Norcross: James Blake rallied to win a second-set tiebreaker and overcame a 1-hour, 18-minute rain delay on Monday night for a 5-7, 7-6 (5), 6-2 victory over Ernests Gulbis of Latvia in the first round of the Atlanta Tennis Championships.
Blake will face third-seeded John Isner, his friend and doubles partner, in the second round.
No. 8 seed Somdev Devvarman of India held off Ryan Sweeting 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 to earn a second-round match against Japan's Tatsuma Ito, a 7-6 (6), 6-4 winner over Michael Berrer of Germany.
Gilles Muller of Luxembourg beat No. 7 Alex Bogomolov Jr., 6-3, 7-6 (6).
Michael Russell advanced to a second-round meeting with second-seeded Kevin Anderson of South Africa with a straight-sets win over Donald Young.
Isner, the runner-up to defending champion and top-seeded Mardy Fish last year in Atlanta, isn't exactly looking forward to facing Blake.
"He is always going to be a tough out," Isner said. "It's a tough dynamic when you play a good friend but it is what it is."