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Indian-Tennis: Daily News for the week ending on Mar 6, 2006
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.. The site was on vacation for 4 months, as I was extremely busy with work ..

March 3 Notes

Leander and Martin Damm play their doubles semifinal at the $1M Dubai ATP today against the second seeds Paul Hanley and Kevin Ullyett at about 9 pm .. Hanley-Ullyett have been playing very well as a team this year and had just pushed Paes-Damm down to the third spot in team rankings .. I am sure LP-MD would like to pay them back and move back today and move back up!

March 2 Notes

Leander and Martin Damm won the QF at the $1M Dubai Open with a 62 76(4) win over the Rochus brothers of Belgium - Olivier and Christophe .. Good job!

Once again, no go for Indians in the QFs at the satellites in Delhi .. Last week we had seeded Vishal, Vinod, and unseeded Vishnu and Navdeep in the QFs and all four fell there .. This week we had two unseeded players, Tushar Liberhan and P.Ravishankar, and both fell in the QF too .. Second seed Herbert Wiltschnig continued his unbeaten run from last week .. Vijay Kannan and Ashutosh Singh reached the doubles final by beating Mustafa Ghouse and Vishal Uppal .. Thatr is about it in what is turning out to be a miserable satellite circuit for Indians .. See the scores at the Delhi satellites page.

5th seed Tejesvi Rao and 4th seed E.Ashmitha have reached the QF stage at the grade-3 ITF juniors in Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia .. 8th seed Bhavani Tirumurty fell in the PQF today ..

March 1 Notes

At the $1M Dubai Duty Free Open ATP, Mahesh Bhupathi and Wesley Moodie could not get over the hump against the second seeds Paul Hanley and Kevin Ullyett, the currently #2 ranked doubles team ..  67(4) 26 loss .. This is terrible -- Mahesh and Moodie can just not seem to get going .. Moodie seems to be in a bit of a slump in his singles career too .. Probably that is affecting his doubles? .. Not sure .. Unfortunately, the draws have not been too kind to them either, partly because both are ranked outside top-20 now and are not getting seeded to pick up some rhythm against some easier opponents ..

At the Delhi satellites second leg today, 4th seed Vihsal Uppal and 6th seed Vinod Sridhar got upset today but Ravishankar Pathanjali and young Tushar Liberhan made it to the QWFs .. Tushar had a big upset of the 3rd seed Phillip Mullner of Austria! .. See the scores in the Delhi satellites leg-2 page.

Feb 28 Notes

I will quote myself from an article I wrote at the new sports-india.com site for today .. Prakash Amritraj, Shikha Uberoi and Neha Uberoi, all three having won impressive upset matches in the qualifying rounds, however failed to advance to the second rounds of the main draws at tennis tour events on Tuesday. 241-ranked Prakash Amritraj lost to Mardy Fish (USA), 4-6, 6-7(4) at the $380,000 Tennis Channel Open in Las vegas. Fish was ranked as high as 17 in the world and is currently on a comeback trail from an injury layoff. At the Qatar Total Open in Doha, Neha Uberoi, ranked 333 and based in the USA, went down to 31-ranked Marion Bartoli of France by a 6-0 7-6(5) score. Her elder sister, Mumbai-born 160-ranked Shikha Uberoi, was unable to put up her best tennis in a 6-0 6-1 loss to 76-ranked Maria Vento-Kabchi of Venezuela.

Though the Indians were unable to win their first round matches, it is heartening to see that qualifying into the higher levels of tour events have now become much more regular than in the past decade when India did not produce any tennis players other than Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi who were capable of achieving that feat. Nirupama Sanjeev accomplished that twice in her career that ended about three years back. Prakash Amritraj qualified into the Indianapolis ATP in 2003, and repeated the feat this week . Harsh Mankad qualified into the Chennai ATP and the Nottingham ATP last year. Rohan Bopanna made the main draw in that manner at the Chennai Open this year. Shikha Uberoi qualified at the Budapest WTA in 2004 and repeated it at the US Open in 2004, and than at Pattaya, Indian Wells, and Toronto in 2005 before doing it for a sixth time this week at Doha. Neha Uberoi has now done it in successive weeks in impressive fashion - at Bogota last week and Doha this week. She had also done that at the Hyderabad WTA in 2004. That this has been done 14 times in the last three years by five different players, while it hardly happened for several years before that, underscores the gains Indian tennis has made in the last few years.

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 satellites 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 ..

.. Previous notes are at Notes for the weeks ending on Feb 27, 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