.. Fan Club .. Indian Tournament Results .. Indian-Tennis Chat ..
LP/MB/NV/Indian-Tennis: Notes for week ending on July 6, 1998
(Previous week's notes) (Next week's notes) (Daily Notes Index)
July 6 Note-3
The new rankings show Leander at #120 and Mahesh at #309 ..
Dr. B.Sharma from Tulsa, Oklahoma has kindly send some good news on Vikrant Chadha .. He has once again made it into the main draw through the qualifiers (for the 4th week in a row) at a futures tournament - this time at Tulsa .. There were 3 rounds. He defeated Thomas Kao 6-3, 6-1in round 2 and a South African, Shaun Smith, 6-4, 7-6 in the 3rd round. Apparently Amod Wakalkar was also there in the qualifier draw, but he seems to have lost in the second round .. Will keep you posted as I hear again from Dr. Sharma (thanks !) ..
Syed Fazaluddin has moved up a few spots to #673 in the latest rankings, with 1 point from the Tallahassee Futures a few weeks back .. He has 4 more points from the two canada Futures yet to show up in the computer, which should soon move him up to around #630 .. Ed Toombs sent the score for his loss in the quarterfinal Friday evening at the Quebec Futures to Jonathan Pastel - 3-6, 6-3, 3-6 .. Fazal may have left for Greece, but it is doubtful if he would have reached there early enough to play the futures there, this week ..
Nirupama Vaidyanathan is ranked #166 in singles and #192 in doubles this week. Still not sure if she played at the Obertello challenger in Italy last week, as WTA has not entered the results from there into the computer .. She may have just been taking some time off.
July 6 Note-2
Mahesh has jumped over the Woodies in the individual doubles rankings to a career high #3 !!.. actually the Woodies jumped back behind him, as they couldn't defend their title .. The Flying Dutchmen finally got their first Wimbledon title beating Woodies, the 5-time reigning champs, in a 4 hour marathon, 2-6, 6-4, 7-6(3), 5-7 and 10-8 on Saturday .. Eltingh is having one of the best years anybody has ever had, amassing an incredible 5500+ points, and running for a doubles grand slam with titles at AO (with Bjorkman), FO and Wimbledon (both with Haarhuis) .. Leander moved one spot down, but is very close behind the 3 thru 6 spots .. Here are the rankings: 1. Jacco Eltingh 5525, 2. Paul Haarhuis 4451, 3. Mahesh Bhupathi 3829, 4. Jonas Bjorkman 3823, 5. Mark Woodforde 3823, 6. Todd Woodbridge 3821, 7. Leander Paes 3783, 8. Ellis Ferreira 3121, 9. Rick Leach 2935, 10. Patrick Rafter 2552 .. The team ranking remains at #3, but LP-MB are about 400 behind the Woodies and 1100 behind the Dutchmen .. Here it is: 1. Eltingh/P.Haarhuis 3197, 2. T.Woodbridge/M.Woodforde 2765, 3. M. Bhupathi/L. Paes 2118, 4. E. Ferreira/R. Leach 1937, 5. D. Johnson/F. Montana 1580 ..
The complete singles rankings have not been posted by ATP but LP should remain at about the same ranking around #123 and MB should move up a few spots closer to #300 with a couople of extra points from the qualifiers at Wimbledon. LP has 66 points to defend this week, and so it is important for him to do well at Newport .. MB has 8 points to defend this week from the Granby challenger last year, but won't have a chance to do that, which means he will unfortunately drop even more spots next week, bascially because of not getting a chance to play singles.
July 6 Note-1
The update is a little late today .. was fixing my home computer which suddenly showed corrupted registries (horror) late last week .. I feel like a big computer guru now, after manually editing and correcting the Win 95 registry !! .. The machine started breathing again at 3 am last night, and I am back now ! ..
Leander is at Newport for the Hall of Fame tournament on grass. He does not have the easiest part of the draw, but he has done well the last two years there, reaching consecutive semis, upsetting a few seeds. Hope he repeats it. Here is the bottom half of the draw:
6-Scott Draper (AUS) vs Oscar Burrieza (ESP) \ Leander Peas (IND) vs David Dilucia (USA) / \ Rainer Schuttler (GER) vs Tommy Ho (USA) \ / \ 4-Sargis Sargsian (ARM) vs Daniel Nestor (CAN) / \ 8-Grant Stafford (RSA) vs Q-Steven Randjelovic (AUS) \ / Q-Mark Knowles (BAH) vs Q-Eyal Erlich (ISR) / \ / WC-Laurence Tieleman (ITA) vs Kevin Ullyett (RSA) \ / 2-Mark Woodforde (AUS) vs Stephane Simian (FRA) /
In doubles, Leander is playing with a good friend of his (and MB's), Peter Tramacchi of Australia; they are seeded #3. Here is the draw, which is pretty strong for a $250K tournament, with two very good teams, Knowles/Nestor and Lareau/O'Brien .. It's been a while since L and O played together .. This is their first tournament together, since they split up after the loss to LP/MB at the Hartford semis ..
