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LP/MB/NV/Indian-Tennis: Notes for the week ending on June 25, 2001
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June 25 Note-1

Leander's first round singles match is not in the monday schedule at Wimbledon - so he will be playing on Tuesday .. LP-MB doubles and Niru-Rika doubles will be on Wednesday or Thursday .. Mixed doubles start by Friday or so.

I think Manisha Malhotra has made the main draw of the $25K challenger in Bastad, Sweden .. Her doubles partner, Leanne Baker (459,NZL) is the second seed in the qualifying rounds, which means 345th ranked Manisha made the main draw easily .. Good! ..

Manoj Mahadevan went down in the first round of qualies at the Canada F3 in Lachine, Quebec .. Oh well .. But Harsh, Mustafa and Rishi will be in the main draw ..

I have added the matchups at the 4th leg of the women's satellites starting in Delhi, at the Delhi masters page.

Pretty much everybody in Indian tennis seems to be playing somewhere this week .. LP, MB and Niru playing at Wimbledon .. Ajay Ramaswamy will be playing the USA futures in New York .. Rushmi and Sai should be in the challenger in Italy .. Vijay Kannan may have had to play qualies to get into the 3rd leg in the Netherlands satellites .. Radhika will be in Portugal and Shruti in Netherlands for satellites .. Then we have juniors Sunil Kumar and Sania Mirza in UK,  etc, etc .. Awaiting news on where Fazal surfaces this week! .. And there are probably some others too ..

Holy Cow! .. I am going to have a tough week of work keeping track of players playing in USA, Canada, UK, Sweden, Netherlands, Portugal, Italy and INDIA (what ? Nobody thought of going to Kuritiba, Brazil, for the futures this week ? .. where is the Indian spirit of adventure I say ?? :-))  .. Hey, I want some really good vada and sambar for breakfast in the morning, to get started with what is shaping up to be a very active week!

June 24 Notes

Sonal Phadke played solid tennis and "justified her top billing", as the newspapers would say, yesterday in the final of the Delhi satellites .. She beat Samrita Sekhar in straight sets .. Samrita and Archana are tied with 30 points each, for a second seed going into the satellites masters next week, also at Delhi .. See the Delhi satellite page .. See the circuit points page for the list of players who made the masters draw of 16 .. All of them get 1 WTA point each, and the winner next week will pick up 5 WTA points to go with any bonus points if they upset one of the top-500 players (basically Sonal and Archana) ..

Good news from Canada and UK -- Mustafa Ghouse and Rishi Sridhar made the main draw this time, to join Harsh Mankad, at the $10K Canada F3 at Lachine, Quebec, right outside Montreal .. Manoj Mahadevan is the 4th seed in the qualies and will hopefully make the draw .. The qualies are a bit delayed with some rain there .. Sunil Kumar qualified into the junior ITF grade-1 LTA grasscourts in Roehamton yesterday .. In Q2, he won easily, 64 62, over Tom burn of Britain, who had earlier upset the 4th seed Goran Koavecevik (AUS,74) of Australia .. In the main draw first round, 82nd ranked Sunil was to play another qualifier, Clinton Letcher (AUS,72) this afternoon .. The last time Sunil played Clinton, he lost 57 46, at the PQF in the grade-2 Philippines over two months back - hopefully it will be better this time .. 95th ranked Amanjot Singh  is the first lucky loser in waiting, as he lost to the same Clinton Letcher yesterday 64 64 in Q2, after beating Ben Archer Clowes of Britain, 46 64 62 on Friday .. #62 Sania Mirza, who made direct entry, was drawn to face Miriyam Casanova (SUI,26) this afternoon .. If she advances, she may run into the the 11th seeded Sunitha Rao (USA) .. Also in the boys' section, Prakash Amritraj of USA plays Florian Lemke (GER,54) [source: LTA, London] .. Also, at the Grade-4 junior Donetsk Cup in Ukraine, Jaco Matthew had won the first round over Igor Morosowsky of Germany, 76(2) 75, earlier this week [source: ITF Juniors] .. No news yet on further rounds or about how PC Tejeshwar did at the same event.

