Tuesday, July 23, 2013

BB&T Atlanta Open 2013 - recap of Monday, July 22 with pictures

Because of a conflict at work, I was unable to get to the tennis tournament site until after 3 PM, meaning that I had to split my scorekeeper duties with my partner Lisa; she took the first half of our shift, and I took the second.  As it turns out, I didn't miss much because of another rain delay.  In fact, Robby Ginepri had just taken the first set (6-2) from Kevin King, and was tied 1-1 in the second when the rains came; the match resumed shortly after I took my seat in the booth at 3:30 PM.  Unfortunately, because I had to score all five sets played until the end of the shift, I was unable to take very good pictures (all posted on Twitter) until the evening's exhibition.

It was a frustrating match to watch, especially if you were a Ginepri fan (or Ginepri himself), as the play was punctuated by more unforced errors than winners.  Of course, give credit to King who seemed to be able to retrieve every Ginepri shot, making winners hard to come by.  King evened the match by taking the second 6-4, and then outlasted Ginepri, who was obviously struggling physically only a few games into the third set, stretching and bending between points, and was eventually visited by the trainer just before coming out and trying to hold serve trailing 4-5 in the decider.  Unable to do so, Ginepri lost the set (4-6) and the match to King, who earned his first main draw appearance in an ATP event.

Next up on Stadium Court was the first non-qualifying match, a first round contest between Ryan Harrison and Marinko Matosevic.  It was obvious that the Australian wasn't ready to play as the American raced to a 4-0 by breaking his opponent's first two service games; Harrison took the first set 6-2 with an emphatic service hold of his own, including three 120+ MPH aces right down "Peachtree".

But the second set proved more difficult for the youngster; not only did Matosevic pick up his service game, but his return game enabled him to break Harrison twice to end the second set, taking it by the same margin that he'd lost the first (6-2).  Harrison's frustration was evident when he slammed his racquet to the court early in the third after failing to earn a quick break of serve, however he regrouped and closed out the match by winning the deciding set 6-3.

Because the time was now nearly 7 PM, and the much publicized "Bro Down Showdown" - an exhibition doubles match between tennis-playing brothers featuring the Bryan brothers - was scheduled to begin at that time, a first round doubles match was moved to the Grandstand Court so that the show could begin. Unfortunately, the Bryans had withdrawn over the weekend, but that meant that King - with his Georgia Tech teammate Juan Spir - would get to participate.  They would play a thrilling 10-point tiebreaker against James and Thomas Blake, saving match point trailing 9-10 on the point of the night before succumbing.
James Blake (foreground) with brother Thomas
Then it was Harrison's turn to return to the court with his younger (heartthrob) brother Christian; they were to play Eric with his younger (more famous and accomplished) brother Jack.  The Socks won that one fairly easily, but not before Christian impressed with some blind, backhand over-the-shoulder overhead shots.  So the finals of the "Bro Down" were set:  The Socks vs. the Blakes, and the former prevailed 10-8.
Jack Sock (left) with brother Eric - winners of the Showdown
I didn't stay for the second first round match of the day on Stadium, between two qualifiers, and because I left early, I got to take this beautiful sunset picture on the way home.
Sunset over Kennesaw Mountain

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