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Indian-Tennis: Daily News for the week ending on Jan 16, 2006
(Previous week's notes) (Next week's notes) (Daily Notes Index 1997 thru 2006)

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Jan 16 Notes

Nothing much going on for a couple of days .. Sania's first round match at the AO against Azarenka is scheduled for Tuesday .. Third match on show court 2 after two singles matches - so it should be around 4.30 pm (11 am India, 12.30 am New York), +/- half hour .. Time for a chat session ..

The grade-3 junior ITF event has started in Kolkata at the DKS clay courts .. Sanam, Jeevan (and Sanaa too?) have gone to Australia for the junior events around the AO, and so the field is a bit easier this time, with Rupesh, Sumit, Poojashree etc leading the Indian presence .. The second seed Glushko got upser and wasted a chance to finally do something in Sanaa's absence (I am sure everybody on the girls' side would have pooled money to buy her a ticket to get the heck away to Australia or something!) .. See the Kolkata juniors page for scores.  A few first round matches are set for Tuesday.

Jan 14 Notes

In the main draw at the Australian Open, the 32nd seed Sania Mirza will face a tough qualifier, #156 ranked Victoria Azarenka (BLR) ..She is the highest ranked junior player in the world, one whose ranking is very very deceptive - as she is just moving up into the top-100 .. She already has wins over quite a few top-100 players like Peng, Kutuzova, Arvidsson, Bondarenko, Stosur, Sucha etc etc .. The list is actually pretty long and she has hardly lost to anybody in the last few months without some serious 3-sets fights either .. Really, she was one of the few qualifiers that I did not want to see .. But having said that, Sania is a different customer than many of these players Azarenka has faced .. Younger players outside of those at the very top may simply get confused by the "stuff" Sania brings to court .. If Sania goes after her and does not make too many mistakes to allow her to get back into the game, she will be able to take this match.   Certainly not a gimme match that we wanted though! 

Great news from the ITF grade-2 in Delhi, as both Sanam Singh and Sanaa Bhambri finished with double crowns! .. To me, the results were pretty much a foregone conclusion, though .. Sanam, ranked #5 in the world junior ranks, will add some more point to his kitty and get closer to world #4 in the rankings .. Sanaa's quick work in positioning herself for a few top junior events in the last year of her junior eligibility was commendable .. She will now be ranked near top-60 in the world with a chance to play the junior grand slams this year .. She had left the junior tour some 18 months back for the lower pro events where she had a lot of good success but got back in it with just four events flat .. Of course, she is easily a top-10 or top-20 quality junior player right now .. It would help for her to play the top juniors now and make some news as well .. It was important to get the job done fast and not waste time in the lower levels of junior events .. She did just that .. Go Sanaa .. See all the results at the Delhi juniors page.

Jan 13 Notes

Not a great day today, as all three of our players went down at the Australian Open Qualies ..

[Q2] (22) Anastassia Rodianova (RUS,140) d. Shikha Uberoi (IND,153), 75 62 .. See the match progress reports (1, 2) in the forum ..
[Q2] Todd Widom (USA,258) defeats Prakash Amritraj (IND,256), 62 61 .. See the match progress reports (1) in the forum ..
[Q2] Jean-Christophe Faurel (FRA,203) d. Rohan Bopanna (IND,243) 64 16 63 .. See the match progress reports (1) in the forum ..

Thanks go to Ashish and Sandeep for doing the updates in the forum for us .. What can I say? .. I had expected the Prakash match to be more competitive, but otherwise the results are not that unexpected .. Basically mistakes and unforced errors caused hell for all three players .. It is just way too much for us to expect our players to keep pulling upsets to make it in, I guess .. But then again, see how far we have come now, compared to just a couple of years back when we had nobody in the main draw or qualies .. We had five this time, though only Sania will be in the main draw.

Jan 12 Notes

Update 5:  Rohan probably did not play his best, and made a lot of errors today, but he had enough to go past his 282nd ranked opponent in a 7-5 6-3 win .. The story was different with harsh Mankad, who to me looks to be in a pretty bad funk (probably confidence-wise) - he could not do anything much in a pretty poor 1-6 3-6 loss to #185 Galimberti .. Could not have expected a sure win from Harsh, considering the ranking of the opponent, but this is not the old Harsh, who never lost to anybody without creating some havioc in the match .. To put a case in point -- At 1-6 3-5, Harsh served at 40-0 and then lost 5 points in a row on his serve to lose the match .. That shows that he really needs to search inside and resurrect his old never-wavering self-confidence .. So, Mankad's loss puts a damper on the day, but a fighting win from Shikha, a total shellacking from Prakash and an expected win from Rohan give us a 3-1 day .. Can't complain! ...

Update 4:  Rohan is up 7-5 after the first set, but Harsh is in all kinds of trouble at 1-6 2-4 ..

Update 3:  Fabulous win over Wessels by Prakash!!! .. 6-3 6-1 ... From 3-3, he won three in a row to take the first set, and cruised through the second set .. Wessels had been playing very well lately, based on his Hopman cup performance .. But PA gave him no chance at all .. GO KASH!! ... 2-0 so far today by India ..

