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LP/MB/NV/Indian-Tennis: Notes for week ending on Sep 13, 1999

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Sep 13 Notes

Nirupama is not playing the Hopewell Junction challenger in New York .. Talked to her yesterday .. She said she would have made the draw, but felt that she really does need to do something with a long-term perspective, and put in some focussed work now, before she feels comfortable about going out there to WIN tournaments, not just get a win here and a win there .. The comment I have often heard from many is that with a bit more mobility after trimming down a bit, she should be able to do just that .. She feels her best chance to do that is now, for the next few weeks .. The schedule I posted for her about couple of weeks back may change because of that (according to that her long break will be in India, but she may be able to do better fitness work right now, while in the US) .. She will decide in a couple of days when she plays next - but it appears that it will be in the second week of October, in the US challenger series (Largo, Albuquerque, perhaps Dallas, Indian Wells, etc) .. She still plans to go to Australia, but not for the October challengers, but for the late November challengers ..  Will post an updated schedule soon.

By the way, Nirupama will be joining us all for a chat session this wednesday - at about 1 pm EST (10 PST, 6 pm Londoan, 10.30 pm India) ..  This is the first time Niru is coming for a chat with the fans .. Please come on in and shoot questions at the lady who has done path-breaking work in Indian women's tennis.

Otherwise, as I have written at the top, I will basically be on vacation for 3 weeks too ! .. I will add the results of last week's mini/sub-junior tournament in Chennai at the tournament results page soon, and will report any significant-enough items that come up during that period.

Sep 12 Notes

Sorry for a long (;-)) one day break in the notes stream here .. Was a bit busy with a bunch of things over the weekend .. Nothing much was happening, since the USO final anyway .. Both LP and MB will be taking time off for three weeks now .. They earned it .. Nirupama will be at the Hopewell Junction challenger in New York starting monday .. Need to confirm that she made the main draw and did not have to play qualies.   More later.

Sep 10 Note-5

Here is the report on the match from Arjun: Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi lost to Sebastian Lareau and Alex O'brien in two straight sets, 6-7(7-9), 4-6 .. Even though the scores seem to give one story, the games were closely fought .. Bringing their record making Grand Slam year to an end with 2 wins in 4 Grand Slam Finals. Although one had hoped that they would finish with a win, 4 Grand Slam finals has every Indian and tennis fan proud of these two players' accomplishments. We certainly hope that they continue in the trend that they have set out. The Game Scores was as follows: 1st set :- Alex O'brien started the first set by holding serve. The next 4 games where held by servers. The score was at 2-3 when Mahesh's serve was broken(game 6) to make it 2-4. Alex held serve 2-5. Leander holds at 3-5 after saving one break point (set point). At this point it seemed that the Indian pair were ready for a huge come back as they went up 0-40 on Lareau's serve game. In one of the longest games(game 9) of the match, LP-MB broke Lareau after NINE break points to make it 4-5. Mahesh held serve (game 10) 5-5. Alex held serve (game 11) 5-6. LP held serve (game 12) 6-6. The Tie breker that followed went to 16 points(LP-MB should have had the set on two ocassions, 6-4 and 6-5) before losing the set to SL-AO 6-7(7-9). 2nd set :- Mahesh and Alex held their serves to keep it 1-1. LP went down 0-40 and was broken (game 3) 1-2. The two(LP-MB) did not give up easy, they fought back to break Lareau for the second time with three break points (game 4) 2-2. The four of them held serve the next four games(game 8) 4-4. The turning point was game 9, with Mahesh serving and down 2 break points (15-40) and was broken to make it 4-5. Alex served the last game out for the win .. Thanks a lot for the report .. There you have it .. LP-MB have gone 22-2 in 24 grand slam matches this year .. 17 game win streak in GS matches, is over.

Sep 10 Note-4

I saw one of the newspaper reports yesterday that seemed to almost predict ("if the form is any indication, they will win") that LP-MB was a sure-bet to win this .. Much as I expected them to do it, I had enough of respect towards Lareau and O'Brien, and was having trouble imagining they would go 2-6 in 8 matches to our guys .. Looking at all the close matches between the two, it was time for them to pull one out, and that is exactly what they did .. Lareau/O'Brien d. LP-MB, 7-6(7), 6-4 .. After I had rearranged all my work schedule to push an urgent thing to late afternoon, just to catch this match - the rain spoiled everything .. I couldn't follow it online, and it was not on TV in the US either .. When I left, our boys were down 2-5 down in the first .. They made a fight of it after that, it seems .. I will await any reports from fanclub members who saw the match ..

