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LP/MB/NV/Indian-Tennis: Notes for week ending on May 31, 1999

(Previous week's notes) (Next week's notes) (Daily Notes Index 1997 thru 99)

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May 31 Note-1

OK, I got done with a very busy week - I will catch up on a lot of news today ..

First of all, LP-MB d. 15th seeds Norval/Ullyett, 7-5, 3-6, 6-4 to reach QF yesterday .. LP reached QF in MxD too, as LP and Lisa Raymond d. Catherine Barclay (AUS) and John DeJager (RSA), 6-3, 6-4 .. MB plays his PQF match in mixed doubles today at about 3.30 pm (6.30 am PST u.s.a .. 7 pm India) - MB-Sugiyama vs 16th seeds C.Morariu (USA) and F.Montana (USA) .. In another interesting news from last week, I was told Manisha Malhotra had reached the final at the El Paso futures as of saturday - I will find out more on her exploits soon.

As for the doubles match yesterday, it went like this: [set1: PN broken in game 11], [set2: LP broken in game 4 and 8, PN broken in game 7], [set3: PN broken in game 10] .. This was a tough match, but in all honesty, our guys may be making things tough for themselves with that little walkabout they do rather often at the beginning of the second set .. This match was almost a carbon copy of the first round match. They looked to be in good command in the first set, though the break came very late in the set .. Then our duo dropped serve at 1-2 in the second set .. They got back on serve in the 7th game of the second set, only to give the break right back .. Just like in the first round, they tried hard in the final game of the set taking PN-KU to deuces, before conceding the set .. In the final set, once again it looked scary with MB starting the 9th game down 0-30, but holding on. Just when it looked like our boys weren't getting any pts off the opponenents, they suddenly went up 15-40 on PN's serve in the 10th game, and won the match right there in a hurry!

Most seeds have all fallen, the bigger ones yesterday being the 4th seeds Black/Stolle and the 5th seeds Bjorkman/Rafter .. 6th seeds Delaitre/ Santoro had fallen on the day before .. 2nd seeds Knowles/Nestor and 3rd seeds Woodies had fallen earlier .. So, it is now,

 1-M.Bhupathi(IND)-L.Paes(IND)      vs 8-E.Ferreira(RSA)-R.Leach(USA)    \
   N.Kulti(SWE)-M.Tillstrom(SWE)    vs   W.Arthurs(AUS)-A.Kratzmann(AUS) / \_title
   G.Ivanisevic(CRO)-J.Tarango(USA) vs   D.Prinosil(GER)-D.Vacek(CZE)    \ /
16-Y.Kafelnikov(RUS)-M.Mirnyi(BLR)  vs   P.Albano(ARG)-T.Carbonell(ESP)  /

Now that all the top seeds have fallen, the match tomorrow (Tuesday) against the current #1 team, Ferreira-Leach has become the match of the tournament .. It turns out that LP and MB are now almost assured of #1 and #2 rankings after the French Open, though any more wins will put serious distance from all other players .. More later with Ajay Verma's calculations on that ..

By the way, my darkhorse pick when the draw came out (May 24 Note-2), the brand-new team of Kafelnikov and Mirnyi are the only seeds left in the bottom half of the draw - I am now picking them for the final.

Also, have you all noticed that the guy who beat MB in the final round of quals has reached the main-draw quarterfinal now ? - Yes, qualifier Marcelo Filippini (URU,137) is in the QF ! .. I still think MB was in very good singles form, and would have beaten most other players to qualify in, except that Filippini was red hot - he beat 12th seed Rusedski yesterdayday (Greg may not be a biggie on clay, but still..). Here is another thing that's impressive - in 7 consecutive wins (3 in qualies, 4 in main draw) Filippini has not dropped a single set! 14 sets in a row !

On to mixed doubles - this is how the draw looks as of now:

1-L.Raymond(USA)-L.Paes(IND)          d. 11-C.Barclay(AUS)-J.DeJager(RSA)     \
6-L.Neiland(LAT)-R.Leach(USA)         d. 14-I.Selyutina(KAZ)-D.Orsanic(ARG)   / \
4-E.Likhovtseva(RUS)-M.Woodforde(AUS) d. 10-P.Tarabini(ARG)-T.Carbonell(ESP)  \ / \
7-M.DeSwardt(RSA)-D.Adams(RSA)        d.    O.Barabanschikova(BLR)-D.Rikl(CZE)/    \
8-D.Graham(USA)-E.Ferreira(RSA)       v     N.DeVilliers(RSA)-G.Stafford(RSA) \    /
  S.Testud(FRA)-G.Raoux(FRA)          v     K.Kunce(AUS)-P.Vizner(CZE)        / \ /
  C.Black(ZIM)-L.Bale(RSA)            v     K.Srebotnik(SLO)-P.Norval(RSA)    \ /
3-A.Sugiyama(JPN)-M.Bhupathi(IND)     v  16-C.Morariu(USA)-F.Montana(USA)     /

Let's look for an LP vs MB final ! .. More later with MB's PQF mixed doubles match news, as well as news from the Delhi satellites starting today.

