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ATP Atlanta: Hewitt breezes through but Sock suffers another setback

Steven Webb in ATP Tour 24 Jul 2013
Twenty-year-old Jack Sock is still waiting for a breakthrough senior win on the ATP Tour.

It was a good day for seeded players at the BB&T Atlanta Open on Tuesday.

Former world number one Lleyton Hewitt was first on the Stadium court, taking on Edouard Roger-Vasselin of France. Playing his first hard court event since Miami back in March, Hewitt looked in good from, firing down seven aces and winning 82% of his first serve points. He saved all break points against him, and broke his 71st-ranked opponent once in each set to register a 6-4, 6-4 victory in just under an hour and a half. 

Also through to the second round in Georgia are Yen-Hsun Lu and Evgeny Donskoy, the fifth and eighth seeds respectively. Lu defeated American qualifier Kevin King 6-3, 7-5, while Donskoy put out another home hope, Rajeev Ram, 6-4, 6-4. 

Doubles specialist Ram and 790th-ranked King are not regarded as major American prospects, but 20-year-old Jack Sock is. The winner of the US Open juniors in 2010, the Nebraskan has been tipped for a breakthrough for some time, and had a winnable match against Colombia’s Santiago Giraldo in Atlanta.

Unfortunately for Sock, and his vocal supporters, he ran into a more experienced competitor in solid form on Tuesday. Ranked just seven places higher than Sock at 88 in the world, Giraldo out-aced his young opponent and played with greater margin for error. 

The American kept the match competitive and saved three of five break points, but he failed to create break point opportunities of his own, and eventually fell 7-5, 6-4. Sock’s win-loss record for 2013 now stands at 6-8, and he faces increasing pressure to deliver in a country that is desperate for another homegrown US Open champion.

During the night session, rain halted Mardy Fish’s long-awaited comeback. The 2010 and 2011 Atlanta champion has been largely absent from the tour since undergoing a heart procedure last year, and even contemplated retiring as he struggled to deal with the resulting anxiety. He won the first set against compatriot Michael Russell 6-4 and was trailing 2-4 in the second when the rain fell. The pair will resume their first round match on Wednesday evening.

Four other Americans will also be in action on Day Three of the Atlanta Open. Veteran James Blake will take on qualifier Tim Smyczek, and Christian Harrison - Ryan’s younger brother - plays Alejandro Falla of Colombia. Lleyton Hewitt’s reward for winning his opening round is a date with Tennessee native Rhyne Williams. 

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ATP Atlanta: Hewitt breezes through but Sock suffers another setback

Lleyton Hewitt's summer hard court season got off to a winning start, but hotly tipped American Jack Sock fell at the first hurdle in Atlanta.

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