Our pair has nothing to be ashamed of .. They continue to be the most consistent performers on the big stage .. I am happy to see a team of the caliber of Lareau and O'Brien being there to give our guys this kind of competition .. The way every other team seemed to be in a downward spiral, it was a matter of concern that our pair would have trouble keeping it up .. Losses make our team stronger - we have seen that time and again .. Now I know they want to win that Australian in January so badly! :-)

Sep 10 Note-3

I guessed it, in my last note .. They have just changed the nets on the Arthur Ashe court to singles nets, as of 1.30 pm .. The rain is just about stopping (though the sky looks heavily overcast still)  .. Once they showed the nets-change on TV, I called the US Open media room, communications, etc .. They don't even want to admit that they are moving the match to the next court - but I will be very surprised if it stays on the center court .. I got a bunch of BS about why that is best, why there will be more people in the next court, how it won't affect TV coverage in India, etc, etc .. But, CBS TV (see why it is "see BS television" ?) isn't gonna show it in the US, it seems .. And the guys who have had one of the best doubles years, since what, 1952 or something, will go the whole tournament without playing on Arthur Ashe court even once .. "We have to consider a lot of factors, and the decisions by the scheduling people are as fair as possible" .. Blah .. Blah .. "Fair!" .. My left foot! .. Yes, the bottom line money is what mostly maters in the US, but there should be some sense of proprieaty in these things! ..  It is a finals, for crying out loud! ..

I  know there are much more prople wanting to see the Williams sisters play (I would like to see them too), but there is plenty of time remaing in the TV coverage slot, as far as I can see .. At least stagger the start of the singles and doubles a bit and show even some of the doubles ? .. No such luck.

Well, we will see if anything changes, but I am not waiting with boiling broth for TV coverage around here .. Hope Star Sports brings it to you folks in India!

Sep 10 Note-2

It was raining heavily for a few hours this morning at US Open, and it's still raining, as of 12.10 pm, an hour after the scheduled start .. The weather center says it may clear up sometime after noon .. The match won't start till at least 1 or 1.30 pm .. They just showed Leander and Mahesh on CBS TV .. in the players' lounge, in some nice, deep conversation! ..  Perhaps figuring out how to chenge their strategy to counter the new look Lareau, with his old hair and goatee beard back .. Or when to shout "armadillo" to confuse the Texas panhandle guy, O'Brien (who is from Amarillo, TX, which does have armadillos, whose sole purpose in life seem to be to run across the freeway and get crushed by trucks -- How about Alex getting crushed by a steaming Indian EXpress! .. alright, enough yapping from me :-))

While everyone waits for the match to start, check out this article on Mahesh by none other than the best out there - Bud Collins, in the Boston Globe .. It has a rare inaccuracy from Bud; he said Davenport does not even think of mixed doubles - not true, she was in the mixed doubles draw at Wimbledon, with Woodbridge .. He has a lot of interesting stuff in the article .. Check it out .. I din't know that Ai meant "love" in Japanese .. Had no idea about that when I sent an email to the fanclub list after the match with the title, "love in Tokyo" (I was commenting on how MB's best has been with girls from Japan!).

Here is the article from US Open by Akshai Sawai about the mixed doubles final, in Mid-Day, Mumbai (that link will go away in a few days) ..

Here is the interview with Hesh and Ai after the title, as at the official US Open site ..  Mahesh talks about how Ai keeps on smiling all the time and how that relaxed him on the court .. That is what brings her a lot of fans - the constant smile!

Hopefully we will get going out there on Arthur Ashe court, and we won't have to miss the TV coverage because they move it out of Arthur Ashe court in favor of women's semifinals or something !

Sep 10 Note-1

Today's doubles final is at 11 am  (8 am PST .. 4 pm London .. 8.30 pm India) .. The match is being covered on CBS TV in the USA, and I believe on STARsports as usual, in India ..  We will be in our chatroom, if any of you without TV want ball-by-ball updates!

Talked to Mahesh this evening, and he demands an honorary citizenship from Japan for all the grand slams he and his Japanese partners are winning! :-) .. Both LP and MB are pumped up for the match tomorrow.