Update 2:  Good start for us at the AusOpen Qualies .. [Q1] Shikha Uberoi (IND,153) d. Henrieta Nagyova (SVK,150), 76(5) 76(5) .. Tough 2 hour 25 minute match .. SU was up a break at 4-2 and got broken back while serving for the first set at 5-3 .. In the tiebreaker Shikha was up 5-2 but gave back two minibreaks and finally had to take one off HN's serve at 6-5 to take the set ..  Almost an identical pattern in the second set .. Shikha went up a break in the 7th game after surviving 2 break points from 15-40 and playing a 5-deuce game to stay even in the previous game .. But while serving for the match at 5-4, she was broken again after she had one match point .. She held tough after falling behind in the 12th game to send it again to a tiebreaker .. Again a similar story as she kept giving back the advantage there .. She could not serve it off at 6-4 on her second match point, but took the point off HN's serve on her third match point to finish the job .. Pretty gritty work to keep coming back in the match despite letting some big chances go .. That is Shikha's style though .. The lady can hardly stand prsperity when she is ahead, but she also does not allow herself to get too down about the lost chances and lose it !! .. Good job Shikha .. Up next for her will be the 22nd seed Anastassia Rodionova (RUS,140) ..

PA, RB and HM come up after a few hours..

Update 1:  Shikha's match has started at the AO qualifying rounds at Melbourne (10 am Melbourne .. 4.30 am India) .. Come to our chatroom to follow the match .. Prakash, Rohan and Harsh play evening matches ..

Jan 11 Notes

The Indian Davis Cup team was announced today, for the Feb 10th tie in Korea -- Paes, Bhupathi, Rohan, Prakash and Karan as the 5th player (reserve) .. Pretty good team, with everybody in good form .. The Fed Cup team was "partially" announced .. Sania and Shikha and the rest of the team to be picked form a group consisting of Rushmi, Ankita, Sanaa, Isha, Punam Reddy and Parul Goswami based on their performance in the upcoming ITF events in India .. OK ...

The draws have come out for the Australian Open qualies .. Here they are -

(1) Kaia Kanepi (EST) vs Tatiana Poutchek (BLR)
Anne Kremer (LUX) vs Kathrin Woerle (GER)
Shikha Uberoi (IND) vs Henrieta Nagyova (SVK)
(22) Anastassia Rodionova (RUS) (22) vs Cindy Watson (AUS)

(8) Melle Van Gemerden (NED,132) vs Flavio Cipolla (ITA,182)
Giorgio Galimberti (ITA,185) vs Harsh Mankad (IND,231)
Jamie Delgado (GBR,257) vs Bjorn Rehnquist (SWE,367)
(32) Stefan Koubek (AUT,181) vs Richard Bloomfield (GBR,290)

(6) Ramon Delgado (PAR,130) vs Jean-Christophe Faurel (FRA,203)
Rohan Bopanna (IND,243) vs Yohny Romero (VEN,282)
Mathieu Montcourt (FRA,211) vs James Auckland (GBR,288)
(20) Adrian Garcia (CHI,160) vs Robert Smeets (AUS,272)

(14) Peter Wessels (NED,145) vs Prakash Amritraj (IND,256)
Todd Widom (USA,258) vs (WC) Adam Feeney (AUS,726)
David Marrero (ESP,278) vs Kyu Tae Im (KOR,344)
(30) Denis Gremelmayr (GER,178) vs Ivo Heuberger (SUI,227)

The Q1 matches are scheduled for Thursday ..

At the Delhi ITF Grade-2,  top seed Sanam Singh, 6th seed Akshay Bajoria and 5th seed Sanaa Bhambri are the semifinalsists from India .. Second seed and world junior #10 Jeevan got upset today in the QF by the 5th seed Ivan Anikanov (UZB) .. See the results in the Delhi ITF juniors page ..

Jan 10 Notes

Leander and Martin Damm had an easy 61 64 win this afternoon at the Sydney ATP, against Augustin Calleri and Tommie Robredo (ESP) .. They play the QF in a couple of days against the top seeds Bob and Mike Bryan.

Unfortunately, Mahesh and Wesley Moodie, who have not been able to get their partnership going yet, withdrew from the doubles draw at the Auckland ATP in New Zealand tonight and were replaced by an alternate team .. I believe Moodie is injured, as he retired from his singles match ..
Only boys' singles PQFs got done today at the Delhi ITF grade-2 .. Rupesh Roy goit upset, dropping two tiebreaker sets after leading 62 41 over a Chinese qualifier .. According to The Hindu, Rupesh was toying with his opponent, but went a bit too far running into unnecessary trouble - but kudos go to the Chinese kid for comeing throu gh tough and turning the tables on RR .. Ah the learning exepriences the kids get on the tour .. I am sure Rupesh will be better for this loss, later .. See the results in the Delhi ITF juniors page ..

