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LP/MB/NS/Indian-Tennis: Notes for the week ending on July 28, 2003
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July 28 Notes

Leander and Mahesh are both off for at least another week or two, and then they will be at the Montreal masters .. Both have been in India the last few weeks.

Rohan and Aisam won the doubles first round at the $25K+H denver challenger .. [R1] #1 R.Bopanna/ A.Qureshi (PAK) vs (WC) Mark Dietrich/ Ogidi Obi (USA), 64 63 .. Next round opponents TBD .. Rohan, Harsh, and Rajeev ram play singles R1 matches tomorrow.

According to the Louisville newspaper's Tuesday edition that just came up, Nirupama lost to Petra Rampre (SLO,269) today in the second round of the Louisville challenger qualies .. No score was reported; we will know tomorrow.  Yikes - it is really slow going for Niru .. Don't give up Niru -- keep it going, and good things will happen! .. Not sure if she is playing doubles there - the draw is not out yet for that.

At the second leg of the China satellites, in Tianjin again, the 3rd seed Manoj Mahadevan advanced with a 62 64 win over qualifier Ming Li (CHN), but Kamala Kannan went down, 16 36 to Wang-Cheng Hsieh (TPE) .. Both have picked up one win each so far and so they are fine for direct entry into the next leg .. In doubles, the second seeced Manoj and Kamala play Oliver Foreman (GBR)/ Robert Gustafsson (SWE).

Good work but no cigar for Vishal Uppal in the USA F23 $10K futures qualies in Decatur, Illinois .. Today he fell in the final round of qualies .. [Q1] #6 Vishal Uppal (IND) d. Phil Metz (USA), 46 75 75 .. [Q2] d. Antonio Ruiz-Rosales (MEX), 64 63 .. [Q2] d. Drew Eberly (USA), 63 61 .. [Q4] l. #13 Brendon Evans (USA), 46 67(4) .. I had feared today's Q4 would be tough, because Evans is one of the most talented junior American players out there .. 6 ft 4 inch with a cannon serve and all .. Anyway, Vishal is first or second in line for a lucky loser spot ..

Megha Vakharia is the 4th seed at the $10K Harrisonberg (Virginia) satellite .. She plays qualifier Nicole Shabaz (USA) in the first round.

Not sure if Rushmi is playing anywhere this week - I thought she was to be at a $10K satellite in Europe, but haven't seen her in any of the draws.

July 27 Note-3

The draw is out for Rohan and Harsh at the Denver challenger .. [R1] Rohan Bopanna vs Jonathan Erlich (ISR,451)  and in doubles, #1 R.Bopanna/ Aisam Qureshi (PAK) vs (WC) Mark Dietrich/ Ogidi Obi (USA) .. [R1] Harsh Mankad vs #6 Amir Hadad (ISR,265) and in doubles, #3 H.Mankad/ Arvind Parmar (GBR) vs Jose de Armas/ Keplar Orellana (VEN) .. Not terrible draws actually .. They both have good partners in doubles .. I think they considered playing together in doubles, but since RB had played with Aisam a couple of times now and because Harsh also had interest from a good partner in Parmar, they went with that .. Both are seeded teams .. Also at the challenger is Rajeev Ram (USA) who has a wildcard and plays  the 3rd seed Yeu-Tzuoo Wang (TPE,223) .. In doubles, R.Ram/ Brian Wilson (USA) vs John Paul Fruttero (USA)/ Yeu-Tzuoo Wang (TPE) .. Harsh does not play till Tuesday, but RB will be in action in doubles tomorrow.

At the LA Mercedes Cup ATP, wildcards Prakash and Stephen Amritraj are drawn to face the top seeds Rick Leach and Brian McPhie .. Prakash does not play till Tuesday ..

July 27 Note-2

In the Q1 at the $50K Louisville challenger, Nirupama ended up playing Chin Bee Khoo (MAS,373) today, instead of Vilmarie Castellvi who was in the original draw .. Very nice win by Niru today -- 61 63 over Khoo .. She plays Petra Rampre (SLO,269) in the second round tomorrow.

