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LP/MB/NV/Indian-Tennis: Notes for week ending on Sep 6, 1999

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Sep 6 Note-2

This turned out to be easy for Mahesh .. MB-Sugiyama d. Rachel McQuillan and Andrew Florent, 4-1 (retd.) .. They played only for 17 minutes, and MB-AS had broken both RM and AF in succession in games 3 and 5 before the retirement .. Must be some injury .. Anyway, MB-AS advance .. Their QF opponents are to be determined later today .. Go Mahayama!

In doubles, Jeff Coetzee and Brent Haygarth pulled off their second upset at USO, this time over 16th seeded Czech pair Noval-Rikl .. The South Africans had upset 2nd seed Haarhuis-Palmer in the first round too ..  One more PQF match to go today, involving Bjorkman/Black, otherwise 7 of the QF teams are set .. The best QF matchup will be between the 3rd seeds Woodies and the 11th seeds Lareau-O'Brien - both teams have done well so far .. In singles, Escude upset 10th seed Rios in straight sets and faces Agassi in QF next .. Capriati lost to 4th seed Seles in women's singles today.

Sep 6 Note-1

Whoa .. Listen to this - The Indian Express had won just 10 points in the first set to 27 points by the other guys .. Our guys never led in that catagory, and the closest they came to was at the end when it became 69 pts to 72 points .. LP-MB had just two break chances to 5 for the other guys .. We had 2 aces, the others had 8, an unusually high number for doubles .. But, who won the match ? .. Leander-Mahesh d. J.Gimelstob-R.Reneberg, 2-6, 6-4, 6-3 .. and it is yet another grand slam QF ! ..

In the first set, after MB and JG held serve at love each, LP dropped serve at 15-40 to go 1-2 .. Then MB was also down 15-40 in game 5, and it was 1-4 soon, down two breaks .. That set was over before anybody culd blink, with Gimselstob-Reneberg administering our pair a behind-whacking the likes of which we have not seen in a long long time! .. How bad was it ? .. Well, our pair earned only ONE point off the opponents' serve in the first set (the other was an error by them!) .. At least that's all I remember seeing on the online scoreboard (the stats say they got a couple more points) .. But, as is always the case, when the going gets tough, the tough gets going ..  After MB was down 0-30 in game 1 of the second set, he fired an ace, and our pair decided that all they could do was to hold serve and wait for a crack in the door somewhere .. So, they did just that - kept holding serve and as time went on, it looked as though our pair was slowly beginning to get a point or two here and there off JG-RR .. Finally, in game 8, they managed to take Reneberg to a duece, but there was no break chance there .. I am sure that was the first time any self-doubts crept into the American pair .. By now, our guys seemed to be serving well and not giving many pointss off their own serve either .. Then, out of the blue our guys did their usual "how- did- dey- do- dat?" stuff ..  In the 10th game, JG was down 15-40 quickly, and the Indian Express steamed through the first break chance at set point! .. Just like that it was all evened up at  2-6, 6-4 .. Then the pressure was on Gimselstob-Reneberg, as it was they who had to find a way to get past the top doubles team ! ..  In the 3rd set, they had 2 break chances off LP's serve in game 3 at 30-40 and then AD out .. but LP held to go 2-1 .. Then it was back to waiting for any opening anywhere, for our guys .. And it happened in the 8th game when Reneberg was down 0-30 .. At 30-40, our guys converted their second break chance of the match .. MB held serve after going 30-30, and the match was in the bag! .. It took an hour and 30 minutes.

Chalk this up to some true grit from our guys .. Whatever it takes to win - that must be their motto! .. Next up is the unseeded pair of Ben Ellwood and Michael Tebbut.

Mahesh comes back in a couple of hours for his mixed doubles match.

