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LP/MB/NV/Indian-Tennis: Notes for week ending on May 18, 1998

(Previous week's notes) (Next week's notes) (Daily Notes Index)

May 18 Note-2

A correction from the last note (I shouldn't type stuff when I am sleepy in the morning !) .. The points Nirupama got last week were at the Oporto Challenger, not Cardiff .. Cardiff was two weeks back and there were no points for her there. Her few points from Oporto will show up only next week in the WTA computer .. In the meanwhile, she has been busy in Madrid, at the $164K WTA Madrid Open qualifiers over the weekend ! She beat Martina Nejedly (#184, Canada) in the first round 6-1, 6-3.. Yesterday she pulled an upset over Fabiola Zuluaga (#154, Colombia) 6-2, 6-4 !! Today, she couldn't repeat an upset and lost to Kristie Boogert (#123, Nederlands), 6-4, 7-5, in the final round of qualies .. I have not seen the qualifier draws, so I am not sure if she could be a lucky loser or something .. Anyway, if she is, then she really can't play there, as she needs to get down to Paris by Wednesday to play the French Open qualifiers (That is why I didn't even bother to check if she was at any qualifiers over the weekend ) .. Two pretty good straight sets wins out in Madrid for Niru, despite still having a bad cough (the source who wrote to me says she almost fained at the end of the match against Nejedly..) Hope she gets to Paris soon and gets some rest and sleep before the FO quals. It was a useful trip to Madrid for her, points-wise. She gets 3 points for winning two rounds of qualies and 2 points each for beating top-250 players, for a total of 7 points. This plus last weeks' 3-4 points should show up next week in the WTA computer and move her rank up by a few spots next week. Of course, the big enchilada would be to win three rounds and qualify at the French Open !

Talking of the French Open, the qualifier draws are supposed to come out tomorrow (Tuesday) evening at Paris. Will report then who Leander, Mahesh and Nirupama will be playing..

May 18 Note-1

Not much news today. Leander and Mahesh are #5 and #6 this week, with a team rank of #2, as we expected (3564 and 3473 in individual points, and 1634 in team points .. See the LP-MB-Doubles-Points page for details). The full rank lists are not out yet, and so the singles rankings are unknown right now. Should be out soon, but there shouln't be much change in those..

Nirupama inched up a couple of spots in both singles and doubles this week, to #175 and #187 respectively, from 177 and 189 .. I am a bit puzzled why the points from the three Cardiff challenger qualifier wins last week (about 3 to 5 pts) have not shown up in her point total this week, even though WTA says the Cardiff results are included in the new rankings ..

Some US Collegiate tennis news: Manisha Malhotra has led University of Tennessee to the final-16 of collegiate tennis this weekend. The top-10 national teams get automatic berths for the team competition to decide the NCAA national champion and 6 more come through 6 regional tournaments. Since Tennessee was #16 in the rankings last week, they had to win an 8-team SouthEast Regional, which they did, and advanced even though they were the #2 seed in that regional. Manisha won all three of her singles matches. She is already in the draw for individual singles and doubles draws at the national championship tournament starting at Notre Dame (May 21-24) .. On the men's side, Vikrant Chadha will be part of the #6 ranked U. of Mississippi already in the final 16 without having to play the regionals, thanks to their team rank. His personal rank was awfully close to get him an entry in the 64-draw individual singles tournament, but he didn't make it .. The Men's national championship tournament will be at the U. of Georgia (May 23-26). Will report scores during the next weekend and follow how these two do.

May 17 Note-2

They WON IT !!! .. 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (7-5) over Ferreira/Leach at the Italian Open Super 9 in Rome ..

The match got done after 10 pm, I believe.. Thanks go to Lianne for calling me and telling the news .. Great news !! .. This is their biggest title, along with the Montreal (Canadian Open) Super 9 title last year. They made 152K and 436 points. They back up to #2 in the world with 1634 points behind only The Woodies at 1800+ .. Both LP and MB are at career highs in rankings and points, with Mahesh crossing 3500 and Leander crossing 3400 for the first time, in points .. They are now 13-1 in tournament finals since early 97 .. This is the 10th ATP title, along with 3 challenger titles for them in that period .. That is a very nice way to get ready for the French Open !

