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LP/MB/NV/Indian-Tennis: Notes for the week ending on Feb 21, 2000

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Feb 21 Notes

I have just added the latest mothly rank lists from AITA, for men, women, and u18 u16 u14 juniors .. You can find the links at the Ranks/Tournament/Schedule main page.

Had to wait for news from ITF to find the finals score from the Rajshahi junior ITF event which concluded three days back - the patchy Bangladeshi online newspapers had no news at all on the finals .. That featured perhaps the best matchup between the two most talented kids in the subcontinental tour so far - Sunil Kumar and Haroutioun Sofian who had won two titles each in the previous four events (one in SriLanka and three in India - each had played only two of those events, winning the ones they played in) .. Well, they finally met in a good final at Rajshahi, and Sunil Kumar certainly rose to the challenge to overcome the Armenian boy 6-3 6-4 in the final, proving once again that he may be in a higher class by himself .. Sunil picked up 40 more points for 120 total points from the titles at the three events he has played in this cricuit .. In the doubles final, Karan Doctor and CS Mohanty beat Soren Spanner and Ramus Norby of Denmark 6-4 6-2 .. Radhika Tupule had double heartbreak in the finals .. She lost to Karin Coetzee of South Africa, 3-6 2-6, and then lost the doubles final in the company of Su-Wei Hsieh (Taiwan), to South Africans Chani Scheepers and Karin Coetzee, 6-3 6-7 4-6 .. The group of kids have now gone to the grand finale of the subcontinental tour, at Dhaka this week .. This is a grade-3 event, the highest graded event in this sequence .. A title at Dhaka is worth 60 points .. Sunil Kumar, who will be ranked inside the world top-120 this week, can move inside the top-75 with another title ..

As for the Ahmedabad challenger - I am basically in a mood to throw up, right now .. Just fund that Srinath, Fazal and Vishal lost in the first round itself .. Srinath lost 2-6 0-6 to Joao Cunha-Silva (#307,ESP) .. Fazal, whose bad-lcuk in the draws is very sad, ran up against the top seed Oleg Ogorodov, ranked #147 ..  He played well according to a UNI report, but lost 6-7 3-6, with a break in game 8 of the second set doing him in .. I will cut Fazal some slack - he really has not got a break in any of these events, and have always gone up against one of the top seeds .. Then, Vishal Uppal lost 1-6 1-6 to Jeff Coetzee of South Africa (#225) .. It's all getting positively depressing .. Actually the scoreline of Srinath's loss is what really leaves me the most depressed (I hope it's not some injury or anything!) - Cuha-Silva is really a challenger journey man, and I don't understand that result .. Miracle upsets would have been needed for Fazal and Vishal to win their matches - and so I am not surprised .. Kutsenko beat Coutelet and Behr beat Roy Marcos in the two other results I have seen so far ..

Feb 20 Note-2

I have added the complete qualifier results (courtesy: The Hindu) at our Ahmedabad challenger page - it was one of the most competitive qualifying rounds we have ever had in India, with guys like Van Scheppingen falling in the second round .. Many other good players like Kobi Ziv, Jonathan Erlich, Per Thornadtsson, Kentaro Masuda, Oren Motevassel, Dmitryi Tomashevic and Damien Roberts failed to come through .. Have not seen the schedule for Monday yet .. There are a few new players among the seeds - Marcelo Craca and Andy Fahlke of Germany, Jeff Coetzee of South Africa and Vadim Kutsenko of Uzbekistan - basically guys who didn't want to go anywhere near grass last week .. Nice to see six players in the top-200, even with LP being absent there .. This will be a tournament with a very competitive field.

Incidentally, "Double-SP" will be back in action at Ahmedabad after a few weeks of break when Saurav Panja was nursing a wrist injury .. Let us wish them best in doubles ..

Feb 20 Note-1

Borgula d. Dahan, Jason Cook d. J.Erlich, Marcos Roy d. Motevassel, and Azzaro d. Cobolli in the final qualifying rounds today at Ahemdabad - thae means Vijay Kannan and P.ravishankar must have lost in the second round Saturday evening .. The cutoff for the main draw is #278, and so that explains why Srinath needed a wildcard for it (not due to his fault of not entering the tournament or anything!) .. That is quite a high cutoff - I don't remember any $25K+H challenger in India closing above 300 or 350 in ranking .. Later.

