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LP/MB/NV/Indian-Tennis: Notes for the week ending on July 16, 2001
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July 16 Notes

Nirupama won the first round of singles at the $50K Mahwah challenger, beating Lisa McShea (AUS,178), 60 75 .. She plays Sarah Taylor (GBR,221) tomorrow in the R2 .. More later!

July 15 Note-2

Nirupama is the defending champion in doubles at the $50K Mahwah challenger, where she won it with Evie Dominikovic last year .. She started the defense of the title well today .. Niru has a new partner, Renata Kolbovic (CAN,137) .. They are seeded 3rd and beat Zuzana Lesenarova (CZE) and Nicole Melch (AUT), 63 26 62 .. They face Jane Oakada and Ryoko Takemura of Japan in the quarterfinal .. The top seeds are two of Niru's former partners - Lisa McShea (#53) and Nana Miyagi (#71) .. By the way, Niru's doubles rank is a career-jigh #117 this week .. I think she will be playing her singles first round tomorrow (Monday) against Lisa McShea.

It doesn't look like the Indian boys did well in the qualies at Joplin, Missouri, for the USA F18 qualies .. I will await confirmation.

July 15 Note-1

Nirupama is actually at the $50K Mahwah challenger .. Sorry for the wrong info below - I thought I had seen the main draw entry list earlier and not found her .. As I don't remember where I saw the list, I assume I was mistaken .. #155 Nirupama is seeded 6th and plays Lisa McShea (AUS,180) in the first round .. Niru is drawn in the same quarter ofr the draw as the 2nd seed #100 Alina Jidkova .. By the way, Niru is at her highest ranking in over 4 years right now, but she has a good number of points falling off from now on.

In the semifinal at the $10K USA F17c satellite in Peoria Illinois, Mustafa and Dominic Biasella gave a wwalkover to Magdnicev and Nielsen .. As I see Biasella in the qualifying draw at next week's satellite, I assume this was because he wanted to play qualies there.

More good news from 14 yr old Karan Rastogi .. He is in another semifinal .. At the Grade-5 Carthago Cup in Tunisia .. He repeated his upset of #175 Fares Zaier (TUN) from last week .. Zeier was the second seed .. This time for a 64 64 win .. He then beat David Luque of Spain 60 62 to reach the SF where he  was to  play #198 Phodos Kallias of Cyprus .. This week's junior event in Tunisia is also on clay, as was last week's where Karan had reached the SF .. He gets 15 more points to move up inside top-240 now .. Nice climb for him .. 15 yr old Rishi Behl went down in the second round to Tarek Ben Sultane of Tunisia, 16 16 ..

July 13 Notes

Bad news from UK .. Unseeded Manisha Malhotra's fantastic run ended in the semifinal against the defending champion Roberta Vinci (ITA,220), 36 46 .. She took more games than other players off red-hot Roberta, and that is one positive, I guess .. But a great week for Manisha, who picked up enough points to go to a career-high ranking inside the top-320 in two weeks ..

At the $50K+H Granby challenger, qualifiers Harsh Mankad and Jonathan Beardsley finally played their QF match this afternoon, after rain washouts of many matches over the last three days .. They went down 36 63 36 to the 3rd seeds Brandon Hawk and Robert Kendrick of USA, who were over a 1000 spots higher in sum-rank .. Decent match I guess, considering that Harsh had a one-week-only partner .. He picked up 17 ATP points to add to the 12 he had in the previous event in Canada for the title, and will now move to around 750 in ranking on Monday - which is good enough to get entries from now on at the futures (after the coming week) .. Harsh is in the main draw of the USA F18 futures in Joplin, Missouri where the main draw starts on Tuesday .. The competition has become even tougher in the US futures actually .. Manoj, Rishi and Vikrant are all in the qualifying rounds this weekend there - as the 7th, 9th and 11th seeds respectively in a massive qualifying event with 120 players for 8 spots .. Four rounds to reach the main draw - yikes! .. Rishi and Manoj have first round byes, but Vikrant has to win four rounds and then win a main draw round to get one ATP point .. Man, that is brutal .. I think Mustafa must have made the main draw (or he could not get there to sign in and may have missed singles for next week - as he was still playing doubles at the USA F17c this week) ..  Harsh will get there tomorrow.

