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LP/MB/NS/Indian-Tennis: Notes for the week ending on June 30, 2003
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June 30 Note-1

Wimbledon 3.20 pm update (7.50 pm India) -- The covers have just been taken off, after the rain .. Play should be starting right after 3.30 pm.

Wimbledon 2.30 pm update (7 pm India) -- It's raining again .. It's hot chocolate and strawberries(:-)) time .. The covers are on .. LP-DR dropped serve in the second game and could not force a break at the one chance they had at 2-4 to get on par .. Lost the set 3-6, but had just broken ahead 2-0 in the second set when the silly British weather acted up again .. Mirnyi is playing singles .. Hopefully MB-MM will get to play much later - that is if the rain stops and they get some 4 hours more of play.  Doubtful .. Karan Somdev sitting and waiting too (hopefully not getting nervous!)

Wimbledon 1.45 pm update (6.15 pm India) -- They have moved LP-DR doubles match, and it is starting NOW -- [R3] L.Paes/ D.Rikl vs Nicolas Lapentti/ Giovanni Lapentti .. Come to our chatroom for scores.

Wimbledon 1.15 pm update (5.45 pm India) -- Great; play is just starting and now they have moved Karan Rastogi's match (which was t be the first on court 5) to a 2 pm start on a court to be announced - one of only two matches moved around.  Terrible  - a perfect way to make the boys wait and lose focus.

Wimbledon 12.45 pm update (5.15 pm India) -- The covers are off as of 12.45 pm at Wimbledon and play might start by 1.30 pm or so .. It hasn't exactly got sunny or anything, but they can play soon it seems [courtesy: official website]

Wimbledon 12 noon update (4.30 pm India) ,, Rain delaying the start of matches at Wimbledon .. The play was to start by 11 am, it is some pretty good rain going on still .. This is why I hate it when Wimbledon wastes the middle sunday with an off day for everyone to go to church or whatever .. Rainout in the second week messes things up the schedule badly (especially for doubles and mixed doubles draws), but I guess it is early enough in the week for adjustments in the schedules.

June 29 Notes

Nothing much to report today .. It is the traditional day off at Wimbledon ..

Karan starts off tomorrow with boys R1 at 11 am .. Followed by LP-MB doubles R3, Somdev boys R1, MB-MM doubles R3, LP-MN MxD R3 and MB-PS MxD R3 ..

The AITA website says that the $10K women's satellite set for Sep 1st at Chennai is now cancelled and the 3rd leg set for Delhi on Sep 15th is now moved to Sep 1st at Delhi .. The second leg $10K on Sep 8th will still be there at Shimoga in Karnataka I suppose .. It is rare that things get cancelled on the AITA calendar, but this one is unfortunate, as we only hold about 4 or 5  ITF $10K events for women in India  .. Not sure why the change - perhaps nobody came up with the sponsorship money in Chennai?  ..  Frankly, I think we have way too many events in Delhi and too few in other places .. Because AITA owns the facility in Delhi, it is cheaper to hold it there .. Often it seems that things get moved to Delhi when some state association does not come through with sponsorship for the event originally announced for them .. It does not help to hold so many events up in Delhi, especially with Delhi hardly producing enough top notch talent (the Bhambri family notwithstanding) - it causes too much of travel expenses for a lot of players in the talent centers like Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Kolkata and Chennai ..  Just my thoughts; I don't know all the details on these things.

June 28 Note-6

No problems in the MxD match at Wimbledon .. [R1] #5 L.Paes/ M.Navratilova d. Jamie Delgado (GBR)/ Anastasia Myskina (RUS), 64 64 .. They converted their first breaks point in the 4th game off Myskina to go ahead in the first set .. Martina dropped serve in the 4th game of the second set but LP-MN broke Myskina in the 5th game and then again in the 9th game to seal it .. LP served strong games, and had three aces in the match, the fastest being at 116 mph.

Nice day  today with 5 straight sets wins, a walkover and one loss for Indian players .. Tomorrow is the traditional off day .. LP-DR, LP-MN, MB-MM, MB-PS, Sunitha, Sania, Karan, Somdev, Sania-Sanaa, Karan-Somdev, all alive or to start in the second week from Monday.