Feb 19 Notes

The qualies have started at Ahmedabad for the $25K challenger at the Ahmedabad Govt Employees Tennis Association (AGETA) courts .. Vijay Kannan and P.Ravishankar have advanced to the second round (which was also supposed tobe playerd today itself, with the final rund tomorrow) .. Not sure if any other Indians have moved on ..  Will start a page for the tournament soon .. Incidentally, I saw a late evening PTI report that the tournament referee did not know whom AITA had given wildcards to, for the tournament .. That's strange, because I had received a press release yesterday from AITA and the newspapers had reported it too, that Srinath, Fazal, Vishal Uppal and Mustafa Ghouse had been given wildcards! .. Once again, I assume Srinath did not enter the tournament and hence had to use the wildcard (this is getting really old - and I am sure there are other players who are upset about this stuff too .. Before we get too harsh on Srinath, perhaps he had some reason like an injury and really didn't expect to be paying this week .. But somebody or other has been wasting wildcards week after week for a while now! .. But anyway, I won't complain if Sri goes out and wins some matches - he is really due, and he has done well at Ahmedabad in the past too) .. Also, Mustafa should perhaps get more match practice playing qualies, rather than to keep playing main draws with wildcards unsuccessfully ..  And I keep waiting to see when somebody like a Vinod Sridhar can get a wildcard ..

By the way, a press release from AITA today says a useful new idea from them - they have decided to give Rs. 2000 for any Indian player with ATP points and can enter the qualifying rounds of challengers, for playing the qualies .. It will at least handle a part of the travel expenses and entry fee, and is yet another of good schemes from AITA .. Perhaps it can even be increased to 3000, 4000 and 5000 for anybody who moves up one or two rounds in the qualies or qualifies in, to give extra incentive .. With all the tournaments that we are bringing in, it's sometimes disturbing to see large number of Indian players not showing the drive to go and make use of the opportunities .. The ball is in the players' court!

Finland's Tuomas Ketola won the title at Calcutta challenger today, totally outplaying Andy Ram 61 63 .. Ram and Welgreen won the doubles title as Carraz and Marx retired at 1-2 in the first set due to a knee injury that Marx was worried about aggravating .. 20 yr old Andy has to be happy with his excellent show at Calcutta .. Is he the one to finally make a real move from among the tons of Israeli players in the 200-500 ranking range ? -- Isarel has been waiting for a long time; ever since the Amos Mansdorf days, I suppose! .. See the Kolkata challenger page.

Feb 18 Notes

Aisam lost in the semis today to the 3rd seed Ketola of Finland .. Based on newspaper reports, Aisam played nowhere near the level he did yesterday when he beat Leander .. Again, sometimes matchups work that way .. Against Leander, Aisam kept drilling the returns and serves consistently to Leander's backhand side .. The news reports also mentioned that Aisam was generating some wicked bounce with his kick serves too .. High bounce, especially on the backhand side is sometimes trouble for Leander [I may be wrong in my assessments on these things, but my belief has been that he needs to be in top shape with respect to upperbody strength if he has to counter that when his own service is not the best to avoid hot returns and the other guy is serving accurately - Leander is in much better shape than most of last year, but may have still more work to do to move back to the next level once again ? -- Just my uneducated thoughts] .. Aisam himself said he had a gameplan against LP since he had played him last year .. Still, but for LP's mistakes (10 doubles faults and countless unforced errors) he could have taken the upper hand and tried to put pressure on Aisam, but it just wasn't his day .. Back to today's match, the report is that Ketola played some great backhand returns and he never allowed Aisam to get anything going .. In the other semifinal today, Andy Ram of Israel upset 4th seed Mose Navarra .. In the doubles semifinal, Fazal and Kauffman lost to Carraz and Marx, and so the Indian challenge is all over .. Fazal picked up 22 good doubles points for the semifinal though .. As Andy Ram and Welgreen had reached the final of doubles yesterday, Andy will be going for a doubles crown tomorrow .. See the Kolkata challenger page.

