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LP/MB/NV/Indian-Tennis: Notes for week ending on Aug 17, 1998
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Please read the newly-added page, a collection of notes, especially on the important topic of Indian players needing support .. We need responses and help from everybody ..
Aug 17 Notes
Leander has cracked the top-100 again ! .. He is at #100 this week. In doubles, the team ranks remain at #3 but the individual ranks for MB and LP have fallen to #7 and #8, as the points from New Haven last year fell off. They can pick the rankings right back up by defending the title here. The complete singles rankings are not online yet - we will wait to see MB's rank.
On the women' side, as we predicted here, Manisha Malhotra made the big jump this week - all the way up from #987 to #676 after the runner-up performance at the Southsea futures in UK a week back (her points went up from 2.25 to 8.50). She is now the #3 Indian in the list, behind Nirupama at #158 and Archana Venkataraman at #653. Archana picked up 0.50 points from somewhere and went up from #669 to #653 .. In doubles, Nirupama had 30 points fall off from last year's Salt-Lake city semis, replaced by 18 from the finals at Lexington (.. my calculations showed 23 points .. must have made a mistake somewhere). Anyway, that leaves her a few spots down at #218 .. She now has 8 more doubles points falling off next week after which she does not have much doubles points to defend for a while, I believe. Niru has 16 points to defend this week in singles too (semis at Bronx last year). In the meanwhile a press friend from India had told me that Sai Jailakshmi was in Germany for a couple of weeks, but I have not found much info on where she was playing. She did pick up 1 point and has moved up from #685 to #649 in doubles.
Kind of busy for a day or two here, so updates from the men/women challengers at Bronx, NY, on Niru, Fazal and Prahlad (Fazal and Prahlad may have had to play qualies) may be pretty late ..
Aug 16 Note-2
The NewHaven draws are out. LP plays #41-ranked Marc Rosset of Switzerland in the first round .. The match is not on the schedule for Monday, which is great news, as it gives LP one more day to take rest and wait for the flu to go away. He was feeling better, but he still had to play very carefully in today's qualifier match against Bastl .. Anyway, he was up 5-0 in a hurry, gave a break back but won the set at 6-3; then he had a quick early break in the second set and could coast along .. He still needs more rest, and it looks like he will get it tomorrow .. LP had a strange match, going back and forth .. He was down 1-4 and then 2-5 in the 3rd set, made it 4-5 and then got broken .. LP watched the end of the match and says Mahesh "should have had this match", for the kind of "fabulous tennis he played to get back in the set" .. Here is the immediate draw for LP (It's 56-strong with 8 byes):
1-Pete Sampras (USA) Bye \ Sargis Sargsian (ARM) vs W-Lleyton Hewitt (AUS) / \ Sergei Bruguera (ESP) vs W-Patrick McEnroe (USA) \ / Marc Rosset (SUI) vs Q-Leander Paes (IND) /
Oh, for Pete's sake, don't tell me you want me to give you the draw beyond final 16 for now ! :-) .. Once LP gets there with tons of bonus points, I will give the rest !
Marc Rosset (#41), perhaps the tallest player on the tour at 6 ft 7 inches, last played LP in those fabulous grasscourts in Calcutta in 1993 (Davis Cup), when LP lost 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 .. (that was the wonderful year when the barely 20-yr old LP beat Hlasek as part of the 3-2 win over the Swiss, and followed it with the miracle at Frejus, France, in Ramesh Krishnan's company). Rosset was in the top-10 in early 96, and has been in the top-20 till mid 97 .. After that he has had quite a bad year except for St. Petersberg and Antwerp, both on carpet, this year in March when he lost finals to Krajicek and Rusedski - but he picked up over half of his 900-odd points in that two-week period. After that, he has had a string of early losses, except for the upset of Pioline in the first round at Wimbledon, which was followed by a loss to Chris Wilkinson .. Then he lost to Rios in straight sets at Gstaad (first round), lost to Corretja and Moya in straight sets in Davis Cup in Spain, and lost to Slava Dosedel in straight sets at Stuttgart (first round) .. He has not played any tournaments for 3 weeks .. He must be hungry for a win, and LP hopefully won't allow that. A win would give Leander 18 bonus points to go with 14 tournament points for 32 total. This would be a very good win, if LP does it.
