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Indian-Tennis: Daily News for the weeks ending on July 04, 2005
(Previous week's notes) (Next week's notes) (Daily Notes Index 1997 thru 2005)

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July 8 Notes

I was back from my travel three days back, but was goofing off, as nothing much earthshattering happened this week so far, though things looked very promising early on at the $25K+H Nottingham challenger on grass .. Harsh Mankad (IND,241) had an upset win in the first round there, 76(0) 63 over David Sherwood (GBR,219) - which was nice revenge for two losses he had had to David earlier on .. However, HM got injured with a left quadriceps strain (does not appear to be too serious) which caused a 61 64 loss against Mark Hilton (GBR,202) whom Harsh had beaten twice this year .. Prakash Amritraj (IND,256), who had that great run at the Forest Hills challenger which ended in a 36 67(3) loss to Frederic Niemeyer (CAN,217), could not get much going this week at Nottingham, as he had a shoulder tightness resulting in a first round retirement at 46 14 against Travis Rettenmeier, again a player he had beaten twice this year .. Rohan Bopanna (IND,381) had a nice run in qualifying in - after a bye, the 6th seed beat the British wildcard Robert Chambers, 63 60 and had a nice 63 62 win over the 3rd seed Adam Feeney (AUS,418) .. Bofors, however, got no help from the draw - as he drew the top seed Marcos Baghdatis (CYP,74) in the main draw first round .. Bops had a great start and had a nice comeback fight in the 3rd set too, but he went down with guns blazing at 75 16 57 .. Sunil Kumar Sipaeya (IND,397) was in the qualies as the 2nd seed .. He had a bye and a 2-1 (Ret) win over Nathan Rooney (GBR,1251), but he then lost to the 7th seed Frank Moser (GER,540) .. Mustafa Ghouse (IND,811) beat Adam Lownsbrough (GBR,1362) 60 62 in the Q1 and then went down fighting, 67(3) 75 36 to Frank Moser .. So, what looked very promising earlier in the week fizzled out fast at Nottingham with the very chilly weather adding to injury problems for HM and PA and then RB getting a poor draw.

Doubles also did not go well at Nottingham .. Harsh and Mustafa were seeded 4th and wre leading 64 11 when their R1 match against Lee Childs anbd David Sherwood was postponed on Tuesday .. But after HM had injury troubles in the singles match the next day, they had to give a walkover in doubles .. British wildcards, Joshua Goodall and Martin Lee beat Frederik Nielsen (DEN) and Sunil Kumar, 64 64, in the R1 .. In the first round of doubles qualies, the top seeds Adam Feeney (AUS) and Travis Rettenmaier (USA) beat Rohan Bopanna and Marcus Sarstrand (SWE) 76(5) 46 76(4) .. So that was it for doubles .. Prakash did not play doubles this week.

Well, these t hings happen .. Great news on week and poor the next week .. The Indian contingent proceeds to Manchester for next week's grasscourt challenger .. Harsh is in the main draw, but Prakash is 7th out as of now .. All but HM would have to play qualies .. After next week, the whole conigent may be coming to the Tarzana challenger in the US, so a lot of tennis to look forward to.

The women were all mostly off this week - but Shikha and Neha are expected at the Lewisville challenger next week ..

By the way, as I have not had an update since last saturday - let me congratulate Mahesh and Mary Pierce for a great title at Wimbledon, where they did not drop a set in six matches .. MB's 8th grand slam title, 3rd in mixed doubles ..  Here is a picture (couortesy: Wimbledon site)

Mahesh and Mary Pierce with the Wimbledon 05 MxD Title

Congratulations!! .. Mahesh said he might play with Pierce at the US Open, but it will be decided later .. MB next plays doubles with Martin Damm in two weeks at Stuttgart ..

For the record, unseeded MB-MP won the SF on Sunday by a 75 61 score over the 3rd seeds Bjorkman and Lisa Raymond, and then won the title match also on Sunday, 64 62 over Paul Hanley and Tathiana Perebiynis ..

July 2 Notes

Quick update, as I am away traveling right now .. Great news from Forest Hills grass challenger, as Prakash Amritraj (IND,314) is in the final!!! .. He beat Rajeev Ram (USA,309) 75 57 76 today to reach the second challenger final of his career !! .. He plays 217th ranked Fred Niemeyer of Canada in the final tomorrow !! .. Kash had beaten Rik DeVoest (RSA,204) 67(4) 63 63 yesterday .. Two tough back to back wins pulled of by P$ to get to the final .. Wow! .. Kash will move back up right at around #250 now ..

