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Indian-Tennis: Daily News for the week ending on July 26, 2004
(Previous week's notes) (Next week's notes) (Daily Notes Index 1997 thru 2004)

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July 26 Notes

My daily updates are happening late in the day, as the action is all mainly in the US now .. The long-awaited return of the Indian Express would be sometime thursday or so, as most first round doubles matches are on wednesday and LP-MB have a bye ..

A whole bunch of stuff going on at the men's and women's $100K Challenger in Lexington, Kentucky, which has a good group of six Indian names, five of them having grown up in the US .. Harsh Mankad, Prakash Amritraj, Rajeev Ram (USA), Sunitha Rao (USA), Shikha Uberoi (USA), Neha Uberoi (USA) .. The good news today was that Harsh won yet another challenger match, and Shikha and Sunitha won their Q2 matches .. Unfortunately, Prakash's little funk stretch continued as he ran into a hot player ..

[R1] Harsh Mankad (IND,296) d. Hamid Mirzadeh (USA), 64 76(3) .. Harsh said he got a littl over-anxious against an underdog opponent which has been rare lately for him at the challenger level, and unnecessarily made it a tougher match than it should have been, but he advanced .. His next round opponent will be the winner of the match between top seed Goldstein and qualifier Thomas Blake tomorrow .. Prakash Amritraj (IND,286) lost 26 67(4) to K.J.Hippensteel (USA,264) who has gone to challenger QFs the last two weeks and has been playing well lately .. Mankad keeps his point total intact at 109, as he picked up 5 points to replace 5 he loses next monday .. Prakash badly needed a win though, as his point total will now drop by 14 more to 103 next week .. So, officially, Harsh Mankad will be the #1 ranked Indian player next week, which will be for the first time in his career .. Praksh will drop to about #310 and it will be tough for him to make the US Open qualies now .. I think the point pressure he has is partly due to the couple of months he lost due to injury earlier this year, but the current run of losses haven't helped either .. I'm sure he will snap out of it soon .. As for Harsh, he is in better shape for USO qualies and would hopefully not be too far out from the list when it closes next week.

The big win today was once again by Shikha Uberoi (USA,313) who upset the 4th seed in the qualies, Jewell Peterson (USA,237), 61 60 .. If Jewell was not injured or anything, that scoreline is quite amazing .. But Shikha has been playing that kind of tennis lately .. Go Girl! .. She plays the 7th seed Nan-Nan Liu (CHN,253) tomorrow morning in the final qualies .. Also advancing was Sunitha Rao (USA,269) who beat Lauren Breadmore (AUS,376), 16 64 60 .. She plays Varvara Lepchenko (UZB,328) tomorrow in the Q3.

The interesting news is that Neha Uberoi (USA,341) was in the main draw as a wildcard when it came out today .. She plays Yen-Ze Xie (CHN,188) tomorrow - a tough match ..

In other news, at the $50K+H Belo Horizonte challenger in Brazil, Mustafa Ghouse and Orest Tereshchuk (UKR) were upset 75 76(4) by the Sanchai and Sonchat Ratiwatana brothers from Thailand ..  Sunil Kumar's matfch was not done today at the Togliatti challenger in Russia .. He plays tomorrow morning.

At the $10K in St.Joseph, Missouri (USA), Tara Iyer beat Lindsey Jones (USA), 61 61 in the second round of qualies yesterday and faces danielle Wiggins (USA) in the Q3 .. Tara had a first round bye.

No news yet on the draw at the USA F21 $10K in Godfrey, Illinois, USA, where Vishal Uppal is playing.

Later, with the news on the juniors in Egypt and South Africa.

July 25 Notes

 Harsh and Prakash play their first round singles tomorrow evening at the $50K Lexington challenger, and Sunil Kumar plays the first round at the $25K+H also tomorrow evening .. Go HM, PA, SKS! .. The doubles draws came out today .. Prakash is playing with Uros Vico (ITA), and they face the 4th seeded American pair, Bobby Reynolds and Brian Vahaly .. Harsh is playing with his earlier partner, Jason Marshall (USA) - they are seeded 2nd and play Jonathan Marray (GBR) and Wesley Whitehouse (RSA) ..  At Togliatti, Sunil Kumar ios playing with Norikazu Sigiyama (JPN) and they face the Russian brothers, Artem and Dmitri Sitak ..

