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LP/MB/NV/Indian-Tennis: Notes for the week ending on June 18, 2001
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June 18 Note-1

Sorry for a very late update, but there is still time for us to assemble in the chatroom for this ! .. Leander is playing the first round of the Wimbledon qualies at the Roehampton grasscourts this evening, in 2-3 hours, as I type this ..  LP has a nice first round match against Ivaylo Traykov (BUL,285) .. The match starts at about 5.30 pm (10 pm India .. 12.30 pm New York) plus minus an hour ..  Here is the draw:

 7 Federico Luzzi (ITA)  vs Alex O'Brien (USA)   \
   Zbynek Mlynarik (AUT) vs Lorenzo Manta (SUI)  / \ _ main-draw
   Leander Paes (IND)    vs Ivaylo Traykov (BUL) \ /
17 Ota Fukarek (CZE)     vs Mose Navarra (ITA)   /

It is not the toughest draw, and if LP is not very tired and out of gas after three weeks of a lot of playing, he has a pretty decent chance of advancing actually .. But he has not played singles since the big heroics in Japan, and the British grasscourts have not been his best grasscourts for singles either - so who knows .. Go Leee!!

There is a ton of tennis for Indians all over the place this week .. More later.

June 17 Note-3

Another piece of good news to report .. Manisha and Leanne won the $50K Marseille challenger doubles title today too! .. [F] M.Malhotra/ L.Baker d. #3 Caroline Dhenin (FRA)/ Maja Palaversic (CRO), 76(5) 62 !! .. Is that imprewssive of what, beating the top seeds, 4th seeds and the 3rd seeds in a row to win the title .. The win gives 40 WTA points to Manisha to take her doubles points total to 113, which  should raise her ranking from #256 to just at around #200 .. New Zealander Leanne Baker will raise her rank from 226 to around 190 .. That is high enough for these two to get doubles entry in pretty much any challenger out there .. Hey what a weekend .. Indians pick up titles in France and Canada and neither has Paes, Bhupathi or Vaidyanathan as last name! .. Congrats Harsh and Manisha (and Leanne) !! .. You guys reduce the pain of LP-MB unexpectedly losing earlier today.

At the first round qualies in the Canada F2 in Montreal yesterday, seeded Rishi Sridhar, Mustafa Ghouse and Manoj Mahadevan, and unseeded Vikrant Chadha have all won theior first round qualifying matches .. Big draw of 64 there for the qualies and they need to win three rounds each .. More later.

June 17 Note-2

Good news and bad news today .. First the terrific news - we have the first pro title by an Indian man outside the country since LP's title at Newport in July 98 .. Here's the short email from Harsh just now -- "Jay, I did it.... won in three sets.. 67(6) 63 75 .. will talk to you soon ... Jai Hind!" .. So, Harsh beat Lazar Magdincev of Macedonia today to win the title at the $10K Canada F1 futures at Mississauga near Toronto !! .. Wow! .. I think it is the first title outside India by any Indian man other than LP in about over a decade .. The last futures title by an Indian was in January 1998 when Fazal won the Chandigarh futures .. 12 ATP points for Harsh to add to the 31 he has .. His current points are falling off in three weeks, and he was in urgent need of points to continue to play .. Boy, did he do it in style! .. Magdincev, though ranked in the 800s, was in great form throughout the week, having not dropped a set in those wins (his scores were 61 62, 62 61, 63 60 and 61 61, the second win being an upset of the top seed Takahiro Terachi!) .. So Harsh must have played his best to overcome this guy .. "Mankad of Maharashtra Mauled Magdincev of Macedonia at Mississauga" -- that would be a fun title for the news, eh? :-) .. Anyway, Harsh did comebacks after dropping the first set four times this week .. One thing we can count on Harsh to do is, if he is any decent form, he does not give up and brings out the fire in his belly .. That's a winner's trait .. Incidentally, he was in Canada about a week ahead and had done some serious training for a week too .. One needs that kind of seriousness to succeed on the pro tour .. All our congrats and best wishes go to the young guy - he is 21 yrs old and we all hope that he will climb much higher steps in the future.

Now the bad news .. Fazal was oh-so-close today, but could not pull off 3rd set tiebreaker heroics like yesterday .. He went down 76(4) 26 67(3) to 7th seed Paul Baccanello (AUS,344) at the sHertogenbosch ATP qualies second round.

