Notes for the week ending on June 11, 2001
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June 11 Note-1
In the new rankings, MB moved up to #9 and LP to #23 .. That is high enough for them to get a seeding in the 6 through 8 range at Wimbledon .. The team ranking went as I calculated and posted yesterday .. The Indian Express is #3 with 350 points, 17 points behind Pala-Vizner and a nice distance away from the #4 team.
I don't think the doubles draw at the Queens Club ATP is out yet .. LP-MB may be unseeded there -- they must be putting in some practice to transition to the grass surface.
Nirupama was in the entry list for the Tashkent Tier-IV WTA event this week, but was not in the qualifier draw .. No sign of her anywhere .. Need to get in touch with her and find out if she is bothered by some injury or anything .. Niru's ranking has inched up a bit to #168 this week with the 12 points she picked up at the French Open qualies for the upset win in the first round .. She is #126 in doubles this week.
Harsh Mankad (#554), the Indian #2 in ATP ranking, is the 8th seed at the $10K ITF Canada F1 futures in Mississuaga, Ontario .. He plays qualifier Huntley Montgomery, a top-100 US college player, in the first round there .. Watch out for the qualifiers at this event, because a lot of top college players who don't have high enough ATP rankings for not having played much pro tourneys, were there .. The ones who qualified in are probably pretty good, so Harsh may have a tough time against this due Huntley (who just finished his college career at Univ of Virginia) .. Vikrant Chadha won one round but fell in Q2 in the qualies there .. This is the first ATP event in almost a year that Harsh is playing at, ever since finishing #2 in the Indian satellites - the 31 points from there are the only points he has and they fall off in another month - so he has to pick up some points soon .. These Canadian futures may be a tough place to do that at (but then the USA F15 futures event this week is even tougher!) .. Let us see how Harsh does .. I believe he is planning to play a few weeks of pro events before the start of his 3rd year at Univ of Minnesota (he raised his college ranking from #55 in the preseason to #43 in the year end listing) .. I am not sure when and where Ajay Ramaswami is going to start playing the Pro events .. He is done with his college career, finishing his 4th year with a final ranking of #16 .. He may have a few summer courses to finish for graduation, before hitting the pro circuit .. I will try to find out.
June 10 Note-2
LP-MB have taken off to UK for the Stella Artois ATP tournament in Queens, London .. They will be in the doubles draw, and probably will be unseeded .. This will be the last unseeded week for them, as their rankings will move up on Monday to somewhere near #10 for MB and #20 for LP .. From the following week onwards, they will be seeded in all the tournaments they play .. They will be among the 6-7 seeds at Wimbledon, easily.
I have seen everywhere in the news that LP-MB will be the #2 team after this title (I myself said that a couple of days back -- I wonder if I started this thing; very sorry if so) .. It turns out that Pala-Vizner will stay a handful of points ahead of LP-MB with 368 ATP race points to 350 for LP-MB .. It will be #1 Bjorkman-Woodbridge (614 points), #2 Pala-Vizner (368 pts), #3 Paes-Bhupathi (350 pts) .. #4 Eagle-Florent (262) .. #5 Hill-Tarango (260), #6 Nestor-Stolle (257) .. Multiply those numbers by 5 to see the entry points picked up this year .. I hope I have those numbers right .. We will know tomorrow when the rankings come out.
Here is an AFP news agency picture from the FO that you may have seen in the Indian newspapers already ..
That is one more trophy to add to the collection ..
June 10 Note-1
Here is a picture essay of the French Open final .. There are some 23 pictures there .. be patient and they will all load up .. The pictures are in chronological order during the match.
It looks like MB will move up just inside top-10 and LP to just at around 20 after the French Open title .. I haven't done any detailed calculations .. They are easily the #2 team now ..
LP-MB will be at the Stella Artois ATP at Queens (London) during this coming week, according to Mahesh.
