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LP/MB/NV/Indian-Tennis: Notes for week ending on Sep 7, 1998

(Previous week's notes) (Next week's notes) (Daily Notes Index)

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 ..

Sep 7 Note-3

LP/MB should be playing their doubles QF tomorrow (Tuesday) .. Now that the Woodies lost today to Stolle/Suk and Damm/Grabb beat the Jensen brothers today, the quarterfinal lineup in doubles is all set .. Here it is:

16-Neil Broad GBR/ Piet Norval RSA        vs    John De Jager RSA/ Robbie Koenig RSA \
 3-Jonas Bjorkman SWE/ Patrick Rafter AUS vs  6-Mark Knowles BAH/ Daniel Nestor CAN  / \
 4-Mahesh Bhupathi IND/ Leander Paes IND  vs    Luis Lobo ARG/ Javier Sanchez ESP    \ /
 7-Martin Damm CZE/ Jim Grabb USA         vs 15-Sandon Stolle AUS/ Cyril Suk CZE     /

Though LP/MB and Bjorkman/Rafter are the current favorites to be in the final, there are a few hot teams left there .. Stolle/Suk are always tough, as the Woodies found out today, and Damm/Grabb have looked good this year (especially Jim Grabb who has had some good success in doubles) .. Knowles/nestor are always capable of upsetting Bjorkman/Rafter .. This will be fun from now on.

Incidentally, Mark Woodforde was asked today in the US Open site's chatroom "After the Woodies and the Dutchmen leave, who do you expect to see as the teams to carry the torch and dominate doubles in the future ?" .. Mark's answer: "We are not leaving just yet .. but, a team like Paes/Bhupathi or Bjorkman/Rafter should lead the way in the future" .. Cool answer, Mark.. we like that ! ..

Sep 7 Note-2

Weird day at the US Open with a long 3 hour rain delay, then a couple of short rain delays and finally another one at night .. MB/Lucic match had not started till about 7 pm, after the rain delay forced the Kournikova-Arantxa match to their court and they got moved to court 11 .. Anyway, they did get started at some odd time and are tied at 6-3, 5-7, 0-0 against Serena Williams and Max Mirnyi .. The typical first and second set for MB it would seem .. No more details .. The match may get done only tomorrow ..

Earlier there was the heartbreaker of a match for our kids, Manoj Mahadevan and Vijay Kannan in junior doubles .. They started out breaking the second seeded pair, Jeanpierre and Haehnel (ranked #6 and #9 in ITF world doubles rankings), to go up 4-1 .. Then they had to sit through a 3-hour rain delay .. When they started again, they got broken back to fall on serve at 4-3, but immediately got up again with a second break to 5-3 and won the set at 6-3 .. The second set went with serve till the 8th game when MM/VK dropped serve, and it was over at 3-6 .. Then the heartbreaker of a final set .. This time, MM/VK went up ahead with a break in the 8th game to 5-3 .. They then served for the match .. a short rain delay again .. Then they were at deuce .. and got broken at the worst possible time to fall back on serve .. they pushed for a break in the 10th and 12th games going up to 15-0 and 30-0 but couldn't get it done, though they held their serve easily .. It appeared that they were still doing better in the number of points won off the opponents serve, but that quickly changed in the tiebreaker .. MM/VK started serve and after 1-0, the other guys stringed 6 points toghether (4 on their serve and 2 off the Indian kids') .. When the service returned to our guys, it was a big hole at 1-6 .. They fought off two match points and came back up to 3-6 but it all ended at 3-7 in the tiebreaker .. Final score: 6-3, 3-6, 6-7 (3) .. Tough loss, but a tremendous match against two of the best junior talents in the world. Wish they could pull it off .. This is the first time that Kannan and Mahadevan are playing together in any big tournament (including ITF junior tournaments in India), I believe, and I am trruly surprised that they did this. This must be purely out of the talent-level these two kids have. Bodes well for the future.

Yet another loss to report: This time for Uzma Khan who went up against Ansley Cargill, the talented US teenager. Uzma's first grand slam match (cannot believe that somebody who has been playing Fed Cup for her country for 2 years and has a pefect 6-0 record in fed Cup has not played in a grandslam yet .. Those who could not find funds for her to travel to the French Open and other ealrier grand slams where she would have been in the draw, should be ashamed - but I digress) .. She was probably nervoud or something at first and was down 0-6 in a hurry and had hardly got a handful of points in the first set .. Then her fighting spirit, the best asset Uzma has, came in .. She quickly forced a break and went up 2-1 in the 3rd game .. Got broken back in the 8th game to level at 4-4 .. Then she was almost broken again in the 9th game, when she fought off three break points in a row to come back to 5-5 .. She was fightinh hard for a brek in the next game, but AC held after the game went to deuces. Then Uzma was agin down on her serve atr 0-40 facing triple match points .. Fought off two of them but succombed in the end, 0-6, 5-7 .. That was the end of that. Oh well.. Next time..