As for LP, he has confirmed that he is not playing next week at Ahmedabad .. Part of the reason is that he expected not be playing all three weeks of challengers - and probably expected to be playing two more matches at Calcutta too .. He wants to avoid too many weeks of tennis together - he is a bit more careful now than in the past, especially since he will be following it with Scottsdale, Indian Wells and Key Biscayne .. Another more important reason is that Sachin Tendulkar and he are scheduled for some commercial shoot together next week for Adidas (I believe in Delhi) .. This is the first time LP and SRT are in an Ad together, right ? .. SRT, LP and MB are Adidas' big three in India .. There may be other reasons not to think of skipping Mumbai instead of Ahmedabad  -- one, the Mumbai event is organized by Jaideep Mukherjea, Enrico Piperno and Mahesh, according to The Telegraph, Calcutta [I am not sure whether Mahesh was actively involved or if the newspaper just said that!] .. Also, Leander has never done well at Ahmedabad on the rather slower hardcourts, I think .. May be that was a reason to skip Ahmedabad ? .. I didn't really ask LP about that .. I asked LP about his schedule when I talked yesterday .. He said he will be in Mumbai late next week for the challenger in the following week .. Then plans to go to Scottsdale, Arizona (starting Mar 6th) .. He would like to get there on Saturday for singles qualies, but that is very doubtful unless he does poorly in Mumbai early in the week .. He will be playing doubles with Wayne Arthurs at Scottsdale .. LP and Arthurs plan to play the Indian Wells and Key Biscayne events that follow and some play together would help .. LP did win a title with Arthurs last year at Newport in doubles, and Wayne is in my view a very good partner with hot serves and good power game on the AD court .. LP said he found that it would take several weeks to get used to the AD court and decided he didn't want to bother .. It was easier in his earlier years but he has got so used to the deuce court with Mahesh and it's no longer that easy to switch, he said - doesn't want to take the risk of an adjustment period to switch back also, once MB gets back ..  Anyway, that's the update on Leander .. I did tell LP to show SRT how to do cover drives :-) ..

Update on Nirupama - I hadn't talked about her for such a long time, after the injury at the Australian Open .. She had some ligament damage on her ankle, when it was caught in the drain during the 3rd round qualies at AO and she had to be weelchaired out .. Ligaments take way too long to heal, and so all she could do was to wait and rehab .. She is in the US doing just that  - Just got an update form Niru .. Said that her ankle is almost fine and hurts only at some awkward angles .. She had originally planned to anyway take a few weeks off now to work on fitness and she has been able to do some of that .. Plans to be back in a few weeks - I will update as soon as she decides her schedule .. I think there is no problem for Fed Cup, which is in early April.

The Bangladesh newspapers are killing me - the news is so patchy and inconsistent about the ITF junior international at Rajshahi .. I always have some good laughs seeing how they report the Indian names in all kinds of strange ways .. I remember Vijay Kannan winning the junior title there - they kept calling him Vijay Khanna (perhaps they had seen too many Rajesh Khanna movies? :-)) .. Anyway, I had seen earlier that Harshit Sharma had beaten Harut Sofian in the second round  on Wednesday .. I just saw a report that Sunil Kumar is in the final against HARSHIT Sofian of Armenia !! .. .. I think they goofed up earlier, and Harshit actually did not beat Sofian (who was totally unbeateble for two weeks in India) .. Sunil may have a good test at hand .. Sunil actually had to pull a comeback in the semis against Soren Spanner of Denmark, 36 64 63 .. Sofian won 75 64 over an Ukranian player in the semi .. On the girls' side, Radhika Tulpule is in the final after a 63 64 win over Liza Pereira .. She goes aginst Karin Coetzee of South Africa who beat Su-Wei Hsieh of Taiwan 62 63 .. Radhika is in the doubles final with Hsieh too - they beat Tee Chuni Ning and Lee Chin of Taiwan 61 60 in the semi .. In the final they face Chani Scheepers and Karin Coetzee of RSA, who beat  Simmi Rani and C.Nandita, 61 61 in the other semi ..  No news on boy's doubles .. The finals may be already done today in the singles too, but no news yet.

At the Jakarta Satellite, Sai and Rushmi lost yesterday (Thursday) in the first round of doubles - Dea Sumantri and Angelique Widjaja of Indonesia beat them 64 46 64 .. Not a good week at all for Manisha, Sai and Rushmi ..

Feb 17 Notes

About two years back I said in my notes that Aisam Qureshi and Paradorn Srichaphan would be the next two big players from Asia, and that the kid Aisam was going to be a headache for everybody .. He played Leander last year in February at the Calcutta challenger in the quarterfinal and lost to him 6-3 6-4 .. Well, today the 20 year old played LP again at Calcutta in the quarterfinal and got his revenge and the biggest win of his pro career which is only over a year old .. Aisam Qureshi (PAK,331) d. Leander Paes, 6-3 7-5 today .. The only thing I have seen in the agency newsbits so far is that Leander made many mistakes and unforced errors, and generally had a very bad day .. I guess I jinxed him a couple of days back saying that his 22 match challenger win streak in India would have to end sometime .. Full credit goes to Aisam, who is a big grass player (at the end of his junior career, he cracked the world top-10 after his big title at the prestigious Queens grasscourt juniors in 1998 - so the kid can play very well on grass) .. It is not easy for anybody to beat Leander on Indian grass even on a bad day for LP .. The last time was by Anthony Dupuis at Vadodara, 17 grass matches back, in April 1998 - Dupuis was then ranked around #300, but he was inside top-100 within a year .. Should we expect similar results from Aisam ? .. We will see.

