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LP/MB/NV/Indian-Tennis: Notes for week ending on Mar 22, 1999

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Mar 22 Note-3

The media office at Lipton tells me that it was a pulled left hamstring injury to Mahesh that forced them to retire .. I will get hold of MB later and convey the best wishes for recovery from all us fans ..

Mar 22 Note-2

Oh, my .. Snake-bit again .. Mahesh had picked up a hamstring injury from practice this week, and from what I can guess so far, it appears that it got worse and they had to retire from the match right after losing 3-6 in the first set .. In the match, everything looked fine through 5 games, and then suddenly MB lost serve in the 6th game to fall 2-4 .. LP's service games seemed to go smootly, and he held to go 3-5 .. In the next game, it was 30-40 when the scoreboard got stuck .. A few phone calls revealed that they had retired hurt from the match .. So, Merklein/Coupe, who seemed to be serving well and not giving anything to our pair, once again picks up a lot of bonus points for beating our pair .. B.Coupe/ M.Merklein d. LP/MB 3-6 (retd.hurt) .. I will talk to MB and get an update on the injury situation .. He does have his trainer Wil Upton of UK, with him .. Hopefully 10 days of rest from now till the Davis Cup at Calcutta will be enough to get over the injury .. If it's a pulled hamstring, it's the kind of injury that lingers on for 2-3 weeks .. Let us wish him well .. That's it for this tournament.

Mar 22 Note-1

LP-MB play the 4th match on court 3, where action starts at 11 am .. We can expect the match at about 4 pm Eastern time (1 pm PST, USA, 2.30 am Tuesday, India), plus or minus half hour .. We will have live score updates from the ATP live page, and will be following the match in our chatroom .. Come on over ..

So, who are these guys LP-MB will be playing today ? - Brandon Coupe and Mark Merklein, both of USA, ranked 69 and 89 .. Coming to Lipton, this pair has one win and two losses in two tournaments they have played this year .. But that one doubles win was their career best though, over .. uh .. hmm .. Bhupathi and Paes! .. That was in the first round at the Qatar Open (Doha) in January .. LP-MB definitely have a score to settle with these two .. I have some stats on how our dudes do against those who have beaten them in a previous match, but for the sake of not jinxing them, I will withhold that for now.. Geoff Grant was Merklein's regular partner last year, and I believe Paul Rosner used to be Coupe's partner .. They had a very good three set win in the first round here over two experienced doubles players, Kempers and Siemerink, - the new partnership is perhaps working .. Merklein is pretty popular around there, being from Florida and having played college tennis at the Univ of Florida too (he was the US collegiate national champion in singles in 94).

Doubles action heats up at the Lipton Super 9 now, with the draw reaching the second round .. There were two second round matches played on Sunday and already two seeds have crashed and burned - 5th seeds Lareau and Obriien, and the 6th seeds Haarhuis and Galbraith .. Since Haarhuis has lost without picking up any points, Bhupathi and Paes can reach the #1 and #2 spots in doubles rankings by winning the title (Paul Haarhuis has 4169 points to MB's 3905 and LP's 3864 .. PH has nothing to defend here and so his points will remain the same .. LP and MB also have nothing to defend here, but MB will be replacing 98 points and LP 92, at the 14th tournament spot .. The winner will make about 450 or more points here including bonuses) .. Interestingly, Indian Express had an article that came up yesterday saying LP and MB could reach the top two spots this week with a title - but that required an early loss by Paul Haarhuis, which curiously enough happened yesterday when the 6th seeds Haarhuis and Galbraith got upset by Lan Bale and Grant Stafford in definitely a big surprise! ..