News awaited about the Marseille challenger doubles final where Manisha and Leanne were playing .. Coming soon.

June 17 Note-1
 

LP-MB's win streak ended today againt the 8th seeded Bryan twins .. At the $800K Stella Artois ATP, [SF] #7 M.Bhupathi/ L.Paes l. #8 B.Bryan/ M.Bryan, 67(5) 46 .. In the final, the Bryan twins face the qualifiers Taino-Wheaton, who upset the second seeds Johnson-Palmer in the SF 75 64 today .. Now it's Wimbledon qualifying next week for LP and probably rest for Mahesh, I think ..

Awaiting news from Netherlands on Fazal, from France on Manisha, and from Canada on Harsh today .. By the way, Manoj Mahadevan, Rishi Sridhar and Mustafa Ghouse are there for this coming week's Canada F2 futures in Montreal .. They are in the tough 64-size qualifying draw, though - no news yet on the weekend qualifying matches .. Harsh will be in the main draw.

June 16 Note-3

Oh yeah! .. The rain did not delay Harsh much from rolling on into his first futures final ! .. He took care of the tall Croatian future hope, Mario Ancic, today 36 75 61 at the $10K Canada F3 futures ..  Add 8 ATP points to his kitty .. This was another impressive win from Mankad, as he beat somebody who is seriously talented, though Mankad's experience must have helped him .. More later! .. Go Harsh!!

June 16 Note-2

He faces big-strapping Rain pretty much ashed out the play today at the Stella Artois ATP in London .. Both the doubles semis and the final will be tomorrow (Sunday).

Archana won the singles title at Indore today, as the final was moved due to rain from clay to deco-turf .. Achana payed a great match and took Sheetal completely out of her game plan (the change to the faster surface also must have helped her - Sheetal is a better player on slower courts, I believe) .. 64 61 was the final score .. I will add up the circuit points so far and post them soon.

I believe rain was delaying play in Canada too, for Harsh's semi .. Rain, rain, everywhere!

June 16 Note-1

This is one of those weeks when good news keeps on coming! .. Not to be left behind, Fazal got all charged up - he went and pulled a big upset comeback win in the first round of qualies at the $400K ATP grasscourts at sHertogenbosch (or as the locals call the place, "den Bosch", the tournament also often called "Rosmalen ATP" as the event is held at a place in between the two towns in Netherlands) .. [Q1] Fazaluddin Syed (IND,592) d. Jeff Morrison (USA,362), 57 63 76 .. Fazal fought through two match points against him before advancing .. He plays the 7th seed Paul Baccanello (AUS,344) tomorrow in the final qualifying round, trying to advance to the main draw .. Fazal has a golden chance to qualify in, though Baccanello is a decent grasscourt player I believe and it will have to be another big upset tomorrow .. Go Fazal!! .. Are Indian players on a roll or what ? .. It turns out that Harsh also had to come back from 1-4 and 0-3 deficits in the second and 3rd sets in his win at the Canada futures yesterday! .. I love it when these guys show their spunk like that!

LP-MB play the semifinal at the $800K Stella Artois, on the center court at about 6 pm today .. More later with result.

June 15 Note-2

More good news today -- Harsh Mankad pulled a nice comeback today to reach the semifinal of the $10K futures in Mississauga, Canada .. He beat Peter Handoyo (INA), a US collegiate player who finished #24 in the year-end college rankings .. Harsh won 76(6) 64 75 in a never-say-die match .. Handoyo was in good form, having upset the second seed Benjamin Cassaign (FRA,442) in the second round .. Good show by Harsh - it is quite impressive for him to reach the semifinal of a North American futures event in the first pro event he is playing after almost a year .. I believe it is also very rare for an Indian other than LP or MB to go past the first or second round west of India .. Fazal had reached one or two QFs in the Canadian futures, and Srinath had a semifinal in a futures in Greece too, if my memory is correct .. Harsh picked up 4 ATP points and now faces the 7th seed Mario Ancic (CRO,571) in the semi tomorrow .. Ancic is a tall 17 year old who is already in the Croatian Davis Cup team and has a DC win too (he was also in their Olympics team with Goran) .. Finalist at the AO and Wimbledon juniors last year, he is ranked 11th in the world in ITF juniors right now (he was as high as #2 or #3 behind Roddick just a few months back, I think - many consider this tall dude to be the next Ivanisevic from Croatia, by the way .. He is very good!) .. .. Ancic upset the 4th seed tasuku Iwami (#535) of Japan today .. .. Harsh will have his hands full tomorrow trying to pick up 4 more ATP points .. Also, Vikrant Chadha and James Shortall (NZL) reached the semifinal of doubles at the Canada F1 futures too, but they fell today in the semi .. I believe Vijay Kannan fell in the doubles first round in Netherlands though .. But, on the whole, this has been a good week .. When different Indians reach semis or finals of pro events in UK, Canada, France and India, that is a great week!!

