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LP/MB/NS/Indian-Tennis: Notes for the week ending on Aug 4, 2003
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Aug 4 Notes

I continue to be a bit busy to sit down and type all that much here (but I have posted some stuff in the foum about the Sunitha Rao matter and other things, because I can write less carefully in the forum than in the notes here :)) .. But not much tennis news for today .. Megha Vakharia had reached the final at the $10K Harrisonburg satellite, finishing runner-up .. Always a good achievement to reach a final in the US -- big congraulations for the nice run by the 18 yr old .. Manoj and Kamala went down in the final at the Tianjuin satellite second leg on Sunday .. Both are in the singles draw for the 3rd leg safely .. Rohan and Aisam play doubles tomorrow (Tuesday) at Binghampton .. Harsh is off this week, plays next week at the Kenosha futures and then goes to Europe for three challengers after a week off .. Isha Lakhani is at the Nonthaburi $10K in Thailand and plays singles Tuesday ..

Aug 3 Notes

Sorry, I had to be away for a couple of days.  Actually still a bit busy, so here are some quick updates..  Thge big news is that Rohan Bopanna and Aisam Qureshi (PAK) won the doubles title at the Denver challenger!!!!!! .. Big title for Rohan, his first doubles title abroad .. See what Indians and Pakistanis can achieve together, if the Pakistanis get sensible (:-)) .. Just kidding .. They get 50 points each for the title, which will move Rohan up by about 20 spots from his current #238 .. These two have entered the Binghamton challenger as the last direct entry this coming week .. Binghampton has a very tough draw, and Rohan missed the qualies due to the Denver weekend matches .. Harsh and Arvind Parmar went down in the QFs at Denver .. Parmar won the singles title there too, by the way.

LP and MB are playing doubles this coming week at the Montreal Masters .. MB-Mirnyi are top seeds and LP-Rikl are 5ths eeds .. First round byes, and both would be paying on wednesday or so.

Megha Vakharia was in the semifinals of singles at the Harrisonberg $10K satellites yesterday but I haven't seen the SF scores even now.

More later..

Aug 1 Notes

The news today is AITA saying that Vijay Amritraj had a chat with them and has said that he would prefer Prakash waiting for a little longer before playing Davis Cup for India - perhaps till next year .. I think it is a sensible decision from Vijay.  He knows that miracles rarely happen in the very first tie in singles for anybody  .. Even Leander had gone through a  doubles match first before his first singles match which was still a dead-rubber loss to a no-name player! .. Vijay prefers VA playing in smaller Davis Cup ties first, perhaps in the regionals .. I hope we won't be in the regionals next year(!) after Lee gets done with the Dutch, and I suppose that will be fine with Vijay though :-) .. In any event, there isn't enough data to tell us that Prakash has clearly gone ahead of RB or HM to take the second singles spot away yet .. Furthermore, I also feel that the Dutch team has players who will be fairly comfortable handling PA's style of tennis (unlike other lesser teams I can think of, who could run into trouble if PA were to really click on all cylinders in his serve and volley attack mode and played a perfect match) .. So, a little headache is gone for now, for AITA's selection committee, trying to decide whom among RB, HM and PA to drop for the next tie .. I still would hope that PA would be asked to go with the team as a 5th member to practice and be with the team to gain experience on how a big Davis Cup tie is (he was probably too small when VA was doing his thang!) ..  Now, as Anil Khanna is quoted to have said, "we don't have to worry too much on the selection now. It will be Leander, Mahesh, Rohan and Harsh with Ramesh Krishnan as the non-playing captain," ..

Rohan and his friend from that silly stupid pest country next to us (:-)), advanced to the semifinal at the denver challenger yesterday .. [QF] (1) R.Bopanna/ Aisam Qureshi (PAK) d. R.Ram/ Brian Wilson (USA), 63 76(4) .. Nice win .. They play the semi today against the 4th seeded Americans, Doug Bohaboy and Jack Brasington .. Also playing today in the QF are the 3rd seeded Harsh Mankad, playing with his friend from that silly small deceitful colonial country that we once hated :-) .. (3) H.Mankad/ Arvind Parmar (GBR) vs Jacob Adaktusson (SWE)/ Juan Ignacio Cerda (CHI) ..

Good news from the $10K Harrisonburg (VA) satellite .. 18 yr old Megha Vakharia has reached the singles QF .. [R2] (4) Megha Vakharia (IND) vs (Q) Courtney Vernon (USA), 64 62 .. She plays the 8th seed Mayumi Yamamoto (JPN,574) today .. Glad to see Megs beginning to come on a bit.

