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LP/MB/NV/Indian-Tennis: Notes for the week ending on Apr 21, 2003
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Apr 21 Notes

Lots of good news today .. First, MB's 28th title yesterday at the Monet carlo masters, where MB-MM made it 8 straight wins on their return together .. Tough match, as we expected against the tough French guys who were a top-5 team last year and had beaten LP-Rikl earlier .. [F] #3 M.Bhupathi/ M.Mirnyi d. M.Llodra/ F.Santoro, 64 36 76(6) .. Congratulations to them, and MB has got back to the flow of things.

Now the really heartening news from the Bangalore challenger .. When I saw the draw yesterday, I was feeling really bad for Harsh Mankad for continuing to get no help from the Draw Godess for the umpteenth time in a row .. Thank God he wasn't feeling sorry for himself! .. He went after the 3rd seed, picking up the biggest win of his career .. [R1] (wc) H.Mankad d. #3 Jean-Francois Bachelot (FER,155), 63 64 .. In fact Harsh was the only one who remembered that he had beaten the same guy a few years back in some qualifying rounds when he was ranked much lower .. I guess HM showed that he too has improved a lot in his tennis over the years .. Harsh picked up 5 ATP points and now awaits the winner of the Dmitri Vlasov (RUS,254) vs Yuri Schukin (RUS,227) match .. The bad news was that Vishal Uppal let go off a great chance to upset the 4th seed Ivo Heuberger today, after leading 4-2 in the 3rd .. He went down in a 3rd set tiebreaker .. I was a bit uncomfortable with the decision to give Vishal a wildcard over others who have done better in singles (in particular Vijay Kannan who did well in the last set of futures and also came very close to qualifying in a 3-set loss in the final qualies to the top seed there) .. Vishal did wonderfully justify the wildcard in the match today, though he couldn't punch the door open in the match .. The other two wildcards, Rohan Bopanna and prakash Amritraj will be playing tomorrow .. I believe Vijay Kannan is the second in line for a lucky loser spot - hopefully there will be a couple of withdrawals and he will make it in.

All the scores are at the Bangalore challenger page .. One nice thing in the qualies were the very competitive displays from Somdev Varman and Karan Rastogi .. Somdev almost upset Nathan Healey, in his first match - and Healey is an experienced player highly ranked in doubles and all that (top seed in the main draw) .. Karan played very competitively in a 75 64 loss to the 5th seed Erlich as well, after a 60 60 first round win .. At least the young ones don't look like they are too far behind the top-600 ATP players .. Vinod Sridhar also did well in the qualies.

India won the first tie 3-0 against Philippines at the Asia-Oceania group-II Fed Cup today in Tokyo .. Here is the news from AITA - "Sania Mirza gave India a flying start by beating F-M.La'o 6-2 6-3. Manisha Malhotra, ailing with fever had to use all her experience & will power to beat C. Arevalo after going down in the first set 1-6 .. She came back strongly to win the next 2 sets 6-2 6-3. The youngsters Isha Lakhani / Megha Vakharia did the final honours for India by winning the doubles & making it a whitewash. Megha / Isha beat F-M. La'o / Arevalo easily with the score reading 7-5 6-2 ... India are the favorites in the Fed Cup Group 2 Competition. The group is left only with 5 countries which include Philippines, Pacific Oceania, Kyrghystan, Lebanon & India after Syria & Vietnam have pulled out of the competition. India is along with Kyrgystan, Philippines & Pacific Oceania in the round robin group. On Tuesday 22 April, India take on Kyrgystan in their 2nd tie of the competition" ... It is a worry that Manisha is sick, but we have enough of firepower and it will take humongous miracles for us not to advance to group-I, I would assume.

A round-up of some score that I could not report earlier ..

