• Blake, Dent set for first-round Atlanta showdown

    7/20/10 4:40 AM | Ricky Dimon
    Blake, Dent set for first-round Atlanta showdown James Blake and Taylor Dent will go head-to-head in the Atlanta first round on Tuesday evening. Dudi Sela and Janko Tipsarevic are also in action.

    A blockbuster all-American battle is set for Tuesday at the Atlanta Tennis Championships, as Taylor Dent and James Blake will meet in a tough first-round encounter.

    Dent and Blake have squared off on five previous occasions, with Blake leading the head-to-head series 4-1 and 3-0 on hard courts. They most recently faced each other this season in Delray Beach, where Blake prevailed 6-1, 3-6, 6-3.

    Both men are struggling at the moment, so this could go either way. Blake is out of the Top 100 at No. 115 due to knee problems and poor play. Dent returned admirably in 2009 from a major back injury, but he is just 5-13 at the ATP level this year and down at No. 94 in the world. First-serve percentage will be key for Dent, and Blake should advance unless Dent turns in a remarkable serving performance.

    Another American in Tuesday action will be 20-year-old Atlanta resident Donald Young, who received a wild card into his hometown event. Young will go up against Dudi Sela, who won their only previous encounter 6-4, 6-2 two years ago on the hard courts of New Haven.

    Surprisingly, Young registers just three spots behind Sela in the rankings (No. 105 and No. 102, respectively), as the Israeli is just 12-15 for his 2010 campaign. Young has been spending almost all of his time at the Challenger level and he finished runner-up in Aptos, CA on Sunday. The crowd will get behind Young, but Sela in three sets is the pick.

    Janko Tipsarevic will also contest his first-round match on Tuesday. The 45th-ranked Serb is facing Kevin Anderson for the first time in his career. The 6'8'' South African registers 96th in the world and he can keep any match close simply because of his big serve. Tipsarevic has his work cut out for him, but the No. 5 seed should survive in three.

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