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LP/MB/NV/Indian-Tennis: Notes for the week ending on Aug 6, 2001
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Aug 6 Notes

The Indian Express are at the Cincinnati Masters.  They are seeded 6th and face the wildcards Luke and Murphy Jensen in the first round .. They are drawn un the upper half with top seeds Bjorkman/ Woodbridge, in the same quarter of the draw as 3rd seeds Novak/ Rikl, who were the winners yesterday at the Montreal masters ..

I believe Niru is off this week as well .. Need to find out where Manisha is playing this week .. Her doubles partner Leanne Baker was listed in the qualifying original entry list at the $25K Rimini challenger in Italy, but Manisha had not entered there .. Sonal Phadke was listed as 7th and Jyotsna Vasisht as 12th when the entries closed for the $10K Rebecq satallite in Belgium for this week .. Karishma Patel was in the list for qualies .. News may be tough to get from Belgium, but I will try .. The other Indian women are mostly at the $10K Nonthaburi (Thailand) satellites .. Sai, Rushmi and Sheetal were in the original entry list for the main draw when I saw it a few weeks back, with Megha Vakharia and Liza Pereira also listed for qualies, if I remember correctly.

Harsh and Manoj Mahadevan will be in the main draw of the $15K USA F21 futures .. Draw should be coming out today .. Not sure where Mustafa is, this week  - he may have gone from France to UK for the $15K futures in Bath? ..

Aug 5 Notes

A bunch of Indian players are expected at the Nonthaburi women's satellite in Thailand which starts on Monday.

The probables for the Davis Cup and the Afro-Asian games in November have been announced .. LP, NB, Harsh, Fazal, mainly .. Ajay Ramaswamy and Mustafa Ghouse are listed as alternatives .. The actual 4-member playing team will be announced later .. "The first three - Leander, Mahesh and Harsh - are there for sure. The other two slots will be decided from the remaining three. The final five should be announced shortly once we get all the data'', said Mr. Anil Khanna of AITA, according to the The Hindu .. On the women's side, Nirupama Vaidyanathan, Manisha Malhotra, Rushmi Chakravarti, Sai Jayalakshmy, Sania Mirza and Radhika Tulpule are being considered for the Afro-Asian games, for which the teams may need to be entered by late August .. Congrats go to Sania for the honor at 14 years of age, to be considered for the national team! .. Radhika gets the nod over Shruti, Sonal and Sheetal in the just-under 20 age - basically any one of those four could be picked, though Radhika probably has done a bit better in head-to-head matches among them .. It doesn't matter, as I am pretty sure that the final four will surely be Niru, Manisha, Sai and Rushmi, in that order.

Sania's two-tournament win streak ended Friday in the final at the Cairo Grade-4 event, where she went down to Khalifa Amani of Egypt, 63 67(4) 36 .. Sania anyway did not stand to gain any extra points in her point total even with a title there in singles - her ranking will stay at about the same at #48 .. She made it a two-tournament title streak in doubles however, with her new partner Wana Marzovic of Yugoslavia (Sasha Abraham, who did not play last week was her partner in the previous week at Giza) - they beat Khalifa Amani and Heidi Al Tabakh of Egypt, 62 62 .. Sania will now crack the top-100 of doubles as well, with this ..  She is expected at the grade-2 and grade-1 events in South Africa next.

Vikrant Chadha had won the second round of qualifying at the USA F21 futures in Godfrey Illinois on Saturday, to reach the 3rd round of the 4-round qualies .. He had a three tiebreaker win, actually.

Aug 3 Notes.

According to the Deccan Chronicle (Hyderabad), Sania Mirza has reached the final of both singles and doubles for the second consecutive week .. She beat Breda Kovac (SLO,191), 46 64 63 in the semifinal at the Grade-4 Cairo ITF juniors, and faces Amani Khalifa (EGY,147) in the final .. Sania and Marzovic Wana of Yugoslavia defeated Nicoleta Ratiu (ROM) and Breda Kovac,  60 62 in the semifinals of doubles as well .. They had beaten Aposteanu Antonia and Ion Alexandra from Romania in the QF on wednesday .. The 14 year-old has been rolling along well.

