LP/MB/NV/Indian-Tennis: Notes for week ending on July 5, 1999
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CONGRATS LP, MB (and Lisa) !! - Wimbledon Titles !!
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July 5 Notes
I am overwhelmed with all kinds of emails and information and everything else about the Wimbledon win .. Will have lots of interesting stuff on the win in the next two days or so .. but right now - let's look forward .. LP is in the singles and doubles draw at Newport .. LP vs Nenad Zimjonic (YUG,266) in the first round .. He is drawn to face the winner of the match between #1 seed Wayne Ferreira (RSA) and Mose Navarra (ITA) .. In doubles, he is entered with Wayne Arthurs and they face Ketoa/Wassen first .. LP-WA are the top seeds .. I am not sure when LP will get to Newport, but they may need him there by Tuesday at least .. Stay tuned and I will update if LP makes any last minute change of plans, because of all kinds of hoopla going on following the Wimbledon win.
Got a note from Mahesh thanking the fan club and everybody else for the support .. He needs to take a couple of weeks off to heal the abdomen injury he has .. That's unfortunate, as he had a chance to play at the Bristol and Manchester challengers .. He may next play only at Stuttgart and will be joining LP in the US later on, I expect .. MB says he himself did not think they would be able to win Wimbledon ! .. He wants us all to keep the cheers up and they will go for a hattrick at the USO .. YEAH!
July 4 Note-4
Boy, can you believe this ?? .. Leander won the mixed doubles title too, in Lisa Raymond's company!! .. LP-LR d. (#3) J.Bjorkman/ A.Kournikova, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 .. The man played 18 sets of tennis over the weekend in SIX matches (25 sets in 8 matches over 3 days), and won all those matches to pull off a grand double out there. It's simply incredible what LP can do sometimes, when he gets into a zone .. Of course, it helps when you have somebody like Mahesh (and apparently Lisa too) with him to pull off all these stunts. .. I would for ever remember this as one of the most incredible shows of toughness in tennis .. And he will need even more of it next week, as he has a singles title to defend in Newport..
For now, go and get some sleep, Lee! ..
July 4 Note-3
I have no idea what kind of adrenaline rush LP is still on .. Truly in some sort of a zone, I am sure .. LP and Lisa Raymond just finished a 55 minutes semifinal match .. (#1) LP-LR d. (#4) M.KNowles/ E.Likhovtseva, 6-2, 6-4 .. Now he is the Mx-D final too .. Against (#3) Bjorkman/ Kournikova .. Not sure if they will play the final later .. The SF finished at 5.45 pm .. They would need to give LP some time to rest! .. Bjorkman/Kournikova moved to the final yesterday when McEnroe/ Graf gave a walkover due to a thigh problem for Graf (she lost today in the singles final to Davenport, and seemed still bothered a bit by the thigh) .. Sampras and Davenport completed an American singles sweep .. Agassi's serves just never got going today against Pete, who pulled out a surprising number of groundies against Agassi to go with the strong serves and net game .. Stay tuned for the Mx-D finals news.
I am still in shock at the way LP and MB kept going at this title .. Definitely a very focussed effort towards their goal of getting the best grand slam title there is !
July 4 Note-2
Talk about doing things in style !! .. We all kept saying grass was tough stuff for the Indian Express .. We said there were question marks .. How they had no grass titles .. Our champs decided to send all those doubts away with their first big grass title together .. Hey, what better place to do it at, than at Wimbledon ! .. And for the first time in 7 years, there is somebody other than a Dutch pair or an Aussie pair holding that doubles trophy in the grandest of all grand slams!
Paes-Bhupathi d. Paul Haarhuis (NED,3) and Jared Palmer (USA,28), 6-7(10), 6-3, 6-4, 7-6(4) !! ..
