What a smashing match
NICOLAS Massu, fresh from his dual gold-medal triumph in Athens,
threw a temper tantrum of epic proportions during his five-set loss
to Armenian Sargis Sargsian yesterday.
Lasting five hours and nine minutes, the second-longest match in
US Open history was marked by an extraordinary outburst from Massu
after chair umpire Carlos Ramos awarded a penalty game against the
racquet-tossing Chilean at the start of the fifth set. Up 1-0 and
serving, Massu threw his racquet to the ground at 0-30, a third code
violation for which Ramos awarded the game to Sargsian.
Massu took issue with the decision during an animated argument with
Ramos and then with tournament referee Alan Mills.
While Sargsian received treatment for cramp courtside, an infuriated
Massu spoke to himself at length until play resumed.
“I lost control completely for a moment,” Massu said after losing 6-7
(6-8) 6-4 3-6 7-6 (8-6) 6-4.
Arguing with tournament officials for an hour afterwards, Massu told
the post-match media conference Ramos’s decision was “unbelievable”.
Massu said he had not broken his racquet when he threw it for the
third time, arguing it was therefore not a code violation and didn’t
deserve the penalty.
“I didn’t lose the match because (of) that, but it is hard to believe
that this guy (Ramos) didn’t use the head a little bit, the mind,”
10th seed Massu said.
Ramos had issued a warning to Massu in the first set and another
in the second, which resulted in a point loss after he trashed his
racquet by slamming it against a wall.
An emotional Massu said he could not come to terms with the defeat.
“(It) is too much in five hours to believe everything, to fight,
to arrive to the locker, to accept that you lost the match,” he said.
In other upsets yesterday, Olympic silver medallist Mardy Fish was
ousted by Czech qualifier Michal Tabara 6-3 3-6 1-6 6-3 6-3, while
French Open champion Gaston Gaudio lost 6-3 2-6 6-4 6-4 to Swede
In the women’s event unknown Russian 17-year-old Anna Chakvetadze
defeated compatriot and world No. 3 Anastasia Myskina 7-6 (7-3) 6-3.
“I couldn’t believe I could win. I still don’t believe I beat Myskina,”
Chakvetadze said after the match.