June 28 Note-5

LP-Navratilova have started their match at 7.45 pm, on a sunny day with some evening sunshine still there .. They are up 3-1 in the first set over Delgado-Parmar .. Come to our chatroom to follow the match.

Sanaa Bhambri lost to Zsuzsanna Babos (HUN), 36 36 .. After a few deuces on Zsuzsanna's serve, Sanaa dropped serve in game 8 after 5 deuces .. The Hungarian served out the match easily .. Sanaa was again down 1-2 after the 3rd game of the second set .. Came back to even it in the 6th game to 3-3, but she then dropped serve twice to lose the match.  Doubles with Sania remains for Sanaa.

June 28 Note-4

Good day so far .. Mahesh and new partner Paola Suarez got down to work immediately .. [R1] #1 M.Bhupathi/ P.Suarez d. A.Parmar/ A.Keothavong, 62 61 .. Next up for them - Jared Palmer/ Abigail Spears ..

Sunitha Rao also continued the easy win pattern for Indians .. The top seed won 61 61 over #25 ranked Agnes Szavay (HUN) just now .. Both Sania and Sunitha winning by the same score .. Szavay is someone who stretched Sania to three sets last week at Roehampton, but I suppose this is why Sunitha is the top seed!

Sanaa's match has started and she is down 3-5 in the first to Zsuzsanna Babos (HUN) .. Both players faced deuces on their serve after 3-3, Sanaa falling on the 3rd break point on her .. Hope she can come back in the match which has been quite even so far.

LP's mixed doubles match might start anytime, provided they can find a court that is fitting for The Legend.

June 28 Note-3

This turned out to be easy for Mahesh .. Novak-Stepanek just gave a walkover to MB-MM .. So they are in the final-16 and will now face the 13th seeds Gaston Etlis and Martin Rodriguez of Argentina .. It looks like MB and LP will probably get to play their MxD matches today, by 7 pm or so there.

June 28 Note-2

Oh, I just noticed that Stepanek only now finished his singles match against Philippoussis .. So, MB's doubles match cannot start till about 5 pm .. That means no MxD match for him today.

June 28 Note-1

LP-DR came out and finished the postponed second round doubles match this afternoon at Wimbledon .. [R2] #5 L.Paes/ D.Rikl vs N.Kiefer/ D.Prinosil, 64 64 64 .. Their next round opponents are the Lapentti brothers from Ecuador - Nicolas and Giovanni ..

Lee and Martina are supposed to play the MxD first round also today - it will be scheduled as and when one of the better courts become available.

Mahesh and Max doubles second round against Novak-Stepanek is about to start, at 4 pm (8.30 pm India .. 11 am New York) .. Come on over to the chatroom. or check the official site www.wimbledon.org for all scores ..  Mahesh comes back later for the MxD first round - 5th match on the same court (if it is not too late, but it will be past 7 pm)

Good news from Sania Mirza .. Easy romp for her against #50 ranked Alyona Tsutaskova (UKR), 61 61 .. She faces Eden Marama (NZL,24) next in round 2 ..

Later in the evening, we have Sunitha Rao (USA) at about 5.30 pm and Sanaa Bhambri at about 6.30 pm, playing their singles matches.

June 27 Note-2

The evening rain played havoc and stopped the LP-DR match twice for half hour each, and MB-MM's match did not get started at all .. LP-DR won two sets and then bad light stopped play .. So, [R2] #5 L.Paes/ D.Rikl vs N.Kiefer/ D.Prinosil, 64 64 00 .. There was no drama in the first set till the 7th game with neither side with aces, double faults or break points .. In the 7th game LP-DR found a break point and converted the chance to go ahead .. They wrapped up the set with no problems .. They fell behind however in the second game of the second set .. LP saved one BP at 15-40 with an ace but committed a double fault following that to drop serve .. No problems, as our pair forced triple break point immediately and get back on serve .. Rikl also had a 121 mph ace and a double fault in the next game but he held after 2 deuces to 2-2 .. Now it was time for NK-DP to double fault at 15-40 and give up consecutive breaks .. From 3-2, our pair kept the one break lead to the end of the set .. 64 64 .. The 3rd set will be played tomorrow .. MB plays both the R2 doubles and R1 MxD tomorrow.

