Andy Roddick wins his 32nd career title in Atlanta –the city where it all began.
The No. 4 seed, American Roddick held up the championship trophy in Atlantic Station at the BBT Atlanta Open Sunday evening after defeating unseeded opponent, Gilles Muller of Luxembourg in three sets 1-6; 7-6; 6-2. Total match duration was two hours and 13 minutes. Roddick won his first career title 11 years ago in Atlanta.
Roddick walked out for the first set armed with two double faults in Game One. And to the disappointment of the Atlanta fans, which were truly behind him, he only had enough in the tank to grab one game the entire first set. The loss happened right under the noses of fans in less than 16 minute span. Literally, if you blinked, you missed it.
But having the 22 ATP ranked player down a set wasn’t enough for Muller to pull it off. In the end, experience ruled the court. Roddick drew on his previous 51 finals appearances to pull it together. He’s snagged 31 wins during the length of his career compared to Muller’s zero titles.
Was Roddick worried after such a first-set beating? “Well, yeah, “said Roddick. “When you’re down a set, it’s not really where you want to be. I know by now the score of a set is irrelevant.” With the exception of momentum, being down a set or up a set doesn’t really affect Roddick. “It’s not like in other sports where if you’re up the first quarter, it means something.
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Both fans and Roddick breathed a little easier as the 29- year stepped up his second set performance.
Roddick came out with a little more in the pocket than double faults. This was the Andy the fans came to see. He fired off 9 aces and nailed 76% of first service points won during set two.
Muller held four break points forcing the second set tiebreak.
That’s when things really fell apart for Muller.
Muller, also 29 years old, succumbed to nerves. He butchered an easy volley, dumped a midcourt forehand into the net and let the loss get the better of him. Prior to the second set tiebreaker, Muller had pinned 20 of 25 volleys. Now, the racquet Gods were wavering.
“Nerves,” said Muller after the match for his decline in play during set tiebreaker. “It was the nerves over heat,” he said. “It was more mental. (It’s been) a longtime since I’ve been in the position to win a tournament.”
The veteran, Roddick, applied a little pressure. “I started putting some holds together and was able to slime out the second set.”
In the end, fans got what they wanted; An American win. An Andy Roddick win. Just prior to the last game, the fans erupted in a “Let’s go An-dy!” chant.
Muller compared the environment of the venue to Disneyland with the restaurants, shops and music playing from the outside speakers. “I like the venue, Muller said of Atlantic Station. “ It’s nice everything is within walking distance the players always like that when they don’t have to drive too far to the club and there are nice restaurants in the area. To be honest it’s like Disneyland."
“I always enjoy playing here,” said Roddick, speaking to the fans. “You’re so enthusiastic about tennis,” Roddick said of the Atlanta fans in an on-court interview.
Roddick heads to England as part of Team USA where he is slated to play doubles with John Inser, Bob and Bryan to play first doubles. Ryan Harrison and Donald Young are slated to play singles.
Fans can look for the tennis between July 28-August 5 at the All England Lawn Tennis Club, the famed site of the ongoing Wimbledon Championships.
In BBT Atlanta Open doubles, Ryan Harrison(USA) and partner Matthew Ebden of Australia defeated opponents American Michael Russell and Xaxier Malisse from Belgium, 6-3; 3-6; 10-3. Doubles format: No AD scoring with a 10 point match tiebreaker in lieu of the third set.