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LP/MB/NS/Indian-Tennis: Notes for the week ending on May 3, 2004
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May 3 Notes.

Back from a trip, and back to news updates .. LP plays with David Rikl and MB plays with Max Mirnyi .. MB-MM are seeded 3rd with a first round bye .. LP and Rikl are unseeded as their rankings have fallen a bit to #20 and 21 now (with a bunch if points to defend in the next few weeks too; they have some work to do immediately) .. They play Mariano Hood and Sebastien Prieto in the first round .. That match is tomorrow (Tuesday) ..

Harsh Mankad is at the $15K Lebanon F1 futures on outdoor clay this week .. He is among the seeds - I believe he plays a qualifier in the first round, but I have not seen the draw .. Mustafa Ghouse is also in the main draw at Lebanon, and Jacco Mathew's name was in the entry list for qualifying - not sure if he went there .. Based on the news from a French Lebanese newspaper, Gurmehar Singh qualified in there, but he faces the top seed Wesley Whiotehouse in the first round today .. Harsh and Mustafa play Thomas Holzmann and Zbynek Mlynaryk in the doubles R1 today, as they try to get used to the clay quickly before the singles first round tomorrow.

Prakash Amritraj has withdrawn from the two weeks of $15K futures in Uzbekistan; not sure why .. Sunil Kumar is at the $15K UZB F3 this week, and Ajay Ramaswami was expected to be among the seeds in the qualies .. No news from there either about the draw yet.

Divij Sharan was at the qualifying for the $10K Spain F5 futures and fell in the final round .. After a Q1 bye, he upset the top seed David Villanueva (ESP,946) 76(5) 36 52 .. Disgusting for that guy to retire in the final game rather than to stay in there and take the loss like a man .. As always I have to say that it is disgusting behavior, unless the injury is so bad that one can't even toos the ball in for serves or can't even stand there to receive four serves ..  Just to repeat what I have said before, that stuff normally only shows the lack of self-respect from the player; If you believe you are good, you wouldn't feel the need to show the world that it was only injuries that caused a loss .. Good job by Divij there, but he could not continue the fine work in the next match where he lost 26 26 to Roberto Velilla (ESP) in the Q3 of the 4-round qualies.

Sai and Liza are at the $10K ITF event for women at Jakarta .. Shruti is at the $10K in Edinburgh, UK ..

The Indian u16 junior Fed Cup girls team is at Thailand this week for the Girls Junior Fed Cup Asia-Ocenia Regional qualifying .. They are among the 15 teams there, with 4 advancing to the world group-16 .. India should be a seed there, but I am awaiting news from there as well.

Here is an article in The Hindu with the comments by coach Sandeep Kirtane about our biys u16 Junior Davis Cup teams show in Colombo last week .. Frank and straight-forward opinions by Sandeep on the players .. Congratulations, Sandeep, for the job well done!

May 1 Notes

.. Quick updates, as I am traveling for three days  -- Top seeds MB-Haney were upset in the QF at Barcelona by Spaniards Feliciano Lopez and Fernando Verdasco, 36 64 62 .. Harsh Mankad lost a tough one against 2nd seed J-M.Pequery in the Qatar F2 yesterday .. Last week's winner Pequery is on a 9 match win streak and is set to go inside top-240 soon .. HM lost 63 36 46 and that was the first set JP dropped in two weeks at Qatar; apparently HM played well all the way to the end .. This is HM's first $15K futures semi and a very rare $15K semi abroad for Indians - gets 6 pts to take his rank nearer 365 again - he goes to two clay futures in Lebanon the next two weeks .. By the way, RB-Pequery and HM-Ghouse are in the doubles final at Qatar today, HM-MG winning a tough semi yesterday 7-5 in the 3rd and RB-Pequery winning a close two-setter .. The second seeded Indian junior u16 Davis Cup boys team beat the 4th seed Japan 2-0 in the semis and upset the top seds Auatralia 2-0 today to win the Asia-Oceania regionals without dropping a single match in six ties!! .. Congratulations, Rupesh, Jeevan and Sanam! .. I expect them to be a seeded team at the world final-16 later in the year ..

