Venus Shines, Main Draw Starts Monday
Chung, Escobedo, Donaldson, Kozlov in Action on Monday
ATLANTA, July 22, 2017 – The BB&T Atlanta crowd who assembled for the Venus Williams evening exhibition match against Canadian Genie Bouchard, did not leave disappointed.
Williams edged Bouchard 6-4, 7-6 (7-4). Williams, a seven-time grand slam champion, wowed the crowd with her impressive power and never give up mentality, while Bouchard showcased some impressive skills that led her to a Wimbledon final.
The exhibition was a sold-out event, as tennis fans packed the stadium to see the likes of a player who has been ranked No. 1 by the WTA Tour on three separate occasions, against a former WTA Tour No. 5. William’s, 2017 two-time grand slam final appearances, including the recent Wimbledon final, contributed to the excitement of fans as they witnessed high caliber live tennis under the BB&T Atlanta Open lights.
Canada’s top ranked female broke Williams early on in the first set; however, Williams fought back to win the set 6-4. In the second set, Bouchard again broke Venus early on, and from there, the momentum shifts back and forth. Tied at 6-6, in typical Williams’ fashion, Williams fought back to secure the match with a 7-4 tiebreak score.
The match was umpired by Wayne Bryan, who stated he has known Williams since she was eight-years-old; Bryan capitalized on the playfulness of the exhibition match to poke fun at both players. After referring to a shot by Williams as “one of the worst shot in the history of tennis,” Venus later “accidentally” hit Wayne with a ground stroke.
Prior to tonight’s exhibition, Williams and Bouchard had a 1-1 career head-to-head.
Next up for Williams, 37, currently ranked ninth, and Bouchard, 23, currently ranked 69th, includes summer hard court play, leading up to the U.S. Open.
“It was an honor to be on the court with [Venus],” Bouchard told the crowd.
This was Williams’ first return to Atlanta after a 10-year absence. “It was fun to be in Atlanta,” Williams told the crowd. “Your support…it’s an awesome feeling. I love this game. It’s all possible because you guys care and come out.”
It was a battle of Americans on Sunday, on Stadium Court for the final round of qualifying at the BB&T Atlanta Open. Tommy Paul took down Mitchell Krueger in three sets, 2-6, 6-2, 6-3, to solidify his spot in the main draw of the tournament beginning Monday.
Krueger stormed to a quick lead in the first set, and his flat, first serve created problems for Paul. A determined Paul quickly responded in the second, and the opponents battled to six of the eight games reaching deuce at some point. Paul closed out the second set by forcing Krueger out wide off the court, allowing Krueger to net a backhand for a final set score of 6-2. A battle of serves from the start, Paul’s serve made the difference in the final set as he won 81-percent of first serve points. This gave him enough edge to stamp his ticket to the next round in a final set score of 6-3.
Other winners in Sunday’s qualifying matches included Tim Smyczek, Stefan Kozlov and Quentin Halys of France.
RESULTS - JULY 23, 2017
Qualifying Singles - Second Round
Qualifying -  T. Smyczek (USA) d  I. Marchenko (UKR) walkover
Qualifying -  S. Kozlov (USA) d  B. Klein (GBR) 6-7(9) 6-2 7-6(4)
Qualifying -  Q. Halys (FRA) d  D. Novikov (USA) 6-7(6) 7-5 6-4
Qualifying -  T. Paul (USA) d  M. Krueger (USA) 2-6 6-2 6-3
ORDER OF PLAY - MONDAY, JULY 24, 2017
STADIUM COURT start 12:00 noon
T. Huey (PHI) / R. Lindstedt (SWE) vs  P. Raja (IND) / D. Sharan (IND)
Not Before 2:00 pm
L. Lacko (SVK) vs T. Fabbiano (ITA)
 H. Chung (KOR) vs [Q] T. Paul (USA)
Not Before 6:00 pm
E. Escobedo (USA) vs  J. Donaldson (USA)
[Q] S. Kozlov (USA) vs [Q] Q. Halys (FRA)
AJC GRANDSTAND start 3:00 pm
[PR] J. Millman (AUS) / Sa. Ratiwatana (THA) vs M. Baghdatis (CYP) / M. Jaziri (TUN)
G. Muller (LUX) / H. Nys (FRA) vs S. Gonzalez (MEX) / S. Lipsky (USA)
Tickets available at www.bbtatlantaopen.com