Vishal Uppal lost his doubles QF at the Decatur (IL) $10K futures .. [QF] (4) V.Uppal/ Go Soeda (JPN) l. Bo Hodge/ Hamid Mirzadeh (USA), 16 63 60.

July 31 Note-2

Manoj Mahadevan and Kamala Kannan have reached the doubles semi at the second leg of the $25K China catellites in Tianjin .. [R1] d. (LL) Craig Bankes (AUS)/ Ryota Hisamatsu (JPN) 76(6) 64 .. [QF] d. Yu Wang/ Xin-Yuan Yu (CHN) 46 64 76(2) .. [SF] vs Dong-Whee Choi/ Woong-Sun Jun (KOR) .. Kamala had lost in the first round of singles and Manoj lost in the second round - 16 57 to qualifier Xiang Li (CHN) .. Both have one win each in the first two legs and are fine for direct entry in the 3rd leg ..

July 31 Note-1

In the doubles forst round last nitght at the $50K Louisville challenger, Nirupama Sanjeev and Selima Sfar (TUN) lost to Kim Grant (RSA)/ Rachel McQuillan (AUS), 75 26 46 ..

At the Harrisonburg (Virginia) $10K satellite yesterday, the 4th seed Megha Vakharia won the first round over qualifier Nicole Shabaz (USA,1095), 64 64 .. She plays another qualifier Courtney Vernon (USA) next .. In doubles also Megha advanced yesterday .. [R1] (3) Maki Arai (JPN)/ Megha Vakharia (IND) d. Elizabeth Alina (USA)/ Tomoyo Takagishi (JPN), 63 62 .. The QF is against the Indian-American Uberoi sisters, Neha and Shikha .. Megs plays both singles and dubles today again.

Lusky loser Vishal Uppal lost the first round at the USA F22 $10K in Decatur (Illinois), 26 46 to qualifier Marc Urbainczyk (USA,929) .. Vishal and Go Soeda (JPN) play the doubles QF today against the American pair, Bo Hodge Hamid Mirzadeh.

On today's schedule is Bopanna and Qureshi playing the doubles QF at the Denver challenger, against Rajeev Ram and Brian Wilson .. Harsh and Parmar play their QF only tomorrow.

Here are the results from the ITF grade-3 juniors in Cairo this week .. Not a good show by our kids, pretty much like last week (these are all players who are pretty young and inexperienced abroad, except for navdeep Singh, so don't get too concerned - I had hope that Jeevan would be able to do a little better than he did though) .. [R1] Sherif Sabry (EGY) d. Jeevan Nedunchezhiva (IND) 62 75 .. [R1] Lorenzo Cava (ECU) d. (7) Navdeep Singh (IND) 76(2) 64 .. [R1] (8) Aly Elsherbini (EGY) d. (Q) Karthik Raju (IND) 61 63 .. [R1] Siddharth Patil (IND) d. (WC) Mohamed Hassan (EGY) 57 62 62 ..[R2] l. (6) Frederico Marques (POR) 46 57 ..[R1] Asha Nada Kumar (IND) d. Rana Ramez (EGY) 61 36 61 ..[R2] l. (1) Wen-Hsin Hsu (TPE), 26 36 .. Doubles: [R1] Amina El Sahn (EGY)/ Asha Nanda Kumar d. Amoolya Raghunath/ Rana Zafer (EGY), 62 61 .. [R2] l. Aya El Akkad/ Miray Eshak (EGY), 26 16 .. Not sure why Asha and Ammolya didn't play together laike last week .. [R1] J.M.Nedunchezhiyan/ S.Patil l. Roman Bicek/ Jiri Skoloudik (CZE), 26 26 .. [R1] Karthik Raju/ Prateek Shantharaju l. Omar Altmann (GER)/ Omar Khalil (EGY) 75 26 67(1) .. [R1] Mahmoud Bahaa (EGY)/ Kaushik S Raju d. Marc Abdelnour/ Nawar Baram (SYR), 63 61 .. [R2] l. Roman Bicek/ Jiri Skoloudik (CZE), 75 46 .. [R1] Chris Letcher (AUS)/ Navdeep Singh d. Ali Abd El Aziz/ Mina Nasser (EGY), 62 60 .. [QF] d. Lorenzo Cava (ECU)/ Ali El Alaoui (MAR) 62 62 .. [SF] vs Mohammed Hassan/ Mohamed Moussa (EGY) .. So, only Navdeep in doubles have gone past one win .. By the way, Navdeep and Letcher had won the title last week at the Giza grade-3 in Egypt .. As I forgot to report the scores, here they are .. [R1] Chris Letcher (AUS)/ Navdeep Singh d. Roger Majdalani (LIB)/ Prateek Shantharaju, 63 63 .. [QF] d. Ahmed Ghoneim/ Mohamed Moussa (EGY), 62 61 .. [SF] d. Branko Kuzmanovic (YUG) / Rick Schmidt (GER), walkover .. [F]  d. Omar Altman (GER) / Omar Khalil (EGY), 62 60

