Indian-Tennis: Daily News for the week ending on Feb 27, 2006
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Feb 27 Notes
Fabulous work by Neha, Shikha and Prakash in qualifying into the main draws
of tour events today .. In the matches at the $600K Tier-II Dubai WTA and
$380K Las Vegas ATP,
[Q3] (9) Shikha Uberoi (IND,160) d. (6) Kateryna Bondarenko (UKR,117) 36 63 63
[Q3] Neha Uberoi (USA,333) d. Elena Baltacha (GBR,216) 63 67(5) 63
[Q3] Prakash Amritraj (IND,241) d. (5) Brian Vahaly (USA,164), 26 63 61
Impressive show by all three to ho9ld their nerves and finish off the job
in three-set matches! .. The first round matches tomorrow.
The new rankings have come out and there is a new #1 on the men's side - Rohan Bopanna,
ranked 230 .. Prakash is at #241 and Harsh is at #270 .. HM lost the points
from the satellityes last year in UK and dropped 48 spots today ..
Feb 26 Notes
OK, now some good news .. Prakash Amritraj, and the Uberoi sisters have
all reached the final round of qualies, at the Las Vegas ATP and Qatar WTA,
respectively, today! .. Scores: ..
Prakash Amritraj (IND,246) -- [Q1] d. (WC) Ryan Gormley (USA,NR) 61 62 .. [Q2] d.(3) Rok DeVoest (RSA,149), 63 36 63 ..
Neha Uberoi (USA,341) -- [Q1] d. Ekaterina Dzehalevich (BLR,283), 60 62 .. [Q2] d. Tian Tian Sun (CHN,122), 61 63 ..
Shikha Uberou (IND,161) -- [Q1] 9th seed, bye .. [Q2] d. Andreea Vanc (ROM,NR) 62 63 ..
Prakash just pulled off a big upset over DeVoest, who made a second
set comeback on him in a two-hour match .. PA could not convert a couple
of match points at 5-2 in the third and then held his nerves very well to
save three break points while serving for the match at 5-3, to pull through
.. 2 hour match, and the key stat was that Kash saved 13 of 16 BPs
on him and converted 4 of 8 he had .. He faces 5th seed Brian Vahaly (USA,162)
tomorrow morning, which will be a tough match ..
Neha's two wins have been absolutely amazing because of the way she completely
dismiantled players muchhigher ranked than her! .. Coming on the heals of
the great show last week at Bogota, I think Neha is really beginning to create
the kind of noise that we have all been waiting for (and knew would be coming!)
.. Her Q3 is against Elena Baltacha (GBR,221) ..
Good to see Shikha
having a quiet match .. She was to play the 8th seed Kyra Nagy at first but
the draw had to be redone in the last minute and Shikha got a seeding and
a bye .. She now plays 6th seed Kateryna Bondarenko (UKR,142) in the Q3 ..
At the $15K USA F4 futures, Mankad got some consolation from winning
a doubles title yesterday .. Here are the scores -- [R1] (1) H.Mankad/ Jeremy
Wurtzman (USA) d. Daniel Garza (MEX)/ Carlos Palencia (MEX), 60 76(5) ..
[QF] d. Michael Quintero (COL)/ Daniel Wendler (AUS), 76(3) 61 .. [SF] d.
(4) Henry Adjei-Darko (GHA)/ Adriano Biasella (ITA), 64 75 .. [F] d. Stephen
Mitchell (RSA)/ Izak Van der Merwe (RSA), 36 63 63 ..
Feb 23-25 Notes
Sorry for a late update .. Partly because I was busy, but partly because
I was rather upset at nothing much good happening in the last 3 days ..
But there is good now with Prakash, Neha and Shikha recahing
the final qualifying rounds of tour events .. There was also some good news
with Harsh winning a doubles title in Texas, though he had gone
down in the singles earlier.
