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LP/MB/NS/Indian-Tennis: Notes for the 2 weeks ending on June 21, 2004
(Previous week's notes) (Next week's notes) (Daily Notes Index 1997 thru 2003)

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June 20 Note-1

Sorry for still having not restarted the news updates.  Got back from my trip but was busy the last couple of days doing the 2 hour drive to watch India play hockey against the USA team the last two days up at Moorpark, north of LA
(two  7-0 wins, not unexpected) ..  Wimbledon doubles for LP-DR and MB-MM this week .. Prakash had one good win at the Wimbledon qualies but then went down .. Sania and Julie Ditty lost in the Q1 of doubles qualies at Wimb .. Harsh is off for one more week, training in New York .. Vishal Uppal won the second week of India satellites beating Vinod in the final .. More later!

Will have more soon..

June 13 Note-1

I am travelling till Friday night the 18th .. So, depending on internet access, the updates here may be patchy or non-existent till the 19th! .. The fiorum friends will have score updates from Wimbledon qualies, etc!

Yes, TITLE #28 for Leander! .. At the Euro 790K Gerry-Weber Open in Halle, [F] (3) L.Paes/ D.Rikl d. Tomas Cibulec (CZE)/ Petr Pala (CZE), 62 75 .. This seemed to be not too much of a problem at all for LP-DR .. They broke Cibulec right away in the first game of the first set .. Followed that up with a break off Pala in the 7th game as well .. In the second set, things went with serve with not much drama till the 11th game when our pair stepped on the gas and broke Pala to go ahead and then Rikl served it off for their first title since the GStaad title last July .. This is Lee's first title since the big brain tumor scare and the 5 month layoff last year.

LP gets 225 ATP points and shared 41,210 Euros (about US$24K each) for the title .. Great time to pick up some points, as he has 870 points falling off from his 1640 points in the next few weeks, by the time the Olympics seedings are decided .. 120 for the denBosche final, 450 for the Wimb SF, 175 for GStaad and 125 at the Montreal masters .. If he does reasonably well in the next few weeks, he should remain fine with a top-25 rank; hopefully much better .. LP may continue with Rikl after the Wimbledon on to Kitzbuhel ATP, but I haven't confirmed that with Leander .. It looks like
LP and MB will get together for the Toronto and Cinncinnati masters before the Olympics.

The doubles draw is out for the sHertogenbosch (denBosch) ATP in Netherlands next week .. [R1] L.Paes/ Jonathan Erlich (ISR,20) vs T.Cibulec/ P.Pala .. Rikl and Mahesh are are both not playing next week .. I did not realize that Erlich is now ranked ahead of Leander, who is #23 .. He has been doing very well with Andy Ram (ISR,19) in the circuit and they are the #11th ranked team this year .. The Israelis are quite assured of a top-8 seeding at the Olympics .. With the latest title, LP-DR will now move inside the top-15 of team rankings .. Not sure why Rikl is not playing next week, but he has generally been taking a lot of time off this year .. LP will have to face the same team he played today, in the next match as well.

The Wimbledon qualifying draw should be done sometime tonight and the qualies start tomorrow .. Prakash Amritraj is in the list .. The qualifying cut seems to be amazingly high this year - it may be as high as #275 or so .. Harsh's bad luck - as there have been many years when the Wimb Q cut has been at 350 or even below .. Not sure where HM is, and whether he has already gone to Europe or not .. He would need a lot of luck even if he is there to make it in as an alternate or something, so he may not have gone and instead may have chosen to do some training for a week.

June 12 Notes

No problems for Leander and David today as they reached the final of the $790K Gerry Weber Open ATP in Halle .. [QF] (3) L.Paes/ D.Rikl d. Feliciano Lopez (ESP)/ Sargis Sarksian (ARM), 62 76(8) .. First set was easy, as our guys kept breaking FL-SS after a bit of struggle to hold serve to 2-1 .. In the second set, things tightened up, but after wasting a couple of match point in the tiebreaker, LP-DR finished it off .. They get 155 points for this, and can make it 225 with a title tomorrow .. The final is at about 3.30 pm, against Czech pair, Tom Cibulec and Petr Pala ..

