Indian-Tennis: Daily News for the weeks ending on Aug 23, 2004
(Previous week's notes) (Next week's notes) (Daily Notes Index 1997 thru 2004)
.. Add your thoughts/messages in the
Forum page ..
Aug 23 Notes
Sorry for a very late update .. Had a busy weekend .. Harsh Mankad played
yet another good match against Olivier Mutis (FR,114) in the Q2 at the tough
long Island ATP qualies but lost 57 46 on Saturday afternoon .. HM had something
like 9 break points but could convert only one - reportedly he did not make
mistakes on all but one of the BPs, but Mutis came up with the good on the
other points .. It is great to see Harsh being consistently competitive against
top-200 and now top-100 quality players too .. That takes his record against
top-200 to 3-4 in the recent matches, with all the losses seeing some close
sets and tiebreakers .. This turned out to be good practice for Harsh as
he goes to the US Open qualies starting tomorrow .. He is right now 4th out
from the draw, and I hope he will squeeze in somehow, as at least an Alternate
The $25K ITF women;s event has started in Delhi .. Young Punam Reddy
made it in through qualies, along with Iciri Rai and Karshma Patel (correction from earlier!) ..Sania, Rushmi, Ankita, Sai, Sonal,
Archana and Sanaa are also in the draw .. More later on that .. Anyway, it
was a complete rainout today at Delhi, so we start Tuesday.
Sunil Kumar Sipaeya (IND,374) went down after a great start against the 2nd
seed Teimuraz Gabashvili (RUS,263), 64 67(4) 06 today .. He still has doubles
Rushmi and Sai went down in the semis of the Colombo $10K over the weekend but won the doubles title.
Aug 21 Notes
Man, did we need some good news .. I had recovered from the tennis loss
yesterday, and then the NZL heartbreak for hockey ... and good news comes
from unexpcted quarters ..
At the $475K Long Island ATP qualies, [Q1] Harsh Mankad (IND,288) d. (7) Olivier Patience (FRA,95), 62 63 !!!!!!!!!!...
Man, what an incredible win for Harsh !!! .. The match just got done in the
morning there, and I have no details ... This is the first career top-100
win for Harsh .. He plays the second round later today against Olivier Mutis
(FRA,114) .. I cannot believe how far Harsh has come in recent times .. The
second round is this afternoon itself, and it will be a tough match again.
In other news, Rushmi and Sai are in the semis at the Colombo $10K, but no
Indian reached the semifinal at the Pakistan $25K satellite second round
(on grass courts -- is it any surprise these days?) ..
Shikha and Neha Uberois (USA) and Rajeev Ram (USA) have got wildcards into
the US Open qualifying rounds next week ... As of now, Harsh Mankad is 7th
in the waiting list .. It is a bit iiffy if he would make it, but he just
might squeeze into it - Of course, if he pulls two more incredible upsets
at the Long Island qualies this weekend, then it won't matter!
Aug 20 Note-2
I have never been more proud of our guys in a loss than I am right now,
in the way they fought an incredible battle all the way .. A four hour epic
where they served one game after another from 4-5 in the 3rd set till 14-15,
holding every time and saving one match point on them .. At about 1.15 am
at night, the Croatians emerged winners, after withstanding 4 break chances
the Indians had on them during those games .. They are champions for saving
two BPs at 14-14, and our guys are champions for saving match points and
holding serve so many times .. Somebody had to win in the end .. Unfortunately
even withe the gutsiest of our sportsmen, like Hesh and Lee, the curse on
Indian sports does not easily go away .. M.Bhupathi/ L.Paes l. Mario Ancic
(CRO)/ Ivan Ljubicic (CRO), 6-7(5), 6-4, 14-16 .. The match took 3 hours 58 minutes .. The Croatians served very well all through, and the Indians, despite not
having too many aces, held serve very well too .. Break sqequence - ....[Set
1: MA broken in game 2, MB in game 7] .. [Set 2: IL broken in game 7] ..
[Set 3: IL broken in game 3, MB in game 4 and LP in game 30] .. It took 3
hours and 58 minutes .. 3 of 10 in break chances by LP-MB, 3 of 12 by the
Croats .. Here is the saddest stat ... In the longest match of the Indian
Express' career, they played 328 points .. The Croats won 164 points, the
Indians won 164 points .. In fact, right from the beginning to the end, the
point difference between the two teams was never more than 5 .. really an
incredible match ..