In other news from yesterday, Sonal Phadke had to come back from one set down to beat Samrita Sekar .. Sonal seems to be getting her rhythm again .. See the Mumbai satellite page .. More later
June 9 Note-2
THEY DID IT !! .. AGAIN !! .. (like there was some doubt! :-))
Facing triple break points in the first set at 3-5 on the other guys' serve in the first set .. Gloom was filling our chatroom .. I said, "NEVER put anything past the Indian Express .. We have seen this all before!" .. Smirks all around .. The Indian Express won 9 points in a row just after I said that .. Blink! .. Oh they won that set .. Blink, Blink! .. The match over! .. [F] M.Bhupathi/ L.Paes d. P.Pala/ P.Vizner, 76(5) 63
Set1: Match startd and trouble was brewing in the 6th game as Mahesh dropped serve at 0-40 quickly .. IE were down 2-4 .. Then our guys had triple break points off Vizner in the next game .. The Czech guys managed to take it to deuce and hold after three deuces to go up to 5-2 .. LP held easily in the 8th game .. All of a sudden the Indian EXpress were facing triple set points on Pala's serve in the next game .. No problem .. 5 points in a row in a burst from the Dynamic Duo and we were all on serve at 4-5 .. MB then served the next game at love and our pair had had their 9-point "burst" .. Fists being pumped! .. Chests being butted! .. Czechs being rattled!! .. But Vizner held serve and LP followed, sending it to a tiebreaker .. In the tiebreaker, we went up a minibreak at 3-2 on Vizner's serve .. Then LP gave one back at 4-2 and we were on serve at 4-3 .. We took both the points off Pala and MB was serving for the set at 6-3 .. The Czech won't go easily .. Two set points went away on MB's serve and then Vizner was serving at 5-6 for a 3rd set point to us .. This time we converted it to go up 76(5) .. Set2: At 1-1, the old bugaboo hit again .. We dropped serve early in the 4th game at 30-40 .. No problems once again, as the dynamic duo broke at the first chance at AD out in the next game off Pala, to tie it up at 2-2 .. We had to go through one deuce in the 7th game, but MB held for a 4-3 lead .. The next game was crucial .. The IE had the best chance if they could break Pala and serve off for the set (with Mahesh, tired as he would be after 4-5 days of continuous playing, not having to serve any more) .. PP was serving at 0-30, but 4 straight points form LP-MB and they were up and serving for the match at 5-3 .. LP was then down at 15-30, but did not falter, as the Indian Express won the final three points and pulled the curtains down, just like that !!! .. The match took an hour and 3 minutes .. I don't have the break conversion stats, but here is the break sequence: [set1: MB broken in game 6; PP in game 9] .. [set2: MB broken in game 3; PP in games 4 and 8] .. What a match .. Short and sweet, but it showed what the Dynamic Duo is made of, in every which way .. I have some pictures that I will post later today or tomorrow.
June 9 Note-1
It's the big day today!
LP-MB's doubles final is scheduled to follow the women's final which starts at 2.30 pm .. They should be on the court by about 4.30 pm (8 pm India .. 10.30 am New York) .. Our chatroom will be rocking today .. If the room is filled, you can go to a second chatroom I will set up (the link will be on top of the chatroom page).
Here are a lot of details in the official preview news release from Roland Garros (courtesy Steve Gocha) .. Did you know that Pavel and Vizner are trying to become the first Czech pair to ever win the French Open ? .. Forget that -- more importantly, did you know that Pavel and Vizner are brothers-in-law ? .. Both are coached by Pala's father, too .. I guess Vizner can't think of taking another coach of course -- or he will be in his wife's doghouse for ever! .. These two are a good pair together (Pavel and Vizner, I mean, not Vizner and Monika .. well, may be they are too :-)) .. This match is going to be good fun ..
At the Mumbai satellite yesterday, Samrita Sekar continues to make noise, reaching her first final, upsetting Archana Venkatraman .. Top seed Sonal got a good fight from Megha but she moved into the final .. Sheetal Gautham and Liza pereira, turning into a pretty tough doubles pair, won the doubles title .. See the Mumbai satellite page.
June 8 Note-3
Mahesh's 8-match win streak this year at FO came to an end in a back-and-forth match today .. [SF] M.Bhupathi/ E.Likhovtseva l. P.Suarez/ J.Oncins, 57 64 26 .. The match had so many games from both sides going to so many deuces and there were probably a total of about 25 to 30 break points with 10 of them converted .. Here is the sequence - [set1: EL broken in games 4 and 12; PS in game 7], [set2: JO broken in game 1 and 9; EL in game 4], [set3: MB broken in game 4 and 8, EL in game 6; PS in game 5] .. Good job of fighting back at the end of the second set by Hesh and Elena, breaking them in the 9th game and serving off the set to send it to a 3rd set .. Again, they had their chances at many many break points (as did the other team) .. The match took 2 hours and 12 minutes .. Pity that Hesh couldn't reach bothe the finals, though.
