Notes for the week ending on Feb 11, 2002
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Feb 11 Notes
The main draw started at the Grade-3 Rajshahi ITF junior event on Sunday .. Saurabh Singh continued his run with another tough win over Chatwinder Singh (pity that they met early), 75 57 62 .. In other matches, Somdev Dev Varman d. Hu Jung Guk (KOR), 06 76 62 (another fighting job by him), Jaco Mathew d. Yang Lin Ito (TPE) 63 64, Rishi Behl d. Abhay Prakash, 63 63, Nihal Advani d. Chang Chi Hao (TPE) 62 61 .. Punam Reddy d. Sharanya Pattabi 64 64, and Krushmi Cheddha d. Hyun Yung (KOR) 75 46 61 .. Some more girls and boys first round matches are yet to be done I believe, so we are not sure who else has gone to Bangladesh [source: The Independent, Dhaka]
Feb 10 Note-2
LP won against Patrik Chucri in the reverse singles 62 62 and Harsh Mankad just won 63 61 over Karim Alyali .. So India finished the complete sweep at 5-0 without dropping a set and not giving up more than 3 games in any of the 13 sets there! .. Congratulations!
Feb 10 Note-1
It's hard to believe that India will be making a sixth consecutive trip abroad in Davis Cup -- but we will have to .. New Zealand won 3-2 over Indonesia at Invercargill, NZL, today .. Their #1 Mark Nielsen atoned for his loss to US collegian Peter Handoyo on the first day by beating Suwandi 61 64 36 63 today to clinch the win .. Handoyo beat the NZL #3 Dan Willman, 75 63 in the dead rubber to make the final margin closer .. So, following the trips to Sweden, China, Japan, USA and Lebanon, we go to New Zealand in the first week of April .. If we win against NZL and advance as one of two teams from the Asia-Oceania regionls to the 2003 World groups qualifying playoff in September this year .. NZL is a relatively easier tie than the ones we had to play in Japan last year to make the WG playoff .. If we get to the playoffs, we will play against possibly one of the losers of the 2002 World group 16 first round going on now .. Actually the 8 teams who lose in the first round WG now and the 8 teams who qualify from the regionals will be pooled together, 8 of them will be seeded and drawn to play against the 8 unseeded ones .. India won't be seeded, but there will be at least a 50% chance for us to get a home tie if we beat NZL in NZL and advance to the playoffs ..
The reverse singles have got underway as type in Lebanon .. Here is a picture (cortesy: AP/PTI) - Harsh Mankad during his match against Hamadeh on the first day.
At the Kolkata grade-4 finals yesterday, Somdev dev Varman pulled a rabbit from under his hat, coming back from the brink in the 3rd set after facing a set point at 2-5 .. He won his first title in a tiebreaker .. Somdev is a BAT trainee in Chennai, and it's always heartening to see fight like that in a kid .. On the girls's side Isha Lakhani got a walkover from Rui Du who was ill .. Unfortunate, because I wanted to see a top Chinese girl being beaten by an Indian for a change :-) .. That gives her 40 more points, taking her point total to 230 which will raise her ranking to top-75, with just 6 events in her point list - she will be among about five girls with the fewest events in the ITF world ranking top-75! .. She has won titles in 4 of the 6 ITF events she has played in the last year .. 4 titles, and two QFs .. the QF losses were last week and at the Delhi Asian juniors in December, both times I believe she wouldn't have lost but for injury problems (current #94 Pichaya Laosirichon beat her at Delhi when she was injured, but she had destroyed Pichaya twice in September in Mumbai and Chennai in easy straight sets) .. A 21-2 record, which is amazing .. The problem is that she has ONLY played Indian ITF events .. I don't know the exact reasons for this and who is to be blamed, but I sense that something is up .. Whatever it is, AITA or the parents or whoever out there needs to make sure that she goes abroad and plays some events .. What is important is the girls' tennis career .. She is unquestionably the #2 in India behind Sania (she has a loss to Sania in 2000 when she was playing only her second ITF event) .. I hope everybody is hearing