Still no news on how doubles went for Radhika Tulpule at the Montemor satellite in Portugal ..

June 23 Notes

and17 yr old Samrita Sekhar and 19 year old Sonal Phadke reached the final of the Delhi satellite yesterday .. Sonal had to play a tough three-setter, 67 75 63 against a very impressive youngster, Isha Lakhani, almost 3 years younger to her .. I think Isha needs to be taken very seriously in the juniors .. She only recently turned 16 and has two more years in the ITF juniors .. She, however, played only two ITF events late last year (and did well reaching QFs in her first two events, and winning the doubles titles at both) .. She did not play the subcontinental events earlier this year - though I felt she was an excellent candidate for the AITA team to the east Asia events, had she played a few events this year ..  From all newspaper reports, she is an aggressive player, who plays with "heart" - the kind who does better abroad .. Upsetting 3rd seeded Sheetal Gautham, and then 6th seed Nandita Chandrasekhar is an indication of what this young girl is capable of .. I hope she will play the two ITF junior event early this year and will play a full schedule on the subcontinental circuit early next year to go up in rankings and play abroad next year .. As for Samrita, she upset the second seed Archana Venkatraman once again (it may be the 3rd or 4th straight time she is doing that to Archana!) .. She then beat the 7th seed Liza Pereira yesterday as well .. She's another who seems to be here to stay as well .. See the Delhi satellite page.

Some great junior news -- Asian Closed (Grade B2) junior ITF event, the highest-graded junior event to be held in India I think, is now set for December 3rd at RK Khanna stadium, Delhi .. This used to be called "Asian Closed" till 1998 and was held in Japan for a few years (Manoj Mahadevan incidentally was in the semifinal of the last "closed"version of the event if I am not mistaken, held in April 1998 - lost to Wei Jen Cheng of Taiwan, who and the Thai Danai Udomchoke were the finalists) .. Then ATF and ITF "Opened" it for non-asian participation for two years in Japan - calling it Asian Open or Japan Open or something .. This year we again have a "Closed" version of the event and it is coming to India! .. Only players from the Asian countries can take part, if what I am guessing right .. The good news is that a Grade B2 event gives 120 ITF points for the winner, which is larger than even a grade-2 event's title points .. 80 for final and 60 for semifinal (which is the same as what one gets for a grade-3 title!) .. It's a golden chance for top Indians, especially Rohan Gajjar, Sania Mirza, etc who are looking to start 2002 with a high ranking, to do well at .. Good job by AITA to bring the event to Delhi .. We have all been screaming for a while for junior events above grade-4 to be brought to India and we now have one! .. We can expect the top Asian players to show up - and there are a whole hell of a lot of them these days! .. I had heard about this one being in the anvil for a while, but it is now on the ITF calendar - so it's all set!

Sunil Kumar Sipaeya (IND,82) and Amanjot Singh (IND,95) are at the qualifying rounds of the LTA championships in UK .. I am distressed to see that Sunil's junior career really showed only a minor upswing in ranking this year compared to last year and that he is still having to play qualies at these events this late in his junior career - to add insult, he was unseeded in the qualies (he was the top unseeded player at #82, which surprises me because it means that pretty much all but a handful of the top 80 players are out there!) .. Normally the entries at the 64-draw LTA Grade-1 at Roehampton close a few spots below the Wimbledon juniors, which means Sunil will need to probably play Wimbledon qualies next week too .. Oh well - what can I say? .. Anyway, good news in Q1 - Sunil won 60 62 over wildcard Peter Travella of Britain .. His opponent in the next round (final qualies) may be the 4th seed Goran Kovacevik (AUS,74) .. Amanjot Singh plays a wildcard, Ben Clawes (GBR) in Q1 - I don't know all the scores yet .. Sania Mirza is in the main draw of this event as well .. Also, PC Tejeshwar of Karnataka and Jaco Matthew of Tamil Nadu are in the draw at the Grade-4 junior Donetsk Cup in Ukraine .. Jacco was at the Grade-4 Ozerov Cup in Russia last week but fell to Vladimir Kakulia (GEO), 46 16 .. Tejeshwar has joined him this week in Ukraine .. No results yet.

