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LP/MB/NV/Indian-Tennis: Notes for the week ending on May 14, 2001
(Previous week's notes) (Next week's notes) (Daily Notes Index 1997 thru 2001)

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May 14 Note-1

The first round match for LP-MB at the $2.95M Hamburg Masters is at about 3.30 pm (plus/minus half hour) .. That is 7 pm India, 6.30 am Los Angeles .. ATP has announced that they will have live scoring again, after two masters events where they did not do that .. That means we will be following the match live in our chatroom .. Come on in!

May 13 Notes

The Indian Express plays Monday late afternoon at the Hamburg masters in the first round .. Here is the upper half of the draw:

1 J.Bjorkman/ T.Woodbridge vs   C.Haggard/ T.Vanhoudt     \
  T.Carbonell/ M.Hill      vs   A.Olhovskiy/ F.Santoro    / \
  L.Arnold/ C.Suk          vs   W.Black/ K.Ullyett        \ / \
6 E.Ferreira/ J.Palmer     vs W T.Henman/ T.Martin        /    \ _ Final
4 J.Eagle/ A.Florent       vs   J.Oncins/ D.Orsanic       \    /
  M.Bhupathi/ L.Paes       vs W N.Kiefer/ N.Lapentti      / \ /
  P.Pala/ P.Vizner         vs   J.Knippschild/ D.Prinosil \ /
5 W.Ferreira/ Y.Kafelnikov vs Q qualifiers                /
That is a very difficult draw .. Our boys have a reasonably tough first round, followed by three of the best teams there, if the results are as expected .. By the way, the potential SF team for our boys, Ferreira-Kafelnikov, are on a hot streak too .. 5th seeded, they won the masters doubles title at Rome today beating the top seeds Nestor-Stolle .. Also in Rome, after being let off the hook by LP-MB this week in the first round, Agassi and Hewitt went on to upset the 2nd seeds Novak-Rikl also in three-sets, before falling to Ferreira-Kafelnikov in the QF in three sets ..

Nirupama says that the neck pain that gave her problems this week in the second round of singles at the Virginia challenger is connected to the shoulder trouble last week .. She is going to take time off and rest before playing the French Open qualies starting around the 24th .. It doesn't appear to be anything that serious though (we all surely hope so!) .. She said she is planning to play doubles at the FO with Nana Miyagi .. As far as I know, Nana herself has had some injury problems over a few months now, but she seems fine for now and has been playing lately .. They will make the main draw of doubles, which is the good news.

The second leg of the satellites start tomorrow in Bangalore - most probably only doubles matches will be played in the main draw, as the singles qualies are still ongoing and won't get done till tomorrow .. The draws hadn't been made by saturday night .. Fazal is playing doubles this time with Prakash Amritraj ..

#12 Ajay Ramaswamy had a straight sets win over the #35 college player today in leading the 15th ranked Louisiana State University to the final-16 of college tennis with a win over #19 U.of.Texas (4-team tournaments were held in 16 campuses this weekend - LSU was the top seed in the tournament on their homecourts) .. Despite valiant efforts from Harsh Mankad, the #46 ranked Univ of Minnesota fell in the final-32 today to #12 U.of.Miami on their homecourt (to their credit, U.of.M did upset #15 U.of.Alabama yesterday inspired by the upset of the #15 Maxim Belski by #45 Harsh at the #1 spot) .. Harsh's team mates have been injury-plagued and he has been mostly waging a lone-battle all year at the #1 spot .. Last year, U.of.M was in the top-20 and advanced to the final-16, but Harsh's ranking was not high enough to make it to the individual events, but this year, though his university is not going to the final-16 team events, he himself is among a handful of players appearing in both the singles and doubles individual tournaments .. Ajay Ramaswamy will lead his LSU Tigers in the final-16 team events .. Ajay did not make it to the individual doubles event, but will be in the individual singles event, as a seeded player who will be a contender for the title too (which would be a tremendous achievement) .. Jahnavi Parekh, also in her final year as is Ajay, led her Baylor University to the final-16 today after the 4-team tournament held at Baylor (they are ranked #18 in women's rankings but were seeded among the top-16 by NCAA) .. Jahnavi is ranked #34, quite a bit below the top-15 ranking she had last year when she set Baylor records for wins during a fantastic season .. She has came through with tough wins when needed for the Baylor Bears this year though, as the leader of the team .. She will be in the team final-16, as well as in individual doubles and singles ..

