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LP/MB/NV/Indian-Tennis: Notes for the week ending on June 24, 2002
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June 24 Notes

Not much tennis of interest to us during the weekend, but sorry for the two days break in the notes ..

The Wimbledon doubles will be starting in a couple of days .. Here is an interesting article in the Deccan Herald with some comments from LP and MB on what they expect .. LP's comments were interesting, about how he is now feeling rather rejuvenated .. He is "enjoying running round and looking for partners. It's like when I first started out" .. May be he is right, that in some strange ways this would keep him from feeling all jaded with the tour that has been doing for over a dacade .. "In the season I have been using this time to do the groundwork to find the right partner for the next season. In that sense Wimbledon will be an education" .. "I have had to focus entirely on my doubles this summer," Paes said. "What I am doing now is working hard physically with the Asian Games in mind. I'll be going for three golds in Busan. I would like to pick up my singles play again from there." .. Anyway, perhaps LP has decided to restart the singles thing after the Asiad, probably with the challengers in India .. Alright, we will lay off and not be on his case, as far as singles are concerned .. I hope he does get back into it later this year .. LP seems to have completely stopped all talk of "getting old and retiring" and all that stuff lately, and I have to say that I like it!

Manisha Malhotra is in the singles main draw entry list for the Swedish $25K challenger in Bastad this week .. Sai Jayalakshmy is in the main draw list for the $10K satellite in Kalamaria, Greece .. Haven't seen the draws at either place .. No sign of Rushmi for a few weeks, since the Chinese events.

Rohan Bopanna is also finally out on the tour .. He is in the main draw at the $15K France F11 futures in La Valette ..He plays a qualifier, Georges-Alexandre Israel (FRA) in the first round ..

No draw info yet from the Canada F3 futures in Lachine near Montreal .. Sunil Kumar was the 3rd seed in the qualies and has reached the final round of qualies after a Q1 bye .. [Q2] #3 Sunil Kumar Sipaeya d. Charles-Anthony Levaque (CAN) 61 60, [Q3] d. Adil Shamaskin (CAN), 63 63 .. He plays Jadys Bourdelais (CAN) in the final round today.

Late update on how Rishi and Kamala did in the 3rd leg of the China satellites last week in Tianjin .. Wildcard Shao-Xuan Zeng (CHN) defeated the 8th seed Rishi Sridhar 64 63 and Yi-Ning Wang (CHN) beat Kamala Kannan 61 60, in the first round .. In doubles, Kannan/Sridhar d. Erik Dmytruk (CAN)/ Gabriel Montilla (PUR), 64 76(5) and they fell in the QF to the top seeds Ran Xu and Shao-Xuan Zeng, 64 16 16 .. I think both have enough points to make it to the masters leg this week in singles and doubles .. No news on that yet.

16 yr old Divij Sharan had a good time at the Donetsk Cup Grade-4 ITF juniors (red clay) in Donetsk, UKR, last week .. He reached the QF of singles and the final of doubles .. [R1] #3 seed Divij Sharan (IND,243) d. Dmytry Lyamin (UKR,792)  61 62 .. [R2] d. Vadim Demchishin (UKR,NR) 62 64 .. [QF] l. #6 seed Dmytro Gurichev (UKR,319) 26 36 .. The doubles run with a lower ranked Turkish player was rather impressive, as the unseeded pair upset the top seeds along the way .. [R1] D.Sharan (IND,241)/ Mustafa Ulukan (TUR,645) d. D.Lyamin (UKR) / Yoav Schab (ISR) 63 63 .. [QF] d. #1 Dmitri Makeev (KAZ) / Anton Tsymbalov (KAZ) 63 63 .. [SF] d. #4 Eduardo Campos (MEX) / Julian Svitolin (UKR) 63 64 .. [F]  l.  Alexander Aksionov (UKR) / Dmitro Lutsenko (UKR) 67(2) 61 26 .. Good job, Divij!  .. (Thanks go to the gentleman who alerted me to Divij being in Ukraine - I didn't expect any Indian kids to be out there!)