Apr 29 Note-2

Beautiful win again by Harsh Mankad today at the $15K Qatar F2 futures - he beat the 5th seed Jamie Delgado (GBR,347) by a 64 63 score to reach the semifinals .. Though he is seeded 4th in last week's rank, this goes technically as an upset, because Harsh's rank is 386 this week with his Bangalore challenger points from last year having just fallen off .. Good time to pick up some points; he has got 6 pts so far .. HM plays the tough second seed, Jean-Michael Pequery (FRA,284) next .. The report from the Doha friend is, "HM broke him in the very first game in the 1 set and served two Love games also in the set. In the 2nd set he again broke Delgado in the 1st game, but Delgado broke back in the 6th game .. Again HM broke JD in the 7th and 9th games to close the set 63. Harsh served a couple of aces today. Perfect match, not many errors" .. Harsh, Rohan and Mustafa are in the doubles semis there as well .. In the QF today, Mustafa and Harsh beat the German team of Frank Moser and Bernhard Parun, 61 64 and in another QF,  Rohan Bopanna and J-M.Pequery also beat a German team, Philipp Marx and Tobias Raab, 61 62 .. MG-HM play the 3rd seeds Jamie Delgado (GBR) and Wesley Whitehouse (RSA) next .. The other semi is between RB-JMP against Ti Chen (TPE) and Leonardo Tavares (POR) .. Good show by Indians out there.

At the u16 Junior Davis Cup asia Regionals in Colombo today, our boys team reached the final-4 and advanced to the world group-16 .. They easily beat Thailand 2-0 (doubles not played) .. #2 Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan d. Perakiat Siriluethawattana, 61 76(4) .. #1 Rupesh Roy d. Peerachat Chaiyapan, 76(4) 64 .. India faces the 4th seeds Japan in the semifinal tomorrow ..  Congratulations, boys!!

Apr 29 Note-1

At the $15K Qatar F2 futures, Harsh Mankad had a dominating 62 61 win yestreday over Gary Lugassy ( FRA,403) to reach the quarter final .. According to our always-reliable anonymous friend from Doha, Harsh jumped ahead with two breaks to 5-0 in the first set before dropping serve once and winning the set .. In the second set, he continued the fine form and finished the match with a love game and a nice volley winner at the match point .. Reportedly his serve, backhand, and volleys were all clicking well yesterday .. He had three aces to one from Lugassy .. In the QF, HM faces the 5th seed Jamie Delgado (GBR,347) today.. In doubles, boith HM and RB are expected to play QF today as well.

I got an email that Karan is not the first one since Leander to be part of the ITF grand slam touring team .. Mahesh, and the Kirtane cousins Sandeep and Nitin also were - so it must be a mistake in the rediff article I referred to yesterday .. Anyway, KR is still the first one in a decade to be selected for it.

Apr 28 Notes   

At the $950K Open Seat Godo ATP in Barcelona, the top seeds Mahesh and Paul Hanley (AUS), who had a first round bye, took a little time to get going as they are playing together for the first time - but they came back to beat Lucas Arnold and Augustin Calleri of Argentina 36 60 63 just now.  Their QF opponents are to be determined.

Indian u16 Junior Davis Ciup team advanced to the QF, topping their group with a 3-0 win over Philippines today .. Jeevan Nedunchezhian d. Ralph Kevin Barte, PHI, 61 61 .. Rupesh Roy d. Miguel Lorenzo Narvaez, PHI, 62 62 .. R.Roy/ S.Singh d. R.K.Barte/ M.L.Narvaez, 64 62 .. India now takes on Thailand, who upset the 3rd seeds Indonesia to finish second and advance from their group - they will not be easy but India should be able to advance to the SF if all goes well .. The QFs are, (1) AUS vs KOR .. (4) JPN vs (7) SRI .. (5) UZB vs (6) TPE .. (2) IND vs THA ..

At the $15K Qatar F2, Mustafa Ghouse made it in as a lucky loser but went down to qualifier Nick Crawley (GBR,778), 57 26 .. Harsh plays his singles R2 today .. As both Harsh/Mustafa and Rohan/Pequery had first round byes in doubles, they had the day off yesterday .. At the $10K Jakarta ITF event, 4th seed Sai Jayalakshmy was upset 26 75 63 by Mari Inoue (JPN) .. She advanced in doubles with Liza Pereira with an R1 win over Orawan Lamangthong and Varanya Vijuksanaboon, 75 46 63 ..

