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LP/MB/NV/Indian-Tennis: Notes for week ending on Mar 2, 1998

(Previous week's notes) (Next week's notes) (Daily Notes Index)

Mar 3 Note-1

Yeah baybee ! .. MB has pulled another upset .. This time over the 8th seed ranked #144 .. Here is the report right from the courts by fanclub member, Jan Kongtako:

Thanks a bunch, Jan ! .. Mahesh gets 2 extra bonus points for beating a top-150 player too (for a total of 10 points) .. Motomura is not an easy foe, but one who leander has easily beaten in the past. Mahesh can handle him in round 2 .. Hope to see both LP and MB in the QFs .. As for doubles, it's probably a good idea not to play .. I wonder when they actually withdrew (ATP penalizes players and docks points if one withdraws very late; I assume they had decided a couple of days earlier).. Plus, it certainly would be fair to other players in the doubles draw for a top-3 team not to play and beat the daylights out of them !

If you have not noticed, "temporarily #2" description has promptly disappeared from the top of LP's page .. :-) .. Ogorodov is down to #162 and Paes is up to #155. So, LP is #1 in Asia again..

Mar 2 Note-2

No big fireworks at the $10K ITF womens' tournament in Delhi by Indians so far, as 4 of the 6 who played today lost. Jahnavi Parekh lost to the 5th seed Nami Urabe (Jpn), Sai Jayalakshmi lost to Archana Venkataraman, Rushmi Chakravarti lost to the Mumbai winner, Qin Yang (China) and Arati Ponnappa lost to Marylene Losey (Sweden). The good news is that Uzma Khan pulled a big upset over the 6th seed, Nina Schwarz of Austria. Uzma had an overnight flight from Dhaka, but showed no signs of that in a 2-set win. She has been incredibly consistent in her wins, this being her 25th win in a row over the last 5 weeks starting with Colombo (5), Delhi (5), Chandigarh (5), Bangkok (4), Dhaka (5) and now this win (the Colombo, Delhi, Chandigarh, Dhaka events were junior ITF events, Bangkok was Fed Cup Group-II) .. I have been curious about how she would do against non-juniors, and so far, so good ! .. The two qualifiers, Arati Venkataraman and Shruti Dhawan play tomorrow. Here are the results from day 1 at Delhi.

Still have not got final news on what happened to Mahesh Bhupathi's doubles with Peter Tramachi at the Vietnam challenger. Have not heard anything after their quarterfinal win, and the ATP site has not updated the challenger scores ..

Mar 2 Note-1

Our on-site fan club member at the Bangkok Challenger, Panitnart (Jan) Kongtako reported just now that Leander has comfortably gone through to second round at Bangkok. Here's her report: .. Hi everyone! Leander has had a good first day in the singles, I'm delighted to say. I watched him have a reasonably comfortable 6-3 6-4 win against the Mexican Alejandro Hernandez, whilst Mahesh tomorrow plays Oscar Burrieza from Spain ( # 8 seed here and world # 146). The Thai junior Danai Udomchoke went down 6-1 6-2 to Frenchman Frederic Fontang, whilst the other Thai - 1997 SEA Games winner Paradorn Srichaphan - lost in 3 sets to the fourth-seeded Spaniard, Alberto Martin, # 110 in the world and ranked therefore 358 places above the local player. Leander next plays Frenchman Stephane Huet ( world rank # 201) on Wednesday. The doubles get under way Tuesday, with LP/MB not surprisingly the top seeds. I hope to send another report tomorrow evening. Best regards to all .. Jan

Looks like Leander has a beatable opponent, ranking-wise, in the next round too.. Go LP ! .. tough game for Paradorn, the Asian #1 junior last year. He took a set off Martin, which is good (he had taken a set off Courier in the Singapore ATP tournament last October too).

