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LP/MB/NS/Indian-Tennis: Notes for the week ending on Jan 19th, 2004
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Jan 19 Notes

Still no news on the AO doubles draw .. I suppose the official website made a mistake and the draw will only be published as usual on Tuesday or Wednesday and not on Sunday like they promised.

The $10K ITF circuit event started at Delhi today .. Sheetal, Geeta, Iciri and Sandhya made the draw through qualies .. A more competitive field than at Hyderabad last week, as some Thai players like Montinee Tangphong (who never seems to lose while in India) and Thassha Vitayaviroj are in the mix .. In today's matches, Shruti Dhawan upset the 5th seed Tomoyo Takagishi (JPN,494) .. Young qualifier Sandhya Nagraj had a nice win over Po-Kuen Lam as well .. Sonal Phadke, who just returned to India from Dubai where she played the $10K last week and had reached the PQF, ran into the 8th seed Diana Julianto and went down .. In doubles, the top seeds Rushmi-Sai were upset by Montinee and Thassha .. See the Delhi women's $10K page for draws/ results.

Mustafa Ghouse  has reached the final qualies at the $15K Doha (Qatar F1a) futures .. [Q2] (14) M.Ghouse d. Patrick Fredrikson (SWE,1046), 62 63 .. Up next in the Q3 is the tough 3rd seed Alexey Kedriouk (KAZ,452) ..  Nishank Moshra lost the Q2 to the 9th seed Michihisa Onoda (JPN,527) 06 16 there .. Mustafa is in the doubles draw -- [R1] (3) B.Cassaigne (FRA)/ M.Ghouse vs J.Adaktusson (SWE)/ I.Klec (GER)  [Thanks go to our friend in Doha for news!]

Sania Mirza is at the qualies for the $10K in Boca Raton, Florida, seeded 7th .. Started with a win yesterday - Sania Mirza d.(WC) Sabaea Carrington (USA,NR) 60 64 .. She plays Karla Porter (USA,1104) next.

At the Grade-1 Australian Hardcourts ITF juniors at the Nottinghill Pinewood Tennis Club, Melbourne, only Karan Rastogi made the second round .. [R1] (3) K.Rastogi (IND,6) d. Steven Popovic (AUS,94), 75 16 63 .. [R1] Divij Sharan (IND,38) l. Julian Reister (GER,83), 36 64 57 .. [R1] (1) Sebastian Rieschick (GER,1) d. Tushar Liberhan (IND,48) 64 62 .. Tushar's loss against the top seed was not a surprise, but he at least held on for a set .. Close loss for Divij too .. Karan next plays Matt Symons, a talented 15 year old qualifier .. In girls' doubles, [R1] Sanaa Bhambri/ Ayu Fani Damayanti d. B.Bobusic/ D.Cupac 76(4) 46 63, so Sanaa got a bit of revenge on Bobusic for upsetting her in singles .. Karan and Divij are playing together in doubles and are seeded 7th [I suppose they are using the combined singles-doubles ranking for seeding/emtry, otherwise with top-10 doubles rankings at year-end, these two would be a much higher seed] .. [R1] (7) Karan Rastogi (IND)/ Divij Sharan (IND) vs vs Martin Fischer/ Philipp Oswald (AUT).

Jan 18 Note-2

OK, I now have confirmation that MB is indeed playing with Mirnyi at the AO .. Actually, now I am not sure if LP is playing with Rikl, or whether it is Cibulec, though the Times of India reported Vece Paes to be saying that it is Rikl .. The blasted men's doubles draw is still not to be found at any source, though the official site released the women's doubles draw over a day back .. We will just have to wait and see ..

Jun 18 Note-1

The Australian Open website had promised to have the doubles draw out by now, but only the women's draw is out and not the men's, for some reason .. Leander will be playing with David Rikl in doubles and Martina in mixed doubles .. Not sure who MB's partner will be - but I assume it will be Max Mirnyi, unless there is any change to Santoro or anything like that.

At the $10K Tampa Bay futures, Harsh Mankad's good run was ended yesterday by the latest big talent to come out form the US - Brian Baker, recently the world junior #2 and the #1 US junior from last year, and the runner up from last year's French Open juniors .. Baker has been coming on strong in the last few months to raise his rank to near 400 and has hardly had a loss against players not in the top-250 .. I expected a tough match, but not a 26 16 loss for HM .. I don't remember HM losing like that to anybody, even to the Hewitts and Roddicks out there .. This guy Brian Baker seems to be good - and I supect you will see him in the top-200 or higher very soon .. Anyway, I suppose Harsh did not have his best day either; apparently he had a very low first serve percentage which took away his game plan against Baker who was playing hot tennis .. Still a good run this week for HM with three top-400 quality wins and a 4 more points - and this is his first futures semi in the US .. Hopefully next week will be even better in Florida.