May 13 Note-1

Had to take off for a day without warning and couldn't update any new yesterday .. LP-MB are in the $2.95M Hamburg masters doubles draw for this coming week, and faces once again a very very tough draw .. It seems to be a pattern, for the 4th week in a row for our pair to face one of the featured wildcards with good singles players .. This time it will be Lapentti and Kiefer, which is not necessarily that tough a match, but our dudes are drawn right next to an in-form Eagle-Florent (world #2 team) whom they could face in the second round itself .. They are in the upper half with the near-unbeatable #1 team, Bjorkman-Woodbridge .. The Indian Express will have a tough week to come out with big points - but since they are in good form, they may just plough thrpough the draw! .. The coming week would be a good one to get some points in .. A good showing would push their rankings up sufficiently to get a seeding at the French Open, which will be based on the rankings the Monday after next week.

At Thiruvananthapuram, Fazal and Rishi Sridhar won a three-set final over Nitin and Rohan .. 3rd seed Uebel won the final over 6th seed Kokurin .. See the Thiruvananthapuram satellite page .. I will have some info on the second leg soon.

The NCAA collegiate tennis championship have started in the USA .. #45 Harsh Mankad upset the #15 collegiate player yesterday to lead his #46 ranked U.of.Minneota to a big upset of the #15 U.of.Alabama .. #12 Ajay Ramamswamy had an easy win over an unranked player yesterday too .. The colleges are trying to advance to the final-16 tournament to be held during the next weekend .. Jahnavi Parekh also is in action .. I will have a roundup soon.

Indian boys and girls did reach the quarterfinals at the Jakarta Asia-Oceania qualifiers, but failed to advance - see The Hindu article for the QF scores.

May 11 Notes

Nitin Kirtane's nice run ended today at Thiruvananthapuram .. He lost in three sets to the 6th seed Anton Kokurin .. Kokurin has come to India a few times, but seems to be showing some improvement now .. Good job by Nitin still to reach the semifinal and pick up 10 circuit points .. Indians are out from the singles draw now, but all four players appearing in the doubles final tomorrow are from India .. See the Thiruvananthapuram satellite page.

Not much other news to report today .. Not sure how the Indian kids did in the World Youth Cup u16 qualies in Indonesia .. The Indonesian newspapers have not mentioned a word about India so far .. There was a report in the Telegraph (Calcutta) today that both our boys and girls have reached the quarterfinals, but the scores they gave for earlier ties did not match what was in The Hindu in the last two days, and I am not sure if we have indeed reached the QFs .. At this point I have no idea how things are going for Sania, Karan and company ..

By the way, Jyotsna Vasisht was supposed to play the Swansea $10K satellite in Britain this week, and was originally listed as the 7th seed, but she withdrew from the event and was replaced by a lucky loser .. Not sure if she travelled to Britain or not.

May 10 Note-2

Niru played well, but was being bothered by a neck pain (according to the player desk) and had to retire after a set against Joanne Moore today at the Midlothian (Virginia) challenger .. She stopped after losing the first set 5-7 ..

Veteran (well, he is not *that* old, but compared to the other Indians in the satellite, he is older) Nitin Krtane continues to keep the flag fluttering at Thiruvananthapuram .. Mustafa Ghouse went down, reportedly with all kinds of serving problems, today .. Nitin upset the 5th seed James Auckland, ranked 746, by the score of 75 76(6) to reach the semis though .. If he can keep the fight going, Nitin can very well upset the 6th seed Anton Kokurin tomorrow as well .. Both the doubles finalist teams are Indians too .. #2 Fazal-Rishi and #4 Nitin-Rohan, the latter pulling off another three-setter to upset the top seeds .. See the Thiruvananthapuram satellite page ..

The Indian kids did much better today in the u-16 World Youth Cup qualies at Jakarta .. Boys: India d. China 3-0 (R. Arun Prakash d. Yang Jiang 61 60; Karan Rastogi d. Jian Li 26 63 75; R.A.Prakash/ V.Vighnesh d. Y.Jiang/ Xin-Yuan Yu, 16 63 75) ... Girls: India d. Hong Kong 3-0 (Ankita Bhambri d. Wai-Man Yiu 60 67(5) 60; Sania Mirza d. Wing-Shan Cheung 62 61; A.Bhambri/ Priyanka Parekh d. W-S.Cheung/ Yee-Ting Lo 63 60) [source: The Hindu] .. Actually the 6th seeded Indian boys' upset of the 3rd seed China is commendable .. I guess they have recovered from travel weariness or whatever troubled them yesterday!

