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Indian-Tennis: Daily News for the week ending on June 27, 2005
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June 27 Note-1

Prakash Amritraj will be at the $50K Forest Hills grass challenger in New York .. Prakash, though he ad a lot of luck on his side earlier on, seems to have upset the draw goddesses lately, somehow .. For the second consecutive US challenger in a draw, he has drawn the top seed .. Last time at the Yuba City challenger, it was Justin Gimelstob, and this time it is #141 Giovanni Lapentti of Ecuador .. Go after him ProCash!

Today's matches at the Wimbledon are:

[R2] (5) Leander Paes/ Nenad Zimonjic vs Rick Leach (USA)/ Travis Parrott (USA) .. about 2 pm (6.30 pm India)
[R2] Mahesh Bhupathi/ Mary Pierce vs (2) Wayne Black (ZIM)/ Cara Black (ZIM) .. 4.30 pm (8.30 pm India) +/- 30 min.
[R1] Vivek Shokeen (IND,27) vs Robin Roshardt (SUI,41) .. 4.30 pm (8.30 pm India) +/- 30 min.
[R2] Simon Aspelin (SWE)/ Sania Mirza vs (7) Leos Friedl (CZE)/ Janette Husarova (SVK) ..6 pm (10.30 pm India) +/- 1 hr.

Tough draw for Vivek Shokeen, who gets a pretty good grasscourt player who had upset a couple of seeds and gone three rounds at the grade- Roehampton juniors last week .. Vivek is in good form though .. I expect that to be a good match ..

Two qualifying losses yesterday to report .. Megha Vakharia (IND,588) went down 46 63 36 to Anne Yelsey (USA,1119) in the qualifying first round at the $25K Los Gatos challenger in the San Francisco bay area .. Not an easy opponenent - Anne's rank is low only because she doesn't play ITF events much - she is a college top-30 caliber player who is with the undefeated national champions, the Stanford University .. Actually a pretty decent match from Megs against Anne .. Also going down yesterday was Neha Uberoi (USA,296) in a tough match at the qualies first round for the $75K Fano challenger in Italy - 64 36 57 to Masa Zec-Peskiric (SLO,386)

June 26 Notes

Had a busy weekend .. I am glad there was no match at Wimbledon today, actually, because I had no time to pay much attention today .. Here are the scores of the matches yesterday:

[R1] (5) Leander Paes (IND)/Nenad Zimonjic (SCG) d. Lucas Arnold (ARG)/ Daniele Bracciali (ITA) 76(3) 67(5) 63 63
[R1] Mahesh Bhupathi (IND)/ Mary Pierce (FRA) d. David Sherwood (GBR)/ Elena Baltacha (GBR) 63 64
[R1] Simon Aspelin (SWE)/ Sania Mirza (IND) d. Gaston Etlis (ARG)/ Lisa McShea (AUS) 67(5) 62 75
[R1] Sanam K Singh (IND,37) d. Christopher Llewellyn (GBR,199) 60 62
[R1] Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan (IND,33) l. Myles A Blake (GBR,60) 75 46 16

Pretty good day yesterday, as our players went 4-1 .. Sanam had no difficulty at all against the British wildcard Llewellyn, but Jeevan had trouble after a good start  .. Here is a report on a part of Sania's match from our own PK Basu who flew in only yesterday and missed Lee's and Hesh's match and could only catch a part of the Sania match, as he was in the long line for tickets .. Hope PKB gets to see more matches on Monday!

Mustafa Ghouse and Aisam Qureshi list 63 36 26 to the 4th seedd Italians Francesco Aldi and Tomas Tenconi at the $25K Reggio Emilia challenger yesterday .. Our paiur had led 5-2 in the first set when the match was potponed to saturday .. Sadly, due to the late 4 pm start for the SF, Mustafa missed a chance to travel to next week's challengers in Europe and play the singles qualies for which the sign-in closed by 9 pm saturday .. Aisam is in the main draw for the Montauban challenger - so, perhaps they would play doubles there.

June 25 Notes

Quick updates -- After nothing much happened yesterday at Wimbledon, things got moving today .. LP-Zimonjic, Mahesh-Pierce, Sania-Aspelin all won .. An easy first round win for Sanam Singh in the boys's singles but Jeevan went down after a good start in a 3-setter .. Vivek Shokeen plays R1 on monday .. Mustafa-Asiam lost in the SF of doubles today at the Reggio Emilia challenger .. Shruti Dhawan lost in the QF at the $10K in Acobaca (Portugal) ..