Sep 5 Note-2

As they say at the official website, Dennis was the menace today .. Hurricane Dennis going through New York, and so far about 5 hour of play has been lost to rain ..  The previous match on court 11 was completed only now, at 9.20 pm  .. Too late to schedule another rmatch, and so they have postponed the LP-MB match to tomorrow (Monday)  morning at 11 am (8 am PST, USA .. 8.30 pm India) .. It will be at the big Louis Armstrong stadium, with online stats, netcam real-time pictures, etc, etc (check out the official site -

Only two doubles matches were played today .. The Woodies reached the quarterfinals with a 63 60 win over Goellner and Montana .. The Woodies have been looking good here with some old-style straight sets wins so far.  The QF opponents for the LP-MB vs Gimselstob-Reneberg winners have also been determined today - it will be Ben Ellwood and Michael Tebbut.

Sep 5 Note-1

Leander and Mahesh play what is expected to be a key match today, in the 3rd round of the doubles, against the 15th seeds Justin Gimelstob (USA,32) and Richey Reneberg (USA,27) .. The match is scheduled as the 3rd on court 11, one of the bigger courts - however, as of 1.30 pm, things are still in a rain delay - play was supposed to start at 11 am, but no play yet .. If the online image from the slam cam is current, then the rain has stopped and they may start within half hour ..  No idea when they will get to play .. If they stick to the current schedule (they may not), it will be at least around 5 pm before our guys play .. Keep checking the Leander page, for any announcement on the start time .. Our chatroom will be busy as usual, once the match starts.

Gimelstob and Reneberg is a very troubling team .. I read a report on their first round match in the in the On the Line online magazine (one of my favorites, because the reports are written by some folks who are truly enthusiastic about tennis and roams around the courts watching all kinds of people play, unlike most media folks who are very reluctant to leave the confines of the big courts where the biggies play!) .. Anyway, it seems Gimelstob served 4 games in their 62 62 win over Coupe/Koenig and won all 16 points .. That is some strong serves from the big tall guy (6 ft 5 ") .. Reneberg is of course the shorter and savvy veteran who still plays some terrific tennis at age 34 (he was in the singles top-20 in 1991 and was in the top-40 even 2 years back .. the dude can still bring it!) .. They have played together a bit this year .. JG-RR won the Scottsdale title earlier this year, which was the 18th doubles title of Reneberg's 13 year career .. LP-MB beat Reneberg-Stark in the Australian Open QF this year; they have also beaten Richey in the company of Suk,  Goellner,  and Stark over the last couple of years .. Need to get a 5th win in a row over him .. As for Gimselstob, LP-MB beat him in Galbraith's company at Wimbledon this year (revenge for the loss to Gimselstob-MacPhie at Wimb last year) .. They had also beaten Gimelstob-MacPhie at the Australian Open last year ..  He is one of those guys LP-MB have had to go through in most grand slams, it seems! ..

Finally compiled all the results I could find for the AITA mini- and subjunior ranking nationals at Chennai this week (the 4th junior tournament there in a month, and the second subjuniors tournament in consecutive weeks) .. See the Chennai subjuniors page .. Comments later, on that.

Sep 4 Note-2

Leander's 7-match winning streak with Lisa Raymond came to an end today, as LP-LR lost to Kimberly Po and Don Johnson, 6-4, 3-6, 4-6 in R2 .. I missed the first set of this match, which LR-LP won 6-4 .. Then in the second set LR-LP were broken in game 4 tp fall 1-3 behind, after which it went with serve till KP-DJ closed it on their serve at 6-3 .. In the 3rd set, it was a case of missed chances one after another in basically every game for our pair .. In games 2, 6, and 8 they had break chances which they could not convert .. Actually the IBM online scoreboard showed them getting the break at AD out to lead 5-3, but that changed to deuce and it showed KP-DJ holding at 4-4 .. Finally LR-LP were broken in game 9 and they were behind 4-5 .. KP-DJ held serve for a comeback win.

Sep 4 Note-1

Rather calm period at the US Open for our guys for one more day .. Mahesh gets a second day of rest today, and Leander is playing mixed doubles today .. LP and Lisa Raymond play Kimberly Po and Donald Johnson late in the evening (4th match on court 13) .. The match should be starting at about 4.30 pm there (1.30 pm PST .. 2 am India) ..