Also in action today at the $50K women's challenger held simulatneously at Lexington, Sunitha Rao and Shikha Uberoi reached the second round of qualies .. 269th ranked Sunitha Rao (USA) did a minor upset over the 6th seed Tiffany Dabek (USA,251) 61 46 64 .. She plays Lauren Breadmore (AUS,376) next .. Shikha easily beat the wildcard Elizabeth Plotkin (USA), 64 64 and will face the 4th seed Jewell Peterson (USA,237) ..

Eighth-seeded Mustafa Ghouse went down in the final qualies today at the $50K+H Belo Horizonte challenger (Brazil) to the 2nd seed Michihisa Onoda (JPN), 36 46 ..

July 24 Notes

Yes, we finally see the Big Engines coming out of the shed after two years and a few months since they whistled their way to a title at Mallorca, Spain in their last run on the ATP tour .. The Indian Express is Baaaaaack! ... The draw came out today for the Toronto Masters .. The 8th seeds are Paes and Bhupathi .. Go dudes! .. They are seeded at the top of the draw with first seeds Bryan twins near them .. So, like old old times, here is the upper half of the draw  .. Feels good to do that - it's been a long time since I posted a draw in the notes like I used to when the Express was running all over people!

1 Bob Bryan(USA)/ Mike Bryan(USA)                bye                                         \ 
  Jared Palmer(USA)/ Pavel Vizner (CZE)     vs W Simon Larose(CAN)/ Frederic Niemeyer(CAN)   / \
  Xavier Malisse(BEL)/ Sargis Sargsian(ARM) vs   Gaston Etlis(ARG) /Martin Rodriguez(ARG)    \ / \
8 Mahesh Bhupathi(IND)/ Leander Paes(IND)        bye                                         /    \ _ Final
4 Mark Knowles(BAH)/ Daniel Nestor(CAN)          bye                                         \    /
  Petr Pala(CZE)/ David Rikl(CZE)           vs   Juan Ignacio Chela(ARG)/ Gaston Gaudio(ARG) / \ /
  Jonathan Erlich(ISR)/ Andy Ram(ISR)       vs   David Nalbandian(ARG)/ Marat Safin(RUS)     \ /
7 Martin Damm(CZE)/ Cyril Suk(CZE)               bye                                         /

As for the ATP challengers starting Monday, Prakash Amritraj and Harsh Mankad are at the $50K Lexington (Kentucky,USA) challenger and Sunil Kumar Sipaeya is at the $25K+H Togliatti challenger in Russia .. Prakash faces K.J. Hippensteel (USA,282), Harsh plays wildcard Hamid Mirzadeh (USA,806) and Sunil Kumar runs into Vadim Kutsenko (UZB,365) .. Harsh had thought he had missed the draw by one spot last night and was in the qualifying draw as the top seed .. Cecil Mamiit withdrew from the main draw list this morning before the qualies started and Harsh made it in as the last entry; he later got a break in the draw too .. Cool.

There is also a $50K women's ITF challenger at the same place in Lexington, where Shikha Uberoi and Sunitha Rao of USA are in the qualies .. Shikha plays wildcard Elizabeth Plotkin (USA) Sunitha plays (6) Tiffany Dabek (USA,251) ..

Nice work by Mustafa Ghouse so far at the Belo Horizonte challenger qualies in Brtazil .. He was seeded 8th and has reached the final round of qualies .. In the Q1 he went past Pedro Alves (BRA,1348) 62 61 .. He then beat Henrique cancado (BRA,NR), 75 62 .. He now plays the 2nd seed Michihisa Onoda (JPN,353) in the final qualies.

