BB&T Atlanta Open preview and predictions

The second stop of the 2016 U.S. Open Series takes place in Atlanta, where John Isner is the three-time defending champion. His first title-match victim was Kevin Anderson (2013), who is back in Atlanta as the owner of an opening-round bye despite having dealt with significant injury problems throughout this season. Making their Atlanta debuts are Nick Kyrgios and Fernando Verdasco, while Alexandr Dolgopolov and American teenager Taylor Fritz also headline the field.

BB&T Atlanta Open

Where: Atlanta, Georgia
Surface: Hard
Prize money: $618,030
Points: 250

Top seed: John Isner
Defending champion: John Isner

Draw analysis: Isner’s possible path to another Atlanta title will begin against either Adrian Mannarino or a qualifier. Fritz, who snagged the eighth and final seed thanks partly to the withdrawals of Frenchmen Benoit Paire and Lucas Pouille, is in the same quarter as Isner and could set up an all-American affair if he gets past wild card Austin Smith and then either Bjorn Fratangelo or Igor Sijsling.

“It’s so hard to win an ATP event,” Isner told the Atlanta Journal Constitution. “I’ve only won 10 of them and three of them have come in Atlanta. I won’t put any pressure on myself, but it is a tournament that I really want to do well at.

“When I heard this tournament was coming to Atlanta six years ago, I knew it could be a great opportunity for me. I knew Atlanta would support it because Atlanta is a fantastic tennis town.”

Donald Young will argue that Atlanta is a fantastic town in general. In fact, not only does he live in Atlanta but he actually resides at Atlantic Station—the exact spot where this tournament is held. The seventh seed will start his week against fellow American Rajeev Ram and could run into Tim Smyczek in the last 16 before potentially going up against Kevin Anderson in the quarterfinals.

An intriguing bottom quarter of the bracket features first-rime Atlanta participants Kyrgios and Verdasco. Kyrgios, the No. 2 seed, will open on Thursday against either Sam Groth or Jared Donaldson. Verdasco is set to face Dusan Lajovic before possibly meeting Benneteau in round two and then Kyrgios in the quarters.
The fourth-seeded Dolgopolov may have a Wimbledon rematch on his plate right off the bat. He crashed out of the All-England Club after taking a second-round beating from Daniel Evans, who ended up falling to Roger Federer one day later. Evans will do battle with Dolgopolov again if he is victorious in his Atlanta opener against Yoshihito Nishioka.

First-round upset alert: Horacio Zeballos over (6) Guillermo Garcia-Lopez. Both of these guys are making their summer hard-court debuts, so it is hard to know what to expect from either one. Garcia-Lopez is in a bit of slump, having lost first-round matches in three of his last four events (including most recently in Umag). Zeballos captured clay-court Challenger titles in both June and July and he should be encouraged by the fact that his best result in 2016 has come on hard courts (Miami fourth round as a lucky loser).

Hot: Daniel Evans, Jared Donaldson

Cold: Alexandr Dolgopolov, Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, Tim Smyczek, Julien Benneteau

Quarterfinal predictions: John Isner over Bjorn Fratangelo, Kevin Anderson over Rajeev Ram, Daniel Evans over Ivan Dodig, and Fernando Verdasco over Nick Kyrgios

Semifinals: Isner over Anderson and Evans over Verdasco

Final: Isner over Evans

7 Comments on BB&T Atlanta Open preview and predictions

  1. Kyrgrios over Isner, even though I think Nick will tank again at some point. If he brings it, no reason he can’t win this tournament.

  2. QF:
    Isner over Fritz
    Anderson over Krajicek
    Evans over Stakhovsky
    Kyrgios over Verdasco
    Isner over Anderson
    Kyrgios over Evans
    Isner over Kyrgios

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