Here is the doubles draw:
1-Mahesh Bhupathi/Leander Paes Bye \ Wayne Arthurs/Peter Tramacchi vs Daniel Orsanic/Jan Siemerink /\ Olivier Delaitre/Jeff Tarango vs Marius Barnard/Byron Talbot \/\ 7-Julian Alonso/Javier Sanchez vs Neville Godwin/Vincenzo Santopadre / \_ 3-Yevgeny Kafelnikov/Daniel Vacek Bye \ / | Jamie Holmes/Tomas Zdrazilla vs Qualifier/Qualifier /\/ | Gabor Koves/Eric Taino vs Stephen Noteboom/Fernon Wibier \/ | 6-Justin Gimelstob/Jonathan Stark vs W-Scott Humphries/Jeff Salzenstein / |_ 5-Marc-K. Goellner/David Prinosil vs Mark Keil/T.J.Middleton \ | Gustavo Kuerten/Max Mirnyi vs Devin Bowen/Mariano Hood /\ | Lucas Arnold/Luis Lobo vs W-Slava Dosedel/Sargis Sargsian \/\ | 4-Sebastien Lareau/Alex O’Brien Bye / \_| 8-Pablo Albano/Nicolas Lapentti vs W-James Blake/Thomas Blake \ / Guillaume Raoux/Fabrice Santoro vs Qualifier/Qualifier /\/ Goran Ivanisevic/G. Van Emburgh vs W-Geoff Grant/Patrick McEnroe \/ 2-Todd Woodbridge/Mark Woodforde Bye
Reasonably easy early on, but gets pretty tough in the later rounds .. LP/MB had 372 pts for their title there last year. Those points will fall off tomorrow, but hopefully our dudes can gain that back (and more, if they get a sweet victory over the Woodies in a final .. But, if the usual pattern continues, one of the two teams will lose early! .. Since the 97 Cincinnati Super 9, these two teams have been in at least 15 or more tournaments, but have never met).
Aug 16 Note-1
Good and bad news from New Haven - Leander beat George Bastl (#241), 6-3, 6-4 today to qualify into the main draw .. Mahesh played another close match with Ivo Heuberger (#129) but could not get the win, as he went down 6-2, 3-6, 6-4 .. LP gets 7 points for qualifying into the main draw, and his point total crosses 500 for the first time, to 503 (the qualifier points will go in only after a week, though) .. Mahesh's ranking will fall a bit Monday, as the points from last year for qualifying into New Haven will fall off .. We should know LP's opponent in the main draw, soon.
The national junior hardcourt nationals are all done at Chennai. As expected, first seed Vijay Kannan won the boys final over 2nd seed SanzarUz Zaman, 6-2, 6-3 and the first seed Uzma Khan won the girls' final over 4th seed radhika Tulpule, 6-2, 6-1 .. Uneventful finals. Check out the complete results from Chennai.
Aug 15 Note-3
Mahesh and Leander won today (it's been a while since both won singles matches the same day, I think) .. Leander beat Bobby Kokavec, 6-4, 6-1 .. Mahesh had a tougher match but he upset Michael Russel, 6-7(3), 6-4, 7-5 .. There are 7 qualifier spots at New Haven .. LP plays the Swiss player, George Bastl (#241, 13th seed in the qualies) and Mahesh plays Ivo Heuberger (#129, 3rd seed), also Swiss, tomorrow to get one of those spots .. I don't think LP has played Bastl before but MB almost had Ivo Heuberger by the throat at the Queen's qualifiers (see June 7 Note-3) and was breezing to a win when Ivo got into a long argument with the Umpire, causing Mahesh to lose his concentration and lose the match .. Should be good rematch tomorrow. LP will be the first lucky loser in-waiting even if he loses, but this is a match he should win and get 7 extra points too, rather than wait for someone to not show up for the main draw.
Good news: (that is 7 pm PST, USA, and 7.30 am Wednesday, India) .. At our chatroom, live from New Haven .. Some of you complained that those outside of the fanclub did not know about the chat with LP a few months back .. So, here is the early announcement on the chat with MB, and now is your chance to come in and shoot stuff at the boom-boom !
