Johnson gets first ATP win in Atlanta, Baker ousted
7/17/12 9:16 AM | Ricky Dimon
Steve Johnson extends Donald Young's losing streak on Monday in Atlanta. Johnson is joined in the second round by Igor Kunitsyn, who held off Brian Baker in three sets.
(WC) Steve Johnson d. Donald Young 6-3, 3-6, 6-3
Just now making the transition to the pro game after four dominant college seasons at the University of Southern California, Johnson earned his first career ATP-level victory on Monday night in the opening round of the BB&T Atlanta Open. It came at the expense of a reeling Young, who has now lost a hard-to-believe 14 matches in a row. Johnson prevailed after two hours and nine minutes to set up a showdown against doubles partner and fellow wild card Jack Sock.
The world No. 402 dictated play from start to finish, so the match was always on his racket. He showed signs of giving it away in the second, a frame in which Johnson served at an awful 37 percent. Young briefly took advantage, but errors once again infested his game in the third. Johnson saved 10 of 12 break points during the match, including four of five in the decider, before serving things out with no trouble at 5-3.
Igor Kunitsyn d. (WC) Brian Baker 6-4, 6-7(3), 6-3
The tables were turned on Monday night (and Tuesday morning) as a slumping Kunitsyn took out an in-form Baker after two hours and 21 minutes in a match that ended well after 1:00 AM. This one was back and forth right from the start, with Baker racing to 3-0 advantage in the first only to give back two breaks. Kunitsyn won six of the next seven games out of nowhere to steal the opener.
Both players held throughout the second before Baker led the ensuing tiebreaker from start to finish. With momentum hand, the 27-year-old American broke to open set three. Kunitsyn, however, earned two straight breaks to surge back into command. Baker held to stay alive at 2-5 but Kunitsyn made no mistake with the match on his racket one game later. The 126th-ranked Russian awaits either Go Soeda or Xavier Malisse in the second round.
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