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LP/MB/NV/Indian-Tennis: Notes for the week ending on Feb 04, 2002
(Previous week's notes) (Next week's notes) (Daily Notes Index 1997 thru 2001)

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Feb 04 Note-1

Not much news from yesterday .. The ITF junior tour moves to the Kolkata DKS courts, where the first round is today .. Qualifying was completed yesterday with three Indian boys and two Indian girls making it in .. Some of rthe Chinese and Taipei girls who had to play qualies last week (including Rui Du who was a finalist last week) are in the main draw this time, I think .. Megha Vakharia is also in the list, this week .. Saurabh Singh has moved up to #83 in this weeks' rankings, as #2 behind Amanjot Singh (though with much better results than Amanjot lately) .. Isha Lakhani is the highest ranked girls player after Sania ..

I have added some missing results and corrected a few of the eastern girls' names at the Chandigarh juniors page .. Will start a Kolkata page as soon as results come out from there.

The entries closed for the women's $10K satallites starting in two weeks (Feb 18) at Mumbai - and the entry list very impressive with 3 top-275 players and 7 top-400 players .. The cut for 21 direct entries is #567 .. The $25K challenger follows the week after (Feb 25) at Delhi, and that helps .. Only Rushmi Chakravarti and Radhika Tulpule have direct entry right now, with Sai at 3rd in the qualifying list and Sonal at 6th .. Sai may make it in directly, by the time the qualies start .. There will be three wildcards and eight qualifiers (that means two round of qualies, I assume) to add to it .. The Indian girls should show up for the qualies where there should be a chance to play some competitive matches - Sheetal, Shruti, Megha, Sania, etc are all listed for qualies .. Manisha is not in the list for Mumbai, but hopefully would be at the Delhi challenger .. I am not sure what our strategy is for the Fed Cup Asia-Oceania qualifiers starting on march 4th, the week after the Delhi challenger .. As Niru is out for a while, we need to find out who can carry the load, and at least avoid the disaster of dropping to the group-2 tier in Asia (which happened about 6 years back when Niru did not play one year) .. The two weeks of pro events in India may gives us some ideas, I guess.

Feb 03 Notes

Nothing much report today .. Harsh Mankad left for Davis Cup in Lebanon on Friday night from the US and was to reach Lebanon by late Saturday night as the first member of the team ..  Rohan was to join by the weekend, traveling from Abu Dhabi .. LP and RK were to get there soon too, and the team except for MB were to assemble by Monday .. I believe Harsh was fine, as far as the wrist was concerned, by the time he left from the US .. Sounds more like a bit of a scare and nothing much else .. MB will join the team only on wednesday as he is still banged up with the problematic hip which needs rest as mush as possible, and so he really would be available only for doubles, I think .. It would be good if Harsh is fine and can get a win on the first day along with LP, so that LP could finally get a break from playing all three days for a change! .. It is a bit scary to throw Bopanna out there to face the Lebanese #1 Ali Hamadeh .. Ali Hamadeh, who you may remember as Mahesh's doubles partner at the Univ of Minnesota when they had the #1 ranked doubles team in the US colleges in 95, is not an easy customer .. He surprised everybody (including himself) with a great show on grass in India a couple of years back at Lucknow,  making the king of Indian grasscourts Leander fight hard for a 64 75 76 win in the first match and then beating a very good grass player, Fazal in the 5th match .. Considering Mankad's extensive experience on indoor hardcourts, it would be better to have him play on the first day, though Rohan is certainly capable of beating Hamadeh .. Davis Cup debut is never easy, especially on a foregn court - and I am also not sure if Rohan has payed indoors anywhere in a while, though that may not be a big adjustment .. We will see what RK does after the practice sessions, Tuesday through Thursday.

