By Lauren D'Ambra/Kristy Rivero Special to BB&T Atlanta Open
The BB&T Atlanta Open's No. 4 seed, Ukrainian Alexandr “The Dog” Dolgopolov fell to 20-year-old, Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan 6-3, 2-6, 6-1, in second round play on Thursday.
Nishioka took control of the first set with a break in the fifth game and backed that up with another at 5-3 to take the opener. When Nishioka is playing well, he make it look effortless and free flowing and he was hitting on all cylinders early on. In the second set, Dolgolopov fought back with a break in the first game and mixed in four aces to take the second. Nishioka looked a little rattled against the veteran pro, but after splitting sets, he gave himself a little pep talk. That put him back in the right frame of mind and back dictating points in the decider. The young Japanese player won 100% of the points where his first serve connected in the third and he closed it out, looking confident heading into Friday's action.
Nishioka will now face Horacio Zeballos of Argentina in one quarterfinal.
In the day's second contest, No. 5 seed Fernando Verdasco is now 5-0 for his career against Julien Benneteau of France with an easy 6-1, 6-3 victory. In the match, which took just 58 minutes the Spaniard converted 84% of first serve points and face no break points. Benneteau is working his way back from injury and Verdasco now has a confirmed set in the quarters.
Horacio Zaballos defeated Tobias Kamke 6-1, 6-4 in the other second round match of the day session.
The night match featured No. 2 seed Nick Kyrgios, making his first appearance in Atlanta, with the final spot in the quarterfinals on the line. His opponent, the red hot American Jared Donaldson, who is playing some of the best tennis of his life.
After a rain delay of almost two hours, the first set was fast-paced with high quality shotmaking. It went to a tiebreaker where Kyrgios quickly took a 4-1 lead with a couple of mini-breaks and strong serving. He closed out the set with a service winner and a fist pump.
Kyrgios closed things out in a hurry, opening the second set with two breaks to jump out 4-0. Donaldson made a valiant effort to cut the lead to 3-4, but Kyrgios was just too strong and won the match 7-6(4), 6-3.
“I knew that he (Donaldson) was confident,” said Kyrgios. “I haven’t played too much tennis of late so I’m just happy I got through. I know tomorrow I have a tough match, but I thought the conditions really suited my game.”