1-S.Lareau(CAN)/ A.O'Brien(USA) vs M.Arnold(USA)/ J.Blake(USA) \ E.Erlich(ISR)/ B.Martinez(MEX) vs P.Kilderry(AUS)/ K.Kinnear(USA) / \ 4-N.Godwin(RSA)/ K.Ullyett(RSA) vs E.Taino(USA)/ M.Wakefield(USA) \ / \ S.Draper/ J.Stoltenberg(AUS) vs T.Gevorkian(ARM)/ S.Sargsian(ARM) / \ D.Nainkin(RSA)/ J.Thomas(USA) vs D.Dilucia(USA)/ M.Sell(USA) \ / 3-L.Paes(IND)/ P.Tramacchi(AUS) vs Qualifier/ Qualifier / \ / D.Flach(USA)/ S.Stolle(AUS) vs S.Pescosolido(ITA)/ G.vanEmburgh \ / 2-M.Knowles(BAH)/ D.Nestor(CAN) vs A.Painter(AUS)/ G.Silcock(AUS) /
Leander is not scheduled to play today, and so he plays Dilucia (USA, close to #300) tomorrow ..
Now, for Mahesh .. Poor guy keeps winning in doubles, and keeps paying for it by missing the next week's singles. He wanted to play a challenger (probably at Bristol), but the folks up there just told me that they were disappointed that he couldn't make it up there for the qualies over the weekend (hey, give the guy a wildcard if you care that much ! ) .. The bad thing is that there are 3 other challengers this week and he would have made it in somewhere. Anyway, it looks like a rest week for him.
More news soon, with the news rankings etc ..
July 5 Note-2
There were over 600 matches played at Wimbledon this year, and the final serve of the tournament was from Mahesh Bhupathi a few minutes back .. alas, that was a double fault, but he has once again done us all proud by keeping us glued to Wimbledon for over two weeks, starting with the heroics in the qualifiers, then the near-upset of the 4th seed Moya in 5 sets, and then the trip all the way to the mixed doubles final with someone he has never played with, Mirjana Lucic .. The gates are closed, the trophies have been given, and the big show is over ..
MB-ML lost today, 4-6, 4-6 to Belarus' Max Mirnyi and USA's Serena Williams .. The match took an hour and 15 minutes .. The first set went with serve, even though MB-ML had a couple of break points off Serena's serves .. Both MB and Lucic were also having some troubles in service, with a few deuces off their serves, and MB finally dropped serve in the 10th game, losing the set 4-6 .. In the second set, they had Serena on the ropes in the 3rd game, and got the break in the 3rd chance there.. Then Miki was serving at 40-0, and still somehow managed to give the break back right away, to tie it up at 2-2 .. One could see right there that it was slipping away, and Mahesh was broken in the game 10 again. He went up 30-15, and then fought off a match point at 30-40, had a deuce, and another saved match point .. Then Serena came up with a beautiful passing shot off a ball that "nobody knows how she got to", as the radio commentary said. It was match point once again, and this time Mahesh served the double fault .. Congrats to Max Mirnyi and Serena Williams for doing this in their very first doubles tournament together.
To recap some records for MB: In the last 12 grand slam doubles draws he has entered, he has gone to semifinal or better an incredible 6 times ! .. 3 semis with LP, 1 semi with Caroline Vis, a final with Lucic and a title with Hiraki .. all in 13 months ! .. Impressive.
Back to the ATP tour: Leander should be in Newport, Rhode Island, by now for the Hall of Fame tournament that starts tomorrow. He is in the main draw, and the draws will be out soon.. Syed Fazaluddin lose in the quarterfinal of the Quebec Futures on Friday, to Jonathan Pastel .. Fazal should still move a up a little bit in the ATP rankings soon, after these points go into the computer, to around 650 or higher..
July 5 Note-1
Max Mirnyi and Serena Williams will be facing Bhupathi/Lucic in the finals this evening .. Earlier today, they beat Paul Haarhuis and Caroline Vis, the second seeds, 6-4, 4-6, 7-5 .. They are taking some rest right now, during the finals of the senior ladies doubles on court 1 .. As soon as it gets done, they should have the mixed doubles finals starting (around 6.30 pm there .. 1.30 pm EST, 10.30 PST, in the USA and 11pm India).