As you would probably know by now, the evergreen legend Rick Leach placed yet another feather in his cap (he has more feathers on his cap than a native Indian chief, I am sure!) with Ellis Ferreira - 67(6) 76(2) 64 64 win over Pala-Vizner at the WDC final .. Rick is an amazing player .. He just knows doubles and everything in the book on how to win matches .. More impressive is the fact that he wins without any of the power tools that the current day singles players have - he wins with just hands, hands and angles, angles! .. He is also one of the nicest guys out there on tour .. And I am sure that as usual he will again say that he is retiring soon and all that, like he has been saying for the last 5 years or so, ever since he turned 55 or whatever :-)

Feb 02 Notes

Good news from Abu Dhabi -- Rohan Bopanna and Yen-Hsun Lu (TPE) won the doubles title at the $15K UAE F2 futures, beating the Slovakian pair, Tomas Janci and Roman Kukal .. The Gulf-News writes, "In the doubles final, Bopanna the Indian number two played a dominant role in the doubles win .. Both Bopanna and Lu, playing together for the first time did very well to get the better of the experienced Kukal and Janci .. Churning out some effective serve and volley tennis, Bopanna forced the Slovaks to commit a lot of mistakes" .. The win is worth 18 ATP doubles points .. Here is a picture of Rohan and Lu after the title (courtesy: Gulf-News):

Bopanna and Y-H.Lu after UAE F2 title - Feb/02/2002 - courtesy: Gulf-News

Feb 01 Notes

Sorry for having to travel unexpectedly again - so the update is a bit delayed.

Quick updates:   Ferreira-Leach and Pala-Vizner are in the finals at the Bangalore WDC .. #1 seeds Johnson-Palmer lost to Pala-Vizner today - so J-P did advance to the semis, unlike what I said yesterday .. Apparently they advanced over Bryan-Bryan on head-to-head record - my fault; I forgot that the threeway tie becomes a two-way tie once the Ferreira-Leach topped the group on sets won-loss - for a two-way tie, head-to-head is the first criterion .. Anyway, it didn't matter because Pala-Vizner just shellacked them 64 61 today to advance to the final against Ferreira-Leach who beat Knowles-MacPhie, 62 64 ..

At Chandigarh, Saurabh Singh won his second consecutive title, beating Chatwinder Singh .. Finals -- Saurabh Singh d. Chatwinder Singh (Ind) 61 64 .. ; Chong Chen Yan (CHN) d. Rui Du (CHN) 64 62 .. Double: JacoT. Mathew/ Somdev Verman d. Amanjot Singh/ Saurabh Singh 36 61 64 .. Girls doubles was completed yesterday .. See the Chandigarh juniors page .. Saurabh Singh has certainly been impressive lately .. In the post-match comments, he attributed his recent success to coaching at CLTA in Chadigarh, and especially on the physical work in the last six months [that shows - it is not easy to win 10 matches in 12 days, dropping just one set in those 10 matches, that too! - on top of 6 doubles matches] .. I think Saurabh is one who gained by traveling to a few foreign events and learning the importance of physical fitness .. One of the most important things for our kids to appreciate is the difference between the foreign kids and Indians on this count, and the significance of putting in very hard work on physical development .. He picked up another 40 pts for the title, adding 25 extra points to his 6-best points total, taking it to 170 .. That will take him inside the top-85 and place him as #2 in India .. Here is a picture of Saurabh (courtesy: Chandigarh Tribune)

Saurabh Singh at ITF G-4 Chandigarh (1/28/02) - courtesy: Chandigarh Tribune

It's always nice to see a young Indian tennis player who doesn't look embarassingly thin and seriously in need of some protein! .. The junior subcontinental ITF circuit is now on to its 4th week when the caravan moves to Kolkata for the grade-4 that starts on Monday .. This will be followed by a grade-4 in Rajshahi and a grade-3 in Dhaka in Bangladesh.

Jan 31 Note-5

Knowles-MacPhie deserved to advance to the semifinal, for the way they fought off set points against them yesterday and today .. LP-MB had two set points on them in the second set - had they won those, they would be in the semis ..Today, dejager-Koenig had a set pt at 30-40 in the 12th game of the second set, and again at AD out on Knowles-MacPhie serve .. Any of those points go the other way and Knowles-MacPhie do not advance .. As it turned out, they sent the second set to a tiebreaker, got a minibreak on the first and 5th points, and cruised to a tiebreaker win at 7-3 for a 63 76(3) score, to oust the Indian Express and enter the semis .. So, as I normally say, THAT is that for that whole thing.

But the agony of it .. Oh, so close!

Unless there are any mistakes in my calculations, it will be tops Ferreira-Leach facing Knowles-MacPhie and tops Pala-Vizner facing Bryan-Bryan in the semis tomorrow.