Here is Kamesh Srinivasan article in The Hindu about Prakash's title win today at Delhi .. An excerpt - ``What about Davis Cup?'' Prakash was asked by a TV reporter, and he shot back, "it is a great tournament.'' Laughing out loud, Prakash said on a more serious vein that he would obviously be happy to play for the country if selected ... He has indeed made a strong statement with a hat-trick of titles in the Satellite circuit, and it is now for the better ranked Rohan Bopanna and Harsh Mankad, to ensure that they stayed ahead in the race with better deeds on the professional tour ... That was funny from PA, and it reminded me of the old line (mis)attributed to Mahatma Gandhi, who supposedly said "it is a good idea" when asked what he thought about the western culture ..  Here is the Times of Indiaarticle on the match - it ends, "Way back it was Tim Henman who had displayed such choking dominance over the Indian Satellite. We all know where he went. It won’t be wishful thinking to expect Prakash to do something similar" .. Hmmm, that is  some big prediction (from possibly Sukhwant Basra, but there is no byline for the article).

The draws came out for the Juniors at Wimbledon

 1 Sunitha Rao (USA,WTA-186)  vs Agnes Szavay (HUN,25)          \
   Timea Bacsinszky (SUI,37)  vs (q) Mari Andersson (SWE,75)    / \ _ QF
   Eden Marama (NZL,24)       vs Montinee Tangphong (THA,22)    \ /
16 Sania Mirza (IND,15)       vs Alyona Tsutaskova (UKR,50)     /

 7 Ally Baker (USA,WTA-301)   vs (wc) Hannah Grady (GBR,316)     \
   Sanaa Bhambri (IND,52)     vs (wc?) Zsuzsanna Babos (HUN,114) /

 3 Dudi Sela (ISR, ATP-367)   vs Karan Rastogi (IND,49)          \
   Rok Jarc (SLO,42)          vs Mischa Zverev (GER,27)          /

 5 Gyorgy Balazs (HUN,3)      vs Horia Tecau (ROM,43)            \
   Somdev Dev Varman (IND,57) vs Devin Mullings (BAH,44)         /

Not too happy with Sunitha and Sania being in the same 1/8th of the draw .. Karan has a really tough player to tackle, in Dudi Sela, but he rarely gets an easy draw anyway .. Somdev has a somewhat better matchup .. Zsuzsanna (she was ranked much higher earlier) is not easy for Sanaa either .. The boys have the day off tomorrow .. Sania, Sunitha, Sanaa play tomorrow.

Kartiki put up a fight but could not upset the 6th seed following the upset of the 3rd seeds earlier .. She went down 16 64 16 today to Estefania Balda (ECU) today at the Le Pontet u16 quarterfinal in France .. She picked up enough points so far from the 4 events to get ranked inside the top-30 in ETA rankings; that is *good* ! .. Divij Sharan also went down in a fight - to Philipp Oswald (AUT,181), 67(5) 62 46, at the grade-2 Casablanca ITF juniors.

June 27 Note-1

LP-MB play Kiefer-Prinosil in a few minutes, by 5 pm there (9.30 pm India .. 12 noon New York) .. Come to our old chatroom for scores during the match .. Oh great, now here comes the rain .. The start may be delayed, but it doesn't look like a downpour yet ..  MB-MM will also be playing by about 6.30 pm there if rain stays away (The "beast" Mirnyi just beat the "murderer" Karlovic in 4 sets a few minutes back in the singles 3rd round .. After suitable rest, he should be out for doubles) .. MB-MM has a dangerous pair to tackle - Jiri Novak and Radek Stepanek.

