Plenty of Special Events at BB&T Atlanta Open

Local collegians move on during first day at Emirates Airline US Open Series event at Atlantic Station

The BB&T Atlanta Open has a series of special family-friendly events to enhance the tournament that runs through July 22 at Atlantic Station.

Special events include Smash Zone, Publix Family Zone activities, the Coca-Cola Swelter Stopper, USO Military Appreciation Night, Jezebel Player Party, USTA Member Appreciation Reception, ALTA Night and multiple tennis courts available for child and family play.

The BB&T Atlanta Open, an ATP World Tour 250 event, is the first men’s event in the Emirates Airline US Open Series. Several of the world’s top players have committed to play in the tournament: Former World No. 1 Andy Roddick, Top 10 player John Isner, Ryan Harrison and Donald Young, all U.S. Olympians in singles at the London Olympics. Two-time champion Mardy Fish will also defend his title.

JEZEBEL Top 100 Best Restaurants featuring BB&T Atlanta Open players will treat guests to the edible works of art by the area’s best chefs on Sunday, July 15. Fish will team up with chef Jeremy Miller of STK while Harrison will cook with Alex Friedman of P’Cheen for the title of “Cuisine of the Court.”

SmashZone opened Saturday and will remain open Sunda from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. A 53-foot trailer, which anchors four kid-sized tennis courts for youth play, features games such as Rally Courts and Target Challenge and interactive activities like Wii Tennis, Tennis Magazine Green Screen Cover Shoot and touch-screen kiosks.

The Publix Family Zone will be an exciting place in Atlantic Station’s Central Park where families can show off their tennis skills on four 36-foot courts staffed by local teaching pros. The Publix Family Zone will run from Monday, July 16 through Sunday, July 22. BB&T Atlanta Open players will make appearances at Publix Family Zone from Monday, July 16 - Thursday, July 19 at 3 p.m.

Coca-Cola’s Swelter Stopper will keep everyone happy with its cooling spray Friday, July 20 through Sunday July 22. The BB&T NASCAR Showcar will also be on display throughout the tournament.

On Monday, July 16, the tournament will honor the United States Military with a video montage and on-court appearances by a military Color Guard, national anthem singer Lauren-Ashley Blake and a Wounded Warrior.

Tuesday, July 17 will feature a private USTA Southern Member reception event and a player appearance. Tuesday is also ALTA Night during which the top five boys and girls from their respective ALTA Junior Challenge ladders will be recognized and the on-court coin toss will be performed by ALTA President Diane Barker.

USTA Southern will present a Run/Roll exhibition on Tuesday night, showing off the teamwork on doubles teams consisting of a wheelchair and an able-bodied player. Top Southern juniors will demonstrate the top level of ability using the USTA 10 and Under format on Friday, July 20 and Saturday, July 21.


First Day of Qualifying

Three times during their collegiate careers, Wil Spencer of the University of Georgia got the better of rival Kevin King from Georgia Tech. Competing now as professionals on the ATP stage, King finally was able to reverse the outcome, earning a 6-4, 6-3 victory Saturday over Spencer in the first round of qualifying at the BB&T Atlanta Open.

Qualifying play continues Sunday at the tournament, the first men’s event in the Emirates Airline US Open Series, being held at Atlantic Station.

King, whose father Bill played football at Villanova, hails from Peachtree City and recently concluded his collegiate career as Georgia Tech’s all-time wins leader in doubles. King finished with 90 doubles victories, surpassing the previous Tech career record of 82 by Sergio Aguirre (1997-01).

Spencer began his collegiate career at Texas A&M and transferred to Georgia after his second year. He led the Bulldogs to the semifinals of the 2011 NCAA Championships and the Championships of the 2012 SEC Tournament.

King, 22, broke a string near the end of the first set, but said that not only didn’t deter him but actually made him play better. “I got that set and then relaxed and was able to play better in the second,” he said.

Last year at this event, King made headlines taking advantage of a main draw wild card in doubles and teaming with former Georgia Bulldog Drake Bernstein to knock off the top-seeded team of Scott Lipsky and Rajeev Ram.

Like King, Bernstein once again capitalized on his wild card entry on Saturday to defeat Bradley Cox of Duluth, Ga., 6-3, and up 5-0 before Cox retired from the match.

Another Georgia Bulldog, Nathan Pasha, took the first set off of No. 5-seeded Rik De Voest of South Africa before falling, 6-7 (5), 6-2, 7-5. And the fourth and final Bulldog in the draw, Ignacio Tamboda, lost his match to No. 2-seeded Ricardo Berankis of Lithuania, 6-2, 6-1.

Judd Motz, a nationally ranked high school junior from nearby Norcross, got a taste of the big-time as he drew No. 6-seeded veteran Tim Smyczek and lost, 6-0, 6-1. Smyczek called Motz a good player, but didn’t want to spend any extra time on court because of the hot temperatures. “In this heat the less time you stay on the court the better,” Smyczek said. “I love the venue here. It’s a great atmosphere.”

Sunday’s Second-Round Qualifying schedule is listed below. Main draw play begins Monday but the top four seeds: Isner, Fish, Igor Nishikori and Roddick have all received first-round byes.

Sunday’s Second-Round Qualifying Schedule
Stadium Court Starting at 11 a.m.
(2) Ricardas Berankis, Lithuania, vs. (wc) Drake Bernstein, U.S.
Followed by
(wc) Kevin King, U.S., vs. (5) Rik De Voest, South Africa
Followed by
Luca Margaroli, Switzerland, vs. (7) Alex Kuznetsov, U.S.

Grandstand Court, Starting at 11 a.m.
(1) Ruben Bemelmans, Belgium, vs. (wc) Lukas Dlouhy, Czech Republic
Followed by
Olivier Sajous, Haiti, vs. (6) Tim Smyczek, U.S.
Followed by
(4) Ricardo Mello, Brazil, vs. (wc) Mbonisi Ndimande, Zimbabwe

Court 3, Starting at 11 a.m.
Olivier Charroin, France, vs. (8) Ricardo Hocevar, Brazil
(3) Sergei Bubka, Ukraine, vs. Olivier Sajous, Haiti


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