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LP/MB/NS/Indian-Tennis: Notes for the weeks ending on May 31, 2004
(Previous week's notes) (Next week's notes) (Daily Notes Index 1997 thru 2003)

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May 31 Note-1

Karan Rastogi's patchy clay season (actually patchy year ever since the great start at the Australian Open) continued today, as the 5th ranked 12th seed was upset by the 78th ranked Martin Fisher of Austria at the French Open juniors in a back and forth match where Karan wasted a whole bucketfull of opportunities in the 3rd set aftera  great comeback in the second set .. Here is a match report based on the online scoreboard and stats update -

Karan had a double break pt in the first game and converted the first chance itself to go up 1-0.  Helped by an ace, he went up to 2-0 soon .. After a couple of deuces, Fisher held serve in the 3rd game. Now KR started having first serve troubles and was facing two break pts at 15-40.  He saved them both, but got broken after a deuce .. 2-2 .. A double fault caused a BP again in the 5th game.  Saved one, but yet another uinforced error saw his drop serve again .. 2-4 .. Now Martin Fischer seemed to be getting into full flow as he won 7 of the next 8 points and forced triple set points at 2-5 on Karan.  Once again Karan saved all of the break points for deuce, and then saved a 4th set point at AD out too, but then dropped the set.

In the 3rd game of the second set, Karan went up ahead, with the help of a couple of winners and a couple of unforced errors from Fischer. With the DF count mounting from the Austrrian and Karan started hitting more winners, it was 3-1 and KR again broke him in the 5th game to go ahead 4-1 .. At 5-1, Karan wasted three chances from triple set point, but converted a fourth set point to even it up at one set apiece.

He started kept the foot on the pedal to start the 3rd set .. Served his second ace, to hold serve at love and then had Fischer down at 0-40 again. A couple of unforced errors from Karan helped Fischer to save the BPs and hold serve though. Now it was a key juncture again for Karan and he had to keep his mind in the game .. But alas, just like that he was down 0-40 on serve and was suddenly in trouble at 1-2 .. He lost Eight points straight three of them in a row at the net, based on the stats. Karan really needs to do something about his tendency to lose points in a bundle at times - he does snap out of it but against better player it is suicidal. Anyhway, as expected, he quickly had Fischer down at 0-40 again and he got the break right back to 2-2 .. That did not last much longer either, as KR dropped serve yet again after saving a couple of BPs (one with an ace) .. 2-3 though .. Then, for the second time in the set, Karan wasted triple break chances on Martin.  He held serve to go 4-2 as Karan went 1 of 7 in break chances in the set.  Then at 3-4, Karan had yet another break chance at 30-40 and that too went unused.  Losing 7 chances in a row is a killer.  Martin held serve to ghho up 5-3.  Now KR started with a double fault, having invited all the pressure on himself.  He faced a match point at 30-40 but an unforced error from the Austrian boy gave him a reprieve.  Another UE from Karan saw him face a second match pt but he again saved it with a point at the net.  On a 3rd match point, Martin hit a winner and Karan was upset.

The match took 94 minutes .. 3 aces and 4 DFs by Karan .. no aces and 4 DFs by MF .. 6/17 in break points by MF and 5 of 16 by Karan (1 of 8 in the 3rd, which was really the key stat of the match that caused the loss) .. This was an extremely rare case of the loser having more points in a match - KR woin 79 to 78 by Martin.

Tushar is right now playing the 10th seed Woong-Sun Jun ..  Mahesh's doubles QF has also started.

May 30 Note-2

Scores from the FO on Sunday -
[R3] (3) Mahesh Bhupathi (IND)/ Max Mirnyi (BLR) d. Mario Ancic (CRO)/Ivan Ljubicic (CRO) 62 62
[R1] Divij Sharan (IND,31) l. Miles Kasiri (GBR,36) 16 26
[R1] (12) Karan Rastogi (IND,5) d. (WC) Jonathan Dasnieres (FRA,194) 63 67(1) 63
[R1] Tushar Liberhan (IND,35) d. Jamie Murray (GBR,40) 62 46 64

Tomorrow's matches:
[QF] (3) Mahesh Bhupathi (IND)/ Max Mirnyi (BLR) vs Karsten Braasch (GER)/ Sargis Sargsian (ARM)
[R2] (6) Martina Navratilova (USA) / Leander Paes (IND) vs. Angelique Widjaja (INA) / Lucas Arnold (ARG)
[R2] (12) Karan Rastogi (IND,5) vs Martin Fischer (AUT,78)
[R2] Tushar Liberhan (IND,35) vs. (10) Woong-Sun Jun (KOR,9)