July 23 Notes

OK, time for roundup .. I was very busy since tuesday, but nobody did great this week and nothing much happened ..  Below are all the scores for the last four days .. As you can see, Shikha did well at the Scenectady challenger, and Harsh gave the 4th seed Cecil Mamiit a massive run for his money at Aptos, but otherwise an eminently forgettable week .. My match reports and observations on Harsh's and Prakash's Aptos matches can be found in the forum (here is the link to the post) .. I was seeing Harsh play after a very long time, and I have to say that his tennis has improved by several notches - he himself admitted that he is pretty much "feeling it" now .. The two top-275 wins last week followed by back to back matches against top-175 players Sanguinetti and Mamiit where he went 67(6) 67(6), 64 46 67(5) shows that he is playing at a high level .. The punch and sting in his serve is what really surprised me .. I think he will keep on moving up into the top-250 and top-200 if all goes well.  Prakash let a great chance go away against a really "tricky" player (as Vijay Amritraj said), dropping the final 5 games after leading by two breaks at 5-2 in the 3rd anbd serving for the match .. He got impatient and let the match slip away .. PA's game is also quite fine and improved, but he still needs to learn patience and better decision-making on court, that's all .. As for other Indians, the junior scene is not improving and nobody is really making any kind of statement that they are ready to break out of the pack, especially so about the 1987 batch of kids who are running out of time in the juniors..  Hope they will all do better soon .. Here are the scores:

At the $50K Aptos challenger, California, USA:
[R1] Harsh Mankad (IND,297) l. (4) Cecil Mamiit (USA,180), 64 46 67(5)
[R1] Prakash Amritraj (IND,264) l. (Q) Michael Jessup (USA,NR) 67(4) 64 57
[R1] (WC) P.Amritraj (IND)/ S.Amritraj (USA) l. (2) Huntley Montgomery (USA)/ Tripp Phillips (USA), 36 62 26 (tough matchup, but a good fight!)

At the $10K USA F20 at Joplin, Missouri, USA:
[R1] (3) Vishal Uppal (IND,558) l. (WC) K.C.Corkery (USA,1090), 46 46 .. Oh well ..
[R1] (4) V.Uppal/ Mathew Hanlin (USA) l. K.C.Corkery (USA)/ Jeremy Wurtzman (USA), 67(3) 67(6) .. Damn!

At the $10K ITA F17 clay futures uin Arezzo, Italy:
[R1] Vishal Punna (IND,849) l. (7) Maximo Gonzalez (ARG,622) 06 36 .. No doubles for V.Punna

At the $50K+H challenger in Campo Do Jordao, Brazil:
[R1] M.Ghouse/ Kristian Pless (DEN) l. Marcos Daniel (BRA)/ Alexandre Simoni (BRA), 06 26

At the $50Kchallenger in Schenectady, New York, USA.
[Q3] Shikha Uberoi (USA,332) d. Daniela Kix (AUT,350), 62 60  (terrific win by Shikha - look at that scoreline!)
[R1] Shikha Uberoi (USA,313) l. (6) Natalie Grandin (RSA,166), 26 76(2) 36 (good fight against a much higher ranked player)
[R1] Sunitha Rao (USA,269) l. Cory Ann Avants (USA,236), 16 46 (Avants then upset the #178 8th seed, so SR ran into a hot player)
[R1] N.Uberoi/ S.Uberoi l. (4) Leanne Baker (NZL)/ Francesca Lubiani (ITA), 46 63 36  (Uberois suprisingly not a force in doubles yet)
S.Rao/ Kaysie Smashey (USA) d. Melanie Marois (CAN)/ Marie-Eve Pelletier (CAN), 64 26 64
[QF] S.Rao/ Kaysie Smashey (USA) d. Mi-Ra Jeon (KOR)/ Yuka Yoshida (JPN), 2-1 (Yuka ret.) -- Nice to see SR in the semi.