The final has just started at Monte Carlo .. [F] #3 M.Bhupathi/ M.Mirnyi vs M.LLodra/ F.Santoro .. The other guys had upset 5th seeds LP-Rikl in the second round, so I had expected that they were in pretty good form .. Hopefully MB-MM will have enough to move past them to their second successive title .. At the San Luis Potosi challenger, [SF] N.Sanjeev/ Zuzana Hejdova (CZE) l. Kildine Chevalier (FRA)/ Lana Popadic (CRO), 57 26 .. At the jackson challenger, [QF] 183 4 Sunitha Rao l. (q) Tina Schiechtl (AUT) 26 46 .. [QF] Sunitha Rao/ Natalia Dziamidzenka (BLR) l. #1 Terryn Ashley (USA)/ Abigail Spears (USA), 16 46 .. At the Kalamata futures, #6 R.Bopanna l. (1) Bjorn Rehnquist (SWE,181), 67(5) 06 ..

I am also looking for the scores for Divij Sharan, who was at the grade-3 ITF juniors in Uzbekistan - I believe he had reached the SFs, probably for both singles and doubles when I heard last.

Apr 20 Notes

Will post the Bangalore challenger main draw, as soon as we get them and start a page .. RB, HM, Prakash Amritraj and Vishal Uppal have wildcards .. The complete list of wildcards is posted in the forum .. It was announced yesterday that Bopanna and Prakahsh will get the final doubles wildcard - Mankad-Uppal got the other doubles WC.

Apr 19 Notes

MB's Monte carlo doubles final is tomorrow .. The Bangalore challenger qualies have started .. Rohan lost in the QFs, as did Sunitha .. Niru lost in the doubles semis, Sunitha in doubles QFs .. That ends the week .. Rushmi won both titles at the Muzaffarnagar satellite satellite .. Gotta run, but all the results including from Bangalore qualies are in various threads in our forum .. More later .. Ciao!

Apr 18 Notes

This got a bit iffy in the second set tiebreaker, but MB-MM continued their win streak .. [SF] #3 M.Bhupathi/ M.Mirnyi d. Fraticek Cermak/ Leo Friedl (CZE), 63 76(13) .. The second set tiebreaker turned out to be a marathon .. Our guys were up 5-2, but dropped a mini at 5-4 on serve .. From then it went without a minibreak for 17 serves with the pairs saving many match points and set points on their serves .. At 13-14 FC-LF dropped one on their serve and that was the match .. The opponents for the sunday final will be decided tomorrow.

There was no play yesterday, it seems, at the Kalamata futures in Greece - RB must have played the QF today.

At the India $10K satellite today, Rushmi reached the final with a 64 64 win over Julia Vorobieva, bt Archana lost in a barnburner, 57 76(5) 67(4) to Heli Bargil of Israel .. Rushmi-Sai and Shruti-Glitsenshtein had reached the doubles final yesterday, the former having to save three match points in the final tiebreaker .. See the Muzaffarnagar satellite page.

Apr 17 Note-2

Nirupama went down in a tough match today, 67(6) 57 to Jorgelina Cravero (ARG,385) at the San Luis Potosi challenger, but she and Zuzana Hejdova (CZE) pulled off an upset on the top seeds, Amanda Augustus (USA)/ Vanessa Webb (CAN), 26 64 63 to reach the doubles semifinal .. Unseeded Kildine Chevalier (FRA)/ Lana Popadic (CRO) up next for them.

Good news from the $25K Jackson challenger, where Sunitha Rao reached the QF beating the extremely talented 14 yr old (and top-10 junior) qualifier Viktoriya Kutuzova (RUS), 26 63 64 .. She gets another qualifier, Tina Schiechtl (AUT) next .. Tina had upset the 6th seed earlier.

Still awaiting news on Bops from Greece.

In other news, here is an article about the upcoming Fed Cup - Piperno optimistic, in the Hindustan Times .. Interesting stuff .. Barring anything unforeseen, a pretty routine effort from Sania and Manisha should be enough to get us back to the Fed Cup group-I in Asia-Oceania for next year .. Here are a couple of articles on the new NTA academy - news agency article, AITA launches national academy, from Rediff.com; Ambitious NTA finally gets off from the Hindustan Times ..

