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LP/MB/NV/Indian-Tennis: Notes for the week ending on June 10, 2002
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June 10 Notes

The absent-minded-professor forgot about Hesh' birthday a couple of days back .. A late happy birthday to him! .. Mahesh turned 28 on June 7th .. Not the first time that I have forgotten his birthday, as it falls during the French Open hoopla.

Leander-Llodra are not on the schedule today at the $800K Queens' Club (London) ATP .. They should be playing tomorrow.

Manisha Malhotra may be at the $50K Marseille challenger in France, but no new yet .. Also, no news yet on the draw at the $10K Mississauga futures in Canada where Mankad, Ghouse, Sipaeya and Ramaswamy were in the list .. In the qualifying first round for the $25K challenger in Allentown, Pennsylvania, Megha Vakharia lost 36 46 to Angela Haynes (USA) yesterday.

I have added the draw and Monday results for the 3rd leg of the $20K 4-week ITF Indian S2 womens satellite in Delhi .. No surprises today .. Sandra Sasidharan and Deepa Chakrabarthy won tough matches .. See the leg-3 page.

June 9 Notes

I got an email referring to my comments on Leander below (yesterday) from a long-standing American supporter of Leander's who has probably seen more of his matches abroad than anybody else out there, all the way back to his junior days (including the Queen's championship I mentioned below) .. He was talking about how "low" it looked for Lee's own fanclub man to be taking pot-shots at him at this time .. I should admit that the timing of my "pontifications" below is rather poor, coming as it did right after Leander had another spirited display in doubles, so unexpectedly reaching the FO doubles semis with a partner who wasn't really a big name, etc ..

The one who emailed, someone I have known for a while, did misunderstand what I was saying .. Again, my comments below apply exclusively to LP's singles PRO career only .. All some of us fans want is to see Leander play *some* singles, somewhere (anywhere), or to see him just officially retire from pro singles like the Haarhuises and Woodfordes did earlier .. More so in Lee's case, as he has probably had a more talked-about singles career than any other recent doubles greats, save McEnroe, with several high points like the junior grand slam titles, Olympics medal, and the still-continuing Davis Cup singles heroics .. And this is despite his overall pro singles results and career-high rankings being worse than most other doubles greats like Elting, Haarhuis and the Woodies  who were all top-20 at some time in their career .. But  Leander never let us consider him just a doubles specialist - and that happens every time he plays a Davis Cup match .. Can't blame us fans to continue to feel that Lee may still have something left for us in pro singles, as he hasn't said he is stopping that .. That brought out my thoughts below - nothing more.

Also, it was the realization that this week (or next) effectively ends his pro singles career, that "hit me", so to say.  This is it folks, unless he starts up from challenger level in december in India .. I don't even know I want to see him do all that anyway .. I am not the only one in the fanclub who agonize over this, and dearly wish to see him not retire just yet, while fully acknowledging how difficult it is to do any serious singles along with doubles.  But then he himself had said till 2 years back that singles was still his priority and has said that it is not over even a few months back, while never saying that doubles was his only priority.  It is certainly wise for him, about to be 29, to focus on only his doubles career from now on .. No problem with that - but we fans need some "closure" on pro singles in some way, preferably with some sort of a final hurrah, and we have not got that from Lee.

In any event, I am not taking pot-shots or anything - I personally had told Leander all this when I talked to him last a few weeks back, that there are some of us like me in the fanclub who don't agree (or do not want to believe) that his pro singles days are over .. On the other hand, I could not squeeze out of him what his thinking was on the matter - he was silent through all my whining, which was more frustrating :-) .. I literally pleaded with him to play qualies at Queens or Rosmalen, actually.

But then he did say recently that he still has some 4 years left in doubles .. That surprised me a bit that he is looking ahead still - it was just early last year that he laughed at me and said I must be joking, when I told him that we all wanted to see at least 6 more years in doubles! :-) .. And he doesn't seem to be letting it slide either - he mentioned to the news media this week that reaching Paris some four days early and practising with Cibulec was the reason for the good results at FO .. Leander isn't going away anywhere just yet - and that's good to know!

