ATP ATLANTA: Solid opening for Fritz Fratangelo, Verdasco and Benneteau

Tennis - Zeballos edges the 6th seed Guillermo Garcia-Lopez while Yoshihito Nishioka prevails against Daniel Evans

by Jovica Ilic
 ATP ATLANTA: Solid opening for Fritz Fratangelo, Verdasco and Benneteau

Following his early exit last week in Lexington, Bjorn Fratangelo notched his 4th ATP win of the season, by 6-1 7-6 against Igor Sijsling. The first set was very strange in terms of numbers, with Sijsling serving at only 31% but facing twice less break points than Fratangelo.

Bjorn served at 70%, had better percentages on both first and second serve, but despite all that he had to save 6 break points. He broke Sijsling in the opening game of the match, however, he had a lot of difficulties to stay in front.

In game 2 he saved all 6 break points and after that, it was much easier, scoring 2 more breaks with more good return games for 3-0 and 6-1 in the end. In the second set, Sijsling recovered the first serve and it was a big contrast compared to the first set.

Still, it was Fratangelo who still served better, to be deserved the winner in the end. He came through the tough opening few service games intact, with a break in game 2 to keep the lead. Still, Sijsling broke back in game 7 and it was a little bit easier for both, in the end, to get the winner of the second set in the tie break.

With 3 mini-breaks Fratangelo was all over his rival, taking the tie break 7-2 to reach the next round, avoiding the third set. Taylor Fritz, who is on a career-high 60th position this week, had a nice start against Austin Smith, beating him 6-2 6-2 in just 65 minutes.

This tournament is very important for Taylor, searching for some better result after not such a great run in the latest months, scoring only 4 ATP wins since March. He served at only 56% but that was enough to stay safe in his service games, saving two break points in the 4th game of the second set, which was by far the longest of the match.

Smith was unable to move Fritz away from his forehand, and he couldn't respond in a similar measure. This was only the 4th main draw match for Smith in 2016, the first 3 coming in Futures, and also an ATP debut, as he just graduated from Georgia University.

Fritz broke his rival in back-to-back games at the start of the match, building a 4-0 lead and setting a tone for the rest of the encounter. On the other hand, he sailed through his service games, losing just 4 points to bring the set home by a convincing 6-2.

Smith showed more resistance in the second set, taking more than third of the return points, but his serve let him down again, as Fritz took exactly the half of the points on Smith's serve, with 2 breaks. The first of those came in game 3 but Fritz had to digs deep to confirm it, saving two break points in game 4 and holding after 5 deuces.

Austin had no more chances to break back, and Taylor got the job done with another break in game 7, sealing the win in the following game. First round results: Bjorn Fratangelo (USA) vs Igor Sijsling (NED) 6-1 7-6(2)
Horacio Zeballos (ARG) vs [6]Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (ESP) 6-3 6-7(5) 6-4
Yoshihito Nishioka (JPN) vs Daniel Evans (GBR) 6-2 6-7(2) 7-6(4)
[5]Fernando Verdasco (ESP) vs Dusan Lajovic (SRB) 7-6(2) 6-4
Julien Benneteau (FRA) vs [Q]John-Patrick Smith (AUS) 6-4 6-2
Tobias Kamke (GER) vs Sergiy Stakhovsky (UKR) 7-6(7) 7-6()
[8]Taylor Fritz (USA) vs [WC]Austin Smith (USA) 6-2 6-2 ALSO READ: Stan Wawrinka, injured; to miss Rio Games

Guillermo Garcia-Lopez Yoshihito Nishioka Daniel Evans