Finally got all of Divij Sharan's results compiled for the fantastic show at the grade-2 in South Africa .. I updated my earlier notes below, but here is all of it --
[R1] #4 Divij Sharan (IND,153) BYE
[R2] #4 Divij Sharan (IND,153) d. (Q) Kutlwano Lephuting (RSA,866), 76(5) 63
[R3] #4 Divij Sharan (IND,153) d. #14 Fabrice Martin (FRA,307) 67(5) 61 62
[QF] #4 Divij Sharan (IND,153) d. #10 Dylan Arnould (USA,301), 62 62
[SF] #4 Divij Sharan (IND,153) d. Arunprakash Rajagopalan (IND,385), 60 62
[F] #4 Divij Sharan (IND,153) l. #5 Charles Irie (CIV,115), 67(3) 46

[R1] #6 A.Rajagopalan/ D.Sharan BYE
[R2] d. Jurgens Strydom (NAM)/ Luic Didavi (BEN), 62 76(8)
[QF] d. Fritz Wolmarens/ Thomas Liversage (RSA), 62 62
[SF] d. #1 Marc Spicijaric (USA)/ Pierre-Ludovic Duclos (CAN), 60 63
[F]  d. #3 Myles Kasiri (GBR)/ Todd Ley (AUS), 61 62.

Though the event did not have the greatest participation from top-100 players, Divij did his part and showed his focus by winning so many matches against very good opponenets in reaching the first grade-2 final by any Indian that I have any records on, in many many years .. The doubles score lines are impressive too.  Kudos to him!

Awaiting next week's draw information for Harsh and Rohan at the Denver challenger, and also for Megha, Sai, Rushmi, Manoj, Kamala, etc ...

July 27 Note-1

Niru is at the qualies for the $50K Louisville challenger, with a really tough first round match .. [Q1] N.Sanjeev vs (WC) Villmarie Castellvi (PUR,401) .. Don't let Villmarie's ranking fool you .. She is the #1 ranked college player who finished runner up in the collegiate national championship this june .. She has been playing the tour for only a for a month .. The Puerto Rican reached the final of the Vancouver challenger two weeks back after qualifying in .. If Niru has got over the rust in her game, she can beat her (I saw Niru in march at the Fullerton challenger against Amber Liu of Stanford U in one of the first matches in her comeback; Amber is the #3 college player who beat Vilmarie in the NCAA final - Niru lost in two tiebreakers very closely there and but for rust in her service accuracy she would have quite easily beaten Amber -- so Niru still has the game, but if it is all clicking mentally and otherwise is unclear) .. Anyway, let us see how it goes today.

Stephen Amritraj went down 36 46 to Andrew Ilie in the Q2 for the LA Mercedes Benz Cup yesterday at the UCLA courts .. He had beaten Aswat Saraohia (USA) 76(6) 64 in the Q1 .. Stephen seems to be playing quite a bit better than he was in the satellites in India where he was hampered by a knee injury that caused a 4-5 months time away from the courts.

I also have compiled most of the results from the 3rd leg of the AITA/ Nutrine Naturo u12 and u14 series events -- Tariq Jacob (TN) won the u14 girls, Yuki Bhambri (DLI) won the u12, Grace Hannah (TN) won the u14 girls, and Prerana Mytri (AP) won the u12, in an event that saw almost all of the best players in the u12 and u14 at Chennai that ended yesterday .. I will post the results and comment more soon ..

July 26 Note-2

"Kash"man is continuing to get chances to play top guys .. He got a wildcard at the LA Mercedes Benz Cup ATP .. That is home field for him .. [R1] Prakash Amritraj (IND,396) vs #6 Marat Safin (RUS,21) .. How about that? .. Tough matchup, but I love it .. I expect to be down there at the UCLA courts Monday or Tuesday as your trusted reporter on the match .. Go Kash! .. Stephen was playing today in the first round of qualies, against Ashwat Sarohia a talented teenager from the US - no news on the match yet.

Vishal Uppal won his qualies first round yesterday at the $10K futures in Decatur, Illinois .. [Q1] #6 V.Uppal d. Phil Metz (USA) 46 75 75 .. He was to play Antonio Ruiz-Rosales (MEX) today in the Q2 of the 4-round qualies.

