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LP/MB/NV/Indian-Tennis: Notes for the week ending on Jan 13, 2003
(Previous week's notes) (Next week's notes) (Daily Notes Index 1997 thru 2001)

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Jan 11 Note-2

Well, looking at Enev beating the in-form Mankad yesterday, I had a feeling that he has the type of game to win on the peculiar Indian grasscourts .. He proved that today with a title, upsetting the 3rd seed Satoshi Iwabuchi (JPN,385), 62 62 .. According to PTI, Enev termed today's match as an easy one but admitted that his encounter with Mankad yesterday was really "tough" .. OK, I guess that makes us feel a bit better about Harsh not making the final (we get greedy, and want our players in every final, of course :-)) .. The doubles title went to Handoyo-Suwandi, 63 64 over Iwabuchi and Dong-Hyun Kim .. So Satoshi ended up as double loser today .. The caravan moves to Delhi now for the $10K+H futures, the first of its kind in India with hospitality .. This one gives 18 points to the winner, as opposed to 12 for the usual $10K event, and so it is on par with a $15K futures .. Bopanna, Sunil,Vinod, etc will also be there this week.

Jan 11 Note-1

Only losses to talk about today .. MB, Harsh, Sunitha (USA), our kids in Bangladesh, all lost today and yesterday ..

It's been a long time since I saw a team that came out of nowhere and shown themselves to be a doubles force of some sort in one tournament flat .. When a pair of guys can beat Paes, Rikl, Damm, Suk, Knowles, Nestor, Eagle and Bhupathi in four matches, they do get noticed .. That is 3 of the top four ranked doubles players, 5 of top-12 and 7 players from the top-20 taken out by two guys ranked below 50 and 75 .. The doubles field at $400K Sydney ATP included 9 of the top 12 players and was quite strong in that sense .. [F] (wc) Paul Hanley/ Nathan Healy d. #3 M.Bhupathi/ J.Eagle, 76(3) 64 .. Looks like Paes-Rikl had the worst luck, having to face them right away!

At the Lucknow futures yesterday, Harsh Mankad went down in a close match 64 26 75, ending an eight match win streak in Indian futures for him .. The sad thing was that he had the 5th seed Todor Enev (BUL,492) down on the mat in the 9th game of the 3rd set facing triple break points .. A couple of netted returns ended that chance, and Harsh bowed out later .. Kamesh Srinivasan's article in The Hindu says Harsh was not playing as well as he did in the arlier round and that he was perhaps affected by a long late evening three-setter in doubles on thursday .. Harsh and Ajay had bowed out after saving some match points and then wasting one too in a 67 63 67 loss .. As Vijay and Mustafa had also lost thursday in a 67 76 67 doubles match, there are no Indians in the finals today .. It has been a while since we had that .. Harsh did pick up 4 more ATP points to take his tally to 36 points and his ranking just inside #525, placing him as the Indian #2 behind Bopanna at #387 with 64 points .. It's been a long time since we have seen Harsh on grasscourts and the reports seemed to say that he has become quite good at the attacking all-courts game .. The problem was that he ended up with a solid baseliner with all-court skills who pinned him back in the semifinal yesterday.

Sunitha Rao (USA) was unable to pull a 3rd top-200 upset and went down 67(5) 26 to Vanessa Webb (CAN,138) in the Australian Open final round today.

At the grade-3 Rajshahi ITF juniors in Bangladesh, 14 yr old Madura Ranganathan went down yesterday against the top seed 17 yr old Ting-Wen Wang (TPE,68), 06 16 .. Tough loss, but Madura will pick up 45 points to 95 and her ranking from #368 to inside #225 .. In the boys' doubles final, Rupesh Roy and Chatwinder Singh lost 16 36 to Tai Wei Liu and Chia Chang(?) ..

Jan 10 Notes

Mahesh has this habit of picking up a new partner and going to the final every now and then :-) .. He did that again today at the Sydney ATP - [SF] #3 M.Bhupathi/ J.Eagle d. #2 B.Bryan/ M.Bryan, 62 63 .. In the final, they face the surprising team of Sydney, wildcards Paul Hanley and Nathan Healey - the same guys who pulled a comeback on LP-Rikl in the first round .. Those guys went on to beat the #4 seeds Damm-Suk in the QF in another comeback three setter and then the #1 seeds Knowles-Nestor in a 76(8) 75 win today .. Hey, the wildcards may be for real - and I now feel a little better about LP-Rikl getting upset early .. Actually those two guys are ranked 53 and 79 and are not exactly spring chickens or anything .. Looking at the three teams they have just beaten, I think MB-Eagle may have a tough fight coming up tomorrow.

