Edmund, Jaziri, Young Advance
By Brittany Stewart for BB&T Atlanta Open
Long rallies punctuated by forehand winners were the ticket for fifth seed Kyle Edmund in his first round match against veteran player, Marcos Baghdatis, 6-3, 7-5. After a solid all-around performance by Edmund in the first set, a determined Baghdatis showed a renewed sense of fight in the second. Both players held serve until 5-5, Edmund capitalized on errors by Baghdatis to break his serve and then close out the set and match.
Matches on the AJC Grandstand Court began with a bang as Malek Jaziri outlasted American Reilly Opelka in a three-set thriller 5-7, 7-16(14), 6-1. Long rallies early on set the tone as both players battled for each point. Despite 26 aces in the match, Opelka was unable to close out the second set. Jaziri saved Opelka’s eight match points, forcing the match to go to a deciding third set. A tired Opelka seemed slower on his feet in the third set and Jaziri took advantage. Winning 84-percent of his service points in the third, Jaziri won himself a spot in the next round and will face Tommy Paul.
Hometown fan-favorite Donald Young did not leave his Atlanta fans disappointed in his first match appearance at this year’s tournament. Young defeated Tim Smyczek, on the stadium court 6-4, 6-2 to move on to face Lukas Lacko in the second round of play. Smyczek earlier won two matches for his spot in the main draw as a qualifier.
Both players began the match with sharp play; staying on serve and forcing errors on returns by their opponent. Young created an opportunity for himself as he broke Smyczek to take the lead 4-3 in the second, and he never looked back. Ending the set with four blazing serves in a row to claim the early lead.
Young, who reached the doubles finals at the French Open, showed his skills at the net in the second, creating short angles that left Smyczek scrambling in every corner of the court. A mix of spin and depth kept Young in control for the duration of the second set and he was able to cruise to a final set score of 6-2.