June 8 Note-2

The doubles draw at the $800K Stella Artois ATP at Queens (London) is out .. Mahesh is playing with Mirnyi and are seeded 3rd .. Leander is playing with Michael Llodra (FRA,30) and they are seeded 6th .. I believe LP is planning to play with Llodra for the grass season .. The top 4 seeds get R1 byes in the 5-round draw .. LP-ML play Wayne Arthurs and Paul Hanley in the first round, and could run into the 2nd seeds Knowles/ Nestor in the QF .. MB-MM await the winners of Bowen-Thomas vs Kitinov-Landsberg in the R2 .. They are also in the bottom half of the draw, as are LP-ML ..

Sheetal Gautham took her win streak to 10, beating Shruti Dhawan today rather easily in straight sets at the final in Muzaffarnagar .. Sheetal, who turned 21 this week, has quietly become a confident and steady player over the last couple of years .. I remember commenting two years back how she never seemed to lose to anybody in the Indian circuit other than the top few like Sai, Rushmi, Radhika, Shruti and Sonal .. She the seemed to go often go down in tough fights against those few .. These days Sheetal seems to be rather consistently winning against most of them too, and that shows the improvements she is making .. She is still not the best power player in the circuit, but she seems to be the best thinker and the steadiest all-court player out there .. Here is Kamesh Sreenivasan's report on the final in The Hindu .. Sheetal and Shruti won the doubles title also .. See the satellite-leg-2 page .. The next two legs are both in Delhi .. Sheetal has made about Rs 70,000 after tax for two weeks of work, with 2 singles titles, 1 doubles title and a doubles runner-up finish - not bad, eh ?

June 8 Note-1

I had some very faint hope that Leander would show up at one of the two qualies today, either at the $800K Queens (London) or at the $800K Halle (Germany) grass tournament .. High hopes, I guess .. The qualifying draws closed near or below 1000 at both places, and Leander has lost perhaps his last chance to play at a pro tournament, that too on his favorite surface, grass .. 50 of his 56 points fall off after Wimbledon (where he will probably not make the qualifying draw next week even if he wanted to, with his #445 ranking) - and his rank will be just below 1000 after that .. Technically he can play next weekend for the Nottingham or Rosmalen qualies, but he didn't do it this week and I doubt he is doing it next week ..

Come on Lee, just tell us that you have retired from pro singles, so we fans do not have to go through this.  Should have just said after the first round win at Wimbledon that a win at the big-W that had long eluded him was the last one of his goals that he felt he had the energy to go for - and should have just retired then .. It has been one year, and he has played just TWO singles matches ever since, which were the first round losses at the Bangkok challenger (why he played there, I have no idea) and at Chennai .. It deeply saddens me to see my hero let his singles PRO career fizzle out like this, rather than end on some (any) sort of a high note, which he is clearly capable of producing still - now there isn't even a chance for a high-note .. Sure he can restart it in december at the two Indian challengers, but come on, what's the point? .. The sad thing is that, while his body clearly can no longer take the beating of week-in-week-out singles at this point, his ability to play at least an occasional singles event very well is not in any doubt, especially on grass - why not do it for fun at a place like Queens (where he was a junior champ in 1991) ? .. Sort of like Vijay Amritraj showing up and winning the Newport title in 1984 or 85 .. Leander surely can't be hating grasscourt singles that he enjoyed all his life .. It is very puzzling to me, how LP's pro singles career has gone .. But then again, as Barney says in our forum, I am a glutton for punishment - otherwise I wouldn't be wasting my time in unnecessary agony hoping for things that fans like me can do nothing about.

By the way, anybody from India could have played these qualies .. And they can play next weekend too, because the grass ATP events have the lowest qualifying cutoffs with the lower ranked players from around the world who all hate grass simply skipping them ..  Last year we had Fazal show up at Rosmalen and play two very good rounds in the qualies .. It would have been great to see somebody like Rohan who does well on grass play these qualies, but of course it costs a lot of money to travel just for that.

At the grasscourt Muzaffarnagar satellite yesterday, Sheetal Goutham beat Radhika Tulpule and Shruti Dhawan beat Sonal Phadke in the semis yesterday .. Sheetal and Shruti are in the doubles final today against the Venkatraman sisters as well .. See the satellite leg-2 page for results.

At the China satellites leg-1, Rishi Sridhar went down in the QF to qualifier Yu Zhang (CHN), 26 16 .. Rishi and Kamala Kannan went down in the SF to Ran Xu and Shao-Xuan Zeng of China, 36 36 ..