More news later on all those who are playing qualies this weekend in Canada, etc ..

June 22 Notes

According to the Hindustan Times who had talked to Nirupama, Mahesh was trying to help find a partner for her to play Mixed doubles with, at Wimbledon .. It would be nice if she gets to play MxD - with her ranking, shoe may be able to make the draw with a decent player.

According toe Journial Noticias (Lisbon), Radhika Tulpule, who must have won the first round over Cristina Arribas (Spain) lost in the second round of to the Portugese $10K satellite to Frederica Piedade of Portugal .. I don't have the scores of the matches .. Sai and Rushmi lost in the first round of the $25K Gorizia challenger in Italy, to Slovakians Eva Fislova Stanislava Hrozenska, 16 36 .. In the Netherlands satellite second leg in Velp, Vijay Kannan lost in the first round of singles to the 4th seed Hisham Hemeda (EGY, 546), 16 26 .. In doubles, Vijay playing with a new partner Jalal Chafai (EGY) lost to Melvyn Op Der Heijde (NED) and Keppler Orellana (VEN), 36 46 .. Everybody was done early in the Canadian futures this week, and Shruti Dhawan had gone down at the Velp women's satellite as well, as I reported earlier .. So, Radhika Tupule remains in doubles at Portugal, and everybody else is out this week, which has not been great for our players, except for LP who had a good time in the qualies and NV who picked up a bunch of good points qith two qualifier wins ..

Our juniors have not had a great week either .. They were all at the Grade-1 ITF event at East Mosley, UK this week .. Amanjot Singh lost to Jason Zimmermann (USA) 57 26 .. Sunil Kumar Sipaeya beat Robert Searle (GBR) 64 57 76(3) but then lost in R2 to the 4th seed Todd Reid (AUS) 75 26 16 .. Reid has now reached the semi there - it would have been nice if SKS could upset him .. Prakash Amritraj of USA beat Craig Evans of Britan 75 63 in the first round and lost a close one to the 10th seed Oscar Posada of Venezuela, 64 67(2) 67(4) .. Posada is the top-25 player whom Sunil beat a few weeks back, I think .. In doubles, Sunil and Amanjot won in the round of 32 against Naim Lalji and Ben Kuma Mintah of GBR 61 64 and lost to the 6th seeds Adjei-Darko (TOG) and Komlavi Loglo (GHA), 26 67(2) .. Stephen Amritraj of USA was the second seed in the qualies, and made it in - but lost in the first round of the main draw ..  Sania Mirza was back in action after a couple of months of break since the eastern ITF circuit .. Sania had a tough player to play in the first round - Samantha Stosur of Australia, who has reached the final there without dropping a set along the way .. Sania ran into her in the first round itself and lost 26 26 .. In girls's doubles, Sania and Olga Puchkova of Belarus lost in the first round, to the 4th seeds Christina Horiatopoulos (AUS) and bethanie Mattek (USA), 46 26 - and they too have reached the final withg straight set wins, with upset of the second seeds, etc .. So, Sania didn't get any breaks in the draw this week!

It appears that both Sunil and Sania will make the Wimbledon junior draw .. Sania's entry to the main draw was never in much doubt, with her ranking right near #60 .. Her dad announced it to the press yesterday in India, after hearing from Sania .. I saw Sunil listed among "Wimbledon players" somewhere on the ITF web site after they updated it this week .. I am not sure if it is in the main draw or qualies, because about 80 players are listed .. I would suspect that SKS will end up having to play qualies again (last year he went down in the qualies).  Prakash Amritraj of USA should just squeeze into the main draw.

