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LP/MB/NV/Indian-Tennis: Notes for the week ending on July 2, 2001
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July 2 Note-1

MB and Elena Likhovtseva starts off the action for Indians at the Wimbledon today with their R2 match against Andrew Kratzmann and Magui Serna, at about 2.30 pm (7 pm India .. 9.30 am New York), plus/minus 30 minutes .. Sunil Kumar Sipaeya plays Craig Evans (US) at about 3.45 pm +/- 30 min .. Leander and Lisa play against Martina Navratilova and Max Mirnyi on the big court-2 following featured matches by Rafter, Venus and Hewitt .. That should be about 7 pm (plus/minus 45 minutes) .. Sunitha Rao (USA) plays at about the same as Sunil and Prakash Amritraj (USA) plays around the same time as LP .. The chatroom will be open throughout ..

An old name will be back in action this week .. Jahnavi Parekh, who is finishing her studies at the Baylor University in Waco (Texas) and was in the collegite top-25 ranks for a couple of years, has been given a wildcard into the $10K ITF USTA satellite at Waco this week .. I will list later who else seem to be playing this wek.

July 1 Note-2

Title #2 for Indians today .. Harsh Mankad and Cary Franklin (USA) who are playing together for the first time, won the Canada F3 futures doubles title today with a 76(6) 63 win over Vikrant Chadha and James Shortall ! .. Not bad at all .. I had thought that Vikrant and James who have played together quite a bit would be tough for Harsh and Franklin .. Also, in this event, Harsh-Cary had beaten the top seeds Nisker and Phillips, who were the champions and runners-up in the Canda F1 and F2 .. Harsh despearately needed some doubles points, having gone out in the first round in Canada F1 and unable to play Canada F2 doubles due to not having a suitable partner as he reached there a bit late after winning the F1 title .. All his 26 doubles points from last year's satellites are falling off next week .. He picked up 12 points in the nick of time to stay in the rankings .. When I talked to Harsh last week, he seemed concerned about falling off the doubles charts and I am impressed at his determination to go get the points this week .. By the way, a correction on the score that, myself and The Hindu had all reported earlier for Harsh's second round loss this week .. It was not 67 36 .. It was actually 46 76(4) 63 to Matt Klinger of Canada .. 4th seed Benjamin Cassaigne of France, who beat Vikrant Chadha in the QF won the title today, beating Mario Ancic (Cassaigne had won the F2 title also, after Harsh won the F1) .. [source: TennisCanada]

What I heard from Harsh earlier was that he would take a week off to rest and play the qualifying rounds next weekend at the $50K Granby Challenger in Canada .. As his last year points will still be on the board this coming weekend, his current rank of #481 will be enough to get him one of the seeded spots in the qualies next weekend.

July 1 Note-1

Today is the traditional holiday Sunday at Wimbledon .. No matches. ..  But we have good news from Sweden ..

Manisha Malhotra and Leanne Baker (NZL) won a challenger doubles title again! .. In the final yesterdy at the $25K Bastad challenger, they beat the 4th seeds Sandra and Daniela Klemenschitis easily - 63 61 .. Add 23 more doubles points for them .. That will take Manisha's point total to 225.50 and her ranking will move up about 15 spots to right at around #200 from the current #216 .. Man, these two ladies are on fire these days .. More later.

June 30 Note-5

Yeah - today is of course a nice day .. More good news ..

First, Manisha Malhotra and Leanne Baker are in another final! -- IN the semifinal at the $25K Bastad challenger in Sweden, Olga Blahotova and Gabriela Navratilova of the Czech Republic 75 63 .. In the final they face the 4th seeds Daniela Klemenschitis and Sandra Klemenschitis of Austria, who had beaten the second seeds Amanda Hopmans (NED) and Patty van Acker (BEL) in the other semi ..

There will be an Indian winning a doubles title tomorrow in Canada for sure! .. Harsh Mankad and Cary Franklin (USA) upset the top seeds Andrew Nisker (CAN) and Tripp Phillips (USA), 63 76(3) today in the semifinal at the Canada F3 in Lachine .. In the final, they will face Vikrant Chadha and James Shortall (NZL) who had won the other semi yesterday .. This is Mankad's first doubles final since reaching the satellite masters final with Ajay Ramaswamy last June in India .. I am extremely encouraged by Harsh's work in the three futures in Canada .. A singles title in the F1 and a doubles final here, shows that he is perhaps ready to go full-time into the futures circuit and see how high he can go .. Nice to see Vikrant finally having a successful week too.

I had promised to compile the score details from Netherlands, Canada, Sweden etc (I had given the results earlier) .. The Hindu made my job easier - here is the compilation from them on earlier results (probably the work by Kamesh Srinivasan who also does a good job of keeping track of our players).  He too hasn't got any news from Radhika Tulpule, it seems ..

Sunil Kumar got a nice reward for qualifying into the wimbledon junior draw - he gets the Bbritish wildcard, Craig Evans (#114) in the first round .. Craig is one who has lost to Indians in three tournaments in a row .. To Vinod Sewa 63 36 26 and then to Sunil Kumar 46 46 in the eastern circuit a couple of months back and then to Prakash Amritraj 57 36 two weeks back at East Mosely .. Hopefully Sunil will make it 4 in a row over him and advance .. If he wins, he will face the 7th seed Florian Meyer who advanced today, in the second round .. Qualifier Prakash Amritraj (USA) gets qualifier Brian Baker (USA), but a win will put him probably against the top seed Janko Tipsarayevic (YUG) in R2 ..

