Notes for the week ending on May 27, 2002
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May 27 Note-1
It will be sometime tomorrow when we hear of the doubles draw at the French Open ..
The 4-week India S2 women's developmental ITF satellite circuit is starting today at Chandigarh (to be followed by Muzaffarnagar, UP, next week and two weeks at Delhi) .. Except for Sai Jayalakshmy who played the last circuit in April, most of the women are in the entry .. Sonal, Radhika, Sheetal and Shruti lead the pack .. See the page I have started for the Chandigarh satellite - I have added qualifying results (courtesy - The Hindu)
The Indian u16 boys could not repeat their pool win earlier over Uzbekistan and went down to them 1-2 in the place ment match for the 5th-6th spot at Kuala Lumpur yesterday - Tushar Liberhan d. Arsemniy Komorav 75 62 .. Karan Rastogi l. Farukh Dustov 76(4) 60 .. Liberhan/ Rastogi l. Komarov/ Dustov 63 63 .. What was funny throughout the week was how Tushar and Karan seemed to be taking turns in winning and losing, and then the ties coming down to whether we were ready in the doubles .. Fair to say that I am very disappointed .. As I don't like to criticize kids and the team coaches, we will leave it at that .. On the whole, again, we had a very good set of regionals, placing three of the four junior teams in the world groups .. We need to do better in making sure that our u14 teams continue to develop and dominate the region as they grow up also .. The same team with Tushar and Karan were #2 at the u14 regionals two years back, but clearly Australia, Korea, China, and Uzbekistan have gone ahead of them, which is disappointing .. I don't want to sound like the sky is falling, though :-) .. Karan, Tushar and Vishnu Vardhan have a lot of time to go thorugh the junior ITF circuit and come through in the future .. Let's hope that Rupesh Roy and Sumit Prakash Gupta will keep their u14 domination into the u16 later.
Sania Mirza is at the Grade-1 Astrid Bowl in Belgium, the prestigious tune-up for the French Open juniors next week .. She is the 9th seed and has a first round bye, facing the winner of the match between Darya Ivanov (AUS) and a qualifier in the R2.
May 26 Notes
Indian u16 boys ensured a top-6 finish with a 2-1 win over Indonesia yesterday (Tushar Liberhan l. Sunu Wahyu Trijati 46 46 .. Karan Rastogi d. Anthony Muki Tan, 61 61 .. Rastogi/ Liberhan d. Amdanu/ Trijati, 63 63) .. Today India play Uzbekistan for the #5 spot, in a repeat of the round robin tie on the first day which India won 2-1 .. Awaiting news from today.
Harsh Mankad's college tennis ended yesterday - Mankad and Thomas Haug lost to Andrew Colombo and Mark Kovacs, 46 57 in the quarterfinals of the collegiate championships .. They were broken in games 1 and 3 in the first set, and got one break back in game 2, the set going on serve from then on .. They were again broken in the first game of the second, got the break back in the 4th, and ended up getting broken late in the 11th game .. 2 of 2 in break points for them and 3 of 5 for the other team .. Close match, but they fell short .. Nick Rainey (USC) lost 46 26 in the singles QF to the top seeded Matias Boeker (U of Georgia), who has been undoubtedly the best college player for two years. We are done with US college tennis for now, till we start following Prakash Amritraj in October again .. We will follow Harsh when he gets to the Canada F1-F3 futures after a two week break.
May 25 Notes
What I had heard last week from a source was that Leander was expecting play with Tomas Cibulec (CZE,39) at the French Open doubles starting next wednesday .. LP was also considering a French player (#30 Michael Llodra?) earlier and may still play with him in the grass season - but I haven't confirmed all this with LP .. Cibulec-Paes looked good in Hamburg and only lost rather closely against the eventual winners MB-Gambill .. Mahesh is exected to play with Mirnyi at the FO ..