Now the doubles final remains..
June 8 Note-2
The matches on court-1 have moved fast today, and so MB's mixed doubles SF match is starting earlier than I thought .. The updated start time is 3.30 pm (7 pm India .. 9.30 am New York) .. That is in a few minutes, as I type this :-)
13th seeds Petr Pala and Pavel Vizner won the men's doubles semi rather easily just now, 75 64 over Arnaud Clement and Nicolas Escude .. So, they face LP-MB in the final tomorrow!
June 8 Note-1
The rain-postponed mixed doubles semifinal for Mahesh will start today on court-1 at 4.30 pm (8 pm India .. 10.30 am New York), +/- 30 min .. We will have our chat-session during the match .. The match follows the men's doubles semifinal (also postponed from yesterday) between #13 Czech pair Pala-Vizner and the unseeded French pair, Clement-Escude.
At the Mumbai satellites, 16 yr old 6th seed Megha Vakharia pulled off the upsert of 3rd seed Sheetal Gautham .. She faces Sonal next .. 2nd seed Archana Venkatraman was given all kinds of trouble by Isha Lakhani who just turned 16 in three sets, but she reached the QF, where she will meet unseeded Samrita Sekar, who beat the 7th seed Nandita .. See the Mumbai satellite page .. By the way, I have wondered why Isha hasn't played in the ITF junior circuit a bit more .. She has two more years in the juniors and shows a lot of promise - not just with her game, but also the aggressive attitude she reportedly displays .. She has only played two ITF events in the last year and for some reason did not play in the subcontinental ITF junior circuit earlier this year ..
Rohan Gajjar and Amanjot Singh are at the Grade-3 Eravis Epitok Cup in Budapest, Hungary (I wonder what happened to Sunil Kumar? .. He was a finalist at the same event last year and will drop a few points now .. Perhaps Sunil went to the FO juniors hoping to make the entry and missed it by a whisker?) .. The first round started at Budapest only by wednesday and both have advanced to the PQF -- Rohan beat Peter Gem (HUN,904), 62 62 .. Amanjot beat Omer Abramovich (ISR,130), 61 57 64 .. In doubles, Rohan is playing with Dias Doskarayev (UZB) and Amanjot with Clinton Letcher (RSA) - no doubles scores yet.
June 7 Note-4
It looks like Mahesh's mixed doubles semifinal may be getting postponed to tomorrow .. It is about 8 pm there and it's still a rain delay .. That's good - he can celebrate his birthday and take rest .. Meanwhile, here are pictures of LP-MB in today's match, and of Mahesh and Likhovtseva after their semifinal win yesterday (courtesy: FO site)!
June 7 Note-3
Nice birthday so far for Mahesh! .. And Helloooo, Grand slam final !! (and say hello to the new #2 team in the world, the Indian Express!)
LP-MB have now won 11 matches in a row at the FO .. [SF] M.Bhupathi/ L.paes d. #11 M.Hill/ J.Tarango, 63 36 64 .. This was a tough, tough match though ..
Set1: The match started with the Indian Express giving the other guys some trouble in the first game .. Hill had to serve three deuces .. Nothing much else exciting happened after that till the 7th game as neither side faced break attempts .. Finally in the 7th game, our guys took Tarango to a couple of deuces and got the break on their first BP to go up 4-3 .. Suddenly our pair was on one of their customary bursts, winning 10 points in a row! .. MB served off a love game to go up to 5-3 and they had Hill down at 0-40 at triple set points .. The Dynamic Duo converted the second opportunity and the first set was in the bag 6-3 ..
