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  • Fish cruises in Atlanta, Russell upsets Becker

    7/20/10 4:16 AM | Ricky Dimon
    Fish cruises in Atlanta, Russell upsets Becker Mardy Fish wins his opener at the Atlanta Tennis Championships on Monday, easing past James Ward. Fish is joined in the second round by Rajeev Ram and Rainer Schuettler.

    (6) Mardy Fish d. (WC) James Ward 6-1, 6-2

    Fish blasted nine aces to roll over Ward in one hour and 24 minutes on Monday at the inaugural Atlanta Tennis Championships. The sixth-seeded American dropped only three service points in the first set and produce a scorching backhand return for his second break at 4-1 before serving it out. More of the same continued in set two, and Fish had little trouble despite giving back a break at 4-1. Ward, a wild card from great Britain, failed to take advantage of 47 percent serving by his opponent. Next up for Fish is either Robby Ginepri or qualifier Nick Lindahl.

    Michael Russell d. (8) Benjamin Becker 6-3, 6-3

    Russell forced Becker into a baseline battled and cruised past the eighth-seeded German in one hour and 24 minutes. Becker was hopeless when he failed to win free points on serve, as Russell won a whopping 30 of 43 points when he got a look at a second-serve return. The 32-year-old American gave an early break back in the second set, but he struck again at 3-3 and finished off a reeling Becker with his fifth break of the day. Becker served at a woeful 39 percent and double-faulted seven times, virtually handing Russell a free pass to a second-round encounter against Rainer Schuettler.

    Rainer Schuettler d. Teymuraz Gabashvili 6-1, 6-4

    Serving woes also plagued Gabashvili, who put in a shocking 33 percent of his first deliveries and double-faulted 10 times to go down easily in one hour and 23 minutes. The Russian occasionally came up with massive forehands, but Schuettler weathered the storms with little difficulty and kept the ball in play. Schuettler donated serve twice, but he capitalized on his opponent's troubles to the tune of five breaks. The 34-year-old German should be ready for another baseline grind against a fellow veteran in Russell.

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