Notes for the week ending on Jan 8, 2001
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Jan 8 Notes
The Jorhat futures first round started today on clay courts in Assam, and I was very disappointed to see just 5 people in the main draw, of which four are wildcards and one is a qualifier .. There is significant foreign interest in this futures, but I am not sure why Fazal and Sri are (once again) taking up wildcards .. I think they could have got direct entries based on their rankings (I haven't checked carefully - perhaps they missed it narrowly; both deserve a nice whack each if they messed up and did not enter on time! :-)) .. Local boy Rahul Rajkhewa was the 3rd wildcard and Nitin Kirtane got the fourth one .. Mustafa was the only qualifier Indian .. Both Mustafa and Rahul fell today .. Sri, Fazal and Nitin play tomorrow .. See the Jorhat futures page - I still don't have the qualifying scores.
Jan 7 Note-1
I will again be mostly away for the early part of the coming week, but will try to update any important news, including the India F1 futures and Leander's qualies at the AO starting on wednesday - those of you with news, please post at the Forum page (link above) .. The $10K India F1 futures starts on Monday at Jorhat .. I have added the Jorhat futures page .. The early entry list by Dec 18th is there, but I am not sure if it was the list after the entries closed - there may have been one more week to enter .. The final list may be quite different .. Only very few Indians in the list right now, but that should change by the time it starts, with eight qualifiers and four wildcards also being added .. I will try to update the results on that page, but perhaps up to a day late.
Jan 6 Note-2
For the first time in five years, we won't have an Indian team in the doubles final at Chennai .. In a heartbreaker, where they had several chances to win but could not close it out, Paes-Bhupathi l. (wc) Cowan-Navarra, 62 67(8) 46 .. LP-MB had chances to close it out in the second set itself, and then had two break points on Cowan's serve in the 8th game of the 3rd set .. After they were unable to do that, our boys dropped serve in the next game to fall behind 4-5 .. Navarra was behind at 0-15 and 15-30 in the 10th game, but won the last three points to pull off one of the toughest things to do in ATP doubles - that is to beat Paes-Bhupathi in front of a packed house on the Chennai center court, where they had won 14 matches in a row .. Well, all streaks have to end .. Off to Australian Open next.
In other matches today, Pless had shoulder trouble and retired at 0-4 in the first set against Tabara, who will face Stoliarov in the final .. Stoliarov beat Robredo, 46 63 64, ending the teenager heroics .. The Black brothers won their semi 63 64 over Cermak and Fukarek .. Tomorrow, the singles final first at 5 pm, followed by the doubles final - let us hope there will be even a few hundred people in the stands, now that we have no Indian team to pull some people in on the final day.
Jan 6 Note-1
Come to the chatroom at about 10 pm (4.30 pm London, 11.30 am New York), plus or minus half hour, for the LIVE commentary of the LP-MB semifinal today (Saturday) by Dr. Sanjeevi, who will be with us from Chennai.
S.Kannan in the Hindustan Times writes correctly about what is happening to the seeds at Chennai -- "Michal Tabara is a performer, someone who likes being away from the limelight. He never minded it even when the ATP did not think of advertising his name this time for the Gold Flake Open, despite having 'beaten' top seed Yevgeny Kafelnikov at the same venue last January .. On a pleasant evening, even before fans had settled in their seats, the hungry Czech Republic journeyman devoured third seed Cedric Pioline 6-4, 6-1 to make sure not one moving into the semi-finals was seeded .. If bizarre is the word used to describe events which shouldn't be happening, the pattern of seeds losing each day here has nothing to do with lack of effort .. Players like Tabara, and then Spaniard Tommy Robredo, who whipped Cyril Saulnier 6-2, 6-1 on the outside court today are fresh faces with a burning desire to excel. Maiden semi-finals for both at a Tour event, these names are bound to be heard more often in coming years" .. This is very much true .. People wonder way too much why seeds fall all the time in Chennai .. It is just that Chennai gives a chance (due to wildcards, lower entry cut and easier qualies) to some up-comers who have the fire in the belly to go to the so-called "faraway place, India" and start a whole year with all the expectations of grandeur .. This coincides with the established players coming there without warming up due to Christmas (or still not knowing if they have recovered from the fatigue from last year) -- and thus we get these upsets .. The fact is that a lot of the upsets at Chennai have come with the upsetter playing some terrific tennis and the 'upsettee' unable to do anything though he wants to fight - a couple of big name "tankers" in the past notwithstanding .. I disagree with Kannan, on calling Tabara a journey-man, though .. 21 is too young for anybody get that dreaded name, especially when he is ranked 96th :-) .. I guess some guys just pick up that name way too fast! .. Actually Tabara is one of the guys I had listed among the young ones to watch out for, in my Nov 24 preview notes, when the entry list closed ..
