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LP/MB/NV/Indian-Tennis: Notes for the week ending on May 20, 2002
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May 20 Notes

Sorry for being away over the weekend again - will try not to make it a habit :-)

Mahesh and Gambill finished with a prestigious masters title, beating the 4th seeded Bjorkman-Woodbridge in the final yesterday, 62 64 .. Congratulations to them.  This is Mahesh's second title with somebody other than Leander (the last one was 2 years back with Kratzmann in St.Poelten) and his 24th overall title.  He made about $64K for the title.  MB and LP will both be off this week.

Rushmi Chakravarti is in the main draw entry list for the $25K Tianjin challenger in China, but as usual, I don't expecte any news from China till late in the week.

The satellite masters have started today on the plexipave courts at the KSLTA stadium in Bangalore .. Manoj Mahadevan had to fight hard to get past Vishal Punna in three sets - he faces 6th seed Vijay Kannan next .. The other nice win today was by young Rohan Gajjar who beat Sebastien Niedermayer of Germany to advance to the PQF and pick up a second ATP point .. The top 8 seeds all had byes and they all play tomorrow .. See the Bangalore satellite page and the updated ATP points page.

The 4th seeded Indian girls finished 3rd over the weekend in the Asia-Oceania regionals .. They could not get past 2nd seeded China on Saturday but put that disappointment behind to beat 5th seed Korea 3-0 on Sunday in the 3rd place match .. Taiwan finished as tops on Sunday, once again beating China (like they did in the pool matches) .. Here are India's weekend scores:  [Semifinal] #2 China d. #4 India, 3-0 .. #2 Quan Gao d. Ankita Bhambri 60 75 .. #1 Rui Du d. Sania Mirza, 62 60 .. Gao/ Qing Yue d. Bhambri/Mirza 36 61 62 .. [3rd place] India (4) d. Korea (5), 3-0 .. #2 Ankita Bhambri d. Jae-Hee Joung 6-3 6-1 .. #1 Sania Mirza d. So-Jung Kim 75 75 .. Bhambri/Mirza d. Joung/ Kim, 75 64 ..  Good show by India once again, and the only disappointment was really that Sania could not do a better job against Rui Du (I had frankly expected Rui to be too tough for Sania to beat - that girl seems to be yet another of the good ones coming out from China, based on how she did in the Indian events) .. On the other hand, Sania had a very good win earlier against Uzbekistan's Israilova and her win over So-Jung Kim in the 3rd place match was a very good one too - it's nice to see Sania being able to put behind all the disappointment from saturday and come back with a good win on Sunday (So-Jung had for instance beaten the champions Taiwan's #1 player in straight sets in the saturday semis) .. Ankita certainly did her paart in the 5-1 record india had at Jakarta - she played with focus and did not allow any unexpected upsets by anybody either .. By the way, I saw an Indonesian news site that seemed to be saying something about Taiwan and some disqualification businesss - not sure what it was, as I don't know the language (if there is something, Indonesia at the 5th place will make it in).  The Indian girls go to France for the final 16 in September ..  The boys u16 team start their work in Kuala Lumpur tomorrow for the Asia-Oceania regionals.

May 18 Note-1

Next update will be Sunday evening (US time) - no news yet on how the satellite final went, and also on our u16 girls in Jakarta .. MB's doubles finals news also will be late tomorrow.
Mahesh and Gambill seem to be a pretty strong team, the way they have been playing this week .. Today they advanced to the final of the Hamburg masters - [SF] M.Bhupathi/ J-M.Gambill d. W.Ferreira/ Y.Kafelnikov, 61 76(3) .. They await the winners of the other semi between the 4th seeds Bjorkman-Woodbridge and Novak-Stepanek.

At the $25K challenger in Shanghai, China, #450 Rushmi Chakravarti did not have a great time, though she picked up one first round win .. She beat qualifier Yao Shang (CHN,1088) 75 63 in the first round and fell to the 5th seed Ayami Takase (JPN,315), 60 62 [The field seems to be extremely weak at this challenger, with seeded players down in the 300s] .. In doubles R1, Rushmi and Tzu-Ting Weng lost to the Korean pair, Kyung-Mee Chang and Jin-Hee Kim, 64 67(2) 46 ..

At the Vishakhapatnam satellites yesterday, Nitin Kirtane beat the Naoki Arimoto, but Vijay Kannan fell to Hayato Furukawa .. Nitin now leads the circuit standings and has picked up 15 ATP points already with a chance to add significantly to that from now on .. Nitin also won the doubles title in the company of Vishal Uppal yesterday .. See the Vishakha satellite page and the points page.

