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LP/MB/NV/Indian-Tennis: Notes for the week ending on July 30, 2001
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July 30 Note-1

I have not seen the schedule for today at the Montreal masters, to see if LP-MB are playing their first round - probably not today.

There was an article in the Hindustan Times from S.Kannan today that mentions the injury factor for why LP skipped three weeks of tennis .. It says that LP had a hip injury at Wimbledon from the mixed doubles match and was asked to take rest .. I heard this from LP, but did not mention it here as he said he didn't want to make an issue of it and give it as an excuse after Wimbledon - and no newspaper reports from UK had said anything then .. Now that Hindustan Times says it, I guess it is official .. I am not sure the injury was from mixed doubles though .. I think it happened in the final round of qualies itself - he was fine in the first round of singles after that, but then it got worse - that is what I heard from LP .. Anyway, I talked to Lee at Montreal on Saturday and he said he is fine .. He is being a bit careful, as a lot of work is up ahead and his focus is quite a bit on the Davis Cup in 7 weeks and about staying healthy for that .. As of now, Montreal, Cincinnati masters events next two weeks, then Indianapolis, then US Open qualies, Two weeks of USO and 10 days break followed by Davis Cup.

Manisha and Leanne Baker are in the doubles draw at the Tier-IV WTA event in Basel .. They are scheduled to play a qualifier team, Sandra Kloesel and Martina Muller, today .. The doubles qualifying final round was earlier today as well, I believe .. If they advance, they will run into the winners of the #4 Lamade/ Schnyder vs. Mandula/ Stephens .. By the way, Manisha moved up from #201 to a career high 191 in doubles with her 20 pts from the first round win last week at the Casablanca Tier-V, cracking the top-200 for the first time .. Leanne Baker moved up from 183 to 174 as well.

Awaiting news from Decatur, Illinois .. I still don't know if Harsh made the main draw there .. Also about Vikrant, Rishi, etc in the qualies.

A late update from the doubles draw at the Pamplona (Span) challenger last week - Sai, Rushmi and Shruti had all fallen in the first round of doubles ..  They all may have returned to India - no Indian payers in the entry lists at any of the European events this week, except for Manisha at Basel WTA .. No idea what happened to Sonal and Karishm, after that one week appearance in the UK satellite .. I thought they would be at the Irish satellite this week, but they have not entered .. Next action for Sai and Rushmi will be at the Nonthaburi satellite starting next week (Aug 6th) .. Sheetal, Megha and Liza are also in the entry list for Nonthburi - not all in the main draw though.

July 29 Notes

Leander and Mahesh are both at Montreal, and the draw for the masters event places them as the 7th seeds, playing Scott Humphries and Alex O'Brien in the first round .. They are in the bottom half of the draw with 3rd seeds Nestor-Stolle as the potential QF opponents and 2nd seeds Johnson-Palmer as the SF opponents .. Damm-Prinosil or Tarango-Vacek in the R2 for our pair .. The winners of Bryan-Bryan vs Rafter-Hweitt could upset for Nestor-Stolle in the second round and face our boys in QF, also .. Not sure when LP-MB are playing.

No other news today .. Nothing from the qualifying rounds at Decatur, Illinois, etc.

July 28 Note-2

Manisha went down 57 46 to Maja Palaversic (CRO,125) in the first round of qualies at the Tier-IV ($150K) WTA event in Basel, Switzerland .. Palaversic is one of the highest ranked players Manisha has ever played, actually .. We will know the doubles main draw in a day or two.

July 28 Note-1

Manisha Malhotra is in the singles qualies at the Tier-IV WTA event in Basel, Switzerland .. She faces veteran Maja Palaversic (CRO,125) in Q1 today - tough match.  Leanne Baker is also in the qualies; so they will probably be playing the doubles main draw at Basel .. Manisha is doing a good job of making use of her doubles ranking well .. Making the main draw helps her get hospitality from the tournament and save on expenses .. By the way, this is something that Nirupama has hardly ever been able to do well, because she was never lucky to find a suitable doubles partner for any decent period of time ..  On the other hand, Manisha will need to pull off some upsets in the singles qualies to get singles points though - that is not easy.

