Atlanta Open: First Round Underway

Steve Johnson (photo: Truist Atlanta Open)

ATLANTA, July 27, 2021 (Press Release)

First round action got underway at the Truist Atlanta Open presented by Fiserv, in Midtown, Atlanta as two sessions and a full slate of matches took place on Monday.

The Stadium Court opener featured an American who loves playing in Atlanta and a Italian who has tasted success in Atlanta.

But advantage to the American as Bjorn Fratangelo ousted Andreas Seppi in straight sets. Both sets were close and were decided by razor thin margins. Fratangelo relied on his forehand and consistency to advance, 7-5, 7-6(5).

The wildcard duo of Andres Martin and Keshav Chopra made their ATP debut on Grandstand Court, Monday afternoon. Both are Georgia locals and play doubles together for Georgia Tech. Their opponents were Miguel Ángel Reyes-Varela from Mexico and his partner Marcelo Arevalo from El Salvador. The Tech duo garnered massive support in their hometown with lots of patrons wearing white and gold. The Jacket faithful rallied a homecourt advantage on the grandstand by crafting an atmosphere special for Chopra, Martin and their families.

Unfortunately for the crowd, the professionals did not relish the Jackets’ debut. After a quick hold from Arevalo to open the match, Andres Martin earned the first hold of his ATP career. He used three serve and volleys to aggressively even the match. The Jackets had a great look to break the Reyes-Varela serve at 1-1 thanks to two double faults and a great lob from Andres. They looked at a 0-40 advantage and had 4 consecutive break points. However, Arevalo was able to find a groove and really dominate the rest of the game, saving all four breakpoints. Reyes-Varela used an effective serve to set his partner up with easy put away volleys. They then took the next four games and broke both opponent’s service games. At 4-1, Chopra dumped two back hand volleys in the net and gave up another break. Reyes-Varela held at love to secure an opening 6-1 set win.

The younger partnership settled in and became more comfortable in the match during the second set. Despite being broken in the opening game after eading 40-0, Chopra elevated his play and instantly made the match more competitive. Arevalo continued peppering backhand return opportunities throughout the set and made the collegiate athletes grind for their service holds. The locals answered the call and refused to let their ATP debuts end quickly. Serving at 3-5, Chopra saved three match points, the final with an emphatic ace, to stay in the match. The crowd came to life and the jackets had a serious momentum surge at the changeover. However, the match’s MVP, Arevalo, easily held and secured the second set at 6-4. It was a tough debut for Martin and Chopra. They will forever have the memories from the afternoon to share with their friends and family who came to support them. Reyes-Varela and Arevalo move on to the second round with a 6-1, 6-4 victory.

Last on Stadium Court for the day, a young and promising Alexi Popyrin of Australia against American Steve Johnson. The first set would consist of high level serving from both competitors that would unsurprisingly lead to a deciding tiebreak. It would go back and forth until the big point at four-all where Popyrin would agonizingly miss a floater volley in the net after an excellent shot to put Johnson out wide to the backhand. After that the American would close out the set on serve to take a one set lead 7-6.

After a few holds to begin the set, it would be Johnson who would convert on one of his only two break points at the match to go up 4-2. As the tall Aussie began to show some frustration his American counterpart would continue to show absolute brilliance on his serve not facing a single break point throughout the whole match. That one break would be all that was needed in order to close out the match for the former USC Trojan star 7-6 6-3 over Popyrin. When asked after the match, Johnson said he looked forward to returning to Atlanta after not playing for the past few years and will be looking to continue his good playing throughout the rest of the week.

In the last match of the evening session, Sam Querrey was upset by Peter Gojowczyk 4-6, 7-6(3), 7-6(5)

RESULTS – JULY 26, 2021

Singles – First Round

J. Thompson (AUS) d [8] L. Harris (RSA) 76(2) 16 62

[Q] P. Gojowczyk (GER) d S. Querrey (USA) 46 76(3) 76(5)

S. Johnson (USA) d A. Popyrin (AUS) 76(4) 63

[Q] B. Fratangelo (USA) d A. Seppi (ITA) 75 76(5)

Doubles – First Round

R. Opelka (USA) / J. Sinner (ITA) d [2] J. Erlich (ISR) / S. Gonzalez (MEX) 62 62

[WC] N. Kyrgios (AUS) / J. Sock (USA) d [3] A. Qureshi (PAK) / D. Sharan (IND) 61 63

M. Arevalo (ESA) / M. Reyes-Varela (MEX) d [WC] K. Chopra (USA) / A. Martin (USA) 61 64