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LP/MB/NS/Indian-Tennis: Notes for the week ending on July 7, 2003
(Previous week's notes) (Next week's notes) (Daily Notes Index 1997 thru 2003)

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July 7 Note-1

By the way, I forgot to tell you that Sania Mirza will be ranked #1 in junior doubles in the world, as the rankings come out in a few hours :-) .. I will wait for the ranks to come out to make sure I have the numbers right..

In a departure from the norm, Leander, who likes to take a week off after grand slams and Davis Cups, is playing this week .. Lee and David Rilk are the top seeds at the $550K Gstaad (Switzerland) on clay .. They play Petr Luza and David Skoch (CZE) first.

Nice news keeps coming -- Prakash Amritraj has got a wildcard into the main draw at the $380K Newport Hall of Fame grasscourt tournament! .. The place where his dad had some great results (2 or 3 titles?) and where Leander has his only ATP singles title .. Tough draw though, as he faces a pretty good grasscourt player, the 4th seed Robbie Ginepri (USA,54) .. Prakash has all kinds of grasscourt skills but he will need to play his absolute best .. Prakash and Rajeev Ram (USA) also has a doubles main draw wildcard (how the heck does Vijay keeps on pulling the show - man, he has friends everywhere! .. Go Vijay!) .. [R1] Julian Knowle (AUT)/ Jurgen Melzer (AUT) vs (wc) Prakash Amritraj (IND)/ Rajeev Ram (USA) .. So, good fun awaits us in Newport Rhode Island Hall of Fame (or as some of us call "Hall of Shame", for them picking Becker who is not even technically eligible yet, for inducting into the Hall, over Edberg who fully deserved it this year -- but I digress) .. Rajeev Ram, by the way has won two rounds and reached the final qualies of singles there.

At the $50K Bristol challenger (grass) in UK, Rohan Bopanna plays Doug Bohaboy (USA) in the first round .. At the Granby challenger, Harsh seems to have narrowly missed the doubles cut as well, as his updated top-300 ranking is delayed a week as ATP does not update it in grand slam second week .. The cut went way up from last year - it figures for Harsh, not known for getting lucky anyway .. By the way, Sadovich who beat him in 3 sets also beat the 8th seed in the qualies and made main draw; had Takao Suzuki withdrawn early enough, Harsh would have been in the main draw - well, what can I say .. I suppose he will come down to California for the Aptos challenger qualies next weekend (there he is not at the top of the qualies for a chance for main direct draw with withdrawals).

July 6 Note-6

OK, more pictures .. Samarth Sinha has posted the MxD final prize cermony pictures in the picture album at our forum .. Take a look .. Here are some netcam captures that I saved from today before they went away from the server (there are some pictures at the wimbledon site which are copyrighted -- I have given links below for some) ..


Sania's giggle picture was right after they went ahead in the second set on the comeback trail .. We knew that they had the match then! .. Take a look at the "GVK" on her sleeves .. Let us use this time to thank GVK Industries for supporting her for over 2 years when she needed all the help .. I would hope more sponsors from India would take note of the mileage they can get by helping a talented youngster strive towards excellence!

Pictures from the LP-MN final ..



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July 6 Note-5

Sania's title has caused all kinds of press coverage in India .. Nice to see that .. S.Kannan's piece - Itís unbelievable: Sania (Hindustan Times) .. Sania Mirza wins girls' doubles title - Sukhwant Basra (Times of India) .. A Dream come true for the mirza family (Times of India) .. Historic first for an Indian: Sania... (Deccan Herald) .. A dream come true for Mirzas (The Hindu) .. She is living up to Expectation (rediff.com) .. The best coverage was in Hyderabad's Deccan Chronicle, of course .. City's Sania wins at Wimbledon .. Check out their sports page, as not all their articles are archived .. The AP chief minister, the State Governor, GV Krishna Reddy of GVK industries, etc, are all quoted, along with players like Sania's close friend Sasha Abraham .. Her coaches, like Vausdev Reddy and Narendranath are all ecstatic about her show .. Well deserved coverage for the girl ..

Here is the online fanclub member report on the MxD final from Prasenjit Basu, as posted in our forum - "Leander's third Wimbledon title (second Mixed) was worth every minute spent watching it -- a master-class in the art of doubles from the greatest doubles player of our times, Leander Paes .. His serving was magnificent throughout, his volleying was as breath-taking as ever, and his ability to mask Martina's obvious weaknesses mixed chivalry with consummate skill at the net. This was a clinical victory, starting with a superb service game won at love on Leander's serve, and a service-break in each set off Rodionova's serve. Andy Ram played very well too -- he was consistently serving in the 125mph range, and volleying well -- but Leander (in both sets) and Martina (in the second) successfully neutralised his game with dipping returns that he often had trouble with at the net. There was a shadow over half the court, and this apparently troubled Martina in the early games, as she mishit by a mile on atleast 3-4 occasions and looked thoroughly embarassed. But a tight win in the seventh game on Martina's serve clearly lifted her spirits, and the second set was really much more of a cruise than the 6-3 scoreline (unchanged from the first set) suggests. Leander of course served out the final game of both sets. As usual, he won the final game of the match on his serve at love, showing just why he is such a magnificent finisher ....... But the classiest moment was left to the last. Leander bowed to Martina three times at the end of the match, and was graciously self-effacing in his comments to Sue Barker at court-side afterwards..."As a boy of 7 in India, I watched Martina win Wimbledon, and was inspired to try and win here myself...it is a dream come true to be on the centre court and win a title with her. Thank you Martina for letting me be your vehicle to greatness today". (paraphrasing slightly, except the last sentence which is almost exactly what he said..) Anybody who saw the match would know that Leander was much more than the vehicle to Martina's win last evening: he was the driver and navigator too" .. Wonderful report, PKB! .. Thanks.

Tour players were smirking all along and wondering what he was doing playing with Martina .. But, heck, Leander thinks differently .. He wanted inspiration and he found the perfect one in the old lady .. Lee is one of a kind .. Right from the type of game he plays, to the tucked-in shirt .. I thought I was the only one noticing all along how Leander has probably been the only player in quite a while who continues to tuck his shirt in - but John McEnro mentioned it how meticulous Lee is about some of these things - "Quite a character", he said .. A chip off the old block? .. May be, but he also is one who makes interesting fashion statements .. The new hair style (he now has long hair with interesting styling) and the elbow length shirt sleeves (what the heck was THAT?) .. Back to the partnership -- Martina's comment about both of them getting lucky because they were "dumped" by their MxD partners at US Open was interesting .. LP never said he was "dumped" by Lisa but a lot of us had figured that she had done just that when she went to the new kid in the block - Bryan ..  Anyway, Martina said "hey, here we are!" .. Yes of course .. Eat that, Lisa! .. I guess this is not the time to be nasty, so congratulations to Lee-Legend! .. They picked up 88K pounds (some $125K) from the title to share .. Leander made something like $125K from Wimbledon, I think - including the doubles semi money.

July 6 Note-4

Three finals and two titles - what a Wimbledon for us! .. Of course, LP and Martina won the final 63 63 - did you have a doubt? .. I will add detailed coverage later, as I have to run .. Here is a link for some details - The official site's article on the final .. Also see Akshay Sawai's article in the Times of India .. Here is a nice picture at the official site of Sania and Alisa with the trophy .. Here is the picture of LP amd Martina .. Later, with a ton of links to articles on Sania, etc ..

