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LP/MB/NV/Indian-Tennis: Notes for the week ending on May 06, 2002
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May 6 Notes

The Indian Express did a one week run to exercize the fly wheels and has gone back to the shed .. The right wheel plays with John-Laffnie Dejager and the left wheel plays with Max Mirnyi this week at the Rome masters this week .. LP-JD have a tough draw, as usual, getting the 5th seeded Zimbabwe pair, Wayne Black and Kevin Ullyett in the first round .. MB-MM are the 3rd seeds and play Marius Barnard and Chris Haggard of RSA ..

The title run this week extended the clay winning streak to 10 matches for LP-MB, going back to the French Open last year .. Actually they have a 21-3 record in the last 24 matches on clay, which comes from 7 tournaments in the last 13 months with 4 titles (Houston, Atlanta, French Open and Mallorca titles, Monte Carlo semifinal and two R1 exits at Rome and Hamburg just before FO 2001) .. 4 of the last 6 titles have come on clay, with Cincinnati masters and Chennai as the other two (on hardcourts) .. They picked up 35 ranking points (175 entry points) for the title yesterday, sharing $21.9K .. They have 99 ranking points for the year which puts them right around #10 or #11 in team rankings but that is immaterial unless they get back together later this year - no indication of any of that right now .. I have updated their doubles points tally page.

The dazzling diaper dandies dynamic duo of Sumit Prakash Gupta and Rupesh Roy, the former from UP and the latter from Bihar (now under Paes en Sport watch in Kolkata), finished off their total domination job in the Asia-Oceania regionals by winning the semifinal at Colombo against the second seeded China and then the final against the 3rd seeded Australia (beating them for a second time) .. They have a decent chance to be even seeded in the world group final-16 later this year.

The other very heartening news is the return of Karan Rastogi (who along with Tushar Liberhan had done very well in the 2000 Asian u14 regionals reaching the final) to competitive form .. After making big news reaching ITF world top-120 as a 15 year old last year, he went down with some injuries, and had looked totally out of sorts on his return in the Asian junior circuit a few weeks back .. Karan qualified into the satellite leg in Mumbai today with a straight sets win over Partha Bhattacharya who is a pretty good player who had upset the 3rd seed Stephen Donovan of  USA 62 62  yesterday to reach the final qualies (Partha plays for the Pepperdine Univ in the US) .. Karan beat some decent guys like Elad Stern of Israel in the qualies - he basically bulled through to the main draw with straight set wins in all three rounds .. Still 15, he must be one of the youngest Indians to qualify into a pro satellite main draw - I need to check that.   I have not got all the draws and scores from today yet, but check the Mumbai satellite page for some matchups, etc .. Sandeep Kirtane continues to get drawn against promising youngsters - this time it is Vishal Punna .. Nitin and Manoj get qualifiers in the first round.

More later.

May 5 Note-2

The clay court express did their usual job .. Is there a better team on clay than The Express? .. Hello, Title #22 .. At Mallorca ATP today, [F] #1 M.Bhupathi/ L.Paes d. J.Knowle/ M.Kohlmann, 62 64 .. More later ..

May 5 Note-1

LP-MB play the final at the Mallorca Open today against Julien Knowle (AUT) and Michael Kohlmann (GER) ..

The 3rd seed Nitin Kirtane won the satellite final yesterday at Delhi, beating 4th seed Dooyev .. Nitin deserves congratulation for keeping the focus and going for the title - he went through the draw quietly and finished the job .. On the other hand, it is also rather distressing that our younger players were unable to make use of the tremendous opportunity for ATP points with the very weak field this satellite circuit has, and that 28 yr old Nitin and 29 yr old Sandeep Kirtane were ruling the field .. I guess the only good news was that Mustafa Ghouse did look to be coming back into some form this week after quite a long period of modest results .. I hope Manoj Mahadevan, Vijay Kannan etc would do better in the coming three weeks .. See the Delhi satellite page .. As usual, only circuit points are earned from the first three legs .. The results from the first two legs will be used for the 3rd leg entry and seedings .. A field of 24 will be selected for the 4th (masters) leg which gives roughly 1.5 times the circuit points in each of the first three legs .. Only that field of 24 (and those who are tied in circuit points who play any playoff to determine the final spots for week-4) would get ATP points .. After all four legs are done, the points are totalled and a conversion table is used to find the ATP points .. At least one win in a main draw is a requirement to make the final week, and generally all those who win one round somewhere would end up making the final week's draw .. Just a reminder on how it is all done in the men's satellites.

