College night became even more special for Georgia Tech rising senior, Chris Eubanks, as he earned his first ATP World Tour main draw win on Tuesday in his hometown of Atlanta. It was a Tuesday evening that seemed like any other, but those at Stadium Court at the BB&T Atlanta Open bared witness to what could be the turning point for the local tennis phenom. In the scorching heat of a summer evening, and among an arsenal of Georgia Tech fans and students, Christopher Eubanks notched his first BB&T Atlanta Open Tournament win 7-6(5) 6-4, against American Taylor Fritz.
Eubanks, a two-time ACC player of the year and two time All-American is no stranger to success at the college level. He has done nothing but dominate the competition while harnessing his gigantic swing. He has been a force on the college level, and now he has his sights set on the ATP World Tour.
At the 2015 BB&T Atlanta Open, Eubanks lost in straight sets to Czech Republic’s Radek Stepanek. The Following year, Eubanks showed more promise, as he was able to win two qualifying matches, but eventually fell to fellow American Reilly Opelka.
This year, the Yellow Jacket faced a formidable opponent in Taylor Fritz, who at last year’s tournament fought his way into the quarterfinals against three-time champion John Isner. Fritz would eventually fall to Isner, but got another shot in a rematch at Wimbledon. After winning three qualifying matches to reach the main draw. Isner would yet again get the best of the 19 year old in the first round, winning 6-4 7-6(3) 6-3.
The match between Eubanks and Fritz had the makings of a classic three set marathon. The first set would have both player holding serve to force a decisive tiebreak. Eubanks tightened his play and pulled ahead quickly to a 6-2 lead in the tiebreak. Fritz dug deep but was unable to make up the ground needed as Eubanks took the set 7-6(5). The Second set started much like the first as each player held serve. It wasn’t until the fifth game of the second set that Eubanks was able muscle through to take the first break of the match. That was all Eubanks needed to put the foot on the gas and take the set 6-4.
Thursday evening, Eubanks will be back on court. Armed with a powerful service game that can give any one trouble and a massive forehand, Eubanks showed why is he poised to make waves in this year’s tournament as well as in the professional ranks.
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.
The No. 1 seeded Bryan Brothers fought back in a three-set comeback against two Australians, John-Patrick Smith and Matt Reid, 4-6, 6-4, 10-7. The nail-biter began with Reid and Smith totalling the Brothers, six times in the first set. The Bryan’s struggled in the return game in losing the opener.
The top seeds bounced back and took the second set with sound net play. They lost the first two games, but came back and broke the Aussies. With strong returns, they broke again and took the set 6-4.
In the match tiebreaker, the Brothers climbed up 5-1 early, but Smith and Reid clawed back to come with one at 8-7. The Bryan’s powered through on the last 2 points winning 10-7 and, once again proving why they are the doubles team to beat in Atlanta.
They will face the winner of a match on Wednesday, as they head into the quarterfinals.
Matches on the AJC Grandstand Court began the day 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.
Hispanic Outreach Clinic
Children from the Agape Family Center, 43 in all, participated in the 2017 Hispanic Outreach Clinic at Central Park in Atlantic Station. The event was part of the USTA Net Generation initiative, which encourages youth participation in tennis. Throughout the morning, kids were allowed to play on youth sized courts with local coaches, including Kennesaw State University men’s and women’s head coach, Eduardo Rincon. ATP World Tour player, Ernesto Escobedo also participated.
This was Rincon’s third year working with this event. He enjoys the opportunity to interact with the next generation of tennis. “I feel like tennis has given me so much that I have to somehow give back.”
RESULTS – JULY 25, 2017
Singles – First Round
 K. Edmund (GBR) d M. Baghdatis (CYP) 6-3 7-5
 D. Young (USA) d [Q] T. Smyczek (USA) 6-4 6-2
D. Sela (ISR) d K. Kravchuk (RUS) 7-5 6-2
P. Gojowczyk (GER) d G. Pella (ARG) 4-6 6-3 7-6(5)
[PR] J. Millman (AUS) d F. Tiafoe (USA) 5-7 6-4 7-6(5)
[WC] C. Eubanks (USA) d [WC] T. Fritz (USA) 7-6(5) 6-4
M. Jaziri (TUN) d [WC] R. Opelka (USA) 5-7 7-6(14) 6-1
V. Pospisil (CAN) d B. Fratangelo (USA) 7-5 4-6 7-6(3)
Doubles – First Round
 B. Bryan (USA) / M. Bryan (USA) d M. Reid (AUS) / J. Smith (AUS) 4-6 6-4 10-7
A. Qureshi (PAK) / So. Ratiwatana (THA) d  N. Monroe (USA) / D. Young (USA) 1-6 7-6(9) 10-5
W. Koolhof (NED) / A. Sitak (NZL) d [WC] J. Cox (USA) / E. Reinberg (USA) 6-2 3-6 10-6
ORDER OF PLAY – WEDNESDAY, JULY 26, 2017
STADIUM COURT start 12:00 noon
[Q] T. Paul (USA) vs M. Jaziri (TUN)
[Q] Q. Halys (FRA) vs  G. Muller (LUX)
 D. Young (USA) vs L. Lacko (SVK)
Not Before 6:00 pm
B. Fratangelo (USA) or V. Pospisil (CAN) vs  J. Isner (USA)
Not Before 8:00 pm
S. Gonzalez (MEX) / S. Lipsky (USA) vs  P. Raja (IND) / D. Sharan (IND)
AJC GRANDSTAND start 1:00 pm
A. Molteni (ARG) / A. Shamasdin (CAN) vs  R. Harrison (USA) / M. Venus (NZL)
Not Before 5:00 pm
H. Chung (KOR) / J. Nedunchezhiyan (IND) vs [WC] E. Sock (USA) / J. Sock (USA)
Tickets available at http://www.bbtatlantaopen.com