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LP/MB/NV/Indian-Tennis: Notes for the week ending on March 3, 2003
(Previous week's notes) (Next week's notes) (Daily Notes Index 1997 thru 2003)

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Mar 03 Note-1

LP and MB may be playing Del Ray Beach only on tuesday or wednesday.

At the Australian satellites' $10K leg-1 in Warrnambool, Rushmi Chakrvarthi (385) is seeded 5th and plays Ilke Gers (NZL,505), the same girl who beat her last week at the Bendigo challenger first round .. Sonal and Geeta who would have made the draw there, have not gone there, though they were in the entry list originally ..

At the final qualies of the New zealand F2 futures in Christchurch, #848 Ridhi Sridhar went down in the Q1 to #962 Hendri-Susilo Pramono, 75 61 today .. I have not seen the main draw yet.

The AITA list of players selected for the East Asian junior tour was announced today .. Eight players - Boys: Somdev Dev Verman (18 yrs, #50), Karan Rastogi (16 yrs, #63), Chatwinder Singh (17 yrs, #109), Rupesh Roy (14 yrs, #195) .. Girls: Sania Mirza (16 yrs, #33), Isha Lakhani (17 yrs, #67), Sanaa Bhambri (14 yrs, #91), Tara Iyer (14 yrs, #113)  .. No big surprises there and basically these are the top four Indians in the boys' and girls' ITF junior world rankings .. Perhaps the only other names I would have liked to see in the list was Kartiki Bhat (16 yrs, #180) on the girls side, and Sanam K Singh (15 yrs, #291) on the boys' side - but both would have trouble getting into the Grade-1 event's draws .. Kartiki missed some of the Indian events due to school exams and that probably didn't help her cause with a higher ranking .. Also, if she were to be picked, R.Madura (14, #156) would have a complaint too .. Rupesh Rao is in the team but he may also need to play some qualies ..  The four events are in Malaysia (starting Mar 17), Thailand (Mar 24), Philippines (Apr 1) and in Japan (Apr 8) .. All four are grade-1 .. It would have been nicer if there were one or two smaller events to start things off .. For any of the other Indians who might self-finance a trip to the circuit, there is a grade-4 event in Malaysia next week (Mar 10), but otherwise it is a tough grade-1 grind all the way .. Not all the AITA players are playing all four .. Sania will play the first three and come back to play two weeks of $10K satellites in India .. Isha will play the first two and then take a week break before the Indian events .. Sanaa will skip the first week due to exams, and will play the next three .. Tara will play all four .. On the boys' side Somdev and Karan will play all four events and the other two will play only the first three ..  The coach for the team was somewhat surprising - Vasudev Reddy! .. Vasu has been actively playing the domestic circuit till recently and still plays the nationals and all that .. Perhaps there was an argument for somebody more experienced in junior coaching who has gone on this particular Asian junior tour before, but you need to start somewhere with such assignments and he might turn out to be good influence on the kids .. Vasu not being a coach for any of the kids might make things fair too, I guess? .. I look at the coach issue seriously, because the kids do need some help and advice from the coach during this particual tour, which has traditionally not been great for Indian kids who see the tenacious style of many top Asian players and the power play of a handful of top-75 western players for the first time in this circuit .. Sania, Isha, Rohan etc have previous experience on this tour though ..

Mar 02 Note-4

LP and MB will be at the $380K Del Ray Beach ATP at Florida next week .. MB is back together with his regular partner Joshua Eagle, but LP does not have Rikl this week and is playing with Nenad Zimonjic (SER) .. Nenad is now listed under Serbia, as opposed to Yugoslavia earlier .. MB-JE are seeded first - [R1] M.Bhupathi/ J.Eagle vs Simon Aspelin (SWE)/ Nathan Healey (AUS) .. LP-NZ are unseeded - [R2] L.Paes/ N.Zimonjic vs #2 David Adams (RSA)/ Robbie Koenig (RSA) .. Tough team to be playing in the first round, that too with a new partner he has never played with, for LP .. He must be in good form now though, seeing the big title today at Dubai!

