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LP/MB/NV/Indian-Tennis: Notes for week ending on Mar 9, 1998

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

Mar 9 Notes

The new rankings are out and Leander, as predicted here, is at #125, with 361 points. Mahesh has lost a few more points and has dropped to #259. He has not had a good set of challengers so far, basically running into a top player in the first and second rounds (Calatrava twice) at Singapore and Vietnam, and then a hot Motomura at Thailand in the second round. He did beat two players ranked ahead of him and got 18 points so far, but he had more to defend during this period from lat year .. Hopefully he will get better draws soon. The doubles rankings and the team rank remain same as in the last week.

Japan seems like a big isolated black hole for now, as far as info is concerned. No news what's up at the Kyoto challenger. Waiting to hear from the only contact I have in Japan, hopefully at least with some news from a Japanese newspaper or something ..

Prahlad Srinath must be at the second $15K futures tournament in Philippines this week, but did not appear in the list of match results I got hold of today. Perhaps he had to qualify and did not make it ? I read the Paradorn Srichaphan of Thailand qualified over the weekend and won the first round today.

Mar 8 Note-3

A correction from earlier: Paes got 74 and not 75 points at Bangkok .. Forgot that Stephane Huet is ranked #201 and so LP did not get the 1 bonus point for beating aplayer in the 150-200 rank range.. Still no news about the Kyoto challenger.

Mar 8 Note-2

Leander Paes just crossed one million dollars in ATP prize money.. The man knows how to do things in style, doesn't he ? .. He had $996,804 yesterday and now has $1,004,004 .. He still has a little distance to go to catch the all-time Indian ATP money winner leader, Vijay Amritraj, who made over $1.3 million and the Indian #2, Ramesh Krishnan, who earned over $1.2 million (and in inflation adjusted terms, their earnings are much more). Leander will earn a whole hell of a lot more, though, as he made over $500,000 in the last 12 months alone (the ATP prize money does not include mixed doubles prize money at grand slams, by the way).

Here are some excerpts from the report in tomorrow's The Nation, Thailand: Paes kept Motomura on his heels with his net attacks and shattered the Japanese's dream of a first ATP title with a 6-4, 7-5 win in one hours and 15 minutes. ''It's been a good week for me to manage to get my singles rhythm which is nice. Today [Sunday] I served and volleyed particularly well,'' said Paes .. Paes maintained his clean sheet against his Japanese opponent, also 24, extending his head-to-head record against him to 5-0 .. ''I was confident against Motomura as I'd never lost to him in our previous meetings. I was very aggressive today,'' .. The Indian had one break in the fifth game and wrapped up the first set when Motomura overhit a ground-stroke return .. A couple of remarkable passing shots by Motomura put pressure on Paes, who lost his nerve and a service game to trail 5-3 in the second set .. After breaking back to 5-4 and holding to draw at 5-5, Paes set a duel at the net, volleying back every attempt from his opponent to earn another break and surge ahead 6-5 .. He held the next game to love and converted the championship point following a serve return error from Motomura.

One of Paes' 5 wins over Gouichi must be in a non-ATP tournament (may be at the last Asiad ?). The win gives him 75 points (5 bonus) and brings his total to 362, which should get him a ranking around 125 .. This becomes the largest points he has in his point tally now with 71 points from US Open last August as the next biggest. He has 15 points to defend next week (points from qualifiers at Indian Wells last year); Hopefully he will do that and more, from the Kyoto Challenger and get to 400+ points which normally keeps him in range for direct entries in Grand slams (he has enough time to pick up some points and qualify for French Open, though). LP must have left for Kyoto. We have no fanclub members in Japan, but I will see if someone can send some news from there.

Haven't received any news on Mahesh Bhupathi's whereabouts after Thursday's loss at Bangkok .. Haven't heard confirmation that he has a wildcard at the Japan Challenger. He could have gone up there and played qualifiers today and yesterday, though. I will find out.

Forgot to mention yesterday, that Ting Li of China earned the grand double at the $10K Delhi ITF women's event. Last week at Mumbai, it was Qin Yang of China who won both the singles and doubles; on this Saturday, Qin supposedly had problems with the windy condition and ended up with a "grand runner-up double" .. :-) .. Here are the final results from New Delhi.