what I am saying here - and as I said, I don't know any details, and have only heard veiled references that seem to place the blame on somebody or other .. I haven't been in touch with her parents, as I have been with some of the other kids' parents, either .. I am a bit puzzled and it's possible that I am seeing too much in this - perhaps there is a simpler reason like academics coming in the way (which it shouldnt, in the case of such top sports talents), on why she has not played enough events .. All I am saying is that she needs to be taken complete care of .. We have got two top-notch talents in Sania and Isha, both deserving nurturing in every possible way .. I don't know much about the height, serve, potential, etc, for Isha - all I know is that her results undoubtedly speak of her "fire in the belly" for success .. The newspaper reports talk about her psyched-up, spirited and animated game as well .. Isha has had the best results among all indian junior girls in years, excepting Sania (who cannot be easily compared to, as she played quite a few more foreign events early, and has faced a lot of top competition which Isha hasn't) .. Isha's ITF junior record and her domination of the Indian ITF events are much more impressive than those from Shruti, Radhika, Sonal, Sheetal, etc in the last few years .. She turns 16 now and has to be playing grand slam junior draws and events higher than grade-3 this year and next to face top competition and improve - starting from the East Asian circuit and then the French Open in May .. One title in one of the two grade-3 Bangladesh events will bring her closer to top 50 and qualify her into grand slams .. A semi in one of the events may do too .. Hello! .. Let's plan ahead a bit here .. I will keep bringing this up, till I see something happening :-)
Feb 09 Note-3
Here are some pictures (courtesy: Times of India) - they are kept intentionally grainy - for the larger original pictures, you need to click on the pictures, and do free registration with TOI before you can view the good pictures that they have copyright on (actually the flag picture is copyright-AFP) .. LP-MB at the Lebanon Davis Cup draw ceremony, LP-MB with the Chennai title trophies, and LP with Mahima Chaudhuri and a young fan ..
.. .. ..
I love that picture with our flag! .. Lee has that "don't mess with us" look too ..
According to Prajwal Hegde of Deccan Herald, who seems to be the only newspaper correspondent from India at the Davis Cup, both Harsh and Leander are keen on playing the reverse singles and RK said he may not make any changes for tomorrow .. I am not sure why LP wants to play the reverse singles - I would have really liked to see Rohan Bopanna playing a debut match without any pressure .. We will see what RK decides tomorrow.
Feb 09 Note-2
India advanced easily today to the next regional round in Davis Cup - M.Bhupathi/ L.Paes d. P.Chucri/ A.Hamadeh, 62 61 63 .. Here is the PTI report - "Indian pair was never threatened in the one hour 23 minute match ... The Indian pair's domination of the match was expected though the Lebanese did try to hang in for some time in the first and third sets ... The first four games of the opening set went with serve before the Indians broke Hamadeh in the fifth and Churcri in the seventh to take a 5-2 lead. Paes then served out the set at love ... Displaying some blistering returns, the Indians broke Hamadeh again in the very first game of the second set which saw the Lebanese pair crack under pressure ... Hamadeh and Chucri were broken once each later and the Indians comfortably took the set 6-1 in 22 minutes ... The only semblance of fight from the Lebanese pair came in the third set which saw some long and interesting rallies at the net. Each game was keenly contested and the Indians were forced to fight even on their serves ... The first seven games went with serves before the Indian pair gathered all their experience to break Chucri who double-faulted on the break point to give a 5-3 lead to Paes-Bhupathi" ..
Now we wait to see if Handoyo and Suwandi can come up with two wins in New Zealand tomorrow .. Otherwise we travel to NZL in April.
