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16-year old Francis Tiafoe wins his ATP World Tour debut in Atlanta

16-year old Francis wows the tennis fans in Atlanta
RickLimpert.info

The dark clouds lifted Saturday afternoon at the BB&T Atlanta Open, an ATP World Tour event at Atlantic Station in Atlanta giving way to sunny blue skies.

Might the dark cloud that is hanging over American men's tennis also have lifted as a 16-year old from the Washington D.C. area polished off his opponent, 15 years his senior from Monaco.

That is what I was thinking as young Francis Tiafoe dispatched a disinterested Benjamin Balleret, 6-4, 6-2 in 51 minutes.

Yes, Tiafoe is raw, but what 16-year old tennis player isn't?

What even the casual tennis observer will see with Tiafoe is raw talent, an upside and great attitude.

Playing on the Stadium Court in Atlanta, with a few hundred people in the stands, Tiafoe was poised, controlled and demonstrated great movement to go along with a world class forehand and a serve that will only keep getting bigger.

I talked to Tiafoe after the match and after he finished signing a couple autographs and posing for a couple dozen selfies.

Taifoe said all the right things.

"It's good experience. I'd like to thank the tournament director for putting me on Stadium Court and the wildcard."

Balleret, a veteran from Monaco that has traveled the world playing at just about every level of professional tennis stayed with the teenager for about games before even he realized that the task was going to be too tall for him to hang with the youngster.

Tiafoe's game was great to see, but his attitude and decision-making on the court resonated with me.

His game reminds me a little of James Blake, but it's his own.

"I had a great time, I really enjoyed myself," Tiafoe said following the match. "I'm glad I got my first win in an ATP World Tour event and I look forward to playing again."

He will play again in Atlanta.

Sunday afternoon, weather permitting he takes on another veteran in Michael Venus of New Zealand. I expect to Tiafoe to play about the same and continue having fun.

Will Venus put up more of a fight once he sees the talent of Tiafoe?

I think so, but that makes me even more interested as I want to see how Tiafoe responds.

Here's to sunny skies for American tennis and this week in Atlanta as the Emirates Airline U.S. Open Series begins.

For more information and live real-time scoring from Atlanta, you can go to www.bbtatlantaopen.com.