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LP/MB/NV/Indian-Tennis: Notes for the week ending on Oct 14, 2002
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Oct 14 Notes

LP-Hill are playing tomorrow at the Madrid masters, against Malisse/Schalken .. The match will be at around 5.30 pm there ..

There was apparently a report by Supriyo Mukhopadhyay in the Anand Bazaar Patrika (Kolkata) about Paes and Bhupathi (here is the link for those of you who know Bengali), that Prasenjit Mitra had reported in our forum .. According to Prasenjit, the summary of what it says is that LP-MB are talking to settle their problems.  It says one issue that they need to agree on before they join hands is who would be their (world-class) trainer and coach.  The Pusan Asiad has opened their eyes and both have admitted so to their close confidants.  MB has realized that it is difficult to get Max Miryni as a partner next year since he will be busy with his singles commitments mostly. MB has played with Bjorkman and Woodbridge this year but they partner each other during the Grand Slams. LP now understands that his singles career is almost dead and he has to seek success from doubles.  He has had to search for a good partner this year.  All 3 of his wins this year have come with Mahesh.  He is waiting for Mahesh to propose that they play together. Mahesh again wants that LP propose to him. ....  I don't know, it looks like a bit of guesswork by the newspaper correspondent .. I don't think things are as straight-forward as that .. Anyway, I am not holding my breath for yet another reunification ..

As far as I am concerned, I will be happy if these two come together for India like they did last week .. Also, a small wish from me is that these two would play ONE tournament together every year till they retire - the Chennai Open .. They owe it to the Chennai crowd who have lifted them time and again, filling a whole stadium and screaming at the top of their lungs till 10 and 11 pm at night .. They have won it 4 out of the 5 times they have played there too .. I would hate to see these two playing with other partners at Chennai .. Otherwise, Davis Cup, Afro-Asian Games (2003) and Olympics (2004) are all I would hope for.

Talking of Chennai Open, the organizers announced today that Mark Philippoussis has confirmed his entry for Chennai .. That is really good news - it did seem like the tournament was hurting for big names the last couple of times.

In other news, it seems like Niru is not going to the $100K Asian Championships in Tashkemt, based on the draws I saw .. Rohan is seeded 8th and plays Dovran Chagylov (TKM) .. Sania plays Akgul Amanmuradova (UZB) and if she advances, she will face the 3rd seed Su-Wei Hsieh (TPE) who has an R1 bye .. Mustafa Ghouse plays Sarvar Ikramov (UZB) .. None of them are in the schedule for Tuesday; all of them may be playing on wednesday ..  The men's and women's champions will get wildcards to the Australian Open along with $8K proze money .. There are quite a few top Asian type players there.

At the Mackay challenger in Australia, Manisha plays the wildcard, Lauren Breadmore (AUS) .. In doubles, Manisha and Leanne Baker (NZL) play Caiazzo Marina (FRA)/ Lauren Kalvaria (USA) ..

Harsh Mankad's terrible streak of strange losses continues, as he went down to Shannon Nettle (AUS) in the first round of the satellite masters in Australia .. He will return to India soon .. I am not sure what is really affecting Harsh .. Hope he puts it all together soon ..

Sai Jayalakshmy lost in the QF of the Egypt satellite last week, 16 06 against the eventual runner-up, Aurelija Miseviciute (LTU) ..

Oct 13 Note-3

The $2.6M Madrid masters draw has come out .. Bhupathi/ Mirnyi are the second seeds and Paes-Hill are unseeded .. MB-MM have a first round bye and play the winners of Kafelnikov/ Vizner and J.Boutter/ Llodra .. LP and Michael Hill play Malisse/ Schalken in the first round and if they win, they will meet 3rd seeds Bjorkman/ Woodbridge next .. Both teams are in the bottom half of the draw, and can meet in the semi ..  LP is not in the monday schedule and should be playing on Tuesday.

By the way, Madrid is the new location for the 8th masters series event, which used to be at Stuttgart in the past .. What is interesting is that this one is not on clay, which is what Spain is famous for .. Well it's getting cold in Europe and this one will be played on indoor hardcourts (greenset).