We see two teenagers, along with a 21 year old and a 23 year old in the semis .. Stoliarov at 23 is the veteran! .. The Pless-vs-Tabara match should be very good today .. Pless was the world junior #1 last year and has been really playing well there .. Also, Robredo and Stoliarov who beat LP and MB respectively are still alive and one of them will be in the final too .. It will be interesting to see how the Black brothers do today in the first match .. These top seeds are an interesting pair, who have had very good success with other partners but have not played together other than in Davis Cup - I am not sure why the brothers have not played together on the pro tour .. I wonder if they are planning to team up for the year - if so they could turn out to be pretty good, I guess.
I have updated the AITA 2001 domestic calendar at our archives/calendar page .. A decent number of international events this year as well .. Only two challengers (next month) so far in the list for men though .. I guess the Kolkata and Jaipur challengers which I thought were postponed from the end of last year to Feb-March are now dropped, or are being moved to a later date not in the calendar yet .. Men have six $10K futures events, same as last year - three of them starting next week and the other three in October .. Women have fewer $10K events listed (only three as opposed to 5 last year) .. Men have two $25K four-week satellite circuits (March and May) .. Two $20K four-week developmental satellite circuits are in the women's calendar also, though none of our top-500 women would really want to play those because there are hardly any points there unlike in the men's case .. Both men and women had only one four-week circuit each, last year .. Hopefully some of those weeks will get converted to $10K events .. One satellite circuit each being converted to two $10K events each would be good for both men and women.
The new year's ITF junior world ranks have come out .. As the 18 yr olds have left the rank list, our players have moved up .. Sunil Kumar is now up to #46 in the world .. This ranking doesn't mean much .. He will need to win a lot more than last year to keep that ranking, and he has some points falling off in the first part of the year from the subcontinental ITF events too .. He is not playing the upcoming futures series, as Paes-en-Sport, who manages him have planned a full slate of junior events .. He will make the Australian Juniors main draw easily, and he now has one of the highest rankings any Indian has had in a long time .. Vinod Sewa at #69 also should be in the AO draw .. 16 yr olds, P.Chaturvedi is at #90 and Amanjot Singh is at #110 .. On the girls's side, 14 yr old Sania Mirza is now just outside top-100 at 105, which is quite something for any 14 yr old .. 17 yr old Liza Pereira is at 146, followed by 16 yr old Megha Vakharia at 148
Jan 5 Note-2
Tabara .. Navarra .. Aawarah .. CheGuevara .. what's the difference? :-) .. By mistake I had said earlier that today's QF was against Cowan-Navarra .. of course it was Tabara-Zib, but I guess I was looking ahead .. Tomorrow's semifinal will be against those guys, as LP-MB won today .. Paes-Bhupathi d. (q) M.Tabara/ T.Zib, 76(4) 63 .. The match was not too difficult for our guys .. They only had to do hand-taps; no chest-butts and all that today .. Tabara and Zib did not give them an easy win though .. First set went with two breaks each from either side .. In the tiebreaker, we were up a minibreak early to 2-0 and kept it to take the set .. In the second set, LP-MB got a break in the 6th game with two double faults by Zib to go up 42, but gave that back in the next game on LP's serve to go back on serve at 43 .. They broke Tabara in the next game to go back up again to 53 and then MB served it off at 63 .. Actually the last two games went in a flash with our guys kicking it up a notch to avoid any delay of the inevitable .. Sanjeevi said during the live commentary in our chatroom that our guys seemed to be moving well and serving well .. In singles matches today, Pless and Robredo advanced with easy wins, to keep the youth movement going .. Pioline also fell today (to Tabara), and so we have no seeds left .. Tomorrow's schedule has the Black brothers' doubles match followed by Pless-vs-Tabara, Robredo-vs-Stoliarov, followed by IndianExpress vs Cowan-Navarra .. or Banjara .. or Motomura .. whoever ..
