Notes for the week ending on Apr 5, 2004
(Previous week's notes) (Next week's notes) (Daily Notes Index 1997 thru 2003)
.. Add your thoughts/messages
in the Forum
Apr 2 Note-3
Good news keeps on
coming from Sania and Neha, who both won in great style today .. At the $10K
Rabat ITF claycourt event, 8th seeded Sania Mirza continued her giant-killing
form with an upset of the 3rd seed .. [SF] (8) Sania Mirza (IND,466) d. (3) Carla Tiene (BRA,276), 62 61 .. From the scoreline it looks like this was not even a contest .. Man, is Sania in hot form or what? .. The
win gives her one more bonus point and 2 extra points for 8 total so far
.. Up next she gets the 2nd seed Bahia Mouhtassine (MAR,239) .. The
home crowd may turn against Sania in the next match I think, but what the
heck, go for another upset, San!
Also winning big today
was Neha Uberoi (USA) who upset the top seed to win the title at the Prestigeous
Luxilon Cup junior invitational held at the Miami Nasdaq-100 Open .. [F] Neha Uberoi (USA,390) d. Nicole Vaidisova (CZE,206), 62 64
.. Neha was actually down a break at 0-3 in the second but then went on a
tear and won 6 of the next 7 games to win the match! .. Vaidisova is also
the world #6 in the juniors, who was the junior Australian Open runner-up
(to Shahar Peer, whom she beat in rtrhe SF yesterday) and was also the winner
of the grade-A Orange Bowl in december, where she beat (who else?) Neha in
the final last December .. Neha has fully paid back for that three-set loss
with the shellacking she handed out to Nicole today .. Go Girl! .. I believe
Neha gets a wildcard entry next year to the Nasdaq-100 Open with this ..
Heck, who knows, at the rate she is going she could even be ranked high enough
not to need that wildcard then .. Well, that may be expecting too much, but
she will rise quite a bit in the rankings this year, as will Sania too ..
Now, let us get the girl to change that USA designation to an IND designation
soon! .. Any big industrial houses in India wanting to pick up a couple of
futures top-50 stars like Sania and Neha to sell TVs, washing machines, cars,
Amby Valley houses (:-)), etc etc? .. Come on, grab them early when they
are going cheap!
Apr 2 Note-2
At the Busan challenger,
Harsh and George Bastl made a comeback in the second set of the rain-postponed
doubles semi, but the went down in te 3rd .. 36 63 16 to Iwabuchi and Iwami
.. HM. RB, and PA will now take off to Osaka for the Davis Cup practice.
At the "Mitsubishi Lancer" ITF Grade-1 juniors in Manila, 17 year old Tushar Liberhan
reached his first grade-1 semifinal today! .. Seventh seeded and 42nd ranked
Tushar upset the 3rd seed Joel Kerley (AUS,32) in a romp - 64 62 to make
the semifinal, where he will now face the 11th seed Jamie Murray (GBR,59),
and 18 year old .. Tushar picked up 80 points which will raise his best-6
point total from 386 to 426 and bring his rank up near top-30 .. Tushar has
been playing ver well since late last year, as his QF appearances in the
Indian men's futures would show .. So we have had Sanaa, Tara and now Tushar
do semi or better in each of the three Asian grade-1 events .. I would have
preferred more but considering the competition, we have to be happy with
this - remember that three years back we hardly had our players making
semis even in the grade-2 events in Asia ..
There has been nothing much in doubles this week from our kids -- no Indians reached semis in either draws.