Here is how the match went .. The first set was a pretty even affair, with neither team being threatened much on their serves, except for two break chances that PH-JP couldn't convert .. In the tiebreaker, it continued, with PH-JP finally pulling it out at 12-10 .. Now that the first set was done and our pair got their feel for the match, they started playing that slight bit better, it would seem .. The Indian Express got their first two break chances in game 6 at 15-40, and converted the second to go up 3-2 .. PH-JP tried to get even quickly and forced a break point in the next game but our guys held and it was soon tied at a set apiece .. No big difference in the 3rd set either, with our pair not facing any break attempts, and getting the break in the 5th game on the second chance there .. Once they were up by two sets, LP-MB may have been smelling their first grass title, and weren't about to lose grip in the match in the 4th set .. Tthey were not threatened much in their serves, despite not hitting first serves anywhere near the percentage they would like, and throwing down a few too many double faults than they should .. PH-JP were not about to just give up either, as they did not give even a single point to LP-MB through their first three service games .. In game 7, LP-MB did manage to take them to three deuces, but failed to make use of the one break chance .. Then in the 12th game at 5-6, the Indian Express faced some serious pressure, going to a couple of deuces, but they held and it was tiebreaker .. LP-MB were up a minibreak at 3-1, then were tied at 3-3 and 4-4 before getting the final three points and all the glory that comes with it..
For the match, LP-MB had 55% of first serves in (72 for H/P), and converted 75% of good first serves (83 for H/P) and 65% of good second serves (54 for H/P) .. But our pair won a large number of second serve points (39 to 19) and this was a key stat in the match, along with the break conversion .. Our pair forced 5 break pts and converted 2, while H/P could not use the 3 chances they had .. 3 aces and 8 double faults by LP-MB (9 aces and 5 dfs by H/P) .. 138 total points for our guys, 131 for the others .. Looks like it was a 3rd match in a row that was very close in stats, but meandered along nicely enough for our guys - LP-MB normally do whatever it takes to win these matches in the end .. Great job, champs!
That gives the Indian Express 964 points (194 bonus), their second grand slam title in a row, a 12-0 grand slam win streak, and 186,420 pounds (roughly $325K ??) to share .. LP has gone 16-1 in the last 17 doubles matches (19-1 if you count Mx-D also) .. Now our pair is within a 100 points of that very rare 5000 points plateau, and are over 1200 or so points ahead of everybody else .. Actually only a couple of other guys are even above 3000 .. Incredible domination by two Indians - Among the very finest sportsmen India has ever produced! Congrats and Thanks, guys!!
July 4 Note-1
LP-MB are scheduled to play the final against Paul Haarhuis (NED) and Jared Palmer (USA) at 12 noon on Sunday at Wimbledon .. On court 1 (the women's final in singles will be on center courtat the same time) .. That is, as before, 4.00 am PST, USA and 4.30 pm India .. Our chatroom will be open during the match, as usual .. I don't think there will be any live TV coverage in the US ..
By the way, LP and Lisa Raymond have quietly reached the semifinals of mixed doubles .. Can you believe that LP was out there yesterday, after a gruelling five-setter in doubles, to play TWO MORE matches in mixed doubles ? .. LP-LR won both of them and are in the final .. Here are their wins so far - [R1] d. D.Roditi/ S.Jeyaseelen, 62 61 .. [R2] d. P.Vizner/ S.Testud, 63 64 .. [R3] d. P.Albano/ M.Bollegraf, 76(4) 62 .. [QF] d. B.Bryan/ L.McShea, 64 76(2) .. Pretty impressive stuff ! .. LP has played 5 matches in two days, and is scheduled to come back for the Mx-D doubles semi later today after the doubles final .. The other semi in Mx-D is a good one too - McEnroe/ Graf vs Woodbridge/ Davenport ..
Here is SK John's very detailed article on the semifinal win .. Here is SK John's Indian Express article on the new press reports on the "split rumors" .. He seems to have a pretty balanced view on it this time .. I don't know folks, I really think the Indian press is barking up all kinds of unnecessary trunks with this angle .. I have got some emails from fanclub folks asking if there is any truth to all this .. All I can say is that people need to look at professional sports as professional sports .. It may still be an alien concept for many in the Indian media though .. Why should we so constantly bother about whether LP smiles at MB ? .. Winning 11 grand slam matches in a row is not enough ? .. Now we want them to walk down to the pub and treat each other for a drink too ? .. Give me a break! .. Let us just enjoy their tennis, and wait for them to tell us they are splitting up - it is really childish and shows some sort of strange hero-worship to be constantly bothered about whether they are the best of buddies or whether they have become somewhat more of buddies than three weeks back, etc, etc, ad nauseum .. Leave them alone, please, and let us all just be a bit sensible ..