Harsh Mankad fell in the final-16 of the college national championship singles but pulled off another upset in doubles to reach the quarterfinal .. In singles, he lost to 11th ranked John Fruttero of Univ of California (Berkeley), 64 63 .. He had break points in a long 9th game, but couldn't get the break, which was followed by a long 10th game where he ended up losing serve .. Harsh came back strongly in the second set with two breaks to lead 3-0, but could not hold serve three times in a row after that, as Fruttero went into a zone .. The good news is that our friend Nick Rainey, ranked #46, has been on a tear out there, reaching the singles QF .. Actually Harsh is not a rare case of a seed falling there .. Only two top-10 seeds remain in the final-8 and only three of the 16 seeds .. In doubles, #33 Mankad and Haug upset #9 Rainey-Moore, 63 62 .. They play #27 Andrew Colombo and Mark Kovacs of the Auburn University n the QFs today .. Surprising run in doubles for Harsh.
2nd seed Sonal Phadke lost to Danielle Steinberg (ISR) in the second round at the Tel Aviv $10K .. I don't know the score, but I saw that Steinberg had played the QF at Ariel's Israel tennis page which means she upset Sonal in R2.
May 24 Note-2
Our guess that today's satellite masters final between Vishal Uppal and Vijay Kannan would be a dandy, proved true .. First, we had a player playing for a title in the masters leg, after having to enter the field as the dead last player through a playoff match - and I have to guess that this is something that has almost never happened in an ATP satellite .. Across him was a player, national hardcourt championship notwithstanding, who was not even seeded for the 3rd leg and was languishing at some spot below top-10 with just 3 or 4 ATP points coming in, but had made a terrific run in the last two legs, who suddenly had a chance to even top the satellite tally! -- As I said, Vishal stood to gain 6 extra points and Vijay was in for 12 ATP points (has there been a match in recent times in India where a player other than LP or MB stood to gain 12 ATP points - I don't think so!) .. The immovable object against the irresistible force? Goliath-turned-David vs Goliath-turned-David ? --- OK, now I am getting carried away! :-) .. The match did turn out to be a good one, but Vishal finished his improbable run with a 7-6(11-9) 6-4 win over Vijay .. He finished at #4 in the circuit standings behind Mustafa, Nitin, Vijay, just ahead of Sandeep at #5 .. So, the present did catch up with the past in the end and made the future at least not depressing, going back to Kamesh Sreenivasan's classic line about "past meeting the present and future looking bleak" following the hot start by Sandeep and Nitin over Mustafa, Vijay, Vishal, Manoj, etc in the satellites .. Take a look at the Bangalore masters page and the circuit points page - I saw the official point tally and found that my calculations during the circuit were almost totally mistake-free (phew! :-)) - actually I forgot that Shivang would get 2 doubles points even though he did not play the masters leg, as he did not have a partner with enough pts to make the draw with ..
May 24 Note-1
With the 4-week India S2 satellites for women starting next week, I did not expect any of the Indian girls to be traveling abroad - I was alerted by Jay Shull (thanks!) that Sonal is at the Israel $10K satellite in Tel Aviv this week! .. She is the second seed there and had reached the second round with an easy 62 61 win over Alexandra Zotta (ROM) .. She was to face Daniel Steinberg (ISR) in the R2, but no news yet .. Sonal and Cristina Tonelli (ITA) lost in the first round against the 4th seeds Caroline Korsawe (GER) and Jennifer Schmidt (AUT), 06 67(3)
Jay also alerted me to Sania playing in Austria .. I had forgotten about that - anyway, right after 6 days of two matches each at Indonesia for the u16 regionals till Sunday, I guess she caught a plane to Austria and had to play immediately after reaching there .. Not easy to fly in there and play on European red clay immediately .. She was the top seed but got upset 63 63 by qualifier Agnes Szavay (HUN) .. In doubles also, she was upset .. Anna Tchakvetadze (RUS) and Victoriya Kutuzova (UKR) beat the top seeds Micaela Moran (ARG) and Sania Mirza, 46 63 61 .. I think Sania will be at the Astrid bowl in Belgium next week.