In other news, Prakash Amritraj squeezed into the main draw list for next week's Forest Hills challenger, after the main draw cut fell about 16 spots(!) pretty much in the last two days with a lot of players injured and withdrawing after the Euroipean grass season, etc.  Good time for Prakash to do his thing out there in NY.  More later.

June 24 Notes

.. And the rains come down at Wimbledon (why did it take this loong to arrive? :-)) ... Seems to have stopped for now, but things are delayed there as of 4.30 pm .. Mahesh's R1 mixed doubles could start within an hour after play restarts depending on the singles match on the court, which is in the 4th set .. Sania's MxD match was the last one on court 4 where one more match has to get done after the current match - so that one is doubtful for today, as of now .. Leander's R1 doubles match postponed from wednesday may now get postponed once again to saturday, as Bracciali is still battling Roddick out there in the 4th set.

Good news from the $10K in Alcobaca, Portugal .. Shruti Dhawan (IND,547) has reached the QF beating Kirsty Wooley (GBR,850), 64 63 .. She now squares up against the 7th seed Andrea Sieveke (GER,517) .. Tough match which will be technically an upset if Shruti can win -- Sieveke is a good player, who just moved 110 spots up the ranks this week with two big upsets at the Grado challenger week before last (on old ranking she is the 6th seed, but on current ranking she would be the 3rd seed) .. A poor result in doubles though - after a bye, second seeded Shruti and Punam Reddy got upset 64 46 06 by Sofia Kvatsaiba (GEO) and Carli Petit (FRA) .. Also, Melissa Berry (GBR,750) upset the 6th seed Punam Reddy (IND,573) 63 63 yesterday.

At the $25K+H Reggio Emilia challenger in Italy, the second seeds Mustafa Ghouse and Aisam Qureshi (PAK) play the 4th seeds Aldi and Tenconi in the semis today.

June 23 Notes

Well, today was not a good day for the 6th seeds in the Wimbledon men's doubles, Mahesh and Todd, who went down 36 67(3) 36 to Stephen Huss (AUS) and Wesley Moodie (RSA) .. It really hurts to see two champions go down this early at Wimbledon .. Woodbridge has 9 titles there (6 with Woodforde and the three - the last three years - with Bjorkman) .. In fact in the last 12 years, Woodbridge has been in the final 10 times .. Bhupathi has been there twice with one title .. 11 of the last 12 years, one of these two guys have played in the final and 10 of the last 12 years one of them took the trophy too .. So, it is obviously a shock when these two guys exit in the second round, that too in a match where they really never led much and never seemed to be in control .. More so, because it is against a couple of guys who could not even make the draw directly and had to play qualies to get in .. Oh well, that is how it goes .. I suppose Woodbridge has not looked his usual self for seemingly the whole year .. With Mahesh possibly not being fully fit either (back problem from 2 weeks back), I guess the end came too soon.

As for Leander, he may have welcomed and extra day of rest he got today because of a messed up scheduling job by the Wimbledon folks, who put their doubles match yesterday too late for it to be finished, and then had the Bracciali singles match scheduled too late today for him to get back and restart his doubles (well, he did not even complete his singles match!) .. Lee can use a day off  - he had only just been cleared to play after only 16 days off even though the doctors initially said he might need more than 3 weeks time to heal the elbow injury from the Roland Garros MxD final .. As it stands, the time of the restart of the first round doubles match is uncertain tomorrow (friday) .. LP-NZ shared one tiebreaker set each with Briacciali-Arnold yesterday when they postponed the match.

The mixed doubles draw was out late yesterday.  Sania is playing with Simon Aspelin (SWE) and they play the first round against Gaston Etlis (ARG)/ Lisa McShea (AUS) .. If they win, they will run into the 7th seeds Leos Friedl (CZE)/ Janette Husarova (SVK) who have a first round bye in the 6 round event .. Mahesh has a new partner as well - Mary Pierce (FRA) .. Not a bad one, actually! .. Lisa Raymond seems to have gone to Bjorkman this time .. Unseeded MB-MP play the British pair, David Sherwood and Elena Baltacha .. Their next round opponent would be the 2nd seeded Zimbabwean siblings, Cara and Wayne Black .. Leander is not playing MxD, and I assume it is because he wants to not push too hard on return from injury .. So Martina is playing with Mike Bryan this time ..