July 6 Note-3

Lee and Martina made a mess of a lot of chances in the first set, but raised their game at the right points to take care of business in the semi .. [F] #5 L.Paes/ M.Navratilova d. Leo Friedl/ Liezel Huber, 75 63 .. Friedl and Huber had beaten Woodbridge/ Kuznetzova earlier today in straight sets .. LP-MN somehow could not convert 9 break points in a row to start the game in the first three service games from LF-LH .. At 3-3 they finally converted a BP on Huber's serve and it was 4-3 .. Martina dropped serve after saving a couple of points and it was 4-4 soon though .. There was some drama when LP faced a break point at 4-5 30-40 .. Out came an ace and another ace won the game .. In the 11th game they broke Huber and then Martina served it out .. IN the second set there was hardly much drama as there were no BPs at all till the key 9th game when Lee-Martina suddenly had Friedl down 0-40 .. Converted the second BP and it was up to LP to do the rest .. he served an ace in the next game (his 4th) and finished it off! .. 91 minute match .. 4 aces and 2 DFs from LP-MN, 2 aces to 6 DFs by the others .. 36 winners and 7 unforced errors from our pair .. Rather easy match actually .. Now off to the final! .. Against Andy Ram (ISR) and Anastassia Rodianova (RUS), who are a surprise pair in the final.

The final should be starting by about 5 or 5.30 pm.

Here is the match report on Sania's doubles final ..  Set-1: Down 0-3 quickly after Sania dropped serve in the second game .. They had some 34 break chances in the next few games but could not get it done .. Kleybanova dropped serve in the 8th game and the set was over .. Set-2:  Time for a comeback .. They had Michaela Krajicek in the firt game itself and Sania served a strng game to take a 2-0 lead .. After saving triple break points Kleybanova dropped serve in the 4th however, and it was 2-2 .. They went ahead again in the 7th game .. 4-3 .. Kleybanova came through in the 8th game saving two more BPs on her to take a 5-3 lead .. They broke Krajicek again in the 9th game to even things, 26 63 .. At that time the momentum had completely swung .. Sania and Alisa started playing solid tennis, as they went from 15 winners and 17 unforced errors in the first two sets to 14 winners and 6 UEs in the final set .. The other team went from 1 error to 9 in the second and 6 in the 3rd (all five double faults in the 3rd as they basically got choked out by Sania and Alisa!) .. Sania had dropped serve after saving a couple of BPs in the first game but they got the break right back in the second game .. At 3-2 after sania served a good game, they had Michaela down 0-40 and broke ahead for a 4-2 lead .. Alisa held serve and the other team simply folded in the next game .. Big turnaround comeback by Sania and Alisa and we have a junior wimbledon champion again!! .. I will post some picture soon! .. Hats off to Sania, who seems to have an eye to finish the job when she is close .. How many 16 year olds can claim an Asian Games medal and a Wimbledon title? .. Amazing!

July 6 Note-2

We have a 16 year old Wimbledon Champion - Sania Mirza !! .. Alisa Kleybanova may be among the youngest wimbledon champions, if not the youngest, at 13 yrs 11 months .. It took quite a furious comeback  -- [F] S.Mirza/ A.Kleybanova d. M.krajicek/ K.Bohmova, 26 63 62 .. Revenge from Sania to the team that beat her cheaply in the French Open doubles semis .. details later .. LP-MN match underway - our pair at 4-3 (up a break)!

July 6 Note-1

Sania-Kleybanova doubles final against Michaela Krajicek (NED) and Katerina Bohmova (CZE) starts at 1 pm today (5.30 pm India .. 8 am NY) .. By the way, this is the same team that beat Sania-Sanaa by a 60 62 score at the French Open semis, so they will be tough as nails .. Come to the chatroom during the matches today.

LP-MN's semifinal follows at around 3 pm after an hour of rest for the winners of the QF match earlier on starting at 12 noon .. If LP-MN get to the final, then that will be at around 6 or 6.30 pm against Andy Ram (ISR) and Alexandra Rodianova (RUS) who reached the final yesterday ..

I saw the Bristol challenger (UK) qualies draw and it started at #350;  so I assume that Rohan Bopanna has made the main draw (he wasn't in the original cutoff).

Kartiki Bhat went down in the semis at the Paris Cadets tournament and finished with  2 SFs, 1 QF, 1 R3 and 1 R2 in her five weeks .. The two SFs were indeed impressive and her total of 250 ETA points will rank her in the top 12 or so of the u16 European rankings which is extremely good for somebody who played just 5 events there .. [QF] Kartiki Bhat d. Audrey Laib (FRA) 64 36 63 .. [SF] l. M.Fernanda Alvarez (BOL), 67(5) 26 .. In addition, she has reached the doubles finals too, after an upset of the top seeds in the semi! .. [R1] #4 K.Bhat/ Shuai Zhang (CHN) d. Sofie Kobuch/ Ophelia Vergnes (FRA), 64 62 .. [QF] d. Carolina Courmont/ Mylene Martin (FRA), 62 76(8) .. [SF] d. #1 Natalia Rakhmanina/ Yulia Parasuk (RUS), 60 64 .. [F] vs M.Fernanda Alvarez (BOL)/ Estefinia Balda (ARG) .. Kartiki has indeed had a great trip to Italy and France!

Here is S.Kannan's article on the MxD QF in the Hindustan Times - Paes, Martina continue to rock and roll  .. It is interesting that there was some real glares between Lisa Raymond and Leander Paes and some body-bombs flying too .. It is not that well-known that LR did unceremoneously move to another partner last year when LP was having his worst year .. LP is not the type who would forget those things, I am sure .. That is why I said earlier that there might be some scores to be settled in that match - looks like it was indeed so .. Here is Akshay Sawai's article in the Times of India with LP's comments about the doubles SF today .. Here is the official site's article on MB-MM's doubles final - If It's Wimbledon, It Must Be Woodbridge ..

July 5 Note-4

Here is how the doubles final went (actually I got to see some of the match on NBC TV in the US, but the rest from the online scoreboard details -- Set-1:  Early break on Mirnyi and MB-MM were down 0-2 .. They then broke Woodbridge in the 4th and 8th games to finish off the seat rather easily .. Set-2: In the second set Mirnyi got broken at 2-3 and JB-TW ,ade no mistakes in wrapping up the set and evening it .. 63 36 .. 3rd set: No breaks .. MB-MM had chances at 2-1 at 30-40 and AD out but Bjorkman held .. MB was down 30-40 at 3-3 and faced one more AD out BP but he did a key hold out there, with the help of two aces ..  MB was serving very well all match and his serve did not get broken at all - actually he lost very few points on his serve, and John McEnroe commented on how many points he was winning with his big serve .. Actually MB has a serve that is much tougher to return though it is some 15 mph slower than Mirnyi's .. I think Max serves sometimes get returned way too fast with the opponents keying on the pace .. Somewhere in the 3rdf set here was a cross-court drop shot from Hesh which was simply incredible - it made McEnroe go "oh, that should be illegal (to hit such a good shot)" and Woodbridge thre his raquet at the ball after taking two steps .. Back to the match .. A key turning point was the 10th game of the 3rd set when our pair had double set point at 5-4, 15-40 after a blistering return winner from MB and some great hand-work by MM at the net .. Anyway at 0-30, a shot from Bjorkman just clipped the line, or it would have been triple set pts .. Anyway, Bjorkman again held serve after a couple of deuces including a service winner and another AD out set pt, where MB hit a backhand long with an open left court in front .. Oh well .. In the tiebreaker, a great return from JB off Mirnyi at 3-4 sealed got them that one crucial minibreak .. At 4-5, had MB's topspin long been deep enough at 4-5 they could have avoided the set point, but Bjorkman made no mistake on an overhead ..  This was the story of the match .. If something could be go slightly wrong and give a helping hand to JB-TW who needs no help, it did .. 63 36 67(4) .. Set-4:  LP-MB had one break chance at 2-2 but could not make it .. At this point they had gone 7 break point without converting one, despite coming close on most of them and not really making too much of mistakes (I only remember one unforced error or two at break points from our team, but they just couldn't get the job done) .. In the sixth game, Mirnyi had to go through six deuces and saved one BP before falling at the second - 2-4 .. It was basically over at that point .. Stats:  159 minutes match .. 9 aces, 3 double faults by our team .. 4 aces/ 8 df's by JB-TW .. 48 winners and 11 unforced errors from MB-MM (Gosh, those are great numbers!), to 46 winners and 16 UEs by the opponents .. The bad stat - 2 break converted in 13 chances with the last 9 break points all going unused .. 3 of 8 conversion by JB-TW .. Total points: 128 pts to us,130 to them .. Oh, so close .. Well, it wasn't meant to be and their finals jinx conmtinues.

