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LP/MB/NV/Indian-Tennis: Notes for the week ending on Jan 20, 2003
(Previous week's notes) (Next week's notes) (Daily Notes Index 1997 thru 2001)

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Jan 20 Note-1

An excellent day at the Australian Open, as all four matches with Indians ended in wins for our guys .. As I was out, I don't have any match reports today, except some stats off the AO site .. First the AO updates .. All the rest of the news, on the Jorhat futures, Kolkata grade-3 juniors, etc, coming soon today.

Leander and David Rikl advanced in a 1 hour 40 minutes match against James Blake (USA) and Mark Merklein (BAH) .. [R3] #9 L.Paes/ D.Rikl d. J.Blake/ M.Merklein, 64 46 62 .. LP-DR seem to have served quite well in the match, with 6 aces and service speeds up to 201 kmph, which is a bit unexpected - both of them being not known as hard servers .. They also had no double faults .. JB-MM had 4 aces and 4 DFs .. Converting 4 of 6 break points and staying tough saving 5 of 6 BPs in the first and 3rd sets, was the key for our guys .. For the match, LP-DR were 5 of 10 in BPs, while the other guys were 3 of 8 .. Somewhat of a close match with 85 points won by LP-DR to 73 by JB-MM, but our guys seem to have played more solid tennis with just 1 unforced error to 8 by the other guys .. DFs and UEs seem to be the primary difference in there .. Good to see LP-DR startung off their partnership with a QF in the first grand slam together .. 250 points for them so far - and they both can use all the points right now .. In the QF, they face the 16th seeded pair from Argentina, Gaston Etlis and Martin Rodriguez .. The second seeds Bryans and the 5th seeds Damm/Suk fell and the 6th seeds Black-Ullyett got upsets in the PQFs, but top seeds Knowles-Nestor and 3rd seeds Johnson-Palmer are in the QFs .. Actually LP-DR is the 3rd highest ranked team left now.

Mahesh seems to have a good new partner in mixed doubles, in Iroda Tulyaganova of Uzbekistan .. They reached the QF today with a super-tiebreaker win .. [R2] M.Bhupathi/ I.Tulyaganova d. Nathan Healey (AUS)/ Evie Dominikovic, 76(6) 16 (10-3) .. The stats in this match were all quite well skewed in favor of the other team .. MB-IT had 1 ace, 4 DFs and 12 DEs to the other team's 6, 4 and 8 by NH-ED .. 76 points by our team to 82 by the other team .. 1 break out of 3 chances by MB-IT, 3 of 7 by the others! .. But the super-tiebreaker was a different story, as Hesh and Iroda came up big when it counted winning all 7 of their service points and winning three minibreaks on the others' 6 serves .. Though it worked out for Mahesh today and I am happy for that, those stats show why super-tiebreakers should not be used in tennis .. A team that had lost the first set 50 points to 52, and won the second set 29 to 14, should not have to lose because of a couple of good second serve returns from across the net in a supertiebreaker! .. The set tiebreakers are not a bad idea at all, and it was introduced some decades back with some good thinking by some smart people who knew what they were doing .. Supertiebreakers is just crap; it has no place in top-level tennis .. OK, it's only mixed doubles and I can probably live with AO using it just for MxD .. MB-IT could have Leander-Martina in the Quarterfinals, if LP-MN can upset the 3rd seeds Knowles-Likhovtseva in the R2 .. Mahesh will definitely see a former partner across the net in the QF :-)

Talking of super-tiebreakers, there was another R2 match where Joshua Eagle and Barbara Schett lost a match in similar fashion, 46 61 (7-10) .. Lost the first set 25-31, dominated the second set 26-14 and lost on just two unforced errors in the supertiebreak .. I have mentioned many times how the total points won in a match is almost never in favor of the losing team .. You could check some 50 matches and you will be hard-press to find even one or two with such results, even in games involving final set tibreakers or many tiebreakers .. That is the beauty of set tiebreakers which almost never causes unfair results .. That is not at all the case with supertiebreakers .. The two examples I gave are not exceptions but rather the rule .. So far at the AO, there have been 6 supertiebreaker matches, and 5 of them have gone to teams winning fewer points .. It is just wrong ..