LP is not in the qualifying rounds at the Montreal masters .. I don't think he would have made the draw with his ranking .. Nirupama may be taking next week off to give her neck and shoulder another break .. She is not in the qualies at the San Diego Tier-II event, nor at the Lexington challenger in the US.

Harsh and Vikrant went down in the semis after a good fight against Peter Luczak (AUS) and Chris Magyari (USA), 64 16 67(4) last evening at the USA F19 futures in St.Joseph, Missouri .. They get 6 doubles points each.

Great news from Egypt, according to Rediff.com .. 14 yr old Sania Mirza won the double crown at the Movenpick pyramids Grade-3 ITF junior international at Giza .. She beat 18 yr old Helena Norfeldt of Sweden in a big comeback, after fighting off four match points in the second set, 36 76(11) 62 .. As though that wasn't enough, she and Sasha Abraham won the doubles title also, beating the Egyptians, Khalifa Amani and Heidi Tacq, 63 63 ..  Sania gets 60 points for the title and should crack the top-50 next week with that .. Folks, you are seeing something historic in Sania Mirza .. This girl is among the biggest young talents India has produced, perhaps in any sports .. Ever since she appeared in the world junior rankings inside top-400 as a 13 yr old about 18 months back, she has not had anybody younger than her ranked above her as she kept moving up in the rankings .. Only recently did a very talented 13 yr old French girl, Tatiana Golovin, took over from Sania as the youngest player in the top-75 .. Sania will be back as the youngest in the top-50 next week again, I believe ..  These things don't mean much, especially considering Indians' poor record in keeping their junior rankings into the senior levels .. But Sania is somewhat different, in that she is clearly up in the stratosphere in junior rankings for her age, not just someone who is high in world junior ranks .. Probably nobody since LP on the boys' side has looked this good .. In my humble opinion, Sania is at least among the best 5 or 10 players in her age group in the world .. We have not had someone who has looked as much of a sure thing in ages ..  Let's pray that things will go well for Sania, in terms for top-notch coaching, sponsorship, etc.

By the way, isn't it great to know that the highest ranked 14 yr olds in both the boys and girls world rankings next week will be from India ? -- Sania Mirza and Karan Rastogi .. Karan is much less proven than Sania, though ..  I still have not seen the full draws from Egypt to know how he did there.

July 27 Notes

Here's hoping that LP will make the qualifying draw at the Montreal Masters starting tomorrow .. Would like to see him get some singles wins, continuing on the good form at Wimbledon .. LP and MB will be in the doubles draw there.

Manisha Malhotra and Leanne Baker lost 36 57 to the top seeds Bacheva and Carlsson at the $110K Tier-V WTA tourney in Casablanca, Morocco, thursday night .. They got 20 WTA points each for the first round win, enough to raise the rankings by another few spots.

Rediff.com had reported today that Sania Mirza had reached the final of the grade-3 Movenpick junior ITF tournament in Egypt, beating Wana Mrazovic of Yugoslavia, 62 62 .. She faces Helena Norfeldt of Sweden of Sweden in the final .. This gives Sania 45 ITF points which will increase the best-6 total to 275 and raise her ranking from #63 to near #55 .. A title will give her another 15 more points and help her crack top-50 for the first time .. This is her second grade-3 final - she had won the final week of the subcontinental circuit in January, the big grade-3 in Bangladesh .. Sania was also in the final of doubles in Egypt .. Well, what can I say about this 14 yr old? .. Keep it going, girl !

The Telegraph reports that Akhtar Ali is a shoe-in for the Dronacharya National Award, the highest honor for a coach in the country, according to their sources .. Congrats go to coach Akhtar Ali for the great honor, if this is true - the first Dronacharya award in tennis, I think!

