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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Sausage Set Looking for Miracles

The All-Moscow Tennis Advisory Council, otherwise known as Vadim and Vladimir, convened in the upper decks of the Olimpiisky Sports Complex on Sunday and delivered the following verdict on the Davis Cup:


"We need a miracle. I need to send some extrasensory perception down to the court," said Vladimir.


This was not a good day for fans of Russian tennis, as Pete Sampras gave Yevgeny Kafelnikov a tennis lesson in a coliseum packed with highly opinionated spectators.


And that was all before a bomb scare cleaned out the balcony.


"This is what we get for our money?" Vladimir shouted at a security officer, who was busy shooing reluctant fans out of their seats.


The bomb scare quickly proved to be a hoax -- the VIP box, holding Russia's collective genius, was not even evacuated, and play between Jim Courier and Andrei Chesnokov, Sunday's second game, never stopped.


Suddenly, security guards began letting people back in. Most people used the disruption as a chance to get better seats.


The advisory council, of course, was in the cheap seats. Vadim and Vladimir did not have the access to the courtside seats where glitterati like Mayor Yury Luzhkov and Academy Award-winning director Nikita Mikhalkov were ensconced. When the announcer warned everyone to turn off cellular phones before play began, the caviar-and-Chanel set at courtside dug into their pockets and purses.


Not so in the upper balcony. This was the sausage set. The true fans.


"Now is not the time to make a mistake," Vladimir urged Kafelnikov. "We need a miracle."


The closest they got was an old disco tune -- "I Believe in Miracles (You Sexy Thing)" by Hot Chocolate -- as Sampras and Kafelnikov walked off following their match.


Rather than sending miracles, the crowd proved to be more of a distraction than anything else for the players.


"Zhenya! Zhenya!" the stadium bellowed between points, beating together annoying souvenir balloons and howling when Sampras' no-fault serve faltered.


Two women in the floor seats, and wearing stars-and-stripes sequined vests waved American flags as if they had just landed on Normandy Beach.


They were staying at the Metropol, like the players, and had come in a group of 14 from the United States for the tournament. One of them, Elizabeth Lucas of Austin, Texas, said the Russian fans had been "very, very nice" to them.


Several fans, mistaking the Olimpiisky Sports Complex for the Bolshoi Theater, yelled "Bravo! Bravo!" between points.


It got to be so much that Kafelnikov, at one point, shrugged his shoulders and extended a pleading hand to the audience, as if to say "Shut up."


Even the umpire begged for silence.


"Nobody is listening to you!" Vladimir screamed at the French official, critiquing his bad Russian accent.


When the end came, the council turned philosophical.


"Theoretically, there was a chance for Zhenya to beat Sampras," Vadim said. "But practically, there wasn't. Sampras is a class higher."


Russians were not the only ones upset with the outcome.


"I was rooting for Kafelnikov. When the U.S. wins the Davis Cup, it's just a footnote," said Jon Bernardi, a translator from Indianapolis. "But here it would mean a lot."