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LP/MB/NV/Indian-Tennis: Notes for week ending on May 10, 1999

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May 10 Notes

Busy day for me, but a quick update .. MB and Henman lost in the first round today at the Rome Super 9 to the 8th seeds Adams and DeJager, 3-6, 6-7(4) .. That means MB loses all the points from the Rome title last year (as does LP) - Ouch .. That is 436 pts .. Fazal has reached the second round of the China F2 futures, and faces second seed Hideki Kaneko next .. Fazal had to win two round of qualifiers to make it to main draw and then win a round too .. Good show .. Srinath's tough stretch continues, as he lost in the first round .. I will give the details I got from Steve Gocha, later ..

May 9 Note-2

Bad news .. It look like LP's upper-respiratory viral infection is not going away fast enough .. Mahesh is playing with Tim Henman at the Rome Super 9 this week .. Knowles/Nestor are the top seeds .. Henman has strangely shown that he is a pretty good doubles player on clay, even winning a Super 9 title recently (the Monte Carlo title with Delaitre) .. Henman also has a title with Rusedski at the London tournament on carpet earlier this year .. Henman/Bhupathi are unseeded and face the 8th seeds Adams-deJager in the first round at Rome ..

Will call LP by tomorrow to find out how he is doing.

May 9 Note-1

Nirupama lost in the first round of qualifiers at the Antwerp WTA event, to Rosa Andres (ESP,187) in a threesetter - 36 64 06 .. Not sure if she is going to try the doubles qualifying rounds - she might go to a challenger starting monday - we will find out soon.

I have added the point list after three legs of the ITF women's satellites in the Delhi satellites page .. The best 16 enters into the masters leg at Lucknow starting next week .. Interestingly three players top the list with 28 points each - Rushmi, Radhika and Shruti, followed by Sai at the 4th spot with 26 pts, Anna Nefedova at the 5th spot with 22 points and Sheetal at the 6th spot with 18 points .. The seedings announced for the Lucknow masters are according to these points - Rushmi at #1, Shruti at #2, Radhika at #3 and Sai at #4 .. As it is a 16-draw tournament, only four are seeded .. The reason for Rushmi to be seeded tops over Shruti and Radhika is that she has a WTA ranking .. Shruti is second because she has WTA points though no ranking (WTA ranks only those who have played a minimum of three tournaments - since we have had only *one* tournament in India in the last 12 months, pitiful as that is - Shruti's points don't give her a ranking!) .. Theoretically, Shruti deserved to be seeded over Rushmi, though, because Shruti does have more WTA points that Rushmi (she has 5 points, to Rushmi's 4.5), but I assume AITA used the ITF guidelines which probably say ranking is what counts first, not points themselves .. Strange, but it doesn't matter much between #1 and #2 seeds! .. The point-list I have made show 4 players tied with 6 points for the 15th through 18 spots - I don't know who has made it into the final-16 .. I would guess Karishma Patel (Guj) has, since she has 1 WTA point from the last satellite .. I also don't know if Archana Venkatraman is in the draw for Lucknow, as she did not play the first leg of the satellites - but since that was a medical withdrawal after the quals started, she may qualify .. We will see the full draw soon .. Everybody who gets in is guaranteed one WTA point each .. first round win is worth 1.5 pts, QF win is worth 2 pts, SF win is worth 2 pts, the runner up gets 4 pts and the winner gets 5 pts.

I have also added the entry list for the men's satellites starting on the May 17th in the Bangalore men's satellites page .. It looks like the Indian players have a golden chance to pick up a ton of points, with pretty low competition in the satellites .. Only one player (Srinath) from the top-500 and only three from the top-750, which is worse than the entry list for the October satellites .. It is understandable because of the summer-heat conditions in India .. There are 8 foreigners in the list though .. I wonder who between Harsh Mankad and Vijay Kannan would get the 8th seed placing - both have exactly the same ranking! .. The only player conspicuously missing from among the Indians is young Saurav Panja, who would have been among the top 12 had he entered .. Vasudev Reddy is another .. Four wildcards will announced for the Bangalore leg soon .. There will also be eight qualifiers .. I am surprised not to find any Thai player in the list .. Some of the kids from there could arrive for the qualifiers .. One Pakistani kid (Nazir Sherazi) is in the list - he is not a bad one, and actually has a win over Vijay Kannan in the Islamabad futures .. Now the big question - are we going to see any coaches travelling with the Indian boys, helping them improve, or will it be another case of "aimless kites" (to use the great line from Naresh Kumar!) ? ..