The Mumbai satellite leg qualifying is underway - I have not seen the results.

The 5th seeded Indian team beat the 4th seeded Japan easily 2-0 in the quarterfinals yesterday to reach the final-4 (and qualify for the world junior tennis final-16) in Colombo .. Once again, Sumit Prakash Gupta and Rupesh Roy won in easy straight sets in the singles against Japan .. Due to rain playing real havoc, they moved the matches from clay courts to hardcourts, but that didn't cause our boys any problems .. India faces top seed China today in the semi, which is inconsequential as far as advancement to world group is concerned .. China beat Hong Kong in the QF .. Korea beat Thailand in a tough 2-1 tie to reach a semi .. They play against the 4th team to advance, the winners of Sri Lanka and Australia .. AUS leads SRI 1-0 but the second match was in a a precarious late 3rd set when it was postponed yesterday .. By the way, I had said that Sumit's and Rupesh's show so far was among the most dominating work by our juniors aborad that I remember .. I was reminded that the Indian u14 team in 2000 with Karan Rastogi and Tushar Liberhan had won all the league match and reached the final before falling to Thailand.

May 3 Note-2

I guess the Indian express likes the little run on the Spanish red muddy tracks .. The express is in its first final since Chennai in January .. At the Mallorca Open, [SF] #1 M.Bhupathi/ L.Paes d. M.Hill/ D.Vacek, 64 62 .. The other semifinal (between Kuerten-Sa and Knowle-Kohlmann) is tomorrow and the final is on Sunday.

May 3 Note-1

LP-MB play the semifinal against Michael Hill and Daniel Vacek tonight at the $381K Mallorca Open .. They had won their QF against Stephen Huss and Miles Wakefield 63 64 yesterday to continue their claycourt win streak from last year at the French Open ..

Nitin Kirtane reached the final with a 26 63 63 win over Tomer Suissa (ISR,768) today at the Delhi satellite .. The top seed Mustafa Ghouse (IND,736) fell to the 4th seed Eliran Dooyev (ISR,898), 57 64 64 .. Top seeded Ghouse and Vijay Kannan continued their doubles win streak with a straight sets win in the final against the 2nd seeds Demekhine-Syrov .. See the Delhi satellite page.

Monsoon rain (isn't it a bit early for that?) in Sri Lanka is delaying a lot of matches at the Asia-Oceania regional qualifying for the 2002 u14 world junior tennis .. Only six matches, all doubles from the first three days' ties to decide the round robin positions, were done today and I think a couple of postponed doubles matches are still not done .. Our dazzling diaper dandies, Sumit Prakash Gupta and Rupesh Rao finished another demolition job, with a 62 64 win over Australia to go 8-0 in league matches (we have already won all three pool ties, to top our pool) .. In the postponed and inconsequential doubles match from the pool tie against Taiwan from Tuesday, our boys had won the first set 6-1 too when rains came down today .. There are knockout rounds with the top 2 teams from each pool .. They will need to finish one or two more postponed doubles matches tomorrow morning to decide all eight teams in the QFs, which will also be tomorrow (Friday) .. India will be getting a second place team and looks pretty well set to win a QF and make the final 4 (which I believe qualifies us for the world group final-16) .. So far it has been the most dominating job abroad by any Indian junior team that I remember in a long time.