Set2: Traditionally our pair's worst game, the first service game of the second set, started badly again .. LP was down 0-30 on serve and faced double BPs at 15-40 .. They took it to deuce and then faced another BP at AD out .. But our dudes did the job to stay on course .. The trouble did not go away though, as MB was facing 15-40 on his serve in the 3rd game .. We dropped serve there to fall to 1-2 and soon to 1-3 .. LP-MB were facing tough resistance from the other side and were being forced to fight for every point now - actually this continued all the way till the end of the match .. At 2-4, MB was again facing BPs, two of them, at ADs out .. He held on for a 3-4 score .. The other guys were by now 1 of 6 in BP conversion .. Our pair then had their best chance in the set to get back on track in the 8th game when they had Tarango down at 15-40 .. They wasted the two break chances there, which turned out to be a crucial miss .. At 3-5, LP was now down facing a break attempt at AD out .. This time the Americans converted the point - 6-3 3-6 and it was all even ..
Set-3: A true dog-fight was in progress .. We had our first chance in the 3rd game on Tarango's serve at 15-40 .. Converted the second chance there to go up a break .. LP was immediately down to 15-40 on serve too .. We fought through two BPs there and held serve to go up to 3-1 .. The next chance for our pair came in the 7th game when Tarango was facing a break atempt at AD out .. He stayed alive - 4-3 for us .. Instead of going up 5-2 and serving, LP-MB was running into trouble here -- LP dropped serve at 30-40 and it was all evened up again at 4-4 .. Then came that famous "finishing touch" from our dynamic duo at the right time .. They had Hill down at 15-40 .. Broke him right there, and it was all up to Mahesh to serve it off - which he did in style at 40-30 .. And, there it was ! .. yet another grand slam final !!
The match took one hour and 50 minutes .. The Indian Express were 4 of 9 in break point conversion, MH-JT were 3 of 10 .. The break sequence was: [set1: JT broken in game 7, MH in game 9] .. [set2: MB broken in game 3, LP in game 9] .. [set3: JT broken in game 3, MH in game 9; LP in game 8] .. The win gives our pair 250 more points for 700 total, to take their total this year to 1450 points .. Something like $30K more picked up by each for today's win .. We await the result of the other doubles semi .. MB returns by about 6.30 pm for his MxD semi (10 pm India .. 12.30 pm New York)
OK, now we can pronounce the Indian Express finally as BACK!
June 7 Note-2
.. Happy Birthday, Mahesh !! ..
I didn't read the schedules carefully enough - actually MB's mixed doubles semifinal is also on schedule for today .. Nice way to spend his brithday .. There is some rain delays going on .. Hopefully it will rain between the matches .. The first match's start may be a bit later than originally thought -- it may be about 3 or 3.15 pm, as the previous match has gone to a 3rd set at 2.30 pm now .. Hesh comes back for the MxD semi after an hour and half of rest after the doubles semi.
June 7 Note-1
LP-MB will try to extend their 10-match win streak at the French Open, dating back to 1999, today in the semifinal against Jeff Tarango and Michael Hill .. The winner of the match will move to the #2 spot in world team rankings, pick up 250 more extra points to add to the 450 they have, pick up about an extra $30K to add to the 30K so far, etc, etc .. Big match! .. Start time is about 2.15 pm (5.45 pm India .. 8.15 am New York) .. The cheering squad will be in the chatroom during the match as usual .. Come on in!
At Mumbai yesterday, 16 yr old Isha Lakhani's win over the 8th seed Liza Pereira, a year older than her and more experienced in the junior and senior circuits, was impressive .. Not that she won - she is among the most talented youngsters we have, after all, but the scoreline of 60 60 .. A double-bagel over somebody as good as Liza was suprising .. Sonal, Sheetal, Nandita, etc advanced .. No other upsets and 6 seeds have moved into the quarterfinals .. See the Mumbai satellite page.
June 6 Note-2
Sorry that the server was again down for a couple of hours today .. Bad time for them to be upgrading hardware ..