Jan 31 Note-4

It doesn't look good, as Knowles-macPhie have won the first set, 6-3 over deJager-Koenig .. One more set, and they advance to SF .. Actually, unlike what I said earlier, if they drop a set, LP-MB advance (no need for calculating the games-won stats for tiebreak - they will have 5-4 in sets won, and our guys 4-3) - it looks very unlikely, though deJager-Koenig are trying their best to help all of a sudden with a 5-5 score in the second set .. LP-MB are not the only ones who messed up royally today .. Top seeds Johnson-Palmer are also out, according to my calculations, after their straight sets loss to Ferreira-Leach (46 67), and Bryans' shellacking of Haggard-vanHoudt in straight sets (63 62) .. Ferreira-Leach, Bryan-Bryan, and Johnson-Palmer ended up in a three way tie with two wins each, and F-L topped the pool with 5-3 in sets won .. B-B and J-P both are 4-3 .. We go to the next tiebreaker criterion, games won-lost .. I believe B-B are 38-33 (.5352) in that and J-P are 42-33 (.525) - and Johnson-Palmer are out by a hair's width in the end - I hope my calculations are right .. Weird day out there today, I swear!

Jan 31 Note-4

As we wait to find out on the Indian Express' fate at the WDC, which won't be decided till after the last match of the day at Bangalore, here is some good news -  Rohan Bopanna and Yen-Hsun Lu have advanced to the doubles final at the Abu Dhabi $15K UAE F2 futures .. In the semi, they destroyed Denis Gremelmayr (GER) and Herbert Wiltschnig (AUT), 61 60 ..  They play Tomas Janci and Roman Kukal of Slovakia in the final tomorrow .. The singles semis are between Igor Gaudi (ITA) and Marco Chiudinelli (SUI) and between Danai Udomchoke (THA) and Yeu-Tzuoo Wang (TPE).

At the Chandigarh ITF grade-3 juniors, it will be an all-Indian final in the boys draw and an all-Chinese final in the girls draw tomorrow .. Chatwinder Singh beat Nihal advanci to reach the final against Saurabh Singh who beat the second seed Jaco Mathew in straight sets in the other semi to extend his winning streak to 9 matches .. See the Chandigarh juniors page .. We need one of the Indian girls to step up next week at Kolkata against these girls from China and Taiwan .. isha Lakhani, who was down with an injury after last week hopefully will be recovered by then .. Megha and Sanaa are the other two who need to come through .. This week was bad news on the girls' side ..

Jan 31 Note-3

Shoot .. The worst case scenario I warned against in the Note-1 below, seems to be playing out .. LP-MB are virtually eliminated, as of now, after they lost a straight set match [RR3] #2 M.Bhupathi/ L.Paes l. #3 P.Pala/ P.Vizner, 67(6) 57 .. Now Pala-Vizner tops the pool with 2 wins and a 5-2 record in sets won-loss, and LP-MB with 2 wins have a 4-3 record in sets .. The way deJager-Koenig have played the last two days, I have no conficence in them winning the last match of the day over Knowles-MacPhie .. A straight sets win by Knowles-MacPhie will give them a 5-3 record in sets, and they advance as the second team in the three-way tie .. LP-MB can advance, depending on the games won-loss stat, if deJager-Koenig take a set off Knowles-MacPhie - but that itself looks very doubtful, as they have lost 26 36, 36 26 in the two matches they have played! .. So, as of now, barring some sort of a miracle, LP-MB are out .. Yikes.

I did not follow the first set today .. The second set started with LP-MB dropping serve, but they evened it in the second game .. From then on, it went with serve to 5-5 when our boys were down 0-30, then 30-30, 30-40, deuce, AD out .. They got broken in the second break point there and PP-PV served a love game to finish it .. It looked like Pala-Vizner were holding serve very easily for most of the day, and our guys were occasionally struggling in their service games .. The match took 1 hour 29 minutes.

