week, was sitting right in front of us, though he wasn't very happy about Isner's loss.

For those who've read my earlier account of the tournament, the tent in the upper right of the picture above is where the scorekeepers sit; the bottom level (down to the left) tent is where TV commentators Darren Cahill and Cliff Drysdale sat. Naturally, Brad Gilbert was "in the house", court-side in black and long sleeves despite 90 degree temperatures.

This year I stood at the back of the throng of fans that gathered behind ESPN2's commentator booth at 3 PM EDT on Sunday, but you'd have to look closely (and know what I look like) to find me on TV;-)

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