Indian-Tennis: Daily News for the week ending on Mar 7, 2005
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Mar 7 Notes
We were worried a little earlier today that Shikha Uberoi was still not
recovered from the little thigh problem she had at Hyderabad and might have
withdrawn from the Tier-I Indian Wells (Pacific Life Open) qualies, as her
spot was played by somebody else in the scheduled morning match .. Had good
news later, as it turned out that the draw was redone and Shikha, who was
the highest ranked unseeded player at #147 had taken up the spot of the 9th
seed Pastickova who seems to have withdrawn (they redo the draw if a seed
withdraws after the draw is made, if it is before the matches start - in
that case they introduce an extra seed) .. So Shikha ended up as the 25th
Well, Shikha Uberoi proceeded to absolutely wallop Saori Obata (JPN,164), 63 61
.. Saori, who was as high as #39 a year back, was on a terrible streak of
12 losses in a row late last year (including that loss to Shikha at the USO
qualies), but had just started playing a little better, reaching a $50K semifinal
in Minnesota a week back and seemed to be getting out of her funk .. Well,
Shikha did not allow her any room for anything today though .. Up next for
Shikha in the second and final round of qualifying is the 24th seed Ekaterina
Bychkova (RUS,146) ..
Parul Goswami qualified into the $10K in Benalla, Australia .. After a first round bye, [Q2]
(2) Parul Goswamy (IND,870) d. Emelyn Starr (AUS,NR) 64 67(8) 61 .. [Q3]
d. Elizabeth Walker (AUS,NR), 64 64 .. [Q4] d. Alison Bai (AUS,NR), 64 36
61 .. In the main draw, the matchups for Indians are - [R1] (Q) Parul Goswami
(IND) vs Nicole Kris (AUS) .. [R1] Sai Jayalakshmy (IND) vs (6) Christina
Horiatopoulos (AUS) and [R1] (2) Rushmi Chakravarthi vs (WC) Marija Mirkovic
(AUS) .. In doubles, [R1] (2) R.Chakravarthi/ S.Jayalakshmy vs Qualifiers
TBD .. [R1] P.Goswami/ Eriko Mizuno (JPN) vs Julia Vorobieva (RUS)/ Meng
Yuan (CHN) ..
By the way, I have not said much about Somdev Dev Varman, but if you have
not been reading the forum thread on him, he is now the highest ranked freshman
player in the US colleges , at #13 .. There were a couple of other freshmen
player rated above him in the previous human polls/rankings, but last week
the computer rankings became active (the computer rankings start only
after about half of the college season is done and the conference season
start) .. With the number of top-ranked player that Somdev has effortlessly
beaten, there was no question that he is the best new entrant in US colleges
this year .. To emphatically prove the computer right, Somdev also happened
to beat in straight sets the second highest ranked freshman, #19 Poerschke
of Baylor University in a big match-up of the top two ranked college programs
in the US .. Baylor is #1 and Somdev's University of Virginia is #2
.. Go Buji! .. I will leave a note or two here, so that people won't forget
the biggest hope in our next line of players (along with Karan) .. Buji had
won the Kolkata futures on clay last year, as you may remember .. Of course,
due to college tennis, he will not be able to defend his title when the Kolkata
futures is done next week.
