Soeda, Ebden, Russell win in 1st round
James Blake upset No. 6 seed Ryan Harrison 1-6, 6-3, 7-5 in a match that began 21/2 hours late because of rain at the Atlanta Open on Tuesday night.
Harrison joined fellow U.S. Olympian Donald Young in losing a first-round match. That leaves the Atlanta event with No. 1 seed John Isner and fourth-seeded Andy Roddick as the two remaining Olympians playing singles for the U.S. in London.
Eighth-seeded Go Soeda of Japan, Matthew Ebden of Australia and Michael Russell overcame a nearly three-hour rain delay in the afternoon matches.
Soeda beat Belgium’s Xavier Malisse 4-6, 7-5, 6-4. Ebden held off qualifier Sergei Bubka of Ukraine 5-7, 6-1, 6-1, and Russell rallied to beat Alex Kuznetsov 2-6, 6-4, 7-6 (4)
Third-seeded Kei Nishikori of Japan and Roddick will play their first-round matches on Wednesday.
Isner and two-time defending champion Mardy Fish, the second seed, will play their first-round matches on Thursday.
Russell advanced to play No. 5 seed Kevin Anderson of South Africa on Wednesday. Soeda will face Russia’s Igor Kunitsyn.
Blake improved to 2-0 against Harrison in ATP World Tour events. They had not played since Blake’s 6-3, 6-2 victory on clay in Houston four years ago.
Blake will play Ebden on Thursday.
Malisse had 10 aces before Soeda broke his serve to go up 6-5 in the second. It was one of two break points Soeda won in nine tries.
Soeda will face Igor Kunitsyn on Wednesday.
Russell was down 3-4 in the second set, but shifted the momentum by breaking Kuznetsov’s serve.
"As soon as I saw that he was a little bit tight, I was able to get some free points," Russell said. "He got a little frustrated towards the end of that second set."
Russell managed one ace to 14 for Kuznetsov.
"Even when it still got down to that second set, I knew he still would have to come up with either a great serve or a great shot to beat me," Russell said. "I was able to get through those tight games."
Nishikori will face Ricardas Berankis of Lithuania, a 6-3, 6-2 winner over Russia’s Dmitry Tursunov. Roddick will play Nicolas Mahut of France.