Sep 7 Note-1

US Open update: The 2nd seeds Woodies got upset this morning by 15th seeds Stolle/Suk in the 3rd round, 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 .. Now LP/MB are the highest seeds in the bottom half of the draw .. Uzma Khan and Kannan/Mahadevan are set to play soon (by about 2.30 pm) out there, and the MB/Lucic match comes up later after 4 pm or so ..

Heard from Syed Fazaluddin recently .. He is taking a few weeks off and chilling .. Getting in shape to go up to UK for the Davis Cup .. He hopes to play a couple of futures around there before proceeding to India.

Sep 6 Note-5

LP-MB are not playing on Monday, but we have a block-buster mixed doubles match in the schedule - Mahesh/Mirjana playing Serena Williams and Max Mirnyi in the quarterfinals, which is a repeat of the Wimbledon mixed doubles finals .. The match is scheduled as the 4th after three doubles matches, on the stadium court, which has a nice and intimate setting with good capacity seating (the estimated start time is around 4 pm there .. 1 pm PST, and 1.30 am India).. Serena and Max got a walkover today to reach the QF .. Here is the mixed doubles draw from quarterfinals onwards:

  R.McQuillan AUS / D.Macpherson AUS vs   D.Graham USA / S.Stolle AUS      \
5-M.Lucic CRO / M.Bhupathi IND       vs   S.Williams AUS / M.Mirnyi BEL    / \
6-P.Tarabini ARG / D.Johnson USA     vs 3-L.Raymond USA / P.Galbraith USA  \ /
2-R.Stubbs AUS / J.Grabb USA         vs   V.Williams USA / J.Gimelstob USA /

The team that is looking good is the big Macs who beat LP-Hiraki in round 1 and then the top seeds Neiland (LP's old partner) and Woodforde in round 2 .. So, there is insufficient evidence on whether Neiland and LP did better or worse by finding new partners !

In doubles, 3rd seeds Bjorkman/Rafter, and 6th seeds Knowles/Nestor have advanced and the 4 teams in the upper half of the draw are set with those two as the best two there .. The 2nd seeds Woodies and the 7th seeds Damm/Grabb are the only seeds playing their respective opponents tomorrow to decide the final two teams in the bottom half where the other quarterfinal match is between our guys and Lobo/Sanchez ..

Sep 6 Note-4

Vijay Kannan had a rather easy win in the junior singles at the USOpen this afternoon, 6-3, 6-2 over Alexander Bogomolov of USA .. Alex is only 15 and was #3 in the USA under-15 rankings at the end of 1997 .. It's a good win for Vijay, and he was hardly troubled in the match. His opponent in the second round will be determined tomorrow .. As for Manoj Mahadevan, his match is not in the schedule for Monday either, so I assume he will be playing singles first round only on Tuesday. Uzma Khan is scheduled to play her first round against Ansley Cargill (USA) on Monday at about 3 pm there.

The Manoj/Vijay pair play their first round doubles tomorrow (also at about 3 pm), but they are going up against a very tough pair, seeded second. Here are the junior doubles draw for the Indians (this draw came out just now):

8-Bob Borella DEN/ Kristian Pless DEN       vs. John Fruttero USA/ Jonathan Igbinovia NGR \
  David Nalbandian ARG/ Balazs Veress HUN   vs. Wei-Jen Cheng TPE/ Valentin Sanon CIV     / \__ SF
  Alexey Kedriouk KAZ/ Raimonds Sproga LAT  vs. Philipp Langer AUT/ Jurgen Melzer AUT     \ /
2-Jerome Haehnel FRA/ Julien Jeanpierre FRA vs. Vijay Kannan IND Manoj Mahadevan IND      /

1-Leanne Baker NZL/ Rewa Hudson NZL         vs. Bye                                       \
  Laura Bao SUI/ Caecilia Charbonnier SUI   vs. Hannah Collin GBR/ Erica Krauth ARG       / \__ SF
  K. Basternakova SVK/ S. Hrozenska SVK     vs. M. Gerards NED/ Marie-Eve Pelletier CAN   \ /
7-Jackuelyn Rosen ISR/ Milagros Sequera VEN vs. Uzma Khan IND/ Zuzana Kucova SVK          /

Uzma must be playing doubles first round on Tuesday.

