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LP/MB/NV/Indian-Tennis: Notes for the week ending on Mar 26, 2001
(Previous week's notes) (Next week's notes) (Daily Notes Index 1997 thru 2001)

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Mar 26 Note-1

Nirupama is expected to be back on the tour only next week at the Dubai $75K challenger .. LP and MB will be practising this week in India for Davis Cup too .. So, the main event this week will be the satellite masters, starting at the MSLTA courts in Mumbai .. After going to Nagpur and Pune, the circuit returns to Mumbai where it started .. The other event of interest for us will be the Australian satellites and the junior event in Thailand.

Manisha Malhotra (IND,384) lost in the semifinals yesterday to Kristen van Elden (AUS,322), 63 64 at the $10K third leg of the Australian satellites [source: TennisAustralia] .. Van Elden has been trouble for Manisha, as she lost to her in the second leg QF last week at Benalla also .. Beti Sekulovski (AUS) whom Manisha had beaten last week in the second round, but had beaten Rushmi in the QF here, went on to win the title this week over Van Elden, who was a runner-up in the last week also .. Miho Saeki (JPN), who had won the last two legs, lost in the first round this time to Abigail Spears (USA) who was a first round victim to Manisha last week .. Good competition in the satallites there .. Despite the loss today, it's been good work by Manisha so far in the three legs - she will go to the masters leg as the 3rd seed, even though she was only the 9th highest ranked player in the field when the circuit started .. She has 21 circuit points to Saeki's 33, and van Elden's 30 .. Manisha picked up 2 more WTA points for this semi, to add to the 1.5 from the last week's QF and the 2.5 (including 1 bonus for beating a top-500 player) for the first leg QF .. The masters leg draw is of size 16 and it gives twice the points than the earlier legs (10 points for the winner, 7 for runner-up, 5 for semi, 3 for QF, 1 for PQF loss) .. It will be at Corowa, New South Wales, starting on the coming wednesday .. Rushmi will also be in the field there .. Both Manisha/ Naida Johnston and Sai-Rushmi should be in the doubles draw as well, if my calculations are right.

By the way, if you have not seen the web address I gave below for the Deccan Gymkhana at Pune (http://www.Deccan-Gymkhana.com), take a look and read all their updates on the just-concluded ITF satellite leg there (under "events") .. They have press releases from all the days' play and a few pictures as well .. Oliver Marach look happy with the trophy on his head .. He deserves to be happy - it is indeed a very rare accomplishment to win all three legs of a satellite, and it requires supreme focus with tremendous stamina - both mental and physical ..

The Indian junior team (Sunil Kimar Sipaeya, Vinod Kumar Sewa, Rohan Gajjar, Nishank Mishra, Sania Mirza, Megha Vakharia, Sasha Abraham) along Amanjot Singh (sponsored by Paes-en-Sport) and a couple of others on their own, will be in Pattaya City in Thailand for the Grade-2 ITF junior event starting on Monday .. It is a traditional event (Mali Milk Cup, sponsored by the Dairy industry there), in its 24th year .. According to The Nation (Thailand), this year's field is the most competitive ever, with 24 top-100 players .. I believe the boys' draws are of size 64 and some like Sunil Kumar may get first round byes .. Prakash and Stephen Amritraj (listed under USA) should also be there.

Mar 25 Note-1

Manisha Malhotra reached the semifinals of the 3rd leg of the Australian satellites yesterday at Wodonga, Victoria .. In the QF, she beat Remi Uda (JPN), 63 63 and faces 2nd seed Kristen van Elden (AUS) today .. Rushmi Chakravarti lost in the QF to Beti Sekulovski, 64 60 .. In doubles, Rushmi and Sai beat Holly McKee (AUS) and Ayami Akiyama (JPN), 76(1) 63 and then fell in the QF, 36 36 to Brie Calderwood and Emily Hewson (AUS), who had upset the second seeds Manisha Malhotra and Nadia Johnston in the first round,  67(4) 64 75 .. Awaiting the scores from today's semifinals and the final.