I have a correction: The ATP site seems to have reversed their score reports from yesterday; now they say Damm/Grabb defeated Kafelnikov/Vacek at the London tournament, and Eltingh/Haarhuis won the Philadelphia tournament .. So, I stand corrected from my note yesterday .. By the way, the "all-new" ATP site is a terrible mess for now .. Can't get to their rankings page at all ("server busy" for a while this morning, and now it is completely down.. The usual problem where the web-developer nerds spend time on all the jazzy graphics and forget about the key info pages that people actually read .. This is a huge problem on the internet these days.. Heck, if I want to see art, I will go to a museum .. I don't want art by software guys, thank you .. Give us the damn info, will you ? .. and get rid of those Agassi/Sampras photos .. like we have not seen their mugs enough already .. waste of bandwidth). Anyway, no news on the new rankings this week .. Hope they clear up their problems soon.

Mar 1 Note-3

Shruti Dhawan and Arathi Venkataraman qualified for the main draw at the second week of the ITF-organized WTA women's tournament at New Delhi, starting Monday. Shruti defeated Wonkamalasai Orawan, the top seed in the qualifiers in three sets, and Arathi defeated Monique LeSeur of South Africa. Wonkamalasai did enter the main draw as a lucky loser, though. Good to see the young Shruti (of DHAITA) doing well (she was away in Dhaka last week; I had hoped to see her play at Mumbai). Anyway, it looks like Eight Indians are in the main draw (one better than at Mumbai) ! Rushmi Chakravarti, Jahnavi Parekh and Arati Ponnappa as direct entries, Uzma Khan, Sai Jailakshmi and Archana Venkataraman as wildcards, and Arathi and Shruti as qualifiers .. What we had heard earlier was that Archana was not going to get an entry unless Uzma didn't play, but The Deccan Herald and Times of Indis report Archana Venkataraman also to be in the draw .. I guess Arati Ponnappa got a direct entry, though I'm not sure how, with her #862 ranking; the Mumbai draw closed at about 725 .. The Times of India says Arati Ponnappa got direct entry and that there are 7 Indians in, and does not mention Rushmi .. Also, Benjamas Sangaram of Thailand, who missed the Mumbai event due to a flight problems, is there and is the top seed. The rest of the top 8 seeds are also there, except for Jing-Jing Chen of China .. Here is the results page for the Delhi tournament.

ATP doubles news: Hey, I warned about the return of the dangerous Kafelnikov/Vadek the other day .. sure enough, they went and won the first tournament they played in 4-5 months.. at the Guardian Direct London ATP tournament title, beating Damm/Grabb in the finals (in the semis, Kaf/Vac had beaten Eagle/Florent, and Damm/Grabb had beaten Galbraith/Steven). Eltingh/haarhuis also reached a final, at the Philadelphia Advanta championship, but lost to MacPherson/Reneberg ..

ATP launched their newly-designed web site this morning (http://www.atptour.com/EN .. here) .. There is now a brand-new page with player web page links (official and unofficial).. There are 21 players' pages listed there, and guess what, they did notice our pages for Leander and Mahesh, and they are two who appear there ! .. The new site, which seemed to be down when I checked in the evening, is a little too graphics-oriented for my liking (I like plain-old text pages with lots of info which download faster on the many computers with 28.8 and even 14.4 modem connections, not to mention those tons of people who use text-based lynx browsers in India).. The satellites results pages have gone away, but ITF has recently started archiving these at their site (also to be redesigned and relaunched soon), so I can live with that. ATP has a database search for head-to-head results too. What I tried first was, Paes vs Kuerten. Sure enough it brought up the results of Leander's two wins against Kuerten in 1995 (at the Brasilia challenger) and in 1996 (at the Salinas challenger).. So, I guess their database is working correctly .. Quick ! - Did you know that LP had 2 wins and no losses over Guga ??.. Don't lie ! ... :-)

Also, LP has not met Alejandro Hernandez and MB has not met Oscar Burrieza before, according the new ATP page. They meet this week at Bangkok ..

Mar 1 Note-2

Early news on the Bangkok challenger: Leander will meet #187 Alejandro Hernandez (match on Monday) and Mahesh will meet the 8th seed Oscar Burrieza (#146) .. Go LP ! Go MB ! .. Here are the only matchups I know of (courtesy: The Nation, Thailand) ..