At the $10K F17c futures in Peroria, Illinois, yesterday, 3rd seeded Mustafa Ghouse and Adriano Biasella (ITA) won the QF over Sadik Kadir (AUS) and Marcio Torres (BRA), 63 64 .. In the semifinal today, they were to play Lazar Magdincev and Mark Nielsen, who had upset the top seeds Dominic Marafiotte and Matthew Yeatts.

Finally found the $10 Getxo satellite results, courtesy Alain Vincent, but only bad news to report from there .. The 5th seed Sai Jayalakshmy was upset by Sonia Delgado (ESP), 76(5) 16 62, the 7th seed Rushmi Chakravarti was upset by Carolina Rodriguez (ESP), 64 61, and unseeded Shruti Dhawan was upset by qualifier Karina Jacobgaard (DEN), 61 62 .. Damn .. No imporvement from week to week for our girls there .. Rushmi and Sai finally won at least a couple of doubles matches .. They were seeded second .. Beat Nuria Roig and Gabrieala Velasco Andreu of Spain, 75 64 in the first round, and then Carlota Santos (POR) and Karina Jacobgaard (DEN), 16 61 64, before falling in the semifinals to the 4th seeds Anna Font (ESP) and Raissa Gorevich (RUS), 36 36 .. Shruti Dhawan and Rochelle Rosenfield of Australia lost to the Sanchez Aleyotte sisters (?) of Spain, 57 16 in the first round.

They will all be at the $25K Villadolid (Spain) challenger next week .. Manisha Malhotra joins them, and has made the main draw .. Sai was #4, Rushmi #7 and Shruti #14 in the qualifying rounds for that when entries closed .. Sai may possibly have made the main draw by now .. I didn't see Leanne Baker in the lists, so Manisha may be playing doubles with someone else.

I saw the entry lists of the $50K Mahwah challenger where the qualies started today (main draw starts Sunday) .. Niru is not there .. Actually she is not in the lists for any of the other challengers either .. That surprises me - as she has a bunch of points dropping off now, for the semi at the $50K Mahwah challenger last year, etc .. I will have to check if she decided to skip challengers and go to any of the WTA tour events this week.

July 12 Note-2

Terrific news from the $25K Flexistove challenger in UK .. Manisha Malhotra has reached her first challenger SF there, with her first top-250 upset! .. Beat Elena Baltacha (GBR,241), 63 75 today .. It was just a matter of time before Manisha was to have a breakthrough challenger, and I could have bet some money that it would happen at a grass event actually, too .. The win gives her 14 total WTA points to add to the 43.50 she has from her best 17 events now .. The rankings should move up from 352 to about 315 or so now, ensuring entries into a whole lot of challengers from now on .. She now runs into the 5th seeded Roberta Vinci (ITA,220) .. Roberta is the defending champ there - a very good grasscourt player who has not dropped a set, and hardly many games in three wins so far at Flexistowe - 64 60, 62 60 and 63 60, the QF win being an upset of the top seeded Annabelle Ellwood ranked #162 .. But Manisha has nothing to lose - go girl go!