Just learned that 15 year old Madura Ranganathan
has been selected with the ITF team to tour Europe this year .. That is terrific
.. Madura, ranked #103 in the world has been right behind Tara and Sanaa
for the last year or two .. She is 6 months younger than Sanaa, and a couple
of months younger than Tara .. Though she has done quite well in the
juniors as her rank shows, the big newsmaking break-through wins
have eluded her for a while, since she won the u14 and u16 crowns at DSCL
a couple of years back .. A trip to Europe with an ITF team may be a great
experience for her which can only help to round out her game, as she shoots
for bigger results .. She has two more years remaining in the juniors after
this .. By the way, a correction on what I said below (I must have been typing
before having coffee in the morning :-)) - the Indian junior Fed Cup
u16 team has Tara, Sanaa and Madura .. Sandhya is not the 3rd member - actually she is the reserve player.
Apr 2 Note-1
Some great news to report! .. At the $10K Rabat ITF, 17 yr old Sania Mirza
upset the top seed Maria Fernanda Alves (BRA,204), 75 63 yesterday .. That
is the biggest win in her career, I believe .. On clay against a Brazilian,
that too .. I believe the biggest win abroad by anybody since Niru's days
a few years back .. Somebody was doubting whether Sania had it in her to
do well on clay? -- Oh.. oops, I guess that was me :-) ... Great job, San!
.. She has picked up 5 points including three bonus so far .. Good
match in doubles as well, though Maria got her there - Maria-Fernanda Alves/Carla Tiene d. Mirza/Kachlikova 46 64 61 ..
Neha wins over #207 and Sania over #204 .. That is a terrific day.
Apr 1 Note-2
Argh .. Good match but LP-DR just could not get over the hump today .. At the Nadaq-100 Miami masters, [QF]
(7) L.Paes/ D.Rikl l. (3) J.Bjorkman/ T.Woodbridge, 75 26 36 .. So, LP will
lose some more points off his point total, as LP-DR were the finalists there
last year ..
The big news today was once again from 18 year old Neha Uberoi, as she upset the 2nd seed in the semifinal at the Luxilon Cup junior invitational held at the Nasdaq-100 Open .. [SF] N.Uberoi (USA, WTA-390) d. (2) Sesil Karatancheva (BUL,WTA-207), 75 76(3)
.. Though she is yet to turn 15, Karatancheva is incredibly talented considered
a really big star in the making (she had upset #120 Alexandra Stevenson and
then #26 Magui Sern at the Indian Wells before losiuung to #23 Sharapova
in three sets!) .. But none of that seems to affect our own star in the makiing,
Neha! .. Now she plays the final against the top seed Nicole Vaidisova (CZE,206)
who also is red-hot .. She too is only about to turn 15, but had upset #50
Shinobu Asagoe a couople of weeks back at the Acapulco WTA, and had reached
back to back challenger finals last month (Midland and Coluimbus, winning
the latter one) with upsets of two top-75 players in Sucha, Dulko, etc ..
So these are some really heavy duty juninors whom Neha is playing at this
prestigeous event .. You go Girl!
A correction in something
I said earlier .. Neha actually turned 18 last month -- I had the wrong brithday
in mind and thought she had a couple of months to go for 18 ..
I don't know what
to say about the Mumbai $10K, where all Indians are done, with 2nd seed Rushmi
also getting upset in the QF today .. She went down to Yan Chong Chen (CHN)
.. See all the gory details at the Mumbai $10K
Apr 1 Note-1
Harsh Mankad's doubles
QF match at the Busan Open was postponed due to rain in the second set today
.. 36 21 - they will restart Friday evening.
Sania Mirza had a
nice win yesterday to move into the QF of the $10K Rabat ITF event in Morocco
.. She beat the highest ranked unseeded player there, her doubles partner
Katarina Kachlikova (SVK,496) for an easy 63 63 score .. Up next for her
is the tough top seed Maria Fernanda Alves (BRA,204) .. Seeded 3rd, SM and
Kachlikova have reached the doubles semi as well .. They beat Ghita
Benjelloun and Ilham Nadir (Morocco), 60 60 in the firt round and Samia Medjahdi
(ALG) and Majda Nachit (MAR), 62 61 .. Up next are the second seeds Alves
and Carla Tiene of Brazil.
