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Indian-Tennis: Daily News for the week ending on Jan 30, 2006
(Previous week's notes) (Next week's notes) (Daily Notes Index 1997 thru 2006)

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Jan 30 Notes

Some good news from Italy - Neha Uberoi who has not played much for quite some time, had a couple of good wins in Italy .. At $75k Ortisei Challanger in Ortisei, [Q1] Neha Uberoi (USA,351) d. Patricia Mayr (AUT,618) 60 63 .. [Q2] Agnieszka Radwanska (POL,335) 64 64 .. She was to face the second seed #160 Vanessa Henke in the qualies but the draw was changed (Vanessa may have made the main draw) and she got an ALT player in the Q1 .. Not sure whom she is playing in the Q3.

The ITF "Bhavna Swarup Memorial" $10K for women has started at Muzaffarnagar .. On grass courts .. No big surprised today ..  I have added all the draws and qualifying/maindraw results at the Muzaffarnagar $10K page.

Jan 29 Notes

Hello Grand Slam Title #10 for Mahesh Bhupathi !!! .. [F] Mahesh Bhupathi/ Martina Hingis (SUI) d. Daniel Nestor (CAN)/ Elena Likhovtseva (RUS), 63 63 .. To celebrate this (actually as a coincidence), we have revamped the sports-india.com site that hosts the TennisIndia forum .. Read  the nice article that Dhruiv has written as the lead story, to get the match details - in case you have not read any articles yet on the match .. The key stat was that Mahesh and Martina made ZERO unforced errors.  Wow! -- that is pretty much unheard of .. They were read to take the title and took care of business easily .. This gives Mahesh his 6th grand slam mixed doubles title (with the 6th different parttner, that too!) .. He has also gonbe three grand slam in a row, winning titles - he won the Wimbledon and US Open with Pierce and Hantuchova .. During this 16 match win streak, MB and his partners have dropped just TWO sets out of 34 .. Amazing .. So, another Martina makes a comebacks and finda an Indian friend to help get her another GS title! .. Here are Mahesh's GS titles so far -
1997: French Open MxD w/ Rika Hiraki (JPN)
1999: French Open doubles w/ Leander Paes (IND)
1999: Wimbledon doubles w/ Leander Paes (IND)
1999: US Open MxD w/ Ai Sugiyama (JPN)
2001: French Open doubles w/ Leander Paes (IND)
2002: Wimbledon MxD w/ Elena Likhovtseva (RUS)
2002: US Open doubles w/ Max Mirnyi (BLR)
2005: Wimbledon MxD w/ Mary Pierce (FRA)
2005: US Open MxD w/ Daniela Hantuchova (SVK)
2006: Australian Open MxD w/ Martina Hingis (SUI)
Congratulations, Mahesh! .. The Australian Open website said in their front page that Hingis won her title with "Indian Doubles Legend" Bhupathi.  That is the first official reference of Mahesh as a legend.  Tough to disagree.  He could well be the best Mixed doubles player ever, for that matter! ..

In other news, Punam Reddy (IND,554) was at the $25K challenger in Rockford, Illinois, USA .. She was the 15th seed in the qualies but lost 26 26 to Danielle Brown (GBR,783)

Jan 28 Notes

Leander and Martin Damm played their heart out today but just could not get over the hump at the end of a very close three-setter in the final of the Australian Open doubles .. 63 36 46 loss to the top seeded Bryan twins .. One of the Bryans said after the match that he had nothing left at the end of the match .. Leander, by all accounts, and according to the commentators of the TV coverage, was the best player on display today .. One particular diving volley stood out in everybody's mind .. Lee can still play top-notch doubles .. Anybody who thought Leander was done and on the way out - think again! .. The big miss was late in the third set today though, when LP-MD let go off as many ofs 4 break chances in a game to even it up .. To the Bryans' credit, they held up when it counted in the end .. Still, Big congratulations go to Lee for a fabulous run with his new partner to the final ..  Lp will climb back in the top-10 after this show - and LP-MD will indeed be a force this year in doubles if they keep it up.

Shikha Uberoi had a very tough break in the qualies of the big Tier-I $1.3M .. She got drawn against the top seed Iveta Benesova (RUS,42) and lost 06 26 .. Actually the scoreline is what leaves me a little sad.  OK, next week, Shikha.