Oct 13 Note-2

Sai Jayalakshmy and Radhika Tulpule were at the $10K satellite in Ain El Souknha, Egypt this week .. Last I saw, 4th seeded Sai was in the QF after two wins over qualifiers, but unseeded Radhika went down against the 3rd seed in the first round .. Sai's scores - [R1] d. (q) Elena Gancheva (BUL), 26 62 63 .. [R2] d. (q) Natasa Sijakovic (YUG), 62 57 60 .. The QF was to be against yet another qualifier, but the talented Aurelija Miseviciute (LTU) who had upset the 7th seed .. In doubles Sai and Radhika were the second seeds, but fell in the QF to Elena Gancheva (BUL)/ Pauline Wong (NED), 46 63 46 after beating Milica Stamenic (CAN)/ Kristel Van Den Tillaart (NED), 46 61 63 in the first round.

As for our other players, LP and MB should be at the $2.6M Madrid masters .. I think MB would be playing with Mirnyi; not sure of LP .. Manisha is in the main draw list for the Mackay challenger in Australia, squeezing in as the final entry (Leanne is also in the list, so they should be playing doubles there as well) .. Niru, Sania, Rohan and Mustafa were in the entry list for the ATF Asian championships in Tashkent, Uzbekistan this coming week .. Harsh Mankad at the Asuatralian satellite masters.

At the $50K Burbank challenger qualies in California, Prakash Amritraj (USA) beat Luciano Vitullo (ARG) 57 63 63 in the Q1 but then lost to the 3rd seed Daniel Melo (BRA), 63 26 06 ..

As for Asiad, here is the point table that I had put in after the Bangkok games, now updated with points from the medals this time .. As before, I normalize the points for medal inflation using the tital number of gold medals in the games.  The point index is calculated as a percentage of the points we had in the Delhi games, which is of course a big outlier data point because of the tremendous homefield advantage in the games.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Year Place     |  G   S   B  | Asiad   |  Points index   |   Points index
               |  O   I   R  | total # |  (System 1      |   (System 2
               |  L   L   O  | of Gold |  3-2-1)         |   5-3-1)
               |  D   V   N  | medals  |                 |
               |          Z  |         |  Actual  Adj.   |   Actual  Adj.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
1978 Bangkok   | 11  11   6  |  191    |    61     62.6  |    94     67.0
1982 New Delhi | 13  19  25  |  200    |   102    100.0  |   147    100.0
1986 Seoul     |  5   9  23  |  270    |    56     40.7  |    75     37.8
1990 Beijing   |  1   8  14  |  310    |    33     20.9  |    43     18.9
1994 Hiroshima |  4   3  15  |  339    |    33     19.1  |    44     17.7
1998 Bangkok   |  7  11  17  |  377    |    60     31.2  |    85     30.7
2002 Busan     | 11  12  13  |  420    |    70     32.7  |   104     33.7
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

So we have made a bit of an imporvement in our performance from last time .. I perceived a bit of a difference this time though, from Bangkok when we actually put a stop to the utter futility we had in the previous two games .. Last time every one of the 7 gold medals except kabaddi seemed to be a surprise .. Jyotirmoyee, Dingko, hockey, etc etc .. This time, perhaps Saha's medal, and Kapur's golf medal (and the timing of Sunitha's medal :-))  seemed to be a surprise .. That means we planned somewhat better and went in with some expectations this time .. I wish we could do better planning in some of the non-athletics events like boxing, shooting, billiards, weightlifting etc .. Need to learn to bring up new younger names into those fields and we have not done well in that.

We will finish #7 this time as opposed to #9 in Bangkok .. If Sunitha loses her medal due to the drug issue (long topic and a big shame, but let's not get into it now), we will fall to #8 this time I think.

Oct 13 Note-1

No real tennis news, so let's do Asiad.

Update (12.15 pm KOR) -- After leading till the very end in the triple jump, Anju saw the Kazakh lady tie her and take the bronze on some sort of tiebreak rule .. India finished athletics with 17 medals and 7 golds .. PT Usha had predicted 7 golds and 18 medals - boy was she spot on! .. I must give my unqualified apologies for making a snide remark here that she must have been smoking something when I saw her give the 7 number .. I should know better than to ever doubt anything that the Payyoli Express predicts, even jokingly! .. India finishes with 11+12+13 = 36 medals, one better than at Bangkok in 98, but with 4 more golds this time .. Slightly better performance overall than last time, but a bit disappointing too, as we really did not do all that well in any new areas (like shooting etc last time), and the way boxing, shooting, weightlifting, billiards/pool etc went was quite disappointing .. And we seem to be really nowhere in badminton now, also .. For some positive news, the men's football team and men's volleyball team gave excellent account of themselves (the latter missing a medal only because of an unfortuante draw, losing closely to the two finalists who were in the same pool - India was the 3rd best team out there, but finished #5 with 4 straight wins) .. The golf gold was really nice too .. Also, we definitely did not stink up the place like in 1990 and 1994, the worst period in our Asiad history .. I will have some numbers soon .. I think we will end up as 7th in the medal tally this time .. We are 6th right now, just behind Thailand, but Uzbekistan will go ahead with some golds, as they have some 5 Uzbek boxers in the finals today.