I have updated all the scores
before thursday at the Mumbai $10K
.. Terrible event for Indians so far, as only Rushmi reached the singles
QF, and none are in the doubles semis .. Awaiting today's results.
It was a terrible day today
for Indians at the grade-1 "Mitsubishi Lancer" ITF Junior event in Manila, as only
one player, Tushar Liberhan, out of five Indians in the PQF managed to advance
to the QF .. Here are the scores from the second round yesterday ..
[R2] (1) Karan Rastogi (IND,5) d. Martin Sayer (HKG,119) 60 62 .. [R2] (6) Divij
Sharan (IND,36) d. (Q) Elliott Wronski (GBR,825) 63 63 .. [R2] (7) Tushar
Liberhan (IND,42) d. (Q) Aryton Wibowo (INA,285) 60 62 .. [R2] (12) Rupesh
Roy (IND,61) d. Steven Popovic (AUS,116) 75 16 64 .. [R2] (15) Navdeep Singh
(IND,71) l. (Q) Victor Bogdan Leonte (ROM,210) 75 46 16 .. [R2] (7) Tara
Iyer (IND,45) l. Yi Chen (TPE,342), 36 67(5) .. [R2] (3) Sanaa Bhambri (IND,61)
d. Denise Harijanto (INA,328) 60 36 63 ..[R2] Punam Reddy (IND) l. (9) Shuai
Zhang (CHN,71) 26 46 .. [PQF] (1) Karan Rastogi (IND,5) l. (9) Tom Rushby (GBR,40) 61 36 16 ..
Here are the results from today in the final 16 round
.. [PQF] (6) Divij Sharan (IND,36) l. (11) Jamie Murray (GBR,59) 63 36 57
.. [PQF] (7) Tushar Liberhan (IND,42) d. (10) Philip Oswald (ASUT,53) 75
63 .. [PQF] (12) Rupesh Roy (IND,61) l. (5) Coen Van Kuelen (NED,26) 16 64
26 .. [PQF] (3) Sanaa Bhambri (IND,61) l. Caroline Wozniacki (DEN,103) 64
57 26 .. The good thing is that all the Indian players were in close matches
.. Very nice win for Tushar to reach his first grade-1 quarterfinal .. Excellent
fight from young Rupesh in a loss today against a top player after a nice
second round win yesterday .. Tara might have been bothered by her knee which
has been acting up lately .. Karan, Sanaa and Divij all had winning strats
today but went down in comeback three setters .. Oh well, that is how it
Mar 31 Note-1
MadMax has become
quite inconcistent these days and I don't know why .. Knowing Mahesh's game,
which is almost always consistent when he is healthy, I suspect that he may
not be the problem -- just my thought .. Anyway, they went down in the second
round at the Miami Masters today, though to a good team .. [R2] (2) M.Bhupathi/
M.Mirnyi l. Arnaud Clement (FRA)/ Sebastien Grosjean (FRA), 67(3) 57 .. 7th
seded LP-Rikl go up in the quarterfinals tomorrow against the 3rd seeds Bjorkman-Woodbridge.
Neha Uberoi (USA)
had an impressive win today at the Luxilon Cup junior inivitational at Miami
.. She upset the 4th seeded, talented and highly reagrded Jamea Jackson (USA),
57 63 63 .. Jamea had actually played the main draw at Miami last week and
had upset WTA #90 Miriam Casanova in straight sets before falling in the
second round to WTA #26 Magui Serna in a close three-setter - so you know
that Jamea is a quality player .. Well, Neha is for real, folks .. If you
ever see her and see how athletic she is, you will know that she is going
to go places .. In the semifinal, she runs into the seocnd seed Seril Karatencheva
Rushmi advanced to the QF but both
Iciri and Archana fell today at the Mumbai $10K ITF event .. See the
page for scores.