Well, Sunitha Rao (USA) had received much less hype all through her junior career here, thanks to Ashley Harklerod, also 17, but a few months older and generally a few months ahead in rankings too .. These two are two of the fastest young American climbers up the ranking in the last year, Ashley coming up near 100 and Sunitha near 200 in the WTA ..  In the qualies second round today at the Australian Open, however, it was #208 Sunitha who got the better of her more talked-about country-mate .. Sunitha upset the top seeded Ashley (#102),  62 46 63 ..  In the final round she plays Vanessa Web (CAN,138) .. Hey, by the way, Sunitha played in India last year and her dad had talked about considering switching to India thanks to how she seemed to get lost in the shuffle in the US ..

At the grade-3 Rajshahi ITF juniors in Bangladesh thursday, Madura Ranganathan reached the final beating K.Pooja, 60 64 to reach the final against the top seed Ting Wen Wang who beat Sandri Gangotri 61 62 .. On the boys's side though our young gun Rupesh Roy lost to the top seed in singles, he is alive in doubles .. Rupesh and fellow-quarterfinalist Chatwinder Singh reached the doubles final .. Both the girls doubles teams in the semis - Pooja-Sandri and Madura-Vandana lost today.

Jan 9 Notes

MB and Eagle play the second seeds Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan of USA in the semifinal on Friday at 11 am at the Sydney ATP.

At the $10K satellite in Tallahassee, Florida, Nirupama Sanjeev went down 36 46 to the 6th seed Alyssa Cohen (USA,.369) .. So, she is not yet at her earlier levels of play, but this was was a good start with some easy qualies wins over players ranked below 700 .. Hopefully her form is slowly getting back and she will be better in next week's satellite at Boca Raton, Florida .. It's a tough climb back after an year of layoff.

At the $10K Lucknow grasscourt futures, the Harsh Mankad show keeps going, as he kept the Indian interest alive into friday with another easy win - 61 62 over Vitali Chvets (BLR,613) .. He faces the 5th seeded Todor Enev (BUL,492) next .. See the Lucknow Futures page.

Vas Param just alerted me to one Indian name showing up in the Australian Open qualies .. 17 yr old Sunitha Rao (USA,208) won the first round 63 46 60 over Catalina Castano (COL,194) today .. She runs into her old foe, the top seed, 17 yr old Ashley Harklerod (USA,102) next ..

In other news, a few of our very young juniors are out there in Bangladesh for two weeks .. Last week had the grade-5 ITF event in Rajshahi .. I had pretty much forgotten about that, and didn't go looking for scores .. It turns out that Sanam K. Singh of Chandigarh reached the final and lost to the top seed Tai-Wei Lu (TPE,16) .. I have no earthly idea what Tai-Wei is doing, playing a grade-5 event .. For that matter I don't know why the heck he is playing the grade-3 this week either! .. Anyway, Sanam lost 16 46 to him in the final .. I don't have all the rest of the scores yet .. Also doing well was Sumit Prakash Gupta from UP, who won the doubles title with Vaza Uzakov of Uzbekistan .. They won the final 61 63 over Chang Shang Huai and Le Hsin Han of Taiwan.

This week's event is a much bigger grade-3 at Rajshahi .. A lot of our girls have joined, along with Rupesh Roy .. Got the full results till wednesday and it's not great on the boys' side, but quite good on the girls' side (where the competition was somewhat weaker too) .. On the boys' side, Rupesh Roy and Chatwinder Singh were the only ones to reach the QF, both falling there .. Rupesh beat last week's runner-up Sanam Singh in the first round 64 46 61 and Hyung Jin Kim (KOR), 62 64 in the second round, before falling 06 26 to the top seed Tai Wei Lu (TPE,16) .. Chatwinder joined this week as the second seed and beat Sadir Hossain (BAN) 61 63 and Kim Jan Hyuk (KOR) 60 61 before being upset in the QF, losing to Yi Chu Hwang (TPE) 61 26 46 .. Sumit Prakash Gupta lost in the first round to Jong Guk Ho (KOR), 75 46 26 .. On the girls's side three Indians reached semifinal yesterday though ..  7th seed sandri Gangotri, 3rd seed Madura Ranganathan and unseeded Pooja Kommireddi .. Sandri beat Refat Sharzin (BAN) 61 60, Shin Jung Yoon (KOR) 75 63, and 4th seed S.Marutha Devi (IND), 64 76(3) .. She is up against the top seed Ting-Wen Wang (TPE) .. R.Madura had a bye, then beat Israt Sulatana (BAN) 61 61 .. Yesterday she beat Kim Hae Sung (KOR), 76(3) 46 76(3) to reach the semi .. Sung had upset the 6th seed Vandana Murali in the second round .. The surprisingly good results have been from K.Pooja though .. She went in unseeded, beat Maleela Solih (MAS), 60 60, upset the 8th seed and last week's runner up Shifat Baishakhi (BAN) in another double bagel (!), and then she upset the 2nd seed Varanya Vijuksanaboon (THA), 62 63 to reach a semi against Madura .. The rankings of most of these players who finished below top-200 last year are all very volatile right now, and it will be a couple of months before the ITF rankings makke some sense as the younger players play a few events.