Mahesh plays the MxD semifinal at Wimbledon tomorrow (and hopefully the final also, which is set for tomorrow) .. The SF is against 3rd seeds Bjorkman-Raymond .. Hesh and Mary Pierce had won the QF on Friday upsetting the 12th seeds Olivier Rochus and Kim Clijsters easily, 61 75 .. They have not dropped a set so far in 4 wins .. Go Hesh!

By the way, qualifiers Huss-Moodie who "upset" Woodbridge and Bhupathi in the second round went on to pull one upset after another and won the title in one of the most incredible cynderella runs Wimbledon has ever seen .. Beating Bryans in the final, Black-Ullyett in the SF etc too .. Wow .. Perhaps Woodbridge shouldn't have felt so bad at the early loss this year, after all.

June 30 Notes

Mahesh's MxD QF match at the Wimbledon got postponed to today (Friday) due to rain yesterday .. It will be against Kim Clijsters and Olivier Rochus .. At about 1.30 pm .. In the boys' doubles R2 match Jeevan and Sanam played closely but lost a 57 67(4) match to a Canadian pair .. Very close match, actually .. One break in game 12 of the first set and none in the second .. Vivek and Abdullah play the R2 tomorrow ..

Another terrific match by Prakash Amritraj .. He beat Eric Taino (USA,369), 75 62 yesterday to reach the QF at the Forest Hills challenger .. Taino was ranked as high as #122 18 months back, but not playing as well these days .. Still, he is the kind of player that used to give trouble to Prakash till recently .. So it is good going for Kash there .. Up next is Rik DeVoest (RSA,204) .. Prakash and Giovanni Lapentti won the doubles R1 as well, 61 62 over John Paul Fruttero and Glenn Weiner of USA .. That is another good win over a decent pair of players.  They play the 4th seeds Rajeev Ram and Bobby Reynolds of USA next ..

Mustafa and Adam Chadaj (POL) lost the doubles QF at the $25K+H Montauban challenger in France, 36 67(2) to Ti Chen (TPE) and Joseph Nesticky (CZE) yesterday.

The big news today is that Mahesh Bhupathi will be partnering Martin Damm (CZE) for the rest of the year in doubles .. Damm is a pretty good doubles player .. 31 titles under the belt for the 32 year old, though he doesn't have too many big titles.. He has one grand slam final and three masters titles, but to be fair, he has nevert seemed to play with a true top-notch partner like a Mahesh .. Hopefully this partnership will work out .. MB has never played with Damm.

June 29 Note-2

Tomorrow at Wimbledon, Mahesh and Mary Pierce play the MxD QF against the 12th seeds, Olivier Rochus and Kim Clijsters of Belgium at about 3.30 pm (8 pm India, 10.30 am NY) .. Jeevan and Sanam play Philp Bester and Peter Polansky of Canada at about 3 pm .. Vivek and Abdullah Magdas (KUW) play Samuel Groth (AUS) and Andrew Kennaugh (GBR) at 5 pm.

A sad announcement today by Todd Woodbridge (AUS) that he is retiring immediately from the professional circuit and Davis Cup .. A bit shocked about the timing, but that second round loss to Huss and Moodie did affect him - so much so that he wept on court and Mahesh had to console him .. But Todd knew that the end had come to a great career - he is of course one player that we all just simply call The Legend (the other being Martina, of course) .. He actually knew for much of this year that it was getting to be time .. Losing early at Wimbledon just accelerated the decision, I suppose .. It is a tough break for Mahesh, but there is still half a year left and he can hopefully find a good partner for the rest of the year .. Farewell, and thanksd for the memories, Todd!

Ok, on to the huge huge news of the day!! .... Just a couple of days back I was feeling bad that Prakash has drawn the tough top seed in back to back challengers .. Little did I know that Prakash had other plans - he came out there today for the 3rd set of the unfinished match and took it straight to the top seed, pulling off one of the biggest upsets of his career! .. At the $50K greasscourt challenger at Forest Hills, NY, [R1] Prakash Amritraj (IND,314) d. (1) Giovanni Lapentti (ECU,114), 63 46 62 .. He went ahead at 2-1 with a break and then picked up one more insurance break to rout the top seed, who was actually quite upset with himself, throwing his racket and picking up point penalty etc .. There is a great match report by our onsite fanclub member match report, from Gurvinder in the forum ..  Prakash plays Eric Taino (USA,369) tomorrow in the second round .. Go Kash!!!!! .. Prakash has been playing some smash-mouth tennis lately .. It is so nice to see our best two, Harsh and Prakash beginning to regularly pull off challenger wins and moving up the ranks .. In the doubles draw, Prakash is playing with Lapentti again, and they face the American pair, Glenn Weiner and John Paul Fruttero.