First For quick update, after an R1 walkover, MB and Moodie went down in
the QF at the Rotterdam ATP to Jonathan Erlich and Andy Ram of Israel, 57
67(4) on Friday .. At the same place, LP and Damm had gone down in the R1
earlier .. Following the singles R2 loss at Dubai, Sania played two doubles
with Maria Vento Kabchi (VEN) but could not go past the QF, losing 36 26
to the 3rd seeds Hantuchova and Sugiyama .. They had won the R1 by a 36 46
score over Kirilenko and Myskina on wednesday .. Yesterday in the qualies
for the $25K+H Wolfburg challenger in Germany, Karan Rastogi lost to Clint
Thomson (AUS), 64 26 36 .. Harsh Mankad, still not hitting a stride in his
singles in his game, lost on wednesday in the R1 at the USA F4 futures to
Johan Brunstrom (SWE), which is really a disappointing loss - what cab you
do? -- when you are in a slump you are in a slump! .. HM has withdrawn from
next week's USA F5 futures to do some tests on his knees - he had played
five weeks on the trot and needed to be careful .. At the Bogota WTA where
Neha had earlier qualified in and lost in the main draw, she played doubles
also .. She played with Maria Frnando Alves (BRA) and went down to the secon
seeds Agnes Szavay (HUN) and Jasmin Woehr (GER) after a tough fight, 76(3)
26 26 ..
Finally, none of the Indians reached the semifinals at the Delhi satellites,
despite 4 of them being in the QFs on Thursday .. Nice run by Navdeep and
Vishnu, but nothing much else to talk about .. In fact, Indians lost the
doubles semis also on Thursday and went 0-6 in the matches there .. See the
scores in the Delhi satellites leg-1 page ..
Also, Sania withdrew from next week's Doha WTA to watch her elbow, as well
.. Generally a terrible time till yesterday when the Uberois and Prakash
started doing something and Harsh won a doubles title.
Feb 22 Note-1
Mahesh and Moodie advanced to the QF today at the Rotterdam ATP without
sweating, getting a walkover from Novak Djokovic (SCG) and Andreas Seppi
Excellent work by J.Vishnu Vardhan (IND,968) and Navdeep Singh (IND,1048),
as the two unseeded players reached the PQF of the first leg of the Indian
satellites today .. Wildcard Vishnu upset Torres (ITA,647) with a touogh
third set tiebreaker, and Navdeep won a 75 76(7) upset over Jacob Melskens
(DEN,803) .. The only two seeded Indians, Vishal Uppal and Vinod Sridhar,
have also reached the QF .. Vijay Kannan and wildcard Divij Sharan fell in
the second round to the 6th and secopnd seeds in very one-sided matches though
.. See the Delhi satellite leg-1 page for all the scores.
Feb 21 Note-2
Terrible day today .. At the $1M Dubai Tier-II WTA, [R1] Sania Mirza (IND,36) l. Martina Hingis (SUI,50) 36 57 .. At the $175K Tier-II WTA in Bogota, [R1] (Q) Neha Uberoi (USA,351) l. (Q) Sara Errani (ITA,293), 67(4) 36 .. At the $750K Rotterdam ATP, [R1] (1) L.Paes/ M.Bhupathi l. Mario Ancic (CRO)/ Thomas Johansson (SWE), 67( 7) 67(5) ..
Sania's problem today was that the bandaged elbow was reporrtedy bothering
her a lot (she said later that she is expecting to withdraw from next week's
Doha WTA) .. She was unable to serve with newer adjustments made in Australia
and was reverting a bit to the earelier mechanics .. Anyway, by my count,
in all but one service game she was down facing 15-40 break points .. Saved
a couple of those game and broke Hingis a lot of times too (once when Martina
was serving for the match at 5-3 in the second set to prolong it) .. She
did hit quite a few of those "ooh-aah" shots but this seemed like a losing
battle against a superb player who is among the best WTA has ever seen in
making variations .. Point-wise, this match was still quite close, though
.. About 75 to 85 points .. Sania's ranking will drop to about 45 next
week but she has hardly anything to defend for 3-4 months and should be able
to do well once the injury goes away and she spends another couple of months
working on that serve and adding other little wrinkles to her game ..
Neha's match in Bogota was a true heartbreaker .. She was up quickly by two
breaks at 4-1 and 5-2 .. Served for the first set three times, at 5-2, 5-4
and then after another break of Errani at 6-5 .. Neha had at least TEN set
points which all went wasted .. Not sure what was going wrong .. In a way
it was impressive to see her come back again and again after dropping three
or four SPs in a row to earn more set points, but in the end she just could
not close the set, as she got broken after long deuce-filled battles in each
of the last three service games of the first set .. It was to be expected
that she would lose spirit and the match would slip away after that - and
it did .. There are times in one's tennis career when one just has to stay
strong, suck it up and laugh it off .. This is one of those times for Neha
.. Of course she could have won the match and should have, but heck, it happens.