Bad news from the Scottsdale ATP qualies - for the second time this year, Prakash Amritraj fell in the final qualies (both times to lower ranked players than he upset in the second round) .. [Q3] Jay Gooding (AUS,709) d. P.Amritraj (IND,656), 64 76(5) .. PA had fallen in the Q3 at the San Jose ATP last month .. So, the Indian up-and-comers' record of falling in the ATP final qualies continues for the 5th time (once each by Mankad, Srinath and Fazal, and twice by Prakash) in the last 5 years .. Waske (#100) that PA upset in the Q2 is the highest ranked player that any Indian has upset in the qualies recently though (Bopanna's challenger win over Hyung-Taik Lee late last year is the only other top-100 win by the up-and-comers in over 5 years) .. PA needs more time to learn to play all the different kinds of players out there, I guess, but what a win yesterday for him!!

As for next week, Megha Vakharia was in the entry list, a couple of spots out from the main draw originally, for the Cairo $10K satellite .. Rushmi Chakravarthy will be one of the lower seeds in the main draw in the first week of the $40K Australian satellite at Warrnambool .. Sonal Padke was three spots out and Geeta Manohar about 6 spots out in the original list but the qualies started below their ranks - so they have made it in, if they went there .. Sania Mirza takes a couple of weeks of rest, as does Harsh Mankad .. Sunil Kumar, Mustafa Ghouse, and Ajay Ramaswamy are in the main draw at the $10K New Zealand F2 futures in Christchurch .. Rishi Sridhar was #14 in the qualies and Jaco Mathew was unseeded .. After a Q1 bye, Rishi beat Scott Eaton (AUS,1335), 63 76(8) .. He had beaten the same guy in Q2 last week for an almost identical score - what are the odds for that in a 50-men field? .. Rishi plays Hendri-Susilo Pramono (INA) in the Q3 .. Jaco lost in the Q1 to Philip Horyna (SUI), 63 36 46.

Nirupama Sanjeev is listed in the qualies for the $25K Redding Challenger (California), but only in the qualies, for the week of Mar 17th ..  I assume she will be off the tour till then .. Same week as the Ket Biscayne WTA and a few of the main draw names are listed for qualies there as well - so Niru has a slight chance to make it into that challenger (I wish she would go to the easier challengers, though! .. She has had a way of picking the tough places throughout her career!) ..  Manisha Malhotra, who has also been off the tour for a few weeks is listed in the qualies for the same challenger.

Mar 02 Note-3

More good news - Copying an email - "Sania has won a double title in the 2nd tournament in Nigeria. She beat the South African, Anca Anastasiu 6-1, 7-5 in the final about half an hour ago. Earlier, Sania and Dandeniya had beaten Franziska Etzel of Germany and Christina Obermoser of Austria 6-3, 6-0 in the doubles final" .. More later.

Mar 02 Note-2

There is something about Leander and finals, that has been reported often .. When he can see the end, he rarely allows the chance to slip through .. Having not seen today's final in Dubai, I can't say if Leander was doing his "take-over-the-game" heroics like he does in most finals - because David Rikl is no slouch either .. This was as emphatic a win as you would see in a $1M championship final .. It was competitive for all of about 15 minutes when it was tied at 3-3 .. From there on, LP-DR completely dismantled Wayne Black and Keving Ullyett, picking up five breaks and winning nine games in a row .. [F] L.Paes/ D.Rikl d. W.Black/ K.Ullyett, 63 60 .. ATP doubles title #25 for Leander, one behind the current Indian record holder MB .. LP and DR shared $60K for the win and picked up 300 pts which will move them to #4 or #5 in team rankings this year with 600 points .. Congratulations to them!

Thius is turning out to be quite an enjoyable weekend!

Mar 02 Note-1

Sorry for the delay .. Last night I had to go to my friends' party to watch the replay of the 10th avatara, wearing that number on his jersey, making the asuras from our neighbouring country lie down and pray for forgiveness for all their crimes :-) .. Matsya- Koorma- Varaaha- Narasimha- Vaamana- Raama- Raama- Raama- Krishna- Sat-Chinmaya-Tendulkara! .. (No, I'm not giving any real religious connotation to this; just having fun .. I would have said the same, had he done this to the the real Asuras, the Australians. :-)) .. Our team is showing people what the "Punch-Jab Sindhu" and "Maratha .. Dravida .. Banga" etc mean in our anthem.