Megha's nice run ended in the QFs of singles and doubles yesterday at the $25K event in Allentown, PA, USA .. She pout up a good fight for one set but then Rossana Nefe-De Los Rios (PAR,188) turned out to be too strong in a 57 16 loss .. In doubles, Megha and Poutchkova went down to Rossana and Jewell Peterson, 46 12 (Ret.) .. I don't know whho got injured but I hope it isn't serious.

Srinath went down yesterday in the semifinal of the Indore satellite in three sets to the 7ths eed Joshua Goodall (GBR) who went on to win the title today .. The doubles title was won by Vindo and Rishi Sridhar ..
See the the Indore satellite page for all the scores.

June 11 Notes


Fantastic match by Leander Paes and David Rikl, who won the QF in a dandy of a match last evening at the Jerry WEeber Open in Halle-Wesfalen, Germany, 76(6) 67(6) 76(4) over Jiri Novak and Pavel Vizner of Czech Republic .. A terrifis, detaild on-site fanclub match report is there in our forum (Leander Paes thread) from the ever-reliable Florioan Buechting .. Take a look  (also, Florian has posted some nice pictures at his site, http://www.sport-live.net/)  .. The match would have been over earlier, as our pair was up early in the second set at 2-0, and had served for the match at 7-6 5-3 .. It was raining and the referee refused to stop the play, despite all four players wanting to leave the court .. Slipping, sliding .. Dangerous stuff .. Anyway, LP had trouble serving and was penalized a point for ball abuse in frustration .. They dropped serve and then they halted play .. After a four hour delay they came back on, this time on the center court late in the evening and finished the match with a close, thrilling final tiebreaker win.

In doubles at the $50K Forest Hills grasscourt challenger, we had two surprising results .. First, 3rd seeded Prakash and Harsh bowed out 26 46 to Daniele Bracciali and Federico Luzzi of Italy .. Then the lucky loser pair Manoj Mahadevan and his South African partner Dirk Stegman pulled a big upset over the second seeds, Huntley Montgomery and Ryan Sachire of the USA, 76(5) 16 63 .. So Manoj has reached the semifinals, which is against the same team that beat them in the final round of qualies - Travis Rettenmaier (USA) and Michael Tebbutt (AUS) .. Go Manoj!.

The big news is from Megha Vakharia, who has made the QF of both singles and doubles at the $25K Allentown ITF event (a challenger, but technically ITF does not use that term anymore) .. [R2] M.Vakharia (IND,423) d. (LL) Ilke Gers (NZL,509), 75 64 .. Gers had upset the 7th seed #258 Avants earlier - so this is another good win for Megs .. She now plays the 2nd seed Rossanna Neffa-de Los Rios (PAR,188) in a tough QF .. In the doubles QF, also today, Olga Poutchkova (BLR) and Megha play De Los Rios and Jewell Peterson (USA) .. Sunitha Rao (USA) has also advanced to the doubles QF .. Megs has picked up 7 points for the nice run, as good as a $10K title, already.

A bit of a shocker from the $15K Kuwait F2 futures, where the 7th seed Mustafa Ghouse upset the 4th seed Rohan Bopanna, 64 76(3) in the quarterfinals .. Rohan's results continue to be very patchy .. Mustafa has been playing well lately though .. He went down in the SF which was also played yesterday, to the top seed Filip Prpic (CRO), 46 06, however .. Mustafa's doubles win streak ended in the company of Rohan, as the top seeds lost 36 46 to Sebastien Fitz and Frank Moser.

At the Indore leg of the Indian satellites, yesterday was the day of the "British invasion", as three GBR players reached the semifinal with upsets of seeds, two of them upsetting being Indians .. Vijay Kannan and Ajay Ramaswamy got upset .. Qualifier Srinath Prahlad ended the fine run by Kamala Kannan in one of the QFs, to make it to the semfiinal as the lone Indian .. The more things change, the more they stay the same .. This feels like the satellites some 5 years back .. Good job, Sri! .. See the the Indore satellite page.

June 10 Notes

Leander and David Rikl play Jiri Novak and Pavel Vizner of CZE in the QF at the $790K Halle ATP in Germany this afternoon at 3 pm.