Not a good day for Karan Rastogi today at the USA F15 futures in Buffalo -- he went down 26 57 to qualifier Alex Clayton (USA) .. A bit of a surprise, as Alex is a 17 year old who is ranked #49 in the world junior ranks .. But he had three dominating wins in the qualies - any player who comes through the US futures qualies is normally a good one .. Karan may be a little short on match practice after the 4-week physical training program in Florida - that and the clkay surface all must have conspired to cause the loss, in addition to Clayton being in hot form.  Karan will now go to the USA F16 futures in Pittsburgh.

The entry list for the Tarzana challenger in California in 3 weeks time, shows both Harsh and Prakash in the main draw, with Bopanna and Karan in the qualifying list .. Both Prakash and Harsh will be at the Nottingham grass challenger next week (Harsh in the main draw, and prakash currently next-in, but sure to make it) .. Both will also be at the Manchester challenger the week after (Harsh in the main draw; Prakash almost surely will need qualies there) .. I assume Bopanna also may go to UK and would try the qualies at the two grass challengers

June 29 Note-1

Leander and Nenad played a barnburner 2 hour 40 minutes match against the 4th seeds Wayne Black and Kevin Ullyett and lost one in the QF at Wimbledon by the narrowest of margins just now .. 57 67(8) 67(8) ..  Hardly many break points in the whole long match .. Our guys had 4 of them and the other guys had 5 .. WB-KU converted one in the first set to go ahead .. They traded one break each in the second .. Not even a whiff of break chances in the third, and even in the final tiebreaker, the first minibreak came at 8-8 .. It was that close, but our guys' inability to take points off the Zimbabweans' serve in the end proved fatal, though to be fair, Lee and Zimo were hardly giving points on their serve either (not to mention serving an unusually large number of aces - 16 of them, to 5 by the winning team) .. One of those days .. Mahesh and Mary advanced in straight sets and are in the QF of MxD now ..  Here are the results from today and yesterday ..

[QF] (5) Leander Paes/ Nenad Zimonjic (SCG) l. (4) Wayne Black (ZIM)/ Kevin Ullyett (ZIM), 57 67(8) 67(8)
[R3] Mahesh Bhupathi/ Mary Pierce (FRA) d. Martin Garcia (ARG)/ Mara Santangelo (ITA), 63 76(5)
[R1] Vivek Shokeen/ Abdullah Magdas (KUW) d. Christoph Hodl (AUT)/ Jochen Schottler (GER), 46 63 97
[R3] (5) Leander Paes/ Nenad Zimonjic (SCG) vs Karol Beck (SVK)/ Jaroslav Levinsky (CZE), 75 63 64
[R2] Sanam K Singh (IND,37) l. Antal Van Der Duim (NED,23), 26 36
[R2] Vivek Shokeen (IND,28) l. (17) Thiemo De Bakker (NED,21), 57 64 16
[R1] Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan/ Sanam K Singh d. Sho Aida (JPN)/ Jiri Kosler (CZE), 63 64

Really good fight from Viovek and Abdullah today, as they were about to lose at 3-5, and facing serve at 30-30 in the third set .. B roke back there to get on serve and then broke the other guys at 8-7 to win it .. So we go 2-1 today at Wimbledon .. Mahesh in mixed doubles QF and the three boys in the doubles PQF remain now at Wimbledon.

In other news, Prakash Amritraj (IND,319) is playing a really good match at the $50K Forest Hills grass challenger against the top seed Giovanni Lapentti (ECU,114) .. The match was postponed late in the evening at 63 46 00 .. Here is the nice onsite fanclub member match report, from Gurvinder in the forum .. Hope Kash can come in and close the show today, when they play at about 1 pm ..

Shikha Uberoi could not do a whole lot against the second seed  Julia Schruff (GER,91) in a 26 46 loss in the first round at the $75K Fano challenger on clay in Italy .. I presume Shikha is looking forward to getting back to her favorite surface, hardcourts, in the US .. Grass and clay in Europe have not been kind to her, for sure.

At the $10K USA F15 futures in Buffalo, NY, 4th seeds Karan Rastogi and Philipp Gubenco (CAN) lost 63 36 46 to Jesse Witten and Hamid Mirzadeh of USA in the first round of doubles .. Karan plays the singles R1 today at about 3 pm.