June 15 Note-1

The rematch of the FO semifinal did not change the outcome, and it was again a close one, but the Indian Express is again proving to be just too tough to beat .. At the $800K Queen's ATP, [QF] #7 M.Bhupathi/ L.Paes d. #4 M.Hill/ J.Tarango, 76(4) 76(9) .. Make that yet another semifinal for our pair .. They have picked up 100 entry points each and $14.9K together so far, and can pick up some 10K and 55 points more tomorrow .. Now they run into another American pair, the 8th seeded youngsters Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan .. The match is scheduled for 6 pm on the center court tomorrow (Saturday) .. In the other half of the draw one QF match will be tomorrow - between #2 Johnson-Palmer and #6 Adams-Ohovskiy .. Other than the 3rd seeds Ferreira-Leach, all the other seeds reached the QFs .. Qualifiers Erico Taino and David Wheaton (hey, the old guy can still play!) upset the 5th seeds O'Brien-B.Black today in easy straight sets to reach the semi in the bottom half.

That is the 9th win in a row on the grass surface for Paes-Bhupathi, dating back to the Wimbledon of 1999 .. Of course, this is the first grass tournament they are playing since the 99 Wimbledon .. Their last loss on grass was at the Queen's ATP quarterfinal to Arthurs-Kratzmann in 1999, two weeks before Wimbledon .. LP had shared the title at DenBosch the week before Wimbledon with Siemerink, and won the Newport title with Arthurs in the week after Wimbledon - so that makes it 16 doubles wins on the grass surface, in a row, for LP .. Add the 6 wins with Lisa Raymond at the Wimbledon in 99, and one win with Fazal at Lucknow last year in Davis Cup, and we have a 23 match doubles win streak on grass for LP over two years .. Man, that's incredible! .. Of course, I have this uncanny ability to jinx our guys when I pull out stats like that .. I hope I haven't gone and done it again :-)

Some more terrific news to report .. Manisha Malhotra and Leanne Baker are on a roll in France .. At the $50K Marseille challenger, they reached the doubles final today, easily upsetting the 4th seeds Maria Elena Camerin (ITA,240) and Antoaneta Pandjerova (BUL,210), 62 64 .. That gives the Indo-NewZealand pair 10 more WTA points that would take their total to 28 (including 2 bonus for upsetting the top seeds yesterday and 1 for today's upset) .. Manisha's doubles ranking now goes inside top 215 .. Fantastic! .. Their opponents in the final, probably on Sunday, are yet to be determined

Today was Sheetal Gautham's day at Indore .. First the 3rd seed upset the top seed Sonal Phadke in straight sets in the semifinal of singles, and then she paired with Liza Pereira to win consecutive legs' doubles titles - beating Sonal and Karishma in the final .. Sheetal is a smooth player, who is getting a reputation as the "smartest" player who is perhaps the "best thinker" among all the budding pros among our young women .. See the Indore Satellite page for all the scores.

June 14 Note-2

LP-MB will be playing the doubles QF tomorrow (Friday) at Queen's .. There were some postponements (rain?) today and a couple of doubles matches were not done (the bottom half of the draw is a mess with the second seeds not even having played the PQF after a first round bye - they will need to play two rounds to determine the semifinalists tomorrow) .. In the top half, one QF was done today with the 8th seeds Bryan twins upsetting the top seeds Ferreira-Woodbridge .. The winner of the LP-MB vs Hill-Tarango match will face the Bryan twins on Saturday in the semi.

Big challenger doubles win to report today .. Manisha Malhotra (#256) and Leanne Baker (NZL,226) upset the top seeds Laurence Cortois (BEL, 53) and Emanuelle Gagliardi (SUI,125) today at the $50K challenger in Marseille, France, 64 26 64 to reach the semifinal! .. That gives 18 WTA points for Manisha, including 2 quality points for upsetting top ranked players - that should be enough to raise her ranking by some 30 spots to near top-225 .. It is the first time that she is reaching the semi of a $50K challenger (she won the title at the $25K challenger in Vietnam with Nirupama a couple of months back) .. Their semifinal opponents are yet to be determined.