Forgot to mention yesterday that Aisam Qureshi of Pakistan was also unable to stop the big winning streak of Oliver Marach in the India satellites 3rd leg final at Pune .. Marach now has 63 circuit points and is assured of finishing the circuit as the top player, as the next biggest point total is 28 now .. That means he has picked up an extra six bonus points for circuit topper to go with the 27 ATP points he already has .. He can at best pick up only three more ATP points, because the conversion table from circuit points to ATP points flatten out once a player gets past about 55 or so circuit points .. Th eothers have all got their work cut out now, as nobody else has over 10 ATP points now .. See the Pune satellite page.

Mar 24 Notes

No scores yet from the Wodonga (3rd) leg of the $40K Australian satellites today .. Manisha and Rushmi were playing QF matches.

The Indian Davis Cup team is expected to assemble in Mumbai by Monday or so, and practice for a week before proceeding to Japan for a few more dyas of work there .. Harsh Mankad is leaving for Mumbai this afternoon, from Minnesota, where the University is going into spring break (his next college game is by Mid April and it made things easier for him) .. Mahesh is already in India and Leander was expected to leave sometime now for Mumbai as well ..

In college tennis, Harsh Mankad in his second year is at #48 in the latest rank list, with a 23-10 record .. Harsh's ranking is affected a bit by a few losses he has against players in the top-50-100 range, though he has some 6 or 7 top-100 wins against players ranked as high as #4 .. Many of his losses seems to happen when they play outdoors  .. Minnesota being a cold place, they do not play or practice outdoors, and he has had trouble in away ties when they fly in to the college the previous night and play outdoors the next day .. He seems to need a couple of days of outdoors practice before he can get a feel for his game .. You may remember him playing in the Asia Cup with hardly any practice and looking totally out of sorts, and then looking pretty darmn good the next week at the KTC invitational where he won the title beating Fazal .. So it is a good thing that he goes to Mumbai early to get the Minnesota indoor courts out of his system, before the Davis Cup :-) .. The Japan Davis Cup is in an arena which I think has a retractable roof, though they may have this as an indoor event .. Anyway, hopefully Mahesh will be in good shape to play singles and we may not need to throw Harsh or Fazal out there to pull miracles for us.

The story in US college tennis for us continues to be Ajay Ramaswami .. After he came out of nowhere to reach top-10 in college rankings in his final year this year, he had a few losses against lower ranked players - I am guessing that it was because he himself was surprised at being ranked so high all of a sudden .. However, he seems to come out ready to play in bigger matches, such as when he beat college #7 Matias Boeker (U. of Georgia) 75 75 last week .. He has continued to pick up wins like that against top players (11 wins against top-100 foes in his 20-11 record .. His wins are certainly impressive!) .. He has done well to stay in the top-10, as he moved up from #11 to #10 in the latest list .. At 21, he is not that old, and if he can show the kind of grit he has shown in college at the pro level also, he is one India should take a very close look at .. He was in the Indian satellites last June and finished as the 3rd highest Indian with 4 ATP points behind Harsh who had 30 and Rishi Sridhar who had 5 .. But considering the quantum jump his college record took this year, I wonder how he would do now .. I don't think he will be playing the satellites coming up in June, beacuse he may have to stay this summer to finish a 4 year degree in 3.5 years and get it done with .. So, it may take a few more months before we can get a read on how far Ajay has progressed in his readiness for the pro circuit .. But I think everybody should keep his name in mind .. It is not an easy thing to get to the top-10 of US college computer rankings (and to stay there like he has!) .. The last one to do that was Mahesh Bhupathi .. So, all help should be extended to Ajay when he gets back out there to play in the pros again .. How about some wildcards or even some travel funds from AITA ? ..

Only Harsh and Ajay are ranked in the top-100 among the Indians in US colleges .. Akshay Jagdale at Rutgers, Rohan Saikia at Columbia, Amod Wakalkar at Idaho, Dipesh Rao at Toledo, etc are a few of the others who are in the US .. On the girls' side, Jahnavi Parekh at #34 is the only ranked player .. She is in her final year at the Baylor University and has had a relatively quieter year, after looking very good in her sophomore and Junior years when she was ranked as high as around #15 .. Senior player Arthi Venkatesan (still listed under Australia) is the highest ranked, at #11 .. Sophomore player Kavitha Krishnamoorthi (Princeton Univ) of Canada is ranked in the top-40 too.