Update (11.15 am KOR) -- Gold #11 in 4X400 relay for Jincy, Manjit, Soma and Beenamol! .. Silver for 4X400 men's relay (Ramachandran, Manoj, Satbir and Bhupendra) .. Silver for Bobby in High jump .. Bronze for Anil in discus .. With Hockey silver and Taekwondo bronze yesterday, it is 11+12+13 now for us in medals .. Anju is in the top-3 in triple jump, as the competition goes on .. That is the last event for us, except for a couple of taekwondo events in the afternoon.

Oct 12 Notes

Nothing much going on today .. Here are the bottom line stats of the tennis events at the Asiad, showing how we are 3rd in Asia, pretty much, over all .. The abbreviations are, as usual MT, WT for teams, MX for singles, etc .. I use a 5, 3,1 poont system for gold, silver and bronze to calculate the points rather arbitrarily.

|---------------------------------------------|
|          KOR  JPN  IND  INA  UZB  THA  TPE  |
|---------------------------------------------|
| Gold      WD   MT   MD   WT   WS   MS   MX  |
|---------------------------------------------|
| Silver    MT   WT   MX   WD        WS       |
|           MS                                |
|           MD                                |
|---------------------------------------------|
| Bronze    WT   WS   MD   MT   MT        WT  |
|           WS   WD   MX        MS            |
|           MD   WD             MX            |
|                MS                           |
|---------------------------------------------|
| Medals     7    6    4    3    4    2    2  |
|---------------------------------------------|
| Points    17   12   10    9    8    8    6  |
|---------------------------------------------|

It is interesting that the seven golds on display were shared by the 7 teams who won medals .. India came one set point away from snatching a gold from Taiwan though.

Sunday is the big final day in athletics with us having a chance for 3 to 5 medals, may be up to 7 (doubtful), with one or two gold possibilities as well.

Oct 11 Note-3

Here are some pictures .. The golden pair, semifinal action, the hug after the final, and the silver pair!

LP and MB with Asiad doubles Gold medal, Oct 11, 2002
LP, MB in the Asiad 02 doubles SF, Oct 11, 2002NB, Manisha Malhotra with the Asiad silver, Oct 11, 2002

As for the details on the matches, the doubles final was quite straight-forward with our guys taking an early lead in the first set breaking Hee-Seok .. They went up by breaking Hyung-Taik early in the second set .. After LP dropped serve once, they broke Hyung-Taik again to seal it .. The story was a bit sad in the mixed doubles though .. Mahesh started getting back-spasms by the second set and had to go through treatment from Dr. Vece Paes .. They still took a 3-0 lead in the 3rd with Manisha egging Hesh on, but Manisha herself got broken a couple of times with Janet Lee coming up with some superb tennis .. Our pair still had a match point on the other pairs' serve in the 10th or 12th game that they could not convert though - so close! .. It happens sometimes - can't win 'em all, and can't complain about a silver for sure .. They hung tough till the 16th game despite MB's hurting back.

In other news, Karan Rastogi had to unfortunately give a walkover in the semifinal at the Grade-A Osaka Mayor's Cup, due to a groin strain after three tough matches, two of them singles, the previous day .. Sad to see the trouble right after he upset the 6th seed .. The injury does not seem serious though.

Oct 11 Note-2

Let us give a big cheer to our tennis team !!! .. Please drop your congratulatory notes in the forum .. I expected optimistically for three medals (MD, MX and perhaps something in MT) but they come back with four .. Things looked down and out after the team competitions, but our players earned wonderful redemption in the second week, particularly with Sania, Mustafa and Vishal coming through for two added bronzes .. Mahesh, Leander and Manisha did terrific work for the Gold and Silver - Hesh living up to his promise to do well there, after he skipped Davis Cup not wanting to risk anything .. Lee started it off with that upset of the top seeds in MxD, of course (there was a news report today that LP has been in some pain at the Asiad with some torn ligaments and all kinds of problems, by the way, but he played through it) .. Hesh fought till the very end with Manisha too .. After athletics, tennis has given us more medals this time than any other event .. 6 of the 11 tennis team members will return with medals, and that is a very high ratio .. We will finish 3rd in the tennis medal tally behind Korea and Japan (seven countries are getting medals in tennis this time - Uzbekistan, Thailand, Taiwan and Indonesia behind us, and some 10 other countries who were also there) .. I was only sad for Niru who was severely out of form after the layoff and could not do much there, and for Rushmi who hardly got much of a chance to play .. Let us hope the youngsters Rohan, Sunil, Ankita etc will be there next time with medals ..

