Notes for the week ending on Oct 7, 2002
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Sorry about the website going down every other day lately for a few hours each (mostly till the system administrator comes to work at 8 am Pacific time in the US - 8.30 pm India) .. There is some strange server problem that they have not been able to figure out, though it is an easy fix to get the server back up .. Generally, if the website is down, it is a good bet that it will be up by about 9 or 9.30 pm IST on week days - so do try then.
Oct 7 Note-1
Is hell really freezing over for us at the Asiad or what? .. The official site shows that 2nd seeds Mahesh and Manisha got upset 64 62 by Attapol Rithiwatanapong and Prariyawan Ratanakrong of Thailand .. Huh? .. I dearly hope the official web site made a mistake, but so far I have seen only very few mistakes at the website. What in the world is going on with out tennis team, I wonder.
Otherwise, Niru, Sunil and Sania advanced, with 60 60, 61 60 and 61 62 wins over Jigjidsuren (MGL), Klimchenko (KAZ), and Rupasinghe (SRI) respectively .. All three have reached the PQF .. Rohan plays later against Matias De Souza of East Timor and he too should be reacheing PQF .. Doubles would be later ..
Oct 6 Note-2
They have started a whole lot of tennis matches out there in Busan at 10 am Monday .. Will report the scores as and when I see them .. Pretty much everybody will be in action today, it seems.
In other news, Karan Rastogi is at the prestigious ITF junior grade-A Osaka Mayor's Open in Japan .. He is unseeded faces Yuuichi Ito (JPN) in the first round of the 6 round draw ..
Oct 6 Note-1
All the tennis matches at the Asiad today (Sunday) were postponed due to rain .. So no news from there ... Hopefully rain will stay away Monday ..
How about the 20 yr old Shiv Kapur? .. Gritty work today to put in three birdies on the back nine and pull off a wonderful Gold with a three-shot lead in the end .. Golf individual gold is one of the toughest ones to pick up, considering the uncertainty and variaility in one's performance .. There were over 60 individuals in the draw and to be at the top on three of the four days and finish with a 2 under par on a wet and treacherous final day shows what a job this guy did .. Up to 7 medals now, with the English Billiards doubles silver; still going slow though ..
Oct 5 Note-2
The individual events start in a few hours as Sunday starts at the Busan Asiad .. Men's singles R1 and R2, mean's doubles R1 and women's singles R1 and women's first round scheduled for the day .. LP-MB get a day off with a bye; same with Ghouse-Uppal .. Rohan and Sunil should be in R2 action after byes .. Niru and Sania in women's singles R1 action.
Had a tough time getting hold of the draws for the individual events at the Asiad, as the official site is useless .. Anyway, here are the details, with possible teams to face in the later rounds for each .. Each nations entries are always on opposite sides of the draw, so the first line is the top half entry and the second is the bottom half entry in the draw.
Men's Singles (35
players, 6 rounds, 29 with byes into the second round)
[R2] Sunil Kumar vs Rupasinghe (SRI), PQF vs #6 Motomura, QF against #4 Ogorodov .. Upper half w/ #1 Srichaphan ..
[R2] Rohan Bopanna vs Sousa or Sukhjargal, PQF vs #3 Suzuki, QF against #7 Udomchoke .. Bottom w/ #2 Hyung-Taik Lee ..
barring miracles from the kids, we will not repeat the last Asiad's performance by Mahesh and Srinath, who both pulled upsets of seeds in the QFs and reached the SF for bronzes.
Men's Doubles (25
teams, 5 rounds, 7 with byes into PQF)
[PQF] #1 Bhupathi-Paes vs Khan/Malik (PAK) or Rajapakese/Wijemanne (SRI) .. Possibly Onoda/Terachi in QF and Handoyo/Suwandi in SF ..
[PQF] Ghouse-Uppal vs Chen/Cheng or Makashin/Yakhaev .. Possible QF against #2 Kutsenko/Tomashevic .. SF against Motomura-Shimada or Srichaphan-Srichaphan.
Not a bad draw at all .. Barring anything very unfortunate, LP-MB is assured of a medal - the QF match is not a gimme though .. Some tougher teams are in the bottom half.