Leander Paes (Ind)            [162] vs Alejandro Hernandez (Mex) [187]
WC-Mahesh Bhupathi (Ind)      [258] vs 8-Oscar Burrieza (Esp)    [146]
WC-Paradorn Srichaphan (Thai) [468] vs 4-Alberto Martin (ESP)    [110]
WC-Danai Udomchoke (Thai)     [???] vs Frederic Fontang (Fra)    [191]

More later when we hear from Thailand .. Our fanclub member, Jan Kongtako is hoping to attend the first couple of days of matches, and depending on her email access, we should be getting some reports..

Mar 1 Note-1

It's almost frustrating to see Leander Paes, time after time, ending up with uncertainties on entering the main draws of tournaments. Missing the direct entry at the Singapore ATP by one spot, being the lucky loser entry at two grand slams in 1996, missing the wildcards at many tournaments in the last minute due to late decisions by guys like Jim Courier, etc, etc. Add Chennai now to the list, where he is the #26 player for 25 direct entries .. I wish he had pulled in another 10 more points or so in the last two weeks of challengers and ranked a couple of spots ahead .. The good news is that The Telegraph reports the Chennai Gold Flake organizers announcing in a press conference that Leander has been given a wildcard entry.

..The real shocker is that they have not given a wildcard to Mahesh Bhupathi., and they had the arrogance to say that MB may not get one (Unless The Telegraph is mis-reporting here). Utterly, absolutely, incredible ! Pathetic ! .. Come on, folks, the guy can't even play the qualifiers because he will be playing for India over the weekend in the Davis Cup in Genoa (Italy), and this is how we thank him ? .. Who the hell are you keeping the wildcards for ? .. Somebody in the top-75 or something who decided to come in the last minute, I suppose. I can't think of anybody who Indians in Madras want to see more than Mahesh Bhupathi at this point (unless Sampras or Agassi wants to come; and they ain't). Do you doubt me ? .. Check how many people saw Alex Radulescu's first-round match last year and compare it with how many saw Mahesh' match (oh, by the way, those people were not there to see Mahesh' opponent, that big-name wildcard, Pat Cash ..) .. I guess the Indian organizers have only so much say in these matters, with ATP and others having some influence, but whatever the heck the deal is, give the damn wildcard to Mahesh and keep the 3rd wildcard, if you really need (I had hoped Mahesh and Prahlad would have two wildcards and one would be kept for someone else, but I can live with LP and MB getting two of the three) .. They should then wait to see if somebody withdraws early enough for LP to get into the main draw without a wildcard .. More chance for that than for someone to show up in the last minute.. Boy, this whole thing makes me mad as hell ! .. People need to learn to take a stand and do the right thing, come what may, sometimes. Considering that MB cannot even play quals due to Davis Cup, there is no doubt that the right thing is to give him a wildcard (In Prahlad's and Syed's case, there is no guarantee that they would have qualified, and would have needed wildcards into the qualifiers themselves; so it's not that terrible). If they do not do this right in the end, I will consider the whole tournament to be organized by flakes, not just sponsored by Gold Flake :-) .. By the way, if MB does not get a wildcard, I will be all for him to withdraw from the doubles. And he should. He doesn't need those 160 points now, and he will be better off taking a week off. They can have their damn tournament with the Woodies beating up on small fries .. MB is probably much less bothered about this, though, than I am, right now ! .. I sincerely hope that I am just flying off the handle and the Chennai tournament organizers will do it right in the end. (OK, end of sermon!)..

Vijay Kannan did a double-bagel job on Sansar-Uz Zaman, 6-0, 6-0, yesterday at the Dhaka ITF International Ranking Junior tournament , to complete his grand-double with singles and doubles titles. Uzma Khan had an easy win over Dominika Lazrova of Czech Republic, 6-1, 6-3 .. Here are the results ..

Feb 28 Notes

Qin Yang won the grand double at the ITF women's tournament in Mumbai. She pulversized Julia Aldbrecht, 6-0, 6-3 in 39 minute flat in the singles. That is very impressive for the 18 year old girl who was reportedly not that interested in tennis once, but was selected by the Chinese government sports scheme and essentially made to play tennis at a yound age .. Anyway, looks like the Chinese know how to pick them (though many would question the tactics!) .. One correction on something I said earlier. I had said that Jahnavi would get 4 points for reaching the quarterfinal, and that the winner would get 10 points. I was working off the WTA points table which shows two different scales for $10K tournaments (one with 10 pts for the winner and the other with 5 points). Today's The Hindu reports that Quin Yang got 5 points; so I must have used the wrong scale. That would mean Jahnavi only got 2 points there .. Here are the Mumbai results.