Mustafa and Fred Hemmes reached the semifinal at the France F13 futures with a tough 76(11) 46 64 win over Thierry Ascione and Christophe Deveaux of France, but fell in the semi to Hayden Gibson and Aeron Martinovic of Australia, 36 64 16 .. Harsh and Vikrant were supposed to play the doubles semi at the USA F19 today .. No news yet .. I just saw that Rishi Sridhar and Vikrant Chadha are the 7th and 9th seeds at the USA F20 qualies starting tomorrow at Decatur, Illinois - both with first round byes .. If he has won the doubles today at the USA F19, he will have to skip one of the two events or travel back and forth .. Not sure if Decatur is close enough to do that (no jokes - one guy actually did that last week - he was in the doubles final at Joplin and had to play qualies in St.Jospeh .. So he simply drove back and forth!) .. As for Harsh, I am not sure if he made the main draw at USA F20 either .. He is not in the qualifying rounds, and if he made the main draw, it would have been as the last entry or something .. He had said earlier that he would rather play the qualies at the Lexington challenger rather than the F20 qualies if he misses the main draw .. We won't know till tomorrow, especially since he and Vikrant were playing today at the F19 ..

July 26 Notes

Manisha and Leanne have not played the QF at the Tier-V Casablanca WTA event yet, I believe .. They play the top seeds, Lubomira Bacheva (BUL) and Asa Carlsson (SWE), probably tomorrow.

Harsh Mankad ran into a hot player for the second week in a row - last week it was the top seed and the eventual runner up who beat him in three sets - yesterday it was Peter Luczak (AUS,410) who had won the event last week (and has now gone 12-1 in the US futures recently, including his R2 win today) .. Once again, the only consolation for Harsh was that he played him closely in a 46 62 46 loss .. A loss is a loss nonetheless .. As I said last week, Harsh will need to start beating these guys to make a good upward move .. The good thing though is that Mankad does not capitulate and look bad in his losses -- that is reason for hope .. Harsh got some good luck today in doubles - he and Vikrant Chadha got a QF walkover from the top seeded Canadian pair of Babby Kokavec and Andrew Nisker ..

At the $10K France F13 futures doubles, Mustafa Ghouse and Fred Hemmes (NED) beat wildcards Julien Cassaigne and Nicolas Renavand of France, 61 76(6) .. In the QF, the face Thierry Ascione and Christophe Deveaux of France.

Saurabh Singh, a talented 16 yr old from Chandigarh (who has a december brithday and so has only one year left in the juniors after this) has been in the Caribbean ITF junior circuit .. He had a first round loss last week, but has had a good win on the way to the QF this week .. In the first round he upset 4th seed Braen Aneiros (Panama,208) 26 63 76(5) and then Bryan Wong of Hong Kong, 62 62, before losing the quarterfinal to Sebastien Salas of Mexico, 46 57 .. He is in the doubles draw with Bryson Bowden of USA, and were drawn against the second seeds .. Saurabh has not played all that many ITF junior events .. He had played three of the six events in the subcontinental circuit early in the year, losing only to Sunil Kumar, Nishank Mishra, Amanjot Singh, three of our top juniors - but he also had some impressive wins against Rohan Gajjar and Vinod Sewa, the two other top-150 caliber players we have ..  Saurabh, along with Amanjot, Rohan, Nishank and 14 yr old Karan Rastogi are some of the players to keep an eye on, next year, as it looks right now.

No further news after what I posted yesterday on our kids (Sania, Sasha, Karan, etc) at the grade-3 event in Egypt ..

July 25 Note-2

Harsh and Vikrant Chadha won the first round of doubles at the USA F19 futures in St.Joseph, Missouri - 76(3) 63 over Matt Prentice (AUS) and Mark Way (AUS) .. They face the top seeded Canadian pair, Bobby Kokavec and Andrew Nisker in the quarterfinal .. Rishi Sridhar and Manoj Mahadevan played well against the same Canadian pair, but fell 46 67(2) .. Harsh plays singles R1 against the red-hot 7th seed Peter Luczak today.