May 17 Note-2

Mahesh and Gambill continued their dangerous living with their 3rd super tiebreaker win in a row at the Hamburg masters to reach the semifinal .. They beat wildcards Nicolas Kiefer (GER) and Andrei Pavel (ROM), 57 75 (10-8) .. They face Wayne ferreira (RSA) and Yevgeny Kafelnikov (RUS) next - those guys upset the 2nd seeds Knowles Nestor in a 67 76 (10-8) super tiebreaker as well ..  We may as well stop playing doubles sets and just put the big servers out there to play a few super tiebreaks, eh? :-)

May 17 Note-1

At the men's satellites yesterday, Vijay Kannan beat Vinod Sridhar to reach semifinal, but Manoj Mahadevan fell in a close three-setter to the Japanese Furukawa .. Nitin beat the 6th seeded Spaniard Moreno-Negrin to reach the semi, and Arimoto of Japan beat Syrov of Russia for the remaining semi slot .. So today's semifinals are both India vs Japan .. See the Vishakha satellite page .. Check out the points page as well - I have been updating the ATP points the players are assured of, so far .. With the nice push here, Viay has now come up to the top four in the list and if he continues, he still has a chance to pick up a lot of ATP points, the wins from now on being worth a lot more ATP points (satellite circuit points over 25 or 30 adds on many more ATP points in the conversion table) .. Manoj can at best look for something over 10 ATP points if he does well in the masters, but could end up with just 3 or 4 if he isn't careful .. Mustafa, Sandeep and Nitin are in very good shape as of now .. There was also a playoff to determine the final 2 spots in the masters leg among 4 players .. Jaco beat Anant and Vishal Uppal beat Igor to make the masters draw.

We have now placed our 3rd junior team (u16 girls) also in the world final-16 .. Today at the Junior Fed Cup Asia-Oceania regionals in Jakarta, the 4th seeded The Indian girls continued their beautiful unbeaten streak with a 3-0 upset of the 3rd seeded Thailand .. Not really an upset - Thailand had no business being seeded, instead of Taiwan and Indonesia .. India (4) d. Thailand (3), 3-0 .. #2 Ankita Bhambri d. Nudnida Luangnam, 62 64 .. #1 Sania Mirza d. Pichittra Thongdach, 64 61 .. Bhambri/ Mirza d. Prim Buaklee/ Luangnam, 61 64 .. In the other QFs, #2 seed China which finished second behind unseeded (!) Taiwan in their pool upset the top seeded Auatralia 2-1 and sent them packing without qualifying for the world group .. 5th seeded Korea edged out Indonesia (again with Maya Rosa not playing), 2-1 in a crucial doubles 10-8 third set causing big heartbreak for the host nation .. IN the semis, #2 China now faces #3 India and #5 Korea faces the other team to beat along with China, Taiwan .. If india can beat China, that would be a nice accomplishment - Sania vs Rui Du would be the match of the semis (putting some pressure on our team :-)) .. Congrats to Sania, Ankita and Kartiki (and coach Sunil Yajaman) for a job well done so far, for qualifying to the world group in France in September .. I guess the 4th junior team, the u16 boys playing next week now has to keep up with the other three groups, eh ? .. That team with Karan Rastogi, Tushar Liberhan and J. Vishnu Vardhan, coached by Manoj Vaidya will be a strong contender as well .. I am throuoghly enjoying our show in the junior regionals this year .. So far it has been a 15-1 record in regional ties (the only loss being the u14 girls SF loss to China) with a tremendous 42-3 record in matches played .. Actually our juniors have dropped only about 5 or 6 sets in nearly 100 sets played in those matches! .. Great stuff this year.