July 12 Note-1

Great news from UK .. Unseeded Manisha Malhotra (#352) has reached the quarterfinal of the $25K Flexistowe grasscourt challenger !! .. Here are the scores .. She beat Nicole Rencken (RSA,384) 46 75 62 .. Then she beat Marion Bartolli (FRA,417), in a big comeback nailbiter, 67(5) 76(4) 76(5) in R2 .. Marion had upset the 3rd seeded Hannah Collin (GBR,218), 62 61 in the first round, and so this was a pretty good win for Manisha .. This is her first chalenger quarterfinal and gives her 8 big WTA points including two quality (bonus) points for beating top-500 players .. She plays Elena Baltacha (GBR) .. In doubles, however, Manisha and Lianne Baker could not upset the top seeds Trudy Musgrave and Julie Pullin - they lost 46 63 36 in a good match .. It's so nice to see Manisha slowly but steadily improving her singles ranking with some excellent perseverence and dedication to playing the tour seriously .. I am not sure if she is playing the QF today or tomorrow .. I saw a couple of results from the QFs held today, but Manisha may be playing her match tomorrow.

I have not seen any news from the Getxo satellite in Spain, excpet for two line items in El Correo (Viscayo, Spain), mentioning that three seeds fell in the first round and two more in the second round .. No idea who they were - hopefully not Sai and Rushmi.

All three Indians fell in the first round of the $10K USA F17c satellite in Peoria, Illinois -- Manoj Mahadevan at least put up a fight, falling 36 75 16 to the 5th seed Ignacio Gonzales-King (ARG,617) .. Mustafa Ghouse fell to Sebastien Fitz (GER,688) 46 26 and Rishi Sridhar lost to unseeded Ruben de Klijn (NED), 26 06 .. Ouch .. I am disappointed that after 5 weeks in the circuit here, none of the three have picked up a main draw singles win yet .. Oh well .. In doubles, 3rd seede Mustafa Ghouse and Adriano Biasella (ITA) have reached the QF with a 62 61 win over US wildcards Matt Maris and Steven McRaven .. Rishi and Manoj, seeded 4th, went down 60 36 67(5) to brothers (?) Ignacio and Pablo Gonzales-King (ARG).

Harsh Mankad and Jonathan Beardsley plays the doubles QF today at the $50K+H Granby challenger against the 3rd seeds there.

Karan Rastogi won the first round at the grade-5 Carthago Cup in Tunisia this week .. He beat Jonas Mouly of France, 46 60 63 - another comeback win .. He now faces the second seed Fares Zaier (TUN,175), whom he had upset in straight sets last week .. Also pulling an upset was 15 yr old Rishi Behl, ranked 488 now, who upset Shunsuke Shimizu (JPN,233), 62 76(1) who was seeded too .. He plays unseeded Tarek Ben Sultani of Tunisia next .. These two boys are doing quite nicely there .. In other news, Nishank and Shivang Mishra of Delhi lost in the first round of doubles, at the ITF junior Grade-1 German Open ..

July 11 Notes

Some heartening news from Tunisia last week .. Karan Rastogi played a grade-3 ITF juior event there and reached the semifinal, upsetting two players ranked in the top-200 along the way! ..  He beat Olav De Ruiter (NED)  62 60, Malek Jaziri (TUN,193), 16 75 61, and Fares Zaier (TUN,175), 64 62, before losing to Eric Scherer (GER,166),  57 67(5) .. That is pretty impressive stuff for a 14 year old in his first event outside the subcontinent .. Karan is from Mumbai - you may remember my comments when he did very well in his first few ITF junior events in India early this year where he won two rounds three times, losing only to those like Sunil Kumar, Rohan Gajjar and Nishank Mishra, but upsetting top-200 players like Rahul Rajkhewa and Adam Jaya of Malaysia then .. The comeback win in the second round at Tunisia was particularly noteworthy .. This kid may be showing some proverbial "fire in the belly" already?  - His very first match in an ITF event was a 7-5 third set win at Mumbai last September (he had not even turned 14 and beat Ritesh Chitlangia, close to 5 years older than him!) .. I also remember his having a three-set loss to a top-250 Korean player in Bangladesh in the subcontinental circuit this year .. At his age, these are fine indications of a player whom we should watch closely .. He picked up 30 points to double his point total and move to a #285 ranking .. Guess what? .. He is right now the highest ranked 14 year old boy in the world! .. Nah, don't start getting too excited - there are a lot of talented young kids who may not have played any ITF events .. Way too early to tell anything about Karan, but for now keep the name in mind .. By the way, ITF lists him as 180 cm (5'11) tall at 53 kg .. Either the weight or the height has to be wrong .. That is awfully tall for his age .. He turns 15 in October, roughly the same age as Sania Mirza, and he has three years left in the juniors ..

