Notes for the week ending on Apr 22, 2002
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Apr 22 Note-1
Sorry for going MIA for a couple of days .. Not a whole lot of news, so I was goofing off (that is, I was at work :-))
Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi are playing doubles with John-Laffnie DeJager and Todd Woodbridge respectively this week .. LP-DeJager are the second seeds at the $400K US claycourts ATP at Houston - they are drawn to face the US wildcards Robert Kendrick and Brian Vahaly .. MB-Woodbridge are also seeded second .. They are at the $955K Open Seat Godo ATP in Barcelona, and have a first round bye ..
Both 2nd seed Rohan and 5th seed Srinath got upset at the Kuwait F1 quarterfinals last Friday .. Rohan lost to Esteban Carril (ESP,885) 62 36 67(2) and Srinath lost to Jasper Smit (NED,794), 67(3) 26 n Friday .. In the doubles semifinal, Bopanna and Kannan lost to Evgueni Smirnov and Jasper Smit, 76(5) 36 36 on Saturday .. More of a sudden ending for our players in the draws there .. There is one more Kuwait futures this week.
Radhika Tulpule won the 3rd leg of the satellites at Kolhapur, with a 76(4) 61 win over Isha Lakhani on Saturday .. By reaching the final, Isha and Radhika ensured that they will be seeded among the 4 in the 16-member draw for the 4th leg (masters) starting at Pune today (actually I am not sure of Isha's status, whether she will get to play the masters leg on some sort of exemption, as she missed the first leg - though due to an ITF junior tournament) .. Good to see Radhika coming to form - she is the highest ranked Indian payer in the circuit and had looked to be in good form a few months back .. 16 yr old Isha has to be proud of the show she put up though she fell in the finals in successive weeks .. See the Kolhapur satellite page.
Harsh Mankad, ranked #1 in college rankings, had two more top-100 wins this weekend to finish the regular season of college tennis with a 23-3 record .. Yesterday in the final regular season matchup for the U of Minnesota, at Univ of Wisconsin, Harsh won a long comeback battle to edge out a player ranked #32 in a 36 63 76(4) win the tie 4-3 for his Univ (the matches are done simulatenously and whoever wins the match that gets the win for the team is called as the one who won the tie in college) .. He had to save three match points on his serve in the 3rd set, wriggling out of trouble with a couple of aces .. He also had a 64 61 win over the #92 college payer, on saturday at the Univ of Iowa .. That takes his top-35 record to 10-2 and his record against ranked players 17-3 for the year - actually he has played a somewhat unusually large number of top players, though he has played fewer total matches than most others, having missed a bit of time due to Davis Cups and a wrist-injury .. With the latest wins I think he is almost sure to be the top seed in the prestigious final NCAA collegiate nationals that ends the year, which starts in about three weeks from now.
Four Indians were at the grade-3 Uzbekistan ITF juniors last week (I noticed only rather late about them going there!) -- 16 yr olds Chatwinder Singh and Vikas Punna had reached the QF rounds of singles but fell to higher ranked players .. #198 Chatwinder should move up inside #175 and #513 Vikas should move near top-400 with those points .. MV Abhay Prakash and Punam Reddy were the other two, but they could not get past the first round there.
Apr 19 Note-2
Sai and Radhika won another doubles title today at the "BPL Mobile" satellite leg at Kolhapur, with a 62 62 win over Samrita and Archana .. Isha Lakhani continued her run with a 61 64 demolition of Archana Venkatraman today to reach the final against Radhika who won 64 62 over Sheetal Goutham .. Good to see Radhika (who is #4 in India behind Niru, Manisha, and Rushmi) in good form again after a couple of less than satisfying satellite legs earlier .. See the leg-3 results page.
Apr 19 Note-1
2nd seed Rohan Bopanna and 5th seed Srinath reached the QF at the Kuwait F1 futures yesterday .. Bopanna had his second win over a local wildcard, beating Musaad Al-Jazzav, 61 62, to reach the QF against Esteban Carrill-Caso (ESP,885) .. Srinath beat Ivo Klec (GER,777), 26 64 63, and faces Jasper Smit (NED,794) next .. In doubles, the 3rd seeds Bopanna and Vijay Kannan reached the SF beating Abdullah Al-Memeimi (KUW) and Fahed Al-Saad of Saudi Arabia .. They play Evgueni Smirnov (RUS) and Jasper Smit in the SF .. 4th seeds Srinath and Mustafa Ghouse were upset in the QF, 75 46 36 to Esteban Carrill-Caso and Walter Orth (GER).