May 8 Notes

The qualifier draw at the Rome Super 9 closed at #124, and so Mahesh did not get to try singles there .. The doubles draw at Rome is not out yet .. Meanwhile, Haarhuis/Palmer has reached the final of doubles at the Hamburg Super 9, and so Haarhuis has put about 150 point distance between him at #1 and MB at #2 next week ..

Nirupama Vaidyanathan is at the Antwerp WTA event in Belgium for the qualies starting today .. Niru plays Rosa Andres (#187, ESP) in Q1 .. She is in the part of the draw with 3rd seed Lubomira Bacheva (112, BUL - Niru's doubles partner during the French challengers last month) and 5th seed Jill Craybas (USA, 139) .. No news on the matches yet.

Good news from China ! .. Fazaluddin was in the semifinals of singles .. He beat wildcard Jin-Jian Liu (CHN) 62 75, then Justin Megraw (AUS, 883) 62 63, and Alex Witt (USA, #686) 26 63 63, to reach the semis .. In the semis, the 5th seed Dmitri Tomashevich (UZB, 382) beat Fazal 76(7) 61 .. In doubles, Kane Dewhurst/Justin Megraw d. Srinath Prahlad/Fazaluddin Syed 6-3 3-6 6-4 in the first round .. As I reported earlier, Aisam Qureshi of Pakistan had beaten the 7th seed Srinath Prahlad 67(2) 76(2) 62 in the first round .. Fazal picked up 8 points for the semifinal, and will increase his point total from 27 to 35 and his ranking up from 618 to inside 560 .. Good show, Fazal .. I believe they both play one more week in China before returning to India for the 4-week men's satellites starting in the week after the next (by the way, Srinath, Artem Derepasko (RUS) and Fazal are the #1, #2, and #3 seeds for the first leg in India, according to the AITA release yesterday - I will post the entry list soon)

At the Delhi women's satellites, a 3rd teenager won the title this week .. Shruti started well today in the final, but Anna Nefedova of Russia beat her 2-6, 6-2, 6-0 for the title and $650 .. Shruti made $450 .. Shruti had won 8 matches in a row and this is her 3rd final in the last 4 satellite legs she has lpayed too - so she has nothing to be ashamed of .. Anna, of course, has aply shown her talent in both the satellite circuits she has played in India, according to newspaper reports .. Shruti had a loss in the doubles final too, as she and Sheetal went down to the top seeds Sai and Rushmi, perhaps the only team they have lost to recently, though Sai-Shruti seems to know how to handle the talented young pair every time ! .. See the results in the Delhi satellites page .. I will add the point list and the final-16 who qualified for the masters leg at Lucknow next week, soon .. Things could become a bit crazy at Lucknow with the surface being grass ..

The Indian u-14 kids are the the world junior tennis Asia-Oceania qualifiers at Jakarta this week - the boys have reached the quarterfinals .. I will post those results also soon.

May 7 Notes

I had thought that Haarhuis would need to reach the finals to overtake MB at #1, but Ajay Verma sent a note last night that from his calculations of the bonus points, it appears that MB has already lost his #1 ranking, as Haarhuis has reached the SF at the Hamburg Super 9 in the company of Jared Palmer with an upset the 2nd seeds Knowles and Nestor yesterday .. As always, Ajay is correct - Since he picked up a lot of bonus pts so far (72 total) Haarhuis now has 3856 pts to MB's 3836, and so PH has regained the #1 ranking .. Since Harahuis has nothing to defend in the next three weeks, and our boys have 436 pts to defend next week at Rome, he might keep that ranking for a few weeks now .. As Haarhuis loses 888 pts at the French Open in 4 weeks, and LP-MB have only 345 pts to defend there, things could change again after FO .. In any event, it may be very difficult for everybody to keep Sandon Stolle away from the #1 spot in a few weeks, as he has nothing much to defend for months! .. But then again, our boys have nothing much to defend after FO for a while too .. We will see how things shape up.