May 10 Note-1

It appears that LP-MB really did mess up that match yesterday that they could have rather easily won against Agassi and Hewitt .. They had a match point in the second set .. Worse still, they were up 5-0 in the third and then had everything go wrong, as they seem to have dropped serve three times in a row .. Mahesh's email does not mention any injury or other problems but that the Indian Express basically ground to a halt .. I guess it was one of those days - and one more lesson to them that they should not ease the pressure on anybody - let alone two guys like Agassi and Hewitt .. "Excrement happens" was basically what Mahesh said (I am paraphrasing!), but he added that it was better that it happened now than two weeks later at the FO .. As I said earlier, I am not too sad about them getting 5-6 days off, considering that Hamburg, FO qualies, two weeks of FO, and then the 4-5 week grass season follows with no weeks available to take much of a break.

Indian under-16 teams have had a pretty poor start in the under-16 World Youth Cup Asia-Oceania qualifying rounds in Indonesia on Tuesday .. Here are the scores (courtesy: The Hindu) : Boys: Korea d. India 3-0 (Hyun-Woo Nam d. R. Arun Prakash 64 36 61; Seong-Kwan Kim d. Karan Rastogi 46 60 61 .. Kyung-Sik Lim/ H-W.Nam d. R.A.Prakash/ V.Vighnesh 62 63) ... Girls: Uzbekistan bt India 3-0 (Ivanna Israilova d. Ankita Bhambri 61 64 .. Varvara Lepchenko d. Sania Mirza 62 64; I.Israilova/ V.Lepchenko d. A.Bhambri/ S.Mirza 62 63) ...  That is actually a very disappointing start, especially considering that Sania, Karan, ArunPrakash, etc, are probably more talented and promising than some of the kids we have sent in the previous years .. The 3rd seeded Indian girls' upset defeat to Uzbekistan is "shocking", actually .. The Uzbekistan girls are not that highly ranked, and Sania almost never loses to somebody that lowly ranked .. I wonder what went wrong - Some travel weariness or something, considering that the whole team seems to have started poorly? .. Both teams will have to fight hard now to make the knockout stage.

May 9 Note-3

Nirupama once again faced Gabriel Volekova in the first round, this time at the $25K Challenger at Midlothian, Virgina, today and once again she won in straight sets .. #2 N.Vaidyanathan d. G.Volekova (SVK,231), 76(10) 62 .. Niru next faces Joanne Moore (GBR,265) in the second round, tomorrow .. The win gives her 5 WTA points including 2 bonus points.

May 9 Note-2

LP-MB have generally been very good at beating the top singles players - but as I had guessed, this was going to be a tough match - against two guys who are just "really" good, so to say! .. And their 8 match clay win streak ended today .. Just heard from the press box at Rome that M.Bhupathi/ L.Paes l. (wc) A.Agassi/ L.Hewitt, 62 67(5) 57 .. Close match, and I assume they probably did get some chances in the second set but couldn't close it out .. Agassi, having lost in singles in the first round must have really wanted to win this one! .. Anyway, good match, though our guys came out at the wrong end of the scoreline .. In a way I am happy that they are not playing for a few days now (till next Tuesday or so at Hamburg) .. It was getting scary to see them play way too many matches in a row than they really should .. Hey, Lee and Hesh, enjoy some Italian food for a few days and relax .. Hamburg and Roland Garrows will be the big enchiladas !

At Thriuvananthapuram, Mustafa and Nitin reached the quarterfinals .. Mustafa's comeback, winning the second and 3rd set tiebreakers to upset the 2nd seed Ivo Klec (GER,592) was quite impressive .. Those are the kind of matches that give a player the confidence boost to take his game to the next level .. I hope Mustafa keeps the momentum going .. Nitin Kirtane showed a lot of ability to hang in and fight for a win in the last satellite circuit - actually he has been doing a lot more of that in the last year or two .. Good job by Nitin too, in winning a three-setter .. Two Indian teams are in the doubles semis too (#2 Fazal-Rishi and #4 Nitin-Bopanna) .. See all the scores in Thiruvananthapuram satellite page ..

May 9 Note-1

If you tried to connect to our chatroom today and couldn't get in, sorry about that .. There seems to be some problem at the Xoom servers .. Anyway, we didn't miss much -- there is no live score updates from the Rome masters .. That is unusual - ATP has been providing live scores from all masters series events for a while ..  Anyway, we will have to wait a bit to find out how LP-MB are did at Rome today.