My note below about grass courts and Davis Cup not moving to the south or
west India in some two decades, touched off a bit of a
discussion in the Davis Cup thread in our forum .. You
may want to take a look .. I said that the last Davis Cup which weas held away from the
north and east "belt" was at Bangalore in 1985 .. There is also an interesting/amusing
from the "Prof" about how that tie against Sweden went - about how grasscourts
were prepared in one week flat at Bangalore, at Vijay Amritraj's insistence
.. Turned out to be a disaster, but I do think a grasscourt can be made in
Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderbad or Chennai, if needed .. Why don't we consider
doing that for the tie against Uzbekistan in eight weeks? .. I also remember
the Vadodara challenger in 1998, which was held by Jaideep Mukherjea without
much notice (perhaps 6 weeks?) on a cricket field or something that was converted
for tennis, if I am not mistaken .. Or get some resort down south or at Goa
or somewhere to put some three grass courts in and get some mileage out of
hosting a Davis Cup .. Any number of options are there .. There needs to
be some interest in the tennis circles to do it .. As I said in the forum,
I would like some kids in Bangalore or Mumbai to get a chance for an Autograph
from "Leander Paes, captain, India" .. Delhi tennis fans don't even seem
to show up for Davis Cup - I must say I was mad, hearing about there being
just some school kids in the stands for Prakash's and Harsh's terrific matches
last Friday .. Kolkata fans also have had more than their share of fun as
well, though they still show up at South Club .. Come on, let us be fair
to the fans in the South! .. I am not trying to bring in regionalism (well,
may be I am .. if so, be it .. Unfair is unfair, and somebody has to speak
up) .. This is all really not directed at AITA - it is tough for them to
get this done all by themselves .. Somebody has to get the courts up somewhere
else, if it has to be grass .. So, it is also for everybody else to start
thinking properly and thinking outside the box a bit to try to bring in some
variety into the Davis Cup ties and some excitement at the venues .. How
can we do it?
Let us drop the "it is not done, so we won't think of doing it" attitude
.. I certainly would like the movers and shakers in Indian tennis to stop
forgetting the fact that it has been two decades since we moved much away
from the grass-belt up north (Jaipur, Chandigarh,Delhi, Lucknow,Kolkata).
March 6 Note-2
The Uzbeks made a big come back on the final day with 18 year old Dennis
Istomin winning the fisth match to get past Indonesa (this 18 yr old kid
looks to be a tough cookie for sure, winning 2 singles matches and a doubles
match in his very first tie!) .. The coin toss came our way, and so
Uzbekistan comes to India .. Looks like another grasscourt tie .. And I assume
the rotation will continue between Delhi, Kolkata and Lucknow, terrible as
it is for Davis Cup to never ever move even to the bottom 2/3d of India,
EVER .. Davis Cups are also played for the FANS to see, and the country's
winning chances is not all that should matter (in my view) .. If it would
take moving away from grass at least once in a while, I would even say let
us do it .. Let us have one at Hyderabad, Chennai, Bangalore, Udagamandalam,
Coimbatore, Goa or Mangalore or Kochi, where somebody may care to show up
too .. I know, that is a below-the-belt- swipe, but it was embarrassing to
hear of only school kids in the stands on Friday at Delhi, though it picked
up on Saturday a bit.
Korea came to Coimbatore in 1977, and Sweden came to Bangalore in 1984 ..
That was the last time it moved even south of Ahmedabad where we played a
couple of ties later .. Jaipur, Chandigarh, Delhi, Lucknow and Kolkata are
the only places we have considered now for over a decade, and now even Jaipur
and Chandigarh seem to be not in the picture .. I don't know about you, but
it makes me quite mad, and I protest STRONGLY to what is happening.
This is NOT fair .. Yes, we can give all the excuses that somebody should
have grass courts down south etc, but come on, this is our national team
playing -- and I don't care what surface we play on, it should move out from
the grip of two cities (Kolkata and Delhi) .. PERIOD! .. I guess I may upset
some people for saying this, but somebody has to say it .. I have not seen
*anybody* write about this matter ..