Heart-breaking news from Kuala Lumpur .. India and China were the only two teams to place one team each in each of the junior world groups from the Asia-Oceania regionals - in u14 boys, u14 girls and u16 girls .. Today it was time for the 4th team, u16 boys to come through, and interestingly the QF tie was between IND and CHN .. It was a close affair but our boys couldn't get it done .. Here are the results - CHINA d. #3 INDIA, 2-1 .. #2 Tushar Liberhan d. Xu Yin, 64 61 .. #1 Karan Rastogi l. Jian Li, 75 36 57 .. Li/ Tan d. Liberhan/ Rastogi 64 60 .. What is sad is how close Karan was to finishing the job after going up in the first set .. But he seems to have fought hard in the 3rd set - and it was against Li Jian, who and Karan are among the best in Asia based on record in the past - actually Karan had beaten him in a couple of close three-setters in the past (going back to the QF of the u14 event two years back when Karan got past him in three to put us into the world group) .. I guess the Chinese kid got revenge today .. I am not sure why our boys lost without a fight in the doubles second set, also .. Frankly, from day one I was feeling a bit uncomfortable about how things were going in Kuala Lumpur (despite my feeling before all the junior regionals started that our u16 boys team was perhaps the most talented), as you could probably guess from my notes - one can get a lot from following how each match was going .. Australia, Korea and Japan are the other three teams to make the world group, each with 3-0 wins over Uzbekistan, Indonesia and Srilanka respectively .. India was a bit unlucky in that we ended up with the strongest pool runners-up, which was China .. And pressure probably did get to us, which shouldn't have happened - after all we were the 3rd seeds .. But then again, these are 16 year olds we are talking about .. Give them time and support - Karan, Tushar etc will come through in the future .. Good job topping the pool and for all the tough matches guys! .. All in all, we had our most successful set of junior regionals in quite a while .. The next big Asian competition is the ITF Gade B2 Asian Open juniors in Delhi at the end of the year.
May 23 Note-4
Rushmi Chakravarti played a good match against the 6th seeded Tian-Tian Sun (CHN,294) in the second round at the $25K Tianjin Challenger in China, but fell 57 46 today .. In the doubles R1, Rushmi and Chin-Bee Khoo of Malaysia went down 16 36 to Kumiko Iijima and Tomoko Yonemura of Japan .. Rushmi is in the entry list (currently as the 8th seed) at the $10K satellite next week at Tianjin.
Harsh Mankad won the second round to reach the final-16 at the US college national championships singles .. Today he beat #30 Oggie Kolev of U of Arkansas, 36 26 in an easy match .. Harsh next faces 13th ranked John Fruttero of the Univ of California (Berkeley) .. Harsh is now the second highest seed remaining, with #2 seed Peter Handoyo (U. of Tennessee) falling yesterday - actually 9 of the 16 seeds have fallen in two rounds .. Also reaching the final 16 with a big upset of the 8th seed Benjamin Becker, was our friend Nick Rainey (Go Nick!!) .. Harsh and Thomas Haug of the U of Minnesota, ranked #33, upset the 14th ranked team from Pepperdine Univ, Al Garland and Johan Berg, 64 64, to reach the doubles PQF as well - and they now face the 9th ranked Nick Rainey and Ryan Moore .. I had a chat with Harsh today, and he said he was there cheering on Prakash Amritraj in the USC national championship run .. He said, "Prakash has worked hard, and was playing tremendous tennis .. He still has his strong serve and volley game but he knows how to mix it up from the baseline and his passing shots are now top class as well" .. He also sounded very happy about AITA coming through with sponsorship for his pro travel and said he was looking forward to traveling with Rohan Bopanna and coach Srinath in the Indian circuit later in the summer (the next Indian events are the three-week futures series in August) .. Harsh leaves school after this week and will start back on the tour after two weeks of rest following a hectic college season .. He will be playing at the Canada F1 through F3 futures starting June 10th and then will be at some of the USA futures.
May 23 Note-3
Let us all wish ALL THE BEST! .. in Coimbatore !! .. CONGRATULATIONS !!
Manisha Malhotra and kelly
Liggan just lost to the second seeds Rossana Neffa and Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario,
46 36 in the quarterfinals at the $170K
Open De Espana Villa de Madrid Tier-III WTA event in Spain ... Must have been an experience for Manisha to be playing on the center court in Spain against a Spanish legend .. Manisha-Kelly actually played quite well in the loss, says some spaniards who saw it on TV.