Another day at the office for Hesh, and hello, another semifinal! .. [QF] M.Bhupathi/ E.Likhovtseva d. J.Golmard/ A.Fusai, 63 64 .. The match started an hour later than I expected, with the two women's doubles matches earlier on that court going to protracted three-setters .. Set 1: The wait must have helped our pair - MB-EL started well, breaking Golmard's serve in the very first game itself .. Mahesh faced some resistance in the next game, having to serve deuces, but he held .. The games went with serves from then on till 5-3 when our pair had Golmard down at 15-40 facing two set points .. MB-EL converted the second set point to wrap up the set .. Set 2: The usual pattern of early second set problems, once again! .. MB was down 15-40 on serve and dropped serve at the second break point .. This was followed by Elena serving at 0-40 in the 3rd game as well, and our pair was about to dig themselves a big hole .. Just on time, they tightened things up there and went on to win 5 points in a row to hold serve -- 1-2 .. The momentum continued into the next game when they broke Golmard's serve yet again to tie it up at 2-2 .. Trouble returned in the 7th game, as Elena dropped serve on the first BP at AD out .. They had SEVEN break chances in the next game off Fusai, at 30-40 and at Ads out .. They finally converted the 7th one to get back on serve once more at 4-4 .. MB held serve easily in the next game and they immediately went to work on Fusai, getting her down at 15-40 double match point .. Converted the second one and our pair reached the semi!! .. The match took an hour and 2 minutes .. Here is the break sequence - [set1: JG broken in games 1 and 9] .. [set2: MB broken in game 1, EL in game 7; JG in games 4 and 8, AF in game 10] ..
How about that ? .. Mahesh is in the semifinals of both the events!
June 6 Note-1
I guess I am pretty good at putting the hex on teams -- I called the top seeds Bjorkman-Woodbridge the "unbeatable", and guess what - they went down in a heap yesterday evening against a spirited 11th seeds Michael Hill - Jeff Tarango combo, 46 63 16 .. First time this year that Bjorkman and Woodbridge failed to reach the final in a tournament they played .. So, Tarango-Hill will play LP-MB in the semifinals, and they are the highest seeded team left now .. Tarango and Ivanisevik were the team that LP-MB beat in the FO final two years back when they won their first grand slam title .. I don't think LP and Tarango like each other much, anyway :-) .. This will be war on thursday - count on it!
LP gets the day off, but MB will try to reach the MxD semis, against the home country combo, Alexandra Fusai and Jerome Golmard .. The match is scheduled for 3.30 pm (7 pm India .. 9.30 am New York), plus or minus half hour .. Let us meet in the chatroom ..
No surprises today at the Mumbai women's satellites as the first round got done .. See the Mumbai satellites page for results.
Geeta Manohar was at the $10K Durban satellite in RSA, but no luck this week for her .. She lost to Marcela Evangelista (BRA), 26 57 .. In doubles Geeta and Stefanie Hershfield (4th seeds) got upset in the first round as well - 61 63, by Ruxandra marin (BRA) and Cecilia Quarracino (ARG).
Our juniors (Sunil Kumar, Amanjot, Rohan Gajjar) may be at the grade-3 Eravis Epitok Cup ITF junior tournament in Hungary .. Rohan is part of the ITF junior team selected to tour Europe (along with guys like Lamine Ouahab of Algeria who seems to be really talented - good experience for Rohan to travel in the ITF team) .. The ITF team incidentally has Kawaljeet Singh as one of the coaches .. Their tour includes earlier events at Belgium etc and upcoming event in Frankfurt .. Kawaljeet of course was the one who coached Sunil Kumar in Chandigarh and so there is a good bunch of folks traveling together .. Sunil and Amanjot are under Paes-en-sport management and not part of the ITF team though .. NO news from Hungary on this week's event yet.
June 5 Note-4
LP's unbtean run ended and the possibility of a semifinal face-off between Hesh and Lee did not materialize .. [QF] L.Paes/ L.Raymond l. P.Suarez/ J.Oncins, 57 16 .. Here is how it went .. In the first set, they traded serves in the 3rd and 6th games off Lisa and Oncins .. They had a set point on Oncins' serve in the 10th game at AD out, but could not take advantage of it .. That was the beginning of the end .. Our pair ran into trouble immediately -- 0-30, 15-40 and then AD out break points on Lisa's serve in the next game .. They fought off four BPs and then fell to 5-6 .. Paola Suarez served off the next game to take the set .. LP-LR were in more trouble in the first game of the second set, on LP's serv, and they dropped serve at 15-40 .. After Oncins held serve easily at 40-15, Lisa was facing 0-40 soon, dropping serve at the first break point once again .. Now our pair was a in a deep deep hole, down two breaks at 0-3 and soon down to 0-4 .. Basically Paola and Jaime were on fire, winning 16 of the first 20 points in the second set .. Lisa-Lee finally held, on LP's serve in the next game to get off the mark in the set at 1-4 .. All they could do was to take Oncins to a couple of deuces in the next game, but they couldn't get a break and it was 1-5 .. Now it was Lisa's turn to serve and stay alive, but she could not do that, falling at 30-40 .. So, a quick exit in 53 minutes for our pair .. 57 16 .. LP was broken once and Lisa 4 times today .. Not a good day for them .. Now, LP can focus on just the doubles and conserve energy!