Harsh Mankad and Prakash Amritraj play their doubles QF today at the $50K Forest Hills challenger, against Daniele Bracciali and Federico Luzzi of Italy .. Hopefully Harsh can get a bit of revenge on Luzzi who has beat him in singles on Tuesday .. Incidentally, 24 year old Luzzi (#291) is a former top-100 player on a bit of a comeback trail, who had beaten Harsh by 61 63 score at a US futures this January - so Harsh played much better the other day on grasscourts in a 46 67 loss .. PA and HM struggled a bit on grass in the first round though in doubles .. There was some good news there -- Kevin Kim and Cecil Mamiit withdrew from doubles and Manoj Mahadevan and Dirk Stegman (RSA) faced the 3rd lucky losers, Justin Fox and Jonathan Russo of US whom they had beaten in the Q1 round already .. They won again - 61 60 this time .. So, Manoj and Dirk play the second seeds Huntley Montgomery and Ryan Sachire in the QF today .. AV Rao and Brad Sherwood (USA), who were the second lucky losers, went down in the R1 to wildcards Goran DRagicevic and Mirko Pehar (USA), 26 16.

Following on her doubles R1 win, Megha Vakharia (IND,423) advanced in the singles R1 as well, at the $25K Allentown $25K in the US .. She won yesterday, when Natalia Dziamidzenka ( BLR,397) retired ill, with Megs leading 63 30 .. In the second round, Megha next plays the talented Ilke Gers (NZL,509), who upset the 7th seed #258 Avants yesterday .. The Uberoi sisters of USA, who have not  made much noise in the last few weeks, both went down yesterday in straight sets .. [R1] Shikha Uberoi (USA,354) l. (Q) Varvara Lepchenko (UZB,485), 57 46 .. [R1] Neha Uberoi (USA,355) l. (4) Diana Ospina (USA,267), 26 57 .. In doubles, the sisters lost to the Amercian pair, Stacia Fonseca and Katie Granson, 46 75 26 ..

Shruti Dhwan (IND,711) went down to Stephanie Greu (FRA,733), 16 26 at the $25K event in Hamilton, Canada.

At the $15K Kuwait F2 futures, 4th seed Rohan Bopanna beat Mohammed Mohazabenia ( IRI,1171) 60 60 and 7th seed Mustafa Ghouse beat unranked Abdulla Magdas (KUW), 63 63 .. Now Rohan plays Mustafa in the singles QF .. In doubles, top seeds Bopanna-Ghouse beat Karim Alyali and Patrick Chucri of  Lebanon 64 64 to reach the semifinal  ..

At the Indian satellites leg-1 in Indore yesterday, the top seed Sunil Kumar was shocked by a British player in two sets .. That is unfortunate because losing early in the first leg is the worst thing to do in satellites .. A early loss in the 3rd leg is not a bad thing if one has done well in the first two legs, to get some rest in the final week with more points .. Now Sunil has to pretty much go full-steam for three weeks and win 12 to 15 matches to get big points .. Qualifier Kamala Kannan contuinued his run with an upset of the 5th seed Mait Kunnap of Estonia .. Srinath had a nice win over 3rd seed Vinod Sridhar, which is an upset only technically .. The other two to reach semifinal are Vijay Kannan and Ajay Ramaswami .. See the Indore satellite page.

At the grade-1 ITF juniors in Frankfurt on clay, things went really poorly for Indian kids, as all of them fell early in the draw, that too to pretty low ranked players .. [R1] Sanaa Bhambri (IND, 121) l. (16) Natalie Tanevska (AUS, 83) 26 36 .. [R1] (1) Tushar Liberhan (IND, 30) l. Antonio Veic (CRO, 119) 64 26 36 .. [R1] (10) Rupesh Roy (IND, 70) l. (WC) Joé Hatto (LUX, 455) 46 16 .. [R1] (2) Divij Sharan (IND, 33) d. (WC) Julian Bley (GER, 436) 62 62, [R2] Sharan l. Benedict Halbroth (GER, 178) 16 16 .. Second seeds Tushar and Rupesh stayed alive in doubles, that's it so far .. [R1] Sanaa Bhambri/ Vojislava Lukic (SCG) l. Sorana Cirstea (ROM)/ Steffi Weterings (NED) 36 75 26 .. [R1] (2) Tushar Liberhan/ Rupesh Roy d. Ionut Mihai Beleleu (ROM)/ Victor Kulick (ISR), 46 63 75 .. [R2] Tushar/ Rupesh vs Marin Cilic (CRO)/ Tonci Peric (CRO) ..