At the Bangalore satellites, things got very interesting today with Vishal continuing to pull upset after upset, this time taking out the top seed Mustafa in straight sets, 63 64 .. He now has 6 ATP points with a chance to add 5 more with a title tomorrow - what a turnaround for somebody who had to go through a playoff to enter the masters field as the 24th and last player! .. Also in line for oodles of points tomorrow is Vijay Kannan, whose last-gasp push in the circuit has been extremely impressive too .. PTI reports that Vijay "played his heart out" today in the comeback 46 61 76(3) win against Tomer Suissa (ISR) .. Vijay now has 15 points but can tie for the top spot in the circuit with Mustafa with a win tomorrow, and get 6 ATP and 6 bonus for topping the list .. So the match tomorrow against Vishal is worth a whopping 12 ATP points for Vijay .. It is going to be a good one .. The doubles title and 35 ATP points each went to the top seeds Vishal and Nitin, who beat the second seeds Mustafa and Vijay who make 30 points each .. Check out the Bangalore satellite page and the points page.
May 23 Note-2
The 3rd seeded Indian u16 boys reached the quarterfinal at the Junior Davis Cup regionals, topping the pool with their 3rd pool win today at Kuala Lumpur .. #3 India d. New Zealand, 2-1 .. #1 Tushar Liberhan l. Joel Statham 46 63 46 .. #1 Karan Rastogi d. Rade Radinovich, 76(1) 62 .. Liberhan/ Rastogi d. Pilbro/ Statham, 61 64 .. Hmmm, that was closer than I expected .. In the final-8 we face the runner up of group-1 which is China .. India has not shown the kind of domination that I thought our two players were capable of, but they have come through in the crunch with key doubles wins against both Uzbekistan and New Zealand after each of our two players have dropped one singles match each (Karan against UZB and Tushar against NZL) .. Apparently Tushar-vs-Statham today was a very good match where he made a tough comeback against a steady player, but he made a few errors at key points and fell in the end after saving some match points .. Karan was up 5-2 in the first set, became a bit careless and over-confident to lose 4 games in a row but then tightened things up to take it to a tiebreaker and win it easily .. They combined for a dominating doubles match .. Steady boys - can't have a let-up tomorrow against China! .. #1 Australia has looked extremely strong in their three ties so far, and the Chinese #1 player did beat the Australian #1 in their 1-2 pool loss to Australia .. China looks like a strong enough team to even oust India in the QF tomorrow (need to win it to make the final-4 and qualify for the world group) .. It's nail-biting time, and our boys will hopefully show what they are capable of, tomorrow ..
May 23 Note-1
The Indian u16 boys team is also close to reaching the QF at the Junior Davis Cup regionals .. After two rounds India leads the pool with a 2-0 (5-1 in matches) record with Uzbekistan (who beat New Zealand 2-1 yesterday) at second with a 1-1 (3-3) record and NZL with a 1-1 record (3-3) record .. UZB will probably make it 2-1 (6-3) against HKG tomorrow; so India will make the QF as long as we get at least one win in the tie against NZL .. It will be much better to win 2 matches and top the pool, as the QF for the pool-3 are against the winners and runners-up of pool-1 which will probably be #1 Australia and China.
May 22 Note-2
At the $25K challenger in Tianjin, China, Rushmi Chakravarti had a good win today .. 448th ranked Rushmi beat Akiko Kinebuchi (JPN,467), 63 61 .. Rushmi gets 4 more points (with one bonus) to add to the 3 she had last week at Shanghai for the R1 win .. That raises her point total to 36 and should take her ranking up from #448 to about #410 .. Good job .. Rushmi now plays the 6th seeded Tian-Tian Sun (CHN,294) .. She has not played her doubles R1 yet.
