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

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