Mahesh joins Beenamol in athletics as the only two to win Gold and Silver for us this time .. LP now has 5 medals in two Asiads, to add to the 2 golds and a silver he got in Hiroshima in 94 .. He is undefeated in men's doubles in Asiad, actually (he had the Gold with Gaurav Natekar in 94) .. By the way, I think 15 yr old Sania is the youngest ever to win a medal at the Asiad for India, but I have not seen any confirmation on this.

Well done, tennis team!! .. Now, enjoy it there and go cheer the hockey team to a gold tomorrow!

Oct 11 Note-1

(Update 7 pm KOR) -- Oh .. ooh, so close .... Ai yai yai ..Yikes! .. Silver for Mahesh and Manisha .. [F] M.Bhupathi/ M.Malhotra l. Yen Hsun Lu/ Janet Lee (TPE), 64 36 79 .. What a match it must have been! ... Great work, Hesh and Manisha .. Don't feel bad - you did your job! .. India finishes the day with 5 more medals; one gold, one silver and two bronzes from tennis and one bronze from Taekwondo .. Medal tally: 10+9+11 .. 5th place.

(Update 4 pm KOR) --- Surendra Bhandari just reached the Taekwondo flyweight semifinal and assured himself of a bronze! .. I didn't know we had a medal chance in Taekwondo .. OK, that is the 31st medal in the kitty, including hockey later .. Gopichand reached the badminton singles QF.

(Update 3 pm KOR) --- The bike riders came through - Mission accomplished in doubles!!!!

[F] M.Bhupathi/ L.Paes (IND) d. Hee Seok Chung/ Hyung Taik Lee (KOR), 62 63 .. Once again, the Indian Express showed that old class in the final - they often made it look easy in finals .. This was certainly easier than I expected .. And they picked up their first Gold for India!!!

In singles semis, Hyung Taik Lee and Srichaphan (THA) reached the finals .. Women's final went to Tulyaganova (UZB) who dismantled Tanasugarn (THA) .. Women's doubles semis went to INA (Wynne and Angie won a 9-7 3rd set) and and KOR (Choi and Kim with a 7-5 3rd set)

Mixed Dobles final coming up! ... India has moved up to 10+8+9 with the two medals in doubles coming in .. For now we have inched ahead of Thailand to the 5th spot at the Asiad behind CHN, KOR, JPN, KAZ .. Good to see india in the Asiad web site front page medal tally which shows only the top five !! .. Hopefully Hesh-Manisha will put a little bit more distance from the 9-gold Thais  with a Gold later ..

Actually the featured article, the front page main heading at the website today, was "India's stars shine", about the athletics success yesterday .. That is such a rare thing to see .. The article said - "India’s fine performance was a pleasant surprise, for it has historically done poorly at the Asian Games despite its enormous population base" .. Yadda, yadda - I don't know why people have this obsession with India's population .. You can put Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam, Pakistan and Bangladesh and you will get a pretty hefty population too and they all have a sum total of 7 golds together so far, and our tiny atheltics team has done about as well! .. Anyway, people have noticed that we are doing well.

Today being the rest day for track and field events, only tennis medals are on tap for India, two more coming in soon .. The women's hockey team just did not have the magic from the commonwealth games and went down in the bronze match to Japan 0-2 today .. Gopi Chand's badminton second round is really the only other thing going on for us today.

Oct 10 Note-2

Harsh Mankad went down to the 4th seeded Simon Larose (CAN,565), 46 57, in the R2 of the 3rd leg of the Australian satellites .. But I think he may have squeezed into the masters draw after some hard work in two weeks, though only one main draw win ..

