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LP/MB/NV/Indian-Tennis: Notes for week ending on June 8, 1998

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June 8 Note-3

A little note to add to the news on on Divya Merchant in the last note .. A couple of fanclub members tell me that her dad is not the Vijay Merchant of cricket fame .. I had seen the name in a bio for Divya at the Univ of Florida archives. The name is indeed Vijay Merchant, but it's not the cricketer .. As it turns out, I didn't say he was the cricketer, but I had thought he was .. Hope that removes the confusion. I should have remembered that Vijay Merchant of course was from quite older days (he passed away in late 1980s in his mid 70s) .. Divya's dad is a businessman in Bombay, I am told.

June 8 Note-2

Major rain problems out at London .. Hey it's that jolly good country famous for fish and chips and rain , after all ..

Hardly much tennis today, and LP's match is postponed to tomorrow ..

The new rankings show LP at #114 in singles. MB is at #328 .. All the doubles rankings remain the same.

Nirupama remains at the same rankings (#167 in singles, #191 in doubles) this week. I noticed something in the WTA site's latest rank list .. Divya Merchant (remember her, playing last year for US-collegiate runner up, Univ of Florida, before graduating ? .. Vijay Merchant's daughter, 23 yr old, who was in the top 40 in world juniors about 5-6 years back before going to Florida ) has shown up in the list at #997 as the 8th Indian in the list .. The funny thing is that she is listed under Indonesia ! .. I assume this is a mistake, and she has to be under India .. WTA is known to make many mistakes in their printed rankings, including spelling mistakes and even country affiliations .. there is a player by the name of Eman Shahab who has been listed under India in doubles for a while, but nobody in the fanclub seems to know who that is! .. Perhaps that is an Indonesian player ! .. I don't know when and where Divya got the couple of points, but she must have played at least 3 WTA tournaments to get into the list (she is listed as a new entry, in the rank list) .. That is good news. When I last heard, last November, Divya Merchant was taking some time off after college and was to decide soon about whether to turn pro. If she has decided to take a stab at it, all the best to her ! ..

June 8 Note-1

LP's first round match against Grant Stafford at the Queen's Stella Artois is scheduled as the 4th one today, and has not started yet.

The doubles draw is out.. LP/MB are the #2 seeds behind the Woodies. Elt/Haarhuis are not playing at Queen's. Here is the bottom half of the draw.

6-N.Broad (GBR)/ P.Norval (RSA)     vs    D.Sapsford (GBR)/ C.Wilkinson (GBR) \
  qualifier/ qualiufier             vs WC-D.Vacek (CZE)/ K.Kucera (CZE)       /
  G.Stafford (RSA)/ K.Ullyett (RSA) vs    A.OBrien (USA)/ B.Black (ZIM)       \
3-J.Bjorkmn (SWE)/ P.Rafter (AUS)   vs    bye                                 /
7-N.Kulti (SWE)/ M.Tillstrom (SWE)  vs WC-K.Carlsen (SWE)/ T.Enqvist (SWE)    \
  K.Kinnear (USA)/ D.Randall (USA)  vs    qualifier/ qualifier                /
  M.Knowles (BAH)/ D.Nestor (CAN)   vs WC-T.Henman (GBR)/ P.Sampras (USA)     \
2-M.Bhupathi (IND)/ L.Paes (IND)    vs    bye                                 /

The Woodies have #4 Galbraith/Steven, #5 Black/OBrien and #8 Stolle/Suk on their side. The top-4 seeds get first round byes .. How about that potential second round revenge match for LP/MB against Knowles/Nestor ?? .. Yeah !

I have not seen the complete ATP singles rank list posted yet, but the top-50 doubles and team ranks are out. LP/MB stay at #5 and #6, pretty closely behind the Woodies at #3 and #4 .. The team rank is #2 behind Eltingh/Haarhuis. I expect Leander to drop to somewhere around 115 in singles, as his point total has come down by 21..

By the way, I haven't talked about Nirupama in a while .. She may have been at the Uzbekistan challenger last week, but I have not got any news for some time ..