May 17 Note-1

This was about as anticlimactic a final day and as bad of a nightmare for the tournament organizers as could be. First, Costa decided in the last minute that there was no way for him to play due to the elbow injury and gave a walkover to Rios. Poof. By the time I got up here and looked to see what was happening in Rome, the doubles final had started, at about 4.45 pm, almost an hour earlier than I thought. As usual, the ATP site had chosen not to update any scores live, and the whole world seemed to have no idea what was happening. A few phone calls by us fans gave us some score updates. Things looked fine with LP/MB winning the first set and then serving at 4-5 .. One break there, and it was all tied up 6-4, 6-4. The 3rd set started with Ferreira/leach holding serve.. Just when LP/MB were about to serve game 2, rains came down .. As of 7 pm after an hour and half of rain when we contacted last, they said it was very unlikely for play to resume and that by 8.30 they would make the deicision to postpone completion to 11 am tomorrow. I assume they did, as I see no wire service reports on a latenight completion yet,, as of 10.30 pm at Rome. Score as of now: 6-4, 4-6, 0-1, our guys about to serve .. Not sure who has the advantage from having this break. We don't want the doubles veteran, Rick Leach, to come up with any strategy to beat our guys during this break though .. Somebody should treat him to some nice Tuscany Chianti and let him go to sleep without analyzing anything much.  Hopefully LP/MB will come up with better ideas to take care of business tomorrow.

By my calculations, LP and MB have both moved up one spot to #6 and #5, career highs for both in doubles ranking, pushing down Kafelnikov out of the #5 spot. Eltingh, Woodforde, Woodbridge and Haarhuis will remain at the top 4 spots even if our guys win the title tomorrow.

May 16 Note-2

19-yr old Top seeded Uzma Khan halted 16-yr old Radhika Tulpule's giant-killer run at the Mumbai AITA women's ranking tournament. She won 7-5, 6-3. Basically Uzma has not been beaten by anybody in the Indian subcontinent for a while. She said, "They are all trying to beat me, but they can't" (source: Indian Express) .. I kinda like that, if it is from confidence and not from arrogance .. Apparently, she has only qualified for the qualifiers at the French Open (as her ranking is at around 84 in the world juniors now, see my comments in May 11, Note-4 below regarding the Wimbledon juniors where she could play). The newspaper also reports that she may not go to the FO, due to lack of funds. It is the same old story in Indian sports, right ? .. Pitiful that she will miss out on the experience. At least she will get to go to Europe with the ITF team.

The Indian Express also reports on the Indian women players strongly appealing to AITA about conducting more tournaments. According to the schedule they released a couple of days back, they have abolished most national ranking tournaments in favor of international events (this was part of their decisions a few months back) .. As I had commented below, there seems to be a lot of uncertainty about what exactly they are doing on the women's side. The four ITF women's events listed there do not even have the venues picked. There is indeed a valid concern from the women players that they will lose opportunities to play. I think it is better to have more internationals like the Futures conducted in India, but these require more early planning and some fund-raising for them to be on the international calendars and the fear that finally these events may not materialize is real. The various national events requiring lesser prize money and sponsorship used to at least provide enough venues for the top 20 or 30 women players to play .. The Futures-type events do give a chance for about 15-20 Indian players to try out the qualifiers, etc (making use fo some wildcards and some direct entries) but does AITA plan to use those results for their own rankings from now on (only 2 or 3 Indian players may be expected to come out of any Futures with any WTA points, based on the Mumbai and Delhi futures earlier) ? .. What do the players trying to move up from the bottom parts of the top-25 do ? .. Will they get their chace ? .. AITA needs to do something. Once again, this is a landmark year in Indian women's tennis with Nirupama's exploits at the Australian Open etc. Women's tennis does have some media coverage now, and I hope AITA does not miss the boat here. The Indian women players have a right to be upset and concerned. I am not sure what exactly is in their appeal to AITA but we can guess a bit here.