Keep your head high, Lee and Hesh! .. We all know that Gold was the
goal, but your showed incredible character in regrouping and fighting like
this for a bronze rather than fold .. These are the right things in sports;
this is what Olympics stands for ..
Aug 20 Note-1
.. Update --- The bronze match is the 3rd one on one of the big courts.
Probably about 8.30 pm there (11 pm India) .. May be a bit later than
that .. That makes sure that the indian newspapers will probably miss the
deadline by the time we get out medal !!
Not sure yet about the exact timing of the Bronze medal match, and the official
Athens web site is a total mess for some of the simplest things one looks
for .. It looks like it will be on one of the two show courts right after
the men's singles semifinals starting at 5 pm .. If so the match would be
at about 7.30 pm +/- 30 min .. It may be later in the night too .. Watch
here for any updates .. We badly need that medal ..
The day started with JJ Shobha pulling a personal best timing in 100m hurdles
in heptathalon, and with the Archery ladies upsetting the British ladies
to make the QF .. I said "upsetting" because in typical clueless fashion,
some of the Indian newspapers have been quoting agency reports saying stuff
like "lowly-placed" British team .. That is not correct. GBR were ranked
7 and Inida ranked 9. We are placed higher in the draw only because
our ladies (Go Dola, Reena, Sumangala!) came ready on the very first dau
and had a good ranking event at the Olympics, exceeding the scores their
international ranking would show .. In fact all the Archers have had much
better scores there than their rankings - but our press continues to hype
wrong events and negative stories and keeps talking about the "dismal" show
by India at this Olympics .. Hardly the truth. And all this sudden
crocodile tears about weightlifters testing positive! .. Give me a break
.. Why do they all think weightlifting, of all things, is a sport that Indians
would/could/should do well in? .. Pray what gives you that idea? .. If you
didn't know there were curious things going on - then I give up .. We should
be focusing on the types of sports we can do well in .. Well, hope the Archery
team can pull another upset and make the semifinals later today - but if
they don't, I won't feel they have "choked" or that they had a "dismal" show
Aug 19 Note-4
OK, people, it's time to stop crying .. We have some serious work to do tomorrow! ..
There are 28 other teams in the field of 32 who can cry .. We have a medal
to win .. [Bronze] (5) M.Bhupathi/ L.Paes vs Mario Ancic/ Ivan Ljubicic
tomorrow .. Gonzales-Massu continued their incredible run with a 65
46 64 win today in the other doubles semi after the two Chileans made the
singles semis as well, ensuring a silver and a bronze already for Chile who
do not have any medals so far at Athens.
There is a lot riding on tomorrow's match for our dynamic duo - make no mistake
about it .. If you have any doubt - ask yourself if you want to see Mahesh
Bhupathi for ever without an Olympics medal .. OK, there! .. I am sure Leander
knows it, and he will be up for the task of getting his buddy the hardware
he deserves so much, not to mention getting himself some extra hardware ..
There is more .. It has been 52 long years since Helsinki, the last time
India returned from the Olympics with more than one medal .. We have a historic
second medal well within our grasp tomorrow .. We need to get it done
.. Go Indian Express, do it .. It took me about three hours to get over the
loss today, but I am pumped up again. We need this medal .. The Indian
Express deserves an Olympics medal in their career and to get on the podium
to salute the Indian flag at Athens .. Go Lee, Go Hesh!
Great sportsmen forget about the losses and look forward to the next .. Imagine
how it would have been if Lee had given up after the semi in Atlanta .. Look
at the US gymnast Paul Hamm yesterday in the all-round medal, starting off
with utter embarrassment and the worst fall of his career in the vault which
saw him down at the 12th spot .. He nailed every one of his next 5 events
and finished with an incredible #1 spot still .. A sportsman should ONLY
look ahead, not at spilled milk .. If you have any more doubts on that, ask
how mad it makes you to think of all our hockey teams of the last so many
Olympics who laid eggs from the moment they found that they would not make
the semis .. That kind of behavior is unaccceptable in sports .. It is unacceptable
from fans as well, by the way .. I hope to see all of you reading this, showing
up in the chatroom tomorrow .. I hope all of the Indian supporters at Athens
will also be showing up for the match tomorrow as well.