Here is the final-32 doubles draw:

 1-M.Bhupathi/ L.Paes        vs   B.Coupe/ M.Merklein     \
15-J.Grabb/ J.Palmer         vs   B.Becker/ J.M.Gambill   / \
10-J.Bjorkman/ J.Eagle       vs   M.Barnard/ B.Haygarth   \ / \
 8-O.Delaitre/ F.Santoro     vs   B.Bryan/ M.Bryan        /    \_
 4-E.Ferreira/ R.Leach       vs   T.Carbonell/ D.Johnson  \    / |
14-J.Novak/ D.Rikl           vs   G.Kuerten/ N.Lapentti   / \ /  |
11-Y.Kafelnikov/ D.Vacek     vs   P.Albano/ F.Montana     \ /    |
   L.Bale/ G.Stafford        bt 6-P.Galbraith/ P.Haarhuis /      |_
   N.Kulti/ M.Tillstrom      bt 5 S.Lareau/ A.O'Brien     \      |
12 P.Norval/ K.Ullyett       vs   C.Moya/ M.Safin         / \    |
13 M.Damm/ C.Suk             vs   C.Haggard/ P.Nyborg     \ / \  |
 3 M.Knowles/ D.Nestor       vs   R.Reneberg/ J.Stark     /    \_|
 7 W.Black/ S.Stolle         vs   F.Roig/ J.Sanchez       \    /
 9 D.Adams/ J-L.DeJager      vs   D.Flach/ J.Tarango      / \ /
16 A.Florent/ D.MacPherson   vs   M.Mirnyi/ A.Olhovskyi   \ /
 2 T.Woodbridge/ M.Woodforde vs Q-G.Grant/ T.Middleton    /

Becker and Gambill are playing doubles here .. Apparently Gambill was hanging around at the tournament office when a call came and somebody said Becker was looking for a doubles partner - Gambill said he would do it, and they are playing! .. They already have had a good win over Gimelstob and MacPhie, in the first round.

Mar 21 Notes

Leander and Mahesh will be playing Brandon Coupe and Mark Merklein, both of USA, in the second round at Lipton .. Coupe and Merklein beat Kempers/Siemerink yesterday in R1 .. The R2 match is not scheduled for today (Sunday) .. I think LP-MB will be playing on Monday (the 22nd) .. Only a couple of R2 matches are scheduled today as a few R1 matches are yet to be played .. More later.

Mar 20 Note-2

Seems like there is some confusion on who won the doubles title at Calcutta .. The wire story I saw first did not mention the men's doubles final .. Then Time of India's online edition said Asif/Marcus won it .. Now that both The Hindu and the Deccan Herald say that Nitin and Saurav won the final by the same score of 7-6(10), 7-5, I take that as the correct result .. :-) .. So, there was something for the hometown to cheer about, as Saurav is from Bengal ..

Mar 20 Note-1

At the Grasscourts Nationals at the Calcutta Football and Cricket Club, Manisha Malhotra finished off her campaign in grand style, winning the triple crown (singles, doubles, mixed) .. She beat Archana Venkataraman today in the final, 6-3, 6-4 .. After dropping serve once early in the first set, she cruised to another straight set win [source: Times of India] .. She won 14 matches in 6 days to get those three titles, and dropped only one set the whole week! .. Shows why some of us were very upset when she was not picked for the Fed Cup team (though, it may not have made any difference, the way Shi-Ting Wang went after Niru, there .. And we finished 3rd among the 10 teams, which means Uzma, Sai, etc supported Niru very well) .. Uzma is the only Indian to have beaten her in recent memory (that 3-set final at the last grasscourt nationals in Dec 97, perhaps the best match between two Indian women in a long time, reportedly!) ..

On the men's side, Marcus Hilpert continued his domination over Indians, beating Nitin Kirtane in 2 sets, 7-5, 6-3 .. I think that makes it a 16-1 record for Marcus over Indians in India, dating back to Nov 97 (Only Fazal has been able to beat him in India, at the Chandigarh grass futures in Jan 98) .. I have nothing against Marcus, but it's a shame that a German has now won two grasscourt nationals in a row in India - and we are supposed to *know* how to play on grass .. It's not like Hilpert is such a highly ranked player, either .. At #707, he only has a few more ATP points than Vinod, Vijay, Harsh, Sandeep, etc .. Kirtanes, Harsh, Vijay and Vinod have all beaten higher ranked players in India recently too .. But somehow, Marcus has Indians' number ! .. Congrats to him, though .. He won a second crown too today, in Asif Ismail's company, beating Nitin and Saurav in the doubles final .. That is also a second title for Asif, who had the mixed doubles title with Manisha ..

