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LP/MB/NS/Indian-Tennis: Notes for the week ending on June 23, 2003
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June 23 Note-1

Harsh Mankad finished his Portugal swing on a successful note yuesterday by winning yet another doubles title, his 4th in 5 finals in six weeks there .. One final and one title with James Shortall (NZL) and three titles with Leo Tavares (POR) .. The only unsuccessful week was the 3rd week of the staellites when he was left without any decent partners after James left the satellites as he didn't make 3rd leg singles draw .. At the Lisbon $10K final today, #1 Harsh Mankad/ Leonardo Tavares (POR) d. #3 Fabrice Betencourt/Baptiste Dupuy (FRA) 64 63 .. Leonardo is a 19 year old -- actually I saw a tennis article at the Lagos Sport site in Portugal that he might get considered for their Davis Cup team for the good run in the doubles .. 12 more ATP points for Harsh .. That takes his points total to 148 for a ranking near #275, fourth behind LP, MB and PA ..  HM goes to the US now and after a few days to Canada for the Granby challenger (July 7th start).

The fourth leg (masters) of the Indian satellites start today in Delhi .. I have added the draws at the Delhi satellite masters page ..

Bad news from the grade-1 Roehamton ITF juniors in UK, where the first round started yesterday .. [R1] Karan Rastigi (IND) l. #11 Jamie Baker (GBR,21) 76(3) 36 16 and [R1] Sanaa Bhambri (IND) l. (LL) Tiffany Welford (AUS,128) 36 63 16 .. Unfortunate draw for both of them .. Jamie Baker seems to be the one player in the top-50 who has simply had Karan's number .. he had beaten KR twcie earlier in the Asian grade-1 juniors .. Better match against him from Karan yesterday, but no win .. As for Sanaa, she ran into an 18 year old who has been playing pro events and hasn't been playing much juniors (hence the lower rank) .. Sania and Somdev play today .. [R1] Sania Mirza (IND) vs Agnes Szavay (HUN,25) .. [R1] Somdev Dev Varman (IND) vs (wc) Miles Kasiri (GBR,103) .. Sania has a tough match against a very talented 14 year old who has already reached a grade-A semifinal (Banana Bowl) and a grade-1 title - that is not a gimme match ..

One last result from last week -- Kartiki Bhat had gone down in the doubles QF at the La Baule ETA u16 grade-1 junirs .. [QF] Kartiki Bhat (IND)/ Estrella Cabeza Caudela (ESP) l. #1 Katia Sabate (ESP)/ Anna Vines (ESP), 26 64 46 .. That team went on to win the title - in fact Katia, who beat Kartiki in the semi of singles last week won a gran double for the second week in a row .. That comepletes last week's scores.

June 22 Notes

Close match out there in den Bosch, but no cigar for Paes-Johnson .. [F] #1 L.Paes/ D.Johnson l. #2 M.Damm/ C.Suk, 57 67(4) .. It started well for LP-DJ, who were up a break immediately in the second game .. They stayed ahead till the 9th game when they served for the set .. Damm-Suk saved two set points there and broke LP-DJ .. Our pair had yet another set point in the 10th game off MD-CS' serve as well and that also went wasted .. It got worse after that, as they got broken again in the 11th game and the set was gone after they had the second seeds serving some deuces in the next game .. The second set went wth serve all the way to the tiebreaker .. In the tie breaker LP-DJ were down 2-4 at first but evened it at 4-4 before dropping a mini again on their serve .. Damm-Suk served at 5-4 and made no mistake in picking up the next two points to finish the match ..

Harsh Mankad's doubles run keeps on going in Portugal .. He reached his umpteenth doubles final out there yesterday, in a tough comeback .. [SF] Harsh Mankad/ Leonardo Tavares (POR) d. #4 Miguel Angel Lopez-Jaen/ Jose Pablo Serna (ESP) 46 63 76(3) .. They play the doubles final today against the 3rd seeds Fabrice Betencourt/Baptiste Dupuy (FRA)  .. 8 more points to HM who has now picked up 53 ATP points in six weeks of doubles play there .. That places him with 144 points, just ahead of Rohan Bopanna (143 pts, #292) and behind Prakash Amritraj (201 pts, #232) as the 4th highest ranked Indian ..