At Delhi, there wasn't much doubt on the masters final outcome .. Prakash finished it in style with a 62 76(3) win over 6th seed Febi Widhiyanto .. So, after losing the first leg semi against Daniel Kiernan, PA went undefeated with a trifecta of titles to pick up 87 circuit points and a maximum-possible 36 ATP points, with the next best being Widhiyanto with 40 circuit points and 17 ATP points .. That was total domination by Prakash .. See the Delhi satellite masters page and the circuit/ATP points page.

June 26 Notes

Read below on a BIG win by Kartiki Bhat today, over the #2 European u16 player.

But, first, the "MadMax" team started off without much problem today at Wimbledon .. [R1] M.Bhupathi/ M.Mirnyi d. J.Delgado/ L.Childs, 64 63 62 .. Prajwal Hegde writes from London in the Deccan Herald article - "Cheered by a large group of Indian supporters, Bhupathi and Mirnyi complimented each other. In the second set especially Bhupathi was outstanding when they broke Childs’ serve in the eighth game .. A Bhupathi backhand sealed the break. Mirnyi then fought off a breakpoint and served  out the set. In the decider, the crucial break came in the fifth game and Bhupathi served out the match in the eighth" ...

Here is the nice article on yesterday's LP-DR match by S.Kannan (I knew I could count on him!) in his Hindustan Times article .. (excerpts) "The body language of Leander and Rikl, who is back into tournament play after two weeks, was very encouraging. All that you could find in a left-right combination was there to see as Rikl matched Leander at the net with his neat placements and sharp volleys ..... Forcing breaks of serve was never a problem for Leander and Rikl, since Carresco was out of sorts. The Spaniard is not in the same league as Leander or even Rikl, and he struggled right through, not knowing how to go about his shot selection .... Leander's form was good, and the success he enjoyed last week in the Netherlands, where he and Don Johnson made it to the finals of the $3,80,000 Gordina Open came on view. His serve stood him in good stead and the sustained aggression at the net was all there. On a few occasions, Carresco was lucky not to get injured as Leander slammed brilliant forehand drives and strong drive volleys. It had Ferrero smiling, even though his partner was at the receiving end" .. [Yeah, we needed Kannan out there to show that the sky wouldn't come down if you wrote an article a day late on a late evening match that went past press time :-)]

At the Delhi satellite masters, it was all Prakash Amritraj today, as Sunil's talent was in display only in patches .. 63 63 win for him .. Here is the Times of India article .. It breaks my heart to see the plight that Sunil Kumar is in .. A big bundle of talent that seems to be getting completely lost in the shuffle .. There was everybody running around 2-3 years back getting on the Sunil Kumar bandwagon - and now it looks like a lot of things are broken down .. To be fair, I think Paes en Sport sincerely tried their best to keep him going all this while, finding money to send him to a lot of junior events abroad, etc .. I believe AITA also may have chipped in some .. Now that he is moving to the senior level, the crucial time has come for him to get some bigger support, and the usual old Indian problem is well in display .. Nobody shelling out some big money to get some serious coaching and support .. You don't invest in a player, you can't expect him to get far - and Sunil Kumar's talent and winner mentality is not in doubt .. As Prasenjit Basu wrote nicely in our forum just today, Sunil does not have the luxury of parental management that successful Indian stars have all had (not for any fault of his parents; only because they are not tennis folks) .. Come on, somebody lend a helping hand to Sunil! .. On the other hand, this is a boy who has come through a lot and still has the fire in the belly .. I hope he holds on a little longer till somehow help arrives .. AITA MUST DO SOMETHING IN SUNIL'S CASE .. And NOW! .. I know, there is probably all the political angles between AITA, CLTA, Paes-en-Sport and all that ... We fans don't want to hear any of it .. We see a boy who is hurting badly for support and some serious coaching and nurturing in the pro tour .. Help needs to come from somewhere .. Hell, if we fans abroad could help somehow, we would, but our hands are normally tied in these things with us being nothing but fans .. If Paes en Sport itself has the proper plans (they might; I have not been in touch with Dr.Paes on this), then things are fine .. Else, if we fans should/could do anything, we need to know .. I am also not trying to blame AITA in this .. Really, I don't care who is to blame though I know AITA will be the first one to get blamed by everybody in the end if Sunil gets nowhere, which I am sure they are aware of, too ..  But for now, come on Sunil, chin up man - you have it in you to go up the ladder, and we are all behind you still - don't lose heart!

