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LP/MB/NS/Indian-Tennis: Notes for the week ending on Apr 5, 2004
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Apr 5 Notes

Sania seems to have played a fantastic match but fell short of the goal of winning her first WTA main draw match in her 3rd attempt .. At the Tier-5 Casblanca WTA, the 17 year old wildcard surprised everybody by winning the first set 7-5 over the top seed Emilie Loit (FRA,40) a top-quality claycourt player .. She lost the next two sets 4-6 and 2-6 but fought till the end .. In the second set, after she fell behind a break, she had taken the fight to Loit and even had a chance to break back at 4-5 .. She could not convert that break point and lost the set there .. She could not get over the hump in the 3rd set .. It is yet another case of Sania showing that she continues to improve by leaps and bounds in her game .. The wins will come, very soon .. She has been quite unfortunate in running into the high seeds at all these events - hopefully one of these days she will get a chance to play somebody ranked lower ..

There was good news at the Delhi $10K as a couple more good players joined the list, who did not play at Mumbai .. Ankita Bhambri is playing this week and is seeded 7th .. I was surprised to find Shikha Uberoi (USA) in the draw as the 4th seed .. I believe she took a wildcard to enter .. Interestingly, she had originally entered the event and then withdrawn .. I suppose she found a way to come down and play in the end .. Rushmi is the second seed but has a tough match right away against unseeded Yan Chong Chen (CHN) who was the runner-up last week .. Geeta Manohar was the only Indian to qualify in, and she did well to pull upsets on two seeds in the qualies for that .. Only main draw doubles were played today ..
See the Delhi $10K page..

The Indian juniors are all at the Tokyo grade-1 ITF juniors this week .. The main draw starts only on Tuesday there.

In other news, AITA has announced that there will be a good two-day course on fitness training/coaching by a very well-qualified ITF expert at Mumbai next week, conducted in conjunction with MSLTA .. You can find all the details at this page at the AITA site .. I wanted to leave a note here, for the sake of any players, and more importantly parents of young players in India, who may do themselves a big favor by attending the course .. I am not trying to do advertising for AITA/MSLTA (:-)), and actually had to email them and confirm that I could write about it here .. Though the course is for coaches, I have confirmed that they will accept players or parents also at the seminar .. The course, including three nights of hospitality and everything, costs a relatively cheap Rs.4000, which makes it probably one of the cheapest good fitness seminars you can attend anywhere in the world .. From what I can gather, ITF's Machar Reid, with a B.App.Sc in Human Movements and Biomechanics has good background on the topic .. So there should be some worthwhile info on Strength and Conditioning at this workshop .. I thought of writing about it here because from all I hear this is an area where Indian players still are not modern enough .. From simple stretching routines needed, to weight training necessary to build the proper muscles for tennis purposes .. I am really sick of hearing about all the injuries because many kids don't even do proper warm-up and stretching exercises .. This kind of focused seminars would help regular coaches and trainers in India, but rather than wait for the info to percolate through them, the parents/players might want to make use of opportunities like this first-hand .. Again, it didn't seem to cost an arm and a leg (pun intended) in registration fee, and that is why I thought of leaving a note here ..        [DETAILS --- Venue: MSLTA, 165, Dr. G.A. Ranade Tennis Complex, M.K. Road, Cooperage, Mumbai – 400021 .. Date:11-12 April 2004 .. Fees: Rs. 4000 with Hospitality (3 nights & 2 days), Rs. 2000 without hospitality (lunch & 2 coffee breaks at venue) ... Participants are expected to arrive in Mumbai on 10 April ’04. Hospitality starts with Dinner on 10 April & ends with breakfast on 13 April .. The Co-ordinator will be Mr. Prabhakar Bhat, Manager - MSLTA. All participants are requested to inform the arrival details to him. Tel: 91-22-22874806/08/09 Fax: 91-22-22873902 E-mail: mslta@mslta.org]

Apr 4 Notes

Nothing much happening today .. I assume the Davis Cup team must be getting together in Osaka .. The three musketeers (HM, RB, PA) should all be there nice and early after their Busan swing .. I assume LP and MB would be there by now too, or will be there soon.

Sania is in the schedule for Monday at the $110K WTA Tier-5 Grand Prix SAR La Princess Lalla Meryem in Casblanca, Morocco .. Her match against the top seed Emilie Loit (FRA,40) is the featured 4th and final match on the center court .. It should be on by about 4 pm or so .. I don't know if there will be live online score updates available; last year they had it, but not sure about this time .. We will try to find out as soon as possible about how the match goes .. Don't count out Sania in this match, despite the big difference in the rank and all - you never know what this girl might do when things click!

Forgot to mention yesterday that Melanie South, an upcoming British player - and a talented one, I figure - beat Yan-Chong Chen (CHN) in the final at Mumbai yesterday .. Well I am glad that sombody but a Chinese girl can beat a Chinese girl in an Indian event :-) .... See the Mumbai $10K page.

The qualifiers were underway in Delhi for the $10K ITF women's event this coming week .. There was one noteworthy result in the qualies today, as Krushmi Cheddha surprised the second seed Noako Horikawa (JPN), 64 76(3) .. Geeta Manohar, Sandhya Nagraj, Lata Assudani and Candian Kavitha Krishnamoorthy had all reached the second and final round of qualies.


Apr 3 Note-2

Couple of terrific runs by Indians came to ends in the finals .. At the $10K ITF event in Rabat, Morocco, Sania Mirza went down in the final to hometown favorite and second seed Bahia Mouhtassine (MAR,239), 26 57 .. SM was down a break in the second set, evened it, but fell in the end after a fight .. Still a very impressive show by Sania out there .. Hopoefully she would not be asked to play the first round at the Tier-5 $110K Casablanca WTA on Monday itself and would get to do some practice on the courts out there before facing the top seed Loit in the final ..

At the grade-1 Manila ITF juniors, Tushar Liberhan went down in the final to Tom Rushby (GBR,40) in a clesly fought match, 46 67(8) today .. Rushby had won the Malasia grade-1 two weeks back and has been really in form in this circuit .. But fabulous run by Tushar to the final.  He will raise his rank from #42 to around #30 ..

The Busan challenger title was won by Alexander Peya who beat the top seed Yen-Hsun Lu in the final .. Well, that makes it the 5th time in his last six tournaments that Harsh Mankad has lost to the eventual winner .. A rather unusual streak ..  If he were playing ATP events, the betting guys would make a bunch of money with a stat like that!

In other news, just heard that Jeevan Neunchezhiyan has been selected to the u16 boys ITF team to tour Europe soon .. I had reported on Madura for the girls team earlier .. Congratulations to Jeevan and it more than makes up fot him missing the AITA team to the Asian events.

Apr 3 Note-1

Quick updates -- busy day for me .. No news at all from Rabat about what happened in Sania's final .. Since good news normally comes fast, I wonder if things didn't go well in the final ??? .. Hope not.  The draw for next week's WTA Casblanca came out and Sania again runs into a top seed just like at Hyderbad .. Top seed Emile Loit (#40) ..  There was good news today from Manila as Tushar Liberhan beat Jamie Murray (GBR,59) to reach the grade-1 final .. Fantastic! .. He faces the red-hot Tom Rushby next .. Gotta run; more tomorrow.

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 page.

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 page .. 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 goes sometime.

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 of Bulgaria.

Rushmi advanced to the QF but both Iciri and Archana fell today at the Mumbai $10K ITF event .. See the Mumbai $10K 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 Busan.

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 too.

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 anyway ..

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  Sophie Ferguson (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.