May 16 Note-2

This was a close match between the express engines at the Hamburg masters today - and it came down to whoever was serving second for the LP-T.Cibulec side who seemed to have problems picking up any point on his serve (I suspect Cibulec, as LP never has this kind of problems on his serve - I followed the match online but as usual ATP still does not have a clue about what is important on a doubles scoreboard after some so many years of running these websites, and it frustrates us doubles fans to no end that they still does not show who is serving) .. [R2] M.Bhupathi/ J-M.Gambill d. L.Paes/ T.Cibulec, 62 46 (10-5) .. Here is the match report - MB-Gambill forced LP-Cibulec to deuces in the second game but did not get the break, but they got breaks in the 4th and 8th game to take the first set.  LP-Cibulec started their comeback in good fashion converting a 30-40 break point to in the first game of the second set .. But MB-Gambill woke up and tightened things up at 1-2 while down 0-30, winning the next 10 points in a row to even things at 2-2 .. LP-Cibulec also got back into it soon after, taking LP-Cibulec to another 30-40 break point in the 7th game which they could not convert.  That seemed then to be a crucial miss, as whoever was serving second for LP-Cibulec was having trouble holding serve or even taking any points all day.  However, for a change LP-TC held and kept things going on serve at 4-4 .. Then Paes-Cibulec was all over MB-Gambill at the right time in the next game, with two break point at 15-40, converting the first one itself to go up a break. They served out the next game at love (it had got to be Leander serving, knowing the usual spunk LP and MB show while servng for a set :-)).  Now it was 62 46 and time for a super-tiebreak .. LP-Cibulec started strongly, winning the first point off the other guys' serve and taking two on their own serve to lead 3-0 .. But they then lost 10 of the next 12, as the second server (Cibulec? :-)) dropped all four of his service points.  That was the match, and MB gets his first win over LP in some 4 matches (2 singles and 2 doubles?) that I can remember.

So, I guess LP's partner troubles are still not solved.  On the other hand, Cibulec and he looked OK at Hamburg, and they were up against a solid doubles pair .. It may just have been that MB-Gambill returned solidly and might have gone all out against his partner, which is what most people do whenever they play LP with somebody else.  He needs a solid partner, or he hardly even gets to touch the ball! .. If any of you German fans saw the match, drop me a report, please.

May 16 Note-1

LP-Cibulec play MB-Gambill in the 2nd round at the $2.95 Hamburg Masters right now - starting, as I type .. LP-Cibulec down a break at 2-4 in the first set.

2nd seeds Manisha Malhotra and Nathalie Grandin were upset 46 75 63 by the Russian pair Goulnara Fattakhetdinova and Ekaternia Kozhokina at the $50K+H challenger in Szczecin, Poland .. Actually all three seeded pairs who played have been upset in the first round there so far.

At the Vishakhapatnam satellite, yesterday was the upset day with the national grasscourt and hardcourt champions finally coming through with some good wins - Manoj Mahadevan upset top seed Mustafa Ghouse and Vijay Kannan upset 3rd seed Sandeep Kirtane (the 3rd time he is facing sandeep in this circuit, and he finally figured out our old pal) .. The other interesting match was 18 yr old Rohan Gajjar's win over 5th seed Raviv Volkovitzky, which pushed him into the top 24 in circuit points and ensured that he will make the masters leg and get his first ATP point (see the circuit/ATP points page) .. He had to play two matches, as did Vijay Kannan, and Rohan went down in the second round .. Four Indians are in the QFs today - Manoj, Vijay, Vinod Sridhar and Nitin Kirtane .. See the Vishakha satellite page for all the results (as usual, I first update the scores during day there, much before doing any roundup in these notes; so check that page first).

The Indian u16 girls topped the pool and reached the Junior fed Cup regional quarterfinals in style with yet another 3-0 win today at Jakarta .. This time over Uzbekistan which had the second highest ranked girl (Ivanna Isarailova ranked #64) in the tournament after #44 Sania .. #4 India d. #6 Uzbekistan 3-0 .. #2 Ankita Bhambri d. Vlada Ekshibarova 63 60 .. #1 Sania Mirza d. Ivanna Israilova 75 63 .. Kartiki Bhat/ Mirza d. Elina Arutunova/ Israilova, 61 62 .. The match between Sania and Ivana was the match of the tournament so far and it reportedly lived up to expectations - Sania was down a set point in the first set but held tough to win it; she again pulled a furious comeback in the 2nd set after being down 0-3, but winning the next 6 games in a row .. You go girl! .. India finished the pool matches with a 9-0 record (only one set dropped so far), and now faces 3rd seeded Thailand which finished behind #5 Korea from Pool-2 as the QF opponent .. As I said earlier, Thailand was way over-seeded (instead of Indonesia and Taipei, both unseeded - Taiwan topped the group 4 over #1 China and Indonesia was #2 in India's pool ahead of #6 Uzbekistan) .. India still has some work to do, but should be able to beat Thailand and qualify for final-4 if all goes well, hopefully.