Talking of #1 rankings, ATP's newsletter this week had this item - Bhupathi Breaks Elite Hold on Doubles No. 1 - While Yevgeny Kafelnikov begins his first week atop the ATP Tour Singles Rankings, Mahesh Bhupathi starts week two at No. 1 on the ATP Tour Doubles Rankings today. Last week, Bhupathi ascended the top spot to become the first Indian to hold the No. 1 ranking in singles or doubles, and the 35th different player to hold the No. 1 doubles ranking. More impressively, however, is the fact that hes the first new player to hold No. 1 in more than four years, as a quartet of the greatest doubles players in history - Jacco Eltingh, Paul Haarhuis, Todd Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde - have monopolized the No. 1 position since Sept. 12, 1994. This gang of four doubles stars, which has won more than 200 career individual doubles titles between them, traded time at the top spot for 241 weeks until Bhupathi surged last week. Bhupathi and fellow Indian Leander Paes have emerged as the team to supplant the dynas-ties of the Flying Dutchmen (Eltingh-Haarhuis) and the Woodies (Woodbridge-Woodforde). Eltingh retired at the close of 1998 despite winning 10 titles, including the Australian Open (with Jonas Bjorkman), Roland Garros, Wimbledon and The Phoenix/ATP Tour World Doubles Championship to cap his career. The Woodies have won 53 career titles, including two this year, to bring them within four titles of tying all-time leaders Bob Hewitt-Frew McMillan and Peter Fleming-John McEnroe ..

So, it had been close to 5 years since anybody other than the Woodies or Dutchmen had the #1 doubles ranking in the world .. After two weeks, Haarhuis has got that back, but I am sure our boys will regain it again soon! .. By the way, with a good show at Rome next week, the Indian Express can get the #1 team ranking.

In doubles at the Delhi satellites, Sai/Rushmi beat Janaki/Radhika, and Sheetal/Shruti beat the Venkatraman sisters .. So, once again the same two teams meet in the doubles final - That will be on Saturday, I believe .. Only singles SFs on Friday.

May 6 Note-2

Just talked to Dr. Vece Paes, who is with Leander at Hamburg - Leander came down with an upper respiratory infection of some kind during his flight to Hamburg, and is basically in bad shape for now .. Nothing very serious and he should be fine with rest for 3 or 4 days .. Good to know that doc dad is with him now .. LP was in no shape to play and so they had to concede the match today .. Leander is not in the main draw for singles at the Rome Super 9 next week and will not be able to play qualies on Saturday in the current condition either .. The Rome tournament desk told me that Mahesh had contacted them about trying the qualifiers, but we won't know if he will make it in, till the sign-in time on Saturday .. So, that's the update.

At the Delhi satellites, the top two seeds bit the dust today - Anna Nefedova beat top seed Radhika, and Archana took care of second seed Sai in three sets .. Sai has just not been at her best in this circuit - actually Kamesh Sreenivasan had predicted in his article in The Hindu today that the way Archana played yesterday, "Sai should watch out!" .. Good call by him .. 4th seed Rushmi beat 5th seed Sheetal Gautam - young Sheetal has had trouble beating the veterans, as she has gone out in the QF to Rushmi twice and Sai once .. Rushmi seems to be playing pretty well lately, according to Kamesh's reports .. Nothing is affecting Shruti Dhawan, who has been having a back problem, but has continued to win .. She beat veteran Janaki Krishnamoorthi, never an easy thing, to reach the SF .. See the Delhi satellites page.

May 6 Note-1

I thought the curse of the number 1 ranking was only on the singles side .. but apparently not ! .. The ATP desk at the Hamburg Super 9 just told me that Paes-Bhupathi just gave a walkover in their doubles R2 match, due to LP having a viral illness .. What can I say ? ..