A few Indian juniors are also in Uzebkistan, playing the grade-3 events there .. Not a whole lot of great results there either .. Sanam Singh was the second seed at Tashkent last and reached the SF last week, losing to the eventual winner .. At the grade-3 in Namangan this week .. Sanam and Vivek Shokeen have reached the QF this week, but second seed Sandri Gangothri was upset in the R2 (she had gone down in the first round last week too - so not a good trip for Sandri) .. Will round up the scores later.

June 9 Notes

Prakash and Harsh reached the QF of doubles at the $50K Forest Hills grass courts challenger .. The 3rd seeds beat the wildcards Michael Kosta and Hamid Mirzadeh of USA, 76(5) 64 .. Two more Indians made the doubles main draw as lucky losers as well .. Manoj Mahadevan and Dirk Stegman (RSA) lost to lost to Travis Rettenmaier (USA) and Michael Tebbutt (AUS), 36 36 after a Q1 win over Justin Fox and Jonathan Russo of USA by a 61 62 score .. But they made it in as first lucky losers .. Rettenmaier and Tebbutt had beaten Akshay Vishal Rao and Bradley Sherwood in the first round, 63 64, but that pair also made it to the main draw, as the second lucky losers .. Tioday in the first round AV Rao and partner play wildcards Goran Drajicevic and Mirko Pehar os USA, and Manoj and partner play Kevin Kim and Cecil Mamiit of USA .. Harsh Mankad and Prakash Amritraj get a day off, as they await their QF partners to be determined today .. Rajeev Ram (USA) won against an unranked wildcard in the first round and is in the R2 there.

Megha Vakharia advanced in doubles yesterday at the $25K in Allentown, Pennsylvania, USA .. Megha and Olga Pouchkova of Belarus beat a wildcard American pair, Laura Levan and Lindsay Puchyr, 61 62 .. Megs and the two Uberoi sisters of US have not played singles yet .. The Uberoi sisters play doubles R1 against Stacia Fonseca and Katie Granson of USA .. Also in the doubles draw is Sunitha Rao of USA who is seeded 2nd with Natalia Dziamidzenka (BLR) - they play a qualifier pair .. Sunitha, who had reached back to back semifinals of $25K events in Korea the last two weeks, had not entered singles .. Though she would have been the 3rd seed in the main draw, it seems like they did not give her a wildcard (but I am not sure if she asked), and she got there from Korea probably only after the qualies started .. Anyway, good to see four Indian names there.

At the $15K futures in Kuwait, Rohan and Mustafa won their R1 singles and doubles ..4th seed Rohan Bopanna beat Alexander Klec (GER,NR) 61 60 and faces Mohamed Mohasebnia (IRI,1171) in R2 .. 7th seed Mustafa Ghouse beat Amir Ebrahim (QAT,1421) 62 64 and plays Abdulla Magdas (KUW,NR) .. If they both win, they will play each other in the QF .. In doubles together, they won 62 60 over Motaz Abu-El Khair (EGY) and Abdul-Rahman Shehab (BRN) .. Up next are Karim Alyali and Patrick Chucri of Lebanon in the QF.

June 8 Notes

Leander and Rikl will play the QF at the $790K Jerry Weber Open in Halle only on Thursday, or even as late as Friday .. Their QF opponents are Jiri Novak and Pavel Vizner of Czech Republic .. Novak was a long-time partner with David Rikl, by the way.

At the $50K Forest Hills challenger in New York, qualifier Harsh Mankad (IND,328) seems to have played a good match but went down to Federico Luzzi (ITA,291) 46 67(3) .. Have not found out today's doubles scores yet.

With a whole host of $25K and $50K events around the world (six of them) this week, the cuts have been quite low for women's draws .. Actually the $25K in Hamilton (Canada) has a main draw cut around #750 .. Shruti Dhawan (IND,699) is in the main draw there .. The $25K in Allentown, Pennsylvania has a cut below #450 which is really low for a US event .. The $50K in Beijing has a cut near #400 too .. Unfortunately, only Shruti and Megha are playing this week among Indian women .. Shruti plays Stefanie Greau (FRA) of France at Hamilton .. #421 Megha Vakharia plays Natalia Dziamidzenka (BLR, 412) in the first round .. Also at Allentown, Neha Uberoi (USA,346) plays Diana Ospina (USA,260) and elder sister Shikha Uberoi (USA,340) plays qualifier Varvara Lepchenko (USA,507).