There was a news report today about Sania Mirza saying that she will be playing the junior Wimbledon this year, as a final event of her junior career .. As her rank is #81 now, she would need some sort of a special entry there, which I suppose she could get ..  In other news, here is a nice article in on Karan Rastogi, the first Indian since Leander to make the prestigious ITF grand slam touring team.

Indian womens ranking in the ITF Fed Cup nations ranking just moved up 7 spots to #36 with the good showing at the regionals..  Australia (#11), Indonesia (#14), Japan (#16), Thailand (#20) and China (#30) are the top -5 in our region.

Apr 27 Notes

The Indian junior Davis Cup (u16) team of Rupesh Roy, Jeevan Nedunchezhian and Sanam Singh, is in Colombo for the Asian regionals .. I believe four teams will advance to the world group 16 (I need to check if they changed the number from asia from 4 to 3 this time) .. India is seeded second behind Australia, and are in a group with Korea and Philippines .. There are 7 seeded teams among 17 teams split into five groups, three groups with three teams each and two with four each .. India beat Korea 3-0 today and lead our group .. Jeevan N. d. Hwi-Jin Hong, 61 62, Rupesh Roy d. Seong-Hyun Im, 46 62 61 and R.Roy/ S.Singh d. H.W.Hong/ Yo-Sup Yoon, 63 62 .. Korea had beaten Philippines 3-0 yesterday and so India can top the group with a good result against Philippines tomorrow ..  I have not checked the exact format, but I believe 5 group leaders and 3 at-large teams will advance to the quarterfinals.

At the $10K Jakarta ITF event, Liza Pereira went down in the R1 to Thassha Vitayaviroj (THA) 06 06, but 4th seed Sai Jayalakshmy advanced with a 63 67(2) 63 win over qualifier, Eny Sulistyowati (INA) .. She faces Mari Inoue (JPN) next .. At the Bournemouth $10K in UK, 4the seed Shruti Dhawan won the Q1, 62 46 60 over.Melissa Berry (GBR) but the fell in the Q2 to (9) Emily Trouche FRA, 36 36 ..

Shikha Uberoi (IND/USA) went down 36 26 to Marion Bartoli (FRA,72) in the first round of the $110K Hungarian WTA .. A very good run through the qualies for Shikha though .. She picked up a good amont of points as well and will move a bit in the ranks.

No news yet on the results from the $15K Qatar F2 today ..

The entry list for the May 17th $25K+H Fergana (Uzbekistan) challenger came out today .. Prakash Amritraj (#267) is the second seed there in a relativelly poor field with only four top-300 players .. Harsh Mankad is also in the main draw .. Rohan is 8 out from the main draw with Sunil Kumar 13th and Ajay Ramaswamy 33rd .. Somdev Dev Varman has made direct entry at the $10K USA F11 futures at Orange Park near Jacksonville, Florida, starting in 2 weeks..

Apr 26 Notes

At the $15K Qatar F2, Harsh Mankad beat Rohan Bopanna 63 60 in the first round .. I hate these two ending up against each other, but another good win for Harsh .. He faces Peter Lugassy in the second round .. Rohan m,ight need a couple of weeks of rest now .. He will against be at the Saudi Arabia $15K after a couple of weeks ..  The Qatar trip didn't go all that well for him, and he is probably still not 100% healthy either.

The big news was at Budapest at the $110K WTA TierV event -- Shikha Uberoi (USA/IND) had a terrific time in the qualies, pulling off the upsets of two top-200 seeds to advance to the main draw .. [Q1] S.Uberoi (USA,386) d. Christianne Hoppmann (GER, 484) 63 64 .. [Q2] d. (5) Cristina Torrens-Valero (ESP,167) 76(9) 67(9) 64 .. [Q3] d. (4) Edina Gallovits (ROM,165) 64 63 .. In the main draw she faces Marion Bartoli (FRA,72) .. Neha did not do as well - [Q1] N.Uberoi (USA,378) d. (wc) Zsuszana Fodor (HUN,662) 16 62 63 .. [Q2] l. (4) Stephanie Foretz (FRA, 140) 76(5) 46 36 .. Those are two big wins for Shikha over the weekend .. She has really been coming on lately too (the sisters are both making everyone sit up and take notice of them) .. Tough fiorst round matchup, but Go Shikha!