Feb 09 Note-1
The doubles match Paes-Bhupathi vs Patrick Chucri and Ali Hamadeh, must be underway right now in Lebanon .. Also over in a few minutes with a 60 60 60 score, I hope :-)
More laughs today from Alta Vista online translation of the French newspaper article from Lebanon - "The score of this first day was foreseeable insofar as the Indian players are technically more complete than the Lebanese selection .. Karim Alayli made a success of three plays with Leander Paes, before undergoing completely the law of ancient champion of the world of doubles 63 60 60" .. I can see Leander dictating the law on court, and I know he is not that young anymore, but calling him ancient ??? (of course they meant "former") ... About the next match it says, "Ali Hamadeh took more risks on his service, to attenuate the fulgurating returns of promising Harsh Mankad" .. This sent me scampering for old Webster's; I needed an English to English translation now! .. "Fulgurating returns" ?? .. Wow! .. If you didn't know, it means flashing/lightning returns :-) .. Harsh "the fulgurator" Mankad! .. They continue, "But most astonishing yesterday, was the presence in the stands of public composed for most of the Indian community in Lebanon .. With the row of official, one noted the presence of Indian Ambassador in Lebanon, Mr. Manto Sarkar, of the members of the Indian diplomatic corps" .. Good job by the Beirut Indians for creating a home field for us there!
At Invercargill, NZL, New Zealand won the doubles today to go up 2-1 on Indonesia .. A.Hunt/ M.Nielsen d. H.Pramono/ F.Widhiyanto, 61 64 36 64 .. So it looks like a New Zeland trip is the next for us, barring some big comebacks.
The UP kid, Sumeet Prakash Gupta won the ITF South & Central Asian u14 championships yesterday at Delhi beating N.Jeevan 64 61, but Sandhya Nagraj lost in the final to Maria Vasilyeva (KAZ), 46 36 .. Sumeet was behind at first but kicked it into high gear and won 11 of the last 13 games .. The Hindustan Times says, "Jeevan was leading 3-1 in the first set. From then on, it was all Sumit. Even before Jeevan could finish his follow through on a shot, Sumit would pounce on the ball and blast it away. The adrenaline was pumping and a charged-up Sumit, wouldn't stop jumping even after a point was finished .. Hey, I like the young guy's spirit .. Sumeet won the title in both weeks and is way ahead on points .. According to HT, the eight players likely to be named in the ITF squad for the East Asian Championships as a result of the final points tally are as follows: Sumit Gupta (Ind), Jeevan Nedunchezien (Ind), Umarov Jamol (Uzb), Franklyn Emmanuel (Sri), Maria Vasilyeva (Kaz), Sandhya Nagraj (Ind), Yekaterina Morozova (Kaz) and Sandri Gangotri (Ind) ..
Feb 08 Note-3
Harsh Mankad seems to have taken LP's lead and played dominating tennis against the Lebanese #1 Ali Hamadeh, who I expected to cause us some troubles based on his show in Lucknow two years back ..Harsh did not give him a chance to do anything and finished it 63 61 61 .. For a change, LP may not have to play a second singles match in a Davis Cup tie, and Rohan Bopanna may get to debut on the 3rd day! Go India! - 2-0 up .. Harsh did not drop serve at any time, kept breaking Hamadeh with brilliant returns and sharp volleying, and hung tough on some 4-5 break attempts against him .. This is the first Davis Cup match Harsh is playing against somebody not ranked (so much) above him and he came through in style to get his first win, it seems .. I am sure he cherished his first win after going through baptism by fire having to play Vinciguerra, Tillstrom, Motomura, Roddick and Blake in the past, all of them abroad, and losing his best chance to win one earlier against a top-200 Motomura due to cramps after leading by a set .. Check out the PTI news agency report in rediff.com on on both the matches.
In the Davis Cup tie of interest to us, whose winners play us if we advance, New Zeland is tied with Indonesia after the first day at Invercargill, NZL .. Peter Handoyo (who plays for the Univ of Tennessee) upset the NZL #1 Mark Nielsen 26 75 63 64 .. Then Alistair Hunt pulled off a tough 46 75 46 62 63 win over Suwandi of Indonesia (now there is a name that is an oddity .. The guy has just one name; no first name, no last name, no initial -- ATP simply started writing Suwandi Suwandi in their records and now that is his name - S.Suwandi!) .. If we win against LIB, we go to NZL if they win, or we finally play at home against INA if they win .. I am sure we prefer throwing some grass at the Indonesians, of course .. The NZL-INA tie is really very even on strength and there is no way to predict who will win.