May 30 Note

LP-MB play their 3rd (final-16) round at FO today at about 12.30 pm (3.30 am PST, USA .. 4 pm India) .. Our chatroom will be open as usual during the match .. Both LP and MB return later in the day for mixed doubles (both advanced in their mixed doubles matches with comeback 3-set wins after dropping the first set - I know not much details of the matches) ..

May 29 Notes

LP-MB advanced to the 3rd round today at FO with an easy 6-2, 6-4 win over J-R.Lisnard and M.LLodra .. The match was getting over in about 55 minutes when I checked - I have no details, but it seems like it was a pretty ho-hum affair today .. LP and MB come back later today to play their R2 mixed doubles matches .. Both have their matches scheduled to start at about 3.30 pm (6.30 am PST, USA .. 7 pm India) .. Since I will be out most of the day, I may not update the scores till tomorrow here (check the official site, for scores)

Fazal lost in the final today at the Mumbai satallites, 2-6, 5-7 to the #2 seed Russia, Artem Derepasko .. Fazal made up a lot of lost ground after last week's first round exit .. The point tally so far should show Derepasko at the top with Srinath closely behind .. Fazal and Harsh Mankad should be at the next spots .. The next two legs are both at Delhi .. It is nice to see two legs at the same place - it's sometimes done in many places around the world, but is rather new in India .. Not a bad idea, since it saves money for the players, and saves them from getting tired from traveling up and down India in the summer.

May 28 Note-2

The second round match at the FO for LP-MB is scheduled as the first one on court 2 on Saturday, starting at 11 am Paris time (2 am PST, USA .. 2.30 pm India) .. Come to the chatroom during the match for score updates! .. The second round mixed doubles matches for LP (with Lisa Raymond) and MB (with Ai Sugiyama) are also scheduled for later on Saturday.

May 28 Note-1

Another late update - busy week, as I had warned .. Did manage to follow the LP-MB match in the chatroom yesterday in the chatroom before I had to run, and could only put the scores up on the LP and MB pages - they won in a tough outing .. Anyway, here is how it went .. The first set was an easy affair with our pair going up a break early and then getting a second break in the 8th game to win the set 6-2 .. Then came the not-so-unfamiliar drop of serve at the start of the second set, and our guys were under a bit of pressure with Carrasco-Velasco gaining confidence .. It was a dead-even match from that point onwards .. The Indian Express tied it up at 3-3 in the second set, but promptly dropped serve and fell behind again in the next game .. They had three break chances again in the 8th game but couldn't convert .. They also took C-V to deuces in the 10th game before dropping the set at 4-6 .. In the final set, it was touch and go all the way .. The Indian Express went up 4-2 with a break in the 6th game, but then Leander dropped serve while serving for the match at 5-3 .. The opponents tied it up at 5-5 soon .. In the 11th game, Mahesh found himself down at 0-30 but took care of the game to go up 6-5 .. Then the dynamic duo decided to wrap it up with a break on the first chance (match point) they got .. Final score: Paes-Bhupathi d. Juan Carrasco (ESP,108) and Jairo Velasco (COL,106), 6-2, 4-6, 7-5 .. They next face two French guys, Jean-Rene Lisnard (#413) and Mickael Llodra (#453), who I believe are wildcard entries (but have already upset a pair of top-100 doubles players - Alonso and Lopez-Moron) .. The R2 match is not on schedule for Friday, but should be on Saturday ..

At the Mumbai stallites today Fazaluddin pulled the upset of top seed Srinath to reach the final, in a three-set comeback, after Srinath even served for the match in the second set! .. The other finalist is the Russian, Derepasko who got a walkover from Mohammed Khaliq (PAK) who has a shoulder injury .. The Kirtanes won their second title in a row in doubles, beating the same pair in the final as last week - Fazal and Ford .. See the results at the Mumbai satellites page.