July 3 Note-2
Why is the Indian Express the best train in the world ? .. Here is why - in the match today, they won 170 points while their opponents won 175 .. After getting a break in the 4th attempt in the second set, our pair wasted 5 break chances in a row at various times .. Then they got that one chance, which was at the first match point .. Did you have a doubt on whether they would make it ?? .. That is why they are the champs !
Paes-Bhupathi d. Olivier Delaitre (FRA,6) and Fabrice Santoro (FRA,12), 2-6, 6-3, 7-6(5), 4-6, 7-5 .. First Wimbledon final .. YYYeeSSS !! .. They play Haarhuis/Palmer in the final .. Those two played a dandy too, against Knwoles/Nestor, winning 8-6 in the 5th set .. Haarhuis is of course the defending champ .. Final on Sunday.
Here is how the 3 hour 20 minutes match went - it was a close one all along .. After a poor first set for LP-MB, the match was pretty even with no big momentum swings either way .. Our dudes did not even have a break chance in the first set and D/S broke the Indian Express twice .. In the second set, LP-MB converted one of 4 break chances and D/S wasted three .. In the 3rd set, the only chance for LP-MB was in the first game when they had three more break chances which went unused .. Then it went with serve all the way to the tiebreaker where our guys were down 1-3 at first before getting a minibreak back to make it 3-3 and another at 6-5 to wrap up the set .. In the 4th, D/S got a break after 7 deuces and 5 break chances in game 5 .. Our guys tried to get it back quickly but were unable to convert 2 more break chances in game 5 .. Game 9 and 10 also went to deuces, but D/S held on to tie it up .. In the 5th set, the Indian Express faced two break attempts in game 3 but held .. Then it went in order till 6-5 when LP-MB took the Frenchmen to two deuces and did what was needed when it mattered most - got that second break of serve in the match in the first match point chance itself.
For the match, our guys got 68% of first serves in (D/S had 66) .. 73% of good first serves were converted to points (75 for D/S) .. 54% in second serves (51 for D/S) .. 2 of 10 break chances converted (3 of 12 for D/S) .. All very close numbers, but our pair found a way to win once again.
The win gives our dudes 698 total points (146 bonus, including 72 today) and over $150K to share .. They have now gone 16-1 in grand slam matches this year ..
In other matches, Jeremy Bates and Ramesh Krishnan are now in the 3rd set against Wally Masur and John Fitzgerals, down a break 1-3 .. Sampras is up 2 sets to 1 on Henman .. Agassi up 7-5, 7-6(4), 2-0 on Rafter .. Graf won in a comeback over Lucic after dropping the first set in a tiebreaker - still a very good resurrection show by Miki Lucic.
LP is supposed to get back later for the Mx-D thirs round .. I hope he just gives it a break and takes rest ! .. Everybody (except Lisa) would be happy with that .. :-)
July 3 Note-1
LP-MB play the semifinals today at 12 noon (4 am PST USA .. 4.30 pm India) .. Against the 5th seeded French pair, Fabrice Santoro and Olivier Delaitre .. It's a team that LP-MB have beaten in the past, but they have also looked very good lately .. Will be yet another good match .. As usual, our chatroom will be open during the match .. By the way, LP and Lisa Raymond did play a round of MxD and advanced to R3 .. LP is scheduled to play a round of Mx-D again on saturday .. I am not sure if he should continue punishing himself with those matches also (there were reports in the newspapers today that LP's back was troubling him during the doubles QF match ..).
Here is a very detailed SK John report in the Indian Express about the great QF comeback win yesterday .. There was also an article in The Hindu that also picked this time to rake up another "split" controversy .. All I can say is, bad timing and judgement by the newspaper .. I have a lot of thoughts on that, but I don't want to get into that .. Not after our pair had such a wonderful win yesterday and have gone 10 straight wins in grand slams to reach their first Wimbledon semi .. There is a time and place for everything! ..
July 2 Note-1
Holy Moly !! .. Will these two guys ever give up ? .. Something about Lareau and O'Brien brings out some of the best fighting qualities in the Indian Express .. These two teams played another barn-burner and once again our guys squeezed out a win with a huge come back, winning the final three sets ! ..
