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Indian-Tennis: Daily News for the week ending on July 18, 2005
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July 18 Notes

An eminently forgettable day, as HM lost a tough match, Rohan went down cheaply, Neha went down in the Q3, and Prakash got injured.

Harsh Mankad said he was fine as far as the quadriceps injury was concerned, but made a couple of mistakes late in the third set to get broken at 3-4 (said baccanello played two passing shots very well)  .. So a nice comeback went wasted .. HM lost to Paul Baccanello (AUS,287), 46 63 36 .. Tough match .. He gave credito to Baccanello for coming up with the goods when HM had a couple of break points in the third, and for coming through in that fatal 7th game in the third ..  Due to a busy work schedule, neither Varma not I could get up there to watch the matches .. So I have no details on Rohan's match, but he went down to qualifier Kyu-Tae Im (KOR,430), 46 26 .. Both Harsh and Karan told me that the warm conditions out there seemed to make the ball fly and both were missing shots long and feeling a bit uncomfortable in their losses .. I guess it is one of those weeks.

The news got worse, as Prakash seems to have hurt himself in practice and is iced all over .. Not sure of the details, but he had to withdraw from the doubles draw - they were to play late in the evening today ..  His singles match against Lesley Joseph is set for Tuesday at 5.30 pm .. Hopefully he will get to shape somehow by then.

Early in the morning, Neha Uberoi (USA,287) went down in the final qualifying round at the Cincinnati WTA to the 3rd seed Sybille Bammer (AUT,103), 16 67(7) .. Neha is the first lucky loser, should there be any withdrawals or no shows .. In the final round of doubles qualifying, Shikha and Neha lost 7-9 in a pro-set against Sybille Bammer (AUT)/ Jewell Peterson (USA) .. So, I have only losses and injuries to report today ..

Sania is in the doubles draw also at the Cincinnati WTA .. Playing with Yuliana Fedak (UKR) .. They play the qualifiers, Bammer and Peterson, probably on wednesday .. SM will play her singles R1 against the 7th seed Groenefeld tomorrow .. Hope at least SM can give us some cheer this week.

July 17 Note-2

Karan played some very good tennis for a good set and half today, let it slip, made an impressive third set comeback, and finally fell in a very close match, unable to upset the 8th seed Kyu-Tae Im (KOR, 424) in the final round of qualies at the Tarzana challenger .. You can find my detailed match report here ..

In the main draw at Tarzana, Prakash plays qualifier Lesley Joseph (USA) and Rohan plays Jyu-Tae Im (KOR) .. Harsh's and Prakash's matches are tomorrow .. In doubles, Prakash and Lester Cook (USA) play Thiago Alves (BRA)/ Dudi Sela (ISR), and Mustafa-Rohan play Marc Kimmich (AUS) and Scott Oudsema (USA)

Neha Uberoi (USA,287) had a big upset win today over sister, the 5th seed Shikha Uberoi (IND,134) to reach the final round of qualies at the Cincinnati WTA .. Neha won, 76(2) 60, pulling up her record against Shikha to 2-3 .. She had beaten Shikha in the 2004 Hyderbad WTA qualies, but had lost the last two times against the big sister .. I hope Shikha is doing OK - that second set score is a bit worrisome .. Shikha had won her first round qualies this morning, in a very impressive match, 61 61 over Seiko Okamoto (JPN,187) .. Neha plays the 3rd seed Sybille Bammer (AUT,103) in the Q3 tomorrow morning ..

July 17 Note-1

Sania gets back on tour this week .. At the $170K Tier-II WTA "Western & Southern Financial Group Women's Open" in Cincinnati, Sania Mirza (IND,70) is drawn to face the 7th seed Anna-Lena Groenefeld (GER,36) in the first round .. Sania does have a win against Anna-Lena last november at the Palm Beach Garden Challenger semis (61 36 61 was the score) .. Hope she can pull another upset ..

