Western and Southern Brackets Gone South

Since the last post, there have been two more scratches from the men’s field at the Western and Southern. Roger Federer and Gael Monfils. So, two more lucky losers have been rescued from the qualifying, Ramkumar Ramanathan, who’s currently ranked 180th in the world, and Thomas Fabbiano, who’s 85th. Fabiano is perhaps the luckiest of the lucky losers because he got Roger Federer’s line, seeded second overall.

Ramanathan may have the last laugh on Tipsarovic and Fabbiano, however. On Monfils’ line, he drew Christopher Eubanks, the lowest-ranked of all of the qualifiers. That match was played tonight, on center court, no less. It’s fairly common for an unheralded player to get a center court match because they’re drawn in an early round against one of the popular favorites. But it must be very uncommon to see a first-round match on center court between a low-ranked qualifier and a lucky loser.

It was, oddly, pretty interesting tennis. More than half of the center court crowd left before the match started, but the center court seats started to fill up again as word got around that there was something worth seeing. Eubanks is a lanky collegian who hits only two shots: hard and harder. Ramanathan is hardly a wily veteran, but he played like one against Eubanks, and prevailed in three sets.

The two late scratches have invalidated a suite of simulations I was planning to present tonight but I have to take my model back to the drawing board (so to speak) to accommodate the two additional changes, and to rerun a few million virtual tournaments. So it will be another day or two before I’m finally in a position to report some results.

I’m hopeful that those results will be worth waiting for. The Western and Southern men’s bracket has acquired some many odd features that there are bound to be interesting (and perhaps even instructive) results to report.


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