Jan 8 Notes

Sorry for some late updates .. Mahesh and Eagle have started well together so far .. At the Sydney ATP, they just won their thursday match to reach the semi .. [QF] #3 M.Bhupathi/ J.Eagle d. A.Kratzmann/ K.Ullyett, 62 36 76(6) .. They had won the first round wednesday, 76(3) 62 over Ferrero and Robredo.

Good job by Niru in the qualies of the $10K Tallahassee (Florida) satellites .. She qualified in yesterday .. [Q3] Nirupama sanjeev d. Heidi El Tabakh (EGY,998), 62 64 .. [Q4] Nirupama Sanjeev d. Anglea Piedrahita (USA), 60 63 .. Today (wednesday) in the first round, she was drawn against the 6th seed Alyssa Cohen (USA,369) .. I will have the score by thursday morning here.

It was all bleak at the Lucknow futures for Indians, as three went out on another cold, gloomy day .. Only Harsh Mankad made the QF from India .. Both Manoj and Rishi had good starts but could not sustain it .. Mustafa was upset by a qualifier Naim Lalji (GBR) .. Not entirely unexpected, as this is about the toughest $10K futures in India, definitely since the time a couple of years back when Aisam Qureshi etc showed up .. Harsh has so far had two easy straight sets wins hardly dropping any games .. He beat Hendri Pramono (INA) who had upset the 6th seed in the first round .. See our Lucknow Futures page .. Doubles have also started - top seeds Kannan-Ghouse and unseeded Mankad-Ramaswami are the only Indian teams in the QF.

In the consolation draw final At the Victorian ITF juniors in Australia,  Somdev Dev Varman (IND,76) put up a good fight before losing to the main draw 8th seed Andis Juska (LAT,49) in a super-tiebreak, 26 63 (6-10) ..

Jan 7 Notes

Bad news from the Sydney ATP, as LP and David Rikl fell apart after one set in a 62 36 16 loss to wildcards Paul Hanley and Nathan Healey .. MB and Eagle are to play their R1 on wednesday, evening.

Nirupama had won her second round of qualifying at the $10K satellites in Tallahassee, Florida and was to play Angela Piedrahita (USA) in the final qualifying round this morning.

Big upset today in the first round of the Lucknow futures, as Rishi Sridhar completely dismantled the top seed, Michail Elgin (RUS,303) in a 61 61 upset .. Are you kidding me?, Ataboy, Rishi! - That is one of the bigger wins by our players in recent memory actually, ranking-wise .. Perhaps the Russian was uncomfortable with the slow uneven bounce that Indian grasscourts are known for, but the way Rishi went after him is impressive! .. Harsh Mankad won, as did National grasscourt champion Manoj Mahadevan .. Mustafa was on his way to a win when bad light postponed the match .. Nitin got upset, and Vijay Kannan lost .. See our Lucknow Futures page for scores .. Also, check out our Forum page, as we have posted article links, etc, in a thread there.

Wednesday's Deccan Chronicle reports that there is a good chance for the Tata Open to be rotated among three cities, Chennai, Hyderabad and Bangalore in the coming years .. Not a bad idea, as all three cities will have good experience in conducting big tennis events .. I was surprised at the newspaper saying that the folks in Hyderabad didn't know who all would be coming to the WTA event .. We had posted the official entry list in a thread on that tournament in our forum a couple of days back .. No mention about Tammy Tanasugarn in the article along with the names expected to play - the entry list shows her as the top seed, ahead of other big names like Pierce, Fernandez, Tulyaganova, etc.