The second seeds Manisha Malhotra and Leanne Baker got upset 26 26 by Teryn Ashley and Kristen Schlukebir yesterday at the $25K Jackson (Mississippi) challenger first round - that is a somewhat surprising upset .. I guess Manisha will now go to the qualies for the $75K Dothan challenger in Alabama ..
At the grade-3 Taipei junior ITF, the eighth seed Yi Chen (TPE) upset the top seed Sania Mirza, 63 64 .. I hope Sania does not start feeling pressure just because of not getting any great results in this trip of three events in the east (Philippines G2, Japan G1 and Taipei G3) .. Such streaks are part of tennis .. Needs to go back to the drawing board, put in work, and go back to the next set of events :-) .. Kids sometimes have a way of feeling pressure when they get upset a few times and losing confidence .. I am sure Bhupathi Sr will get her back in form for the European clay season soon - I believe she takes a break for coaching Bangalore now .. 2-3 weeks of coaching, a trip to the Asian regionals of junior Fed Cup (new name for the u16 world youth cup), and then a couple more weeks of coaching .. Then she gets back to the junior tour by May 25th at the Astrid bowl in Belgium followed by the FO juniors.
A small note on Nirupama Vaidyanathan .. She says that she has gone through a whole set of tests on the exact nature of the neck and shoulder pain problems she had for such an extended period last year that finally forced her off the court and into an official injury break (she gets protected ranking and I believe that requires a minimum 6 months off from the tour due to injury) .. It does not look like she will need any surgery, as it was stress-related problems and not exactly anything that needed fixing with surgery .. So, she is going to enjoy her wedding on May 23rd in Kovai .. She says she has just started hitting the ball again, and it may take a while to get the touch back .. Expects to be back by mid July or so.
Apr 18 Note-2
Close, but not enough .. Lucky loser Manisha Malhotra almost upset Melinda Czink (HUN,233) in a furious comeback, but fell 06 60 67(5) at the $25K Jackson challenger .. Good to see her playing well, anyway, after the injury break .. I believe she and Leanne Baker play the first round doubles today.
The semifnalists are set at the Kolhapur satellite leg .. Radhika Tulpule, probably a bit upset at the somewhat less then par results the last two weeks, upset the top seed Sai Jayalakshmy, 61 61 today .. Isha Lakhani beat 4th seed Liza .. Samrita fell to Archana and Sheetal took care of Rati Kumar (who has done quite well in this circuit, by the way) .. See the 3rd leg results page.
Apr 18 Note-1
Finally got an update of results from the Kolhapur satellite leg .. All eight seeds have reached the QFs and all four seeds in doubles are in the SFs as well .. See the 3rd leg results page .. I have updated the points list - the field of 16 for the masters leg is now set (not sure if Isha would get an exemption, as she missed the first week due to a junior ITF event, and if Sonal has some medical reasons for withdrawing from the 3rd leg - otherwise one needs to play at least qualies in all three legs to make the masters leg and get a minimum of 1 WTA point)
Apr 17 Note-3
Wednesday update from the Kuwait F1 .. Rohan and Vijay reached the QF of doubles with a win over Barbu-Razixani, 62 63 .. The guy, Branislav Repa, who beat Vijay Kannan has gone on to upset the 6th seed Joseph Nesticky 63 63 also - so I guess Vijay lost to only a decent player .. Srinath plays Ivo Klec (GER) on Thursday .. Rohan also plays R2 on thursday.
Helped by his eighth top-25 win (against 2 losses) of the year this weekend, Harsh Mankad moved back to the #1 spot in the US college rankings released today .. The real work starts for him now, as the tough tournaments come around and he will have to tackle the slower outdoor courts in the NCAA year-end tournament within a month, where he should be one of the top four seeds.
