Atlanta R2 previews and predictions: Harrison vs. Millman, Donaldson vs. Eubanks

Ryan Harrison will be in the unfamiliar position of beginning a tournament on Thursday following a first-round bye when he faces John Millman in the Atlanta second round. Jared Donaldson and Christopher Eubanks are also aiming for a place in the quarterfinals.

(4) Ryan Harrison vs. (PR) John Millman

Harrison and Millman will be going head-to-head for the second time in their careers when they square off in round two of the BB&T Atlanta Open on Thursday. Their only previous encounter came last summer at the Cincinnati Masters, where Millman scored a 4-6, 7-6(3), 6-4 qualifying victory. Since then, though, the two competitors have gone in different directions. Harrison has won 11 ATP-level matches this season–including his first career title in Memphis–and he is up to No. 42 in the rankings (two spots off his career-high mark). Harrison, who captured the French Open doubles title with Michael Venus, is the fourth seed in Atlanta and therefore benefited from a first-round bye.

Millman had to work extremely hard to emerge from the first round, which he did on Tuesday by knocking out Frances Tiafoe 5-7, 6-4, 7-6(5). Tiafoe served for the match at 6-5 in the third but could not get the job done. It was an especially much-needed win for Millman, who missed the first five months of this season and used a protected ranking in order to get into the field this week. This marked the world No. 174’s first victory at the ATP level in 2017. Millman is clearly starting to find his form again, but he remains rusty and asking him to produce another stellar performance–especially against an in-form opponent like Harrison–may be too much.

Pick: Harrison in 2

(WC) Christopher Eubanks vs. (8) Jared Donaldson

The ongoing battle for supremacy among the throng of up-and-coming Americans has found its way to Atlanta this week, and the advantage is currently going to Donaldson. Tiafoe is out. So, too, is Taylor Fritz. Ernesto Escobedo? Gone. Reilly Opelka? Also toast in the first round. Donaldson is still alive and well at this first stop of the U.S. Open Series, having destroyed Escobedo 6-3, 6-1 on Monday. Thus continues a productive 2017 campaign for the 20-year-old, who has earned 10 of his 21 career ATP-level victories this season and registers one spot off his career-high ranking at 59th in the world.

Up next for Donaldson on Thursday is another countryman in Eubanks, who upset Fritz 7-6(5), 6-4 on Tuesday. Eubanks is of a different ilk than the aforementioned list, as he opted to attend college instead of going pro as a teenager. The 21-year-old Atlanta resident spends most of his time playing No. 1 singles for nearby Georgia Tech, although he boasts a decent ranking of No. 461 thanks to marginal success on the Futures and Challenger circuits. Eubanks’ win over Fritz was his first on the main tour and  it will have him on the cusp of the top 400 next week even if he loses to Donaldson. The wild-card entrant can be dangerous in any match because his serve and forehand are so big, but a confident Donaldson in a different class right now.

Pick: Donaldson in 2

4 Comments on Atlanta R2 previews and predictions: Harrison vs. Millman, Donaldson vs. Eubanks

  1. EUBANKS!! Bruh my gut this week has told me to pick Eubanks in this one and Paul in both of his and I went against that and went with logic. Why did I do that. EUBANKS WINS AGAIN!!

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