At the qualies for the $15K Qatar F1A in Doha, two Indians are in the second round .. [Q1] (14) Mustafa Ghouse d. Dimitry Ivano (UZB) 63,43 (Ret) .. [Q1] Nishank Mishra d.Jon Hayes (GBR) .. Two losses - [Q1] Shivang Mishra l. Jiri Krkoska (CZE) 61 46 36 .. [Q1] Rishi Behl l. Pablo Figueroa (SWE) 46,67(7) .. In the second round [Q2] (14) Mustafa Ghouse vs Patrick Fredrikson (SWE), and [Q2] Nishank Mishra vs (9) Michihisa Onoda (JPN,527) .. Apparently due to a last minute visa request not working out, Sunil Kumar did not make it there .. Manoj Mahadevan also had some passport photo problems, unfortunately.

At the Australian Hardcourts Grade-1 ITF juniors that started yesterday, 15the seed Sanaa Bhambri (IND,38) was upset in the first round by Bojana Bobusic (AUS,70), 36 26 .. On the boy' side, there are three Indians .. [R1] (3) Karan Rastogi (IND,6) vs Steven Popovic (AUS,94) .. [R1] Tushar Liberhan (IND,48) vs (1) Sebastian Rieschick (GER,1) .. [R1] Divij Sharan (IND,38) vs Julian Reister (GER,83) .. Baptism by fire for Tushar LIberhan, who is playing his first grade-1 event - he runs into the world #1 junior .. The boys draw starts Monday.

Jan 17 Notes

Title #32 for Mahesh!! .. MB and Fabrice Santoro beat Jiri Novak/ Radek Stepanek (CZE) in a comeback, 46 75 63 !! .. Congratulations, Hesh! .. This is Mahesh's 10th title in the company of somebody other than LP .. He has 6 titles with Mirnyi and one each with Andrew Kratzmann, Mike Bryan, Jan-Micheal Gambill and Fabrice Santoro ..

At Hyderabad today, Rushmi Chakravarthi fell in the final of the $10K to Sandy Gumulya (INA), 16 36 .. It was still a pretty good run for Rushmi .. She had beaten the 4th seed yesterday, as Gumulya stopped the fine run of Ankita Bhambri .. Isha and Megha won the doubles title in a tough three-setter yesterday over the top seeds Rushmi-Sai .. See the Hyderabad satellite page for all the scores .. Next week, the players move to Delhi for the $10K there.

Jan 16 Notes

Mahesh had a good day today at the Heineken Open ATP in Auckland, as he won two rounds and reached the doubles final! .. [QF] (1) M.Bhupathi/ F.Santoro d. J-M.Gambill/ B.MacPhie, 76(1) 61 .. [SF] d. (3) J.Palmer/ P.Vizner, 61 62 .. In the final tomorrow, they meet Jiri Novak and Radek Stepanek of Czech republic.

Great news from Tampa Bay, Florida, as Harsh Mankad upset the top seed Peter Clarke (IRL,314), 76(5) 75 to reach the semifinals of the $10K futures .. Peter Clarke was ranked as high as around #225 in late 2002 before injuries sidelined him for a while - but he has been playing well and this is a pretty good win for HM .. It is a rare semfinal for an Indian in the US .. Rohan had made it to an SF in a 2002 future, if I remember correctly .. Good to see consistently good performance this week from HM .. Not sure whom he is playing tomorrow.

More good news -- 3rd seed Kartiki Bhat won the singles title at the grade-3 Rajshahi ITF juniors in Bangladesh, beating 4th seed Punam Reddy, 75 63 today .. Nice show by the girls .. Kartiki adds 50 more points to hier total and Punam 30 more, as both will be inside the top-140 or so next week .. Kartiki's results became a bit patchy after a reasonably long layoff for exams etc (after a very good trip with the ITF team to Europe), last year .. Looks like she is getting back to the kind of form she is capable of showing.