There is no play on Sunday, as is traditionally done at Wimbledon after the first week .. LP and MB play mixed doubles on Monday .. LP-LR against Mirnyi-Navratilova and MB-EL against Kratzmann-Serna .. Sunil and Prakash (USA) will also be playing on Monday .. Sania's Tuesday R2 opponent will probably be the 7th seed Gisella Dulko (ARG)  who plays on Monday.

June 30 Note-4

OK, India went 3 of 3 today at Wimbledon .. Mahesh completed a nice day today which started with a terrific win by young Sania .. [R1] #4 M.Bhupathi/ E.Likhovtseva d. S.Humpries/ A-G.Sidot, 64 64 .. Quick start by our pair, as they had triple break points off Humphries' serve immediately .. Converted it at 15-40 and our guys were up 2-0 soon, after MB had an easy service game .. They had a couple of deuces off Sidot in the 3rd game but no break points .. The games went with serve till the end of the set when Mahesh served it off after a couple of deuces at 6-4 .. Actually nothing much was happening till late in the second set .. MB served a love game to make it 3-3 .. Then MB-EL had a break chance at AD out in the next game that they could not capitalize on .. Elena served a love game to make it 4-4 .. They were quickly up on triple break points, but again break points went astray and it was deuce soon .. At AD out they had their next chance and finally the forced the break to go up 5-4 .. Humphries-Sidot weren't going away that easily, and had Mahesh down at 0-30 next .. He had a match point at 4030, was taken to a deuce, but finished it off with no more problems winning the next two points.

More later with any Canada, Netherlands or Portugal news.

By the way, forgot to mention that Sheetal Gautham finished a great week, winning a double corwn at Delhi .. Sheetal and Lisa won all four legs' doubles titles as well (they have become the next best doubles team after Sai-Rushmi in India, for sure) .. 5 WTA points more for her in both events .. Great stuff .. See the Delhi masters page.

June 30 Note-3

Good day so far .. Another win .. [R1] #6 L.Paes/ L.Raymond d. M.Barnard/ C.Vis, 62 61 .. The match went without much drama till Barnard's serve in the 6th game when LP-LR won four points straight for a quick break to go up 4-2 .. Lisa faced some resistence in the next game, facing a break attempt at 30-40, but held after a deuce .. In the 8th game our pair converted the first break chance at AD out to close it out at 6-2 .. In the second set, they got their first break in the 4th game off Barnard's serve at 30-40 on a great low return from Leander (we had chatroom commentary off the BBC telecast by now, from S_K_S) .. They got one more break in the 6th game, off Vis' serve to go up 5-1 .. At 0-40, a stretching back-hand volley from LP did the trick .. Our guys were 4 of 4 in break chances, and LP "had not made a single mistake the whole day", according to BBC .. At one point he held the racket up to protect his face and even that went for a winner! .. Anyway, now it was time for Leander to close it out - which he did in style with a backhand winner down the middle at match point at 40-15 ..  This was really not much of a match - just complete domination by the 6th seeds ..  5 aces from our pair to one by the others .. 56 point won by our team to 36 by Barnard-Vis .. Match took a mere 44 minutes to complete .. "Outstanding display of Mixed doubles," say the stiff upper-lip guys on the BBC booth :-) .. Go LP-Lisa !!

MB's match just started .. Up a break and serving at 1-0 in the first set already ..

June 30 Note-2

Great news .. The young girl from Hyderabad just pulled off a win there .. [R1]  Sania Mirza (IND) d. Julia Smith (GBR), 36 61 63 .. Great comeback from her .. [Set-1] Sania got broken early in the first set and was in a bit of trouble at 2-4, down 0-30 .. She won the next 4 points to hold serve .. She then faced doubles set points at 3-5 on her serve at 15-40 but send it to a deuce .. Faced one more set point at AD out, and agan she held on .. Good fight by the little girl, but she fell on the 4th set point to Julia .. 3-6 .. [Set-2] Sania started her comeback without wasting any time .. She  went on a tear to get back into the match immediately - breaking Julia at 0-40 in the first game and holding serve at 40-15 to go up 2-0 in the second set .. She continued the pressure, and had more break points at 30-40 and AD out on Julia's serve in the 5th game .. She converted the second one and went up 4-1 .. She kept on attacking Julia's serve and came up with a break again in the 7th game to close out the set .. [Set-3] Now it turned into a tight match .. Sania dropped serve in the first game of the 3rd, Julia followed suit, and it was 1-1 .. Now it was Sania's turn to drop serve again to fall behind .. This is when Sania seemed to hit a stride .. Sania showed her spunk in not giving up .. Went through 5 break points and finally converted one to level it again at 2-2 .. She then broke held serve and broke Julia again to go up 4-2 .. Julia was not done either, as she had our girl down 0-40 immediately and she evened it up at 3-4 on serve .. Sania had some more gas left in her tank and knew she had to use it right there .. Julia at 30-40, Sania breaks her to go up 5-3 .. Serves off the match at 40-30 .. And the yougest entry (14 yrs 7 months) at this year's Wimbledon juniors had just won the match!!! .... What can I say ?  I am ecstatic!

I am trying to remember who was the last Indian to win a junior match at Wimbledon .. I will check the records and find out .. The win does not give Sania a whole lot of points (30 pts - same as a grade-5 title), but the confidence boost from this is immesaurable at her age!

LP-Lisa are out playing Mixed doubles .. Up 5-2 in the first set and facing serve now .. Later.