Jan 31 Note-2

Today's schedule at the WDC is:

3 pm [Touchtel Group]  #1 Donald Johnson/ Jared Palmer -vs- #6 Ellis Ferreira/Rick Leach
5 pm [Bharti Group]      #2 Mahesh Bhupathi/ Leander Paes -vs- #3 Petr Pala/ Pavel Vizner
7 pm [Touchtel Group] #4 Bob Bryan/ Mike Bryan -vs- #7 Chris Haggard/ Tom Vanhoudt
9 pm [Bharti Group]      #5 Mark Knowles/ Brian MacPhie -vs- #8 John-Laffnie deJager/ Robbie Koenig

So, our guys play a slightly earlier match today .. The match should be starting at 5 pm (11.30 am London .. 6.30 am NY) .. Come to the chatroom for scores.

Megha Vakharia also went down on the girls side, leaving no girls in the semifinals at the Chandigarh ITF grade-4 juniors .. Two Chinese girls and two Chinese Taipei girls are in the semis .. Clean sweep on the boys' side by India though .. One noticable match was the 67 61 60 win by 16 yr old Nihal Advani over Dor Wertheimer (ISR), who looked very tough last week .. Somdev dev Varman went down to second seed Jaco Mathew and Saurabh Singh continued his win streak to 8 matches beating Saurabh Kohli .. Saurabh vs Jaco should be a decent match tomorrow .. See the Chandigarh juniors page.

Harsh Mankad says that his wrist tendinitis is feeling fine, and he expects to do some light practice tomorrow, after the doctors determined that there doesn't seem to be any serious problem .. So I guess we don't have to worry too much about Davis Cup .. It was reported in the Deccan Herald today that Mahesh would like to get a couple of days of rest because of the hip problem, after the WDC and may get to Beirut only a day or two before the Davis Cup -- so I guess his availability for singles there may be doubtful .. So it may be important to have Harsh ready .. Rohan Bopanna is in good form but I don't know if an away tie is normally not the best place for someone to debut in Davis Cup .. Anyway, it is all RK's decision after the practice days in Beirut early next week.

Jan 31 Note-1

I saw a report that LP-MB have already ensured a semifinal spot at the WDC .. Actually, the WDC website says that they are through to the semis .. I don't understand how that can be, as far as I can see .. Let's see .. If LP-MB lose to Pala-Vizner and Knowles-Macphie win over DeJager-Koenig tomorrow, it will be a three-way tie with PP-PV, MK-BM and LP-MB with 2 wins each .. Then we go to a tiebreaker where the first one is the percentage of sets won .. Right now, LP-MB have a 4-1 record there; 3-2 for P.Pala-P.Vizner and 3-3 for M.Knowles-B.Macphie ..  If LP-MB lose in straight sets and MK-BM win in straight sets we will have PP-PV with 5-2, MK-BM with 5-3 and and LP-MB with 4-3 .. and LP-MB will get eliminated! ..  If LP-MB lose in three sets, it could be a 5-3 record for all three teams .. Then we go to percentage of games won, and then it will depend on the game scores .. The one 1-6 set that Pala-Vizner have would hurt them but they made up a bit of it with the 63 62 win yesterday ..

Anyway, unless I am making a mistake somewhere, LP-MB still have some work to do .. Actually LP-MB have in the past made it close by losing the 3rd match after winning the first two, in two of the three past occasions when they made the SF semis .. Also, our boys have never advanced to the semis with wins in all three round robin matches (in 1997 they lost the second RR match, in 1997 they lost the 3rd, in 2000 they lost the 3rd) .. It would be nice to see them top the group with a clean record this time!

Rohan Bopanna and Yen-Hsun Lu have reached the semifinal of doubles at the $15K Abu Dhabi UAE F2 futures .. They beat Mads Gottlieb (DEN) and Josef Nesticky (CZE), 63 20 (retd.) .. In the semi, they face Denis Gremelmayr (GER) and Herbert Wiltschnig (AUT).