June 28 Notes

Today's matches at the Wimbledon are:

[R3] (5) Leander Paes/ Nenad Zimonjic (SCG) vs Karol Beck (SVK)/ Jaroslav Levinsky (CZE) .. at 2 pm (6.30 pm India) +/- 15 min.
[R3] Mahesh Bhupathi/ Mary Pierce (FRA) vs Martin Garcia (ARG)/ Mara Santangelo (ITA) .. at 6 pm (10.30 pm India) +/- 45 min.
[R2] Sanam K Singh (IND,37) vs Antal Van Der Duim (NED,23) .. at 11 am (3.30 pm India)
[R2] Vivek Shokeen (IND,28) vs (17) Thiemo De Bakker (NED,21) .. at 11 am (3.30 pm India)
[R1] Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan/ Sanam K Singh vs Sho Aida (JPN)/ Jiri Kosler (CZE) .. at 4.30 pm (9 pm India) +/- 30 min

Shikha Uberoi (IND,134) plays the first round today against the second seed Julia Schruff (GER,91) at the $75K Fano challenger in Italy on clay .. The match is at about 4 pm there .. Tough draw for Shikha again, but she is capable of upsetting Julia .. Go Shikha!

Prakash Amritraj (IND,319) plays the first round today against the top seed Giovanni Lapentti (ECU,114) at about 5 pm at the $50K Forest Hills grass court chellenger on the center court - the featured night match there ..

Karan Rastogi (IND,593) plays the first round at the $10K USTA F15 futures in Williamsville, right outside Buffalo, NY, USA .. He is drawn against qualifier Alex Clayton (USA,1487) .. This event is on clay, and it is never easy to play a qualifier who came through 4 rounds out there .. Go Karan! .. Mostly only doubles on schedule for Tuesday, and Karan, seeded 4th with partner Philip Gubenco (CAN) faces a tough US pair, Hamid Mirzadeh and Jesse Witten today .. Karan had just spent 4 weeks at the Nick Bollitieri's academy, mainly only on physical training  .. He had originally planned to do physical training last december but had to postpone it because of the ill-timed Rotterdam ABN Amro pre-qualifiers in Mumbai, which he won .. I am glad that he got to do it, even though it required him to skip the Indian satellites (it was actually a good time at Bollitieri's because the top players were all out there in Europe) .. It is also nice to see him get on clay too .. The 18 year old is focusing on improving his game for the next year rather than on chasing points and rankings for the time being .. And that is the right plan!

June 27 Note-2

Today's results from Wimbledon -

[R2] (5) Leander Paes (IND)/ Nenad Zimonjic (SCG) d. Rick Leach (USA)/ Travis Parrott (USA), 36 63 64 76(4)
[R2] Mahesh Bhupathi (IND)/ Mary Pierce (FRA) d. (2) Wayne Black (ZIM)/ Cara Black (ZIM), 63 64
[R2] Simon Aspelin (SWE)/ Sania Mirza (IND) l. (7) Leos Friedl (CZE)/ Janette Husarova (SVK), 26 46
[R1] Vivek Shokeen (IND,27) d. Robin Roshardt (SUI,41) 36 60 63

It is a good day when we go 3-1 there .. Vivek's win against Robin was especially impressive, because he came up with 13 aces to bludgeon Robin, after a slow start (heer are the rather impressive match stats) .. Here are the reports from our own onsite fanclub member, PK Basu on all four matches out there! -- in our forum .. Thanks, PKB! .. He had flown in just for two days unexpectedly, and was thankful to get help from Sania's mom, Naseema Mirza, for tickets (Thanks Naseema for helping us out!)

Preety good work by Leander and Nenad today to get past the team that had upset LP and Rikl last year there .. LP's elbow still hurts a bit but he is playing well, and he made the right decision in not playing mixed doubles ..  Mahesh and Mary have cruised so far - and today's was a big upset, over two excellent doubles players, as their #2 seeding would show ..  As for Sania's MxD match, PKB reports that it was much closer than the scorelines would indicate .. Both Mahesh and Leander face opponenets who had upsets seeds in the R2 rounnd, tomorrow, as this Wimbledon keeps chugging along nicely (I hope I didn't speak too soon -- rain is never more than a few yards away in England!) .. Both Vivek and Sanam have tough matches .. Vivek faces the guy he upset just last week at Roehampton, but this is a new week and that Dutch boy will have revenge on his mind.

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)

.. Previous notes are at Notes for the weeks ending on June 27 ..

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