Gimelstob/Reneberg play the second round against Marques/ VanHoudt late in the evening - the winners will play LP-MB next, either tomorrow or Monday.

Couple of doubles upsets to report -- 8th seeds Ferreira/Leach were upset by Neville Godwin and Marcos Ondruska, 6-4, 6-4 yesterday in R2 .. Godwin/Ondruska is the team that beat my bad darkhorse picks Goldstein/Woodruff in the first match .. Since the 10th seeds Kafelnikov/Vacek were upset earlier, it means that LP-MB will have an unseeded team in the quarterfinals if they get past Gimselstob-Reneber (that looks to be a *very* tough match, for now) .. The 4th seeds Adams and DeJager were upset in R2 on Thursday by Olhovskiy-Prinosil - so the highest other seeds in our half of the draw are 6th seeds Black/Stolle .. 9th seeds Knowles/Nestor in the bottom half of the draw were upset by Grabb-Stark yesterday, too.

On the men's singles sid, as you know the the 4 semifinalists last year are all out - three of them (Sampras, Rafter, Moya) were due to injuries too ..  There was one upset yesterday that was surprising - red-hot Nicolas Lapentti (ECU), the 16th seed (actually among the top 10 in points earned this year) was upset by 22 yr old qualifier Fredrik Jonsson (#148) of Sweden 4 sets - Jonsson seems to be on a good run .. Haarhuis and Woodforde lost in the singles R2 yesterday .. Santoro, one of the better singles players among doubles players, advanced to R3 as Gambill retired at 4-4 in the 5th set.

Sep 3 Notes

Leander and Mahesh get an off day today .. Their next round opponents are yet to be determined .. It looks like the next round will probably be on Sunday .. The match between #15 Gimselstob/Reneberg and Marquez/VanHoudt is not on schedule today, as Renebeg is playing singles today.  Those two will probably play on saturday and then LP-MB should be playing on Sunday or Monday against the winners .. If it is Gim/Ren, it will surely be on a show court - yeah, it's about time they took the best doubles team away from those silly small courts! .. If anybody is planning to be at USO on saturday, we can expect both to be playing MxD tomorrow - LR/LP vs Kimberly Po and Donald Johnson, and AS/MB vs Rachel McQuillen and Andrew Florent .. The schedule won't be up till this evening ..

Here is our onsite fan reporter, Ananth, on yesterday's matches: - My comments are in random order .. In the first set LP was sluggish; many unforced errors, lots of complaing about line calls; MB was the calmer one .. Of the four, Gambill was clearly the 'best' - Peterson was about the weakest and lost serve too often .. Initially, it was rather confusing to see LP in no mans land (about 3 ft in front of the baseline) when MB was returning serve, esp for the first serve; not sure what this was all about - MB was in the usual volley position .. A couple of times the 'Australian' doubles Tee formation  was used when LP was serving; both times to good effect - After a mix of losing serve, the first set came down to the tiebreak and here our team really went supersonic .. One thing is for sure, they now have an excellent sense of the big points and can raise the game level to suit .. In the second set, LP seemed to settle down a bit more but they were down 3-5 .. Refused to give in, raised the level and broke Gambill for the first time .. The match was on court #8 after an absorbing slugfest between Van Lottum and Lubjicic .. Many spectators were heard to comment that given the popularity of the pair, it was annoying that it was scheduled for a court with such little seating .. The Star Sports reporter filed update clips both between sets and after match .. The guys were very patient with the fans; nice to see .. Raymond/Paes v. Horn/Ullyet - Later in the day, LPs serve seemed much better than the earlier match ..  Thanks, Ananth for the report.

Sep 2 Note-3

Leander and Lisa Raymond won their first round match this evening over Liezel Horn and Kevin Ullyett, 7-5, 7-5 .. Kevin Ullyett must be really cursing Leander, as he went down in the first round of both doubles and Mixed doubles against Leander :-) .. No details on this match, as I had some work, and couldn't follow it online.