June 7 Note-4

I am again getting some emails about Indians and "killer instinct" .. Not too many, and none from the fanclub, but a few people have this complex about Indian sportsmen and the lack of a so-called "killer blah-blah" .. It comes up every time LP/MB lose a match .. The three grand slam semis seem to tell them that LP/MB do not show that insinct business to take the next step .. The 10-1 record in finals or the "Egyptian Magician" shots do not seem to change this opinion .. So I decided to take a look at how the Woodies did in their first few grand slams to see if they had that instinct .. Here is their record: 1990: Woodbridege won the U.S. Open mixed doubles title (w/Liz Smylie), Woodforde playing well with John McEnroe. 1991: Woodies join, and win four doubles titles, and lose in SF at the ATP World Doubles Championship. SF loss at Australian Open, Early loss at Wimbledon, and SF loss at U.S. Open, finished the year at #3 (with pretty much a 100% record in all other finals) .. 1992: Eight doubles titles, Australian Open title, still no Wimbledon, but the title at the ATP Tour World Doubles Championship .. finished as No. 1 team in world .. 1993 - 1997: FIVE Wimbledon doubles titles in a row and 35+ more titles .. By the way, The Woodies have always had a winning percentage of 85 or more in the finals, throughout their career, despite the semifinals and other setbacks in grand slams at first .. See any similarities ?? .. Folks, experience is not to be taken lightly in doubles. Despite having learned a lot from the doubles guru, Johnny Mac, Woodforde took a little while to start winning the big ones with Woodbridge .. The Woodies themselves talked about LP/MB while at Madras, and their potential. There are still a chink or two in their armour, according to the Woodies, who expect them to figure them out soon. Give them a bit more time, and watch out for the Indian Express ! ..

Of course, keep the emails and other comments coming .. Always good to discuss these things.

June 7 Note-3

Here is the onsite report from Simon Chaudhuri, received with many thanks, from Queen's where Mahesh lost his first round qualifier:

Mahesh played an excellent first set with solid service games (I think he only had 5 points against him on his serve) and clinical returns, coupled with Heuberger's nervousness and double faults. Mahesh breezed through the first set, winning 6-0 in something like 15 min. He continued to dominate and was up 3-1 in the second when things fell apart. Firstly, there was some controversy regarding the final point on Heuberger's serve when the score was 2-1 for Mahesh. Mahesh had a break-point at 30-40 and one of his returns was clearly in (and was given in by both linesmen) but apparently the umpire made some sort of a gesture signalling uncertainty with the decision. To this, Mahesh inquired why seemingly the umpire had made a decision that the ball was out when both linesmen had shown it to be good. The umpire immediately distanced himself form any uncertainty and decided in favour of Mahesh and thus he was up 3-1. However, Heuberger was now agitated and what followed was a 5 min. row between the umpire and Heuberger, who accussed the umpire of being a liar several times as he had made a signal and then later denied having made any gesture whatsoever. Unfortunately, this interruption broke Mahesh's concentration and increased Heuberger's confidence and desire to win--it was clear that he would otherwise have lost inconspicously. Heuberger went on to win the next 6 games to take the second set 6-3. The third set began even with both parties holding serve until 3-3--although Mahesh continued to look shaky, especially on his serve. Then, out of the blue, he broke Heuberger's serve and held on to his own to take a 5-3 lead. Heuberger then brought through his serve, but a t 5-4, Mahesh was serving for the match. However, he quickly found himself down 0-40, came back to 30-40, then lost the service as well as the next game. Suddenly, it was 6-5 Heuberger with Mahesh serving again. This time he was down 0-30, came back to 30-30, then faced a match point at 30-40 which he saved but could not save the second as he hit a backhand wide and lost the final set 5-7. All in all it was painful to see Mahesh having dominated for much of the first two sets and then, despite not playing brilliant tennis still having a great opportunity ot wrap things up on his serve but failing to do so in the end.

What can I say ? .. Mahesh seems to be unable to hit that consistent stride in his singles game with the lack of playing time. Still it is a good sign that he is able to dominate people for extended periods .. Putting it together for a whole match seems to be the problem for him, but as I always say about MB, one of these days he will break through and surprise the hell out of a lot of people.

Simon Chauduri also says that the rain out there may have cut into Leander's practice time on the grasscourts. Looks like his first round match will be tomorrow (Monday). Hope Simon can get us another report tomorrow..

June 7 Note-2

Just got an email with great match report on Mahesh's match. Looks like he lost in three sets to heuberger, so my earlier score stands corrected .. 6-0, 3-6, 5-7 in a huge fight .. Will post that onsite report later today; it was quite an interesting match !..