LET US DO IT !! ..
Aug 19 Note-3
I said I would mention a streak or two after they are broken .. The first
was that our guys had saved 15 break points on them, one after another, in
the first three matches - almost amazing to think anybody could do that;
but it also meant that somewher some things would go wrong .. Today it did,
as they dropped serve 3 times out of 5 .. The kind of strong servers they
have faced so far, except perhaps Black-Ullyett, it was going to be tough
once you fell behind .. And that happened today ..
A more impressive streak got broken today though, which makes me very sad
.. In over eight years since early 1996 when the Indian Express lost to Bjorkman
and Kulti in a Davis Cup tie, there has been only ONE team - the great Woodies,
the best ever - to beat our pair when they played under Indian colors ..
That is a record of 23-2 in 25 matches they played for India, both the losses
coming against the Woodies in second round matches in the last two Olympics
.. Our pair had gone unbetaen in 14 Davis Cup matches, 4 Asian Games
matches and 5 of 7 Olympics matches .. They had taken out players like
Johnson, Palmer (when they were ranked #1), Damm, Korda, Henman, Broad, Rios,
Massu, Hyung-Taik Lee, Roddick, Federer, etc, etc, during that streak ..
But now a team other than the legends Woodies have beaten them .. In eight
years while playing for India - an amazing record, really .. It was bound
to happen sometime .. But then again, it would have been much worse had it
happened earlier with no recourse (it actually would have felt worse if it
happendd tomorrow also!) .. Now they at least have a chance for a medal -
something to still look for .. And count on a medal for the Indian Express
tomorrow, if they are not ill/injured .. I am making a strong prediction
The day started with the great show and a sad end to the Satyadev Prasad
archery campaign, where he gave the fight of his life to a top seed .. And
then the hockey heartbreak, where avoiding that last minute goal after a
nice comeback to 3-3 would have kept us in excellent shape for a semifinal
berth ... Now we need all kind of strange things to happen .. Then the Sanamacha
news, following the Pratima news .. Anybody wants to cry with me?
Aug 19 Note-2
What can I say .. bad days happen .. I am not sure what went wrong
today, as doordarshan decided to only show the match tape-delayed .. It justy
got over .. [SF] (5) M.Bhupathi/ L.Paes l. N.Kiefer/ R.Schuettler (GER),
26 36 .. Our team did not get any break chances in the first set at all though
they had some decuded in a couple of German service games .. Then the Germans
converted the first BP in game 6 and the 3rd BP in the 8th game to take the
set .. In the second set, our guys got one break chance, their only one in
the match, in the first game, but again the germans held strong .. In the
6th game once again our biys faced one BP on serve which the Germans converted
.. That was the match .. 44 points to 56 points .. 0/1 in BPs by us, 3/5
by them (which came aftyer a string of 15 straight break attampts saved by
the Indian Express at this Olympics) .. Just a bad day .. I am not
sure if there was any illness problems, but we will find out later.
Tomorrow the Indian Express plays for the Bronze - opponents to be determined
in the second match .. Hope they will come back with a medal, which they
Aug 19 Note-1
OK, we are down to the final four and we have only one seeded team left
in the frey - the Indian Express .. The Athens Olympics doubles semifinal match today against Nicolas Kiefer and
Rainer Schuettler is scheduled as the second match after a 5 pm singles QF
one of the big courts .. The estimated start time is 7.30 pm (12.30 pm New
York, 5.30 pm London, 2.30 am Sydney) +/- 30 minutes ..
Come to our chatroom
for score updates .. We expect to have a running commentary today ..
Upsets galore yesterday as the top seeds Bryan twins went down, exactly
as I predicted in our forum (give me a candy for that, please! :)) --- to
my favorite "dark horse" singles pair, again as predicted from before the
event, the Chileans Gonzales-Massu .. Kiefer-Schuettler pulled a minor upset
on the 8th seeded Israelis Erlich and Ram .. The QF result that was a bit
of a surprise to me was the Croatians Mario Ancic and Ivan Ljubicic upsetting
the 3rd seeds Llodra and Santoro, in a 9-7 third set..