Navarra is actually a good player and a good friend of Mahesh's, I believe .. They have played doubles together once .. Incidentally their one win together at the Singapore challenger about 2 years back was over Whitehouse and Cowan ..
We will have LIVE commentary tomorrow as well - about 10 pm.
Jan 5 Note-1
Today's doubles quarterfinal, Paes-Bhupathi vs (q) M.Tabara/ T.Zib is scheduled as the 3rd match on center court at the Goldflake Open .. It should be starting at around 9.15 pm there (3.45 pm London .. 10.45 am New York) .. We will have LIVE COMMENTARY of the match in our chatroom, by Dr. Sanjeevi from Chennai .. Come on in and let's cheer our boys! .. I am beginning to feel good about them again, and it's time for us to start cranking up, folks!
Jan 4 Notes
The seeds have a habit of not sprouting at Chennai .. Today was Vinciguerra's turn to fall, and we need Golmard to hold up in the ongoing center court match to have even TWO seeds in the quarterfinals! .. Sanjeevi writes from Chennai that it was quite uncharacteristic for Vinci to look to be not trying to win the match today, as he fell very cheaply to Andrei Stoliarov, 16 36 .. I don't know what happened, but Vinci seemed to be in a hurry to get out of Madras, he says! .. Sanjeevi - "The best match of the day so far is the one between Dent and Pless. The first set was even and both of them played very well. In the tie breaker it was 9-9 and Dent made a miskate and hit his ball long and Pless held his serve and won the set. In the second set, Pless broke Dent's serve in the first game itself and held his serve to go to 2-0 lead. He maintained his lead to go upto 5-4 .. Dent went to advantage and had one break point, which he could not convert. Pless played well to close the game, set and match" .. The youth movement ground to a halt, as Dent, Vinci and Youzhny fell today - but we do have Robredo and Pless in the quarterfinals .. Sanjeevi about todays 62 60 win by top seeds Wayne and Byron Black - "Black brothers played superb tennis and made a great pair. They never gave any chance to Kutsenko and Qureshi. They are likely to pose a threat to LP and MB if they reach the final. In that case the doubles final will be worth watching" .. Oh yeah, those guys are trouble! .. See our Chennai page .. Will have the Golmard result and tomorrow's schedule there soon.
Here is something interesting - after three days of play the top serve speeds till yesterday were -  Dent, 222 kmph (139 mph - wow!) ..  Pioline - 197 kmph (123 mph) ..  Blanco - 193 (120.5) ..  Fazaluddin - 192 (120) ..  Davydenko - 192 (120) ..  Norman - 187 (117) ..  Bhupathi 185 (116) ..  Stoliarov - 185 (116) ..  Paes - 182 (114) ..  Voinea -181 (113) .. [source - Times of India] .. Good to see that Indians were cranking up decently there ..
The big news today is that Nandan Bal has been appointed as the coach for Davis Cup .. As you may remember, we have not had a coach in Davis Cup ever since Ramesh Krishnan became the captain, and he was basically pulling double duty .. With Nandan Bal becoming the coach, his spot in the AITA selection committee now goes to Bhupathi Sr .. "The All India Tennis Association handed Bal the responsibility of coaching a string of promising players on a full-time basis," says PTI .. The upcoming futures circuit will help to identify the ones to support Paes and Bhupathi at the forthcoming Davis Cup zonal first round against China in Beijing (Feb 9-11) .. Other than Mankad and Ramaswamy in the US, the rest of the second string will be in action during the futures .. Nandan Bal had done a pretty good job in the past of coaching the Indian Fed Cup team, and that job now goes to Enrico Piperno, who was the previous coach of the Davis Cup team till all the now-famous raggaddax (is that the spelling? :-)) started over a year back ..