3rd seeded Harsh Mankad reached the final-32 at the US college nationals at College Station, Texas, beating #22 Michael Kogan of Tulane U., 61 76(2) .. He faces #30 Oggie Kolev (Arkansas U.) tomorrow .. Harsh also has a doubles R1 match tomorrow .. Prakash Amritraj is not in the singles draw, as his ranking at #85 was not enough tot make it to the field - but he has done his job in the team events and his chance will come, starting next year when he will be ranked much higher .. Prakash improved a lot by the end of the year, starting from that shocking upset of Harsh Mankad a few weeks back - a dream for any freshman, beating a #1 ranked player .. That is the only loss to a player ranked below college top-35 in the 4 losses Harsh has in 29 matches this year .. Harsh has a 20-4 record against the college top-100 (12-3 against top-35) ..
May 22 Note-1
Manisha-Kelly is not on the schedule for doubles today at the Tier-III event in Madrid, Spain.
At the satellites today, Mustafa Ghouse assured himself of a top finish in circuit standings with a win over Hatayo Furukawa .. See the Bangalore satellite page and the points page .. Vijay Kannan upset 3rd seed Sandeep Kirtane (evening the score between them at 2-2 in the circuit; Sandeep had ousted Vijay in the R2 and QF in the first two legs, but he has taken care of Sandeep in leg-3 and now) - Vijay's timely push has been impressive and he now even has a chance to top the circuit is Mustafa loses tomorrow to Vishal .. Vishal pulled yet another upset, over #4 seed Dooyev in yet another three-setter .. Pity that he is so far behind in circuit points that all this work is giving him only very few ATP points .. Anyway, the next two days are crucial .. Mustafa is now assured of topping the circuit point tally and has assured himself of 6 bonus points - so today's win was worth a huge 11 ATP points for Mustafa!! .. A win tomorrow gives him 6 more points and a title does not give him much more (that is how the points work - check out my circuit pts to ATP pts conversion table page) .. Vijay picked up 4 extra ATP pts today for 10 total and can get 5 more from a win over Suissa tomorrow, and an extra 6 more points for a title (actually, if Mustafa loses tomorrow, then Vijay even has a chance to top the circuit with Mustafa and pick up 6 more bonus points and end with 27 total!!) .. So the next two days are extremely crucial for Vijay .. Vishal can get one extra pt for a win tomorrow and 6 more for a title .. I hope I am not making a mistake in those calculations .. In any event, it is heartening to see Mustafa, Vijay, Vishal, etc coming through in the circuit .. For a while it looked like only the older Kirtane cousins were going to get anywhere. Incidentally, without doing anything, Nitin picked up three bonus ATP points, as he is now assured of finishing #2 in the circuit in any event.
Indian u16 boys had a relatively easy 3-0 win over Hong Kong today at the Asia-Oceania regionals - #2 Tushar Liberhan d. Michael Lai 60 75 .. #1 Karan Rastogi d. Martin Sayer 62 75 .. Rastogi/ Vishnu Vardhan d. Lai/ Ronald Chow 64 60 .. Tushar had a stomach upset and that is why he did not play the doubles .. Not sure why our boys had some bit of trouble in the second sets (yeah, we are greedy these days and want them all winning 6-1 6-2 all the time :-)) .. We play New Zealand next .. Not sure if we are assured of a QF berth yet (there could be a three-way tie between NZL, UZB and IND still, I guess, unless UZB lost to NZL today - I doubt they would have) .. Good show.
Harsh Mankad is seeded #3 in the US college national championships singles, and faces Michael Kogan of Tulane Univ in the first round today.
May 21 Note-3
#11 Univ of Southern California won today their 4th upset in a row (over #6 Baylor.U, #3 U.Illinois, #2 U.Tennessee and #1 U.Georgia) to clinch the US tennis national championship and freshman Prakash Amritraj was selected as the tournament's Most Valuable Player! .. That's an incredible honor for a freshman player, and it's an understatement to say that he showed a winner's mentality whenever it mattered .. Today, for the 3rd time in a row, Prakash clinched the tie for USC .. He led off by winning the first match (doubles) .. After USC won the doubles points and went up 3-1 winning two singles matches, Prakash was down a break in the second set - there he goes on a run again, breaking back and then going all out for the second break for a 63 75 win to finish it off with the 4th point for USC .. It was a most unexpected run of upsets by USC at the tournament .. Yes, it's a team event and Prakash was only helping win 2 points in every tie, but the way the freshman came through every time was the reason he was selected the MVP .. Congratulations, Prakash! .. Congrats also go to his teammates, including our LP-MB fanclub member Nick Rainey (who is an American only by birth, but is basically the "other Indian" in the team in his ways, according to Prakash! :-))
There are a few hundred college tennis programs in the US, and even to reach the final-64 is not easy .. Reaching the "sweet 16" is a dream for many a college, and to win it all is the ultimate nirvana .. Of course, USC winning the national championship is not of much concern for any of us (:-)) but Prakash doing well, is very much of interest to all of us!