In other doubles news, Sai Jayalakshmy and Megha Vakharia fell in doubles semis at the $10K satellites in Canet en Roussillon, France and Incheon $10K, Korea, respectively .. After a bye, 4th seeded Sai and Napaporn Tongsalee (THA) d. Maria Jose Argeri (ARG)/ Veronica Spiegel (ARG), 64 76(2) before falling in the semis to Leslie Butkiewicz/ Evelyne van Hyfte (BEL), 64 36 36 .. 4th seeded Nicole Kriz (AUS) and Megha beat Wilawan Choptang/ Chattida Thimjapo (THA), 63 46 62 and Bo-Ra Choi (KOR)/ Tomoyo Takagishi (JPN), 63 64 before losing to Yeon Kim (KOR)/ Joo-Hee Lee (KOR), 67(5) 67(4) in the semi.

The big news today is from ArunPrakash Rajagopalan who finished his fantastic run at the ITF grade-3 US International Grasscourts juniors in Philadelphia .. Yesterday he defeated Ryan Rowe (USA) 75 36 63 in the final that was moved indoors after rain problems .. This is truly a memorable run by the boy who I thought had disappeared from the scene altogether .. Having won some junior nationals in the past and ranked #1 or thereabouts in the past in the Indian juniors, he had started playing pro satellite qualies last year and stopped playing in the junior circuit .. He has been training at the Randy Mani Academy in New York, according to this nice article about the final in the Phladelphia Inquirer .. It is something special when a boy goes in to play the qualies with no ITF junior points and no ranking and wins 7 matches in a row to pull off a title abroad .. That is about the most matches won in a row by any Indian boy in any event that I can remember .. That he won the last three matches in three-setters is also an indicator that he "wanted it" more than everybody else there .. That type of fire in the belly needs to recognized .. Yes, the field was rather weak for a grade-3, but he did upset the top-40 ranked top seed along the way, so he did his part .. Congratulation Arun - now go and build on this! .. I don't think he will be playing juniors much, as this is his last year of eligibility, but hopefully he has got a big boost in his career to get going at the pro level too ..

June 21 Notes

Don "Miami Vice" Johnson and Leander "Orlando Magic" Paes reached the final at the $380K Ordina Open ATP in sHertogenbosch .. Forgot to mention that they got a walkover from Grosjean-Srichaphan yesterday in the QF as Grosjean has a back problem .. Today they got past the Dutch pair - [SF] #1 D.Johnson/ L.Paes d. R.Sluiter/ M.Verkerk, 63 76(3) .. Tomorrow's final is against the second seeded Czechs, Martin Damm and Cyril Suk ..

Harsh Mankad reached the doubles semifinal yesterday at the Lisbon $10K, as he and Leo Tavares (POR) beat Alejandro Fabbri (ARG)/ David Ortiz-D'Jian (ESP) 63 36 75 .. Semi today against the 4th seeded Spaniards, Miguel Angel Lopez-Jaen/ Jose Pablo Serna .. Harsh leaves for the US after this weekend for a two week break before a challenger swing that is expected to start at Granby,Canada, which will be immediately followed by US challengers .. Aptos (California), a week's break, Denver (Colorado), Binghampton (New York) and Bronx(New York) .. If he can pick up some points in the first three challengers, they would count towards making the entry at the US Open qualies, for which he will need about 20 to 25 more ATP points .. Looks tough to do, but let us see how he looks now on hard courts after seven weeks of grind on clay .. As for the Granby challenger, he might make the main draw .. In the previous years it has closed right around 400 or just below; when I heard last, Harsh was 5th in the alternate list, which is really 3rd, as there may not be any special exempt entries out there .. Anyway, he will go to Granby early and be ready for qualies if needed.

Prakash Amritraj easily won the title today at the Delhi satellite, 62 64 over Prima Simpatiaji, to make it a grand double; he and Stephen had won the doubles title yesterday as well .. See the Delhi 3rd leg page .. He is now virtually sure of topping the circuit points list ..  The masters leg starts Monday/ Tuesday ..

Qualifier R.ArunPrakash's run continues at the grade-3 US INternational Grass Courts at Philadelphia, as he won the semifinal yesterday against Erik Chvojka (CAN), 16 76(5) 62 .. Nice spunk from him, to pull a comeback like that in his 6th singles match this week, incliuding two in the qualies ..