On Sania's clay title at Campobasso, Italy - this was her 3rd title from 4 finals at the $10K level .. She has only played six such events during the past year .. Actually she has played only 10 pro events, the other being the two WTA events in Hyderabad and Casablanca, the Mumbai challenger and qualies for a challenger in Atlanta .. It is quite a commendable performance for her to still reach a career high rank (soon) at about 370 or so .. With this title and 10 points (4 bonus), she has raised her point total to 49.75 just behind Rushmi at the #2 spot in India by next week .. Rushmi picked up 7 points for her Lucknow title and will go up to 50.25 points by my calculation .. Both of them will go ahead of the current #1 Isha Lakhani with 48 points .. It's a pity that Isha hasn't been able to play in a long time - due to injury I presume.

May 30 Note-1

Quick updates .. Sania won the $10K in Campobasso Italy with 63 64 win over Magda Mihalache - the first clay title in Europe by an Indian that any of us can remember .. MB-MM advanced to the QF with an easy win at the French Open .. LP-Martina had reached the MxD second round yesterday with an easy win too .. Karan and Tushar advanced in the junior singles but Divij fell .. Prakash Amritraj is drawn to face a qualifier in the Tallahassee challenger where the main draw starts Tuesday .. Most scores are in the forum pages.  More later.

May 29 Note-2

Terrible day .. Now, top seeds Mahesh and Likhovtseva have got upset in mixed doubles also, to add to our misery .. 57 36 to Els Callens and Sebastien Prieto ..

But great news from Campobasso, Italy, where Sania jumped all over and bludgeoned her opponent to death in 35 minutes .. 62 62 semifinal win over Petra Russeger (AUT,413) .. Will find out later whom she will play in the final ..  Go Girl Go !!! .. We needed some good news from somewhere and it came right on time.

May 29 Note-1

Ahg, upsetting loss to report .. {R2] (10) L.Paes/ D.Rikl l. Juan-Ignacio Chela (ARG)/ Gaston Gaudio (ARG), 62 46 62 .. Now LP loses a  lot of points from the semifinal last year at FO and is under some serious pressure to pick up points and keep a good rank ..  I only followed the 3rd set, and saw that Rikl dropped serve both times, in games 3 and 7, and they could not convert the one break chance they had in the 6th game ..

Mahesh and Elena Likhovtseva have started their first round Mixed doubles match against Els Callens and Sebastien Prieto.

In other news, Rushmi Chakravarthi won a double crown at the Lucknow grasscourt $10K .. The singles title came after a barn-burner of a match with a 10-8 3rd set tiebreaker over Ankita Bhambri, who played very well in beating experienced Sai yesterday and doing so well against Rushmi on a surface she was reportedly not too comfortable on.  Rushmi and Ankita beat Archana and Sai easily in the doubles final.

Karan and Chu-Huan Yi beat Tushar and Divij in the final at the Astrid Bowl grade-1 - Tushar Liberhan and Divij Sharan had
reached the final upsetting the top seeds in the semi yesterday ..

Sania's semifinal opponent was decided only this morning .. Petra Russeger won a match that was postponed from yesterday .. The SF is scheduled for the evening.

May 28 Notes

Some serious struggle today for MadMax, but they moved on to the 3rd round after a tough comeback, at the French Open .. [R2] (3) M.Bhupathi/ M.Mirnyi d. Krol Kucera (SVK)/ Tood Perry (AUS), 46 76(2) 64 .. The next round opponents are yet to be determined, but it would be either the 15th seeds Knowle-Zimonjic or the Croatian pair, Ancic-Lubicic ..

If Sonia G can win in India, Sania M can win it Italy too! .. 17 year old Sania Mirza (IND,415) scalped another seed today at the $10K ITF women circuit event at the small town Campbasso in South Italy in the less-developed Molise region that very few tourists ever go to .. Sania seems to like the red dirt out there .. She upset the 5th seed Leticia Sobral (BRA,356), 64 57 63 in the first match of the day .. Her next round opponent will be either Emily Stellato (ITA,492) or Petra Russegier (AUT,417) who were to play in the afternoon today .. With the 4 points so far (two of them quality points) she will move back into the top-400 again.

May 27 Notes

Mahesh also advanced to the second round, as expected, at the French Open yesterday .. Sorry for the late update - [R1] (3) M.Bhupathi/ M.Mirnyi d. Sebastien De Chaunac (FRA)/ Stephane Robert (FRA), 61 64 .. Easy match - they were hardly troubled by the French guys .. They play the second round against Karol Kucera (SVK) and Todd Perry (AUS) tomorrow at 11 am.