At the $25K Fontanafredda challenger in Italy, Neha Uberoi (USA,296) seems to have played well and gone down today to the 3rd seed, a top-100 player last year, Mervana Jugic-Salkic of Bosnia ranked #175 now .. 76(5) 46 46 loss in a very close match .. Neha is a few months older than sania and is looking very good again these days, like she did early last year before some injuries prevented her from makking a move for nearly a year.

At the Dehra Dun satellite masters, the last Indian in fell today, as Vishal Uppal retired after a set due to the ankle injury .. It has been embarrassing to see how many Indians have gone down due to injuries and fatigue in the circuit .. Some just plain bad luck  in injuries, and some due to poor conditioning too .. Then there is Rohan Bopanna who actually paid for being too good in the first three legs when he was in the singles and doubles finals every time and ended up playing too many matches .. It was impressive to see Peter Clarke, who had already won the circuit yesterday and had confessed to being very tired, finding something extra to keep going one more match though he stood to gain only one extra ATP point over the 42 he already had - but he still fought hard in a 63 57 63 win over Prima Simpatiaji to reach his 3rd consecutive final .. Salifu Mohammed of Ghana, who had the "good luck" of missing an earlier leg due to illness was fresh enough this week, and he is in the final, after the Vishal retirement .. He moved up to the 4th spot in the circuit standings .. This guy from Ghana was a top-60 junior player last year, but I had not expected to see him do this well .. Jaco and Ashutosh won the doubles standings though! .. See the masters page for scores.

I must comment on Indians' record into the masters leg ..In all the satellites in recent years that I remember, only Harsh this year at the UK satellites and Prakash in the 2003 Indian satellites have shown the spunk to go all the way through and finish the deal by winning the satellite and winning the masters leg - and that is just not easy thing to do .. I remember two other occasions of Indians winning satellites in India, but in both those cases they failed to win the masters, really fizzling a bit at the end .. I think Rohan would have done the job this time, but for having to play a lot of double matches and ending up with a few more threesetters along the way too .. But that kind of spunky show as the "last man standing" has been very rare from Indians in these gruelling circuits .. We have occasionally had some other super performances in the past, such as in June 2000 when Harsh lost in the first three weeks in the semis or finals to the same player, Danai Udomchoke, and then won the masters leg beating the same Danai in straight sets, climbing to the second spot .. It is again one of those things Harsh Mankad has done that people perhaps haven't noticed or remember.  Actually in the recent UK satellites Mankad won the doubles title as well, which makes it more impressive .. Even more so, incidentally, because he played with a player whom nobody had even heard of  - Eric Butorac, whom Harsh had handpicked for having seen him in Minnesota somewhere .. Great eye for talent, Harsh! -- that dude has now gone near top-350 in doubles, having won another satellite with somebody else too!) .. But I digress ..

That brings me to another topic -- a beautiful essay by Harsh Mankad today in our forum .. Take a look at this from HM, dwelling mostly on physical training issues, that he wrote as he finally had some time at Mumbai to chill, while doing only physical training for about 10-12 days now .. It gives some excellent insights into Mankad's knowledge of the issues (not to mention his writing abilities!) .. Everybody should take a look at what he says about what needs to be done and what may not have gone right in his own case earlier on .. He knows, because he himself has fought a lot of the demons, some his own making but most due to lack of proper guidance and facilities .. He knows what difference these things can make, because he has lived it .. As Harsh says, things ahve changed in India a bit and now there are fewer excuses .. All upcoming players should read that stuff and think hard about where they are and what they need to do .. Thanks, Harsh, for writing in and sharing your thoughts! .. We know why you are the Indian #1, though I know that you do not get the recognition or respect you deserve from many.

June 22 Note-2

If anybody had any doubts (I wonder why anybody would have any, anyway!), that should all be gone after yet another top-notch performance from Sania today at the Wimbledon in the 46 76(4) 46 loss to the world #6 Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) .. Nirmal Shekar's excellent article from Wimbledon, Sania Leaves a Huge Impression (The Hindu) makes the correct observation - It is a story of sweat and toil, superlative racquet skills and rare courage in the face of adversity, as we found out on the hallowed lawns of the most famous tennis court in the world on Wednesday. This much is sure: she is here to stay! .. Beautifully said.