Now to the win today -- SF by Sania and Alisa Kleybanova .. Oh boy, what a nerve-wracking match .. First some comments on Alisa Kleybanova .. The girl is still 13 (for another week) and is one you will hear a lot more about, in the future - no joke for someone at that age to win grade-1 titles and even beat those like Tatiana Golovin and get ranked at #5 in singles .. But today she clearly showed her age in many service games, especially near the end when 4 of her final 5 service games were lost .. I am sure Sania who at 16 is nearly 2.5 years older (!) had to settle her down at times .. Here is how the match went -

Set-1: The match started with Sania showing her intentions fully by firing a 103 mph ace (I didn't know she had that kind of serve speed; actually the fastest server among the four was clearly Sania and her first serves rarely fell much below 95 mph - that is pretty good speed) .. The games went with serves at first till 4-3 .. Sania saved one break point in the 5th game on her serve .. Suddenly in the 7th game, trouble started as Kleybanova couldn't hit her serves .. 4 double faults from her in that game, and I have no idea how SM-AK held serve in that game (I have frankly never seen anybody winning a game with four DFs!) .. In the next game, from 40-0, our girls won four in a row on Iris Ichim and then converted the second AD-out break chance to go ahead 5-3 .. Sania had a 40-30 set pt, but an unforced error took it to deuce .. SM-AK made no mistakes from there to wrap in up ..

Set-2:  This seemed to be getting over fast, as Ally Baker started serve with a DF and got broken, which was followed by 3 BPs and a break on Iris in the 4th game .. Kleybanova was in trouble in the 4th game where she had to save double break points (sign of things to come!) .. After Sania saved a break attempt on her serve in the 6th game and made it 5-1, it looked like our girls had weathered whatever resistance the Americans had in them .. Wroooong!! .. They suddenly got charged up with Ally holding serve easily with two winners .. 63 52 .. Now Alisa was serving for the match .. She had a 40-30 match point there .. No cigar .. She also saved a BPand had another AD-in match point, but once again no cigar .. She finally dropped serve as Baker-Ichim converted their first break in 7chances in the match!! .. That was the turning point .. Sania was now down on serve .. Saved two break pts from 30-40 and fell at the 3rd .. 5-5 .. In the 12th game Alisa came back from 0-30 to 40-30 with one of her rarer serves over 95 mph (this one at 104 mph), but then promptly double faulted at deuce to face set point .. The Americans must have smelled their chance and they pounced on it .. All even 63 57 just like that! ..

Set-3: Ally Baker who had been serving well all day, started off with no mistakes .. The Americans must have been playing great doubles, as they were getting points off winners - not that our pair had suddenly started making too many mistakes (based on the stats on unforced errors) .. SM-AK seemed to be under tremendous pressure, both from the opponents as well as from knowing that they had let a great chance slip through in the second .. For a change, Alisa held serve once in the 4th game - the only time she did that in her final 5 service games .. In the sixth game, Sania was in trouble at 15-30 but she came up with an ace and then another 102 mph serve to hold after a deuce .. Nice serving spunk there from SM .. 3-3 .. The real drama started here .. With two winners and using some weak (60 mph) serves from Ichim, SM-AK broke at 30-40 to go ahead to 4-3 .. But alas, Alisa needed to hold serve there .. Nerves? - perhaps .. Quickly down 0-40 and broken immediately .. 4-4 .. Now it was the chance for Ally Baker to come through, but suddenly she isn't serving her 95 mph stuff either .. Now *she* was down 0-40 .. AB-II must have got some spirit back as they saved all three break chances .. I told you earlier that Ally was a tough customer; but Sania is tougher .. Our pair finally converted the AD-out chance to go ahead 5-4 ..  All of a sudden three of the servers had dropped serve and somebody had to hold to won the match .. Sania had to come through .. Boy, did she do that - got  the first point on a 69 mph second serve with a winner and then she pulled out two serves at 98 and 100 mph, the second one an ace for triple match points! .. We in the chatroom was delirious at Sania's ace there .. But wait, it wasn't done .. The Americans came up with 2 more winners and saved all three match points .. You would think Sania would be heart broken after they had let go 5 match points in two sets .. No way -- big serve at AD in (6th match point) and she finished the job - as the only one who had any stuff left to hold serve after a 2 hour 15 minute barn-burner ..

Stats -- 4 aces (3 by Sania) and 5 DFs (all by Alisa) .. No aces and 2 DFs by AB-II .. 46 winners and 23 UEs by us; 36 and 13 by them .. 112 points by our pair, to 109 by the American girls .. 5 of 12 in BPs by SM-AK, 4 of 12 by AB-II ..

Here are some pictures (courtesy: www.wimbledon.org) ..  First, Sania all focus (and icewater veins, I guess) at the match point .. Sania talking to Alisa .. Fans watching the match .. and final stats ..

July 5 Note-3

Todd Woodbridge is a doubles legend, the smoothest doubles player out there and he is terrifc, but there still must be some divine power that wants Woodbridge to keep winning Wimbledon doubles, as he picked up his record 8th title (second consecutive with Bjorkman) today .. MB-MM must be wondering what went wrong in a match where they kept losing sets at the slightest chance against them .. When Bjorkman served for the match today at 5-3, 30-all in the 4th set, both teams had won eactly 128 points, but MB-MM were in a desperate hole .. [F] #1 M.Bhupathi/ M.Mirnyi l. #4 J,Bjorkman/ T.Woodbridge, 63 36 67(4) 36 .. The scoreline does not show at all how close this match was .. Our pair could not convert three set points at 4-5 in the 3rd set and Mirnyi made one mistake in the tiebreaker .. suddenly it is 4th set .. One break on Mirnyi each in game 6th of 2nd and 4th sets and the match was over .. I gotta run; more details later.

I think Harsh Mankad lost 64 46 46 at the Granby challenger qualies today to add to our misery .. What a wretched day, but for the Sania show.

July 5 Note-2

Wimbledon 4.45 pm .. Sania is in the doubles final baybee!! .. This was an incredible match where Sania-Alisa were up 63 51 and Baker-Ichim pulled off an incredible comeback with Alisa dropping serve 3 out of the next 4 times .. The americans saving 5 match pts (2 in the second set off Alisa) and then Sania having to call on every ounce of her nerves and grit to serve out the final game with a 100mph ace, etc .. 63 57 64 ..  I will give the full report later .. Right now MB-MM doubles final has started on the center court ..

July 5 Note-1

Today's matches at the Wimbledon for us, are:

[SF] A.Kleybanova/ S.Mirza vs Ally Baker/ Iris Ichim (USA), at about 2.30 pm (7 pm India, 9.30 am NY)
[F] #1 M.Bhupathi/ M.Mirnyi vs #4 J.Bjorkman/ T.Woodbridge, at about 4.30 pm
[SF] #5 L.Paes/ M.Navratilova vs TBA (but, unless Woodbridge gets a w/o or gives one in his MxD QF, no match for LP-MN today)

Come to our chatroom during the matches .. Second consecutive doubles semi for Sania, and hopefully it will be a final today .. Ally Baker is a very tough player, and I don't know much about Ichim ..

Here is Leander's on thoughts on yesterday's doubles semi, that came up in rediff.com -- Can't help thinking of 1999 .. Pretty matter-of-fact comments on the match .. He is right about not reading too much into results; just like the win over MB-MM at Roland Garros, this loss also does not prove a whole heck of lot on anything (except that they should stop playing with others later and avoid this :-)) ..