Manoj Mahadevan has made the main draw at next week's $15K USA F21 futures at Godfrey, Illinois, along with Harsh Mankad .. Vikrant Chadha will be a seed in the qualies over the weekend .. Rishi Sridhar is not playing next week, and is done with the events in the US - unfortunately, he did not pick up any singles points in the few events he played.

Aug 2 Notes

This has been a bad week, with nobody picking up any wins in the pro circuit basically .. Two more losses to report, and we are done with this week's pro events .. Mustafa played a couple of close matches but came up short in the France F14 futures .. In the singles main draw R1, Mustafa Ghouse lost 76(3) 57 36 to Arnaud Magnin (FRA), and in the doubles main draw first round the second seeded Mustafa and Fred Hemmes, last week's semifinalists, went down 67(3) 36 to Jakub Hasek (CZE) and Giuesppe Menga (ITA) ..

Sania keeps on rolling .. The latest info I have is that she has reached the SF of the grade-3 junior event in Cairo (Egypt) .. After a first round bye as the top seed, she beat Nanies El Assali (EGY),  60 60 (ouch!) in R2, and Nadja Kusterer (GER,226), 75 63 in the QF .. She faces Breda Kovac (SLO,191) in the semifinal .. 15 yr old Kurshmi Cheddha (#973) reached the second round with a 6-1 (retd) win over Marina Barcel (BRA) and lost to Amal Basha (EGY,311), 75 46 16 .. I am not sure why Sasha Abraham is not in the singles draw there .. Karan Rastogi beat Mohamed El Sohafy (EGY), 60 63 before falling to Omar Hedayet (EGY), 26 46 in the final-16 .. Rishi Behl lost in the first round to Musaad Al Jazzaf (KUW), 64 36 46 .. At the Grade-4 event in Jamaica, the 7th seed Saurabh Singh had a first round bye, and beat Ryan Russel (JAM), 62 63 in the R2, before falling to the 11th seed Kevron Bennett (JAM), 26 36 in the round of 16.

Akhtar Ali received the national award for life-time contribution in tennis, along with 15 other former sportsmen .. Not Dronacharya, as a newspaper report predicted earlier .. Dronacharya for coaches went to five others .. Congrats go to Akhtar Ali for the award! .. Milkha Singh and KD Jadav are two others who received life-time contribution awards - I am surprised that those two are getting the award now! .. But then again, many Indian have probably never even heard of KD Jadav, sadly ..

July 31 Note-2

Bad day today, all over .. At the Montreal masters, [R1] #7 M.Bhupathi/ L.Paes l. S.Humphries/ A.O'Brien, 36 63 36 .. Our guys just can't seem to put it all together quickly enough in some of these first round matches .. Either feast or famine from them I guess - and it is one more first round loss to add to a strange series of R1 losses they have picked up at many tournaments this year .. Here is how today's match went - [Set1] The games went with serve with each side getting only a couple of points off the other, till the 6th game when LP-MB dropped serve at 15-40 and were soon behind 2-5 .. They held serve and had a chance to extend the set at 0-30 off the serve of SH-AO, but could not get it done .. [Set2] Trouble became serious at the beginning of the second set which LP-MB started poorly, with a drop of serve again, this time at 0-40, in the first game itself .. Then our pair started a comeback and started doing what was needed, just at the right time .. In the second game they went up to triple break chances at 0-40 .. They converted the 3rd chance there to even it at 1-1 .. After holding serve, they again had SH-AO down at 0-40 triple break points .. Though they wasted three BPs in a row there, they got the break at AD-out to go up to 3-1 .. The set went with serve then to 6-3 .. [Set-3] Our guys faced some resistence in the second game but held after a deuce to go 1-1 .. The Indian Express were unable to convert a 30-40 break chance in the next game and the games continued with serve .. They had SH-AO serving deuces in the 5th game but they held on .. Trouble started again in the next game, as our boys, after serving 30-0, made a mess of things, losing 5 of the next 6 points and getting broken at AD out to fall 2-4 .. This was now an all-out war, and it looked like the Indian Express would make another comeback, as they had two break chances at 15-40 in the next game ..  They wasted both, and yet another one at AD out .. That was basically the end of it .. By now, LP-MB had gone 2 of 12 in Break chances, and it was 2-5 in the 3rd .. After holding serve in the next game, they could not do any heroics in the final game .. Match over, and all we can do is to rue over the wasted chances .. It took an hour and 34 minutes .. The other pair was 3 of 3 in break chances and that made a difference .. I think our pair played well, except perhaps being a bit off at break points, and having about three occasions when they dropped serve rather quickly .. Still a couple of points here or there going the other way would have changed the outcome .. LP-MB will now go to the Cincinnati Masters - a place where they have rarely done well ..  Hopefully they will have a good run starting next week.