Since there are no other news today, here is a tidbit. Shailesh Dhoble, one of the good young Indian junior players, has just left for Spain, to be trained at the Nick Bruguera tennis academy, which has produced Conchita Martinez, Arantxa Sanchez- Vicario, Albert Costa, Carlos Costa etc.. and Sergei Bruguera... (source: Indian Express) .. He will certainly learn clay tennis well out there (.. basically no other type of tennis in Spain .. no grass, and the only hardcourts in the country are all in Barcelona, I am told).

Will report as soon as we hear something about the Thailand challenger draw..

Feb 27 Note-2

Not much news today .. Qin Yang of China is in line for a grand double at the ITF women's event at Mumbai, after reaching the finals of the singles and doubles .. Not bad at all for the 18 year old Chinese to reach her first WTA final .. The other singles finalist is Julia Aldbrecht of Austria, also in her first final .. and this is the first WTA international in India (these $10K events are WTA events which International Tennis Federation, ITF,  has taken over and organizes now).

ATP doubles news: That terrific doubles combo, Kafelnikov/Vacek, are playing together again, after 4-5 months, this week at the $680K Guardian Direct London ATP tournament, where they are the top seeds and are in the quarterfinals. They are one of the most dangerous doubles teams out there, but do not play together very often these days. Nice to see them again. Eltingh/Haarhuis who started playing last week, are the top seeds at the Advanta ATP tournament in Philadelphia, US, this week. That are also in the quarterfinals.

Feb 27 Note-1

Leander and Mahesh are playing doubles (of course they are the #1 seeds) at the Bangkok challenger starting Monday, according to our fanclub member in Thailand, Jan Kongtako .. Not sure if she will be able to see any of the matches, as she is away from Bangkok, but she can get us some news. Mahesh has a wildcard into the singles, along with the Thai #1, Paradorn Srichaphan (who is no longer in the junior list), and the Thai junior #1, Danai Udomchoke. It's certainly a very, very, rare event for an ATP top-10 doubles team to play at a challenger .. Lucky for the folks up in Bangkok to be be able to see the #3 team in action.

In other news, the kings and queens of subcontinental junior tennis are all in the final stages of the 12th Bangladesh Junior International ITF Tournament, after Thursday's matches. Indians, Vijay Kannan and Sansar-Uz Zaman are in the boys' singles final. Uzma Khan and Dominika Lazarova of Czech republic are in the girl's finals. Vijay Kannan and Ko Kuan Ming (Taiwan) are in the doubles final against Akshay Vishal Rao and Karan Doctor. Sheetal Gautam and Shruti Dhawan are in the girl's final against Dominika Lazarova and Radhika Tulpule.. Good show guys and gals ! .. Here are the results.

Feb 26 Notes

Mahesh also went down fighting today against #106 Alex Calatrava, 5-7, 4-6 at the Vietnam Challenger, according to the report from our ever-reliable reporter, Kim Das. The only good news is that MB and Tramachi moved into the semifinals of doubles there, with a win over Oleg Ogorodov and Maurice Ruah, 7-5, 7-6. They had earlier beaten (on wednesday) Alejandro Hernandez and Oscar Ortiz in round 1.. As Kim says, it's not clear if it's a good thing (OK, a win is always a good thing..), because he would be better off going down early to Bangkok and getting some singles practice there, with Leander, for next week's challenger. Leander is down to two more weeks of challengers to pick up some points. He desperately needs around 75 to 100 points to come up to about #125 and start qualifying into some ATP tournament singles draws. It's alright till the middle of April (he will need to play qualifiers at the Lipton anyway, in mid march, and then will be in the Chennai tournament and Vadodara challenger anyway; .. after that, the clay season starts in Europe, and it would be a good idea to be ranked inside the top-120 or so to have a chance at those tournaments.. we will see).