June 20 Notes

LP-DJ are playing the QF today in the city the locals call as den Bosch (aka sHertogenbosch), but really played at the Autotron exhibition grounds closer to the city of Rosmalen in Holland, aka Netherlands aka Nederlands .. ah blow it! :-)) .. The match is "to be arranged as courts beome available ..

A correction on something I said earlier .. The Wimbledon seedings, as usual, are purely based on rankings .. When I saw MB-MM as #1 and LP-DR at #5, I believed what the wire service said about them not following rankings, which surprised me .. Actually I forgot that MM had gone to #1, placing MB-MM with a sumrank of 1+6 as the top seed though Bryans (2+5) and Knowles-Nestor (3+4) are also tied in ranking, becoming the next seeds .. Bjorkman and Woodbridge (7+8) become the 4th seeds .. I should have looked closely, and I should know not to take any agency report seriously :-)

Harsh mankad went down in a tough match yesterday at the $10K Lisbon second round, to qualifier Clement Morel (FRA) 61 57 36 .. Morel was a top junior last year (Australian Open winner who was ranked #2 most of the year and finished #3 in the world juniors) .. He finishes his 6 week work in Portugal with 7 ATP points from some 13 matches and a 7-6 record with about 10 three-set matches .. It seems like most of his wins were comebacks from dropping the first set, and most losses were after wining the first set! .. He is still there in doubles where HM and Tavares arre in an 8 match win streak where they have not dropped even a set .. Harsh could have definitely picked up much more points had he played the Indian satellites, but I still think he made the right decision to take the risk of going on claycourts for some time - the experiecne must have taught him a lot, and the Indian satellites and some 20 more points wouldn't have proved anything .. Also he picked up 47 ATP points there in doubles so far and will crack inside the top-300 which makes things easy for entry at challengers and some money savings from hospitality, etc - plus, he proved that he should be taken more seriously as a doubles player as well - he had never had that reputation though he has won a lot of titles with a lot of partners over the years.

Speaking of the satellites, it has turned into a Prakash Amritraj party with everybody else getting bad hangovers and taking bitter pills .. Vijay Kannan, who played a rather competitive match in a loss against PA last week was completely taken out of his game by Prakash today in the 3rd leg semis in a 62 61 romp .. The winner of the first leg Daniel Kiernan has been banged up a bit and probably that caused his walkover to Simatiaji of Indonesia in the other semi .. Prakash now is already assured of 21 ATP points from at least 51 circuit points he will have even if he wins nothing else from now on .. He can put some 20 circuit point lead on everybody else with a win tomorrow and it will be nearly impossible for anybody to catch him for the circuit lead next week (add 6 more bonus ATP points for that) .. PA is almost sure to pick up between 30 and 36 ATP points and raise his ranking inside the top-450 after these staellites .. See the Delhi 3rd leg page for scores .. Prakash and Stephen won the doubles title over Manoj and Rishi today .. By the way, there was also a playoff today for the final 3 spots in the masters draw of 24 .. 5 players tied in circuit rankings .. Parantap got lucky and drawn straight to the masters .. Stephen beat Sonchat Ratiwatana and Saurav Panja beat Tomer Suissa to make it to the masters leg and stay alive for come more circuit points.

A big win for the youngster R. Arun Prakash, who is playing a junior event out of the blue in the US .. After entering the draw as a qualifier with no junior rank, he reached the semifinal of the grade-3 US International Grasscourts at Philadelphia with a big upset of the top seed Jarrett Chirico (USA,37), 64 36 61.. He plays Erik Chvojka (CAN) next .. Arunprakash must be wondering why he did not play the junior circuit for 18 months (at least I am wondering) .. He is just over 18 now, but the top seed he upset is also nearly 18 and so it is not like he is beating up on little kids out there .. A win over a top-40 ITF junior is always impressive .. Anyway, once again, I am glad to see that Arun has not disappeared from the scene .. He and Jonah Kane West (USA) lost in the doubles QF to Treat Huey/ Greg Ouellette (USA), 46 67(5) after upsetting the 3rd seeds in the first round.

