Notes for the week ending on Mar 12, 2001
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Mar 12 Note-1
OK, LP-MB will be playing the first round doubles against #6 Lareau/ O'Brien at $2.9M Indian Wells masters bright and early today on Monday itself .. Not good, because they prefer playing the first round a couple of days into the tournament after more practice time on the courts .. I will be going up there to catch their match. There wil be live scores at the official site (http://www.masters-series.com/indianwells/) .. You can assemble in our chatroom to keep up with the scores (the match starts on court 6 at about 11.30 am there .. 7.30 pm London ..1 am Tuesday, India; perhaps half hour later) .. My updates will be quite late, as I will be up there.
Better news than last week, from the Nagpur second leg of the Men's satellites. One Indian (Rishi Sridhar) made the direct entry, and three made it in through qualies (Vijay Kannan, Rohan Bopanna and Saurav Panja), and four wildcards are in the mix too (Mustafa Ghouse, Vishal Uppal, Nitin Kirtane and Vinod Sridhar) .. Rishi plays Nitin, Vijay plays Mustafa, Rohan plays Fred Hemmes (FRA), Vinod plays qualifier Bart Beks, Saurav plays the 6th seed Konstantinos Economidis (GRE) and Vishal plays the 7th seed Donovan September (RSA) .. Alexander Jakupovic (GRE) beat Manoj Mahdevan in the final qualies .. The other qualifiers in the draw are Or Dekl (ISR), Lauri Kiiski (FIN) and Michail Elgin (RUS) ..
Mar 11 Note-2
The draws won't give our guys a break, and they will make our guys play their best every damn time .. Damnit! .. In the first round at the Indian Wells masters, LP-MB are drawn to face the 6th seeds Lareau/ O'Brien, a team they had beaten quite a few times, but has a losing streak against lately .. I am totally mad right now at the draw Gods .. I hope our guys are mad too - time to give a nice whuppin to the Canadian and American!
Manisha and Nadia Johnston lost in the doubles final at Warrnambool today, 36 36 to Simona Arghire and Remi Uda ..
Mar 11 Note-1
First of all, a big big congrats go to Pullela Gopichand for winning the All England badminton title and becoming the badminton King of the world .. Gopichand's climb up the ladder over the last few months has been truly remarkable! ..
LP and MB were to arrive yesterday in Palm Springs, California for the Indian Wells masters .. I will update soon, about the draw etc.
Manisha Malhotra and Nadia Johnston reached the doubles final of the $10K first leg of the Australian satellites in Warrnambool yesterday .. On the way, they beat Barbara Rosernberger (GER) and Kristina Triska (SWE) in R1, and Sarah Stone and Kristen Van Elden of Australia, 26 62 76(1) in the QF, followed by the upset of the top seeds and last week's challenger winners in Bendigo, Shelley Stephen and Leanne Baker of New Zealand in the semifinal (Leanne was once Manisha's doubles partner in the US circuit, actually) .. They won 63 57 64 .. Manisha and Nadia face Simona Arghire (ROM) and Remi Uda (JPN) in the final today .. Arghire/Uda had upset the 2nd seeds Rushmi and Sai in the second round on Friday .. In singles, Manisha lost in the QF to Miho Saeki (JPN), 46 26 .. 6th seed Sai was upset in the first round as I had reported earlier [source: TennisAustralia].
The score of the doubles final at the ITF grade-3 in Jakarta yesterday was -- 36 63 61 comeback win for Sunil Kumar Sipaeya (92) and Vinod Kumar Sewa (88), over the top seeds Robert Blair (RSA,80) and Izak van der Merwe (RSA,50) .. Both Sunil and Vinod will move inside the top-70 in doubles which brings them very close to qualifying for doubles draws also at the junior grand slams this year .. The singles final went to the second seed Jonathan Chu (USA), who beat the 3rd seed Robert Blair (RSA), 64 57 75 and the girls title went to the unseeded Amber Liu of USA who beat Maretha van Niekirk (RSA), 62 75 .. Girls doubles went to So-Jung Kim and Su-jin Kim of Korea who beat Sandy Gumulya and Septi Nindya Yatumi of Indonesia, 62 36 63 [source: Kompas, Jakarta] .. The whole group, with the addition of Sania Mirza, Megha Vakharia, Rohan Gajjar, etc, will be at the Grade-3 ITF junior event in Kuala Lumpur starting monday .. Malaysian news outlets do not have the habit of covering junior tennis events, and so I am not sure if I can find any info out of there in a regular manner.