Women's singles (19
payers, 5 rounds, 13 with byes into the PQF)
[R1] N.Vaidyanathan vs Jigjidsuren (MGL) .. PQF vs Asagoe (JPN) .. QF against Widjaja (INA) or Hsieh (TPE) .. SF against #1 Tanasugran (THA).
[R1] S.Mirza vs Klimchenko (KAZ) .. PQF vs Saori Obata (JPN) .. QF against Y-J.Cho (KOR) .. SF against #2 I.Tulyaganova (KAZ) (or Prakusya?)
This is a really long long shot for any medal -- Niru is not in her best form .. With the kind of confidence Sania sometimes shows, who knows what the kid can do - but that's just hoping for way too much right now.
Women's Doubles (15
teams, 4 rounds, 1 seeded to QF)
[R1] Malhotra/Vaidyanathan vs Morigami/Obata (JPN) .. QF vs perhaps C-C.Chuang/ J.Lee (TPE) .. SF vs #1 W.Prakusya/ A.Widjaja (INA)
[R1] A.Bhambri/Chakravarti vs C-W.Chan/ S-W.Hsieh (TPE) .. QF vs M.Saeki/ Y.Yoshida (JPN) .. SF vs Andriyani/ Sawondari (INA)
Well, good to see Niru and Manisha together .. Both are top-200 quality doubles players and *could* pull off some upsets for a medal .. Doubtful form, and reaching SF is still a long shot .. I don't know about Rushmi-Bhambri pair's chances.
Mixed Doubles (18
teams, 5 rounds, 14 seeded to PQF)
[PQF] Paes/Mirza vs #1 T.Shimada/ Asagoe .. QF vs Samrej/Tanasugarn (THA)? .. SF vs Y-H.Lu/ J.Lee (TPE) or Suwandi-Andriyani (INA).
[PQF] #2 Bhupathi/Malhotra vs Rithiwatanpong/Ratanakrong (THA) .. QF vs Wang/Chuang (TPE) or Handoyo/Sawondari (INA) .. SF vs Ogorodov/Tulyaganova or Terachi/Morigami ..
Not a bad draw for Mahesh-Malhotra .. The second seeds really can get us a medal, may be even a Gold, if all goes well .. Leander-Sania get absolutely no help from the draw, as they are into the top seeds right away, but they are really the "dark-horse" team of the whole draw - watch out! .. I am not kidding - Sania is a terrific doubles player, and we all know what LP can normally do.
We want the men's doubles gold and the mixed doubles gold .. At least one gold and at least one other medal .. Anything less would be unacceptable! :-)
Generally, the draws are not all that nasty, though the medals will be tough .. Good to see some reshuffling in the originally anounced list - especially Niru and Manisha playing doubles together .. Each player is allowed to enter only three events including the team event, out of four .. AITA, IOA etc suggested that LP skip the singles and focus on mixed doubles and he reportedly agreed with that .. I think it makes more sense .. Even if he somehow comes up with miracles in singles, all the exertion is going to cause trouble in doubles, and we really don't have another men player with any mixed doubles experience had LP picked singles instead of MxD .. Let us see if Sunil or Rohan can raise their levels beyond recognition .. Rohan has played quite well but has not pulled great miracles yet while playing for the country .. Sunil Kumar, though, does have the record of really rising to the occasion in his junior career, starting with the Commonwealth juniors a few years back when he donned Indian colors, Wimbledon last year, National hardcourts, Asian juniors, etc. Hope springs eternal, right?
It is something remarkable that Sania Mirza has been selected to represent the country in three different events, as the true baby in the tennis events at 15 years of age! .. That shows the confidence that the Indian think-tank has on the girl's ailities.