July 26 Note-1

Nirupama Sanjeev and Selima Sfar (TUN) went down yesterday in the QF at the $50K Denver challenger, 16 36 to Remi Tezuka and Yuka Yoshida of Japan .. That finished a pretty poor week for Indians, as there was only one PQF and one doubles SF for nine Indians paying in eight different events abroad .. The good thing about tennis is that there is always the next week, and I think it will get better!

But some great stuff from South Africa .. Divij Sharan finished as runner-up at the grade-2 Pretoria-II ITF juniors today .. I am not sure whom he played today in the close 67 46 final - either #5 seed Charles Irie (CIV) or #2 seed Myles Kasiri (GBR) ..  In the semifinal yesterday he beat R.Arunprakash by a surprising 62 60 scoreline! .. Arun had upset the top seed 35th ranked Wolmarens and a couple more high seeds earlier, and I thought Divij would find it tough against him, but what do I know? .. Divij and Arun also won the doubles title there, with an upset of the top seeds in the semis yesterday along the way .. Scores: [QF] Arunprakash Rajagopalan (IND,385) d. #11 Todd Ley (AUS,239), 63 75 ..[QF] #4 Divij Sharan (IND,153) d. #10 Dylan Arnould (USA,301), 62 62 .. [SF] d. Arunprakash Rajagopalan (IND,385), 60 62 .. [F] l. #5 Charles Irie (CIV,115), 67(3) 46 .. Irie had beaten the second seed Kasiri in the other semi ...... Doubles: [QF] #6 A.Rajagopalan/ D.Sharan d. Fritz Wolmarens/ Thomas Liversage (RSA), 62 62 .. [SF] d. #1 Marc Spicijaric (USA)/ Pierre-Ludovic Duclos (CAN), 63 61 .. [F]  d. #3 Myles Kasiri (GBR)/ Todd Ley (AUS), 62 61 .. Those are some great doubles scores by our boys! .. [earlier rounds' scores in the Jul 24 Note-1 below]

This is the first grade-2 final by an Indian boy that I am aware of, in a decade or something .. Karan Rastogi does have two grade-1 semis which are equivalent in points (75 ITF points) .. Sunil Kumar had that title for 120 points in the Asian Juniors in Dec 02 in Delhi whcih was technically a better result, but as an 18.5 year old who had played that in his very last month of eligibility, it probably looked less impressive .. In other words, 17 yr old Divij Sharan has placed himself right near the top of the recent talent heap with this show .. His points total will go up from 165 to 220 now and his ranking should be going just inside the top-100 from the current #153 .. His doubles rank will go up from 150 to bout 80 with his first grade-2 title .. The good thing is that he has space to spare in his best-6 to raise his ranking further and he should not have much problem getting into the grand slam juniors next year as well - so Karan Rastogi will not be the lone Indian next year .. Nice to see Divij Sharan's emergence - I was somewhat concerned that nobody new had emerged this year in the boys junior ranks .. Though he does not have a lot of top wins, I think Divij is one who has steadily improved over the last year or so, playing quite a few events abroad .. He needs to be taken seriously, as I think he has been showing some good focus and the proverbial "fire in the belly".

July 25 Notes

At the $10K Evansville satellite, #2 seeds Megha Vakharia and Jaquelin Trail (USA) were upset by qualifiers Audra Falk and Aleke Tsoubanos, 46 46 in the QF yesterday ..

2nd seeds Vishal Uppal and Matt Klinger gave a walkover in the QF at the $10K USA F21 in Joplin Missouri ..

Here are the scores from China satellites leg-1, finally .. In keeping with the pattern this week of everybody losing the first match itself, 3rd seed Manoj Mahadevan went down 36 63 46 to qualifier Richard Magney (AUS) .. Kamala Kannan became the only Indian to make the final-16 in any pro event this week out of NINE players in eight different events around the world (HM in Lexington, RB in Italy, Prakash at Indi, Vishal at Joplin, Niru at Lexington, Rushmi in Germany, Megha in Evansville, and Kamala and Manoj in Tianjin .. Ooh, terrible week!) .. Kamala beat Jian Li (CHN) 63 16 60 in the R1 and lost 26 46 to the 5th seed Ti Chen in the PQF ..  In doubles, #2 seeds Manoj and Kamala beat Jong-Sam Chung/ Woong-Sun Jun (KOR) 62 61 and then Yu Wang/ Xin-Yuan Yu (CHN) 61 36 62 before falling to Wang-Cheng Hsieh/ Tai-Wei Liu (TPE) 36 63 36 ..