Mar 10 Notes
Manisha Malhotra lost in the singles QF to Miho Saeki, the highest ranked player left in the QF field at the Warrnamool satellites yesterday .. I am awaiting doubles scores from there .. more later today .. Sunil Kumar and Vinod Sewa upset the top seeded South African pair to win the doubles title at Jakarta grade-3 ITF international .. Gotta run .. See ya for now.
Mar 9 Note-2
4th seed Vinod Sewa lost in the semifinal today to the second seed Jonathan Chu (USA,80), 46 57 at the grade-3 ITF international in Jakarta .. There was good news in doubles, as the #2 seeds Sunil Kumar and Vinod Sewa reached the final, beating the Polish pair, Michal Piotrowsi and Michal Przysienzny, 62 63 .. They will play the top seeds Robert Blair and Izak van der Merwe of South Africa tomorrow in the final .. In the girls doubles semifinal, So Jung Kim and Su Jin Kim of Korea beat Sasha Abraham (IND) and Maya Rosa (Indonesia), 61 62 .. The Koreans will take on the Indonesian pair, Sandy Gumulya and Septi Nindya Yatumi in the girls doubles final .. The boys singles final is between Robert Blair and Jonathan Chu, and the girls' final is between Amber Liu (USA) and Maretha van Niekerk (RSA) [source: Media Indonesia]
Mar 9 Note-1
I must say I was fully sure of Sheetal Goutham beating Nina Wennerstrom today - the reason was Sheetal's well-known ability to play intelligently; so well that she is quite easily the best among all the youngsters in India in court coverage and in varying the pace, depth and spin of her shots to completely confuse the opponent, as reported repeatedly in news stories .. I expected her to use all her court craft to the fullest to confuse Nina, especially since she had played Nina and lost to her once (in the second leg QF, 64 57 57) and had time to figure out Nina's game .. I was very surprised to see the scoreline of the match today though - S.Goutham d. N.Wennerstrom, 61 62 in the final! .. This is Sonal's first pro international title, coming a good 18 months after she reached top-75 in the juniors in 1999 .. A wrist injury early last year had set her back considerably, and then a few close losses to the top few players in India had affected her confidence too .. The nice story in this satellite circuit was how Sheetal got back to where she belongs, among the top 3-4 teenagers in India (she is still only 19) .. The improvement was clear, as she went from PQF in the first leg to QF in the second leg, SF in the third leg and a title in the most important masters leg .. She picked up 5 WTA points which will raise her ranking from 870 to somewhere around 690 .. Bhupathi Sr, who coached her for a long time at the TennisVillage academy in Bangalore and had high expectations for her in 1999 when she was doing very well in the juniors, must be a very happy man .. In doubles, T.Yamini and Arthi Venkatraman got the better of the top seeded Sheetal and Liza Pereira though .. Sheetal's ranking will move up from 677 to around 590, with the 4 pts there .. She also made some good money in the masters - $800 for singles and $100 for doubles .. Sheetal is a student of the B.N.Jain college in Bangalore and thanked the college for sponsorship .. She also said that they will sponsor her for some events abroad too .. So nice to hear of that - it's an unusual gesture from a college to sponsor someone like that .. See the Delhi satellite page and the circuit/WTA points page.