Another note: Todd Woodbridge is out with an elbow injury. At the Scottsdale, Arizona, ATP tournament this week, he pulled out in the last minute and the other Woody, Mark Woodforde, played with Mark Knowles and lost in the quarterfinals to Sargsian and Malisse .. Not sure how bad Todd's injury is, and will report later if I see any news.

Mar 8 Note-1

Hello Title !!! Congrats LP !!!

The drought is over, and Leander gets a singles title after almost 16 months.. Jan Kongtako sent this note: Wonderful news Sunday morning from Bangkok! Leander played a very good serve and volley game against Motomura to win by 6-4 7-5 and take the US$ 7,200 first prize at the Piyarom Sports Club today. After the match, he thanked the organisers, sponsors and supporters, and said he hoped to be back next year to defend his title.

Let me also thank Jan for all the prompt news throughout the week ..

Make that 4-0 lifetime over Gouichi, and 75 points for the title .. I need to go back to sleep .. More later today..

Mar 7 Note-2

To add to the earlier news from our own Jan Kongtako at Bangkok, here is the match report excerpts from tomorrow's The Nation : Paes, 24, warded off two match points to terminate the long tussle with Frenchman Gerard Solves with a 7-6 (7-2), 5-7, 7-6 (9-7) after 2.19 hours of play .. Qualifier Goichi fought against all odds and finally booked the other final round place with a 7-5, 2-6, 6-4 tough win over Peter Tramacchi of Australia .. Paes kept attacking the French rival with sharp volleys to lead at 5-3 in the opener .. Solves then managed a fine lob which was out of Paes' reach to break for a 5-5 tie and both held to play the tie-breaker .. Paes moved to the net to provoke errors from his rival which bore fruit when Solves double faulted to drop the set .. The two players were solid in their games to see the second set go with serves at 5-5 again. Paes was broken in the next game due to a brief bout of jitters and dropped the set when Solves stunted him with a down the line winner .. It was a see-saw battle in the decider when the two held their service games to extend the match into another tie-break .. Facing two match points at 6-5, and 7-6 Paes kept cool to win the next three points and sealed off the victory.

Oooh it was close.. 9-7 in the final set tiebreaker .. The newspaper also reports that the Final tomorrow will be live on TV there (are you listening, Doordarshan ?.. start your plans for the Vadodara challenger final now!) .. They say this is the first ATP challenger final between two Asians .. I doubt it .. Actually I know for a fact that Uzbekistan's Ogorordov and Leander Paes played the final of the Madras challenger in 1996 (yep, Uzbeks are Asians.. ATP also agrees) .. by the way, when did Goichi become Gouichi ? .. ATP has the second version on their site's database, so I follow the new spelling as Gouichi now .. :-) .. I am obsessive-compulsive about spelling the names correctly, to my best ability, though typo errors often happen.

Another note: That dreaded phrase, "doubles specialist", was extensively used by The Nation and the Bakgkok Post this week to refer to Leander and Mahesh. I have been afraid of that starting off in the print media .. A practice that must be nipped in the buds .. NOW! :-) .. Hey folks, don't forget, you are talking about an Olympics medallist in SINGLES ! .. Leander getting back closer to top-100 would help change it.

Mar 7 Note-1

The good times are here again !!! Leander is in the final at the Bangkok challenger !! .. Gerard Solves did give Leander a run for his money and took him to three sets for the first time in this tournament. Our onsite fanclub member, Jan Kongtako, sent a quick message with the news before she had to leave for home away from Bangkok .. Score: 7-6, 5-7, 7-6 ! .. Good to see Leander winning all these tiebreakers too. His service must have fallen back in place. This is the first singles final since the Mauritius grasscourt challenger tournament in 1996 November for Leander. Actually his first hardcourt challenger final since September 96 in Madras, where he lost to Ogorodov .. I think the last hardcourt challenger he won was Binghampton in August 1994 (I am searching through my records to confirm this..). He has 54 total (including 4 bonus) points so far here. That brings his points total up to 341 and his ranking to around 130.. A title here would bring his rank up to around 125 ..