I haven't seen today's doubles scores yet .. Check out the Kolkata challenger page.

From what I had heard earlier, Leander was not sure of playing at Ahmedabad next week, though he was confirmed for Mumbai the week after .. I believe it was dictated by the fear of playing too much tennis at a stretch .. Will see if anything changes now, but otherwise he may be off for 12 days before playing at Mumbai and then continuing on in the US at Scottsdale (where he would need to player weekend qualies, which is possible only if he loses early in Mumbai) and then Indian Wells and Key Biscayne .. It looks more reasonable now to play Ahmedabad though .. But then again, I doubt Leander can skip the Mumbai challenger though (Jaideep Mukherjee is the tournament director for that) .. We will see what he does .. LP got 12 ESP points for the QF here, which takes his total to 286 .. When asked at the press conference yesterday what his singles plans were, Leander said that he is on a 5-6 months plan right now .. He said he had to start with consistent results at the challenger level and then move up to the tour level again .. He has done the first part with good results on grass since December, and showed that he has certainly come back to top-125 levels by qualifying into the Australian Open (the first time he has ever managed to qualify into a grand slam) .. He said that both mentally and physically he needed to upgrade himself for the next level on the tour .. I think he hs regained most of the lost weight and strength - but we may need to wait for another 2-3 months and tougher higher-level tour events to determine where he gets to .. I expect him to be back just inside top-100 by that time, but that will only put him back at square one, same as about two years back .. Let us hope for a move up inside top-75 and near 50 then - which is what he is shooting for - I don't think he will make the mistake of losing his grip on singles, again.

For more bad news - both Sai and Rushmi lost to players they should have beaten, at the $10K Indonesia satellites in Jakarta, in the first round yesterday .. Sai lost to Ryoko Takemura (JPN,551), 67(4) 26 .. Rushmi Chakravarti lost to wildcard Angelique Widjaja, 62 61 .. Angelique Widjaja is a 16 year old from Indonesia who is talented but unranked in WTA.

Big news from the Bangladesh ITF junior internationals .. Harshit Sharma upset Haroutioun Sofian of Armenia 6-4 3-6 6-1 in the second round! .. Sofian had won ten matches in a row in India, and had virtually looked unbeatable for two weeks .. Sunil Kumar, Parantap, and CS Mohanty are also in the QFs .. Parantap beat Viod Sewa .. Vivek Jhaveri lost to a Thai player and Nikhil Vijay Murali lost to an Ukranian .. On the girls side where it's a 4 round 16-draw event, Radhika Tulpule reached semifinal beating Rozkaine .. Liza Pereira had a good 63 61 win over Nandita Chandrasekhar .. Samrita Shekar lost to a Su-Wei Hsieh of Taiwan .. The fourth QF was between two South African girls .. I guess my report yesterday that Bischela Reddy had also reached QF was wrong, then [source: Independent, Dhaka]

Feb 16 Notes

Leander defeated Lior Dahan (ISR,313) easily, 62 62 today .. Vishal Uppal (#702) seems to have played a good match, but lost 67(4) 64 to Aisam Qureshi (PAK,330) .. Asiam runs into Leander next .. 4th seed Gaudi was pset by top qualifier Nir Welgreen (ISR), and 8th seed Marx was upset by young Andy Ram (ISR).

At the Grade-4 Rajshahi ITF junior international in Bangladesh, the first round got done yesterday .. No scores available, but here is the list of those who made second round (16 draw for girls and 32 draw for boys) ..  Boys: Sunil Kumar, C S Mohanti, Vinod Sewa, Parantap Chaturvedi, Vivek Jhareri, Nikhil Vijay Murali, Harshit Sharma, Soren Spanner (Denmark),  Chanot Vasoontara (Thailand), Taras Demyanenko (Ukraine), Adam Jaya (Malaysia), Raian Luchici Raian (Romania) and Harutioun Sofyan (Armenia) .. Girls: Radhika Tulpule, Nischela Reddy, Liza Pereira, Nandita Chandrasekhar, Samrita Shekhar, Chani Scheepers (South Africa) and Su-Wei Hsieh (Taiwan) .. That means the three Indian qualifiers (Nipun Gupta, Pratim Parekh, Vivian Chhetri) lost in R1 .. Spanner and Luchici are the only two among 8 qualifiers to advance.