At Chennai, the Vijay Kannan vs Manoj mahadevan semifinal reportedly lived up to its billing as the one between the two most talented teenagers .. Vijay won, 7-6(5), 3-6, 6-4 .. Manoj was doing well till losing his cool at 4-4 in the 3rd set with Vijay serving 40-0, when the umpire did not see Manoj asking him to hold on .. Vijay was willing to serve it again, but the ump gave the point and Manoj was upset. He dropped serve next set and it was over. Both showed their talent and Vijay deserved to win for staying cool and doing what was needed to win. Manoj is a bit younger and will hopefully mature too, as according to The Hindu, "stroke-for-stroke he is better than even Vijay" .. That is a big compliment, as the report goes on to say about Vijay, "..his level of desire is incredibly high and he plays the big points with the sort of confidence that one has seldom seen in an Indian teenager since Leander Paes played at this level" .. The quality of tennis was reportedly good, and it is heartening to read the comment that "If all goes well, both should find a place in the Indian Davis Cup team in the not-too-distant future" .. Then there is the unsung "little guy", SanzarUz Zaman, the second seed, who beat Parantap Chaturvedi to reach the final against Vijay tomorrow. Vijay is the defending champion ..Vijay Kannan and Mustafa "Pete" Ghouse won the doubles title today, 6-3, 6-2 over Ravikiran Bhat and Rohan Bopanna .. The girls doubles was won by the Sha-Sha girls, Shruti and Sheetal over the Rah-Rah girls, Radhika Mandke and Radhika Tulpule .. Both the singles finals are tomorrow. See the complete results page ..
Aug 15 Note-2
Mahesh Bhupathi is playing the first round of qualifiers at the New Haven Pilot Pen tournament, as I type, against Michael Russell (#234) of the USA .. Go MB !
Leander was supposed to be at New Haven, but had not got to the hotel where he was supposed to be, by late evening, and we were wondering if his flu had got worse ! .. But now the tournament folks say that he did get there and signed in for the qualies. He is the top seed in the qualies, and is supposed to play this afternoon against Bobby Kokavec (#313) who is the best up and coming Canadian player now. Let's hope LP's flu problems have got better.
Will get the scores of both the matches in a few hours.
Aug 15 Note-1
The girls semifinals and the boys quarterfinals are done at the national hardcourts, and this tournament continues to follow the script, so far .. A great set of matches are on tap for Saturday, with the girls final between the reigning champion Uzma Khan and Radhika Tulpule, and the boys' semifinals showing the two Tamizhaga kids facing off (1st seed Vijay Kannan and 3rd seed Manoj Mahadevan) in one semis and the giant-killer, Parantap Chaturvedi (Delhi) facing the 2nd seed SanzarUz Zaman (Bengal) in the other .. The girls final is a repeat of the finals at the senior women's ranking tournament at Bombay in May, when the upstart Radhika gave a good fight to Uzma and lost 5-7, 3-6 (If I am not mistaken, Radhika played the Maharashtra state tournament that same week too .. 10 singles matches in a week!) .. See the complete results from Chennai.
Here are some excerpts from a good article (reporter not identified online) in The Hindu: "there was some exciting tennis on view. But seldom did a player give you the impression that he may have the tactical maturity to hold his own among the best in the world ... Vijay Kannan, did display the sort of confidence that goes with the status he enjoys in the game in this country as the No.1 by raising his game just that bit whenever he needed in beating Avinash Arun ... the other three quarterfinal winners during the day, were deserving winners too, boys who did what was needed at the crunch ... But how much easier things would have been for the more talented ones if they had displayed some sort of tactical mastery! So you wondered as you watched opportunities being missed out on, cracks not being taken advantage of simply because the players were unwilling to risk anything or, more likely, unable to size up the chances and see them for what they were when they did come their way ... Vijay Kannan did very well to turn things around late in the first set against Avinash Arun. After trading early breaks, Arun went on to break the champion's serve in the ninth game but Vijay stepped on the pedal and hit two lovely passes to break back before running away with the set ... Yet, one got the distinct impression that Vijay did not really dictate terms as much as he could have, given the range of his skill. He simply did not attack enough. Maybe he is reserving his best for Saturday's semifinals against Manoj Mahadevan ... While the heavy balls and the nature of the courts may not suggest that it would be wise to play serve-and-volley tennis from start to finish, the top players are not playing aggressive baseline tennis. Few of them are stepping in on the opponent's weak second deliveries and fewer still are choosing to take the ball early and telegraph their intentions to the rival ... Meanwhile, the one player who impressed with his attacking play on Thursday, himself fell apart, both technically and tactically on Friday. Mustafa Ghouse