The score for Nirupama's doubles loss with Melissa Middleton against Joanne Moore and Jackie Trail at the $25K Midlothian challenger first round yesterday was 26 76(2) 26 .. I believe she is playing the singles first round today .. At the Fukuoka challenger in Japan, Manisha Malhotra could not do much in the qualies this week, unlike last week when she reached the final round .. She was the 7th seed but was upset in the first round of qualies over this weekend by Kaori Aoyama (JPN), 46 06 ..  No news yet on doubles from there.

May 8 Note-2

LP-MB will be playing against Agassi-Hewitt on court 6 tomorrow at the $2.9M Rome Masters, at about 8 pm (plus or minus an hour) .. That is about 11.30 pm India, 11 am pst, USA .. There will be ball-by-ball score updates and we will chat in our chatroom..

Here is the draw at Rome for our boys (bottom half of the draw with results till Today):

7 W.Arthurs/ N.Zimonjic    vs Q S.Aspelin/ M-K.Goellner       \
  L.Arnold/ C.Suk          d. W G.Galimberti/ E.Grossi  64 63 / \
  M.Knowles/ A.O'Brien     vs   J.Oncins/ D.Orsanic           \ /
4 E.Ferreira/ D.Johnson    vs   C.Haggard/ T.VanHoudt         /
5 W.Ferreira/ Y.Kafelnikov d.   D.Adams/ M.Garcia       62 64 \
W M.Navarra/ D.Santopadre  d.   D.Hrbaty/ J.Tarango     64 64 / \
  M.Bhupathi/ L.Paes       vs W A.Agassi/ L.Hewitt            \ /
2 J.Novak/ D.Rikl          d.   A.Kratzmann/ F.Santoro  64 64 /
Not at all an easy draw, but if they are not tired from three weeks of 4 matches each, they should be fine .. Nestor and Stolle are the top seeds .. Woodbridge is not playing and Bjorkman is partnering Federer.

It seems that 2nd seeded Niru and Melissa got upset in the first round of doubles today at the $25K Midlothian (Virginia) challenger .. I wonder if the shoulder is actually still troubling Niru..

United States Tennis Association has officially now announced Winston-Salem as the location for the Davis Cup .. Important note for all Indian tennis fans in the US - ticket information will be available on May 21st .. I will alert you all later too ..  It is very important that the Indians show up in large numbers at the cigarette city ..

At Thiruvananthapuram, no great news to report from the first round of the satellites first leg .. 3rd seed Fazal went down to a lucky loser in three sets .. Clay surface and the weather conditions caused Fazal some trouble, reportedly .. Prakash Amritraj also was not able to do much against a not-so-highly ranked player, going down 06 36 .. We will have to wait before making any judgment on Prakash as a player at this level .. Mustafa showed great form in a 61 61 win .. 18 yr old Shivang Mishra and 19 yr old Kamala Kannan also advanced .. Nitin was impressive in pulling off comeback wins in both singles and doubles .. Otherwise a rather gloomy day when 9 of the 14 Indians went down in the first round .. Vinod Sridhar lost in three sets after a good fight against a seeded player ..  The top seed John Doran was also upset .. See the scores at the Thiruvananthapuram satellite page.

The World Youth Cup (under-16) Asia-Oceania qualifying rounds started today at Jakarta .. I will post some results as soon as I can find them .. The under-14 qualies were in Sri Lanka last week and the Indian teams did not qualify for the world group, though they played rather decently.

May 8 Note-1

Agassi and Hewitt are both playing singles today at the Rome Masters .. They will be there for doubles tomorrow against our dudes ..

Unlike the newspaper report last week that Niru may skip a week or two to watch the minor shoulder pain last week, she seems to have decided to play again .. She is at the $25K Midlothian (Virginia) challenger this week, as the 3rd seed in doubles, behind the top seed Alina Jidkova and second seed Mialgro Sequeira .. Niru is also in the doubles draw as the second seed, partnering Melissa Middleton .. Will find draw info soon..

Only doubles matches were done at the Thiruvananthapuram satellite yesterday, as the morning singles schedule was completely washed out by early morning rain .. Fazal and Rishi moved on to the QF of doubles .. A few of the Indian pairs lost .. Prakash had lost in the final round of doubles qualies .. See the Thiruvananthapuram satellite page.