Here is the immediate draw for Leander :

(6)  Cedric Pioline (Fra)   bye
     Tomas Nydahl (Swe)   v qualifier
     Grant Stafford (Rsa) v Leander Paes (Ind)
(11) Todd Martin (USA)    v Qualifier

Gotta run .. More later today ..

June 7 Note-1


Mahesh Bhupathi turns 24 today (June 7th)

Just managed to find a contact number and get through to the tournament office at Queen's .. The news is not great for Mahesh on his birthday, though (unlike last year when he celebrated the birthday becoming the first Indian to win a grand slam title, with the FO mixed doubles) .. He lost in the first round of qualifiers to Ivo Heuberger (ATP #155), 3-6, 5-7 at the $725K Stella Artois tournament, London (the match was probably yesterday .. not sure) . So, it will be the Wimbledon qualifiers next week, when we see MB in action in singles ..

An interesting first round match-up for Leander.. That old pal, Grant Stafford faces Leander in the main draw first round at Queens .. Stafford (ranked #89, and one who has been in the 60-90 range in ATP for a long time) may be the player LP has played most number of times in his career ! .. or so, it seems. This is the 5th time in two years that they are playing each other .. This is the 7th meeting between the two .. On hardcourts Stafford has a 4-0 record over LP (92 Pilot Pen, 96 Jerusalem challenger, 96 Aruba challenger, 97 Lipton) and LP has a win over him on grass (Davis Cup, 94, in India) and on clay (French Open 97) .. So it is a 2-4 record for Leander against him, and hopefully he will make it 3-4 and a 2-match win streak this coming week. I have not seen the complete draw yet, but it is supposed to be faxed to me soon ..

LP has lost the 26 points from the FO last year (replaced by 5 points) .. His points total comes down from the present career-high of 462 to 441 .. Next week, he is defending 13 more points for a first round win at Queen's over Mark Petchey of UK last year .. Well, he is healthy after a long time, going into the grass season. That was not the case last year, even though he picked up 13 pts at Queen's, 30 at Rosmalen (where he badly reinijured his back in the second round match), none at Wimbledon and 66 at Newport in the 4 grass tournaments. That is 109 total points to defend from 3 or 4 tournaments (he will have to qualify for Rosmalen next week, and may not be able to get there on time if they reach the semis of doubles at Queen's). I am sure LP is ready to put it into high gear right now and go points-hunting !

By the way, Eltingh/Haarhuis won a three-setter over Knowles/Nestor at the French Open finals today, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 .. With close to 900 points here, they go up to 2239 points and at the #1 team spot .. Eltingh has had an unbelievable year so far, and will now be so far ahead (he was only defending 373 points from last year) with over 5200 points that nobody will catch him for quite a while for the #1 doubles spot. Haarhuis will be #2 with about 4300 points. Then comes Woodies, MB and LP all at about the 3800 .. I'm not sure of the Woodies' exact individual points, but I think they will be a few points ahead of MB and then LP who might stay at #5 and #6 .. There is an outside chance for MB to jump over the Woodies to #3 ..

June 6 Notes

Really slow period .. No news .. Have not been able to get through to the $725K Stella Artois tournment at Queens, UK, and so we don't know about how the qualifier match went there today for him .. It is one of the very few big tournaments without a web site, and the ATP folks have not posted any qualifier draws or results yet. If anybody has any info, please send them to me ! .. Leander was already in the main draw when I heard last, a few days back.

The British need to learn about the internet and get a website going for that tournament ! .. :-)

At the French Open, the doubles final was rescheduled from today to tomorrow .. The mixed doubles final was won by Venus Williams and Justin Gimelstob over Serena Williams and Luis Lobo yesterday ..