Sep 6 Note-3

This is when we say, "Oh, mamma, stop it .. It hurts" ! ... 6-0, 6-2 romp by LP/MB today, over Lan Bale and Danny Sapsford .. Basically, LB/DS could hold only 2 of their 7 service games (3rd and 5th games in the second set) .. LP/MB were troubled only once with even a break point, and our guys converted 5 of the 9 break chances they got .. The match started an hour earlier than we expected, and was over in 48 minutes ! .. The qualifiers Bale and Sapsford have something to be happy about in their good performance here going to the final-16, as they picked up a lot of points to bring up both their rankings. As for LP/MB, each gets 177 total points so far, including 14 bonus points, to go with $40K they share. Up next for LP/MB are the always-tough Spaniards, Luis Lobo and Javier Sanchez .. The last time these two met was at the semifinals of the Rome Super 9 (which LP/MB won) where our guys beat them 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(5) .. we can expect another dandy match in the quarterfinals here, but our guys seem to be clicking very well for now, and when that happens, the Indian Express is awfully hard to stop. With one more win, they can defend the 347 points they had from last year .. They will get a 186 more points and $40K more for a QF win over the Los Lobos ..

I don't think any of the fanclub members were at the courts today, but anyway, there is nothing much to report from a match that ends before one blinks !

Sep 6 Note-2

The Indian SubJunior Nationals complete results have been posted now .. Take a look to see who are the future stars (under 14 and under 16 boys and girls) ..

At the US Open Juniors today, Zaman, as expected had a tough time against the 16th seed Andy Ram, who is a very talented one (he even beat Fazal in a satellite recently, if I am not mistaken) .. Zaman lost 2-6, 1-6 .. Vijay Kannan plays later today .. Manoj and Uzma must be playing tomorrow.

Sep 6 Note-1

LP/MB play the 5th match on court 11 (estimated start time is 4.30 EST, 1.30 PST, USA .. 2 am India)

The Junior draws are out and after a long time, we see a bunch of Indians in a grand slam junior draw - three Indian boys and one Indian girl .. S. Zaman is in the first 1/8th, Manoj Mahadevan is in the 3rd 1/8th and Vijay Kannan is in the 5th 1/8th of the draw (which means we could have three Indians in the semifinals .. OK, I am hoping for waaaay too much here!) .. Uzma Khan is in the first quarter of the girls draw. Here they are (both are 64-draw fields):

 1-Julien Jeanpierre FRA   vs. Matias Boeker USA        \
   Jakob Hasek CZE         vs. Jorge Haro MEX           / \__ QF
   Christian Straka GER    vs. Jurgen Melzer AUT        \ /
16-Andy Ram ISR            vs. Zaman Sanzaruz IND       /

 3-Andreas Vinciquerra SWE vs. Bob Borella DEN          \
   Manoj Mahadevan IND     vs. Jarkko Nieminen FIN      / \__ QF
   Raimonds Sproga LAT     vs. Cyril Martin FRA         \ /
14-Lovro Zovko CRO         vs. Michal Navratil CZE      /

 5-Guillermo Coria ARG     vs. K.J. Hippensteel USA     \
   Vijay Kannan IND        vs. Alexander Bogomolov USA  / \__ QF
   Andrej Kracman SLO      vs. Mark Hilton GBR          \ /
12-Ladislav Chramosta CZE  vs. Jerome Haehnel FRA       /

10-Clarisa Fernandez ARG   vs. Bea Bielik USA           \
   Katy Granson USA        vs. Katarina BasternakovaSVK / \__ QF
   Ansley Cargill USA      vs. Uzma Khan IND            \ /
 8-Jacqueline Trail USA    vs. Eva Dyrberg DEN          /

Zaman clearly has the toughest draw among the lot .. Today's schedule shows Zaman playing first (at about 1 pm PST) and then Vijay Kannan (at about 5 pm PST) .. The junior doubles draw will come out in a day or so (Manoj and Vijay were to play doubles together, from what we had heard)..

Indian news: The SubJunior nationals are done at Madras yesterday .. Here are the final results: Boys under-14: Parantap Chaturvedi (Del) bt Devinder Singh Bhusari (Guj) 6-1, 6-4 .. Girls under-14: Megha Vakharia (Mah) bt Shereen Yusuf (Kar) 6-3, 6-4 .. Boys under-16 Akshay Vishal Rao (Chd) bt Kamala Kannan (TN) 7- 5, 6-3 .. Girls under-16: Shruti Dhawan (Del) bt Sonal Phadke (Mah) 7-6 (7-2), 6-7 (3-7), 6-2 .. All the usual suspects came out as winners in the end .. Shereen Yusuf was probably the surprise of the tournament .. Radhika Tulpule not reaching the finals was also surprise .. Will post the complete scorecards very soon.