May 21 Note-2
At the satellites today, the top seed Nitin Kirtane lost the chance to make so much more of ATP points by crashing out in the first match to Tomer Suissa .. He will finish the satellite with 19 ATP points unless he somehow ends up among the top two in total circuit points and gets 3 or 6 bonus points .. The 28 yr old was simply too tired after the double crown last week .. Unfortunate .. Mustafa had a tough match against 18 yr old Shivang Mishra, who won the first set in a tiebreak .. I forgot to mention about Shivang's nice win yesterday over Roy Sichel (ISR) .. Though he will finish with just 12 ATP points, he had one main draw win each in three of the legs and he played well in his losses as well - good job by the youngster .. Vishal Uppal is another fighting story - coming back from injury and indifferent form for almost a couple of years, he is again showing that fighting mentality, coming back from a first set loss yesterday and then upsetting the 7th seed Moreno-Negrin of Spain today in a 2 hour 10 minute dogfight - again coming back from dropping the first set and winning a 3rd set tiebreaker at 14-12! .. He is so far behind in circuit points that Vishal has to reach the final or something here to go much above 3 or 4 ATP points .. Sandeep also had to come back from dropping a set to Arimoto .. Vijay Kannan beat Manoj Mahadevan to pick up circuit points worth 2 ATP points today (he is up to 6 ATP pts) .. Sandeep and Mustafa picked up 3 more ATP points today for 16 and 10 total .. I have not yet seen the results of Rohan Gajjar's match .. See the Bangalore masters page .. I have also added the ATP doubles points in the points page.
Check out the latest AITA calendar I have just posted .. The $25K men's satellite originally planned for August have now been changed to three $10K futures .. Not great for Indians to pick up ATP points, compared to satellites, but not a bad idea as there will be much better competition from abroad - and they do need such match practice.
Some exciting stuff from Prakash Amritraj, who has been making people forget that he is just a freshman at the Univ of Southern California .. USC, ranked #11 in college rankings has pulled three upsets in a row in the collegiate final-16 to reach the final against #1 Univ of Georgia .. The QF and SF upsets both came with clinching wins by Prakash Amritraj .. The way collegiate ties are played, three doubles matches are played simultaneously for one point, followed by 6 singles matches (#1 vs #1, #2 vs #2, etc) also played simultaneously .. The points keep on getting changed as matches finish, till somebody "clinches" the 4th point for a team to win - which is considered an important win, because the players do keep up with scores from other courts as they play and have to come through when needed .. Two days back, #85 Prakash upset #67 Phil Stolt of U of Illinois 64 76(0), coming back furiously from 2-5 down in the second to "clinch" the 4-2 upset over #3 ranked UI .. Yesterday, USC lost the doubles points against #2 ranked U. of Tennessee with only Prakash-Lengre winning one of the three doubles matches .. Then USC were down 1-3 with the #1 and #2 players losing .. Then started the comeback with #4 player Nick Rainey winning his match (congrats Nick! -- he is a fanclub member here too, as we know) .. USC won the #5 matchup for a 3-3 tie and Prakash was in the 3rd set of his #3-vs-#3 match against #77 Adam Carey .. Prak was behind on serve 15-30 at that time at 5-3 .. Knowing that it was all up to him then, he won the next 3 points in a row to win 76(5) 36 63 and clinch the tie, sending USC to the national championship tie to be played this evening .. That is heady stuff from a freshman who has been a big reason for the true "cinderella run" of USC .. It is even more emotional for the university, as the head coach, legendary Dick Leach has announced his retirement after some 25 years of coaching there and they have a chance to win a 4th national title as a sendoff for the coach .. The old coach said, "When you recruit these kids, you donít know how big their hearts are. When they play a match like this you find out. It is not talent that wins championships, itís heart" ... So true. I am not particularly a big fan of USC as a university (:-)) but Go Nick and Prakash!