The match details are here in our forum, in cas you were among the very few unfortunate ones who was unable to see it on TV or at least follow it online at the Wimbledon website .. So, I won't repeat them here .. Suffiuces to say that she showed spunk all through the match, coming up with stupendous power-packed shots and taking Kuz to her wits' end .. Even when she was facing the end, at 2-5 in the third, Sania was able to break back and take it to 4-5 and then have even one more break point when Kuz served for a second time for the match .. In fact the point total in this match was very close all through .. A great show by Sania .. Based on reports and comments from those who saw the match, her serve still needs some adjustment .. She does have good zip on her serve (going up above 110 mph most of the time on first serves), but she needs to add more variety and become more effective on her second serves ..  As long as the basic power and talent is there, these are all coachable things - from her own record, she is a quick learner on her own also, even if there isn;t much coaching .. Havingh said all that, a full-time traveling coach seems critical at this time .. The rest of the pieces of the puzzle are all there for her to go into top-50 and top-25 and perhaps tgop-10 .. Go Sania, you can do all that and more!

Mahesh and Todd advanced to the second round with a 64 62 67(5) 63 win over Graydon Oliver and Jared Palmer of USA .. They play Stephen Huss (AUS) and Wesley Moddie (RSA) tomorrow in the seocnd round .. Leander and Nenad Zimonjic played two sets against Luicas Arnold (ARG) and Daniele Bracciali (ITA), and they were tied 76(2) 67(5) 00 when they postponed it to tomorrow.

Some good news .. Qualifier Neha Uberoi pulled off a very very impressive upset today at the $25K Fontanafredda challenger in Italy, beating Ivana Lisjak (CRO,239), 76(5) 57 62 .. It is impressive because Lisjak is a very talented player who has been skyrocketing up the ranks with a challenger title 3 weeks back and another one just last week .. Neha now gets another tough match, against the 3rd seed Mervana Jugic-Salkic (BIH,168) tomorrow .. In the doubles QF, Shikha and Neha went down later today to the second seeds Darija Jurak (CRO) and Jugic-Salkic, 26 36 ..

Second seeds Mustafa Ghouse and Aisam Qureshi (PAK) had no trouble at all in the QF at the $25K+H Reggio Emilia challenger, beating Adriano Biasella (ITA)/ Juan Alberto Viloca (ESP), 64 62  .. Their SF opponents are yet to be determined.

The masters leg of the Indian satellites have really turned into a big anti-climax .. The day started with 17 year old J. Vishnu Vardhan (in my mind, the true revelation of this satellite circuit) dropping a close 3rd set tiebreaker in the match postponed from yesterday .. We now have only Vishal Uppal in the semis .. Clarke made the semifinal and went past Rohan to win the satellite and pocket 42 points .. Rohan will still make 36 points including the circuit runner-up spot .. Nothing much interesting happening at Dehra Dun .. See the results at the masters page.

Shruti Dhawan and Punam Reddy are in Portugal, playing the $10K series there on clay .. Both won the first round at Alcobaca today .. (4) Shruthi Dhawan (IND,547) d Daria Neretina (RUS,1178) 26 61 62 and (6) Punam Reddy (IND,573) d Fatima Olaso (ESP,1193) 16 64 61 .. That brings up, Kirsty Woolley (GBR,849) for Shruti and Melissa Berry (GBR,750) for Punam in the next round.

June 22 Note-1

Today's schedule at the Wimbledon --

[R2] Sania Mirza (IND,75) -vs- (5) Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS,6), at about 4 pm (8.30 pm India, 11 am NY) +/- 30 min
[R1] (6) M.Bhupathi/ T,Woodbridge -vs- G.Oliver/ J.Palmer, at about 4 pm (8.30 pm India, 11 am NY) +/- 30 min
[R2] (5) L.Paes/ N.Zimonjic -vs- L.Arnold/ D.Bracciali, about 5.30 pm (10 pm India, 12.30 pm NY) +/- 45 min

So a full slate of matches, starting with Sania on the center court!! .. Big honor for her to play on the Wimbledon center court in just her second singles match there .. It helped that the first seed Davenport and 3rd seed Mauresmo are playing much less interesting qualifiers ranked below 100 .. They needed to have a ladies match on center court between the Safin-Philippoussis match and the big Henman match, and the Kuznetsova match became automatic, with Sania's growing name recognition and the curiosity factor about her not hurting either! .. Go Sania, surprise the world! .. Come to the chatroom during the match .. This will be a very tough match, if I were to guess - and the Dubai result can be safely forgotten for now.

