by Jill Neuharth
Barcelona Day 1
Whoever coined the phrase “Sunny Spain” must have been drinking a bit too much vino tinto. The weather today was a cloudy and damp 61 degrees. Perfect weather if you happen to be a Russian sea captain which is precisely the look Dmitry Tursunov is going for these days. The thickly-bearded former backstreet boy look-alike bested Kevin Anderson in straight sets. For those of you uttering the collective “who?” Anderson was the one who ousted Novak Djokovic in Miami.
Europeans in general are known for their lackadaisical response times, especially in restaurants. Not so on the court today. Croatian Mario Ancic dispatched German Mischa (no relation to the girl on the OC) Zverev in a scant 42 minutes. Next up on the plate, Dutchman Robin Haase devoured the jolly Belarusian giant “air” Max Mirnyi in a less-impressive 54 minutes. Looks like Ancic and Haase were anxious to explore the bounty of Barcelona. Wonder if they know they actually have to play more matches here. Also eager to experience Barcelona, Robby Ginepri, who lost his match to lucky loser Yuri Schukin of Kazakhstan in 84 minutes today. On the plus side, Ginnery’s Beatlesque hairdo was a real hit with the Spanish senoritas out on the town tonight.
In doubles action today, Spaniards Alberto Martin and Marc Lopez narrowly defeated Argentines Jose Acasuso and Sebastian Prieto with an 11-9 super tiebreak. After winning 6-2 in the first set, Lopez- Martin proceeded to lose the next six games straight. Then trailing throughout most of the tiebreak, Martin suddenly remembered he forgot to buy his Dad a birthday gift and the Spaniards came back to win it in a nail-biting last few points. Meanwhile the senior Martin, Orlando, celebrated his 72nd birthday in style by charming all the ladies in attendance at his sons match.
While the Argentines split their doubles matches today with a win for Nalbandian and Ker and the loss for the a fore-mentioned Acasuso-Prieto team, all three singles combatants prevailed. The homecourt advantage was not to be so for the Spaniards. Unless you happened to be a wildcard (Martin-Lopez, doubles) or a qualifier, it was hasta la vista for you. Out of nine matches featuring Spanish players, only three winners emerged. One from an all-Spanish match, and two qualifiers. Let’s hope that the Spanish turn it around when their big guns take to the court starting tomorrow.
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