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Ricky’s Picks For ATP Atlanta Tennis Kyrgios • Isner May Meet @BB&T

Nick Kyrgios of Australia in action against Noah Rubin of the US during a second round match of the BB&T Atlanta Open men’s tennis tournament at Atlantic Station in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, 26 July 2018. EPA-EFE/ERIK S. LESSER



By Ricky Dimon


Nick Kyrgios is now 5-0 lifetime at the BB&T Atlanta Open after beating Noah Rubin 7-5, 6-2 in the second round on Thursday evening. Kyrgios cracked 15 aces and won 24 of 28 first-serve points while advancing in just 56 minutes.


The mercurial Aussie captured the Atlanta title two years ago–defeating John Isner in the final–before being forced to withdraw last season due to an injury.


“I always feel comfortable playing here,” Kyrgios said. “I’ve played this tournament once and obviously have had a fair bit of success here. The court suits my game style. I can serve well, make a couple returns, and play aggressive. It sort of suits a big style. It’s once of my favorite places to play. I was looking forward to this event a lot. A lot of my buddies are playing here–Fritzy (Taylor Fritz), Frances (Tiafoe), and John. It’s been a good vibe all week.


“It’s perfect serving conditions on that court. That’s why John’s had such good success here. It’s almost impossible returning serve.”


Marcos Baghdatis also punched a ticket to the quarters–his first such result since February (at the 250 event in Sofia)–with a 7-5, 6-1 victory over Frances Tiafoe. Baghdatis trailed by a break early in the opening set but seized control the rest of the way, getting the job done after one hour and 17 minutes.


“I’m feeling good; playing well,” the 33-year-old Cypriot assured. “Very solid; not giving too many points away once I’m in zone…. I love it here. The weather suits to my style; similar to weather back at home (in Cyprus). The speed of the courts I like.”


Nobody likes Atlanta more than Isner, who is 28-4 lifetime at this tournament–including 20-1 in his last 21 matches. He has won it four times, finished runner-up on three other occasions, and has never lost prior to the semis in eight career appearances. Isner captured three titles in a row, fell to Kyrgios in the 2016 final, and then won it again last summer.


Next up for the No. 1 seed and world No. 9 on Friday is a quarterfinal date with Mischa Zverev. The 30-year-old German leads the head-to-head series 3-2 after sweeping all three of their meetings last season. Zverev fought off two match points en route to a 6-7(4), 6-7(4), 6-4, 7-6(7), 9-7 upset at the Australian Open, prevailed 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-3 on the red clay of Geneva, and dominated 6-4, 6-3, 7-6(5) at the U.S. Open.


Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.

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