Have not found out the score yet for the late evening doubles match that Shikha and Neha played at the $25K Fontanafredda challenger yesterday.

June 21 Notes

Sad news today, that Sri Raj K Khanna, the non-playing captain of the Indian team that made the world group challenge round for the first time in 1966 against Australia, and the former president of AITA, passed away early morning today due to pneumonia-related complications at the age of 81 .. For several decades, Sri Khanna had served Indian tennis in various capacities, from secretary-general of AITA to its president .. He did a lot for Indian tennis, especially in providing stability to AITA and making it financially strong .. In comparison to the chief administrators of several other sports federations in India who have done their very best to drive their sports from bad to worse in India, AITA is one federation that we cannot blame as having stood in the way of the development of the sport - and Sri RK Khanna deserves credit at least for that, if not for much more .. The tennis fraternity in India will miss him.  May his soul rest in peace!

In other news, it was not at all a good day at the office for Sania and Anna Chakvetadze (RUS), who went down in the first round of doubles today at the Wimbmledon by a 26 16 score to Alina Jidkova (RUS) and Tatiana Perebiynis (UKR) .. Thy were broken in the 6th and 8th games of the first set and then again in the 4th and 6th game of the second set .. Our pair had about 4 break points in three separate games, but could not convert them .. The match was perhaps a bit closer than the scoreline shows, but the opponents seemed to be clearly holding the upper-hand throughout the match .. I guess this kind od stuff happens sometimes - that is why they play the matches, after all ..

At the Dehra Dun satellites, nothing went right for us fans who were looking forward to seeing Bopanna pick up maximum points by topping the circuit, not to mention hoping for several "upstarts" to come through big in the mastrs leg for big points .. Bopanna got upset in three sets by Salifu Mohammed, and according to The Hindu report, RB seemed ready to throw in the towel even in the second set, though he evened it there .. Bofors had played way too many matches, and I wish he had been a bit more prudent in perhaps cutting down all those 3-setters in doubles and all that .. On teh other hand, his partner Vijay Kannan being sick, they were never dominating the series in doubles though they led the field going to the masters .. A bit of an anticlimax for RB, though h wioll pick up 35 points, which is really only 6 or 7 short of what we hoped for .. 4th seed Vinod Sridhar retiring at 0-4 against Vishal Uppal added to all the disappointment today .. Also falling were Navdeep, Tushar, Gurmehar and Ashutosh today - the names that we were beginning to get excited about .. The true find in the end may still be J.Vishnu Vardhan who is in a diehard three-set fight with the 8th seed in a match postponed due to rain with JVV leading 76 46 54 .. Experienced players, Nitin, Vishal and Kamala Kannan have come through splendidly in the masters leg so far though ..
See the masters leg results page and the point tally page ..

Vivek Shokeen could not do all that much against the junior French Open champion Marin Cilic (CRO,4) today at the Roehampton grade-1, in a 36 26 loss .. Hope the good matches this week has prepared him well for a good show next week at Wimbledon along with Jeevan and Sanam

June 20 Note-2

She started great, and then had her customary bad period after the opponent made some adjustments, was down a couple of times later too, but in the end Sania showed why she is Sania ... And we have the first woman to win a wimbledon main draw round in the open era .. [R1] Sania Mirza (IND,75) d. Akiko Morigami (JPN,71), 63 36 86 .. The game-by-game transcript I posted in our forum is at the end of this note, below.

The win gives Sania 32 round points and 16 bonus (for beating a top-75 player) .. Enough to raise her ranking up by 8 to 10 spots from the current #75 .. More importantly, she held up under pressure in the 3rd set and was able to turn it around and put some pressure on Morigami in the end .. Had she not come through in this match also, after losing control in 2 or 3 recent matches, it would have possibly made her unnecessarily think and put herself under more pressure down the line .. This is something Sania has avoided throughout her career - the elongated period of self-doubts .. Hope she can come up with her best against the 5th seed she now runs into - 6th ranked Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) .. You can throw the result of their previous meeting (at Dubai) out the window! .. It means nothing in this match, except that Sania will have no confidence problems against her .. Svetlana, on the other hand, is not a top-5 player for nothing .. She must have figured out what to do with Sania's hard ground strokes and the "go for broke" style of play (which, by the way, Sania admitted in the post-match press conference she has been trying to cut down a bit - in an attempt to learn to build points better) .. Svetlana will be ready for a revenge win .. So I do not put a great chance for Sania to get past her for a second time .. But then again, with Sania, anything is always possible! .. That match will be on wednesday, and Sania's first round doubles match is on tap for 12 noon Tuesday.