Harsh Mankad advanced to the quarterfinal of the $10K Canada F1 satellite by beating Dominic Boulet (CAN,843) easily, 60, 63 today [source: TennisCanada] .. He plays Peter Handoyo (INA), a top-50 college player from the Univ of Tennessee, in the quarterfinal tomorrow .. The QF gives Harsh 2 ATP points and ensures that he will stay in the rank list once all the points from last year's satellites fall off the computer in another 4 weeks .. He is planning to play all three weeks of the Canada futures now, and then a few more events, so he will pick up points without much problem, I would expect .. Ajay Ramaswami, who also has all his points falling off then and who also has not playerd any pro events since then because of college, is also planning to sneak out of summer college and play a couple of weeks of futures in the US ($15K at New York and Pittsburgh, I believe) .. We will keep an eye out for how these two do - as of now, they are the two best players to support LP and MB at the Davis Cup in September, it would seem.

Vijay Kannan had a tough time in the first round of the clay satellites in Raalte, Netherlands, where he went down 26 36 to qualifier Rik Schalkers (NED) .. I expected some trouble in that match, as Schalkers was a wildcard into the qualies and had upset two seeds easily on the way to the main draw .. Always tough to play a qualifier on a surface you are trying to get used to (European red clay) .. No doubles scores yet from there.

At the women's satellites at Indore today, Liza Pereira gave a lot of trouble to the top seed Sonal Phadke in a three set match, and reportedly could have even pulled an upset had she kept her cool against some poor officiating .. Sonal however stayed calm and advanced to the semi to face Sheetal Gautham .. Archana and Arthi in the other semi .. Unfortunate that Samrita had to retire hurt against Archana, with a swollen ankle from an injury earlier .. See the Indore satellite page.

June 14 Note-1

Some scores from yesterday -- Manisha Malhotra and Leanne Baker (NZL) won the first round of the $50K Marseille challenger doubles in France - They beat Severin Beltrame and Sophie Lefevre of France, 57 63 63 and face the top seeds Laurence Cortois and Emanuelle Gagliardi in the QF .. Manisha picked up 9 WTA doubles points for that win! .. Vikrant Chadha and James Shortall (NZL) beat the last-minute combination of Harsh Mankad and Johan Kareld (SWE), 61 46 63 in the first round at the $10K Canada F1 futures last evening .. Also, Vijay Kannan is in Europe, playing at the $25K four-week Netherlands satellites .. He is in the main draw at Raalte - drawn to face qualifier Rik Schalkers (NED) in the first round .. He is also in the doubles main draw, playing with Steven Bijl of Netherlands, drawn against the 3rd seeds Paul Logtens and maarten Paas .. Good to see him out there - he had missed the Indian satellites due to college exams, but he seems determined to get back out there fast! .. A bit surprised to see him traveling up there alone without any other Indians' company, though - but he is experienced, having played abroad a few times .. That is the tough life of those who try to make it in the pro circuit.

June 13 Note-2

Easy day of work for the Indian Express today at Queen's .. [R2] #7 M.Bhupathi/ L.Paes d. (wc) M.Lee/ A.Parmar, 62 64 .. Lee-Parmar had won the first round earlier in a three-setter, and were probably a bit tired, which must have made it even easier for the Indian Express .. This win places them in the quarterdfinal and extends their current win streak to 8 matches (20 wins in the last 23 matches starting with that 5-set comeback win against Japan in the Davis Cup) .. The quarterfinal will be very interesting .. It will be a replay of the French Open SF -- against the 4th seeds Michael Hill and Jeff Tarango .. It should be another fun match! .. Not sure if this will be tomorrow or on Friday.

Harsh Mankad plays the second round of the Canada F1 futures tomorrow .. I believe he played doubles today .. No score with me yet.