As for Prakash, hats off to him for coming to India and really stealing everybody's heart with his professional but cheerful way of doing his job .. He is looking more and more like he is getting ready to carry the colors in a hurry .. Here is an article in the Indian Express a few days back - ‘I want to be a modern version of my father’ on Prakash .. Take a look .. I hope everybody have stopped looking at PA as a foreign boy .. He really isn't .. He is one of our own and has done everything to deserve all our support and love.

P.Ravishankar went down after a fight yesterday at the $10K USA F16 at Auburn California - 67(6) 63 36 to the 8th seeded Phillip King (USA) .. Still a good run from him to qualify in with 4 wins, though he gets no ATP points .. At the USA F17 in Buffalo, NY, 6th seed Francisco Rodriguez (PAR) d. (q)Partha Bhattacharya (IND) 61 61 .. Partha had won 2 rounds in the qualies and made the main draw when the top seed gave a walkover.

OK, some big news to report from one of our girls .. Kartiki Bhat today pulled off what seems to be one of the biggest upsets abroad by ANY of our girls that I remember .. She upset the European #2 u16 player, Polona Rebersak (SLO) in straight sets, 63 75 at the Le Pontet ETA grade-1 16s event .. I don't know much about Polona, but she is of exactly the same age as Kartiki and has to be a super -talent to be ranked #2 in Europe .. Kartiki is a special player too, and she has pulled off some really good wins in this circuit as a member of the ITF team .. She is in the QFs and plays the 6th seeded Estefinia Balda (ECU) next .. Balda has won one grade-1 in this circuit and recahed another semi, so she is really good too .. [I have replaced Kartiki's picture below with one that Chris Daniel brightened up for us!]

Yesterday's results from the ITF grade-2 juniors in Casblanca is not good, except for Divij Sharan .. [R2] #1 Tara Iyer (IND,79) l. Lisa Sabino (ITA,218), 76(5) 06 26 .. [R2] Tushar Liberhan (IND,320) vs Mehdi Ziadi (MAR,91), 26 26 .. [R2] Divij Sharan (IND,163) d. Omar Berrada (MAR,732), 62 63 ..[QF] Divij Sharan (IND,163) vs Philipp Oswald (AUT,181) .. Doubles - [R1] Tushar Liberhan/ Divij Sharan l. Martin Fischer/ Philipp Oswald (AUT), 26 46 .. [R1] Marutha Devi/ Tara Iyer l. Stefanie Rath (AUT)/ Anastasia Zhukova (RUS), 63 06 36 .. [R1] Pooja Kommireddi/ Oormila Ram l. Valentine Fauviau (FRA)/ Samia Medjahdi (ALG), 16 26 .. Divij reaches another QF - nice to see him do that at a grade-2.

June 25 Note-3

Good news .. Karan Rastogi made it into the Wimbledon juniors main draw as the very last direct entry! .. Just before the qualies sign-in was closing, the main draw top seed Baghdadis withdrew and cleared up a spot for Karan who doesn't need to play qualies now .. Hey he was due for some luck somewhere!

June 25 Note-2

No problems in their first grass match together, for the "Czech-Inde-Mail" team .. [R1] #5 L.Paes/ D.Rikl vs Juan Ignacio Carrasco/ Juan Carlos Ferrero (ESP), 63 63 64 .. Nice to see them having no first-match difficulties .. Their next round opponents are Kiefer and Prinosil - the match should be on Friday.

MB-MM is on the schedule for doubles first round against the British pair Auckland-Childs tomorrow.

Mixed Doubles draw has come out at the Wimbledon .. Mahesh has a new partner in Paola Suarez (ARG) who is ranked #1 doubles in WTA .. Hesh seems to keep finding the top ranks as his partner, eh? .. Max, #1 in ATP and Paola, #1 in WTA .. MB-PS are seeded #1 as well .. LP is back with his usual partner, The Legend, and they are seeded 5th .. [R1] #1 M.Bhupathi/ P.Suarez vs Arvind Parmar/ Anne Keothavong (GBR)  and [R1] #5 L.Paes/ M.Navratilova vs Jamie Delgado (GBR)/ Anastasia Myskina (RUS) .. LP and MB are opposite halves of the draw and can meet only in the final.

