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Indian-Tennis: Daily News for the week ending on July 19, 2004
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July 19 Note-1

Harsh Mankad cracked the top-300 for the first time, at #297 this week, with 109 ATP points!! .. Prakash Amritraj is at #264 with 131 points, but he has 15 points each falling off the next two Mondays and so he really needs some 15 odd points badly to stay in the range for a direct entry to the US Open qualies (the entries close two weeks from now) ..

This is the first time in six years that we have had two Indians in the top-300 - since June 8, 1998 when MB fell out of the top-300 .. Prakash gets the day off and Harsh plays the featured late evening center court match against the 4th seed Cecil Mamiit today at the $50K Aptos challenger .. HM is not playing doubles this week, as he would like to leave for qualies at Toronto or Lexington by the Friday if he is done with singles by then .. Prakash is playing with his original partner, cousin Stephen Amritraj this week .. They got a wildcard, but run into the second seeds, Huntley Montgomery and Tripp Phillips of USA ..

At the $50K Schenectady (New York, USA) challenger, the Uberoi sisters had good wins yesterday to reach the second round of qualies .. [Q1] Neha Uberoi (USA,344) d. Melanie Marois (CAN,334), 76(4) 64 .. [Q1] Shikha Uberoi (USA,332) d. Leanne Baker (NZL,444) 63 60 .. In the second round of qualies today, Neha play the 6th seed Ipek Senoglu (TUR,294) and Shikha plays Svetlana Krivencheva (BUL,336) .. I believe Sunitha Rao (USA) is in the main draw list.

Vishal Uppal is expected as one of the top four seeds at the $10K USA F20 this week in Joplin, Missouri  .. Vishal Punna is expected at the $10K ITA F17 clay futures in Arezzo, Italy .. The draws are not out yet.

In addition to the Grade-3 Movenpick juniors in Egypt that I mentioned below, some of our junior players are in action also at the Grade-2 in Pretoria, South Africa .. Haven't seen the draw ti know who all have gone there, but I saw the list of seeds that included Punam Reddy on the girls' side and Sanam Singh on the boys' side.

July 18 Notes

Nothing much going on today .. Mustafa found a good partner, Kristian Pless (DEN) for doubles at the Camp Do Jordao challenger in Brazail, while Rohan takes the week off to rest the arm ..  Tara Iyer won one round at the qualies for the $10K at Evansville, Indiana, USA - she beat Lauren Shumate (USA) easily, 61 60 before falling to the top seed vania King (USA,892), 67(2) 06 .. Tejasvi and Prateek lost in the QFs at the $15K in Thailand - so not a good week there for them ..

July 17 Notes

The $50K Aptos (California, USA) challenger draw just came out .. Prakash Amritraj faces a qualifier to be determined .. Harsh Mankad, who had that fine show at the Granby challenger this week, gets a tough matchup against the 4th seed Cecil Mamiit (USA,176) .. In the qualies today, Stephen Amritraj (USA) fell in the Q1 to Juan Gamboa (COL), 67(2) 36 26 ..

By the way, the newspapers in India seem to have given a complete skip on the story about Harsh doing so well at Granby this week .. Back-to-back top-300 upsets and then taking the #114 to two long tiebreakers - that is the best show that I remember by an Indian since the Leander/Mahesh singles days .. Except for our forum thread going bonkers, nothing happened .. I guess this is all nothing new - anyway, what do we expect when cricket is on (and especially when our team does a whoop-dee-doo on a powerhouse from the middel east)?  .. Our faithful tennis correspondents are (I am told) finding it worse than ever these days to get anything past the editors' signs that read "you have nothing on cricket, go away, just quit my room" .. The editors give the convenient excuse that advertsers only want to have their stuff on pages filled with cricket .. Journalistic ethics also count for something, one would hope .. After all, even the heart-wrenching story of the kids in Kumbakonam get sidelined a bit by cricket, so who am I to complain about tennis coverage?

Mustafa Ghouse went down in the qualies of the $50K Campo Do Jordao challenger in Brazil, 26 46 to Sanchai Ratiwatana (THA) ..

