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Indian-Tennis: Daily News for the week ending on Jan 23, 2006
(Previous week's notes) (Next week's notes) (Daily Notes Index 1997 thru 2006)

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Jan 23 Note-2

Good job by Prakash Amritraj at the $50K Waikoloa Challenger in Hawaii .. He qualified in with a good 62 76(3) win over the 5th seed Ti Chen (TPE,334) .. In the main draw, Prakash got nothing easy - he faces Jeff Morrison (USA,153) in the first round .. PA is also playing doubles - with Eric Taino (USA) .. They play Hiroki Fukaumi and Hijiri Kaneko of Japan .. Prakash has 6 points falling off next week, but with 3 points for qualifying in and 4 points for a win at the AO qualies, he has defended those points and will keep his rank at a nice #255 or so .. Hopefully he will go deep in the draw at Hawaii and do some damage!

The $10K women's ITF has started at Delhi .. Rushmi, Ankita and Isha are the top three seeds .. 7th seed Sai fell 61 26 26 to a junior player, Julia Glushko (ISR) - Sai was unfortunate to be affected by a neck sprain after the first set, it seems .. I will start a page and post all the scores soon.

Jan 23 Note-1

For a quick round up -- as you would know by now, Sania lost the R2 against Michaela Krajicek, and also lost the first rounds of doubles and mixed doubles at the AO .. She would need to go back and fix up a few kinks in her game and get back her winning ways and confidence .. No big deal, if you ask me - she should not listen to anybody who says she should turn into a "cautious and calculating" player - that would take away her bread and butter abilities which developed mostly due to her own agressive stroke play and hitting low percentage shots for ever and making them much more higher-percentage than it would be for almost any other player out there .. This is a long discussion and it is not simple to write quickly, but you would see more in our sania forum .. Basically she needs to stay with what got her here and keep working on improving the accuracy of her "instincts" .. Not saying that she should not use more strategies/tactics on court - just that they needs to be developed as part of her instincts .. If it takes a bit longer for her to reach top-5 because of that, so be it.

At the AO, 7th seeds Leander and Martin Damm are in the QFs of doubles after a win today against the 11th seeds Mahesh and Wesley Moodie (who finally showed some good form as a pair, as their R2 win over Llodra-Clement would show .. In the juniors, Sandhya Nagaraj and Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan lost hard-fought first round matches but Sanaa Bhambri disappointed a little in her first round loss .. Sanam Singh fired nine aces and hit 35 winners in taking care of his R1 opponent - he is looking as good as advertised! ..

Harsh Mankad is at the Wrexham challenger in UK, playing the R1 against wildcard Jamie Baker (GBR) .. He is playing doubles with Kristian Pless (DEN), on Tuesday, but his R1 singles is on wednesday .. Prakash Amritraj missed cut by a whisker at the Waikoloa challenger in Hawaii and is the top seedin the qualies .. After a Q1 bye, he easily beat Adam Thompson (NZL,801) 62 60 and plays the 5th seed Ti Chen (TPE) in the Q3 today ..

In other news, 17 year old 5th seed Tejesvi Rao won the grade-3 ITF at Kolkata last week, which is his first ITF singles title, upsetting 2nd seed Sumit Prakash Gupta in the semi and then the 3rd seed Anikanov of UZB (who had upset top seed Rupesh Roy in the other semi) .. Congrats .. Unfortunately, no girls managed to reach even the semifinals there :( .. See the results at the Kolkata juniors page ..

Jan 17 Note-2

Leander's doubles match at the Australain is scheduled for wednesday (and it is already late wednesday there)

There were no big upsets at the Kolkata ITF grade-3 juniors today, as the first round was completed .. See the results at the Kolkata juniors page..