MB-Elena match is delayed a bit

June 30 Note-1

Both LP and MB play their mixed doubles R1 matches today at about the same time -  #6 L.Paes/ L.Raymond vs M.Barnard/ C.Vis, and  #4 M.Bhupathi/ E.Likhovtseva vs S.Humphries/ A-G.Sidot today at about 6.30 pm (11pm India .. 1.30 pm New York), plus/minus 30 minutes ..  If rain comes down, then mixed doubles matches keep getting postponed - with odd stuff like LP having to play 5 matches in the last three days in 1999 to win that MxD title .. I hope rain stays away.

The first one out on court will be Sania Mirza though .. She plays Julia Smith at about 4 pm (8.30 pm India .. 11 am New York), plus/minus 30 min .. Let us meet in the chatroom and see how our youngest hope does in the first of (hopefully) many matches at Wimbledon in the future! ..

The juniors' first round singles continue tomorrow - Sunil, Sunitha (USA) and Prakash (USA) are expected to play tomorrow .. I have not yet seen the updated draw to see whom qualifiers Sunil and prakasha re playing.

Vikrant Chadha is having a very nice run at the Canada F3 futures .. Today he and James Shortall (NZL) beat Manoj Mahadevan and Simon Shen inm the semis to reach the doubles final .. Harsh Mankad and Carey Franklin play in the other semi against the top seeds, tomorrow I think.

June 29 Note-3

Mahesh's mixed doubles is postponed to tomorrow, I think .. Time to be announced .. Leander may be playing MxD tomorrow as well.

Alright - just when we needed some good news, here is some .. #82 Sunil Kumar Sipaeya just qualified into the Wimbledon junior main draw! .. Today he upset the 4th seed in the qualies, #54 Komlavi Loglo (TOG), 57 64 64 to make the draw .. Also moving into the main draw was #64 Prakash Amritraj (USA), who upset the 8th seed, #62 Michal Przysiezny (POL) easily, 63 63 !! ..

Also good news from Sweden -- Manisha Malhotra and Leanne Baker continue their winning streak .. The top seeds beat Inga Albers and Adriana Jerabek of Germany in the QFs, 75 67(0) 60 today at the $25K Bastad challenger .. They play unseeded Olga Blahatova and Gabriela Navratilova of CZE in the semi !

June 29 Note-2

Wimbledon has suddenly turned out to be a graveyard for us in the last 26 hours .. LP-MB just went down ina heap, 16 36 36 to David Adams and Michael Llodra in the first round .. Broken about 5 times .. No point in giving any other details, I guess .. Our boys had break points in the very first game and then in game 5 of the 3rd set .. We didn't get any breaks and we kept getting broken .. That's the story .. As always, whenever our boys lose that listlessly, I wonder about whether there is any physical ailments troubling them, but no word on anything yet .. Just a bad day, I guess .. But  we have just gone through 8 sets with scores of 36 46 26 16 16 16 36 36 from LP, MB and NV there in the last few hours .. I am numb, to say the least.

Vikrant Chadha lost in the QF at the Canada F3 futures yesterday too, and now there is nothing much left to look for this week, except for LP and MB miced doubles and the doubles for Harsh, Vikrant and Manoj in Canada .. Yikes.

June 29 Note-1

There has been a 90 minute rain delay this afternoon, and so our guys doubles match may start only by 4 pm or so (8.30 pm India .. 11 am New York) ..

Good news from the Wimbledon qualies -- Sunil Kumar Sipaeya and Prakash Amritraj (USA) are in the final round of qualies .. #82 Sunil Kumar beat Clinton Letcher (AUS,73), 64 64 .. Letcher was the same guy whom he beat at the LTA Grade-1 first round on Monday at Roehamton (same place where they hold the wimbledon qualies) .. He now faces 4th seeded Komlavi Loglo of Togo (#55) in the final qualies today - Loglo is the guy who beat Amanjot in the SF at the grade-3 Hungary event a couple of weeks back .. Amanjot was also in the Wimbledon qualies .. Prakash beat Amanjot Singh 64 46 62 in the first round and faces the 8th seed Michal Przysiezny of Poland (#62) today ..  Prakash at #64 may be the highest ranked unseeded player in the qualies there.

June 28 Note-3

LP couldn't get redemption today itself by way of a doubles win for the Indian Express, as their match got postponed to tomorrow (Friday) .. It's at about 2.30 pm (7 pm India 9.30 am NY) .. Mahesh's first round mixed doubles is also on schedule as the 4th match, at about 6.30 pm or so..

By the way, though I don't talk much about him, kudos go to Arvind Parmar of Britain (of Punjabi ancestry) who reached the second round and troubled Kafelnikov for a while too .. He is a talented youn man.

It appears that Leander really did have a bad day today - nothing went right, with first serve percentage quite low, though he served a few aces .. Even net-chords weren't going his way and he was really not being able to accurately return Escude either .. See the onsite fanclub member account by S_K_S in our forum (link above) ..

Sania Mirza is in the girls' draw at Wimbledon and plays Julia Smith of Britain .. Sania is the youngest entry at just 14 years and 7 months .. Julia, who turns 18 next month is a wildcard entry now ranked #409, though she was ranked just inside the top-100 early last year .. She has been mostly playing in a few pro satellites lately .. 62nd ranked Sania perhaps got a bit of a break in the draw, but Julia is quite an experienced junior player and it is not necessarily a sure win or anything .. If she advances, Sania could possibly face the 7th seed Gisela Dulko of Argentina .. Go Girl, Sania!!! .. I have not seen the boys qualifying draw, but Sunil Kumar is probably there .. Prakash Amritraj (USA) also seems to have narrowly missed the main draw and could be in the qualifying draw .. Sunitha Rao (USA) is a seed, as expected.