Oct 5 Note-1
The newspaper reports say that LP was in awful form yesterday .. All the reports say that he was late for the match, making Kutsenko wait for 10 minutes and was totally off-color when the match started against a totally warmed up and ready Kutsenko who buried him in the first set .. The Telegraph report also said that LP was sluggish and looked a trifle over-weight as well .. Another report talked about LP hardly getting 20% of his first serve in, in the first set - that looks like extreme rustiness .. By the way, I remember an earlier occasion, when he was late for the match, and he had a similarly terrible day (I believe the second round match at Wimbledon 2001, after the last main draw match he won on the ATP tour) .. Come on Leander - what's up man? .. You can't do that, and you are the last man we expect to pull stuff like that! .. On the other hand, there have been a few such reports on LP lately from many events, not just here - all indications of the fire in him perhaps slowly dying out .. Sad to see that.. As all the newspapers said, he is indeed quite a shadow of what he used to be - though I keep thinking that we still have not seen the last heroics from Lee .. When Bopanna was playing well and seemed to have a chance to win the second singles match, LP and MB had confirmed that they would certainly be out there for the doubles .. Once the outcome was determined, they did not do that though .. I think LP-MB should have played anyway, as so much is riding on them for next week, but perhaps LP did not want to risk aggrevating the ankle problem he has .. They need some redemption .. Asked about the practice, LP reportedly said that they have payed so much together and they won't easily forget what they do - "does anybody forget to cycle?", he asked .. Well and good, but I do not like the sound of it - taking anything for granted is the sure way to get bad karma haunt you .. Get out there and practice together, you too .. Nothing short of a medal would do .. Go Lee, Go Hesh, we are counting on you!
As everybody seem to be down about how we are not racking up medals at the Asiad like at the Commonwealth Games, I thought I would quote something I wrote after the first 4 days of competition the same juncture at the last Asiad .. Going into the Saturday we had NO medals that time, with the men's team having just reached the QF of tennis (they would get ousted on the saturday and end up with a bronze) .. The tennis team was the first to assure us of amedal there .. Here is what I said four years back in my notes - "It's utterly embarassing .. There were 244 medals picked up already (74 Golds, 75 silver and 95 bronze) by 22 countries, including Pakistan, Nepal, Mongolia, etc .. Our big, huge, "super-power" country has a big huge ZERO .. Thank God for tennis - we are at least assured of a bronze from it, the medal coming by Saturday .. And that is it! .. I know we still have Geet Sethi's medals and some other possibilities coming up, but come on ! .. This is our beloved country - of 950 million people (OK count 50 million sports fans - we are still huge!) stinking the whole place up" .. Of course, as we know, we picked up 35 medals in the end including 7 golds, as Jyotirmayee, Sethi, Hockey team, Dingko, etc, came through .. We are better after the first 3-4 days with 5 medals so far, actually! .. I think we will be fine this time too, in the end .. We will still probably go over our gold medal tally last time .. Nice to see Shiv Kapur leading in Golf going into the 4th and final round .. Sailing should be bringing in at least 2 or 3 medals, looking at the results from Asheem and Nitin Mongia and Mahesh Ramachandran .. Then Sethi, Jaspal, etc are still coming up .. Qamar in boxing also could pull off something .. Hockey, Kabaddi, tennis doubles, etc etc .. Interestingly, we may do slightly better in athletics too (touchwood, but we just might .. PT Usha said we could get 7 golds in that itself though I am not sure what she is smoking :-)) .. So I guess we should relax, eh?
Oct 4 Note-2
Well, I guess the humiliation is complete when we cannot even win a doubles match .. MB and Sunil Sipaeya went down in a three-setter too, as Kutsenko and Tomashevic beat them 61 46 76 .. I have not seen a score for the women's QF doubles match; they may have decided not to play it.
I do want to give some props to Uzbekistan .. Those three guys (Ogorodov, Kutsenko, Tomashevic) always show up for Uzbekistan - Davis Cup, Asian Games, Asia Cup; whatever the heck it is and whereever .. And they have always seemed to perform to their best ability, for the last half a decade or more .. They still keep doing it. They are not the most talented team in the world and they have never been able to do some of the very noteworthy things like making the world group in Davis Cup that Indians have done thanks to LP's and MB's heroics .. But the Uzbeks have been impressively consistent; they are always there and are always tough .. I am not saying that to slight India's teams, as our players also do take the country's needs seriously - but we have occasionally had other things, mostly injuries and sometimes a lack of perfect team spirit, affecting our performance.
I do have some criticism on how our players, both men and women, did not plan well for the Asiad at all .. But I will do all that *after* next week.
Oct 4 Note-1
When you have Leander losing 06 46 and Niru losing 46 16, you are certifiably toast! .. And we are. Actually India has been basically toast so far at this Asiad, with absolutely nothing going right .. If you have a doubt, check out how closely the Indian football team may end up missing out on a QF berth .. I don't know what caused LP to lose that badly .. It is one of the worst losses of his whole career, but then again he has had some of his worst days in Korea, where he also has the only Davis Cup match he ever lost to a player ranked below him .. Niru has a lot of work to do to get back anywhere near her old form ..
