By Michael Rardon/ATC
Today Mardy Fish made it back-to-back titles at the Atlanta Tennis Championships by defeating fellow American and friend John Isner. The two met in last year’s final with a similar result: Fish winning in three sets.
Just as it happened last year, Isner jumped out to an early lead. He won the first set 6-3 and was up an early break in the second set. Fish fought his way back into the set and forced a tiebreak, but it still seemed that the momentum on Isner’s side, and the University of Georgia faithful were cheering on their former four-time All-American. Fish went down 5-1 in the tiebreak, and was forced to save two championship points before coming back to win the tiebreak 9-7. He credited his ability to win points on his serve, but admitted that he was fortunate to escape the tiebreak and move on to the final set.
After splitting the first two sets, both players took a break to change and quickly recollect themselves before starting the final set of the tournament. Fish had a lot more confidence and was connecting on his shots. He had started to read Isner’s serve better and began taking control of the set. Fish was able to go up an early break and staved off two break points at 2-3 to lock control of the match. Fish went on to win 3-6, 7-6(7), 6-3.
In his post-match interview Fish discussed the significance of defending his title. It was the first time in his career that he had defended a title and was thrilled to once again start off his summer on a high note. He is hoping to once again have a dominant summer on the American hard courts and will be back to work at the Farmers Classic next week in his hometown of Los Angeles.
Isner ,on the other hand, was understandably disappointed with the loss. As he said in his post-match interview, having a championship point while serving is the best opportunity you can ask for. He had his chances, but was unable to convert. This is the fifth time Isner has lost to a fellow American in the finals of a tournament, having chances to win in all of them.
American/Australian duo win doubles
The final day at the Atlanta Tennis Championships started with the doubles final, featuring the German duo of Matthias Bachinger and Frank Moser battling American Alex Bogomolov, Jr. and Matthew Ebden of Australia. The match was filled with high energy and emotion as the players competed for the title in the first event of the Olympus US Open Series.
In the first set Bogomolov and Ebden raced off to an early 3-0 lead and looked to be in control of the set. However, in the no-ad format, the two lost a few deuce points and the momentum took a sudden swing in the favor of the two Germans, who raced back to win the next six games, taking the set 6-3. Bogomolov and Ebden were able to rally back in the second set and secured a decisive break late in the set to win 7-5.
After splitting the first two sets, the doubles final was pushed to a decisive ten point tiebreak to determine this year’s champions. The ten point tiebreak "can go either way and is really determined by a point here and there," said Ebden. With every point having an increased importance Ebden and Bogomolov Jr. said they just tried to stay focused on their serving points. In the tiebreak, they managed to jump out to a 9-6 lead and served out the match to win 3-6, 7-5,[10-8].
This was Ebden’s second consecutive doubles title this summer after winning Newport with Ryan Harrison last week. He said that he and Harrison are planning to play more Olympus US Open Series events together throughout the summer in order to try and earn a spot in the US Open.