June 21 Note-2

I had decided a while back that till Niru breaks one of these bad streaks, I won't give the streak statistic - but all of us know about it .. The story was no different unfortunately for poor Niru today .. I keep waiting for her to get a break somehow in these matches, but instead she gets a heartbreak again .. [Q3] Nirupama Vaidyanathan (IND,170) l. #5 Anca Barna (GER,115), 67(3) 26 .. Here is how it went - [Set-1]: Niru seemed to be serving well in her games in this set, not giving many points to Anca, other than in the second game when she got broken .. Niru evened it up in the 5th game, breaking Anca .. It went with serves till the end of the first set .. NV tried hard for a break, taking Anca to a deuce in the 11th game, but no break points there .. NV herself was in trouble at 15-30 in the 12th game, but she won the next three points to hold serve and send it to a tiebreak .. She started the tiebreaker well by getting a minibreak off AB to go up 3-2 and serve two .. Something happened here, and a truly bad streak started for Niru there .. Anca got both the points off Niru's serve, and one more off her at 6-3, to win 5 points in a row and the tiebreaker .. [Set-2]:  Niru was quickly broken at 30-40 and fell to 0-1 .. Anca was on a roll, having won 13 of 15 points when she served a love game to push NV down to 0-2 .. Niru was again broken at 15-40 in the 3rd game .. By the time Anca finished serving the 4th game to go up to 4-0, Niru had gone through a stretch where she won only 3 points out of 23 .. She then steadied the ship a bit and served a love game .. She faced match point at 30-40 in the 7th game, but stayed alive to go 2-5 and face Barna .. And that was it .. Anca did not let her grip go, and finished it off at her second match point at 40-15.

All is not bad for Niru, however .. She did very well beating two good players on grass, considered to be not her favorite surface .. She picked up 26 points including 8 bonus points .. That will take her points total up from 176.50 to 197.50 in the July th ranking (she has 5 points dropping off for a win at the Grado challenger in Italy next week) .. That is enough for a ranking at or inside #160, which is basically her highest ranking in about 4 years .. Go Niru ..

Some more news - Sai and Rushmi were at the $25K Gorizia challenger in Italy, and lost in the doubles first round to the 3rd seeds, Jelena Kostanic and Magda Mihalache, 16 36 .. No singles this week for them, but I think they will be playing the qualies for the next week .. Shruti Dhawan was at the $10K Velp satellites in Netherlands, and lost to the 4th seed Petra Kucova (CZE) 06 26 .. Shruti is not playing doubles this week .. Radhika Tulpule is the 7th seed at the $10K Montemor satellite in Portugal and she is drawn to face a qualifier Cristina Arribas of Spain in the first round .. Radhika is also in the doubles draw, seeded #2 with Natasha Van Der Merwe (RSA) .. They have a first round bye too .. QF opponents not known yet.

June 21 Note-1

Nirupama's final round qualifying match against the 5th seed Anca Barna (GER,115) is set for 11 am today (3.30 pm India .. 6 am New York) .. Let us have a good party in our chatroom cheering her during the match!

I have updated the Wednesday results at the Delhi satellite page .. I have been rather impressed with some of Isha Lakhani's results for a while, and I think the win over Sheetal today would go as a big win for the girl who only very recently turned 16 .. I really do hope that Isha would play a few more junior ITF events and would be sent abroad next year for some good international exposure ..

I am running slow in updating all the details of our player playing abroad this week .. Luckily The Hindu got hold of all the Canada results .. Check here for those .. Harsh Mankad was quite worn out after all the three-setters last week and gets a few days of rest this week, before the Canada F3 next week .. Hopefully Mustafa, Rishi, and Manoj will all do better next week too .. Sai and Rushmi are in Italy for a $25K challenger doubles this week .. Shruti is in Netherlands for a few weeks of satellites, Radhika Tulpule is supposed to be in Portugal before going to Netherlands, etc .. Manisha will be in action with leanne Baker next week at Bastad (Sweden), I believe .. Vijay Kannan is in Netherlands too .. Wow, our players are all over the place all of a sudden .. I will update more stuff soon - let the Wimbledon qualies get done first .. Go Niru, give us another great day today!