In a bit of a surprise, Hill-Tarango are leading Bjorkman-Woodbridge at 6-4 0-0 in the last of the doubles semis, as I type .. Hmm .. Interesting.
June 5 Note-3
Sorry that the website was on the blink for a few hours .. You probably couldn't get into the chatroom during the match.
Hello, Grand Slam Semifinal !! .. The Indian Express did not have it as easy as expected, but they did what was needed against the younger Czech upstarts .. [QF] M.Bhupathi/ L.Paes d. T.Cibulec/ L.Friedl, 75 64 .. Here is how the match went, based on the online score updates at the FO site .. Set1: The match started in usual manner, with our pair forcing a break rightaway in the 3rd game .. They had Cibulec down at 15-40 and got the break at the first chance itself .. Trouble surfaced in the 6th game on Paes' serve when they played through one break attempt at 30-40 and fell at the next at AD out - it was all even at 3-3 .. Now the Czech pair seems to be on a good roll, holding serve easily and taking points off the Indians .. It went to 4-5 on serve when LP was in trouble again at 15-30, but our pair held serve for a 5-5 score .. Then our pair did the job at the right time, taking TC-LF to break points at 30-40 and AD out, converting the second one for a 6-5 lead .. Mahesh did the rest, serving it off to take the first set at 7-5, but not before the other guys stayed alive through one set point .. The Czech pair certainly did not seem to be rolling over and bucket-kicking in front of the much more highly-reputed team they were facing! .. Set-2: LP-MB troubled Friedl, taking him to a couple of deuces, before he held serve in the first game .. Our dudes got the break off Cibulec again in the 3rd game at 15-40 .. Good BP conversion efficiency from the Indian Express at 4 of 5 chances so far in the match .. MB held serve at love and our pair was on a minor roll again .. They had one chance for a break off Friedl's serve in the 5th game as well, but after 4 deuces, the Czech pair made it 75 32 .. Once again, they weren't going away that fast .. At 4-3, off Mahesh's serve, they took the Indians to a couple of deuces, but LP-MB wouldn't budge, going to 5-3 .. Friedl then served a love game, and they troubled our guys till the end, staying alive through one match point at 40-15 on MB's serve, but that was about all they could do .. The match took an hour and 20 minutes .. Here is the break sequence: [set1: TC broken in game 3 and 11; LP in game 6] .. [set2: TC broken in game 3] .. LP-MB were 4 of 6 in break chances, and the other dudes were 1 of 2 ..
The win gives our guys 450 ATP entry points (90 race points, which takes their race point total to 240 and places them somewhere just around #6 in the rankings for now) .. They made $30K each for reaching the semi .. The French don't pay like the Americans - I believe the US Open pays about 50 percent more for reaching the semi - but it's good money, of course! .. LP will try to make some more money after a couple of hours of rest today, in the mixed doubles QF coming up ..
Kuerten reached the semi beating Kafelnikov, 61 36 76(3) 64 today .. Hewitt is playing Ferrero now .. Later today, Bjorkman/Woodbridge play Hill/Tarango and the winner will be facing the Indian Express in the semi.
One thing I see our team doing consistently now, is that they have Leander starting serve in each set, as opposed to Mahesh who used to do it most of the time in the past .. Not a bad idea, as MB's shoulder needs to be watched a bit more carefully and the fewer times he has to serve, the better .. Ideally, he would only need to serve two times a set with LP three times (with our pair winning the set with one game coming off a break) .. Over the course of a few matches, this would keep the number of serves from Hesh down by about 20 percent, which is significant.