One result that escaped my attention from last weekend (thanks Jay Shull for alerting me) .. 17 yr old Megha Vakharia (WTA #922), on a coaching stint in Florida for a month, was at the qualies for the $10K satellite in Hilton Head, South Carolina last week .. Megha was the 12th seed and beat Stacia Fonseca (USA) 64 26 63, but then lost 26 16 to Kathleen Balczak (USA) who upset the qualies' 8th seed and made the main draw and reached the QF there with an upset of the main draw 6th seed as well .. I guess Megha ran into a hot player there .. She was in the entry list for the $25K challenger starting now at Allentown, Pennsylvania, where she should be able to squeeze into the qualies this weekend.

June 7 Notes

OK, back to other matters, now that the French Open is over - not in any sort of disaster, and to some extent with some poetic justice, but not with any flourish either, as far as we are concerned ..

3rd seeded Manisha Malhotra and Leanne Baker were upset in the quarterfinals of the $50K+H Cascerta challenger, 63 60, by the Argentinians Jorgelina Cravero and Mariana Diaz-Oliva .. Surprising scoreline, actually .. They did get 11.5 points for the first round win.

At the China satellite leg-1 second round in Beijing, Rishi Sridhar beat Kamala Kannan 75 62 to reach the quarterfinal, where he will meet qualifier Yu Zhang (CHN) who himself has beaten two qualifiers to reach the QF .. Yu is not a bad player, but Rishi has a good chance to make some satellite points here .. Good news in doubles also from Rishi and Kamala, who have reached the semi with a 63 76(5) upset of the top seeds Dong-Hyun Kim (KOR) and the talented Yen-Hsun Lu (TPE) .. In the first round they beat the wildcards Jian Li and Hao Lu of China easily, 61 63 .. They next face Ran Xu and Shao-Xuan Zeng of China.

At the Fresno $15K futures, Prakash Amritraj (USA) beat qualifier Scotty Scott (USA) 62 16 62 and then lost to another qualifier, Hector Almada (MEX), 36 46 .. In doubles Prakash and KC Corkery (USA) reached the QF with a 36 62 63 win over Robert Kendrick and Scott Kendrick (USA), and fell to the 3rd seeds Nick Rainey and Brian Wilson (USA), 36 26 .. Nick is Prakash's team mate at USC of course, and I think he is the highest ATP-ranked doubles player in college with a rank around 300 .. Nick has also reached the QF of singles .. Congrats, dude, from the fanclub! .. When he joined the LP-MB fanclub as a highschool student in Washington over 4 years back, I had no idea he was such a good player.

Men's preview for next week - The defending champion Harsh Mankad will be in action starting Monday at the $10K Canada F1 futures in Mississauga, Ontario .. Whole bunch of Indians will be there .. #290 Takahiro Terachi (JPN) is the top seed in the entry list, #519 Mustafa Ghouse is the 4th seed and Harsh is #13 .. Ajay Ramaswamy and Sunil Sipaeya made it in as the last two direct entries .. Some pretty good college players with low ranks (due to not having played much ATP) will also be there .. It should be interesting .. Young Shivang Mishra is listed in the entry list for the 4-week Nederlands satellites starting Monday, 4 out from the main draw as of last week .. Prakash Amritraj (USA) is in the qualifying list for the $15K USA F14 futures in Sunnyvale, California .. No sign of the one that I am waiting for - Rohan Bopanna .. Not sure when he will be playing somewhere .. Since playing a couple of Kuwait events, and then withdrawing from the Indian satellites (due to his sister's wedding, I believe), he has not got back on the tour yet .. Srinath (who is also the AITA-appointed coach for Rohan) was originally planning to play the current series of future in California, but had later withdrawn.

In other sports, congratulations go to Jeev Milkha Singh for the great achievement of qualifying into US Open Golf - he is the first Indian to ever do that .. Indian golf has certainly been on the upswing for a while .. Congrats to badminton's P.Gopichand for the marriage with badminton Olympian PVV Lakshmi (may your kid start with a tennis racket, first! :-)) .. Also, a moment of silence from me for the passing of one of the greatest spinners, Subhash Gupte, recently ..