Mar 23 Notes

They finally got a day of play at the Wodonga satellite in Australia, and there is good news for us .. Rushmi Chakravarti and 3rd seed Manisha Malhotra reached the quarterfinals of singles .. Rushmi, who was the second last direct entry into the 3rd leg and had to win a couple of rounds to make the 16-draw masters leg came through with flying colors today .. She upset the 8th seed Monique Adamszak (AUS), 67(3) 63 60 in the morning and won the second round while leading 4-0 in the first set when Giulia Meruzzi (ITA) retired .. In the QF on saturday, Rushmi faces Beti Sekulovski of Australia, who had upset the 4th seed in the first round .. 3rd seed Manisha reached the quarterfinal beating Debbie Haak (NED) 76(2) 26 62 in the first round and then Medita Suer (GER) 61 63 .. In the QF, she faces qualifier Remi Uda of Japan, who upset 6th seed Suchanan Viratprasert (THA) in the PQF .. Manisha will go into the final leg as at least a 3rd seed, as she had reached the QF the previous two legs and now has 18 circuit points .. The bad news was that Sai Jayalakshmi, who had lost in the first round the previous two legs, both while being seeded based on her WTA ranking (she started the circuit as the 4th highest ranked players in the field), lost in the first round once again and I think will miss the masters leg draw as she has not picked up a win in three legs .. Sai lost to qualifier Medita Suer, 62 36 46 this time .. Rushmi had missed the first leg main draw as when was the top seed in the qualies and lost in the first round there, but she has comeback nicely from that setback by making the main draw in the second leg and pulling out one win, and now picking up 6 more points with 2 wins in the 3rd leg - she has 9 circuit points which will be enough for her to make the next leg's draw of 16 .. They have not played doubles yet there.

At Pune, both Indian teams in the doubles semifinals, unseeded V.Kannan/ R.Bopanna and wildcards M.Ghouse/ V.Uppal fell today -- to the #1 and #3 seeds .. Mustafa and Vishal did put up a fight tying it up after dropping the first set in a tiebreaker .. They lost 5-7 in the 3rd set .. Both teams, along with Kirtane-Panja should be in the masters draw of 8 teams, I think .. The incredible juggernaut called Oliver Marach rolled on to his 14th win in a row .. He will face Aisam Qureshi of Pakistan, who may be the one to finally stop his streak tomorrow .. Aisam with his excellent rearguard action this week after two lack-luster legs earlier, has now ensured a top-3 seeding in the masters leg .. See the Pune satellite page.

Prakash and Stephen Amritraj of USA upset the top seeds Jason Zimmerman(USA) and Yeu-Tzuoo Wang (TPE) in the semifinals 76(6) 62 yesterday at the grade-2 Singapore ITF juniors .. Prakash is living up to the reputation (in the US) as a superlative junior doubles player .. He has not shown such consistency in singles however, though he is ranked just inside the junior world top-60 .. With younger cousin Stephen, he forms a formidale doubles team in the juniors ..

Mar 22 Notes

Following a rainout on Wednesday, it was basically a washout on Thursday as well in the Wodonga satallite in Australaia .. They played only for an hour or so .. Now, they will play the first round tomorrow - Sai, Rushmi and Manisha have still not played there and will do it on Friday, weather permitting.

Nitin Kirtane went down 46 46 to Economidis of Greece today in the quarterfinal at Pune .. The good news was that Saurav and Mustafa each came through in the two playoff matches to take the final two spots in the masters leg draw for next week, and ensure that we will be having six players in that leg .. See the Pune satellite page .. All six Indians will be unseeded next week .. Eight first round matches will decide those who will advance to face the eight seeds who will get byes next week.