At the $50K+H Granby challenger in Canada, Harsh Mankad got unlucky yet again (but what is new?) and missed the main draw cut narrowly .. He is the top seed in the qualies and plays Sanjin Sadovich (CAN) today .. Decent draw with a good chance for him to make it in, depending on how he feels on hardcourts after 2 monthgs of clay work ..  Have not seen the qualifying draw from Bristol (UK) to know if Rohan made it in directly.

July 4 Note-3

MB-MM doubles final against Bjorkman-Woodbridge is the second match on center court tomorrow after the singles final .. Woodbridge needs to play the MxD QF after that before LP-MN's opponenets can be determined, so it is very unlikely that the MxD semi will get done tomorrow (unless there is a walkover from either Woodbridge, or Friedl-Huber whom Woodbriudge-Kuznetsova are to play in the QF .. But LP-MN MxD is listed for tomorrow in the schedule without a start time.  Kleybanova and Sania will be playing the girls doubles semis tomorrow, as well.

In other news, Rohan Bopanna and Harsh Mankad are at the Bristol (UK) challenger and Granby (Canada) challenger next week .. Both were 2 or 3 spots out from main draw as of last week .. We will know soon if they made the main draw by this evening or would be playing qualies tomorrow.

At the $25K Mont-de-Marsen challenger in France yesterday, Sai Jayalakshmy and Napaporn Tongsalee (THA) went down after a fight in the QF to the 4th seeds Kildine Chavalier (FRA)/ Christina Zachariadou (GRE), 75 36 46 ..

Scores for Kartiki at the u16 Paris Cadets tournament this week - After a bye, [R2] Kartiki Bhat d. (q) Flora Belkesa (FRA) 60 61 .. [R3] d. Mahault De Claviere (SUI) 60 75 .. [QF] vs Audrey Laib (FRA) .. Not sure if she was in the SF today (I think she was) .. She has picked up enough points in 5 events to get ranked in the European u16 top-15 already anyway! .. In doubles she has a new partner this week - Shuai Zhang (CHN) .. The rare case of a pair representing the largest possible population of the world (incidentally, an Indo-China tennis doubles pair is very rare - I only one I remember is Fazal playing with Ben-Qiang Shu once) .. [R1] #4 K.Bhat/ Shuai Zhang (CHN) d. Sofie Kobuch/ Ophelia Vergnes (FRA), 64 62 .. [QF] d. Carolina Courmont/ Mylene Martin (FRA), 62 76(8) .. [SF] vs #1 Natalia Rakhmanina/ Yulia Parasuk (RUS)

Back to Wimbledon -- Here is how LP-MN's MxD match went .. [QF] #5 L.Paes/ M.Navratilova d. #2 M.Bryan/ L.Raymond, 57 76(3) 64 .. This was a close fight all the way through .. Some very focussed serving by our pair in the end was what helped them pull off this upset .. Set-1: At 4-4 Leander saved a break point at 30-40 held serve ..  He pulled out a 125 mph serve ace in that game (Leander hits 200 kmph for the first time that I am aware of - actually 121 mph he hit yesterday was itself a record, and I have followed this stat in all grand slam matches with speed guns over many years .. He had bettered that with a 123 this morning against MB-MM) .. At 5-5 Martina was down 15-40 and dropped serve at 30-40 .. That was the set .. Set-2: Our pair got the break at 2-1 when Lisa Raymond dropped serve at AD out, after saving a 30-40 point .. LP served 2 more aces in the 4th game to hold serve and take a 4-1 lead .. But at 4-2 Martina was again down 30-40 and got broken .. LP served a 119 mph ace (his 5th) in game 9 to save a break attempt .. Martina was down 0-30 again in game 11 but this time they won four straight points to stay even and send it to a tiebreaker .. In the tiebreaker they finally got a point off Mike Bryan who was basically untouchable till then and basicaqlly cruised with Martina picking up points on both her serves .. Set-3:  LP faced one AD out BP in game 2 but held with the help of his 8th ace after deuces .. Actually LP went 2 of 9 in first serves in that game and seemed to be in a temporary struggle, missing some 6 first serves in a row .. That is where things changed, as Martina and Leander went 16 of the next 19 first serves from that point - which meant they really were going to be tough to break .. In the 7th game they got Lisa down 0-40 and converted the first chance itself .. Got the crucial break and cruised, with LP slamming down his 11th ace in the final game which he served out at love .. Basically our pair got solid in the end and gave no chance for Lisa an Mike .. The match took 1 hour 56 minutes .. 43 winners by us, 34 by them .. 12 aces by us (Martina hit one ace I think!) and 3 by the others .. [This match was not televised; so no details from anybody on the shots]

I have to tell you that Leander's serve speeds this week has been a revelation .. Not just the max speeds; he has been serving clearly at an average of 5 to 10 mph faster than he used to even a few months back .. 125 mph from LP? .. Hell, he should get back into singles just for fun and see what happens if he is feeling that good!

July 4 Note-3

Wimbledon update: 8.40 pm -- LP-Martina beat Bryan-Raymond in a comeback, 57 76(3) 64 to move to the semi .. I will post the match details later today.

Wimbledon update: 6 pm (10.30 pm India) -- Lisa Raymond finished her women's doubles match at 5.45 pm.  She needs to be given rest before the MxD quarterfinal against LP-Martina can be payed .. They might schedule the match for 7 pm (11.30 pm India).

Sania and Alisa Kleybanova seem to be having a jolly good time out there .. Went out and took out somebody in the girls doubles QF easily today .. [QF] A.Kleybanova (RUS)/ S.Mirza d. Emma Laine (FIN)/ Nadja Pavic (CRO), 61 62 .. They seemed to break the other girls at will all the way through .. In fact Laine-Pavic did not hold serve the first six times they served .. The match started with AK-SM going up 2-0 with a second game break .. Kleybanova lost serve once but they broke in the 4th game to lead 3-1 again .. There they won 9 games in a row and it was 61 50 .. The other girls broke Alisa once and held serve once to make it a little more respectable in the end ..  So it is a grand slam semifinal for Sania!! .. Here are a couple of pictures .. Sania ready to serve, and the final stats of the match .. Additional stats: AK-SM had 65 points to 45 by the others, and the match took 63 minutes.

Good that they had this match on a court that had live TV coverage - hence the good pictures ..

July 4 Note-2

I don't enjoy these LP-vs-MB matches, so subconsciously I must have stopped the alarm clock and gone back to sleep this morning, rather than follow the big match .. Samarth (who was giving commentary off the BBC coverage) and others at the chatroom gave me the details later .. [SF] #1 M.Bhupathi/ M.Mirnyi d. #5 L.Paes/ D.Rikl, 67(6) 64 76(7) 63 .. Close match all the way through and the turning point was perhaps in the 3rd set tiebreaker when at the 7-6 set point on his serve, DR made one volley mistake and they lost the set .. They, especially DR, seemed to get a bit deflated after that - strange, as David was the most consistent among the four till that point .. The match saw only two breaks .. LP dropping serve at 4-5 in the second set and then DR dropping serve at 2-3 in the 4th .. In fact only some 3 or 4 break points all the way till late 4th set .. MB saved a couple on his serve in the 3rd set to send it to the tiebreaker (one particular patented backhand down the line when he correctly expected LP to move to the left was mentioned as a good one from him that helped to hold serve) .. LP saved a couple of match points on his serve at 2-5 in the 4th and held serve with a 123 mph ace .. Other than a few key points like these, the match was well-played and close all through .. LP-DR had the upper hand till the end of the 3rd set and with the tiebreaker MB-MM seem to have turned the tables on them .. I suppose now the two teams are even .. I am happy to see them stay even rather than run away form each other --- as I don't want either to have much reason not to play together next year (Olympic year - they better stop messing around and put everything behind) .. For now, MB-MM inch ahead of LP-DR in team standings .. They play 4th seeds Bjorkman-Woodbridge in the final tomorrow.

Earlier, Sunitha, perhaps finally getting the hamstring injury affect her, went down 46 26 in the girls singles QF ..