She should look at the three very nice wins she had in the qualies
and look to the next match .. Just remember the old Texas saying -- "the
breaks even up - the sun don't shine on the same old dog's rear end all the
I have no details of the Leander doubles match -- but the doubles tour has
become quite a minefield these days .. First of all, there are quite a few
of the singles players (some very good at doubles like Ancic) who are playing
at least a round or two with some seriousness .. Then there are all these
new rules of no-AD scoring and supertiebreak and all that. Many matches are
becoming toss-ups, with one or two points seemingly to turniung things around
- other than in the grand slams where they would still use the older more
At the $15K Brownsville futures in Texas, USA, Harsh Mankad and Jeremy Wurtzmnan
won the R1 yesterday with a 60 76(5) win over Daniel Garza and Carlos Palencia
of Mexico .. Harsh plays the singles first round against a former top-600
player on return from injury - wualifier Johan Brunstrom (SWE,932) tomorrow
at 3 pm.
At the Delhi satellite leg-1, two wildcard youngsters, Navdeep Singh and J.Vishnu Vardhan
had impressive first round wins .. Navdeep, whose getting a wildcard I complained
about (shows what I know!) fully justified the trust in him by pulling off
a fabulous 61 57 61 upset of the third seed Philipp Mullner (AUT,477) ..
Vishnu got a gift as the 5th seed Briuan Wilson was a no-show and beat the
lucky loser, Dmitri Makeyev by a 63 67 63 score .. Unfortunately, Vivek Shokeen
aned Sanam Singh could not get past their opponents .. Another wildcarded
youngster, Divij Sharan also had a good win over qualifier Kondo ..Arindam
Datta lost in straiught sets once again - but what is new? .. Six Indians
are in the final-16 .. See the Delhi satellite leg-1 page for all the scores.
Feb 21 Note-1
Sania's match against Hingis is at 7 pm Dubai (8.30 pm India) .. I am
told there is no TV coverage in India .. Do come to our chatroom (link above),
as we should have some score updates there .. We should also have score updates
from Bogota, Colombia, as Neha Uberoi (USA,341) plays Sara Errani (ITA,293)
at exactly the same time (10 am in the morning there) ..
The world #2 ranked team, Leander and Damm,
get back on court today after a 2 weeks break since their runner-up finish
at the Australian Open - they play the featured center court doubles match
today at the Rotterdam ATP at about 5 pm ..
The $25K+H India-1 satellite (all four legs at Delhi) first leg main draw
started in Delhi yesterday .. Only two main draw singles matches were done
yesterday with 7th seed Vinod Sridhar winning and Ashutosh Singh falling
.. I have added all the results in the satellite first leg
page .. Kamala Kannan, who runs into the 6th seed Julien Maes (FRA) was the
only Indian to make it in through the qualies, which turned out to be one
of the toughest I have ever seen for an Indian satellite circuit .. One thing
that left me very sad was that 20 year old ArunPrakash Rajagopalan, Asian Junior champion in 2003,
could not even get a wildcard to the qualifying rounds and ended up missing
it .. That is unpardonable, when we consider that there were seven wildcards
handed out to the qualies and some went to those like Partha Bhattacharya
and Vikram Chitkara who are eminently undeserving of such largesse from the
organizers .. Heck, APR should have got a wildcard to the main draw if you
ask me -- and two of those four went to Arindam Datta and Navdeep Singh ..
The former is utterly undeserving of any wildcard to any event and the latter
(a good player) has got a lot of wildcards so far and could have been asked
to play qualies this time ..
It is nearly scandalous that this Arindam Datta has got some 10 wildcards
in to Indian events in the last 18 months .. He is 3-24 in pro matches in
the last two years, the three wins coming in the Q1 round of some futures!
.. And he has won just THREE sets total in those 24 losses .. Are you kidding
me? .. Who the heck is he, and why does he continue to get wildcards? ..