Standing in his way now is Gouichi Motomura (#268), who beat Peter Tramacchi in the other semifinal, and is in very good form this week according to Jan .. Leander's record against Gouichi is 3-0 .. (6-2, 7-6 at Nagoya in 1994, 6-1, 6-4 at Madras in 96, and 1-6, 6-4, 7-6 in Ahemedabad in 1997.. all were hardcourt challengers). Hopefully he can make it 4-0, but it may not be a done deal, looking at how Motomura has been beating much-higher ranked players this week.

Mar 6 Note-2

Qin Yang continues her Conquer-India campain.. The unseeded teenager is again in the finals of singles and doubles at the 10K ITF women's tournament in Delhi (she won the grand double at Mumbai last week).. It's and all-Chinese singles final, and three of the four women in the doubles final are also Chinese. Here are the results.

Here are some excerpts from The Nation, Thailand, on Leander's win today : The 24-year-old from Calcutta lost eight straight points in the first two games but then moved up a gear to take charge at the net, sending the last seeded player from the draw packing 7-6 (7-1), 6-3 in 74 minutes .. ''I managed to fight back when he was serving for the first set at 5-4. Once I got my rhythm I felt comfortable and was able to move ahead and win the match,'' said Paes .. ''I made some good volleys while later I was also making the transition from baseline to net much better. As long as I serve consistently, the rest of my game just comes together,'' he added .. (About his semifinal opponent, Gerard Solves) ''We have never played before. I think it will be an important match but also fun,'' said Paes, the world No 8 in doubles.

Mar 6 Note-1

Yes, yes, yes, YES!! .. Leander has reached the semifinal at the Bangkok challenger with another straight sets win over Alex Calatrava (#106), the second seed. Here is the on-site report from Jan Kongtako in Bangkok: More good news about Leander who, after a poor start today, came through strongly to beat Calatrava 7-6 (7-1) 6-3. After the slow beginning, LP began to come into the net with confidence and volleyed better and better as the match went on, winning in 74 minutes. His opponent in tomorrow's semis is Gerard Solves from France. The other semi is between Mahesh's conqueror - Goichi Motomura - and Peter Tramacchi of Australia.

Leander now has 33 points from this tournament, which is the largest point total in almost 7 months for him (since the US Open last August.. He had 25 points at the Ahemedabad challenger). All the seeds have fallen at Bangkok. Leander is now the highest ranked player remaining. His opponent Gerard Solves is #174 and the other semifinalists are Tramacchi (#190) and Motomura (#268) .. Go Leander ! .. Clean it up and let's get that title and 75 points (and start breathing easy again) !

Some important notes: First of all, Times of India also reported yesterday the Central Bank sponsorship news and the story on Nirupama's deal with IMG .. I had reported earlier on the Nirupama page that IMG was about to sign up Niru, so that is not a surprise .. But the story doesn't end there. Now I also hear from other sources that things may not be as good as it sounds, as the deal with Central Bank may not be very clear in money commitment and we will still have to wait and see how much actual sponsorship she will get. Actually, I even hear that there really is NO sponsorship deal with Central bank, and the money is really what was promosed her by Delhi Tennis Association as an award earlier (Rs 2 lakhs), which comes courtesy of central Bank.. Aw, who knows.. All I should say is that it may not be time yet to break out the champagne and celebrate. I will try to chat with Niru some time and report more.. She still needs more sponsorship for sure .. After all, to play the 25 or so tournament in the pro circuit, the estimate of her travel and living expenses comes to easily $75 - 100 K (I have these figures if any potential sponsor likes to see it .. email me) .. Considering the prize money of roughly $20 K she made last year, she needs to have at least a good 50 K in sponsorship (but, note that there are many kids training in Florida who get $100K or more per year for just future potential .. Here is Niru who has proven herself, and she still doesn't have anywhere near that kind of sponsorship) .. that is 20 lakhs rupees or more, and that's what it takes .. All we have heard of so far comes to less than 30 K, including the Central Bank deal and award money that AITA and Tamil Nadu Tennis Association gave her .. I should also note another thing. While IMG has connections with Nick Bollitieri's academy in Florida which allows her to train there (..and she has been there even before), that doesn't mean Niru will be dropping her mentor and part-time coach in Florida, Dave O'Meara, one who Indian Tennis owes a lot to (he was a big part in Leander's development as well). She has a formal agreement to have him as her coach till at least the end of 1988.

