James Blake, a member of the ATP world tour for years and now 31 years old, knew what he had coming after a rain delay in Atlanta in the first round of play. Blake was up against Ernests Gulbis of Latvia in the first round of the Atlanta Tennis Championships and took the victory, 7-6 (5), 6-2, after a 1-hour, 18-minute rain delay.
"I think generally it favors the person who's down because they've got a chance to stop the momentum and get back out there with a new attitude where they feel like they're the underdog," said Blake. "I wanted to really focus on getting that hold and once I did, I definitely let loose in that 4-2 game where he was serving. I felt like if I could get a break there, it would make life a little easier for me." Blake now will go on to face his doubles partner and friend, John Isner in the second round of the tournament.
Isner is the runner-up to the defending champion and top-seeded Mardy Fish and is not particulary looking forward to facing Blake. "He is always going to be a tough out. To be honest if he wins tonight I would rather not play him only because he is a good friend of mine. It's a tough dynamic when you play a good friend but it is what it is so we will see," said Isner.
In other matches, Michael Russell advanced on to the second round after defeating Donald Young in straight sets.