At the Philippine
ITF grade-1 juniors, most of the Indian seeds advanced .. Karan beat Martin
Sayer (HKG), 62 60 easily, and now faces the 9th seed Tom Rushby (GBR) in
the PQF .. 6th seed Divij, 7th seed Tushar and 12th seed Rupesh advanced,
according to the Manila Bulletin
(no scores reported) .. 11th seed Navdeep was upset, Punam Reddy lost to
the 3rd seed Shuai Zhang (CHN) and 3rd seed Sanaa Bhambri beat Denise Harijanto
(INA), 60 36 63 .. No news at all about how Tara did.
Mar 31 Note-1
MB-MM play their R2
at the Nasdaq-100 Open Miami Masters today at about 1 pm against Clement-Grosjean.
Also on the schedule at the Luxilon Cup invitational junior event played
along with the Nasdaq Open is Neha Uberoi .. It has a 12-player draw with
4 seeds having first round byes .. Neha who turned 18 recently but qualifies
for junior status this year (though I believe she has no plans to play the
ITF juniors at all) easily beat Katerina Afinogenova (RUS), 63 63 .. She
plays the very talented 4th seed Jamea Jackson (USA, WTA-366) today in the
QF .. You may remember Rajeev Ram (USA) winning the boys title at this relatively
prestigeous event a couple of years back.
At the Busan challenger
today, Harsh Mankad ran into a wall, in second seed Alexander Peya (AUT,141)
who refused to get broken despite having a few protracted games with deuces
on his serve .. he also came up with the goodies to break Harsh when needed
too .. HM went down 26 36 .. Still a decent outing for Harsh who can take
solace in having again advanced a round in a challenger, though this
was at the expense of his good friend and Davis Cup teammate Rohan .. There
was good news later in the day, as Harsh, ranked 180 in doubles and playing
with George Bastl (SUI,571) upset the top seeds Jun Kato (JPN,128) and Thomas
Shimada (JPN,78), 63 36 64 to make the quarterfinal! .. Though Bastl is a
much better player than his ranking indicates (with a career high around
#75 once), this is still a surprising win .. It is also good to beat a couple
of Japanese guys the week before we play them in Davis Cup
(and Shimada is expected surely to play doubles in the tie as well)
.. HM-GB will get to play another Japanese pair tomorrow - Satoshi Iwabuchi
and Tasuku Iwami, on paper a much easier team, who advanced with a win over
a wildcard team ..
Speaking of the Japanese,
there was an upset of some significance today - Korean wildcard Bo-Ram Cha
(KOR,335) upset the 6th seed Suzuki (JPN,205) in two tiebreakers today in
the second round .. Takao is certainly not playing at the level he used to
a few years back, it would seem - ajd that is always good n ews for us, as
he will be their #1 in the Davis Cup .. Gouichi Motomura advanced with a
63 75 win yesterday over the last direct entry in the draw, Ti Chen of Taipei
.. We will see a good test of his form tomorrow when he takes on the top
seed Yen-Hsun Lu in the second round .. Takahiro Terachi of Japan was the
top seed in the qualies and made it to the draw rather easily but then lost
tamely, 26 06 in the first round to the 8th seed Uros Vico (ITA, 257) ..
So, nobody creating any big stories from the Japanese group out there at
The official team
nominations published by ITF for Davis Cup shows Takao Suzuki (205), Gouichi
Motomura (283), Takahiro Terachi (329) and doubles specialist Thomas Shimada
in the Japanese team .. No big surprises out there .. The Indian team is
listed as LP, MB, Amritraj, Bopanna .. Only four names are official - a couple
of names can be changed till thursday morning next week, a bit before the
draw is made .. LP will make a decision on whether to bring Mankad into the
playing team based on the form he sees in practice next week from RB, PA
and HM .. The good news is that all three are healthy for now.