Their opponents are known to everybody here - Sebastien Lareau (CAN,22) and Alex O'Brien (USA,27) .. Lareau, many would remember, was Leander's partner 6 years back at the US Open where they reached the semifinal - the first glimpse of what was in store in the future from them both .. Lareau and O'Brien had success earlier than LP and MB .. They have been  in two grand slam  finals - at the Australian Open in 96 and 97 (losing to Edberg/Korda and Woodies) .. O'Brien has been in a US Open final too  (in 95 with Sandon Stolle, when they lost to the Woodies) .. They are looking for their first grand slam, and if their win over the Woodies and then Bjorkman/Black are any indication, they are in fine form too .. I have given the record between these two teams many times in the past - here it is again: The Indian Express beat them at the Montreal Super 9 [76(5) 63] and New Haven Pilot Pen finals in 97  [46 67(2) 62], lost to them at Stuttgart Super 9 [75 67(10) 57] and beat them again in the Hartford semis [61 26 76(5)] .. In 98, Lareau/O'Brien beat LP-MB at the Stuttgart Super 9 finals [63 36 75] but our guys got revenge the next week at the Paris Super 9 [76(4) 62] .. This year they played yet another barn-burner, the 5-setter quarterfinal at Wimbledon when our guys came back from being down two sets to none to pull it off [36 46 76(5) 64 64] .. So it is a 5-2 advantage for our guys, but one or two things going the other way, could have made that record 2-5 or 3-4 too (also Courier/O'Brien has a loss to LP-MB, and Mahesh/Leach has a loss against Lareau/O'Brien too) .. We have to expect another close one today ..

Sep 9 Note-3

OK, here is the match report on today's final from fanclub member Saibal Chakravarti: Don Johnson started the match serving .. The match went on serve till 4-4 in the first set when in the ninth game Don Johnson was broken -  MB served out the first set .. In the second set it was 1-1 when Kimberly Po was broken mostly due to some blistering returns of serve from MB at her feet. Clearly she was unable to handle the power .. Then all the games went with  serve and the match ended 6-4, 6-4 with MB serving it out again .. Sugiyama was having some problems with her serves throughout but with some help from Mahesh who looked incredibly solid today, she  held her ground (esp. in the 8th game of the second set when there were 5 break points on her serve) .. MB served flawlessly till the last game of the match when he was taken to deuce thrice but saved each break pt with an ace/service winner .. A match which was more or less comfortable for the Indo-Jap pair with only minor problems cropping up here and there .. Our opponents were 0/8 in break points which tells the story - MB and Sugi played the big points very well .. MB, in particular,  was poaching at large with a great success rate and hit some spectacular returns and groundies. Take my prediction for tomorrow - unless LP/MB are drugged they are going to beat the hell out of Lareau/O'Brien - does not matter how close any of the previous matches were !

OK, that last line was not a report on the match .. :-)  .. I notice that thing about MB holding serve in the final game of the match after deuces with aces and service winners .. MB may lose focus at times in a match, but when it counts he plays with heart - something Leander mentioned in his press conference as a reason why he felt Mahesh should be his partner for the future 3-4 years back (something LP has told me personally many, many times about Mahesh - "plays with heart") .. I also saw a newspaper article a couple of days back that mentioned how the understanding between Sugiyama and Hesh has been tremendous in the matches here too.   Those are the things that make a championship team!

And, oh, they made $124K for the title - they share that money .. They should treat each other for a few curry and sushi dinners!

Sep 9 Note-2

Grand slam titles have a become a habit for our boys, or what ? .. Second title for Mahesh in mixed doubles, and it comes, as in the first case, in the company of a Japanese - Ai Sugiyama .. Yeah, Asian power rules! .. Bhupathi-Sugiyama d. Po-Johnson, 6-4, 6-4 today .. Here is a netcam picture from the awards ceremony that Giri sent me (again, reproduced without permission - courtesy to  IBM and the official US Open site, who have copyright) ..

MB-Sugiyama with USO-99 trophy (IBM - USO site netcam picture)

Now the bad part (for me!) .. Due to unexpected work commitments, I missed the match, couldn't watch it on TV, and could not be in the chatroom .. I cannot believe that of all the matches, I missed this one! .. Anyway, that means I have no reports on the match, except what the official stats say - the other guys had 8 break chances but could not convert any, and our pair did their job in 2 of 6 chances .. Anyway, I am sure people had fun in our chatroom .. Guess who dropped in unannounced today in our chatroom during the match ? - I am told Nirupama Vaidyanathan was there!