The big news today is from Sania Mirza, who reached the QF of the $10K in Campobasso, Italy, upsetting the second seed Salome Devidze (GEO,262) 64 60 .. A pretty good shellacking actually, looking at that scoreline .. So, one again Sania has pulled off a big win on clay - where, rather unexpectedly, some of her biggest wins have come this year .. She now runs into the highest ranked player remaining in the field (after 6 seeds have fallen by the wayside), the 5th seed Leticia Sobral (BRA,358) .. Go Sania, Go!

At the Lucknow $10K, the old(er) guard, who have much more experience on grass courts, have done well reaching the semifinals - as alll the remaining players in the singles semis and doubles are all Indian .. Rushmi, Sai, Archana and Ankita are the semifinalists .. Ankita, the only teenager in that group, was in a serious spot of bother against Liza pereira, even dropping seven games in a row at one point, but she won in three sets.

Megha Vakharia went down to Cindy Watson (AUS) 16 16 yesterday at the Houston $10K .. Mustafa Ghouser reached yet another doubles final, playing with Aisam Qureshi at the Saudi F2 $15K+H .. They beat the 4th seeds Florin Mergea and Horia Tecau (ROM), 76(1) 46 61 and face the 4th seeds Sebastien Fitz (GER) and Karim Mamoun (EGY) in the final.

At the grade-1 ITF Astrid Bowl juniors in Belgium, the 2nd seeds Karan Rastogi and Chu-Huan Yi had an impressive 61 61 win over Viktor Troicki (SCG)/ Mehdi Ziadi (MAR) .. 6th seeds Divij Sharan and Tushar Liberhan reached the semifinal with an upset of the 4th seeds Rafael Arevalo (ESA) and Vahid Mirzadeh (USA) 61 36 62 .. If they can upset the top seeds Woong Sun Jun and Sun Yong Kim of Korea, they will face Karan-Yi in the final.

May 26 Notes

Leander and David started of fine at the French Open with a routiune win today .. [R1] (10) Leander Paes (IND)/ David Rikl (CZE) vs Juan Ignacio Carrasco (ESP)/ Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo (ESP), 62 64 .. Rikl faced a couple of break points in the 3rd game of the match and LP saved one break point on his serve in the 5th game of the second set, but otherwise they were not troubled at all .. Broke Carrasco in the 4th and 8th game to take the first set .. The second set went with serve till the 10th game of the second set when our guys suddenly stepped on it to get triple break points and closed it out off when Hidalgo served .. Their second round opponenta are yet to be determined .. Lee-Rikl could run into the tough 6th seeds Santoro-Llodra in the 3rd round itself.  So, it's not an easy draw for them.

Mad Max plays an evening match soon .. They are in the bottom half of the draw, and so an LP-vs-MB match is possible only in the final .. They got a pretty easy draw all the way to semifinals, with 8th seeds Damm-Suk, 12th seed Palmer-Vizner, etc in their quarter.

At the $10K ITF clay event in Campobasso, Italy, #418 Sania Mirza reached the second round yesterday with an easy 64 60 win over wildcard Alexia Virgilli (ITA,980) .. Tough second round for SM against the second seed Salome Davidze (GEO,262) .. I think the match in on thursday .. Sania, with a high doubles rank, is not wasting energy on doubles there, which is a good idea.

Megha Vakharia, ranked #421, is the 8th seed at the $10K in Houston and she was drawn to play #440 Cindy Watson (AUS) in the first round .. Megs and Natalia Dziamidzenka are seeded 2nd in doubles and play Jodi Noyer (USA) and Cindy Watson (AUS) in the first round.

At the Lucknow $10K ITF event, Sonal Phadke was upset today, 76(5) 46 16 by Nudnida Luangnam (THA), but the other top Indians advanced, with top seed Rushmi, 2nd seed Ankita, Sai, Liza and Archana reaching the QF.

Mustafa Ghouse won the first round at thethe $15K+H Saudi Arabia F2, 62 64 over Nick Crawley (GBR,726), but he fell today against the 8th seed Phillip Marx (GER,667) .. In doubles, Mustafa and Aisam Qureshi (PAK) are in a semifinal against the 3rd seeded Romanian pair, Florin Mergea and Horia Tecau, after beating qualifiers Tom Bender (USA)/ Chris Freyss (FRA), 62 61 and then Haitham Abid (TUN)/ Malek Jaziri (TUN), 63 67(5) 62 in the QF ..