June 20 Note-4

LP plays Daniel Elsner (GER,148) in the first round at Wimbledon (Thanks Steve for letting us know quickly after they placed the qualifiers in the draw)! .. Elsner is not known as a grasscourt player and is perhaps among the last guys to make direct entry into the draw when it closed witgh the ranks 5 weeks back .. His ranking dropped some 26 spots this week as well .. He has not had a great year, having lost in the first round of a number of ATP events this year .. Primarily a claycourt player .. LP has a nice chance to move on .. He is placed in the 14 th one-sixteenth in the draw (that is, the lower half of the upper side of the bottom-most quarter in the draw :-)), next to 24th seed Nicolas Escude (FRA) with #9 Sebastien Grosjean (FRA) potentially in the 3rd round, #5 Lleyton Hewitt (AUS) in the 4th round and #2 Agassi in the QF ..  Go Lee go.

Check out the forum for a very interesting fanclub member account from Samarth K Sinha, about today's match againt O'Brien .. I can't believe Alex chose to get nasty at SKS sitting courtside .. Funny as hell.

Sheetal went down to young Isha Lakhani (wow!) today .. hold on, I will update the Delhi satellite page at night.

June 20 Note-3

This was a tough match at first but LP pulled away afterwards, and he qualified into Wimbledon main draw !! .. [Q3] L.Paes (IND,286) d. Alex O'Brien (USA,235), 67(5) 63 62 62 .. details - [set-1]: LP and AO held serves in the first 4 games .. In the 5th game, LP had double break points at 15-40 off Alex, but could not convert them and Alex held serve wining 4 point in a row .. It went with serve all the way .. Alex did not even take a point off LP till the 10th game .. But LP was down at 0-30 in the 12th game .. He went to 40-30 and deuce .. Alex had a set point at AD out which LP fought off .. He held to send it to a tiebreaker .. It was close, LP having won 33 points to 31 by Alex so far .. Alex started the tiebreak .. LP was a down a minibreak at 0-2 .. then 1-2, 1-3, 1-4, 2-4, 3-4, 3-5, 3-6, 4-6, 5-6, 5-7 .. LP did well to hang on through two set points on his own serve from 3-6, but Alex would not budge on his serve, taking the set at 7-6(7-5) on his 4th set point .. The match as about as close as it could be, both players having won 38 point each in the first set, but alex had won 18 of the last 28 points .. LP was 0 of 2 in break chances and Alex was 0 of 1 .. [set-2] AO continued to trouble LP, raking him to a couple of deuces in the first game, but LP stayed on serve .. LP pulled his sleeves up right there and had Alex down at 30-40 in the seocnd game .. Broke him to go up 2-0 .. It went with serve after that and LP closed out the set quite comfortably, not running into any trouble .. [set-3] AO was dwon at 30-40 quickly in the first game, and LP broke him at AD out at BP #2 .. That prosperity didn't last, as he was down on serve 0-40 immediately and dropped serve to go even 1-1 .. The back-and-forth exchange continued in the next game as LP again broke Alex at 15-40 to go up 2-1 .. Then at 3-1, Alex was down 0-40 again .. LP wasted three break chances, but held on at AD out to go up two breaks to 4-1 .. Now LP was 4 of 10 in BPs, O'Brien 1 of 3 .. Then the set finished at 6-2 .. [set-4] LP got his first break point in game 3 at AD, convberted it, and soon went up to 3-1 on his serve .. Then at 4-2, on Alex saerve, LP had two AD out break chances .. He converted the second one ..  Now it was time to serve out at 5-2 for the match, which he did in style as he oftend oes, serving a love game ..  The match took two hours and 45 minutes .. LP was 6 of 13 in break chances, a very good ratio, and AO was 1 of 3 .. LP seems to be in good singles form .. I gotta run .. More later.

Nirupama will face the 5th seed Anva Barna (GER)  tomorrow in the final round of women's qualifying .. Let's hope for her to do it too!