By the way, does anybody have a couple of grass courts down south that can
be improved for Davis Cup in the future? [if anybody knows of any place,
please let me know] .. Otherwise, heck, let us put the tie on hard courts
or even clay, if that is what it takes .. There may even be some good reasons
for moving from grass .. Our doubles point is the most important .. Actually,
perhaps the worst doubles matches LP-MB have played in Davis Cup have all
been on the Indian grasscourts which do not suit them .. I still remember
the 1997 tie against Chile where they almost lost in five sets to Rios (who
hated grass like the plague) and an unknown 17 year old (Massu) who was playing
on grass for the very first time in his life or something .. One of these
days, against a good team, say in a world group playoff, LP-MB will finally
end their streak, and I will guarantee that it will be at Delhi or Kolkata
on grass .. If we get past Uzbekistan (we really should), and end up
with a WG playoff against a team with a good doubles team, we should move
the tie to hard courts to ensure that the funny uncertain bounce on grass
does not end up causing us to lose that assured doubles point which is really
what our strategy now revolves around .. Time to do some early planning on
this .. Sure, against a lower team grass is still our best option - Prakash
and Harsh showed they are quite comfortable on grass and can certainly beat
some good players on that surface .. But I am not sure if grass is the best
against everybody, especially if Leander is not playing much singles in the
future .. We need to think about this ..
Anyway, as for Davis Cup, consider something down south in India please!
It is a pity that a place like Hyderabad has not had a tie in
deacdes (has there ever been one, I am not sure) .. Grass or no grass, our
national team needs to move out from the northern and eastern grip .. While
we are at it, when the heck would people in Mumbai get to see the Indian
team there for a Davis Cup .. Anyway, doesn't anybody else but me care about
this? .. Am I creating an unnecesssary controversy here?
Mar 6 Note-1
Prakash came out serving big this morning and gave no chance to Peng
Sun, 62 64 .. Harsh continued the Indian domination, with a 62 63 win over
Hao Lu too for a thumping 5-0 win in the Davis Cup tie .. Man, I did not
expect China to fold as easily as they did .. They could not do anything
at all against the barrage unleashed by Harsh and Kash .. All they could
win in 14 sets of tennis in this tie was one paltry doubles set .. Great
job India .. Great job, captain Leander, in getting the boys all prepared
and motivated! .. Congratulations LP, MB, HM, PA !!
We decided that Red_Indian had put in enough work so far, and so he did the
commentary off TV from home today .. Good thing, he would have unnecessarily
spent more time traveling thjan in seeing the matches which where both done
in some 40 minutes each!
Mar 5 Note-2
Hope you enjoyed our Davis Cup Live Commentary from the RKK courts by Red_Indian ..
The day ended without much drama with India driving the nail firmly into
the Chinese coffin with an emphatic 3-0 win of the tie .. Prakash came out
with guns blazing today -- 3 aces, back-to-back-to-back in the first game
which showed that he meant business .. Broke Yu Wang at 15-40 in the next
game and served off one more game .. Won 14 of the first 15 points and was
up 5-2 in the second set by the time Yu Wang got any sense of the barrage
that hit him .. He knew that all he could do was to basically throw in the
towel .. Pretty soon he did that, though after a little bit more fight ..
PA wrapped up the postponed match at 63 64 62, winning the final four games
of the match just like Harsh yesterday .. Here is the commentary transcipt of Amritraj vs Yu Wang ..
LP-MB finished the job with perhaps a less-tyan inspiring 76(11) 63 36 61
win, but they stayed ahead and knew they could shut the door whenever they
wanted, I think .. The Chinese surprised everybody a bit, I am sure .. They
only gace one or two break chances to the Indian Express in their first 9
service games when they kept holding serve .. Finally cracked at 3-4 in the
second and LP_MB finished the set at 63 .. They then showed some resurgence
third set, breaking LP-MB in the 8th game and finishing the set .. Then our
pair knew that it was time for finishing off the job .. The last set was
all ours .. Here is the commentary transcript of the Doubles match for all the point-by-point details.
Mar 5 Note-1
Prakash's match postponed from yesterday restarts today at 10 am at Delhi (4.30 am London .. 11.30 pm NY) .. Come to the chatroom .. LP-MB to follow after that .. Come to the chatroom then!
Prakash also started very well in his match on Friday, going up 3-0 immediately
and taking the set at 6-3 .. Thanks to the two rain delays, Yu Wang seemed
to catch a breath and get back in the contest though, as the match was going
tightly when it was postponed at 63 23 (on serve) .. It will be played at
10 am Saturday .. They will have to give Yu Wang sufficient rest before
the doubles match can start in the afternoon.
