Kiranpal Pannu Wins Qualifying Wildcard into 2018 BB&T Atlanta Open
By: Annie Tarwater, Special to BBTAtlantaOpen.com
ATLANTA, July 19, 2018 – If the tennis played on Thursday at Life Time Athletic and Tennis in Peachtree Corners for one spot in the BB&T Atlanta Open singles qualifying draw is any indication of the quality of play that will occur at Atlantic Station over the next 10 or so days, tennis fans are in for a treat. The finals of the BB&T Atlanta Open Wildcard Challenge wrapped up on Thursday.
The finals featured Kiranpal Pannu, a player at Columbus State, who has been testing the waters of professional tennis by playing some ITF Futures events, and Ralf Steinbach, a former Ohio State Academic All-American and now a teaching professional at that Life Time facility.
A 10 a.m. start drew some fans out of this matchup, under overcast skies. Pannu chose to serve first and held at love. Steinbach then answered with a hold and the first ace of the match. At this point, Steinbach seemed to be the more comfortable player and get the hang of Pannu’s serve, breaking him to get the lead up 2-1. Steinbach then held and broke again to gain a 4-1 lead. Pannu then started to fight and got back in the battle to even the set at 4-4. Pannu then had found the range with his serve and held in a strong service game to take the lead 5-4. All Pannu then needed was one breakpoint to take the opening set, 6-4.
The second set was more of the same with the tide going Pannu’s way. The New Zealand native broke Steinbach, to grab a 2-0 lead. After getting a code violation, Steinbach managed to change his mental state and regain his focus by breaking Pannu, to 1-2. Both players were now going for broke, but it was Pannu that was able to find the court more often to race out to a 4-2 advantage. Steinbach won a quick service game, to get back to 3-4. He then fought off two match points and broke. Pannu then unexpectedly broke serve at love winning the match 6-4, 6-4 getting a spot into the qualifying draw.
“It means a lot. I’m almost finishing up with college so I’m kind of looking at the next step of my life and obviously pro tennis is an option," explained Pannu. "Being able to get through these tough matches against good college players, ex-pros and stuff like that is important and being able to play against the pros like that will show me where my level is so I’m really happy to be in this situation."
Pannu will play on Saturday at Atlantic Station in the BB&T Atlanta Open Singles Qualifying Draw.
About BB&T Atlanta Open Singles Qualifying:
When: Saturday and Sunday, July 21-22
Where: Atlantic Station, Midtown Atlanta
What: 16 players for 4 qualifying spots
How: Tickets at the gate or reserve at www.bbtatlantaopen.com
The BB&T Atlanta Open has welcomed more than 330,000 fans to Atlantic Station over the past eight years, establishing itself as one of the top ATP tennis events in the US. Tickets for the 2018 BB&T Atlanta Open can be purchased at http://www.bbtatlantaopen.com/.