Good news from Japan, as Karan Rastogi had the best result of his junior career by reaching a grade-A quarterfinal at the Osaka Mayor's Cup .. Grade-A is the same in points as a grand slam (except for the champion's bonus), though the competition is often a bit lower .. He won two matches on saturday, 76(4) 46 75 win over Hyun-Joon Suk (KOR) who had upset the 12th seed here (and has a win over Karan earlier this year), and then upset the 6th seed Alex Miotto (GBR,53) in the PQF .. This is the second upset of Alex Miotto this year by Karan .. He picked up 80 points to get back close to top-125 soon (at least top-90 early next year with the 18 year olds leaving the list) and get closer to making an entry to the Australian Open juniors ..  He has a tough match next, against the 4th seeded Go Soeda (JPN).

Oct 10 Note-1

Update (6.15 pm KOR) -- Now we have two bronzes and at least two silvers in tennis .. [SF] #2 M.Bhupathi/ M.Malhotra d. O.Ogorodov/ I.Tulyaganova, 64 26 63 .. The unexpected run by Sania and LP ended with a bronze, but only after a close match .. [SF] L.Paes/ S.Mirza l. Y-H.Lu/ J.Lee, 67 57 .. Now, we need the two golds tomorrow!

Update (5.30 pm KOR) -- We could not get past second Korean team, and this one had a top-100 singles player too, so it was going to be diificult .. [SF] M.Ghouse/ V.Uppal l. Hee Seok Chung/ Hyung Taik Lee, 46 46 .. Vishal and Mustafa should be amply proud of what they did for India, which was to pull off a totally unexpected medal .. They deserve all the kudos .. Thanks guys! .. The mixed doubles SFs are going on - LP-SM vs Yen-Hsun Lu/ Janet Lee (TPE) and MB-MM vs Oleg Ogorodov/ Iroda Tulyaganova (UZB) .. Both are very iffy matches .. Tulyaganova is a tough, tough, player - I hope Mahesh can come up with some magic .. LP-Sania, who knows -- they are of course dark horses all along!

Update (4 pm KOR) -- No score yet on the other three doubles matches .. India just beat that little pest country to the left of us (that has had the habit of beating us in Asiads and other unconfortable places, by a score of 4-3 in hockey to assure ourselves of at least another silver .. Beenamol picked up silver in 400m to take the tally to 9+8+8 (5 more assured) ..

Update (1.30 pm KOR) -- Ooh, scary!! .. The "bicyclists" came through, though - count on at least a silver! .. [SF] #1 M.Bhupathi/ L.Paes d. O.H.Kwon/ D.H.Kim (KOR), 63 46 64 !! .. How the heck do these Koreans pull something like that? :-)

Update (1.15 pm KOR) -- Another Asian Games record! .. Sunitha Rani racked up the Gold in 1500m with a 4.06.03, 7 seconds ahead of the next one! .. Make that 9+7+8 in medals.

Update (1.05 pm KOR)  --- Wow! .. Are our women on fire or what? .. Neelam Singh just hurled one 64.55m for an Asian Games record in discus, a good 10 feet farther than the next best! .. Count that Gold in, though the competition is still going on (the two Chinese ladies behind her can fight for the silver :-)) .. 8+7+8 ..

Update (12.00 KOR)  -- Saraswathi Saha has added the 200m Gold to our track kitty .. Make it 7+7+8 now (plus 4 waiting in tennis) ..

The thursday matches are starting .. [QF] #1 Paes/ Bhupathi vs Oh He Kwon/ Dong Hyun Kim (KOR) .. [QF] Uppal/ Ghouse vs Chung Hee Seok/ Hyung Taik Lee (KOR) .. We could lose both the matches, the way the Korean homefield advantage(!) works .. So expect the worst in both matches .. Mixed doubles coming up later ..

Harsh Mankad beat Mathew Whitecross (AUS) 63 64 to reach the second round of the Australian satellites yesterday .. 5th seed Simon Larose (CAN) next.

Oct 9 Note-2

Is Sania the youngest Indian to get an Asiad medal? .. There can't be too many 15 year olds (she turns 16 in November) with such a medal I am sure .. Usha was quite young when she exploded in the scene, but she was at least a couple of years older .. The kid must be enjoying playing with Leander who has always been very impressed by Sania ("the girl has some fire in her belly", I remember Lee telling me almost a year and half back).

So, the "bicyclists" LP-MB have assured themselves of their first medal for India! .. Two Olympics and one Asiad have gone by since they teamed up, but they fell to the world's best (Woodies) in both the Olympics and an injured LP could not make the last Asiad .. For the record, they are on a 7 match win streak, since breaking up in February (4 wins at the Mallorca ATP in a one-week reunion, one Davis Cup win in New Zealand and two here) .. For the record, they have also won 13 sets in a row now.