Back to tennis .. Leander and David Rikl play the doubles final at the big Dubai Open today at 7 pm (8.30 pm India, 7 am Los Angeles) .. [F] L.Paes/ D.Rikl vs W.Black/ K.Ullyett .. Wayne Black and Kevin Ullyett are the US Open winners from 2001 .. This is the first final together for Lee and David .. In fact it is the first final for Leander in almost an year in ATP doubles, since splitting with Mahesh eactly 50 weeks back .. It has teaken him this long to find a worthwhile partner and to get back to his own normal form, it seems to me .. Hope they can pull off a win .. They have picked up $31.5K in prize money (together) so far and can make it $60K with a win today .. 300 ATP points for the winner and 210 for the runner-up, as the Dubai Open is upgraded this year to a $1M championship series event (it had 250 pts for winners last year, I believe) .. LP will move up from #33 to just at 30 with the show so far, and can probably move closer to #25 with a win .. Go Lee!

Come to the forum's test chatroom for score updates during today's Dubai final (8.30 pm India, 7 am LA) .. Just go to new  forum and click on the chat button at the top .. You don't need to be logged into the forum to use the IRC-based chat [just type in "/nick soandso" to change your handle from anonymous to whatever you want] .. It is easy and of course free to register though .. If you are registered in the forum and have logged into the forum, the chatroom will automatically have your name set up accordingly .. Dhruv Kak has been testing the forum and thinks look fine .. Those who could never get the current parachat chatroom to work, try if the new one works .. If so we will adopt it later as our primary chatroom.

Terrific news from Scottsdale .. Prakash Amritraj pulled our most recent top-100 scalp yesterday and reached the final qualies for the Scottsdale ATP .. He upset the top seed in the qualies in the second round! .. [Q1] Prakash Amritraj d. David MacPherson (AUS,NR), 46 76(5) 64 .. [Q2] Prakash Amritraj (IND,656) d. #1 Alexander Waske (GER,100), 64 16 64 !!!!!!! .. How about that? .. For the final qualies, he plays Jay Gooding (AUS,709) who had upset the 5th seed Jaymon Crabb (AUS,204), 62 63, yesterday .. Gooding is the same guy who was Harsh's partner in doubles last week at Brownsville, who fell ill causing them to retire in the R1 ..  I have been saying for a while that people should stop worrying about Prakash and take him seriously .. The 19 year old is really beginning to cook .. He still has some ways to go, but the indications are all abundadntly positive .. Go Kash, Go Kash!!

Bad news from Japan though .. Rohan Bopanna fell in the 3rd round of qualies at the Shimadzu challenger, according to Dhruv who posted it in our forum .. Scores - #4 Rohan Bopanna (IND,348) d. (WC)Mashashi Yoshikawa (JPN,NR) 64 62 .. [R2] d.  Kenji Fujiwara (JPN,NR) 62 75 .. [Q3] l. #7 Satoshi Iwabuchi (JPN,392), 67(3) 36 .. RB is second in the lucky loser list - I don't know if he will make it in .. He is also in the doubles main draw .. Playing with Toshihide Matsui (JPN) .. They are drawn against Fred Hemmes Jr (NED) and Roman Valent (SUI) .. [Thanks go to Dhruv for the news - he has been saving me some time by hunting for some of these news items .. Check out our forum which sometimes has the latest updates before I report it here]

No news still about Sania, except that she reached the semi after Suzanne Aigner (AUT) retired at 1-2 in the first set due to illness [cpurtesy: Austrian tennis federation] .. Internet connection is not that easy out there in Nigeria, I assume ..  Hopefully she has played and won the title today.