Anyway, back to results -- and very nice win by #72 Somdev Dev Varman in the very first grand slam juniors he has played .. [R1] S.K.D.Varman d. Rick Schmidt (GER,71), 57 64 62 .. Schmidt is quite a talented kid, though only 15 years old .. Somdev next faces 18 yr old Guy Thomas (GBR,52) who upset the 9th seed Scott Oudsema (USA,17), 63 62 .. That will be a tougher match .. #63 Karan had an easier first round - [R1] Karan Rastogi d. (wc) Lachlan Ferguson (AUS,214), 62 62 .. He has a much tougher second round match against the 4th seed, Mathieu Montcourt (FRA,5) .. On the girls's side I had hoped that Isha would be playing .. But she is not there .. As I had reported earlier, Sania is in a training stint right now and skipped the AO .. But it's good to see both the Indian boys advancing to the second round in a grand slam.

Jan 19 Note-2

LP plays doubles R3, MB plays MxD second round and two juniors will also be in action Monday at the AO (sunday evening in the US) .. Somdeav Varman and Karan Rastogi are playing the juniors singles first round .. My updates here will be a little late today, but please check out the forum for any news, and check out the chatroom during the matches.

Jan 19 Note-1

Well, LP-Rikl's match was in the schedule for Sunday originally, and I had noticed that it was put just ahead of Rikl's mixed doubles .. That is unusual, as they have to give a little rest time between the matches .. Must have been a mistake .. It looks like they postponed the doubles R3 match .. Rikl is playing mixed doubles as of 1 pm there .. Almost definitely LP-DR match is postponed, probably to Monday.

They had promised us that a website will be up by this weekend .. Globosport's web guys got the thing up early Sunday morning .. Check out .. Unlike the Chennai Open website, this one looks like it is made by some folks who knew what they were doing .. Nice, crisp design and a lot of nice stuff there .. I notice that they had the guts to put LIVE SCORES link on every page in there. The one thing the fans care for most .. The live scores page shows scoreboards for all the courts too, so they are serious about score updates .. Looks like we are all set for the "glam slam of tennis" ..  I have no idea what that is, but they call it so, and it sounds hip .. There is also probably more interesting yakketi-yakki stuff on that web site than in any other tournament site I have seen; even a wise-crack from Billie Jean King, "we need to take this out of the society pages and into the sports pages" about women's tennis! .. Check out the site.

By the way, if you want to know more about Mahesh Bhupathi's Globosport company, check out - that's also a nice web site, though it uses a whole lot of flash plugin which I am scared of; but then I am old-fashioned, having been on the net since 1986, pretty much ever since the internet was invented by Al Gore :-) .. Flash has crashed many a browser session over the years ..

Jan 18 Note-2

LP plays the doubles PQF on Sunday .. MB has Sunday also off, as the MxD first round matches are stilkl to be done and it will get serious only from Monday onwards .. #9 L.Paes/ D.Rikl vs James Blake (USA)/ Mark Merklein (BAH) starts on sunday at about 1 pm there (7.30 am India .. 2 am London .. 9 pm SATURDAY New York), +/- 15 minutes .. Come to our chatroom for point-by-point score updates.

In other news, the tournament director CG Krishna Bhupathi announced today officially that a singles wildcard at the Hyderabad Indian Open has been given to Sania Mirza .. They will announce the remaining two wildcards within 10 days or so .. I am not sure who will get those .. Though she has not done anything much for over a year with the injury and marriage break, it would be nice if Nirupama Sanjeev is asked if she would like to get a wildcard .. My guess is that she herself does not know yet about her form to play there, but considering everything that Nirupama has done in making a lot of girls in India believe that they can also compete in the world tour (frankly, WTA probably didn't exist for Indian girls before Niru!), it would be a great gesture to ask if she would be interested .. Not sure if she has been contacted, though .. But I also don't think she would consider it a crime if she is not given a wildcard .. Anyway, I think CGK and Hesh may hold on to the wildcards for a while longer anyway, just in case they manage to get any top players intersted in a last minute entry.

As for Niru, she will be at the $50K challenger starting at Fullerton, California, on Monday .. That is about half hour away from where I live - actually in the same club where Harsh Mankad won his first collegiate title, back in December 99 .. Barring a conflict with having a class to teach, I am sure I will find time to drive down there and cover her first round match.

There was another announcement last week, which was a surprise to me - that Sania will be partnering Mary Pierce in doubles with a wildcard at Hyderabad! .. How about that? .. Hey, it's good to be Sania these days! :-) .. Normally I would scream if a 16 yr old is given that kind of goodies, because these things often have a negatove effect on young kids .. Again, Sania seems different, in that she just does not seem to think too much about these things and let it affect her tennis (at least so far) .. It's indeed an honor for her to be playing at age 15 and 16 with partners like Leander Paes and Mary Pierce.