OK, now the only thing remaining is the QF match for Niru in doubles at Lexington, in a week that started with a bang with Prakash picking up our first ATP win abroad by anybody but LP in 6 years .. But the week fizzled out faster than I ever imagined.  Saved me a lot of typing though -- imagine if everyody won a lot of rounds :) .. No, I am not being sarcastic; just trying to inject a bit of humor for everybody to keep the chins up! .. Next week will be better, I know, for sure (because it really can't get worse :-)) .. Go guys/gals!

Awaiting news on the grade-2 semifinal at Pretoria between R.Arunprakash and Divij Sharan.

July 24 Note-2

Niru and Selima Sfar had to pull a latenight comeback to upset the 3rd seeds at the Lexington challenger ..  Good to see Niru picking up a win and getting more match practice on the comeback trail .. [R1] N.Sanjeev/ S.Sfar (TUN) d. #3 Lisa McShea/ Samantha Stosur (AUS), 36 64 64 .. In the QF, they face Remi Tezuka and Yuka Yoshida (JPN) tomorrow .. By the way, the one who upset Niru yesterday, Lauren Kalvaria, went on to upset the top seed Lee-Waters also 61 64 today, so I guess yesterday's lopsided loss was probably more due to the opponent playing hot tennis.

At the Recanati challenger, Rohan Bopanna and Santiago Gonzales gave a walkover in the doubles QF to Cadart and Sela .. Actually thoseguys also got a walkover immediately from the 4th seeded team and reached the final straight .. I have been told that Rohan is fine; not injured or anything - he goes to Denver next week.

At the Evansville $10K satellites, Megha Vakharia and Jacqueline Trail (USA) beat Rochelle Goldthreate (USA) and Katie McGlennen (USA), 63 64 .. The QF is against qualifiers Audra Falk (USA)/ Aleke Tsoubanos (USA).

At the $10K USA F21 in Joplin, Missouri, the second seeds Vishal Uppal and Matt Klinger (CAN) won the R1, 67(6) 76(3) 63 over qualifiers Tres Davis/ Ryan Sanders (USA) and they play Cary Franklin and Bo Hodge (USA) in the QF.

One more doubles score -- At the $10K Horb satellite in Germany, the top seeds Maria Kondratieva (RUS) and Shelley Stephens (NZL) beat Rushmi Chakravarthi and Mette Iversen (DEN), 60 61 .. So no wins this week for Rushmi.

July 24 Note-1

First, one more loss to report, and then I have some good news .. At the Evansville $10K satellite, the 5th seed Megha Vakharia went down to a talented qualifier, Kristin Cargill (USA,1134) in a close match - 76(5) 26 46 .. That makes it a first match loss for Rohan, Harsh, Niru, Rushmi, Megha and Vishal Uppal this week .. The only matches we don't know of are in the China satellite circuit first leg, where Manoj Mahadevan is seeded 3rd seed drawn against qualifier Richard Magney (AUS) and Kamala Kannan was playing Jian Li (CHN) (they are also seeded #2 in doubles together, drawn against Jong-Sam Chung and Woong-Sun Jun of Korea.

Niru's doubles match is scheduled for tonight at the Lexington challenger.