I think I must have spoken too soon about The Hindu being the only newspaper that seems to consistently cover the ongoing ITF women's satellites online .. As if on cue, they skipped reporting any news from the second round of the Indore satellite today .. But the Deccan Chronicle luckily posted the scores, and so I have updated the Indore Satellite page with the R2 scores .. If the newspapers continue to play truant, we may need to set up alternate ways of getting scores from India (I try not to bug people unless I have to!) .. Anyway, SK Tara upsetting the 6th seed Nandita Chandrasekhar was the only upset today, as 7 seeds moved into the QFs .. A historic occasion yesterday, by the way! .. A player from my homestate picked up a win at the pro level, which has not happened in years, as far as I know .. 16 yr old qualifier Sandra Sashidharan, who if I am not mistaken, is from Kerala (yeah, go Malloos!!) reached the second round .. She fell today to the 3rd seed Sheetal Gautam 26 67(6) though .. I have said in the past that Kerala which produces so many great athletes, does such a poor job in tennis .. It's time something is done to popularize tennis in that state .. As I am missing a couple of results from yesterday, I am not sure whom she beat, but anyway, congrats go to Sandra! .. In other matches, Samrita Sekhar did well to come back against young Ankita Bhambri after dropping the first set .. Two seeds have fallen in doubles too.

Bad news from the grade-1 Frankfurt junior international - Rohan Gajjar fell in the second round to Dudi Sela (ISR), 16 16 today .. In doubles, Rohan and Diaz Doskarayev (UZB) fell 67(5) 64 46 to Lars Porschke and Fabian Poth of Germany .. Armanjot Singh and Christopher Roman (AUS) reached the round of 16 with a 63 64 win over Omer Abramovich and Dudi Sela of Israel .. They now run into the second seeds Pavel Ivanov (RUS) and Jacob Olsen (NZL).

June 13 Note-1

The Indian Express are playing their second round doubles match at the Queen's ATP today itself .. The first round match between Parmar-Lee and Barnard-Thomas will be done in the afternoon and the winners will play our guys later in the evening.

Manisha Malhotra and her usual partner Leanne Baker (NZL) made the main draw of doubles at the $50K challenger in Marseille, France .. They play a French pair, Severin Beltrame and Sophie Lefevre in the first round there .. If they advance, they will run into the top seeds Cortois and Gagliardi who have a first round bye .. I haven't seen the first round results yet .. I was surprised to see Manisha in the doubles draw there, as she was not in the singles qualifying draw .. Perhaps she didn't get there till after the weekend from UK where she was last week.

Just saw in thge ITF news that Mayur Vasant of India was among the three coaches, along with two French coaches, accompanying the ITF under-16 international team which started their tour in Europe last week .. This team of 12 junior players does not include any Indians - Sandy Gumulya (INA) and Rui Du (CHN) on the girls' side are the two Asians in the team .. The under-18 junior international team which is mid-way through its European tour includes Rohan Gajjar, and has Kawaljeet Singh as a coach .. Good to see our coaches being in such teams .. International exposure is one of the most impoartant things in tennis these days, both for players and coaches.

June 12 Note-3

The Indian Express started their season sucessfully on grass, which they like to say is their "worst" surface (whatever that means, coming from a team that has won a Wimbledon title!) .. At the $775K Stella Artois grass ATP event in Queen's, London, this evening, [R1] #7 M.Bhupathi/ L.Paes d. N.Godwin/ J.Waite, 63 36 64 .. They had their second set hiccups today I guess, but they have regained their habit of not letting that go into the 3rd set, which is really what has changed since the start of the clay season .. Ever since losing three in a row, ending in that loss I saw against Lareau/ O'Brien in straight sets at Indian Wells and then taking a three weeks break in India to just clear their head, they have gone 18-3 .. Not bad, eh? .. Their round of 16 opponents are yet to be determined, as that is the only first round match yet to be done (Marius Barnard and Jim Thomas are playing wildcards Martin Lee and Arvind Parnar) .. It looks like the second round will be on Thursday for our guys.

OK, now some humble (:-)) comments -- I am disgusted by the cry-baby tactics by these clay monsters about Wimbledon seeding .. Hey, I have no love lost for the stuck up ways of the British, but come on, the old boy group out there bends over backward in ways they are not known to do, and basically says that all who deserves to be seeded will be seeded at Wimbledon, with only the seed order changing, and these Spanish guys and Kuerten (I have been a fan of that dude, but no longer) can't seem to stop crying .. Win a couple on grass, and try to play at least a challenger or two in your life on grass when you grow up -- if you think that is only for cows, you deserve to get treated like cow-dung too .. It's not like tennis developed on claycourts and these Wimbledon guys invented some alien surface out of thin air to play it on .. Go home and sit guys! .. Enough is enough .. Like we are dying to see these clay prima donnas laying eggs at Wimbledon .. Absolutely disgusting .. We can have some sympathy about the complaint that players would end up not being seeded and would have to play some seed in the first round, despite being in the top-16 of ATP ranks .. That was a rather valid complaint (though it still did not speak highly of the courage of Kuerten, Corretja and their ilk!) .. Now, this has really become ridiculous .. And I can't stop thinking that this is nothing but excuses for not playing because they truly don't think they have a snowball's chance in hell to win anything there and are scared to look bad .. OK, dude, Gu Ga, Boo Baa, Boo Hoo, whatever .. Feel free to rest your groin or behind for two weeks .. And stop flattering yourselves - we true tennis fans don't care for you personalities more than what Wimbledon stands for in our minds! .. Well, that is my personal opinion, whatever hill of beans that is worth!