Sep 2 Note-2

Oh yeah .. Never give up .. Do whatever it takes .. They seem to have done that today .. Gambill and Peterson turned out to be a real pain, just as I had predicted .. Those two were troubleing LP-MB throughout, breaking them at will and serving off love games often - they even served a set point in the second set .. But when it mattered, our guys were again up to the task .. Paes - Bhupathi  d.  J-M.Gambill - A.Peterson, 7-6(4), 7-5 ..

In the first set, LP-MB and Gambill-Peterson traded breaks in games 3 and 4 to start the proceedings .. The Indian Espress got a second break in game 7 to go up 4-3 .. Then in game 10, LP-MB were down 15-40 and were broken there .. We were even at 5-5 .. It was a close match then, and LP-MB had to go through 2 deuces before sending it to a tiebreaker in game 12 .. In the tiebreaker, our dudes went up 5-1 with 2 minibreaks, but then JG-AP made a run to fight off 3 set points before LP-MB finished it off at 7-6(4) ..

It went with serve till the 5th game in the second set when LP-MB were down 15-40 and were broken quickly .. They could not force any break points on JG-AP in the next few games and were also having trouble in their serve, going to many deuces in the 9th game, etc .. Then, JG-AP were serving for the set, and were at a set point at 40-30 .. The champs went to work right there, forced three deuces and broke them to even it at 5-5 .. After LP served a love game, they won their 4th game in a row to win it at 7-5 after being down 3-5 .. And they advance to the 3rd round.

LP gets back on the courts later in the evening for mixed doubles.

Sep 2 Note-1

Leander and Mahesh play Jan-Michael Gambill (USA,129) and Adam Peterson (USA,120) today in R2 at the US Open .. I believe those two are playing together for the first time .. You may remember Adam Peterson in the company of Martin Damm beating the formidable combination of Paes and Bjorkman in the QF at Los Angeles a few weeks back .. I watched that match, and was quite impressed by Peterson's abilities .. Gambill is somebody Mahesh faced just last Saturday at the semifinals in Long Island - Gambill-Humphries beat Mahesh-Ferreira there too .. Gambill is a very talented player, and plays doubles occasionally with various partners .. So, both LP and MB have some score to settle with these two guys .. I won't be surprised if Gambill-Peterson end up becoming a major pain for LP-MB today though!

The match starts at about 1.30 pm (10.30 am PST .. 11 pm India), may be a bit earlier .. The chatroom will be open.

Leander comes back after 3-4 hours of rest, for his first round mixed doubles match with Lisa Raymond, against Liezel Horn and Kevin Ullyett.

There is yet another mini- and sub-junior AITA tournament in Chennai this week -- I will compile the results and post them soon.

Sep 1 Note-4

Mahesh and Sugiyama (shall we call them "Mahayama" ?? :-)) moved to the final-16 round today .. MB - Ai Sugiyama d. A.Fusai - M.Damm, 6-2, 7-5 .. This looked like an easy game till it tightened up for a while in the second set, but our pair closed it out with a flurry .. In the first set, AF-MD quickly faced a break point at 30-40, went through two deuces, and were broken in the 3rd break point .. The next break came in the 7th game .. At 5-2 in the next game, Ai and Mahesh were down 15-40, but they won 4 points in a row to win the set .. In set 2, Fusai-Damm faced triple break points in game 3, fought them off but were broken in the 5th break chance .. The advantage didn't last long, as our pair dropped serve on the second break attempt in the next game after being up 40-0, and then going through 6 deuces .. Once again in game 8, AS-MB were up 40-0, but had to go through two deuces before holding serve to even it at 4-4 .. Then in game 10, AS-MB had to play through three set points at 15-40 and AD out .. But our pair won 11 of the next 12 points to close it out - held serve at 5-5, got the break in game 12 and served off the final game at love!