I have added the latest AITA calendar (released a couple of weeks back) at the Calendar/results page .. There are three men's $25K+H challengers listed again for late september a week after the Davis Cup .. They were in the calendar a couple of months back and went out, but they are back in .. That is good news .. The challengers have not appeared in the ATP list yet, I believe.

At Delhi, Sunil Kumar continued his last-gasp run to pick up some points, and reached the semifinal with a straight sets win over Furukawa .. He runs into Prakash who got a walkover from Vinod Sridhar .. Tomorrow's match, depending on whether Sunil has got back his usual confidence and edge or not, could well be the match of the circuit .. Prakash has 33 ATP points and can pick up a couple more tomorrow to 35, but Sunil can raise his ATP point tally from 5 to 9 and more importantly keep himself in contention for a title and a second place finish (and 17 total ATP points if he can pull that off!) .. So, amazingly, despite having a terrible first three legs, SKS still has a chance to redeem himself well with just two more wins! .. Widhiyanto vs Yeu-Ming Si in the other SF tomorrow .. Ghouse-Uppal vs Kannan-Panja in the doubles final .. Apparently due to Stephen being very limited in his mobility with a heavily bandaged knee, the Amritrajs went down in the doubles QF .. I guess it is the same knee problem from early january that has affected Stephen Amritraj throughout this circuit too (he missed almost all of college tennis since January due to an injury) .. See the Delhi satellite masters page and the circuit/ATP points page.

Our kids cannot seem to get anything much going on grass at the ITF grade-1 LTA event in Roehampton, UK .. Both the doubles teams got upset yesterday evening and today .. [R2] #5 S.Varman/ K.Rastogi l. Ross Hutchins/ Guy Thomas (GBR), 26 62 46 .. [R2] #4 S.Bhmabri/ S.Mirza l. Vika Azarenka/ Volha Havartsova (BLR), 26 46 .. I am kinda down on how things have gone the last two weeks on grass .. Hopefully they will all be ready by next week at the Wimbledon juniors .. I have some comments on how we have been *really* shortchanging grass in the domestic circuit, but I will wait till after next week to write on that.

Kartiki Bhat has won two rounds at the u16 ETA grade-1 event at Le Pontet, FRA .. [R1] Kartiki Bhat (IND) d. Melissa Laharrague (FRA) 62 76(5) .. [R2] d. Si-Si Qiu (CHN), 64 63 .. The second ranked European u16 player up next in a tough PQF on thursday -against #1 seed Polona Rebersak (SLO) .. In doubles, Kartiki Bhat/ Jessica Sweeting (BAH) upset #3 Vicky Nunez (COL)/ Bruna Paes (BRA) for the second week in a row, 64 61, before falling to Rebeca Bou Nogueiro/ Anna Vines Milian (ESP), 16 57(6) in the QF .. Here is a picture of Kartiki out there at the opening ceremony.

Kartiki Bhat at the LePontent ETA u16 event, June 2003

I love posting pictures of our players is holding the Indian colors .. Thanks go to Chris Daniel, for editing the picture that I posted first and brightening it up (by the way, the picture is courtesy FFT's LePontet website)

June 25 Note-1

Leander starts off his Wimbledon doubles this afternoon .. [R1] #5 L.Paes/ D.Rikl vs Juan Ignacio Carrasco/ Juan Carlos Ferrero (ESP) .. The match isscheduled as the 3rd on court 19, and should be starting at about 4.00 pm (8.30 pm India, 8 am L.A.) ..  Mahesh is not on the schedule for today.