Some nice news to report about a group of our u14 juniors who were in Australia last week, taking part in th u14 nationals there .. This was based on a program between the Asian Tennis Federation and the TennisAustralia to take the top 16 players in the Asian Juniors u14 (which was held last month) to Australia .. I had forgotten to talk about the nice work by Indian kids at that event where Adnya Naik won the top spot among girls, with Sudanwa Sitaram finishing #2 (see sameer's forum posts for links to AITA articles etc) .. Anyway, with 4 Indian boys (Sudanwa, Mansingh Athare, Sai Paranjpe and Ronak Manuja) finishing in the top-8 in the Asian 14s, we had 5 of the 16 that ATF took to Australia .. Adnya Naik did very well to finish with a QF at the Gosford Australian u14 Nationals .. In fact Sudanwa and Mansigh reached the final16 also .. Only 4 players from the Asian team of 16 managed to get to the final16 stages and we had three of them - and it is even nicer to see, as none of our players were seeded .. See the scores and details for our players in my post in the forum .. Good to see our kids getting a chance to go abroad and play well against some decent competition .. I must say though that Australia is not really doing all that great in junior tennis, compared to Europe, South America and USA though .. We still need to do more to find a way to send out kids to Europe at the age 13 and 14 ..

Speaking of that, I just typed a few comments in th forum about the need to do something to get our girls junior tennis moving again .. The pipeline has really been dry for over 3 years now and it is a very bad situation .. So I was hoping to find those just over 14 years of age like Ashwarya Shrivastava and Rushmi Teltumbde playing the ongoing ITF circuit in India .. They could well have some reasons, and I don't want to sound critical of just them alone, but generally I have seen a lot of our girls missing the opportunities to play ITFs early enough, over the last few years .. Everyone needs to remember that Sania took a bus to Pakistan when she was just 13 to go find an event to play .. Girls do need to get going on the ITF circuit when they are 14 or just before that, so that they get the proper idea about the physical standards of international tennis and be ready by the time they are 17 .. I thought I would repeat some of these things .. It is nice to know of our having produced a Sania (and Ankita, Isha, Sanaa, too), but we are hardly seeing much lately on the girls' side, though we continue to bring up a couple of top-50 or top-25 juniors every year on the boys side .. Something needs to be done URGENTLY on this matter to prime the pump .. Perhaps I am over-reacting, and somebody like a Poojashree or Sweta Solanki from the u15 levels would make me feel fine soon (like, this week at Kolkata, I hope) ..

Jan 17 Note-1

Very good start by Sania at the AO!!! .. [R1] (32) Sania Mirza (IND,32) d. Victoria Azarenka (BLR,156), 76(6) 62 .. The match had enough of the drama that is typical of Sania's matches .. You can see some of the details in the match progress reports (1, 2) in the forum .. Sania got a break in the 8th game and was srving for the set, but then proceeded to lose 3 in a row, and found Azarenka serving for the set .. Wouldn't you expect that Sania would break back? .. Yes, she did .. Then she was up 4-1 in the tiebreaker, soon falling back to 5-5 .. She finally converted her third set pt and took the set .. The second set was basically a breeze ..

Now she faces Michaela Krajicek in the second round ..

The doubles draw has come out and Sania is playing with the former world #1, Corina Morariu (USA,11), a terrific partner .. She has partnered Lindsey Davenport (they were the runner-up at the AO doubles last year) .. A former Wimbledon doubles champion, Morariu made news with her long time away with Leukemia, remissions and chemotherapy, before making a big comeback a couple of years back .. SM and CM face the 14th seeds Kuznetsova and Mauresmo in the first round.

Sanam, Jeevan and Sandhya were at the grade-1 Nottinghill ITF juniors in Australia this week .. Sanam was seeded 3rd and Jeevan 6th .. Sanam (probably jetlagged after he flew in quickly after his title at Delhi) was upset in the first round but Jeevan is in the PQF with two wins .. Sandhya had a tough loss too, though against a top player .. See my post in the forum for scores ..

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.

.. Previous notes are at Notes for the weeks ending on Jan 16, 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