Jan 3 Note-2
The match became a bit close in the second set but the Indian Express knew how to win it .. Paes-Bhupathi d. Vinciguerra-Landberg, 62 75 today in the first round .. They were up fast to 5-1 in the first set and closed it off without much trouble. It stayed close in the second set with LP-MB having to fight off a break attempt in the 8th game etc, and the action heated up by the 11th game which went to deuces before LP-MB finally broke through on Vinci's serve .. The next game also went to deuces but our guys closed the show in the end.
The big result today was the upset of the 4th seed Byron Black by qualifier Cyril Saulnier, who is really a new-comer, though 25 years old - Cyril turned pro only after he was 21 and started with chellenger level tournaments only in 1999, but he did play in the main draw of all four grand slam last year .. Tommy Robredo showed that he is serious about this with another good win after his win over LP yesterday .. He beat David Sanchez to reach the QF .. "Doubles-SP", S.Prahlad-S.Panja could not go back to their dream form in last year's tournament and went down in their first round match to the 3rd seeds Ran and Velasco, 36 46 .. That means that every Indian who played at Chennai lost in the first round except for LP-MB and one qualifying round win by Vishal over Vijay .. OK, now things have settled down, and we have what we usually have - that is, the Indian Express raising hell over the weekend in doubles! .. Their QF match is scheduled for Friday ..
Tomorrow is the day of the yoiungsters, as Vinciguerra, Pless, Dent and Youzhny will be in action .. The Chennai folks who want to see some good quality tennis, should go see these guys play .. 3rd seed Pioline is the only one among the top 4 seeds remaining for QFs, as five seeds have already lost in two rounds .. #5 Golmard and #6 Vinci play their R2 tomorrow.
See our Chennai page for results and the thursday schedule .. The official site, goldflakeopen.com, sitting at Khel.com, finally got up to speed with links to both the draws on the front page (you have to look hard to find it :-)) -- the articles are good and they have been updating the draws with results reasonably promptly after the matches .. Also worth reading are the timely article updates by L.Subramani at ChennaiOnline -- see their Goldflake Open page here ..
Haven't talked much about women for a while .. We did pretty poorly at the Asia Cup .. None of the women are in action this week but here are the Jan 1st rankings for women -- Nirupama Vaidyanathan - 188, Sai Jayalakshmi - 343, Manisha Malhotra - 393, Sonal Phadke - 435, Shruti Dhawan - 485, Rushmi Chakravarti - 488, Archana venkatraman - 628, Jyotsna Vasisht - 638, Radhika Tulpule - 677, Arthi Venkatraman - 778 .. In doubles, Niru is at 151, Sai at 263, Rushmi at 264, Manisha at 339 and Sonal at 511.
Jan 3 Note-1
Reminder -- we will have live updates and commentary from Chennai by Dr.Sanjeevi, during the first round doubles match for LP-MB against Vinciguerra-Landsberg today, in our chatroom .. It will be starting at about 9 pm (10.30 am New York, 3.30 pm London), may be a few minutes later .. Come on over, and let us get some wins going at Chennai ..
By the way, Nirupama is at Chennai doing TV commentary at the Chennai Open .. She is making quite a career for herself in the media, smart lady that she is .. Here is S.Kannan's article in the Hindustan Times about Niru .. She is all set with a very good doubles partner for this year in Nana Miyagi .. Sanjeevi tells me that Niru is leaving from Chennai by the end of the week for Asutralia .. If you need a run-down of LP's match, take a look at the article in The Hindu and the article in Deccan Herald.