Harsh Mankad started the Canadian F1 futures well with a 67 60 63 win over qualifier Huntley Montgomery at Mississauga, Ontario - a top-75 college player from the US .. He picked up one ATP point and plays Dominic Boulet (CAN,843) in the second round .. In doubles, 779th ranked Harsh is playing with someone he has never played with - Johan Kareld (SWE, 772) .. They face James Shortall (#719) and Vikrant Chadha (#499) in the first round, interestingly .. Those two are a regular pair in the futures circuit though ..

At the big grade-1 ITF junior International in Frankfurt, Rohan Gajjar moved into the second round of the 64-size draw .. It's one of the rare grade-1 wins for our kids, and it came against a qualifier, Martin Kares (GER) - who was unranked but had upset some seeds in the qualies .. So this looks like a good win for Rohan .. Amanjot Singh went down in the first round, 26 36 to Tobias Scheil (GER) .. Again, Sunil Kumar is missing and I hope he is not injured or anything .. His ranking is now down to #83 after some points fell off his best-6 total this week for not defending the 45 points from the Eravis Epitok Cup final last year in Poland .. I am not sure if he can enter the Wimbledon draw .. Doubtful .. He was at about the same ranking last year, had to play qualies and did not make the main draw .. The junior grass season starts next week with the Queen's club grade-1 event.

At Indore, the first round matches are all done at the ITF women's satellite leg-2, without much surprises .. By the way, what's up with the Indian newspaper coverage, lately ? .. Our newspapers have enmasse boycotted these satellites, except for The Hindu, which seems to have become the only newspaper we can count on these days (sorry my friends in other newspapers - you have to get a better job done with your online editions, and cover an event with consistency if you are covering it!) .. I am missing a couple of R1results, but take a look at the Indore satellite page.

June 12 Note-2

LP-MB are scheduled to play Godwin/ Waite today at the Stella Artois ATP, Queen's, London .. No time/court set for the match, but they will play today .. So, our guys only got two days of rest before hitting the court again .. Neville Godwin is an old doubles partner for Leander - they won a doubles title together in 1996 at the Jerusalem challenger .. Godwin was the also the one LP beat in the final of the Newport HOF tournament in 98 when he picked up his only ATP singles title .. By the way, I see O'Brien playing with Black, and Lareau playing with Llodra at Queen's .. What's the deal there, I wonder .. They are following some famous footsteps or what ? .. :-)

June 12 Note-1

Some junior news -- Amanjot Sngh reached the SF of the grade-3 Eravis Epitok Cup in Budapest, Hungary last week, falling to the top seed there .. Amanjot and Clinton Letcher (RSA) also reached the doubles final, again falling to the top seeds .. [R1] A.Singh d. O.Abramovich (ISR,131), 61 57 64  .. [R2] d. Gyorgy Balasz (HUN,198), 75 63 .. [QF] d. Jan Zeleny (CZE,171), 62 61 .. [SF] l. #1 Komlavi Loglo (TOG,54), 57 26 .. Rohan Gajjar lost in the QF to Mislav Hizak (CRO). 26 36, after a first round win, 62 62 over Peter Gem (HUN) .. In doubles, Rihan and Dias Doskarayev (UZB) lost in the semifinal to Loglo and Henry Adjai-Darko (GHA), the same pair who beat Amanjot and Letcher, 75 67(3) 63 in the final .. Sunil Kumar had reached the singles semi at Budapest last year, but he was not in action last week .. I believe Rohan Gajjar is expected at the Grade-1 ITF junior event at Frankfurt this week, as part of the ITF team in Europe .. Probably Sunil and Amanjot also may be there .. We will wait for the draws.

