Indian-Tennis: Daily News for the week ending on Mar 21, 2005
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Mar 21 Note-1
Three Indians (Vishal Uppal, VM Ranjeet and Jaco Mathew) qualified into the
Chennai $15K+H futures today .. Excellent work by all three .. That makes
it 11 Indians in the draw, though initially only three (Mankad, Amritraj
and Sipaeya) made direct entry on the basis of their rankings .. Vinod Sridhar
earned a special entry spot for the big title last week at Kolkata, and four
Indians got wildcards (Rohan, Vijay, Karan and Navdeep Singh) .. Only doubles
matches were done in the main draw today .. Extremely tough field for this
futures, almost as g ood as some challengers we have had in the past in India
.. See the Chennai futures page for scores/draws.
Mar 19 Notes
Fantastic work by Vinod Sridhar, who stopped the run of Adam Fass (USA)
in the final at the Kolkata futures with a very impresive 63
63 run .. For quite a while it has been known to all observors of Indian
domestic tennis that 25 year old Vinod Sridhar is extremely difficult to
beat, especially on his favorite surface clay .. I have commented many time
in the past too, about the high respect I have always had for Vinod Sridhar
for coming ready to play every day and fighting hard in every match he plays
.. The newspaper sometimes talk about the limitations of his game and all
that sometimes, but what matters is bottom line results and he has shown
it time and again .. When I saw the entry list for the Kolkata futures, my
first thought was about where Vinod Sridhar was, as he would have got a direct
entry had he entered .. It was worrisome also because he has had some
injury problems in the recent past .. We are all glad that he was given a
wildcard entry to the draw and became the seventh seed .. This is Vinod's
second title (he had won a futures in late 2002, and had been in quite a
few futures and satellite finals) .. He picked up 12 points and should be
moving his rankin up from 576 to right inside 500, close to his career-best
of 482 in late september last year ..
I have posted the scores I have seen so far, from the $15K+H India F4 futures qualies, at the Chennai futures page... Take a look .. Not much else for news today ..
Mar 18 Notes
Prakash's run ended today against the 4th seed Yen-Hsun Lu (TPE,127)
in a 46 16 loss .. It is always tough to have enough to go against that kind
of a highly-ranked player after having played 5 matches at an event already
.. Still a fabulous run by Kash, who picked up 17 points there .. This was
the first time in 10 months, and after some 16 odd events, since May last
year when he got 35 points for the Fergana final, that Prakash has picked
up more than 6 points at an event, incredible as it sounds .. 103 total points
would bring his rank up to about #325 .. he has to hurry up and grab a bunch
of points in the next couple of months before the Fergana points fall off
and drop his rank again .. On the other hand, if Kash has regained his form
and confidence, it is not a big deal for him to race back up the ranks fast
.. So he should probably not worry about points and just play his game ..
Go man, do your thang at Chennai .. Let us see a Kash vs Harsh final there!
At Kolkata, a bad day for young Karan Rastogi, as he went down 67(6) 06 today
in the semi againt Adam Fass of USA .. He also had a loss in the doubles
final to Ajay and Vishal .. The good news was from Vinod Sridhar,
who reached the final with a 64 41 win, as the 5th seed Chris Kwon retired
.. That ensures that Vinod will get one of the two special exempt spots at
the Chennai $15K+H where the main draw list is now finalized and qualies
draw probably just made (haven't seen it yet) .. I assume Karan would have
a wildcard .. Perhaps Rohan and somebody from among Vijay, Ajay or Vishal
would get the other wildcards? .. I hope we will not be seeing Arindam Dutta
getting another wildcard - If we do, I will literally scream on behalf of
the the forum fans who have already been up in arms :) ..
In other news, Mustafa Ghouse and David Sherwood (GBR) went down in an upset,
67(6) 46 yesterday at the $15K+H Lille futures in France, to the French pair,
Marc Steger and Nicolas Thomann .. At the $10K in Yarrawonga (Australia)
this week, Rushmi lost in the R2 to Lauren Cheung (AUS), 61 36 26 and Sai
lost the R2 to sixth seed Emily hewson after another fantastic fight, 26
76(6) 57 .. In doubles, the secon seeded Sai/Rushmi lost the semi to the
3rd seeds Lara Picone (AUS) and Julia Vorobieva (AUS), 16 36 ..