Jan 15-Note-3

Good news from Florida .. At the $10K USA F1 futures, [R2] (5) Harsh Mankad (IND,329) d. (wc) Jeremy Wurtzman (USA), 63 63 .. Wurtzman is the current US college #1, after he recently won the first of the four prestigious college grand slams, the Collegiate Indoors - which Harsh had won two years back before reaching #1 in identical fashion .. So this was the former #1 going against the latest one .. I suppose it is some proof of Harsh's improvement in two years that he was able to beat him that easily .. Wurtzman is actually pretty good, as his R1 upset of top-400 Gonzales showed .. Up next for HM is the top seed Peter Clarke (IRL,314) .. Go Harsh !!

Excellent news from the grade-3 ITF junior international in Rajshahi .. According to the Daily Star (Dhaka), 3rds seed Kartiki Bhat and 4th seed Punam Reddy have reached the singles final there .. Punam is playing very well - she upset the top seed Reddy beat Uzbekistan's Elina Arutyanova (UZB,174), 64 63 today .. Kartiki beat (60 62) E.Ashmitha, who had earlier beaten Gayatri Krishnan, who had upset second seed K.Pooja in R2 ..  Lots of points for a title and the girls have done a good job .. I don't have all the scores yet ..Only Navdeep Singh reached the boys singles semi though, and he too fell there .. Sanam Singh and Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan won the boys' doubles title, beating Anshuman Dutta and Rupesh Roy, who for some reason only played doubles there  .. Sandri Gangothri and Punam Reddy fell in the doubles semi ..

Jan 15 Note-2

Mahesh's quarterfinal match at the $404K Heineken Open in Auckland is now postponed to Friday, due to rain ..

As far as I can see there is no name changes or anything in the qualifying results at AO, and so there were indeed no lucky loser spots and Prakash must have ended up waiting the whole day as the first alternate and getting thoroughly disappointed afgter players showed up for all 64 scheduled matches .. That is the highest cut, at #279, that I remember at the AO, which often closes near 300 and then drops quite a bit with a few no-shows .. Tough .. I suppose Prakash will lose this week and next, and will probably play the qualies at the Waikaloa (Hawaii) challenger week after next .. He was in the qualifying list for that one where, the main draw closed initially at around #210 .. Harsh Mankad had considered going to Waikaloa too, but entered the 3rd week of the Florida futures as he would be quite low in the qualies at Hawaii .. The week after that is the Davis Cup in New Zealand ..

At Hydearabd, Ankita Bhambri upset the top seed Isha .. "Upset" is never a right word when it comes to Ankita .. From all reports she is about as talented as Isha, sania, etc - She can beat players in the top-250 and she can lose to junior players hardly the top-75 of nunior ranks as well, like she did just a couple of months back .. Here it was the Indian #1 who went down to her! .. Congratulations, Ankita! .. Rushmi is also in the semis with a solid with over Lisa Tognetti of Italy, who had looked good in the previous rounds .. In fact both the Italian players, new faces in the Indian events, went down today .. See the Hyderabad satellite page.

Jan 15 Note-1

Well, I just stayed up till 1.15 am here to see if there would be any good news at the Australian Open qualies -- nope.  Yikes.  The last match just started in the Q1 , according to the official site's scoreboard, and not a sign of any no-shows .. So I guess Prakash didn't get to play, despite being the first alternate as far as I know .. Extreme bad luck - I never expected a #280 rank to not get to play the AO qualies even as a lucky loser .. Oh well.

Jan 14 Note-1

The Australian Open qualies came out yesterday and the matches have started on thursday (it is already thursday there) .. The bad news was Prakash Amritraj missed the initial draw -- and as far as I can see Prakash with a December ranking of #280 ended up as the first alternate, as the draw closed with #279 Markus Hipfl! -- Yikes, that is extreme bad luck .. I assume he is there, and would make it in if any spots clear up due to no-shows .. Normally there are at leasta couple of them .. So far nothing, but Iwe will wait .. All of the Q1 matches get done today on 19 courts out there.

Mahesh and Fabrice Santoro play the QF at the Auckland ATP on thursday against jan-Micheal Gambill and Brian MacPhie.

Harsh Mankad had a very nice win yesterday at the $10K USA F1 futures in Tampa, Florida .. [R1] Harsh Mankad (IND,329) d. Ladislav Svarc (SVK,389), 64 76(5) .. He faces wildcard Jeremy Wurtzman (USA) next.

At the Hyderabad $10K, the secopnd round got done tgoday and four Indians (Isha, Rushmi, Sai and Ankita) reached the QFs .. Shruti and Samrita went down in tough three-setters to foreign opponents and Iciri Rai stretched Sai to three sets .. See the Hyderabad satellite page.