June 5 Note-2
LP-MB play the second match on court-2 tomorrow - the QF against Tomas Cibulec and Leos Friedl, whom they have not faced in the past -- the match should be starting at around 2 pm there (5.30 pm India .. 5 am Los Angeles), plus/minus 15 min .. Come to the chatroom to cheer our guys on to a big semifinal .. LP returns later to the same court, by about 6 or 7 pm for the Mixed doubles QF in Lisa's company, against Paola Suarez and Jaime Oncins.
Here are the draws for doubles and mixed doubles, as of now:
1 Jonas Bjorkman/ Todd Woodbridge vs 11 Michael Hill Jeff
Mahesh Bhupathi/ Leander Paes vs Tomas Cibulec/ Leos Friedl / \ _ W
13 Petr Pala/ Pavel Vizner d. Nicklas Kulti/ Mickael Llodra \ /
Arnaud Clement/ Nicolas Escude d. Lucas Arnold/ Cyril Suk /
Rennae Stubbs/ Todd Woodbridge vs
Janette Husarova/ Petr Pala \
Virginia Ruano-Pascual/ T.arbonell vs Karina Habsudova/ David Rikl / \ _ W
Lisa Raymond/ Leander Paes vs Paola Suarez/ Jaime Oncins \ /
Elena Likhovtseva/ Mahesh Bhupathi vs Alexandra Fusai/ Jerome Golmard /
All the seeds are gone from the mixed doubles draw after just two rounds .. Only one big seed remains in the men's doubles .. There are some good teams in the doubles field still though .. Hill-Tarango have been in good form, but they run into the "unbeatables" today .. Clement-Escude has been my "darkhorse" pick to recah the final from the bottom half of the draw ..
The Indian Express' opponents, Tomas Cibulec and Leos Friedl of Czech republic, are an interesting story .. A young team (Friedl is 24 and Cibulec is 23), they have played exclusively with each other for a while, finishing last year as the #43 ranked team, with individual rankings at #65 each (same individual rankings right now as well) .. They reached 6 challenger finals and won 4 titles last year, and then won their first ATP tour title at San Marino (Italy) in July .. They seem to be still getting used to the big tour, and has not gone past semifinal in any of the ATP tour events they have played this year, after moving up from the challenger circuit .. Nice run here for them so far, upsetting the 10th seeds Adams/Garcia in the first round and then the 6th seed Prinosil/Mirnyi in the PQF .. The Indian Express may be a bit too tough for them to handle right now, I would expect.
In other news, Geeta Manohar is at the $10K satellite in Durban (RSA) this week .. She is drawn to face Marcela Evangelista (BRA) in the first round .. In doubles, she is again seeded 4th in the company of Stefanie Hershfield (USA), and they are drawn to face Ruxandra marin (BRA) and cecilia Quarracino (ARG) in R1 .. No results yet.
June 5 Note-1
The women's satellites started at Mumbai yesterday .. Top seeded 19 yr old Sonal Phadke struggled a bit in the first set against qualifier Deepa Chakravarti, but came back strongly to advance .. 2nd seed Archana advanced too, but 4th seed T.Yamini was upset by Samrita Shekar .. I was hoping to see 19 yr old Shruti Dhawan play this satellite, but once again she has skipped this one (perhaps due to studies) .. Oh well .. She is possibly the most talented youngster out there, but how do we even know, if she hardly ever plays? .. I was told that she may be in the entry list for some events in Europe soon - I will check on that .. Eight more R1 matches will be there tomorrow, including those of 3rd seed Sheetal Gautam etc .. See the Mumbai satellite page.
I am not sure when Rushmi and Sai will be in action again .. I have not seen the Galatina (Italy) challenger draw, to see if Niru by any chance went there - otherwise, she will be taking this week off .. Later, with news on Geeta Manohar in South Africa, etc ..
June 4 Note-3
OK, now we have both MB and LP in the quarterfinals of all the events they entered!!