Wildcards Srinath and Saurav are also playing doubles today at Chennai, against 3rd seeds Ran and Velasco .. Double-SP was unable to do anything with their runner-up finish at Chennai last year and the big boost in their rankings, with Saurav being injured for a while and with Srinath being injured for most of the rest of the year .. Also, wildcards Ghouse and Uppal had lost in straight sets in the doubles main draw first round on Monday, which I forgot to mention .. Actually, Fazal and Tomashevic of Uzbekistan had lost in the first round of doubles qualies on Sunday, as did wildcards Sunil Kumar and Vijendra Laad .. Looking at Mahesh, Fazal, Uppal, Ghouse, Srinath and Sourav getting wildcards into main draw and some money, it is rather sad that Harsh Mankad was the only one who did not get anything out there, as he had to play singles qualies, playing for a six day in a row after the KTC title (Harsh lost 46 67(5) to #183 Barry Cowan, interestingly the same guy whom Harsh beat to reach final qualies in 1998 which is the only time any Indian reached the final round of qualies at Chennai) .. I am sure it hurt Harsh to be totally sidelined like this, especially after he had won that tough title last week over Fazaluddin .. Strange that Harsh didn't even get to play doubles with somebody there .. Back to US college for him.
Jan 2 Note-2
The youngsters are really doing it at Chennai .. There were SIX teenagers in the main draw there .. Vinciguerra, Pless, Dent and Davydenko at 19 each, and Robredo and Youzhny at 18 each .. The three-set loss to 4th seed Byron Black by qualifier Davydenko was the only loss for a teenager .. I wonder if it's the first time for this many teenagers to be in the second round of a 32-draw ATP tour event .. But for the withdrawals of Ferrero and Puerta, we would have had two more young guns in the frey .. This bodes well for the tournament, as these are guys who will be up there in the rankings in the future, who would consider returning to the place that served them well .. The big upsets were by Dent over the top seed Norman, by Youzhnyi over second seed Squillari and by Robredo over Paes .. Dent certainly justified his wildcard from the organizers, though I am sure the organizers wished the top seed hadn't fallen so early .. It's a fabulous opportunity for the Chennai fans to see some talented guys they are going to hear more about in the future.
As for Leander, the reports are that he simply lost his cool in the tiebreaker .. He had wasted four break chances in the 6th game of the first set in a hurry to finish things off, but that's always been his aggressive style at big points .. He showed his steely resolve by coming up with an ace at a break point against him in game 9 .. He was up 2-0 in the tiebreaker too .. A great pick up by Robredo on an apparent winner by LP, dropped him to 2-2 and LP slammed his racket on the net, breaking the net adjustor hook .. LP was lucky not to get a code violation, and the hook was replaced causing a short breakage of play .. LP seemed upset at himself for losing his cool and from then on it seemed to badly affect him, especially with the fans being not too supportive .. Leander said later - "I was really upset with my reaction (hitting the net). I have never done anything like that before. I apologised to the umpire and my opponent. That incident upset me so much that I couldnt concentrate on the match afterwards"... With his mind gone walk-about,he lost all patience and went for the wild shots for winners, to his ruin in the second set, it seems .. Robredo then converted each of the three break chances he had in the second set, with LP unable to bring out the extra bit he is often capable of, on break attempts against him .. Quite uncharacteristic of LP to go like this, especially at home .. He has had some losses due to lack of focus, injury or jetlag (like the rather listless show in 97 against Etlis in the first round), but I don't remember him showing mental fragility like this, in India! .. I guess they all have bad days like that and it became worse as Robredo was up to the task today. it looks like LP will have to blame himself mostly, and credit should go to Robredo for his talent and the ability to calmly take advantage of the situation.
By the way, some good articles are there by Anand Philar at the official site, goldflakeopen.com now ..The draws and score updates are still a problem .. You can find the the draws and schedule for tomorrow etc, at our chennai open page, as Sanjeevi is feeding us info frequently from Chennai .. He will be in our chatroom during tomorrow's first round doubles match (starting at about 9.15 pm) with score updates and commentary on the Dynamic Duo.