#352 Manisha Malhotra plays Nicole Rencken (RSA,388) today in the first round at the $25K Flexistowe grasscourt challenger in UK .. Her partner Leanne Baker (NZL,475) qualified in, and almost upset the 3rd seeded Julie Pullin yesterday, 36 75 67(5) .. In doubles, Manisha and Leanne did not get any help from the draw .. First of all, they ended up as the 5th highest ranked team, just 9 rank-spots lower than the 4th seeds, based on last week's rankings (they would be easily seeded with this week's ranks, as the points for the Swedish title went into the point total) .. And then they found themselves drawn against the top seeds - Trudi Musgrave (AUS) and Julie Pullin (GBR) .. Time for upsets .. They should be playing the doubles R1 today or tomorrow. [source: LTA, London]

No news from the Gexto (Spain) satellite, on the other Indian women .. Also awaiting news on the Peroria (Illinois) futures on Rishi, Mustafa and Manoj .. It was basically a rain-out at the Granby challenger yesterda - Harsh Mankad's doubles QF opponents will only be decided today - the QF will now be tomorrow.

Leander went up 60 spots to #224 this week in singles rankings .. LP-MB fell to #4 in team rankings but stay around the same spots in individual rankings.

Some more junior news -- Nishank and Shivang Mishra were at the Grade-1 German open this week - but unfortunately went down in the first round of singles.

July 10 Notes

LP is also on vacation for three weeks .. He will join Mahesh at the Montreal masters for the next action .. Niru is also off this week .. Not sure where she will be next, but I would suspect that she will be at the Mahwah challenger in New Jersey, which has an odd start date of Friday this week (it is like that every year, because of a high profile exhibition event with top-20 players happening at the same location next week - the challenger winner actually makes it to the exhibition semifinal) .. Niru has a lot of points to defend there too.

Qualifiers Harsh Mankad and Jonathan Beardsley (USA) reached teh QF at the $50K+H Granby challenger last night, beating Michal Cizsak and Stephen Timu of Canada, 76(5) 63 !! .. The win gives them 17 ATP points including 3 for qualifying in .. Harsh has now picked up 29 doubles points from the last two events .. Good timing, because he lost all of his 26 points this monday and would have been off the rank list .. This keeps him at around #750, in good shape for entry in all the futures doubles draws .. Their QF opponents will be decided today .. Probably the 3rd seeds there .. This is a rare challenger win for any Indian outside India, once again - though they got a bit lucky with an easy pair in the first round .. I think this may be Harsh's first challenger win too .. I don't remember him ever getting a wildcard even in doubles for any challengers in India, but he did qualify into a challenger main draw through qualies at the Tijuana challenger in Mexico three years back .. That was actually a funny story - Harsh had reached a dead-end in India having just finished his junior year in 1997, and with everyone thinking he was never going to make it, and did not work hard enough, etc, etc .. He found some money for a short one month camp in California .. In a nice coincidence, Nick Rainey, who was already in the fanclub, ended up as his roommate there at the camp in Ojai .. He put me in touch with Harsh, and I drove him down to Tijuana across the border for the challenger - I thought it would be a nice drive and wasn't expecting him to do anything at a challenger .. He went and won two rounds in the qualies, going down to a top-500 player in the final round - even making the main draw of singles as the 3rd lucky loser too .. More interestinglly, as Harsh and I were walking around looking for someone for him to hit with, we ran into a pretty good club-level player from Alabama who was holidaying with his wife out there in Tijuana .. He hit with Harsh and they decided to sign in for doubles qualies just for the heck of it .. And they qualified into the main draw too, where they went down .. They got one ATP point which was the Alabama guy's first ATP point, I believe! ..  Never heard of that guy ever again .. I think I may have written this story in one of my old notes.