Jan 30 Note-2

Today's match turned out to be a tough one .. [RR2,Wed] M.Bhupathi/ L.Paes d. M.Knowles/ B.MacPhie, 76(4) 57 63 .. Things became very interesting when LP-MB were broken in the first game of the 3rd set and and were down 0-2 .. They went to work soon though .. Got the break back in the 4th game and then got another break in the 8th game, thus winning 6 of the last 7 games to finish the match .. Pala-Vizner beat De-Jager/ Koenig by a 63 62 score today (they had lost to Knowles-MacPhie yesterday) and face LP-MB tomorrow .. There is still a chance for a three-way tie in the Bharti group if Knowles-MacPhie win tomorrow against deJager-Koenig and LP-MB lose to Pala-Vizner, but chances for LP-MB to advance to semi are quite bright right now, even with a loss tomorrow .. I think if they lose a straight set match to Pala-Vizner tomorrow, they could miss the SF, and even a three-set loss could eliminate LP-MB if the set scores are bad, I think (I haven't worked out all the tiebreaker stats in case of a three-way tie) .. So, they do need to play well tomorrow.

It looks like Megha also went down in the girls' draw and no India girl reached the SF at the Chandigarh grade-4 this week .. I have not seen the boys' results yet.

Jan 30 Note-1

Bryans went down 67 36 to Johnson-Palmer earlier today ..

Today's schedule at the Bangalore WDC is,

3 pm [Bharti Group]     #3 Petr Pala/ Pavel Vizner -vs- #8 John-Laffnie deJager/ Robbie Koenig
5 pm [Touchtel Group] #1 Donald Johnson/ Jared Palmer -vs- #4 Bob Bryan/ Mike Bryan
7 pm [Bharti Group]      #2 Mahesh Bhupathi/ Leander Paes -vs- #5 Mark Knowles/ Brian MacPhie
9 pm [Touchtel Group] #6 Ellis Ferreira/Rick Leach -vs- #7 Chris Haggard/ Tom Vanhoudt

The timings depend on how fast each match goes .. The LP-MB match should start at about 7 pm (8.30 am NY .. 1.30 pm London) +/- 30 min .. Our chatroom will be open, as usual during our guys' match, with score updates .. Also check out the chatroom at the official website.

Jan 29 Note-4

Just got the ITF email with the team nominations for Davis Cup next week ..

Lebanon v India, Venue: Club Sportif Taadod, Beirut, Surface: Greenset - indoors
Lebanon: Ali Hamadeh, Patrick Chucri, Karim Alayli, Fady Youssef, Captain: Raymond Kattoura
India: Leander Paes, Mahesh Bhupathi, Harsh Mankad, Rohan Bopanna,  Captain: Vijay Kannan (!!!!!!!!!)
I didn't make that up - according to ITF, Vijay Kannan is our captain! .. RK will not be pleased, I am sure :-) .. Of course, Vijay is the alternate player .. On the Lebanese side, I don't see Hisham Zatiini, interestingly.

I have updated the scores from the grade-4 ITF event at the Chandigarh juniors page .. The boys seem to have cruised today with 7 of them in the QF, but on the girls' side only two made the QF in what seems to have been a near-complete meltdown against the eastern girls (those from Taiwan and China create havoc and cause panic in our girls, it always seems! :-)) .. I believe Sanaa, Isha etc went down today with only Megha remaining as a contender .. Will comment later, after confirming the scores.

Top seeds Johnson-Palmer are in a dogfight right now at the WDC after two hours in their match - 67 76 against the alternate team of Haggard-vanHoudt .. Boy!

Jan 29 Note-3

LP flew in only today to Bangalore and our boys hadn't had any practice - I was concerned and the newspapers seemed to complain a bit about that .. Well, what do we know? .. They were up 4-0 in 6 minutes flat and just galloped to a win, but for a bit of hiccup at the end .. [Bharti group] [RR1] #2 M.Bhupathi/ L.Paes d. #8 J-L.deJager/ R.Koenig, 62 63 .. [set1: Jd-RK broken in games 1 and 3], [set2: Jd-RK broken in games 1, 5 and 9; MB-LP in game 8] .. I hope I have got the serve order right, as that was the only thing missing from the online scoreboard updates at the official site which has been wonderful so far (I will write to them and ask if they can add that bit to the scoreboard) .. In the first set our guys went up 4-0 with two breaks and finished it in 20 minutes .. In the second set, the Indian Express were up 5-1 again with two breaks in no time and were up 30-0 on the South African's serve .. I think they had two match pts there too .. I don't know what happened but they lost some 12 of 13 points at that point, with the other guys holding serve and breaking them too .. All of a sudden it was 5-3 and the South Africans were up 40-0 on serve .. LP-MB came back storming to deuce and converted the 4th match pt to finish the match .. Again, I will confirm the serve order to know for sure this is what happened .. The match took 54 minutes.