Feb 15 Note-2

Rushmi Chakravarti is in the draw at the $10K Indonesia-1 satellite event this week .. She faces Angelique Widjaja of Indonesia in the first round which starts only on Wednesday (source: Republika, Indonesia) .. I don't know if Sai Jayalakshmi has also gone there.

Three Indians have qualified into the the Grade-4 ITF junior international at Rajshahi, Bangladesh .. Pratim Parekh, Vivian Chhetri and Nipun Gupta won the final round qualifiers on Monday (source: Independent, Dhaka) ..  The main draw must have started today .. There should be a number of Indians in the main draw as well .. If he has got better after the bad viral  illness, Sunil Kumar should be there too.

Feb 15 Note-1

Leander cruised to an easy win,  Vishal Uppal pulled off the best win of his career, and Fazal "played his heart out" (according to PTI) against a top-200 player, once again falling short closely .. That is how it went today at the $25K+H Indian Oil Servo ATP challenger at Kolkata .. Fazal was not broken even once in his 6-7(4) 6-7(3) loss, and the news reports are that things kept happening to him once again at crucial points where he became either tentative or over-aggressive .. In the second set in the 12th game, he served two double faults, but showed his guts by serving big to save the match point -- but it only extended it to another tiebreaker, which he lost .. Here is how Prajwal Hegde reported the match in the Deccan HeraldThe Indian`s best chance to get ahead in the match came in the first set .. There were at least two occasions -- in the sixth and 10th games -- when Fazal had breakpoint chances on his racket strings .. The first time, he rolled a forehand softly into the net and on the second occasion, he conceded the advantage with a weak approach. In the tie-break, instead of tightening his game and playing solid, Fazaluddin played loose and paid the price .. A good example of this was the second point of the tie-break when Navarra slipped after striking a volley. The Indian had the whole court and all the time in the world to tap a winner, instead he hit a forehand long .. The second set was only a continuation of the agony. Fazaluddin didn`t have as many chances on the left-hander`s serve but that was as much because Navarra was serving better as because the Indian was getting increasingly tight .. In the tie-breaker it was Navarra all the way .. What Fazaluddin needs to take away from this match is the fact that his serve was never broken and that is a very good sign .. He has been working really hard for the past couple of weeks and he just needs to be patient and keep working on it. In the next couple of months the hard work is bound to pay off .. The ending line from Prajwal says why none of us should give up on Fazal yet, despite the repeated close losses he has had .. I am a big believer that a large part of confidence comes from how much hard work and practice a sportsman puts in .. If Fazal has lost some of his confidence recently, he is bound to get it back as he continues to work hard - and there should be no questions on this man's work ethic .. Anyway, that's where things are.

Back to the challenger - the news of the day is 702-ranked Vishal Uppal coming back from a set down to beat a top-500 player, the lucky loser entry Stefano Cobolli (#447) .. I had commented a while back that I had rarely noticed a match that Vishal lost without a fight .. This guy comes ready to play every time, it seems .. He got his break when the 7th seed Hyung-Taik Lee was a no show .. He still had to earn the win, his first over a top-500 player - and he deserves all credit for grabbing the opportunity .. He now gets Pakistan's Aisam Qureshi (#330) - since both are good grass players, it may turn out to be a good match .. Aisam is generally considered much more talented than Vishal (he is also a never-say-die figheter, and is ranked quite a bit higher too), but I would not count Vishal out in this match.

As for Leander's match, apparently he played a calm baseline game and finished off Tomashevic in under an hour, 61 64 .. Make that his 21st win in a row in challengers in India - 16th on grass .. Only Mahesh, Ketola and Fredricksson have managed to even take a set off him in those 16 wins on grass .. The 21-match win streak will have to end one of these days, but for now Leander seems to be in no mood for it .. Keep it going, Lee .. He faces Lior Dahan (ISR,313) in the second round tomorrow.