At the Delhi masters Sheetal once again is doing the excellent rear-guard action, reaching the final of the only leg that matteres for WTA points - the satellite masters .. She upset the top seed Sonal in three sets to pick up 4 WTA points .. Megha beat Isha in the other semi between the two most talented 16 yr olds .. See the Delhi masters page.

More bad news to report .. Shruti Dhawan went down in the second round at the Almaar satellite; So everyone is done in the Netherlands - only Shruti picking up 1 WTA points is there to talk about .. Ajay Ramaswamy had fallen in the singles first round yesterday in the USA F17a futures - I think mostly because he had not played tennis for a while - he sneaked out of summer school to play this only to see if he could get some points to stay in the ranking .. This is his only pro event since 2000 June -- all of his 4 points from the Indian satellites then falls off now, and he will need to start from scratch again - I am sure he is capable of putting things together pretty fast .. He goes back to college to finish the summer courses and graduate .. Will be out playing pro-circuit full time, in a couple of months I believe .. Harsh Mankad, who had lost in the singles second round this week, is in the semifinal of doubles now at the Canada F3 .. He picked up 13 points from three Canada futures (enough for a top-775 ranking)  - it was crucial for him to do something in Canada to ensure entries in the pro circuit - I think he is skipping the fall semester to thit the pro circuit full-time and then will decide on whether to go back to school or not by January [college players are allowed to take one semester off for pro tennis without losing college player status, I think] .. His doubles wins this week were also timely, because his doubles points for winning the satellite masters last year (with Ajay Ramaswamy) were to fall off in a week and this was his chance to get some points and stay in the rankings! .. Mankad-Franklin had upset the 3rd seeds Ghouse-Sridhar in R1 .. Also in the semis are Vikrant Chadha and James Shortall (who upset the 4th seeds Marafiote-Yeats today) and Manoj Mahadevan and Simon Shen, who upset the 2nd seeds Boulet-Cassaign today .. So, there is some doubles good news from Canada .. I have not seen the score of Vikrant's QF singles match .. Will give the score details in a compilation for everybody in US, Canada and Netherlands, soon.  Still no news on Radhika in Portugal .. The tennis correspondent at the only Portugese newspaper that I have seen giving online coverage of tennis (Journal de Noticiera, Lisbon) is at Wimbledon - that means no news from the Elvas women's satellite till our friend Alain Vincent gets hold of the official results!

June 28 Note-2

Bad start to the day after a one-hour rain delay, etc .. Two losses to talk about, for LP and then for Niru ..

Well .. Nothing went right for LP today .. One basic statistic will say what was wrong .. He got just 10 points off Escude's serve .. [R2] L.Paes (IND,286) l. #24 N.Escude (FRA,38), 36 46 26 .. LP served well, with 9 aces and maximum serve speeds going up to 121 mph (193 kmph), perhaps the fastest I have heard of, from him .. Escude wasn't serving any faster but he was definitely returning better and winning points off LP's serve .. LP also made 65 unforced errors, compared to 35 by Escude and that was the real problem too - included in LP's UEs were 7 double faults too .. Actually even avoiding those double faults and perhaps 5 to 10 fewer unforced errors (some of which were of course "forced" by Escude), could have turned the match around - after all LP was broken only once each in the first two sets .. The break sequence was -- LP broken in game 8 of the first set, game 5 of the second, and games 3 and 7 of the 3rd set .. 95 points won by Escude and 64 by LP .. Escude converted 4 of 13 break chances (LP serving about 4 of his aces at break points to stay alive a few times), but LP did not get any break points off NE at all .. Ouch .. The match took 100 minutes .. On to doubles for LP-MB later today.

LP proved a couple of things in this Wimbledon .. That he is able to play singles at least at the level he was playing a couple of years back - perhaps better .. Not good enough to beat top-40 type players on fast bouncy surfaces when he is not playing sharply enough, but certainly strong enough to win a lot of matches .. I hope he gets a few chances to play singles in the next few months and get back inside the top-100 where he probably still belongs.

As for Niru's doubles match, there is nothing much to say, as it was expected to be a miracle for them to even take a few games off the top-tanked doubles team in WTA .. Lisa and Rennae were too good for Niru and Rika today .. [R2] R.Hiraki/ N.Vaidyanathan l. #1 L.Raymond/ R.Stubbs, 16 16 .. Other than in the first service game in each set, Niru and Hiraki could not hold serve and they were unable to force any break points either .. Our pair were borken in games 4 and 6 in the first, and games 3,5,7 in the second .. Niru did make about $5000 for one round and that's good money for her .. More importantly, her ranking now moves up closer to top-100 which means she could go to a few Tier-II and Tier-IV events with assured entry in doubles and hospitality.

"We need a shot at redemption," as Paul Simon would sing .. Need a win in that Indian Express doubles match, starting in 2-3 hours .. More later.

June 28 Note-1

LP has a tough day today .. The first match starts at 12 noon against the 24th seed Nicolad Escude (FRA,38) .. That is 4.30 pm India, 4 am Los Angeles .. Come on into the chatroom  (again, a reminder to the fanclub and other friends in UK -- if any of you find the match on BBC interactive TV, do give us some comments, as we follow the ball-by-ball updates online) .. During the LP match or right after it gets done, we should be having Niru's doubles match also.