The earlier two matches were both tight one .. In the Touchtel group, Bryan-Bryan won 64 57 64 against Ferreira-Leach, and in the Bharti group, Knowles-MacPhie won 61 36 75 .. Johnson-Palmer play vanHoudt-Haggard in the last match starting now.

Bad news from Abu Dhabi .. Qualifier Rohan Bopanna lost to Filippo Messori (ITA,308 .. last week's semifinalist and the highest rasnked unseeded player), 36 75 26 .. I expected a loss but wanted to see how Rohan would do against one of the highest ranked players he has played (his win over current top-275 Peter Luczak a couple of months back is his best win so far) .. Good fight from Rohan in the match, coming back to win the second set, and that is a good sign .. He is a 21 yr old late-comer, still learning the pro circuit, and I am up on his potential .. Good news in doubles, as Rohan Bopanna and Yen-Hsun Lu upset the 3rd seeds and last week's runners-up Leonardo Azzaro and Marco Chiudinelli of Italy, 62 63 !! .. In the QF, they will play qualifiers Mads Gottleib (DEN) and Josef Nesticky (CZE), who advanced past a local wildcard team ..

Jan 29 Note-2

Today's match timings at the Bangalore WDC are:
(3 pm) [Bharti Pool]      Bryan-Bryan vs Ferreira-Leach
(5 pm) [Touchel Pool]  Pala-Vizner vs Knowles-MacPhie
(7 pm) [Bharti Pool]      Paes-Bhupathi vs R.Koenig-J-L.deJager
(9 pm) [Touchtel Pool] Johnson-Palmer vs vanHoudt-Haggard

Our pair's match will be +/30 min around 7 pm (8.30 am NY .. 1.30 pm London) .. Come to our chatroom during the match ..  It seems Leander had to attend a friend's wedding in Chennai on monday and would be getting there only today .. Not much practice, but hopefully they will be OK against the South Africans who are not really pushovers ..

Jan 29 Note-1

Things are all set to go at the ATP "Touchtel" World Doubles Challenge in Bangalore .. Check out the official site (http://www.worlddoubles.com) for realtime score updates, schedule, etc, etc .. They will have chat sessions and all kinds of things, I have been told .. The KSLTA folks have gone all out in the short time to put everything together, including big western music concerts at the stadium and everything .. By the way, Bryan twins are good musicians with a band, I believe - it should be a really fun time in Bangalore .. LP-MB play later today.

A pretty good line-up of teams showed up, considering the short notice (actually about as good or better than the field in 2000) .. Here is the 2001 year-end top-10 doubles teams in the world, the 8 teams coming to the WDC shown with X.
      1 [758 pts] Bjorkman, J. (SWE) / Woodbridge, T. (AUS) -- Australian Open Champs -- not there
  X  2 [728 pts] Johnson, D. (USA) / Palmer, J. (USA)           -- Wimbledon Champs, US Open runners-up,
                                                                                               Titles at Barcelona, Mallorca, Nottingham, Stockholm
      3 [618 pts] Novak, J. (CZE) / Rikl, D. (CZE)                     --  not there
  X  4 [598 pts] Bhupathi, M. (IND) / Paes, L. (IND)               -- French Open Champs,  Titles at Atlanta, Houston, Cincinnati
      5 [509 pts] Black, W. (ZIM) / Ullyett, K. (ZIM)                  -- US Open Champs -- late injury withdrawal
  X  6 [471 pts] Pala, P. (CZE) / Vizner, P. (CZE)                  -- French Open runners-up, title at St.Poelten
  X  7 [445 pts] Bryan, B. (USA) / Bryan, M. (USA)                -- Wimbledon semi,  Titles at Memphis, Queen's, Newport, L.A.
  X  8 [413 pts] Knowles, M. (BAH) / MacPhie, B. (USA)       -- Titles at San Jose, Indianapolis
      9 [380 pts]  Hill, M. (AUS) / Tarango, J. (USA)               --  No show.
  X 10 [341 pts] Ferreira, E. (RSA) / Leach, R. (USA)            -- Titles at Tokyo, Basel, Paris
  X 20 [198 pts] Haggard, C. (RSA) / vanHoudt, T. (BEL)      -- Alternate
  X 27 [129 pts] de Jager, J. (RSA) / Koenig, R. (RSA)          -- Alternate

