Notes for week ending on Oct 27, 1997

(Last week's Notes) (Next week's Notes) (Notes Index)

Oct 27 Note-1

Pity that Leander lost in the first round of the qualifiers at Paris over the weekend. Rodolphe Gilbert is currently ranked #177, but has beaten even Boris Becker in the past (at the French Open second round.. Seshadri from the fanclub says that.. thanks Sesh!). Leander lost the second and 3rd sets meekly after winning the first set. I guess the tough matches the previous two nights may have taken some energy off him, not to mention the travel. In the doubles, LP/ MB face the winner of Black/O'Brien vs Eagle/Rafter, after a first round bye. Interesting teams there! Black plays with Connell, O'Brien with Lareau, Eagle with Florent and Rafter with Philippoussis, normally.. and all four are top teams.. except that none has his partner here ! .. The doubles match won't be till Wednesday or so. Oh, by the way, the Woodies too care of Leach/Stark in the finals at Stuttgart .. 6-3, 6-3..

Oct 26 Notes

Well, well.. Lareau/O'Brien lost to the Woodies, 7-5, 7-5. #8 Leach/Stark pulled off a surprisingly easy win in two sets over #2 Eltingh/Haarhuis. So, most probably, Lareau/ O'Brien will not jump over our Duo. Leach may displace Mahesh at the #10 spot in the new rankings monday. No news from Paris yet. That's it.

Oct 24 Note-2

Finally the 9 match winning streak ended today.. Lareau/O'Brien got their revenge after losing to our Duo the last two times (in O'Brien's case, the last three times).. And they had to fight every inch of the way to exact revenge. Score: 7-5, 6-7 (10-12), 5-7.. Lareau/O'Brien now have 202 points here (160 for semis, 24 for beating our guys and 18 for beating Johnson/Montana). Unless they beat the Woodies in the semis tomorrow (never an easy thing, but they HAVE beaten the Woodies before), they will not overtake LP/MB. They will jump over Ferreira/Galbraith for the #5 spot next week.

So the Dynamic Duo are now 25-3 in the last 28 matches. During the stretch, they have 2 wins and a loss against the next week's #5, 1 win against #2, 1 loss each against #1 and #3, and wins over #8 and #11. That is 5-3 against the top 11. They are 8-3 against the top-20. That is by all means a terrific record... And LP/MB are not done with the year, as the Paris Super 9 is next week..

If something good can come out of this loss, it is that Leander may get to play the qualifiers at Paris over this weekend, if he can hurry up and get down there fast enough. We will know if he does that, soon. Don't know if Mahesh can make it into the qualifier draw.

Oct 24 Note-1

Not yet sure of the time of the doubles match at Stuttgart today. Looks like it is in the late afternoon there. Eltingh/Haarhuis reached the semis today beating Carbonnel/Roig. Also, Leach/Stark took out Kitinov/Pimek. The Woodies' quarterfinal match has started. Kiefer lost in the QF to Bjorkman today, and so there are no Germans left in the tournament. Rios is also out, and Korda is in the semis.

Some details on Asia Cup coming up week after next... Hot news received from V. Krishnaswamy of Indian Express (hope I have not scooped Indian Express by putting it up here immediately!)... Thanks, Swamy.

It's rather disappointing that Paradorn Srichaphan is not there. The Uzbekistan team is pretty strong. Unbelievably, Tomashevich is one of the very few players (Andre Agassi is another) who have a running two-match win streak over Leander (LP lost to him at the Fergana and Andijan challengers in 95). Ogorodov also beat LP the last time they played (the final of the Madras Challenger).. This is quite a good collection of teams, and the tournament should be very interesting.