In the European u14 tour with the ITF developmental team from Asia, Agnel Gladwin continues to be winless in the singles main draw .. This Tuesday at the GEW Tennis Jüngsten Cup at Cologne, Germany, Agnel went down 26 06 to Jonas König of Germany ..

July 30 Note-2

Oh, the ups and downs of the tennis circuit! .. One day we are all up and the next day we are sad .. But there is next week though .. And today was NOT a good day in singles, with basically only losses to report.

Prakash Amritraj's match did start on time this morning and was not rain-delayed at the $400K, and of course I could not be there to give you a match report, due to an unsually important work commitment .. Basically he could not show his best and his inexperienced showed today, I suppose .. [R2] Prakash Amritraj l. Kenneth Carlsen (DEN,76), 46 26 .. I did manage to catch the first set of his doubles match on TV during a late lunch break and I have posted a report in the forum .. [R1] (wc) P.Amritraj (IND)/ S.Amritraj (USA) l. (1) Rick Leach/ Brian MacPhie (USA), 67(5) 46 .. The boys played them extremely closely in the first set which saw no breaks and showed clearly that they know all the strategies of playing doubles at this level ..

Then came the news that Harsh Mankad went down at the Denver challenger .. [R2] H.Mankad l. John Paul Fruttero (USA,673), 26 63 63 .. Yet another three-setter .. Win or loss, it has been three-setters always lately for HM - that seems to be a sign that he is going through a period where he is learning to out-strategize the opponents he sees at the challenger level - sometimes successfully and sometimes not .. This guy Fruttero seems to have HM's number though - he was the one who upset Harsh in straight sets in his very final college match, last May at the collegiate national championship final-16 .. Good news in doubles today - [R1] (3) H.Mankad/ Arvind Parmar (GBR) d. Jose de Armas/ Keplar Orellana (VEN), 62 63 in the evening [correction:  They beat the lucky losers, who should be Gonzalo Anguiano (CHI)/ Ryan Haith (USA)] .. They face Jacob Adaktusson (SWE)/ Juan Ignacio Cerda (CHI) in the QF .. Advancing in both singles and doubles was Rajeev Ram (USA) .. In fact, Bopanna and Qureshi will be playing Rajeev and Brian Wilson (USA) in the QF.

One more loss .. Sunitha Rao's return after the injury layoff did not work out well yesterday .. At the $50K Louisville challenger, [R1] Selima Sfar (TUN,160) d. Sunitha Rao (USA,162), 26 61 62 .. Niru and Selima were to play the doubles R1 today .. No news yet on that.

July 30 Note-1

Prakash's second round match was scheduled for 11 am but there have been some morning showers around here and it is still probably raining up at LA (50 miles away from where I am), as of 12 noon - The match hasn't started, .. If it stays this way and the match start gets delayed by a couple of hours, I might even make it up there to see it -- as of now, I have to be at work and cannot find a way to go ..

Not much scores to report .. Harsh's R2 at Denver is right now, but it may take a while vbefore we know the scores .. Vishal won the doubles R1 yesterday at the USA F22 and Megha plays both singles and doubles today at the Harrisonburg satellite ..

July 29 Note-4

I guess it couldn't all be wins today ..  After Prakash Amritraj, Harsh Mankad, and Rajeev Ram (USA) advanced in upsets, the one that I thought would not a have a big problem advancing, went down .. At the Denver $25K+H this evening, [R1] Rohan Bopanna (IND,321) l. Jonathan Erlich (ISR,450), 46 46 .. I have no details on the match .. Earlier this afternoon, Rajeev Ram (USA) had a big upset of the 3rd seed Yeu-Tzuoo Wang (TPE,211), 64 36 64 there .. Well, I suppose when three of the four we follow win, we have got to be happy.