It is now confirmed that Sania Mirza would be at the Dinan challenger on
March 4th .. Just heard from our incorrigibly passionate honorary Indian
citizen in Germany, Floran Beuchtung that he would be covering the Dinan
challenger for us from there! .. Hey, we won't let sania leave our sights
:) .. From what I heard from Mahesh Uberoi earlier this week, Sani was to
arrive in Miami by now and hit and train with Shikha Uberoi during the weekend,
getting ready for the Nasdaq Open next week .. Go Sania and Shikha! ..
Are these exciting days for Indian tennis or what? .. Too much of news to report these days ..
Mar 17 Notes
Great win by Prakash Amritraj today, as he continued his torrid run
at the $50K+H Ho Chi Minh City challenger with an upset of the 6th seed Kristian
Pless (DEN,204), 63 76(4) .. Next up for Prakash is another tough match --
against the 4th seed Yen-Hsun Lu (TPE,127) on friday evening by around 7
pm in Vietnam .. Come on Kash! .. Let's keep it goin .. Prakash has
17 total points so far from there, which takes his point total from 87 to
103 !!! ..
I must have jinxed Lee and Zimo a bit with all my comments yesterday .. They
could not pull back-to-back upsets over reigning grand slam champs .. They
took care of the French Open champs yesterday, but fell after a fight to
the USO champs, #1 seeds Mark Knowles (BAH) and Daniel Nestor (CAN), 36 64
26 .. Despite the loss, this is a pretty good match for LP-NZ, who won 80
points in the match, to 86 points by the top seeds .. Knowles-Nestor are
one of the top-3 teams of the last deacde in ATP tennis, and this was a tough
test for the new pair who are beginning to jell together .. By the way, remember
that MK-DN are the same pair who had shellacked LP-Rikl by a 63 63 score
at the US Open final - the same pair which has a six match win streak on
Bhupathi-Mirnyi and a two-match streak on LP-Rikl .. So, no shame in the
loss .. I actually thought our guys could pull this off though - but a few
points in the 3rd set turned out to be decisive .. LP-NZ again had 5 double
faults in the match, which is way too many for a doubles match; they need
to seriously cut down on that DF bug and stop giving away free points! ..
LP-NZ will take off to Miami now.
At the $10K Kolkata futures, the story is the beautiful run so far by 18 year old Karan Rastogi,
who has again upset a seed, this time the 6th seed Nick Monroe (USA) to reach
the semifinal where he would face the foul-mouthed (according to newspaper
reports) American player, Adam Fass .. Vinod Sridhar, quite definitely the
best clay player among our domestic second-string expectedly reached the
SF, though with a surprisingly easy-sounding 62 62 win over Vijay Kannan
.. He would be playing Chris Kwon .. Karan and Ashutosh Singh are in the
doubles final too, with back-toback upsets of seeded pairs .. Go Karan!!!!
.. See the Kolkata futures page.
Mar 16 Note-2
It looks like Leander has at last (after a few years with different partners
who were nowhere near what Mahesh was with him) found a partner with whom
he really has a good chance to win grand slam titles etc .. Though he had
pretty good success with a few others, somehow I never got that "feeling"
that he was getting the kind of partners who would complement his style of
game and would provide adequate support to do the big ones .. I get the feeling
that Nenad Zimonjic might turn out to be a great decision for a partner ..
I watched an excellent doubles match today at Indian Wells -- [R2] (6) L.Paes/ N.Zimonjic d. Xavier Malisse (BEL)/ Olivier Rochus (BEL), 62 76(2)
... Mind you the opponents are the reigning French Open doubles champions
and are quite good together (they had won the Adelaide title in January too)
.. They are ranked #35 and #39 in singles as well, which means they are two
damn good tennis players .. It showed all through the match .. On the other
hand, Leander and Nenad showed how to win a doubles match by playing to a
strategy .. They were going to take th pace off the ball whenever they could,
in the match .. Nenad is a tall guy with a power game also but he played
very smart tennis .. Except for an occasional surprise shot - one particular
BH down the line by Nenad, a beauty, reminding me of an old partner for LP
(!) - they stuck to the strategy
beautifully .. The Belgians came up with a ton of scorching returns and excellent
volley placements, but somehow LP and Zimo seemed to know what to do to win
a big point all along, with some deft lobs and placements which made the shorter guy, Olivier,
run like a mad man at times .. I think our pair also won most of the volley
exchanges at the net, and I was very impressed by Zimo's reflexes .. His
hands are perhaps not as soft as Mahesh's at the net, but he is way up there
in reflex volleying, and he certainly has abilities to come up with some
excellent shoe-lace digs which again reminded me again of the time MB was up at the net
with Leander, coming up with great digs in the middle of all the lateral
movements and net magic by LP! ..
