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!

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