July 29 Note-3

More good news (hey didn't I tell you last week that this week will be better? :-)) ..

At the $25K+H Denver challenger, [R1] Harsh Mankad upset the 6th seed Amir Hadad (ISR,272), 46 63 75 .. HM has been having a lot of close three-setters lately, and this time he pulled through .. He has been rather clearly showing that he does belong at the challenger level and this is a pretty big win ..

It has been raining a bit there and Rohan's match start is delayed as of now .. Rajeev Ram (USA) has won the first set in his R1 match too.

July 29 Note-2

Hey, how about this ????? ... [R1] Prakash Amritraj (IND,351) d. (6) Marat Safin (RUS,21), 5-3 (retd.) !!!!!!! ... I was supposed to be there to cover the match, but didn't make it .. I ran about 15 minutes late at work, the previous two matches on the court finished in just 2.5 hours in straight sets, and PA was about to take the court when I left from Irvine to LA, a 50 minute drive .. Well, before I got there I heard that the match was over .. Drove right back, happy that the guy advanced but cursing myself for missing it! .. Looks like there wasn't a whole lot of match action to report, so we didn't miss much.

I just heard the announcers say on the Tennis Channel (cable) who are covering the center court matches at LA (PA's match was on the grand stand and was not televised), that Marat seemed to be perfectly fine last night and didn't talk about any wrist problem .. They are making snide remarks about how "one never knows about Marat; one day he plays well, the next day he pulls up lame", etc ..  Officially it is a left wrist injury, but he pulled out when PA was serving for the set .. The way they are talking about the match, it seems Prakash was getting to him and Marat, who is known to sort of "lose interest" sometimes for odd reasons (or "tank" matches, as some would call it) was up to his usual stuff .. I guess the scenario does fit -- LA being one of the events with the biggest appearance money pot out there (officially $400K in prize money, but their website talks about a million in player compensation!) .. Whatever .. I don't know.

The bottom line is that Prakash took his chances and ran with it .. GO KASH!!! .. Up next is Kenneth Carlsen (DEN,76) .. Heck yeah, I am calling an upset in this match too .. why not? ...

Well, Prakash gets 15 more ATP points from this match which will take him to a toal of 96 points placing himself (believe it or not) at the NUMBER ONE SPOT among Indians, with one point more than Rohan Bopanna at 95 points right now .. That is unless RB wins his match today at Denver .. Hey, we have some serious competition going on in Indian tennis now ...

I am just way too excited, folks! .. This is beyond belief, what a run of good play and good luck Kash is having!

July 29 Note-1

Prakash Amritraj plays Marat Safin this afternoon at the LA Mercedes Cup .. I will be there and will have a match report by tonight (US time).

Harsh plays in the morning, followed by Rajeev Ram (USA) and Rohan Bopanna at the $25K+H Denver challenger today.

Nirupama is in the doubles main draw at the $50K in Louisville (KY) .. [R1] N.Sanjeev/ Selima Sfar (TUN) vs Kim Grant (RSA)/ Rachel McQuillan (AUS) .. The score for her Q2 loss yesterday to Petra Rampre (SLO,270) was 26 36 .. NS will be playing doubles, possibly tomorrow.

Also in the main draw at Louisville is Sunitha Rao (USA) back on court after three weeks off since Wimbledon juniors (she had a hamstring injury in the Wimb ladies qualies Q3 two weeks earlier and I suppose she needed time off) .. [R1] Sunitha Rao (USA,162) vs Selima Sfar (TUN,160).

At the $10K USA F23 futures in Decatur (IL), Vishal Uppal made the main draw as a lucky loser .. [R1] (LL) Vishal Uppal (IND) vs (Q) Marc Urbainczyk (USA,929) .. In doubles, [R1] (4) V.Uppal/ Go Soeda (JPN) vs Casey Smith (USA) Nenad Toroman (RSA) .. 18 yr old Soeda is one of the highest ranked recent Asian junior players (he was in the top-10 or 15 last year) - a talented player.

Megha's draw at the $10K Harrisonburg (VA) satellite .. [R1] (4) Megha Vakharia (IND) vs (Q) Nicole Shabaz (USA,1095) .. [R1] (3) Maki Arai (JPN)/ Megha Vakharia (IND) vs Elizabeth Alina (USA)/ Tomoyo Takagishi (JPN).

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.

.. Previous notes are at Notes for the week ending on July 28 ..

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.