Uzbekistan won both the singles matches, thus ousting India in the QF, though Rohan put up a bit of fight in a three-setter to Ogorodov in a 57 62 36 loss .. LP lost to Kutsenko 06 46 .. On the women's side, the story was how well Sania played against Janet Lee in a 64 67 26 loss, but that was it (to think that she was a few points away from upsetting a top-200 player!) .. Niru lost 46 16 to Su-Wei Hsieh.
I thought we had an excellent chance for a medal, even a Gold, with LP coming at the #2 spot and MB being there for doubles .. Seeing how poorly LP's match went, we probably did not have much of a chance regardless of the draw .. I don't know if his ankle injury is worse than we thought though .. I hope at least the doubles medal be there .. By the way, the players are only allowed to be in THREE events including team this time (I am sure they could be in all four events before) .. It was reported yesterday that LP may not enter singles, and he may only do doubles and mixed doubles next week .. Rohan and Sunil may be our singles players next week.
Oct 3 Note-3
It's already Friday morning at Busan and they have just started the quarterfinal ties, IND vs UZB men and IND vs TPE women .. The matchups: Paes vs #2 Kutsenko, Bopanna vs #1 Ogorodov, Paes-Bhupathi vs Ogorodov-Kutsenko .. For women, it is Sania vs #1 Janet Lee, Nirupama vs #2 Su-Wei Hsieh, Niru-Manisha vs Chia-Jung Chuang/ Chin Wei Chan .. Both ties are tough .. We will know in the next 2-3 hours what happens .. Go India!
Oct 3 Note-2
The Davis Cup draw for next year shows India with a reasonable chance to reach the playoff, the tougher tie being the first one rather than the second, but we get Japan at home .. Phew, after going abroad for six ties in a row, we get to play one at home and throw some grass at somebody - but Japan will be tough! The draw is:
Japan at #1 India (Feb 7-9) \_____ (Apr
4-6) winner to world group play off, Sep 19-21
#4 New Zealand at Pakistan /
Indonesia at #3 Uzbekistan \_____ (Apr 4-6) winner to world group play off, Sep 19-21
Korea at #2 Thailand /
The bottom half of the draw is a bit tougher.
Oct 3 Note-2
I am still not sure what's up with the women's team QF at the Busan Asiad for us today .. Two of the QF ties which were listed earlier today in the schedule went away (IND vs TPE and JPN vs KYR), and the other two ties were completed .. They had 5 of the men's R2 ties to do today, so perhaps they postponed two of the women's QF ties to tomorrow.
Now that all the men's second round ties are done with no upsets, here are the QF line-ups for both sides:
#1 Indonesia d. China \
Korea d. Thailand / \ __ Gold medal
India vs Chinese Taipei \ /
#2 Japan vs Kyrgystan /
#1 Uzbekistan vs India \
#4 Japan vs Thailand / \ __ Gold medal
#3 Korea vs China \ /
#2 Taiwan vs Indonesia /
The only near upset was when Pakistan gave a scare to Thailand (though a much weaker side with Paradorn in Japan and Udomchoke injured) with Aqueel Khan beating Samrej which was a surprise .. But the Thais won the doubles and moved on .. The only real upset so far in the whole games was by Wayne Wong of Hong Kong who beat Taipei's Yeu-Tzuoo Wang in three sets .. No idea how he managed that .. TPE won the other two and moved on to the QF.
Well, the fotball team lost 0-2 to China and we now pray for Palestine to not lose to Bahrain by more than 2 goals for us to make the final 8.
Oct 3 Note-1
The womens team QFs and the remaining men's R2 ties are on today at the Busan Asian Games .. Uzbekistan had their light practice against Mongolia to reach the QF this morning, like India against East Timor yesterday .. Basically double bagel wins for Ogrodov and Kutsenko .. The big tie is tomorrow between IND and UZB .. In the first QF tie on the women's side, Korea beat Thailand (who don't have Tammy Tanasugarn this week, as she is at the Japan Open) to reach SF .. Indonesia goes up against China next .. Wynne Prakusya and Angelique Widjaja are listed to play for Indonesia, so they are relatively strong .. The Indian women go up against Taiwan later today - the official site has not posted the player matchups ..
