Atlanta Open Preview
The Emirates Airline United States Open Series starts Monday in Atlanta, Georgia at the BB&T Open. American (1) John Isner is the top seed followed by South African (2) Kevin Anderson, Croat (3) Ivan Dodig and Dutchman (4) Igor Sijsling.
Of those four big servers Anderson has the most fascinating second-round match after a bye possibly seeing Claro Open Champion Ivo Karlovic of Croatia. Isner could get Claro Open Runner-Up Alejandro Falla of Colombia who battles wild card Christian Harrison, brother of ATP tennis player Ryan, of the U.S. right off the bat. The other Harrison could draw Sijsling if he is able to upend Marinko Matosevic of Australia.
None of the four draws are all-out grueling; however, (2) Kevin’s is no cake walk as I’ve already outlined with a potential second-round showdown with Doctor Ivo.
Two qualifiers, one the Croat’s opponent and the other (5) Yen-Hsun Lu of Chinese-Tapei has the two favorites likely advancing. Lu’s second-round crash course will be with Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan or Lukas Lacko of the Czech Republic.
Altogether the South African is 1-1 versus Karlovic and Yen-Hsun, and 1-0 against Istomin and Lacko, each making Anderson’s road difficult even if he doesn’t see a seed until the final.
With the way Aussie (7) Lleyton Hewitt is playing, even facing the toughest first-round foe at the BB&T Atlanta Open, has me confident he’ll fend off Frenchman Edouard Roger-Vasselin.
I’m not even sure we see a seed exit after round one, but if there is why won’t it be American (6) Mardy Fish? Did you even know he was still playing? Fish’s absence is almost as long as Andy Roddick’s and Roddick retired.
Fish encounters another American Michael Russell this week. Mardy has played three matches this year, once during a challenger losing to Spaniard Ruben Ramirez-Hidalgo 2-6 6-2 6-4 in Savannah. At Indian Wells the American got his only victory over another man of the United States Bobby Reynolds 6-3 3-6 6-4. Since world’s No. 5 Roger Federer was given a U.S. Open walk/over win Fish has not been right.
Meanwhile Russell has pulled eight victories out during his last nine tussles although five came in Manta, Ecuador challengers one a 2-0 retirement decision. Michael fell to Newport Champ Nicolas Mahut of France 6-2 6-2 during the semifinals. The American edged (4) Igor a round earlier 7-6(3) 6-7(6) 7-6(5).
Russell is 2-2 versus Mardy winning the first and last time on clay in the United States, once at a 2006 Atlanta challenger 6-0 6-2. The last fight was in Houston 6-3 6-1 with the higher ranked American triumphing 6-2 7-6(1) and 6-1 6-2 in Madrid and Newport during 2010. Michael puts his best foot forward moving onto the second round.