Photo by Michael Buckelew
NORCROSS -- Robby Ginepri's return to the ATP World Tour was a successful one.
A wild-card entry into this year's Atlanta Tennis Championships at Racquet Club of the South, the Marietta resident took care of business in the first round with a strong showing in his 6-4, 7-5 victory over Tommy Haas of Germany.
Ginepri now takes on Gilles Muller of Luxembourg today in second-round play. Muller knocked off No. 7 seed American Alex Bogomolov Jr. in the first round on Tuesday.
"It's definitely up there, a highlight for sure," said Ginepri of the win. "You always wonder if the work you put in is enough to get wins out here with these top players. I worked pretty hard to get physically from the elbow (injury) and I fought a lot of other battles along the way. To come out here and perform is great."
Ginepri, playing for the first time since the 2010 U.S. Open after suffering a left elbow injury in a bicycle accident last September, held steady throughout the match and relied on his strong serve to get a point when he needed it.
In fact, Ginepri had nine aces on the night and that helped the former top 15 player when perhaps the rest of his game is still catching up to live match play.
In other first-round action, former world No. 1 ranked Lleyton Hewitt rolled to a straight-set victory in knocking out American Phillip Simmonds 6-4, 6-4. Hewitt will move into the second round where he will take on American Rajeev Ram, a winner in Monday's qualifier, who knocked off No. 5 seed Grigor Dimitrov 6-4, 6-4 on Tuesday.
Yen-Hsun Lu of Taiwan was a 7-5, 7-6 (4) winner over Matthias Bachinger of Germany in the first round and he will take on Australian Marinko Matosevic, who knocked off No. 6 seed Igor Kunitsyn of Russia. Matosevic, a qualifier on Monday, won 6-7 (3), 6-2, 7-5.
American Ryan Harrison pulled out a 6-1, 7-6 (5) win over qualifier Yuichi Sugita of Japan. Harrison moves on to meet fourth-seeded Xavier Malisse of Belgium, who was a quarterfinalist last year in this tournament and received a bye in this year's first round.
Nicolas Mahut of France got an opening round 7-6 (5), 6-4 win over Richard Berankis of Lithuania and will meet top-seeded Mardy Fish in the second round.
Other first-round doubles action saw Somdev Devverman and Treat Conrad Huey defeat Jonathan Erlich 6-4, 7-5. Michael Russell and Igor Kunitsyn squeezed by Michael Berger and Yen-Hsun Lu 6-7 (7), 6-4, 10-5.
Today's matches feature some interesting second-round singles and first-round doubles action.
Two of the top three seeded singles players get going today as No. 2 seed Kevin Anderson of South Africa hits the court for the first time, and the third-seeded John Isner gets a stern test in his first singles match.
Anderson takes on American Michael Russell at 4 p.m. on the Stadium Court while Isner will meet American James Blake tonight, also on the Stadium Court.
In an interesting first-round doubles match, Blake and Isner knocked off Marcelo Melo and Jamie Murray, seeded No. 2 in the doubles draw, 6-4, 6-2 on Tuesday.
Atlanta native Donald Young will pair up with Harrison in doubles action against Germans Frank Moser and Bachinger on Court 1 at 4 p.m.
Also, archrivals will put their tennis skills together in doubles as former UGA star Drake Bernstein of Winder and Georgia Tech standout Kevin King of Peachtree City face Americans Scott Lipsky and Ram on the Stadium Court following the Isner-Blake match.
Notes: The Run 'N Roll Wheelchair Tennis Clinic & Exhibition will be held today from 2 to 3 p.m. This clinic and exhibition is hosted by top-ranked wheelchair players from around the country. The event will feature wheelchair singles, wheelchair doubles and Run (ambulatory)/Roll (wheelchair) doubles. ... Today is USTA Member Appreciation Day & Reception from 3 to 4 p.m. and held in the indoor International Food Court at RCS. USTA members receive up to a 10 percent discount on tournament tickets for the day. ... Attendance on Monday was 2,650 and jumped to 3,165 Tuesday with Isner, Hewitt, Ginepri and Blake all in action.