went down 2-6, 4-6 to the clever little player, S. Zaman ... Ghouse rushed things too much in the first set and it was gone before he knew what hit him. He pulled himself together to play with greater conviction in the second set ... Zaman is a wily little man who gives nothing away. While he has nothing to hurt a butterfly with in terms of an acknowledged weapon, he is the sort of player you have to go out and beat. He doesn't lose himself. Ghouse has the big guns to flatten the little man but he just did not take aim properly ... Zaman plays Chaturvedi in the semifinals. Chaturvedi won a marathon against Akshay Jagadle, winning 5-7, 6-3, 7-6(3). Jagdale was up 5-3 and 30-0 on serve in the decider but went on to lose 16 points in a row .. Looks like this reporter is really disappointed in Mustafa's bad show yesterday after being very impressed by him the day before. Interesting comments on Zaman, too :-)
The Hindu online had an article (again, the reporter not identified) a couple of days back with some great comments:
"After watching the country's best junior talent over two days, this much can be said: whatever little quality there is, it needs better assistance from the All India Tennis Association (AITA). For all that's been said and written about the AITA's Junior Development Programme, the level of funding is hardly going to help players such as Manoj Mahadevan or Vijay Kannan ... A grant of something like Rs.1 lakh for a year to play in the domestic circuit is hardly something that will help Manoj or Vijay advance their careers. What they need is greater international exposure and just playing the Indian junior circuit - or even the few ITF junior events in this country which are largely ignored by the cream of European or American junior talent - will certainly not help ... As well as supporting a large number of players with a basic grant, what the AITA should also do is to isolate three or four top - not in terms of rankings but in terms of well-judged quality - juniors and send them to Europe and the United States to play in major international junior tournaments. In the absence of such an initiative, all the fuss about junior development will not add up to much at the end of the day" ...
All I can say is, "Amen to that" ! .. Exactly what we all feel should be done. The junior program sounds very good so far, but why this reluctance to shell out 10 or 15 lakhs for 4 or 5 top players to be sent abroad for international junior events (after all AITA is spending Rs 100 lakhs on the junior program) ? .. 5 weeks of a European tour that ITF takes one or two players on, is all that the Indian junior normally get. That is way too little to help. Uzma should not be ranked in the low 60s .. Neither should be Vijay or Manoj .. AITA, Dhaita, etc have sent players to the Grand slams in the past, but that is perhaps not the right strategy. First, the players end up missing the draw (as happened to Uzma this year, and Harsh last year) because they do not have enough points, even with many titles and finals in the subcontinental ITF juniors (with much lesser points - 30 for a title, as opposed to 250 in a grand slam and 60s and 100s in some of the better ITF tournaments abroad) .. Second, chances are that they end up losing in the first or second round, having never played at that level of competition .. We need to send some of our juniors to the Orange Bowls and the Copa Ericssons with large draws, and that is where they get to play enough matches to improve. Squeezing into the grand slam draw and bowing out in the first round doesn't help anybody ..
Talking off juniors, watch out for the talented Aisam Ul-Haq Qureshi of Pakistan. He won the prestigious Queen's junior event before Wimbledon, and did well in the Wimbledon too .. He has now moved inside the top-10 of ITF juniors, and I am told has won a bunch of matches at the British ATP satellites over the last few weeks too. He is already being considered for the Davis Cup, and has caused a lot of sudden excitement in Pakistan. Hey, India should be ready to find replacements for LP and MB in a few years, lest we someday find losing a Davis Cup to Pakistan ! .. How about that for incentive to get things in order ? ... OK, I stretch things a bit, but I don't mind doing anything to wake everybody up .. :-)
Aug 14 Notes
The news is not good from LP .. He is alright, but under some antibiotics right now, with something that he caught while working out in the gym Tuesday evening .. May be it was carpet dust in the gym that caused him to start sneezing .. He was sick by Wednesday, and was bed-ridden thursday. He probably shouldn't have played his second round match at Binghamton yesterday, but he played anyway and lost. He is reaching New Haven by this evening, but it is not clear if he would be well enough to play singles qualies there, starting tomorrow (probably won't play) .. What can we say ? .. The man, who is among the toughest on court, comes down often with the strangest of ailments off the court ! .. Kind of sad to have this happen right after the injury problems which he was completely free of by early this week. He was feeling great on Tuesday, but that didn't last long. So, once again .. Get well fast, Lee !