Sania-Kleybanova are about to make SF in doubles!! .. soon on that.

LP may come back for the MxD quarterfinal soon.

July 4 Note-1

All right, the big match is here! .. LP facing off against MB is always a big match .. We expected a lot of these matches when they started playing with other partners last year but it took a while for it to become a regular item .. This is their 3rd meeting this year - the previous two at the QF of the Indian Wells masters and the QF of the French Open..  The semifinal is set to start at 12 noon.  We will be in the chatrrom during today's matches .. Here is the schedule (isn't it fun to have this many matches to follow this late at a Wimbledon?) ..

[QF] #1 Sunitha Rao -vs- Kirsten Flipkens (BEL,28),  11.00 am (3.30 pm India .. 6 am NY)
[SF] #5 L.Paes/ D.Rikl -vs- #1 M.Bhupathi/ M.Mirnyi, 12 noon
[QF] Alisa Kleybanova (RUS)/ S.Mirza -vs- Emma Laine (FIN)/ Nadja Pavic (CRO), 4.30 pm
[QF] #5 L.Paes/ M.Navratilova -vs- #2 Mike Bryan/ Lisa Raymond (USA), after 4.00 pm
Sunitha has a tough match .. Flipkens will be quite a handful .. She actually upset Sania's partner 5th ranked Kleybanova (5th seed) and 11th ranked Hlavackova this week, and had also reached the final of the Roehampton grade-1 last week; so she is on a good roll on grass .. Sunitha on the other hand is still troubled by the hamstring injury suffered during the women's draw qualies and is playing with heavily bandaged thigh and all ..

In other news, Kartiki Bhat continues to do well .. She has reached the semifinals at the ETA u16 grade-1 Paris Cadet tournament! .. No other details yet .. She has had a tremendous trip with the ITF team .. Also, 15 yr old Vandana Murali has reached the semfinal of the grade-5 ITF juniors in Thailand (no news on the boys' draw for Sumit and co).

July 3 Note-4

Wimbledon update, 9 pm .. Hey, when we weren't looking, they put the LP-Martina match on center court late in the evening and they romped again, to reach the QF .. [R3] #5 L.Paes/ M.Navratilova d. P.Luczak/ C.Wheeler, 64 62 .. No details, except that they broke twice in both sets (4 of 9 in BPs) and the other guys managed one break in the first set .. One stat I noticed is that there were 7 aces, all of which must have been from LP - that is quite good in six service games .. What was even more impressive is that LP hit a 122 mph service, which is his fastest speed I have heard of .. He used to hit up to 115 till about 1999, but has added more speed these days .. Lee seems to be in his 1999 Wimbledon doubles form! .. Next up for them is Mike Bryan and Lisa raymond, the second seeds - I supposes there are some scores to settle there!

July 3 Note-3

Wimbledon update, 7.40 pm .. The LP-vs-MB doubles semi is postponed to tomorrow, I guess .. MB and Paola Suarez lost their MxD R3, 36 46 to Zimonjic/ Tulyaganova .. Sanaa and Giltinan went down 16 46 in their doubles R1 and Karan-Somdev just lost 06 57 .. Back to back losses to finish a wretched evening there .. Later.

Wimbledon update, 6.30 pm (11 pm India) .. The covers are off and play is about to start after an hour of delay .. No sign of LP or MB on any court yet ..  Sanaa and Giltinan will try to mount a comeback from 16 01 down .. Somdev-Karan - they may get to play in 45 minutes or so, possibly.

Wimbledon update, 5.30 pm (10 pm India) .. Not sure what's up .. The LP-DR vs MB-MM match could have started on court 13 about 40 minutes back but has not started yet .. Perhaps being moved to a bigger court? .. Looks like MxD is out for the day for both of them ..  Sania and Kleybanova just upset the top seeds  Gajdasova-Hlavackova, 76(7) 64 to make the QF !!! .. Our girls broke in game 2 and were up 3-0 before dropping serve twice and falling to 3-4 .. Broke back after many deuces in game 8 to even at 4-4 .. Had a set pt off the top seeds serve at 5-6 but it was tiebreaker .. Tight tiebreaker where they saved a 6-7 set point on the other girls' serve and won the next two points .. In the second set they were up 4-2, fell back to 4-4 and broke again in the 9th game before serving it out ..  Sanaa and Giltinan are down 1-6 0-0 in their R1 match right now though.

Wimbledon update, 3.45 pm (8.15 pm India) .. Sunitha Rao is in the QF! .. [R3] #1 S.Rao d. Eden Marama (NZL,24), 64 76(2) .. Though SR was up 3-1 in the 3rd set, you could see the fight in the Kiwi girl when she evened it at 3-3 .. There was more to come from Marama who had held up to a furious comeback from Sania the other day .. Sunitha went back up in the 11th game by winning three on EM's serve at AD in .. SR won six in a row and had three set points .. Eden saved them all and one more at AD in to send it to a tiebreaker .. There it was all SR, though she won it only after Marama saved a 5th match point, this time on her serve .. She finally folded at 5-1 as Sunitha converted her 6th match point .. Sania-Kleybanova are up 3-0 in the first set on the top seeds Gajdasova-Hlavackova.

July 3 Note-2

Wimbledon update, 3.00 pm (7.30 pm India) .. He didn't serve any aces, but Mirnyi did the job after falling to 0-30, serving for the match .. Won the next four points and they are now in the semifinal against LP-DR .. [QF] #1 M.Bhupathi/ M.Mirnyi d. Martin Damm/ Cyril Suk (CZE), 76(2) 76(3) 63 .. The semifinal will be on the same court (a small one - not enough seats for the Indian fans out there - they will need to get ther early and grab whatever seats they can find!) .. Should start by 4.30 pm after a veterans' match on the court.

Sunitha Rao immediately broke Marama to go 2-0 in the second set and is leading 64 31 right now .. Sania's doubles match starts by 3.20 pm ..

Here is the match report on MB-MM's match which was spread over 24 hours and some 3 or 4 rain delays .. Set-1:  MB-MM had a BP at AD out in game 2 .. No use .. MB faced a 30-40 BP in game 3 and he saved it ..  They had 2 more BPs in game 4, helped by a couple of DFs, and that also went wasted .. Had a 30-40 BP in game 6 - agan no luck .. No more BPs after that.  MB had a couple of aces in the set.  In the tiebreaker they got three points off the others's serve immediately and finished it easily .. They could have saved a lot of time for everybody, had they converted any of the 4 break chances .. Set-2: No break points, but MM was down 0-30 in game 6 before banging down two 120+ mph aces. MB was down 0-40 in game 8, but saved them all ..  After three deuces, an ace, a double fault, a couple of winners, an unforced errors and 5 deuces later he held on! .. Wasted two more BPs in the 11th game (0/6 in BPs by our team and 0/4 by the others) .. Mad Max finally converted their 7th chance of the match to go ahead 6-5 .. Just when we thought they would cruise, MB lost 4 straight points on his serve to drop serve, and it was a tiebreaker ..  Set-3: Our team went up converting their 3rd break chance in the set in the 6th game and cruised on to a win follwing a night of sleep after 5-3 (0-15) .. Didn't seem like they were at their best in this match, but efficient enough to get the job done .. 10 aces by MB-MM and 5 by the others .. 2/10 in BPs (to 1/5 by the others) .. 3 DFs by us (8 by them) .. Relatively close match.  It took 2 hours and 7 minutes total.

July 3 Note-2

Wimbledon update, 2.20 pm (6.50 pm India) .. The rain has stopped for now .. The covers have been taken off and play should be starting by 2.45 pm ..

Wimbledon update, 1.30 pm (6 pm India) .. Serious rain going on so far .. Play won't start till at least 2 or 2.30 pm .. The schedule makers turn the fans on; sweating too much...  Me - I decided to sleep an extra hour and had my alarm on only for now (5.30 am for me) .. I knew it would be raining ....