Apr 17 Note-2
Monte Carlo did not turn out to be too good for Indians this time .. Mahesh and Jeff Tarango, the 4th seeds, also fell today in the first round - to Arnaud Clement and Nicolas Escude, 16 67(4) ..
Got an informal email from somebody at ITF (I believe one who could be trusted) routed to me through a 3rd party, who says that there could not have been any fiddling of the draw for Davis Cup, as what is normally done every year is to have about 50 people at the draw ceremony, and he/she hasn't heard this wasn't done this time .. Unfortunately this person was not there at the draw, but says that it is impossible for things to be fiddled with, without a lot of people at ITF knowing .. I think that makes sense .. However, other than official "stiff upper-lip" statements from ITF to the Indian press who contacted them (and also a statement from even Juan Margets the Davis Cup committee chair from Spain, routed to one Indian press correspondent), no solid proof has come our way about any outside party saying "I was there" .. That doesn't mean nobody was there, and so I am willing to take ITF's word on this, and count it as just a very odd coincidence for a betting website to predict the GBR matchup against THA ... (that is until and unless we hear of a smoking gun or a whistle blower - I am not execting that) ..
In the final round of qualies at the $25K Jackson (Mississippi) challenger, Manisha Malhotra lost to Liga Dekmeijier (LAT,386) 06 62 26 .. As expected she made the main draw as the first lucky loser, however .. She faces Melinda Czink (HUN,233) in the first round this evening.
At the $10K Kuwait F1 futures, 2nd seed Rohan Bopanna and 5th seed Srinath reached the second round .. Rohan beat unranked local wildcard Mohammed Al Ghareeb, 76(7) 64 - phew, a little closer for comfort in that one, but Rohan will gain in experience from such matches .. He faces another local wildcard Musaad Al-Jazzav, who beat the 3rd local wildcard in the first round .. So, a nice draw to get going, for Rohan .. Srinath had an easy time against unranked qualifier Evgueni Kour of Russia in a 61 61 win .. There was bad news there too - 8th seed #732 Mustafa Ghouse was upset by Steven Randjelovic (AUS,953) 61 62 .. Even worse, Vijay Kannan lost to #1370 Branislav Repa (SVK) 26 62 63 - I don't know about that one, Vijay is really way too talented not to win these matches .. Manoj Mahadevan is not there - probably he decided, rightly, that 2 weeks of Kuwait ahead of 4 weeks of Indian satellites where he really must be hoping to do well, would be a bit too much .. In doubles, the 4th seeds Sri and Mustafa beat Ali Al Ghareeb and Abdullah Maqdas of Kuwait, 61 64 to reach the QF .. Rohan and Vijay are the 3rd seeds - they play Adrian Barbu of Romania and Ramin Razixani of Iran in the first round [news courtesy: Steve Gocha].
Incidentally, I have changed all references to "Kholapur" to "Kolhapur" below - that is where the women's satellites 3rd leg is being held .. ITF's calendar and AITA's calendar both stated Kholapur, so I thought this was really at some place called Kholapur .. And I remember hearing about there actually being a Kholapur in Maharashtra among pairs of places (like Karnal/Kurnool and Cananoor/Coonoor) that a lot of wrong mail used to go before the days of Pin codes .. Went looking for it, and I find that there is indeed a small town called Kholapur in Maharashtra (in Amravati district bordering MP) .. I doubt there are big tennis facilities there, like at Kolhapur which is the district headquarters near the Maharashtra-Karnataka border - the place that the famous Kolhapuri chappals are associated with, I guess (was Padmini Kolhapuri, famous for kissing Prince Charles a couple of decades back, also from there? - I don't know! :-)) .. Anyway, no news after monday from there.
Top seed Sania Mirza is in the quarterfinals at the grade-3 Taipei ITF junior tournament, with a 63 61 win over Miku Euda of Japan today .. She faces the 8th seed Yi Chen of Taipei next .. She is playing doubles with Lara Giltinan of Australia and they had won one round earlier.
Apr 17 Note-1
Mahesh and Tarango play their first round match against Clement and Escude today at the Monte carlo masters.