Another Indian tennis note: Carlsberg Thailand Open Junior Tennis Championships at Thana City Golf and Country Club (Boy's singles) second round: Manoj Mahadevan (IND) beat Aleksander Zygmunt (POL) 6-2, 6-3.. Patanjali Ravishankar (IND) beat Pramote Malasit (Thai) 6-1, 6-3.. third round: Chai Nawawongse (Thai) beat Manoj Mahadevan (IND) 2-6, 6-3, 6-4. Quichee Wong (NZL) beat Patanjali Ravishankar (IND) 6-4, 6-3... Manoj was the 3rd seed there; the final-16 loss is an upset. (cortesy: Bankok Post)

Oct 23 Note-2

Leander and Mahesh had to wait till what must have seemed like an eternity, to play their first match at Stuttgart, which finally started at 10.40 pm at night on Thursday.. The match ended at 12.30 am on Friday morning with our guys emerging victorious over Boris Becker and Marc-Kevin Goellner, 7-5, 6-7 (2-7), 7-6 (7-1) after an absolute barn-burner of a match, it looks like ! .. That made it 9 wins in a row for our guys.. This could very well be the last doubles match Becker may ever play (or at least one of the very last ones).. The German legend is retiring soon (Great career, Boris !).. It is quite something for LP and MB to stand up to the challenge, in Germany, in front of a partisan crowd, against two Germans, in a featured night time war.. It was a cat-fight all the way. In the second set, our duo fell behind 1-4, but clawed their way back to force a tie-breaker which turned out to be a no-contest.. They did get their revenge back in the 3rd set tiebreak, though.. They now play Lareau/O'Brien. The quarterfinal line-up for Friday is:

4-LAREAU/O'BRIEN      v. 5-BHUPATHI/PAES     /  \
6-LEACH/STARK         v. KITINOV/PIMEK       \  /

The upset of the doubles draw was earlier today, when #3 Kafelnikov/Vacek fell to a weekend combination of Kitinov and Pimek (who haven't played together this year; Pimek's normal partner in the ATP #25 team is Talbot whom Kitinov has played with.. Kitinov's partner in the #35 team is Kinnear).. The other mild surprise is 7th seed Ferreira/Galbraith (#6)losing to #18 Carbonnel/Roig, but that is not an upset. LP and MB do not have to worry now about F/G moving ahead in ranking, and F/G have their 8 match win streak stopped. Lareau/O'Brien can possibly regain their old #4 spot if they beat our guys and then probably the Woodies to reach the finals.

On the singles side, things have been totally strange. Krajicek took out Becker and Sampras. Pioline took care of Chang, but then retired hurt, against Korda, who is in the semis. By the way, that makes it 4 guys who have retired hurt out there: Ivanisevik, Ulihrach, Pioline and Enquist.. Can't remember that many in any recent tournaments.. Other QF players are Rafter, Larsson, Rios, Bjorkman, and Kiefer (the only German left in singles or doubles).

Oct 23 Note-1

Becker and Goellner won their first round match and will face LP/MB in the pre-quarterfinals today at 5 pm German time. Becker has not played much doubles in a long time and is ranked #600+ in ATP doubles rankings. Remember though, that he was ranked as high as #6 in doubles once in his career. He is not the same Becker at 29 years of age, but he can still cause some damage ! Mark-Kevin Goellner on the other hand is ranked #54 and is quite a good doubles player, who has done well with several doubles partners like Prinosil, Davids, Bjorkman, Ohovskiy, Talbot, etc.. This could end up as a tough match. The match may be televised in Germany. More later. In other news of interest to followers of top ATP doubles teams, #7 team Lobo/Sanchez got upset at the Mexican Open by the #34 team, Coupe/Rosner in the first round in three tough sets.. That's a surprise, considering that the surface there is the favorite one for Lobo/Sanchez - clay..

Oct 22 Notes

There was no news to report for a while.. Nothing much has happened at Stuttgart with our guys still waiting to see who they will play in the second round (after a first round bye) tomorrow (Thursday).. Actually, strange things have been going on there.. Becker/Goellner was supposed to play Enquist/Larsson today (wednesday) there in the first round and the winners were to face our guys. Then Enquist pulled a stomach muscle and did not even play his singles match with Rafter today.. The tourney web site did not update anything about his doubles match till 11 pm their time.. As it turns out, Enquist withdrew from doubles, and the lucky losers (of all people, Eagle/ Florent, who are a pretty good doubles team) end up entering the draw, on Wednesday night.. The latest score they show is Becker/Goellner leading 7-6, 3-2.. I assume they couldn't finish the match at night and will finish it tomorrow morning. Becker lost in the singles to Krajicek today, and if he wins he will probably have to play the round of 16 doubles match tomorrow itself.

