Roddick, Ebden/Harrison are Champs in Atlanta
By Steen Kirby, TennisEastCoast.com
Andy Roddick came back from a set down to defeat Gilles Muller 1-6, 7-6, 6-2 and claim the 32nd title of his career, and his second in the last three tournaments played. Roddick started out tense and got irritated by the sun, his opponent’s consistency and his top-notch serving early on. He quickly went down 0-3 and ended up dropping the 1st set 6-1 to Muller, who had all the momentum while Roddick had to call the trainer. Many thought he was completely out of the match but he charged back, holding in three service games late in the second set by his fingernails. Roddick fought them off at deuce with aces and sharp returns, forced a tiebreak and charged ahead, taking the breaker and then closing the door on a shaken Muller in the third set. Roddick went up a double break and served it out for the title.
Muller had his chances at finishing off the match and his serving was excellent in the first and second set. Toward the end of the second, he began to lose his energy and struggled to connect on first serves, double faulting a few too many times. Roddick struggled with DFs early as well. Muller did fine coming into the net and volleying but from the baseline he was cold, while Roddick made a few too many errant shots early. His game tidied up later and Muller could not do much to stop him. The final result is that both Muller and Roddick will head into the Olympics with positive momentum.
In the doubles final, Matt Ebden repeated as doubles champion in Hotlanta, this time with his friend Ryan Harrison. The young guns had their day defeating veterans Xaiver Malisse and Michael Russell 6-3, 3-6, 10-6. They played seamlessly all week and this was just a culmination of their fine play together. On a side note, Matt and Ryan stuck around to hit balls with the ball kids after the final trophy presentation. It was a nice gesture from two approachable guys who represent the game well. Other players I will give credit to for being very kind to fans and sportsmanlike to their opponents are Igor Kunitsyn, Brian Baker, Xaiver Malisse, Michael Russell, Go Soeda, Ruben Bemelmans, Ricaradas Berankis, finalist Gilles Muller, Santiago Gonzalez/Scott Lipsky, and the Flemchins.
It was a great week of tennis in Atlanta and a highly enjoyable tournament. A multitude of matches went the distance and there were plenty of tense and thrilling battles in both doubles and singles, including some very late night matches. The tournament was top-notch from start to finish and Atlantic Station proved to be an excellent venue. Atlantic Station has at least another two years hosting the BB&T Atlanta Open under contract. Here’s to next year!
Roddick wins a thriller against Isner, will face Gilles Muller in final
Andy Roddick won a thrilling victory against strong serving John Isner 6-4, 6-7, 6-4. Roddick took the first set after breaking Isner coming out of a short rain delay and serving it out the rest of the way. In the second set, Isner was firing on all cylinders with his serve and painted the lines the entire time, finally winning the tiebreak after going up a minibreak.
Early in the third, things continued as they had in the previous set with both guys using their serve to hold and Isner doing some damage on his forehand, while Roddick played plenty of slice backhands. The end of the match became incredibly intense with an electric crowd, which had urged both players on the whole match becoming even more vocal.
Roddick worked his tail off, hitting nice passers and good returns to earn three break points at 4-4 in the third, but a foot fault call on Isner derailed one of his chances to break, causing him to throw his racquet from the baseline into the net and complain to the chair. While Roddick was seriously frustrated, he was able to hold serve at 5-4, forcing Isner to serve to keep the match alive again. This time, he couldn’t do it and a couple of errors later, it was Roddick who would advance to win bragging rights over his higher ranked countryman and a spot in the final. Isner had his chances, but he just could not do enough to break Roddick and had too many errant groundstrokes. Roddick was tenacious tonight.
Gilles Muller also booked his spot in the Atlanta final with a 6-4, 6-3 win over Go Soeda. Muller served strong and got the two breaks of serve he needed to defeat Soeda, who, like Isner, couldn’t do much with his opponents serve. Muller has reached his first ATP final in seven years. While he will be an underdog against Roddick, if he keeps serving well and playing sharp at the net, he will have a genuine chance.
In doubles, the Flemchins were upset by Harrison/Ebden, who won 6-4, 6-4, and will face Malisse and Russell in the final.