June 5 Notes

Here are some excerpts from the report in The Globe and Mail (Toronto) by Tom Tebbutt on the doubles semifinal yesterday : .. "In the first Grand Slam event they played together, Knowles and Nestor reached the final of the 1995 Australian Open but were beaten by Americans Jared Palmer and Richey Reneberg in four sets .. "I didn't play that well in that match," Nestor, 25, recalled after he and Knowles beat Indians Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes 6-1, 7-6 (8-6) yesterday. "I've really improved my doubles since then. I'm a much more confident player on the court." ... The unseeded Knowles and Nestor, who upset second-seeded Australians Todd Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde in the third round, started fast against the third-seeded Bhupathi and Paes. They broke serve at one-all in the first set and won seven games in a row until Paes served down 0-1 in the second set. The flashy Indian served out of a 15-40 deficit as he and Bhupathi began playing the Australian formation (the net player crouching on the centre service line and moving to one side or the other after his partner served) to try to neutralize Knowles' and Nestor's effective service returns ... "They wanted to screw around with us a little bit and it worked," Nestor said, "because we didn't know where to hit our returns..From then on it was a really close match until the tiebreak.". At six-all in the tiebreak, with the Indians serving, Bhupathi missed a volley. He then hit long on the next point to give Knowles and Nestor the match ... "I think when we're playing as well as we can, we're one of the best teams," Nestor said. "It's nice to be back to our old form." ... Injuries have plagued the Bahamian-Canadian duo since Nestor hurt his rib in the semi-finals of the Canadian Open in Toronto in 1996 ... "They're obviously playing well to win in straight sets over a team that has been doing as well as Bhupathi-Paes," Eltingh said about Knowles and Nestor ... "They're on a real hot streak," Nestor said about Eltingh and Haarhuis. "I think they've won 21 matches in a row. They're going to be tough to beat."

Well, there you have it .. The details. Looks like the experienced pair Knowles/Nestor are healthy and back in form again. I am surprised that LP-MB made that kind of extreme adjustments such as the Australian formation .. They do that occasionally, but here it was out of utter desperation, it seems, as they were in danger of falling a break down in the second set when they went to that .. Their adjustments did work, but in a close match, a couple of tiebreaker mistakes can prove very costly.  Strategy and adjustments are much more important in doubles, and experience will certainly help our duo to make the adjustments even better (and may be even earlier) as they play top-flight doubles more .. They only need to look at the history of progress by other great pairs like the Woodies and the Flying Dutchmen .. That next step to #1 will come with that.

June 4 Note-2

Caught up with Mahesh just now, as he was getting ready to leave for Queens, UK, where he will play the singles qualifiers. He felt that they didn't play a bad match and make too many mistakes, but that Knowles/Nestor were playing a great game serving and returning big .. By the way, Eltingh/Haarhuis won their semifinal today, 6-2, 6-2, which means they are the new #1 team, with LP/MB slightly behind at #2 .. That is somewhat fair, as I wouldn't have liked to see them at #1 without winning a grand slam .. They will, soon !

LP/MB will next play doubles at Queens, then Wimbledon .. After that they go separate ways for a while (4 weeks), and will get together for doubles only at the Toronto Super 9 in early August, followed by the Cincinnati Super 9 .. Mahesh may play couple of challengers after the Wimbledon .. MB's and LP's schedule till September has been updated at the Schedule Page ..

June 4 Note-1

Power failure after so many months in the neighbourhood where I live .. It happened when our boys were down 1-6, 3-3, and I knew that today was not my day .. Went through an agonizing 20 minutes before getting a phone call with the news that they had gone to a tiebreaker and were 3-3 .. Just a wretched day for me .. same for LP/MB too, I assume .. they lost the tiebreaker to make our agony worse.. 6-8 after fighting off a match point along the way .. Final score: 1-6, 6-7 (6-8) loss to Marke Knowles (Bahamas) and Daniel Nestor (Canada) .. Knowles/Nnestor entered last year's French Open as the #3 team in the world, but had gone down ever since, ending the year qualifying into Hartford as the 8th team, but having to withdraw due to injury .. They have not looked good for a long time, but they seem to have pulled things together at the right time to do this well .. It has been a long-long time since LP/MB were dominated in a set like they were in the first set..

The Woodies went through a terribly long time, coming close on grand slam titles.. Same with our guys, still the youngest pair at the top of the doubles list - the doubles game is one of strategy where years of experience certainly count - and I am sure their day will come .. soon .. Oh to hell with it .. Damnit, Go LP/MB ! Take out all the frustrations on everybody at Wimbledon .. 4 weeks and you can have the grand slam title at the grand-daddy slam of them all !

The first set got done in barely 15-20 minutes, with LP and MB dropping serve in games 4 and 6 to fall behind 1-5, and Knowles/Nestor served it out .. The second set started well with our guys holding serve, but in game 3 it was major-league trouble again, with LP/MB staring at the barrel of the gun, down 0-40 .. six points in a row and they pulled that game off to even it at 2-2 .. The next game saw us up 0-30 on Knowles/Nestor but they held on.. It went with serve and then the dreaded tiebreak .. Evenly fought, but at 6-8 it was all over ! .. The match took an hour and 15 minutes.