In the Mumbai men's satellite leg-1, top seed Derepasko and 3rd seed Marach reached the final today .. Nitin and Saurav had lost yesterday in the doubles semifinals, in a match that was reportedly one they should have won, having had 5-3 and 5-1 leads in the two sets - they lost 67(4) 57 (see the detailed match report in the Times of India by Naoshirvan Vakil, who has been giving some very nice reports from there!) .. The pair they lost to, Economidis and Rovas of Greece, won the title today .. I am trying to figure out when it was that a Greek won a title in India last .. No idea .. See the Mumbai satallite page.
Mar 8 Note-2
Sonal has got to be disappointed at how she did in the lastest satellite circuit .. Not that she did very poorly or anything .. She played quite a few good matches, and had ended up as the top seed for the masters leg too .. But she had gone down in finals twice and in the QF once .. Today she lost in the SF of the masters leg, thus losing a chance to earn two more WTA points over the 2 she has .. Nina Wennerstrom of Sweden beat her in three sets in a close match .. Sonal is a tough girl, and I am sure she will figure out what improvements she has to make in her game - first, as needed by a lot of our women players, she too needs to do more work towards physical toughness, if the news reports are correct .. Two players who have done much better than expected this time are Sheetal Goutham and T.Yamni .. Sheetal beat Yamini today 76(10) 62 and goes against Nina tomorrow in the final .. I think this is Sheetal's first satellite singles final .. She has got 4 WTA points to add to the 6 she has, which will raise her ranking up from #870 by about 150 spots .. Winning the final earns one an extra WTA point too .. Sheetal is also in line for a double crown, as the "wildly successful" brand-new "crack" combination of Sheetal and Liza Pereira "stormed" into the final today, to use newspaper clichés (I think I have asked this before -- how does one "storm"? -- I continue to wonder .. OK, better still, how does one "breeze" into the next round? :-)) .. See the Delhi satellite page.
At the Mumbai satellite, Pakistan's Aisam Qureshi "bowed out" today, and the Russian qualifier, Michail Elgin continued his "dream-run" by "blowing past" the 6th seed Econimidis .. See Mumbai satellite. .. "Blow past" - that's another .. One of these days I would like someone to "waft into" the next round somewhere .. Pehaps in a smooth enough match where somebody "wafts" almost imperceptibly to a win :-)
Jyotsna Vasisht lost in the first round of the $25K challenger at Hangzhou, China, to Hana Sremova (CZE,292), by the score of 06 36 .. She still gets one WTA point for a trip to China..
4th seeded Vinod Sewa got a walkover to the semifinal of the grade-3 ITF junior international in Jakarta today, from the 7th seed Dias Doskarayev of (UZB) .. But Sunil Kumar, who had won 7 matches in a row and 14 of his last 15 matches, finally had a bad day, as he went down to the 8th seed Markus Egger (AUT,125) in two sets, 46 46 .. Markus is someone whom Sunil has beaten before, 61 64 in Malaysia last November (which was followed by Vinod Sewa beating the same guy 76 62 on the way to his title at Brunei the next week too) .. Vinod Sewa faces the second seed, Jonathan Chu (USA,80) in the semifinal .. Amanjot Singh is also there, and was seeded 5th, but went down in the first or second round (he was the only seed not to make QF - and so I assume he lost to Clinton Letcher, #180 of RSA) .. Amanjot reached the SF of doubles with Jonathan Chu (USA), but lost today to the top seeded South African pair, Robert Blair and Izak van der Merwe, 16 06 .. Also playing out there is Sasha Abraham, who would have been seeded 6th .. Not sure whom she lost to, but my guess is that it was to Amber Liu of the USA, seeing the results from QF onwards .. Sasha and Maya Rosa (Indonesia) beat Dian Anggraini and Linda Arumsari of Indonesia 62 62 today - not sure in which round.