July 4 Note-1
Today is the US Independence day, and HeshMiki made sure that the Americans would get all the time to go celebrate the day rather than worry about a final tomorrow .. Set them free from their 16-match win streak !! .. Upset, baybee.. 6-4, 7-5, Mahesh/Mirjana beat Gimelstob and Venus Williams .. No mixed doubles grand slam for JG/VW this year ..
HeshMiki jumped all over Gimelstob in the very first game and broke him, and Mahesh held serve to go up 2-0 .. Then they had two more break chances on Venus' serve in game 3, but couldn't convert .. To make it worse, Miki dropped serve the next game to tie it up at 2-2 .. Then they went after Venus again in the 7th game and broke her to go up 4-3 .. In the next game, Miki was down 0-30 but fired 4 points in a row to hold serve, and soon the set was over at 6-4, in 37 minutes .. They again had some chances off Venus' serve in game 3 of the second set, but couldn't pull it off.. Then, inexplicably, Mahesh, who had been having easy service games, suddenly dropped serve at 0-40 in game 6 and our pair was down 2-4. But it was once again Venus' serve .. No problem, they broke Venus once more, and we were on serve again .. Gimelstob seemed to be holding serve easily, so they had to wait for the next one from Venus. That was the 11th game, when they jumped on her yet again for 40-0 .. break, and it was 6-5, with Miki serving. She was up 40-0, then gave up a couple of match points, but wrapped it up .. The match took an hour and 25 minutes with the second set taking 45 minutes.
Their opponents in the finals are yet to be determined .. That match will be played only after a rest for Haarhuis after his men's doubles final .. Haarhuis/Vis play Mirnyi/Serena-Williams later today ..
July 3 Note-2
Good news and bad news today .. Bad news is that LP and Larisa Neiland lost to the American Dynamoes, Justin Gimelstob and Venus Williams, 3-6, 4-6 .. Basically, LP got broken in the 6th game of the first set, and once again in the 5th game of the second set (that time after leading 40-15, and then fighting off a couple of breakpoints at deuce) .. Well.. JG/VW have now won 16 matches in a row starting from Australian, French, and now Wimbly ..
Now, good news: HeshMiki won (that is the new name the fanclub has given to the team, using the nicknames the two go by) !! .. Mahesh and Mirjana beat Kerry-Anne Guse and Wayne Arthurs, 7-6(2), 3-6, 6-3 .. This is the second mixed doubles semifinal for Mahesh, after the Australian Open .. The first set was fully under MB/ML's control, it seemed, though they wasted 6 break points in various games and it went with serve to the tiebreaker .. Here, they again came through with no trouble, at 7-2 .. Late in the second set, Miki started having trouble on her serve, and dropped serve in the 8th game, and it was all tied up at 7-6, 3-6 .. Then in the 3rd set, they broke Kerry-Anne in the 4th game, only to see Lucic dropping serve again in the 7th game .. They came back immediately, breaking Kerry-Anne again, in the 8th game.. Then it was off to MB to serve it off.. it got a bit interesting with a deuce in the final game but MB came through for the win .. They now face Gimelstob/V.Williams in the semifinal tomorrow .. That is gonna be a barn-burner with 4 big servers going after each other .. It will be a big upset though, if they can end the Americans' 16 match win streak
More good news: Syed Fazaluddin did win yesterday, 7-5, 7-5, over Simon Larose (#755, canada) to reach the quarterfinal at the Quebec Futures, and gain 3 points .. Ed Toombs had said he had won, but Tenniscanada's results sheet said he lost .. I know I should have just trusted Ed .. They have corrected the score, and Syed is in the QF .. he faces a qualifier, Jonathan Pastel (22 yr old, #1369 in ranking, 34th in the Canadian rankings) .. Sounds like a beatable opponent, but Jonathan did upset the 6th seed Jocelyn Robichaud in the first round, and one never knows ! .. This is the first quarterfinal for Fazal since the Chandigarh Futures title in January, though he has only played 5 tournaments since then, getting to the final-16 in all but one among them .. The QF match is today at 6 pm .. Thanks Ed for the great news!
Back to bad news: Ramesh Krishnan and Jeremy Bates lost today to Gene Mayer and Tim Wilkison, 2-6, 6-2, 3-6 ..
July 3 Note-1
LP's and MB's mixed doubles matches are both the 3rd matches, on court 1 and court 2, respectively today. Both courts have a 3-set womens' doubles and a 5-set men's doubles match scheduled before that, starting from 1 pm, so we should expect both our guys' matches to start at about 5 pm today (12pm EST, 9am PST, 9.30 pm India) .. Incidentally, Ramesh Krishnan and Jeremy Bates won their 3rd round-robin match today, and are in the semifinals tomorrow ..