At the grade-4 ITF juniors in Netherlands, the top seed Madura Ranganathan fell in the SF to Anastassia Rezvina (RUS,303) today .. Rezvina had also beaten 4th seed sandhya Nagraj in three sets yesterday in the QFs .. In doubles also our girls went down at the SF stage - [QF] (1) V.Murali/ S.Nagraj d. (7) Marlot Meddens (NED)/ Samantha van Der Drift (NED) 64 64 .. [SF]  l. Alexandra Poorta (NED)/ Anouk Tigu (NED), 75 26 36 .. [QF] (2) Julia Bone (GBR)/ M.Ranganathan d. (5) Nadine Fahoum (ISR)/ Victoria Tseitlin (ISR), walkover .. [SF] l. Melissa Ravestein (NED)/ Steffie Wterings (NED), 16 36 .. Still a better week for the three girls than last week.

Tejasvi Rao and S.Prateek are the two who has reached the QF among a whole group of young Indians who are at the grade-5 in Thailand .. I haven't seen much of the scores from there yet.

A few of Indians are expected at the grade-3 Movenpick ITF juniors in Egypt starting Monday .. On the boys' side, Kaushik Raju (15 yrs) and Vijit Sehgal (16 yrs) in the main draw and Manu Bajpai near the top of the qualies list .. On the girls'side, Ashmitha Easwarmurthy (who turned 15 today - Happy B'day!) and 16 yr old Asha Nandakumar in the main draw and 17 yr old Varsha Shivshankar at the top of the qualies list.

July 16 Notes

Harsh Mankad gave it a pretty good shot today, but came up a bit short in pulling another upset, after two upsets already .. At the Granby challenger, Mankad lost 67(8) 67(8) against #114 Davide Sanguinetti .. Harsh is clearly showing that he belongs at the challenger level and these are some pretty good matches he is getting to play .. Despite the QF loss, this was a pretty successful week for HM .. Off to the Aptos challenger next week.

Madura won in the three sets to reach the SF at the Dutch grade-4 juniors, but Sandhya lost in three sets .. Madura is also in the doubles semis;  Sandhya/Vandana doubles QF is postponed to Saturday there.

July 15 Notes

Bad news today - Rohan Bopanna had his bicep act up again and had to retire at 4-6 in his second round match at the Sao Paolo challenger .. Shoooot! .. That problem just refuses to go away, and this was bad since it came just when he seemed to be playing some really good tennis again .. RB told me that he is not sure of his immediate plans but he can't play qualies for the next week and will need to see how the arm feels in a couple of days .. Let us see what he decides.

Praksh Amritraj tells me that he is fine and there is no serious shoulder problems that caused the doubles withdrawal at Granby .. He was just being careful .. I think sometimes the tennis players need to do that, especially the ones who serve harder, to make sure that no fatigue-related injuries crop up; his arm has hurt a bit in the past, occasionally .. He will be playing at the Aptos challenger next week.

Harsh plays his tough QF match against Sanguinetti (ITA,114) today at about 3 pm in Granby .. If he can pull that off, it would be the biggest upset win of his career.

Some good news from the grade-4 ITF juniors in Hillegom, Netherlands .. Madura and Sandhya are in the QFs .. [R2] (1) Madura Ranganathan d. Kim Van Der Hoerst (NED,1589) 61 63 [R2] (4) Sandhya Nagraj d. Stefanie Vongsouthi (FRA,NR) 63 61 .. [R2] (2) Vandana Murali l. (wc) Jade Schoelink (NED,NR) 63 36 16 .. All three Indians had first round byes .. [PQF] (1) Madura d. Karolien Nelissen (BEL,1726) 64 62 .. [PQF] (4) Sandhya d. (13) Minami Endo (JPN,524) 64 63 .. [QF] (1) Madura vs Steffie Wterings (NED,772) .. [QF] (4) Sandhya vs (6) Anastassia Rezvina (RUS,303) .. If they win the QFs, they face each other in the semifinals .. In doubles also our girls had R1 byes and they have reached the QFs - [PQF] (1) V.Murali/ S.Nagraj d. Irina Adetu (ROM)/ Alexandra Dulgheru (ROM), 62 61 .. [PQF] (2) Julia Bone (GBR)/ M.Ranganathan d. Kim Van Der Hoerst (NED)/ Milou Teeling (NED), 63 64 . [QF] (1) V.Murali/ S.Nagraj vs (7) Marlot Meddens (NED)/ Samantha van Der Drift (NED) .. [QF] (2) J.Bone/ Madure vs (5) Nadine Fahoum (ISR)/ Victoria Tseitlin (ISR).