Mar 01 Note-2

Yeah, down goes Pakistan! -- I need to sleep .. quick updates - LP-DR upset JB-TW 62 26 64, but MB-MM got upset 46 60 67 .. Oh-so-close to an LP-vs-MB final, but not this time .. Rohan won two rounds and is in the final qualies against the 7th seed Iwabuchi at Kyoto .. Sania is in the semis with an early retirement from Suzanne Aignor .. Details later.

Mar 01 Note-1

Rohan Bopanna is the 4th seed in the qualies at the $25K+H Shimadzu All Japan Indoor challenger in Kyoto .. He faces a wildcard, Mashashi Yoshikawa (JPN) in the Q1 .. Quite an easy draw, with a good chance to make it in for RB.

Feb 28 Notes

The semifinals are set for saturday at the $1M Dubai Open ATP .. [SF] L.Paes/ D.Rikl vs #2 J.Bjorkman/ T.Woodbridge, at about 4 pm (5.30 pm India .. 4 am Los Angeles) .. [SF] #1 M.Bhupathi/ M.Mirnyi vs W.Black/ K.Ullyett, at about 9 pm there .. There will be some score updates of the matches at the official web site .. I would have scheduled chat sessions during the matches, except for the big IND-PAK cricket match which should be getting done at that time after an all-nighter for me (with India winning at least by 65 runs or by 8 overs :-)) .. Go to the new test chatroom at the top of our the forum page though, as I think Dhruv would like everyone to test it out, during the Dubai semifinals tomorrow .. Probably the MB match is better for us to meet for a chat, as that will be after the cricket match (which I know even some of us who are really irritated at the cricket hoopla, will be watching :-))

Harsh Mankad's QF match was delayed due to rain and was played under (bad) lights today at the $15K Harlingen futures ..  He went down to the second seed Andres Pedroso (USA,291), 26 57 .. Tried a comeback in the second set but some cramps put an end to it, I believe ..He gets 3 points - a tough way to earn it, playing 6 wildcard tournament matches and three main draw matches .. He should be moving close to #460 with that .. Harsh had to get out by 4 pm and fly to Scottsdale if he were to make it for the ATP qualies sign-in; he had to miss that .. He is going to Tampa tomorrow for 9 days of coaching/training by Tamer El Sawy of Egypt, former pro (he was up around #110 about 5 years back), who got interested in HM after seeing him at Texas.

No news at all from the $10K Nigeria satellite on Sania after the first two matches she won this week.

The new college tennis rankings show USC (#18 in team ranks) sophomore player Prakash Amritraj at #36, with Univ of Arkansas (#27) freshman Rohan Gajjar at #102 and #56 Western Michigan Univ's 3rd year player P.Ravishankar (playing #1 spot) tied with Rohan at #102 .. Pretty impressed with Rohan's work so far, for a freshman - he is 9-0 at the #5 spot .. Rajeev Ram (USA) is at #22 .. On the women's side, Uzma Khan is at #101 and Nandita Chandrasekar at #112 .. I didn't know that Nandita had joined the Charleston Southern University (she now plays #2 for them, and has a 13-1 record so far as a freshman) .. Uzma with a 21-2 record at the #1 spot in UC Santa Barbara and Nandita with a13-1 record finding it tough to break top-100 is an illustration of why it is important to go to higher ranked colleges and play tougher conferences against better players, though it is not easy to get scholarships sometimes and Indians often cannot find finances without that .. Uzma was at a much better school (Univ of Arizona) for a year but she transfered, probably for personal reasons ..

Some important info for those of you Indian players applying to US colleges (sorry, some of you have written to me recently, but I have not had time to respond; will do soon) .. Here are to websites to check all the rankings and info you need - the official website of Intercollegiate Tennis Association and the database website that seems to work with ITA - collegetennisonline.com ..  The latter website lets you click on player names and see what position they played in each tie, whom they have played and what ranking their oppenents had, etc .. Check for the top-75 colleges, the players at their top spots, what kind of competition they play, etc, before you apply to colleges! .. Check the confarences they play in .. Compare the top programs with the so-so programs to get an idea of what kind of competition they play (and decided what you can expect if you go to any college) .. You can also see which colleges have seniors graduating and might have scholarships spots available, etc etc .. Trying to get as many top-100 matches is the #1 priority for players to improve while in US colleges, in my (perhaps oversimplified) opinion .. Spend some time at those websites and you will learn a whole hell of a lot! .. [There was aslo a thread in our forum recently on pluses and minuses of coming to college etc] -- I might repeate this periodically ..

