Brothers Ryan Harrison and Christian Harrison didn’t have much time to celebrate their third-round victory over 14th seeds Colin Fleming and Ross Hutchins Sunday at the US Open. The two quickly turned their attention to an important matchup against doubles icons Luke and Murphy Jensen at the American Express Fan Experience, where they traded in their racquets for paddles.
After answering questions from fans in attendance, the four players worked out the rules and stakes of the match. The Jensens said if a player was tagged, it was worth two points. The Harrisons required players to alternate hitting every shot. The pressure built when the bets were placed. A player on the losing end had to do 20 pushups, and, shave their head, except Luke and Murphy were already buzzed!
Keeping the match entertaining but still competitive, the Jensens showed they could keep pace with their younger opposition, not allowing the Shreveport, La. natives to open a major lead. At 3-all, Murphy’s serve found the net and he argued for another serve. The Harrisons and the majority of the crowd quickly reminded him there were no second serves in table tennis, much to his dismay.
The contest continued to go back and forth. After winning the point for his team to move ahead 9-7, Ryan cracked the joke of the exhibition, telling his competition, “Ya’ll should be named the Baldwin brothers instead.”
On how he came up with the new name for the Jensens, Ryan said, “It just came to me. I had a guy on my fantasy football team named Doug Baldwin. That’s what I thought of. He plays for Seattle. That was my thought behind it and it was very fitting for the situation.”
Christian closed out the victory with a backhand winner to give the Harrisons an 11-7 win, sending the Jensens to the ground to do their pushups… if you could call them that.
“We were confident that we were going to win and we were also confident that we would be more capable of doing the pushups,” said Ryan. “We felt like it was a good bet.”
When USOpen.org asked Ryan and Christian who was the superior ping pong player between the two of them, this dialogue followed.
Christian: “We probably haven’t played each other in four years. It’s been a while. He used to beat me when we were young probably every three out of four times on average.”
Ryan: “As of three years ago, I was better, but we haven’t played in so long. I would say seniority still rules.”
Christian: “I think that’s just a fabrication”
A challenge has been created. If accepted, perhaps next time at the American Express Fan Zone Experience, the brothers can battle it out in front of another packed crowd to see who lives up to their words and who will be getting an extra workout.