In other matches today, a huge upset to report - the second seeds Haarhuis and Palmer got upset by Jeff Coetzee and Brent Haygarth (as in, who ??), 63 67(6) 46 .. I wonder what caused that loss - Haarhuis/Palmer have been looking very good over the last few weeks (they were Wimbledon finalists, as you know) winning the title at Indi, etc .. Also, the 10th seeds Kafelnikov and Vacek got upset yesterday by Ben Ellwood and Michael Tebbutt in a 3rd set tiebreaker .. So, they are out from the bracket till QF for LP-MB .. No other upsets today to report, except that my darkhorse picks turned out to be much worse than I expected (tells you what I know!) .. Goldstein and Woodruff lost meekly 46 06 .. 15th seeds Gimelstob/Reneberg, who are some sort of a roadbloack ahead for LP-MB won a laugher 62 62 over Coupe/Koenig .. The Woodies also advanced after a straight sets win.

Sep 1 Note-3

Mahesh and Ai Sugiyama play Alexandra Fusai (FRA,10) and Martin Damm (CZE,56) by about 7.30 pm (4.30 pm PST, u.s.a .. 5 am India) .. Fusai, who is seeded second in doubles with Likhovtseva, played a three-setter earlier today in women's doubles .. I wouldn't mind it if she is really tired .. kidding .. Though Damm is ranked low, he is a very good doubles player, and this pair isn't necessarily easy for Mahesh and Sugiyama problems (seems like I say these warnings every time, huh ? :-)) .. The chatroom will be open as usual.

There are 32 teams in the mixed doubles draw .. So it is a smaller draw than at Wimbledon where there were 64 teams .. Here are the draws for LP and MB till the semifinals .. They can meet only in the final:

1 L.Raymond (USA)/ L.Paes (IND)        vs. L.Horn (RSA)/ K.Ullyett (RSA)     \
  K.Po (USA)/ D.Johnson (USA)          vs. I.Selyutina (KAZ)/ C.Suk (CZE)    / \__SF
  P.Tarabini (ARG)/ T.Carbonell (ESP)  vs. I.Spirlea (ROM)/ D.Orsanic (ARG)  \ /
7 L.Neiland (LAT)/ R.Leach (USA)       vs. D.Graham (USA)/ S.Stolle (AUS)    /

8 M.Pierce (FRA)/ J.DeJager (RSA)      vs. L.Wild (USA)/ D.MacPherson (AUS)  \ 
  F.Labat (ARG)/ C.Haggard (RSA)       vs. P.Suarez (ARG)/ W.Arthurs (AUS)   / \__SF
  R.McQuillan (AUS)/ A.Florent (AUS)   vs. K.Schlukebir (USA)/ M.Bryan (USA) \ /
2 A.Sugiyama (JPN)/ M.Bhupathi (IND)   vs. A.Fusai (FRA)/ M.Damm (CZE)       /
Some good teams are out there in the draw .. The bottom quarter in the top half has 3rd seeds Stubbs/Woodbridge, and the 6th seeds DeSwardt/ Adams .. The upper quarter in the bottom half has 5th seed Likhovtseva/Knowles and 4th seed Morariu/Palmer .. My dark horse pick is Alexandra Stevenson (a hard server seems to help in these mixed doubles matches) with Brian MacPhie - as I type that, I see that theuy have upset the 5th seeds already .. Pierce-DeJager and Morariu-Palmer are two of the promising seeded teams .. The Williams sisters seem to have stopped playing mixed doubles ? .. Hingis, Davenport, Kournikova and Bjorkman are some of those who played MX-D at Wimbledon but are not playing here.

Sep 1 Note-2

Well, sure, they had played only one match together in 2 months (and had lost it) .. On top of that, they had only 2 hours of practice yesterday, after being not even in touch with each other for a couple of weeks .. But all that didn't stop them from beating the #13 team in the world in straight sets and extending their grand slam win streak to 13 matches .. Paes-Bhupathi   d.   Piet Norval - Kevin Ullyett, 6-4, 6-4  today in the first round at the US Open ..