July 14 Notes

Fantastic news from the $50K+H challenger in Granby, Canada .. Harsh Mankad (IND,324) pulled off one of the bigger wins of his career and upset the 7th seed Rik De Voest (RSA,206), 64 26 63 to make the QF !!! .. The win gives Harsh $1460 and 14 points, which will take his point total to 109 and his rank to just around #300, both career-highs .. This is the third challenger QF in his career, all three coming in the last 15 months or so for the 25 year old Mankad, and he has done well in the last 2 odd months, picking up about 44 points since his rank fell temporarily to around #375 .. More importantly, he now seems to be showing that he is quite comfortable with the challenger level tennis, where he has had good results since April 2003 - he has now picked up some 15 odd wins against mostly top-350 competition, going down only about 7 or 8 times in the first round .. Keep it going, Harsh! .. He now faces a tough match against the 2nd seed, the experienced Davide Sanguinetti (ITA,114) after a day of rest on Thursday ..

Rohan Bopanna had the day off today and plays his second round tomorrow (Thrusday) at the Sao Paolo challenger in Brazil.

At the qualies for the $10K Baltimore ITF women's event, Tara Iyer fell in the second round on Monday against the 15th seed Mami Inoue (JPN), 46 46 .. She is expected in teh qualies for next week's $10K USA circuit event..

At the Grade-4 ITF juniors (International Flower Bulb Tournament) in Hillegom, Netherlands, top seeded Madura Ranganathan and 4th seeded Sandhya Nagraj won their second round matches after a first round bye, to reach the PQFs yesterday, but the 2nd seed Vandana Murali seems to have been upset .. Haven't seen the scores yet.

July 13 Note-2

Correction - it was not Harsh and Prakash who played the night doubles at the $50K+H Granby challenger .. They withdrew, and so Vishal Uppal, with David Wendler (AUS) made the draw as alternates - and they gave a pretty tough fight to the two talented guys, Baker and Dancevic .. Vishal gets $180 and would save some money on a couple of days of hospitality for that though - He takes off to Joplin, Missouri, USA for the $10K futures next week .. He is 3rd in the list there .. He is also listed as the 3rd for the $10K in the week after (Jul 19) at the $10K in Godfrey, Illinois ..

The official draw lists Amritraj to have injured his right shoulder .. I hope it was nothing serious and this was only a reason for skipping doubles, perhaps for fear of worsening any discomfort he might have felt - I will try to find out.

July 13 Note-1

I had written yesterday in the forum that I was worried about Leander and David playing this week, after too many weeks of continuous action - injuries are always a worry in those cases .. I hate to be right in predicting bad things .. They retired at 3-5 in the first set against Schuettler/Youzhny with David Rikl pulling a shoulder muscle ..  I am not sure how bad it is .. We will await any news on whether Lee will be playing next week (perhaps try Indi with Mahesh?) or will take a good two weeks break followed by Toronto and Cincinnatti Masters with Hesh ..

The highest ranked two Indian tennis players met today in Granby, Quebec, Canada .. Prakash is one of only two Indians Harsh has played two or more times and had gone winless against (Srinath a few years back in the satellites being the other) .. HM, then ranked #1, had lost to PA in one of the bigger upsets of the US college tennis season, two years back in Southern California in a 46 67 match .. He again lost to Prakash this year at the Chennai Open 36 46 .. This was the third match between these two pals and Harsh finally got to play Prakash on a neutral field, I guess! :) .. H.Mankad (IND,324) d. P.Amritraj (IND,262), 62 63 .. Pretty big win for Mankad .. The 6 points would help Mankad reach his career-high point total (101) and should raise his rank by around 10 odd spots to a career-high as well .. Up next for HM is the 7th seed  Rik De Voest (RSA,206) tomorrow at 12.30 pm .. He must be somewhat tired now though, as they had to come back and play a long night doubles match that ended at 10 pm in a loss .. [R1] (4) P.Amritraj/ H.Mankad l. Brian Baker (USA)/ Frank Dancevic (CAN), 76(3) 46 26  [correction -- Uppal-Wendler played, as ALTs after PA-HM withdrew) .. Prakash is suddenly in need of some wins, badly .. He gets to go home to California for the Aptos challenger next week, with Harsh ..

Good news from Brazil as well - qualifier Rohan Bopanna (IND,448) pulled a very good upset today, over Marcos Daniel (BRA,281) 67(1) 62 75 .. Tough, hard-nosed comeback win by Bofors! .. Up next for him is Marcus Sarstrand (SWE,312) .. He picked up 9 points including 3 for qualifying in ..  He had 10 points falling off these two weeks - but with the 3 last week at Nottingham and 9 here, he has done enough to keep his rank from dropping to much worse numbers .. Go Bops! .. In doubles, Mustafa and Rohan did not do too well though, going down 46 46 to Franco Ferreiro (BRA) and Ivan Miranda (PER) ..