Shruti Dhawan won the first round of qualies at the Bournemouth $10K .. No news on the Q2 ..

Apr 25 Notes

Mahesh is playing doubles with Paul Hanley (AUS) at the 990K Barcelona ATP .. Seeded first, they have a first round bye .. Will play the winners of the Graydon Oliver/ Travis Parrot vs Lucas Arnold/ Augustin Calleri first round match .. Looks like thyis was another week when LP could have played with MB has gone down the tubes .. Leander doesn't seem to be playing anywhere this week either .. Ah, I am getting more and more impatient and frustrated .. LP and MB need to do something and get on the same page on the matter of preparing for the Olympics .. Time keeps going by, and chances are going down the drain .. I am sorry, I am beginning to give up on a medal at Olympics, despite all the optimism I have based purely on what these two are capable of .. The historical tragedies in Indian sports do not seem to ever end .. Look how coach Rajinder Singh and the Hockey Federation have run our hoceky team's morale completely down to the ground .. What looked like bright possibilities of medals in hockey and tennis a few months back are now begining to look like distant dreams .. What is new? - we will always remain snake-bitten in sport, even when we are good.

Harsh Mankad, Rohan Bopanna and Mustafa Ghouse are at the $15K Qatar F2 this week .. Just got word from Qatar that the draw shows Harsh playing Rohan in the first round, once again .. Mustafa went down in the final round of qualies this weekend but will wait and see if there is any lucky loser spots that clear up ..

Sunil Kumar and Ajay Ramaswami are in Uzbekistan where there is a one week break in the futures series .. They are both in the list (Ajay in qualies) for next week's
$15K UZB F3 .. Prakash Amritraj joins them next week (May 3rd) for two weeks of $15Ks in UZB followed by the $25K+H Fergana challenger (May 17th) for which the entries close tomorrow.

Sai Jayalakshmy and Liza Pereira are in the main draw list for the $10K in Jakarta this week .. Young Parul Goswamy went down in the qualies today at Jakarta .. Everybody else seem to be taking time off this week.

In other news, Shruti Dhawan is in the qualifying entry list for two $10K events in UK (Bournemouth and Edinburgh), starting on May 3rd and 10th .. Somdev Dev Varman is expected to get back to playing in 2 weeks time at the USA F11 and F12 futures (May 10th and 17th) - aspparently his board exams got postponed and all his schedules went for a toss, so he decided to come to the $10Ks in the US which is probably the only decent place for $10Ks, Mexico being the other, where he can play and get into the main draw .. He is expected to play two claycourt futures near Jacksonville and Tampa then .. Still no sighting of the Asian Junior champion ArunPrakash for a few weeks.

Apr 24 Notes

Sania went down 67(3) 16 to Suchanan in the first match .. She had some 5 break points to jump ahead on Suchanan's serve in the second set first game, but that didn't work .. Then again had deuces on her in the 3rd game .. Instead, she dropped serve in the 4th game to fall 1-3 and went down from that point with a whole ton of mistakes .. Cutting down on her mistakes and getting the "comeback strategies" and second-options when the strengths aren't working - that is what Sania needs to get coached on, now ..

Rushmi just lost 06 16 to Tammy Tanasugarn in the second match ..  Oh well, we did our best to make it into the semifinal .. Next year we will be so much better with experience from this .. Time to get Sania and Ankita into some serious coaching (I am alwasy asking for that, aren't I?) and get them ready for next year ..  And Neha, come on over and join too :-) ..

Later update:  After surviving a couple of scray second set match points in the deciding doubles match, Wynne Prakusya and Angelique Widjaja won in three sets to put Indonesia into the world group playoff, winning a 2-1 tie against New Zealand .. So India can claim that we only lost to the two teams (INA, THA) that advanced out of the 9-team event ..

.. Previous notes (before a week of vacation for me) are at Notes for the week ending on Apr 26 ..

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.