I will add any other info on the mixed doubles final that comes my way, later .. Doubles final tomorrow.

Sep 9 Note-1

The mixed doubles final, A.Sugiyama-M.Bhupathi vs K.Po-D.Johnson, is scheduled as the second match on Arthurs Ashe court today, after a 11 am women's doubles semifinal .. So, it should be starting by about 12.30 pm (9.30 am PST .. 10 pm India .. 5.30 pm London) .. The game will be on live TV (USA Network Cable in the US) .. As usual, there should be a crowd doing ball-by-ball chat in our chatroom

Kimberly Po (USA,30) and Donald Johnson (USA,35) have turned out to be a pretty good team .. It is the same team that upset Bhupathi and Lucic in the second round of the Australian Open in a come-back three-setter .. Here, they have taken out the top seeds Paes-Raymond in the second round, also in a comeback three-setter .. Actually, in the press conference after the doubles semi yesterday, Leander was asked about mixed doubles - Q. What happened in the mixed doubles here? .. Ans (LP): Not much (laughter) .. We lost a tough one .. Now we see Don Johnson and Kim Po in the final .. I must say Kimberly really played well that day. Had a couple breakpoints on her in the third set. She came out with flying colors. She aced me on one, which I don't want to talk about too much (laughter). She really played well .. Po-Johnson had beaten a good Selyutina-Suk team in R1, and after upsetting the top seeds in the second round, went on to beat 7th seeds Neiland-Leach, and then the 3rd seeds Stubbs-Woodbridge .. Those are some heavy-weight doubles players and teams who have eaten dust against them .. The second seeds will finally be the ones to stop their giant-killer run, hopefully!

By the way, the above-mentioned Leander press conference was after the LP-MB semis, and MB was not available for that as he was waiting for his mixed doubles match .. You can find the interview at the USO site - here is the link: Leander interview .. It's an interesting interview with some candid comments .. Take a look .. The full transcript is there, but they also have a portion of it on video there.

The other big news yesterday was that LP-MB were featured in the front page of the Wall Street Journal in a long 3 column article .. They compared their effect in India, to that of Tiger Woods in golf, in bringing out new and non-traditional fans to tennis .. Since the Wall Street Journal is a subscription-only newspaper and the online site does not keep their articles publicly accessible, all I can give is the link to the Times of India article about that article - Wall Street Journal Compares Indian Duo to Tiger Woods .. I am not sure I agree with the comparison, as Tiger certainly has had a much bigger impact in Golf, but this article would definitely bring the duo tremendous publicity and will bring them a lot more non-traditional fans !

Here is yet another article -- this one was at the CNN-Si sports site: Tennis' Best Kept Secret .. The author plays up his angle about the duo's lack of singles success a bit too much (but writers are known to exaggerate to make their point), but it has some very nice words on the "magic" they do in doubles.

Sep 8 Note-4

Well, for the second slam in a row, we have an Indian guy in every one of the doubles finals .. If it was LP with the heroics at Wimbledon, it is MB here .. And we are all loving every minute of it .. Ai Sugiyama - M. Bhupathi d. Alexandra Stevenson - Brian MacPhie, 6-4, 7-5 !! .. 3rd grand slam doubles final for Mahesh!

As for the match, AS-MB had two break chances in the very first game, but MacPhie held serve .. Then they had 3 more break chances off Alexandra, and converted the first chance to go up 2-1 .. But, following a double fault by Ai, AS-MB were facing 0-40 break attempts in the next game .. They fought back to deuce and held there .. Then it went with serve to a 6-4 set .. In the second set, once again Alexandra was down 0-40 and quickly dropped serve in game 3 .. In identical manner as in the first set Ai was down 0-30 and it went to a deuce .. She held again .. Then Stevenson served game 7 at love with an ace, and AS-BM became hot .. They broke Ai in game 8, and MB was down 15-30 in game 10 .. Once again our pair steadied themseleves, held serve, and broke Alexandra once more .. Then MB held serve, and it was over .. And I am glad to see my dark horse picks bite the dust !

The final will be against Kimberly Po and Donald Johnson, the team that beat Mahesh and Lucic at this year's Australian Open second round, and have upset LP and Lisa here in the second round, both in comebacks after dropping the first set .. Mahesh would like some revenge, I am sure .. The mixed doubles final is tomorrow, Thursday ..