In a match that just got done, [MxD R2] M.Bhupathi/ E.Likhovtseva d. M.Mirnyi/ M.Navratilova, 64 36 64 .. Our pair got the break in the 3rd game of the first set off Mirnyi's serve at 30-40 .. Then they faced double break points on Elena's serve in game 4, but held serve to go up to 3-1 .. Mahesh faced a deuce on his serve in the 6th game but he too held for a 4-2 lead .. Then they again broke Mirnyi in the next game to go up to 5-2, but gave one break back in the next game on Elena's serve .. At 5-4, Mahesh served off the set with no further hiccups .. In the second set, our pair were down 1-4 after dropping serve in the 4th game off MB's serve .. They got that one back, pushing Martina to triple break point and converting the first one itself in game 7 .. Once again, they couldn't keep it on serve though, as MB dropped serve at 15-40 in the next game .. They tried hard at 3-5 and fought off two set points from 40-0 on Mirnyi's serve but lost the set, 3-6 .. It went with serve in the 3rd set till the 6th game, when MB-EL had Martina down at 30-40 and forced the break to go up to 4-2 .. However, MB once again was down 30-40 and dropped serve in the next game to even it on serve at 4-3 .. A break-fest was on, as they went after Mirnyi in the next game, coming back from 40-0 to deuce and two AD out break chances .. Our guys converted the second to go up to 5-3 again .. After three breaks in a row, somebody had to hold serve .. But not so .. Despite having three match pts (at 40-30 and at two Ads in), Elena also dropped serve to make it even for all four of them and for a score of 5-4 on serve .. And now it was Martina's turn to face break points .. And for a 5th game in a row, there was a break of serve .. The Indo-Russian combo did not waste their 4th match point, the first one of the game at AD out, to finish it off .. It took a good 1 hour 40 minute for this match .. Here is the break sequence: [set1: MM broken in games 3 and 7; EL in game 8] .. [set2: MB broken in games 4 and 8; MN in game 7] .. [set3: MN broken in game 6 and 10, MM in game 8; MB in game 7, EL in game 9] ..
June 4 Note-2
It looks like the matches are moving fast today on court-2 .. Mahesh's match should be starting earlier than I expected .. It should be at around 5 pm there (8.30 pm India .. 11 am New York), plus/minus half an hour .. Come to the chat room then for ball-by-ball scores, courtesy FO site ..
Top seeds Bjorkman/Woodbridge, the virtually unbeatable team this year, demolished the 14th sees (and this year's #6 team) Knowles/ MacPhie, 61 64 today to reach the QF .. 11th seeds Michael Hill and Jeff Tarango (#9 team this year) took out the 8th seeds Eagle/ Florent, who are the #2 team this year today to reach the QF .. The dark-horse scratch combination this time, Clement and Escude, upset the second seeds (#5 ranked team) Nestor-Stolle yesterday in three sets in the PQF .. Other PQF upsets yesterday were of the 7th seeds Ferreira-Leach, by Kulti and Llodra, of the 6th seeds Prinosil-Mirnyi by the "upstart" team of the tournament, Cibulec and Friedl, and of course the upset of the 3rd seeds by LP-MB .. That means we are left with just one team from among the top 10 seeds in the quarterfinals - that is Bjorkman-Woodbridge, who are on a collision course towards the Indian Express in the semis, if all goes well.
June 4 Note-1
Mahesh and Likhovtseva will be playing their mixed doubles PQF today against Martina Navratilova and Max Mirnyi .. This is the last match on court-2, and should be starting at about 7 pm (10.30 pm India .. 1 pm New York), plus or minus an hour .. Ourchat session today will be during this match.
LP gets the day off today .. Coming after a quick 57-minute doubles match and a walkover in the mixed doubles yesterday, that is good rest time for Leander, who can recharge the batteries for the stretch run in doubles from Tuesday .. LP-Lisa will play Paola Suarez and Jaime Oncins in the MxD quarterfinals, probably also on Tuesday .. Suarez and Oncins upset the 4th seeds Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario and Jared Palmer in the PQF.
The next set of Indian satellites starts today in Mumbai, this time for women - 4 legs for $20K total, 5 WTA points maximum based solely on the final leg result, the entries for the final leg decided based on circuit points in the first 3 legs .. See the preview article in The Hindu .. I will add a page soon for results ..
.. Previous notes are at Notes for the week ending on June 4 ..
I am getting some enquiries 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 enquiring 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 enquiries from the coaches too .. Please email me - R.Jayakrishnan.