Mar 8 Note-1
Manisha beat Emily Hewson (AUS,967) in the second round at the Warrnambool leg of the Australian satellites ($40K) today, 62 75 .. She now runs into Miho Saeki (JPN,450), which could be a tough match .. The only seed to reach the QF is the second seed van Elden of AUS .. Ah, the troubles a grass surface causes to people! .. In doubles, second-seeded Sai and Rushmi reached the QF, beating Guilia Meruzzi (ITA) and Natasha van der Merwe (RSA), 76(3) 63 .. They play qualifiers Remi Uda (JPN) and Simona Arghire in the DF .. Manisha and Nadia Johnston (AUS), seeded 4th, beat Barbara Rosenberger (GER) and Kristina Triska (SWE), 61 63 to reach the QF today as well .. They play the Australian pair, Sarah Stone and Kristen van Elden next.
Mar 7 Note-3
Well - I guess it was just as well that I hadn't noticed our boys going to Delray Beach .. Nothing much happened there :-) .. #3 D.Adams/ M.Garcia d. L.Paes/ M.Bhupathi, 63 75 this afternoon .. This was a bad loss, whichever way you look at it though .. Hope to see them do better next week at Indian Wells.
Mustafa also went down in the ITF men's satellite leg-1 at Mumbai today, ending for us the misery of seeing our players' continued troubles .. See the Mumbai satellites page .. Nitin and Saurav had a good win to reach the doubles semi today.
At the Delhi satellite masters, Sheetal upset the 3rd seed Radhika Tulpule .. Sheetal reportedly played very well, but the win was also helped by Radhika slipping and reinjuring her bad ankle (as well as an elbow too -- poor girl seems to be very unlucky with injury problems) .. Sheetal will run into T.Yamini who took care of Arthi Venkatraman, the eldest player in our tour, who has looked surprisingly vulnerable this whole year .. Sonal and Nina had easy wins and they will play the other semi .. See the Delhi satellite page.
Top seed Sunil Kumar and 4th seed Vinod Sewa have both reached the quarterfinal of the Grade-3 ITF junior international in Jakarta today .. Sunil beat Izak van der Merwe (RSA,126), the highest unseeded player there, 62 67 64 .. Vinod also had a tough match, but pulled through against Marlo Santoso (INA,264), 36 63 60 .. These two guys, especially Sunil, have started making adjustments and pulling out a few tough wins somewhat consistently these days - exactly what one gets in terms of winning experience from playing the junior circuit with seriousness .. Sunil will play the 8th seed Markus Egger (AUT,125) and Vinod will play the 7th seed, Diaz Doskarayev (UZB,118) next .. I have not seen any scores for Amanjot from there.
Mar 7 Note-2
Hey, I hadn't event bothered to see if LP-MB were playing this week, as I had assumed they were taking the week off! .. Not so .. They seem to want to play, and they are at the $350K ATP tournament in Delray Beach, Florida .. In the first round, Paes-Bhupathi vs #3 D.Adams/ M.Garcia .. How about that? .. They play this afternoon at 2 pm [Thanks Rahul Basu, for alerting me!]
At the $40K Australian satellites' leg-1 in Warrnambool, Manisha Malhotra upset the 3rd seeded Nicole Melch (AUT,332), 61 67(3) 62 today to advance to second round against wildcard Emily Hewson (AUS,967) .. But 5th seed Sai was upset by Suchanan Viratprasert (THA,510), 26 57.
Mar 7 Note-1
#661 Jyotsna Vasisht made the main draw of the $25K challenger at Hangzhou, China! .. I have no idea how the entries for a challenger could fall that low (I have never seen one go below 500!) .. But I do find players in the 550+ range in the draw and the seeds' went down all the way to #288 Dlhopolcova .. Jyotsna may have been the last entry or something .. She 20 yr old, and was in the US for a few years, till she returned to India and played pretty well in the events late last year .. Quite talented and is under the coaching of Kawaljeet Singh, who is a good coach too .. Jyotsna plays Hana Sromova (CZE,292) in the first round .. News will be very hard to find from China - we may know only very late in the week how she did there.
Boy, how things have changed ever since a 17 year old kid barely out of highschool, Nirupama Vaidyanathan, took that trip to Europe - worried as hell about what the heck she was getting into, but determined to become the first touring pro woman from India .. Now we have women playing all over the place!