Sep 8 Note-3

Yes, it's correct that LP-MB are the first team in the Open era to reach all four grand slam finals in the same year .. The Woodies were in five finals in a row (not six) starting with the 96 Wimbledon title .. They won USO 9 6, AO 97, lost FO 97 final and won Wimbledon 97 .. They have not won a grand slam title since then, though they reached two more finals (AO 98 and Wimb 98) .. Since that epic 10-8 fifth set loss in 4 hours to Eltingh-Haarhuis at Wimbledon 98 which snapped their 5 year hold on the title there, they have not reached a grand slam final in 5 attempts, though .. But, LP-MB still have a long way to go before they can be compared to the likes of legends like the Woodies.

Sep 8 Note-2

I am told they televised the final 3 games of today's semifinal on USA network cable, and the announcers mentioned that LP-MB could make history by becoming the first team in the open era to reach all four finals - well the indian Express did just did! (I need to check on that, though - Fitzgerald/Jarryd won three titles in 91, but may have missed the 4th .. I believe the Woodies had 6 finals in a row at one time too, but they may have missed AO and USO finals in successive years, possibly?) .. Anyway, a great accomplishment for LP-MB, as they won their semifinal easily today - LP-MB d. A.Olhovskiy-D.Prinosil, 6-4, 6-3 .. Gosh, all those miserable semifinal losses are such a distant memory now.

In the match, our pair started shakily .. Though both MB and LP served an ace each in their first two service games, LP was broken in game 3 and they were down 1-2 .. They got the break back in the next game, though only after going through 4 break chances .. Then it went with serve and the Indian Express did their job with nice timing, in game 10 .. The first set was safely tucked away .. Then they continued the momentum into the second set, getting a break rightaway in the second game .. There may have been a brief lapse in concentration later, as MB was down 0-40 in the 5th game .. No worries, as they won 5 pts in a row to hold .. That basically slammed the door shut on AO-DP, I guess .. LP held in game 7 at love and then MB served off game 9 easily (with an ace too) to complete the romp .. For the match, LP-MB converted 3 of 8 break chances, while AO-DP did 1 of 5 .. 59 pts to 52 points by the opponents .. 4 aces, 3 double faults and 8 winners, to 3, 5 and 5 by AO-DP .. Not exactly a one-sided match, but at the same time, LP-MB seemed to be in good control throughout.

LP-MB share $165K for reaching the final .. Also, with the 644 points here, they now have 3617 points for the year .. With a good 1500+points lead over all other teams in 1999 points, they are basically guaranteed to be the year end #1 team for the first time in their career (they were #4 in 97 and #2 last year) .. That comes with $100K in courtside bonus money from ATP, given after Hartford .. The 644 points here places Leander at 5329 points, one of the highest points totals for anybody (not sure if anyone has been higher in points - stats on these things are tough to find .. I remember LP telling me that McEnroe may have been once in the 5600s) .. Eltingh, after his great season last year was at 5143 .. I remember the Woodies in the 5100s once too .. Also, Mahesh is now at 4940, and will cross 5000 with a win on Friday .. Wow !

The final on Friday promises to be a dandy ! .. Some old pals will be across the net once again - Seb Lareau and Alex O'Brien !! .. The 11th seeds beat the 7th seeds Bjorkman/B.Black, 6-4, 7-6(3) .. Though the Indian EXpress have a winning record against them, every one of those matches have been a nail-biter .. I am already looking forward to that final .. Can't wait !!!

MB comes back after some rest, by about 3.30 pm, for the MxD semi.

Sep 8 Note-1

LP-MB play Andre Olhovskiy (RUS,48) and David Prinosil (GER,52) in the semifinal today at 12 noon (9 am PST .. 9.30 pm India) .. USA Network cable has coverage from 11 am, but that means they will be showing the other doubles semi (Lareau/OBrien vs Bjorkman/Black) which starts at 11 on the big Arthur Ashe court .. Since it is followed by Pierce-Davenport, at best we may only get to see a game or two between those two matches, if they shift to the Louis Armstrong court where our boys will be playing .. Anyway, come to the chatroom for ball-by-ball .. By the way, have not been getting any match reports from NY .. If any of you fans watch the match, please send us a report.