He got wildcards to all three possible rounds of the last India satellites
to the main draw .. He got MD wildcards to the Inda F3 and F4 futures last
year .. The previous time he played in India was in late 2004, when he again
got three wildcards to the first three legs' main draw .. I am really quite
reluctant to talk whine about wildcards in the futures and satellites, and
waited patiently for ever in bringing this up .. But when I see that a very
deserving player like ArunPrakash has missed outr on even a qualifying wildcard
and guys who should have quit tennis a long time back, like Arindam Datta
are getting wildcards, I have to bring this up .. I hope AITA will get to
the bottom of this matter and put it to rest .. If we see Arindam getting
one more wildcard, I am reporting somebody to CBI :) .. Kidding, but this
is crazy ..
I hope you can see my anguish after having waited for 4-5 years to see this
talented youngster APR getting a break somewhere .. He was a junior
#1 a few years back .. Then somebody advised him not to play ITF juniors
(or he had financial problems - not sure) when he was about 16 .. Tried a
few futures and satellites too early .. Fell out of national reckoning ..
Then somehow he ended up at the Randi Mani Academy in New York, and they
started helping him .. Suddenly, when he was just turning 18 in 2003 he starts
playing in the ITF circuit in the US and wins big, taking the international
grasscourts title at Philly etc .. From out of nowhere he brought up his
junior ranking into the top-60 in some 4 months flat .. He finished his junior
career in 2003 with a smashing title at the Asian Juniors with wins over
those like Somdev Varman, going up to junior #35 .. He beat players who would
soon be ranked junior #1, #4 and #12 during those few months of junior
play .. Then we start waiting to see how he would get going in the pros ..
And we hear all these rumors that the academy was not thinking of letting
him play the "lowly" events and wanted to break him in with a bang into ATP
events or something .. He was "under contract" it seems, but he hardly plays
anywhere .. All this while, there is no talk of the guy in India either -
and except some of us diehards in the forum, nobody even rememberes the guy
.. Then we heard last year that he has left from New York and he is back
in India .. Heard he got injured and there was some problem with health insurance
or something like that .. I am just not sure of any of this, because I have
not had even indirect contact with the youngster or anybody who knows him
.. Then we heard of a similar case last year when he could not make the futures
or satellite draw in India .. Man, how many things can go wrong in a talented
youngster's career ? ... I am sorry, we do not have a factory assembly line
for top talents in India, and we cannot afford to waste talents like this
Somebody needs to get this guy some help and while we are at it, satellite
wildcards would be a nice start .. I guess I may have upset some people in
Indian tennis with that harangue .. I hope I have not caused the young man
more trouble with the outburst, and hopefully nobody would now have ego issues
in going back and trying to see what we can do to help this guy .. I don't
know him or any of his people at all - and this is all just me talking (with
the support of some of us the other APR-optimists in the forum) ..
Not that APR is destined to become a Sampras or anything - but we ought to
try to see what he can be.
In any event, Arindam Datta should stop getting wildcards .. I am normally
not interested in the blame game, I really don't know how he is getting WCs,
and I really don't want to know any details either [Heck, he managed to get
WCs even in Europe, so he has some magic, if yuou know what I mean :)] ..
Just fix this issue and I will shut up and just give kudos to everybody like
always do when things are done right!
Feb 20 Notes
There is a news report today that Leander Paes was in Mumbai and has decided
to have the next Davis Cup tie, against Pakistan in early April, at the CCI
club courts in Mumbai on grass .. It is great to see the Davis Cup move to
a new place .. I have criticized LP and AITA quite a bit her and in our forum
for not moving the Davis Cup ties to different venues, and I have also been
after the Mumbai tennis folks for a while about their not bringing big events
to the big city .. I guess I get both my wishes with this! .. It hasn't
made to sense to me why Mumbai has been unable to conduct a men's challenger
for years or a Davis Cup for decades - though the latter was probably never
really their fault! .. I have been getting sick of the Kolkata-Delhi shuttle
service for years and we have all complained for a while in our forums about
Davis Cup "not moving south of the Windhyas" .. It will help to take Davis
Cup to more cities and get the fans (and more importantly the aspiring kids
in those cities) to have some fun rooting for India with tricolor on their
faces and drum beats in the stands - something the fans in Delhi seem too
jaded to do these days, reportedly! .. What better than a tie against Pakistanis?
I don't think there are any grass courts at CCI currently, though ..
