Out with the old and in with the new. This was true for two players at the BB&T Atlanta Open Wednesday. Wild card Christian Harrison burst on the scene with his first ATP Tour win over Alejandro Falla from Columbia. Harrison won the first set easy at 6-1. As expected, Falla regained his playing composure and edged Harrison out of a close second set tie-break. Harrison was able to play mentally tough and win the final set in commanding fashion at 6-2. Harrison stated, “… and I could see his body language at the end of the first start to drop but he fought back in the second. When I got into position to win the second set, I got a little hesitant. I just believed in myself in the third and trusted I could get it done.” For two time BB&T champion Mardy Fish, his return to the ATP Tour was cut short by Michael Russell in a 3 set match that spanned over two days due to rain.
James Blake had a hum-dinger of a match with qualifier Tim Smyczek. Smyczek’s movement, service game and conditioning attributed to pushing Blake to his limits. Blake on the match, “I felt like I didn’t return well and he did a great job of taking care of his serve. At 5 all, I was definitely feeling it. It was my first match in this kind of heat so my legs started cramping a little bit. Being on the tour 13 years, I kind of learned a few tricks of the trade to take advantage when you can…” Blake pulled it out in a tight 3 setter 7-6(3), 4-6, 7-6(4). He then returned to the night session with partner Jack Sock and played another highly competitive match against the Brazilian team of Marcelo Demoliner and Andre Sa. After blowing a 5-2 lead in the first set, the Americans were able to hold on for a 3 set win 5-7, 7-6(4), 10-6.
Others that advanced were Lleyton Hewitt d. Rhyne Williams, Ivan Dodig d. Ricardas Berankis and qualifier Matthew Ebden d. Ivo Karlovic who retired citing fatique.