June 6 Note-3

Wretched day .. MB and Max seemed to be cruising straight into the final, and just when we thought it was over, the fat lady refused to sing .. [SF] #3 M.Bhupathi/ M.Mirnyi l. P.Haarhuis/ Y.Kafelnikov, 76(1) 57 26 .. In the first set, MB-MM went up a break early in the 4th game to 3-1, and cruised till the 9th game when Max was broken and it was 5-4 .. Our guys seemed to be in control still, and in the tiebreaker, they did not give a chance to the other guys, taking two points off Haarhuis and one of Kafelnikov for a 7-1 score .. In the second set, they started with an early break off Haarhuis in the first game and went up 2-0 .. MB was down 0-40 in game 6 and saved all the break attempts to hold serve .. At 4-3, MM was down 15-40 and saved both the BPs .. It was beginning to look like PH-YK were having big-point problems just like TC-LP earlier, but just when we thought that they started clicking very well together .. At AD out, Mirnyi dropped serve and it was 4-4 .. At 5-6, MM was facing double break points again .. He dropped serve at 30-40 and the set was duddenly gone .. All even .. Now  PH-YK were beginning to toally dominate, in the 3rd set .. MB was down 15-40 in the second game and dropped serve .. It was 0-3 soon .. At 1-4, MB was again down 0-40, but he saved the BPs and held serve for 2-4 .. That was the last sign of resistence, as they could not mount any sort of charge on the other guys' serve and MM dropped serve in the 8th game .. So, that finishes the FO for MB and LP .. Both had their 10 match win streak stopped today .. Time to do whatever it takes, and stop this experiment, is all I can say.

Earlier, Sania Mirza lost her second round doubles match, and seemed to be completely let down by her partner, at least in holding serve .. Sania held serve every time, but she and her partner Marcela Arroyo (MEX) seemed to hardly take a point when Marcela was serving .. MA held serve only once, in the 2nd game of the set, and dropped serve in game 6 .. The set was over at 3-6 .. In the second set, the story continued as Marela dropped serve in the 1st and 5th games, as they fell to 1-4 .. Sania was in trouble for the first time in the 7th game with double break points but held serve for 2-5 .. MA-SM could not take the 6th seeds to break points pretty much all day, and they served it off for the win .. [PQF] M.Arroyo/ S.Mirza l. #6 M.J.Argeri/ M.Torres, 36 26 ..

Shruti Dhawan came through against Ankita Bhambri today at Muzaffgarnagar, and the top four seeds, Sonal, Radhika, Sheetal and Shruti are in the semis .. See the satellite leg-2 page.

June 6 Note-2

Leander's impressive and improbable run at the French Open came to an end today against the #1 team in the world, the #2 seeds here, who were on a 10-match win streak in grand slams with a title at the Australian .. Cibulec-Paes played them closely and but for some trouble at big points, played them on even terms .. [SF] #14 T.Cibulec/ L.Paes l. #2 M.Knowles/ D.Nestor, 67(5) 57 .. Here is the match report .. In the first set, TC-LP had a quick break in the first game off Nestor's serve and they went up 2-0 .. They had three more break point chances to go up another break in the 5th game but Nestor held after 5 deuces .. In game 7, they had a double break point, but again couldn't convert them as Knowles won 4 points in a row to hold .. Then LP was broken at 30-40 in the 10th game and it was even at 5-5, as the second seeds converted their first chance .. In the tiebreaker, TC-LP were ahead by a minibreak but fell behind by one soon at 3-4 .. At 3-6, LP saved two set points on serve but Knowles served off for the set after that .. In the second set Cibulec faced double break attempts in the first game but saved them to hold serve.  Then TC-LP had two BPs at 30-40 on Nestor and wasted those chances as well .. TC-LP had by now been unsuccessful on 7 straight break chances in a row in three different games .. That was the story of the game - the big points, but I guess that was to be expected, considering the opponents who seemed to be ahead and in control by a tad bit ever since the first few games of the first set .. In the 3rd game, it was LP's turn to save a break point at AD out .. In game 5 on Cibulec's serve, they lost 5 points in a row from 40-0 to get broken and were behind 2-3 .. MK-DN seemed to be on a big spurt, as they won 8 points in a row there .. In game 9, Cibulec was again in a bit of trouble, losing two at game point to go to a deuce (actually it was 7 games points in a row lost on his serve then - again the problem with the big points) .. No further poblems though as TC-LP won the next two for a 4-5 score ..  Now there was some drama, as our guys made a last-gasp fight, finally converting a break point at 15-40 .. That did not last, as LP was down 0-40 on serve .. LP saved two of them but that was all TC-LP could do .. They were again down 5-6 and facing Knowles serving for the match .. He won a 40-30 match point to finish the match .. The key stat was break points -- TC-LP were 2 of 9 and the opponents were 3 of 6

