Yes I was at the Purdue match and it was, as you said, something that
could have been written by Dickens. I think the Crimson got it wrong
in one place, because my recollection is that Dan Nguyen held a match
point when he netted that soft volley.
But that isn't the point I want to mention. You know the one I have in
mind. A little later in Dan's tiebreaker, when he and his opponent
staged a rally that felt like 40+ deep groundstrokes being exchanged
with great care but not without aggression. That was a magical moment
in the Murr Center, all of us hypnotized and holding our breath. You
could have heard a pin drop* during that rally, which felt like it went
on for three minutes. It was close to a religious experience, and in
that sense it actually united the Purdue and Harvard fans in a moment
of wonder. I almost persuaded myself that the two players on court #1
had stopped their own match to watch the point, because it was so
quiet, although of course I could not tear my eyes away from court 3 to
check. I have never witnessed anything like that hushed moment on a
tennis court, not even at Centre Court at Wimbledon. Unforgettable.
* I once heard Cedric Maxwell use a different metaphor; "you could have
heard a mouse peeing on cotton."