Now the good news from the Pretoria-II grade-2 ITF juniors in South Africa .. R.Arunprakash's impressive re-emergence in the junior ranks continues and Divij Sharan continues to impress with his consistent results .. They are playing each other in the semis tomorrow! .. 18 yr old Arun, only in his 3rd junior event since a return after not playing juniors for 18 months, upset the top seed, the last week's winner and world #35 Fritz Wolmarens in straight sets, making it his second top-40 win since the restart (he had upset Jarret Chirico on the way to the title at the Philadelphia grade-3) .. Divij is ranked #153 and seeded 4th - he hasn't had to beat any top ranks yet but what has been impressive about Divij over the last few months is that he has been very consistent in reaching later rounds and not losing to low-quality players though he rarely pulls huge upsets .. Punam Reddy also had a very close match against the 3rd seed at Pretoria though she lost .. Here are the results (AITA tracked down the results spreadsheet and have posted it; nobody else in the world seems to have the results from RSA!) -- [R1] Arunprakash Rajagopalan (IND,385) d. Durant Botha (RSA,427), 62 62 .. [R2] d. #1 Fritz Wolmarens (RSA,35), 75 62 .. [R3] d. #13 Julian Reister (GER,258), 75 62 .. [QF] d. #11 Todd Ley (AUS,239), Score not known .. [SF] Arunprakash Rajagopalan (IND,385) vs #4 D.Sharan .. [R1] #4 Divij Sharan (IND,153) BYE .. [R2] d. (Q) Kutlwano Lephuting (RSA,866), 76(5) 63 .. [R3] d. #14 Fabrice Martin (FRA,307) 67(5) 61 62 .. [QF] #4 Divij Sharan (IND,153) d. #10 Dylan Arnould (USA,301), Score not known .. [SF] #4 Divij Sharan (IND,153) vs A.Rajagopalan .. [R1] Punam Reddy (IND,565) d. (WC) Justine Sutherland (RSA,NR) 61 60 .. [R2] l. #3 Tapiwa Marobela (BOT,123) 76(4) 57 36 .. Doubles .. [R1] #6 A.Rajagopalan/ D.Sharan BYE .. [R2] d. Jurgens Strydom (NAM)/ Luic Didavi (BEN), 62 76(8) .. [QF] vs Fritz Wolmarens/ Thomas Liversage (RSA) .. Arun's nice play has been a nice and pleasant surprise .. I had read in the newspaper article from Philadelphia after he won the title that he had undergone some coaching in New York .. Things seem to be coming together .. Better late than never, eh? .. Go Arun, Go Divij! .. A grade-2 semi gives one 50 points - so Arun will move up to about #240 from just three junior events and Divij will move up to around #115 after this.

July 23 Note-2

At least a doubles win to report .. [R1] #1 R.Bopanna/ Santiago Gonzales (MEX) d. Joachim Johansson (SWE)/ Niko Karagiannis (GRE), 64 67(8) 63, at the $25K+H Recanati challenger .. In the QF they play Rodolphe Cadart (FRA) and Dudi Sela (ISR) ..

At the Indianapolis ATP first round, [R1] P.Amritraj/ S.Amritraj l. Nicholas Kiefer (GER)/ Sjeng Schalken (NED), 46 46 .. This was actually a close match .. It started with back and forth breaks in the first three games - both PA and SA dropped serve but they got a break in the second game .. They had a couple of chances to even it in the 4th game as well, but couldn't convert and that proved to be the difference in the set, which went without breaks from there .. In fact it went without breaks till 3-3 when PA-SA dropped serve to fall to 3-4 .. At 3-5, they saved four break points from 0-40 down on serve to extend the match to an extra game .. Good fight from the boys, but a loss.

Niru's doubles first round match at Lexington has been postponed to tomorrow, due to rain .. No news yet on Megha's matches at Evansville today.

As though we haven't had enough losses to report, there is also some coming from Egypt where the kids are at the ITF grade-3 in Giza .. Nobody could beat a foreign kid and none among the 6 reached QF .. [R1] Karthik Raju (IND,699) l. Mohamed Moussa (EGY,625), 75 63 .. [R1] Jeevan M Nedunchezhiyan (IND,583) l. Mohamed Nashaat (EGY,NR), 26 26 .. [R1] Navdeep Singh (IND,275) d. Prateek Shantharaju (IND,NR), 57 60 61 .. [R2] Navdeep Singh (IND,275) l. Ali EL Alaoui (MAR,730), 46 46 .. [R1] Asha Nandakumar (IND,680) l. Maria Spenceley (GBR,338) 36 64 46 .. [R1] Amoolya Raghunath (IND,NR) l. Eugenia Grebeniuk (RUS,455), 06 06 .. A couple of wins in doubles though, as usual - [R1] A.Nandakumar/ A.Raghunath l. Naniss El Essaily (EGY)/ Eva Fernandez-Brugues (ESP), 36 46 .. [R1] Chris Letcher (AUS)/ Navdeep Singh d. Roger Majdalani (LIB)/ Prateek Shantharaju, 63 63 .. [R1] Karthik Raju/ J.M.Nedunchezhiyan d. Bassel El-Guindy/ Mahmoud Ezz (EGY), 64 62 .. Hope the kids would do better next week .. Vandana Murali did not got there, it appears.

