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LP/MB/NV/Indian-Tennis: Notes for the week ending on May 26, 2003
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May 26 Notes

The doubles draws at the French Open are not out yet - we should know in a day or two ..

At the masters leg of the Indian satellites at Delhi today, half of the first round (PQF) matches were done today .. Isha, Shruti, R.Madura and M.Kamini reached the QF (1.5 WTA points each) .. See the Masters leg page for scores.

No news yet on the masters leg draw at the Portugal satellites .. HM is in the draw, and Saurav Panja may have made it too, hopefully.

Good and bad news from the grade-1 Astrid Open ITF juniors in Belgium today .. Sania, Sanaa, Somdev and Karan are there .. Sania is seeded 2nd and has a first round bye .. #53 Sanaa Bhambri had a fantastic win on clay out there - completley taking out Agnès Szatmari (ROM,60) 61 61 to reach the final-32 where she faces the top seed Ryoko Fuda (JPN,8) .. Karan Rastogi could not do much against Aleksey Malajko (GER,152), falling 36 36, though .. No news on Somdev's match against Lachlan Fergusson (AUS,90) ..  AITA announced today that Somdev made the main draw at the French Open juniors next week .. Sania will be among the top seeds, and I think Sanaa at #53 still has a chance to make the main draw, I think .. As of now Sanaa and Karan are in the qualies.

Now that this year's u14 teams could not finish in the top-4 in Asia to advance to the world group, I thought I would take a look at the next group of kids, for what is in store for next year .. We will see some of the u13 kids in action at the u14 national series tournament starting in Hyderabad today .. If I find enough scores, I will have a page for the event .. Along with the u14 kids, some of the u13 kids to look at are the higher ranked ones born in 1990 and later .. V.Poojashree (KAR), Amritha Seth (DLI), D.Tejaswini (AP), Surabhi Varma (MAH), Supriya Mallya (MAH), Unnathi Purushotham (AP) in that order are the top ones from the u13 ranks in the girls .. Except for Amritha and Tejaswini, others are in the list for Hyderbad .. Poojashree is very talented and is the #2 seed along with older u14 kids - you might remember her winning the u12 Nike tour title last year and representing India in South Africa in the world u12 championships .. On the boys' side, all four top u13 kids, Debendra Das, Nikhil Kumar Reddy, Yuki Bhambri and Ankesh Bhargava, are in the list .. There is that last name "Bhambri" again, by the way :-) .. This boy doesn't turn 11 for a couple of months more, but has started creating noises in the u14 level already .. Another name in the list is Shriram Balaji, who represented India in RSA in the u12 boys (and reached the QF in the singles championship, along with Poojashree who made QF and Sana Bhambri who made SF in the u12 and u14 .. M.Jeevan was the u14 rep from India and he won the consolation draw as well there) .. I will keep an eye on the proceedings at Hyderabad this week.

Speaking of the u14 and u12 levels, things are in good shape now, with two tours being organized by Globosport, continuing on their nice work last year with the Nike tour .. The AITA - Nike Tour (u12 and u14) this year by Globosport will be based on four zonal events and then a masters at Bangalore .. Dates:  (25 Aug) Delhi and Hyderabad zonals .. (01 Sep) - Mumbai and Kolkata .. (13 Oct) - Masters at Bangalore (Tennis Village) .. Another new sponsor in the kids division is Nutrine this year .. Here are the details on the AITA - Nutrine Naturo Junior Classic Circuit for u14 and u12, also conducted by Globosport .. Dates - (14-17 May) Mumbai .. (4-7 Jun) Delhi .. (23-26 Jul) Chennai .. (10-13 Sep) Kolkata .. (1-4 Oct) -Masters at Bangalore .. The Nutrine tour does not require a kid to play all four legs, but total points from the legs determine the entry to the masters .. I like the u12 level competition becoming more extensive .. As a spokesman from Globosport said on launching the new tour earlier this month, "Entry to the under-14 Zonals will be on the basis of AITA rankings while the under-12's will have an open draw since the objective is to set up a structure where none exists .. It's good of Nutrine to support this junior Tennis initiative... it's a good brand fit for Nutrine and it's great to see them look beyond inter-school cricket tournaments" .. Let's hope that the circuit throws up some good talent" .. Using the old catch-phrase, we need to "catch em young" .. Things are much better now than in the past, for sure.

On the other hand, there are still considerable imepdiments in terms of all the costs involved for parents to bring the kids up the ladder .. But here is a wonderful article from the Times of India with a lot of candid and motivational thoughts from Leander Paes that all aspiring Indian kids (and their parents) should read .. Nothing is impossible!

By the way, the first of the u12/u14 events, the Nutrine event in Mumbai was a few days back .. The winners were G/12- Rashmi Teltumbde (runner-up:  Aishvarya Srivastava) .. G/14- Rashmi Teltumbde (ru: Supriya Mallya) .. B/12- Aadish Sardesai (ru: Mansingh Athare) .. B/14- Abhijit Tiwari (ru: Jairaj Desai) .. Some new names to look for, there .. Rashmi, who won both titles was a qualifier into the u14; she must be a good one ..