I have received two conflicting reports so far about Fazal at the Canada futures. They played the 2nd round match only Thursday, after rain on Wednesday, and 7-5, 7-5 is the score .. I am unsure if Fazal beat Simon Larose or if he lost .. Awaiting a 3rd report now .. :-)
July 2 Note-2
Leander and Mahesh are getting closer to a semifinal encounter in the mixed doubles, but both need one more win in tough quarterfinals .. LP and Larisa Neiland had their 3rd straight sets win today, over Neville Godwin and Seda Noorlander, 6-3, 6-4 .. IN the first set, they got the break in the 8th game, and LP served it out. The second set was a bit tougher. They got a break in the 3rd game, but Larisa dropped her serve immediately and it was 2-2 .. Then they got a second break in the 7th game to go up 4-3 and then cruise to a 6-3, 6-4 win.. The match took exactly an hour .. Their quarterfinal opponents will be the tough Gimelstob/V.Williams pair, who also had a straight sets win today .. Vijay and Anand Amritraj lost their 3rd match today, 3-6, 3-6 .. MB/ML's QF opponents will be Wayne Arthurs and Kerry-Anne Guse .. You might remember that MB and Caroline Vis had beaten Kerry-Anne Guse and Wayne Arthur's doubles partner, Andrew Kratzmann, in the QF at the Asutralian Open .. Let's do a repeat on Kerry-Anne ..
July 2 Note-1
Mahesh and Mirjana seem to be clicking so far .. They reached the quarterfinals by beating Don Johnson and Sonya Jeyaseelen, 7-6(1), 6-3, in the 3rd round just now .. Once again they started with a very even first set with no breaks. It went to a tiebreaker and they broke J/J quickly to go up a minibreak at 2-1 .. They won 6 points in a row to take care of the tiebreaker at 7-1 .. In the second set, they got breaks in games 3 and 5 to go up 5-1, but then got broken back. J/J held serve to pull up to 3-5, still behind by a break. In the next game MB/ML decided not to wate anymore time and broke them again to win the match. I find it a good sign that they have been able to bring up the level of their game midway through the match and get on a roll, as they have done in their matches so far .. Their next round opponent is yet to be determined.
Gimelstob/MacPhie lost to Black/Lareau in the quarterfinals ..
LP/LN is waiting right now for the Eltingh/Haarhuis match to get done on court 1 (the men's doubles matches are 5-setters from QF onwards .. I forgot that when I estimated the start times yesterday) .. LP/LN should be starting their match by about 3.45 pm there (10.45am EST, 7.45 PST, 8.15pm India)
July 1 Note-3
Now that the MX-D field has shrunk to 16 from 64, here is the final draw:
1-Leander Paes(IND)/ Larisa Neiland(LAT) vs Neville Godwin(RSA)/ Seda Noorlander(NED) \ Andrei Olhovskiy(RUS)/ Olga Lugina(UKR) vs Justin Gimelstob(USA)/ Venus Williams(USA) / \ Wayne Arthurs(AUS)/ Kerry-Anne Guse(AUS) vs Wayne Black(ZIM)/ Cara Black(ZIM) \ / \ 5-Mahesh Bhupathi(IND)/ Mirjana Lucic(CRO) vs Donald Johnson(USA)/ Sonya Jeyaseelan(CAN) / \ 10-D.Macpherson(AUS)/ Rachel McQuillan(AUS) vs Sandon Stolle(AUS)/ Kristine Kunce(AUS) \ / 4-Daniel Nestor(CAN)/ Nathalie Tauziat(FRA) vs Max Mirnyi(BLR)/ Serena Williams(USA) / \ / Robbie Koenig(RSA)/ Nicole Pratt(AUS) vs Jeff Tarango(USA)/ Elena Likhovtseva(RUS) \ / 2-Paul Haarhuis(NED)/ Caroline Vis(NED) vs Jack Waite(USA)/ Kimberly Po(USA) /
Only LP/LN and MB/ML remain among the 8 seeds in the upper half; as the other 6 all lost in the first round. We should consider Gimelstob/Venus and Wayne/Cara Black as teams better than most seeds, though. LP/LN are scheduled to play the 2nd match on court 2 tomorrow, starting at about 2.30 pm (9.30 am EST, 6.30 PST, usa, 7pm India) .. MB/ML are scheduled to play the second match on court 10 where play starts 2 hours earlier .. so the match start should be at about 12.30 to 1 pm (8am EST, 5 PST, 5.30 pm India).