Isha Lakhani showed again that when she is healthy, she can handle the Chinese/Taiwanese girls playing the Indian circuit .. So far, in fact, only she has been able to handle them .. She beat last week's semifinalist, Sheng-Nan Sun easily by a 62 61 score to reach the final against Rui Du, who easily beat the 3rd seed Sanaa Bhambri in straight sets today .. Somdev Dev Varman ended VM Ranjeet's run to reach the final against Amit Inbar of Israel who seems to be playing much better this week on clay, than at the hardcourt events the last two weeks .. See the Kolkata juniors page.
Feb 08 Note-2
Leander had an easy win today, one of the easiest ever, perhaps .. He beat Karim Alyali (LIB), 63 60 60 to take India to a 1-0 lead .. No other info yet on the match.
Feb 08 Note-1
The Davis Cup matches start with Leander facing Karim Alyali, at 2.15 pm in Beirut (5.45 pm India, 7.15 am New York) .. The second match between Harsh Mankad and Ali Hamadeh follows .. According to Harsh Mankad, it is a lightning fast greenset surface .. The Indian team particularly liked the speed of the surface - it is rare that they get a fast surface anywhere abroad! .. As for score updates, no luck so far, and don't expect that we will get any sort of updates till after the matches get done, unless someone at the indoor basketball courts emails me some score updates .. Not too many press friends have gone for this either .. If I get any updates, I will post them at the LP page immediately.
Feb 07 Note-2
At the ITF grade-4 junior event in Kolkata, Rupesh Roy's run ended in the QF but not after he put up some solid fight in a 36 75 16 loss to Dor Wertheimer a big serve guy from Israel who has been tough for everybody so far (he was in the SF and QF the last two weeks) .. The VM Ranjeet story continues, as the qualifier reached the SF with an upset of the 3rd seed Rishi Behl today .. On the girls' side, Isha and Sanaa reached the semis today ..
The names of the Chinese girls are causing a bit of confusion for everybody, it seems .. All week long, the news reports kept listing a Yan Hung Chen in this week's girls draw, and she lost today to Sheng-Nan Sun .. The official ITF entry list spreadsheet posted at the www.aitatennis.com website's ITF events page says Yan Hung Chen as well, which may be why the news releases kept giving that name .. ITF's site just posted a draw and it says Yan Chong Chen, which means it is the the same girl who won the title last week - so Sheng-Nan Sun stopped her win streak today .. The runner-up last week is another with a troublesome name .. She is listed as Rui Du this week, but was Du Rui last week .. The funny thing is that ITF website's China rank list now has a Du Rui who won last week, and a Rui Du who is playing this week - one born on Jan 3rd of 1986 and the other on April 3rd of 86 - one of the two must be wrong, but ITF is now clearly confused about whether it is the same girl or two different ones, which doesn't look possible .. The fact that she played qualies last week while she had a rank in the 400s already, makes it even more confusing .. Is this the same Rui Du who had played the Japan Open and won a few rounds? - must be, looking at her results last week .. Anyway Rui Du's rank did not go up with last week's points; a new Du Rui showed up in the rankings instead! .. Big confusion all over, in other words .. Normally ITF does a good job of getting the names correct and updating the ranks .. The problem is that these Chinese girls have not played many ITF events before, though they are damn good and have caused all kinds of trouble for the Indians for the last two weeks - there is also the eastern convention of saying the last name first - that is, if Rui Du is really her proper name, she will say that her name is Du Rui, where Rui is the given name .. I guess none of you care about this name issue - it's just that I am somewhat "anal" about names; so I like to find the proper name and use it in the draws I keep, as much as possible .. That is why I started listing VM Ranjeet as Ranjeet V Murugesan, as soon as ITF listed his name that way; same with names like M.Kamini who is Kamini Murugaboopathy .. Or Usha Pilavullakandiyil Thekkepparambil, if she ever played tennis! .. Actually the name that I do not list properly is my own (nobody really knows what the "R." in my name stands for! -- I have managed to survive being called Jayakrishnan and Mr.R.Jayakrishnan, both fine with me .. or Jay, or JayKay as my old IIT buddies still call me .. If I were a big tennis player, I would be in big trouble with myself :-))
Back to tennis, I forgot to mention that Saurabh Singh the winner of the last two weeks did not play this week .. He is listed for next week's grade-3 event in Rajshahi .. I assume he took the week off to recuperate from last two week's heavy load of 16 singles and doubles matches .. The right thing to do, if so .. It is useless to try to stretch winning streaks like that to a 3rd week .. You either get injured, or come close to it and lose early - and then miss out on the week's rest, messing up the week after as well .. The Bangladesh events are grade-3 events with bigger points than the grade-4 Kolkata event - better to get ready to do well there.
