If ever there were a match you hated to see someone lose, it was the riveting 3rd round doubles match played at the U.S. Open today by Wimbledon champions Vania King and Yaroslava Shvedova and their opponents, Iveta Benesova and Barbora Zahlavova Strycova. It lasted over three hours, and featured play that was, at times, breathtaking. Seeded 6th, King and Shvedova won the first set in an 11-9 tiebreak, and Benesova and Zahlavova Strycova won the second, 6-3.
The final set was tension-filled, like a tightrope walk between two buildings that appear to be close together--unless you're on the rope. Benesova was a stand-out throughout much of the set, using her strong forehand to attack her oppenents' serve, and Zahlavova Strycova often shone at the net. At times, King and Shvedova put on the same kind of show they put on at Wimbledon, though not as consistently. King is steady and calm and can retain focus and accuracy for an extended period of time, and Shvedova is a risk-taker who moves splendidly at the net.
King and Shvedova served for the match at 5-3, but were broken. Serving a 6-5, Zahlavova Strycova double-faulted twice during the game, and a tiebreak ensued. The Czech went up a quick mini-break in the tiebreak, but then Benesova, who had served very well throughout the match, double-faulted twice in a row. Later in the tiebreak, each team held a match point but could not convert it. The Czech team held a match point at 7-6, but Benesova hit an easy volley into the net. Benesova and Zahlavova Strycova held another match point at 8-7, but that one was saved by Shvedova.
Benesova then mis-hit a ball, but got her team back on track with a huge serve. There was another big serve from the Benesova at 9-all, but King--stretched out wide at the net--hit an even bigger return. It was then Shvedova's turn to serve, and this time, she hit it long and flat, got an error in return, and she and King won the match 7-6, 6-3, 7-6.
This match had everything, and all four players are to be commended for providing the ultimate in excitement for fans. Both tiebreaks went to 11 points, and the momentum swung relentlessly. Commentators and writers pay attention to singles only, but the real thriller of the tournament, so far, was this one.