Jahnavi Parekh went down in an extremely close match, 6-7 (7-9), 5-7 in the quarterfinals of the ITF Women's event at Mumbai, to Julia Aldbrecht of Austria. Jahnavi had 5 set points in the first set, couldn't convert and was rather shaken abaout it, according to Sharda Ugra in The Hindu today. Anyway, the killer bindees are all gone at Mumbai. Hope they all do even better next week at Delhi. Here are the complete results from Mumbai.

Vijay Kannan and Uzma Khan are in the semifinals of the ITF junior ranking event in Dhaka (so what's new, huh ?..). Indian boys, Sansar-Uz Zaman and Kedar Tembe are also in the semifinals of singles. Uzma is the only Indian in the singles semis for girls. Vijay, partnering a Taiwan boy is in the doubles semis as well. Shruti Dhawan and Sheetal Gautam are in the doubles semis as the only Indians (I believe Uzma didn't play doubles there, as her usual partner, Trishna Williams, is at Mumbai). See the some of the results from Dhaka.

Feb 25 Note-3

Bad news again.. Leander went down 6-4, 6-3 to Andre Sa in round-2 at Vietnam (Thanks, Kim Das, for the news). MB was playing his doubles late at night.. will get the score tomorrow .. Oh, Leander, you need to do something about this inconsistency !

Jahnavi Parekh is into the quarterfinals at the Mumbai ITF Women's Tournament, upsetting 4th seeded Nicole Remis, ranked about 300 spots above her. This is a tremendous win for her, giving her 4 WTA points (which I think will bring her ranking up by around 100 spots from her current #714). The bad news today was that the other 4 Indian women in the quarterfinals have all lost .. "the strain of producing good tennis two days in a row was too much for them", as Sharda Ugra says in her article in The Hindu (she has been writing some nice articles on this tournament). It's a pity that they cannot continue the fine performance of upsets on the first two days, but that is what lack of enough international exposure does to them. At least Jahnavi is keeping the flag up for now; she plays Julia Adlbrecht (#640) of Austria next .. By the way, only the second seed, Abigail Tordoff of Britain remains in the quarterfinal; all the other seeds have lost ! .. Here are the results.

Feb 25 Note-2

The Chennai Gold Flake (Apr 6) entry list is out. Paes is the first player outside the direct entry as of now, but we should expect this to change. Here it is (list of 25): 3- Patrick Rafter, 33-Todd Woodbridge, 44- Mark Woodfrode, 65-Boris Becker, 74- Mikael Tillstrom, 87-Jerome Golmard, 91-Arnaud Clement, 97-Jonathan Stark, 103-Alex Radulescu, 109-John Van Lottum, 115-Andrei Pavel, 118-Rainier Schuttler, 128-Vincenzo Santopadre, 131-Olivier Delaitre, 134-Lars Bursgmuller, 141-Michael Sell, 144-Cristiano Caratti, 145-Andrew Richardson, 148-Stephane Koubek, 149-Alex Belobrajdic, 153-Davide Scala, 154-Christophe Van Garsse, 155-Oleg Ogorodov, 156 Heuberger 159-Orlin Stanoytchev .. The list of those waiting outside is: 162-Leander Paes, 163-Petr Luxa, 164-Adrian Voinea, 170-Gerard Solves, 171-Geoff Grant, 173-Jeff Salzenstein.

Do not sweat this.. Leander will be in the main draw in the end (he ain't staying at #162 for too long, folks!), and they will not have to waste a wildcard for him. I hope to see Bhupathi, Srinath and one more (may be Fazal or even Vijay Kannan) in there as wildcards. There will be three wildcards and four qualifiers. I am a little disappointed in the number of top-50 players there. Just THREE ! .. That's terrible. This is even worse than last year when Krajicek Mal Washington, etc were there .. And Becker is one who should be expected to pull out, as he does more than half the time.. The Woodies will be there, and that is great news.