Will talk to LP soon and see how he is doing .. I hope he gets better fast!

May 5 Note-2

LP-MB play their R2 match at about 1.30 pm Thursday (4.30 am PST, 5 pm India) against Alex Lopez-Moron and Davide Sanguinetti .. We will have score updates at the Leander page, and will be meeting in the chatroom to follow the match ball-by-ball, courtesy ATP live .. Come on in.. So far, the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 6th seeds have reached the QFs, but the 7th seeds Johnson/Suk got upset by Haarhuis/Palmer in two tiebreaker sets.

At the Beijing futures, Srinath was the 7th seed but got upset by Aisam Ul-Haq (who else ? .. that Pakistani kid is big trouble!) in a three-setter, 7-6(2), 6-7(2), 2-6 .. The good news is that Fazaluddin finally got a win after a bad stretch of first round losses .. He beat Jin-Jian Liu of China, 6-2, 7-5 .. Fazal next faces Justin Megraw (AUS, #883) who upset the 8th seed Steven Randjelovic in three sets .. In doubles, Fazal-Srinath face Kane Dewhurst and Justin Megraw in R1 ..

May 5 Note-1

The four seeded teams without byes into the second round have all won at the Hamburg Super 9 and two seeds have reached QF so far too .. The draw now is:

 1 M.Bhupathi/ L.Paes           vs  Q A.Lopez-Moron/ D.Sanguinetti \
 8 D.Adams/ J.D Jager           vs    W.Arthurs/ A.Kratzmann       / \
 3 E.Ferreira/ R.Leach          bt    P.Albano/ T.Carbonell        \ / \
 5 J.Novak/ D.Rikl              vs    F.Meligeni/ F.Montana        /    \
 6 A.Florent/ D.Vacek           bt WC L.Burgsmueller/ H.Dreekmann  \    /
 4 O.Delaitre/ F.Santoro        vs    P.Norval/ K.Ullyett          / \ /
 7 D.Johnson/ C.Suk             vs    P.Haarhuis/ J.Palmer         \ /
 2 M.Knowles/ D.Nestor          vs WC J.Knippschild/ R.Schuttler   /

LP-MB play 26 yr old Davide Sanguinetti (ITA,234) and 28 yr old Alex Lopez-Moron (ESP,128) in R2 tomorrow .. Once again, it will be a qualifier team for our dudes .. This team seems to be not as easy as their rankings would suggest .. Both are very good claycourt players (though Sanguinetti will remember the three set upset  Mahesh administered on him in the Davis Cup last year in Italy on clay) .. More ominously, these two have already beaten a much higher ranked team of Peter Nyborg (#58) and Peter Tramacchi (#49) in the first round .. They have won three straight-sets matches at Hamburg so far, including two in the qualies .. Their wins have been 62 61 over Bastl/Gaudenzi, 64 63 over Kempers/Schalken, and 63 64 over Nyborg/Tramacchi .. The LP-MB match will be tomorrow - time to be announced later today.

The new rankings show LP at #102 and MB at #256 in singles ..

At the satellites in Delhi, Arthi Venkatraman lost to Janaki Krishnamoorthi today in a "veterans" match .. Anna Nefedova and Rushmi Chakravarti won their R2 matches and are in the QFs .. See the Delhi satellites page .. Basically all these players, along with Sai, Shruti, Sheetal, Radhika, etc, have already assured themselves of being in the draw for next week's masters leg at Lucknow, where only the top-16 in the points standing over three legs get entry .. That also means they have all assured themselves of at least 1 WTA point each as well ..