At the $10K Rabat
(Morocco) ITF event, 8th seeded Sania Mirza advanced to the second round
with a 61 60 win over unranked Dominika Wojtal (GER) .. She plays her doubles
partner Katarina Kachlikova (SVK,496) in the R2 .. In
doubles they face an unranked pair from Morocco first .. This is an interesting
event, because it is in the week before the Morocco WTA .. So a few top players
are there for some clay practice (a couple in the top-250 like Maria Alves,
201, and Bahia Mouhtassine, 239) .. Though
the field is weak beyond the top 15 or so players, it is a tough event past
the first one or two rounds .. SM is drawn to potentially face the top seed
Alves in the QF if she can get past Kachlikova ..
Mar 30 Note-2
Mahesh and Max moved into the second round at the Miami Masters with an easy win today .. [R1] (1) M.Bhupathi/ M.Mirnyi d. Nicolas
Kiefer and Rainer Schuettler, 64 60 .. Their second round match against Arnaud
Clement and Sebastien Grosjean is set for tomorrow .. LP's QF will be on
thursday, and the opponents will be decided tomorrow.
I had totally missed this one little news (I suppose nobody else noticed either?) -- Sania Mirza
is actually playing this week at the $10K ITF event in Rabat, Morocco ..
Well I find her in the entry list for that, and I suppose she has gone there
.. If so it is a great decision to play there -- one clay event would help
her a lot before playing the Casablanca WTA next week. I have not seen
the Rabat draws yet.
I have not got all the results yet from the Mumbai $10K ITF .. The big news today was the sweet upset pulled by Iciri Rai,
64 63 over the 3rd seed Chin-Bee Khoo! .. Icir has indeed shown some mnoticeable
improvement this year .. Sai went down, but Rushmi advanced .. See the the Mumbai $10K
page for the first round results I have so far.
Mar 30 Note-1
Leander and David
Rikl areplaying some good tennis again .. Great to see that .. They have
already reached the QF at Miami .. In the second round yesterday, [R2] (7) L.Paes/ D.Rikl d. Jared Palmer (USA)/ Pavel Vizner (CZE), 63 76(1)
.. The next round opponents are to be determined today .. Mahesh and Max
were supposed to play their first round yesterday, but rain delayed Mirnyi's
singles match against Agassi, and then there was no time for doubles .. It
will be today.
At the $37.5K+H Busan
challenger, it was not a good day today .. Prakash Amritraj went down to
qualifier Dmitri Mazur (UZB,655), 36 63 36 .. Mazur has been playing much
better than his ranking would indicate, but I thought Prakash could still
get a win here .. Later in the day, Prakash and Rohan could not get past
the lucky loser doubles team either .. [R1] P.Amritraj/ R.Bopanna l. (LL)
Toshihide Matsui/ Michihisa Onoda (JPN) 64 36 46 .. Harsh Mankad plays his
second round tomorrow against the second seed Alexander Peya (AUT,141) who
had an easy 64 61 win over a Korean wildcard today .. HM plays doubles first
round also later in the day tomorrow .. His doubles partner George Bastl
had had a medical retirement yesterday in his singles match though .. Not
sure what is the problem with him, but they are listed for doubles tomorrow
and have not withdrawn.
I have posted all
the monday scores and the weekend qualifying scores from the $10K "Mother's
Recipe" womens ITF event in Mumbai at the Mumbai $10K
page .. 6th seed Sonal was upset cheaply yesterday, but experienced Archana
venkatraman had a pretty good win against a well-playing qualifier player
.. The qualifying rounds were very tough with only Sandhya Nagraj making
it even to the second round and only Geeta Manohar in the first round taking
even a set off a foreign player .. Ocuh! .. Unusually tough Asian participation,
as Chinese, Korean, Thai and other Asian players have thronged Mumbai ..