Karan Rastogi is still not breaking out of his little slump in singles, though he has played a few good matches .. After a first round bye, he went down today at the grade-1 Astrid Bowl in Charleroi, Belgium, to qualifier Erik Chvojka (CAN,105), 62 67(4) 36 .. Earlier #31 Divij Sharan was upset 26 61 62 by Andre Miele (BRA,59) and #35 Tushar Liberhan had an uncharacteristic outing in a bad 06 06 loss to Miles Kasiri (GER,36) .. All three are alove in doubles .. Karan and Chu-Huan Yi (TPE), seeded 2nd, had a bye and then beat Scoville Jenkins (USA) and Michael Samara (USA), 67(1) 64 63 and got a QF walkove .. Divij and Tushar are seeded 6th, also with an R1 bye .. They beat a good pair, Scoot Oudsema (USA) and Michael Shabaz (USA), 64 62, to reach the QF ..

In other news, Sunitha Rao (USA) has reached the singles semifinal of the $25K Seoul Challenger! .. Good to see her do well again.

May 25 Notes

At the French Open, Mahesh and Max are seeded 3rd and face the French pair, Sebastien DeChaunac and Stephane Roberts in the first round .. Leander and David are seeded 10th and face the Spanish pair, Juan Ignacio Carrasco and Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo .. Both are relatively easy matches for our pair .. They both play tomorrow (wednesday) .. I still have not seen the full draw .. Sania has reached the R2 at an Italian $10K ITF .. They have finished the first round at the Lucknow $10K for women - no surprises .. Tushar went down in the ITF grade-1 Astrid Bowl R1 .. More new, scores and details later today ..

May 24 Notes

The French Open doubles draw is awaited in a day or two, for LP and MB.

With the great show at the Fregana challenger, the Indian contingent raised their rankings this week .. Prakash has moved up to #231, Mankad to #334 and Sunil Kumar to #415 .. In doubles rankings, after Bhupathi at #5 and Paes at #19, it is Mankad at #172, Ghouse at #214,  Amritraj at #328 and Bopanna at #334 ..

At the $15K+H Saudi Arabia F2, Mustafa Ghouse plays Nick Crawley (GBR,726) in the first round .. Pakistan's Aisam Qureshi has gone from Fergana to Saudi and he is playing doubles with Mustafa this week, as the top seeds - they play Tom Bender (USA) and Christophe Freyss (FRA) in the first round.

Rohan Bopanna was playing a prize money invitational in Dubai last week .. He won the event with some good wins - the final was a 64 61 shellacking of ATP #386 Alexey Kedriouk (KAZ) against ..  Looks like Bofors is in good form .. He was originally in the Soudi futures list for this week but has withdrawn .. He is now listed to play the Kuwait $15K next week, which seems to have quite a weak field of players - he should be able to grab some good points and bring his rank back up in the next couple of weeks in Kuwait ..

The women's ITF $10K has started at Lucknow on the Avadh Gymkhana .. Rushmi, Ankita, Sonal, Sai, Suzanne Aigner (AUT), Liza and Iciri are the seeds in that order .. Not too much of foreign participation there; about 7 players from abroad ..
(6) Liza Pereira vs Sheetal Gautham and (3) Sonal Phadke vs Geeta Manohar are probably among the few competitive first round matches, but it will get interesting in the later rounds .. I think today's matches were mostly only in doubles .. Interestingly, Sai and Rushmi, long-term partners, are playing with others this week .. Rushmi has teamed up with Ankita and Sai with Archana .. Rushmi-Ankita are the top seeds, and they look like a team with soem potential .. No upsets in doubles today .. I will start a page and post the scores soon.

At the grade-1 ITF "Astrid Bowl" in Belgium, Divij Sharan (IND,31) went down in the R1 to Andre Miele (BRA,59) 62 16 26 .. Also in the field are Tushar Liberhan (IND,35) who plays Miles Kasiri (GBR,36) and Karan Rastogi who has a first round bye ..

Late scores from last week, as Karan finished runner up at the grade-A Italian Open, the biggest result in his doubles career so far (Congrats, Karan!) .. In the semifinal, Karan and Chu-Huan Yi (TPE) won an impressive barnburner over the 7th seeds Sergei Bubka and Mihail Zverev, 6-7(8) 7-6(2) 13-11, and they then fell 26 46 in the final to the best junior doubles team in the world right now, Brendan Evans and Scott Oudsema of USA who had won the Australian Open and are unbetaen in 15 matches  together this year .. Karan is now ranked #5 in the combined singles-doubles rank in the juniors.

.. Previous notes are at Notes for the week ending on May 24 ..

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.