Kevin Anderson is back at the BB&T Atlanta Open for the fourth time, this time as the No. 2 seed. At 6-foot-8, he is one of the few players on the ATP World Tour who could post up the tournament’s top seed, 6-foot-10 John Isner.
Anderson also is a prime candidate to win the tournament, which would be the third title of his career. He comes into the event ranked No. 21, the highest of his career. He said his belief that he can win is stronger than it was in previous visits.
“I think that’s definitely a result of improving and good results,” said Anderson, a South African who played college tennis at Illinois. “I think expectations continue to rise, and I definitely come into this week with the hope and, I wouldn’t say an expectation, but definitely the belief that I can come in and win the tournament.”
His best result was in 2010, when he lost in three sets to Isner in the semifinals. He reached the quarterfinals in 2011 and lost in the second round last year. This season, he reached the round of 16 at the Australian and French opens. He is receiving some benefit from not playing doubles, as he is coming back from elbow surgery in January.
“I think at this point, I’m definitely the most complete I’ve been,” said Anderson, 27. “I think it’s been a progression of hard work and getting more experience. It’s definitely exciting to see. It’s always great when you can say my ranking’s the highest it’s ever been. It’s a nice accomplishment to go with that. It’s a bit of representation of the success, but there’s still a lot more that I want to do.”
Rain delay: After dark clouds threatened all afternoon, rain finally stopped play Tuesday evening, delaying and then ultimately holding off two matches, one of which was in progress. The Mardy Fish-Michael Russell match and a doubles match were suspended for two hours, 42 minutes when rain began to fall around 8:30 p.m. Play resumed briefly, allowing the doubles team of Jonathan Erlich and Andy Ram to win their match over Yen-Hsun Lu and Marinko Matosevic, but not long enough for Russell and Fish to complete their first-round match.
Fish, the two-time Atlanta Open champion, will finish up with Russell Wednesday evening. Fish was leading 6-4, 2-4, when rain fell again around 11:15. Play was called for the night shortly after. James Blake and qualifier Tim Smyczek, who were to follow Russell and Fish, will also play their entire match Wednesday.
Fish is making his first appearance since April and playing his third event of the season. Until playing in Indian Wells, Calif., in March, Fish hadn’t played since the U.S. Open, when he pulled out with a heart condition.
King falls in first round: Former Georgia Tech All-America Kevin King lost in his first-round match, a 6-3, 7-5 defeat to Yen-Hsun Lu of Chinese Taipei. King was given a spot in the qualifier and won three consecutive matches to make his first main draw of an ATP World Tour event.
“It’s been great to be on the court with some of the top guys and to compete and win some matches and play a lot of close matches,” said King, from Peachtree City.
King, who has played Futures and Challengers tour events since turning professional following the end of his Tech career, will remain at the tournament, as he is in the main draw of the doubles tournament with longtime Tech partner Juan Spir.
On stadium court
4 p.m.: Rhyne Williams vs. Lleyton Hewitt
Followed by: James Blake vs. Tim Smyczek
Not before 7 p.m.: Mardy Fish vs. Michael Russell (resuming match with Fish leading 6-4, 2-4)
Followed by: James Blake and Jack Sock vs. Marcelo Demoliner and Andre Sa
On AJC Grandstand Court
4 p.m.: Alejandro Falla vs. Christian Harrison
Not before 5 p.m.: Ivan Dodig vs. Ricardas Berankis
Followed by: Chris Guccione and Lleyton Hewitt vs. Santiago Gonzalez and Scott Lipsky
On Court 3
3 p.m.: Matthew Ebden vs. Ivo Karlovic
Followed by: Rajeev Ram and Ken Skupski vs. Dominic Inglot and Frank Moser