No good news at all to report from the grade-2 ITF juniors in Singapore, as world #7 Yeu Tzuoo Wang beat #94 Amanjot Singh, 61 62 and #85 Heinrich Heyl beat 8th seeded #79 Vinod Sewa, 61 61 yesterday in the quarterfinals .. I am not surprised at Wang winning (this 17 yr old has been doing this for a while to a lot of good players!), but I am not sure why Vinod lost that cheaply to Heinrich .. At least Vinod pulled off two top-100 wins in the first two rounds .. The news was just not good in doubles either, as all but one among our players lost in the first round .. Sunil Kumar and Vinod Sewa, seeded 4th, lost to Marlo Santoso and Eko Kurniawan of Indonesia, 36 57 .. Rohan Gajjar and Heinrich Heyl lost to Hiu Tung Yu and Cheuk Wai Hui or Hong Kong, 26 46 .. Nishank Mishra and Dudi Sela (ISR) lost to Henry Davin and Al Imron of Indonesia, 36 64 67(6) .. Sania Mirza and Megha Vakharia lost to Line Eknar (DEN) and Hsin Cheih Chang (TPE), 36 46 .. Sasha Abraham and Kim Coventry (AUS) lost to Chia Jeng Chuang and Su-Wei Hsieh, 06 16 .. The only one to win a round was Amanjot Singh who played with Clinton Letcher of RSA .. They beat Singapore wildcards, Andrew Cam and Kamil Ghazali, 60 62, before falling yesterday to Pramote Malasitt (THA) and Jonathan Chu (USA) 36 36 in the QF .. That finishes another week of tennis for our kids with nothing much to show for .. They have two more weeks of grade-2 events to go, with Thailand and Philippines next .. Hopefully are adjusted to the level competition and will do better next week .. Coach Sandeep Kirtane must be disappointed, but I am sure he will try his best to get the kids not to lose heart and try again! .. By the way, Prakash Amritraj (USA) and Stephen Amritraj (USA), seeded second, have reached the semifinal of doubles, following second seed Prakash's upset ouster in the first round of singles and Stephen's loss in the first round of singles qualies.

Sunitha Rao, 15 yr old of USA, who had a wildcard into the qualies of the Tier-I Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne pulled off a big upset over the 13th seed and WTA #107 Allison Bradshaw, 36 60 63 before falling in the second and final round to a red hot Russian player, WTA #61 Lina Krasnoroutskaya (RUS) 16 26 .. It is incredible that a 15 yr old can beat somebody like Bradshaw .. Sunitha does not get enough press in the USA however, because she has always been in the shadow of Ashley Harklerod, another 15 yr old who is just ahead of her in the ITF junior rankings as the US #1 junior .. That girl got a wildcard into the main draw itself - she did well too, losing 63 36 46 to #81 Miriam Oremans.

Mar 21 Notes

Nitin Kirtane advanced with a comeback win to the QF, young Manoj Mahadevan gave it a good fight against 4th seeded Tomas Cakl (#371) in a three-set loss, and Vishal Uppal lost rather cheaply to Aisam Qureshi today at the Pune (3rd) leg of the $25K ITF satellites .. Nitin now faces a tough Greek, Economidis, who upset the 2nd seed Derepasko yesterday .. Good work by Nitin Kirtane to make use of his home crowd support and come back 36 64 61 against a tough qualifier Alexei Gavrilov who had upset eighth seed Vijay Kannan the previous day .. 3rd seed Ivan Vajda was one of two seeds to fall today .. The question is - who can put a stop to the phenomenal run that top seed Oliver Marach has been having? .. He has won 11 matches in a row and is unbeaten in the satellites so far, which is quite an achievement, considering the competition this time .. Ghouse and Uppal, who had not won a doubles match the last two weeks and needed a wildcard to enter the draw here came through in a tough three-setter today to reach the QF .. See the Pune satellite page and the updated circuit points page .. They have now scheduled a playoff for the final two spots in the masters leg draw .. Saurav Panja will play Tero Vilen and Mustafa Ghouse will play Sergei Kroutiouk to take the final two spots and join Vijay, Nitin, Manoj and Vishal in the draw of 24 next week.

Rain washed out all play today in the first round of the 3rd leg of the Australian satellites .. Manisha, Sai and Rushmi will be playing singles tomorrow (thursday) and may have to play a second round also tomorrow if they advance .. They have moved all doubles to friday onwards.