In the qualies at Cincinnati, Shikha Uberoi (IND,134) is the 5th seed and she plays Seiko Okamoto (JPN,187) in the Q1 round today .. Neha Uberoi (USA, 287) won the Q1 over wildcard Stacia Fonseca (USA,558) in a tough comeback, 46 75 64 yesterday, and will face Shikha in the Q2 if SU advances - the Q2 also will be today

July 16 Notes

Good news from the $50K Tarzana challenger in California (presented by Vijay Amritraj's "First Serve Entertainment", with the Singha Beer of Thailand as the title sponsor) .. Karan Rastogi won two rounds today in the qualies, including the upset of the 8th seed to reach the final round of qualifying .. Karan is staying with me for this week and I saw the first match, which was really a no-contest 61 61 win over Robert Yim, a 20 year old who was ranked as high as inside top-450 last year (including a win and loss against Harsh Mankad) .. Though he is #610 now, the ease with which Karan took him out was nice to see .. KR has benefitted from some recent physical training work at the Nick Bollitieri's in Florida and his game was too solid and without much weaknesses for Yim to exploit - so the American threw in the towel by early in the second set .. Later in the evening, Karan had a win over the 8th seed Sadik Kadir (AUS,554) also - 75 63 .. He now faces the 3rd seed Kyu-Tae Im (KOR,424) in the final round tomorrow at 11 am .. Mustafa Ghouse played a tough set against the top seed Lesley Joseph (USA,324) but then fell in a 67(5) 36 Q2 match - both players had first round byes

Rohan Bopanna and Mustafa had flowin in from Manchester and got to Tarzana in the nick of time Friday evening .. Rohan got lucky with a last0minute wildcard, which was very welcome as he was tired from the travel .. A wildcard kept initially for a Thai player (probably due to the Singha Beer connection) became available, and the tournament gave it to RB, apparently after getting an OK from Vijay Amritraj .. Cool! ..

In the main draw, Harsh Mankad is the 6th seed and he plays Paul Baccanello (AUS,289) in the first round .. Rohan and Prakash have qualifiers to be determined .. Actually RB and HM can play each other if both advance.

Shikha Uberoi's nice run ended at the $50K Louisville Challenger against the second seed Severine Beltrame (FRA,103) 57 36 today in the semis, after a nice QF qin against Ahsha Rolle (USA,257) in a 63 16 64 match today .. Shikha picked up 18.5 points this week, which comes at a good time, as she has 10 points falling off in a week or two and then another 15 in 3-4 weeks .. Shikha goes to the Cincinnati WTA qualies which starts tomorrow, along with sister Neha

July 14 Notes

I am not getting enough time to sit down and type the updates daily this week .. Sorry about that .. Anyway, some good and some bad news again ..

First, eighth seeded Shikha Uberoi (IND,134) is in the quarterfinal of the $50K Lewisville challenger, beating Jewel Peterson (USA,273), 76(5) 62 today .. She had moved past qualifier Yurika Sema (JPN,423), 63 62 yesterday in the first round, and now battles Ahsha Rolle (USA,257) in the quarterfinal on Friday .. Ahsha had upset the 4th seed Pelletier earlier in straight sets .. Neha Uberoi (USA,287) could not pull an upset in the main draw, after her nice run in the qualies .. Neha went down to Olga Poutchkova (RUS,245), 63 16 26 in the R1 .. In doubles, the Uberoi sisters lost thge first round yesterday to Salome Devidze (GEO) and Arpi Kojian (USA), 76(1) 36 36.

At the $50K Manchester challenger, it was one terrific win and then a loss today for Rohan Bopanna (IND,375), whose comeback from shoulder surgery seems to be almost complete, as he is pulling off some big wins and has raised his ranking rather close to where he was before the surgery .. Rohan upset the 4th seed Gilles Elseneer  (BEL,185), 64 76(5) in the first round -- easily among the top three or four wins in his career, and a very good indication that Bofors is back .. Unfortunately, that old challenger second round bugaboo bit him again today, as he was unable to mount a big challenge for another upset against Jean-Michel Pequery (FRA,234) in  a 36 36 loss .. Rohan still did well top pick up 8 more ATP points there, which is enough to raise his point total to 90 and his rank to about #355 next week .. From now on, getting into challengers will become relatively easier for RB, and he can try to enter events judiciously, avoiding too many tiring qualifying rounds .. Bops, I believe, is flying to California to sign-in for the Tarzana challenger tomorrow .. In other news at Manchester, lucky loser Sunil Kumar who took Harsh's spot lost after a good start against Pequery in the first round - 57 16 .. In doubles, Bopanna/ Sipaeya lost the R1 against Andrew Banks (GBR)/ David Sherwood (GBR) 36 26 and Ghouse/ Igor Zelenay (SVK) lost to the 3rd seeds Mark Hilton (GBR)/ Jonathan Marray (GBR) 26 46 ..