On a non-tennis matter, sorry to see that India went down to Bangladesh in Dhaka today in overtime on a goldern goal, in the SAFF football semifinal, where we are two time defending champs .. Some of us, even coach Constantine, expected this as a possibility, once Bhutia and 3 or 4 other starters were out with injuries after the domestic season (which is too long and badly organized) .. But what I wanted to get off my chest is about what happened in the first match out there aginst Pakistan, where they beat India 1-0, their first such upset in donkey's years .. The PAK national anthem was played before the match, but "Janaganamana" wasn't .. The Indian team waited for a while and then had to simply play the match, with the whole stadium seemingly pro-Pakistan and constantly booing India .. I guess the we- hate- the- big- brother- bully attitude of the Bangladeshis is understandable, but this was a bit too much .. Hey Bangladesh, just go ahead and have a blasted reunification with your West Pakistan bosses if you love them so much! .. I don't want to get too much into politics, but I am mad .. Not playing the anthem was unpardonable .. I have heard of the wrong anthem being played in Olympics and all that, but not about it not being played at all .. And nary an apology being tendered .. Worse still, the Bangladeshi newspapers seemed to find it all not worthy enough to even report .. Hell, somebody made a mistake and there is nothing to it, and somebody might get to the bottom of it later - no big deal .. Damnit, Bangladesh, apologize first to India and then say what went wrong .. Now, my fellow Indians - you think about what the Indian newspapers' and the public's reaction would be, if say some fanatic forgot to play the anthem for Pakistan before a match, say in Ahmedabad :-) .. Not that it is wrong - such public/press reaction is often needed and justified .. That it did not happen in Bangladesh is what doesn't sit well with me .. It hurts .. I just wanted to put that out there .. Take a look at Arunava's write-ups .. He also has taken issue with it ..  All sports fans in India should know about these things happening .. Sometimes it is more than sport, and we need to know that it is more than sports and that it is not always done with the spirit of sports .. Mouth off your feelngs in our forum or any of the sports-india forums .. OK, back to tennis.

Jan 18 Note-1

At the Delhi futures final, 5th seed Rohan Bopanna could not upset the 2nd seed Dmitri Vlasov (RUS,305) in a 46 16 final .. Vlasov is only 20 years old, but is quite a telented player .. He was a semifinalist at the US Open juniors in 1999, and hit the senior circuit from early 2000 .. He went up inside top-350 quite fast but has been "paying his dues" at the challenger level from then on .. I found one of my late 2000 notes on him beating Fazal 60 61 at the East Hampton futures .. That means he is a quality player ..  Has played 20 challengers, and even won a challenger in Russia last year, going up near top-260 .. So, clearly he is much more experienced at 20 years of age than 22 yr old Rohan, and I guess it showed today .. I thought I would talk about that, as we all get way too hopeful with the positive results from Rohan and Harsh recently .. There is no easy way in the ATP circuit grind these days and it takes a long while even for the talented ones to get up there .. By the way, here is the article in The Hindu about the big match between Rohan and Harsh yesterday .. I noticed one thing in the agency reports about the match - that it was a baseline duel .. That was surprising to some extent .. RB's serve was inconsistent .. Rohan said the low first serve percentage was because he was putting more shoulder into his serves for extra pace because Harsh was troubling him with cross court returns .. Looks like HM did manage to pin him back a bit, not letting him get into his full serve-and-volley rhythm .. It was nice to see that RB still had enough to pull through in the end, though HM made a great comeback from 46 24 down to take it to the 3rd an even have a match pt at 4-5 in the 3rd .. Rohan came up with a deep volley to escape there and then his service started hitting at the right time in the tiebreaker ..

Thought I would mention the details because it shows us fans some of what goes on in these matches .. The players know about these things but the tennis fans often cannot figure out why certain matches go certain ways .. It takes a lot of matches at each level (top350-500 range, and then top 200-400 range, then top 150-300, so on), before one can win consistently enough .. The match today against a talented Vlasov with 20 challengers worth of experience (RB has played just one or two), is the indication of the work that needs to be done .. The positive is whether one is able to beat some of the top players when the strategy selected and the type of game of the opponent make things work out .. THAT is the positive on RB's case .. He was able to beat a top-100 Hyung-Taik when things fell into place .. Same with the top-200 wins in Tashkent .. A lot of the players ranked in the 300-500 range may be unable to do that .. That doesn't mean it is automatic for RB to beat the same lower ranked guys .. What is needed is to play a lot of matches against such experienced opponents (shall I say, "grinders") out there .. Some of the players RB will face in the top-200-400 range may not have the weapons to beat higher ranked players like RB does, but may have the kind of game to beat RB right now! .. That is where experience helps .. It's a long journey, and hopefully he will not take too long in the upper futures levels and challenger levels learning how to win when the bread and butter power game strategies do not work .. So far, very good! ... Just my opinions - the usual disclaimers on my not being an expert apply, of course.

