By Nicole Poirier/BB&T Atlanta Open
Fans flocked to Stadium Court, ready to watch the first of many matchups in this year’s BB&T Atlanta Open. Nathan Pasha, the first of multiple Georgia players, and Mitchell Frank, a player out of UVA, took to the court early Saturday morning.
From the first point apparent that the crowd was stronly on Pasha’s side, a first team All-SEC player at UGA who was born and raised in Atlanta. Frank, a first time participant in the tournament, did not however come to the match without his own pressures. As the former No.1 NCAA singles player, Frank is used to pressure.
As the match began, it was obvious that Pasha was drawing from the intensity of the crowd, going up quickly 4-1, only losing the fourth game on Frank’s serve. Frank quickly became comfortable on the court, not dropping another service game for the rest of the match. Even with Frank’s sudden consistency on serve and a push at breaking Pasha during the last game, Pasha was able to keep up his momentum, never dropping a service game in the first set and taking it 6-3.
As the players stood to start the second set, it was clear that Pasha was in position to take the second set cleanly. In the early games of the set. Frank showed he was not about to back down, getting his first breaks of the match. With the momentum slowly switching sides, Frank was able to overtake Pasha with ease in the second set, posting a score of 6-2, despite Pasha’s attempts to fight back.
With the other two first-round qualifying matches finishing up, King defeating Wong after the latter retired after only one game in the second set due to a lower back injury.Hochwalt defeating Aubone in a fairly routine two set match 6-3, 6-4, almost every fan in the vicinity directed their attention towards the match between Pasha and Frank.
The two players upped their service games in the third set, delivering near perfect games throughout the whole final set. The only slight advantage was Frank getting to serve the opening game of the third set, which paid off putting him in the position to go up 5-4, needing only to break Pasha to take the final set and match. In a close final game, Pasha went up with two big serves, the tide only being turned by a short ball by Frank that clipped the net. From this point on, Frank dropped no more points, taking the match from Pasha in his first ever match at the BB&T Atlanta Open. Pasha, unfortunately, had to relive his defeat from last year in which he also lost the match after winning the first set. The final scores were 3-6, 6-2, 6-4, with Frank defeating Pasha in the first third set match of the tournament.
Pasha was not the only Atlanta native to take the qualifying courts on day one of the BB&T Atlanta Open. Robby Ginepri wasted no time on court today taking down Andrew Carter 6-3, 6-1. Ginepri will face Christopher Eubanks in the second round of qualifying. Donald Young recorded a victory over Catalin-Ionut Gard 6-2, 6-2, finishing the match after rain removed the players from the court. Georgia Tech graduate Dean O’Brien pulled out a three-set victory over fellow Yellow Jacket Juan Spir 7-6(5), 6-7(3), 6-2. The match concluded underneath the Atlantic Station lights after play resumed from an earlier rain shower.