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Isner Overcomes Bemelmans In Atlanta Opener; Sock Up Next

Atlanta, U.S.A.

Sock© Getty ImagesJack Sock (right) edged compatriot Steve Johnson to reach his first ATP World Tour quarter-final.

Top seed John Isner won his opener at the BB&T Atlanta Open on Thursday evening, rallying past qualifier Ruben Bemelmans 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in the second round.

The World No. 11 won 84 per cent of his first serve points and hit 16 aces against the Belgian. Isner broke to love at the start of the third set and held serve the rest of the way to seal the win in one hour and 55 minutes.

Isner, is looking to lift his first trophy in Atlanta, having finished runner-up to Mardy Fish the past two years. He is coming off of a successful title defence at the Campbell’s Hall Of Fame Tennis Championships in Newport (d. Hewitt).

For a place in the semi-finals, Isner will square off against 19-year-old countryman Jack Sock. In a matchup of upcoming American wild cards, Sock topped two-time NCAA singles champion Steve Johnson 7-6(5), 7-5(5) to reach his first ATP World Tour quarter-final. Neither player was able to break serve, but Sock won eight more total points to claim victory in one hour and 59 minutes.

Australian Matthew Ebden struck 20 aces in a 6-7(6), 6-4, 6-4 win over James Blake. Ebden, who won 88 per cent of his first serve points, claimed the decisive break in the ninth game of the third set.

World No. 82 Ebden will play his first quarter-final since last October at the Shanghai Rolex Masters and faces Luxembourg’s Gilles Muller next. Muller advanced after two-time reigning champion Mardy Fish was forced to retire from their encounter midway through the second set. 

The second-seeded Fish led Muller 6-4, 2-2 before injuring his right ankle while trying to chase down a drop shot. Needing a minute to recover after running into the net post, Fish limped back to the baseline, serving out the game to move ahead 3-2, but was unable to continue any further.

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BBT Atlanta Open, Atlanta, Jack Sock

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