Mar 5 Note-2

Great news ! The Indian Express broke the story today that Nirupama Vaidyanathan has been signed up by the International Management Group. Even better, she has also found sponsorship from Central Bank (thanks to some effort by AITA also, I am told), to the tune of at least $6 lakhs. The sponsorship is for travel and some cash bonuses. The IMG deal would help her to get trained at Nick Bollitieri's tennis academy in Florida, and IMG would handle publicity for her and pro-tour arrangements for her (More details of the contract are probably yet to be worked out but she has been signed up). Hopefully she can now focus on her tennis game and worry much less of everything else. Terrific ! ..

Aha, the Indian Press didn't just give up on the ITF women's tournament in Delhi altogether. It rained yesterday and there was nothing to report. I should have thought of that possibility. I know, I shouldn't take off on our press all that much; all said and done, no other country's press covers futures, satellites, juniors, and domestic tournaments like Indian press does. And there indeed are some big tennis fans among them, who are members of the fanclub here, too. Anyway, the news from delhi is not good. Uzma Khan and Archana Venkataraman crashed out in round 2, ending the Indian hopes in singles. Uzma's tame loss was an anti-climax (I shouldn't have jinxed her by mentioning the 25 match win streak, etc). The one who continues to make waves is the unseeded Chinese girl, Qin Yang, who won both the titles at Mumbai and has reached the semis at Delhi, too, beating the #1 seed Benjamas Sangaram of Thailand along the way. I guess we should watch out for this girl .. final-16 matches and the quarterfinal matches were finished today, and no doubles were played. Here are the results.

Also got some troubling info from a source today on rumors of huge (and I mean huge) appearance money being doled out for Becker, Rafter and the Woodies for the Chennai tournament. This is one of the facts of life on the ATP tour - world series tournaments do and are almost even expected to pay appearance money to get the top players. The amount of money told to me made my jaw drop though (about 4 times the total prize money of $400K.. I just can't believe it can be anywhere near that high, but some good amount of money is being spent, I guess). They couldn't get a single player in the top-75 to come to Chennai without appearance money ? .. Ouch ! .. By the way, don't count Becker in.. the whole world seems to think he will withdraw, as he always does .. I really don't care if old Boris plays there. Anyone who calls our national hero (Leander) names is not one whom I care a bit for .. Anyway, it all makes me wonder if IMG (whose Australian office is really close behind the tournament, explaining the Rafter, Woodies connection.. and the Pat Cash wildcard deal last year) couldn't have done a better job of getting players, if they have this kind of appearance money at their disposal .. Of course, I would prefer the money being used to organize a few $100K type challengers, but business people think differently than me. This being the only ATP big tournament in India, I don't want to criticize too much. Hope the whole tournament goes well after all (with Leander and Mahesh winning lots of matches ... :-)).

Mar 5 Note-1

Here is the prompt report from our member in Thailand, Jan Kongtako: Bad news today I'm afraid as Mahesh went down 6-3 6-4 to Goichi of Japan. Intense heat and humidity here in Bangkok and he seemed to be able to cope with it less well than Leander yesterday. In the quarter finals Friday morning, LP meets Alex Calatrava, the only remaining seed in the tournament (#2) after today's other matches. I hope to be able to bring positive news on that game tomorrow.

Mahesh is still struggling to regain the consistency he showed in the singles game last summer. It's now up to LP to keep it going at Bangkok. Only Calatrava remains in the quarterfinals as a seed, but LP has to play him. If he goes past, the way may be pretty clear for LP..

The Pioneer is also reporting MB to have been given a wildcard for the Chennai Gold Flake tournament. Alright, forget those harsh words about the organizers in the March 1st notes. They did it right.