All the 4 doubles semifinals will be done today .. The mixed doubles final is set for Thursday .. The doubles final is on Friday.

33 yr old Olhovskiy and 26 yr old Prinosil play with various partners, but have played together before too .. Olhovskiy is the veteran with 18 doubles titles in over a decade .. Prinosil has been in the top 50 or 75 of singles and doubles for the last few years too (was as high as #23 in doubles once, and was in the top-40 of singles too) .. Their 64 62 win over 6th seeds Stolle/Black in the QFs was a bit of a surprise, though .. LP-MB can add 241 more points (including 24 bonus) to the 403 they have, with a win today .. At this level, no team can be taken for granted though - hopefully LP-MB will be focussed like they are when they have trophies in sight ..

MB returns later (about 4.30 pm or so) to play the mixed doubles SF against Alexandra Stevenson and Brian MacPhie .. Hey, I picked that team as the dark horses last week (once in a while I get lucky in picks :-)) .. They will be a tough team to handle, especially if the hard-serving young girl Alexandra plays without mistakes and Mahesh is tired after the doubles match .. With this Mahesh has now reached mixed doubles SF on all four GS surfaces, with four different partners (FO 97 with Hiraki, AO 98 with Vis, Wimb 98 with Lucic and USO 99 with Gugiyama) .. Go Mahayama!

Here is Akshay Sawai's report from the US Open about the QF match yesterday, in Mid-Day Mumbai (the link is not permanent, but will be there for a few days) .. He too has nothing much to say about the match except that the Indian Express was too strong for Ellwood-Tebbut, and that our dudes did become complacent in parts of the match before snapping into form to take care of business.

Sep 7 Note-2

It is the 8th semifinal in the last 9 grand slams for our boys, as LP-MB defeated B.Ellwood-M.Tebbut, 6-3, 6-4 in a relatively easy match today .. LP-MB broke BE-MT in game 4 of the first set and there was no problems in the rest of the set, as they won it 6-3 .. In the second set, once again LP-MB struck early, in game 3, and held on with no problems for a rather straightforward 6-3 6-4 win .. The match took an hour and 10 minutes.

Their SF opponents will be unseeded Andre Olhovskiy (RUS,48) and David Prinosil (GER,52), who upset the 6th seeds Wayne Black and Sandon Stolle today .. The other semifinal will be between Bjorkman/B.Black vs Lareau/OBrien .. The 11th seeds Lareau/O'Brien beat the 3rd seeds Woodies in a tight 3-set match today.

The more eventful match was Mahesh' mixed doubles quarterfinal against the 8th seeds Mary Pierce and John-Laffnie DeJager .. MB-A.Sugiyama d. M.Pierce-J.DeJager, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 later in the evening .. In the first set, AS-MB got the break in the first break chance, which came off the serve of Pierce in game 3 to go 2-1 up.. AS-MB were up 4-2 later .. Then Ai dropped serve in the 8th game and it was even at 4-4 .. DeJager was taken to 2 deuces and 2 break chances in the next game, but he held .. This was followed by MB going down 0-40, fighting off two set points and then dropping the set at 4-6 .. In the second set, after MP and MB held serve, DeJager suddenly hit a serve at 143 mph (the netcam pictures showed it, and the online stats showed it too) in game 3 ! .. I have never seen anything over 125, may be 130 mph in doubles - this was something else, if the radar gun was working properly .. Ai faced another break attempt at 30-40 in the 4th game, but held .. Now the speed gun showed 145 for her, and we knew it was time for them to replace that gun :-) .. Next it was Mary's turn to go down 0-40 and drop serve .. It was break-fest time, as Mahesh dropped serve after a deuce in the next game .. A double fault by DeJager was followed by 3 deuces and 3 more break chances for our pair in game 7 and they again got the break to go up 4-3 .. Finally Ai decided that if the other three couldn't hold, she would :-) .. The set ended with Mahesh serving an ace .. it was 4-6, 6-4 .. In game 2 of the 3rd set, Mahesh served yet another ace .. Then our pair had triple break chances off DeJager's serve in game 5, and got it done at 0-40 .. They were up soon to 4-2, after MB held serve at love .. When they had Pierce down at 0-40 next game, they had won 11 points in a row .. They got the break there and then it was all over with Ai firing an ace in the final game and finishing it off in style! .. That is yet another semifinal for Mahesh .. I believe this is the 4th different mixed doubles partner he is reaching a grand slam semi with (Hiraki, Lucic, and I believe Caroline Vis too, had been his partners for SF apperances) .. Good show.