No news yet from South Africa on how ArunKumar and Divij Sharan are doing.

July 23 Note-1

The losses keep coming this week .. This one hurts -- At the $50K challenger in Lexington, [R1] Nirupama Sanjeev (IND) l. Lauren Kalvaria (USA,399), 06 16 .. I am puzzled why Niru's results keeps getting worse with the successive outings on the comeback trail .. Well ...

And Rushmi lost 36 46 to the 5th seed Ana Timotic (YUG,333) at the $10K Horb satellites yesterday ..

Megha is seeded 5th and playes qualifier Kristin Cargill (USA) in the R1 at the Evansville $10K, and that is the only singles match remaining now.

July 22 Note-4

One more loss to report -- Oh hell, what a wretched day .. It is sometime past 12 midnight, and they finished Harsh's match at Lexington .. Another heartbreaker .. 64 36 57 loss to Andrew Ilie (AUS) .. Ilie is a former top-40 and is coming back from injury, but that kind of stuff is no consolation, really .. Especially when we have both RB and HM losing matches where they won the first set on the same day .. Come on guys, start pulling these matches out -- you can do it; just do it! ..

I know, we should stay positive .. At least they are all getting closer to wins .. Stay positive .. stay positive, stay positive .. posit..ive .. poszzii.. zz... zz.. zzzz .. Ok, good night!

July 22 Note-3

Two losses to report .. Not a good day when that happens .. First Prakash's match ..  He had a good start for the first six games but Kiefer took it away from there on .. At the Indianapolis RCA championships ATP, [R2] (Q) Prakash Amritraj (IND,396) l. Nicholas Kiefer (GER,76), 36 16 .. Prakash started off well, not being troubled in his service games but giving NK some trouble on his serve .. At 2-1, PA had two break chances but the German stayed .. He turned the tables on Prakash in the 7th game on PA's serve at 3-3, 30-15 .. He went on to win 8 points in a row -- suddenly PA was behind 3-5 and serving to stay in the set .. He saved two set points from 30-40 but fell after four dueces .. The match was actually quite even except for that spurt from NK .. In the second set, PA could not take Nicholas to any break points but he seemed to be consistently taking a couple of points off him in every service game .. He dropped serve twice and held once at love in the second set; both the breaks coming after deuces .. So, basically this was a match that was nowhere near as lopsided as the scoreline would indicate .. But it also says that PA needs to still gain experience in pulling out the right weapons and taking the right decisions to hold serve or break an opponent as experienced as a 26 year old Kiefer who has been in the top-100 for a few years! .. That will come with time (especially so in PA's case, as I always belive, because of the agressive style and variety in his game) .. But the young guy certainly took another step in the right direction this week .. Doubles remains for him - I assume he and Stephen will be playing tomorrow.

The other loss was to Rohan .. At the $25K+H Recanati challenger, [R1] Rohan Bopanna (IND,314) l. #5 Massimo Dell'Acqua (ITA,196), 76(5) 36 46 .. Good start, and actually a close match against a player who is pretty hot right now, who was also playing in front os his home crowd under the lights at night! .. Doubles remains.

Harsh Mankad's R1 match is all delayed at the lexington challenger due to evening rains.  They restarted the matches by 8.15 pm, but unless they start Harsh's match after 9 or so, it will be a postponement there ..

July 22 Note-2

Prakash's match against Kiefer starts now - at 4.30 pm (2.30 pm LA, 3 am India)  .. Come to the chatroom ..

Nirupama's R1 opponent at Lexington will be Lauren kalvaria (USA,399) .. The match is tomorrow ..