May 16 Note-1

This was a tough, tough, match for LP/MB, but they pulled through somehow. 7-5, 3-6, 7-6 (8-6) over Lobo/Sanchez in the semis at the Italian Open. They started well, going up by two breaks in the first set at 4-1, but then gave back both breaks, before gtting a 3rd break in the 11th game and serving it off at 7-5. Right from the beginning one of the two Indians seemed to have trouble on his serve (it appeared to be Mahesh, based on the order of service games.. he normally starts the first service game in each set .. every one of his service games seemed to go long and often into deuces) .. This continued throughout the second set and LP/MB got broken in the 6th game to fall behind 2-4.. Then it went with serve and the set got over at 3-6. The 3rd set was also an adventure for LP/MB with every service game going to deuces and every receving game getting done with at most one point for our guys. They held serve somehow and got it to 4-4. The last two service games from LP and MB were both relatively easier holds, which meant they had started playing better just in the nick of time. The set went with serve all the way and then the tiebreaker.. 8-6 .. Hats off to "Los Lobos" who were fighting all the way. They are claycourt specialists and LP/MB must have had to dig down really deep to get through this. They get 307 points and about $80K now. They face Ferreira/Leach tomorrow. F/L alkso had to win a 3rd set tiebreaker against the big servers Ivanisevic/Philippoussis today to advance. A win tomorrow will give LP/MB 24 more bonus points over the 42 they have now, plus 370 points for a total of 436 points. Also $152K to share !! .. They are now #3 in team rankings and can become #2 tomorrow with a win. They owe their good friend Rick Leach some revenge for the Hartford final loss. MB has just moved up to a career-high #5 in doubles individual rankings, and LP has most probably moved up to a career-high #6 too.

LP/MB are 12-1 in ATP tournament finals (including 3 challengers) starting 1997 January, but that one loss was to Leach and his buddy Starks. So, I guess that record means nothing in tomorrow's final against Rick !

More later, with the results of the Mumbai AITA women's tournament final score.

May 15 Note-3

Rs 1 Lakh AITA Women's ranking tournament, Mumbai: The big story so far has been the upsets that 16 year old Radhika Tulpule keeps on pulling. This is the first senior tournament she is playing, and she has already beaten the 6th seed, 3rd seed and now the 2nd seed in the semis today (Janaki Krishnamurthi, #6 in the senior all-India ranking). Radhika faces the first seed Uzma Khan in the finals tomorrow. Radhika was also in the finals of the doubles with Radhika Mandke, but lost today to Aparna Sreenivasan and Reetu Sethi .. If you want an even more impressive thing, Radhika Tulpule has been shuttling between two venues in Mumbai this week, also playing in the state ranking tournament being held this week at another place. So she has been averaging 3 matches a day (source: Indian Express). It all sounds great, and hats off to her, but something is wrong when a 16-year old is allowed to do this (not to mention the limited number of tournament opportunities that perhaps causes a kid to have to do this) .. and she had just played a bunch of tough matches at the World Youth Cup regionals at Hiroshima, Japan, 2 weeks back, representing India .. See the complete results from Mumbai.

May 15 Note-2

Kratzmann/Kuerten didn't cause any trouble to the "Indian Express" (now LP also says that is their preferred nickname, based on his profile at the ATP site, so we have to occasionally use that name, I guess.. :-)). Our dudes won 6-4, 6-4 and probably didn't break much of a sweat. Guga must have been tired too, as he is in the singles semi also (playing Rios tomorrow in what should be a great match on clay by two south American clay kings). Anyway, the win gives our guys 6 more bonus points for 30 total bonus and 190 total points. That means both LP and MB have just broken their own record-highs in individual points. By my calculations, Mahesh just jumped over Kafelnikov to the #5 spot in individual doubles too .. LP/MB have won 21 of 24 matches this year. Their record on clay starting from last year (including a Davis Cup win in the Czech Republic) is 15-2 (the two losses are to Siemerink/Groen at the French Open last year and Eltingh/Haarhuis at Monte Carlo recently).

They now face the 6th seeds Lobo/Sanchez in the semifinals tomorrow. Lobo/Sanchez upset the 3rd seeds Kafelnikov/Vacek again today (last year also they had upset Kaf/Vac, then the 4th seeds, at Rome .. that was in the 2nd round) .. Lobo/Sanchez are Spanish claycourt specialists and will be tough foes in the semifinals. They ended the last season at #10 as a team and had played at Hartford. LP/MB have not played them. They played Sanchez and Prinosil in doubles once (at Dubai in early 1997; LP was njured and they retired and gave the match to them). Luis Lobo is #30 and Javier Sanchez is #42 in the doubles rankings. A win tomorrow will give our guys 12 more bonus points and a total of 307 points. The match is scheduled as the last one of the day.. should be starting at around 9.30 pm there (12.30 pm PST, USA .. 1 am Sunday for the insomniacs in India) .. Let's Go, LP/MB !