May 2 Note-2

Great news from Sri Lanka .. The 5th seeded India upset the 3rd seeds Australia in their 3rd round robin tie, as Sumit and Rupesh each won their singles matches once again! .. The inconsequential doubles match is postponed, as was the one against Taipei yesterday .. I guess my concerns when I saw the draw earlier this week were unfounded - India not being seeded among the top 4, and ending up getting clubbed with Australia, Taipei and Indonesia out of the 15-team field (3 pools of 4 teams each, with #1 seed Korea clubbed with Hong Kong, and Syria in group-1, #2 China with THA, NZL and PAK in group-4, #3 seed AUS with IND, INA and TPE in group-2 and #4 Japan with SRI, UZB and MAS in group-3 --- that is a very unablanced draw with Korea basically getting a free pass and those like India being made to fight) .. India has come out with flying colors so far, topping the pool with an unbeaten 7-0 record in 6 singles and one doubles match .. 4 of the 15 teams advance to the world final-16 .. I am not sure if there is a knockout round with top 2 teams from each pools or anything - not sure of the format .. Anyway, congrats for the great work by the REALLY promising youngsters Summet and Rupesh .. Here is a little writeup from ITF on today's matches - "India's Prakash Gupta gave a good start against third-seed Australia defeating Anthony Tuong of Australia in a hard-fought second singles match. Losing the first set 5/7, Gupta came back gallantly with a more defensive approach unsettling arrogant Tuong to win the next two sets 6/1, 6/1 .. Rupesh Roy edged out Australia's Todd Ley in the first singles in yet another enthralling three-setter by 6/1, 1/6, 6/3, giving fifth-seed India an encouraging victory in the tie" .. That is a rough comment on the 14 yr old Aussie kid by ITF, to call him "arrogant" - but what a nice job by our two boys?  [Hey, a UP kid and a Bihari kid leading an Indian tennis team - how about that?]

May 2 Note-1

Paes-Bhupathi's QF against Stephen Huss and Miles Wakefield is the featured night match on the center court at the Mallorca Open today.

Mustafa Ghouse decided to play like the top seed he is today, putting an end to Sandeep Kirtane's run .. He had to play a calculated patient game to tire out veteran Sandeep and that is exactly what he did in a 63 16 16 win where he moved Sandeep around a lot and got him worn out .. Good to to see Mustafa playing well after quite a long period of stagnation .. Sandeep's cousin Nitin has also reached the semifinal .. Vijay and Mustafa cointinued their winning streak from last week when they won the Kuwait futures, and have reached the final .. See the Delhi satellite page.

The Indian u14 boys, Sumit Prakash Gupta and Rupesh Roy, won their singles matches to give India her second league round robin win (2-0 over Chinese Taipei) at the u14 world junios regionals in Sri Lanka yesterday ..  Play was stopped due to rain with Sumeet and Rupesh up 6-1 in doubles also .. This win follows their 3-0 win over Indonesia on Tuesday ..

May 1 Note-2

The Indian Express is looking OK in the temporary emergence from the shed .. Today they put an end to the three-match losing streak they have had together, and also the three-match losing streaks they have each individually had with other partners .. At the $381 Mallorca Open in Spain just now, [R1] #1 M.Bhupathi/ L.Paes d. A.Kitinov/ J.Landsberg, 64 67(6) (10-7) .. Tough one, but they pulled it off in the end .. I think it's about time ATP stopped this super tiebreak crap .. Actually this is something that is not much in the Indian Express' favor if they ever play together much again .. They have always had a tendency to drop the second set after winning the first, though they have also had a very high percentage of wins in the 3rd set after that .. The super-tiebreak gives less of a chance for regrouping .. On the other hand, they have generally had a good record in tiebreakers in their career, so may be this is fine.

It was the national grasscourt champion Manoj who fell to Sandeep Kirtane in an hour and 8 minutes, and today it was the national hardcourts champion Vijay Kannan who fell in an hour and 16 minutes, 36 46 to him .. Now he gets a 3rd top youngster in a row to try and teach a lesson or two to - he faces Mustafa Ghouse next .. Mustafa got a second injury win in a row as Vishal Uppal retired in the second set .. I think I royally jinxed wildcard Vishal Punna with my comment earlier to watch for him .. He was up 64 57 51, couldn't convert 5 match points and fell in the end .. All the results will be soon at the Delhi satellite page.