Sep 5 Notes

Mahesh and Mirjana Lucic had an easy win in the second round over E.Likhovtseva and M.Oosting, 6-3, 6-3 .. They were up 3-0 in the first set with a break in the second game and it was a cruise to a 6-3 set thereafter .. The second set was no different, with a break coming in the 3rd game and MB/ML holding serve to go up 3-1 .. Then they got a final break in the 9th game to win in 6-3, 6-3 .. Kim Das was at the courts and sent a brief onsite fanclub member report .. Basically that this match was a great Mahesh-show with him at his best at the net .. He felt MB and Lucic seemed to play very well together today .. Leander was in the stands leading the cheering squad too ! .. Cool stuff !

LP/MB doubles match Sunday evening (5th match on court 11 .. Should start at about 4.30 pm EST, 1.30 PST, 2 am India).

Sep 4 Note-3

Leander and Hiraki lost a tough match to Rachel McQuillan and David MacPherson, 6-4, 4-6, 4-6 .. LP/RH got the break in the 6th game of the first set, but was broken in the 9th game .. They bounced right back to force a break in the next game and won the set at 6-4 .. Then the match tightened up considerably, with every game seemingly going to deuces. It went with serve till 4-4, when LP dropped serve and RM/DM held to tie up the match. In the 3rd set, LP/RH went up 2-0 with a break in game 2, but lost the advantage immediately and we were tied at 2-2 .. The match really turned around on a stretch of 12 points, however. LP/RH were up 40-0 with triple break point chances to go up 4-2, but proceeded to lose the next 7 points and found themselves serving at 3-3 facing triple break points .. They lost 5 of the next 7 point too, and were down a break at 3-4 in a hurry. It was basically over at that point, even though LP/RH tried a last-ditch effort to force a break at 3-4 with a couple of deuces. If they follwed the normal order of serve with LP starting the set, then it appears that Rika got broken twice, in the 3rd and 7th games. That's the story.

Sep 4 Note-2

Oh yeah .. The boys of summer are back .. LP/MB had a normal IndianExpress-like match today .. 6-2, 6-4 win over K.Braasch/ M.Ondruska to advance to the 3rd round .. This match had all the usual patterns in it .. Jumped all over KB/MO before they knew what hit them and it was a break in the first game .. Then they got the second break to go up 5-2 and served it out for a 6-2 first set .. Then came the second set and they continued to trouble KB/MO, taking them to deuces in the first and 3rd games .. That is when something happened and we all said "aha, our boys are back to their style!" - the customary sudden drop of serve ! .. Just like that LP/MB dropped serve in the 4th game and were behind a break at 1-4 .. They do that somewhere at the beginning of the second set way too often .. But, no worries ! .. They knew exactly what to do as they went on a big tear, winning the next 5 games in a row, including breaks in the 7th and 9th game .. The final game saw LP/MB serving 15-40, but a few points in a row and the match was over at 6-2, 6-4 - all looks back to normal and the Indian Express is choo-chooing along nicely.

Up next in the final-16 is the qualifier pair, Lan Bale (RSA) and Danny Sapsford (GBR) who have come out of nowhere and beaten two very good teams - Noteboom/Wibier first and then the currently red-hot Novak/Rikl (13th seeds) in a big upset today .. I think the LP/MB vs LB/DS match will probably be on Sunday. The final-16 match to determine the quarterfinal opponent of the winner of that match is between Lobo/Sanchez and Black/O'Brien. It gets tough from now on.

Sep 4 Note-1

LP/MB are scheduled to play Karsten Braasch (GER, #80) and Marcos Ondruska (RSA, #83) at 11 am, the first match in the morning (8 am PST, 8.30 pm India) .. This is also not an established doubles pair .. I believe they are playing together for the first time .. Both Braasch and Ondruska play with many different partners .. Braasch had best success with Jens Knippschild of germany and Ondruska with Grant Staffird of South Africa. They must be feeling good after a good first round win against an established doubles pair, Pimek/Talbot .. and let's hope LP/MB will end their run right here.

LP and Hiraki are scheduled to play the 4th match on the same court later today. Mahesh has only one match today.

Sep 3 Note-4

I knew MB would be fired up for a comeback this evening in mixed doubles, after that good doubles win this morning .. And sure, Miki and Mahesh did what was needed .. 3-6, 6-2, 7-5, they won the first round over Anke Huber and Joshua Eagle. Basically, MB/ML were troubled only occasionally on their serves today, and were going after AH/JE all the time.. They got the breaks in games 4 and 8 in the second set and we were tied up at a set apiece. Then things got a bit tight in the 3rd set .. HeshMiki went up 3-1 with a break, only to be broken right back and it went with the serve from then on .. Then, in the 11th game (Miki must have been serving - normally Mahesh starts the set serving), there was danger and it was 15-40, but they held on .. and immediately jumped all over AH/JE for the break in game 12 .. that was the game.