At the USA F17c futures in Peoria, Illinois, Mustafa Ghouse plays the 7th seed Sebastien Fitz (GER,688) in the first round .. Rishi Sridhar plays Ruebin Klijn (NED) and Manoj Mahadevan plays the 5th seed Ignacio Gozales-King (ARG,617) .. In doubles, Mustafa and Adriano Biasella of Italy are the 3rd seeds - they play US wildcards Matt Maris and Steve Mc Raven .. Manoj and Rishi are the 4th seeds and they play Igancio Gonzales-King and Pablo Gonzales-King of ARG ..

July 9 Notes-2

Jahnavi Parekh could not make it a double crown yesterday at Waco, as she went down in the sngles final of the $10K satellite, 26 46 to Julie Ditty of USA .. Basically I think Jahnavi would have been dead-tired after all the matches she played - 8 of them with 4 three-setters in the previous 5 days on the way to a doubles title and a singles final .. Having lived in Texas for a few years, I can understand how tough it is for anyone to do what she did this week, in the central texas summer heat that can burn cattle .. Actually here is an article I found in the Waco Herald Tribune that talks about Jahnavi yesterday in her singles and doubles wins .. After her singles semi, she hardly had anything left and was having serious trouble holding serve, but she and her partner Kovac somehow brought out the extra to win the doubles title .. Great work by Jahnavi and we should look forward to some good results from her in the future ..  Jahnavi was our top junior about 4-5 years back, by the way - no longer young, so to say, but she can be one more competitive top-300-600 quality player to add to the mix of a pretty busy scene for Indian women's tennis ..

July 9 Note-1

I am still waiting to find out what happened in Waco yesterday in Jahnavi's singles final .. Should know very soon ..

Qualifiers Harsh Mankad and Jonathan Beardsley play the first round of doubles at the $50K+H Granby challenger in Canada this evening.

Nirupama is is thaking this week off, I think .. No sign of LP playing anywhere this week either .. I was hoping that LP or Fazal would be at the $25K grasscourt challenger at Bristol, UK, this week .. No Indians there, sadly .. Nick Rainey (USA), a rare non-Indian who gets covered here occasionally because he is a member of the Paes-Bhupathi fanclub since his highschool years, is in the final round of qualies there today ..

Manisha Malhotra is in the entry list for the main draw at the $25K Flexistowe grass challenger in UK this week .. Her partner Leanne Baker (NZL) is in the final rund of qualifying .. I have not seen the doubles draw, but they should be playing and may possibly be seeded too .. Sai, Rushmi and Shruti are in the entry list for the $10K satellite in Getxo (Spain) .. Sai will be a seed .. Rushmi was #9 in the original list and may be a seed too .. I did not see Radhika Tulpule in any entry list for this week ..

Mustafa, Rishi and Manoj were not in the qualifying rounds at the USA F17c future in Peoria, Illinois this weekend .. Not sure if they are in the main draw.

Will see if Sania and Sunil will be playinng anywhere this week in the junior circuit .. Also waiting on some junior results from last week .. PC Tejeshwar had won two rounds and reached the QF at the Ukraine Grade-5 when I heard last .. Jacco Matthew had gone down in the first round .. They went down in the QF of doubles this time, after a title last week in Ukrain .. More interesting was our really-young pup Karan Rastogi, all of 14 years age, showing up in Tunisia at a Grade-3 event, with 15 yr old Rishi Behl .. Both are basically among the top few in their age range in India .. Karan even won a round in Tunisia when I saw last .. We will find out more later.

So, basically, not much news for now - but more coming.

.. Previous notes are at Notes for the week ending on July 09 ..

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.