As for the match, our pair was up early to a 3-1 lead and then to a
5-1 lead .. LP seemed to have a bit of a double fault bug, as he did about
4 of them today in his services games .. One DF and then a volley mistake
by Zimo on Lee's serve made it 5-2, but then our pair broke the Belgians
once more, thanks to two great returns by Zimonjic, the second one at the
set point .. The second set was very tight all through with neither side
dropping serve .. at 3-3 off LP's serve they faced some danger after a double
fault and a bad line call on a nice lob made it a break point .. LP saved
it with some superb variation play, with a sweet cross court volley and then
a backhand smash to the corner that Rochus could not catch up to .. It still
went through about 4 or 5 game points before LP held to 4-3 .. At 4-4 on Zimonjic' serve,
Malisse and Rochus both came up with cracking returns to go up 0-30, but
a third return went an inch out, as the belgians were going for broke ..
Zimonjic then made them pay for that with three big serves to close out the
game .. Our pair did not have a break point all through the second set ..
In the tiebreaker at 3-2, LP-NZ picked up two minibreaks, with another good
return and then a great volley exchange from Zimo .. 5-2 .. Rochus was so
frustrated that he just hit a wild return to the backboard, to make it 2-6
.. But then a bit of a drama, as an unlucky net-chord and then two untouchable
serves from Malisse saw our pair wasting three match points .. On the final
point at 6-5 off LP's serve, a tremendou s volley exchange where Leander
showed why he is the best at it, with a soft dig and a drop that Rochus caught
up to and put into the net .. This was really a very enjoyable doubles match
.. A lot of high quality stuff .. It took about an hour and 25 minutes to
complete the match .. Up next for LP-MB are the top seeds Knowles -Nestor ..
At the Kolkata futures, Sunil Kumar was upset today by Adam Fass of USA ..
Also, Karan Rastogi beat the 4th seed Vishal Uppal .. That is technically
a big upset, but not surprising at all, as we know of how good Karan is ..
Vijay Kannan and Vinod Sridhar also made it to the QFs .. See the Kolkata Futures page.
Mar 16 Note-1
Leander Paes and Nenad Zimonjic plays the second round of doubles at the
Indian Wells masters today against Xavier Malisse and Olivier Rochus of Belgium
.. I expect to be there at the match today - will give a match report after
I get back from Indian Wells ..
Prakash Amritraj plays his second round at the Vietnam challenger tomorrow (thursday) against Kristian Pless.
In other news, Sania Mirza is listed as the top entry for the $75K claycourt
challenger in Dinan, France, starting on Apr 4th .. Pretty good field, with
some three top-100 players and about 10 top-125 players .. The WTA events
for Apr 4th and 11th (the $585K at Amelia Island and $1.3M at Charleston
in the US) had the entries close on Feb 21st and 28th just before Sania's
rank went up from #98 to #77 .. Even with a #77, she would h ave probably
missed the initial cut at these two places .. So instead of wasting time
in the qualies, she seems to have decided to get going on clay in Europe
.. Depending on how deep she goes in Miami next week, she could get a week
off before the Dinan challenger, and a week off after that, before she gets
back to India for the Fed Cup on Apr 18th .. Shikha Uberoi is in the
entry list for the $25K in Augusta, Gerogia, on March 28th.
I went down to the $50K Orange challenger yesterday and watched 19 year old Sunitha Rao
(USA,178), the only Indian-origin player who currently has an unbeaten record
against both Sania and Shikha (nice trivia, eh? .. Sunitha beat Sania at
a $10K in Mumbai three yeras back, and beat Shikha two months back at the
Hobart WTA qualies) .. Sunitha is of course very very talented, as we all
know .. Yesterday was one of the bad days however, as she ran into a very
hot player she could not upset - Elena Baltacha (GBR,118) who has gone up
the ranks to a career-high currently with her recent main draw 3rd round
appearance as a qualifier at the Australian Open, along with a bunch of good
challenger results .. Sunitha was a wildcard entry at Orange .. She played
many points very closely and came up with a lot of good stuff off but made
her usual set of unforced errors too .. Basically the key was that Baltacha
came up with huge serves (one could see why she is going up the ranks now!)
on every break point that Sunitha created, and SR's serve was not as accurate
as she would have liked, which took her out of her game plan in a straight
set loss .. Anyway, it was nice to see Sunitha again .. She has gone through
a lot, to be frank, with all the confusion between her dad and the two national
associations he could never get in synch with - USTA and AITA .. SR is probably
in the best athletic tennis shape I have ever seen her .. So I am sure she
would have a lot more good results soon ..