As though that wasn't enough, there were two other losses to report from earlier today .. Harsh Mankad perhaps had his first disappointing loss of the summer circuit, as he went down to Marq Foster (USA,707), who is a good player, but one whom I thought Harsh could take -- 26 46 loss for Harsh today at the $15K USA F20 futures .. Manoj Mahadevan also went down in the first round - 36 46 to the 4th seed Chris Magyary (USA,456) .. I guess Americans had our number today .. Harsh gets a few days rest and goes to USA F21 next week, also in Illinois - and I am sure he is due for some good wins now.

July 31 Note-1

Paes-Bhupathi get back into action tonight - they play one of the two featured evening doubles matches today at the Montreal masters, the site of their first big title in 1997 .. They  play Scott Humphries and Alex O'Brien in the first round tonight at about 9 pm there (6.30 am wednesday India) .. Check the LP and MB pages to see if there will be any live scores - there's a chance that the official site may be giving live scores (if they work out the "technical difficulties") ..

I have updated the schedule for LP and MB till October.

Harsh Mankad and Manoj Mahadevan have both drawn seeds at the $15K USA F20 futures at Decatur, Illinois .. Harsh faces the 8th seed Marq Foster (USA,707), and Manoj Mahadevan has drawn the 4th seed Chris Magyary (USA,456) .. Manoj has a much tougher match actually .. Harsh has a tough draw even if he upsets Foster today, with special expempt Lee Radovanovich possibly in the 2nd round and one of the toughest players in the circuit, 3rd seed Doug Bohaboy possibly in the QF .. Manoj and Rishi are in the doubles draw and face the wildcard doubles team from the University of Illinois, Amer Delic and Michael Calkins.

