• Isner, Fish, Roddick return to Atlanta

    7/15/12 10:30 PM | Ricky Dimon
    Isner, Fish, Roddick return to Atlanta John Isner and Mardy Fish, the two finalists each of the last two years, are back in action at the Atlanta event this week. Fellow American Andy Roddick is also returning after skipping the tournament in 2011.

    For a third straight year, the 2012 U.S. Open Series begins in Atlanta. It gets underway this week with a distinct American flavor, as John Isner, Mardy Fish, and Andy Roddick earned first-round byes as three of the top four seeds.

    Isner and Fish are on a collision course for what would be a third consecutive final between the two players in the three-year history of Atlanta. Fish prevailed on both previous occasions; 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(4) in 2010 and 3-6, 7-6(6), 6-2 in 2011. Isner is the No. 1 seed here for the first time, succeeding Roddick two years ago and Fish last season.

    Roddick, who captured his first career ATP title at a clay-court tournament in Atlanta back in 2001, is making his second appearance at this new Atlanta event after leading the field in 2010. The 29-year-old American is seeded fourth and would meet Isner in the semifinals if both big servers advance that far. Roddick awaits either Nicolas Mahut or Paul Capdeville in the second round.

    Isner, who won Newport on Sunday to defend his title there, is a heavy favorite to reach the semis out of a relatively soft top quarter of the draw. The former University of Georgia standout could meet Rajeev Ram in round two and the other seed in his section is a slumping Alex Bogomolov. A pair of wild cards lurk nearby in the form of doubles partners Jack Sock and Steve Johnson.

    The bottom half, where Fish and third-seeded Kei Nishikori have byes, is loaded with unseeded threats. Brian Baker, Xavier Malisse, and Dmitry Tursunov have big opportunities to make noise in Nishikori's quarter. Meanwhile, No. 6 seed Ryan Harrison opens against countryman James Blake in an enticing first-round matchup. Fish will begin his week against either Gilles Muller or Marinko Matosevic.

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Current ATP-rankings

1. Djokovic 12 500 pts
2. Murray 8 750 pts
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