Paes-Bhupathi d. #9 Sebastien Lareau (CAN,19) - Alex O'Brien (USA,26), 3-6, 4-6, 7-6(5), 6-4, 6-4 !! .. I could not follow the match as closely as I normally do, as I am traveling with a less-than perfect internet connection .. Things were pretty bad after our chaps dropped the second set and were basically being outplayed .. Then our boys suddenly broke L/O early in the 3rd set to go up 4-2, only to be broken back again in the 7th game .. In the tiebreaker, things went back and forth, but LP-MB managed to stay alive winning it 7-5 .. Then it seemed like our guys started smelling some blood, as they were putting pressure on L/O in virtually every one of their service games - they still seemed to be wasting quite a few break chances (LP-MB were 3 of 10 in break conversions today, and about 4 of 17 in the whole match .. L/O were something like 4 of 9 in the match) .. LP-MB got the breaks in the 5th game of the 4th set and 7th game of the 5th set to finish off the match and advance to their 7th semifinal in the last 8 grand slams - quite an eniviable record ! ..
The win gives our boys a total of 409 points (including 74 bonus - 36 for today's win) .. Now they are so far ahead in points from everybody else, that it will be a quite a while before anyone can even hope to displace them from the top .. They play the semifinal against #5 Olivier Delaitre and Fabrice Santoro, the Frenchmen, who had an impressive win today over #4 seeds Stolle/Suk .. The semi will be tomorrow ..
LP is supposed to come back later today for mixed doubles too .. I am not sure what they are going to do with the Mx-D schedule, as LP has 5 rounds to play if he keeps winning in that (:-)) and there are only 2 days left after today! .. We will wait and see.
July 1 Notes
As I said I am travelling for a few days and so did not follow the details of the match today, but as of 5.30 pm in London, it's yet another rain delay, with our guys behind 3-6, 1-0 (on serve) to Lareau/O'Brien .. Not sure how much tennis will get done there today ..
June 30 Note-3
The LP-MB doubles quarterfinal against Lareau/O'Brien is at 12 noon Thursday (4 am PST, USA .. 4.30 pm India) .. Check the chatroom for fans following it ball-by-ball .. This will be a tough match, as have been every match between these two odl-rivals .. The Indian Express beat them at the Montreal Super 9 and New Haven Pilot Pen finals in 97, lost to them at Stuttgart Super 9 and beat them again in the Hartford semis .. In 98, Larea/O'Brien beat LP-MB at the Stuttgart Super 9 finals but our guys got revenge the next week at the Paris Super 9 .. This is the first match between these two teams in 1999 .. Will be another good one, but Mahesh's hamstring injury is putting a big cloud on how much our team will be able to do against a pair who have looked very good during the grass season so far ..
A small note - it was bad taste on my part to say below that Rafter gave Becker a "final goodbye thrashing" .. Much as I don't like Becker much I should give him the respect for being one of the best of all time .. Great player, and one who ruled Wimbledon center court for many many years .. Tennis world will miss you Boris! .. Apologies for a rather thoughtless and flip comment below! .. (of course I don't know Becker personally or anything - just know the events reported in Indian press from a couple of years back, incidentally the day before Lareau/OBrien beat our guys at Stuttgart, and it shattered a lot of things - Becker was an idol for many of us, and though it was probably a lot in the heat of the moment and I am told Becker later did apologize for what he said, I never could like him like I did before .. Becker is one who has brought joy to a lot of us tennis fans over the years, and he will be missed) .. I got an email from one who pointed out that I went a bit over-board in that comment, so I thought I should put in this bit - yes, I was.
June 30 Note-2
The doubles draw is all set for the quarterfinals .. take a look at this!
1-M.Bhupathi (IND)/ L.Paes (IND) vs 9-S.Lareau (CAN)/ A.O'Brien (USA) \ 4-W.Black (ZIM)/ S.Stolle (AUS) vs 5-O.Delaitre (FRA)/ F.Santoro (FRA) / \ 3-J.Bjorkman (SWE)/ P.Rafter (AUS) vs 6-M.Knowles (BAH)/ D.Nestor (CAN) \ / 2-T.Woodbridge(AUS)/ M.Woodforde(AUS) vs 8-P.Haarhuis (NED)/ J.Palmer (USA) /
I don't know if it can get any better than that ! .. Eight of the top 9 seeds are in the QFs .. #7 Ferreira/Leach are the only top-8 seed not making it to the QF .. The final one to reach QF were Bjorkman/Rafter who played a 5-stter against the "diaper dandies", Hewitt/Federer and had to come back winning the final 2 sets ..