June 20 Note-2

Niru has once again reached the final qualifying round of a grand slam .. This was in smashing fashion, that too .. She upset a player who had been a hot streak lately, having won a challenger recently, etc .. I expected a very tough match against 132nd ranked Klara Kouklova, but not so .. [Q2] N.Vaidyanathan (IND,170) d. #16 K.Kouklova (CZE,132), 64 62 .. The matches moved fast on that court and this one started an hour earlier than I expected .. Set-1: Not sure how it went early in the first set, but when I checked, it was 4-4 with Niru serving .. She held and immediately went to work to close it out, which took a lot of sweating though .. Niru went from triple set points on KK's serve at 0-40 in the 10th game to deuce and then 4 more set points at ADs out .. It was nerve-wracking to see the set point come and go .. She finally converted the 7th set point .. In the second set, Niru faced a break attempt in game 1 at AD out, but held .. She followed that by winning four straight points to break KK and go up 6-4 2-0 .. At 3-1, Niru was down at 15-40 and KK delivered on the first break chance .. All back on serve at 3-2 .. Niru did not want to lose the grip, as she went after KK once again .. She had break chances at 30-40 and at ADs out, and did the job on the 4th break point .. She then held serve easily for a 5-2 lead .. Now it was time to close it and Klara was losing hope I guess .. She was dowm 30-40 and Niru converted the set point to finish it off .. The match barely took 55 minutes I think .. Niru may be facing the 5th seed Anca Barna (GER) next -- Anca is up 63 40 in her Q2 match against Amanda Janes right now ..

LP and O'Brien are out on court right now .. That match starts in a couple of minutes.

June 20 Note-1

LP plays his 3rd and final round qualifying match against Alex O'Brien at about 3 pm (7.30 pm India .. 7 am Los Angeles), plus or minus half hour .. Come to the chatroom for live scores .. Nirupama's Q2 match will be also starting at around the same time, perhaps a few minutes later ..

After all the good news, here are some bad news  - Harsh Mankad and Mustafa Ghouse lost in the first round at the Canada F2 .. Sunil Kumar and Prakash Amritraj lost in the second round (round of 32), and Amanjot and Sania Mirza in the first round at the Grade-1 LTA championships in UK yesterday .. I wil give the detailed scores soon .. Awaiting news on Manisha, Vijay Kannan, etc ..

Nothing too exciting at the Delhi satellites yet, as seven seeds moved on to the QFs .. See the results at the Delhi satellite page.

June 19 Note-5

News keeps on coming .. The doubles draws have come out at Wimbledon .. LP-MB are seeded 6th and play David Adams and Michael Llodra in the first round .. They are in the bottom quarter of the upper half .. The potential PQF opponents are the 12th seeds Black-Ullyett and the potential QF opponents are the 3rd seeds Novak-Rikl .. The top seeds Bjorkman-Woodbridge in the SF if the draw holds up - but it rarely does!

Nirupama is also in the doubles draw, but this time she is playing with our old darling, Rika Hiraki! .. They face Sylvia Farina and Iroda Tulyaganova in the first round, and could face the top seeds Lisa Raymond nd Rennae Stubbs in the second round .. Tough draw for Niru .. Nana Miyagi, her partner at the FO, is playing with Yayuk Basuki .. The Asians are all sticking together.

LP will face Alex O'Brien in the final round of qualifying tomorrow .. Alex did a Houdini today against Manta, coming back from a break down in the second set for a 36 63 63 win .. I would have preferred Manta against LP, rather than O'Brien though.

June 19 Note-4

OK, LP did not have to sweat much today after a close first set .. [Q2] L.Paes (IND) d. M.Navarra (ITA), 75 61 .. Here are the details of the match that just got done .. Set-1: The match went without anything eventful in the first few games .. LP had to serve a deuce each in the 3rd game and again in game 7, but neither player faced any break points .. LP did not seem to be getting any points off Navarra's serve, though .. Then, suddenly at 5-5, LP had him down at 30-40 and he converted the one break chance to go ahead at 6-5 .. He served off the set without any problems in the next game .. Set-2:  At 0-1 in the second set, LP faced some trouble, down 15-40 .. He won four straight points to keep it on serve .. Lee then continued the momentum, winning 4 of 5 points on Navarra's serve in the next game to go up a break to 2-1 as well .. Navrra was still fighting, taking LP to a
couple of deuces in the next game tryinf to get even, but LP stayed ahead .. 3-1 .. That was the last bit of resistence from Mose, who won only two points from that point onwards .. LP broke him in game 5 and 7 to close it out, winning 12 of the last 14 points .. The match took an hour and 15 minutes, but I think there was a 15 minute break somewhere at the start of the second set .. LP now awaits the winner of the Manta-vs-O'Brien match .. Right now Manta is up 63 10 ..