LP and Cibulec part ways now, based on news reports, as LP had earlier agreed to play with Michael Llodra (FRA) for the grass season .. Got to congratulate Tom Cibulec for a good run with LP .. Considering his record, and the #39 ranking, it was rather unexpected .. LP loses 550 points out of the 1000 he had for the title last year, but should be ranked right around #20 after this.

June 6 Note-1

Here are the match times for today's matches at the French Open.. Come to the chatroom during the matches.
[SF] #14 T.Cibulec/ L.Paes vs #2 M.Knowles/ D.Nestor .. Scheduled for 11 am THU (5 am NY .. 2.30 pm India)
[SF] #3 M.Bhupathi/ M.Mirnyi vs P.Haarhuis/ Y.Kafelnikov .. at 3 pm THU (9 am NY .. 6.30 pm India), +/- 30 min
[PQF] Marcela Arroyo/ Sania Mirza vs Maria Jose Argeri/ Melissa Torres .. at 12.45 pm (6.45 pm NY .. 4.15 pm India), +/- 15 min

Manisha is in the QF of doubles at the $50K+H Cascerta challenger in Italy .. #3 Leanne Baker (NZL)/Manisha Malhotra d. Maret Ani (EST)/Valentina Sassi (ITA) 76(4) 36 63 .. They face Jorgelina Cravero/Mariana Diaz Oliva (ARG) in the QF .. In the singles R1, Maret Ani (EST,198) d. (LL)Manisha Malothra (IND) 64 75 ..

Kamala Kannan and Rishi Sridhar have started the $25K China S1 satellites' first leg in Beijing (hardcourt) well .. [R1] Kamala Kannan d. (LL)Jin-Young Kim (KOR) 62 76(4) .. He got a break, as the lucky loser replaced the 4th seed Seung-Hoon Lee (KOR,468) who was a no show .. [R1] Rishi Sridhar (IND,955) d. Assaf Drori (ISR,1067) 64 63 .. They play each other in the second round; so there will be an Indian in the QFs .. Actually, the winner is guaranteed to face a qualifier or lucky loser in the QF too, the way the draw turned out to be, with 7th seed Seung-Bok Baek being replaced by an LL and two qualifiers advancing to R2 .. Cool stuff .. In doubles Kamala and Rishi advanced to the QF with a win over wildcards Jian Li/ Hao Lu (CHN), 61 63 .. But now they run into the top seeds Dong-Hyun Kim (KOR) and Yen-Hsun Lu (TPE) .. Also in action this week is Prakash Amritraj (USA) who is at the USA F13 Fresno, California (hardcourt) .. He reached the R2 with a win over a qualifier too, Scotty Scott (USA), by a score of 62 16 62 .. He now faces yet another qualifier (:-)), Hector Almada (MEX) who upset the 7th seed there ..

June 5 Note-2

MB-Elena had played one game in the QF match at 1.30 pm, delayed already for 90 minutes by rain, and the rains started again .. Waited past 6.30 pm there, and I thought everything was postponed .. Actually they did play late in the evening and I have no details on the match .. Anyway, bad news - [QF] #3 M.Bhupathi/ E.Likhovtseva l. #5 W.Black/ C.lack, 75 36 46 .. Now, the doubles SFs remain for LP and MB .. Will post tomorrow's match times soon ..

No big surprises again in the PQF at the Muzaffarnagar satellite .. Proyanka Parekh gave the 5th seed Shruti some troubles, that's all .. See the leg-2 page for scores.

June 5 Note-1

Only Mahesh's mixed doubles QF is there today for us at the French Open .. MB-Likhovtseva meet the brother-sister pair of Wayne and Cara Black at 12 noon (6 am NY .. 3.30 pm India) .. Let us have a chat session .. We have not had any announced chat sessions this time, as I guess I was in a rather subsconsciously protesting against LP and MB playing separately, and did not feel like leading the usual remote cheering sessions, though I am sure all of us in the fanclub do cheer them both -- Anyway, what else can we do when they both reach the semis and force us to do nothing but cheer them! :-) ..