In other news, the Davis Cup seeding committee seeded India as #1 in Asia-Oceania Group-1 for next year's competition, yesterday .. 1 - India, 2 - Thailand, 3 - Uzbekistan, 4 - New Zealand .. Eight teams are in the draw which will be done by noon today at London .. India would not have to face any of those teams in the first round, but could possibly run into Uzbekistan ot New Zealand in the second round .. Good to avoid Thailand, as they could be real trouble .. I was a bit concerned that the seeding committee might place the Uzbeks ahead of Thailand, based on their Davis Cup rankings, but clearly Paradorn's ranking would tilt it in their favor .. Funny how India gets seeded tops with no player in the top 350 .. I guess the seeding committee didn't want us all to scream (:-)) - I know they were told about the big complaints India had about the WG playoff draw!
The latest Davis Cup computer rankings after the recent playoff ties show India unchanged at 16th in the world and second behind Australia in Asia-Oceania, ahead of #19 Uzbekistan, #23 Thailand and #28 New Zealand and #31 Japan ..
By the way, I have not seen much news coverage on the Asian Championships coming up in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, the week after Asiad .. $100K event .. Basically it is similar to the Asia Cup that used to be in Delhi - that was a team draw event; this has individual draws .. Now there is a bit more player interest in this due to a wildcard each for men and women champions on offer to the Australian Open MAIN draw .. If I am not mistaken the final entry deadline is October 5th, but the entry list I saw had Rohan, Mustafa, Niru and Sania going for it .. Niru did confirm to me that she will be playing there - she needs as much of good match practice as possible before starting to use up her old injury-protected ranking around 200 for the 7 challenger-type events she can enter.
Now on to one of my pet topics, about Indians not standing up enough to the foreigners who needle us unnecessarily (yes, we do have that inner strength as some would say; just that we like to be humble and decent and in turn allow others to take advantage of it, standing up only when the real crunch comes) .. I saw this article in the Kolkata Telegraph - "Foreigners get away with baseless remarks" by Sunil Gavaskar, one of my heroes for not taking crap from anybody .. He mentions, interestingly, the Woodbridge comments and says how inappropriate it was .. My point exactly, when I wrote about it here with the same sentiment, that Woodbridge (and Hewitt) went over the line .. I was surprised at the number of people who justified what the Aussies did, in our forum and in emails to me .. The only thing I wanted to say was that there was no way in hell that any Indian player would make such comments about a player of a country that we would be facing .. Not that I find a big fault with those who look at these things even-handedly and say it was ok for the Aussies to talk about it - the problem is that nobody else ever gives India and Indians any credit for being nice and even-handed and for bending over backwards to justify even the Musharaffs out there :-)) .. That's a long discussion which will get into international politics, so let me stop there .. Sunil Gavaskar is one I respect for his backbone .. So is Ganguly, a bit immature as he may look at times .. I liked LP for standing up to Becker once and I liked MB standing up and saying that Hewitt was (basically) full of crap after he heard of the comments .. Thought I would write these things as I had some time to kill!
At the Frenso challenger, qualifier Zack Fleishman (USA) beat wildcard Prakash Amritraj (USA), 61 61 .. Prakash still has some ways to go, but he is playing all over the place and will improve as times goes on.
Oct 2 Note-3
I am pumped for the match against China .. No, not tennis - I am talking footbaaaaalllll! .. Go India, beat China! .. The Chinese captain had said a couple of months back that Indians are pushovers .. Well, Coach Stephen Constantine lost no time in telling Baichung and Bhais about that .. The coach said in a newspaper interview in July - "I wanted to punch something when I saw that; instead I made 30 copies of the news and gave it to the team .. I wish I were playing myself, I would have made a point in the first few minutes itself" !! .. I love that spunk .. Folks, if you have not been following, one man, perhaps the most positive guy in all of Indian sports, who makes no excuses for India and does not believe Indians are somehow genetically inferior, Coach Constantine, has been causing nothing short of a revolution in Indian football .. He has his team BELIEVING .. Now, I am not saying that we will win the big match against China, but we will not be pushovers - count on it .. I could go on and on about how much of a fan I am of the national football coach, but this is a tennis website .. An interesting news item today was about how Dr. Vece Paes showed up out of nowhere to help the Indian football team, desperately in a need of a doctor/physio with some injuries to those like Renedy Singh .. The football team complained that there are a few of our doctors around who are there for a holiday and were nowhere to be seen .. They were profoundly thankful to Vece for being there, even though his charge was with the tennis team! .. Dr.Paes is known to do things like that, though.