I believe Mahesh can make the singles qualifier draw at New Haven.. We will know tomorrow.
The quarterfinals for girls and the prequarterfinals for boys are done at the National Junior hardcourts at Chennai. No surprises once again .. Uzma, Shruti, Radhika Tulpule and Radhika Mandke are in the semis (Sheetal Gautam who was upset in the first round is the only other player that I expected in the semis) .. On the boys' side, once again the expected ones are through to the quarterfinals - Vijay Kannan, Manoj Mahadevan, SanzarUz Zaman, Parantap Chaturvedi, etc (kedar temebe waho was upset early is the one missing here) .. The one who turned heads on Thursday was Mustafa "Pete" Ghouse .. He had a 6-0, 6-0 win over a not-so-weak opponent, Nirmit Shetty. The article in The Hindu says Mustafa showed impressive relentless aggression in his match. Manoj Mahadevan struggled a bit, but won in 3 sets over Vijay Rajagopal. Check out the complete results page. Will update some doubles scores too soon, there.
Aug 13 Note-3
The buddies are taking turns today in losing .. Mahesh lost earlier, and then Leander made sure he will go to New Haven early as well. LP lost 3-6, 3-6 to Cristiano Caratti (#149) .. Caratti has been ranked as high as #26 in the past, but based on recent form, LP should have been expected to win this. Anyway, LP comes out with 9 points which will take his total to 497. That should still leave him just outside the top100 next week. He does get to play the qualifiers at New Haven, where he could possibly be the top seed in the qualies. That will give him a great chance to make the main draw too. .. Yeah, there is always a silver lining after every loss ! :-)
Aug 13 Note-2
Mahesh and Paul haarhuis lost in round-2 at the Cincinnati Super 9, to Pablo Albano (ARG) and Nicolas Lapentti (Ecuador), 5-7, 6-7(3) just now .. Tells you what a disadvantage it is not to have played together in doubles, regardless of the doublesa ranks, especially when going up against a pair who have played together in the past .. Albano/Lapentti is the #44 team, but they rack up 45 bonus points for beating a team with two top-5 players ! .. Let's hope Mahesh will now get to go down to New Haven and try the singles qualifiers. Not sure if he would make the draw, but there's a chance.
LP plays later today at Binghamton.
Aug 13 Note-1
SK John of Indian Express had an article yesterday about how AITA seems to have built some bridges with Ramesh Krishnan, by taking some of his advice in the new plans and selecting the Krishnan tennis Center as one of the 5 academies for AITA support for junior development. Some may remember the acrimonious breakup after the miracle Davis Cup win in France in 1993 .. One sad chapter in Indian tennis. Heartening news to see that things are getting better.
The Times of India had an article yesterday as well, on AITA saying the the national circtuit is not being fully abandoned in favor of internationals. Some of the nationals will remain in the schedule for next year. The reason given was to provide a bridge between the junior events and the international (challenger/future/satellite) events which is important for those who have finished the junior period but has got a bit of proving to do before being able to enter and do well in the internationals. This is not a bad idea. Guess who was mentioned as the one who gave advice on this plan ? - Ramesh Krishnan ! .. Yeah, go Ramesh !
Aug 12 Notes
Not much happening today. LP is playing the second round singles on Thursday.
The second round of girls matches are done at the Chennai junior hardcourt nationals. The first round of Boys' singles also got done. There was one upset yesterday in the girls first round which was not in the scorecards at the Newspapers I saw first, for some reason. Sheetal Gautam of Karnataka lost in the first round to Harsimran Kaur of Chandigarh .. That was a surprise. No surprises in today's second round matches. Harsimran ghas now reached the quarterfinals, along with Uzma, Shruti, Radhika(s), etc, the usual suspects :-) .. On the boys' the first round today and yesterday had one upset, which was Kedar Tembe losing to Parantap Chaturvedi (which is perhaps not that big a surprise to some, who are aware of the very young Parantap's talent) .. The complete results page is updated with results from Wednesday now.