May 1 Note-1

Short updates through this week, I guess .. The satellite is in full swing at Delhi .. Kamesh Srinivasan said in his article in The Hindu today that "past met the present and the future looks bleak" - great line (actually the staff report in the Hindustan Times also had a similar line!) - and it's quite precisely the situation, as the 5th seed and the grasscourt champion Manoj Mahadevan went down to qualifier Sandeep Kirtane, who had basically been coaching for a couple of years and is playing pretty much for fun (if I am not mistaken, he may also be coaching some Maharashtra youngsters paying there) .. I guess anybody who draws Sandeep is a bit unlucky in this circuit, if Sandeep's body holds up - he still has oodles of skills, and this was an upset which was really not that unexpected .. It also indicates how much the talented youngsters like Manoj still need to improve .. Vishal Punna is another one who upset a seed today (by the way, keep an eye on him - some of his results in the futures qualies in Dubai etc have been promising lately, and he may be coming on - he is a player with some good tools and abilities, I believe) .. See the Delhi satellite page ..

In other news, our u14 team is playing in the u14 world junior tennis Asia-Oceania qualies, as the 5th seeds .. Sumit Prakash Gupta and party - and they have started well with a 3-0 win over Indonesia .. The regional qualies are at Colombo.

Apr 30 Notes

Quick update again..

LP-MB are not scheduled to play today - they should probably be playing tomorrow at the Mallorca ATP.

I have added a page for the scores from the Delhi (first) leg of the Indian satellites which started yesterday .. The following legs are at Mumbai, Vishakhapatnam and Bangalore .. Only 5 first round singles matches were done on Monday and the surprise was the upset of seasoned player Vinod Sridhar by qualifier 17 yr old Somdev Dev Varman .. Great job by him ..

Vijay Kannan and Mustafa Ghouse won the doubles title at the Kuwait F2 $10K futures on Saturday .. Congrats to them! .. Here are their scores - [R1] d. Ahmed Rabeea/ Govind Rammohan (KUW/ IND) 60 62 .. [QF]  d. (wc) Musaad Al Jazzaf/Ramin Razixani (KUW/ IRI) 64 62 .. [SF] d. #3 Mohammed Al Ghareeb/ Hiroki Kondo (KUW/ JPN) 75 75 .. [F] d. Evgueni Smirnov/ Jasper Smit (RUS/ NED) 62 61

Apr 29 Notes

Quick updates, as I am a little bit busy for a few days .. LP-MB play Alexander Kitinov and Johann Landsberg in the first round at the $381K Mallorca Open ATP in Spain (they are not on the monday schedule; not sure when they will be playing) .. They are the top seeds .. Srinath went down in the semis at the Kuwait futures in a surprisingly one-sided 06 16 loss to Baptiste Dupuy of France .. Vijay Kannan and Mustafa Ghouse had reached the finals of doubles when I saw last .. The 4-week Indian men's satellites begin today, starting at Delhi .. Perhaps the weakest field we have ever had for a satellite circuit .. Sad that this situation is not improving, as we keep getting weaker and weaker fields - had this satellite been some 4 weeks later, a handful of college players from the US could have joined it like in 2000, but right now higher-ranked foreign players are all scared to come to the subcontinent I think .. Anyway, only three top-1000 players in the fiels, with Mustafa as the top seed .. We have normally had at least 3-4 top-600 players, but not this time .. Bopanna is skipping it - he had not intended entered to play this, and he had anyway had to retire (hurt or ill - I haven't heard the details yet) last week at Kuwait .. Sunil Kumar is preparing to finish some remaining school work if I am not mistaken - so he will miss this too .. Manoj Mahadevan, Vijay Kannan, Nitin Kirtane, etc top the list, with one qualifier, old pal Sandeep Kirtane (coming back for this from retirement) sure to cause trouble for everybody! .. Younger ones like Rohan Gajjar, Somdev dev Varman, and P.Ravikrishna also have qualified in, along with Sergei Demekhine (RUS), Elad Stern (ISR), Roy Sichel (ISR), Naori Arimoto (JPN) .. Running a bit slow this week - will start a page for the satellite.

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