Bad news from the qualies for the $15K futures in UAE .. All the Indians went down in the qualies .. [Q2] Jaroslav Bulant (CZE) d. (7) Sunil Kumar Sipaeya, 36 75 60 .. [Q2] (16) Augustin Gensse (FRA) d. Shivang Mishra, 60 60 .. [Q2] (10) Alexander Hartman (SWE) d. Saurav Panja, 62 63 .. Nishank Mishra got a bit lucky with a Q2 walkover from Bart Beks (NED), but he lost in the Q3 to former top-50 player Rodolphe Gilbert (FRA), 16 16 .. Surprisingly tough competition in UAE for just a $15K event .. The number of tournaments seem to keep on reducing on the ATP tour (or it just seems that way to me), and we are seeing higher and higher cuts in the futures levels .. Actually the USA F1 has as high a cut as the UAE $15K whixch is itself is quite high.

A whole lot of Indian kids are at the grade-3 Rajshahi ITF international in Bangladesh .. 64-draw for boys and 32-draw for girls .. Navdeep Singh, Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan, Sanam Singh, and Anshuman Dutta had won two rounds and reached the PQF, and four Indian girls - Punam Reddy, Kartiki Bhat, E.Ashmitha, and Gayatri Krishnan had reached the QFs .. I believe Punam made the semis today, but I haven't seen today's scores yet .. She had a good win over GK Shwetha in the second round and Gayatrri Krishnan had a big upset of the second seedc Pooja Kommireddy in the PQF as wel, yesterday.

Jan 13 Notes

The Australian Open qualifying starts wednesday, and the draw hasn't been posted yet as of Tuesday night there.

At the $10K USA F1 futures in Tampa, the 5th seed Harsh Mankad has a tough draw, as he faces the second highest ranked unseeded payer, Ladislav Svarc (SVK,389) in the first round, with possibly the highest ranked unseeded payer in the second round and then the top seed in the QF if he gets that far .. Tough stuff in the US futures, as always.  Harsh isn't playing doubles, as the points are really too few to help improve his ranking.

The first round got started with a few matches yesterday at the Hyderabad $10K women's ITF, sponsored by "Soma-Seven Hills" at the SAI courts .. There was some sort of a shocking upset, as 3rd seeded Megha Vakahria went down 57 06 to talented Sandy Gumulya (INA) .. Apparently Megs allowed a bad line call to badly affect her at the beginning of the second set and her game fell apart - which can happen even faster when you are starting the new year with a bit of rust in the game as well .. See the draws and results at our Hyderabad satellite page.

In the first round of qualies at the $15K UAE F1 futures, a few Indians advanced and one got upset -- [Q1] (7) Sunil Kumar Sipaeya (IND) d. Andrei Somov (RUS) 36 63 60 .. [Q1] Artem Sitak (RUS) d. (13) Mustafa Ghouse 67(3) 64 62 .. [Q1] Nishank Mishra d. Ashkan Shahgholi (IRI) 61 62 .. [Q1] Shivang Mishra d. Mohamed Abdul Aziz Al Nuaimi (UAE) 60 62 .. [Q1] Saurav Panja d. Johannes Matschke (GER) 61 61 .. [Q1] (3) Gilles Simon (FRA) d. Rishi Behl (IND) 62 61 .. Haven't seen the next rounds' results.

Jan 12 Notes

Mahesh got the first win of the year today .. He is playing with a good partner at the $404 Heineken Open in Auckland, NZL - Frabrice Santoro (FRA,9) - and they are seeded first there .. [R1] (1) M.Bhupathi/ F.Santoro d. Gaston Gaudio (ARG)/ Nicolas Lapentti (ECU), 64 63 .. Their next round opponents will be decided later - either Koenig/Pala or Gambill/MacPhie ..

The first ATP rankings of the year came out today -- In singles, Prakash moved up to #265 and Harsh to #329 .. They are followed by Rohan at #356 and Sunil Kumar at #538 .. In doubles, after MB at #4 and LP at #13, we have Harsh at #183, Rohan at #210, Mustafa at #236 and Prakash at #238 .. Hope they will all raise these rankings during the year ..

No news yet on the Hyderabad $10 satellite that started today .. Awaiting news from Florida on the draw for Harsh at the $10K .. The Australian Open qualifying draw (for Prakash) would be known by late tomorrow or wednesday morning .. Navdeep Singh, Punam Reddy and company play at the Rajshahi grade-4 this week, I assume ..

.. Previous notes are at Notes for the week ending on Jan 12 ..

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.