Terrific win by Ghouse and Uppal against the same team that beat Mahesh and Sunil in the dead-rubber doubles in the team competition .. I guess they came back from the brink to take it to a second set tiebreaker, winning that and the 3rd set .. And here I was, thinking that Mustafa and Vishal were a "washed-up" team .. I have never been happier in eating crow!  Go dudes! ...

In other news, Karan Rastogi and Kasiri Miles (GBR) upset the 3rd seeded Dalodom(THA)/ Hsieh (TPE), 64 60, to reach the QF at the grade-A Osaka Mayor's Cup today .. Earlier in the PQF, they beat Barkov (FIN) and Wellerman (GER), 64 64 .. Karan's singles R2 is tomorrow.

Oct 9 Note-1

Update (8 pm KOR) -- Two extra medals assured in tennis that I never thought we would have, both with comebacks after dropping the first set! .. Ghouse/Uppal upset the 2nd seeds in the QF (and they make me eat excrement for thinking that they didn't deserve to go and all that :-)) .. Paes/Sania also in the semis, joining MB-MM and assuring the 15 year old girl a bronze at least! .. Then of course, LP-MB advanced .. The only doubles loss was by Niru-Manisha.
     [QF] #1 L.Paes/ M.Bhupathi d. Ran Xu / Shao-Xuan Zeng (CHN), 64 63
     [QF] M.Ghouse/ V.Uppal d. #2 Vadim Kutsenko/ Dimitriy Tomashevich (UZB), 67 76 62
     [QF] L.Paes/ S.Mirza d. Vittaya Samrej/ Tamarine Tanasugarn (THA), 26 62 61
     [PQF] N.Vaidyanathan/ M.Malhotra l. Saori Obata/ Akiko Morigami (JPN), 46 46 ..
Never in my wildest imagination did I think we would get FOUR medals in tennis this time! .. We will definitely be better than last time too (four bronzes was what we had in 98) .. What a spirited comeback by the Indian team, once down in the dumps after two days of the team competition! .. On a sober note, both our men's doubles teams are going up tomorrow against Korean teams which are definitely unexpected entries in the semis - something tells me that the Koreans (not just the players :-)) are not going to allow easy passage for us into the finals .. The MxD semis are against Taiwan and Uzbekistan.

The other medals today were as expected - 1 silver and 2 bronzes in sailing and 1 silver in men's 800m by K.M.Binu .. 6+7+8 in medals now (with 4 more assured in tennis; so we are up to 25 in total) .. Saraswathi Saha did have the best time in 200m in the heats today! .. All four boxers fell in the QFs though.

Update (1 pm KOR) -- R.Bopanna l. #3 T.Suzuki (JPN,110), 57 26 .. He stayed close for one set, but again, the result was expected .. The doubles coming up by evening time.

Oct 8Note-3

The wednesday matches are starting at Busan .. 5 matches on tap for India - [PQF] Rohan Bopanna vs #3 T.Suzuki (JPN) .. [QF] #1 Paes/ Bhupathi vs Xu Ran/ Shaoxuan Zeng (CHN) .. [QF] Ghouse/ Uppal vs #2 V.Kutsenko/ D.Tomashevic (UZB) .. [PQF] Niru/ Manisha vs Saori Obata/ Akiko Morigami (JPN) .. [QF] Paes/ Mirza vs Vittaya Samrej/ Tamarine Tanasugarn (THA) .. As for other sports, wednesday may not be a big medal day for India, as there aren't too many of our hot events on schedule today, with the men's athletic events taking most of the main stage .. Binu may get us a medal in 800m and we will get 2 to 4 medals in sailing that finishes 4-5 days of competition today .. No golds really expected today barring something special from Binu, with the Koreans allegedly cheating Nitin Mongia out in sailing .. We have one boxer each in light, welter, middle and heavyweight boxing with their QF bouts in the afternoon .. Also women's hockey, but we are almost out in that event, I think.

Oct 8 Note-2

After qualifying into the main draw, Harsh Mankad is drawn to face a wildcard, Matthew Whitecross (AUS), in the first round of the 3rd leg of the Australian satellites .. If he advances, it will be the 4th seed Simon Larose (CAN) in the R2 .. He should win the R1, and it looks like Mankad will make the masters leg and pick up some few ATP points after all - though it took him a lot of work, coming through two qualies winning 4 matches each! ..