Oct 2 Note-2
The Indian men had no problems at all against East Timor in to advance to the QF .. LP did play today, a 40 minutes match double bagel .. Bopanna followed with a double bagel too and then Bopanna-Sipaeya won the doubles .. #2 LP d. #2 Matias De Souza, 60 60 .. #1 Bopanna d. Antonio Mendez, 60 60 .. Bopanna-Sipaeya d. Mendez-DeSouza, 60 61 .. India awaits the winners of the Uzbekistan-Mongolia match, which will of course be UZB .. That tie is tomorrow (thursday) and the men's QF against UZB will be on Friday .. So LP and MB get one more day to practice .. They had not started practising together according to newspaper reports from Tuesday, but Anand said they will be hitting a bit before the Uzbek tie .. LP said they are professionals and will have no problem to put their differences apart when it comes to playing for India .. Of course! .. Here comes the Indian Express, out from the shed after a few months! ..
As for the women, their QF against Taiwan is tomorrow (thursday) .. The Asian Games website still does not list the team rosters for tennis (the coverage for tennis being terrible so far) .. My info is that the TPE players to Asiad were Janet Lee (164), Su-Wei Hsieh (223), Chia-Jung Chuang (429), I-Ting Wang (594), Chin-Wei Chan (820) and Yu-An Chen .. According to a Su-Wei Hsieh fan, it seems she hurt her arm at the airport while picking up her luggage (huh???) and was doubtful for the tie against India .. I don't know the latest .. It does not make it a whole hell of a lot easier, because ChiaJung is a very tough young player too .. By the way, Niru is now ranked in the 1000s after the injury/marriage layoff with her having only played a qualifying match at Wimbledon during almost a year .. Niru can play #2 for us with #369 Rushmi playing #1 .. Come on India, let's pull an upset!
By the way, Niru-Rushmi did play a doubles match today against Mongolia and won a double bagel there too, over Khishigtagtokh Khandsuren and Natsagsuren Jigjidsuren .. As expected .. [sorry for mistyping below that we entered final-16 with that .. we are of course in the QF in both draws]
Harsh Mankad could not bring his Davis Cup form to the pro event, I guess .. Today he went down 26 26 to the top seed Joseph Siriyanni (AUS,300) at the Australian satellite second leg, after four easy qualifying wins to make the draw .. Come on Harsh, when you could take a Hewitt to a tiebreaker and take a set off Arthurs, you've gotta get fired up and beat these journeymen like Siriyani .. As he had to miss the first leg due to Davis Cup, he needs to play qualies for the 3rd leg as well and win at least a one main draw round to make the masters draw and pick up any ATP points ..
Oct 2 Note-1
That was easy! -- The Indian women reached the quarterfinal with a win over Mongolia .. Almost two doubles bagels .. Rushmi Chakravarthi d. Khishigtagtokh Khandsuren, 60 60 and Sania Mirza d. Enkhjargal Khaliun, 60 61 .. Manisha-Niru are listed to now play the doubles .. Not sure if they will be playing the doubles, as it is unnecessary .. Up next, tomorrow, will be Taiwan.
Oct 1 Note-2
Leander had a minor ankle injury during practice today and will probably skip tomorrow's (wednesday's) first round tie against East Timor .. He will play on thursday against Uzbekistan .. I am pretty sure E.Timor would not pose us much problems and Rohan and Sunil should be able to handle them, with Mahesh available for doubles if needed (he too would probably skip the first tie) .. On the women's side we start with Mongolia on wednesday .. Manisha and Niru got there only today and will also skip the first round - unless coach Pirperno decides that it is good for them to play doubles in the first tie .. Then comes Taiwan, which should be tough.