Sumeet (or is it Sumit?) Prakash Gupta reached the final today at the ITF u14 South and Central Asian Championships in Delhi .. He will face N.Jeevan (OK, Jeevan Nedunchezhien :-)) .. Sumeet beat Franklyn Emmanuel (SRI) 63 64 .. Jeevan beat b Umarov Jamol (UZB) 64 21 .. On the girls' side Sandhya Nagraj beat Madura Ranganathan 63 63 to reach the final against Maria Vasilyeva (KAZ)
Feb 07 Note-1
The Davis Cup draw got done in Lebanon today .. LP starts off the proceedings tomorrow with the first match against the Lebanese #2, Karim Alyali .. The second singles will be between Harsh Mankad and their #1, Ali Hamadeh, according to PTI .. That means Harsh must have looked fine in practice, as far as his wrist tendinitis from 10 days back is concerned, and that's good news .. The doubles match on Saturday will feature LP-MB against hamadeh and Patrick Chucri .. I am not sure I will be able to bring scores in any timely fashion, but I have been trying to find a way.
By the way, my friend Ed Toombs from Canada says this about the Lebanese newspaper's line I mentioned in the last note - "Tenor in that sense is like "top guns" or "big names", so it's a way of saying that they have been making the best players' knees shake. Nothing to do with saying "BOO!" to Pavarotti" .. Okeedokey .. Thanks, Ed :-) .. And Placido Domingo needn't be afraid of watching a tennis tournament just because our boys are around .. But we will call our boys "Indian Express, the Tenor Tremblers" from now on :-)
Sumeet Prakash Gupta reached the SF of the boys' draw at the u14 South and Central Asian ITF championships in Delhi yesterday .. He had done well last week too, but I still have not got full results from last week .. On the girls' side Madura Ranganathan upset the second seed Yekaterina Morozova (KAZ), 26 63 63 .. The Hindustan Times writes, "Sumit Prakash Gupta treated the sparse audience at the DLTA Complex to some wonderful entertainment on Wednesday .. Sumit displayed deft moves at the net, some Beckeresque dives and between-the-leg shots a la Ivanisevic" .. Between the legs stuff from a 14 yr old?? .. The UP kid seems to be a good one! .. He beat Tejasvi Rao, 62 62 to reach SF .. Jeevan Nedunchezhien and Sandhya Nagraj have also reached SF in the boys and girls' draws .. Jeevan beat Alexander Lidzar (KAZ) 62 64 .. "Jeevan planned his points well in advance -- often three to four shots ahead -- drawing his opponent into the net and then passing him with precision", says HT ..
There was also an interesting news item today that Asif Ismail, former Davis Cupper, who has been doing coaching for the last 2-3 years and had settled in Hong Kong for the last couple of years has been approached by HK to play Davis Cup for them .. He does some coaching there these days .. Since he is an Indian citizen and carries the Hong Kong ID (which counts like citizenship, as they do not have citizenship as such), the Davis Cup rules allow him to play for them .. HKTA apprached AITA who did not object to it either .. So, Asif may pick up the raquet and do Davis Cup for them, come September! .. Not much chance for HK to move to group-1 to face India or for India to fall to group-2 to face them soon, for the interesting situation of an Indian playing an Indian in Davis Cup, which has never happened of course!