The defending seniors (35 and over) doubles champs, Ramesh Krishnan and Jeremy Bates have started off well this year too, winning their first 2 round-robin matches. There are 16 teams in that age category, divided into 4 round-robin groups. They play each other within the groups for three days and then I assume the group leaders advance to the semifinals. Scores so far: Tuesday: Jeremy Bates/ Ramesh Krishnan d. Peter McNamara/ Paul McNamee 6-2, 6-4; Anders Jarryd/ Joakim Nystrom d. Anand Amritraj/ Vijay Amritraj 6-1, 6-3 .. Wednesday: Jeremy Bates/ Ramesh Krishnan d. Ken Flach/ Robert Seguso 6-4, 7-6(8); John Fitzgerald/ Wally Masur d. Anand Amritraj/ Vijay Amritraj 4-6, 7-6(7), 6-0 .. Schedule for Thursday: Jeremy Bates/ Ramesh Krishnan vs Heinz Gunthardt/ Balazs Taroczy; Gene Mayer/ Tim Wilkison vs Anand Amritraj/ Vijay Amritraj .. Ramesh and the Amritrajs are in two different groups, but basically Ramesh/Bates have pretty much advanced to the next round with 2 wins, and the Amritrajs are basically out, with 2 losses ..
Our fanclub member in Texas, Ajay Verma, has kindly sent info on Vikrant Chadha, who is indeed at the USA Futures at College Station,TX. Bad news, though. Vikrant was injured during practice three days back (pulled thigh muscle). He still made it in as a lucky loser for the 3rd straight week in a row (!), only to lose in the first round here to 14th seed Lee Pearson of Australia, yesterday .. He was behind 1-6, 0-1 when he retired as his injury was really bothering him. Ajay watched him play a doubles first round match today, which he lost in straight sets too. He was struggling to get his first serves in, due to possibly the injury, but was doing a good job with his spinning second serves. Ajay did like some of what he saw from Vikrant in patches, especially his returns. Thanks Ajay !
Still awaiting news on Fazal's R2 match at Quebec, Canada today ..
July 1 Note-2
Both LP and MB have advanced to the 3rd round of mixed doubles at Wimbledon .. LP and Larisa Neiland had the easier match, taking out Florence Labat and Maurice Ruah, 6-1, 6-4 .. LP/LN were up 3-0 in a hurry with a break in game 2, went up 5-1 with a break in game 6, and held serve to win the first set 6-1 .. In the second set, they again jumped on their opponents for a break in the first game, coasting thereafter to a 6-1, 6-4 win in about 50 minutes .. They now face Neville Godwin and Seda Noorlander in the 3rd round (pre-QF), probably tomorrow.
Mahesh and Mirjana Lucic had an even fight in the first set, with neither side coming close to any breaks .. In the tiebreaker, they found themselves down a minibreak at 1-4 and then at 3-5, before cranking it up and winning 5 of the next 6 points to wrap it up at 8-6 .. In the second set, MB and Lucic seemed to get into a nice stride, taking Braasch and Schnyder to deuces in games 5 and 7 though not getting the breaks, but serving out their own games with relative ease. In game 11, they finally got the timely break and then Lucic served it out for the match .. Final score: 7-6(6), 7-5 .. They next face Donald Johnson (USA) and Sonya Jeyaseelen (Canada) .. Sonya's dad, incidentally, is from Puttalam, SriLanka, but she grew up in Canada and is a very talented young player on the women's tour. Johnson is of the Johnson/ Montana fame, of course..
No news on Nirupama Vaidyanathan for a while. There are a couple of challengers this week where I thought she could play. She is not at the $25K challenger in Germany, but I have not got through to the $25K challenger in Italy yet, to check up..
July 1 Note-1
Florence Labat just completed a long 3-setter in women's doubles at 1.30 pm, and so Leander's mixed doubles match should be starting at about 3.30 pm there .. Siemerink/Ivanisevik match started on court 2 at 1.15 pm, which means Mahesh/Mirjana will come out there only after about 3.30 pm for their match. In mixed doubles, a lot of seeds have fallen in the first round and our guys' teams are the only 2 seeded teams to win round 1 among 7 (one team, #15 seed, yet to play) in the top half of the draw !! .. On MB's quarter of the draw, the 3rd seeds Leach/Bollegraf have fallen in R1, and MB/ML are the highest seed remaining. On LP's quarter of the draw, the 7th seeds Suk/Sukova lost, but the unseeded team that beat them is perhaps the team that should rightfully be a top-4 seed, Justin Gimelstob and Venus Williams. Those two are the mixed doubles champions at the Asutralian and the French, and are looking for an MX-D grandslam ! .. Both are seeded below the 50s in their ATP and WTA doubles ranks, but as a team they are deadly .. This highlights the meaningless nature of seeding in mixed doubles, but there is really no other objective measure available, other than to take the sum of their individual doubles ranks .. There isn't another team out there who have a higher sum-speed of serve, and it is the only team that has both servers capable of hitting 200 mph ! .. Anyway, if Paes/Neiland win two more matches, LP can look towards a huge revenge match against Gimelstob .. Speaking of Gimelstob, he and MacPhie continued their upset-streak, following up their win over LP/MB with a win over the 14th seeds, Broad/Norval, 6-3, 7-6(9) a few minutes back to reach their second grandslam quarterfinal of the year. All of a sudden, USA has a pretty good doubles team, and apparently the US Davis Cup captain, Tom Gullickson, walked in during the second set of their match yesterday and gave Justin and Brian a big boost in spirit (not that MacPhie would be considered in a 4-man team .. Gimelstob could be).