Here is the onsite fanclub member report from Kim Das on this morning's LP-MB doubles match:

What a beautiful day for tennis it was today and what beautiful tennis it was. Since Jay has already given a match recap I'll stick to visual description. Our boys came out looking mighty intimidating in their lime green outfits and ready to play some kickin tennis! Quite a scare in the first set as they were broken right off the bat.. Meligeni was playing some great tennis and pretty much carrying Puerta through the first set. But true to form, MB's serve started really rocking midway throught the first set and then LP turned it up a notch with his net play to take control of most of the points. Their opponents, however, were a litlle peskier than anyone thought they would be using smart, solid doubles strategy but in the end the duo pulled through. Interstingly. the duo stayed clear of any I-formations and played what I would call a very conservative match. Lee had no problems with his serve.. wish it had been on during his singles as well but oh well.

I had a chance to catch up with LP and MB after the match and they seemed pretty pleased with the level of tennis. They also thanked all of us for the support. There were some people who had heard of Paes' homepage and they told me to thank everyone for all the effort ...apparently they were not part of the club but they said they visited the page often! .. sorry for the brevity but I am running late. GO LP/MB!!!!!!!

Thanks, as always, Kim .. I had guessed that during game 7 of the first set, MB started serving heat .. Kim confirmed on the chatline that that was exactly what happened .. Cool .. Go guys, time to win that first slam! ..

Sep 3 Note-3

I am told (thanks, Giriraj!) that Eltingh withdrew because his wife has delivered a baby .. I guess we will consider that the 4th slam .. Congrats, Jacco !

Sep 3 Note-2

The first match is always the tough match .. LP/MB really wanted to get a win to build up some confidence after a couple of losses recently, too. Well, they got it after a tough fight and a nice comeback, 7-5, 7-6 (7-5) over Meligeni/Puerta today.

The match started with immediate trouble as our guys were broken in the second game .. They were in further trouble in the 6th game when, already down a break, they were serving at another break point .. Some sort of transformation must have happened there .. They roared back, held serve, went after FM/MP rightaway in the next game to get the break back at 0-40, and pulled back on serve at 3-4 .. LP/MB won 6 of 7 games in that stretch (including a deuce off FM/MP's serve in game 10). Wrapped up the set at 7-5 .. In the second set, they were coming close to breaks in a few games, but couldn't get one (LP/MB seemed to serve their games with ease too, except for game 5 when there was a break chance which had to be fought off). No breaks in the set, and we were in a tiebreak. An early minibreak and LP/MB were down 1-3 .. Again, they came back strongly, reeling off 6 of the next 8 points to win it at 7-5 in the tiebreaker.

They now face Karsten Braasch (GER) and Marcos Ondruska (RSA) in the second round. Those two breat Pimek/Talbot.

The big news is the #1 seeds Eltingh/Haarhuis withdrawing from doubles .. They have been replaced by the lucky losers, Rodriguez/Sa, who promptly lost to the actual lucky ones, Randall/Coupe .. Eltingh was in line for a grand slam of doubles after winning AO with Bjorkman and then FO and Wimbledon with Haarhuis - Sad news for him ... In LP/MB's quarter of the draw, the potential quarterfinal opponents, the 5th seeds Ferreira/Leach have lost tamely to Lobo/Sanchez, 6-2, 6-4 .. That's the news for now.

Sep 3 Note-1

They did release an updated schedule for Friday later last night at the USO .. Leander's mixed doubles match originally scheduled for today is now not there .. It should be tomorrow. LP/MB doubles match is set to start pretty soon (about 1 pm out there .. come to the chatroom for live scores). Mahesh comes back later with "Miki" Lucic to complete the mixed doubles match postponed from yesterday.

The national junior tennis championships are ongoing at Chennai .. Will post news/results soon on that.

Sep 2 Notes

Mahesh and Mirjana seemed to run into a bit of a problem today against Anke Huber .. The match started with 4 very tight games, which went to a few deuces, but things were all tied up at 2-2 when Huber started going on a tear returning everything that came near her. One break, and the set was over at 3-6 .. The second set started with MB/ML serving to go up 1-0, when the rains started falling. The match is postponed .. Hopefully Mahesh and Miki will regroup and figure out what to do to take care of business tomorrow. They had quite a few tough comebacks in their run to the finals at Wimbledon .. Need another here.