At the ITF grade-2 juniors in Victoria, Australia, Somdev Varman reached the final of the consolation draw with a 62 30 (retd) win over David Jeflea (AUS) .. In the final on wednesday, he meets the 8th seed Andis Juska (LAT,49) .. Sprited work by Somdev after the 2nd round loss in the main draw to pick up 4 wins to reach the consolation final.

Jan 6 Note-2

They seem to have got a lot of matches done today at Lucknow .. The qualies are almost completed .. Only three Indians made the final round of the qualies and two of them play tomorrow to finish the qualies .. Very good wins by Anjan Viplav and Parantap Chaturvedi to get that far .. The highest ranked Indian in the qualies, 5th seed Vishal Punna, went down in the second round .. I wish he had been given a wildcard, for being the finalist at National Games .. He certainly deserved it more tha Gurmehar Singh and Bhuvan Chaturvedi (I suppose the latter was the local organizers' wildcard) .. Even Ashutosh Singh could have been given a wildcard - he too has done rather well lately .. See the Lucknow futures page ..

The main draw has also been done and I have posted it .. Only the two seeded qualifiers have been placed so far .. As usual, Harsh Mankad, who must have really upset the draw goddess in a former life, ended up as the highest ranked unseeded player, who will need to almost surely beat two top-500 players inluding the top seed to get to even the semifinal .. Rishi faces the top seed first .. Mustafa, as usual (:-)) gets two relatively easier rounds .. Ajay gets the 5th seed in this draw where we find SIX players ranked in the top-500 .. Elgin, Tereschuk, Iwabuchi, Dong-Hyn Kim, Enev and Suwandi are the 6 top-500 seeds, followed by 7th seed Mustafa and 8th seed Nitin .. That is the toughest $10K futures India has ever had .. Never expected this to happen at a grasscourt futures! .. The action seems to have been tremendous over at the Oudh Gymkhana in three days of qualifying already .. The main draw will start tomorrow.

Jan 6 Note-1

Good news from the $10K Tallahassee satellites in Florida .. Nirupama, testing out her own form on return to the pro tour after the long break, won her first pro match since late 2001 .. An easy 62 61 win over the 3rd seed in the qualies, Mirella Vladulescu (GER,727) in the second round of the 4-round qualies (most players had a first round bye) .. She now faces Heidi El Tabakh (EGY,998) this morning in the 3rd round .. Good to see that Niru seems to be back in top-750 form at least .. After every win, we will upgrade our estimate of where she is on the comback trail .. Go Niru! ..  Nice to update the Nirupama Sanjeev page with scores after a long long time!

Leander and David Rikl are scheduled to play the first round at the Sydney ATP tomorrow (Tuesday) at about 3 pm .. MB won't be in action till wednesday or thursday.

I've added some more qualifying results at the Lucknow futures page .. One of the toughest qualies ever played anywhere in the world at the $10K satellite level, with several top-500 players showing up - probably due to the entry date deadline change by ITF London .. The Indonesian Davis Cup team, Peter Handoyo and Suwandi Suwandi are in the qualies, and so is Orest Tereshchuk of the Ukranian Davis Cup team .. A couple of them will be seeded high in the main draw once they get in, and so I doubt they can make the Main draw only after the qualies are done .. Rain delays in the qualies - hopefully it was better today .. Eight qualifiers to be determined, but we will have to get a bit lucky to see even a couple of Indians going through to the main draw, it seems .. Dhruv has also been posting some updates in our new forum page depending on when he gets some info from some  friends in Lucknow he knows .. By the way, Ashutosh Singh had a rather impressive match against #493 ranked Suwandi though he lost .. Anjan Viplav also had a pretty good Q1 win.

At the Grade-2 Victorian championships ITF juniors in Australia, 6th seeded Karan Rastogi and Somdev Varman went down in the doubles QF after a fight, to the top seeds Andis Juska (LAT)/ Michael Zverev (GER), 46 63 16 .. After Somdev's consolation draw matches, they will both be proceeding to the Grade-1 Australain Hardcourts next week, where I think Isha Lakhani also joins .. By the way, Sania Mirza has withdrawn from the Australian events .. She has been playing non-stop from July and decided that it was time for a break for some specific training .. I believe she will be at the Bhupathis' tennis village in Bangalore this month and CGK will be working on things like her serve .. Hyderabad WTA is the next outing for Sania .. Very good idea for her to take a break now.

.. Previous notes are at Notes for the week ending on Jan 06 ..

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.