There are two story lines to any tournament – what you experience as a fan and what actually happens on court. For example, these are the experiences that stick in my mind after attending Day 3 of the US Open on Wednesday:
1. Witnessing a lady puking near the big fountain at about 11:30 a.m. (Hope she just had one too many Honey Deuces!)
2. Cracking up at Marion Bartoli’s over-zealous practice swings between points.
3. Taking a deep, yogic breath upon learning that the concession stand was out of chicken fingers (after standing in line for 10 minutes specifically for chicken fingers.)
Obviously these are not the major stories coming out of the US Open on Wednesday, so let’s move on. . .
I also witnessed Marat Safin’s four-set flame out to Jurgen Melzer in his first and last match of the 2009 US Open. It was more painful than normal because this is Marat’s last US Open – the tournament being the site of his first Major title almost ten years ago against Pete Sampras.
Painful for me, I mean, not Marat. “I don’t care about losses anymore,” he said after the match.
But what did I expect? Marat Safin is a heartbreaker – he’s not the guy who’s going to make that one last run to glory (with the help of a stoic girlfriend, an elderly coach and a cheesy soundtrack.) He has movie star looks, sure, but he never promised a Hollywood ending.
“Bye bye, bye bye, and bye bye again.” Marat summed it up.
Another popular player played his last singles match at the US Open on Wednesday – Fabrice Santoro – who lost to veteran Juan Carlos Ferrero: 6-4, 6-3, 6-3. (Santoro is still alive in doubles.)
Santoro, who has been on tour for over twenty years – almost twice as long as Safin’s pro career has lasted – said that it was the love of the game that’s kept him playing as long as he has. This is how he said he’d like to summarize his career:
If I use one word, I would say passion. I love my sport. I did it in this life for so many years. I was so happy to be on the court. You can’t do it if you’re not completely in love with your sport. Can you do it for two, five, eight years maybe, but not 21. One thing I will never forget for sure is when Pete (Sampras) said in Indian Wells probably 2000, he’s a magician. That’s one I will never forget.
But for every retirement, nowadays, there seems to be a comeback – and today Kim Clijsters was the feelgood story. The 2005 US Open Champ took out 14th seed Marion Bartoli in three sets:
And then there’s the other woman:
Roger Federer is through to the third round after a tough, 3 set night match against Simon Greul. He faces Lleyton Hewitt next. Rafael Nadal beat Richard Gasquet easily in his first round match. (Click here for more on Rafa and Roger.)
In other men’s results, Del Potro defeated Juan Monaco, Monfils defeated Chardy and Hewitt defeated Chela. Kiefer advances to play Nadal in the second round and Ginepri, Simon and Ferrer are also through. Click here for more men’s results.
On the women’s side, both Williams sisters advanced, Wozniak took out Mauresmo, Pennetta double-papdumed Mirza, and Vania King upset US Open darkhorse Sam Stosur. Kirilenko scored another upset over Agnieszka Radwanska. Zvonareva and Azarenka are also through. Click here for more women’s results.