LP has been in good form .. The reports are that he served 22 aces against O'Brien in the final qualies and was simply too good against Elsner on Tuesday as well, playing grasscourt tennis with super confidence this time .. Escude is no easy opponent, though .. Contrary to what people think, that he must be a claycourter, he really is not just a clay player .. He is quite comfortable on grass .. He was a finalist on grass at the Rosmalen ATP last year, and has reached a couple of quarterfinals at Halle, Germany, etc .. Quite a talented fellow, 6 ft 1 in tall and with a good serve .. He was actually ranked near the top of the world juniors in 1993, though it took him a while to get into the top-100, partly due to some time off from tennis in 95-96 to recover from a herniated disk, etc .. LP has never played Escude, but Mahesh Bhupathi has .. Where else, but right there at Wimbledon qualies (at Roehampton actually) in 1997, when on the way to the main draw Mahesh upset him rather easily at 64 62 in the second round .. Escude was ranked inside top-150 then and seeded 19th in the qualies .. But that was then, and he has gone much higher in ranking ever since .. He does not stay away from grass and has no aversion to the surface either .. LP will have to pull out his best to get past this guy!..

Leander has been writing some articles in the Hindustan Times - here is today's version .. It turns out that they would have scheduled the doubles R1 for Wednesday, had Llodra been not injured on Tuesday .. This was to give him a day more to try and recover .. LP talks some details about how Elsner changed the strategy and took a couple of steps back to recieve serve, started swinging wildly in returning, and started serving second serve at the same pace (that means LP was killing him with second serve returns!) .. LP took a little time to adjusst - he sounded disappointed that he should have adjusted faster to Elsner's tactics .. Anyway, he did what was needed, put more underspin to make the ball skid on the evening dew on the grass and finished the work .. See the article from Prajwal Hegde in the Deccan Herald also .. The Hindu website has been inaccessible, and so we don't know what Nirmal Sekhar's account of the match was .. By the way, Leander thanks Mahesh and Rico for the courtside cheering during his match!

As for Niru's doubles match - well, what is there to say? .. Lisa Raymond and Rennae Stubbs are *really* good! :-) .. If Hiraki and Niru can pull this off against the #1 seeds ranked 2 and 3 in the world doubles, WOW, wouldn't that be wonderful??

June 27 Note-3

Quick updates -- LP plays his R2 against Escude at 12 noon tomorrow (4.30 pm India .. 7 am New York) and comes back for the 4th match on a court at about 6.30 pm for the LP-MB R1 doubles also .. Nirupama and Rika play R2 doubles against Raymond-Stubbs at about 2 pm  also .. So three matches for us tomorrow at Wimbledon .. Niru is not in the mixed doubles draw that just came out, but LP and MB are playing with usual partners Lisa Raymond and Elena Likhovtseva .. Manisha went down in singles at the Swedish challenger to top seed Hopmans but won the doubles R1 with Leanne Baker .. Sonal and Sheetal are the only seeds who reached final at Delhi masters, as 17 and 16 year old Megha Vakharia and Isha Lakhani each pulled off upsets in the semis .. 5th seed Rushmi was upset today in the first round at the Alkmaar satellite in the Netherlands .. Only Shruti Dhawan advanced to the R2 out of the quarter fo the draw which had Sai and Rushmi as the seeds .. Shruti lost her doubles R1 today though .. Ajay Ramaswami's R1 singles at the USTA F17a futures was today - scores tomorrow .. Ajay went down in doubles yesterday .. Vikrant Chadha's terrific run continues in Canada - he is in the QF of the F3 futures after beating Tebbutt! .. Harsh Mankad went down to Matt Klinger of Canada but picked up one ATP point more .. Harsh and Franklin upset 3rd seeds Rishi and Mustafa there in R1 .. Chadha-Shortall also are in the doubles QF there .. Go Vikrant! .. Sania Mirza and Olga Puchkova went down in doubles R2 today at the Roehamton grade-1 juniors .. No news from Portugal on Radhika Tulpule ..  That's the roundup - More details later!

Important request to those in the UK -- S_K_S just reported in our forum that Leander's R2 match can be seen tomorrow on BBC Interactive television, even though it is not on regular TV .. If any of you can give us commentary in the chatroom, we all will be eternally thankful !

June 27 Note-2

Great news from Wimbledon .. [R1] R.Hiraki/ N.Vaidyanathan d. S.Farina-Elia/ I.Tulyaganova, 62 64 !! .. Here is how it went - [Set-1] Our pair started in fine fashion .. In the very first game itself, they were up to a break point at 15-40 and breoke SF-IT on the first chance .. Both Niru and Hiraki served strong games and at 3-1, they went after SF-IT once more, breaking them easily at 15-40 again to go up two breaks to 5-1 .. They finished off the set with no drama at 6-2 .. [set-2] Our pair did not ease up on the pressure, and again converted their first break chance at 30-40 in the 3rd game to go up to 2-1 !! .. Now the issue was holding on to that break and making it count in the end .. The first time our pair faced a break attempt was at AD out in game 6 .. But after two deuces, RH-NV held .. That was important, because the match was pretty even now .. In the final game at 5-4, RH-NV had double match points at 40-15 .. Perhaps a bit of nerves there - they allowed it to go to a deuce .. No further trouble though, as they won the next two points, also converting their 3rd match point! .. The key stat for the match was that our girls converted all three break while the other pair went 0 for 1 .. The match took an hour and one minutes .. Niru gets 52 WTA doubles points (including 8 bonus) for her first grand slam doubles win, which will take her ranking up by about 15 spots to a career high right outside #110 now .. WOW !!