Jan 9 Note-2

While Shikha Uberoi was playing the qualies at the Canberra WTA, Neha Uberoi decided to take a chance with doubles qualies at the $419K Tier-II Sydney WTA (Neha could not have made it to the singles qualifying draw at either place) .. Neha, ranked #137, played with Galina Voskoboeva (RUS,79) .. They were seeded first in the qualies and won the Q1 by an 8-2 score over the Aussie pair, Bree Calderwood and Renee Lampret, before falling to the second seeds Sandra Kloesel (GER) and Henrieta Nagyova (SVK) in a very close match, 63 57 67(3) .. Neha-Galina still made the draw as a lucky loser pair, but they fell today to maria Elene Camerin (ITA,54) and Rika Fujiwara (JPN,85) .. So, some good matches and some pocket money for Neha but not much by way of points .. Shikha hertself played doubles qualies, at the $145K Tier-IV Canberra WTA, with Viktoriya Azarenka (UKR), the year-end #1 junior last year ..  They went down in the Q1, 6-8 to Sofia Arviddon (SWE) and Sybille Bammer (AUT) .. So the sisters are done for this week .. Got their feet wet for the new year, so to say! ..

Mustafa Ghouse, who had a terrible 2005 on the singles front, has had a pretty good weekend after a long time, as he qualified into the $15K China F1 futures at Jiangmen .. Now ranked #1495, all the way down from the top-500 rank he had three years back, Mustafa beat Yang Chang (CHN) 61 62 in the Q1 and pulled two comeback three-setters .. The first was a 57 61 61 upset win over the 8th seed Hsin-Han Lee (KOR,989), the talented 17 year old Korean who was runner-up to Sanam Singh in the recent Asia-Oceania ITF junior championships .. He then beat Philipp De Bonnevie (FRA) 26 62 76(4) to make the main draw where he has a tough match against the 7th seed Alexander Vlaski (SCG,398) .. Vivek Shokeen was the 3rd seed in the qualies there, but was upset in the second round .. After a Q1 win over Baatar Oyunbat (MGL) 61 62, Vivek lost to Wan Gao (CHN) in a tough match, 67(3) 76(1) 36 ..

The  big grade-2 "Adidas" ITF juniors has started at Delhi .. This is the highest grade event held in the subcontinent ..  Pretty good field on the boys' side with  Sanam Singh (Now the world junior #5) and Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan (junior #10), Rupesh Roy (last week's grade-3 champion at Chandigarh, who has now moved up to #40) .. On the girls' side Sanaa Bhambri is probably the prohibitive favorite again .. The first round got done today and the bad news for me was that both V.Poojashrtee and GK Shweta went down easily .. I had really hoped for Poojashree to start doing well in this circuit , but I guess the 15 year old still needs more time .. Really, I am getting very very VERY impatient, waiting for another group of good girls to emerge from India  .. Something like three years and counting now, and we have not produced a top-25 or even a top-50  quality junior player since Sania, Isha, Sanaa and Tara .. The wait continues ..  See the scores at the Delhi ITF juniors page.

Jan 9 Note-1

Sania Mirza went down today, 46 62 26 to Daniela Hantuchova (SVK,17) in the first round at the $419K Tier-II Medibank International WTA in Sydney .. Sania was up 4-2 in the first set but dropped serve twice in a row to lose 4 games and the set .. She started the second set with a break and got another break in the 7th game to go up 5-2 and serve out the set .. In the third set, she was was broken in the 4th and 8th game ..  Sania is not in the doublkes draw this week .. I assume she will be putting in a week of practice to get ready for the Australian Open main draw next week.

Today's was the third top-20 match in a row that Sania had played (#10 Venus and #16 Vaidisova last week) .. Though she lost all three, I think she has had a very good chance to check her own form against some of the best ones there .. A tiebreker set against Vaidisova last week and a good set today againt DH were when her game seemed to be coming together .. Three weeks with Roche has not suddenly done magic or anything in her game, but I trust that he has made some sensible changes and with a bit more time Sania will be winning a lot more woth that .. Changing the kinks in her serve will take a bit more time .

Leander Paes and Martin Damm are at the Sydney ATP, drawn to face Augustin Calleri (ARG) and Tommie Robredo (ESP) in the first round - they play on Tuesday at about 4.30 pm there .. Mahesh and Wesley Moodie are the second seeds at the $430K Heiuneken Open ATP in Auckland, NZL .. They play a kiwi wildcard team - Rubin Statham and Adam Thompson - the match is scheduled at 9pm on Tuesday on the center court ..

I assume Rohan and Prakash are on their way to Melbourne for the AO qualies which starts on thursday .. Harsh Mankad is already there .. By the way, these three are quite close in ranking now .. Today's ranking showed Harsh Mankad at #231, Rohan at #243 and Prakash at #256 in singles .. Bopanna at #184, Mankad at #234 and Amritraj at #360 in doubles .. I wish they could work together and match their schedules to travel together, because they are excellent hitting partners for each other, thanks to the variety in their styles ..

.. Previous notes are at Notes for the weeks ending on Jan 09, 2006 ..

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 playera, let me know .. Please email me - R.Jayakrishnan