AITA announced that a $1500 grant will go to Sai Jayalakshmi from the ITF grand slam development fund .. The wildcards for the 3rd leg of the satellites at Delhi next week have been given to Manoj Mahadevan, Rohan Bopanna, Kamala Kannan and Chandrashekhar Mohanty (source: The Hindu) .. By the way, if you are wondering why we have not seen the talented 16 year-old, Sunil Kumar, in the mix in the satellites, it is probably because he is starting his 5-week European tour with the ITF 16-and-under team which he was selected for (source: This Week, ITF) ..

I have not had time this week to trace down info on Niru and Manisha this week, yet .. :-(

May 27 Notes

LP-MB play Juan Carrasco and Jairo Velasco today in the first round at the FO .. Since the singles match on that court is taking a bit too long, this match will start a bit later than I originally expected .. It will be at around 6.30 pm there (9.30 am PST, USA .. 10 pm India) .. Come to the chatroom to follow the match ball-by-ball ..

Seeds have been falling like ninepins out there - some to pretty unheralded teams .. 3rd seeds Woodies were betaen by Djordjevic/Koves (say what ?? :-)) .. 11th seeds Grabb/MacPherson lost, 12th seeds Lareau/Obrien lost (to Ivanisevic/Tarango!), 14th seed Grabb/MacPherson lost ..

Both LP and MB have new partners in mixed doubles! .. LP will be playing with Lisa Raymond (#8), and are seeded #1 in the draw .. MB is playing Ai Sugiyama (#13) and they are seeded #3 .. The top 16 seeds have byes into second round in the 48-size draw, so they won't play for another couple of days .. More on the two partners (both are pretty good ones!) later.

At Mumbai, the second seed Derepasko ended Harsh Mankad's good run in the QFs today .. Srinath beat Sandeep to reach the semi against #3 seed Fazal, who beat Vishal Uppal .. Pakistani Davis Cupper, Md Khaliq beat the Uzbek, Kokurin, to reach the other semi against Derepasko .. See the results at Mumbai satellite page.

May 26 Notes

At the Mumbai satellites, Harsh Mankad continued his fine form, reaching the quarterfinal again, beating 8th seed Vijay Kannan 64 64 today .. Other seeds (Srinath, Derepasko, Fazal, Sandeep) all advanced with relatively easy wins .. I am glad to see Harsh getting back to the top of the list - it was just a couple of years back that he was considered by some to be the next big talent in Indian tennis, before some strange circumstances made him lose his way a bit .. He is certainly beginning to get comfortable with the senior tournaments now, and is 3rd in the point tally so far in the circuit, behind Srinath and Derepasko .. Vijay is showing signs of life despite today's loss - let's hope he gets a win or two next week, to ensure entry into the masters leg .. See results at the Mumbai satellite page .. I will add complete results with doubles scores later, once the newspapers come online.

May 25 Note-2

Wednesday's doubles schedule at the FO does not show LP-MB playing - so they should be playing their first round match on Thursday .. The mixed doubles draw is not out yet - I assume both LP and MB would be playing MxD also.

At the Mumbai satellites, the big upset today was by 17 yr old Manoj Mahadevan who put a real hurt on the 5th seed Alexander Sikanov of Russia, winning it 6-0, 6-1 .. The Russian lost in the first round for the second week in a row - apparently he is from Siberia and doesn't find the hot weather to his liking :-) .. Vijay Kannan finally won a good match, fighting tough to beat Nitin Kirtane in straight sets .. Now we get a great second round matchup tomorrow, between Vijay and Harsh - among the most talented 19-yr olds out there .. The last match between these two was in the QF of the masters leg in the last satellite circuit, which Vijay won .. The top three seeds, Srinath, Derepasko and Fazal advanced easily today .. See the Mumbai satellites page.

May 25 Note-1

The doubles matches at the French Open start only tomorrow - the Indian Express will be action tomorrow or on Thursday.

The points from the women's satellite masters have hit the WTA computer .. The new rankings show the India #2 Sai Jayalakshmi coming up about 62 spots to #440, her career-high .. She has 25.5 points including the 5 she got at the Lucknow Masters .. Also hitting a career-high is #3 Manisha Malhotra who climbed 25 spots to get back in the top-500 at 491 (she was at #499 for one week in March), with 20.75 pts, including the 2.5 pts she got from the Virginia challenger two weeks back .. Manisha will be moving up inside top-450 next week with the 4 pts she got at the Jackson challenger last week, which will place three Indians inside the top-450 for the first time .. Shruti Dhawan reappeared in the rankings at 776 - she had gone off the list as one needs three minimum tournaments to be listed .. In doubles, Sai is at 448 (up 60 spots) and Rushmi is at 589 (up 100 spots) with their final apperance at Lucknow .. Archana/Arthi Venkatraman are at 616 in doubles .. Sheetal Gautam makes her first appearance in the rank list, with her title with Shruti Dhawan .. The youngsters are tied at #736 in doubles now !! .. Everybody is taking time off now, except for Manisha, who is expected to be at the $10K futures at El Paso, Texas - news will be tough to come by from there, but I will try .. Nirupama is at #187 in singles and #217 in doubles.