The bad news is that they now run up against the top seeds Lisa Raymond and Rennae Stubbs in the second round .. Those two beat Shinobu Asagoe and Yuka Yoshida, 60 75 today .. I think the second round will be on Friday .. This is turning out to be a fun-filled Wimbledon for us, isn't it ?

June 27 Note-1

Today's match at Wimbledon is [R1] R.Hiraki (JPN,85)/ N.Vaidyanathan (IND,127) vs S.Farina-Elia (ITA,46)/ I.Tulyaganova (UZB,60) .. The match is the second one on court 9 and should be starting by about 2 pm (6.30 pm India .. 9 am New York), plus/minus 30 min .. The chatroom will be raucous, as usual during the match.

This won't be an easy match, as the rankings would indicate, with our pair having a sum-rank twice that of the opponents .. Hiraki is quite experienced in the higher levels of tennis having been ranked near or inside top-20 of doubles in the past, but Niru is new to this level of doubles, having only played a couple of grand slam doubles matches in the past .. Sylvia Farina has been to two QFs at Wimbledon, and Iroda and Sylvia have also won a title this year (at the Tier-III Strasbourg WTA event) - so they are experienced together too .. By the way, 19 yr old Iroda was the Wimbledon junior champion in 1999, and is one of the fastest servers out there, having been timed at as high as 191 kmph in one of the WTA events .. Let's hope for a nice upset from RH-NV ..

A little tidbit -- Leander's win at Wimbledon yesterday was the first win by an Indian in Wimbledon singles in 11 years, since Ramesh Krishnan won one round (over Diego Perez of Uruguay) in 1990 !! .. Leander had played four Wimbledons in the past - he lost in 1996 (to Mark Petchey), 1997 (to Woodofrde), 1998 (to Wayne Black), and 1999 (to Andre Sa) .. He had only won one set at Wimbledon, a 6-1 first set against Petchey in 1996 - rather incredible for someone who was a Wimbledon junior champion, to have lost 12 sets in a row there .. But that is how poor our record has been at Wimbledon, the only good thing to talk about in 11 years being Mahesh qualifying in two times in a row in 98 and 99, and actually taking Carlos Moya to the brink of defeat in 5 sets in 1999 ..

Details from Canada -- Harsh Mankad won the first round at the Canada F3 futures, and so did qualifier Vikrant Chadha! .. Harsh beat Jonathan Beardsley (USA,639) easily, 62 62 yesterday - nice to see Harsh beating these guys rather routinely now .. Vikrant upset Dmitri Sitak (RUS,736), 16 75 63 in a nice comeback .. Both of them get one ATP point each for the R1 win .. Rishi Sridhar lost to lucky loser Hiroki Kondo (JPN,1086), 16 46 and Mustafa lost to qualifier Dominic Marafiote (AUS,863) 16 26 in R1 today .. In the second round, Harsh plays Matt Klinger (CAN) and Vikrant plays Michael Tebbut (AUS,601) .. The qualifying scores from the weekend -- #10 Vikrant Chadha [Q3] d. #2 Lazar Magdincev (MKD), 64 67(4) 62, [Q2] d. Keith From (USA) 64 62, [Q1] Stephen Goulet (CAN), 61 61 .. For  #4 Manoj Mahadevan, [Q2] l. Tyler Mayers (Trinidad), 36 26, [Q1] d. Pierre-Marc Villineuve (CAN), 63 62 ..The losses by Rishi, Mustafa and Manoj are disappointing - as they were all to players ranked rather low in ATP .. Vikrant has pulled a couple of upsets and is on a nice roll, though .. [Doubles main draw] 3rd seeds Ghouse-Sridhar play Mankad and Cary Franklin (USA) .. Vikrant continuing with his usual partner, James Shortall (NZL) .. They play Adam Baranowski and Michal Ciszek of Canada .. Manoj Mahadevan is playing with Simon Shen of USA and they face Kondo and Terachi of Japan [source: Tenniscanada]

At the $10K Elvas satellite in Portugal, 19 yr old Radhika Tulpule is the 5th seed, facing Alexandra Kravetz of Ukraine in R1 .. Radhika is playing with a new partner this week, but is again seeded 2nd in doubles (she reached the doubles SF last week, as I reported earlier) .. She and Agata Kurowska (POL) have a first round bye ..

At the $10K USA F17a futures, Ajay Ramaswami is in the main draw and played a qualifier, Toshihide Matsui, yesterday .. Will know the scores later today .. #1344 Aloke Bhide made in in as the last entry there (that is one more player in action this week!) .. The entries were rather low just for this week, because there are two futures in the US .. Aloke had a tough matchup against Doug Root (USA), the 7th seed .. Ajay is playing doubles with Oscar Johansson of Sweden, a top college player in the US ..  Earlier Akshay Jagdale, now at Rutgers Univ, went down in the final round of qualies [source: USTA circuit]

At the grade-1 ITF event in Roehamton, Prakash Amritraj (USA) went down fighting in the round of 16, to the 15th seed Iordan Kanev (BUL,25), 57 63 26 yesterday ..14 yr old Sania Mirza and OIga Puchkova (BLR) pulled off a tough doubles win there - 7-6(5), 4-6, 8-6, over Cristelle Grier and Julia Smith of Britian .. They play Dinara Safina and Anna Bastrikova of Russia in the PQF .. By the way, Miriam Casanova who beat Sania 62 63 in the first round of singles, went on to upset the 11th seed and world #19 Sunitha Rao (USA), 63 63 yesterday, and the guy who beat Sunil Kumar in R2 is now in the QF.