Two Indian guys in US colleges qualified into US futures this weekend - always a tough job to do with 3 and 4 round qualies and a lot of good players to get past .. P.Ravishankar qualified into the US F16 Auburn (CA) $10K futures in four tough rounds - [Q1] Ravishankar Pathanjali d. Ion Vlad (ROM) 63 75 .. [Q2] d. Pete Stroer (USA) 63 75 .. [Q3] d. Cameron Ball (USA) 46 63 63 .. [Q4] d. #1 Toshiharu Kato (JPN) 63 62 .. In the main draw first round he faces the 8th seed Phillip King (USA,627) ..  At the $10K US F17 in Buffalo (NY), Partha Bhattacharya made the main draw through three rounds .. [R1] d. John Nwachukwu (USA) 62 62 .. [R2] d. Michael Flynn (USA) .. [R3] unknown .. In the main draw, Partha faces the 6th seed Francisco Rodriguez (PAR) .. Good job by both of them - it is not often that Indians get through these US futures qualies .. Though I always keep a watch on a few of them showing up at the qualies, I always end up getting disappointed, seeing them ousted after a round or two .. Actually, Vikrant Chadha some three years back may be the last Indian to make a US futures main draw through qualies if my memory is correct (what happened to Vikrant, by the way?) ..

Bad news from the second round singles at Roehampton grade-1 yesterday - 10th seeded Sania Mirza was upset by British wildcard Katie O'Brien, 16 46 .. Doubles remain for the Indian kids.

Good news from the grade-2 ITF juniors on clay in Casablanca, Morocco .. Tara, Divij and Tushar have made the second round .. Here are the results so far .. [R1] Pooja Kommireddi (IND,293) l. Ali van Horne (USA,168) 06 16 .. [R1] Parul Goswami (IND,356) l. Amanda Avedissian (USA,140) 26 57 .. [R1] Marutha Devi (IND,172) l. Ana-Maria Zubori (FRA,428) 16 16 .. [R1] #1 Tara Iyer (IND,79) d. Valentine Fauviau (FRA,948) 63 63 .. [R1] Tushar Liberhan (IND,320) d. Jose Moncada (HON,329) 76(8) 36 60 .. [R1] Divij Sharan (IND,163) d. Abdel-Hakim Mima (MAR,NR) 61 62 .. Here are the second round matchups - [R2] #1 Tara Iyer vs Lisa Sabino (ITA,218) ..[R2] Tushar Liberhan vs Mehdi Ziadi (MAR,91) .. [R2] Divij Sharan vs Omar Berrada (MAR,732)

June 24 Note-1

At the Delhi satellites today, Prakash Amritraj made sure of getting the 6 bonus ATP points reserved for the circuit topper, with a win over Rohan Gajjar in the PQF .. Prakash was reportedly a bit dehydrated and tired at first, the wear from the 4 week grind finally showing a bit, and he  was down a break in the 10th game against 19 yr old Rohan who has really played well in this circuit and shown himself to be a youngster whom we should take seriously .. Prakash stepped on the pedal and cruised from there on .. As the 2nd through 4th seeds got upset today, nobody can catch him in the circuit tally .. PA now has 33 ATP points, and the next three wins can only get him one point each, as the circuit point to ATP point conversion levels off once past 55 to 60 c.pts .. Nice to see Sunil Kumar making a last-ditch effort to get himself some points and more importantly some match sharpness and confidence .. He "upset" seeded Mustafa easily today to reach the QF where he has a winnable match against Furukawa who got a late second set retirement from 3rd seed Kiernan .. The bad news was that the 4th seed Vijay Kannan, having played well all along, lost a big chance for big points, getting upset by Yeu Ming Si of Malaysia - really sad to see that .. He will end with 9 points .. Vinod Sridhar won and reached his 4th consecutive QF .. He picked up 2 more ATP points today, and now faces Prakash once again .. The second seed Prima Simpatiaji also fell today, as 5 seeds fell in the second round .. Now he waits to see if anybody can catch him for the second place and 3 bonus points - Vinod and Widhiyanto (INA) can do that by reaching the final, and four others (Sunil, Dooyev, Si and Furukawa) will need to win the title to reach second spot .. Hey, there is still room for some drama; let us see who has what left in the tank! .. See the Delhi satellite masters page and the circuit/ATP points page.