In the new rank list this week, Nirupama stays at around the same singles ranking, #180 .. Manisha moved up 11 spots to #362 with the 3 points from the Gifu (Japan) challenger final round qualies .. Sai is at #389 and Rushmi at #429 .. Sonal follows at #475 and Shruti at #502 .. The Pune satellite points have also gone into the rankings, and the 7 points for the title moved 19 yr old Radhika Tulpule up by 116 spots to #540 .. The 5 points from the final moved Archana Venkatraman also up by 108 spots to #602 .. Sheetal at #664 is the 9th Indian in the top-700 .. Nice to see 4 teenagers in that list ..

In doubles, Niru stayed at #134 .. Manisha has moved up 7 spots to #246, with the 10 points she picked up at the $50K Gifu challenger last week .. Late report of her results - Manisha qualified in with Leanne Baker and had a pretty impressive first round win over Shiho Hisamatsu and Nana Miyagi of Japan, 64 64 .. They went down after a tough fight in the second round to the eventual title winners Eun-Ha Kim (KOR) and Wynn Prakusya (INA), 63 67 67 .. Leanne and Manisha had had some good success together last year in the satellite circuit in the US, and it's good to see them doing well together again (though I believe Shelley Stepehens of New Zealand may still be Leanne's regular partner) .. As for the doubles ranks this week, Sai and Rushmi are at #261 and #268, followed by Sonal at #447 and Sheetal at #524 .. Sonal actually moved up by 54 spots with the 4 points for the Pune doubles final with Sania.

May 7 Notes

The Indian Express moved up to the #7 spot in team rankings .. The individual rankings will take a little longer to move up to the high spots .. Mahesh is at #25 and Leander is at #56 today ..  They are in the draw for the Rome masters this week, but are probably not scheduled to play till Wednesday - they play the wildcards Agassi and Hewitt in the first round .. Somehow, our pair has been drawing the featured doubles wildcard team in every tournament .. LP-MB are drawn right next to the second seeds Novak-Rikl and could face them in the second round .. By the way, Agassi and Hewitt could be a tough combo - Hewitt has a lot of doubles abilities and Agassi has a lot of .. well .. "abilities"! .. Tough draw for our pair again.

The second ITF men's satellite of the year is starting today in India .. Sorry that I forgot to comment on the entry list I had got earlier - actually I was quite disappointed in seeing the entry list when I got it a couple of weeks back .. Following one of the toughest entry lists we had ever seen in the last last satellite series in March, we have basically the poorest entry list this time with just one player in the top-500 (we had some 10 players in the top-500 last time) .. It is difficult to predict the strength of field in any satellite, actually .. Fazaluddin is in the field, which is the good news - and he is the 4th seed for the first leg .. With both Harsh Mankad and Ajay Ramaswamy being tied up with the year end college national championships in the US and unable to come, we do not have two other top Indians after LP and MB playing in this satellite .. Srinath has been fighting injury problems for a long time, and I don't think he is playing either .. Also missing will be Vijay Kannan, who is taking the degree final year exams in college and is forced to miss this circuit .. The one I intend to keep an eye on is 19 yr old Manoj Mahadevan, who showed signs of slow but steady progress in the last satellite circuit .. Mustafa Ghouse is also in the direct entry list, as are Rishi, Vinod and Nitin .. Prakash Amritraj makes his satellite debut in this circuit .. He has been given a wildcard .. By the way, ATP lists him under India, and so I will not refer to him as Prakash Amritraj "of USA", as I do during his junior circuit events! :-) .. See the Thiruvananthapuram satellite page.

That is "Thiru-Anantha-Puram" .. "Thiru" stands for "Sree" in Malayalam .. "Anantha" is the serpeant on which the deity of the main temple ("Sree Padmanabha") reclines .. The old English name of the city, "Trivandrum", did NOT come from some meaningless word like "thriventhrum" unlike what many people outside Kerala seem to think (:-)) - neither did the Bristish have three vans with drums parked out there! .. Anyway, they used to have some decent grass courts in Thiruvananthapuram and they conducted a satellite circuit masters about 5 years back - on grass if I remember correctly .. Not sure of the surface of the current leg.

I don't think Niru is playing this week in the pro circuit in the US .. She was down with some shoulder pain last week after all the successful doubles runs (according to The Hindu last week), and will take a week or two off to make sure of not making it it worse .. I hope she is fine - will try to find out soon how she is doing.

.. Previous notes are at Notes for the weeks ending on May 7 ..

I am getting some enquiries 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 enquiring 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 enquiries from the coaches too .. Please email me - R.Jayakrishnan.