It was a rainout at the Osaka Mayor's Cup grade-A ITF juniors, and so Karan Rastogi got the day off today - it's his 16th birthday too.

Oct 8 Note-1

Update (6.30pm KOR) -- The day started disastrously with the singles losses, though they weren't unexpected .. Three doubles wins in the end made up for it, of course the biggy being LP-Sania upsetting the top seeds .. Then Mahesh-Manisha reached the semifinal with a 75 75 win over Yeu Tzuoo Wang and Chia-Jung Chuang .. I think that is an assured bronze at least (assuming there is no 3rd pace match, as in the last Asiad) .. Bopanna's PQF vs Suzuki, the two men's doubles QFs, the LP-Sania QF and the Niru-Manisha doubles PQF are tomorrow .. MB-Manisha get the day off till the MxD semis on thursday .. Good night! ..

Update (4.30 pm KOR) -- Finally we seem to have some good results coming our way .. Ghouse and Uppal reached the QF of doubles with a 61 64 win over Wei-Jen Cheng and Ti Chen of Taiwan .. They face the second seeds Kutsenko and Tomashevic (UZB) in the QFs tomorrow (that team was taken to three set by an unheard-og Hong Kong pair yesterday - I think ever since I said some good things on the Uzbeks a couple of days back, they have been falling apart with the jinx :-) .. Hope that continues tomorrow against Ghouse-Uppal) .. In other news, Soma Biwas ran a great 800m to overtake Shobha in the 7th event and come very close to taking the Gold in heptathalon; but we get silver and bronze there! .. Make the medals 6+5+6 for 17 medals now, 7 today with 2 golds .. KM Binu (or Kalatathu Kuzhiyil Mathew B, as they listed him!) had the second best overall time in the 800m men's heats, just 0.01 behind the Chinese leader - that looks some really good work by Binu ..

Update (3.30 pm KOR) -- FINALLY AN UPSET!!! .. How about that? .. LP and Sania just went and upset the top seeds Asagoe and Shimada, 63 63 !! .. Hope the website isn't going to correct this score later, like yesterday when the Thai fans must have been happy to see the 2nd seeded Mahesh-Manisha upset .. I have been saying here and in the forum that I really liked this pair for a variety of reasons .. They face Samrej/Tanasugarn (THA) in the QF .. And the good news doesn't end there .. Beenamol and Madhuri Saxena won the Gold and Silver in 800m finals! .. 6+4+5 now in medals .. JJ Shobha looks assured of silver going to the final round of the heptathalon (800m), and she is the only one with some chance to uypset the Chinese girl ahead of her could not reach her Javelin best and Shobha hurled one over a meter longer than her record, in the 6th event! .. Soma is still 3rd .. The sailers have looked a bit down today as they near the last few races.

Update (3 pm KOR) --- Ankita Bhambri and Rushmi Chakravarthi lost to SuWei Hsieh and Chin Wei Chan (TPE), 06 36 .. Boy, we can't even take a set off anybody out there! .. Mahesh and Manisha will be playing MxD against Yeu-Tzuoo Wang and Chia-Jung Cguang of Taiwan soon .. Ali Qamar went down in the light flyweight QF :-( :-(

Update (1.30 pm KOR) -- Bahadur Singh picked up the Gold in shotput, our 5th! -- 5,3,4 in medals now .. Shakti Singh missed the shotput bronze by a hair I think .. Correction, he did get the bronze --> 5+3+5 now.

Update (1 pm KOR) --- [PQF] Sunil Kumar l. Motomura (JPN,186), 26 67(1) .. Gave some fight in the second set, but the writing was on the wall .. I think Rohan's match against Suzuki is tomorrow, and that's all that is left in singles .. No surprises; this is all as expected.

Update (11.30 am KOR) -- [PQF] Sania lost 46 26 to Saori Obata (JPN,93) .. Count it as great experience for the 15 yr old to take 6 games against the first top-100 player she has played.

Update (11 am KOR) -- Niru must be badly out of form or out of shape .. Shinobu Asagoe (JPN,110) beat her 61 60 just now in the PQF to be the first one to reach QF .. Yikes ..

