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The team issue had been decided Saturday, and there were no ATP points or
prize money at stake. But the paying customers turned out anyway, including the
lively Spanish delegation clad in red, for a pleasant afternoon enjoying the
sport played at high level. Substitutions were allowed from within each four-man
squad, and match length was reduced to best-of-three sets.
Bob Bryan had been national champion in collegiate singles, but he has
limited himself almost entirely to doubles in his years as a professional. It was
interesting to see him test his singles weapons against an artist of the class
of Robredo who, one sensed, was not likely to care for the idea of losing.
Bob's lefty serve indeed showed good effect on the tailored fast court, as had
been the case in doubles the day before. Bryan also showed a well-controlled,
attacking forehand, and again revealed superb volleying skills amid good
attacking instincts. But the Bryan backhand was simply not suited for the rocket
cross-court exchanges customary in top-level singles, and his defensive mobility
also fell shy of what was needed against the Spanish star. Tommy cashed in his
advantages, breaking serve in the ninth game of set one and closing out set two
despite a crowd-pleasing surge by Bob toward the end.