Mar 6 Note-2
At the $40K Australian satellites leg-1 in Warrnambool (Victoria), 6th seed Sai Jayalakshmi (#350) is playing Suchanan Viratprasert (THA,510) - not necessarily an easy match, knowing about the talented young Thai .. Unseeded Manisha Malhotra (#394) is also playing a tough first round, against 3rd seed Nicole Melch (AUT,332) .. Rushmi was originally in the entry list, then had withdrawn, and finally ended up playing the qualies .. She was the top seed in the qualies with a first round bye, like last week, but was again got upset - this time by Rochelle Rosenfield (AUS), 64 61 in the second round .. Damn, things haven't gone well for Rushmi out there .. Sai and Manisha play the first round on Wednesday.
In the Delhi women's satellite masters, T.Yamini caused a big upset by taking out second seed Radhika Mandke in three sets in the first round .. Liza Pereira took the first set off the top seeded Sonal Phadke, but Sonal was able to make the adjustments to comeback and win it .. Radhika Tulpule and Sheetal Gautam advanced, as did the 4th seed Nina Wennerstrom (SWE) and unseeded Jordanna Seymour (AUS) .. See the Delhi satellite page.
As for the Mumbai satellite for men, the less said the better .. We keep waiting for somebody (anybody!) to come up with a win .. The story keeps on repeating, as our boys play some close sets, but invariably lose in the end .. The only win today for us was for Mustafa Ghouse who beat qualifier Manoj Mahadevan .. Vishal, Vinod, Nitin, Saurav - all fell in the first round .. To add to it, Ghouse-Uppal, Bopanna-Kannan and Mahadevan-Sridhar, all fell in doubles too, with only Nitin and Saurav reaching R2 .. Vinod Sridhar perhaps played the best match today - against qualifier Robert Sherwood - who seems to be a good player, as he had beaten top seed Vijay Kannan and 10th seed Sochat Ratiwatana in the qualies to make it in .. By the way, take a look at the qualifying round results in the Mumbai satellite page and the number of foreign players who showed up for it - some 30 of them from from every corner of the world - AUS, JPN, FIN, GER, NED, BEL, SVK, ISR, OMN, UZB, THA, GBR etc - who said nobody wanted to go to India? .. There were 64 players in some serious dogfights to make it to the eight qualifier spots after three rounds .. No surprising upsets by any Indians in the qualies, though .. I was looking forward to seeing how 20 yr old Rohan Bopanna would do in the qualies (he had done well in one of the futures qualies recently) - he did fine to reach the final round and was leading over Saurav Panja when he twisted his ankle and retired (according to ITF draw sheets - the qualies were not covered by the newspapers).
At the grade-3 ITF junior tournament in Jakarta, Indonesia, top seed (#64) Sunil Kumar Sipaeya beat the Indonesian wildcard, Harris Ernanda, 62 62 to reach second round today .. 4th seeded Vinod Sewa (#83) beat Shaun Ellison (#256) of South Africa, 62 61 - he faces a good player from Indonesia next - Marlo Santoso (#264) .. I have not seen all the results - no idea how Amanjot did .. Stephen Amritraj (USA), Anand's son, went down after a fight against the 3rd seed Robert Blair (RSA,82), 63 26 16 .. By the way, Stephen had reached the semifinal of the grade-4 tournament in Brunei last week (he lost there to the top seed and eventual winner Stephen Timu of Canada) and was also the doubles runner-up .. Stephen is a few months younger than Prakash and has one more year left in the juniors .. Incidentally, I found that ITF has again listed #54 Prakash Amritraj under USA this week in the junior rankings after showing him under IND for a few weeks .. He has shown up in the ATP list with the two points he got from the two challenger wildcards .. ATP does list Prakash under India .. None of it matters anyway - he will play for India if he is good enough!
March 6 Note-1
Mustafa is the only one who advanced to the second round at the Mumbai satellites .. That is really sad .. See Mumbai satellite page .. Draws for the women's masters are at the Delhi satellite page (today's results from there coming soon) ..
