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Indian-Tennis: Daily News for the week ending on Feb 6, 2006
(Previous week's notes) (Next week's notes) (Daily Notes Index 1997 thru 2006)

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Feb 6 Notes

Sania and Liezel Huber had an easy 61 64 win over Liga Dekmeijere (LAT) and Jasmin Woehr (GER), in the doubles R1 at the $600K Paris WTA ..  She plays the singles R1 tomorrow.

Harsh Mankad (IND,228) once again ran into a top player and once again could not pull an upset .. He went down 36 46 to the 5th seed Thago Alves (BRA,142) in the first round of the $50K challenger in Dallas today .. HM and Todd Widom (USA) were the last entries in the doubles draw .. They face the 4th seeds Amer Delic and Jeff Morrison in the first round, which will be on wednesday.

Feb 5 Notes

The Draw has come out at the $600K Tier-II "Open Gaz de Franz" WTA at Paris where the main draw starts on Monday .. Sania Mirza (IND,34) is drawn against the 6th seed Flavio Pennetta (ITA,6) in the first round .. Tough matchup .. Flavia is a very good player, and has been doing quite well this year .. She reached the final of the Gold Coast WTA with wins over those like #56 Na Li, #24 Golovin and Martina Hingis .. She did lose to Na Li at Sydney the next week and wnet down in the thuird round at the AO to #16 Vaidisova .. I really have no clear idea about where Sania's current form and confidence are - so it is tough to say how she would do at Paris .. She is also in the doubles draw with an excellent partner, Liezel Huber (RSA,6), the French Open doubles finalist and Wimbledon doubles champion last year (with fellow South African Cara Black, who has been playing with Australian Rennae Stubbs this year) .. Sania won her first big title with Liezel, if you remember, in doubles at the Hyderabad WTA two years back .. Mirza-Huber are facing Liga Dekmeijere (LAT) and Jasmin Woehr (GER) in the first round at Paris ..

Tough draws continue for Harsh Mankad (IND,228) desperately seeking some wins to get his rhythm back .. At the $50K Dallas challenger, he is drawn to face the 5th seed Thiago Alves (BRA,133) .. Go Harsh .. High time you pulled a big upset .. It is just bound to happen one of these days -- why not this week?

Feb 4 Notes

Not much happeneing for two days except for the final at the Muzaffarnagar $10K .. Megha Vakharia went down 26 67(4) to the 8th seed Ksenia Palkina, the 16 year old Kyrgiztan player who has been in India since early January, playing three junior events and two pro events, reaching a whole bunch of finals and pulling off a fitting title today .. Best of luck to the young girl .. I am also quite glad to see Megha making a comeback after two rounds of injury problems that kept her away from the tour for nearly 2 years now .. She is a talented and intelligent player with enough focus and winning spirit .. She has had a tough time in quite a few finals though .. But these two weeks were strictly to get back into some rhythm and I am sure her confidence and morale have got some nice boost with a QF and final in the two weeks .. Loooking forward to a good 2006 for Megs! ..  In yesterday's matches, Megha beat 6th seed Czarina Mae Arevalo (PHI) and Ksenia got past 5th seed Paarul Goswami in relatively easy semifinals ..

Feb 2 Notes
 
At the Muzaffarnagar ITF $10K, third seeded comeback-player Megha Vakharia and fifth seeded Parul Goswami reached the semifinals today with wins over Prerana Mythri and Sandhya Nagaraj respectively .. Hope these two reache the finals tomorrow in matches against Ksenia Palkina (KYR) and Czarina-Mae Arevalo (PHI) - the latter upset the 2nd seed Nicole Clerico today .. No Indians in the doubles final there .. See the Muzaffarnagar $10K page for all the scores ..