All four of our junior team in Europe lost in the second round at the grade-4 ITF in Halle .. Scores -- [R1] #6 Karan Rastogi d. (q) Max Zerhusen (GER) 63 64 ..  [R2] l. Adrian Ungur (ROM) 16 16 .. [R1] #8 Somdev Dev Varman d. Roman Herold (GER) 36 75 64 .. [R2] l. Philipp Piyamangkol (GER) 46 46 ..[R1] #1 Sania Mirza d. Olivia Lukaszewicz (AUS) 62 64 .. [R2] l. (q) Nadja Roma (SWE) 61 02 (ret.) .. [R1] Sanaa Bhambri d. Natalie Tanevska (AUS) 64 61 .. [R2] l. #8 Alyona Tsutskova (UKR) 46 36 .. Don't worry, I don't think our players were there to win a lot of matches, as the points were not there and they needed to get to Roehampton soon, where the grade-1 LTA international first round starts on Sunday itself .. They all got a couple of matches each and some decent grass practice .. I guess Sania is not really injured and had to complain of something as she was having trouble trying to lose to the qualifier :-) .. At least I hope so! .. Not a good idea for players to tank matches anywhere, but the way ITF and the German Federation have botched up the schedule, they had no choice I guess .. Hello, it is a 2 weeks grass season and they schedule just one grade-4 grasscourt event with a wednesday start in Europe when the big pre-Wimbledon event starts early on Sunday?  [What happened to that event in East Mosely or whereever in UK?] .. Anyway, these things force the kids to do things they should never be asked to do .. When everybody complains about players learning to tank matches (the worst thing in pro tennis), they should look at what the players have to go through ..

Kartiki Bhat could not upset the 5th seed at the grade-1 ETA u16 event in La baule France .. [R3] #9 Kartiki Bhat l. #5 Lucie Makrlikova (CZE), 46 62 26 .. At the grade-2 in Morocco, Divij Sharan's nice run ended in the quarterfinal against Remko de Rijke (NED,208) 36 36 ..

June 19 Note-1

LP and "MiamiVice" won the first round at the $380K Ordina Open in sHertogenbosch, Netherlands just now .. [R1] #1 Don Johnson (USA)/ Leander Paes d. Sjeng Schalken/ John van Lottum (NED), 62 76(5) .. They were up 4-1 in the second .. Got broken in the 7th game and it got pretty tight, but they pulled through in the tiebreaker .. Facing "Redshirt" Mr.56 next .. [QF] LP-DJ vs Sebastien Grosjean (FRA)/ Paradorn Srichaphan (THA) tomorrow.

Bad news at the Wimbledon qualies .. Sunitha had a good start, could not weather a roaring comeback by her opponent and went down in the final round of qualies .. [Q3] Sunitha Rao (USA/IND,168) l. Stanislava Hrozenska (SVK,184), 57 36 .. They traded early breaks in the first set and it went with serve till the drama started at 4-4 .. Sunitha broke Hrozenska at the right time and was serving for the set at 5-4 .. She faced a 30-40 break point and saved it .. Then faced an AD out and it all went wrong from there .. Got broken, and could not force the issue on SH despite deuces in the next game .. Worse still, she dropped serve twice more in a row to fall from 5-4 to 5-7 0-3 .. The break in the 2nd game of the second set proved to be the final nail .. She got a bit of a grip and held serve from there on, but could not get that one crucial break back .. I am sure the 17 year old is heartbroken for letting go of what appeared to be a good chance earlier on today, but Stanislava had qualified into the Australian Open also, and seemed to be playing well .. Hey, Sunitha has nothing to be ashamed of, having won two rounds and gone this far at her age .. Hats off to her, and I am sure her time will come very soon in grand slams .. She did raise her ranking up inside the top-150 with the two good upsets - that is quite incredible for a 17 year old ..  She is in the entry list for the junior Wimbledon, and now she should be playing it .. Serious trouble for others in the junior draw!

Harsh Mankad continued his doubles streak yesterday at the Lisbon $10K .. [R1] Harsh Mankad/ Leonardo Tavares (POR) d. (wc) Hugo Anao/ Manuel Costa-Matos (POR) 61 64 .. In the QF they play Alejandro Fabbri (ARG)/ David Ortiz-D'Jian (ESP) .. His singles second round is going on right now.