Sania's doubles PQF against the 6th highest ranked team, Melissa Torres (MEX,13) and Maria Jose Argeri (ARG,19) will be on thursday .. By the way, this is the 3rd consecutive grand slam junior doubles draw where Sania has reached the second round - with three different partners .. At Wimbledon '01 she played with Erika Valdez (MEX) and fell in the first round .. She played at the US Open '01 with Dominique Van Boekel (NED), at the Australian Open '02 with Da-Jung Hong (KOR) and at the FO with Marcella Arroyo (MEX), and she has now reached final-16 three times, running into seeded teams every time though .. It is quite impressive of her to be ranked #33 after playing with so many different partners [Smolenakova of SWE, Mezak of CRO, Giltinan of AUS, Nooni of NED, Flipkens (BEL), Sasha from India, etc, are some of her other partners during the last year] .. Perhaps it is better for her to learn from playing with so many partners, though her ranking could be better with a regular partner ..

Also, it would be good for other Indians also to be traveling with Sania too, though .. It is sad that somebody like Isha Lakhani, ranked #51 in singles and #67 in doubles is not at the French Open .. We are still not hearing of any plans from any quarters to send Isha on the junior tour on any regular basis, I guess .. Isha is actually one of very few players who would have made the singles main draw to not even be entered there .. Next year is the last possible year for Isha to play junior events - I hope things will work out soon for her to play a few good quality events .. It would be beneficial to have as many of our player traveling together .. Actually what we need to see is Ankita Bhambri playing a good number of junior events and raising her ITF rank - she is of almost identical age as Sania and could be ranked quite high in the juniors if she plays enough.  She HAS TO play junior grand slams and other grade-1 quality events the next two years .. One never gets that many good quality players in Indian satellite circuits (where she now seems to be reaching finals rather regularly) .. For instance, Eva Birnerova in the junior draw at FO is the 6th seed but she so easily won the $25K challenger in India this year without even dropping a set! --- These junior grand slam draws have some pretty darn good players .. Angie Widjaja, the top seed from Indonesia even has a WTA event title this year, not to mention others like 12th seed Maria Sharapova who have won WTA event singles rounds .. Playing grand slams and other grade-A and grade-1 events is the cheapest and easiest way to get playing experience against quality players .. Once you are past the junior level, you rarely get to play players of such caliber for a while, till your ranking goes up into the top-300 ..

June 4 Note-3

At the $50K+H Cascerta challenger in Italy, Manisha Malhotra is playing singles and doubles .. She was the 7th seed in the qualies and made the main draw as a lucky loser .. After a Q1 bye, she beat Caroline Schneider (GER,562), 64 63, before playing a last-minute qualifying wildcard (who would have been a main draw seed otherwise) Fabiola Zuluaga (COL,116) .. Manisha lost 26 16 .. She made the main draw as an LL anyway, and I am told she lost today to Maret Ani (EST,198) .. I don't have the scores and need to confirm this .. In doubles, she is seeded 3rd with Leanne Baker (NZL) and the play Maret Ani and Valentina Sassi (ITA) ..

Kamala Kannan and Rishi Sridhar were in the entry list for the China satellite ciruit that started this week - haven't seen any news from Beijing yet .. Prakash Amritraj (USA) is in the main draw at the $15K Fresno futures in the US .. He plays a qualifier, Scotty Scott, in the first round.

June 4 Note-2

The defending doubles champs are both still alive at the French Open! .. Leander and Cibulec pulled off another comeback upset from the brink, this time over the 5th seeds, saving a match point along the way .. [QF] #14 T.Cibulec/ L.Paes d. #5 B.Bryan/ M.Bryan, 36 76(6) 64 ..