Leander and Mahesh are scheduled to play the second match tomorrow (Thursday) on court 17, and the estimated start time is around 1 pm or slightly earlier (that is 10 am PST, u.s.a, and 10.30 pm India). The opponents, Puerta and Meligeni are playing only in their second tournament together, I believe. They played at the Long Island ATP tournament last week and lost in the second round to Alonso/Sanchez .. Fernando Meligeni (#68 in doubles) normally plays with Kuerten - they ended 1997 as the 24th ranked doubles team .. Guga seemed to have decided not to play doubles at Long Island or the US Open, and so the Brazilian Meligeni has the young Argentinian Mariano Puerta (#114) as the partner now. Let us hope they find the same fate that newby teams usually find against our dudes. Both are talented players, though. Puerta, who will turn 20 only later this month is already #58 in singles rankings. He played a very good match against Carlos Moya today and defaulted the match after some serious muscle cramping in the 4th set .. Pity .. (hmm, Mahesh had the same fate against Moya in the first round at Wimbledon though that was a closer match - Some Spanish voodoo going on here ? :-)) .. 27-year old Meligeni is also playing some of the best singles of his career, ranked inside the top 50 now .. But none of that really matters in doubles much. Anyway, this could be a good match. Leander and Mahesh had a good couple of sets of practice today, and LP says they are looking forward to doing well here.

It appears that the Miki/Mahesh mixed doubles match will be restarted some time later on Thursday, after the "Indian Express" doubles match (they have not updated the thursday schedule with the few postponed late evening matches, yet) .. Leander and Rika Hiraki are also scheduled to play tomorrow - the last match on court 18, against Rachel McQuillan and David MacPherson (that should be at about 6 pm there).

Sep 1 Note-4

Here is the upper half of the mixed doubles draw:

1-Larisa Neiland LAT/ Mark Woodforde AUS vs Ai Sugiyama JPN/ Richey Reneberg USA    \
  Rika Hiraki JPN/ Leander Paes IND      vs Rachel McQuillan AUS/ D. Macpherson AUS / \
  Kimberly Po USA/ Robbie Koenig RSA     vs Debbie Graham USA/ Sandon Stolle AUS    \ / \
7-Alexandra Fusai FRA/ David Adams RSA   vs Corina Morariu USA/ Brian Macphie USA   /    \
4-Manon Bollegraf NED/ Rick Leach USA    vs Lindsay Davenport USA/ J-M. Gambill USA \    /
  Miriam Oremans NED/ Nicklas Kulti SWE  vs Serena Williams USA/ Max Mirnyi BLR     / \ /
  Katrina Adams USA/ Andrew Florent AUS  vs Elena Likhovtseva RUS/ Menno Oosting NED\ /
5-Mirjana Lucic CRO/ Mahesh Bhupathi IND vs Anke Huber GER/ Joshua Eagle AUS        /

Hmm .. That is a pretty tough draw .. First of all, LP has picked up our old darling, Rika Hiraki as his partner ! .. MB is sticking to the successful partnership with Lucic (Wimbledon finals, so they are good together).. Then we find the "unseeded" team, Max Mirnyi and Serena Williams (it just so happens that they have a Wimbledon title) in there, not to mention Leach/Bollegraf, who are the defending mixed doubles champs at the USO. Whoever reaches the final from there would have earned it .. LP and MB can face each other in the semis if they both win their first 3 rounds.

Raymond/Galbraith (#3) and Stubbs/Grabb (#2) are in the bottom half of the draw, which also has Venus/Gimelstob, the ones who won the AO and FO titles ..

MB/Lucic play the 5th match on court 14 tomorrow, after 4 doubles matches before .. Tough to estimate the start time, but probably somewhere between 5 and 7 pm ..

Sep 1 Note-3

Here is the onsite fan club member report from court 13, by Kim Das (remember him ? .. he reported last year from USO and then from Singapore .. back in NY for this .. just on time!):

Well today was definitely not a good day ....... However, it was full of potential around 12pm when I found myself scrambling for a seat at court 13 in anticipation of what I was hoping would be a solid match between the tenacious Paes and the ever consistent O'Brien ........ The atmosphere was charged with a strong contigent of Desis on one side of the court and a rather large crowd of O'Brien supporters on the other (including Tom Gullikson). The promise of an exciting match was in the works ......... LP/AO finally made their way out to the court amidst huge cheers from the desi's. LP was sporting his latest bearded look (makes him look a little older) that he took into the pilot pen (probably kept it for luck) and was looking pretty vicious in his Adidas getup. The warmups were the first sign that something was amiss. LP's serve was way off the mark. He sensed it immediately, cursing under his breath all through the warmups ........ Sure enough he found himself down 0-40 serving in the second game but pulled through somehow. That was pretty much the theme for the first set. With a weak first serve percentage LP found it difficult to get the momentum in the rest of his game. O'Brien, on the other hand, was serving brilliantly forcing LP to rely on his running ability which finally ran out of steam in the 11th game where he was broken and consequentlly lost the first set. The second set was pretty much the same story with AO dominating with his serve and LP struggling with his ........ Right as the third set started, the crowds began to pour in and once again (like last year) the outside court was packed..This seemed to energize Paes, as he came charging out in the third set with some magnificent winners from the baseline. Even O'Brien could not believe some of the shots coming from Paes' arsenal. Finally the match started to get interesting with the level of tennis being taken up a notch. Unfortunately, like the previous two sets, no breaks were coming LP's way. One or two bad line calls, ball somehow finding the same spot on the tape a few times, etc, but LP kept trudging forward with a better serve percentage and stronger groundstrokes. Going into the tiebreak, LP quickly pulled a mini break but only to see it lost the very next changeover. Then, as all of you know by now, he had a set point but couldn't convert as O'Brien turned on the afterburners in the dying moments to take the match ......... There were a lot of disheartened fans out there but none as much as LP. In an interview he gave with Vijay Amritraj, I heard him mentioning how pathetic he felt with his game today and he spent soem time talking about his serve being off but at the same time he acknowledged that he had had a good summer season and he was overall pretyy happy with his game.