June 11 Note-2

LP-MB are actually seeded at the $775K Stella Artois ATP tournament in London .. This is a larger draw of 28 teams (4 teams get first round byes), and so our pair with their old ranking still managed to get seeded last .. They face Neville Godwin and Jack Waite .. LP-MB are drawn in the same quarter of the draw, with 4th seeds Michael Hill and Jeff Tarango .. They are in the upper half of the draw with #1 Bjorkman/ Woodbridge,.. Can't predict how this tournament would go, because everybody is making that quick transition to grass from clay .. LP-MB probably get lesser time to practice there, compared to those teams that lfet from French Open early .. I have not seen the Tuesday schedule to see if our guys are playing .. They probably will be, as it is a 5-round roubles event.

Here is yet another picture from the French Open .. Vigyan Singhal sent this to me (a news agency photo, I believe) -- Is that a wonderful picture or what ?

The only problem is .. The champagne is not Corbel !!!  ..

No big surprises today on the first day of the second leg of the 4-week $20K ITF India S2 satellites, on clay at Indore .. Sonal played yet another three-setter but moved on .. 16 yr old Isha Lakhani's aggressive style did not work on slow clay against the experienced second seed Archana Venkatraman .. 3rd seed Sheetal Gautham had to fight for 2 hour 20 min against Radhika Mandke before advancing .. Samrita Sekar, last week's ruynner up against Sonal, had an easy first round win .. I think we should add 17 yr old Samrita also to the higher echelon group of players .. Though we all complain often about these $5K satellites which give WTA points only for the final leg's results, I am beginning to agree with AITA that this is not a bad idea .. A couple of these satellites circuits work like well-coordinated domestic circuits of Rs.2.25 lackhs events and is giving these girls a lot of chance to play and get better - and be in match shape .. And the competition is certainly getting better .. Instead of having 3 or 4 players who beat everybody else, now we have about 8 to 10 players who are in that top category .. By the way, I wonder where Radhika Tulpule is ?? .. She is not playing these satellites .. I have started the Indore satellite page for scores.

June 11 Note-1

In the new rankings, MB moved up to #9 and LP to #23 .. That is high enough for them to get a seeding in the 6 through 8 range at Wimbledon .. The team ranking went as I calculated and posted yesterday .. The Indian Express is #3 with 350 points, 17 points behind Pala-Vizner and a nice distance away from the #4 team.

I don't think the doubles draw at the Queens Club ATP is out yet .. LP-MB may be unseeded there -- they must be putting in some practice to transition to the grass surface.

Nirupama was in the entry list for the Tashkent Tier-IV WTA event this week, but was not in the qualifier draw .. No sign of her anywhere .. Need to get in touch with her and find out if she is bothered by some injury or anything .. Niru's ranking has inched up a bit to #168 this week with the 12 points she picked up at the French Open qualies for the upset win in the first round .. She is #126 in doubles this week.

Harsh Mankad (#554), the Indian #2 in ATP ranking, is the 6th seed at the $10K ITF Canada F1 futures in Mississauga, Ontario .. He plays qualifier Huntley Montgomery, a top-100 US college player, in the first round there ..  Watch out for the qualifiers at this event, because a lot of top college players who don't have high enough ATP rankings for not having played much pro tourneys, were there .. The ones who qualified in are probably pretty good, so Harsh may have a tough time against this due Huntley (who just finished his college career at Univ of Virginia) .. Vikrant Chadha won one round but fell in Q2 in the qualies there .. This is the first ATP event in almost a year that Harsh is playing at, ever since finishing #2 in the Indian satellites - the 31 points from there are the only points he has and they fall off in another month - so he has to pick up some points soon .. These Canadian futures may be a tough place to do that at (but then the USA F15 futures event this week is even tougher!) .. Let us see how Harsh does .. I believe he is planning to play a few weeks of pro events before the start of his 3rd year at Univ of Minnesota (he raised his college ranking from #55 in the preseason to #43 in the year end listing) .. I am not sure when and where Ajay Ramaswami is going to start playing the Pro events .. He is done with his college career, finishing his 4th year with a final ranking of #16 .. He may have a few summer courses to finish for graduation, before hitting the pro circuit .. I will try to find out.

More later.

.. Previous notes are at Notes for the week ending on June 11 ..

I am getting some enquiries 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 enquiring 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 enquiries from the coaches too .. Please email me - R.Jayakrishnan.