It's so weird
Navratilova, Bob Bryan Move Past Morariu, Mike Bryan
by Lisa Zimmerman, usopen.org
Friday, September 1, 2006
First-round mixed doubles matches don't normally attract a packed house. However, today's match between Bob Bryan-Martina Navratilova and Mike Bryan-Corina Morariu was no ordinary first-round match. At some junctures it looked more like a celebrity exhibition, except that the level of tennis was extraordinary. But that's what you get when it's brother against brother with a tennis legend thrown in for good measure.
Mike and Bob Bryan own the Men's Doubles titles from US Open, Wimbledon, the Australian Open and were runners up at the French Open. Bob is already a three-time US Open Champion, pairing with three different partners. One of those wins occurred against Mike in 2002, playing with Lisa Raymond (Mike was partnered with Kara Srebotnik).
Twenty-eight-year-old Corina Morariu, playing with Mike, held her own against the powerful Bob/Navratilova duo, and in fact, took the first set in a tie-break.
The four played an animated, fast-paced and high-spirited match that had the late afternoon crowd in Louis Armstrong Stadium alternately laughing, cheering, oohing and ahhing. All four know how to entertain and at one point, Mike even solicted fans for their opinion on a call.
The players were loose with smiles on their faces, clearly enjoying every point. A variety of games -- and antics -- later, Navratilova and Bob went up a break and held on to take the second set, sending the match into a 10-point tie-break, firing the crowd up further.
Ultimately, it was Navratilova and Bob who took the tiebreak and the match, 6-7, 6-4, 10-4. They will move on to round two where they will Tiantian Sun and Julian Knowle. Crowds will certainly continue to flock as they watch the legend, Navratilova in the final tournament of her career.