July 3 Note-1

Today's schedule for us has been posted at the chatroom page .. Due to all the rain and breaks, we have not had a good chat session yet though .. I hope the rain will stay away after 3 days of wet weather .. Hopefully MB-MM will wrap up the QF match quickly (four aces from Max should do it) .. Then there will be the big SF match between the old engines .. LP-DR vs LP-MM by about 2.15 pm (6.45 pm India .. 9.15 NY), provided Damm-Suk don't pull an incredible comeback somehow like LP-MB did on Lareau-O'brien in 99 at Wimbledon on the way to the title.

Here are a couple of articles on LP-DR's doubles QF match against the Bryans .. S.Kannan's article in the Hindustan Times and Akshay Sawai's article in the Times of India .. Based on what they say this was a very high-quality doubles encounter with "Czech Inde Mail" producing some top-notch doubles play.

Leander has been writing some articles from Wimbledon - check out "Pressure taking its toll on womenís tennis", "Coach, a guru and friend", "Great to see serve-and-volley hold court" .. Pretty interesting reading .. The same (syndicated?) articles have appeared in Hindustan Times and rediff.com ..

For more reading, here are two interesting articles on Sunitha Rao .. Sukhwant Basra wrote this early last week - "Sunitha's tryst with India in doubt" (Times of india, June 23rd) .. On Sunday there was a detailed article by Chandresh Narayanan in the Indian Express (June 29th) - Wimbledon Girl Has Indian Dreams .. The latter article seems to say that there are alternate options for Sunitha's case .. We will wait and see - hope it works out soon.

In other news -- Sai and Napaporn Tongsalee won the first round of doubles at the #25K challenger in Mont-de-Marsan .. S.Jayalakshmy/ N.Tongsalee (THA) d. Paula Cantaruti (ARG)/ Varanya Vijuksanaboon (THA), 62 63 .. In the QF, it will be the 4th seeds Kildine Chavalier (FRA)/ Christina Zachariadou (GRE) .. Earlier in the qualies, [Q1] #4 N.Tongsalee d. S.Jayalakshmy, 62 63 ..

A few of our kids are out there at the grade-5 ITF juniors in Thailand .. The boys had R1 byes in the 64-draw .. [R2] Vijay Pashanth (IND,494) vs Kittipong Wachiramanowong (THA) .. [R2] Sumitprakash Gupta (IND,367) vs Nimman Jeeratanon (THA) .. [R2] Siddharth Gulati (IND,606) vs Mohd Mujahid Alias Adib (MAS) .. On the 32-size girls draw, [R1] #1 Madura Ranganathan (IND,172) l. Wing Yan Venise Chan (HKG), 26 16 .. [R1] Vandana Murali (IND,265) d. Noelle C Zoleta (PHI,NR) 61 67(5) 60 .. Vandana was to play Waratchaya Wongteanchai (THA) in the R2 .. Madura's upset loss is quite surprising - hope she is doing all right .. By the way, Sumit Gupta had also gone to two grade-5 events in Indonesia last two weeks .. Two QFs .. Not a lot of points, but the 14 yr old did raise his ranking inside the top-400 with that.

Awaiting news on Kartiki in France .. Also, some of our juniors who were in Morocco last week may have gone to the ITF juniors in Tunisia, but I have not seen any news yet.

July 2 Note-3

Well, once the rain picked up after 6 pm there, I gave up and went to work :-) .. It turns out that they got another 25 minutes of play in later .. MB-MM were serving for the match at 5-3 (0-15) in the 3rd when rain started again and the match got postponed to tomorrow ..  76(2) 76(3) 53 so far.

Sunitha Rao was up 6-4 after a set in her R3 match when play was suspended ..  All other matches, including LP's and MB's MxD and the three junior doubles, all postponed to tomorrow,

July 2 Note-2

Wimbledon 5.30 pm update (10 pm India) -- Rain just picked up again .. Next update at 6.15 pm.  Bleak day there.

Wimbledon 4.35 pm update (9.05 pm India) -- Another rain delay .. MB-MM leading 76(2) 76(3) 00 - they would have finished this match by now had they converted any of their first 6 or 7 break chances .. Sunitha at 1-1 first set .. 5.30 pm earliest restart.

Wimbledon 3.20 pm update (7.50 pm India) -- We are underway again, after 3 hours of multiple rain delays .. 3-3 first set for MB-MM

Wimbledon 2.30 pm update (7 pm India) -- The British weather is a joke .. They warmed up and it rains yet again .. At this rate they will get tired walking in and out .. Next start not earlier than 3.15 pm and it is 3 hours lost :-(

Wimbledon 2.00 pm update (6.30 pm India) -- The rain covers are coming off again .. Play should be underway by 2.20 pm

Wimbledon 1.20 pm update (5.50 pm India) -- 20 min of play (MB-MM at 3-2, no breaks) .. and it is raining again .. Back at 2 pm earliest.

Wimbledon 1.00 pm update (5.30 pm India) -- The matches have started after a 45 min brief rain delay.  MB-MM are playing now ..

Wimbledon 12.15 pm update (4.45 pm India) -- The players came out to warm up and so did the little shower .. So, here we go again .. Rain delay and the covers are on .. Will be at least 1 pm for things to start - may be more.

July 2 Note-1

Today's schedule at Wimbledon shows again some 7 matches for us to follow ..  I have posted the whole schedule and the times at the chatroom page .. See you all there during the matches .. By the way, where are all the old timers in the chatroom? -  Haven't seen some of you in a while! ..  MB-MM start it off at 12 noon (4.30 pm India) .. MB-PS and LP-MN are to play MxD Round 3 matches later .. Sunitha, Somdev-Karan, Sanaa-Giltinan, Sania-Kleybanova all come up later .. By the way, though I was disappointed in Sania-sanaa not playing together, it is good that they are both playing with very talented partners ..

Not much other news to report this week .. Sai wet down in the Q1 of the $25K challenger in France but is in the doubles main draw .. Kartiki is at the Paris Cadets ETA u16 event that started yesterday - no news yet .. In another piece of news, Avisnash reminded me (thanks!) about Agnel Gladwin touring Europe from next week onwards with the ITF u14 team .. More dteails on all of that later this week, once the Wimbledon rush reduces a bit.

July 1 Note-7

Wimbledon 8.15 pm .. Final update todaty and it is a good one! .. Paes and Rikl reached the Semifinal with an upset of the 3rd seeds! .. [QF] #5 L.Paes/ D.Rikl d. #3 B.Bryan/ M.Bryan, 62 67(5) 62 63 .. So they get revenge on the loss to the Bryans at the French Open .. This was a close match all the way through though .. The key difference was that LP-DR converted virtually every break chance they got (5 out of 6 chances to 0/2 by the Bryans) .. One thing on the Wimbledon grasscourts is that you only get so many chances; so you need to stay aggressive to earn your service breaks .. Cannot wait for mistakes by the others etc .. LP-DR seem to have done that today against the #1 ranked doubles team in the world who are the hardest serving pair out there too . here is how it went .. Set-1:  LP-DR converted their first chance in the 3rd game and then again in the 7th game and did not give a chance to the Bryans .. In fact LP-DR did not face a break point though the Bryans always seemed to take a point or two on every service game from Lee or Rikl .. The second set saw no break chances at all and it went to a tiebreaker .. LP-DR dropped two minibreaks to fall behind 0-3 and soon to 0-5 .. They were looking at 4 set points at 2-6 and saved three of them in a row before falling .. I had to be away during the 4th set and not sure when the two breaks happened .. In the 4th set they went for the kill on a 15-40 serve in the second game to lead 2-0 .. They were up 3-0 and it was then a sprint to the finish ..

Their semifinal opponents will hopefully be Hesh and Max .. Their QF will be tomorrow .. Two other QFs got done today with 3rd seeds Bjorkman-Woodbridge advancing in the bottom half but the 2nd seeds Knowles-Nestor falling in an incredible upset by two Israelis .. Unseeded Jonathan Erlich and Andy Ram (are you kidding me?) upset them 76(8), 76(2) 76(7) today, even fighting back from 3 set points in the final set, etc .. The Israelis threw down 20 aces in a barrage and had 66 winners to 35 by the 2nd seeds .. Wow! .. Doubles semis will be on Thursday ..