In other news, the 2nd seed Rushmi Chakravarthi (IND,354) went down to the
6th seed Julia Vorobieva (RUS,388) in the QF at the $10K ITF grasscourt event
at Warrnambool, Australia .. Rushmi and Sai reached the SF of doubles with
a 63 36 62 win over Marina Erakovic (NZL) and Aleksandra Srndovic (SWE) ..
Up next for them are the 3rd seed Hey-Mi Kim (KOR) and Keiko Taguchi (JPN)
Lots of nice newspaper articles today on Harsh Mankad's superb job yesterday
.. Leander had a lot of very nice and encouraging words on Harsh, whom he
called an "enigma" earlier .. I am sure Harsh learned a lot of grasscourt
tennis this week, right from the Zen Master, Leander Paes .. So glad to see
Lee's trust paying off .. This was not something Leander did just because
he was somewhat gimpy with his ankle (he was good enough to play and win)
.. He clearly mentioned the long-term objectives he had in developing the
proper confidence in those like Harsh and Prakash who needs to carry on with
the Davis Cup work down the line ..
Also, if you did not see Red_Indian's commentary during the matches yesterday, here is the commentary transcipt of Mankad vs Sun
.. R_I is pretty damn good in his commentary; sticking to the point and at
times coming with a wise crack or two as well .. Thanks a lot, man!
Mar 4 Note-2
Lee showed the trust on Harsh to take the baton and run with it, and boy did
he do that in style! .. 75 63 62 win for Harsh over Peng Sun! .. You can read
the transcripts of our match commentary
HM played a great match based on the chat commetary .. His forehand was not
too steady initially, but the backhand came through .. HM broke early to a
2-0 lead but was broken back in game three .. Then he got the crucial break
at 6-5 in the first set .. Came back twice in the first set from 15-40 down
on serve to hold serve .. Broke Peng in the 4th game of the seocnd to go ahead
4-1 and held on for the set .. In the third set, from 2-2 all, it was all
Harsh as the Chinese opponent basically folded in front of a barrage of
great returns and some nice serving also by Harsh (9 aces in the match by our
unofficial count) .. There was some pressure on HM to deliver here, as this
was really a #1 vs #2 match on ranking, which normally happens only on the
third day .. I am sure PA can give us a 2-0 lead and make it very tough for
the Chinese team
Mar 4 Note-1
All set for Davis Cup, but it has been raining .. The covers were on earlier
but the rain is gone for now .. The first singles is between Harsh and Pen
Sun, slated to begin at 10 am India (11.30 pm New York) .. Come on over to
the chatroom ..
Mar 3 Note-2
Well, Leander rolled the dice and sent in Harsh and Prakash to pay singles
on the first day .. Really bold decision by the captain, and it is something
that would do wonders to HM's and PA's confidence if they can come through
.. Hats' off to you, Lee for taking the decision to do this .. I know how
much Lee is itching to get out there and go after the Chinese (who have been
doing a bit of chest-thumping and trash-talking, according to newspaper reports
from the draw ceremony) .. Lee said he felt the boys are in fine form and
he had full confidence in them .. Frankly, he doesn't have to say it -- to
know that the ginat of Davis Cup, the one who is probably unbeatable by any
of the Chinese payers on that grass even if he has a concrete block tied
to one ankle, saying that the boys are better than him to do the job, is
enough .. Lee is in good playing shape, and said he would be out there on
day-3 if needed but he hopes to have this wrapped up in two days .. It is
a momentous decision by him - and one that could be the initial passing of
the torch to the next line of players .. If we cannot take a risk in this
tie at home, when can we? -- and I am sure that exactly is Lee's thinking.