I have not seen Tuesday's qualifying results from the Jackson challenger in Mississippi (USA), but I had seen that there has been one withdrawl from the main draw and that Manisha would make it in as at least a lucky loser ..
No news from the Kuwaut men's futures yet .. Actually I have not seen the Tuesday results from the Kolhapur satellites in any Indian newspapers either - so this has been a slow noews week so far.
As we wait for news, here is a rather-amusing article in the Times of India from a couple of days back .. Of course don't take any of it as serious!
Here is an article at TennisOne.com, one of the better sites for those of you looking for technical matters on tennis (many other articles at that site are all useful reading for the players among you!) - this one that caught my eye is on one of the issues that fascinates me - about how useful a slice backhand is in modern tennis .. Formidable weapon or situational shot?, asks Dave Smith .. Interesting analyses there - much as I like the beauty of the shot, I think the author makes some logical sense when he says that it is a shot that has not been helped by equipment improvement and power-improvements over the years .. Make sure you read the earlier article linked in there about the slice that the author is responding to .. Comments? - feel free to post in our forum which has lately been quite an active place with even some positive discussions occasionally :-)
I have added the points standing after two legs from the women's satellites at the points page .. The top 16 after this leg will make the draw at the masters leg next week in Pune and all of them will get at least one WTA point .. By the way, the latest ITF calendar released yesterday now includes the second 4-week women's satellite circuit in India in June (at Chandigarh, Muzaffarnagar and two in Delhi)
Just saw the entry list for the 4-week men's satellites starting in a couple of weeks in India (Delhi, Mumbai, Vishakhapatnam and Bangalore) - very disappointing, as foreign players continue to be a bit worried about coming to the subcontinent I guess, after all the Pakistan problems and now the Gujarat problems .. Here are the top few - 1. Mustafa Ghouse (IND,734) .. 2. Tomer Suissa (ISR,764) .. 3. Nitin Kirtane (IND,896) .. 4. Eliran Dooyev (ISR,898) .. 5. Manoj Mahadevan (IND,960) .. 6. Hayato Furukawa (JPN,1034) .. 7. Ivan Syrov (RUS,1049) .. 8. Rafael Moreno-Negrin (ESP,1055) .. Yikes, that is a bad entry list - I don't remember the seeds going below 1000 in a satellite circuit anywhere .. Rishi Sridhar, Vishal Uppal, Vinod Sridhar, Shivang Mishra, Kamala Kannan and Vijay Kannan follow in the list .. I guess Rohan Bopanna and Sunil Kumar Sipaeya decided to not play the satellites? .. 20-30 easy points, guys, for 4 weeks of work - pick up the points and THEN go abroad :-) .. Perhaps we will see either or both of them as wildcards in the end in the satellites .. Harsh Mankad cannot play this because it coincides with the college year-end tournaments that he has to play in the US .. Ajay Ramaswamy is currently in the US and is not playing this either - oh well.
Apr 16 Note-2
Leander and John-Laffnie DeJager had a quick exit today at the $2.95M Monte Carlo masters, as they lost 06 26 in the first round to the top seeds Don Johnson and Jared Palmer .. Not totally unexpected, as LP himself had told me last week that it would take a few weeks, perhaps till the grass season, for him and DeJager to click together .. He may have known something - I find that clay is generally the worse surface for deJager, from his record .. The timing of the "split" was quite bad for LP, as he has 575 points to defend over the next few weeks, for the Houston and Atlanta titles and the Monte Carlo semifinal with MB last year and then the big 1000 points at French Open in late May .. The same problem MB also has, but I feel it may not take his partners as much time to get used to his style as it does for LP's, and MB has a much higher ranked partner in Murnyi .. Let us hope that LP and DeJager can get cracking fast on clay and pick up at least some points - otherwise their rankings will drop to about 35 and 60 by the time Wimbledon rolls around .. DeJager could be a pretty good partner for the grass and hardcourt seasons that follows, though .. If I am not mistaken about what LP said, they were to be at the Houston ATP next week - Hey, a chance to play some singles qualies?? .. may be? .. just may be? .. I guess I am an eternal optimist about LP's singles career having not ended already .. Nah, I don't think he will play any qualies for a clay event :-).