Men's coach Anand Amritraj was reportedly quite peeved at Japan pulling a fast one and getting seeded 4th ahead of India by showing Takao Suzuki to be in their team .. And Suzuki, as I reported earlier, is skipping the week and is playing the Japan Open (he could have played had he lost in the first round I believe, but he won the first round there too) .. I am not sure Japan will be allowed to substitute for him - it would be a second crime if Japan is allowed to use 4 other players, after entering Suzuki's name .. By the way, why aren't the Indians (or any of the others) lodging an official protest ? .. It is shameful for Japan to do something like that .. On the other hand, somebody should have watched out for such activities - after all, we all knew about the Japan Open .. Seeded 4th, we would have reached the medal round (semifinal) easier, rather than facing #1 seeds Uzbeks earlier .. But then again, who cares for bronze (:-)), we would have had to beat the Uzbeks or Taiwan anyway to win gold in the end, so why not do it in the QF ? .. Go India!
Harsh Mankad qualified into the second leg of the Australian Open among 8 players out of a field of 128, playing 4 rounds - he had 60 60, 60 61, 60 61 and 61 63 wins (Harsh was the top seed in the qualies), but then he ends up with the top seed Joseph Siriyanni (AUS,300) in the first round! .. The R1 is on wednesday, I believe.
Oct 1 Note-1
The Indian teams were full strength by yesterday with Mahesh and Leander arriving .. The UNI report says - "Setting at rest all speculation, tennis stars Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupati arrived here on Monday along with ten other players, including six women to represent India in the Asian Games ... There were speculations that Leander Paes may not play at Busan as Mahesh had opted out of the Davis Cup tie against early in September" .... My God, who the heck is sitting there and "speculating" that Leander would not show up? .. There is no limit to Indians' negativity .. Even about Leander, these "speculators" have to "speculate" ! .. Shameful .. Has there been another athlete in Indian sports history who has shown more heart to represent India than Leander? .. It is unfathomable how lowly Indians can think of other Indians - even of those who deserve the very best wishes and respect from us.
Sep 30 Nete-2
Here's the men's team draw at the Asiad for the competition starting on wednesday (unconfirmed draw - again, the Asian Games website is useless and has ZERO info on even teams participating in tennis, and the Indian newspaper correspondents there have not published anything yet):
Tazikistan / Pakistan
Kyrgzstan/ Sri Lanka
Saudi Arabia / Arab Emirates
That is not great, because based on who I think are playing there and who is away in Japan, who has a good doubles teams, etc, it seems to me that India and Uzbekistan are the strongest teams - but it looks like these two will meet in the QF itself .. By the way, Ogorodov and Kutsenko have both skipped the Uzbekistan challenger this week, which means they will be at Asiad, making them possibly the strongest team .. That doubles pair is not sliced cheese either .. Man, India's luck has been absolutely wretched in tennis draws lately .. UZB was the only team I wanted to avoid till the final - though we can beat them .. Hmmm .. Anyway, I will await confirmation on this draw (taken by a friend off TennisKorea's website in Korean and translated) .. It looks strange that Pakistan is playing an extra round (isn't Aisam there?) and the Mongolias and East Timors are in the final-16 .. What did they seed India as, 8th? .. Who the heck is making this draw?
No news from the Australian satellites -- Harsh Mankad was supposed to play the qualies for the second leg.
Prakash Amritraj (USA) got a wildcard into the main draw of the Fresno challenger in California .. He faces qualifier Zack Fleishman (USA) in the first round.
Sep 30 Note-1
Sorry for the site being down for about a day .. Nothing much by way of news though .. The Asiad team event draws have just been made .. I have only heard of the women's draw (unconfirmed yet) -that India will play Mongolia and the winner will play Taiwan next, joining the other 7 teams who are drawn into the final eight straight .. Hopefully we will have confirmation soon .. No news on the men's side .. One result from the weekend to report - Manisha-Leanne went down 63 16 57 to the second seeds Tatiana Perebiynis (UKR)/ Christina Wheeler (AUS) in the Albuquerque challenger QFs on Friday .. Manisha would have left for Busan soon after .. The tennis events start on wednesday at Busan.
.. Previous notes are at Notes for the week ending on Sep 30 ..
I am getting some inquiries from US college coaches who are interested in Indian junior players .. I would like to be able to contact Indian players (some of the coaches are inquiring about specific names) .. If any of the junior players are reading this, please contact me .. Or if any of the other readers know the contact emails/address for any junior player, let me know .. I would like to have a mailing list where I can post general announcements and inquiries from the coaches too .. Please email me - R.Jayakrishnan.