I was out all day and could not follow Sania's match .. She lost 26 26 to
Jankovic on a day when her opponent played great tennis .. Sania herself
said that it was a role reversal from the previous round when it looked as
though she would not miss a shot .. I am just glad that she got of there
without doing any more damage to that ankle .. She will take two weeks of
rest .. Sad for me, because I was looking forward to seeing her play at Indian
Wells qualies next week, or at least at the Orange challenger from Mar 14th
(that place is just 10 minutes from where I live) .. But I would rather she
get healthy, than be selfish in seeing her play live for the first time :(
.. Let us hope she can get a wildcard to the Key Biscayne Nasdaq (Mar 21)
Mar 3 Note-1
The Davis Cup draw will be held within an hour or so at the Prime Minister's
residence .. Captain Leander should be announcing his singles players for
the first day ..
Now some good news -- We will have live internet commentary right from the RK Khanna stadium during this Davis Cup!!
.. We have to thank AITA and Mr. Anil Khanna for providing quick help for
our request for space to do that from there .. So our own fanclub member
Red_Indian will be live from the media booth (actually I believe TennisIndia/Sports-India
will have one of the three booths there, the other two going to AIR and Doordarshan!)
.. Though we have had commentary during a few events based on radio, TV and
other coverage of the match, this is the first time we will have one of our
own folks doing live internet commentary from the coourts .. Dhruv and R_I
have been working out the technical details, and we expect it to all go well
.. Hey, a laptop, mobile and blootooth wireless would do the job, though
there is some work for those two to get the web pages up and running ..
Sania Mirza plays the Dubai QF against Jelena Jankovic (SCG,28) today at
about 9 pm, right after the prime-time Serena-Hantuchova match .. That is
10.30 pm India, 5 pm London, 12 noon New York .. Come to chatroom
for commentary and score updates .. Sania was reportedly feeling alright
today, though that ankle is going to hurt a bit and she will again need some
pain-killers tomorrow .. She did some hitting today with our former Davis
Cupper Zeeshan Ali who is now based in Dubai .. She felt the ankle was good
enough to play tomorrow ..
Mar 2 Note-1
Nothing much to report from Wednesday .. Rushmi and Sai advanced in a tough
doubles match to QF at the $10K in Warrnambool, Australia - 36 63 60 over
wildcards Jessica Engels and Bianca Smith of AUS .. Up next are Marina Erakovic
(NZL) and Aleksandra Srndovic (SWE) .. No news yet on their second round
singles matches - I think they have already played though ..
A change in plans for the futures series in India starting soon .. The surface
has been changed from hard court to clay for the second week's $15K+H in
Chennai .. Moved from SDAT staidum to the Madras Gymkhana .. So we will have
clay at South Club in Kolkata in the Mar 14th week, clay at Chennai (Mar
21) and hardcourt at Bangalore (28th) ..
AITA has announced that the u14 team for the ITF Asian zone-I championships
starting at the Delhi DLTA on March 27th .. Boys:
Christopher Marquis, Sameer Paranjape, Ronak Manuja, Mansingh Athare and
Yuki Bhambri ... Girls: Shweta Solanki, Prerna Mythri, Aishwarya Srivastava,
Rashmi Teltumbde and G. Janaki Rao ... Coach: T. Chandrasekaran ... Pretty
good teams .. I am glad that most the players I have an eye on are in those
Mar 1 Note-2
Move over Ramanatha Krishnan, sir! .. Well, at least watch out for your
spot as the highest rated Indian singles player ever, with a #4 spot in the
world .. Actually, move over Tiger Woods, the true world phenom has ARRIVED!
.. You have seen nothing like what Sania is about to create around the world
on the WTA tour! .. At the $1M Dubai WTA, [R2] Sania Mirza (IND,97) d.
(4) Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS,6), 64 62 in an hour and 25 minutes ..
The story was that 5 minutes into the match, Sania had a huge tumble
and the radio announcers on Eurosport basically said she was done for the
day, as the whole stadium went silent with Sania near tears with a terrible
twisted ankle. Out came the trainers for a 10 minutes break, with Sania
grimacing with her leg up .. Heavy strapping .. Out she came gingerly limping
back to court .. Down 0-4 in no time .. But then what happened out there
was nothing short of one of the greatest upsets in WTA history .. Sort of
like the limping one-legged Kirk Gibson hitting the homerun in the bottom
of the 9th for the Dodgers in the world series .. Sania went on to win 12
of the next 14 games in absolutely crushing the US Open champ Kuznetsova
with a barrage of shots (SM would hardly miss anything she could hit!) ..