At the Kolkata $10K yesterday, Rohan Bopanna went down 67(3) 67(3) to
the 5th seed Chris Kwon (USA) .. Though it was a loss, I am actually encouraged
by the scoreline .. Bofors actually did quite well for his first pro match
back after shoulder surgery and time awayfor many months, taking a tough
seed the distance in two sets .. I believe it is normal for one to take time
to get adjusted to playing tiebreakers, after shoulder surgery .. I believe
that subconsciously the players tend to think it is the serve is what wins
tiebreakers, though it is logically not correct (if one wins more points
than the opponenet in the rest of the set, one would be able to do that in
the tiebreaker too, but the popular perception is different) .. I wonder
if Rohan was feeling out how his serve is working now .. I hope the surgery
has not taken much off from his rocket serve, even if it takes a while for
the strength to get back up to 100% .. Anyway, the good news is that Rohan
seems to be back and able to play at a fairly high level immediately, as his
scoreline against a top-500 quality oplayer indicates .. I am sure by the
next week at the Chennai futures on clay, or at least by the week after at
the Bangalore futures on hard courts, RB would be getting into his groove
.. Kwon plays an interesting match against young Rupesh Roy today .. See the
Kolkata futures page for scores
.. Awaiting otday's scores .. News coming by only a little slowly out of Kolkata.
At the $10K in Yarrawonga, Australia, the second seed Rushmi Chakravarthi
beat Parul Goswami, 61 64, to reach the R2, which will be against Lauren Cheung
(AUS) .. Sai Jayalakshmy also advanced, beating Keiko Taguchi (JPN) in a
big comeback from the brink, 06 76(4) 63 .. Sai plays the 6th seed Emily Hewson (AUS) in
the second round .. In doubles, the second seeded Rushmi-Sai pair beat Sevvy
Gallios and Emma Kidd of Australia, 61 63 and then won the QF over another
Aussie pair, Jessica Engels and Bianca Smith, 62 61 .. Their SF is against
the 3rd seeds, Lara Picone (AUS) and Julia Vorobieva (RUS) .. By the way,
I am glad to see a lot more fight that Sai is again showing in her matches,
after a long time when I thought she was often playing indifferent tennis,
below the levels she has shown in earlier days of her career .. Whatever
these two ladies' results show, one cannot help admiring the ultimate sportsman
spirit they show by going out there, day after day and week after week, traveling
around the world and struggling with money and visa problems, all for the
sake of doing what they love most - which is playing tennis! .. Both have
done reasonably well in Australia so far, too .. Keep it going, ladies!
Some really poor results to report from our junior team at the grade-1 ITF
in Malaysia .. I almost felt like not reporting this news, as it broke my
heart yesterday to hear that all five of our kids went down in the very first
match there, despite four of them being seeded .. Hardly many sets won either
.. (2) Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan (IND,35) l. Richard Ruckelshausen (GER,125),
57 46 .. (3) Vivek Shokeen (IND,45) l. Conor Pollock (USA,189) 26 76(8) 57
.. (15) Sanam Singh (IND,90) l. James Lemke (AUS,160), 06 26 .. (10) Sandhya
Nagaraj (IND,98) l. Megan Alexander (USA,148), 57 26 .. Madura Ranganathan
(IND,131) l. Olivia Lukaszewicz (AUS,156), 26 26 .. The first four had first
round byes as seeds and lost in the R2 .. Though the losses are all to top-150
caliber players, there isn't one thing in those scores that I can take as
a positive .. Nothing! .. I wonder what went wrong? .. Did they only fly
in, in the morning of the matches, all of them lost their baggage, or something
like that? .. They all ate some bad breakfast? .. It is not like they are
going outside for the first time, as all five of them have had a few trips
abroad and all have been to Malaysia once or twoice before, three of them
at the same event last year too .. I think coach Gajendra Singh has some
work to do now, and get the kids ready for next week .. I hope they forget
this week and just move on to next week's grade-1 .. Let it go, kids!
Mar 15 Notes
Ladies and Gentleman, the Prakash Amritraj from 2003 seems to
be back again! .. After qualifying in with three matches which were nothing
short of laughers, he did one more today, with a first round bomb-attack
.. At the $50K+H Ho Chi Minh City challenger, [R1] (Q) Prakash Amritraj (IND,360) d. Zbynek Mlynarik (AUT,285), 63 61
.. Looks like PA is out of the doldrums and is full of confidence now ..