June 19 Note-3

LP's second round qualifying match at the Wimbledon qualies will start within an hour, around 6 pm London (10.30 India .. 1 pm New York), plus/minus 15 minutes .. The chatroom will be open as usual.

At the Canada F2 futures in Montreal, Mustafa Ghouse and Rishi Sridhar are the 4th seeds in doubles - they face the Domenic Marafiote and Matthew Yates of Australia in the first round .. Chadha and Shortall (NZL) are also in the draw, but they have a tough first round against the second seeds Andrew Nisker (CAN) and Tripp Philips (USA), who I believe were the champions last week at Mississauga .. Harsh is not playing doubles this week .. He should be playing his first round against Ancic today .. Here are the results of the qualifying rounds .. #6 Mustafa Ghouse: [Q1] d. Art Dyson (CAN), 63 61, [Q2] d. Maxime Fomine (CAN), 63 36 75, [Q3] d. Matt Klinger (CAN), 57 63 64 ...... #15 Manoj Mahdevan: [Q1] d. Issam Jallali (TUN), 46 60 64, [Q2] Keith From (USA), 63 64, [Q3] l. Masahide Sakamoto (JPN), 64 16 67(6) ..... #5 Rishi Sridhar: [Q1] d. Alex Muresan (USA), 63 64, [Q2] l. Steve Berke (USA), 16 67(6) ..... Vikrant Chadha: [Q1] d. Alex Korch (CAN), 64 61, [Q2] l. #1 James Seukulov (AUS), 57 46 ..

June 19 Note-2

Good start to the day .. Niru pulling a c ouple of furious comebacks to keep her reputation as one of the toughest players to play in thef irst round of any qualifying event .. [Q1] Nirupama vaidyanathan (IND,168) d. Mirjana Lucic (CRO,152), 26 60 64 .. The online offcial scoreboard was on the blink at first, so I am not sure exactly when she fell behind in the first set .. Set-1: Niru was down a break at 2-4 when the scoreboard started .. Mirjana served the next game to go up to 5-2 .. Then ML won 4 points in a row off Niru after she served 30-0, to break her again and win the set .. The tables were comepletely turned in the next set though .. Set-2:  Now Niru went on a roll, taking ML to triple break points at 0-40 and breaking her in the very first game of the second set .. NV served off the second game easily and had ML down at 15-40 again in game 3 .. She did the job in the second break point to go up 3-0 with two breaks ..  After holding serve, she went after ML with no let-up, going to triple break points again and forcing a 3rd break at 15-40 to go up 5-0 .. It was all Niru in the second set, as she finished it off in style converting her first set point at 40-15 in the next game .. For the whole set, which took only 12 minutes, Niru won 24 of 29 points .. In the 3rd set, Mirjana regained the grip as she held serve relatively easily in the first two service games .. She had Niru down at 15-40 in the 4th game and broke her at 30-40 to go up 3-1 .. After holding serve, she won three points in a row off Niru from 40-15 for another break chance .. Now Niru was looking at disaster, in danger of going down 1-5, but Niru fought off that break attempt .. After two ADs in, Niru held to stay alive at 2-4 .. This was the turning point .. Now it was time for Niru to pull out her own magic, as she had Mirjana down 0-40 in game 6 .. She converted the first of the triple chance there to get back on serve at 3-4 .. Held serve easily in the next game, took Mirjana to a break point in game 8 at 30-40 .. Broke her, and then served off the next game at love to finish the match! .. She won 7 of the last 8 points .. Won 5 games in a row and 18 of the last 21 points to finish off the match! .. It took an hour and 8 minutes - a really quick three-setter.