The most incredible match one could imagine, that left the radio commentators
and a guest player (Daniela Hantuchova) in the commentary booth totally spoeechless.
Sania gets 69 points more for this win (43 bonus pts for beating a top-10
player) for 108 total in this event .. Her point total moves up to 478 and
her ranking will go right outside top-75 .. Man, I just cannot believe what
is happening .. I am totally in the grip of Saniasis again .. Can't type
.. see you :)
If you need a game-by-game recap, here is a page at Europsport -- As I don't
know how long the text will remain there, I will quote it for now
17:30 AND THAT'S A WRAP!!! Despite an ankle injury
from the outset of the match, world number 97 Sania Mirza of India overhauls
US Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-4 6-2!!!
17:28 Advantage Kuznetsova... And back to deuce as Mirza
fights off the nerves... Nope, the Indian floats one long. Advantage back
to Kuznetsova... Back to deuce as Kuznetsova flubs a forehand into the net...
17:26 Love-40 for Kuznetsova. The Russian could stay alive... 15-40... 30-40... DEUCE!!!
17:24 BIG, BIG BREAK as Mirza rockets to a 5-2 lead. She's now serving for game, set and match...
17:20 Kuznetsova runs Mirza from coast-to-coast, but she
can't break the Indian... Un-phased, Mirza flicks in return after return
to move up to 4-2 in the set!!
17:16 A crucial game for Kuznetsova... And she saves her
serve to stay within contact, trailing 2-3 in the set... Who would have thunk
it? The world number 7 being put to a serious test by the world number 97...
17:12 BOOM!!! Mirza slaps down a love game to take a commanding
3-1 lead in this second set. For now, it's all going the Indian's way...
17:02 Laser start to this second set, both players holding serve...
16:55 Geez Louise!!! She did it... Sania
Mirza serves with stone-cold precision, saving her serve and winning the
set 6-4... REMARKABLE!!!
16:51 Mirza breaks again, taking the lead for the first
time in this match... 5-4 to the Indian -- she'll now serve for the set...
16:47 Kuznetsova pleading the chair ump to quiet the crowd, which is solidly behind underdog Mirza...
16:47 What a reversal of fortunes... Kuznetsova can no
longer find the court, winging things wide and long... Mirza wins her fourth
game in a row, tying the set at 4-4...
16:43 AND THERE'S THE BREAK!!! Mirza
bullets a first-serve return that Kuznetsova can only swipe at. 3-4 in the
set with Mirza now serving to pull things even!!
16:40 And Mirza holds!! After a sluggish start marked by
that ankle twist and nerves versus US Open champ Kuznetsova, the Indian is
slowly but surely ratcheting back into this match...
16:37 Double fault from Mirza... Back to deuce... Advantage Mirza as Kuznetsova flubs one wide...
16:36 Down 15-40 on her turn at serve, Mirza fights back
to deuce... AND NOW ADVANTAGE TO THE INDIAN as she slams down winner...
16:32 Mirza finding a little more footing,
fighting to deuce on the Russian's serve... And that's advantage for the
Indian as Kuznetsova floats one long... And there it is! Mirza works the
baseline, hand tying Kuznetsova and earning her first game of the match.
4-1 in favour of Russian Kuznetsova...
16:27 It's been a steamroll thus far, Kuznetsova not allowing
Mirza the slightest chance in this match. The Russian US Open champ leads
16:24 Some extra tape on the ankle, a couple anti-inflammatories
and Mirza is back in action... There's still a hint of a limp. We'll see
how long she can carry on. Kuznetsova so far on a roll, leading 3-0...
That is how it went ..