Jan 2 Note-1
What a horrible start to this Chennai Open for India! .. Leander simply was not there after a set today, it seems .. T.Robredo (ESP,131) d. L.Paes (IND,188), 76(4) 60 .. Close first set, and LP served a double fault at 4-4 in the tiebreaker, from where it all fell apart .. LP made way too many mistakes and many shots went wide for him in the second set .. The net game was not working either, as the youngster started passing him on the flanks often (this is the story of kids coming up these days - way too solid with their passing shots) .. The usually supportive Chennai crowd also deserted Leander in the second set .. LP got frustrated and even threw his racket .. These are based on what our onsite correspondent, Dr. Sanjeevi, said in the chat session during the match .. Awaiting more details .. What can we say - he has more work to do before making a come-back in singles .. I am disappointed, as I thought he had got his game back together after that good showing in Charleroi challenger a couple of months back .. I have updated the first six matches' scores at our Chennai Open page .. Will post tomorrow's schedule, etc, there later.
Doubles for LP-MB start from tomorrow.
Jan 1 Note-2
Leander's first round match
is the second one on the center court Tuesday .. Expected to start around
7.30 pm there (6 am Los Angeles, 2 pm London) .. We will be in our chatroom
during the match with score updates from Chennai .. As always, those watching
the match on TV are always welcome to come in and update us too! .. (To
those in the fanclub -- our email list seems down still, though I was told
it was fixed recently -- thus no updates now except at this
Leander was asked about his tomorrow's opponent Tommy Robredo (ESP,131) yesterday and he said he knows nothing about him except that he is a young Spaniard and expected to be a baseliner .. Robredo is not really an "unknown", like the newspaper reports have been saying, based on LP's comment .. Surely Leander knows that the 18 yr old kid was one of the top talents in ITF juniors over the last two years, who led Spain to the NEC World Youth Cup title in late 1998 .. He was the runner-up (also doubles semifinalist) at the French Open and the semifinalist (also doubles winner) at the Australian .. He has wins over those like Vinciguerra, Sanguinetti, Vanek, Uhlirach, Dupuis, Marin, etc, last year and even a win over Safin in early 99 .. Robredo has mostly been on the challenger circuit but his ranking has been steadily improving and he has qualified into some tour events as well .. He only played one challenger on hardcourt and two events on carpet last year (all first round losses) .. This will be his first match on the big tour on hardcourts, as far as I know .. Not necessarily an easy foe, as he is talented, but young players often find Leander difficult to handle, especially on a surface not to their liking - so I am certainly hopeful of LP advancing .. If he does, he will be up against another Spaniard, David Sanchez, who upset the 7th seed Markus Hantschk today.
The Mahesh match today was too late in the evening for the reports to make it to most newspaper online editions .. Here is our onsite correspondent, Dr. Sanjeevi, writing from Chennai - The best match of the day was between Mahesh and Stoliarov. Mahesh started very well by breaking Stoliarov's serve and going up 4-1 and went on to win the set 6-3. However his game started to become erratic and he lost his second set 6-2 .. He was arguing more often with the referee over line calls and was losing his concentration quite frequently. In The third set he again started off well by breaking Stoliarov's serve and going up 2-0. His concentration fell and his erratic game continued as he missed several chances, but he went on to tie the game at 6-6, before losing the tie breaker 7-2. He was very exhausted in the end .. Clearly not Hesh's day today.