Great show of grit by Niru ! .. Mirjana is no easy foe, especially on grass, having reached a semi at Wimbledon, and having been ranked near top-30 just about 2 or 3 years back as a teenager (we all remember "Miki" Lucic when she reached the mixed doubles final at Wimbledon with MB) .. Niru had to play well, and she did that today!

She now goes against a really hot up and coming player - 16th seed Klara Kouklova (CZE) .. This will be another tough match tomorrow ..

June 19 Note-1

Niru's match against Mirjana Lucic at the Wimbledon qualies at Roehampton starts at 11 am (3.30 pm India .. 6 am New York) .. Come to the chatroom ..

June 18 Note-3

Leander is scheduled to play the final match on court-3 at the Wimbledon qualies tomorrow, at about 6 pm (11.30 pm India .. 11 am Los Angeles). Second round qualies against Mose Navarra, against whom LP is 2-0 .. Won 64 64 on grass at Vadodara in 1998, and then 64 76 in Calcutta on grass in 1999 ..

But first Nirupama plays her qualifying first round bright and early at 11 am, against Mirjana Lucic (CRO,152) .. Here is the draw for Niru:

 5 Anca Barna (GER)            vs Bryanne Stewart (AUS)  \
   Amanda Janes (GBR)          vs Catalina Cristea (ROM) / \
   Nirupama Vaidyanathan (IND) vs Mirjana Lucic (CRO)    \ /
16 Klara Koukalova (CZE)       vs Petra Rampre (SLO)     /

It is an average draw - not easy, but OK .. Let us see how Niru does in singles after close top a three weeks break since the FO qualies .. Go Niru!

Nothing earth-shattering at the 3rd leg of the Indian women's satellites that started at Delhi today .. Sonal advanced, but 8th seed S.K.Tara had to concede a match due to back problems .. See the results at the Delhi satellite page .. I have got both the singles and doubles draws which I will post soon.

June 18 Note-2

Leander had a slower start today - which is understandable, as he is playing singles after quite a while .. But he then kicked it into cruise mode .. At the Wimbledon qualies, [Q1] L.Paes (IND,286) d. I.Traykov (BUL,285), 76(5) 62 .. I couldn't follow the match closely online, but I saw that Lee was down one or two minibreaks at one stage before he went on to win the first set tiebreaker .. Traykov was serving two with a 5-3 lead, but Leander won 4 points in a row to close it out .. After that LP was on song, and galloped to the finish line with no further problems! .. Go Lee!! ..  He now plays Mose Navarra (ITA,211), who easily upset the 17th seed Ota Fukarek, 62 61 .. In Leander's part of the draw, O'Brien has upset the 7th seed Luzzi and so no seeds are left there .. O'Brien (235) -vs- Manta (226) and Paes (285) -vs- Navarra (211)  in the Q2 round .. It is now a wide-open draw and Leander does have a great chance to move on .. I hope he does that .. With hardly any chance to play singles anywhere, this could be a great way to get back into the swing of things in singles .. Navarra is a good grasscourt player though.

Aisam Qureshi, Paradorn Srichaphan, Yong-Il Yoon, Takao Suzuki, Alex O'Brien, Todd Woodbridge, Daniel Nestor, etyc, are some notables who reached Q2 today .. Sebastien Lareau, Mark Knowles, etc, went down in the Q1 round.

The women's qualifying draw has not been posted yet at the official website.

At the Canada F2 Montreal, good news from Mustafa Ghouse .. He won three rounds to qualify into the main draw - I have not seen the full qualy scores yet to know the scores and to see what happened to Rishi Sridhar, Manoj Mahadevan and Vikrant Chada .. Mustafa has a tough first round, against the 5th seed Tazuku Iwami of Japan .. Harsh Mankad is the 8th seed this week, and faces the guy he played in the semi last week, in the first round .. The talented Mario Ancic (CRO) again .. Harsh is drawn next to the second seed Mark Nielsen (NZL), who has joined this week's draw (he wasn't there last week at the Canada F1) ..

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.

.. Previous notes are at Notes for the week ending on June 18 ..

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.