The other semifinal is between Ferreira/Leach (4th seeds) against unseeded Ivanisevic/Philippoussis .. Rick Leach, as usual has formed another darn good doubles team, this year with Ellis Ferreira, and this would be a good match too. Ivanisevic/Philippoussis must be an interesting team with scuds and missiles flying all over the place ! .. LP/MB need to get 12 more points than Ferreira/Leach to jump over them in team ranking. As of now, both teams have jumped over the current #2, Eltingh/Haarhuis, and will be #2 or #3 next week (LP/MB had already jumped over the current #4, Johnson/Montana).

May 15 Note-1

Leander/Mahesh reached the quarterfinals last night at the Italian Open Super 9, winning 6-7(4), 7-5, 6-1, over the #14 ranked Stolle/Suk. They allowed a break late in the first set after leading, and dug themselves a bit of a hole. Pulled through in the second set with a break in the final (12th) game .. Then they were on cruise control, going up 4-0 in the 3rd set and finishing it off in style. The win gives them 12 more bonus points over the 12 they had from the first round, plus 80 points for reaching the QF, for a total of 104 pts. They now face Andrew Kratzmann (#48) and Gustavo "Guga" Kuerten (#67) in the quartefinals. Kuerten is a very good doubles player who does well with a lot of different players (Meligeni may be his preferred partner). Kratzmann is also one who does not always play with any regular partners. This shouldn't be expected to be a very tough match for LP/MB, but who knows ? .. The match is scheduled as the 3rd one on the grandtsand court and should be starting at about 7.30 pm there (1.30 pm EST, 10.30 am PST .. 11 pm India).

I am told that Nirupama is still down with a viral problem that had been bugging her for the last few weeks (ever since she was in Arizona in the US). She apparently played her first round match indoors at Oporto, Portugal, against Cecchini on wednesday night with a 101 degree temperature. Probably should have just defaulted rather than risking making it worse. A doctor friend in Arizona who had hosted Niru last month had told me how she should get a chest X-ray and take care of the cough and other problems she has had lately, rather than ignore it and make it worse. Anyway, she is not playing doubles at Oporto. Hope she gets some rest and does well at the French Open. By the way, she had beaten Laura Pena in the 3rd round in the qualifiers at Oporto; not sure whom she beat in the first two rounds. She got about 4 or 5 points from qualifying there, and so the trip to Portugal wasn't a waste.

AITA has finally released a schedule for the domestic season ! .. Check out the new Indian Domestic Schedules Page .. It is a very busy schedule, and a very good one, if they pull off all the tentatively scheduled tournaments. Shows 4 potential womens' ITF events (I assume Futures), coinciding with the 4-week mens' ITF satellite circuit during October-November. ITF had confirmed the 4-week satellite circuit to be showing up on their calendar last week when I contacted them (Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Kannur, Kerala). Since AITA has not given the venues for the 4 women's events, I assume they are only working on it. The schedule published in the Times of India today also shows two ITF men's futures in one week (!) and it is the same week as the Asia Cup (the 3rd week after the Pakistan and Bangladesh men's futures which follow immediately after the Indian men's satellite tour). This I think was a mistake in AITA's schedule, as ITF had said that the Futures in India at that time (Nov 23-30) had been cancelled. The second rung of Indian players should keep that 6 week period as the time to get some valuable ATP points .. The year ends with two ATP challengers, starting on Dec 21st and 28th at Mumbai and Ahemedabad. All in all, not a bad schedule and offers quite a few weeks of opportunities for Indian players to come up in the ATP and WTA rankings. I wish they had listed at least one or two venues for those womens' events. These "to be named later" business is a sign of nothing being done in seriousness.

May 14 Note-2

Prashant Murthi of the fanclub tells me that the latest score update he saw at the ATP site score update page was 6-7, 7-5, 3-0, LP/MB leadin, with the scoreboard disappearing within 5 minutes, so let us assume they won the match. Since this match did not get over till past midnight there, the score is not updated yet anywhere (including the ESPN site which is the only one that regularly updates doubles results by day's end). Other remaining seeds have all won today (3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th). LP/MB, if they won it, will be facing Kratzmann/Kuerten in the quarterfinals tomorrow. Sorry for no score updates at this site earlier. Technical problems prevented access to the site for a long time today. Later..

May 14 Note-1

They say they can't reach my Fax machine .. As far as I know it is working perfectly .. Anyway, still no draw/results info from Portugal, but they seemed to say that Nirupama couldn't pull an upset and lost to Sandra Cecchini (#158), 1-6, 1-6 .. I had reported it yesterday as unconfirmed at the Niru page, but until further notice, I am assuming it confirmed .. No news on whether she is playing doubles either.