Our guys get about #66K and 345 points for this .. Will wait and see what Eltingh/Haarhuis do in their semis ..

Off to the next tournament. The Stella Artois tournament at Queens, England .. Hello Grasscourt season !!! .. will report later if MB plays the singles qualifiers at Queens over this weekend.

June 3 Note-2

The semifinal match tomorrow is scheduled as the 3rd one on court 1 where play starts at 12 pm.. So, it should be at about 4.30 pm in Paris when our boys play (10.30 am EST, 7.30 PST, u.s.a .. 8 pm India) .. Come on in the chatroom to party with us during the match ..

Continuing from the ranking stuff in the last note, the individual rankings ..  A win tomorrow will push Leander and Mahesh up over Woodbridge and Woodforde in individual doubles rankings !! .. Eltingh will remain as the #1 after this tounrment in any event, but LP/MB can finish as high as #2 and #3 with a title here .. If Elt/Haarhuis lose tomorrow, and our dudes win, MB and LP will be #2 and #3, unless if our guys lose to Bjorkman/Rafter in the final, in which case Bjorkman has a chance to be #2 above our guys at 3 and 4 .. If our dudes lose tomorrow, they will probably remain at the current ranking, unless Bjorkman jumps over them with a title .. So, all the incentives are there for our dudes to come ready to play tomorrow !!

Syed Fazaluddin lost today to Egberto Caldas of Brazil (#570, a seeded player) in the second round of the 64-draw, $15K Futures at Tallahassee, Florida (USA F4). Very funny that the player Syed upset last week in round 2 beat him today in round 2, and the player (Cyril Martin) who upset Syed last week in round 3 lost to Syed yesterday in the first round ! .. I am sure the odds of facing two guys in a row like that in successive weeks at 64-draw tournaments must be very low ! .. Incidentally, I saw the complete results for the USA F3 at Boca Raton, FL, last week .. Nitin Kirtane and Ashley Fisher who had reached the semifinal of doubles 2 weeks back at Vero Beach (USA F2), lost in round 1 last week at F3 .. There was yet another Indian player at Boca Raton last week .. Amod Wakalkar who played with David Vereker.. They lost in the doubles first round .. Fazal also played doubles there and won a round with Ludovic Pain of France .. I have not seen any doubles results from Tallahassee this week yet to know how these three are doing (by the way, there was also a Sunu Thomas, a lucky loser entry who lost in round 1 at the F3, who is from the Northern Illinois University and is an Indian American, I believe).

June 3 Note-1

Slow day .. Just getting pumped up for the doubles semifinal tomorrow .. Time for some numbers .. Who will be #1 at the end of the French Open ? .. It will be either LP/MB or Eltingh/Haarhuis .. There are 8 possibilities for InEx ("Indian Express", our duo) and FlyDu ("Flying Dutchmen", Eltingh/Haarhuis) .. These are: 1) InEx wins title over FlyDu, 2) InEx wins title over Bjorkman/Rafter 3) InEx wins SF, loses inal against FlyDu, 4) InEx wins SF, loses final against Bjorkman/Rafter, 5) FlyDu wins SF, loses final against Knowles/Nestor, 6) FlyDu wins title over Knowles/Nestor .. 7) Knowles/Nestor wins title over Bjorkman Rafter, 8) Bjorkman/Rafter wins title over Knowles/Nestor .. In case-1, our guys end up with 872 points (2506 total) and FlyDu get 663 (2013) .. In case-2, InEx gets 830 (2464) and FlyDu gets 403 (1753) .. In case-3, InEx gets 569 (2203) and FlyDu gets 948 (2298) .. In case-4, InEx gets 569 (2203) and FlyDu gets 403 (1753) .. In case-5, InEx gets 345 (1979) and FlyDu gets 663 (2013) .. In case-6, InEx gets 345 (1979) and FlyDu gets 888 (2238) .. In case 7 and 8, InEx gets 345 (1979) and FlyDu gets 403 (1753) .. In cases 1, 2, 4, 7, and 8, InEx will be #1 .. In the cases 2, 4, 7 and 8, The Woodies will be #2 behind InEx and FlyDu will be #3 .. InEx is assured of keeping their #2 spot in any event ..

June 2 Note-2

Syed Fazaluddin is at the $15K Futures at Tallahassee, Florida, and won the first round (64-men draw) match yesterday ! .. He ran up against, guess who.. Cyril Martin, last week's upset artist, who beat Fazal in the quarterfinals. Well, he took care of Cyril, 7-6, 3-6, 6-0 to advance .. News from tallahassee may be patchy this week, as they are not faxing the results out from there .. Stay tuned and I will bring news as and when it comes to me ..