Otherwise, the doubles draw has gone without any upsets so far, with all the top seeds alive, and the #1 Woodies, #2 Eltingh/Haarhuis and the #8 Knowles/ Nestor (haven't seen these guys together in a while too..) advancing to the quarterfinals.. The other 5 seeded teams all play tomorrow. Lareau/O'brien (ATP #6, 4th seed) will play Johnson/Montana (ATP #11), which means that our Dynamic Duo will need to beat a highly ranked team if they reach the QF with a win tomorrow. It does appear that LP/MB has the toughest draw of them all here..

Oct 20 Evening Notes

Here is the draw for the Stuttgart doubles..

1-WOODBRIDGE/WOODFORD, Bye               \
W. BLACK/GRABB v. BROAD/NORVAL           /  \
8-KNOWLES/NESTOR, Bye                    /      \
4-LAREAU/O'BRIEN, Bye                    \      /
5-BHUPATHI/PAES, Bye                     /

Not a bad first round match, and the Dynamic Dup have beaten Lareau/O'Brien twice in a row.. Would be nice to reach the semis and get another chance at the Woodies (have lost to them 3 times in a row; at the Olympics, at Queens, and at Cincinnati).. It doesn't look like they will be playing till Wednesday.. The Enquist/Larsson vs Becker/Goellner match has not been played on Monday and should be tomorrow... In other news, it appears that they will be in India for two weeks, after the Paris Supr 9 next week. That means they probably won't be going to any challengers the week before Hartford, in the 4th week from now...

Oct 20 Morning Notes

Ferreira/Galbraith did win the Lyon tournament to make it 8 wins in a row and 2 titles, but they could not overtake LP/MB, probably because the 14-tournament limit must have came into play and some points from some tournament fell off their team total. They are just a few points behind our Duo at #5 and Lareau/O'brien has now gone down to #6. Galbraith did move over both Mahesh and Leander to the #9 spot in the individual ranks; so MB is now at #10 and LP is now at #11. In singles, MB's point total remained at 182 and he moved down to #230. Leander lost 13 points from the Tanagura Challenger a year back, and is down to 423 points this week; however, he only moved down one spot to #105 this week. It is almost incredible how Leander has stayed in the 100-110 range for almost 10 months.. He loses some points somewhere, and he replaces it with something else. When he had some 70 points to defend at Newport, he repeated a semifinal apperance and got back mosts of those points; when he had 67 points to defend in the first two weeks of September, he got 71 from the US Open to keep his point total right there.. He had 13 to defend this week, so he got 17 a couple of weeks back.. Now he has 66 falling off on Nov 24th.. rest assured he will get those back somewhere.. He does not have too many opportunities to move his ranking much higher this year, though. Mahesh needs to get some 50+ points somewhere to have a realistic chance at getting the Asian wildcard at the Australian Open. Assuming Leander will be around #105 and get a direct entry, right now he is behind Yong-Yil Yoon (#197) in Asia (unless they count Ogorodov, #138, of Uzebekistan, and two Israelis, Eyal Ran, #181, and Raviv Viedenfield, #190, as Asians).. By the way, one has to really appreciate this gesture by the Australian folks in giving the wildcard for an Asian in the top-200 (Leander got it this year).. and compare it to what the people in Singapore did (see last week's notes to see what they did with etheir wildcards) !

The doubles draw at Stuttgart has not been published anywhere (including at the ATP site) yet, but the doubles competition has started. Will post the draw here, as soon as it becomes available. Woodbridge, Woodforde, Kafelnikov, Haarhuis, and O'Brien are all in the singles draw; so probably the Woodies, Elting/Haarhuis, and Kafelnikov/Vacek are all in the singles draw. Our guys should be at least the #5 seed there.