Buckle up folks .. Today's match may not be easy, especially if some bad
breaks go the other way - but our champs have a way of staying focussed and
creating good breaks for themselves in the famous "fortune-favors-the-brave"
manner .. Hope that continues .. One thing is for sure, our guys have had
no chance at all to look ahead all along, the way the draw turned out ..
That has been in a way a blessing in disguise .. I had thought that the semifinal
stage might give us a match where avoiding looking ahead would be tougher
.. That is, had we had say the Israelis or the current team, with the
usual seeds on the other semi, we might think that we have an easier
team .. No chance for that now, as the other three teams are all basically
the same type of teams who can all win it from here on .. What is there to
look ahead? ... It is one more "one match at a time" for the Indian Express
.. It is a mano-a-mano sprint to the finish now .. Spill your guts and blood
and no looking back .. I have no doubt that they will be fully focussed and
will do the job today .. Go Leander !!!! Go Mahesh !!!
Too pumped right now to talk about other tennis results .. The first round
went fine in the Pakistan satellite leg for most Indians, except Vijay Kannan
.. Later, with all those results.
Aug 18 Note-2
All right, folks .. yet another top-10 upset for our guys ... This time
the 4th ranked 4th seeds bit the dust against our boys, as the Indian Express has made the Olympics semifinals ..
Another match where our guys showed that they will not give an inch to
anybody and would force the others to beat them ..
[QF] (5) M.Bhupathi/ L.Paes d. (4) Wayne Black/ Kevin Ullyett (ZIM), 64 64
.. The match started evenly with both side serving well till 3-3 in the first
set when our guys converted the first break chance they had, after saving
one break point in the previous game .. Up 4-3 .. They made it stand up to
win the 6-4 set .. In the second set they kept the pressure up, taking the
Zimbabweans to deuces in the first game and jumping ahead to 2-1 by converting
one of two break chances in the 3rd game .. Then it started tightening up,
as Black-Ullyett were not ready to throw in the towel and went after our
guys .. The final two service games at 4-2 and 5-3 were dandies .. Our guys
saved 2 break points in the 8th game and then one more while serving for
the set in the 10th game after going through 4 deuces .. Like I said, they
were not ready to give out an inch and would not stop till they served it
off .. Man, what a team!
The match took 89 minutes .. 2/3 in BPs by us and 0/4 by them .. 68 pts by
us, 59 by them .. Up next are the winners of the match between Erlich-Ram
and Kiefer-Schuettler .. Need two more wins for a gold ... Next win assures
a silver .. A loss and a win gives us the bronze. GO INDIAN EXPRESS!!!
There are some fantastic streaks and some incredible stats our guys are piling
up .. Dying to talke about those, but I won't, till we are done with
a GOLD!!! .. Only the medal matters - all else are way too secondary.
Aug 18 Note-1
The quarterfinal for Lee and Hesh is scheduled as the second match on
court 5 after the Massu-Andreev singles match starting at 5 pm .. So our
guys should be on by 7.15 pm (12.15 pm NY, 9.45 pm India) +/- 20 minutes
.. Come to our chatroom
for score updates ..
Leander was apparently having some fever yesterday, and that may explain
him having some nose problems and being a bit unsteady for a short period
in the match yesterday .. Today's match is against one of the very best teams
out there and it is not expected to be easy .. Let us hope that Lee will
be all fine today.
In other news, Sunil Kumar and Norikazu Sugiyama again played a decent firt
round match but could not get past the second seeds Alexey Kedriousk (KAZ)
and Vadim Kutsenkoi (UZB) ion a 67(4) 46 first round match at the Samarkadn
challenger in UZB .. SKS now goes to the 5th and final challenger in this
trip to Russia and Uzbekistan - to Bhukhara next week .. he is in the main
draw and it is on hard courts where he may have a bit more of a chance to
Shikha Uberoi (USA,281) once again showed that she is playing top-200 tennis
these days, with a three hour fight at the $50K Bronx challenger in New York
- a 46 64 46 loss to Anastassia Rodionova (RUS,187).