June 26 Note-3

Nirupama plays her first round doubles tomorrow - Wednesday at about 2 pm there .. More later on that .. LP gets the day off ..  LP-MB doubles is not on schedule for wednesday .. That is not good, because LP may now have to play two matches on Thursday .. Michael Llodra twisted his ankle in the singles match today, and so our guys may be facing the lucky losers in the first round .. We will know tomorrow.

At the Delhi satellite masters, Sheetal and Archana won the unfinished matches postponed from Monday, but otherwise it was all doubles today .. No surprises - see the Delhi masters page for scores.

At the $10K satellites in Alkmaar, Netherlands, 19 yr old Shruti Dhawan had a good quality win, over Nicole Sewell (AUS,585), 26 61 75 in the first round .. Shruti has only played a couple of events abroad, but has shown the talent to win some rounds, like she did in a couple of Asian satellites last year .. Always good nice to see her win one in perhaps only the second match she is playing on the European red clay .. She faces Mariona Gallifa Puigdesense (ESP) who upset Sai Jayalakshmi, 76 75 in the R1 today .. 5th seed Rushmi Chakravarti plays Heli Bargil in the first round tomorrow .. In doubles, the top seeds Sai and Rushmi were upset by Natasha Galouza and Lotty Seelen, 76 63 .. Sai and Rushmi are having a tough time so far in Europe .. Shruti will play first round doubles tomorrow .. Vijay Kannan also plays his doubles R1 tomorrow at the men's satellite leg going on at the same place ..

June 26 Note-2

This match started as a laugher, but LP actually had to put in some effort to close it in the end after dropping a set too .. [R1] (Q) L.Paes d. D.Elsner (GER), 60 61 36 75 .. here is how it went -- [Set1]  LP was in total domination in the first set, winning it 6-0 with breaks all over the place .. He converted his first set point at AD out, after three duces off SE's serve at 5-0 to go up a set .. [Set2]  Daniel held serve for the first time in the match in the second game, but he was again broken in games 4 and 6, only winning one point off his serve in those games .. LP comfortably closed ot this set also, hardly dropping many points on his serve either .. Things looked set to finish in an hour or so .. But wait .. It wasn't going to be THAT easy after all .. [Set 3]  In the 3rd set, LP's concentration must have gone walk-about.  He took Daniel to a deuce in the 3rd game, but he held and then broke LP at AD out to even lead 3-1 in the set.  LP held serve with no problem in the 6th game but seemed suddenly unable to mount much of attack on Elsner's serve .. Then in the 8th game, LP faced a set point at 30-40 and went through three deuces before holding serve for a 3-5 score .. LP did have a break point at 30-40 in the next game but could not enforce the break .. DE served off the next game at 40-30 .. [Set 4]  LP was immediately in trouble at 15-40 in the first game on his serve and dropped serve at 30-40 .. Now we had a real match in progress and this was looking like serious trouble for LP .. DE was holding serve very easily now, too .. At 1-2, LP was again down 0-30 and faced a 30-40 break point .. That was an important point .. He stayed away from digging a really deep hole, and held serve after one deuce! .. We could see that LP had no intention of letting the match totally slip away from him .. He was not getting much off Daniel serves still, however .. It went till 2-3 when LP won four points in a row off DE's serve from 0-40 and had a break point .. LP again could not convert that point but it was deuce ..  The online scoreboard went on the blick at this point, but I assume he broke DE there .. When we saw the score again, it was 6-5 on serve and DE was serving to stay alive .. At the right time, Leander went to work -- LP went ahead 15-40 there and converted the match point to get his first win at Wimbledon !!   .. Leander finished the job just on time, as it was 9 pm and there was hardly any light left .. They postponed the one remaining match (Tanasugran vs Black on the women's side) 2 minutes later due to poor light .. I am sure none of us (and LP) wanted worry about this match all night .. Go Leander !!

LP gets 50 big points .. 15 for qualifying in, and 35 for winning a round .. He plays Nicolas Escude (FRA,38) next .. More later.

Shruti won the first round at Netherlands .. Sai got upset .. No news on Rushmi yet .. That and many more items will be updated soon ..

June 26 Note-1

Leander Paes' first round match at Wimbledon is the 4th and final match on court 11 tomorrow .. [R1] L.Paes (IND) vs D.Elsner (GER) .. The start time is about 6 pm (10.30 pm India .. 1 pm New York), plus or minus 45 minutes .. Daniel Elsner is just not known as a grasscourt player, though - he hardly plays on the surface and he has had a pretty poor run this year, with his ranking falling to #148 now .. LP does have a good chance to advance .. Come on into the chatroom for some online cheering for Leander!

News from Canada - Vikrant Chadha beat Lazar Magdincev of Macedonia, a pretty good player, in a marathon three-setter to qualify into the main draw of the Canada F3 futures yesterday .. I don't have the details yet .. I believe he will be playing Rishi Sridhar in the main draw .. Rishi and Mustafa will be facing Harsh Mankad and Cary Franklin (USA) in the first round of doubles as well .. Nice Indian party going on out there, I guess.

By the way, check out this article in the Deccan Herald - Williams unveils grandiose plans for Indian tennis - it's about Richard Williams of Venus-Serena fame talking about his plans .. I assume he mentioned these thoughts to Prajwal Hegde, who is in UK to cover Wimbledon for Deccan Herald .. Inetersting, eh ? .. I wonder if he has any idea what he is getting into, though .. You have to give it to the man, though - he keeps springing these surprises .. Comments? .. Go to our forum and give your opinions.