The LP/MB second round match against Stolle/Suk is the featured Center Court night-time doubles match at Rome today. The posted schedule is a bit vague, and I am not sure if this match or the previous singles match is supposed to start at 8.30 pm there. Most probably the doubles match will be the late night match, which will start only at about 11 pm there, after the singles. I expect the ATP site score updates to freeze, as happens always when LP/MB play (especially since it is late night and perhaps the web guys go to sleep in Europe) ! .. Check the Leander Page for score updates that we will somehow find out .. The big news yesterday was that The Woodies lost in the first round against Nicolas Lapentti and David Roditi, 6-3, 6-4 .. So, now, LP/MB are the biggest seeds remaining. The 3rd seeds Kafelnikov/Vacek and the 4th seeds Ferreira/Leach have also advanced to round 2.

In other news, Leander has moved up one more spot in the waiting list for FO, as Sebastien Grosjean who was just above him on the Apr 13th ranking has been given one of the wildcards, all 8 of which went to French guys .. That makes LP fifth in the list .. I also received a note from Arunava in Germany that Marc-Kevin Goellner is down with a virus and may have to withdraw due to tired health. Anyway, it still doesn't look like there will be enough withdrawals for LP to avoid the quals.

The Rs. 1 lakh AITA womens' ranking tournament is in the quarterfinal stage at Mumbai .. The tournament had a couple of set backs as Jahnavi Parekh and Sai Jayalakshmi withdrew in the last minute, and it has basically become a tourney for the Maharashtra players, except for the top-seed Uzma Khan (who was the only player to get a first round bye!) and a couple of others. Sheetal Gautam of DHAITA was troubled by a bad knee and went down in the first round. The one who has been making noise is the 16 year old Radhika Tulpule of Pune who upset the 6th seed Joy Rodriguez and then summarily dismissed a higher ranked Jahnavi Sunderrajan, 6-1, 6-1 to reach the QF. The second seed Janaki Krishnamurthy of Maharashtra is also in the QF along with Uzma who is the one to beat here. Check out the Results Page for this tournament.

May 13 Note-2

One of the fanclub members who likes to remain anonymous tells me that the India-UK Davis Cup tie will be played on hardcourt at the Nottingham Tennis Center, according to The Telegraph .. I guess England decided to take the safe way out, as they do not want to risk LP and MB showiung up ready for upsets on grass, even though grass is the preferred surface for England too .. I think this is a mistake, if you ask me. I am yet to see any great grass-court doubles from LP/MB, as compared to hardcourt and clay, and this means they are basically conceding the doubles point to India (remember that Rios and 18 year old Massu who had never played on grass were able to take LP/MB to 5 sets and almost pull it off, but for a bad call, at Delhi last year .. Henman/Rusedski are better grass players). It is still a real uphill battle for India, though, facing those two guys in singles. More later on this .. I say England went "chicken" on this decision. Should have picked grass if they wanted to be bold !

There have been a lot of rain delay and matches are all running late at the $75K Oporto Challenger .. Nirupama's first round match against Cecchini is going on right now (8.30pm in Portugal), I am told. Will report later on what happens there..

May 13 Note-1

I thought I had mentioned this a couple of days back, but can't find it in the notes (perhaps I made an editing mistake and cut that off?) .. Anyway, there has been one announced withdrawal from the French Open.  Chris Woodruff. This does not help LP much, as it moves him up to 6th in the waiting list, from 7th (all based on Apr 13th rankings, when LP was #111). Unless there are 6 more withdrawals by early next week, he will have to play the qualifiers. The qualifier seedings are based on next week's ranks, and LP is currently at about the 5th through 7th seed there. I expect him to be a top-4 seed in the quals by the time it starts (middle of next week). The qualifier draws, a source tells me, is now closing at above #300, and so Mahesh should squeeze in there too, which is good news. I had thought it would close at around #275 and MB would miss it. That means that a lot of the 200-300 range players will be trying out the big challenger next week, the $100K Budapest challenger.

May 12 Note-2

A couple of mild upsets in doubles at Rome today. 7th seeds Johnson/Montana (title winners at Hamburg Super 9 last week) lost to Olhovskiy/Vizner .. So, LP/MB have already moved up over them who had gone ahead by 2 points last week to the #4 spot. The other upset was #8 seeds Eagle/Florent losing to Kratzmann/Kuerten .. So, LP/MB will not play a seeded team in the QFs if they win the next round .. (see May 10, Note 1 below for the draw) .. There is a featured doubles match wednesday night that should get some crowd: The always-popular Jensen brothers playing Henman-Sampras ! ..