July 22 Note-1

So, all the luck part is over and Prakash has earned the right to play the top guys at Indi with his own work - this is why I discount the gift points he has in his kitty; he does have quite a few, but he has also done his part fabulously, so nobody should complain .. Now he gets another chance to make a big impression - today itself .. His second round match is on the schedule for this evening .. [R2] (Q) Prakash Amritraj (IND,396) vs #14 Nicolas Kiefer (GER,76) .. If he pulls this one out, let us start a "Prakash for Davis Cup Team" campaign, eh? .. It will be very tough but if he brings his best, anything is possible with Prakash .. He already has one top-100 win (over Alex Waske, #97 then) and two other top-150 wins, but this will be the biggest win if he can upset the seed .. The match is the 3rd one on the grand stand court and he will be playing at around 5 pm (3.30 am India, 3 pm Los Angeles) .. We will again meet in the chatroom for the match .. By the way, those of you who are bugged by the Popup window that the Parachat Xoom server opens, just kill it and it will go away (I believe it only comes up twice during a chat session - two kills and you are done) .. Dhruv has coded up a nice chatroom for us at the SportsIndia forum site, but I have been too lazy to set it up for TennisIndia.

Harsh Mankad's R1 match against Andrew Ilie (AUS,421) is at 7 pm at the $50K Lexington challenger, and Rohan Bopanna's R1 against the 5th seed Massimo dell'Acqua (ITA,196) is at 8.30 pm at the $25K+H challenger at Recanati, Italy .. Tough match for RB, with the homecrowd behind and in-form Massimo in the featured night match.

At the $10K Evansville satellite, 5th seed Megha Vakharia has drawn a qualifier to be determined today .. The $10K Horb satellite in Germany seems to have an extremely tough field .. Rushmi Chakravarthi has a tough first round against #333 Ana Timotic (YUG) who is seeded 5th! .. Not lucky in doubles either - Rushmi and Mette Iversen (DEN) play the top seeds Maria Kondratieva (RUS) and Shelley Stephens (NZL).

Sunitha Rao (USA) was originally in the entry list for the Lexington wmen's challenger this week but seems to have withdrawn - I hope that hamstring injury she had at Wimbledon is healed (but I am told hamstring problems can sometimes take many weeks to go away) .. Niru's qualifier opponent at Lexington will be known today .. She is not in the schedule for today.

July 21 Note-3

Incredible stuff from Prakash .. Serving aces to hold serve while facing break points at 4-4 in the 3rd and then finishing with a flourish .. Yessirreeeee .. We have just had an Indian other than Leander Paes win an ATP tournament round since .. since .. MB at Los Angeles in 1997?? (I need to check) .. [R1] (q) Prakash Amritraj (IND,396) d. Sergio Roitman (ARG,140), 63 36 75 .. Nicolas Kiefer up next for him! ..

Here is the match report - [Set-1] PA was down 30-40 and broken in the 3rd game .. He came right back and had SR 0-40, breaking him at 30-40 in the 4th game to even it at 2-2 .. Prakash had break pts again at 15-40 in the and broke him in game 6 as well to go ahead 4-2 .. PA seemed to be well in control in this set and had five aces with a first serve percentage around 68 .. [Set-2] Prakash continued the momentum and had 15-40 break chance in game 3 again, converting it there .. 2-1 up and serving .. Suddenly he lost momentum and was down 15-40 .. The first serve percentage dropped to the 50s ominously and he was not hitting any aces anymore .. Faced another break point at 30-40 and was again broken; 2-4 .. He got a bit of spirit back as Roitman was serving for the set .. Had three break chances from 15-40 - could not convert any of those and SR evened it at one set apiece .. [Set-3] After not hitting any aces in the second, PA started with an ace here .. He then broke SR to go ahead to 2-0 .. Sergio wasn't yet giving up and he again evened it at 2-2, after breaking PA at 15-40 in game 3 .. Now it was a genuine dogfight with neither player giving an inch .. Till 4-4 when Prakash was looking down the barrel at 30-40 and again at AD out on his serve .. His 7 and 8th aces came out here, the second one to save a crucial break point .. It showed something about Prakash as a player, that he withstood the pressure there to hold serve to 5-4 .. SR served 3 aces in the next game and held serve to 5-5 .. Easy game for 6-5 by Prak .. Just when it looked like it would be a tiebreaker with SR serving at 40-30, Prakash won three points in a row and finished the match! .. It took 2 hours and 8 minutes .. PA won 89 points to 83 by SR .. Prakash was 5 of 10 in break points and SR was 4 of 7 .. 8 aces and 4 double faults by PA, 4 and 2 by SR ..