Great news from the Lahore (second) leg of the Pakistan satellites .. 15 year old qualifier Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan
pulled off a big upset of the 7th seed Enrico Wellenfield (ITA,857) in a
60 64 match ... Great job by Jeevan .. Have seen only about three scores
so far from the first round .. One bad one -- 4th seed Vijay Kannan who just
cannot seem to get anything going, went down 46 46 to Asim Shafiq (PAK) ..
Come on Vijay - what's up, man? .. Jacco Mathew advanced, as Rahil Syed retired
after a 1-6 set .. Will keep up the results here - $25K Pakistan satellites ..
At the $10K women's ITF in Colombo, most Indians have advanced to the second
round - Top seed Rushmi, #3 Sai, #5 Liza, #6 Archana, #7 Iciri, etc
.. Nandini upset the 8th seed Samrita .. R.Madura had a nice win over
Parul Goswami .. Young Punam reddy had a nice win over Tania Ostertag
(GBR) .. Preeti rao is the other Indian who won .. We are keeping up the
scores in the forum - $10K Colombo ..
Aug 17 Note-3
They keep moving ... An easy first set, and then a very tight second
set where they had to fight off a determined Federer .. But they got the
job done .. [R2] (5) M.Bhupathi/ L.Paes d. R.Federer/ Y.Allegro, 62 76(7)
... The first set was easy .. Took 29 minutes and they broke Allegro in the
3rd and 7th game to finish it off .. 2/2 in break points .. In the second
set, they wasted one break chance off Allegro in the 3rd game .. That could
have turned into a crucial miss, as the Swiss guys did not yield another
break point in the whole set .. that is typical of teams that don't play
a whole lot together to tighten up in the second set and get better as time
went on .. LP and MB knew they had to hold serve well EVERY time or it would
change fast .. They held up under pressure, saving 4 break cxhances in the
set to run their streak in two matches to 11 straight BPs saved .. No breaks
in the set at all .. In the tiebreaker, LP had to save two set point to the
Swiss guys on his serve, and then they converted their 3rd match point to
win it !! .. yes sire .. It is a QF .. Two down, and 3 to go for Gold ..
Up next are the 4th seeds Black and Ullyett (ZIM) .. The second seeds
Arthurs-Woodbridge were upset in the bottom half were LP-MB are ..
Two aces by LP-MB, one by the other guys .. 2/3
in BPs by us, 0/4 by them .. 30 pts to 19 pts in the first set, but 47 to
49 points in the second, which shows how tight it got in the second set ..
Experience counts, especially when it is with players who have the spunk
to make use of it with proper focus .. Go Indian Express!
Oh, by the way, there was some scare at about 2-4 in the first set when Leander
had a bleeding nose .. I am not sure whether it was some sort of a minor
injury, but it caused a stoppage of play and Lee was reportedly not in his
best form for the next few games .. Mahesh did indeed step it up and took
up the slack till Leander was back in form by ealry second set, I am told
.. Well, you need to get past those kinds of adversity to get to the top
.. Hope Lee is fine and they are alright for the remaining three wins they
need to takle care of.
And what a day -- We get our first individual silver ever, the hockey team
comes back ffrom 0-2 to win 4-2 with two last minute goals, and Lee-hesh
made the QFs .. Great stuff.
Aug 17 Note-2
The Paes-Bhupathi match is estimated to start at 8.30 pm there (1.30
pm NY, 6.30 pm London, 7.30 Geneva, 11 pm India) +/- 30 minutes .. Come to
our chatroom for score updates and expected commentary .. I believe Doordarshan
will be covering this - as there will be a TV feed from the big court .. It is also
shceduled on Swiss TV SF drs (SF2) if any of you want to try satellite or something
- here is their schedule page;
Thanks Tanmoy for the info!)
Aug 17 Note-1
.. STOP PRESS: We have our first individual
silver EVER at OIympics .. Major Rajyavardhan Rathore won it in Double Trap
shooting!! ... Holy Lord Ayyappa -- can you believe it? ..
What an apt name he has - "Rajyavardhan" .. He just added so much to his
In other news, LP-MB plays a night match after Federer plays his singles
at 5 pm and takes an hour and half of rest on center court .. It would be
late in the day -- watch here for estimated start time.