I am going to be away for a day - the next update here will probably be sometime thursday night (US west coast).

July 25 Note-1

Good news from Casablanca .. Manisha Malhotra (205) and Leanne Baker (183) won the first round of doubles at the Tier-V WTA event, beating Nuria Llagostera (ESP,242) and Natasha van Der Merwe (RSA,427), 16 62 75 .. Their second round opponenets are not yet decided.

At the $25K Pamplona (Spain) challenger, the struggle continued for Indians, as Sai Jayalakshmi, the only Indian who made the main draw direct entry, probably as the last entry, lost 16 16 to Elodie Lebescond (FRA,294) .. All three Indians are in the doubles main draw, however .. Rushmi and Sai play the French pair, Diana Brunel and Edith Nunez .. Shruti Dhawan is playing with Helena Ejeson of Sweden and they are drawn to face the top seeds Jiulia Casoni and Roberta Vinci of Italy .. By the way, this challenger is being played on indoor hardcourts - not red clay [source: Diario de Navarra, Spain]

838th ranked Mustafa Ghouse went down in the first round against Sebastien Lami (FRA,753), 60 63 at the $10K France F13 futures .. I don't think he has played the doubles R1 yet.

Sania Mirza, Karan Rastogi and Rishi Behl, Sasha Abraham and Krushmi Cheddha are at the Movenpick Grade-3 junior ITF international in Egypt this week .. #63 Sania is the top seed and beat Alexandra Ion of Romania, 64 60 in the first round and meets Reem raouf (EGY,467) in R2 .. #183 Sasha Abraham is also in the second round with a 61 60 win - not sure against whom .. Sasha, who recently turned 16 and is the 3rd highest ranked Indian girl in the ITF list after Sania and Kegha Vakharia, is playing after a three month break since touring with the AITA squad to the Eastern ITF circuit .. She had 5 first round losses in a row there - so it is good to see her starting with a win here .. #968 Krushmi Cheddha lost 26 46 to Andreia Kolczonay (HUN) .. #244 Karan Rastogi, who is one of the seeds, had not yet played when I saw the results last from ITFjuniors.com, but #461 Rishi Behl went down in the first round, 57 57 to Amadeus Fulford-Jones (GBR,256) ..

July 24 Note-2

Harsh Mankad did get a wildcard into the $15K USA F19 futures! .. Not bad - I guess the tournament director likes the University of Minnesota where Harsh studies :-) .. He was about 4 spots away from the main draw actually .. Harsh does not have an easy draw, though, as he faces the 7th seed Peter Luczak (AUS,410) in the first round, tomorrow .. Luczak had just won the USA F18 futures at Joplin last week, beating Matthew Breen in the final (Breen was the second seed who beat Harsh in three sets in the R2 there) .. Luczak had earlier won the USA F16, and has won 2 of the last three futures he has played in the US .. Tough job for Harsh .. He is also in the doubles main draw with Vikrant Chadha, who I think is a good partner for him .. They face the wildcards Matt Prentice (NZL) and Mark Way (AUS) in the first round, and are drawn to possibly face the top seeds Kokavec and Nisker of Canada in the second round, unless Manoj Mahadevan and Rishi Sridhar can upset them in the R1 .. Both those doubles maches are scheduled for today .. By the way, Harsh is ranked 754 in singles and 747 in doubles this week ..

July 24 Note-1

Manisha Malhotra and Leanne Baker (NZL) are in the doubles main draw at the Tier V ($125K) Casablanca WTA event this week .. They play Nuria Llagostera (ESP) and Natasha van Der Merwe (RSA) in the first round and could run into the top seeds Bacheva and Carlson in the next round .. Manisha did not play qualies in singles - not sure if she would have made the draw for that, actually.

Mustafa Ghouse is drawn to face Sebastien Lami of France at the France F13 futures this week .. Mustafa and Fred Hemmes (NED) are seeded 3rd in doubles and face the wildcards Julien Cassaigne and Nicolas Renavand of France in the first round.

