2012 ATP Atlanta Day 3 Recap: Kunitsyn upsets Baker, Sock, Anderson, Muller advance
Steen Kirby, TennisEastCoast.com
The tennis went long and strong last night in Atlanta as some great matches continued until 1:30 this morning.
First: Your main draw qualifiers are Ruben Bemelmans, Sergei Bubka, Ricardas Berankis and Alex Kuznetsov. Berankis needed 3 sets to advance over Rik De Voest 6-7, 7-6, 6-3, and Kuznetsov played hard to earn a win against Ricardo Mello 3-6, 1-6, 6-4.
As for main draw action, it was absolutely thrilling last night. Jack Sock started it off with a 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 win against Alex Bogomolov Jr.
While Bogomolov is the higher ranked player, he has had a really poor year (lost 5 straight matches now) and Sock played pretty strong. Both guys battled while rain threatened and finally the rain did arrive at 4-2 in the 3rd set. While Sock was actually ahead, he never fully seemed comfortable and kept glancing at the sky looking for rain. Bogomolov faced a hostile crowd and seemed a bit irritated by that as well. Sock hit a ton of drop shots. After the one hour r plus rain delay, both guys were slightly less pepped up, but Sock managed to close it out, breaking for the win after being broken in the previous game.
Gilles Muller beat Marinko Matosevic 7-6, 6-4. Both guys play a heavy serve and volley kind of style, so it was a similar match but Matosevic struggled in the heat and was frustrated throughout. Both had plenty of break chances but it was Muller who capitalized more often.
Kevin Anderson followed up Muller’s example on Grandstand and dispatched Paolo Lorenzi 6-4, 6-3. Lorenzi played fine and Anderson was a bit sluggish at the start, but his consistent serve and ability to hold serve won the day.
Steve Johnson won an error-filled contest with Donald Young 6-3 3-6, 6-3. Young continues to just…be Donald Young. Neither played superb tennis but Johnson kept pushing for the win, even after surprisingly dropping the 2nd set.
And in one of the two gripping late matches, Nicolas Mahut advanced over Paul Capdeville 6-3, 3-6, 6-4. Mahut started off strong against Capdeville, who seemed a bit out of it, but he found his footing in the 2nd. They were both ripping the ball and really battling all the way until the end. In the end, Capdeville, who had his chances, made just a few too many errors and Mahut was able to capitalize. That match finished after midnight.
Then on a near empty Stadium Court, after even the PA announcer had gone home, Igor Kunitsyn earned one of his best wins of the year in upsetting Brian Baker 6-4, 6-7, 6-3. Baker started out sharp and led 3-0 in the 1st. He was really pushing the ball and it looked like the match wouldn’t last that long. Suddenly, Kunitsyn found his game and just kept pressing and pressing. He served strong to take the 1st set, then fought all the way to a tiebreak in the 2nd, but Baker got off to a fast start in that tiebreak to send it to 3. When many thought Igor would fade, he kept pushing, and it was Baker who ended up fading into the frustration of a late night. Baker’s BB&T bid was over at 1:30 a.m. today. A tired Kunitsyn, one of the nicest, most sportsmanlike guys on the tour, just smiled and winked as he left the court to the delight of the few remaining fans.