Here is how the match went - [Set 1] The match started with games 2,3,4 and 5 all going to deuces and break points .. TC-LP could not convert the three break chances they had and the Bryans converted one of the 3 they had to go ahead by a break .. TC-LP fell behind once more to 1-5, but broke back, and held serve for 3-5 score .. The Byrans served off the next game rather easily to win the set .. [Set 2] The second set seemed to go on serve easily without either side coming close to troubling the other, till the 8th game when TC-LP had one break chance at 30-40 .. The Bryans held after three deuces for 4-4 .. Cibulec faced a 30-40 break attempt and save that in the next game as well .. In the tiebreaker, TC-LP went up by a minibreak each in the 3rd and 7th points, losing the advantage in the 5th and 8th points .. At 5-6, Cibulec saved a match point on his serve .. They then converted a set point on Bob Bryan's serve at 7-6 to even it at one set apiece .. [Set 3] TC-LP converted their second break chance to go up a break immediately in the first game .. They again had two AD out BPs in the 3rd game, but couldn't find another break .. After quite a few strong service games, LP was in trouble suddenly in the 8th game .. He faced double break points and three more AD out BPs, but saved all five of them to hold serve! .. That was the match, as both sides held serve once each and the 2 hour 20 minutes match ended with TC-LP pulling off another comeback upset, following their upset of the 4th seeds in the PQF .. In the semis they face an even tougher team - #2 seeds Knowles-Nestor ..

There is a great semifinal lineup now for thursday --  Haarhuis/ Kafelnikov vs Bhupathi/ Mirnyi  and Cibulec/ Paes vs Knowles/ Nestor .. Terrific doubles players all of them, Cibulec being the only one without a grand slam title among the eight .. Once again, how can we stop imagining how it might have been, had MB and LP played together :-) .. Great to see them both in the semis .. It gets maha tough now, though.

LP gets the day off tomorrow (wednesday) and MB will be playing the MxD quarterfinal.

June 4 Note-1

Mahesh gets the day off today at the French Open .. Leander-Cibulec are scheduled to play on the center court, but after a rain delay, I am not sure when the match will start, as of 4.30 pm with another men's singles QF still to start on that court - they may move LP's match to another court .. MB-MM's opponents for the SF tomorrow are unseeded Haarhuis-Kafelnikov who upset the 6th seeds Bjorkman-Woodbridge, 16 76 86 in a postponed match completed today .. Amazing to see Haarhuis, who basically doesn't play these days coming out and doing this kind of stuff .. #14 LP-Cibulec, if they can upset #5 Bryans today will go against the 2nd seeds Knowles-Nestor in the semis.

Good news from Sania - she and Marcela Arroyo of Mexico advanced to the second round of girls doubles, with a 64 64 win over Jamea Jackson and Carly Gullickson.

In the second week of the $25K 4-week ITF India S2 satellites on the Muzaffarnagar (UP) grasscourts, there were no surprises, as the first round got completed today - see the results at the leg-2 page.

June 3 Notes

Sorry for the slow updates for the last three matches for our guys at the French Open -- I only have the scores .. MB-Mirnyi have reached yet another semifinal, with a tough comeback against the 7th seeds Martin Damm and Cyril Suk .. LP-Cibulec play.s the doubles QF tomorrow .. LP fell in the MxD prequarterfinal yesterday and MB has reached the QF of MxD .. Here are the scores:

[QF,Monday]  #3 M.Bhupathi/ M.Mirnyi d. #7 M.Damm/ C.Suk, 46 64 75
[R2,Monday]  #3 E.Likhovtseva/ M.Bhupathi d. C.Pin/ A.Clement, 64 46 62
[R1,Sunday]   #3 E.Likhovtseva/ M.Bhupathi d. W.Prakusya/ C.Suk, 61 57 63
[R2,Sunday]   #4 L.Paes/ L.Raymond l. E.Bovina/ M.Knowles, 36 67(2)

The #5 seeds Bryan/Bryan reached the QF yesterday and will play LP-Cubulec tomorrow .. MB-Mirnyi will play the semifinals (probably wednesday) against the winners of the Haarhuis-Kafelnikov vs Bjorkman-Woodbridge (Wow, those are four terrific doubles players!) matchup .. In Mixed doubles, MB-EL should be playing the QF tomorrow against Camille Pin and Arnaud Clement of France.

Sania Mirza is in the girls doubles at the FO, playing with Marcela Arroyo (Mexico) - they play Carly Gullickson and James Jackson of USA tomorrow .. Not sure how good a playing shape Sania is in .. I heard that Sania was running some temperature and has been generally quite unwell the last few days - that probably explains her troubles yesterday in the singles.

The women's satellite leg-2 starts today at Muzaffarnagar in UP .. First big event held at that place .. Interestingly they are playing on grasscourts there - always nice to see that grass is still there in some places in India ..  Will have some details soon.

.. Previous notes are at Notes for the week ending on June 3 ..

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.