The semifinal line-up is all set at the French Open: LP/MB vs Knowles/Nestor, and Eltingh/Haarhuis vs Bjorkman/Rafter .. The semifinals are scheduled for thursday .. So, our dudes get some time to go see the Louvre .. :-)

June 2 Note-1

Not much news today .. Our boys getting a rest day .. I am told they will get one more rest day, and the semifinals will only be on Thursday.

In the other quarterfinal played Monday, the #1 seeds Eltingh/Haarhuis also had an easy straight sets win over #7 seeds Johnson/Montana, 6-3, 6-2 .. The remaining two QF matches are scheduled for today.. The match between #10 Galbraith/Steven and unseeded Knowles/Nestor is going on now (6-3, 4-2 lead for K/N, looking for an upset as of now; it could be yet another unseeded opponent for LP/MB if they win it now!) .. The 4th quarterfinal will be later today, #6 Rafter/Bjorkman facing unseeded Kuerten/Meligeni (the winner will face Eltingh/Haarhuis in the other semifinal).

Yesterday, Leander and Larissa Neiland (the #1 seeds) got upset in the first mixed doubles match (round 2 after a first round bye), by unseeded Serena Williams and Luis Lobo, 6-7(4), 3-6 .. Both the opponents were playing their only match of the day while both Leander and Larissa had played their doubles matches earlier Monday. That may have affected the performance a bit. They should still have won this, though. As I was saying earlier, seedings don't mean much if one hasn't played with the partner before. So, it is curtains for mixed doubles for both LP and MB. In a sense, it is not all that bad, as it gives them time to rest and focus on the main job.. that is, win the doubles title !

The USA Futures F4 at Tallahassee has started yesterday, but I couldn't get any info yet (busy day) .. Will find out soon how Fazaluddin is doing there (I believe he should be there). Also, no news about Nirupama for a while too .. I assume she is taking a break and resting to get over the flu/cough problems she has had before proceeding to Wimbledon soon. She was not in the original qualifier entry list (missed it by a few spots), but since her rankng has gone up by about 15-20 spots now from a few weeks back, she should make it in when it starts.

June 1 Notes

Yeah Baybeeeee !! .. Third successive grand slam semifinal appearance ! .. LP/MB were the only team to be in the semis at US Open 97 and the Australian Open 98 .. And they are now in the French Open too .. How about that ?!!

The quartefinal match against Julian Alonso and Nicolas Lapentti just got done, 6-3, 6-4 .. Just a routine easy game for our guys. Except for one game, they were rarely troubled by the Spanish-Ecuador pair. First set went with serves until LP/MB got the break in game 6 and then held their serve to go up 5-2 .. They had one set point in the next game, but the other guys forced a deuce and held serve.. Then Mahesh served a love-game to take the set 6-3 .. In the next set, LP/MB came charging rightaway to force a break in the first game, but then dropped serve in the next game and it was tied at 1-1. That was the only game where they were troubled. Thereafter, LP/MB served solidly and continued to look for a break, coming close in the 7th game with a break point and then converting the break chance in game 9 to go up 5-4 .. This time Leander served out a love-game to finish the match at 6-3, 6-4 .. and.. Hello, SEMIFINALS!! .. The match took an hour and 5 minutes to complete.

The win gives them 345 total points including 20 bonus, and about $75K in prize money to share. Their point total this year has now gone up to 1979 from just 8 tournaments (WOW!! .. They have 4 titles and 3 semifinals now, from those 8) .. This places them above the Woodies (at about 1900 points after their 3rd round loss here) at the top of the team points list for now .. They have a good chance to come out of this tournament as the #1 team in the world, even though a couple of teams (Eltingh/Haarhuis and Johnson/Montana) can go ahead with a title or a final, if LP/MB lose the semifinal .. LP/MB are now 27-3 this year and has a record of 20-2 on clay, going back to February 1997 .. OK, I better stop there with the records.. I tend to jinx them whenever I pull out records .. :-)

This was the first doubles quarterfinal match today .. Others to follow soon. Their semifinal opponents will be the winner of Knowles/Nestor vs (10th seeds) Galbraith/Steven .. Leander should be back later today for the second round mixed doubles match, which was rescheduled from yesterday.