So, other than Marcus, only Maharashtra players won titles at Calcutta! .. Manisha, Asif and Janaki .. When did Maharashtra become the grass capital of India ? :-) .. See the results at the National Grasscourts page ..

Check out the Chennai Goldflake Open website (http://www.goldflakeopen.com) for some preview comments from Ramesh Krishnan (in the "expert column" section). Let us hope Carlos Moya keeps his #1 ranking when he comes to Chennai.

Mar 19 Notes

The Doubles matches start today at the Lipton, but only a couple of matches are on schedule .. LP-MB will be playing their first match (in round 2) on Sunday, or perhaps even Monday.

Nirupama and Bacheva did not fare as well in doubles at the Diems challenger as they did last week at Biel .. They lost yesterday in the first round to Eva Bes (ESP, 148) and Rosa Andres (ESP, 207), 7-5, 2-6, 5-7 .. Niru has racked up a bunch of three-setters lately .. They won two three-set doubles match last week but have since lost two also .. She goes to the Dinans challenger in France next week.

Manisha Malhotra has been red-hot at the Calcutta nationals so far.. She has picked up two titles already today (doubles with Janaki Krishnamoorthi and mixed doubles with Asif Ismail), and she goes for the clean sweep of all the titles tomorrow, against Archana Venkataraman in the singles final .. Archana had the minor upset today, over Sai Jayalakshmi, the top seed .. On the men's side, the singles final will be between Marcus Hilpert and Nitin Kirtane, who both had straight set wins today .. Vasudev Reddy lost to Marcus, and The Hindu mentions the word "erratic" .. That has always been Vasu's problem - sad to see that with all the talent he shows .. Mustafa's run ended against Nitin, who has been in "fine nick", as they say, lately .. The doubles title will be between Hilpert/Ismail and Sandeep/Saurav .. See all the results at the National Grasscourts page ..

Mar 18 Note-2

When I contacted the tournament office at the Diems women's challenger today, Nirupama happened to be around - she was waiting for her late-night doubles match in the first round (so no new on that match yet - will find out tomorrow what happened) .. Chatted with her a bit - she is in good spirits and is planning to take the week off after next week's French challenger .. She will then play the qualifiers over the weekend at the Estoril Open in Portugal on clay which starts on Apr 5th (It is a new tour event on the WTA calendar this year) .. She has not decided where she will be after that, but she should be trying to qualify at the Budapest (Apr 19) and Bol (Apr 26) WTA events .. Last year she had got into the main draw at Bol .. I have updated the Niru schedule page.

I have also updated the LP-MB schedule page till early June .. Basically, after the Delhi challenger, it will be three Super 9s (Monte Carlo, Hamburg, Rome) and then the French Open, followed by Queens grass tournament in London .. Not sure where MB will get to play singles or quals, but if he picks up some 30 odd points at Madras and Delhi, he will get into the French Open qualifiers.