I have not got an update yet on the final couple of rounds at the Morocco grade-3 last week, where Karan, Tara, Kartiki, etc, were playing .. Will have it soon .. The group should be moving to the grade-2 event in Casablanka, Morocco, this week.

Sania Mirza is in the main draw entry list for the Wimbledon juniors next week, but she has been off the tour due to some illness from a couple of weeks back .. No Indians are at the Wimbledon preparation event, the grade-1 ITF juniors in UK this week .. Stephen Amritraj of USA upset a higher seed in the qualies and made the main draw theree .. [Q1] 9th seed S.Amritraj (9) BYE .. [Q2] d. Mat Lowe (GBR), 67(5) 62 64 .. [Q3] d. 3rd seed Jose Nenganga (ANG), 63 62 .. In the main draw, he faces Davor Kuseta of Croatia.

June 21 Notes

Busy day for me, so only some quick updates .. Sheetal's big run ended in the very final match, as Radhika Tulpule upset her in the masters final .. Shows you how difficult and tiring it is for anybody to go through and win all 19 matches in a satellite, and Radhika deserves credit for coming through just when it mattered most for 5 WTA points .. Radhika reportedly played very well, and did not allow a chance for a tired to Sheetal (in her 34th match in 25 days) to make any sort of a comeback .. Sheetal got 4 points but ended with the richest total prize money total ever by anybody in the Indian women's satellites .. Sheetal-Shruti had won the doubles title yesterday for Sheetal's 6th title out of the possible 8 in the circuit .. Sai Jayalakshmy lost in the R2 of the $10K Montemor (Portugal) satellites, 46 76(7) 57 to Regina Temez (ESP) and lost in the doubles QF with Bianka Cremer, to Romy Farah (COL) and Irena Nossenko (UKR), 62 46 46 .. Ahay Ramaswamy lost in the R2 of the $10K Canda F2 futures to 8th seed Diego Ayala (USA), 76(5) 36 67(7) .. Close match .. Sunil Kumar and Iphton Louis (Haiti) lost 64 67(0) 26 to the #2 seeds Jeff Laski (USA) and Andrew Nisker (CAN), who had beaten Harsh-Ajay, 76(5) 75 in the R1 .. In the juniors, Karan Rastogi went down in the QF of the Morocco ITF grade-3 to #6 Jose Luis Muruguza (ARU), 46 62 57, but both Karan and Al-Nabhani (Oman) and the young pair of Taa Iyer and Kartiki Bhat have reached the doubles finals there - that is pretty good at a grade-3 event.

June 20 Note-2

One more addition to my last note - actually Leander has one more win over sampras, in doubles with Laurence Tieleman - they beat Sampras and Ivanisevic way back in 1993 at the Queens first round, 63 36 63 .. So, Pete does have one set against LP in 7 .. I went back and looked at Sampras' record from before 1995 when he used to play some doubles semi-regularly and semi-seriously, just to make sure .. Nobody from those days either, who is undefeated in both S and D against Pete.

At the Morocco ITF juniors,  Karan Rastogi reached the QF with a win over #196 Yassir Bouyaha (MAR), 62 62 - one of the better wins in a long time for Karan, and he seems to be slowly getting back into the flow of things .. Karan and Al-Nabhani (Oman) beat Dillon Borzyna (USA) and Jose Luis Muguruza (Aruba), 64 75 to reach the doubles SF as well .. Tara Iyer lost to #240 Miljana Adanko (HUN), 36 36 and Punam Reddy went down to #209 Laura Thorpe (FRA), 46 26 in the second round.