That is a pretty good field, with 6 of the top 10 teams, starting with Wimbledon champs and USO runners-up Johnson-Palmer, and FO champs LP-MB .. Unfortunate that US Open champs Black-Ullyett did not arrive (apparently due to an injury) .. They had also expected Hill-Tarango to come in, but the two alternate teams are pretty good doubles treams (DeJager-Koenig, though they did not do all that much last year, have been a string team over the years) .. Mark Knowles comes in hot after winning the doubles title at Australian Open, though in the company of Nestor .. Rick Leach is of course a legend .. Ferreira-Leach did not have as great a 2001 as their 2000, but they came on very strongly at the end of the year with carpet titles in back-to-back events, both over LP-MB .. Bryan-Bryan is really the new team of last year who had a good run during the summer ..

The usual format applies .. 4 teams in each pool .. The pool teams play round robin against each others .. The top two teams advance to the semis .. #1 of each group plays the #2 of the other group in the semifinals .. $16,500 for each round robin win .. $40K more for an SF win .. $72K for the finals win .. An undefetaed team winning all 5 matches will make $161,500 which is some serious cash, better than winning 5 rounds at a masters event ..

LP-MB got about as good a draw as could have been imagined, after today's draw ceremony .. Touchtel Group: Johnson-Palmer; Bryan-Bryan; Ferreira-Leach, Haggard-vanHoudt .. Bharti Group: Bhupathi-Paes, Pala-Vizner, Knowles-MacPhie, deJager-Koenig ... LP-MB plays their first match against deJager-Koenig today.

Jan 28 Note-2

I think my warning yesterday for Amanjot to "watch out" for Chatwinder Singh was more serious than I thought .. The top seed went down to C.Singh at the grade-3 Chandigarh ITF juniors that started today .. Amanjot had one of his usual "ballistic" periods in the second set according to the Chandigarh tribune, with the referee and pretty much lost his focus and the match .. 2nd seed Saurabh Singh continued his fine form, by beating Tushart Liberhan 64 64 .. No surprises on the girls' draw in the results I saw .. See the Chandigrah juniors page .. By the way, I notice that I made a calulation error in what I said about Saurabh raising his point total to 165 - actually only 145 (he got 60 for the title last week) and his ranking is just outside 100 at 102 ..

Good news from Harsh Mankad .. He had his visit to the doctor today and was told after X-Ray, etc that there is no bone problem on his wrist and just plain rest for a few days with ice and other treatments should take care of the tendinitis, with a couple of days of anti-inflammatory treatment .. The conclusion is that the the bigger grip size of the racket he was using may have been the cause of the problem .. He thinks he will be fine by the time he gets to Lebanon this coming weekend ..

Jan 28 Note-1

Rohan Bopanna easily qualified into the main draw at the $15K Ab Dhabi F2 futures, with a 62 63 win over Alexander Jakupovic (GRE,824) today .. Vishal Punna went down 26 67(3) to Wijnmalen of Nederlands, but it was still a very promising outing for unranked Vishal to reach the final round of qualies with wins over those like Laurence Tieleman .. Bopanna took the spot of the original 7th seed Jarislaw Levinsky who withdrew due to injury after the qualies started, the spot thus going to a qualifier .. He plays #308 Filippo Messori (ITA) who is the highest ranked unseeded player though, tomorrow at 10.30 am .. In doubles, Rohan is in the main draw with the talented Taiwanese youngster, Yen-Hsun Lu, and they play the 3rd seeds Leonardo Azzaro (ITA) and Marco Chiudinelli (SUI).

If you are wondering what our women players are up to - none of them have started playing much in the pro events this year yet, except for Manisha who was in a qualies in New Zealand a couple of weeks back .. I don't think anyone is playing this week but I will confirm that later.

.. Previous notes are at Notes for the week ending on Jan 28 ..

I am getting some inquiries 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 inquiring 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 inquiries from the coaches too .. Please email me - R.Jayakrishnan.