So that's the story folks .. Thanks Kim ! .. Tomorrow's schedule is out (for wednesday), and LP/MB are not playing. Mahesh and Mirjana Lucic are playing the mixed doubles match (I will post the MX-D draw info very soon). LP has the day off. That would mean that LP/MB will be playing on Thursday, and LP will probably also be playing mixed doubles on Thursday.

Sep 1 Note-2

LP lost to Alex O'Brien, 5-7, 3-6, 6-7 (7-9) ..  The first set went with serve till 5-6 even though LP was having some narrow escapes in some of his service games, while Alex seemed to never be in any trouble .. Then LP fell 15-30 in the 12th game and dropped the serve at 30-40 .. The set was over in a hurry at 5-7 .. The second set did not look much different at first, and LP was quickly down a break at 1-4 .. Then there was a small momentum shift and LP started playing evenly with Alex. Took him to break points in the 7th game but could not get the break as Alex went up 5-2, and thens served it out at 6-3 .. LP seemed to serve much better in the 3rd set, and Alex got only 3 points off his 6 service games. LP was not doing much better returning O'Brien's serve either and I believe neither had any break points in the set .. In the tiebreaker, LP was up a minibreak at 3-1, but fell behind at 5-6, fought off a match point and went up 7-6, when Alex saved the match point and reeled off 3 pts in a row to win it 9-7 .. The match took 2 hours to finish .. I managed to get hold of LP briefly over the phone in the locker room, and he said he was having trouble returning all day, but that Alex played a very good match. He seemed to take the loss in good spirit and said he is ready for doubles now.

Anyway, this wipes the slate pretty clean for LP as far as defending the points are concerned. He now falls to 545 points (loses 71 points from USO last year, replaced by 5 points), and that should still keep him at just around the top-90 in ranking .. Now he has just 45 points to defend till next March (that will be about 12-15 tournaments including possibly a couple of challengers, and I expect him to pick up at least another 200-250 points and crack top-50 by then).

Did not get to find out any details on his mixed doubles, as LP was leaving the locker room in a hurry when I called. Will find out more on that soon. It appears that LP/MB would be playing the first round doubles tomorrow (Wednesday).

Sep 1 Note-1

The new rankings show Leander at #76 this week, with the same point total of 611 .. In singles, Leander and Mahesh stay at 8 and 7, with the same team ranking of #3 .. In singles, Mahesh is at #353, and the others remain at around the same ranking .. No activity from Srinath and Fazal for a while (need to trace down Fazal and find out what he is up to) ..

Leander is scheduled to play Alex O'Brien in the second match on court 13 (first one, a women's singles match, starts at 11 am) .. That would be a start time at around 1 pm EST for LP .. That is 10am PST, usa, and 10.30 pm India .. Come to the chatroom for score updates and to celebrate the victory ! :-) .. We will have one or two fanclub members out there at US Open, and should have a match report later.

Aug 31 Notes

We had an onsite fanclub member, Susan Thomas, at the US Open today, but she had nothing much to report, as our dudes weren't playing .. She reports, "..Well after waiting on line for 2 and a half hours in the morning i finally got a ground pass. Supposedly the folks who were first on line got there at 4 in the morning!!!!! .. it was a beautiful day at flushing meadows .. I think i did manage to get a fleeting glimpse of Anand Amritraj but i could be wrong. Most of the time i was at the practise courts checking whether LP/MB would come out to practice ... but didnt see them. I saw Agassi, Rios, Rafter, Sampras, and Richard Krajicek, LP's probable second round opponent .. hoping that lee would play him in the second round ... I really apologise that everytime i go to the open i really dont have much in way of news for u guys. I hope whoever goes next will be the bearer of good news or some news about our duo. The last i heard from the two was that they are praying very hard. Lee was at St.Patricks' yesterday .. Okay tennis lovers that's all i have for today .. friday or saturday - I will try and go on one of those days" .. Thanks, Susan .. Hope we will get reports Friday/Saturday from you .. we will see which other fanclub members will be there tomorrow ! .. As for Leander, nice inside info on his church trip .. let us hope it will be his opponents who don't a have a prayer !