At the grasscourt nationals in Calcutta today, the Maharashtra players seem to be handling the humdity and heat better than most others so far - Mustafa, Nitin, Manisha, Janaki, etc, are all alive in various draws .. Marcus Hilpert continues his good run .. Mustafa "Pete" Ghouse beat Vishal Uppal in a very good match, as we expected, where Vishal actually had a couple of match points in the 3rd set .. Manoj Mahadevan, who at 17 is the baby at these senior events, lost to Vasudev Reddy .. It has been a while since the talented Vasu has played this consistently (he hasn't dropped a set in three good wins) .. The newspaper reports seeem to be already crowning Germany's Marcus Hilpert as the champion, but I am not sure I am ready to do that .. but Vasu will have to play his best to get over Marcus in the semis .. Nitin and Mustafa in the other semi .. On the women's side, the seasoned player Janaki Krishnamoorthi is showing that she wants to get back in the news - minor upset for her today over 4th seed Rushmi to reach SF .. Karishma Patel of Gujarat scared 2nd seed Manisha a bit, but lost in 3 sets .. In doubles, again the "Maharashatra Mahilas", Manisha/Janaki had a very good win - over top seeds Rushmi/Sai who had the best doubles results during the Indian women's satellites last November .. They face the Archana/Arathi combination in the final .. Archana, Manisha and Janaki are alive in the semis of singles and mixed doubles, as well as the final of doubles .. They must be a very tired group of players, after all these matches in the heat. Only one unfinished match from Wednesday was played in men's doubles today and Kannan/Sridhar advanced to the semis .. See all the results in the grasscourt nationals page.

Mar 18 Note-1

The draw at the 2.45M Lipton Super 9 is out for doubles - Our dudes are the top seeds with just about the same big teams in their half as at Indian Wells - 4th seed Ferreira/Leach and 6th seed Galbraith/Haarhuis .. Rafter is not playing doubles here, and so Bjorkman is playing with Joshua Eagle .. Gimelstob/MacPhie,Kafelnikov/Vacek, Bryan/Bryan, Novak/Rikl, Kuerten/Lapentti, etc are other good but lower seeded teams in the upper of the draw, as below:

 1-M.Bhupathi/ L.Paes            Bye                     \
   T.Kempers/ J.Siemerink    vs  B.Coupe/ M.Merklein, M. / \
   J.Gimelstob/ B.MacPhie    vs  B.Becker/ J.M.Gambill   \ / \
15-J.Grabb/ J.Palmer             Bye                     /    \_
10-J.Bjorkman/ J.Eagle           Bye                     \    / |
 Q-Qualifier/Qualifier       vs  M.Barnard/ B.Haygarth   / \ /  |
   B.Bryan/ M.Bryan          vs  D.Del Rio/ M.Puerta, M. \ /    |
 8-O.Delaitre/ F.Santoro         Bye                     /      |_To Final
 4-E.Ferreira/ R.Leach           Bye                     \      |
   T.Carbonell/ D.Johnson    vs  A.Kitinov/ M.Zimonjic   / \    |
   N.Kiefer/ D.Prinsoil      vs  G.Kuerten/ N.Lapentti   \ / \  |
14-J.Novak/ D.Rikl               Bye                     /    \_|
11-Y.Kafelnikov/ D.Vacek         Bye                     \    /
   P.Albano/ F.Montana       vs  M.Hood/ S.Prieto        / \ /
   L.Bale/ G.Stafford        vs  G.Ivanisevic/ G.Koves   \ /
 6-P.Galbraith/ P.Haarhuis       Bye                     /

The bottom half has the 2nd seeds Woodies, 3rd seeds Knowles/Nestor, 5th seed Lareau/O'Brien and also 7th seeds Wayne Black and Sandon Stolle who already have two titles this year (Dubai and Indian Wells) and have looked very good .. I think doubles starts tomorrow (Friday) .. Not sure when our guys will play, as they have a first round bye.

I have updated the Indian domestic calendar page for the next three months, to include the 4-week women satellites starting on April 19th and the 4-week men's satellites starting on May 7th .. There may be a couple of other tournaments I will add later in there, once I know the dates .. Remember that you can always access the latest calendar, as I know it, from the Indian tournaments index page ..