They may have to put in some grass in a hurry, I suppose .. It is a no-big-advantage
type of decision against Pakistan who also have grass courts as their preferred
surface .. I had always believed that it is worth trying a hard-slippery
clay surface like at the Madras Gymkhana in Chennai - at least Mankad and
Bopanna are comfortable on that surface, and it is good to have some other
strange surface options with us - not just grass .. On the other hand, the
Pakistanis are not much worse than us in playing on clay either; so who knows!
.. Sometimes I feel that we overstate how good our players are on grass though
.. PA, RB and HM are certainly very comfortable on grass and will generally
beat anybody under top-200 without grass experience, but against very good
grasscourt players, we are yet to see them pulling off upsets like LP and
MB have done in the past .. Aisam Qureshi is a very good grass player and
Aqeel Khan generally seems to perform much better on grass than on other
surfaces .. Hvaing said that, Aqeel did look quite alright at Madras Gymkhana
last year when he played the futures (which Mankad won; but Aqeel had a top-350
win and reached the QF there) .. I guess the bottomline is that generally
no surface is particularly more advantageous than any other, if we are playing
Pakistan .. So, this is a safer pick - in that we would otherwise take Prakash
out of the equation if we pick anything but grass or hard .. I might have
preferred a hardcourt surface actually, come to think of it, for this tie.
But no big complaints - and as you can see, I am quite indecisive on
what would work this time .. We will trust LP's judgment I guess .. Heck,
the fan fervor should be enough for our players to beat Pakistan even if
we play the match on moon-rocks .. If you can't get up and ready to beat
the little bug-country next to us on whatever surface, you shouldn't be playing
Davis Cup for India .. Go Leander and party, get going with your plans ..
Leander and Mahesh are both at the $782K Rotterdam ATP this week -- [R1] Mahesh
Bhupathi/ Wesley Moodie (RSA) vs Novak Djokovic (SCG)/ Andreas Seppi (ITA)
.. [R1] (3) Martin Damm (CZE)/ Leander Paes vs Mario Ancic (CRO)/ Thomas
Johansson (SWE) ..
Sania Mirza is set to play the featured high-octane evening match at the
Dubai WTA tomorrow (Tuesday) at 7 pm against Martina Hingis .. Sania is in
the doubles draw there with Maria Vento Kabchi (VEN) and they play a tough
first round (probably wednesday) against Maria Kirilenko and Anastasia Myskina
of Russia ..
Sania moved up to a career-high #73 in doubles in today's rankings, with
the doubles title at Bangalore .. She is #36 in singles .. Making nearly
a 100 spot jump in the singles ranking was Isha Lakhani with her R2 at the
Bangalore WTA - Isha moved up to #388 ...
The big news today is the impressive run by unseeded Neha Uberoi through
the qualifying rounds at the Tier-III Copa Colsanitas Seguras Bolivar WTA
(yeek, that is a mouthful for a tourney title!) .. In Bogota, Columbia ..
341-ranked Neha upset the 258-ranked 4th seed in the qualies, Tina Schiechtl
of Austria, by a stunning 61 62 margin .. That is the third straight set
win by Neha in the qualies. She also got some help in the main draw,
as she now runs into a fellow qualifier, Sara Errani (ITA,293) .. I am sure
she has it in her to upset Errani for her first WTA main draw win too ..
Go Neha!! .. I assume her match will be on wednesday - not sure ..
This is the second time that she is qualifying into a WTA main draw; she
had done that at the Hyderabad WTA two years back ..
Harsh Mankad (IND,222), in the last week with a top-225 ranking (he is expected
to drop to about #270 next week after 38 points fall off from his current
total of 159), is at the $15K USA F4 futures in windy Brownsville, Texas
.. He is the second seed and faces a qualifier Johan Brunstrom (SWE,932)
in the first round .. In doubles, Harsh is playing with Jeremy Wurtzman (USA)
and they are seeded first .. Their R1 is against a Mexican pair, Daniel Garza
and Carlos Palencia .. HM will play two weeks of futures and then will try
to see if he can get into the qualies of the big Indian Wells masters.
Rohan Bopanna (IND,231) was to be at the AUS F2 futures in Wollongong this
week, but seems to have withdrawn .. I saw the draw just now and he is not
in it .. Will need to find out what is up with Bops. Hope he is alright
.. Looks like the Kyoto challenger in 2 weeks is the next one for Bops (and
also Prakash) ..
.. Previous notes are at
for the weeks ending on Feb 20, 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