In US Open action, there were some results I found interesting today: Bob Bryan beat Ondruska winning the last three sets .. That is good news for US tennis fans. The Bryan twins, Bob and Mike Bryan have just been going through the satellite circuits and have been tearing it up in doubles, winning some amazing number of titles in a row (they were the NCAA collegiate doubles champions too, but left college early after a couple of years of success). Bob had a wildcard to the main draw, and it is nice to see that the kid can pull something in singles too. Anyway, since Indian tennis fans are the most keen observers of the doubles scene, I thought I would mention it. Watch out for the Bryan twins .. Other interesting results are, Taylor Dent, the 18 year old American (son of old Aussie pro Phil Dent) advanced over Alex Radulescu, who retired when it was tied at 1 set each. The only other Asian in the men's draw, the qualifier Yong-Il Yoon of Korea lost in straight sets to Jonathan Stark.. The other one closest to an Asian, Sargis Sargsian of Armenia, lost to Bohdan Ulihrach .. It's all up to Leander to keep the Asian challenge going. On the women's side, Yoshida, Miyagi, Tanasugarn and S-T Wang from Asia have all lost, and Sugiyama, Saeki, Sawamatsu, and S-H Park have won ..

Aug 30 Notes

The schedule for Monday at the US Open is done, and Leander's match is not in it. That means he will be playing Alex O'Brien on Tuesday ..

More bad news, actually the worst possible news from Japan - India finished dead-last among the 16 teams at the NTT World Junior Tennis Competition at Nagoya for 14-and-under boys. India lost 1-2 to Brazil .. P Vishal beat Rafael Soares 2-6, 6-4, 6-2 in the opening singles, and Eduardo Pereira beat Parantap Chaturvedi 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 to equalise. In the doubles, Chaturvedi and Vishal lost the match 5-7, 7-6 (7-5), 6-4 [source: Times of India] .. In the four ties, India lost 0-3 to Uruguay to fall to the bottom 8, lost 1-2 to Mexico to fall to the bottom 4, lost 0-3 to Japan to fall to the last 2 and then 1-2 to Brazil to finish last .. Hope the kids are consoled by those around .. After all, they at least made it to the final-16, which another 50-60 countries couldn't do.

Aug 29 Notes

The men's draw is out for US Open. The Indian Express is seeded 4th and is in the bottom half of the draw with #2 seeds Woodies. The upper half of the draw has #1 seed Eltingh/Haarhuis and #3 seed Bjorkman/Rafter. Here is the draw till semifinals.

 5-Ellis Ferreira RSA/ Rick Leach USA       vs Luis Lobo AR/ Javier Sanchez ESP          \
   Tom Kempers NED/ Menno Oosting NED       vs Tomas Carbonell ESP/ Francisco Roig ESP   / \
   Brent Haygarth RSA/ Kent Kinnear USA     vs Daniel Orsanic ARG/ Jan Siemerink NED     \ / \
12-Wayne Black ZIM/ Sebastien Lareau CAN    vs Byron Black ZIM/ Alex O'Brien USA         /    \
13-Jiri Novak CZE/ David Rikl CZE           vs Pablo Albano ARG/ Nicolas Lapentti ECU    \    /
   Stephan Noteboom NED/ Fernon Wibier NED  vs Q-Lan Bale RSA/ Danny Sapsford GBR        / \ /
   Karsten Braasch GER/ Marcos Ondruska RSA vs Libor Pimek BEL/ Byron Talbot RSA         \ /
 4-Mahesh Bhupathi IND/ Leander Paes IND    vs Fernando Meligeni BRA/ Mariano Puerta ARG /

It is the usual grand slam draw. Can't say it is too tough or too easy. The first couple of rounds are reasonably easy for our dudes, but I would have liked not to see either of those teams, Novak/Rikl (who are red-hot for the time being) and Albano/Lapentti (who are always tough) in the 3rd round. Then the QF match against possibly Ferreira/Leach or Black/Lareau would be tough too .. By the way, is that a ironic or what, to see W.Black and Lareau facing B.Black and O'Brien in the first round ? .. Why not swap players and go to the old Lareau O'Brien team and the brothers' Zimbabwe Davis Cup doubles team ? ..

The women's doubles draw is out too. Nirupama is not playing doubles. I believe she would have made it into the qualifier draw for doubles with a good partner, but she wasn't in the qualifiers. She has probably decided to focus on practice for a few weeks.

It appears that Leander will be playing his first round singles match on Monday itself. We will know the exact time once the schedule for Monday comes out online, sometime late evening of Sunday. We expect one of the fan club members to be at the match and send us some onsite match report ..

.. Previous notes at Weekly Notes, ending Aug 31 ..