Looking forward to another good week for Rohan and Harsh at Jorhat, Assam, from Monday .. After grass and hard courts, now they move to clay courts!

Jan 17 Note-3

Correction -- The doubles title at Delhi was won by Ghouse-Uppal and not Ghouse-Punna as I had written in the last note .. So PTI did have this one correct .. I have made the changes in my Delhi futures page .. I had made the draw originally based on Steve G's draws, which are normally the most reliable source of info - but there was a rare mistake there .. I checked the official ITF draw spreadsheet and it is indeed Vishal Uppal .. That explains how they beat Bopanna-Kannan and Mankad-Ramaswami .. It would have been a bit surprising, had Ghouse-Punna pulled off a title; not that P.Vishal isn't a good player - it is not easy for new combinations to beat the kind of teams they beat to get the title .. Ghouse-Uppal are of course the Asiad bronze medallists and a pair who have played a lot together.

Jan 17 Note-2

LP came back with Martina Navratilova and won the first round of mixed doubles also this evening at the AO .. [R1] (wc) L.Paes/ M.Navratilova d. (wc) S.Draper/ L.McShea, 63 75 .. I have no details on this match .. LP and MB get Saturday off, and should both be back on Sunday for the next rounds.

The last time Harsh and Rohan went up against each other, I said there was a nice healthy rivalry building between these two .. After having lost the India F3 final at Chennai to Rohan in September in a 67(5) 64 46, Harsh got him 63 64 in the Chandigarh F5 semi in October .. Today it was time for Rohan to pay him back .. And it was another classic - [SF] #5 R.Bopanna d. H.Mankad, 64 46 76(3) .. I don't know any details yet, but the PTI report says RB had to "quell a brilliant comeback" from HM .. Once it gets to a tiebreaker, RB with his booming serves is nearly impenetrable these days .. Good to see both the guys in good form ahead of the Davis Cup coming up in three weeks .. The win gives Rohan 12 ATP points for 76 total - enough to move just inside #350 .. Harsh picked up 6 points for 42 total and should move to a career-high near #475 in two weeks as the top two Indians ..  With Harsh not having any points to defend till September, we can expect both these guys to be inside top-350 soon .. RB is in good shape for grand slam qualifiers with another 20 odd points or so .. Harsh also would be getting there in a few months I think .. Rohan plays #2 seed Dmitri Vlasov (RUS) tomorrow in the final .. Vlasov came back 16 63 63 against country mate Vadim Davletshin ..

The doubles title went to Mustafa Ghouse and Vishal Punna in a 63 64 final later this evening, over Mankad and Ramaswami .. I suppose they also made use of Harsh being tired after the 2 hour 30 minutes singles match .. The PTI report said the winners were Asiad bronze medalists - which is wrong .. It was Ghouse and Vishal Uppal who won the medal, not Vishal Punna.

Jan 17 Note-1

Good to see Leander in some sort of a run in a grand slam again .. At the Australian Open, [R2] #9 L.Paes/ D.Rikl d. H.Arazi/ Y.El-Aynaoui, 76(4) 61 .. This was a close match in the first set but became quite a breeze in the second set for our guys .. Here is how the match went .. [set-1] LP-DR had double break pts in the 5th game but no luck .. They had another 30-40 chance in the 7th game and again could not push it in .. LP had to go through a couple of deuces before holding to even it at 4-4 .. At 5-6 LP served a love game to send it to a tiebreaker .. Aynoui lost a point on his serve but Rikl gave the minibreak back in the next point .. Our guys got the next break off El Aynaoui again to go up 5-3 .. At 5-4, Rikl made no mistake in closing it out with two good serves .. The first set took 51 minutes ... [set-2] In the second game of the second set, LP-DR had break pts at 30-40 and AD out on Arazi's serve, which went wasted .. At the second AD out, they finally converted the BP to go up 2-0 ..  It was the first break point in six chances so far in the match .. There was no problem after that for LP-DR .. In the 4th game they made no mistake in converting the next break point they got, at AD out againt El Aynaoui, to go up 4-0 .. The match was over soon after that.

In the PQF, Paes-Rikl will play James Blake (USA) and Mark Merklein (BAH) who upset the 7th seeds Kafelnikov and Stepanek, 67 64 63 .. But first LP comes back in the evening with Martina Navratilova for the mixed doubles first round.