June 30 Note-4
LP and MB, both play mixed doubles tomorrow at the BigW. Paes-Neiland play Maurice Ruah (Venezuela) and Florence Labat (Argentina). This is the 3rd match on court 4 and should be starting by about 2 pm (9 am EST, 6 PST, usa; 6.30 pm India) .. Bhupathi-Lucic play Karsten Braasch (Germany) and Patty Schnyder (Switzerland), scheduled as the 3rd match on Court 2 starting at about 3 pm there. By the way, I am sure all of you know about 16-yr old Lucic and her exploits since she exploded into the scene last year. In case you need to know everything about Lucic, here is an excellent page, "Poseidon - Mirjana Lucic" by Prip and Mark .. As they say, Mirjana is not that comfortable on grass, and perhaps that is true for Mahesh too, but both have the talent needed to pull it off .. Something tells me that this is a very primising pair, though. In cidentally, Leander, Mahesh, Mirjana and Larisa are all out in singles, and neither Mirjana nor Larisa chose to enter the women's doubles draw. Now that LP-MB are out from men's doubles, they can all focus on just the mixed doubles. Do come into the chatroom tomorrow and let us cheer our guys in the mixed doubles (and drown our sorrows about the doubles loss!).
Now, for some good news ! .. Syed Fazaluddin pulled the biggest upset in the first round at the $10K Canada F3 Futures at Boucherville, Québec, beating the 3rd seed and ATP #356, Tetsuya Chaen of Japan, 7-6(2), 6-2 !! .. This is a 32-draw tournament and he gets another point for the win here. He now faces Simon Larose (#755, Canada) in the second round tomorrow .. The other seeded player in Fazal's quarter of the draw is the talented Jocelyn Robichaud (6th seed) of Canada (Thanks go to Ed Toombs and Dhruv Kak for information) .. Then I got an email from Fazal himself - I never know when he can get computer access to send me one - and he is trying to get all his visas taken care of before heading out to Europe where he may play the Greece F6 and F7 the next two weeks before going to Britain for the satellites .. Incidentally, Fazal agrees with my comments below (June 28 Note-1) on how the new emphasis on international tournaments in India is a good idea. Nice to hear from him and best of luck to him tomorrow. We will wait for our friends Ed and Dhruv to let us know the results when they find out .. No news yet from College Station, Texas, on whether Vikrant Chadha is there, but we have a fanclub member down there trying to find out .. How the heck are they playing this Futures down in Texas in the sweltering heat right now ?? ..
Back to bad news again .. Vijay Kannan lost his first round junior singles match at Wimbledon to Bob Borella, 6-1, 6-4 ..
June 30 Note-3
Here are some exceprts from what S. Kannan of Hindustan Times wrote about the Bhupathi-Paes loss today:
Gimelstob is a typical American player, all power and big serves, and MacPhie does not have the quickest pair of hands at the net. The only advantage is, being a left-hander, MacPhie could naturally get the ball to swerve away when he served from the left court ... But returning well was the key against the Americans which did not happen. Somehow, the adrenalin was just not flowing for the Indians. The chest-bumps and high-fives were not to be seen and even coaches Bob Carmichael and Enrico Piperno were a bit suprised by that. Every pair can have an off-day, but to not goad each other was quite perplexing ... In patches, one got to see Mahesh go for the huge backhand down-the-line swings and Leander jump at the net as they strove hard for the crucial break in the second set. It remained elsuive, as Gimelstob served big. He has an exaggerated wide stance when he cranks up to belt the serve. But when he makes contact with the ball, you can see he is generating awesome power. To break that would have meant extraordinary returns, which never flowed from Leander and Mahesh's racquets ... It is always a distinct advantage to have a right-left pair in doubles and the Indians never seemed to be testing them or forcing them into errors. In the fifth game of the third set, when Mahesh struggled with the first deliveries, there was tension writ over all the Indian faces. Finally, Leander netted a forehand volley for Gimelstob and MacPhie to go up 3-2. Yet, 'The Indian Express' had a big chance to get even when MacPhie was serving at 3-5. He faced four break-points, but each time the Indians failed to cash in on it. The steam was just not building up, as they usually never refuse to accept such gifts ... Finally, the tall Gimelstob smashed the ball after the fourth deuce to keep the Americans on course. Mahesh held serve at love in the next game, but it was of no avail. Dejection showed on the faces of Leander and Mahesh, who walked out with long faces and did not talk to anyone ... Naresh Kumar, the former Davis Cup captain, said the Indians were shaping up well. "This loss should not take anything away from them. The way they are playing, there is a lot in store for them," he said ... Yet, after three semi-finals in three Grand Slam events, this performance was like flat beer. The next big challenge is the US Open.