The 5th match on court 2 got done only at 6.45 pm, and I don't think the MB-Ellwood vs Knowles/Likhovtseva match will be played today, but no indication of any walkovers or anything at the official Wimbledon site yet .. Stay tuned for final confirmation.
Vijay and And fought hard against the #2 seeds, Gottfried/Gullickson, but lost 3-6 6-4 9-11 .. Ramesh Krishnan's match also has not started as of 7.15 pm - perhaps that is also postponed.
June 30 Note-1
So far so good at Wimbledon today, as rain has been staying away, though it is an overcast day .. 4 more PQF matches are done in doubles and 6 of the top 9 seeds are now in the quarterfinals (6th seeds Knowles/Nestor and 3rd seeds Bjorkman/Rafter are starting their matches now) .. Bryan/Bryan lost 8-10 in the 5th set today to Sebastien Lareau (CAN) and Alex O'Brien, the QF opponents for LP-MB now .. Others to win today are the #2 seeds Woodies, #5 seeds Delaitre/Santoro, and the #8 seeds Haarhuis/Palmer .. As Knowles has just started the doubles match at 3 pm, I am not sure if he will be able to come back and play that mixed doubles match against MB-Ellwood after this match and the mandatory rest period, before play stops in the evening .. I have not received any confirmation on Mahesh to have withdrawn from mixed doubles yet, by the way.
Guess who is playing rightht now in the over-45 draw right now ? - that's rig, our beloved Amitrajs - Vijay and Anand .. They are playing the 2nd seeds Gottfried and Gullickson .. The defending champs in this seniors draw, Ramesh Krishnan and Jeremy Bates are scheduled to play their first match later in the evening too !
In other matches, Patrik Rafter gave that final goodbye thrashing to Boris Becker in three easy sets .. Philippoussis beat Rusedski, Sampras won over Nestor and Pioline moved past Kucera - all into QFs .. Henman keeping the British crowd very nervous now, at 5-5 in the 5th against Courier .. As for womens, Graf in a breeze over young Clijsters, Alexandra Stevenson, the new highschool phenom from US upset Lisa Raymond, resurgent Miki Lucic over Thailand's Tammi Tanasugarn and Venus over Kournikova .. Graf/Mac into 3rd round in Mx-D too.
June 29 Note-2
The Wimbledon schedule for wednesday is almost exactly what they had for Tuesday, as it was a complete rainout day .. Matches now start at 10 am to get some lost play time back .. Leander is not in the schedule and Mahesh is supposed to play the 6th match on court 2 (which shouldn't be before about 6 pm there, which is 10 am PST usa and 10.30 pm India) ..
However, there are reports that Mahesh may just pull out of the mixed doubles altogether anyway, to rest his hamstring injury picked up during the first set of the PQF doubles match on Monday .. Here is SK John's detailed report of the last doubles match for LP-MB in the Indian Express .. The hamstring injury explains why MB dropped serve a few times during the match - but Paes seems to have raised his game enough for the top seeds to grind out a confidence-boosting win .. Here is the article from The Hindu with some details on the match too .. An off day seems to have allowed the match reports from the correspondents to appear in the online editions, which have been routinely missing the reports as they have earlier press deadlines (I am assuming that the print versions have been carrying detailed stories on our pair's matches - otherwise the newspapers should investigate what all these good correspondents have been up to out there! :-)) ..
I will be travelling for the rest of the week, but should be able to update news at least by late evening at Wimbledon each day .. during any of the matches, just go to the chatroom and there should be people following the online score updates from the official Wimbledon site, http://www.wimbledon.org (either the scoreboard page or the java scoreboard)
Anand Radhakrishnan is at the Indonesia S3 satellites - he was the top seed in the qualies, and won two qualifier rounds, but lost in the 3rd round .. He is the first in line for a lucky loser entry to the main draw .. No news on the main draw yet to know if he made it in .. Nirupama, Manisha, Fazal, Srinath, etc are all taking time off from pro events this week ..
