Sunday, July 15, 2012

BB&T Atlanta Open - Draw Analysis

The BB&T Atlanta Open draws are out, and some intriguing tennis is forecast:

It’s a 32 position draw, but the top four seeds receive a first round bye, which means that their first match will be either Wednesday or Thursday depending upon which half of the draw they’re in. If they do it like last year, the bottom half will start first so that the #1 seed – John Isner, by virtue of being the top ranked (#11) player in the draw – will play his first match on Thursday night. That means the two-time defending Atlanta champion Mardy Fish (the #2 seed because he’s fallen to #13 in the world) will be in Wednesday night’s featured match. Japan’s Kei Nishikori – #18 in the world, and the #3 seed – will likely play his first match Wednesday as well, and Andy Roddick (#4) would play his first match Thursday.

It doesn’t look like Isner will have much trouble making it to the quarterfinals on Friday; he’ll play either a qualifier, or American Rajeev Ram. Roddick, however, may face Nicolas Mahut, the Frenchman that beat him in the first round of Roland Garros on May 27. But the fast hard courts of Atlanta will surely be kinder than the slow red clay of Paris to the formerly top ranked American (now #27). Should Roddick make it through, his quarterfinal opponent would probably be the big serving South African Kevin Anderson, making his third straight appearance in Atlanta and ranked #33. Anderson was the #2 seed at last year’s event, but was upset in the quarterfinals by Luxembourg’s Gilles Muller, who will potentially be Mardy Fish’s first opponent in the second round on Wednesday night.

Then Fish might face the brash up-and-coming & soon-to-be an Olympian Ryan Harrison (ranked #48) in the quarters on Friday; Harrison must navigate former top 4 player James Blake – probably Tuesday night’s big matchup – then might have to play his BB&T Atlanta Open doubles partner (Australian) Matthew Ebden in the second round. Monday night’s match will feature Brian Baker, who received a wild card into the tournament, against Russia's Igor Kunitsyn; the winner to face either Japan’s Go Soeda or Belgium’s Xavier Malisse, who Baker beat at the French Open in May. If Baker is able to make it through to the quarterfinals, his opponent would probably be Nishikori.

My predictions – Isner makes the semifinals on Saturday, without breaking a sweat, where he’ll face the winner of Roddick-Anderson. But the bottom half of the draw is much more interesting; it will feature quarterfinal matches on Friday between Brian Baker and Kei Nishikori followed by Mardy Fish vs. Ryan Harrison.


  1. My analysis was faulty! For the second day in a row, my predicted draw has been blown up;-) Baker lost, and now so did Harrison. The quarterfinals on Friday will feature at least two different players. Oh well.

  2. Wow, how wrong could I have been? Ebden vs. Muller instead of Fish vs. Harrison (a clean miss!), Soeda vs. Nishikori (didn't even get to see Baker!), Roddick vs. Russell (O.K., the little guy had beaten the big guy previously) ... at least Isner made it through a 3-setter tonight. Will wild card Sock give him trouble tomorrow night?