The Korean Davis Cup team for the Feb 10-12 tie against India at Changwon, Korea, became known yesterday .. Hyung-Taik Lee (100), Woong-Sun Jun (606), Hee-Seok Chung (678), Kyu-Tae Im (332) are nominated .. Hyung-Taik Lee is of course their kingpin .. I am not sure what happened to 27 year old Oh-Hee Kwon, technically the third highest ranked Korean player at #347 who was scorching the ITF futures tour during summer last year - he has not played since November and is not in the team .. I expected Kyu-Tae Im to be their #2 player .. The youngster is a very good player and looked scary good this weekend at the Delray Beach ATP qualifiers, where he upset two very good players - #241 Meffert and #163 Delic .. He then retired at 1-0 in his Q3 match though .. I know it is not nice to wish illness/injury to a player, but if it is not anything serious and it keeps him down for an extra week, I won't complain .. 19 year old Jun, who was ranked in the junior top-5 a couple of eyars back along with Karan, is a talented player too .. I am really not sure why/how 28 year old Hee-Seok Chung is in their team - he seems to be a journeyman who hardly broke top-500 in singles or doubles in his whole career .. Will write more about the Davis Cup soon .. As reported earlier, the Indian team is LP, MB, PA and RB with KR as the 5th player.

Feb 1 Notes

A bad week for Indian tennis became a terrible week today with a loss to Mankad and an injury to Ankita ..

At the $15K+H Germany F5 futures, Harsh Mankad went down 06 57 to Alexander Peya (AUT,291) .. As I said, I expected a tough match because Peya, ranked #114 just about over a year back, is probably a better player than it would seem - but all the same, he has certainly not been playing top-150 tennis lately and Harsh's 0-6 first set was disappointing .. I am really not sure what exactly is bugging Harsh Mankad, seemingly for about 6-7 months now .. Good players who stay completely focused in tennis and working hard like Mankad does, usually do not stay in s lump for such a long time .. He still has been beating top-350 caliber players and have only been losing to topo-250 caliber players, but the fact that he has hardly had a win against the upper level for months on end is puzzlin .. Harsh is in the main draw at the $50K Dalllas challenger next week .. We will just keep on hoping/waiting for a week when things fall back in place for HM, I guess.

At the $75K challenger in Ortisei, second seeded Neha Uberoi (USA) and Anna-Lena Groenefeld (GER) were upset 64 26 62 by Ekatarina Dzahalevic (RUS) and Darija Jurak (CRO) in the first round, ending Neha's week .. Sunitha Rao (USA) who was expected to be a seed at the $25K Rockford, Illinois, challenger withdrew from singles and doubles uyesterday because of an injury (not sure what) ..

We also heard today from Arun who runs the Uberoi sisters web site that Shikha Uberoi is bothered by the kneee injury she picked up recently and will be out for a couple of weeks .. Not sure if she can play the Bangalore WTA in two weeks - that looks iffy.

At the $10K ITF in Muzaffarnagar, the bad news today was the injury retirement of the top seed Ankita Bhambri who seemed to be in very good form, having won the title last week .. Ankita has a painful elbow injury .. Hope she heals fast .. Archana Venkatraman upset the 4th seed Sai Jayalakshmy today .. Se all the scores in the Muzaffarnagar $10K Page.

So, the week that started with Rushmi having to withdraw due to injury from the Muzaffarnagar futures progressivly got worse, with Shikha running into the top sed at the Tokyo qualies, Neha losing in the Q3, Ankita getting injured, Shikha down, Sunitha down, Mankad still in slump - etc etc .. Wretched time for us, really.

Jan 31 Notes

Nothing much happening this week except for Mankad at the German futures and the Muzaffarnagar women's $10K ..

Tough draw for third seed Harsh Mankad (IND,228) at the $15K+H GER F5 futures and Mettmann .. He faces one of the highest ranked unseeded payers - Alexander Peya (AUT,291) in the first round .. Peya was ranked as high as #114 in late 2004 and had beaten Harsh 62 63 2 years back at the Busan challenger .. HM plays the match tomorrow at 10 am there..  He did not enter the doubles draw there.

Neha Uberoi (USA,351) could not pull an upset over Ekaterina Makarova (RUS,273) at the $75K Ortisei challenger in Italy - she lost 67(4) 36 ..  Neha is in the doubles main draw as the second seed, with a fabulous partner though - world #12 Anna-Lena Groenefeld (GER) .. They play Ekaterina Dzahalevic (RUS) and Darija Jurak (CRO) in the first round.

At the $10K ITF on grass at Muzaffarnagar, everything went by the book, as the first round was completed today with all eight seeds advancing to the second round .. See the Muzaffarnagar $10K page for scores.

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)


.. Previous notes are at Notes for the weeks ending on Jan 30, 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