Mar 17 Note-2

It seems that Vijay Kannan conceded the match in the 3rd set today to Manoj Mahadevan due to dehydration, with the temperature on the center court going up close to 40 degrees with no breeze .. That's a pity .. There was also another mild upset today, which was the 3rd seeds in doubles, Mustafa Ghouse and Vishal Uppal who had done very well together in the past, crashing out to the scratch combination of Shailesh Dhoble and Jagdeesh Tanwar (there's that man again - he has a habit of causing trouble for everyone :-)) .. None of the women's singles were played today, and the quarterfinals are all tomorrow .. Interestingly, all 8 seeds are through to the QFs on the women's side, and all 4 doubles seeds to the semis too! .. Manisha Malhotra and Janaki Krishnamoorthi are alive in all three draws (singles, doubles and mixed) .. Those two play against Sai and Rushmi in what should be an interesting doubles match in the semis .. The Manoj-Vasu and Mustafa-Vishal singles QF matches should be interesting too, tomorrow .. See all the results in the Grasscourt Nationals page ..

Mar 17 Note-1

Yyikes .. Niru was so close to an upset of a seed, but fell short yesterday at the #25K Diems Challenger in France .. She lost to Ludmila Cervanova of Slovak republic, ranked #126 to Niru's 175 .. She lost 6-3, 6-7, 6-7, after having match points in the second set (Thanks, Sam, for the news) .. She has had a few occasions recently when she wasted match points, which is uncharacteristic of her .. Apparently she has been recovering from a pulled quadricep, which was part of the reason why she did not play at Dubai 2 weeks back, but she says that is not a problem now and it didn't bother her yesterday .. So, that's two weeks in a row against a seeded player in the first round .. She plays doubles with Lubomira Bacheva, starting Thursday .. I also heard some horror stories about how she had trouble leaving India week before last, with a sponsored ticket on KLM, which turned out to be not good in the last minute .. No fun having to run north and south at the airport for 12 hours and having to shell out dough for a full-fare ticket on Turkmenistan Air and having to go to UK, then to Zurich and then on a train to Biel .. That's the first time I have heard of anybody seeing mosquitos in an airplane (not sure if it was on the Turkmenistan plane :-)) ! .. But, that's the life of a tennis pro .. Often we wonder why somebody does poorly in a match - lost practice time and mental anguish with travel problems can also play havoc .. Niru is pretty resilient though .. At least she did alright in doubles last week.

Stuff is happening in the grasscourt nationals at Calcutta - here is the wire news (may be PTI) from today: "Top-seed Vijay Kannan pulled out due to indisposition while 8th seed Asif Ismail bit the dust .. Kannan pitted against Manoj Mahadevan of Tamil Nadu won the first set 6-3, but lost the second at 5-7, before conceding the match at 2-3 in the 3rd set .. Mahadevan began well breaking his opponent in the second game to go up 2-0 but the fancied Kannan broke back in the 3rd and 5th games to open up a 4-2 lead .. Utilizing all his experience, the Delhi player broke his opponent in the 9th game to win the set 6-3 .. The second set saw Kannan racing to a 5-3 lead but at that point Mahadevan found his bearings and played some excellent shots to level at 5-5 .. In the 11th game, Kannan double fauled twice to gift the game to Mahadevan who retained serve to wrap up the set 7-5 .. In the 3rd set, a break down, Kannan conceded the set at 2-3, giving a quarterfinal berth to Mahadevan" .. I wonder what they mean by "indisposition" .. Pity - I was looking forward to this matchup .. We will await newspaper reports later .. Anyway, that would be two tough matches between these two youngsters going in similar ways .. If I remember correctly, the last match between Vijay and Manoj at Chennai in August went to three sets with Manoj falling prey to some physical ailment making it easy for Vijay .. In other results, Mustafa Ghouse ground out a 3-set win over the Jaipur warrior Jagdeesh Tanwar to reach QF .. Vasudev Reddy upset Asif Ismail in 2 sets too. Complete results should be coming soon and I will update the results page then.