Feb 25 Note-1

Here is the complete draw for the Vietnam Challenger (with knowns results so far, and rankings as of 2/23/98):

1-Juan A. Marin (93)    vs. Gerard Solves (170)                        \
Q-Andrew Ilie (192)     vs. Attila Savolt (172)                        /\
Q-Takeo Suzuki (280)    vs. WC-Tran (unranked)                         \/\
8-Oscar Burrieza (146)  d.  Stephane Huet (201)          7-6, 3-6, 6-4 /  \_
3-Alex Calatrava (106)  vs. Frederic Fontang (191)                     \  / |
WC-Mahesh Bhupathi (258)d.  Andrei Cherkasov (174)       6-4, 1-6, 6-4 /\/  |
Q-Julien Chauvin (244)  vs. Jean-Baptiste Perlant (185)                \/   |
6-Alex Lopez-Moron (125)d.  WC-Andrian Raturandang (540) 6-2, 6-4      /    |_
5-Fernando Vicente (107)vs  Alejandro Hernandez (187)                  \    |
Oleg Ogorodov (155)     d.  Sebastian Prieto (157)       6-1, 6-0      /\   |
Alex Belobrajdic (149)  vs. Q-Markus Hipfl (217)                       \/\  |
4-Jacobo Diaz (119)     vs. Todd Larkham (194)                         /  \_|
Andre Sa (167)          d.  7-Stephane Koubek (148)      7-6(7), 7-6   \  /
Leander Paes (162)      d.  Peter Tramacchi (193)        6-2, 6-1      /\/
Marcio Carlsson (168)   d.  Marcelo Charpentier (207)    7-6, 6-4      \/
2-Alberto Martin (110)  d.  Andrei Merinov (180)         6-3, 6-4      /

Feb 24 Note-2

Hey, the Indian women are on a roll up there at the American Express $10K ITF women's event in Mumbai ! Today, the other two wildcards, Arati Ponnappa and Sai Jailakshmi, both pulled upsets, over the first and sixth seeds to move on (they both get WTA's quality points of 1 each for beating top-500 players, in addition to the 1 for making final-16). Arati's win over the top-seed, #358 Yamagishi in straight sets, 6-3, 6-2, is particularly impressive. The only Indians out of 7 to lose in the first round were the qualifier, Reetu Sethi, and the lucky loser Joy Rodriguez. Both the direct entries and all three wildcards are through to the second round (Rushmi, Jahnavi, Arati, Sai and Archana).. and ALL FIVE have beaten higher ranked opponents. Shall we say, "the attack of the killer bindees" is on ?... :-) .. Arati Ponnappa and Rushmi Chakravarti are in the final-8 for doubles with a first round win today. The other two Indian teams lost in round 1 .. Here are the results .. Meanwhile, the wildcards for next week's $10K event at Delhi have been announced, and will be Arati Ponnappa, Sai Jailakshmi and Uzma Khan. Archana Venkataraman is on stand-by for a wildcard depending on Uzma's decision on whether to play or not at Delhi..

Leander's second round opponent at HoChiMihn City will be #167 Andre Sa, who upset the 7th seed (#148) Stephane Koubek, according to The Hindu.

Some late news on a junior tournament in Bangladesh last week (Rajshahi Junior Under-18 Tennis Championship). Vijay Kannan earned another double crown. He defeated Chang Ween Lun of Taiwan 6-4, 6-3, in the singles final, and won the doubles final also, playing with Ko Kuen Meen of Taiwan, defeating Karan Doctor and Akshay Vishal Rao 6-1, 6-2. Sheetal Gautam won the girls' singles title, beating Dominikla Luzarova of Czech Republic 6-3, 2-6, 6-3 in the final. The girls' doubles title went to Radhika Tulpule and Dominika Luzarova who beat Sheetal Gautam and Shruti Dhawan 6-1, 7-6 (7-5). (courtesy: The Independent, Dhaka.. They titled the news article "Khanna earns double crown", and referred to our boy as Bijoy Khanna .. :-) .. but, I won't complain .. at least they reported the results!) .. A grade-3 ITF junior tournament has started there this week, and the same cast of characters are there, with Uzma Khan as the new addition ..

Feb 24 Note-1

Alright ! .. finally Leander gets his first singles win of the year.. Here is our Far-East correspondent (:-)), Kim Das reporting from Singapore: Leander breezed through to the second round with a convincing 6-2, 6-1 win over Peter Tramacchi! He now takes on the winner of seventh seed Stefan Koubek and Andre Sa. MB is scheduled to play his doubles match tomorrow night since his doubles partner had his world rocked by LP tonight :-) .. I don't know if that means MB's second round singles will be pushed back till Thursday or if he will be forced to play two matches tomorrow.