Megha Vakharia won the doubles R1 at the $10K ITF in Incheon, Korea .. [R1] #4 Nicole Kriz (AUS)/ M.Vakharia d. Wilawan Choptang/ Chattida Thimjapo (THA), 63 46 62 .. Up next Bo-Ra Choi (KOR)/ Tomoyo Takagishi (JPN) ..

At the Indian satellites 3rd leg, it all went according to seedings today, as Prakash Amritraj, Daniel Kiernan, Vijay Kannan and Primo Simpatiaji, the top four seeds moved into the semi with easy wins .. Prakash reportedly played a mature game to take out 6th seed Vinod Sridhar, who can be a handful if you give him a chance .. He mixed in the netgame very nicely .. Seeing the futility of the usual baseline game (PA is play quite solidly in that style too, if he wants), Sridhar tried to change tactics in the second set and play a bit of serve and volley himself - that was asking for serious trouble against PA, though .. 75 62 win .. Vijay Kannan has been cruising and if he plays his best, he does have the game to cause PA some trouble tomorrow (though it didn't work last week) .. See the Delhi 3rd leg page for scores.

Good news from Divij Sharan, but bad news from everybody else, at the grade-2 ITF juniors in Mohammediya, Morocco .. Divij has reached the QF - a good accomplishment on clay out there in a grade-2, for our #4 player currently in the ITF rank list .. Here is a round up of the scores -  [R1] Divij Sharan (IND) d. Naoki Sato (JPN,191)  61 46 61.. [R2] d. Patrick Telawetz (AUT,362) 51 Retired .. [QF] vs Remko de Rijke (NED,208) .. For others, it was a nightware, as everone is done after one round each in both singles and doubles .. [R1] Tushar Liberhan l. Robin Haase (NED,316) 26 67(3) .. [R1] #1 Tara Iyer l. Valentina Ponomartseva (RUS,372) 60 46 67(3) .. [R1] Krushmi Chheda l. Pasquale Jansma (NED,188) 64 16 16 .. [R1] Pooja Kommireddi l. Hendrike-Lea Heitmann (GER,381) 62 57 36 .. [R1] Marutha Devi l. Ali van Horne (USA,198) 36 46 .. [R1] Tushar Liberhan/ Divij Sharan d. Tiago Jr. Bastos/ Jorge Godinho (POR), 64 61 .. [QF] Tushar Liberhan/ Divij Sharan l. Jakub Nijaki/ Przemyslaw Stec (POL), 75 46 26 .. [R1] Marutha Devi/ Oormila Ram l. Magdalena Kiszczynska/ Marta Lesniak (POL), 16 16 .. [R1] Krushmi Chheda/ Pooja Kommireddi l. Caroline Bailly (BEL)/ Samia Medjahdi (ALG), 16 26 .. [R1] Parul Goswami/ Punam Reddy l. Anna Korzeniak (POL)/ Claire Lablans (NED), 16 26

Junior news from Halle (GER), La Baule (FRA), Philadelphia (USA), etc, later.

June 18 Note-2

Leander and Don Johnson fially play their first round at the sHertogenbosch ATP tomorrow at about 1 pm ..  Sunitha Rao is scheduled to play the final round of Wimbledon qualies by around 1.45 pm in London, +/- 15 min.

A couple of women's scores to report - At the Incheon $10K satellite in Korea, Megha Vakharia lost in the first round to #5 Akgul Amanmuradova (UZB), 36 26 .. Megha and Nicole Kriz (AUS) are seeded 4th in doubles and play Wilawan Choptang/ Chattida Thimjapo (THA) first .. At the ITF $10K in Canet en Roussillon, France, Sai Jayalakshmy went down to qualifier Dyane Aixendri (FRA), 61 36 36 ..

Rain delayed a few matches at the grade-4 grasscourt juniors in Halle, Germany .. Two scores the Florian reported in our forum - Sania Mirza d. Olivia Lukaszewicz (AUS) 62 64 .. Sanaa Bhambri d. Natalie Tanevska (AUS) 64 61 .. Florian drive up there to watch the kids, and have posted some excellent pictures again at his website .. Take a look!