Did not get any info from Oporto, Portugal, today. Will have to wait till tomorrow and hopefully I will get some updates from the tourney guys on Nirupama by evening there.

There is a Rs. 1 lakh Women's AITA ranking tournament going on in Mumbai. Uzma Khan is the top seed and a bunch of other good players are there. So far no big upsets, except one of the seeds, Joy Rodriguez getting upset yesterday in round 1 .. Will report if anything interesting develops there.

May 12 Note-1

LP/MB had no problems with the #8 team in the world, Carbonell/Roig, today at the Rome Super 9. They nuked them 6-0, 6-4 .. Sweet revenge for Mahesh for his loss to Carbonell/Roig last week at Hamburg (playing with Knowles) .. The win gives our guys 52 points. They next face the #14 team, Sandon Stolle and Cyril Suk who beat the #13 team, Broad and Norval, yesterday. I don't think our guys have played Stolle/Suk recently, but Suk and Reneberg lost to LP/MB at Singapore last year.

Finally some news on the World Junior Tennis regional (Asia-Oceania) qualifiers at Jakarta last week. The Times of India reports that India is one of the three teams advancing to the world finals at Japan in August (boys' side) !! .. Kompas Online, Jakarta, seemed to report two days back that India beat Hong Kong, 2-1, but didn't say if India advanced (plus, it is in Indonesian, and the only thing I could figure out was the scores, and that "putra" means boys and "putri" means girls..) and I was waiting to get some confirmation .. I had reported earlier about the Indians' only loss, 1-2 against Taiwan (after leading their own group and winning 4 ties in a row) on Saturday (May 9 Note 2). Now we know that it was the semifinals. Indonesia beat Taiwan on Sunday in the finals, and since three teams advance to the Japan Finals, India made it as the 3rd team after winning the match between the semifinal losers over Hong Kong. A 5-1 record in 6 ties (14-4 in 18 matches) is a very creditable performance by Parantap Chaturvedi and Punna Vishal (both went 5-1 in their singles matches, I believe) .. The Indian girls were competing over the weekend for the 8th through 12th position after losing their first three matches and ending up at the bottom of their group in the first three days. They finished at 9th out of 12 teams .. That is really terrible news. I will post the compiled results I have, soon.

Awaiting news from Oporto, Portugal about what Niru is up to, at the challenger there, today. Later ..

May 11 Note-4

Vijay Kannan, ranked #59 in the ITF 18-and-under world rankings, and Uzma Khan, ranked #84 in the ITF 18-and-under rankings have made it into the Wimbledon draws, according to Vijay Kannanís coach at Dhaita Academy, Delhi, Gajendra Singh, as reported by the Deccan Chronicle .. He was commenting on they both being selected among 5-6 Asians for the ITF-sponsored European tour, which ends with Wimbledon .. I am surprised that Uzma made it in, if this is true. The junior draws there are both of size 64, and Vijay could have sneaked in, but Uzma would have needed special consideration .. Let us assume she got it as part of this European deal and that Mr. Singh was not misquoted. It is rather early for the Wimbledon entry lists to be finalized though. I guess that Manoj Mahadevan will also be in the boys' draw (he was already in at the Australian, and I think would only have moved up in rankings with some decent points recently .. But the junior ITF rankings beyond the top-20 are the toughest thing to find; so I am not sure where he stands now .. Just a wild guess that he is somewhere in the #35-45 range in the world but I could be totally off on that). Anyway, a ton of junior tennis news lately, as this is the peak-season.

May 11 Note-3

Twang-Twang-Shock-a-boom !! .. No, don't get excited .. no such thermonuclear activities in Indian Tennis, but Buddha was indeed smiling on Nirupama three times (I am sure you know what I am talking about!) .. She won three rounds of qualifiers and made it into a big challenger, the $75K Oporto challenger in Portugal. She faces Sandra Cecchini in the first round tomorrow. Cecchini is not what she used to be once (the official website at the Bol, Croatia tournament recently said that she looked more like a Greenbay Packers Linebacker than a tennis player .. not very tasteful for an official tournament site to say that .. :-)). She is still ranked #158 and is not an easy opponent. No details yet on who Niru beat in the qualifiers, but the tournament folks may send me some info later.

LP/MB play their doubles match tomorrow evening at Rome (scheduled as the 3rd match on court 2 at about 6 pm there)..