Sania Mirza had a big win today at the Roehampton grade-1, 63 46 63 over Agnes Szavay (HUN,25) .. Despite her high rank, Sania has hardly had many top-30 wins in her junior career, but she shows us once in a while that it is not anything to be concerned about with wins like this .. She gets a wildcard, Katie O'Brien (GBR) in the second round .. In doubles, both the Indian teams advanced .. [R1] #5 S.Varman/ K.Rastogi d. Luke Campbell (GBR)/ Rok Jarc (SLO), 63 64 .. [R2] vs Ross Hutchins (GBR)/ Guy Thomas (GBR) .. [R1] #4 S.Bhambri/ S.Mirza  d. Helen Fritche (GBR) / Rachael Porsz (GBR), 61 63 .. R2 opponents to be determined.

One more good correspondent is out there in UK -- Akshay Saway .. Here is an article today from him in the Times of India .. An interview with Max Mirnyi where Max says how the rivalry between LP and MB is good for tennis .. I don't agree with him and would rather have it better for INDIAN tennis with them playing together, but I guess you would expect me to disagree :-) ..

June 23 Note-2

Not much to report today .. Wimbledon has started with the grasscourt Gods not cooperating with Lleyton Hewitt .. Karlovic? - are you kidding me?! .. Doubles starts tomorrow with a few unseeded pairs playing .. LP and MB should be in action on wednesday or thursday .. We should be getting some good press coverage from there with quite a few Indian correspondents out there - very nice to see S.Kannan of the Hindustan Times out there, along with Ashis Ray for the Times of India and Nirmal Sekhar as usual for The Hindu, etc.

The satellites masters first round got done today .. Sunil Kumar beat Vishal Uppal, who is really bothered by injuries but still came in to play .. Sunil is seemingly still a little low on confidence but he is hanging in there .. He will be fine in a little time - we need to be patient .. He will face Mustafa in the second round .. Ajay Ramaswami (whatever happened to his singles game which was oh so good a couple of years back in US colleges?) went down from a winning position to Eliran Dooyev .. Rohan Gajjar beat Kedar Tembe and will face Prakash Amritraj in the PQF .. Stephen Amritraj, apparently still troubled by the knee injury (and heavily bandaged) fought hard to force a last-minute break and send his match to a 3rd set, but fell in the end in a heart-breaker .. See the Delhi satellite masters page.

By the way, quite a few of the Indians are playing with injuries, ourt of no choice - that may explains the poorer display from those like Ajay and Vishal .. Here is an article by Sukhwant Basra in the Times of India - Tennis' Walking Wounded ..

Sai Jayalakshmy was in the qualifying list for the $25K challenger in France this week, but did not play the qualies .. Not sure if anybody else is playing anywhere this week .. We haven't seen any sign of Manisha in a long time, and Niru's comeback has been in start and stop mode so far .. Harsh is off for two weeks of rest, and so is Rohan Bopanna .. Ravishankar Pathanjali, who has had a couple of very productive college tennis seasons at the Western Michigan university (cracking into the college top-100 this year) had won three rounds and reached the qualifying finals for the USA F16 futures yesterday and I believe that's about it for this week abroad in the pro tour, except for LP and MB.

One more loss to report from the ITF grade-1 juniors, the LTA event in Roehampton .. Somdev Dev Varman went down 36 46 to Miles Kasiri (GBR,103) .. Not at all a good start by our kids out there on the British grass .. Sania still to play, as her match may be delayed/postponed by rain today ..

Tara Iyer. Divij Sharan, etc, may be at the grade-2 ITF juniors in Casablanca, Morocco .. No news yet on that event.

Kartiki Bhat is at the ETA grade-1 u16 juniors in Le Pontet, France, this week .. She plays Melissa Laharrague (FRA) in singles .. Playing doubles with Jessica Sweeting (BAH) again .. Kartiki faces Vicky Nunez (COL) and Bruna Paes (BRA), seeded 3rd, for the 3rd time in three weeks - they split the matches the last two weeks.

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 completes last week's scores.

.. Previous notes are at Notes for the week ending on June 23 ..

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.