Harsh Mankad's U of Minnesota, ranked #22, failed to advance to the final-16 though they reached the final-32 (Harsh "clinched" the final-64 tie with a tough 57 64 63 comeback against #39 Matt Klinger of Arizona State U, who had beaten Harsh last year in the Canada futures) .. They then lost to the #8 ranked Pepperdine University (#4 Mankad was late in the 3rd set of his match against #3 ranked Al Garland when the tie got done and they called off the play with his teammates unable to pull upsets against higher ranked Pepperdine players) .. Pepperdine then proceeded to get upset by USC in the final 16 .. Harsh will be in the individual singles and doubles championships that start tomorrow .. Talking of Harsh, here is an article from the U. of Minnesota website that has a good list of a lot of his achievements - being selected to the academic team also is quite impressive, on top of being selected the big-10 conference player of the year and athlete of the year and sportsman of the year etc etc .. Harsh is done with academics now and is leaving college after this week's collegiate championships (will need to finish the final 2 or 3 semesters worth of work later, after his pro career) .. AITA announced yesterday that their committee has approved selecting Harsh, Rohan, Sunil for direct sponsorship for their pro careers .. Here is the Times of India article on the AITA announcement. Good work by AITA for coming through with the promise at the right time which was the reason for Harsh to decide to turn pro full time now.
May 21 Note-1
At the $170K Open De espana Villa de Madrid Tier-III WTA event in Spain, Manisha Malhotra and Kelly Liggan of Ireland made the main draw and have reached the quarterfinal! -- yesterday they beat Jorgelina Cravero (ARG) and Arancha Parra (ESP), 64 76(3) .. A Tier-III event main draw win is always impressive .. The win gives Manisha 39 WTA points to replace 6 pts (14th best) and take her point total from 189 to 222 - which should raise her doubles ranking from 159 to around 145 .. Manisha-Kelly await the winners of the match between Nicole Sewell/ Jenny Belobradjic and the 2nd seeds Rosanna Neffa Delos Rios/ Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario .. Go Manisha! .. She was not in the singles qualies - I believe she could not have made the cut.
At the $25K Tainjin challenger in China, Rushmi Chakravarti plays Akiko Kinebuchi (JPN, 467) in the first round .. In doubles Rushmi and Chin Bee Khoo (MAS) play Kumiko Iijima and Tomoko Yonemura of Japan (source: Alain Vincent).
The 3rd seeded Indian boys won the first tie at the u16 Asia-Oceania qualifiers in Kuala Lumpur today with a 2-1 win over Uzbekistan .. #2 Tushar Liberhan d. Arseniy Komonov, 61 62 .. #1 Karan Rastogi lost to Farokh Dustov, 61 62 .. Tushar-Karan d. Farokh-Arseniy, 75 63 .. Here are the groupings for the round robin - Group-1: #1 Australia, China, Pakistan, Malaysia .. Group-2: #2 Korea, Sri Lanka, Iran, Philippines .. Group-C: #3 India, Uzbekistan, Hong Kong, New Zealand .. Group-D: #4 Indonesia, #5 Japan, Thailand, Chinese Taipei, Syria .. They could as well have just sent Korea straight into the quarterfinal with their pool .. Group-1 is reasonable but groups 3 and 4 are tougher .. India once again has got a tough group, though I am not sure how good NZL is .. Good start, but Karan needs to play better in the coming matches (apparently the Uzbek #1 player was a 6 ft 2 guy who didn't give Karan a chance today, according the Indian coach Manoj Vaidya) .. India plays Hong Kong tomorrow and New Zealand on Thursday.
More soon ..
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 part 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 business - 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.
.. Previous notes are at Notes for the week ending on May 20 ..
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.