Did I ever tell you about the time we went racing in Italy? This is worth its own essay at some point. But for now, I’ll just tell you the basics. We drove across Tuscany to get the coast town of Grosseto, where there is a racetrack. Who goes to Tuscany and ends up at a racetrack? Two thumbs pointing at this guy, that’s who. Anyway, the plan was to get there for first post. But the trip took longer than expected (thank you, switchbacks of Tuscany) and we got there late and still needed to eat. After much searching, we must have found the one place in town with ore continuato. It was truly one of the great meals of my life. We had about six courses and barely got to the track at all. It was an odd place, to say the least. I recall one poor critter who looked like two teenagers in a horse suit. And he was the favorite!
Today was kind of like that day in Tuscany for me. I meant to turn my attention to racing but by the time I did, it was too late to blog about it, or even to bet. The day started walking Mugs around Prospect Park. Then I went to meet my friend Jeff Gorlechen at The Squid and the Whale courts for a little tennis. I got a last minute invite to lunch at one of my favorite restaurants, Maialino, for lunch. Several courses and glasses of wine later, and the blog just wasn’t getting up on time.
I would have worked on it yesterday but I have a really good excuse for that too. My friend Anna Kerrigan and I went out to the US Open. I try to make it out there at least once a year. Anna had never been. I was nervous that my manical interest in the sport, especially since I’ve started hitting again, would be too much for her. But she was hardcore, and stuck with me from noon to nine as we took in the better part of four matches.
The first one, on one of the outer courts, is the one pictured above. Rising star Milos Raonic against the top ranked Columbian player in the world, Santiago Giraldo. Roanic is known for his serve but he wasn’t getting his forst ones in and that opened up the match for Giraldo. Raonic prevailed, but it took him five sets and at one point he must have been a huge dog in running. We pulled for him pretty hard. Girlado had kind of an intense, OCD thing going on. He whined to the chair ump on a couple of (correct, to my eye) overrules, and his persnicketyness was such that we joked he might ask for a manicure during the changeover. Milos was comparitively easy to pull for. One of my favorite moments during the match was when Anna, during a particularly trying stretch for Milos, heckled under her breath, “Hey Milos, there’s more to life than being pretty.” Classic.
From there we went to Ashe to watch Venus decimate her foe, American Bethanie Mattek-Sands, who was rocking her usual eye black. Ashe is kind of pointless on a day like yesterday when you can get so close to such good players, but I wanted Anna to see it and now she can say she’s seen Venus play live.
Court 7 was next, where we watched Dominika Cibulkova complete her comeback from a set down to Johanna Larsson by bageling her in the third set. It was cool to see Cibulkova from that close, how she’s able to get every ounce of herself into and through every ground stroke she hits.
We stayed put at Court 7 to watch my man, Marcos Baghdatis, have a tennis war with Matthias Bachinger. What a freaking display! The two played an incredibly even match that featured long stretches with neither guy making any mistakes. I’m no expert, but I think if you were a tennis player who csame doen from Mars to watch this match, you’d have believed that both guys were in the Top 20. They played so many great points, a mix of baseline rallies, crazy spins, and net play. In the end, Baggy prevailed, by the thinnest of margins, in a fifth set tiebreak. For us, time kind of stood still for the match. It began around 5 and then all of a sudden four hours and five sets had passed. Crazy stuff. I don’t know much about Bachinger, but he has a fan for life in us after his effort yesterday.
OK, I feel a little more caught up now. I’ll be back tomorrow with the story of The Degenerate Doubleheader and a Bankroll Play.
RESULTS: Won $350 on LEAP’s lip. Probably the best bit in my analysis was when I said he might need more ground, but hey, I’ll take the luck after the meet we’ve had with these plays. The bankroll stands at -$493.75.