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Blake Notches 350th Win In Atlanta Upset Over Harrison

Atlanta, U.S.A.

Blake© Getty ImagesJames Blake won his 350th career match on Tuesday.

James Blake notched his 350th career victory in a late-night encounter at the BB&T Atlanta Open Tuesday evening, upsetting sixth-seeded countryman Ryan Harrison 1-6, 6-3, 7-5.

Blake lost in his first six opportunities to attain the milestone this season and looked to be headed down the same road in the first set, dropping serve three times to Harrison, 12 years his junior. But the World No. 110 settled into the match, and converted a late break in the third set to improve to a 2-0 mark against the 2011 Atlanta semi-finalist.

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The win is Blake's first as a father, having welcomed daughter Riley Elizabeth with fiancee Emily in June. The 32 year old advances to play Matthew Ebden. The Australian snapped a three-match losing skid, easing past Sergei Bubka 5-7, 6-1, 6-1.

Ebden capitalised on six of his 10 break points and won 73 per cent of his second serve return points to win the pair’s first FedEx ATP Head 2 Head meeting in one hour and 32 minutes.

Eighth seed Go Soeda rallied past Xavier Malisse 4-6, 7-5, 6-4. Ranked a career-high No. 54 in the South African Airways ATP Rankings this week, Soeda clinched the hard-fought contest in two hours and 32 minutes to win on his debut. The match was suspended for over two hours at 2-2 in the first set due to rain.

Soeda, who reached his first ATP World Tour semi-final in Chennai (l. to Tipsarevic), will play Russia’s Igor Kunitsyn next.

In an all-American opener, 34-year-old Michael Russell prevailed in a final set tie-break to edge qualifier Alex Kuznetsov 2-6, 6-4, 7-6(4) in two hours and 19 minutes. Russell has won all 10 of their encounters, with seven coming on the ATP Challenger Tour.

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Playing in his first ATP World Tour main draw of the season, qualifier Ricardas Berankis dismissed Dmitry Tursunov 6-3, 6-2 to claim his first tour-level victory since March 2011 when he defeated Alex Bogomolov Jr. in the first round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells. Berankis broke Tursunov five times to set a second-round clash with third seed Kei Nishikori.

Belgian qualifier Ruben Bemelmans cruised past Rajeev Ram 6-1, 6-3 in just over an hour to book a second-round meeting with No. 1 seed and two-time defending finalist John Isner.

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