June 20 Note-1

Had an email from Mahesh, correcting my note about Roddick being undefeated in singles and doubles against Lee .. Lee does have a win against him in doubles - at the first round on the way to the Atlanta title last year, when Roddick-Goldstein lost to LP-MB .. So, that takes Roddick out .. I went looking to find out who else could be there who is undefeated against Lee in both doubles and singles - and that turned up only one name .. Who else, Andre Agassi! .. He has singles wins against Lee at the Olympics semis and the USO second round in 96, and beat him in doubles in perhaps the best turnaround by anybody aganst the Indian Express, at the Rome masters last year where Agassi-Hewitt came back from 2-5 down in the second and after saving some match points for a 26 76(5) 75 win ..  Now you ask who is the best player who Leander is undefeated aganst in singles and doubles? .. Of course we all know that - Pete Sampras, whom Leander beat in 98 at New Haven in singles (63 64) and also at Queens in doubles n 98 where LP-MB beat Sampras and Henman by one of the worst losses either player has ever had (61 61) .. I believe Leander is the only player out there who is undefeated in both singles and doubles against Pete Sampras (and he has not even lost a set against Pete) ...

Manisha Malhotra and Leanne Baker lost in the doubles qualifying first round at Wimbledon against 6th seeded Alina Jidkova (RUS) and Bryanne Stewart (AUS), 26 46 ..

At the Delhi satellite masters, Sheetal's mastery continued, as she won her 18th in a row, beating Ankita in a close one, 64 75 .. Radhika Tulpule came up big just when it mattered for 2 extra WTA points, as she beat Shruti in a three-set comeback to reach tomorrow's final against Sheetal .. see the satellite masters page.

Ajay Ramaswamy's good form continued in Canada as he advanced to the second round at the Montreal futures with a 46 61 64 win over qualifier Nicolas Brochu .. He faces the 8th seed Diego Ayala (USA,600) next .. In doubles, the 4th seeds Simon Larose and Luke Smith beat Mustafa Ghouse and Peter Handoyo (INA), 63 76(4) .. Harsh, Ajay and Sunil play their doubles R1 matches today.

June 19 Notes

Turns out that I forgot Leander's birthday as well .. Yikes :-( .. It was this monday, and he turned 29 .. Late happy birthday to Lee! .. If anybody had any doubt that I was impartial between LP and MB, I guess this rests the case .. But then again, I wonder if I am subconsciously beginning to forget my two heroes, ever since they stopped playing together :-) .. OK, OK, I will leave them alone - after all, I said we should leave them alone when they split for the second time..

Manisha Malhotra and Leanne Baker made the qualifying draw for Wimbledon doubles and are playing today! .. Tough draw for them - they play the 6th seeded Alina Jidkova (RUS) and Bryanne Stewart (AUS) today at about 5 pm (12 noon NY, 9.30 pm India) .. If they advance, they may run into the top seeds in the 16 team draw, trying to be among 4 teams going to the main draw.  All the best Manisha!

Bad day yesterday at the Montreal futures .. All three Indians went down .. The second seed Thomas Blake (USA,390) beat Harsh Mankad (#752), 76(6) 61 .. Marc Silva (USA,623) upset 6th seed Moustafa Ghouse (#538), 63 16 75 and Fabio Colangelo (ITA,870) defeated qualifier Sunil Kumar Sipaeya (#950), 64 64 .. Ajay Ramaswamy plays qualifier Nicolas Brochu (CAN) today .. In the doubles draw, the Indians seem to have rearranged their teams .. Mustafa is playing with Peter Handoyo and they face the 4th seeds Simon Larose (CAN) and Luke Smith (AUS) .. Harsh, who played with Mustafa last week and Ajay who played with Sunil, are playing together this time, and they face the second seeds Jeff Laski (USA) and Andrew Nisker (CAN) .. Sunil Kumar is playing with Iphton Louis (Haiti) and they play the Candian wildcards Dejan Cvetkovic and Andrei Radulescu.