Here are the excerpts from Nirmal Shekhar of The Hindu:
The two Indian Davis Cup stars have always acknowledged the fact that grass was the least likely surface on which they might find their first Grand Slam success together. The tricky bounce blunts one of Bhupathi's big weapons - his return of serves - and generally the two men have seldom done much on grass outside the Davis Cup stage at home. But, today, surprisingly enough, the Indians lost despite playing one of their better matches on grass. If they did not do anything outrageously brilliant, then they played close to their potential and were beaten by an inspired pair of Americans who served and returned wonderfully well and proved just that big hungrier and more resourceful tactically ... The fact that one member of the American team - Macphie - is a left-hander makes the job that much more difficult for the opposition. And the American pair didn't give an inch today after Gimelstob lost his opening service game ... It was a very, very close match which swung on just a few points - two or three really - and the Indians had a few half-chances to get back into it late in the third set but failed to do so ... Both Gimelstob and Macphie started hitting their returns that much harder and this was the key to their success as they ran up a 5-1 lead in the tiebreak before Paes double faulted to help the Americans draw level ... Bhupathi had to dig deep and stave off three breakpoints in a row to hold to 1-0 in the decider but the Americans found the break they were looking for the next time Bhupathi served. From the Indians's point of view, the match was won and lost in this game and the one that followed ... Looking adversity in the face and rising to the occasion, Paes and Bhupathi pushed Macphie to 15-40 on serve in the eighth game. But the best chance they had of breaking back came on the point that followed on Macphie's second serve. But Paes' forehand return was rather too ambitious. From there, Macphie hit three superb first serves, all on breakpoints - the Indians had two more in that game, a total of four - and the match was as good as over when he held to 5-3 ... Bob Carmichael and Enrico Piperno, coaches of Paes and Bhupathi respectively, were left cursing their luck. ``The half chance here and another there, they didn't take it,'' said Carmichael. That's the way the cookie crumbles on grass, especially in doubles play ..
So, it looks a like a mixture of everything that caused the defeat today .. A spirirted game by the Americans, a problem in dealing with some big serves, an inability to keep the spirirt going throughout the match other than when they fell behind, and some chancy shots from LP not making it (can never complain about that .. You sometimes take chances and you sometimes don't win it) etc, etc .. Basically the Indian Express may have been less that ready once things were not going perfectly. But that does happen and it is not easy to be ready day in and day out .. They went through a patch like this, at about the same time last year too, before cranking it up and going through another hot streak. They will.. again !
June 30 Note-2
LP/MB lost just now, 6-4, 6-7(4), 4-6 .. LP-MB started well, breaking Gimelstob/MacPhie rightaway in the second game .. From then on, it was a pretty even match through the end of the second set, with no breaks .. In the second set tiebreaker, our guys fell behind quickly by two minibreaks at 1-5, got a minibreak back to get up to 4-6, but then it was over .. Both LP and MB seemed to have big problems at the beginning of the 3rd set in holding serve. MB was taken to a deuce in the first game, and then LP was down 15-40 in the 3rd game, but both times they managed to fight it off. Then MB was quickly down 15-40 in game 5, and JG/BM finally got their break .. LP-MB seemed to make a late fightback, going up 40-30 in game 8, and taking it to 2 or 3 deuces, but JG/BM prevailed for a 5-3 lead. MB then fired a love-game, but it was too little too late, with JG/BM serving off the final game ..
This means they still have some learning to do on grasscourts .. I have always maintained here that grass is a surface where they are unproven, and it continues to be the case .. It is rather strange, as LP is a great grasscourt player and MB, despite what we expect, has done pretty well on grass too .. Gimelstob/MacPhie are no pushovers though .. They reached the Australian Open QF, and now they have got their biggest win yet. Congrats go to them for going after the #3 team in the world. Ranking-wise, this is one of the worse losses LP-MB have had in over a year, however ..
Pretty depressing ! ..but we will get over it ..