Up next for him is the 6th seed Kristian Pless (DEN,204) whom he had beaten
three weeks back at the Scottsale qualies .. If I were to guess, on current
form, PA will get him again .. Go Kash!
Leander's second round doubles match at the Indian Wells will be tomorrow (wednesday).
At the Orange challenger in California, Neha Uberoi (USA) got a wildcard
into doubles with Arpi Kojian (USA) .. They face Alyona Bondarenko (UKR)
and Galina Voskoboeva (RUS), probably tomorrow .. I believe she had initially
planned to play with sister Shikha, but I think Shikha decided to take rest
for a week and get ready for Miami qualies next week.
At the India F3 "ONGC" $10K in Kolkata at the South Club (claycourts) yesterday,
the nice upset win was by young Rupesh Roy, who got past Kamala Kannan ..
Otherwise everythiung went according to the script, with top seed Sunil Kumar,
3rd seed Vijay Kannan and 8th seed Ajay Ramaswami advancing, and with there
being no surprises in the eight first round doubles matches either .. The
other 12 first round matches are today .. See the Kolkata futures page for the draws and scores .. The big match that I am awiating the score for, was today -- Rohan Bopanna's return to singles play, after shoulder surgery and several months away from the tour .. Hope Bofors did fine today.
At the qualies for the $15K+H on indoor hardcourts at Poitiers, France, Mustafa
Ghouse, seeded 10th went down in the Q2 to Marc Steger (FRA,1167), 67(2)
06 after a 61 60 win over Samuel Danchet (FRA,NR) in the first round .. In
the doubles first round, the top-seeded Mustafa and David Sherwood (GBR)
play the French wildcards, Adrian Mannarino and Morgan Mannarino.
Mar 14 Notes
Good news today -- Prakash Amritraj qualified into the $50K+H Ho Chi
Minh City challenger in Vietnam .. The sixth seed had an easy 62 62 win over
unseeded Minh Le (USA) .. Prakash got a bit lucky, as he did not face any
top-400 players in the draw, but he probably would have qualified in anyway,
based on the form he is in now - as his 60 62 win against #492 Matsui in
the Q2 round showed .. Awaiting news on whom he plays in the main draw.
Not a great day yesterday, as Mahesh Bhupathi and the Uberoi sisters went
down .. Leander advanced, and Mustafa Ghouse won a doubles title, for good
At Indian Wells, the 5th seeds Mahesh Bhupathi and Todd Woodbridge went down
61 36 67(4) .. That is two losses in a row for these two where they won the
first set and could not keep it up (they had lost the Dubai semi to Damm-Suk
like that, in the previous match) .. Strange .. Miami Masters next for them.
Leander Paes and Nenad Zimonjic won 62 26 64 .. They withstood a pretty good charge
by their opponent in the second set and late in the third det .. They took
an early advantage to 2-0 in the third set, and had to play well at some
key points late in the third set when they were twice down on serve at 0-30
.. Their R2 opponents will be decided today .. I believe the second round wuill be tomorrow (Tuesday) ..
I was at the $50K Orange challenger qualifying yesterday and watched Neha
and Shikha Uberoi, both not at 100% right now .. Both struggled badly
too, but in retrospect that was to be expected if they were not in
their best physical health in a qualifying field that is worse than the main
draw of most challengers .. Shikha went down to #183 Elise Tamaela (NED)
and Neha to #199 Vanina Garcia-Sokol (ARG) .. Take a look at the reports
I posted in the Shikha and Neha threads in the forum.
Excellent work by top seeds Mustafa Ghouse and David Sherwood (GBR) who won
the doubles title at the $15K+H France F4 in Lille .. They beat the French
pair, Patrice Atias and Frederic Jeanclaude in a tough match, 64 67(4) 76(3) .. Congratulations!
Finally found the results, about three days late, on the douibles semifinal for
Rushmi and Sai at the $10K in Benalla Australia last week .. The second seeds
went down to the eventual doubles winners .. [R1] (2) R.Chakravarthi/
S.Jayalakshmy d. (Q) Sevvy Gallios (AUS)/ Emma Kidd (AUS), 63 62 .. [QF]
d. Mirielle Dittman (AUS)/ Svenja Weidemann (GER), 16 76(8) 75 .. [SF] l.
Julia Vorobieva (RUS)/ Meng Yuan (CHN), 63 16 57 ..
The Kolkata futures final round qualies is today .. I have not seen the draws yet.
.. Previous notes are at
for the weeks ending on Mar 14 ..
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