In the first set, at 2-2, our pair took Norval-Ullyett to 4 deuces, and converted their second break chance .. After Mahesh held serve at love to go up 4-2, they converted the next break chance at 15-40 in game 7 to go up 5-2 .. Just when it looked like they were cruising, having won of 12 of 14 pts, the game changed .. In game 8, after having double set points at 40-15, the Indian Express lost 4 pts in a row to drop serve .. PN-KU won 8 pts in a row there, as they held serve to make it 5-4 with our guys still up a break and serving .. Then LP-MB were down 15-40 and facing two more break attempts, after losing 12 of 13 points in a row .. They steadied themselves just in the nick of time to win 4 points in a row, and the first set was done at 6-4 ..  Typical stuff from the champs -- losing their bearings just like that, and getting it back just when it looks really bleak ..

In the second set, LP-MB got the break in game 3 in their second break chance .. They again troubled the South Africans in game 5 with 3 deuces (no break chances), but those guys held .. Then in game 8, LP-MB had to fight off 4 break attempts, starting at 30-40 .. After 8 deuces, they held to go up 5-3 .. In the next game, they had a match pt at AD out, but PN-KU held on .. Then Mahesh served it out for the match.

The key stat of the match was that LP-MB were 3 of 6 in break chances and PN-KU were 1of 9 .. The match took an hour and 20 minutes to complete ..

Their next round opponents are somehat unknown, though a troubling combination .. They will play Jan-Michael Gambill and Adam Peterson, who beat Kitinov/Waite in a 3rd set tiebreaker yesterday ..  That match may probably be on Friday.

Sep 1 Note-1

LP-MB play at about 1 pm (10 am PST, USA .. 10.30 pm India), plus/minus half hour, today against Norval-Ullyett at the US Open .. The chatroom will be open as usual for ball-by-ball during the match.

In mixed doubles, LP and Lisa Raymond are the #1 seeds, and MB and Ai Sugiyama are the #2 seeds .. Hey, how about a final between the two ? .. That will be cool .. LP-LR play Liezel Horn (RSA, 40) and Kevin Ullyett (RSA,38) in the first round .. MB-AS play Alexandre Fusai (FRA,10) and Martin Damm (CZE,56) today, at about 6.30 pm (3.30 pm PST .. 4 am Thursday, India), plus or minus an hour .. I will post the mixed doubles draws later.

Aug 31 Note-2

Leander and Mahesh play their first round match tomorrow (wednesday) against Piet Norval (RSA,36) and Kevin Ullyett (RSA,38) tomorrow .. LP-MB played them in the French Open this year in the 3rd round and had to play a tough three-setter, 75 36 64, to advance .. Also, Paes and Palmer played Norval-Ullyett at the Montreal Super 9 and needed a three-setter to win the second round, 63 26 64 .. They are a tough team .. PN-KU were seeded 15th at FO, and are the 3rd highest in sum-rank among unseeded teams here .. They are also ranked 13th in team ranking based on this year's points, and are the second highest ranked team in those rankings (behind 9th ranked Arthurs/Kratzmann) to be unseeded here too .. Let us hope the Indian Express had a good practice today and will be ready tomorrow ..

I have not seen the schedule for tomorrow, but I just heard from Mahesh that he will also be playing the mixed doubles match tomorrow (5th match on some court, and so it should be in the evening) .. Mahesh is playing with Ai Sugiyama (JPN,13), his partner in reaching the QF at French Open this year .. They have not posted the mixed doubles draw yet, at the official site, so I don't know who the opponents are, yet .. Leander is playing with his Wimbledon title partner, Lisa Raymond (USA,7) ..

Aug 31 Note-1

How about this ? ...  An email came in from Hesh last night::  Quoting MB, "Went through the page and saw the articles.  Lee and I had a long talk today and everyone can just chill is all I can say .. We are playing together Now, in November and Next Year"  ..  He also wrote there is no Fire anymore for anyone to try and fuel and that the focus now is the Open.  He said they have a really tough match first and so they are going to concentrate on that .. Ataboy, Hesh!  Ataboy, Lee! .. Way to Go, guys!