Feb 06 Note-2
The Davis Cup draw will take place at the Le Gabriel Hotel in Beirut tomorrow (thursday) .. Here is a French language newspaper in Beirut talking about Lebanon facing the "Indian Goliath composed of the famous Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi, world's leaders in men's doubles during long years and currently classified respectively with 9th and 6th places. Paes or Bhupathi - these two names for a long time made the tenors of world tennis tremble" .. I have no idea what trembling the tenors means, but that is how Alta Vista Online translated the French for me :-) .. The newspaper actually had a nice write-up on Indian tennis tradition, going back to talk about Ramanathan Krishnan beating Rod Laver, and Vijay against Borg, etc ..
Lebanon stopped playing Davis Cup in 1972 and restarted it only after the war situation improved in late 80s .. They restarted in 1992 (the current captain Raymond Kattoura was the first one to play a match in 1992), and moved up from the regional group 3 to Group 2 in a couple of years and qualified into group 1 after Zatiini and Hamadeh joined hands in 95 and 96 .. They were knocked out in the group-1 level in the first round in 1998 and 1999 .. Both times they won the playoff and stayed in the group .. They however got knocked down to Group 2 in 2000 after India beat them at Lucknow and they lost the following playoff .. They played in group-2 and advanced again to group 1 this time .. However, luck hasn't been with them this time .. The Lebanese are clearly not at their best in this tie against India, because they will not have the services of Hicham Zatiini (who normally lives in Venezuela - hence the Spanish spelling of "Jicham" that we see some times) .. Hicham apparently underwent surgery in Venezuela and is out for 6 months .. So, it is Ali Hamdeh taking the load along with three new names - Patrick Chucri, Karim Alayli and Fady Youssef .. Karim has played one Davis Cup singles match and the other two have not played any Davis Cup .. Hamadeh is not an easy customer, however.
At the Kolkata ITF juniors, wildcard Priyanka Parekh did indeed upset the top seed Megha Vakharia in straight sets .. See the Kolkata juniors page ..
Feb 06 Note-1
Another star in the making, this time out of west bengal at long last? .. 12 yr old Rupesh Roy shocks me today (if you notice, I am rarely shocked - as I expect about two-thirds of the upsets that happen out there, though the news reports talk about somebody or other "stunning" or "shocking" a seed :-)) .. He upset Chatwinder Singh, last week's finalist .. No wonder the young kid out of Bengal is ranked #2 in the Indian u16 ranks already .. Following on his straight sets win over a 7th seed yesterday, he beat Chatwinder 64 62 (scary scoreline too!) today to make the quarterfinal of the ITF grade-4 juniors in Kolkata .. Tushar Liberhan has not been able to recapture his form from two weeks back, and went down to VM Ranjeet today .. Ranjeet is somewhat of an unknown, but he has qualified into the juniors events three times in a row and has now advanced to the QF on his 3rd trial, which shows some good drive from him to do well (you've got to like kids who are not handed out anything and still do something on their own) .. 6th seed Divij Sharan fell, but top seed Amanjot advanced to QF .. Top seeded Megha Vakharia seems to have been upset on the girls draw (that would be a surprise if wildcard Priyanka Parekh pulled that off), along with #4 seed Maya Rosa (Indonesia), #5 Nandita Chandrasekhar, and #6 Krushmi Chheda, according to a news agency report in rediff.com .. Will update the Kolkata juniors page after I see all the scores.
The entry list has come out for the $25K women's challenger starting at Delhi on Feb 25th .. Pretty decent entry list .. As Niru cannot play due to the injury layoff, only Manisha Malhotra has made the main draw cut from India .. Rushmi Chakrvarti, and Sunitha Rao of USA are among the top-5 in the qualifying list for now, and both may make direct entry by the time the qualies start .. Sai, Sonal and perhaps Sheetal also may be expected to be seeded in the qualifying rounds with at least one or two of them making the main draw (perhaps Sai will get a wildcard anyway - but it may be better to see her get some match practice in the qualies, considering that the following week has the Fed Cup regionals in China and she may be in the team) .. There should be some 5 or 6 Indians in the main draw by the end - we will know in three weeks .. Chek out the new Delhi challenger page for the complete entry list.
