It was a busy and crazy day at the Draft Kings All American Team Cup being hosted at the Lifetime Fitness Center in Peachtree Corners, GA. With Team Stripes up 3-1, we had 4 more exciting matches so let’s get to the action.
Frances Tiafoe was scheduled to face Tennys Sandgren but unfortunately, after barely getting through his match yesterday and not feeling well he decided to get tested. He did in fact test positive for the Coronavirus and decided to pull out of the tournament. He reached out on social media to announce the news and did mention the fact he spent the last 2 months in Florida and that as of last week he has most recently tested negative.
With that enter his replacement Chris Eubanks,a native of Atlanta, GA, and a former All American at Georgia Tech. Eubanks is currently ranked 238 in the world but the young American came into the match with nothing to lose.
He got off to a great start vs Tennys Sandgren getting 2 early breakpoints in the 3rd game of the first set. It took 3 break points but he managed to break Sandgren serve early to take a 2-1 lead. Sandgren came roaring back wearing 4 break points of his own but Eubanks was up to the challenge saving them to all to consolidate his break. He even managed to earn a second break after a poor service game by Sandgren to take the first set 6-3.
Into the 2nd set and we saw much of the same from Eubanks who looked very comfortable in his home environment. He managed to get more break points but this time Sandgren wasn’t about to go down easy. The match stayed on serve until we reached a tie break at 6-6. Sandgren even managed to save a match point during his last service game of the set. Eubanks jumped out to a 3-0 lead after Sandgren picked the worse time to make an untimely error. Then it was time for Eubanks to get tight and served 2 straight double faults. Sandgren managed to get it to 3-3 with a beautiful passing shot which gave him 4 points in a row.
Now at 5-5 Eubanks finally was able to make the breakthrough to earn a match point at 6-5. He clinched the match on the next point and managed a straight-sets win. That win even the score at 3-3 going into the 2nd match for both teams.
The next two players on the court were Sam Querrey facing off against Tommy Paul. This match lasted 2 points and then the rain came. A 30-minute rain delay forced the players back into the locker room. Half an hour the players were back and the match continued on serve till 2-2 when Querrey managed to convert on one of his two break points to take an early lead in the first set 3-2. He would manage to get another break to lead 5-3 and serve it out to win the first set 6-3.
Into the second set and both players held serve until 3-4 when once again Querrey managed to get 3 breakpoints but Paul was up to the task and saved all 3 including a beautiful forehand winner on the 3rd one and managed to hold serve. Querrey had a chance to win the match when he got 2 match points after Paul double-faulted but Paul would save both. They would end up playing a tiebreaker to decide the 2nd set.
Paul would play one of the best tie-breakers I have ever seen him play jumping out to an early 3-0 lead and he would cruise to win the 2nd set 7-6 (4). The match would then be decided by a 3rd set match tiebreaker. The breaker was pretty tight but Querrey would end up winning 10-7 after a valiant fight by Paul. At that point Team Stripes was up 5-3 heading into the evening session.
Once again we got more unfortunate news as Reilly Opelka had to withdraw from the tournament due to a knee injury. He was replaced by Kevin King another All American from Georgia Tech. The young Atlanta, Georgia native had one challenger under his belt and a current world ranking of 286. Now he had the daunting task of facing the ace machine John Isner.
As predicted Isner came out of the gate strong and managed to get an early break to lead 2-1 in the first set. The lead increased as it seems nerves were playing a factor as King managed to double fault to gift Isner a 4-1 lead. He would end up winning the first set easily 6-1. The 2nd set was much of the same as Isner managed to get a break at the same juncture as the first set to lead 3-1. He rode the momentum to a 6-1, 6-3 win in a match where King just couldn’t solve the Isner serve. Now the lead for Team Stripes had increased to 7-3 going into the final match.
13 points were needed to clinch the win so the final match was a crucial one as Steve Johnson squared off against Taylor Fritz. Johnson got off to the worse possible start gifting the first game and break of the match to Fritz. He then jumped out to a 5-1 lead and it seemed like this was going to be a quick one. Fritz would take the first set 6-3 and seemed to be cruising to a straight-sets win. Everything was going according to plan for Fritz until he was serving for the match at 5-4 and picked the worse time to lose his serve with a double fault to give Johnson life.
Johnson would manage to pull off the 2nd set as it looked like momentum had shifted and now Johnson was in the ascendancy. They would decide the match in another thrilling 3rd set 10 point match tiebreaker. It was a pretty tight one but Steve Johnson managed to pull the win out of nowhere. He would win 2-6,7-6, and 10-8 in the final breaker.