Also advancing were Mahesh and the new MxD partner Iroda, upsetting the 8th seeds in the first round of Mixed Doubles .. [R1] M.Bhupathi/ I.Tulyaganova d. B.MacPhie/ R.Fujiwara, 62 62 .. MB-IT and BM-RF traded breaks in the first game and the 4th game to be even at 2-2 in the first set .. It was pretty much a no-contest after that .. They broke Brian MacPhie the 6th game and were up 5-2 soon .. They got Rika Fujiwara for a second time, with triple break points, converting the second .. They had won 6 games in a row to take the set in just 22 minutes .. The other guys tightened things up a bit and took MB-IT to a break point in the 3rd game of the second set .. That was the end of their resistence, though .. MB-IT stepped on it again and went up 3-1 with a break on Fujiwara soon .. They got yet another beak on Rika's serve in the 8th game and that was the match .. It took 50 minutes to complete.

Jan 16 Notes

In the second game of the second set, LP-DR had break pts at 30-40 and AD out on Arazi's serve, which went wasted .. At the second AD out, they finally converted the BP to go up 2-0 ..  It was the first break point in six chances so far in the match .. In the 4th game they made no mistake in converting the first chance, at AD out againt El Aynaoui to go up 4-0

LP-Rikl play doubles and MB-Tulyaganova play mixed doubles at Australian Open at about 1 pm Friday (7.30 am India, 9 pm Thursday, NY) .. Come to our chatroom to follow the matches.

At the Delhi futures, two of the three Indians advanced in the QFs .. Harsh Mankad got revenge on last week's champion Todor Enev, who had beaten him in the SF at Lucknow .. HM won 64 62 to reach the semi and pick up 6 ATP points .. He will run into the 5th seed Rohan Bopanna who also won in easy straight sets .. So we have the big matchup between our top two players .. These two are 1-1 against each other in recent matches and tomorrow's match should be another dandy between the two, I am sure .. Anyway, it is good to see once again that an Indian will be in the final .. Sunil Kumar went down,partly also due to a hurting shoulder that acted up .. Harsh-Ajay are in the final of doubles too, after upsetting the top seeds today in a comeback three-setter .. They face Ghouse and Punna Vishal .. See the Delhi futures page.

At the Bangladesh ITF grade-3 juniors (Dhaka), Chatwinder Singh has reached the final .. 14 yr old Madura Ranganathan went down after a big fight to Pichaya Laosirichon (THA,84), 64 67 36 .. That is impressive stuff from Madura, ranked below 200 now, against a decent player who is much more experienced.

Jan 15 Notes

Just got back .. Had to be away for 4 days, but I see that Dhruv and company have been keeping up with the scores/news in the forum .. Good to have all of you in the forum .. Some quick updates:

In the Australian Open doubles first round,  the 9th seeds LP and Rikl beat Hanley and Kratzmann, 64 63 but the 4th seeds MB and Eagle went down 46 64 46 to Cibelec and Skoch, in some sort of a shocker .. LP-Rikl play Arazi and El-Aynoui of Morocco next .. LP and Martina Navratilova are a wildcard in the mixed doubles and play wildcards Draper and McShea .. MB and Iroda Tulyaganova play 16th seeds McPhie/ Fujiwara.

Indians have been doing quite nicely at the Delhi futures this week .. Harsh Mankad, Rohan Bopanna and Sunil Kumar reached the QF of the $10K+H futures .. Harsh beat Pozdnev and Peric (who had upset the top seed in the R1) .. #5 Rohan beat Vishal Uppal and Peter Handoyo .. Sunil upset the 8th seed Suwandi and then beat Manoj Mahadevan .. None of the three have dropped a set so far either, but some tough matches now in the QFs .. Good show, considering that this is the futures with the best entry field ever in India .. Mankad-Ramaswami and Ghouse-P.Vishal are in the semis of doubles too, along with Nitin and Kim of Korea .. I have added all the results in the Delhi futures page.

#74 Karan Rastogi had a big 64 63 upset of the 8th seed and world #11 Adrian Unger (ROM) at the big ITF grade-1 Australain Hardcourts which is the run up to the Australain Open juniors next week .. He had beaten #98 Fotakis (AUS) in the R1 as well, but went down in the PQF to one of the most talented US kids out there Scott Oudsema, ranked #15 .. Somdev dev Varman also has a nice couple of wins, over top-150 players, before falling in a tough 67 63 26 match to #44 Sergiy Stakhovsky (UKR) .. Good to see these two being very competitive out there .. Karan has already had three top-50 wins, and he is the youngest Indian to do that in the last so many years - actually his junior record against top players is quite a bit ahead of where Sunil Kumar's at the same age .. Experience will bring more consistency in his game.

More later ..

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(?) ..

.. Previous notes are at Notes for the week ending on Jan 13 ..

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.