Here is a nice pair of interesting interviews by Prajwal Hegde in the Deccan Herald a week back, that I forgot to list here .. Both LP and MB picked RB as the next player for us .. LP's comments about being a survivor when pushed against the wall, and MB's comment about his interest in captaining the Davis Cup team (after LP, of course, as he says) in the life after tennis are interesting.

By the way, I got a few emails over the last few days about what happened to the "reunification" talk and that I must have known something, etc, etc.  Absolutely not .. I had no clue, and I am still surprised at the timing of my April fools prank, which coincided with at least some talk about this .. I did wish I hadn't thought of that for a April first prank, though - but then I thought I was coming up with something that really had no chance to be true .. And I also wondered afterwards if that itself caused any problems; a lot of times if one side feels there must have been some leak, things can break up .. Hopefully nothing like that happened here .. Hey, what do I do?  - I seem to get these sixth sense brain waves some times :-) ... Anyway, that whole reunification talk seems to have died down .. Actually it is better that way .. I hope something will happen sometime in the future (may be next year?) but that nothing will come out in the press/media till something is ready to happen! .. I did not think it was helpful at all that different people who may have had some knowledge of something started talking about it .. I hope everybody will keep it all to themselves in the future and not put the two guys in question in tight spots.

Apr 17 Note-1

Easy romp for MB-MM but a tough start to clay season for LP-DR today at the Monte Carlo masters .. [QF] #3 M.Bhupathi/ M.Mirnyi d. #7 Paul Haarhuis (NED)/ Yevgeny Kafelnikov (RUS), 62 61 .. That was much easier than I expected, considering the opponents .. The opponents for Paes-Rikl turned out to be exactly as tough as I thought they would be, as our pair was playing only their first clay event together .. [R2] L.Paes/ D.Rikl l. Michael Llodra/ Fabrice Santoro (FRA), 36 16 ..

No news yet on NS, SR and RB today at Mexico, USA and Greece respectively.

At the Muzaffarnnagar $10K, Rushmi and Archana reached the SFs today but Sai got upset rather surprisingly .. See the Muzaffarnagar satellite page.

Apr 16 Note-2

Mahesh-Max continued the winning run today at the Monte Carlo Masters - [R2] #3 M.Bhupathi/ M.Mirnyi d. Jiri Novak/ Radek Stepanek (CZE) 63 16 63 .. The quarterfinal is tomorrow for MB-MM .. Against the 7th seeds Paul Haarhuis (NED) and Yevgeny Kafelnikov (RUS) ..  The match is at around 2 pm.

5th seeds Paes-Rikl will also be in action tomorrow; after a bye, they play the second round against Michael Llodra/ Fabrice Santoro (FRA) .. That will be a tough team to go up against in the first clay event together for LP-DR .. This match will be some time around 6 pm in the evening.

At the $25K challenger in San Luis Potosi (MEX), Nirupama Sanjeev advanced in doubles today - [R1] Zuzana Hejdova (CZE)/ N.Sanjeev d. Caroline Anne Basu (GER)/ Petra Russeger (AUT), 64 62 .. They now run into the top seeds, Amanda Augustus (USA)/ Vanessa Webb (CAN) in the QFs.

At the Jackson $25K challenger, Sunitha Rao (IND/USA) won 64 63 over 14 yr old top-10 junior Julia Cohen (USA) in the first round .. She now faces a very talented qualifier, Viktoriya Kutuzova (RUS), who is a top junior in the world .. In doubles, Sunitha and Natalia Dziamidzenka (BLR) beat Milangela Morales (USA)/ Aneta Soukup-Zahalka (CAN), 76(10) 63.

At the Greece $15K futures at Kalamata, Rohan Bopanna reached the QF with a very easy win over Nikos Rovas (GRE,433) 62 61 .. A good test tomorrow for Bofors, as he plays the top seed Bjorn Rehnquist (SWE,181) .. By the way, what is Bjorn doing, playing futures? ..