Mar 4 Note-3

The Indian Press has suddenly given up on the Women's tennis event altogether ? An election and an Australian cricket team tour is all that takes to make them forget all about tennis ??? .. So far, the online editions of Indian Express, The Hindu, Times of India, Hindustan Times and Deccan Herald today (thursday editions) have all chosen not to report what happened on Wednesday at the $10K Delhi ITF women's event (three of them had reported the complete reports for the first couple of days) !! This is the first year that a couple of WTA events are being held in India, and this is how they report on it ? .. what's up ? .. anyway, I will try to make use of our direct contacts with the press and try to give an update later about what Uzma Khan, Archana Venkataraman and all the foreigners did in the second round on Wednesday ..

There is a report today (India Daily Online) that Bhupathi has also received a wildcard along with Paes for the Chennai Open, contrary to what The Telegraph reported earlier .. Great news.. Will confirm soon.

Mar 4 Note-2

Finally got the details of Mahesh' doubles title last week at the Vietnam Challenger, from the ATP site:

BHUPATHI-TRAMACCHI d. A.HERNANDEZ-ORTIZ  7-6(5), 7-6(4)
BHUPATHI-TRAMACCHI d. OGORODOV-RUAH      7-5, 7-6(4)
BHUPATHI-TRAMACCHI d. GODWIN-WAKEFIELD   7-6(4), 7-6(8)
BHUPATHI-TRAMACCHI d. MIRNYI-ULLYETT     6-4, 6-0

Look at all those tie-breakers; not the usual domination, like when he plays with Leander, but looks like the aces were in action in all those tie-breakers ! Good job, MB !

Also, the new ATP site seems to be slowly getting up to speed. Was very surprised at the lighting quick personal reply I got from them when I sent them a note with a lot of suggestions, etc. They have also promptly updated the challenger results. That's a great sign !

Mar 4 Note-1

Ataboy, Leander ! He moves on .. Here is the report from our onsite fan at Bangkok, Ms. Jan Kongtako:

Thanks, Jan.. So, it is Alex Calatrava again. He beat Mahesh in the last two challengers, and perhaps Leander will exact revenge for his buddy. He sure can ! Go LP ! .. Leander now has 16 points (1 bonus) here, and has taken care of the 15 points dropping off at the end of next week.. Need many more points (about 100 more), though, to come back close to top-100 again. A title here would give him about an extra 60 more points and that would be terrific.. but he has to go through some tough opponents now..

Had confirmation from an inside source that MB did win the doubles title last week with Tramacchi; I'm still awaiting the details on whom they beat in the semifinal and final. The ATP site refuses to give us the challenger results from last week. There is an article about how great the Ho Chi Minh City challenger was (the arrival of ATP tennis to Vietnam for the first time.. blah.. blah.. and more blah..), and quotes from ATP officials, but nary a mention of the players who won the darn thing ! .. So typical of all the hype-filled "all-new" tennis websites.

Mar 3 Note-3

Late news: Mahesh Bhupathi and Peter Tramacchi did indeed win the doubles title at the Vietnam challenger last week !! .. No idea whom they beat in the semi and the final, but since MB's points total has just changed to 3200 from 3188, I assume his 65 points from the Jerusalem challenger title got replaced by 77 points from Vietnam (at the last spot in his 14 best tournaments).. Add one more final and one more title to MB's incredible doubles record over the last year.

News from the $10K ITF women's event at Delhi are all bad for Tuesday. Two more Indian players lost in round-1 today; the qualifiers, Shruti Dhawan and Arathi Venkataraman .. That leaves us with wildcards Archana Venkataraman and Uzma Khan as the only ones out of 8 to advance to round 2 .. Basically, all hope is probably on Uzma now .. Things were not any better in doubles either. Four of the five Indian teams lost, and only Arati Ponnappa and Rushmi Chakravarti advanced to the next round (quarterfinals). Here are the results.

More bad news: Prahlad Srinath lost in the first round of the $15K ITF Futures tournament in Manila, Philippines yesterday, to K. Miyauchi of Japan. He will have to look for some points in the next week's Futures at Philippines (source: Philippines Daily Enquirer)

About LP's and MB's opponents in round 2 at Bangkok: Leander has never played Stephane Huet before.. Gouichi Motomura has a 3-set loss to MB in the Goa challenger in 95 and a 3-set win over MB in the Ahemedabad challenger in 96. LP has beaten Motomura 3 times, though.