At the Junior grade-2 ITF in Pretoria, South Africa:
[R2] (4) Sanam Singh (IND,135) l. Christiane Coetzee (RSA,811), 36 36 (Coetzee has upset another seed, and he is underranked)
[R2] (7) Punam Reddy (IND,146) d. (LL) Abigail Olivier (RSA), 76(5) 75
[R3] (7) Punam Reddy (IND,146) d. Sylvanie Spangenberg (RSA), 63 76(2)
[QF] (7) Punam Reddy (IND,146) l. Gira Schofield (USA,293) 62 46 26  (decent work by Punam)
[R2] Myles Blake (GBR)/ Sanam K Singh (IND) d. Vuk Milicevic (RSA)/ Myalikkuli Mamedkuliev (TKM), 61 67 61
[QF] Myles Blake (GBR)/ Sanam K Singh (IND) l. Christiaan Coetzee (RSA)/ Charl Wolmarans (RSA), 67 46
[R2] Christy Striplin (USA)/ Punam Reddy l. Claudia Dresselhaus (NAM)/ Charlene Haarhoff (RSA), 46 26

At the Junior grade-3 in Giza, Egypt:
[R1] Manu Bajpai (IND,1013) l. (6) Branko Kuzmanovic (SCG,216), 36 26
[R1] Kaushik Raju (IND,292) l. (7) Omar Altmann (GER,228), 26 46
[R1] Varsha Shiv Shankar (IND,695) l. (7) Fatima-Zahra El Allami (MAR,246), 16 06 (shoot!)
[R1] (8) Asha Nanda Kumar (IND,272) d. Rana Zafer (EGY,NR), 63 64
[R2] (8) Asha Nanda Kumar (IND,272) l. Maya Gaverova (RUS,666), 67(3) 06 (damn!)
[R1] (6) Ashmitha Easwaramurthi (IND,230) d. Amitha Arudpragasam (SRI,648), 46 62 64 (surprising trouble against a Sri Lankan)
[R2] (6) Ashmitha Easwaramurthi (IND,230) l. Laura-Joana Andrei (ROM,643), 16 06 (yeek!)

That is the wrap for this week .. Sunitha Rao remains in the doubles at Schenectady, but otherwise everybody is done for the week .. Harsh Mankad is in Lexington for next week's challenger .. Unless a couple more withdrawals happen today, he will be the top seed or #2 in the qualies starting tomorrow .. Prakash is in the main draw.

July 21 Notes

Sorry for disappearing for two days.  Had to be away and found no time to do even a small update .. Did see Harsh and Prakash play at Aptos (tough three-set R1 losses!) .. Updates coming soon .. Jay, Jul 21, 9.30 pm LA.

July 19 Note-2

Pretty good dogfight at the $50K Aptos challenger this evening between Harsh Mankad (IND,297) and the 4th seed Cecil Mamiit (USA,180) ..Evenly poised at 64 46 22 and they postponed the completion to tomorrow duie to bad light .. Mamiit was a US collegiate national champion and was later also ranked inside the ATP top-75 .. His rank had a fallen a bit but he won the Tallahassee challenger a few weeks back and is playing quite well these days .. But Mankad himself has been playing at a level a notch higher recently - let's hope he can pull it off tomorrow ..

Prakash Amritraj plays an evening match tomorrow at Aptos, against qualifier Michael Jessup (USA), unranked now, but a top-400 player three years back who had not played for a year and so has no ranking .. Jessup upset the 8th seed and the 2nd seed in the qualies, so he is playing well and PA need to take him seriously tomorrow.

At the qualies for the $50 Schenectady challenger, Shikha Uberoi (USA,313) picked up another good win in the Q2 over Svetlana Krivencheva (BUL,384) in a comeback, 46 76 64, but younger sister Neha Uberoi (USA,341) went down to the 6th seed Ipek Senoglu (TUR,293), 26 36 .. Neha will hopefully come out of a bit of a funk, soon .. SU plays the Q3 tomorrow .. In the main draw, Sunitha Rao (USA,269) plays Cory Ann Avants (236).

In other news, Rajeev Ram (USA,285) who had a wildcard entry to the main draw at the Indianapolis ATP pulled off a big win over Wesley Moodie (RSA,127), 67(3) 63 76(5) ..

Mustafa's doubles match at the Campo Do Jordao challenger in Brazil will be on wednesday.

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 need 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 ..

.. Previous notes are at Notes for the weeks ending on July 19 ..

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