May 15 Notes

Finally a good win for Leander! .. In the first round at the Hamburg masters, Paes-Cibulec  d. Friedl-Rikl, 62 64 .. In the second round the express engines clash against each other, as Paes-Cibulec face Bhupathi-Gambill .. The first time that Lee and Hesh will be across the net since Indianapolis in the summer of 1999 which was where the original split started (though they came back together to reach USO final and all that, and officially split only after MB's return from shoulder surgery in 2000) ..

Manisha Malhotra is indeed in Poland, where she was last week for the WTA event doubles .. At the $50K+H satellite in Szeczin, Poland, Manisha is seeded 2nd with Nathalie Grandin (RSA) .. They play Goulnara Fattakhedtinova (RUS) and Ekaterina Kozhokina .. I wonder why she did not play the qualies over the weekend in singles .. By the way, if you haven't noticed, her doubles rank is now way up at #157 (as compared to a singles rank around #380) which is about where Niru was often ranked for the last few years .. Manisha is quietly turning into a doubles specialist ? .. I hope she doesn't drop singles, but she has had a bit of injury problems for a while and may be finding it tough to do both these days though.

China is as usual a blackhole for news, and so I have no idea how Rushmi is doing in the $25K challenger main draw there.

No upsets in the first round matches yesterday at the satellite 3rd leg in Vishakhapatnam .. Two matches, involving Vijay Kannan and Rohan Gajjar were postponed to today .. The heat has been terrible out there and the players must be dying to get down to Bangalore next week for the masters .. Except for Rohan Gajjar, who needs to win one round to make the masters, the field for the masters leg is pretty much set .. I will update the points page soon .. Check out the Vishakha satellite page (I refuse to call that place "Vizag" - just because the British couldn't say the word correctly, we don't need to continue to do that ! :-) .. For my tongue, Vishakha is easier to say than Vizag anyway) ..

Indian u16 girls have made it to the quarterfinals of the Asia Oceania regionals for the 2003 Junior Fed Cup .. Today they had another 3-0 win - #4 India d. Indonesia, 3-0 .. #2 Ankita Bhambri d. #3 Septi Nindya Yutami, 26 64 63 .. #1 Sania Mirza d. #1 Sandy Gumulya, 61 63, Bhambri/ Mirza d. Gumulya/ Yutami, 63 75 .. I am not sure what happened to the Indonesian #2 Maya Rosa - India may have caught a break there somehow? .. Good job by Ankita in the comeback against Septi .. India now leads the pool with a 2-0 record and 6-0 match record .. #2 Uzbekistan (1-1) beat Philippines 3-0, and now has a 4-2 record behind India .. Even if Indonesia (1-1, 2-4) beats Philippines 3-0 and India lose 0-3 to #6 Uzbekistan tomorrow, India makes the QF on match record in a threeway tie .. India needs  to win at least one match tomorrow against Uzbekistan to top the pool and avoid facing a pool topper in the QF, which is important for making the semi and qualifying for the world group .. In other pools, Taiwan (not seeding whom probably the worst ITF mistake) upset the #2 seed China 2-1 and is assured of topping group-4 with China almost sure of making to the knockout as well .. #1 Australia and Malaysia are in QF from group-1 .. #5 Korea and #3 Thailand have made the QF from group 3, and their tie tomorrow will decide the pool topper.

May 14 Notes

Indian u16 girls are the 4th seeds in the Junior Fed Cup Asia-Oceania regionals, and started with a 3-0 win over Philippines .. India is in the toughest round robin pool (Group 3) with 6th seed Uzbekistan and unseeded but strong Indonesia also .. Once again, I don't understand all the seedngs ITF comes up with .. How Thailand is seeded 3rd and Indoensia is not seeded is puzzling .. 14 teams trying to make it to the final four to qualify for the world group 16 .. Group 1: #1 Australia, Malaysia, Hong Kong .. Group 2: #3 Thailand, #5 Korea, Japan, Sri Lanka, .. Group 4:  #2 China, Chinese Taipei, New Zealand .. Basically Australia has been seeded straight to the quarterfinal with the pool they are in! .. Today's tie: India (4) d. Philippines, 3-0 .. #2 Ankita Bhambri d. Alyssa Anne Labay, 60 61 .. #1 Sania Mirza d. Bernardine Aurell Sepulveda, 60 64 .. Bhambri/Mirza d. Labay/Sepulveda, 60 62 .. In the same pool, Indonesia with Sandy Gumulya, Maya Rosa and Septi Yutami (how the heck are they not seeded?) upset #6 Uzbekistan 2-1 .. The key for India would be the tie against Indonesia coming up, but Uzebekistan which played a close one with Indoensia today (2 three-set matches) won't be easy either ..

