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Week gone by July 25th - Mardy Fish kicks off US Open series with title

The build up to the the year’s final Grand Slam got off to a fairly quiet start this week with the first of the US Open series events in Atlanta, even as some of the ATP pros chose to play the now-downgraded Hamburg clay court event while the women had a stop in unheard-of Baku, Azerbaijan.

American Mardy Fish kicked off his summer campaign with his first title of the year in Atlanta. Fish saved two matchpoints to beat big serving John Isner 3-6, 7-6, 6-2 in a repeat of the 2010 Atlanta final which Fish had also won. The title was Fish’s sixth overall in 18 final appearances, and it’s the first time he’s successfully defended a championship – putting him as the leading American man to watch out for in New York.

Isner’s loss snapped his eight match winning streak – he won his second career title two weeks ago at the Campbell’s Hall Of Fame Tennis Championships in Newport. Isner is now 2-5 in ATP World Tour finals; all of his losses have come to his American peers – Fish, Andy Roddick and Sam Querrey.

19 year old American teenager Ryan Harrison reached the semis in Atlanta and broke into the top 100 of the rankings for the first time while India’s Somdev Devvarman won 2 matches and reached the quarter-finals before losing to Fish, earning enough points to reach a new career-high ranking of no. 62.

In Hamburg, once the home of a Masters series event but now only an ATP 500 tournament, France’s Giles Simon won his second title of the year with a 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 victory over Nicolas Almagro. Simon will rise to no. 11 in the rankings after beginning the year at no. 44.

On the women’s tour, world no. 3 Vera Zvonareva beat 20 year old left handed Ksenia Pervak 6-1, 6-4 to win the inaugural Baku Cup – her second title of 2011 and the 12th of her career.

The US Open series continues this week with Fish, Juan Martin Del Potro, Marcos Baghdatis and Thomaz Bellucci playing in Los Angeles, while the women kick off their series with simultaneous events in Stanford and College Park. Victoria Azarenka, Maria Sharapova, Ana Ivanovic and Serena Williams headline the field in Stanford while Shahar Peer, Nadia Petrova, Jelena Dokic and Sania Mirza (up two spots to no. 62 in the new rankings although she was inactive last week) will be in College Park. There was also news of withdrawals by Kim Clijsters and Petra Kvitova from next week’s event in San Diego – continuing the frustrating wait for a fully fit WTA top echelon.

On the other hand, Almagro, Stanislas Wawrinka, Mikhail Youzhny, and Fernando Verdasco lead the field in Gstaad, preffering to play on the European clay rather than get to the American hardcourts earlier – continuing the frustrating wait for a more logical tennis calendar.

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