Feb 05 Notes
Nothing much today .. The remaining nine R1 matches in the girls' draw and most of the R1 doubles matches were done today .. No surprises from there .. See the Kolkata juniors page .. No other news to report.
Feb 04 Note-2
The Kolkata grade-3 events started with a couple of upsets by young Indians .. The most impressive is the win by local wildcard Rupesh Roy of West Bengal, who turns 13 only next week, but is already the #1 ranked u14 player and #2 ranked u16 player in India, according to AITA's latest lists .. Rupesh upset the 7th seed Immanuel Prabowo (INA,207), that too for a score of 61 62 .. 15 yr old Qualifier Sabyasachi Bose was the other to beat a seed, the 4th seed Al Imron (INA,185) .. To be fair though, the Indonesian players have not looked very impressive in their Indian swing so far .. Unseeded Chatwinder Singh in the next round would be a much tougher test for Rupesh - but we have to be impressed with the way the young kid beat someone over 4 years older and ranked around #200 in the world .. I don't know much about what style of tennis Rupesh plays .. This event is on a clay surface (though I believe the DKS courts were listed as hard-gravel or something for earlier ITF events) .. Saurabh, Tushar, Amanjot, Jacco, etc advanced to PQF .. On the girls's side, no upsets, as Megha, Sanaa, etc, moved on ..
There is also a big ITF u14 event underway in Delhi .. There was one last week too, and those like Sumeet Prakash Gupta from rural UP whom I talked about earlier during the DSCL national championships last month, have been doing well there .. No junior world ranking points for the events, but some points are awarded for the results and are used to select the ITF's Asian u14 development squad to visit Europe, etc. A lot of players from many Asian countries are at Delhi .. I still don't have the complete results, but I will try to find out.
Feb 04 Note-1
Not much news from yesterday .. The ITF junior tour moves to the Kolkata DKS courts, where the first round is today .. Qualifying was completed yesterday with three Indian boys and two Indian girls making it in .. Some of rthe Chinese and Taipei girls who had to play qualies last week (including Rui Du who was a finalist last week) are in the main draw this time, I think .. Megha Vakharia is also in the list, this week .. Saurabh Singh has moved up to #83 in this weeks' rankings, as #2 behind Amanjot Singh (though with much better results than Amanjot lately) .. Isha Lakhani is the highest ranked girls player after Sania ..
I have added some missing results and corrected a few of the eastern girls' names at the Chandigarh juniors page .. Will start a Kolkata page as soon as results come out from there.
The entries closed for the women's $10K satallites starting in two weeks (Feb 18) at Mumbai - and the entry list very impressive with 3 top-275 players and 7 top-400 players .. The cut for 21 direct entries is #567 .. The $25K challenger follows the week after (Feb 25) at Delhi, and that helps .. Only Rushmi Chakravarti and Radhika Tulpule have direct entry right now, with Sai at 3rd in the qualifying list and Sonal at 6th .. Sai may make it in directly, by the time the qualies start .. There will be three wildcards and eight qualifiers (that means two round of qualies, I assume) to add to it .. The Indian girls should show up for the qualies where there should be a chance to play some competitive matches - Sheetal, Shruti, Megha, Sania, etc are all listed for qualies .. Manisha is not in the list for Mumbai, but hopefully would be at the Delhi challenger .. I am not sure what our strategy is for the Fed Cup Asia-Oceania qualifiers starting on march 4th, the week after the Delhi challenger .. As Niru is out for a while, we need to find out who can carry the load, and at least avoid the disaster of dropping to the group-2 tier in Asia (which happened about 6 years back when Niru did not play one year) .. The two weeks of pro events in India may gives us some ideas, I guess.
.. Previous notes are at Notes for the week ending on Feb 04 ..
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.