Manisha Malhotra reached the final round of qualies at the $25K challenger in Jackson (Mississippi) yesterday with a 60 64 win over unranked Chrissie Seredni (USA) .. She now faces the 10th seed in the qualies, Liga Dekmeijier (LAT,386) .. Manisha and Leanne Baker are the second seeds in the doubles main draw and they face Teryn Ashley and Kristen Schlukebir in the first round.
No news from Kuwait yet on the men's $10K futures, where Rohan, Srinath, Sunil, Manoj, etc are playing, and about the Tuesday results from the Kolhapur satellite for women.
Here is a nice picture of the Indian team in New Zealand (thanks, Makarand Jawadekar, for sending the picture) .. I love those classy Indian style of the jackets - I think people out there would have got all confused, having seen LP in the worst outfit of his life on court, and then in an elegant suit and all :-)
Harsh Mankad had a nice win this weekend in college tennis .. He was playing the last home match in Univ of Minnesota's off-campus indoor courts before they move to a new facilty (hopefully he won't be returning to UM after this year, and that was his last match) next year .. He pulled a nice comeback, 26 67(4) 61 on the #12 college player Amer Delic, who plays the #1 spot for the conference-leading Univ of Illinois .. Harsh said that he got a bit upset at himself for having a few poor matches lately, kicked things up in the second set, and felt his game coming around .. He eventually demolished Amer Delic in the 3rd set for a revenge win, as Amer was the only one to get a win over Harsh this year during his 15-1 start for the season .. Harsh is now 20-3 .. His #23 ranked team lost 3-4 to the strong #3 ranked U.Illinois despite Harsh's efforts, but the home crowd had something to cheer from his comeback win to close out the facility where they played for years, according to the U.of.Minnesota website .. The win should help keep Harsh among the top ranks in the college rankings coming out this week.
Apr 16 Note-2
LP and deJager play the Monte Carlo masters first round against #1 seeds Johnson-Palmer at 11 am tomorrow at Monaco.
I have added the draws and monday results from the 3rd leg of the women's circuit that at Kolhapur at the satellite leg-3 page .. This time the seeding is based on the first two legs' results - Sai, Samrita, Sheetal and Isha are the top 4 seeds .. The Nagpur girls have done well for themselves .. With the QF last week, Rati Kumar got seeded 7th this week and got a win yesterday .. Lata Assudani needed a wildcard to get in this week, but she pulled a minor upset over Vandana Murali .. 7 of the seeds will be in action today .. Sonal Phadke is not in the draw .. I wonder if she withdrew due to some injury ..
Apr 15 Notes
Neither LP nor MB is paying at the Monte Carlo masters today ..
Manisha Malhotra won the first round of qualies over Stephanie Hershfield (USA,949) in double-bagel yesterday, 60 60 .. She plays a wildcard, Chrissie Seredni (USA) in the qualifying second round ..Though A couple of corrections on my Manisha Malhotra note from yesterday .. Actually Leanne Baker (NZL) is there at the challenger, and so they must be playing doubles together - I guess Leanne decided not to go to the Japan satellite where she was in the list ..Also, Dylan Davidson (thanks!) emailed pointing out that Manisha was back playing last week itself, but I did not notice, as I did not follow the Naples challenger in Florida once I did not see her name in the qualies .. Actually she only played doubles last week - and it was with Leanne Baker .. They had quite an impressive main draw R1 win, upsettting the 4th seeds Allison Bradshaw (USA) and Lisa McShea (AUS), 46 76(5) 63 .. They fell in the QF to the eventual runner-s-up, Gisela Dulko (ARG) and Vera Zvonareva (RUS), 06 67(4) ..
At the Chinese Taipei grade-3 tournament, Sania Mirza is the top seed and beat Hsiao-San Huang (TPE), 61 60 .. It's good for Sania to play a grade-3 event occasionally .. It gives her a few easier matches to keep the winning confidence going .. I don't remember the last time any Indian player played in Taiwan, actually - our players do not normally go there. Actually, she is one of only five foreign players in the event - which is rather surprising for a grade-3 event ..
.. Previous notes are at Notes for the week ending on Apr15 ..
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.