May 24 Note-2

Here is the upper 1/4th of the doubles draw:

 1 M.Bhupathi(IND)/ L.Paes(IND)      vs  J.Carrasco(ESP)/ J.Velasco(COL)   \
   J.Alonso(ESP)/ A.Lopez-Moron(ESP) vs  J-R.Lisnard(FRA)/ M.Llodra(FRA)   / \
   M.Kohlmann(GER)/ T.VanHoudt(BEL)  vs  L.Bale(RSA)/ G.Stafford(RSA)      \ / \
15 P.Norval(RSA)/ K.Ullyett(RSA)     vs  J.Greenhalgh(NZL)/ G.Silcock(AUS) /    \_ SF
10 J.Novak(CZE)/ D.Rikl(CZE)         vs  E.Nicolas(ESP)/ G.Puentes(ESP)    \    /
   C.Haggard(RSA)/ D.Hrbaty(SVK)     vs  B.Coupe(USA)/ P.Goldstein(USA)    / \ /
   A.Dupuis(FRA)/ O.Mutis(FRA)       vs  D.Bowen(USA)/ E.Ran(ISR)          \ /
 8 E.Ferreira(RSA)/ R.Leach(USA)     vs  N.Broad(GBR)/ R.Koenig(RSA)       /

It is pretty good draw for our boys - pretty clear for the first two rounds, and Norval-Ullyett is certainly not a huge threat in the 3rd round either .. Novak-Rikl and Ferreira-Leach are both hot teams for now, and will be trouble if our team makes it to the QF .. The good thing is that there is hardly any dangerous floater teams in this quarter of the 64- team draw.

The bottom quarter of the upper half is a tougher one - 3rd seeds Woodies, and 6th seeds Olivier Delaitre face a bunch of dangerous floaters like Kulti-Tillstrom, Kuerten-Lapentti, and Arthurs-Kratzmann, in addition to the other seeds, Grabb-MacPherson and Johnson-Suk ..

A lot of good teams in the bottom half of the draw too - #2 seeds are Mark Knowles and Daniel Nestor who were finallists at the FO last year .. 4th seeds are Wayne Black and Sandon Stolle .. 5th seeds Bjorkman-Rafter, others like Adams-DeJager, Reneberg-Stark, etc, are also there .. A new team to watch out for in the bottom half - Kafelnikov and Max Mirnyi  - look out for upsets from that pair!

May 24 Note-1

I expect to be very busy this whole week - so the notes may be rather minimalistic :-)

The doubles draw came out today at the French Open - Leander and Mahesh are the top seeds and play Juan Carrasco and Jairo Velasco of Spain in the first round - pretty good team .. I will post the draw soon .. The mixed doubles draw is not out yet.

At the Mumbai satellites, Vinod Sridhar (4th seed) was upset by Saurav Panja .. Since Saurav is a talanted player, we can't call it a big upset, but I was surprised that it was an easy 61 64 win .. Saurav had lost 5 of 5 matches to Vinod in the past, according to Sharda Ugra in The Hindu - one was in the QF at the Bangalore leg last week .. 6th seed Dimitri Mazur went down once again in the first round today .. Light schedule in singles with just 4 matches, but all of the doubles first round got done with the seeds advancing and the qualifier youngsters Ravikiran Bhat and Rohan Bopanna upsetting a Pakistani pair .. A couple of results of note from the qualies that got done yesterday - young Anant Sitaram (16 yrs) qualified into the main draw after three wins .. Dipesh Rao of Mumbai, who is set to come to the US on a college tennis scholarship also qualified in, beating Shailesh Dhoble in a tough three-setter in the final round (the same two played last week also in the final round, when Shailesh advanced) .. Vasudev Reddy was the top seed in the qualies and he too qualified into the main draw .. Most of the main draw, including the other 6 seeds (Srinath, Derepasko, Fazal, etc) will be tomorrow .. Vijay Kannan runs into Nitin Kirtane in an interesting matchup .. See all the results at the Mumbai satellites page.

.. Previous notes are at Weekly Notes, ending May 24..