Still no news about how Tara did yesterday in the qualies at the $10K in Baltimore .. I think Tara may be the only Indian in action on the women's circuit.

In other news, #399 Sunil Kumar Sipaeya has made the entry list at the $25K+H Saransk challenger in Mordovia, Russia, starting on Aug 2nd .. So he is in the main draws of back to back challengers in Russia, from July 26th .. Hope he has recovered from the injuries at the end of the satellites and will be ready in a few days to go to Russia .. In the other challenger lists that came out today for August 2nd, Prakash is in the main draw for the Denver challenger (so Aptos/Lexington/Denver for him next) .. Harsh, who decided to stay in the US for the next few weeks, is 6 out at Denver, same as at Lexington .. Rohan is in the qualifying list for the Gramado (Brazil) challenger in three weeks (so CamposDeJordao/BeloHorizonte/Gramado in Brazil for him) .. Go Guys!

July 12 Note-2

Good news from Brazil .. Rohan has qualified into the Sao Paolo challenger .. [Q1] (2) Rohan Bopanna (IND,448) d. Alexandre Bonatto (BRA,685) 62 63 .. [Q2] d. (WC) Frederico Casaro (BRA,1445) 63 63 .. [Q3] d. (6) Eduardo Bohrer (BRA,490) 36 62 62 .. Good job, Bofors! .. He plays Daniel Marcos (BRA,281) .. In doubles, [R1] R.Bopanna/ M.Ghouse vs Franco Ferreiro (BRA)/ Ivan Miranda (PER) ..

Leander and David do not get much of a rest .. They play their first round at the Stuttgart ATP, against Rainer Schuettler (GER)/ Michail Youzhny (RUS) at 11 am on Tuesday.

Friends turn foes tomorrow at the $50K+H Granby challenger .. Harsh Mankad faces Prakash Amritraj in the morning in the first round .. They team up later on in the day for doubles.

Some good news on Tara Iyer, who is at the $10K in Baltimore, Maryland, USA .. She won the first round of qualies against Kelly Schmandt, 62 62 yesterday .. That goes as a big win for Tara, who turned 16 only last week .. Kelly just finished her college career at the Vanderbilt University and was ranked #50 in the final rankings!! .. To put it in perspective, I don't remember any Indian girls in college getting a top-50 win since the days of Manisha Malhotra and Jahnavi Parekh a few years back .. Go Tara! .. She was to face the 15th seed Mimi Inoue (JPN,1119) in the Q2 round today.

July 12 Note-1 

Hello, Title #35 for Mahesh! .. MB and Bjorkman had to play a true marathon this morning, but came through - [F] (1) M.Bhupathi/ J.Bjorkman d. Simon Aspelin (SWE)/ Todd Perry (AUS), 46 76(2) 76(6) .. Hmmm ... MB also picks up 175 points this week, just like LP .. So, a 5 weeks notice have been served to the Athens field .. LP and MB are in fine form, and everybody better watch out! .. Mahesh takes this week off, and LP is off to Stuttgart with David Rikl.

Rohan won his first round qualies yesterday at the Sao Paolo challenger, 62 63 over Alexandre Bonatto (BRA) .. Plays wildcard Frederico Castro (BRA) today ..Rohan and Mustafa are in the doubles main draw, (which means they will save some money in hospitality - that is one benefit in having a partner and good doubles ranks) .. RB-MG play Franco Ferreiro (BRA) and Ivan Miranda (PER) in the R1 ..

Prakash and Harsh are playing doubles together this week .. They are the 4th seeds at the Granby challenger in Canada .. Playing Brian Baker (USA) and Frank Dancevic (CAN) which is quite a tough pair to handle .. Both PA and HM get today off .. They play each  other in singles tomorrow, first .. Vishal Uppal went down  in the second round of qualies yesterday .. Th3 4th seed beat Jamal Parker (USA) 64 64 and then fell in the Q2 to David Wendler (ASUS) 26 16 .. Vishal did not find a partner for doubles main draw, it seems.

Only about half of the qualifying first round matches were done at the Manchester challenger yesterday, it seems - perhaps it rained there? .. Vishal Punna plays his Q1 today against Richard Bloomfield.

.. Previous notes are at Notes for the weeks ending on July 12 ..

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