Aug 11 Note-2
This was not a contest at all, it seems .. Luxa went down 6-1, 6-2 to Leander Paes today at Binghamton .. No other details, but it looks like there wasn't much, except Leander taking a nice cakewalk. Next up for LP is Cristani Caratti, the 28 year old Italian who has dropped a bit in the rankings lately.. Now at #149, but Cratti has been ranked as high as #26 once. He is not an easy foe for LP. These two have not played each other. The second round match is scheduled for Thursday.
News from India: The girls' junior hardcourt nationals ha started at Madras. The big story was Uzma struggling a bit at first, but she won, as she always does, by using the right tactics and waiting for the other to make mistakes. She beat Sharin Yusuf, 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 .. The other wierd game was from Shruti Dhawan who looked "clueless" at firt, according to PTI, but came back to win 0-6, 6-0, 6-0 .. Does that make it a triple-bagel ?? .. Apparently, they are using some bouncy imported balls from Swededn which is causing everyone trouble ! .. The other notable win was from the talented kid from Mumbai, Radhika Tulpule - 6-0, 6-0 over Sai Swapna .. Here are the complete results from Chennai.
If you have not noticed yet, Nirupama Vaidyanathan's complete match results (all the way from 1995) are available now. Take a look at the links at the Nirupama homepage.
Aug 11 Note-1
Terrific News !! .. Manisha Malhotra reached the finals of the $10K futures at Southseas, England !! .. She lost (6-7, 3-6) Sunday to Elini Danilidou (#553) of Greece who had upset the top seed Lisa McShea (#274, AUS) in the first round .. Manisha was ranked #866 last week but lost a couple of points (probably from the British futures last year) and had fallen to #987 this week with just 2.25 points. She was among the last couple of players to get into the draw (I am not sure if she had to play qualifiers), but then upset the 5th seed in the first round, and then the 4th seed, #381 Kate Warne-Holland of Britain in the semifinals !! In the quarterfinals, she beat S.Bensch of Germany (#733), 6-1, 6-0 .. Ouch :-) .. I have not seen the full draw/results - this is pieced together from a couple of score reports in The Times, London .. If I am not mistaken, this is a $10K futures that gives the winner 5 points and the runner-up 4 pts (there are two kinds of $10K futures.. There's also a variety that gives 10 pts for winner and 7 for runner-up). That plus 2 bonus points for beating two top-500 players would boost her WTA points to about 8 pts, and we should see her jump all the way up from #987 to close to #700 next week .. The best jump by an Indian player this year, since Fazal made his big jump in January with a win at the men's futures in Chandigarh. What that means is that she is in good shape to directly qualify into the Indian futures coming up in October, and one wildcard gets freed up for somebody else ! .. Great job, Manisha ..
Hope the Fed Cup selectors have noticed .. Even though she was doing well, ranked in the top-15 in US collegiate tennis this year, and was the runner up at the national grasscourt to Uzma Khan last December (in a 3-hour 3-set duel), she was not in the team for the Fed Cup in Thailand in March .. It was during the academic semester in the US, but she was available, though they said she didn't confirm that - the usual communication break, I guess .. It didn't matter at the Fed Cup as Niru and Uzma were more than sufficient ! .. Anyway, she has served some notice now. In her press conference in February, Nirupama Vaidyanathan had mentioned how she would like to have a regular doubles partner and said Manisha would be a good one to join her in the pro tour. Manisha has quite a distance to go before she can qualify into the challengers where Niru plays. She is a very good doubles player too - she and Margie Lepsi at the Univ of Tennessee were ranked among the top-5 in college for a couple of years. She has finished her college tennis eligibility and I assume she will be trying out the pros full-time for a while now. Best of luck to her.
In other news, Leander plays Peter Luxa at Binghamton this evening.
Aug 10 Note-2
The new rankings show Leander at a career-high #5 in doubles.. Mahesh is at #4, behind Eltingh, Haarhuis and Bjorkman .. This is because the Woodies lost their points from Cincinnati Super 9 last year (the ATP ranks are at a one-week lag with last year's tournament points falling off a week earlier), and LP-MB didn't have many points at Cincinnati. Next week, our guys will lose the points from the New haven title last year and LP could fall to #8 .. The vagaries of the 52-week period ATP strictly follows .. By the way, a correction from what I said earlier on the finalists at Toronto. Bjorkman/Rafter did not make the finals.. It was Damm-Grabb (who went on to beat Ferreira/Leach to take the big title). I had seen that Bjorkman/Rafter had won the first set on Damm-Grabb in the semis and the match got done in two sets .. I assumed they had won .. Didn't look closely enough; Rafter had some wrist pain and they gave the match to Damm-Grabb at one set each. Anyway, the new team rankings still show our guys at #3, with Ferreira/Leach right behind by about 30 pts at #4 .. The full singles ranks are not out yet. LP has not cracked top-100 though. He should be right around where he was last week.
