July 21, 2013
THE FLATS – Georgia Tech tennis alumni Kevin King and Juan Spir, the greatest doubles team in Yellow Jacket history with 66 victories together and two NCAA Championship appearances, will reunite this week in the main doubles draw at the BB&T Atlanta Open, being contested at Atlantic Station in downtown Atlanta.
The spot became available due to the withdrawal of Bob and Mike Bryan, the world’s top doubles team, due to a shoulder injury sustained by Bob Bryan. King and Spir also will fill the Bryans’ spot in a Monday night doubles exhibition billed as the “BroDown Showdown” at 7 p.m. Ryan and Christian Harrison, James and Thomas Blake, and Jack and Eric Sock are the other doubles teams in the exhibition.
Georgia Tech “brothers” Spir and King have been roommates for three years and have the most doubles wins in the school’s history, as well as a USTA/ITA Southeast Region title. King graduated with a degree in Mechanical Engineering last fall with a 3.88 GPA. Additionally, he is a two-time All-American and a one-time Academic All-American. Spir is a three-time All-American and has ranked in the top 50 for most of the last two years by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association.
They’ll face the tournament’s fourth-seeded team of Edouard Roger-Vasselin of XX and Igor Sijsling of XX in the opening round. The first round of the 16-team doubles draw gets underway Monday evening after the exhibition and continues Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday afternoon.
Wimbledon finalists Ivan Dodig and Marcelo Melo will be the top-seeded doubles team and play the Harrisons in the first round. Second-seeded Santiago Gonzalez, of Mexico, and American Scott Lipsky will face off against Australians Lleyton Hewitt and Chris Guccione.
KING TO PLAY GINEPRI FOR SPOT IN MAIN SINGLES DRAW
Of the four current or former Tech player who have competed in the singles qualifying draw, Kevin King has made the most of the chance. The All-American lefty from Peachtree City, Ga., defeated Jimmy Wang of Chinese Taipei in the first round Saturday 7-6(4), 1-0 (retired), then outlasted American Tyler Hochwalt, 6-7 (4), 7-6 (4), 6-1 Sunday afternoon in the longest match of the tournament so far.
Both King and Hochwalt held serve the entire first set, with King fighting off multiple break points to take the set to a tiebreaker. Hochwalt would come out on top clipping the back line on the final point. The second set followed much the same pattern of the first, but King was able to rally back to take the second set tiebreaker.
Now holding the momentum, King breezed through the third set and moved on to face Atlanta’s Robby Ginepri for a spot in the main draw. That match will take place Monday after play was washed out due to rain Sunday evening.
Spir lost his first-round match to former Yellow Jacket teammate Dean O’Brien, 7-6 (5), 6-7 (6), 6-2. O’Brien, who played two seasons at Tech from 2009-11 and posted a 70-32 collegiate singles record between Tennessee Tech and Georgia Tech, then lost in straight sets to Australia’s Matthew Ebden in a second round match Sunday afternoon.
Tech rising sophomore Nathan Rakitt, who went 22-14 as a freshman last year, also received a wild card berth in singles qualifying over the weekend. The Marietta, Ga., native lost 6-4, 6-3 Sunday to Mischa Zverev of Germany.
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