Mar 1 Note-1
I thought Sania's second round match at the $1M Dubai Open against the
4th seed Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS,7) would be on Wednesday, but they have
scheduled it for today, to start (not before) 7 pm (8.30 pm India, 3 pm London,
7 am Los Angeles) .. Come to our chatroom
during the match for point-by-point score updates .. If she can somehow
pull off a huge upset - well, nothing is ever impossible in Sania's case
- she would be looking at 43 bonus points plus 26 round points more - enough
to place her at around #77 or so in ranking ..
By the way, WTA upgraded the Dubai tournament today to a $1M tournament ..
Apparently the entry list was so good that the Dubai sponsors came up with
even more money! .. I guess they are rolling in money out there in the gulf!
.. The tournament remains as a Tier-II event, as far as the point table is
concerned but Sania will make more $$$ now ..
In other news, at the grasscourt $10K in Warrnambool, Australia, the second
seed Rushmi Chakravarthi (IND,354) advanced after a very tough match,
75 46 63, over Arpi Kojian (USA,602) .. The best win was by Sai Jayalakshmy
(IND,567) who upset Christina Horiatopoulos (AUS,502) in an easy match, 64
64 .. Great to see Sai winning one like she used to routinely do at one time
.. Rushmi plays an unranked wildcard Bojana Bobusic (AUS) next, and Sai's
opponent is TBD .. Have not seen the doubles draw yet.
Arun-Prakash Rajagopalan was at the qualifying rounds for the $10K USA F5
at Harlingen, Texas .. Unfortunately he went down at 4-2 in the Q1 round
against Philipp Symmonds. Hope the former Asian junior champion is
not badly injured or anything .. We were hoping to see him play at the two
Indian futures in two weeks.
Speaking of the futures, the entry list for the first week ($10K at Kolkata
on clay, March 14) just came out .. I have posted it in the forum thread
on the Kolkata futures.
Feb 28 Notes
There have been very few in Indian sports who smoothly talk the talk
and then smartly walk the walk without fail .. Well, Sania is not your usual
player .. It doesn't matter whom she is playing - the girl sets the sights
on the bigger things and goes after them .. Today the 18 year old became
the first Indian woman to win a top-50 match .. [R1] (WC) Sania Mirza (IND,97) d. Jelena Kostanic (CRO,36), 67(2) 64 61
.. The match started with Sania breaking Jelena .. She followed that up with
another break in the 5th game to go ahead 4-1 .. Then she proceeded to lose
5 games in a row and it was 5-5 very quickly .. After another trade of breaks,
they went to a tiebreaker, where Sania fell behind early to 1-4 and could
not make a comeback .. In the second set, Sania again started with a drop
of serve, but immediately got even in the second game .. She dropped serve
once more in the 5th game but once again broke right back to get on serve
.. At 4-4 in the second set, we fans in the forum KNEW that we had the match
.. Had no doubt about it .. Why? .. Because if Jelena was unable to find
a way to use her experience and force the upstart to go away by then, we
knew that she would be just about out of options .. We boldly predicted that
Sania was just about going to have her adrenaline kick in and start turning
the able on JK to dominate .. That is exactly what happened right there ..
Sania of course obliged us by winning 7 games in a row and go up to
a 5-0 lead in the third set .. This ended up as a no contest with her winning
8 of the last 9 games! .. True that Jelena has not playing as well as she
is capable of, lately, but she is still playing top-50 caliber tennis ..
But Sania, who said her year-end goal has now been upgraded to a top-50 finish,
may be forced to upgrade her own goals again very soon at this rate .. The
win gives her 39 points, including 10 bonus points, taking her point total
to 409 and her ranking to about #86 next week .. An 8-1 start to the year
in WTA events including a grand slam and a Tier-II .. Is that incredible
or what? .. Up next is the tough sixth seed Kuznetsova .. Knowing the power
and playing style of the US Open champ Kuznetsova, it is tough to imagine
Sania having an easy time, but who knows anything about what Sania can do?
... YOU GO GIRL!!!
.. Previous notes are at
for the weeks ending on Feb 28 ..
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