Just got the official scores of Srinath's and Fazal's matches at the Indonesia futures last week (thanks, Steve!) .. As I had reported, both lost in the first round of singles, but reached the semis of doubles and picked up 8 points each .. Singles - Leigh Holland (AUS,452) d. Srinath Prahlad 7-5 0-6 6-1, Mitsuru Takada (JPN,807) d. Fazaluddin Syed 6-4 6-1 .. Doubles - [R1] Prahlad/Syed d. (WC) Hendri Susi Pramono (INA)/ Febi Widhiyanto (INA) 7-6(4) 6-3 .. [QF] Prahlad/Syed d. (1) Julien Knowle (AUT)/ Gerald Mandl (AUT) 3-1 (ret.) .. [SF] Hideki Kaneko (JPN)/ Mitsuru Takada (JPN) d. Prahlad/Syed 6-3 6-4 .. It looks like both lost to somewhat beatable players in the first round of singles, though .. No word yet, on how they are doing at Beijing this week - China is a big blackhole, as far as English language sports news is concerned!

May 4 Note-2

Finally got the results from the Asia-Oceania qualifiers of the ITF World Youth Cup 99 (16 and under), at Hiroshima, Japan last week (courtesy: The Hindu and the Times of India) .. The regionals were to decide the three teams to go to the world-16 .. India was represented by Sunil Kumar, Benjamin Xavier and Anant Sitaram on the boys side and Megha Vakharia, Liza Pereira and T. Yamini on the girls side .. The boys had some big shoes to fill - the last year's team (AV Rao, Karan Doctor, Kamala Kannan) had finished in the top three in Asia, advanced to the world group final-16 in Italy, and finished as the top team from Asia at #9th in the world (actually, had they not been unlucky to draw the eventual finalist in the first tie and get relegated to the bottom 8 rightaway, they would have probably gone even higher - they topped the bottom 8 by winning three ties in a row - the best show by our boys in a few years) .. Things didn't go as well this year, as the boys failed to advance to the world group .. On the boys' side India was seeded 4th among 16 teams, advanced from their league group to the quarterfinals, but then lost to the 3rd seed China .. An upset loss to New Zealand in the leagues is what caused them to face China (who advanced to world group) in the QF itself .. Even worse, both Sunil and Benjamin were up breaks in the 3rd sets of their singles in the QF before losing .. I was surprised to see the number of three-setters the boys played .. On the girls side, just like last year, we did not do all that well and did not advance to the QFs .. I have placed all the match scores for India in the ITF-NEC-WYC-Asia-99 page.

Leander was in Lucknow Tuesday (I was surprised how there has been no newspaper reports about LP-sightings in India over tghe last few days!), and had this interview with Pravin Kumar of the Times of India .. Take a look .. LP-MB will be playing their doubles match at the Hamburg Super 9 on Thursday, so he better hurry and get there! .. The ATP ranks are still not out for this week, by the way ..

May 4 Note-1

The first round match involving the qualifier team and Nyborg/Tramacchi is not on schedule today at the Hamburg Super 9 .. Since that match will be tomorrow (Wednesday), it looks like LP-MB will play their first match, in round 2, only on Thursday ..

I still have not seen the full ATP ranks for this week yet .. LP and MB will stay at #1 and #2 for doubles, anyway .. In the WTA rankings, Nirupama dropped a few spots to #181 .. Sai Jayalakshmi moved inside the top-500 at #497 (I wonder if anybody who beats Sai in the 3rd leg of the satellites would get that quality-bonus WTA point this week because of her being in the top-500 - may be not, but I am not sure).

At the satellites in Delhi, All the top seeds have advanced today to the QFs (top seed Radhika, 2nd seed Sai, 4th seed Shruti and 5th seed Sheetal) .. Geeta Manohar upset 7th seed SK Tara in the only first round match today .. I think some more R2 matches will be on Wednesday .. Will know the complete results from today, soon .. See the Delhi satellites page.

May 3 Note-2

Here is the doubles draw at Hamburg:

 1 Bhupathi, M./ Paes, L.           BYE                             \
   Nyborg, P./ Tramacchi, P.  vs  Q Qualifier/Qualifier             / \
   Ferreira, W./ Sanchez, J.  vs    Arthurs, W./ Kratzmann, A.      \ / \
 8 Adams, D./ De Jager, J.    vs    Kuerten, G./ Lapentti, N.       /    \_
 3 Ferreira, E./ Leach, R.          BYE                             \    / |
   Reneberg, R./ Stark, J.    vs    Albano, P./ Carbonell, T.       / \ /  |
WC Henman, T./ Rusedski, G.   vs    Meligeni, F./ Montana, F.       \ /    |
 5 Novak, J./ Rikl, D.        vs    Barnard, M./ Orsanic, D.        /      |_
 6 Florent, A./ Vacek, D.     vs    Haggard, C./ Olhovskiy, A.      \      |
   Broad, N./ Koenig, R.      vs WC Burgsmueller, L./ Dreekmann, H. / \    |
   Norval, P./ Ullyett, K.    vs  Q Qualifier/Qualifier             \ / \  |
 4 Delaitre, O./ Santoro, F.        BYE                             /    \_|
 7 Johnson, D./ Suk, C.       vs WC Kohlmann, M./ Prinosil, D.      \    /
   Haarhuis, P./ Palmer, J.   vs    Grabb, J./ MacPhearson, D.      / \ /
   Bale, L./ Stafford, G.     vs WC Knippschild, J./ Schuttler, R.  \ /
 2 Knowles, M./ Nestor, D.          BYE                             /

It is a reasonably strong draw .. Ketola/ Kitinov vs Cherkasov/ Luxa and Kempers/ Schalken vs Lopez Moron/ Sanguinetti are the two final round qualifier matches scheduled for today .. One of those teams will face Nyborg-Tramacchi, the winners then playing LP-MB in R2 .. Once again it will be a team with some good match-practice playing our guys - never the ideal thing .. Let's hope LP-MB are much more ready this time than they were at Monte Carlo two weeks back when they were upset by the qualifiers Hrbaty-Kucera in the first match .. When you are the top doubles team in the world, excuses don't count ! .. The Dynamic Duo won't be playing till wednesday as the first round gets done only by then - actually, they probably won't play till thursday ..

Some interesting teams are at the other tournament this week - the small $250K event at Delray Beach, Florida - Robert Seguso and Johan Kriek are a wildcard team there .. Each have won quite a few grand slam titles, as some of you might remember .. They are playing together for the first time since 1985 ! - Hmm.. Talk about one for the old-time's sake .. Also in the field is Sandon Stolle playing with an Ivan Baron (a former junior #1, but no longer playing) .. Why are they playing together ? - because the tournament co-directors are their dads - Fred Stolle and Mark Baron .. Funny stuff happens at some of these smaller tournaments .. Stolle, by the way, has not played with Wayne Black for a while now .. The Woodies are also not playing this week, even though they are in the singles field at Florida ..

Nirupama is taking this week also off for practice - will go to the Antwerp (Belgium) WTA event qualifiers during the coming weekend .. I believe Srinath and Fazal are at the $15K Futures in China this week - I won't be able to get any results out of there .. Hardly any English language service providing any tennis news from China (Beijing) .. We may have to wait till the end of the week for any news.

May 3 Note-1

I will post the Hamburg Super 9 doubles draw soon .. Some good teams are there - Knowles/Nestor are the second seeds behind LP-MB .. A doubles note from the weekend, The Woodies were in the final of the small $325K Altanta tournament, but lost to Galbraith-Gimelstob .. The Woodies will come back up to #3, I believe.

The 3rd leg of the women's satellites started today at New Delhi - I have started the Delhi satellite page with the seeds list and some matchups .. It's frighteningly hot in Delhi, but they will play the matches, starting as early as 8 am ! .. There has been one upset already today - the 8th seed Harsimran got upset by Nikita Bhardwaj in a clash of two teenagers .. The top six seeds have first round byes, and the 7th seed SK Tara is playing only tomorrow .. Anna Nefedova won today .. By the way, the top seed this time is Radhika Tulpule ! .. I guess that's what you call "doing it in style" - she was unseeded in the first two legs and now she is the top seed as the 3rd leg's seeding are based on the points from the first two legs - with a title and a QF, she tops the list now (I have added the point list standings after two legs, based on what I think is the point table used, in the Bangalore satellites page - take a look) .. Interestingly 3 teenagers, Radhika, Shruti and Sheetal are in the top-5 ..

.. Previous notes are at Weekly Notes, ending May 3 ..