I am very disappointed at how poor the Indians' participation is .. I don't
think our players appreciate what kind of opportunities they are given with
all these ITF events .. Many of these foreign players would love to have
this kind of a calendar in their countries, I am sure .. And contrary to
what Indian players think, quite a few of these foreigners are not such rich
kids or anything and are also struggling to find a way to play too .. I read
about the problems faced by Taiwanese girls lately with some of their sponsor
companies totally pulling the plug .. The Thai players cry constantly about
having to go to India all the time because their federation hardly brings
any $10K events .. So on .. Anyway, Sania, Isha, Megha, Ankita, Shruti, Sheetal, Kartiki,
etc are all missing from Mumbai -- though mostly due to legitimate reasons
like injury and exams I suppose .. Iciri, who had not entered earlier took
a wildcard, and that was nice .. Canadian Kavitha Krishnamurthy took a wildcard
AITA announced the
teams for the junior Davis Cup and Fed Cup u16 junior competition Asia-regionals
yesterday .. Rupesh, Jeevan and Sanam in the boys side, and Tara, Sanaa and
Sandhya on the girls' side .. There was really no doubts about the teams
Sanam Singh qualified
into the main draw of the grade-1 ITF juniors in Manila, Philippines .. Karan,
Divij, Rupesh, Tushar, Navdeep, Tara and Sanaa are all seeded and hadve byes in the first round.
Mar 29 Notes
What a way for Sehwag
to become the first Indian with a test triple century -- sixer lofted over
the midwicket fence to reach 301 !!! .. We are not worthy! We are not worthy!! ..
Harsh Mankad probably
noticed that the Indian Davis Cup team list showed him as #5 though he is
second in ranking and has been in form lately .. Probably wanted to show
in his own mild way that he is playing some good tennis -- Mankad beat
Rohan Bopanna 64 64 to reach the second round of the $37.5K Busan challenger
this afternoon .. I don't have any details of the match, but this is
the 8th win in 10 challenger main draws for Mankad within the last year,
starting from his run to the semifinal of the Bangalore challenger last April .. He
has actually picked up more challenger wins than any other Indian in that period (Parkash
with four wins in 7 challengers and Rohan with 5 from 12 challengers) ..
Mankad's second round opponent is yet to be decided, but could probably
be the 2nd seed Alexander Peaya (AUT,145)
OK, talked to Harsh
and got some details on the match -- Harsh says Rohan was playing quite well,
especially once he got his rhythm in the second set .. RB was down 3-5, 0-40
with HM having match points .. Hit a big serve and a couple of big forehands
to stay in the match .. HM said he was under a bit of pressure in his service
game at 6-4 5-4 and RB really made him work for the win .. He said that one
or two points the other way could have turned the match around, and HM knows
that Rohan is always dangerous when he gets on a bit of a streak in hitting
big shots and serves .. But then again, I suppose HM is quite a bit experienced
in handling such situations now .. Good to see a nice match between the two
.. RB's problems in the earlier futures were probably mostly due to
rust from the long layoff and he is playing fine again .. That's good news
.. Congrats to Harsh Mankad for a good win today..
Update on some excellent
results by Indian-Canadian Kavitha Krishnamurthy
that I kept on forgetting to report this week - she reached the final at
the $10K ITF event at Yarrawonga, Australia on grasscourts .. 22 year old
Kavitha, who was a Canadian #1 junior a few years back and was playing college
tennis at the Princeton University till last June, has been on the tour for
the recent few months .. Mixed results for quite a while for her and this
was her first big final .. She beat Lauren Cheng (AUS,653) 64 76(4), Arpi
Kojian (USA,850), 61 62, Christina Horiatopoulos (AUS,692), 36 62 60 and 3rd seed
(AUS,447), 64 76(5), before falling in the final to Emily Hewson (AUS), 76(4)
67(6) 36 .. Good show by #760 Kavitha who is in the list for the Mumbai $10K
now .. Congrats!
.. Previous notes are at Notes for the week ending on Mar 29 ..
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
player, let me know .. I would like to have a mailing list where I can
post general announcements and inquiries from the coaches too .. Please
email me - R.Jayakrishnan.