Pickin' up good vibrations

I hate to disappoint those who come here strictly for the well-deserved negativity about Portland, but this week I'm caught up in a positive sports vibe. It's my escape, and the current pro tennis scene is so engaging. Today we get the men's Final Four at the U.S. Open in the Big Apple. First there's a day match between Karen Khachanov of The Country That Shall Not Be Named and Norwegian Casper Ruud. Then a nightcap pits American upstart Frances Tiafoe (pictured) against 19-year-old force of nature Carlos Alcaraz of Spain.

Where are the big names, you ask? Rafael Nadal was eliminated by Tiafoe on Monday, which seems like eons ago. Novak Djokovic is not allowed in the States because he's no-vaxxed. Roger Federer has been out all year with bad legs and may never be back. Sascha Zverev is still trying to rehab the ankle that got trashed in Paris. Daniil Medvedev got his walking papers from Crazy Nick Kyrgios last weekend; Kyrgios then lost to Khachanov on Tuesday. Stefanos Tsitsipas flamed out to somebody you never heard of in the first round.

It's easy to choose a rooting interest in this afternoon's match. No trophies for Putin! Plus, Norway – enough said. Go Ruud.

As for tonight's festivities, both kids are fantastic. Frances is hitting his stride based on years of hard work at age 24; Alcaraz is a rocket just lifting off. It's a shame one of them has to be eliminated. So look up, there should be fireworks galore. Those guys can really play.