July 11 Notes

Nothing much was happening for the last few days except for some bad news and some good qualifying news .. First, the bad news -- Harsh Mankad, who was in the main draw for the $50K Manchester challenger just withdrew today as the left quadriceps-adductor injury he had in the second round last week at Nottingham, has not healed .. Prakash Amritraj, who had a shoulder strain injury a day earlier in the first round at Nottingham had already returned to California, skipping the Manchester qualies.  So our best two are both walking wounded right now .. Harsh will fly down to California tomorrow .. Prakash is already here .. Both are hoping to be all healed and ready to play next week at the $50K Tarzana challenger in Southern California .. Prakash's injury seemed to be minor and he should be fine next week .. Harsh's is also minor, but it is the kind that may need more time to heal .. Karan Rastogi also will be at Tarzana, trying qualies .. He was training for two weeks at the Bollitierri's academy in Florida, after withdrawing from 2 weeks of evnts duwe to getting hit in his eye at the Buffalo futures - he is alright now, and will be flying in to California by thursday .. So I expect to have some fun with all our player down here in So Cal, and hopefully all will be fine by early next week.

The good news -- Rohan Bopanna qualified into the Manchester challenger, and Sunil Kumar made it in as the lucky loser at Harsh's spot in Manchester .. [Q1] (2) Rohan Bopanna (IND,375) d. Daniel Kiernan (GBR,1251), 62 36 61 .. [Q2] d. Ross Hutchins (GBR,798), 76(3) 62 .. [Q3] d. (8) Luke Bourgeois (AUS,457), 76(2) 76(6) .. [Q1] (5) Sunil Kumar Sipaeya (IND,433) d. Adam Lownsbrough (GBR,1380), 61 20 Ret. .. [Q2] d. Alfonso Perez (MEX,1479), 64 62 .. [Q3] l. (4) Adam Feeney (AUS,421), 46 62 36 .. Mustafa had a good two good wins in the qualies and then lost in the final round - [Q1] Mustafa Ghouse (IND) d. (wc) Charlie Crisp (GBR) 62 60 .. [Q2] d. Ian Flanagan (GBR,852), 63 75 .. [Q3] l. (7) Jean-Francois Bachelot (FRA,432), 16 06 .. In the main draw, Rohan plays the 4th seed Gilles Elseneer (BEL,185) and Sunil Kumar plays Jan-Michel Pequery (FRA,234) - both their first round matches are scheduled for wednesday .. This evening, Rohan and Sunil play the doubles first round against the British pair, Andrew Banks and David Sherwood .. Mustafa and Igor Zelenay (SVK) play the 3rd seeds Mark Hilton and Jonathan Marray, also of Britain ..

At the $50K Lewisville challenger in Kntucky (USA), Shikha Uberoi (IND) is seeded 8th and plays a qualifier to be determined today .. Younger sister Neha Uberoi (USA,286) narrowly missed the main draw but has done well in two qualifying rounds as the top seed .. She defeated d. Laura Richey-Thomas (USA,665) 62 61 and Mami Inoue (USA,764) 62 60  in the last two days and plays the Q3 today against the 5th seed Anda Perianu (ROM,331) .. The Uberoi sisters play the doubles first round later today against Salome Devidze(GEO) and Arpi Kojian(USA) ..

Shruti Dhawan (IND,543) is at the $10K in Garching, Grmany .. I have not seen the draw yet .. Most of our other top women players like the Bhambri susters, Isha, Rushmi and Sai are all idle .. Hope they would all get on court somewhere soon .. Sania's next action is next week at the Cincinnati Tier-III women's WTA where she had made direct entry.

LP and MB are off in doubles this week .. Leander is off next week as well, but Mahesh starts off his new partnership with Martin Damm at the $750K Stuttgart open on clay next week.

In other news, Sania and Mahesh were out in the streets doing some "pump-up" work for the Sunfeat WTA Open coming up in Kolkata later .. These two played some tennis in front of the Vidhan Soudha in Bangalore this weekend, on a makeshift court, for a lot of curious folks .. Nice way to draw attention to the tournament and create some news and excitement!

I forgot to mention earlier that AITA now lists the tennis events at the upcoming national games at Guwahati later this year as the grasscourt nationals .. Good to see that it will be played on grass, and nice to see AITA bringing back the grass nationals which has been in cold storage for a while .. By the way, do not believe all the trite stuff the tennis correspondents grass is not going anywhere (and it is only getting slightly better with a few more futures and challengers these days on the tour).. Also remember that the 2012 Olympics in London will have the tennis events played on grass at Wimbledon!! .. We better keep some of our grass tradition and have some players ready by then .. I expect China to go on a war footing and lay some grasscourts, as they are expecting medals even in men's events in 2012 already, I am sure ..

.. Previous notes are at Notes for the weeks ending on July 11 ..

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