R.Arun Prakash has reached the QF at the Philadelphia grade-3 ITF grasscourts, with an upset of the 7th seed .. He was to play the top seed today .. Scores - [R1] (Q) Arun Prakash Rajagopalan d. Boris Fetbroyt (USA), 60 62 .. [R2] d. #7 Diego Alvarado (CRC), 75 60 .. [QF] vs #1 Jarrett Chirico (USA) .. He is also in the doubles QF, with an upset of the 3rd seeds - [R1] Jonah Kane West (USA)/ Arun Prakash R. d. #3 Eun-Sik Jung (KOR)/ Michael Shabaz (USA), 75 60.

There were some of our kids in the ITF gade-4 junior event at Rabat, Morocco, last week .. Divij Sharan had a few good wins there -- see the round up of scores in The Hindu .. Divij, Tushar, K.Pooja, etc should be at the grade-2 ITF juniors in Mohammedia, Morocco, this week.

Kartiki Bhat, seeded 9th, advanced to the 3rd round at the ETA group-1 u16 event in La Baule, FRA, with a win over Agustina Lepore (ARG) .. She faces the 5th seed Lucie Makrlikova (CZE) next .. Kartiki and Estrella Cabeza Caudela (ESP) beat Vicky Nunez (COL)/ Bruna Paes (BRA) 60 75 in the R1 to reach the QF .. Bruna is a Brazilian 15 yr old, who has no relation to Leander, by the way :-)

So Indian players we are following are in USA, UK, Netherlands, Portugal, France, Germany, Morocco, India and Korea this week .. All over the place!

June 18 Note-1

How about this? .. 17 years old and upsetting top-100 caliber players already .. If you have not heard of Sunitha Rao, it's time you sat up and looked closely .. [Q2] Sunitha Rao (USA/IND,168) d. #2 Claudine Schaul (LUX,105) 76 46 60 and Sunitha is in the final round of qualiying at Wimbledon .. The match was quite a tight one .. In the first set, Sunitha seemed to be quite a bit under pressure on her serve and unable to take too many points off Claudine .. But neither faced any break points in this set .. Sunitha survived deuces on her serve in the 3rd game, and again in the 9th game but she held tough .. She stepped on the pedal in the tiebreaker, winning 5 points in a row to to go to 5-1 .. Lost a couple of points there but she did the job to win the set .. In the second set she faced her first break points in the 4th game at 15-40 .. Won 4 points in a row and then went after CS to go up a break in the next game to 3-2 .. Then started a bad patch where she got broken three times in a row .. Though she broke CS in the 9th game to get even on serve, she lost the set at 4-5 on her serve .. She seemed to raise her game from that point onwards and the 3rd set was a complete washout for the 2nd seed from Luxombourg .. In the final qualifying round, Sunitha will play Stanislava Hrozenska (SVK,184) who upset the 24th seed Libuse Prusova (CZE,142) in three sets today .. Today's win gives Sunitha 16.5 WTA points (8 bonus) for a total of 33 (12 bonus) from the qualies .. That will raise her ranking by about 20 spots to inside top-150 .. That's a rare position for an Indian; Niru was inside the top-150 for a brief period a few years back and Laxmi Poruri of USA was also near there, but that was about it .. By the way, if you hadn't noticed, Sunitha was reported in The Hindu a couple of months back to have applied to ITF to play for India .. You will be hearing more on this soon, I believe.

At the Delhi satellite, today was a so-so day for Indians .. The steadiest three in the circuit, Prakash, Vijay and Vinod advanced to the QF, but Sunil Kumar fell in a tough 3-setter to the 4th seed Simpatiaji.  With only 10 circuit points so far, SKS needs to really do some major damage in the masters leg to get any more than 3 or 4 ATP points (which is sad, because he has only three ATP points so far this whole year, if I am not mistaken - the injuries have really set him back this year) .. Rohan Gajjar played well in a tough three-setter but went down .. See the Delhi 3rd leg page for scores.

June 17 Note-2

LP-Johnson seem to be not in the schedule for tomorrow either, at the Rosmalen ATP .. Looks like he will get to start only on thursday .. LP will probably not get to Wimbledon all that early for practice if LP-DJ do well in Holland ..

Rohan Bopanna is alright in UK but will take a couple of weeks off till the Bristol and Manchester challengers .. The elbow injury probably bothered him in the Nottingham qualies last weekend but I am sure some rest will help ..  We have been keeping up a thread for the tentative schedules of top Indian players in our forum, by the way - check it out if you haven't seen it.