Mahesh had told the Telegraph (Kolkata) that the reason for why he had to team up with Gambill this week was Max Mirnyi's sore knee, because of which he decided to skip doubles this week .. The knee didn't seem to stop Max from beating Sampras in straight sets yesterday in singles though :-) .. Mahesh said that he would be taking the next week off before teaming up with Max again for the French Open through Wimbledon run ..

May 13 Note-2

Correction - LP-Cibulec is not playing Tuesday at Hamburg .. I thought they would be completing the first round by Tuesday, as 5 rounds of doubles need to be finished .. Thanks Rahul, for checking the Tuesday schedule and letting me know! .. They should be scheduling LP's R1 match on wednesday .. That means MB's R2 match will be on Thursday.

May 13 Note-1

Mahesh and Gambill pulled an upset today at the Hamburg masters, 36 62 (10-7) against the 5th seeded Bryan twins.  Glad to see MB-Gambill win, but I am also sad that the Bryan twins have not really gone to the top like many fans expected early last year (the Bryans reaching the top could have helped improve the interest in doubles a bit in the US; somehow Johnson-Palmer have been unable to capture much of fans' imagination out here, IMHO) .. LP-Cibulec play tomorrow at Hamburg.

Rushmi Chakravarti is in the main draw entry list at the $25K Shanghai challenger starting today .. I have not seen the draw .. No idea if Manisha is playing anywhere this week .. She was in Warsaw last week for the WTA event doubles, but I didn't see her in the Poland challenger qualies where she could have squeezed in - not sure if she is playing doubles there or something.

The Vishakhapatnam satellite leg has started .. In a coincidence, yesterday was the hottest day in recorded history (since 1978), according to Vizaginfo.com! .. 45 deg celsius at the airport .. Eight players did qualify for the main draw yesterday, playing in the heat! .. I have added the main draws and today's first round results at the Vishakhapatnam satellite page .. The heat notwithstanding, it is nice to see one more location with good facilities for tennis - the tournament is being held at the refurbished Andhra University courts .. Here is the preview article in The Hindu, which talks about the hard work put in by the folks out there to get the courts ready, led by the local district collector .. There were no surprises in today's matches .. Young Jaco Mathew has quite possibly assured himself of making the masters leg and picking up his first ATP points with a win over Yasser Arafat today .. Vishal Punna also has done the same .. By the way, I have started the points tally page - take a look.

The Indian girls won the 3rd place tie 2-1 over Indonesia yesterday to finish 3rd in the Jakarta regionals .. Here are the scores from the weekend ties .. [Semifinal] China (1) d. India (3) 2-1 .. #2 Wan-Ting Liu d. #2 Sandhya Nagaraj 62 64 .. #1 Shuang Wu l. Sanaa Bhambri 16 26 .. Liu / Yi-Fan Xu d. Bhambri/ Vandana Murali 62 64 .. [3rd place] India (3) d. Indonesia (8) 2-1 ..#2 Sandhya Nagaraj l. Nancy Metriya 46 16 .. #1 Sanaa Bhambri d. Gusti Ayu Kd Fani Damyanti 61 63 .. Bhambri / Nagaraj v. Damyanti / Metriya 76(3) 46 62 .. Good show by the girls to hang in there and win the doubles tie yesterday .. Sandhya Nagraj's losses in the final twoi days were a bit unfortunate .. Actually it would be interesting to see whether Sandhya or Vandana Murali would be the #2 in the world group matches at Czech republic in August, considering Vandana's good showing in the satellite last month (that is if she continues to show good form) .. I believe once the player orders are submitted a few weeks before the tournament, changes are not allowed other than for injuries .. Anyway, congratulations to the team (and coach Kawaljeet Singh) for qaulifying to the world group, and losing only closely to the top seed in the reegionals .. So our u14 boys/girls team finished with a 11-1 record in ties (30-3 in matches) in the regionals - strongest regionals show in our memory, for sure.

The Asia-Oceania regional qualifying for the Junior Fed Cup starts tomorrow in Jakarta .. That is the ITF u16 girls event .. Our team is Sania Mirza, Ankita Bhambri and Kartiki Bhat - a strong one .. The coach is Sunil Yajaman.

.. Previous notes are at Notes for the week ending on May 13 ..

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.