Sunil Kumar went down 16 36 to Francesco Piccari (ITA,364) in the R1 at the
Samakand challenger in UZB .. After a nice show last week on clay, I thought
he would do better this week .. Oh well, next week .. Sunil has doubles with
Norikazu Sigiyama .. Tough draw again for them, as they face the second seeds
Alexey Kedriouk (KAZ) and Vadim Kutsenko (UZB)
Shikha Uberoi (USA) has a wildcard to the $50K Bronx challenger .. She faces
Anastassia Rodionova in the first round this morning .. Rodionova was being
coached recently by Manisha Malhotra, by the way (not sure if she still is
under her coaching)
Rushmi, sai, etc are in the entry list for the $10K women's event in Colombo,
Sri Lanka this week .. Awaiting news .. Also, no news yet from the
Pakistan satellite second leg.
Aug 16 Note-2
I had no doubt about this match, as my forum posts would indicate! ..
But this turned out to be tougher than I expected and it took the Indian
Express' best qualities of focussing on the job and raising the game at the
proper junctures, to pull off .. [R1] M.Bhupathi/ L.Paes (IND) d. A.Roddick/ M.Fish (USA), 76(5) 63
.. The match was on a court with no TV feed, and so we had no way to
find out all the details - it was nice that Doordarshan provided a couple
of updates during the match from their sports correspondents on site (that
is the first time in my memory that Doordarshan has scooped me and our fan
club in reporting score updates; boy did we need it, the disaster that the
Athens official website is, and with everybody's cell pohones turned off
at the court) ..
This is how the match went .. No breaks at all in the first set, but our
guys had to save 4 break chances on their own serve, and were unable to convert
the two chances they got on the Americans' serve .. In the tiebreaker, our
guys were down a minibreak 1-3, but then won six of the next eight points
in the customary Indian Express fashion of coming up big when needed .. In
the second set they pounced on the only break point they got and that was
the match .. The key stat was that they prevented Roddick and Fish in breaking
them on seven(!) break point opportunities, while converting 1 of 3 chances
.. Our guys had two aces and no service winners, and the other guys, known
for their 135+ mph serves had 5 aces and one service winner .. Three double
faults by LP-MB, and five by AR-MF .. How close was the match? -- Well, the
first set saw both teams getting 46 points each, and the second set saw our
guys with a 34 to 29 advantage, from that one service break game .. 80 pts
by us, 75 by them .. It was that close, but treue winners win and do not
leave with "what if" questions - we will leave it to the two Americans to
do that .. 51 minutes for the first set and 39 for the second for a 90 minute
In his comments after the match, Leander said, "We always expected to win
the tiebreaker, as we are the doubles specialists" .. As for the match strategy,
he said, "holding our own serve was our main scheme" .. They executed it,
as they knew they had to make the service breaks they get stand up .. As
for the next match against Yves Allegro and Roger Federer, the Indian Express
said that keeping Federer out of it as much as possible would be a key ..
Leander and Rikl did recently beat the same team at Halle (see this post
in our forum, which was our own Florian Beuchting reporting from halle where
he saw that match), and the two Swiss guys really have no idea wbout what
game the Indian Express play .. It is advantage to us,
We will await the schedule to see if LP-MB will be playing tomorrow .. Federer
is playing the second round of singles today, and possibly the doubles match
will be there tomorrow itself.
Aug 16 Note-1
All set for the first match at Athens where the Express Indian Quest
for Gold begins in just another three hours as I type this .. [R1] (5) M.Bhupathi/ L.Paes (IND) vs A.Roddick/ M.Fish (USA)
.. It is scheduled as the second match on court 4 where the actions starts
at 10 am .. So our boys' match is expected at around noon (5 am New York,
10 am London, 2.30 pm India) +/- 30 min .. Come to our chatroom
for score updates .. We will have a running commentary by the "Red_Indian"
in the chatroom, provided the TV is covering it from that court (which is
not very sure), but the score updates should be there in any event ..
.. Previous notes are at Notes
for the weeks ending on Aug 16 ..
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 playera, let me know ..
Please email me - R.Jayakrishnan