At the ITF "BPCL" Delhi $10K event, the title went today to Ankita Bhambri who beat Ksenia Palkina 64 63 ..Ankita dropped serve a few times, but stayed ahead through the match against Palkina who had pulled some big upsets this week .. Ankita also showed that she is an inch ahead of thise like Isha and Megha at this point with wins over them in the SF and QF .. Unfortunately, as her partner Rushmi came down with an injury and Ankita had to give a walkover in the doubles final yesterday ..  See all the results from Delhi in the Delhi women's $10K page.

Jan 27 Notes

Not a great week for our men - as Mankad went down in the second round at the Wrexham challenger (UK) and Amritraj went down in the first round at the Waikoloa challenger (USA) .. [R1] (1) Jean-rene Lisnard (MON,109) d. Harsh Mankad (IND,229), 76(9) 61 .. [R1] Jeff Morrison (USA,153) d. (Q) Prakash Amritraj (IND,258) 63 62 .. Well, the one positive is that Harsh played a top player very closely for a set .. Actually was quite close to pulling off the first set there, I believe .. Hopefully he is getting his form back.  Prakash ios off for next week, as he prepares to travel to Korea for the Davis Cup in 2 week's time .. Harsh is expected to be the third seed at a tough $15K+H futures in Germany next week - that is almost like a challenger, with an entry cut at #355 ..

Jan 26 Note-1

Pretty good day at the AO, as Leander continued his torrid pace in doubles, reaching the men's doubles final and the mixed doubles semi, and Mahesh and Hingis came through late at night to make the MxD semi as well .. The one bad news was that Sanam Singh got upset in the PQF of boys singles, as that draw now sees none of the top-10 seeds reching the QF stage!
[PQF] (3) Sanam Singh (IND,5) l. Austen Childs (NZL,47), 64 36 36
[SF] (7) Leander Paes/ Martin Damm (CZE) d. Mariusz Fyrstenberg (POL)/ Marcin Matkowski (POL), 62 64
[QF] Leander Paes/ Nathalie Dechy (FRA) d. Frantisek Cermak (CZE)/ Anna-Lena Groenefeld (GER), 61 76(4)
[QF] Mahesh Bhupathi/ Martina Hingis (SUI) d. (8) Todd Perry (AUS)/ Rennae Stubbs (AUS), 75 76(5)
So we now have the big matches to come ..
[SF] Leander Paes/ Nathalie Dechy (FRA) vs (6) Daniel Nestor (CAN)/ Elena Likhovtseva (RUS)
[SF] Mahesh Bhupathi/ Martina Hingis (SUI) vs (5) Paul Hanley (AUS)/ Samantha Stosur (AUS)
[F] (7) Leander Paes/ Martin Damm (CZE) vs (1) Bob Bryan (USA)/ Mike Bryan (USA)
Only the two mixed doubles matches are scheduled for Friday (about 5 pm for Lee-Nathalie, and about 6.30 pm for Hesh-Martina)

Jan 25 Note-2

Harsh Mankad (IND,229) had a pretty good 63 76(6) win in the first round of the $25K+H Wrexham challenger, as he beat Jamie Baker (GBR,377), who is a talented upcoming 19 year old .. Baker has been coming on strongly in the last few months with a few futures finals and titles, and had even beaten #214 Pequery last week at a British future .. Some of you may remember him frequantly running into Karan Rastogi a couple of years back when Jamie was ranked as high as #6 in the juniors .. He also had a 3-1 record against Karan .. Both are among a couple of good upcoming players who are coming into top-350 now .. Harsh had to save several set points in the second set to pull it off, after being down 1-4 and having to make a comeback on Jamie .. Good to see HM playing a decent match .. It's been a while!

Qualifier Prakash Amritraj (IND,258) could not do a whole lot though, against Jeff Morrison (USA,153) in a 63 62 loss in the R1 at the $50K Waikoloa challenger in Hawaii today .. PA came back and won the doubles first round with Eric Tano (USA) - they beat the Japanese pair, Hiroshi Fukaumi and Hijiri Kaneko, 64 61

At the Delhi $10K, the 2nd seed Ankita Bhambri, 3rd seed Isha Lakhani and 6th seed Megha Vakharia reached the QF .. Good to see Megs making yet another comeback after so many injury breaks over the last 2 years or so .. She faces Ankita next.