Here is Nirmal Sekar's article in The Hindu about Sania's match .. Nirmal, who has gone every time to Wimbledon for years, religiously covering singles matches (and hardly ever covering doubles much, to all our chagrin) finally got to cover a match for his newspaper that the Indian readers cared about! .. Sorry Mr.Shekar, I had to take dig at you :-) .. Well, not that we didn't read his very well-written articles on the Samprases and Krajiceks and Williams', but we could get those details from a thousand other newspapers .. Anyway, glad to see an Indian's Wimbledon singles win being covered in depth in The Hindu, only for the second time in much over a decade, the other time being Leander's only win there, in 2001.

In other news, Neha Uberoi (USA,296) has been playing some pretty good tennis .. She qualified into the $25K Fontanafredda challenger, beating Tina Schiechtl (AUT,339) 60 76(2) today .. In the main draw, she plays Ivana Lisjak (CRO,239), a very talented 18 year old who has just won the $25K challenger in Gorizia, as a qualifier! .. She  had also won the Cascerta challenger in Italy last month, and is a player who is screming up the ranks .. Hopefully Neha can pull this off on wednesday .. She plays doubles tomorrow .. Shikha Uberoi (IND,134) is there, but only playing doubles, as she is probably conserving energy rather than play too many matches for too little points (she is in the main draw for next week's $75K Fano challenger .. In doubles, [R1] N.Uberoi/ S.Uberoi vs (Q) Lucia Gonzales (AUS)/ Laura Picone (AUS).

Mustafa Ghouse and Aisam Qureshi (PAK), seeded 2nd, won the first round of doubles at the $25K+H Reggio Emilia clay challenger in Italy today, over an Italian wildcard pair, Cesare Gallo and Manuel Razzaghi, by an easy 62 62 score .. Their next round opponents are yet to be determined.

At the India satellites' "ONGC" masters leg in Dehra Dun, the first round was completed in the field of 24 where the top 8 seeds had byes to the PQF round .. Pretty good day by those like Vishnu Vardhan, Navdeep Singh, P.Ravishankar etc .. Unfortunately, Vijay Kannan went down to 18 yr old Tushar Liberhan (big win for him!) in three sets and will have to finish with just 4 points from this circuit .. Tough losses also for VM Ranjeet and Vijay Sunder Prashanth .. See the masters leg results page and the point tally page.

More good news to report .. Vivek Shokeen pulled off one of the biggest wins by an Indian in the juniors in recent years .. At the prestigious grass court grade-1 ITF juniors in Roehampton, UK, unseeded Vivek, ranked 27th, upset the 15th seed, Thiemo De Bakker (NED,19), 62 75 .. I don't even remember when was the last top-20 win by an Indian junior .. Probably Suinil Kumar winning one 2001 January in Australia (though that guy's rank soon proved to be spurious, unlike the ranks this late in the year, which are mostly legitimate .. Vivek's win is even more impressive because he has just switched to the grass surface, after that nice SF show a week back at the red clay Frankfurt grade-1 .. He has a much tyyougher match now, against the 4th seed Marin Cilic (CRO,4), the French Open junior winner .. Win or lose, I am glad that Vivek is getting all this nice match practice too .. Vivek is quickly proving himself as one of the best young ones we have produced lately. No great results in doubles at Roehampton though - Jeevan/Sanam lost 36 36 to Pavel Chekhov/ Evgeniy Kirillov of Russia .. Vivek and Abdullah Magdas (KUW) lost 57 46 to second seeds Andreas Haider-Maurer (AUT) and Peter Jelenic (CRO)..

