Sunday, June 8, 2008

'Scratch' that


The men's doubles final definitely didn't go as anyone could have expected: Unseeded South American team Luis Horna and Pablo Cuevas dusted Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic, the number-two seeds, in just under an hour. A little more order was restored as the Spanish team of Virginia Ruano Pascual and Anabel Medina Garrigues, the number-10 team, took the title over unseeded Casey Dellacqua and Francesca Schiavone in a tight three-setter.

Not to knock the unseeded teams who made it to finals, but personally, I don't like that when it happens in doubles. I'm a fan of players doing big things on a consistent basis (such as Ruano Pascual picking up her ninth major and Nestor going for his fourth). I don't mind fluke runs that much in singles, because nine times out of 10, when it happens in a major, you can expect pretty solid things from a player who pulls it off (such as a Gustavo Kuerten or a Mats Wilander). But in doubles, "scratch" pairings kind of make a mockery of what these doubles specialists are supposed to be out there doing.

I'm probably in the minority on this, but I like the concept of the doubles specialist. It's good to watch the best do what they do, and it sucks seeing interlopers make runs. In actuality, though, it all comes to the players. And winning a major is a special thing, regardless if you're 1 or 1,000 in the world. I guess when it comes down to it, though, it's up to the specialists to stop the scratch teams from doing what they do. It's just hard for me to fathom how these pairings pull it off.

Congrats to the winning teams—and the fallen finalists—on your accomplishments. Hopefully, continued success lies ahead and isn't just a flash in the doubles pan.

(Photo: Getty Images)

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