At the Delhi satellite masters, Sheetal Goutham continued her amazing run with the 17th singles wi in a row, once again coming back from dropping a set to completely take apart Sonal Phadke, 46 64 61 .. I have no idea how Sheetal keeps on doing this kind of stuff .. It looks like once she decides how to come back on somebody, the other player simply can't handle what Sheetal throws at them .. Ankita is up next for her in the semi .. Radhika and Shruti meet in the other semi - so the top 4 seeds move on with 2 WTA points each.  The next win is worth 2 more .. See the Delhi satellite masters page.

News from the Montemor (Portugal) $10K satellite .. 8th seed Sai Jayalakshmy beat Irena Nossenko (UKR) 26 76(3) 61 to reach the final 16 .. She gets WTA point .. Next up is Regina Temez of Spain .. In doubles, Sai is playing with Bianca Cremer of Germany and is seeded first .. They get an R1 bye and run into Romy Farah (COL) and Irena Nossenko (UKR) in the QF.

The Indian kids have started well at the grade-3 Morocco junior ITF in Mohammedia, which is a higher grade event than last week's and quite a few more top players have joined - #138 Karan Rastogi is no longer the top seed in singles, as #61 Roman Kutac of Romania and #115 Jesse Huta Galung of Nederlands are there this time .. The big upset win was by 13 year old #481 Tara Iyer (who was in the US for over a year - you may remember me talking about her a few months back when she started her ITF junior career with a couple of wins in the US) .. Tara had a dominating 64 60 upset over #313 Ildico Csordas (HUN), the runner-up in last week's Morocco grade-5 who had beaten Tara in three sets there .. Hmmm .. Nice spunk to take revenge like that .. #313 Poonam Reddy beat Sanaa Chami of Morocco, 62 60 .. Nidhi Shah Karan Rastogi won his singles defeating al Muzaad Al Jazzaf of Kuwait, 60 62 .. Karan is the only Indian boy in the draw .. #281 Kartiki lost in the R1 to #350 Karina Gregorian (RUS) and #283 Krushmi Chedda lost to #340 Mouna Sabri (MAR) ..  Karan Rastogi and Mohammed Al Nabhani of Oman upset the top seeded doubles pair yesterday, Brian Hung and Hiu Tung Yu, 62 63 in the R1 .. Tara Iyer and Kartiki Bhatt won their R1 doubles in style, 64 60, over  Heidi El Tabakel (EGY)/ Nadia Saloman (RSA) as well .. Tough competition there though, as the boys top seed and 6th seed are already gone after one round.

June 18 Note-2

Just saw the doubles draw for Wimbledon (was surprised that it is out already!) .. Leander is playing with Stephen Huss and Mahesh is with Mirnyi .. So, I guess Stephen was not a stop-gap arrangement as I thought .. Actually I wonder if Lee saw something in Huss to look at him as a partner .. Huss is a doubles player who has made one of the bigger moves recently in ATP .. He is 26 year old (I was surprised at that too - he was playing for Auburn University just a couple of years back and had finished with the most career doubles wins in Auburn history or something like that) .. He has been playing with a lot of different partners last year after hitting the challenger circuit, making it to 6 challenger finals with three titles .. This year he started at a #125 ranking, but had reached his career high of #64 last week .. On the way, he also won the ATP doubles title at the $400K Casablanca ATP (with Miles Wakefield) .. LP-MB had beaten Huss-Wakefield during their title run at Mallorca a couple of weeks after Huss' Casablanca title .. Will try to find out if Leander is looking at Huss as one to groom for the long run, but anyway he is not a sliced cheese doubles player, it seems ..  LP-Huss play Byron Black (ZIM) and Robbie Koenig (RSA) in the first round, drawn next to the 15th seeds MacPhie-Zimjonic with 4th seeds W.Black-Ullyett in their 1/8th of the draw in the bottom half .. MB-Mirnyi are seeded 3rd, and play Fish-Morrison in the first round in a repeat of the Queens QF .. MB-Mirnyi are drawn with 14th seeds Boutter-Schalken in their part of the draw in the upper half .. Decent draws for both LP and MB.