Sania Mirza, now ranked #48 in the world, is at the grade-4 ITF junior event in Cairo (and has won a couple of rounds already, according to news reports coming from there, as reported in .. I am a bit surprised that she is playing a grade-4 event .. Even winning the event and getting 40 WTA points won't change her rankings as her 6th best event is already at 40 pts .. She probably wants to keep some insurance points for later, and also pick up some doubles points to get inside the top-100 .. The title with Sasha Abraham last week at Giza has brought her right outisde at #103 in doubles .. Anyway, I assume the whole set of Indian kids, Sania Sasha, Rishi Behl and Karan Rastogi are at Cairo ..  Here are the complete results for them from last week, according to ITF .. Karan Rastogi won only one round last week, but picked up 10 more points to raise his ranking to #218, that places him as the 2nd highest ranked 14-and-under boy in the world .. Karan beat Temor Akkaziev (Kyrghystan), 60 61, before losing to Sven Behre (GER), 67(2) 26 .. 15 yr old Rishi Behl lost to Amadeus Fluford-Jones (GBR), 57 57in the first round .. Sasha, who turned 16 recently and is ranked #181, beat Lara Al Samman of Syria, 60 61 and then fell to Miray Eshak of Egypt, 46 26 ..  Sasha and Sania had a first round bye in doubles, as the top seeds and then won against Andreia Kolczonay (HUN)  and Helena Niorfeldt (SWE), 46 63 64 in the QF,  Nadja Kusterer (GER) and Wana Mrazovic (YUG), 76(5) 63 in the SF and then the Egyptian pair, Heidi El Tabakel and Amani Khalifa, 63 63 in the final .. As for Sanis'a singles wins, she beat Alexandra Ion (ROM), 64 60,  Reem Raouf (EGY), 62 61, Nadja Kusterer (GER), 67(2) 62 64, Wana Mrazovic (YUG), 62 63 and then Helena Norfeldt (SWE), 36 76(11) 62 in the final .. This girl is too good to believe, but I hope she slows down a bit -- too much of a good thing too soon scares me!  :-) .. Also, I wonder if it is good to play this many events (24 internationals in the last one year) at the age of 14 - but then again, Sania has not been playing much of domestic junior events where she hardly has anyone to challenge her much, and so has been getting a good amount of break ..

16 yr old Saurabh Singh, who had a good outing last week reaching the QF at the Copa Merengue (grade-4 ITF) in the Dominican Republic, raised his ranking by about 50 spots to #301 this week .. He is the 7th seed at the Grade-4 ITF juniors in Jamaica this week and faces Ryan Russell of Jamaica in the round of 32 after a first round bye ..

The Hindustan Times reports today that the DSCL (Sreeeram) National Championships, scheduled for October first week, may get postponed, due to the laying of the new synthetic turfs at Delhi for the Afro-Asian Games .. The turf-work may get done by then, but because some delays are possible, they may hgave to postpone it - and the only time available may be December, it seems (due to there being three futures in India in October, then the Afro-Asian Games in November, etc).

July 30 Note-3

Quick exit this week by Leanne and Manisha today at the Tier-IV Basel Open in Switzerland .. They lost the first round of doubles today to Sandra Kloesel and Martina Muller, 26 46 .. Not sure where Manisha is playing next.

At the $15K USA F20 futures, Harsh Mankad and Manoj Mahadevan are in the main draw .. The draw is coming out this evening .. Due to a mix-up at the close of the doubles sign-in, Harsh ended up missing the doubles draw .. I guess that's OK .. He has picked up 35 points in the last month in doubles and will be somewhere near #675 next week - good enough for entries in futures and some challenger qualies .. Harsh was very upset at what happened out there that caused him to miss doubles this week though, and it does not seem to be his fault .. I think he should use the time to get some rest! .. He has made the main draw of singles next week as well, and that will finish his current swing of events .. He will take a break and go back to Univ of Minnesota the week after next, to decide on the further plans.

July 30 Note-2

Steve Gocha just sent a correction note to me -- It seems that the earlier news (July 27th) of 3rd seeds Mustafa and Fred Hemmes losing in the semis of the France F13 futures was not correct (wrong news by the tournament website) .. They beat the Australian pair, Hayden Gibson and Aeron Martinovic , 75 64 in the semis before finishing runner up to the 4th seeds Alessandro Da Col and Giuseppe Menga of Italy, after a 57 26 final ..  Good job by Mustafa.

Bad news from the USA F20 qualies .. 5th seed Rishi Sridhar was upset in Q2, after a first round by, by Sanjin Sadovich (CAN), 62 75 ..  I don't think Vikrant ever made it up there on time after the doubles semis at St.Joseph last week - so he had to give a walkover in the Q2 on Saturday after a first round bye as the 7th seed .. S.Sudhakar lost 26 46 to Nicolas Boeker in the Q1 round as well .. Now, we await news on whether Harsh Mankad is in the main draw.

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.

.. Previous notes are at Notes for the week ending on July 30 ..

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.