In the men’s draw, #4 Max Mirnyi and Mahesh Bhupathi — the 2002 U.S. Open champion team — dropped their third-set tiebreak against Argentinians Eduardo Schwank and Horacio Zeballos to seal their early departure in the second round, the 6-4 3-6 7-6(4) decision a premature “Adios!” to Queens.
Other than that, though, there wasn’t much going on in the men’s bracket aside from one favored team after another clinging to victory. Whether easy or difficult, the top dogs found a way to prevail for another round.
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The women were even more stingy in their allotment of upsets — not a single seed fell in the women’s doubles draw today, as everyone was on her game and no darkhorse emerged from the pack. It was a departure from the past couple days, when it seemed that there was at least one major doubles upset a day.
The closest things came today aside from the Mirnyi/Bhupathi ouster to that genuine “upset”? You’d have to look at mixed doubles, where two seeded teams fell back-to-back to end the day’s program on Court 4. First it was the #6 pairing of Elena Vesnina and Andy Ram that took the spill, losing the tiebreak to Anna-Lena Groenefeld and Mark Knowles. Honestly, though, this one isn’t nearly as surprising as the seedings might suggest — Groenefeld and Knowles did win Wimbledon last year together, after all.
Right behind them in the upset column were top men’s doubles player Nenad Zimonjic and cagey Slovenian veteran Katarina Srebotnik. Their second-round opponents, Gisela Dulko and Pablo Cuevas, illuminated the potential for greater cross-cultural understanding as the Argentine-Uruguayan pair knocked off the mighty Zimonjic and dependable ol’ Srebotnik. After all, if two of the most bitter rivals in South America can work together, anything is possible.
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Maybe that’s the lesson most important to take away from today’s abbreviated musings: when it comes to tennis, “anything is possible”. The sport strips away from an athlete his or her nationalism (unless it’s Davis Cup or Fed Cup time) and reduces the field to a pure test of individual ability. On any given day even the Federers and Nadals can fall. While it didn’t happen today, that means the deck is only stacked going forward in the draw. Upsets will be harder to find. That’s why we must never forget to follow through in seeing every one we can… every one might’ve been your last chance to see a big name bobble the chance at a Grand Slam until next January…
(Yes, today’s musings are abbreviated. Why? Well… friends are in town. I didn’t get nearly as much chance to sit down and focus on what was happening around the sports world, whether it was the Vuelta a España or the kickoff of the new college football season or the U.S. Open. Instead it was time to clean before they got here, time to cook and visit when they arrived, and my writing time came after everyone else in the house hit the pillows. After two hours of sleep last night, there’s only so much this one guy can do. So hopefully there will be more coverage tomorrow, but there’s no guarantees until Tuesday when things return to normal in the world of this Non-Traditional Sports Fan in America…)