Match details -- Wimbledon R1 - Sania Mirza (IND,75) vs Akiko Morigami (JPN) -- First set
1-0 ... SM saved two BPs from 15-40 to hold
1-1 ... AM held. 2-1 ... SM holds at 40-15
3-1 ... AM was up 40-0 taken to 2 deuces, and SM breaks at the first AD out BP!
4-1 ... SM holds at 40-15 ... No problems !!
5-1 ... AM broken again .. Four straight points from Sania .. Great returns! ..
5-2 ... SM broken at 0-40 .. She lost 4 straight pts on serve too 
5-3 ... AM had a DF, but held at 40-30
6-3 ... SM held serve with No problems at love ..
Second set .. 63 00 ..
0-1 ... AM holds serve at 40-30.
1-1 ... SM holds at 40-30 .. She continues to serve effectively to AM's BH side.
1-2 ... AM holds after one deuce, no BPs.
2-2 ... SM holds at 40-15 .. no problems.
2-3 ... AM holds easily at love.
3-3 ... SM holds after 2 deuces, no BPs.
3-4 ... AM holds at 40-15 .. has won 8 of last 9 pts on her own serve.
3-5 ... SM saved one AD out BP and then fell in the second ..
3-6 ... AM was down 15-40, but SM could not convert 3 BPs. SM saved two set pts but fell on the 3rd.
Third set .. 63 36 00 ..
0-1 ... SM down 15-40 and drops serve at 30-40
0-2 ... AM holds after 2 decues, no BPs .. Sania FH error didn't help at deuce.
1-2 ... SM digs herself out of a 0-30 hole and hits an ace at 30-30 .. holds.
2-2 ... AM down 0-40 and Sania braks her at 15-40 .. YEAH!!
2-3 ... SM down 15-40 and drops serve at 30-40 with a DF 
2-4 ... AM faced three deuces, but SM unable to force BPs
3-4 ... SM - Easy hold at 40-15 ... An ace also in this game.]
4-4 ... AM 0-40 down and SM breaks her there! .. THERE YOU GO !!! 
5-4 ... SM holds at 40-15
5-5 ... AM holds at 40-15
6-5 ... SM holds at love ..
6-6 ... Great nerves from Akiko ... holds at 40-15
7-6 ... SM 0-15 but holds at 40-15 ..
7-7 ... AM up 30-0 .. then at 30-40 Match pt, saved one and then fell at AD out .. 63 36 86 Sania WINS!!!!!
Break Sequence -- [set-1: AM broken in games 4 and 6; SM in 7] .. [set-2: SM broken in game 8] .. [set-3: SM broken in games 1 and 5; AM in 4, 8 and 14]
Stats -- SM 108 pts, AM 99 .. winners - AM 28, SM 21 .. U.Errors: SM 35, AM 21 .. Aces - 1 each .. DF - SM 3, AM 4 .. Break chances - SM 5/10, AM 4/10.  Time: 2 hrs.

Jun 20 Note-1

Sania's first round match against Akiko Morigami (JPN,71) at Wimbledon is one of the kick-off matches out there today, bright and early at 12 noon on court 17 (one of the bigger courts between the center court and court 1, if I am not mistaken) .. That will be 4.30 pm India, 7 am New York, 7 pm Singapore .. We will be in the chatroom, all fired-up, wishing a great start to a great Wimbledon for the 18 year old ..  Sania was quoted today in the Indian press, to be saying that her ankle injury is all gone .. She also said that her fans seem to be expecting too much too soon, but that she will give it 120 percent .. Go Girl!

Tough matches for our kids at the prestigious grade-1 Roehampton ITF juniors in London which started yesterday - two of of three Indians went down in the first round though definitely not without good fights .. Our highest-ranked junior, Vivek Shokeen (IND,27) pulled off a comeback win over Pavel Chekhov (RUS,45) 67(3) 64 63 .. Always impressive to get wins over top-50 players at this time when the rankings have stabilized a little bit .. Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan (IND,32) seems to have played a very close match to the 9th seed Sam Querry (USA,11), but fell 67(4) 67(4) .. Though a loss, that was an indicator of Jeevan's  level of tennis that he stayed that close to a top-10 caliber player a year older than him .. Sanam Singh (IND,37) also went down after a tough fight, 67(3) 63 36 to Dylan Arnould (USA,61) .. Oh brother! ..

The latest ATP ranks, dated June 20th show Harsh Mankad at a career high of #241 with 154 ATP points ..  He inched one spot ahead of Aisam Qureshi (#242) of Pakistan to claim the 7th spot in Asia .. Actually the top spot in all of the west asia and middle-east portion (16 Davis Cup countries) of Asia-Oceania .. Good g oing, Harsh! .. Mankad is off for two weeks now, and will be in action next at the Nottingham challenger on July 4th ..

.. Previous notes are at Notes for the weeks ending on June 20 ..


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 playera, let me know .. Please email me - R.Jayakrishnan