Srinath and Ziv won their first round doubles match and face Fazal/Kauffman in the QF .. See all the challenger results in the Kolkata challenger page .. I have added the complete qualifier results .. A couple of results of interest .. Benjamin Xavier had a close three-set win over Kamala Kannan before falling in the second round to Stefano Cobolli .. Manoj Mahadevan won a three-setter against Anand Radhakrishnan and then fell in a three-setter to Sander Groen .. I wonder if Manoj ever plays a two-set match ... It's always a three-setter, win or lose! .. The 18 yr old is still somebody who could bloom one of these days .. Incidentally, I was surprised not to find Vijay Kannan in the qualifiers - wonder if he is injured or anything .. Same with Vinod Sridhar, who never seems to get a wildcard entry anywhere, despite being behind only the four Davis Cuppers and Nitin Kirtane in the national rankings .. Bothe the Kirtanes are missing as well, but they have both had injury problems lately.

Feb 14 Notes

The Kolkata challenger news wasn't good today -- Srinath and Fazal lost their first round matches .. Sri made it a closer game in the second set against Terachi of Japan, but on grass not considered Srinath's best surface, it would have to be taken as a serious upset had Sri won it .. But then again, that is all excuses I am making - the fact is that the wait for some quality upset wins from Sri and Fazal has been going on for a long time .. According to news reports, though Sri fought back in the second set, Terachi never seemed to be losing control of the match .. As for Mustafa, who has had one disappointment after another with a string of wildcard entries, it was no different today as he went down to Australia's Dejan Petrovic ranked #196 .. The good news was a nice upset win in doubles by Fazal and Cedric Kauffman of France over the 4th seeds Anzari/Iwabuchi .. Three more Indians play tomorrow -- Leander plays Tomashevic, Fazal plays Navarra, and Vishal Uppal plays H-K.Lee .. Something tells me that Fazal is long overdue for a big win, too .. If he can take out Mose, that would be the best win of his career (I don't think he has ever had a win over a top-300 player, though - so it's a very very long shot) .. It could do wonders for Fazal's confidence though, if he can pull one off on his favorite homecourt -- hey, I am always a bit optimistic .. See the Monday results and the full draws in the Kolkata challenger page .. Saurav Panja is not playing (he was injured during the futures after the Chennai Open - perhaps he still is) .. So no double-SP in the doubles draw .. Srinath is playing doubles with Kobi Ziv of Israel .. Ghouse/Uppal are in the doubles draw .. By the way, Rohan Bopanna was the only Indian in the final round of the qualies, but he lost to Nir Welgreen of Israel .. There are six Israelis in the main draw .. A good contingent, just like always - they all seem to really like touring India ! .. There is a large number of other repeat visitors this time too -- those like Chicoine, Carraz, Kauffman, Borgula, Ketola, Ogorodov, Kunitzin, Groen, etc .. I guess people have stopped complaining about stomach upsets and strange surface and all that they used to say about events in India ? -- At least all these guys seem to have figured out that if you spend some time understanding how to deal with India, it's one of the nicest places to be at .. Pakistan's Aisam Qureshi is also playing .. That guy can play very well on grass.

The Indian women have all been off the tour for a few weeks, and it's time for me to check up on how Niru's injury rehab is going - no news for a while from her .. Manisha Malhotra played the qualifiers at the Redbridge challenger this week in UK, but lost in the first round to Maglie Lamarre (FRA,384) 26 64 26 during the weekend ..

The Indian team of under-14 players (Tushar Liberhan, Karan Rastogi, Rohit Raju, Sania Mirza, Ankita Bhambri and Sanaa Bhambri) had a terrific time at the two ITF under-14 South Asia events in Islamabad over the last two weeks .. 13 yr old Tushar (from Chandigarh - where else?) created some big noise winning singles titles both weeks, also sweeping the doubles crown with Karan .. Sania Mirza of Hyderabad won one singles title and was runner up in one .. Sania also win two doubles titles with Varvara Lepchenko (Kazakhstan) .. I have compiled some results from the Pakistani newspapers which I will post soon .. The evnts has players from the subcontint (Ind, Pak, Bang, SriLanka, Nepal,) and also from Afhganistan, Kuwait, UAE, Uzbekistan and Khazakstan .. Winning titles here would help Tushar and Sania in making it into the ITF subjunior team for Europe, etc .. 12 yr old Sanaa Bhambri was selected as the tounaments' most promising player .. India finished with 6 gold medals for titles,  3 silvers for runners-up and one bronze .. Uzbekistan with one gold, two silver and three bronze medals was the next best! .. To be fair though, considering the competition, I would have been very concernned if our kids did not return with the best tally of medals.

.. Previous notes are at Notes for the week ending on Feb 14th ..

I am getting some enquiries 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 enquiring 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 enquiries from the coaches too .. Please email me - R.Jayakrishnan.