So, that's the news, folks!  -- My optimism at the end of the last note did turn out fine, and sooner than I thought, too ! .. Cool ..  On to the US Open, now.

Aug 30 Notes

Here is the doubles draw till semifinals at the US Open doubles for Leander and Mahesh:

 1 M.Bhupathi (IND)/ L.Paes (IND)      vs  P.Norval (RSA)/ K.Ullyett (RSA)      \
   A.Kitinov (MKD)/ J.Waite (USA)      vs  J.-M.Gambill (USA)/ A.Peterson (USA) / \
   J.Blake (USA)/ T.Blake (USA)        vs  N.Marques (POR)/ T.VanHoudt (BEL)    \ / \
15 J.Gimelstob (USA)/ R.Reneberg (USA) vs  B.Coupe (USA)/ R.Koenig (RSA)        /    \__ SF
10 Y.Kafelnikov (RUS)/ D.Vacek (CZE)   vs  B.Ellwood (AUS)/ M.Tebbutt (AUS)     \    /
   N.Broad (GBR)/ P.Tramacchi (AUS)    vs  J.Oncins (BRA)/ D.Orsanic (ARG)      / \ /
   P.Goldstein (USA)/ C.Woodruff (USA) vs  N.Godwin (RSA)/ M.Ondruska (RSA)     \ /
 8 E.Ferreira (RSA)/ R.Leach (USA)     vs  D.DiLucia (USA)/ M.Sell (USA)        /
Let us hope that LP and MB would put in a couple of days of practice and be ready, because this is by no means an easy draw, for them to defend their semifinal points from last year .. The first round match against Norval Ullyett will be tough, to satrt with, as are matches against any reasonable established pair .. Gambill-Peterson is a possible team for R2, and they are some sort of a dark horse here .. Our pair will then have to go through a very promising team - hard-serving Justin Gimelstob in the company of veteran Richey Reneberg .. Then come potentially Ferreira-Leach (a team our pair has handled in the past), or the always tough Kefelnikov-Vacek, the team that LP-MB lost to in their first semifinal, at US Open in 97 .. Goldstein-Woodruff is my true "dark horse" pick right now, in this draw ..

The bottom quarter in the top half has 4th seeds Adam/DeJager and 6th seeds Black/Stolle, and also the 13th seeds Tarango/Ivanisevic the Fo finalists .. The bottom half of the draw has 2nd seeds Haarhuis/Palmer, 3rd seeds Woodies, 5th seeds Delaitre/Santoro, 9th seeds Knowles/Nestor, 11th seeds Lareau/O'Brien, etc .. Since Rafter is skipping doubles this time due to too much of tennis lately, Bjorkman is playing with Byron Black - they are seeded 7th and are in the bottom half .. Not real unseeded dark horse teams that I can identify in the bottom half.

It will all depend on how prepared our pair is, mentally and physically .. Here are two reports for everyone to read, about what the two dads, vece Paes, and Krishna Bhupathi, said late last week on where the pair stands .. PTI report in Times of India and an article in The Telegraph, Calcutta .. Now there are two reasonable and level-headed dads who are certainly aware of the LP-MB relationship being not solid now, and are concerned .. Basically it's all things that only LP and MB can solve by sitting together and discussing their differences (keeping everybody else away) .. I can probably type a lot more of the complicated details I know about it, but I really don't want to .. Let us just hope for these two to get their act together .. I will just say that LP and MB are quite incommunicative with each other lately - not so much because they are irreparably upset at each other, from what I know; probably more because they don't know where to start in clearing out all the confusion around, and figuring out what is true, what is not, who meant to do what, who did what, when, why, and based on whose advice .. I actually typed a lot more of the details on this yesterday, but I then chose not to post it .. Let me just say this - The talk about them having to seriously decide on whether to continue, etc, is correct - but I personally feel they will work it out .. So, for now, let us get on with the US Open business ! .. They are the top seeds, and professionals who are #1 in the world have a duty to go out there and play their best .. I suspect they will.

.. Previous notes are at Weekly Notes, ending Aug 30 ..