LP gets 9 points (8 for first round win and 1 for beating a top-200 player) here. His first positive points in 3 months.. Let's go again, LP !

Feb 23 Note-2

More good news.. All three Indians who played today advanced to the second round at the $10K ITF Womens' tournament in Mumbai. The biggest surprise was wildcard Archana Venkataraman upsetting the 7th seeded Kelly Liggan of Ireland in straight sets. She certainly made full use of the last-minute wildcard that came her way after Uzma Khan decided not to come to Mumbai. Archana does not even have any WTA ranking and Kelly is ranked inside the top-550. Even better, Archana today also won a doubles match and qualified for the draw with sister Arathi Venkataraman. The other two singles winners were Jahnavi Parekh and Rushmi Chakravarti, both over higher ranked opponents. Nice to see jahnavi getting a good win. She has been missing from the scene for a while. Rushmi has an easy 50 minutes win, but she now has to face the #2 seed Abigail Tordoff of Britain in round 2. The other four Indians in the singles draw will all play tomorrow (Tuesday). Arati Ponnappa has the toughest match, against the #1 seed Yoriko Yamagishi of Japan, who became the top seed after Benjamas Sangaram of Thailand withdrew because she couldn't get on to a plane on time from Bangkok (strange excuse, if you ask me, but that's the report!) .. anyway, Yoriko has flown in today. See the complete results from Bombay.

Mahesh's points from last year's Tokyo challenger fell off the computer and he is down to #258 in the rankings. If he puts together a couple more wins at Vietnam, he will get most of those points back. He gets 9 points from today's win. In doubles rankings LP and MB dropped one spot each after Kafelnikov jumped ahead of MB with his title (with Wayne Ferreira) at the Antwerp tournament last week. LP's singles points remain at 280, and his rank is down a couple at 162. Team ranking remain at #3. The Woodies have just regained the #1 spot from Eltingh/Bjorkman, after their title at Memphis. Carbonnel/Roig has cracked the top-10 at #10 with their finals at Antwerp.

Feb 23 Note-1

Hot news (from coach Enrico "Rico Suave" Piperno, at Hochi Minh City, via Kim Das): Mahesh won his first round match at the Vietnam challenger, a couple of hours back, against Andrei Cherkasov (#170). 6-4, 1-6, 6-4. Nice to see him coming back strongly after disappearing in the second set .. I think this is his biggest win since he defeated Daniel Nestor (#128 then) at the LA Infinity, last July. He will now face the 3rd seed Alex Calatrava (#111) whom he took to three sets last week at Singapore .. Time to get revenge, Mahesh ! MB and Tramacchi will be playing their first round doubles match (probably tomorrow) against Oscar Ortiz and Alejandro Hernandez of Mexico .. Leander plays tomorrow .. Here is the partial draw in singles (will update the rest later, if more details come in):

1-Juan A. Marin (95)    vs.  Gerard Solves (196)        \
Qualifier               vs.  Attila Savolt (178)        / \
??                      vs.  ??                         \ / \
??                      vs.  ??                         /    \ _
Tran                    vs.  Qualifier                  \    /  |
Stephane Huet (200)     vs.  8-Oscar Burrieza (149)     / \ /   |
3-Alex Calatrava (111)  vs.  Frederic Fontang (196)     \ /     |
Andrei Cherkasov (170)  vs.  Mahesh Bhupathi (218)      /       | _
??                      vs.  ??                         \       |
??                      vs.  ??                         / \     |
??                      vs.  ??                         \ / \   |
??                      vs.  ??                         /    \ _|
7-Stephane Koubek (145) vs.  Andre Sa (168)             \    /
Leander Paes (160)      vs.  Peter Tramacchi (188)      / \ /
Marcio Carrlson (177)   vs.  Marcelo Charpentier (202)  \ /
Andrei Merinov (179)    vs.  2-Alberto Martin (109)     /

Not too bad .. LP has quite a winnable draw to get to semifinals and beyond, if he plays like he can .. How about an LP/MB final ?? ... :-) ... Go LP ! Go MB !