Stephen Amritraj (USA) seems to be playing well agaihn after a long time of knee injury problems .. He qualified into the USA F13 futures this week in Yuba City, California, with four wins in the big qualies - always a tough thing to do in the US futures circuit .. Hope he is recovered, after almost a year and half of injury troubles.

At the Indore (first) leg of the $25K 4-week Indian satellites, things went according to the book today .. Srinath got some unexpected resistence from fello qualifier N.Kiran Kumar .. Vijay, Ajay, etc advanced .. Qualifier P.Ravishankar, fresh back after 4 years in US colleges, did well in a three-setter.. Another qualifier Kamala Kannan pulled an upset, as did Saurav Panja .. All in all, a good day for Indians with 10 of them making it to the PQF round .. See the Indore satellite page for all the scores.

Our juniors are all at the grade-1 Frankfurt ITF juniors tournament in Germany this week .. Easier field, as it is on clay and most top players are skipping it while preparing for the grass season starting soon .. [R1] (1) Tushar Liberhan (IND, 30) vs. Antonio Veic (CRO, 119) .. [R1] (10) Rupesh Roy (IND, 70) vs. (WC) Joé Hatto (LUX, 455) .. [R1] (2) Divij Sharan (IND, 33) vs. (WC) Julian Bley (GER, 436) .. [R1] Sanaa Bhambri (IND, 121) vs. (16) Natalie Tanveska (AUS, 83) .. Goiod chance for all of them to pick up some points ..

June 7 Notes

LP and Rikl had to quickly get on the grasscourts and play, as their R1 match at the Halle ATP was scheduled for Monday itself .. Payed a pretty good match today against a tough team in Federer-Allegro and came away with a 67(5) 63 75 win .. There is an exciting onsite fanclub member match report in the Leander thread of our forum, by our very own Florian from Germany .. This was an important first match to win -- I hope they will go deep in the draw at Halle..

Prakash Amritraj (IND,224) went down to Kepler Orellana (VEN,357) 16 67(6) today at the Forest Hills challenger in New York .. There was also good news, as Harsh Mankad (IND,328) qualified into the main draw with a 63 26 63 win over Mirko Pehar (USA) .. Harsh is drawn to face Federico Luzzi (ITA,291) in the first round tomorrow morning .. HM-PA's doubles R1 match was not done today and is rescheduled for tomorrow afternoon .. Manoj Mahadevan and Dirk Stegman (USA) are in the final round of qualies tomorrow against Travis Rettenmeier (USA) and Michael Tebbut (AUS) .. A couple of lucky loser spots got cleared today in the main draw, and both the teams may be in the main draw already, I think .. Manoj and Dirk had played a wildcard team of Jonathan Chu (USA) and Fredick Jonsson (SWE)  in the Q1 .. Akshay Vishal Rao and Bradley Sherwood (USA) was the team that lost to Rettenmeier-Tebbut .. AVR-BS also may have made the main draw as a lucky loser pair? .. No idea about today's doubles scores - we will know later for sure.

The four week India satellites have started with the first leg at Indore .. The next three weeks are all at Delhi and all 4 legs are on hard courts .. Only three matches in the singles main draw today. Top seed Sunil Kumar and 3rd seed Vinod Sridhar won, as did the Pakistani wildcard Aqeeb Khan who is unranked but pulled an upset .. Good job by him, and nice to see a Pakistani making use of some help from India .. The interesting news was about P.Srinath playing the qualies and making it in .. He will turn out to be a big headache for everybody - and it's nice to see him play .. Sri could never seem to get adjusted to not playing it seems! .. Was a bit surprised to see that Sunil Kumar was unable to find any of the top players from India to partner in doubles .. Vijay, Saurav or Srinath would have been great .. All but one of the doubles R1 matches were done today .. See the Indore satellite page for all the scores.

Megha Vakharia (IND,421) and Neha/Shikha Uberoi of USA are in the main draw of the $25K Allentown challenger this week in Pennsylvania .. Draws not out yet .. All three are listed for the $10K events in Fort Worth (Texas) and Edmond (Oklahoma) in the next two weeks in the US.

No news from Kuwait yet about Rohan and Mustafa.

.. Previous notes are at Notes for the week ending on June 7 ..

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