Mar 16 Notes

Some interesting results today at the Grasscourt nationals at the Calcutta Cricket & Football Club courts .. Mustafa Ghouse returned from his trip to Philippines the last two weeks and promptly showed he shouldn't be forgotten just because he didn't play the Goldflake circuit - he packed off 2nd seed Vinod Sridhar - I guess what I said yesterday about Sridhar not having much grass experience may have been true ? .. Also among the three remaining first round men's matches done today was one involving the defending champion Marcus Hilpert of Germany (remember him beating up everybody in India in Dec-Jan 97-98 ? .. December 97 was the last time we had the grasscourt nationals - Marcus has an Indian mother and a German father, but is a German citizen - the parents own a house somewhere in the northeast too, I believe .. He is ranked 707 in ATP - the highest among all the players at the nationals, Vinod at 777 being the next highest - Hilpert is seeded 4th based on AITA points) .. I had thought the 4th seed was Sandeep Kirtane, but he doesn't seem to be playing .. Anyway, Marcus beat up on Yasser Arafat of Hyderabad .. On the women's side, all eight seeds advanced to the quarterfinals, and there should be fewer of those 6-1, 6-2 kind of wins from now on on the women's side - the gap between the best 5-6 and the rest has been very clear so far among women .. They also have a mixed doubles draw there - no suprises .. See the results at the Grasscourt Nationals page.

The new rankings this week show Mahesh at #323 with 108 points from basically three tournaments where he had main draw wins (50 at Calcutta challenger in Feb, 21 at Istambul challenger last Aug, and 13 at Mumbai challenger this Jan) .. He also has 14 pts for qualifying at Wimbledon and 4 pts for a qual win at New Haven .. That's it! .. He has nothing to defend till July at Wimbledon .. Hopefully he will get to play singles somewhere to bring up that ranking (Chennai and Delhi where he has wildcards would help) .. It was funny hearing the announcement when he walked out at Indian Wells - "doubles specialist from Bangalore - Ma-hesh Bhu-Patty" .. I wouldn't call anyone who qualified through three rounds at Wimbledon twice, and then took the current #1 player in the world to 5 sets, "just a doubles specialist" [by the way, the Indian Wells guys did mention his match against Moya in the intro].. But, unless he takes time off from doubles and hits the challenger circuit, which is probably not wise now, he will just have to hear that often.

Also, speaking of Carlos Moya, the new #1 in ATP this week - I hope he picks up enough points at Lipton to keep his #1 rank (he is only 37 pts ahead of Sampras, and within a couple of hundred of others) .. It would be nice to see the World #1 coming to India - he is the top seed at Chennai.

Nothing else to report as news .. Will find out tomorrow how Niru is doing at the challenger in France, where the main draw started today.

Mar 15 Note-2

The doubles draw at the Lipton Super 9 will not be out for another 4 days, but LP-MB will be the top seeds there .. The new rankings show Mahesh (3905 pts) and Leander (3864 pts) at #2 and #3 in doubles, but bit closer to the top ranked player, Paul Haarhuis (4169 pts) .. Doing well at Lipton can place our pair at the top 2 spots .. Since they have no points to defend at Lipton, their rankings cannot fall, with the next highest ranked active players being #5 Daniel Nestor with 3388 pts and then the Woodies, each with 3115 pts .. Ellis Ferreira, Sandon Stolle, Rick Leach, Pat Rafter, and Jonas Bjorkman are in the 9th thru 13 spots in the 2750-3050 range in points .. In singles, Leander moved up one spot to #97, even though his points dropped a bit from 524 to 518.

At the grasscourt nationals in Calcutta, there were absolutely no upsets in the first round today. A few more first round matches are to be played tomorrow (Tuesday) .. All the seeds who played today advanced rather easily, in both the men's and women's draw .. In fact only one match each in the men's and women's draw even went to three sets .. See the results at the Grasscourt nationals page .. Vijay Kannan will take on Manoj Mahadevan in the second round (probably Wednesday), which should be a good match - I believe the last time these two played each other was at the AITA Junior  hardcourts in Chennai last August when Kannan pulled off a three-set win .. The second seed Vinod Sridhar, 4th seed Sandeep Kirtane and 5th seed Saurav Panja are yet to play is yet to play the first round at Calcutta.