Feb 27 Note-1

Leander and Rikl had a surprisingly easy match today, but Mahesh and Mirnyi seemed to have a dogfight before pulling through, at the $1M Dubai Open .. Both teams are in the semis! .. [QF] #1 M.Bhupathi/ M.Mirnyi d. Fabrice Santoro (FRA)/ Nenad Zimonjic (SER), 62 67(11) 75 .. [QF] L.Paes/ D.Rikl d. Yevgeny Kafelnikov (RUS)/ Tommy Robredo (ESP), 61 63 .. The semifinals are on Saturday .. The opponents for MB-MM will be decided tomorrow - either Johnson-Palmer or Black-Ullyett .. LP-DR will have a very tough team to handle - the second seeds Bjorkman/Woodbridge.

Harsh Mankad reached the quarterfinals at the $15K futures in Harlingen, Texas, with a 76(3) 63 second round win over the wildcard Lesley Joseph today .. He runs into the second seed Andres Pedroso (USA,291) next .. Afternoon match for him tomorrow.

There was a news report from Mumbai today that Bopanna and Mustafa Ghouse will be playing at the Mumbai $15K futures starting on the 17th .. The entries close on the coming Monday .. Harsh Mankad had also said that he will be there - this will be homefield for him at Mumbai ..

Dhruv had posted the entry list for next week's Kyoto challenger in Japan in the forum .. Rohan is 8th in the entry list - he will probably be among the top four in the qualies in the end, if he has gone to Japan to sign in tomorrow.

Feb 26 Notes

Both LP and MB are scheduled to play their QFs on thursday at the $1M Dubai Duty Free Open ATP .. [QF] #1 M.Bhupathi/ M.Mirnyi vs Fabrice Santoro (FRA) and Nenad Zimonjic (SER) .. [QF] L.Paes/ D.Rikl vs Yevgeny Kafelnikov (RUS)/ Tommy Robredo (ESP)  .. Kafelnikov and Robredo upset the 3rd seeds Damm-Suk 60 76(2) today.

At the $25K Bendigo satellite, Rushmi Chakravathi who had to fly to Australia soon after winning the doubles at Bangalore satellite seems to have been off-color .. She went down in both singles and doubles in the first round .. (q) Ilke Gers (NZL) d. Rushmi Chakravarthi, 64 60, and #3 N.Sewell/ A.V.D.Hurk d. R.Chakravarthi/ S.Virartprasert, 61 63 .. Rushmi is in the entry list for the 4-week $40K satellite circuit in Australia, starting at Warrnambool next week .. Sonal Phadke is 3rd in the qualifying entry list now, and she will possibly make the main draw directly .. Geeta Manohar is 6th in the qualies list.

At the $10K Benin Cuty 2 satellite in Nigeria, all I have seen so far is that Sania won the first round over qualifier Carina Hirsch (AUT) 61 61 and was to play Femi Odeyemi-Musa (NGR) in the second round .. She must have already played the second round.

Our boys seem to be Totally out of sorts, down in New Zealand, even in doubles where also they had first round exits .. Johan du Randt and Wesley Whitehouse of RSA beat Sunil Kumar and Rishi Sridhar, 76(5) 62 .. #3 Mark Nielsen (NZL) and Bernhard Parun (GER) took out Mustafa Ghouse and Ajay Ramaswami, 62 62 .. I don't know what is bugging our boys out there .. I guess it is just how it is in New Zealand for all Indians.

Harsh Mankad must be playing the singles R2 tomorrow at the Harlingen $15K futures.

