Ryan Harrison gets my vote for next American star, if he makes it out of qualies!

Wow! Saw Ryan Harrison play his 1st round qualifying match and loved his hustle, forehand, and more than occasional forays to the net. I saw that he was playing Rui Machado of Portugal in the 2nd round and thought I’d leave Josselin who looked to be taking care of Jarmere (he did winning, ).

When I arrived, Ryan was up 3-0 in the first. He didn’t entirely squander the set, Rui started picking his spots to come in and finish off points. He played really well and eventually took the first set, 6-4 . In the second set, Ryan also found himself up a break and Muchado played some beautiful points to recover his break. Ryan would serve for the set at 5-3 but could not convert, making it 5-4. Then he had a few set points on Machado’s serve and no go, they are 5 all. Ryan then takes it to 6 and again has set point #7, I think, and still no go, so we headed to a tiebreak!

In the tiebreak, Ryan comes back from 2-5 down to take it. Immediately upon locking down the set, he started cramping or he pulled a muscle in his right groin area. I am assuming it is not cramping because he was allowed treatment and I thought you were not allowed to do that in a match. Apparently cramping is no longer an injury but a lack of fitness issue? Machado quickly charges ahead 3-1, but Ryan breaks back by going to the underhand serve as he clearly could not do an effective ball toss twice. He underhand serve the 1st and then tried the traditional toss for his 2nd serve. Luckily the underhanded serve dropped the ball pretty low for Machado, allowing Ryan to get to tie it up with barely a quibble on his service games. With some masterful and booming forehands Ryan managed to stay in the points as Machado, who also began to cramp, was no longer able to cut points shorts by coming to net as he had done for much of the match.

There were moments when it looked like Ryan could not move, but he would put his serve in play and do his best to get the ball over the net. Poor Machado was out of sorts whether by Ryan’s obvious problems or his own pain (he didn’t advertise it as well as Ryan), I cannot say. Boy I wish they had press conferences after qualies! Finally, In Ryan locked up the 3rd set and the match, 6-3 on Machado’s serve.

It was a painful last set to watch but I couldn’t look away. I wanted Machado to win because up until the cramping, he played outstanding tennis, always coming from behind and forcing Ryan to play one more shot. I then wanted Ryan to win because he showed so much heart! But then so did Machado! In the end, I just wanted it over, because the victory ultimately was not going to satisfy me completely. Oh sport, your clear delineation of winner and loser is why I love and hate you at the same time.

Sent on the Sprint® Now Network from my BlackBerry®

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