I have no idea right now where Srinath and Fazal are .. Taking some time off, I would think .. Neither is at the grasscourt nationals .. There are no challengers anywhere this week, and the futures events are in far-off places for them to go to.

Mar 15 Note-1

Leander did not get into the main draw at Lipton, and ended up next in line .. This morning, he also did not get into the qualifier draw, as he had not sent an entry for that 3 weeks back, and there probably wasn't any withdrawals from that draw either - from now on, any main draw withdrawals will be filled with luckylosers from the quals .. That means there will be no singles for him for two weeks .. Actually, the week after these two at Lipton, is the Davis Cup week, which means he will play ATP singles next at Chennai in 3 weeks .. That means he will need to basically defend all of his 74 points at Channai to make it into the French Open draw, which closes the day after Chennai tournament .. this week's rankings are not out, but he loses 7 from a challenger last year, and loses another 15 more next week from last year's first round win at Lipton (he was ranked 125, and got into Lipton as a lucky-loser then) .. He may be just out of the top 100 when he gets to Chennai .. The good thing about this may be that he gets some more time to get his strength back and avoid any dangerous reinjuring of the groin and heal - playing tough singles matches one after another starting from the qualies is sometimes rather hard .. The bad thing is that he truly has his back against the wall once again in singles .. Doubles matches for LP-MB will not be till next Sunday.

Nirupama is at the $25K Reims challenger in France this week - she is a direct entry, but the draw will be made only later today and the main draw matches start only on Tuesday .. By the way, I have a late report on some good wins in doubles last week for her at the Biel challenger in Switzerland .. She was ranked #246 in doubles, and with Lubomira Bacheva of Bulgaria (#196) reached the semifinal, losing a close 3 setter to Nora Koves (HUN,172) and Dragana Zaric (YUG,201), 6-4, 6-7(3), 3-6 .. In the QF, NV-LB beat Flora Perfetti (ITA,273) and Anca Barna (GER,237), 6-2, 5-7, 6-1 .. Their best win was in the first round over a pair ranked much higher than them - Maria Fernanda Landa (ARG,136) and Alice Canepa (ITA,103), whom they beat in a comeback, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 .. This gives Niru her first doubles points in a long time, perhaps since her final at the Lexington challenger last August - Niru has had a terrible time findng any steady partner for doubles .. She gets 20 doubles points and should move up about 35 spots to just inside #210 this week .. I have only seen the new singles ranking so far, and she is at #175 .. By the way, the points from the Mumbai and Delhi futures last year have fallen off - So Sai Jayalakshmi (now #509) lost two points and is tied with Manisha Malhotra (#507) with 13 points .. We had three in the top-500 on March 1st (Sai at #479 and Manisha at #499), and now we have only one! :-)

At Calcutta, the grasscourt nationals start today .. Vijay Kannan is the men's top seed, followed by Vinod Sridhar, Kirtanes, Saurav Panja, Manoj Mahadevan, etc .. Harsh Mankad has skipped this, as he has his High School final exams this week, and a US college scholarship hinges on that .. On the women's side, Saiu Jayalakshmi is the top seed, followed by Manisha Malhotra, Rushmi Chakravarti, etc. Uzma may have skipped this - she is also on her way to US college soon .. It would be interesting to see how well Vinod Sridhar, who won the gold at the National Games and topped the points in the Goldflake circuit, does there - if I am not mistaken, he is not a grasscourt player (he trains in Madras, and grass is not common down there) ..

Mustafa Ghouse had another first round doubles win (with Justin Layne of US) at the Philippines F2 futures last week, but they lost in the second round .. He gets another doubles pt there (they had a win in the previous week too).

.. Previous notes are at Weekly Notes, ending Mar 15..