The doubles rankings came out today. MB is at #7 and LP is at #8. Paul Haarhuis moved ahead of MB after the doubles title at Philadelphia last week.

Mar 3 Note-2

Scores from Bangkok for Tuesday: Singles, first round: 1-Juan Antonio Marin (Esp) b Grant Doyle (Aus) 6-4, 6-2; Alex Calatrava (Esp) b Andrei Merinov (Rus) 6-3, 6-0; 3-Fernando Vicente (Esp) b Maurice Ruah (Ven) 6-3, 6-1; Gerald Soles (Fra) b 5-Steve Campbell (USA) 6-4, 6-2; Mahesh Bhupathi (Ind) b 8-Oscar Burrieza (Esp) 7-6(7-5), 6-3; Motomura Goichi (Jpn) b Prieto Sebastian (Arg) 6-4, 6-3; Peter Tramacchi (Aus) b Andre Sa (Bra) 6-3, 4-6, 6-3; Jean-Baptiste Perlant (Fra) b Jim Thomas (USA) 6-1, 3-6, 6-3; Wolfgang Schranz (Aut) b Allen Belobrajdic (Aus) 6-4, 3-0 (ret); Andrew Ilie (Aus) b Oleg Ogorodov (Uzb) 6-4, 6-0 Doubles, first round: Gabor Koves/Attila Savolt (Hun) b Danai Udomchoke/Vittaya Samrej 6-2, 6-7(7-3), 1-3(ret) (source: The Nation, Bangkok)

The Brazilian, Andre Sa, could not repeat his upset acts from last week. He had upset Leander in round 2 and then went all the way to the title, beating the top seed Marin in the final. Andre has lost to Tramacchi this time. In another note, Oleg Ogorodov has lost in round 1 .. He seems to be in a pretty big slump too.

The Thai newspaper The Nation had its article titled "Wild-card Bhupathi puts out eighth-seeded Spaniard" .. It says, Bhupathi of India showed his talent is not limited to doubles Tuesday when he upset eighth-seed Oscar Burrieza of Spain in the singles first round of the Singha Thailand Open Challenger. Ranked sixth in the ATP world doubles, Bhupathi struggled under the heat and humidity of the day to eliminate Burrieza 7-6 (7-5), 6-3. He will now join compatriot Leander Paes in the second round. ''It was not easy to play in such heat. But I was happy to beat my rival, the world No 146,'' said Bhupathi, a wild-card entrant for the singles, who first competed in Bangkok in 1991 in a junior event ..

Mar 3 Note-1

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

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

If you have not noticed, "temporarily #2" description has promptly disappeared from the top of LP's page .. :-) .. Ogorodov is down to #162 and Paes is up to #155. So, LP is #1 in Asia again.. by the way, Stephane Huet, LP's second round opponent, is one who pulled an upset on Monday, over the 7th seed Alex Lopez Moron (my favorite last name in ATP tour .. :-)) .. Thus LP won't face a seeded player in round 2, and Stephane hopefully has run out upset ideas. Also, see the name of the Hungarian, Attila Savolt .. "Attila the Hun" .. :-)

Monday's results from Bangkok: First Round: Frederic Fontang (FRA) bt Danai Udomchoke 6-2, 6-1; Alberto Martin (ESP-4) bt Paradorn Srichaphan 2-6, 7-6 (2), 6-2; Marcio Carlsson (BRA) bt Attila Savolt (HUN) 6-4, 6-0; Jacobo Diaz (ESP) bt Stefan Koubek (AUT) 6-1, 6-1; Stephane Huet (FRA) bt Alex Lopez Moron (ESP-7) 6-3, 7-5; Leander Paes (IND) bt Alejandro Hernandez (MEX) 6-3, 6-4. Thai teams for doubles: Vittaya Samrej and Danai Udomchoke (they play Gabor Kovest and Attila Savolt of Hungary), Paradorn and Narathorn Srichaphan, and qualifiers Ekarin Pisuthianont and Suparat Chukwan. (news courtesy: Bangkok Post)

Mar 2 Note-2

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

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

Mar 2 Note-1

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

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

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