June 25 Note-3

Manisha Malhotra has a tough draw at the $25K Bastad challenger in Sweden - she gets the top seed Amanda Hopmans (NED,151) .. Manisha and Leanne Baker are the top seeds in that challenger in doubles .. Wow! .. Look what their new rankings after the title two weeks back is doing, eh? .. They face Jana Hlavackova (CZE) and Lubomira Kurhajcova (SVK) in teh first round.

At Delhi today, 17 yr old Samrita and 16 yr old Isha again showed their mettle, reaching the QF of the masters leg of the satellites .. Top seed Sonal is in very confident form in this circuit though .. She advanced to the QF as well .. 4th seed Sheetal and 2nd seed Archana seemed to be getting ready to close out their matches when rains came down .. See the Delhi masters page.

Shruti Dhawan, Sai Jayalakshmi and Rushmi Chakravarti are in netherlands for the Alkmaar $10K satellite.. They are all in the singles and doubles draws (Sai-Rushmi are the top seeds in doubles - so they did not stay in Italy as I expected) .. Will update news as they come in.

Bad news from UK .. Sunil Kumar played a decent match against the world #9 Brian Soderling, but lost 46 57 today at the grade-1 LTA junior grasscourts second round in Roehamton, UK .. Prakash Amritraj of the USA had a great win, 61 76(4) over #42 Benjamin Ballaret to advance to the round of 16 .. I believe this is Prakash's first top-50 win ..  He faces the 15th seed Iordan Kanev (BUL) next .. In doubles, Amanjot Singh and Goran Kovacevic played a heartbreaker first round match against the second seeds Tomas Berdych (CZE) and Bart De Gier (NED), falling 3-6 7-6(6) 9-11 ! .. The Amritraj cousins, Stephen and Prakash of USA, also fell in the first round .. By the way, since a couple of you emailed asking me why I keep doing the "of USA" for Prakash, it is because he is still listed as such by ITF junior rank list .. I do that for all Indian names from abroad, such as Rajeev Ram, Sunitha Rao, Arthi Venkatesan, Kavita Krishnamurthy etc .. If I don't see "(IND)" listed by the official sanctioning agency of the tournament, I point out which country these players are playing for .. Till they get it changed, I stick to my uniform policy - though I continue to follow the players somewhat closely .. .You will notice that I did not say "of USA" for Prakash during the Indian futures last month, because ITF and ATP listed him as an Indian .. ATP rank list still does .. Perhaps I should stop the qualifying phrase for Prakash using that excuse (after all, he is one player who has publicly said he would like to play for India if given a chance) .. Anyway, it's a pain for me to keep typing that phrase though :-)  .. But I am sometimes a stickler to the officialness in these things ..

Bad news from Netherlands also - Vijay Kannan ran into some heavy weather in the Dutch satellites .. He lost the first leg's R1 match while trying to get used to the red clay two weeks back .. Then last week in the R1 he ended up facing a red-hot Hisham Hemeda (EGY), the 4th seed and the eventual double crown winner .. That meant he had to play qualies to enter the 3rd week, with just 2 circuit points .. He had a bye and then won a round this weekend at Alkmaar, only to fall in the final round in a close match .. So he gets no ATP points as he will be unable to qualify for the masters leg .. That's a pity! .. He is in the doubles main draw this week though.

Awaiting news yet from Harsh Mankad, Ajay Ramaswami, Rishi Sridhar and Mustafa Ghouse in the the North American futures ..Also Vikrant Chadha and Akshay Jagdale in the qualies there .. Later.

June 25 Note-2

Sunil has won the first round at the grade-1 ITF LTA championships at Roehamton yesterday, beating Clinton Letcher (AUS,72), 63 62 .. He faces a tough 7th seed, Brian Soderling (SWE,9) in the round of 32 .. Prakash Amritraj of USA beat Florian Lemke (GER,54) 36 63 63 in the R1 - he faces Benjamin Ballaret (FRA,42) next .. Prakash got a bit lucky - 3rd seed Brian Dabul retired in a close match against Ballaret .. #62 Sania Mirza went down 26 36 to #26 Miriyam Casanova (SUI,26) .. In doubles, Amanjot Singh is in the main draw with Kovacevic of Australia and Sania is playing with Puchkova of Belarus.

Akshay Jagdale, who is in the college program at Rutgers University, is in the final round of qualies at the $10K USA F17a futures in Hampton, New York .. Ajay Ramaswami is in the main draw there, I believe .. The draw is not out yet.

Last week's scores from Portugal .. Radhika Tulpule and Natasha ven der merwe (RSA) had a first round bye and won the QFover Angela Cordoso (POR) and Cecilia Perez Audero (ARG), 62 60 .. They lost in the semis to the eventual winners, Grant Doyle and Karen Nugent of Ireland, 26 26 .. In singles, Radhika lost 06 36 to Frederika Piedade in the second round but had won a round over Cristina Arribas, 60 36 76(3) to pick up a WTA point .. Also, Jyotsna Vasisht was in the Easton satellite in Maryland, USA last week .. Lost 16 06 to Michelle Dasso of USA  .. In doubles, Jyotsna and Brandi Freudenberg (USA) won the first round Dziamidzenka (BLR) and Ahsa Rolle (USA), 36 63 63 and fell in the QFs to Raquel Kops-Jones and sara Walker of USA, 16 26 [source: Alain Vincent] ..

More soon ..

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!

.. Previous notes are at Notes for the week ending on June 25 ..

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.