Sep 7 Note-1

LP-MB play their QF today against qualifiers Ben Ellwood (AUS,146) and Michael Tebbutt (AUS,147) at about 1 pm EST (10 am PST .. 10.30 pm India), on the Louis Armstrong stadium following the first match (Woodies vs Lareau/O'Brien) which starts at 11 am ..  MB once again comes back to play the QF of mixed doubles too, by about 5 pm .. All are welcome in our chatroom during the matches.

Paes-Bhupathi haver never played the Ellwood-Tramacchi pair .. Ellwood is a  23 year old shorter guy (5 ft 11) and Tebbutt is the tall (6-3) 29 yr old veteran .. Those two had played together once before this year, reaching the semifinal with wins over a couple of good teams - Lareau/MacPhie and Dilucia/Sell - at the Hong Kong tournament in April .. They have been on a good roll here, qualifying into the main draw with wins over 3rd seeds Painter-Talbot and then Behr-Levy .. In the main draw, they pulled the big upset in the first round over 10th seeds Kafelnikov-Vacek,  2-6, 6-7(13-11), 7-6(12-10)  - it's very impressive that they pulled out a 3rd set tiebreaker against those two .. They have since beaten Broad-Tramacchi and then Godwin-Ondruska .. The Indian Express cannot take these two guys lightly!

LP-MB have so far picked up 232 points including 64 bonus .. They can make it 403 points with a win today (only 4 bonus points for beating this pair though) .. They are defending 363 points for the semifinal here last year .. They have earned $45K so far, and can get an extra $40K to share for a QF win.

The Indian newspaper correspondents at the US Open that I know of, are Akshay Sawai of Mid-day, Mumbai, and Kunal Pradhan of The Pioneer, Delhi .. I believe The Pioneer has no online archives of the articles but you can check out Kunal's report each day at their sports page .. The Mid-day makes their articles available for some time .. Here are two articles from Akshay:  (these links will become inactive in a few days) - "Hum Honge Kamyab" about the Indian supporters at the US Open, and the report on the PQF match yesterday .. Its says that LP had a bit of a hip problem in the mixed doubles loss on Saturday and required the trainer once during the match yesterday .. I was not aware of that, as I have not talked to LP in a few days; I try to avoid contacting LP or MB during tournaments .. Akshay reports that LP said it's nothing serious though - "In my mixed doubles match yesterday I pulled my hip a little bit. It was a little sore, that is why I called for the trainer," explained Paes. "Some rest and it will be fine. Nothing to worry" ..

Here is a picture of MB and Ai Sugiyama (she looks happy that the match got over fast!) after the second round match yesterday:

Courtesy go to IBM and the US Open site for the netcam pictures during the matches (they have the copyright for the pictures).

Sep 6 Note-3

Here are the QF draws in doubles and mixed doubles.

1 M.Bhupathi/ L.Paes (IND)        vs    B.Ellwood/ M.Tebbutt (AUS)          \
6 W.Black (ZIM)/ S.Stolle (AUS)   vs    A.Olhovskiy (RUS)/ D.Prinosil (GER) / \ _
3 T.Woodbridge/ M.Woodforde (AUS) vs 11 S.Lareau (CAN)/ A.O'Brien (USA)     \ /
7 J.Bjorkman (SWE)/ B.Black (ZIM) vs    J.Coetzee/ B.Haygarth (RSA)         /
Here is the QF draw in mixed doubles:
  K.Po/ D.Johnson (USA)            d. 7 L.Neiland (LAT)/ R.Leach (USA)       \
3 R.Stubbs/ T.Woodbridge (AUS)     d.   E.Tatarkova (UKR)/ A.Olhovskiy (RUS) / \ _
  A.Stevenson/ B.MacPhie (USA)     vs   L.Osterloh (USA)/ S.Humphries (USA)  \ /
2 A.Sugiyama(JPN)/ M.Bhupathi(IND) vs 8 M.Pierce (FRA)/ J.DeJager (RSA)      /
It is probably a good thing that Mahesh didn't have to play a full match in mixed doubles today .. 4 matches in 2 days is quite tiring otherwise.

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.

.. Previous notes are at Weekly Notes, ending Sep 6 ..