Scores from the weekend .. [Q1] Nirupama and Melissa Middleton d. S.Cacic/ S.Taylor, 9-7 .. [Q2] l. K.Liggan/ B.Stewart, 3-8 .. Unless two lucky loser spots open in the doubles draw, which almost never happens, Niru is done for this week .. I wish she had gone to smaller WTA events where her ranking would have put her into the main draw of doubles easily and she would have hjad a better chance ti make singles draws too .. The US west coast Tier-II events traditionally have some of the toughest entries to make .. Scores from the Pamplona $25K challenger in Spain -- Rushmi and Shruti were the 2nd and 4th seeds in the qualies where none of the top four seeds qualified in .. Rushmi beat Crista Magister (AUT), 63 60, in Q1 and went down 46 46 to Sarah Gregg in the Q2 .. Shruti lost 26 26 to G.Gallo .. The main draw starts today there, and I believe Sai made the draw .. Results from the $15K USA F19 four-round qualies at St.Joseph, Missouri - Rishi Sridhar was seeded 11th - [Q1] d. Paul Williams (USA) 63 61, [Q2] d. Shriranga Sudhakar (IND), walkover .. [Q3] l. Michael Kosta (USA), 67(4) 26 .. Manoj Mahadevan was the 7th seed - [Q1] d. Richard Magney (AUS) 63 26 62, [Q2] d. Lee Taylor Walker (USA) 63 62 .. [Q3] l. Ramsey Smith (USA), 57 46 .. Vikrant Chadha was the 11th seed, and lost in Q1 to Roger Gubser (USA), 76(6) 46 26 .. Main draw news still awaited from there.

Here is the late update of score details from the $25K Valladolid challenger in Spain last week .. Rushmi and Sai reached the QF of doubles with a 62 60 win over the qualifiers Marta Fraga and Adriana Gonzales .. They fell to the second seeds Adrienn Hegedes and Eszter Molnar of Hungary, 26 16 in the QF .. In the singles qualies, the 4th seeded Sai Jayalakshmy beat Carlota Santos (POR), 26 64 76(6) and went down to Mariona Gallifa-Puigdesense (ESP), 63 63 .. 7th seeded Rushmi Chakravarti beat Beatriz Cabreara Rosendo (ESP), 36 63 60, and Veronika Rizhik (ESP), 63 36 63, before losing to Regina Temez (ESP), 62 36 57 in the Q3 of the 4-round qualies .. Shrutti beat Karina Jakobsgaard (NED), 63 62 in the Q1 and lost to Ana Martin Ramirez (ESP), 26 57 .. In the doubles qualies Q1, Shruti Dhawan and Carlota Santos lost to the Sanchez Aliyato sisters of Spain, 46 46 .. They all picked up some small points in the matches and played some tough matches .. So, not a wasted week, but I am still sad to see the struggle these three are going through in the European red-clay circuit .. All kudos for trying though, rather than taking the easy way out at some easier locations around the world.

July 23 Notes

Niru and Melissa Middleton narrowly missed the main draw at the Tier-II Stanford WTA event, were the top seeds in the three round qualies for one Q spot, and went down in the seconmd round today .. Yikes .. It turned out as a useless trip for Niru to Stanford .. Rushmi fell in the second round and Shruti in the first round of qualies at the Pamplona $25K challenger in Spain .. Sai may have made the main draw there .. Vikrant, Manoj and Rishi fell in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd rounds of the 4-round qualies at the $25K USA F19 futures over the weekend in St.Joseph, Missouri .. Mustafa Ghouse is in the main draw at the futures in France .. No news about Harsh Mankad at the USA F19 - the main draw still awaited .. Awaiting news on Manisha and also on whether Sonal Phadke and Karishma Patel are at the Irish satellites .. Details later - busy day for me.

.. Previous notes are at Notes for the week ending on July 23 ..

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.