Mixed news from Singapore yesterday .. At the tough grade-2 ITF junior international, 8th seed Vinod Sewa won his second top-100 match in a row, beating Luka Gregorc (SVK,96) to reach the QF -- Vinod won in straight sets again, 63 75 .. Amanjot Singh beat qualifier Nick Crawley (#333) of Britain, who had beaten the 5th seed and 70th ranked Robbie Blair (RSA) yesterday .. Amanjot had to comeback from a bad first set loss to comepletely turn the tables on the British guy - 06 63 61 .. The bad news was that Sunil Kumar lost a match that he really shouldn't have - he went down to qualifier Steve Darcis (263) of Belgium .. Steve is the top-ranked Belgian junior but this is his first top-100 win as far as I know .. Sunil lost 36 57 .. Predicting what Sunil would do against anybody in any match is one of the toughest things to do! .. He could beat anybody, or lose to pretty much anybody .. I had thought he was beginning to show some more consistency, but not fully just yet .. He will be fine, but he needs to reach a semi or something one of these weeks to pick up a few extra points and raise his ranking a few more spots from #68 to ensure a direct entry to French Open juniors .. Not sure if Sunil is still bothrered by the eye trouble he got last week though .. Reaching the QF gives Amanjot and Vinod as much points as winning a grade-5 event .. 30 pts .. In the quarterfinals, Amanjot faces (ouch!!!) the top seed and world #7 Yeu-Tzuoo Wang of Taiwan .. Will be a pretty good experience for him to play Wang .. Vinod faces Heinrich Heyl (#85) of RSA .. That will be another tough test for Vinod but he seems to be in good form out there .. The doubles draw has not started there I believe (draw and resuls - courtesy SLTA, Singapore)

Mar 20 Note-2

At Pune, Vishal Uppal beat Rishi Sridhar today to reach the second round, but Mustafa Ghouse and Rohan Bopanna lost .. Aisam Qureshi of Pakistan and Artem Derepasko of Russia were two players who came through in tough three-setters today, Aisam upsetting the 7th seed Zitko .. Vijay Kannan and Rohan Bopanna upset the 4th seeds Nitin Kirtane and Saurav Panja in the first round of doubles .. See the Pune satellite page for scores .. I have updated the points at the circuit points page .. Vijay Kannan, Manoj Mahadevan, Nitin Kirtane and Vishal Uppal have made it into the field of 24  at the masters leg next week in Mumbai .. If my calculations are correct, Saurav Panja and Mustafa Ghouse are still alive with 5 points each, among 5 players with the same point total looking for the final three spots .. All six Indian players will get at least one ATP point each .. It looks like Rohan Bopanna, Vinod Sridhar and Rishi Sridhar have missed out on picking up any ATP points.

Mar 20 Note-1

At the $10K Wodonga (Victoria) 3rd leg of the $40K Australian satellites, Manisha is seeded 3rd based on the circuit points from the first two legs .. She is drawn to face Debbie Haak of Nederlands .. Sai Jayalakshmi and Rushmi Chakravarti also made the main draw .. Sai is drawn against a qualifier, unranked Medita Suer of Germany .. Rushmi has a tough first round against the 8th seed Monique Adamczak (AUS) .. In doubles, Manisha Malhotra and Nadia Johnston are seeded second with 26 circuit points .. They face Bree Calderwood and Emily Hewson of Australia .. Sai and Rushmi also made the draw with 12 circuit points and they face Maria Boboedova and Diana Gherghi (ROM) in the first round.

