01 September 2006

Andre will play another day...

I will admit that one of my perennial weaknesses is watching the US Open from the opening rounds all the way through the finals. (The reason this is particularly bad is because there is live coverage for at least half of the day and it takes place right at the beginning of the school year.) Making sure that I catch some of the opening round coverage is even more important this year, as every match for Andre Agassi may be his last. Ordinarily I wouldn't care too much about a second-round game, but his match tonight against Marcos Baghdatis was a stunning marathon.

Agassi took the first two sets, both of which were extremely close and saw some freakish moments, such as when Baghdatis wiped out in the middle of a rally but managed to right himself and actually win the point, despite concern that he may have injured or even broken his wrist from the fall.

His wrist was fine, and he came back to take the third set. Agassi opened a 4-0 lead in the fourth set only to see it evaporate and force a deciding fifth set. Andre, 15 years Marcos' elder and with an ailing back, was expected to falter when he became tired. Both were tired, but it was Baghdatis who cramped and, prohibited by rule to receive treatment in the middle of a game, gimped and stomped about in a never-ending 21-point game which Agassi finally held. Still ailing, Baghdatis dropped his final service game to end his tournament and extend the career of one of the legends of tennis. Baghdatis was tired and flustered enough that in his post-match on-court interview, he may or may not have dismissively uttered "Shit..." prompting a laugh from the New York crowd. Andre looked even more exhausted, but maintained his composure. It remains to be seen whether having endured this marathon will allow him to maintain his life in this tournament and the short remainder of his career.

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