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QFs at BB&T Atlanta Open Day 5

Friday was a great day at the BB&T Atlanta Open, starting with a glimpse at the Next Generation of junior tennis players.

As I arrived on the tournament grounds, I saw – and heard! – tons of kids in blue shirts having a blast on the demo court. As it turns out, it was Kids Day at the tournament, and our local National Junior Tennis and Learning (NJTL) group was on hand to offer some introductory instruction:

From the NJTL demo, I made my way to my seat to watch the first two Aussies of the day do battle, Alex de Minaur and Bernie Tomic. The 20-year-old de Minaur came out on top of this one when Bernie was forced to retire with an injury.

Next up was British player Dan Evans versus Reilly Opelka, who semi-finaled here last year. Reilly’s massive serve and new-found quick movement around the court proved too much for Evans, and Reilly will now face de Minaur in this year’s Semis.

After the match, I left the court just in time to catch Reilly signing autographs for his fans:

My final match of the day was former TCU star, lefty Cameron Norrie, versus another young Aussie, 19-year-old Alexei Popyrin. It was fun to see these two play, both of them ripping forehands and moving incredibly well, at least in the first set. The heat and humidity looked to be affecting Alex toward the end of the first set, and he called the trainer out to have a chat. From that point forward, Alex was using the ice towel at every changeover and seemed a bit drained throughout the rest of the match. The two exchanged serve breaks multiple times, but Cam was finally able to close out the match and will play American Taylor Fritz in the Semis.

As I posted yesterday, the tournament media office offers internships to students who are interested in investigating a career in writing, reporting, or broadcasting. I was able to chat with the tournament’s Media Director, Rick Limpert, about what the internships entail and how to apply for next year:

 

To purchase tickets, visit bbtatlantaopen.com.

 

Here’s the official release from the tournament media office:

Youth is served in the semifinals at the 2019 BB&T Atlanta Open presented by First Data.

Players were looking to earn their spot in Saturday’s semifinals.

An Australian battle to open the day with Alex de Minaur, the 20 year-old rising ATP star and the impressive, and talented 26 year-old Bernard Tomic. The young gun took the advantage about midway in the first set as he used his slice backhand to force Tomic on his backfoot to provoke a forehand error. de Minaur dominated the first set winning 31 out of the 49 points, and scoring 93% of his first serve points. Tomic ended the first set hitting a double fault and de Minaur snatches the first set 6-2. It was de Minaur once again who took an early lead in the second set. After chasing down two attacks from Tomic, the youngster counter attacked with a beautiful crosscourt forehand winner and took a 3-0 lead. Unfortunately for the fans, the Australian battle was cut short when Tomic retired due to an injury. de Minaur doesn’t drop a set en route to the semifinals.

Next up on a progressively hot Atlanta afternoon, Daniel Evans would face the tennis giant Reilly Opelka. The pair both held comfortably throughout the first set except when Opelka would create two breakpoint opportunities at 4-3, but was unable to convert on either of them. Fittingly the set would go to a tiebreaker as Evans would continue to try and use the knifing slice against the 6’11 American. The tiebreak would be back and forth until Opelka would pull away after 3-all and go on a run of four straight points to secure the first set. The second set would produce some good points as Opelka would step up on the baseline and hit thunderous forehands to produce attacking tennis. This same style of play allowed him to secure the break at 5-5l in the set. The American would have no problem serving out the match as he finished the day with 23 aces and faced zero break points on serve. This win will take him to a career high rank near No. 43, and into his second semifinal of 2019 after winning the New York Open.

The match held between Cameron Norrie of Great Britain and Alexei Popyrin of Australia was a two-set match that lasted just over an hour and a half. Norrie was able to break Popyrin’s serve, taking a lead, 6-5. With the first lead of the set, Norrie was able to hold and take the opener, 7-5.

The second set started as Norrie was able to break Popyrin’s serve to win the first game 1-0. Immediately, Popyrin would break Norrie’s serve, tying up the score 1-1. An exchange would happen like this one more time, in which Norrie would break Popyrin to make the score 3-2. The score would reach 4-4, before Norrie would be able to pull ahead and break Popyrin’s serve for the third time in the set, making the score 5-4. Norrie was able to serve for the match, and despite resistance from Popyrin, won the final game of the set, with a final score of 6-4. The games were much longer in this set, with many games reaching deuce and going multiple ads.

Taylor Fritz defeated Miomir Kecmanovic Friday night in straight sets 6-1 7-6, and booked his place in the semifinals. Serbian international Kecmanovic, after a magical display last night against Ugo Humbert, struggled with his forehand early and lost many long rallies with Fritz. Fritz won 90% of his first serve points and finished the match with 11 aces. The second set showed a completely different Kecmanovic as the pair went back and forth all the way to a tiebreaker. The momentum seemed to be shifting the Serbian’s way up 4-3 in the second set, until Fritz amassed four straight points on three aces and a skillful “tweener” that got the crowd on its feet. A tiebreaker would decide the second set, and Kecmanovic looked to be out of gas as Fritz easily won 7-1. Fritz will face Norrie tomorrow night to see who will face the winner of Opelka and De Minaur in the Atlanta final.

 

RESULTS

 

ATP MEN SINGLES

Quarterfinal

Reilly Opelka (USA )77 
Daniel Evans (GBR )65 
Alex De Minaur (AUS )63 
Bernard Tomic (AUS )20 
Cameron Norrie (GBR )76 
Alexei Popyrin (AUS )54 
Miomir Kecmanovic (SRB )16 
Taylor Fritz (USA )67

Saturday’s Schedule of Play

COURT: STADIUM COURT
TimeMatch
12:00 noonATP MEN DOUBLES – SEMIFINAL
Jack Sock (USA)
Jackson Withrow (USA)
vs.Dominic Inglot (GBR)
Austin Krajicek (USA)
Not Before 3:00 pmATP MEN SINGLES – SEMIFINAL
Reilly Opelka (USA)
vs.Alex de Minaur (AUS)
Not Before 7:00 pmATP MEN SINGLES – SEMIFINAL
Cameron Norrie (GBR)
vs.Taylor Fritz (USA)
Followed ByATP MEN DOUBLES – SEMIFINAL
Bob Bryan (USA)
Mike Bryan (USA)
vs.Radu Albot (MDA)
Artem Sitak (NZL)

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