Mahesh and Paul Haarhuis are the #2 seed at the Cincinnati Super 9 this week. The Woodies are the #1 seed (now, that is based on last week's rankings .. :-)). After a first round bye, MB/PH play the winner of Albano/Lapentti vs Broad/Norval .. A much tougher second round match than I would have liked, against either of those teams.
Nirupama moved up by one spot to #159, once again her highest ranking in over a year. If predicting ATP ranks are a bit weird now, the WTA ranks are even weirder as always, with tournaments going in and out at odd times. I had thought the Salt Lake City challenger points were off already. Not really. They are going out only next week. The Lexington challenger points have not gone into the computer yet (though they said in last week's release that it would go in this week). What that means is that Niru's doubles rank is going to fall a bit next week, rather than go up this week as I expected. Her rank is at #206 now, but she loses 30 points from the doubles semifinal at the $75K Salt Lake City challenger last year (with Meilen Tu), replaced by the 23 points she got at Lexington just now. So, it was very timely for her to do well in doubles, to keep her doubles rank inside 220 next week. Does that all make sense.. I hope so :-) .. Niru was expected to try qualifiers at the Boston WTA event this weekend, but missed it as she was playing the doubles final yesterday at Lexington. Since there are no challengers or anything else this week, I assume she is taking a week off. We should see her next at Bronx, and then at the US Open qualifiers. She has her semifinal points to defend at Bronx, so she has to be ready. After Bronx, she has hardly an points to defend till the Australian Open in January.
Saw the results of the USA #2 satellites leg-3 at St.Louis, Missouri .. Vikrant Chadha, for the (n+1)th time (I have lost count now) qualified into the draw, and for the (n+1)th time went up against a seed to crash out in the first round. He lost to the 13th seed Jason Cook (USA) .. Poor Vikrant has had a real tough time in the US futures/satellites the last 2 months, going through almost every USTA futures and satellite legs, but coming up empty without any points. He qualified into the main draws, 7 times out of the 9 weeks he tried, I believe (OK, I do have an approximate count..:-)). Perhaps still bothered by the injuries he has had for quite some time. He has been toughing it out through the grind that has taken him to places like Lafayette, Waco, College Station, Tulsa, Springfield, St.Joseph etc etc .. Not the most exciting places to go play at. But that is life in the "minors", as baseball fans would say.
Aug 10 Note-1
Here is the bottom half of the draw at Binghamton:
5 Jeff Grant (USA) vs WC-Paul Goldstein (USA) \ David Witt (USA) vs Q-Max Mirnyi (BLR) / \ Q-Ronald Agenor (HAI) vs WC-Scott Humphries (USA) \ / \ 3-Diego Nargiso (ITA) vs Frederic Fontang (FRA)/ \ 7 Lleyton Hewitt (AUS) vs Regis Lavergne (FRA) \ / Stefano Pescolido (ITA) vs Q-Bobby Kokavec (CAN) / \ / Cristiano Caratti (ITA) vs WC-Taylor Dent (USA) \ / 2 Leander Paes (IND) vs Peter Luxa (CZE) /
Not at all an easy draw with a ton of potentially troublesome players there (Luxa, caratti, Pescolido, Nargiso, Agenor, Mirnyi, etc, and the talented up-and-comers like Taylor Dent, Bobby Kokavec, etc). Leander has his work cut out for him, to get a second title here (LP was the champion in the inaugural edition of the Binghamton challenger in 1994). Leander is not scheduled to play today. He will play the first round tomorrow (Tuesday).
Nirupama had originally planned to try qualifying at the Boston WTA event this week, but missed the qualies over the weekend as she was playing the doubles semis and final at Lexington. Looks like this will be a rest week for her. Next up will be Bronx, NY, I believe (she was in the semis there last year, with a few great upset wins .. and has points to defend).
More later with news from Cincinnati on Mahesh's doubles and the latest rankings ..
.. Previous notes at Weekly Notes, ending Aug 10 ..