BB&T Atlanta Open (3)
Coverage from the 2012 BB&T Atlanta Open, an ATP 250 tournament. July 16-22, 2012.
Thunderstorms interrupted play for a third day in a row, with an almost five-hour delay on Wednesday afternoon and evening. How did Andy Roddick pass the time? "I looked out the window and watched the rain fall in the pool," Roddick joked. Roddick was surprised his match against Nicolas Mahut on Stadium Court was bumped up ahead of Michael Russell versus Kevin Anderson, who had already played two games before the rain delay, but he was happy he was able to finish the match on its scheduled day.
Rain Delay Entertainment
There were a few very vocal fans in the crowd Wednesday night who would sometimes shout right before the players served. Some of the fans might have taken advantage of the Corona tent on the grounds and the surrounding bars during the long delay. "I think you could tell what the rain delay activity was. People might have been indulging a little bit," Roddick said.
Michael Russell, at 34-years-old, is the oldest person in the draw, but he does not play like one. He is still ranked in the Top 100, at No. 94. With his 2-6, 6-4, 7-6(4) win Tuesday, he remains unbeaten against fellow American Alex Kuznetsov with now two wins on the ATP World Tour and eight wins at the challenger level. Russell struggled to find his form and his frustration showed in the first set after the more-than-two-hour rain delay. Kuznetsov was up an early break in the second set, but Russell used his great speed and consistency at the baseline to break back in the second set and then win the match in a third-set tiebreak.
Ryan Harrison said he was not devastated by the 1-6, 6-3, 7-5 loss to James Blake. "He's a great guy and he's done a lot for American tennis. I'm glad he got the win. Just disappointed it was against me." We asked Harrison how the match turned around in the second set after he won the first set easily. "[Blake] started to get a better rhythm in the second set. I did a good job of mixing it up and keeping him off balance in the first set. In the second set, I started to get a little too predictable and when he started playing a lot bigger I got defensive. At that point I was just reacting to what he was doing and he was controlling the baseline rallies and that's the reason why I lost," Harrison said.
This year's BB&T Atlanta Open is especially unique among tennis tournaments because it is being held in the heart of midtown Atlanta in the outdoor mall of Atlantic Station. The move has been a success - as of last week, ticket sales were up 30 percent from last year. The sponsor tents are right outside the entrance to the tournament so sponsors have the added bonus of attracting not only ticketholders, but people shopping in the Atlantic Station district. It is not often that you will find a tournament's media center between a movie theater and a department store. The downtown connector of Interstate 75/85 is right next to the Stadium Court and United Way Grandstand Court, but the traffic noise has been minimal and not disruptive on the courts. All the courts can be accessed by the underground parking garage, which also serves as an easy way to escape the hot summer sun.
Donald Young is now on a 14-match losing streak after two-time NCAA singles champion Steve Johnson of the University of Southern California defeated him on Monday, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3. This was Johnson's first win on the ATP World Tour. Johnson has a huge first serve with speeds that sometimes hit the low 130s (in mph). He also has very strong groundstrokes that sometimes produce a lot of unforced errors; he could be successful on the tour if he learns to control his game more. Johnson will face fellow wildcard Jack Sock in the Second Round.