Oct 7 Note-5

The tuesday match are starting right now at 10 am at Busan, with Sunil Kumar going up against #6 Goichi Motomura (JPN) in the PQF .. Also starting are the PQFs for Niru against Shinobu Asagoe and Sania against  .. Rohan's PQF may be tomorrow .. Uppal-Ghouse come up in PQF doubles, against Wei-Jen Cheng and Ti Cheng of Taipei .. Paes-Mirza have an evening PQF match against top seed Asagoe-Shimada .. I think Mahesh and Manisha pay the QF of MxD also later today .. Ankita Bhambri and Rushmi Chakravarthi start their doubles R1 against Chin-Wei Chan and Su-Wei Hsieh of Taiwan also today .. Scores later.

In other Asiad news, Geet Sethi just won the 3rd place match and picked up a bronze in English billiards - good to see the big guy come up with something, after all the disppointments with the new format which they say is like playing a 5 over cricket match! .. J.J.Shobha moved closer to the top spot and solidified her second-place in heptathalon with a wonderful 6.20 m long jump, way ahead of everybody else - Shobha and Soma need to hold tough for the last two events to assure themselves of 2nd and 3rd ..  Hope you tennis fans don't mind seeing the small summaries on other evens - after all Asiad comes only once in 4 years, and I am enjoying following it!

Oct 7 Note-4

Phew .. The official site corrected the result after several hours .. Mahesh-Manisha won 64 62 in their first round against the Thais .. OK, my faith in the earth being round and my confidecne in our team has been restored ..  Mahesh-Manisha will be facing the Taipei pair, Yeu-Tzuoo Wang and Chia-Jung Chuang in the QFs - that won't necessarily be an easy match, as the two youngsters are very talented ,, [For those following the rest of Asiad news, Palwinder Singh Cheema just brought in a bronze in wrestling after coming through the losers bracket! -- 4-3-3 medal tally now .. Nitin Mongia is still leading for a gold and Asheem-Mahesh look set for a silver too, in sailing .. Shobha and Soma are #2 and #3 in heptathalon after 4 events ..

Oct 7 Note-3

I was actually prepared for the worst news even in the men's doubles draw, if you can imagine that .. My confidence in all the stalwarts in our tennis team had been so badly shaken lately, after the MxD loss also .. So, it is of course a big relief to see LP-MB reaching the QF .. Nah, I really didn't think Aqueel Khan and Malik Rashid of Pakistan could beat our guys even if LP and MB played left-handed, but I was not going to count any chickens any more .. 60 61 win for the "bicyclists" .. That is my new name for Indian Express whenever they play together, as LP said they cannot forget how to play together like you cannot forget how to ride a bike .. Their QF opponents are not decided - probably yet another Japanese pair, Onoda/Terachi, or Xu/Zeng of China.

Anju George just came up with the goods for the Gold in the long jump .. The Kabaddi team picked up the most assured Gold in the whole world, as usual .. Up to 4 Golds and 9 medals right now .. Geet Sethi in the semis, Beenamol leading in the 800m heats etc ..

Karan Rastogi won the first round at the Osaka Mayor's Cup ITF grade-A juniors with a 26 63 61 comeback win over Yuuichi Ito of Japan.  He plays Hyun-Joon Suk (KOR) next.

Oct 7 Note-2

Well, it does seem like Mahesh-Manisha lost the mixed doubles match .. I just cannot find any reason for that loss at all, and for that 46 26 score line .. It is just not normally possible, I am sorry .. Somebody has to tell me what happened.

Rohan also had an easy 62 60 win over the East Timor guy, and is in the PQF of singles along with Sunil, Niru and Sania .. All of them will be facing very tough matches next though .. Bopanna vs Takao Suzuki (JPN,110), Sipaeya vs Goichi Motomura (JPN,186), Nirupama vs Shinobu Asagoe (JPN,110) and Sania vs Saori Obata (JPN,93) .. Funny that all four run into Japanese players .. Unfortunately, I do not expect a win for any of our players, barring some miracles .. Hopefully Niru is quickly catching up in form - she is of course capable of beating Asagoe, though perhaps not in the current form ..

With Paes-Sania and Niru-Manisha also meeting Japanese pairs, that is 6 matches coming up against Japanese player ..  Really odd coincidence! - and we are not expected to win any of those matches, on paper.

Harsh Mankad again won four qualifying rounds and made the 3rd leg main draw for the Asuatralian satellites .. Main draw not out yet .. He only stands to gain a few points if we can get a win or two and make the masters leg, as he missed the first leg and ran into the top seed in the second leg  .. As he is anyway there, he is going to see if he can do any rear-guard action and pick up a few ATP points.

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 (KYR), 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 ..

.. Previous notes are at Notes for the week ending on Oct 07 ..

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.