June 29 Note-2
It was another day of rain .. and rain .. and more rain .. Now there is some serious scheduling problems at Wimbledon, with just 5 more days available .. We will see how it goes - rain is nothing new there, and the schedule-makers have a lot of experience in handling these problems .. I still think they should have moved things along a bit faster during the sunny days and expected rain to appear without fail in the second week .. Apparently the weather forecast for the next couple of days is not too great either .. Anyway, no matches even started today and it's now an official rainout, as of 7 pm.
June 28 Note-3
Tuesday's schedule has only Mahesh playing mixed doubles second round .. This is not good news, as LP, if he keeps winning in mixed doubles also, is looking at 5 days of continuous rounds in that to go along with doubles (and he is supposed to get to Newport and start playing singles rightaway next week too) .. The Mx-D schedule seems to have been royally botched up by the good folks at Wimbledon if you ask me - they have finished just one round (actually, there still some first round matches to be done - one that has Wayne Arthurs and Olga Brabanchikova, a potential 3rd round opponents for LP-Lisa) .. With all the sunshine they had during the first week, they should have moved this along much farther along .. Anyway, Mahesh and Annabel Ellwood play the 4th seeds Mark Knowles (BAH) and Elena Likhovtseva (RUS) on a show court (court 2) tomorrow - the 5th match on that court; so it may not start till about 7.00 pm (11 am PST, USA .. 11.30 pm India) and could get moved to another court if things are delayed .. This will be a tough match .. Also, there was a reference in Nirmal Shekhar's article in Tuesday's The Hindu that MB was calling for the trainer during the first set today for attention to some hamstring trouble - let's hope it's not going to be a problem.
Today was a day full of rain trouble, as basically only one or two matches could be played on each court at Wimbledon, with at most one game being completed on any court .. The only doubles matches to be completed today were the LP-MB match and the PQF match between #4 seeds Black/Stolle and Cowan/Whitehouse which Black/Stolle won .. The QF opponenents for LP-MB are not yet determined, as they could not complate the 9th seeds Lareau/O'Brien's match against the Bryan twins, which remains at 7-6 in the 5th set with the Bryans serving (on serve) .. On the singles side, Agassi and Kuerten won .. Agassi finally ended the cinderella story of 28 yr old Australian, Wayne Arthurs, who won the first three rounds (and three qualifier rounds earlier) without dropping serve even once (he even had a 12-1 record in tiebreakers till Agassi took the second set today .. interestingly he had won 10 sets in a row, all going 7-5 or 7-6 !!) .. Agassi-Kuerten in the QF ..
June 28 Note-2
First-time quarterfinals at Wimbledon for our guys !! .. This was, as expected, a tough match, but the Indian Express kept on grinding it out and beat the 16th seeds despite dropping serve a few times and not looking fully in command in many of the service games .. Paes-Bhupathi d. Patrick Galbraith (USA,30) and Justin Gimelstob (USA,34), 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 in 2 hours 15 minutes .. The break sequence was, [set1: PG-JG broken in game 3] .. [set2: LP-MB broken in games 2 and 10; PG-JG broken in game 7] .. [set3: PG-JG broken in games 3 and 9; LP-MB broken in game 8] .. [set4: PG-JG broken in game 1 and 5; LP-MB broken in game 2] .. Our pair has earned 206 points (inlcuding 38 bonus) so far .. Their opponents in the QF are yet to be determined, as the Bryan twins have taken the 9th seeds Lareau/O'brien into the 5th set and it is 6-7 on serve right now (rain again there!) ..
June 28 Note-1
Since there was nothing going on for Indians in the last couple of days, I took a day off too .. Time to restart for the Wimbledon second week now - it starts rightaway for us, with Leander-Mahesh playing Galbraith-Gimelstob at 12 noon (4 am PST, usa .. 4.30 pm India) .. Come to the chatroom to follow the match ball-by-ball .. It gets interesting from now on .. Gimelstob-MacPhie was the team that knocked off LP-MB in the second round last year at Wimbledon in a close match .. LP-MB will have some revenge in mind, but this 16th seeded team looks pretty formidable with Gimelstob's hard serves and Galbraith touch and experience.
.. Previous notes are at Weekly Notes, ending June 28..