Sunitha Rao plays the Q2 for Wimbledon tomorrow at about 1 pm ..

I have added an unofficial points page for the ongoing ITF India satellites .. Have not checked all my numbers, but I think the field of 24 for the masters leg is nearly all fixed.

Junior news -- The German grade-4 grasscourt event starts only tomorrow .. No draw info yet .. At the Derby Cadet u16 ETA events in Le Baule, France, Kartiki Bhat will play Agustina Lepore (ARG) in the round of 32, after a first round bye .. R. Arun-Prakash (I was wonder what had happened to him), is at the ITF grade-3 junior event, the USTA International grasscourts tournament in Philadelphia .. He played qualies, made the main draw and has won a round too .. Quite strange to see him in a junior event .. He had completely stopped playing juniors at the end of 2001, way to early in my opinion .. He turned 18 a couple of months back but is still eligible for junior events .. Again, I have no idea why he is playing this event .. By the way, I think Arun Prakash was ranked as high as #1 in AITA rank lists of various age ranges, but had seemed to get lost in the shuffle (like quite a few players from Chennai and the south in general have) .. Good to see his name somewhere, but I don't know much more on what he is up to.

June 17 Note-1

Mahesh and Todd Woodbridge ended up in a very tough fight today at the $380K Nottingham ATP, against British wildcards Jamie Delgado and Arvind Parmar ..  You would think that MB and TW, with 100+ titles between them would handle the upstarts - but when you are just playing one event together, even if you have played together a few times before, things don't always go your way .. MB-TW just got upset 76(5) 46 76(2) .. They had chances in the 9th and 11 games of the final set to break the British guys, doing the job in the 11th to go up 6-5 .. Just when it looked as though they would serve it off, they were down 0-40 .. They saved two BPs but fell at the 3rd .. The tiebreaker was all British, as they ran up a 6-2 lead and converted the first match point .. Parmar, who had a first round main draw upset in singles as well, is in his usual grasscourt form .. You hear of the dude only at this time every year, it seems - and he does make serious noise usually!

LP-Johnson will most probably be playing tomorrow at sHertogenbosch (Rosmalen) in Netherlands.

The Wimbledon doubles draw has come out .. MB-Mirnyi is seeded #1, and LP-Rikl is #5 .. They don't use straight rankings at Wimbledon and LP-Rikl probably should have been among the top four seeds .. What is worse, LP-DR are in the same half as MB-MM and could potentially face each other in a semi .. James Auckland/ Lee Childs (GBR) in the first round for MB-MM next week, and Juan Ignacio Carrasco/ Juan Carlos Ferrero (ESP) for LP-DR .. LP-DR will probably run into the tough 3rd seeds Bryan twins in the QF too ..  MB-MM have a much easier draw with 8th seeds Damm-Suk to worry about before SF, if the seedings hold up.

We have at least one Indian in the Wimbledon qualies at Roehamton, and she is doing well ..[Q1] Sunitha Rao (IND/USA,168) d. Natalie Vierin (ITA,159), 62 64 today .. She started with a quick break of Vierin, but got broken in the 4th game of the first set - 2-2 .. She went on a big tear at that point, completely dominating Vierin and breaking her 4 times .. Suddenly it was 62 30, and SR was up two breaks again .. Vierin put a brief stop to the flow, broke Sunitha in the 4th game and held serve .. At 3-2 in the second, Sunitha faced a crucial 30-40 break attempt .. She saved that to hold serve and stay one break ahead .. Then it was a cruise to the finish .. She now runs into the second seed Claudine Schaul (LUX,105), who had to come back from a set and a break down in a 26 75 62 win today .. This will be a tough match for Sunitha but the 18 year old is plenty talented to pull the upset! .. Go Sunitha!!

Harsh continues to pull off some tough claycourt wins in Portugal .. Today at the $10K POR F9 futures in Lisbon, Harsh Mankad d. Marcos Jimenez-Letrado (ESP,708), 57 63 75 .. He plays Clement Morel (FRA) in the next round ..

In other news, Sai Jayalakshmy is at the $10K ITF satellite in Canet en Roussillon, France .. She plays a qualifier, Dyane Aixendri (FRA), in the first round .. In doubles, she is seeded 4th with Napaporn Tongsalee (THA) and they have a first round bye.