The early loss this week would allow LP and Huss to get to Wimbledon early and do some practice together also (though match practice at Nottingham would have been better).

Hey, by the way, How about them Koreans, eh? .. (heck, how about dem Americans too!)

June 18 Note-1

I expected this match to be tough, it's always tough against two hard servers when one is trying to play with a stop-gap partner, having never partnered him before .. Close match though - Leander and Stephen Huss went down 46 67(6) today at the $381K Samsung ATP in Nottingham to Greydon Oliver and Andy Roddick of USA .. Roddick is one of the very few out there with an unbeaten record in singles and doubles against LP, I guess  with the Davis Cup win in singles earlier .. Not a bad thing for Lee though, as he could probably use some 7-8 days of rest before Wimbledon doubles next week ..

At the Montreal $10K futures, Sunil Kumar made the main draw with his 3rd qualifying win, a 46 64 63 comeback win over Marshal Brown (USA) .. The main draw came out and it is not kind for Harsh Mankad, who runs into the 2nd seed Thomas Blake .. 6th seed Mustafa Ghouse faces Marc Silva (USA) .. Ajay Ramaswamy, who got a special exemption entry due to playing the semis at Mississauga over the weekend, faces qualifier Nicolas Brochu (CAN) .. Sunil plays Fabio Colangelo (ITA).

Late update from last week, on Sai Jayalakshmy, who was at the $10K Ankara satellite (thanks, Danny, for letting me know) .. She was seeded 7th, beat Dragana Ilic (YUG), 06 62 63 in the first round and was upset 64 64 by qualifier Natasa Sijakovic (YUG) .. The good news was in doubles, where she won the title! .. Sai and Alena Yaryshka of Belarus were the top seeds .. After a bye and a walkover in the first two rounds, they beat the 3rd seeds Dragana Ilic (YUG) and Marina Lazarovska of Macedonia, 76(5) 75 and won the title beating Jacqueline Froehlich (GER) and Ruxandra Marin (ROM), 62 62 .. Congratulations to Sai ..

Only doubles in the schedule today at the Delhi women's masters, as they get a well-needed rest day before the singles QFs tomorrow.

June 17 Notes

At Delhi, the satellite masters started with no upsets today .. Sheetal had an even easier win against Archana Venkatraman, whom she had never beaten before last week .. Make that 16 straight wins for her .. See the Delhi satellite page.

I have not seen the draw for the Canada F2 futures this week at Montreal, but Sunil Kumar missed out on the min draw cut, and ended up as the top seed in the qualies .. He has reached the final round of qualies after a Q1 bye and two wins - over two Candians, Bruno Agostinelli Jr., 62 63, and then Conor Casey, 64 75 .. He plays Marshall Brown (USA)  in the final qualifying round.

Late news from last week -- Rishi Sridhar and Kamala Kannan won won round each at the China satellites leg-2 .. Rishi beat Jong-Sam Chung (KOR) 62 62 and fell to the 5th seed Sadik Kadir (AUS) in a cole match, 64 46 57 .. Kamala beat lucky loser Jing-Yi Li (CHN) 64 64 and fell to Peng Sun (CHN), 26 64 36 .. In doubles, Sridhar-Kannan, who were semifinalists the previous week, lost in the R1 to Ran Xu and Shao-Xuan Zeng of China, 36 46 .. In the 3rd leg at Tianjin this week, Rishi is seeded 8th based on circuit points, and plays the Chinese wildcard, Shao-Xuan Zeng .. Kannan plays Yi-Ning Wang (CHN) .. Doubles R1 is against the Canadian-Perto Rican pair, Erik Dmytruk and Gabriel Montilla ..

Sai Jayalakshmy was in the entry list for a $10K satellite in Portugal this week .. No news yet.

.. Previous notes are at Notes for the week ending on June 17 ..

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.