I have updated the Indian calendar with the latest info from March 1st; link at the calendar/ results/ rankings page.
More comments later today.
Mar 5 Notes
Good news from Mumbai (may be bad news as well! :-)) - the entry list for the $25K four-week ITF India S1 satellites is pretty darn strong this time, as far as foreign players are concerned .. Manoj Mahadevan and Saurav Panja made it through the tough qualies and four wildcards (Mustafa Ghouse, Vishal Uppal, Nitin Kirtane and Vinod Sridhar) are also in the draw .. I believe Rishi Sridhar and Rohan Bopanna are the top two waiting lucky losers if any foreign players do not show up, though Rohan retired in the final qualies against Saurav due to an ankle injury .. I will type up a page with all the results and draws soon [thanks Steve, for info] ..
As for the main draw, the top seeds are Artem Derepasko (RUS,288), Ivan Vajda (CRO,304), Oliver Marach (AUT,305), Aisam Qureshi (PAK,325), Tomas Cakl (CZE,378), Konstantinos Economidis (GRE,401), Donovan September (RSA,433), Radim Zitko (CZE,438) .. We have a few more top-600 players there (incredible!) .. They are Simon Dickson (GBR,481), Kobi Ziv (ISR,540) and Justin Layne (GBR,589) .. There should be a couple of no-shows from that list, but having anymore than 4 or 5 top-600 players in our satellites has not happened anytime recently .. All those stories about India being a God-forsaken place to go play at - with snakes crawling to the courts and cowdung surfaces and water that guarantees instant malaria, and all that crap - are now officially history, on the tour :-) ..
Srinath is injured, Harsh Mankad and Ajay Ramaswamy cannot leave as it is the peak of US college season, and Fazal is not playing these satellites .. Young Prakash Amritraj was originally expected to play, but he has skipped the tour due to illness, I believe .. The other Indians have their work cut out for them .. Nitin plays the 6th seed Economidis, Vishal plays the 8th seed Zitko, Manoj plays Mustafa, Saurav plays Jonathan Murray (GBR, 693), and V.Sridhar plays qualifier Sherwood who had beaten Vijay Kannan in the first round of the qualies .. The six foreign qualifiers are Bart Bek (NED), Or Dekl (ISR), Tomer Suissa (ISR), Martin Rammal (FIN), Michail Elgin (RUS) and David Sherwood (GBR).
Unofficial info I have got on the women's satellite masters in Delhi this week is that the entry list is - Sonal, Radhika Mandke, Radhika Tulpule, Nina Wennerstorm,Liza, Nandini Perumal, Lata Assundani, Sharanya Pattabhi (in place of injured S.K. Tara), Jordanna seymour, Medini Sharma, Sheetal goutam, Geeta Manohar, Vishnupreetam Mahalingam, Ashel Dimi, Arthi Venkatraman and Yamini Thullakandi .. So, it is in accordance with the point list I had calculated at the circuit pts page, except that Archana Venkatraman, Nandita Chandrasekar, Iciri Rai and Samrita Sekhar who had not played all three legs did not make the entry .. Radhika Tulpule did make the entry probably on injury exemption, even though she missed on leg [Thanks Manish, for info]
I was reminded by Vas Param that I did not update Sunitha Rao's result from the Minneapolis challenger .. The 15 yr old USA girl won the first round but then went down in R2 after a fight, against the 6th seed Amanda Hopmans (NED,117), 06 64 57 .. This little girl has to be seriously good to make such a turn around against a top-120 player after being totally out-played in the first set .. Golly!
.. Previous notes are at Notes for the weeks ending on March 5 ..
I am getting some enquiries 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 enquiring about specific names) .. If any of the junior players are reading this, please contact me .. Or if any of the other readers know the contact emails/address for any junior player, let me know .. I would like to have a mailing list where I can post general announcements and enquiries from the coaches too .. Please email me - R.Jayakrishnan.