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Indian-Tennis: Daily News for the week ending on Mar 7, 2005
(Previous week's notes) (Next week's notes) (Daily Notes Index 1997 thru 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today that Shikha Uberoi was still not recovered from the little thigh problem she had at Hyderabad and might have withdrawn from the Tier-I Indian Wells (Pacific Life Open) qualies, as her spot was played by somebody else in the scheduled morning match ..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who was the highest ranked unseeded player at #147 had taken up the spot of the 9th seed Pastickova who seems to have withdrawn (they redo the draw if a seed withdraws after the draw is made, if it is before the matches start - in that case they introduce an extra seed) ..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 seed!

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 long 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 post 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 here!! .. 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.   GO INDIA!!

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 groups.

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 4-0...

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 Notes 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