May 25 Note-1

Quick update after being away for 4 days .. Sonal Phadke made a very strong comeback run after missing a week due to injury, and will now be among the seeds for the masters leg (also at Delhi) in the Indian women's satellite .. Sonal won the 3rd leg title, beating Liza in the final - see the 3rd leg scores .. Also see the unofficial points list page for the list of 16 who made the final leg .. Liza has been so strong throughout this circuit and is the top seed .. She has really had a breakthrough circuit so far .. At Portugal, Harsh Mankad reached the QF in the 3rd week but fell in a 3-setter to the points leader now, Timo Nieminen, who has won the 2nd and 3rd legs .. HM needs to reach the final of the masters to get close to even about 10 ATP points from the circuit but we have to be happy that he showed improvement on clay from week to week - tough circuit there .. Both the Indian u14 boys and girls failed to make the world group, falling in the QFs in the regionals in chilly Melbourne, Australia .. Not totally unexpected, though .. Both teams finished 6th in Asia .. With a bunch of good ones having come up in the last couple of years and having just moved to the u16 levels this year, it was going to be tough to keep the u14 level strong - need to do better next year .. Sunitha Rao fell in the qualies at the French Open .. LP-Rikl will be about the 5th seeds and MB-Mirnyi the second seeds in doubles that starts around wednesday out there; the draw is not out yet ..

The Indian junior team sent for a 6 week European tour by AITA, will start off at the Astrid Bowl grade-1 starting monday .. Sania, Sanaa, Somdev and Karan with coach Chandrasekhar (is that the first time we are sending a coach for the European grand slam tour? -- good job, AITA!) .. Tara also may be playing in these sets of events that includes 3 clay events (Belgium, French Open, Frankfurt) and three grass events (probably Halle and then Roehamton and Wimbledon juniors) .. All should be pretty much in the main draw of all events, except French Open where Sania is in and Somdev almost in, with the others in qualies .. Sania will skip two grass events to play challengers before the Wimbledon juniors, I believe.

I am traveling for 4 days -- so the updates will be patchy/nonexistent till Sunday .. Please check the forum for all news..

May 20 Notes

Good news, both the Indian u14 boys and girls won their secnd ties at the World Junior Tennis regionals in Melbourne .. The boys are assured of a QF spot, and the girls are close to making it .. Today's scores: .. Girls: India(4) d. Indonesia 2-0 .. # 2 Shweta Kakhandki d. Lutfiana Aris Budharto 76(4) 64 ..# 1 Ashmitha Easwaramurthi d. Miasacca Panji Rindang Kasih 63 63 ..Doubles not played .. Boys: India(3) d. Philippines, 2-0 .. #2 Arnav Jain d. Pablo Olivarez 61 63 .. #1 Agnel Gladwin d. Ralph Barte 16 62 63 .. Doubles not played. .. Yesterday's scores:  Boys: India(3) d. Malaysia 3-0 .. #2 Arnav Jain d. Muhammad Afiq Zainal 60 60 .. #1 Agnel Gladwin d. Surish Shanmugan 61 62 .. Jain/ Mesheer Vaswani d. Shanmugan/ Naquiddin Faiq Nasir 62 76(1) .. Girls: India(4) l. Hong Kong 1-2 .. #2 Shweta Kakhandki d. Geraldine Leong 61 63 .. #1 Ashmitha Easwaramurthi l. Venise Chan 36 06 .. Kakhandki/ Gayathri Krishnan l. Chan/ Bertha Wang 36 36.

At Espinho in Portugal, yesterday's scores -- [R1] Harsh Mankad (IND) d. (q) Leonardo Tavares (POR) 36 64 62 .. [R1] (q) James Shortall (NZL) d. Saurav Panja (IND) 64 60 .. In doubles, [R1] Tiago Godinho/ Jose Pedro Silva (POR) d. Ervin Eleskovic (SWE)/ Nishank Mishra 61 63 .. Godinho and Pedro-Silva play Harsh Mankad and Clint Lee (second seeds with an R1 bye) in the next round .. On tap for today - [R1] Saurav Panja/ Saurav Sukul vs Diogo Rocha/ Leonardo Tavares (POR) .. Saurav Panja could still make the singles main draw for the masters week and get an ATP points but needs some luck for that too .. Harsh needs to go on some serious runs in the last two weeks to make any more that 2 to 5 ATP points .. HM plays the singles R2 on wednesday.

No news yet on Sunil Kumar who was expected at the Morocco $10K futures as the 3rd seed this week.

Medhini Sharma was at the El Paso futures qualies - [Q1] Medini Sharma (IND, 966) d. Karla Porter (USA) 76 (3) 75 .. [Q2] Medini Sharma (IND, 966) l. Alanna Broderick (JAM) 26 36 ..

May 19 Notes

Quick updates .. LP and MB are taking this week off to prepare for the French Open doubles late next week .. LP moved to #12 in doubles, MB stayed at #4 in today's ranks .. LP-DR are at #4 in team ranks with 282 pts, and MB-MM are #6 with 277 points, with Damm-Suk with 279 in between them .. Harsh Mankad won the first round of the 3rd leg at the POR satellites today, but Saurav Panja fell .. The 3rd leg of the Women satellites started today with no surprises .. At the WTT qualies in Melbourne, our boys won easily 3-0 over Malaysia but our girls got upset 2-1 by Hong Kong today .. Most details are at the forum .. Later!

.. Previous notes are at Notes for the week ending on May 19 ..

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.