Feb 25 Note-2

Good news from Harlingen, TX .. Harsh Mankad came through in a nice upset of the 8th seed Raven Klaasen (RSA,379) easily, 61 64 today .. Raven is a talented 19 year old who has come up nicely in the last few months - he actually had straight set wins over Sunil Kumar at the Peoria (Illinois) futures last July and over Prakash Amritraj at the Costa Mesa (California) futures last November .. Good work by Harsh, who now gets a wildcard, Lesley Joseph (USA) in the second round .. Harsh is not in the doubles draw there, unlike last week .. I think he is planning to go to the Scottsdale ATP qualies if he doesn't get far in the singles and so he does not want to be stuck in Texas because of doubles (he is one guy who always says he will not enter a draw if there is any chance for him to have to tank a match - I like him for that!)

The wednesday matches are done at the NZL futures and all the Indians are out after the first round itself, with #535 Sunil Kumar losing 57 16 to Mark Hlawaty (AUS,635) .. Really disappointing to see all three Indians losing in upsets, based on ranking at least.

I think Rushmi is to play the R1 against Ilke Gers on wednesday at Australia in the $25K Bendigo challenger .. Rushmi is also in the doubles draw there, with Suchanan Viratprasert (THA) .. They are drawn against the 3rd seeds Nicole Sewell (AUS) and Andrea Van Den Hurk (NED) in the R1.

Feb 25 Note-1

MB and Max Mirnyi also advanced to the QF at the $10M Dubai Open today .. Easy 63 63 win over Alami and Voniea ..

Both the Indians who played the R1 at the $10K NZL futures went down today .. Peng Sun (CHN) upset the 7th seed Mustafa Ghouse, 76(0) 62 and wildcard Robbie Cheyne (NZL) beat Ajay Ramaswami, 62 61 .. Actually Robbie Cheyne was recently in the NZL Davis Cup squad and played a match, so he is not a bad player, despite the lower ranking .. Matt Daly of USA who beat Rishi and qualified in almost took the second seeded NZL #1 Mark Nielsen to an upset, in a 64 67 46 loss - so the Indians did not lose to bad players, if that is any consolation ... The R1 continues tomorrow (wednesday) and Sunil Kumar should be playing ..

In other news, three Indians who played the south asian ITF u14 chamionships, Arnav Jain, Agnel Gladwyn on the boys side and Ashmitha Easwaramurthy on the girls' side were selected to be part of the ITF traveling team for the east asian u14 events coming up in a few weeks in Thailand .. Arnav and Agnel had won one title each in the two-event series in Sri Lanka a couple of weeks back, which included some goos players from central Asia also .. They both tied for the top points there .. Ashmitha finished 4th in the girls points list behind some Central Asian girls from Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan.  Congrats to the kids!

Feb 24 Note-2

LP and Rikl had a routine 61 64 win today at the Dubai Open first round against Schuettler and Youzhny ..  This was the only doubles match scheduled today .. MB-Mirnyi play tomorrow at 3.30 pm.

At the $15K USA F5 at Harlingen, TX, Harsh Mankad is drawn against Raven Klaasen (RSA,367) - not an easy match .. The main draw starts tomorrow but there is some rain threat out there, it seems.

No news yet on the draw for Sania at the Benin City 2 satellite in Nigeria this week.

Feb 24 Note-1

Leander Paes and David Rikl will be playing Rainer Schuettler and Mikhail Youzhny today at evening at the Dubai ATP .. MB-MM are not in the schedule for today.

Rushmi Chakravarthi is in the main draw of the $25K Bendigo challenger in Australia .. She faces a talented young girl who qualified in, Ilke Gers of NZL

Here are the matchups for Indians at the $10K New Zealand F1 futures at Christchurch .. 7th Seed Mustafa Ghouse (518) vs Peng Sun(CHN,625) .. Sunil-Kumar Sipaeya (535) vs Mark Hlawaty (AUS,635) .. Ajay Ramaswami (618) vs (wc) Robbie Cheyne (NZL,1041) .. In doubles, S.K.Sipaeya/ R.Sridhar vs Wesley Whitehouse (RSA)/ Johan Du Randt (RSA) .. M.Ghouse/ A.Ramaswami vs #3 Mark Nielsen (NZL)/ Bernard Parun (GER) ..

.. Previous notes are at Notes for the week ending on Feb 24 ..

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.