Here are the first batch of kids who are at the National Tennis Academy (NTA) of AITA .. Boys: Somdev Dev Varman, Karan Rastogi, Rupesh Roy, Sanam K. Singh, Sumit Prakash Gupta, Kaushik Dass, Divij Sharan, Chatwinder Singh, Arnav Jain, Agnel Gladwin and Chandan Shaolin ... Girls: Isha Lakhani, Megha Vakharia, G. K. Shwetha, E. Ashmita, Daksha Mulay, V. Pooja Shri, Ankita Bhambri, Sanaa Bhambri, Kartiki Bhat and Sandhya Nagraj ... That is pretty much a who is who list in the 13-16 age range ..  All the best for this endeavor from AITA.

Apr 16 Note-1

3rd seeds MB-Mirnyi play this evening against Jiri Novak and Radek Stepanek of CZE, at the $2.9M Monte Carlo Masters ..

Niru rolled today at the $25K San Luis Potosi challenger in Mexico, with a 60 61 win over Erica Krauth (ARG,383)! .. Next round on thursday; opponent TBD ..  Sunitha Rao plays her first round at the Jackson challenger today.

Rushmi, Sai and Archana reached the QFs at the $10K Musaffarnagar ITF circuit event .. See the Muzaffarnagar satellite page.

Rohan Bopanna has been given a wildcard to the $25K+H Bangalore ATP challenger next week .. The remaining three WCs will be announced this Friday at a press conference by Globosport ... Their press release is posted in our forum, along with the entry list ... Extremely tough field, actually.

AITA's National Tennis Academy has effectively opened - and the PTI report today after the press were taken down to Gurgaon for the Open House, seemed positive .. More later on that.

Apr 15 Notes

At the $25K challenger in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, Nirupama Sanjeev plays Erica Krauth (ARG,383) in the first round .. Niru is playing doubles with a different partner this time - Zuzana Hejdova (CZE) .. They face Caroline Ann Basu (GER) and Petra Russeger (AUT) in the first round.

At the $25K challenger in Jackson, Mississippi, 4th seeded Sunitha Rao (#187) plays a young wildcard Julia Cohen (USA), who is a top-10 quality junior player ..[R1] Sunitha and Natalia Dziamidzenka (BLR) play Milangela Morales (USA) and Aneta Soukup-Zahalka (CAN).

At the $15K futures in Greece, 6th seeded Rohan Bopanna beat qualifier Vukasin Jakovic (SER) 63 62 yesterday .. The next round is against the winner of the match between Nikos Rovas (GRE) and (q) Alexander Schweizer (GER).

Not a good day for the Bhambri sisters at the grasscourt $10K event in Muzaffarnagar today - Ankita was upset by Sasha Abraham and Sanaa went down to Archana .. Sai, Rushmi, Shruti, Liza, etc advanced to the second round .. See the Muzaffarnagar satellite page.

More later..

Apr 14 Notes

Paes-Rikl are the 5th seeds and Bhuoathi-Mirnyi are the 3rd seeds at the $2.9M Monte Carlo Masters this week .. Both have first round byes and they await their opponents for the round of 16, whcih may not be before wednesday.

Nirupama is expected at the $25K San Luis Potosi challenger in Mexico, and Sunitha Rao (USA/IND) should be among the seeds at the $25K Jackson Challenger in USA .. Rohan Bopanna will be at the $15K futures in Greece .. No draws seen yet.

The main draw started today at the $10K "Bhavana Swaroop" ITF satellite at Muzaffarnagar .. 6th seed Sonal Phadke got upset today, but otherwise it was a day of washout matches involving some of the "qualifiers" who were actually drawn straight into the main draw thanks to the lack of entries in the qualies for even one full round of 16  for eight spots .. Sai, Rushmi, etc, are to play tomorrow .. See the Muzaffarnagar satellite page for today's scores .. Sanaa Bhambri is a wildcard and has drawn a tough customer, Archana Venkatraman .. Ankita is also in the draw.

.. Previous notes are at Notes for the week ending on Apr 14 ..

I am getting some inquiries from US college coaches who are interested in Indian junior players .. I would like to be able to contact Indian players (some of the coaches are inquiring about specific names) .. If any of the junior players are reading this, please contact me .. Or if any of the other readers know the contact emails/address for any junior 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.