June 30 Note-1
Update on Indian players: Vikrant Chadha (#1378) was at the USA F6 Futures at Waco, Texas, last week. Once again, as he did at Lafayatte the week before, he entered the main draw as a luckyloser, won the first round and then lost in the second round to a seeded player. In the first round he beat Jaco Vd Westhuizen (#1126), 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 .. In round 2, he lost to the 10th seed, Peter Clarke (#563), 5-7, 1-6 .. Vikrant played doubles with Patric Staalbark, won the first round over Peter Clarke/David Vereker 6-7(6), 6-4, 7-5, and then lost to one of the best upcoming US doubles combinations and the eventual winners at Waco, the Bryan twins, Bob and Mike, 2-6, 0-6 .. By the way, Vikrant and Amod Wakalkar had played doubles at Lafayette last week, but lost in the first round .. This week, I expect Vikrant to have gone a few miles east of Waco to College Station, Texas, for the USA F7 Futures. Nitin Kirtane was at the USA Futures a couple of weeks back, but he hasn't shown up in any results I have seen recently, but it's possible that he and Amod have not been able to go past the qualifiers into the main draws. Will try to find out soon how Syed Fazaluddin is doing at the Canada Futures F3 this week.
June 29 Note-2
Both MB and LP advanced to the second round of mixed doubles today .. LP and Larisa Neiland had the easier game, winning 6-4, 6-3 over Tom Kempers and Karina Habsudova. The first set went with serves and was finally won after LP/LN got the service break in the 10th game. The second set saw them broken in the 3rd game, but getting the break back in the 4th. After they got their second break in the 8th game, they held serve to win it 6-3 ..
Mahesh and Mirjana Lucic were given a much tougher fight by David Dilucia and Sung-hee Park. This match went back and forth right from the beginning .. MB/ML went up with a break in the 3rd game, only to be broken in the next game to level at 2-2. They got another break in the 7th game, but were again broken in the 10th for a 5-5 tie. They then got their 3rd break of the set at 6-5 and served it out at 7-5 .. The second set saw MB/ML being completely outplayed for a while with them hardly managing a point, and it was 0-4 in a hurry. They then started a comeback with a break in the 5th game and held serve for a 2-4 score. Despite deuces in the next game, they could not manage another break and lost the set 3-6 .. In the 3rd set, LP/ML went up 3-1 with a break in the 4th game, but were broken right back again in the next game. Then MB/ML got their final break to go up 4-2 and held on in the next two service games for a 7-5, 3-6, 6-3 win ..
Neither is scheduled to play mixed doubles Tuesday, but LP/MB play their second round doubles against Gimelstob/MacPhie on one of the showcourts, the court 18. It is the first match at 11 am there (6 am EST, 3 PST, usa; 3.30pm India) ..
Vijay Kannan's first round junior singles match is rescheduled for tomorrow .. Also on schedule are Ramesh Krishnan, Vijay Amritraj and Anand Amritraj tomorrow, in senior doubles !! .. Ramesh and Jeremy Bates are the defending senior doubles champions there, and they play the last match on court1 against McNamara/McNamee .. Anand/Vijay play Jarryd/Nystrom (4th match on court 11) .. I am sure the fans there will have fun seeing these guys play again !
June 29 Note-1
If anybody thought that the rain would just go away in the second week at Wimbledon .. Fat chance ! .. They played less than 2 hours and down came the rain and washed the players out .. As of 3 pm, the Netcam at the wimbledon site shows all the umbrellas gone, so after 2 to 2.5 hours of rain delay, they may be getting ready to play again. LP and MB have mixed doubles matches which may start by 4.30 to 5 pm, if there are no other rain delays.
Earlier today, Justin Gimelstob (#71, USA) and Brian MacPhie (#84, USA) took out Byron Black and Richey Reneberg, 6-1, 6-4, and they will now face LP/MB in the second round, tomorrow. These two guys have been playing well together for a while now, and Gimelstob is a confident type, with 2 mixed doubles titles this year (AO and FO) with Venus Williams. I don't expect this to be an easy match for our boys, but certainly they should pull it off !
In some late news, Vikrant Chadha was at the USA F5 Futures at Lafayette, Louisiana last week (June 16-22) .. He went through 4 rounds of qualifiers (they had a huge qualies draw of 128 players!), lost in the final round, but made it into the main draw as a lucky loser ! .. He then beat Will Ritter (#1285) in the first round, and lost to the 7th seed Arnaud L'Official (#705) in the second round. Since it is a 64-draw $15K Futures, he gets a point only after a second round win .. So, it all went for naught, I guess. Still good for him to get some wins in the first tournament (I believe) since finishing his semester of studies at Univ of Mississippi this month and getting to the pro tour for now .. Well, that's how hard it is to get somewhere in a foreign futures tournament where you don't get wildcard entries (to underscore some of the points I made yesterday) ..