At Delhi, the satellite 3rd leg first round got done today with most matches going as expected .. Except for 5th seed Mustafa Ghouse who got upset in two tiebreakers, and for Ajay Ramaswamy, who went down to qualifier Kedar Tembe, who has seems to be playing much better than in the past ..  Prakash Amritraj had an easy time, but Stephen went down 06 26 - he seems to have not had a chance to do anything against 6th seed Vinod Sridhar .. Stephen may need some luck now to make the masters leg somehow .. See the Delhi 3rd leg page for scores.

June 16 Notes

David Rikl got married a couple of days back and that is why he has not played with LP for two weeks, according to Leander, as reported by S.Kannan in the Hindustan Times .. That confuses me, because I thought he was married all along (for a few years at least, according to ATP's profile page; but that may be old info that they never updated) .. Anyway, apparently he will be there at Wimbledon with LP and that is good to know! .. I was beginning to worry about what was up with Rikl.

Not much news to report today .. The 3rd leg of the Indian satellites started in Delhi today .. The title sponsor is "GAIL" for this one .. The seedings and entry are based on performance in the first two legs .. Prakash, with 31 circuit points lead the field as the top seed .. Only four main draw matches were done today, with Sunil Kumar and Rohan Gajjar advancing to the second round .. Sunil beat Eliran Dooyev and according to Kamesh Srinivasan's report, he looked good today -- it's been a while since he played to the best of his abilities, nagging injuries causing him trouble .. Good to see the young guy in the mix again .. Rohan was the 8th seed, and beat the wildcard Parantap Chaturvedi easily .. Speaking of wildcards, I was quite sad to see young Jaco Mathew not get one for this leg .. He had entered the main draw as a lucky loser and had won a round in the last leg too - he deserved a wildcard .. As it turned out he had to play qualies for a 3rd time and ended up not making it, after reaching final qualies twice earlier .. Three of the four wildcards had won one round at least in the earlier legs (Parantap, Stephen and Chatwinder), so no complaints about that .. The fourth wildcard should have gone to Jaco .. The only player with a win in an earlier leg who did not make the 3rd leg draw is Jaco .. One wildcard would have given him 5 circuit points and would have quite possibly put him in the masters leg, giving him an ATP point - he has reason to complain .. I rarely complain about wildcards in the domestic international events, as I usually don't find too many unfair things (unlike how it happens in most places around the world) but I wanted to mention it this time .. Kamesh Srinivasan of The Hindu also noted this yesterday in his article .. Ture that Jaco has only himself to blame for a couple of relatively unexpected losses in the qualies, but he did have a lucky loser main draw win in the second leg, losing only to the circuit leader Prakash - he will now miss the masters leg .. It's like the guy couldn't get a break from anywhere .. Oh well, stuff happens, and the young man would learn from it ..  See the Delhi 3rd leg page for scores and draws.

I had hoped to see Niru in the women's qualies at Wimbledon .. She probably chose to use her injury proitected ranking for a few smaller events (probably a wise decision) .. Our newest player, Sunitha Rao (USA/IND,168) is in the qualies though .. She plays Nathalie Vierin (ITA,159) .. If she wins, she could run straight into the #2 seed Claudine Schaul (LUX,105) .. The Q1 match, I believe, is tomorrow ..

At the $10K Portuguese F9 futures in Lisbon, Harsh Mankad is seeded 3rd and plays Marcos Jimenez-Letrado (ESP,708) in the first round, either tomorrow or wednesday.

No news yet on the draw at the grade-4 grasscourt ITF juniors in Halle, Germany .. The Indian kids are probably looking at this event only for grass practice, ad the points are pretty much useless for all four of them ..

Sania is #9, Karan is #12, Somdev is #16 and Sanaa is #19 in the latest junior world doubles rankings .. How about that? .. Karan Rastogi moved up nearly 20 spots to #50 with his semifinal at the Frankfurt grade-1 last week .. He is now the second youngest player in the singles top-50 and his ranking is by no means biased with any easy points from Indian events .. Impressive!!

Kartiki Bhat is at the Derby-Cadets u16 ETA tournament this week in France .. She has a first round bye and faces the winner of Agustina Lepore (ARG) vs Louise Doutrelant (FRA).

.. Previous notes are at Notes for the week ending on June 16 ..

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.