Jan 25 Note-1

Only one match was on the schedule for Indians today at the Australian Open .. In the junior doubles draw, the top seeds Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan and Sanam Singh were upset by the Poland pair, Blazej Koniusz and Grzegorz Panfil, 64 36 63, in a close match .. Let us hope that LP and Martin Damm will get us some revenge tomorrow by winning the men's doubles SF over a Polish pair ..

Harsh Mankad and Prakash Amritraj play their respective first rounds at Wrexham (UK) and Waikoloa (USA) challengers later today .. Prakash is also scheduled for doubles later today .. Harsh and Kristian Pless advanced the the QF at Wrexham with an easy 62 62 win over a French pair, David Guez and Edouard Roger-Vasselin yesterday ..

At the Delhi $10 for women yesterday, the top seed Rushmi Chakravarthi was upset 62 61 by a junior player, Ksenia Palkina of Kyrgyzstan .. Reportedly, Rushmi was simply rusty in her game after a relatively long break .. I am still very surprised at the scoreline though .. Isha, Ankita, Megha and Parul advanced with strong matches.

Jan 24 Notes

Paes-Damm are really cooking! .. They upset the 2nd seeds Bjorkman-Mirnyi to reach the doubles SF at the Australian Open .. Both Mahesh and Leander are in the mixed doubles QFs too .. With Sanam Sigh reaching the junior QF of singles, this was a pretty good day at Melbourne - the Indians went 5-1 in the matches!! ..
[QF] (7) Leander Paes/ Martin Damm (CZE) d. (2) Jonas Bjorkman (SWE)/ Max Mirnyi (BLR), 36 63 64
[PQF] Leander Paes/ Nathalie Dechy (FRA) d. Simon Aspelin (SWE)/ Meghann Shaughnessy (USA), 63 76(4)
[PQF] Mahesh Bhupathi/ Martina Hingis (SUI) d. (2) Jonas Bjorkman (SWE)/ Lisa Raymond (USA), 75 67(8) (10-7)
[R2] (3) Sanam Singh (IND,5) d. Todd Ley (AUS,199), 57 60 64
[R1] (1) Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan/ Sanam Singh d. Ruben Bemelmans (BEL)/ Frederick De Fays (BEL), 61 75
[R1] Sanaa Bhambri/ Sandhya Nagaraj l. Michaela Johansson (SWE)/ Johanna Larsson (SWE), 46 36
Leander and Martin Damm pulled another comeback in a very tight match .. It came down to some gritty work by Leander on his service game at 4-3 in the third when he had to save two break points .. Our pair won 95 pts to 91 by the 2nd seeds .. Bjorkman had a tough day against Indians, as Mahesh and Hingis upset him in the mixed doubles too, also in a close match .. Sanam Singh beat a very talented Australian junior, Todd Ley, who was ranked as high as #42 last year and is ranked low only because he has not played juniors since June last year ..  Sanam again fired up 10 aces, but made a few more unforced errors than in his first round match ..

The next round matchups are:
[SF] (7) Leander Paes/ Martin Damm (CZE) vs Mariusz Fyrstenberg (POL)/ Marcin Matkowski (POL)
[QF] Leander Paes/ Nathalie Dechy (FRA) vs Frantisek Cermak (CZE)/ Anna-Lena Groenefeld (GER)
[QF] Mahesh Bhupathi/ Martina Hingis (SUI) vs (8) Todd Perry (AUS)/ Rennae Stubbs (AUS)
[PQF] (3) Sanam Singh (IND,5) vs Austen Childs (NZL,47)
[PQF] (1) Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan/ Sanam Singh vs Blazej Koniusz (POL)/ Grzegorz Panfil (POL)
Though LP-MD are facing an unseeded pair in the semi, they are not necessarily an easy pair .. These two Polish guys are one of the latest young pairs to emerge in doubles over the last couple of years and they are the ones who upset Santoro and Zimonjic earlier .. LP seems to be in fine form now though, and the chemistry wuth big-serving Martin Damm seems to be reportedly very good .. Go Lee-Damm!! ..

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 ..

.. Previous notes are at Notes for the weeks ending on Jan 23, 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