July 1 Note-6

Wimbledon 6.30pm .. Too many matches today and I am tired from typing (:-)) .. Good win though .. MB is in the MxD 3rd round too .. [R2] #1 M.Bhupathi/ P.Suarez d. J.Palmer/ A.Spears, 64 67(2) 61 .. They finished the postponed match just now, winning the final set easily in 23 minutes .. Not much drama to talk about actually .. Next round opponents are yet to be determined.

LP-DR are up a set 62 22 on the Bryans right now and looking good.

July 1 Note-5

Wimbledon 5.45 pm update:  (LP doubles starts soon and MB MxD later)

I have felt throughout this trip to Europe that something was amiss in our junior team .. I don't know what it is but things have not gone well .. First, one more loss to report  ..  #16 Sania Mirza (IND,15) l. Eden Marama (NZL,24), 16 63 16 .. More than the loss itself, I was rather sad that we in the chatroom could predict throughout the match how things would go .. Sania tends to play her best when she is in trouble and seems to relax whenever things go well and this was noticable throughout the match .. I suppose this is a hallmark of many top Indian kids, the reason being that they have grown up playing meeker competition and were able to do what was needed to win all the time --- then you go up against somebody who holds up under pressure and things can go awry .. In this case, Sania was down quickly, broken in the 3rd and 5th games of the first set and before she could mount a comeback the set was gone .. In the second we knew that she would do her customary comeback .. That she did well - went up ahead in the 3rd game and made no mistakes to take the set at 6-3 .. Just when she seemed to be on song, the 3rd set started with Sania dropping serve in the second game .. This has happened to her many times - but she almost always comes back after a brief loss of control like that .. She almost did that today too, but the Kiwi girl was up to the task .. SM had her down 0-30 in the 5th game to get the break back but she won 4 points in a row and held serve .. Again in the 7th game, Sania had her facing four break points from 15-40 down .. Once again she wriggled out and held serve .. In between she managed to break Sania once more too .. And that was that .. Sobering loss actually, though we can never say that a loss to a top-25 player is a bad loss .. This wasn't a bad loss, and to SM's credit she showed a lot of fight .. But again, as in Somdev's and Karan's case, she too failed to pull off the W in the end and this I was sad about .. Oh well ..  Sania is the type who will learn from all this and would only get better in the future - this somehow looked like a match that she could have won though.

For some good news, the top seed cruised through .. Sunitha Rao won 63 60 to advance to the QF .. No drama there .. She went ahead in the 4th game and served out the set .. Did not show any mercy to Timea Bacsinszky (SUI,37) after that ..  She gets Marama next, and I think she will do the revenge job for us on the New Zealander :-)

Now, for more bad news, here is a "what the heck is going on" news item .. Sania and Sanaa are not playing doubles together .. They could possibly have been seeded 4th together in a draw that is reduced in size from the usual 32 to 16 .. Instead they are both unseeded facing seeds right away .. And Sania runs into the top seeds too .. Alisa Kleybanova (RUS) and Sania Mirza play #1 Jarmila Gajdosova (SVK) and Andrea Hlavackova (CZE)  .. Sanaa Bhambri and Lara Giltinan (AUS) play #4 seeds Casey Dellacqua and Adriana Szili of Australia ..  What caused them to play with other partners, I don't know .. Generally nothing looks right.

Karan-Somdev, who would have been seeded in a 32-draw, are unseeded in the smaller draw .. They play Andrew Murray and Tom Rushby of Britain and could face the 4th seeds if they advance.  Thank God at least they are playing together!

July 1 Note-4

Wimbledon, 4.30 pm -- Mad Max are through to the QF .. [R3] #1 M.Bhupathi/ M.Mirnyi d. #13 G.Etlis/ M.Rodriguez, 76(4) 63 63 .. No breaks or break points all the way till the 7th game of the second set .. MB-MM were down 1-3 in the first set tiebreaker but stepped on it there .. They converted 2 of 3 break points in the 7th and 9th game of the second set to win that too .. In the 3rd they once again went up in the 4th game to 3-1 ..  Faced a couple of break points in the next game but saved them .. Three more AD out break points on MB's serve in the 7th game but he held to stay ahead to 5-2 and it was over there .. 9 aces, mostly by Max today, but MB's service games seemed very strong too .. 3 of 4 in BPs by our team and 0 for 5 by the other guys (all late in the 3rd set) .. Next up for MB-MM in the QF are the 8th seeds, the all-profanity team (as my favorite CNNSi writer calls them), Damm-Suk ..

Sania is down 26 00 to Marama right now -- hope she comes back .. Sunitha match starting in a couple of minutes.

July 1 Note-3

Wimbledon, 4 pm -- Somedev Dev Varman (#57) went down after some serious resistance in the second set to Devin Mullings (BAH,44), 67(3) 75 16 in the boys' first round .. SD was up a break in the 6th game of the first and was broken right back before it went to a tiebreaker .. In the second set, he was up a break after the 5th game, was broken right back to 3-3 .. He was up again at 5-4 and was broken back immeidately for the 3rd time in the match to 5-5 .. Went up for a 4th time in the 11th game and this time he served out the set .. In the 3rd set it was all Mullings, as he broke Somdev in the 4th and 6th games to cruise to a win .. I guess it is another good fight from one of our kids - but then, good as a fight is, we need some wins too guys! .. Sania and Sunitha R2 matches coming up soon ..

MB-MM are up 76(4) 63 41 now.

July 1 Note-2

Wimbledon, 3.00 pm update (7.30 pm India) - They have started MB-MM doubles match a few minutes back .. Come on over to the chatroom ..For some reason Somdev's match started only now - quite a while after the covers came off.

Wimbledon, 2.20 pm update (6.50 pm India) - The covers are off again .. Not getting sunny or anything, but they should be playing again by about 2.45 pm, it seems.

Wimbledon, 1.30 pm update (6 pm India) - Rain came down just when they were about to start at 1.15 .. Make it another hour more lost ..

Wimbledon, 12.50 pm update (5.20 pm India) - The covers have come off .. Play should be starting after a 1 hour delay by 1.15 pm ..

Wimbledon, 12.15 pm update (4.45 pm India) - Rain .. so what is new? .. They got an hour's play in, and Somdev is behind, 67(3) 11 .. Looks like a minor shower for now.

July 1 Note-1

Here are the matches coming up today at Wimbledon .. Everything except the first match are approximate times, and it all also depends on rain Gods as usual..

[R1] Somdev Dev Varman -vs- Devin Mullings (BAH), 11.00 am (3.30 pm India .. 6 am NY)
[R2] #16 Sania Mirza -vs- Eden Marama (NZL), 12.45 pm
[R3] #1 M.Bhupathi/ M.Mirnyi -vs- #13 G.Etlis/ M.Rodriguez, 2.00 pm
[R2] #1 Sunitha Rao -vs- Timea Bacsinszky (SUI), 2.15 pm
[QF] #5 L.Paes/ D.Rikl -vs- #3 B.Bryan/ M.Bryan, 5 pm +/- 30 min.
[R2] #1 M.Bhupathi/ P.Suarez -vs- J.Palmer/ A.Spears (contd.), 5.30 pm +/- 30 min.