Got some news from the Singapore grade-2 ITF international (courtesy: Singapore Lawn Tennis Association, SLTA).. The competition is really tough there with world #6 Yeu Tzuoo Wang (Taipei) joining in as a late entry wildcard (and also the top seed) in boys singles .. The direct entries closing at about #160 in the world! .. Compare that with seeding itself going all the way to #200 sometimes in the grade-4 and grade-5 events we conduct in India .. There was good news from #69 Sunil Kumar (4th seed), #80 Vinod Sewa (8th seed) and #96 Amanjot Singh - all three of the Paes en Sport boys advancing yesterday .. Sunil beat #131 Eko Kurniawan of Indonesia 61 75 and faces a tough qualifier, Steve Darciss (BEL,260) next .. Vinod Sewa had a very good win against Craig Evans (GBR,100), 36 62 63 .. He faces Gregorc Luka (SVK,96) next .. Amanjot got a bit lucky with a wildcard, Gem Peter (HUN), whom he beat 61 60 .. He now faces qualifier Nick Crawley (GBR,333) who upset the 5th seed Robbie Blair (RSA,70) .. #151 Nishank Mishra lost 67(6) 46 to Gunter Austenhuber (AUT,106) who had upset two seeds including Sunil Kumar last week on the way to the final at Kuala Lumpur .. #112 Rohan Gajjar lost to #126 Pramote Malasitt of Thailand, 26 36 in R1 .. #59 Prakash Amritraj, now listed again under USA, was the second seed and he went down yesterday to #130 Izak van der Merwe of RSA, 26 46 .. Stephen Amritraj (USA) was the 7th seed in the qualifying rounds but lost in Q1 to Adam Jaya of Malaysia, 16 16 .. So, the Amritraj kids had nothing to show at Singapore .. It is tough out there - Jonathan Chu of USA (#70) who had won the grade-3 events in the last two weeks at Indonesia and Malaysia, lost in the first round to unseeded #85 Heinrich Heyl of RSA in the first round, for instance ..

On the girls' side, things went very badly for us, with all three Indians going down in the first round .. Again, the competition is tough with #23 Angelique Widjaja (INA) as the top seed, and with Da-Jung Hong (KOR,33) Su-wei Hsieh (TPE,36) etc also in the mix .. Actually, the finalists of last week's grade-3 event, winner Ameber Liu (USA) and Suzanna Babos of Hungary (who had beaten Sania there in the QF) were unranked and played against each other in the first round - with Amber winning again .. #68 Sania Mirza was seeded 6th, but lost 46 36 to #202 Kim Coventry, a very talented Australian .. #92 Megha lost to qualifier Sevvy Gallios (AUS,260), 26 57 .. #168 Sasha Abraham lost to Su Jin Kim (KOR,200), 16 16 .. Yikes!

Mar 19 Notes

There is good and bad news from Pune today, as eight first round singles matches were completed .. Nitin Kirtane and Manoj Mahedavn won their singles matches to assure themselves spots in the masters leg, but the 8th seed Vijay Kannan was upset by Alexei Gavrilov (RUS,857) and Saurav Panja went down to Economidis of Greece .. Nitin beat Bart Beks (NED,1001) who was a qualifier the last two weeks but reached the top 15 in the points list, thus getting a direct entry into the 3rd leg .. Manoj Mahadevan beat Yevgueny Smirnov (RUS,858) rather easily, 61 64 .. Manoj is one who seems to come ready to play and he shows consistency in his matches, rarely losing to those below the top-600 or so .. Manoj, the youngest among our second stringers at 19, has steadily improved over the last two years though I still believe he left too early from the junior ranks, not playing junior events in his final year of eligibility in 1999 .. Along with Vijay, Manoj and Nitin, we will have at least one more player in the masters leg, as Rishi Sridhar and Vishal Uppal will be going up against each other tomorrow .. Mustafa and Rohan Bopanna also will be in action tomorrow, with decent chances to pull off wins .. See the Pune satellite page for all of today's scores.

No info yet on the main draw at the 3rd leg of the $40K Australian satellites, at Wodonga (Victoria) this week .. I saw the qualifying draw and none of our players were in it - so I guess all three (Manisha, Sai and Rushmi) may have made direct entries to the main draw.

Nirupama has been totally out of action for a few weeks, and I believe she has been in Coimbatore with her family .. We had heard that she would be next in action at the $75K Dubai challenger starting on April 2nd, the week before the Fed Cup in Taiwan .. Niru had said that she had decided not to travel to Europe and US unless it is a good series of events .. The US challenger circuit has been on and off these weeks and it's rather the same in Europe too .. After the Fed Cup, she will be fully in action for a few weeks, I think ..

.. Previous notes are at Notes for the weeks ending on March 19 ..

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.