It gives Prakash 15 ATP points (including 5 from qualifying) if ATP sticks to the points table in the fact sheet for the tournament .. That will take his point total to 81 and raise his ranking from #396 to just inside top-350 ..

July 21 Note-2

Prakash's match will be at around 3 pm at Indianapolis .. Come to our usual chatroom during the match .. Rajeev Ram (USA) got a bit lucky, as Jerome Golmard withdrew and was replaced by a lucky loser, Igor Levine (RUS,854) .. Rajeev easily beat him 61 63 to reach the final 32 there! .. Now it is Prakash's turn to go after Sergio Roitman (ARG,140) ..

Nirupama is drawn to face a qualifier to be determined by tomorrow, at the $50K Lexington challenger .. She may not play till wednesday, I suppose .. In doubles, she is playing with Selima Sfar of Tunisia; she is a good partner, I think .. They face the 3rd seeds, Lisa McShea and Samantha Stosur of Australia.

July 21 Note-1

Still awaiting the draw for women at the Lexington challenger for Nirupama Sanjeev .. It still has not been made, I believe.

Prakash Amritraj's match at the Indianapolis ATP main draw is the 3rd one on court-3 and should be at around 4.30 pm there .. Look for a later announcement here on where we will meet for the chat during the match - there will be point by point score updates.

The tournament web site's media notes today is actually predicting a Prakash upset in the first round! .. Here are some excerpts from the preview .. "If the Amritraj name sounds familiar, it should, because Prakash Amritraj is attempting to follow in his famous father, Vijay’s, footsteps  ...... Thus far this year, Roitman has lost both main draw matches he’s played – the first round on clay at Houston all the way back in May and the first round at the recent French Open. However, that French Open match marked a big occasion for the Argentine as he battled the defending champion Albert Costa of Spain. And it was indeed a battle -- Roitman actually held a two-set lead over Costa before the defending champion remembered who should be in charge, stepped up the pace and won the match in five arduous sets ....... Although Prakash Amritraj is now playing for India, he was born and raised right here in hard court country – California. This is an important point because he knows the ins-and-outs of hard court competition and that should give him something to fall back on. However, Roitman has the advantage of having experienced a big match, on a very big occasion, and he held his own admirably during the encounter. They head into battle on a pretty even platform but the hard court background should make backing Amritraj a little bit better bet. Amritraj in three sets" ..

Megha Vakharia is among the seeds for the $10K satellite at Evansville, Indiana .. The draw is not out yet .. Sai was originally in the qualifying list for the Lexington challenger .. Not sure where she is playing this week .. Rushmi is among the top seeds at the $10K Horb - have not seen the draw from there either.

A lot of our kids are in Africa this week .. According to the entry lists for the two weeks of grade-3 ITF events in Egypt (Giza this week and Cairo next week), 17 yr old Navdeep Singh and 15 yr old Vandana Murali are expected among the seeds .. 14 yr old Jeevan Nedunchezhiyen and 15 yr old Karthik Raju are also in the main draw list for boys, and 15 yr old Asha Nandakumar is in the girls' list .. Divij Sharan, R.Arunkumar and Punam Reddy should be at the grade-2 this week in South Africa, at Pretoria again.

The u14 tour with the ITF team in Europe is still not going great for Agnel Gladwin - he lost in the first round for the 3rd week in a row - this time at the Hauts-de-Seine u14 event, Rueil-Malmaison, France  .. Not getitng any help from the draw either, as he faced one of the seeds, Stefano Valenti (ITA) and lost 36 16 .. I hope the boy doesn't take it too hard .. He is not the first one to have such problem out there in Europe and he will only learn from these matches .. I have not seen the doubles draw.

.. Previous notes are at Notes for the week ending on July 21 ..

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 player, let me know .. I would like to have a mailing list where I can post general announcements and inquiries from the coaches too .. Please email me - R.Jayakrishnan.