Come to the chatroom to follow the matches (not sure if I would be there much, but some of the fans would be around)

June 30 Note-3

The Hindustan Times reports that Leander was not feeling well today, with a cold and a cough, but that didn't really stop him from winning the doubles and mixed doubles matches .. [R3] #5 L.Paes/ D.Rikl d. Giovanni Lapentti/ Nicolas Lapentti (URU), 36 63 76(5) 63 .. The Lapentti brothers played them quite closely but just at the key points "Czech-Inde Mail" seemed to get it done .. Here is how the match went .. First set:  2nd game, LP-DR down 15-40 on serve; saved one BP, dropped serve at the next - 0-2 .. Our pair had one break chance in the 6th game that they couldn't utilize and the Uruguayans kept the one break lead and served the set off .. Second set:  LP-DR broke them in quick order in the second game to get back in the match, when another rain delay started .. They kept the momentum after an hour of delay and cruised to take the set 63 with no BPs to either side from there on .. Actually I don't remember many break points or drama till the end of the 3rd set .. Set-3: Our pair had one wasted break chance in game 3, but then it went with serve to the tiebreaker  .. A tight tiebreaker where they traded minibreaks on the 5th and 7th serves .. LP-DR converted the first set point at 6-5 on the Lapenttis' serve .. Set-4: Broke them in game 4 at 30-40 to go up 3-1 and went up to 5-3, serving for the match .. Some minor hiccup there, and they faced a break attempt at AD out .. Stayed tough to get the job done ..

Up next for LP-DR is the young team that has made the biggest noise since Indian Express on the tour .. The 3rd seeded Bryan twins in a match between the second and 3rd ranked teams of the year .. The last time these two played, at the French Open semis, the Americans pretty much dominated LP-DR on the way to the championship .. Can they do that once again? .. We will see tomorrow .. The match is the featured 3rd and final match on the center court after two all-American ladies' QF matches (Serena-vs-Capriati and Venus-vs-Davenport) .. Too many Americans on the center court - Czech-Inde will try to break the monotony .. Go get them this time, guys!

Later in the evening, LP and Martina came out for some fun and had a jolly good time for a few minutes to advance to the 3rd round of Mixed Doubles .. Actually the Spaniard who played them must have felt like his last name for ever thinking of getting on court to play mixed doubles against LP-MN .. The match was over before we could say the Paraguayan lady's name ..  [R2] #5 L.Paes/ M.Navratilova d. Alex Lopez Moron (ESP)/ Rossana Nefa Delos Rios (PAR), 60 61 .. Up next for Lee-Legend are the Aussie pair, Peter Luczak and Christina Wheeler .. That match is on Wednesday.

Mahesh could not play the doubles match today, because Mirnyi and Bjorkman played a 4-set singles match that got all delayed by the rain (Bjorkman, one of my favorite players on the tour and among the very few along with Mirnyi to be at the top of doubles and still damn good at singles; he showed that at his age of 30+, he still has the game to beat someone like Max) .. MB-MM and Bjorkman-Woodbridge are the only two doubles high seeds yet to play the 3rd round .. MB-MM will play tomorrow.

MB and Paola Suarez were getting a tough fight in their MxD second round when it got too late and they postponed the match to tomorrow .. [R2] #1 M.Bhupathi/ P.Suarez vs J.Palmer/ A.Spears, 64 67(2) 00 ..  I have no details on the two mixed doubles matches today - LP's and MB's.

On to a really tough fight from the last one to make direct entry into the boys' draw .. Karan Rastogi did not play like he was the last one facing the 3rd seed in the latter part of the match after he made a marvelous comeback .. He was playing a guy who has been basically in the pro circuit for most of the year and had even won the Israel satellites to come up inside the top-375 .. Dude Sela was in the junior top-10 last year .. Karan probably was affected a bit by all the waiting through the rain delays and it did take him a while to get going .. KR dropped serve in the very first game itself, and fell further with a drop of serve in the 7th game .. He had a break point on Dudi's serve in the 3rd game, but otherwise the Israeli had good control on things in the first set .. It looked totally bleak after Karan dropped serve in the first game of the second set as well - 26 01 and he had just lost 7 of the first 9 games .. That is when we saw why he is thought off as the best young talent in the immediate future for us .. He took four straight points off Dudi and evened it right away at 1-1 .. Now Karan was all over Dudi and broke him for a second time to win four straight games and go up to 4-1 .. He dropped serve at 4-2 however, but did not lose the grip as he broke the 3rd seed for a 3rd time to go up to 5-3 and serve out the set ..  The israeli was up to the task though -- He stayed away from trouble on his serve in the 3rd set though Karan was taking a lot of points off him .. KR's own serve came under severe pressure in the 4th and 6th games though .. We again saw the fight in him, as he saved 5 break points in those games with some tough stands, even coming back from 0-40 down at 2-3 .. He dropped serve at the 6th break point on him in the set at AD out and was down 2-4 .. Held serve rather easily at 2-5 but did not get a chance to bring Dudi to yet another break in the next game - the match ended at 26 63 36 .. Though Sela is perhaps not the best grasscourt player on record, he is a much more experienced player and it was indeed nice to see Karan trying his best in this match .. KR still has over a year to go further in grand slams.

Due to rain delays, Somdev's match is moved to tomorrow .. He starts off at 11 am Tuesday, and Sania's second round follows on the same court .. Also in the schedule tomorrow is MB for doubles R3 and for the finish of the MxD R2 .. The boys/girls doubles do not start till wednesday, but veteran's doubles starts tomorrow .. Vijay and Anand Amritraj is one team there .. Was surprised to see an old name, Sashi Menon playing with Jan Kodes! .. I thought Sashi was totally out of tennis (and was doing real estate or something somewhere in Southern California) .. Good to see his name in the draw.

June 30 Note-2

LP-DR reached the QF with a 36 63 76(5) 63 win today at the Wimbledon, and Karan Rastogi went down after a massive fight 26 63 36 to the 3rd seed .. Details later.  Somdev hasn't played yet; neither has MB-MM.

June 30 Note-1

Wimbledon 3.20 pm update (7.50 pm India) -- The covers have just been taken off, after the rain .. Play should be starting right after 3.30 pm.

Wimbledon 2.30 pm update (7 pm India) -- It's raining again .. It's hot chocolate and strawberries(:-)) time .. The covers are on .. LP-DR dropped serve in the second game and could not force a break at the one chance they had at 2-4 to get on par .. Lost the set 3-6, but had just broken ahead 2-0 in the second set when the silly British weather acted up again .. Mirnyi is playing singles .. Hopefully MB-MM will get to play much later - that is if the rain stops and they get some 4 hours more of play.  Doubtful .. Karan Somdev sitting and waiting too (hopefully not getting nervous!)

Wimbledon 1.45 pm update (6.15 pm India) -- They have moved LP-DR doubles match, and it is starting NOW -- [R3] L.Paes/ D.Rikl vs Nicolas Lapentti/ Giovanni Lapentti .. Come to our chatroom for scores.

Wimbledon 1.15 pm update (5.45 pm India) -- Great; play is just starting and now they have moved Karan Rastogi's match (which was t be the first on court 5) to a 2 pm start on a court to be announced - one of only two matches moved around.  Terrible  - a perfect way to make the boys wait and lose focus.

Wimbledon 12.45 pm update (5.15 pm India) -- The covers are off as of 12.45 pm at Wimbledon and play might start by 1.30 pm or so .. It hasn't exactly got sunny or anything, but they can play soon it seems [courtesy: official website]

Wimbledon 12 noon update (4.30 pm India) ,, Rain delaying the start of matches at Wimbledon .. The play was to start by 11 am, it is some pretty good rain going on still .. This is why I hate it when Wimbledon wastes the middle sunday with an off day for everyone to go to church or whatever .. Rainout in the second week messes things up the schedule badly (especially for doubles and mixed doubles draws), but I guess it is early enough in the week for adjustments in the schedules.

.. Previous notes are at Notes for the week ending on June 30 ..

I am getting some inquiries from US college coaches who are interested in Indian junior players .. I would like to be able to contact Indian players (some of the coaches are inquiring about specific names) .. If any of the junior players are reading this, please contact me .. Or if any of the other readers know the contact emails/address for any junior player, let me know .. I would like to have a mailing list where I can post general announcements and inquiries from the coaches too .. Please email me - R.Jayakrishnan.