Here is the Times of India article by S.S.Shreekumar, the writeup by Srinivasa Raghavan in the Indian Express, the one by Nirmal Sekhar in The Hindu, and the piece by S.Kannan in the Hindusthan Times .. The latter two (known not to mince words :-)) are quite critical of Fazaluddin, but I am surprised at either expecting Fazal to have done much better in one of the rare top-150 matches he has ever played, against a player ranked 600+ spots above him .. I guess both were just praying for the miracle! .. Prajwal Hegde in her Deccan Herald article said the truth when she wrote that Fazal playing his first main draw match in an ATP Tour event, was hardly expected to win .. She continues, Summing up his opponents game Voinea said, "he has good touch. But he has a problem with his forehand and concentration".The Romanian couldnt have put it better. A wonderful athlete when Fazaluddin is all there which is only for a few points in matches as big as this one, he makes tennis look easy .. But for most part today he resembled a local commuter in the wrong compartment -- out of place and in awe of the trappings that make up the big stage .. "I am carrying an injury. I pulled a muscle during practice and I wasn't sure until this morning whether I could play. The physio did a great job and that's how I could get out on the court and play. I did everything. I prepared the best I could for this match. He just plays at a different level",Fazaluddin said .. Well, that's how it goes .. What Fazal needs, in my not-so-learned opinion, may be some confidence in his baseline game and ground strokes .. It is just seems too difficult to win with chip and charge at the tour level these days and only some like Paes at his best can get away with that .. Fazal has the baseline game but I doubt he is confident that he has the accuracy and consistency to use that towards winning points by staying back with patience .. Prajwal writes about the Mahesh match - Bhupathi had his chances. And by all accounts it is a match he should have won. Unfortunately, the Bangalorean, the better player on court today, was undone by his lack of singles matchplay .. Having played only five singles matches in 2000 he came up short in experience and energy. Towards the end of the first set which Bhupathi won with a solid performance Stoliarov started getting into the rallies, moving the big Indian from corner to corner like a toy on a sling. The effect of the late surge was for all to see in the second set which Bhupathi lost rather easily. Interestingly, the Indian came back strongly in the decider, but the home stretch proved too much for him, his backhands repeatedly falling wide. He won just two points in the tie-break .. "Considering that I played my last decent singles match at Wimbledon last year I think I played well today", Bhupathi said. "I played the third set on reserve and in the end that showed" .. Hesh will start winning these matches soon, if he stays healthy and gets the old stamina back - this is especially important as the tour players know and will try to tire him out by moving him around.
Jan 1 Note-1
Happy New Year! Actually we finally have the new millennium here (history's biggest mass misleading of facts having happened last year! :-))
Not a great start for India out there in Chennai, as Mahesh fell after a fine start and Fazal faced somebody who was too much for him to handle .. Andrei Stoliarov (RUS,122) d. (WC) Mahesh Bhupathi (IND,889), 36 62 76(2) .. Adrian Voinea (ROM,110) d. (WC) Syed Fazaluddin (IND,756), 64 62 .. Here is the writeup from Chennai-Online (these guys have been covering the Open with much more heart than the useless official site which does not even have the doubles draw, even by end of tuesday!) - "Syed Fazaluddin lost to a player with an all-round game whose speed and reflexes could not match. Serving well in the first set, Fazaluddin could not continue to keep Voinea in check after 2-2, losing the fifth game to a wonderful passing shot by his opponent .. The break Voinea gained in the fifth game was enough for him to take the set 6-4. His return of serve was impressive, and his passing shots were effective as he broke Fazal in the first game of the second set and also in the seventh .. Though Fazal's serve was effective, his groundstrokes were not effective enough to create an impact, but it was a good beginning for him in the ATP tour" .. As for Mahesh, the official site says that he simply ran out of steam in the end with tired legs after a pretty good start .. The usual second set problems came up and he lost steam there .. The fighting spirit came back in the 3rd set where there were four service breaks but three missed backhands, his bread-and-butter shot, in the final tiebreaker caused doom .. See our Chennai Open page for all the scores.
I am slowly getting back up to speed with this site .. As live updates are missing at the official site, we are trying to make alternate plans .. We do have our onsite fanclub correspondent, Dr. Sanjeevi, at Chennai .. Stay tuned - we will try to have some live updates during LP's match against Robredo tomorrow .. More later.
.. Previous notes are at Notes for the weeks ending on Jan 1 ..
I am getting some enquiries from US college coaches who are interested in Indian junior players .. I would like to be able to contact Indian players (some of the coaches are enquiring about specific names) .. If any of the junior players are reading this, please contact me .. Or if any of the other readers know the contact emails/address for any junior player, let me know .. I would like to have a mailing list where I can post general announcements and enquiries from the coaches too .. Please email me - R.Jayakrishnan.