Ebden wins first round at Atlanta tennis
By George Henry
16:56 AEST Wed Jul 18 2012

Matthew Ebden of Australia held off qualifier Sergei Bubka of Ukraine 5-7 6-1 6-1 on Tuesday in the first round of the Atlanta Open tennis tournament.

Ebden will next meet veteran James Blake who overcame a slow start and a two-and-a-half hour rain delay to beat fellow American and No.6 seed Ryan Harrison 1-6 6-3 7-5.

Eighth-seeded Go Soeda of Japan overcame an almost three-hour rain delay to beat Belgium's Xavier Malisse 4-6 7-5 6-4.

Soeda advanced to a second-round clash with Russia's Igor Kunitsyn.

Michael Russell came from a set down to beat Alex Kuznetsov 2-6 6-4 7-6 (7-4), setting up a second-round match with fifth-seeded South African Kevin Anderson.

Third-seeded Kei Nishikori of Japan and Andy Roddick are scheduled for their first-round matches on Wednesday, while John Isner, the No.1 seed, and two-time defending champion Mardy Fish, the second seed, will open their campaigns 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.

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.

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