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LP/MB/NV/Indian-Tennis: Notes for the week ending on Aug 7, 2000

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Aug 5 Note-2

Niru lost another challenger semi today, but not due to the usual reasons of being tired, etc .. I think she just ran into a pretty good opponent who is playing very well too .. Jennifer Hopkins (USA,104) d. Nirupama (IND,193), 76(3) 62 .. Actually a friend of Jennifer's who had talked to her just now informs me that Jenny found Niru to be playing very well today and that Niru was looking much fitter than before .. Certainly Niru would have liked to go past that semifinal hump, but she has to be happy at all the points she has picked up lately .. Next week will be an off-week for her with no challengers in the US .. I believe she will be playing at the $50K Bronx challenger the week after .. The points from here will raise her ranking to somewhere in the 165-170 range the week after .. However, I am not sure if she will make the draw directly for Bronx, as the ranks from 2 weeks back would be used for that .. We will see .. After 7 singles matches this week, she can use a week of rest now; perhaps do some shopping with the $2500 she made this week  too :-) .. By the way, she has made the entry for the US Open qualifiers, and will actually be among the upper half of players in the draw there .. I am very glad to see the fruits of the hard work on fitness coming through .. If she stays away from injuries, I am expecting her to go inside the top-125 or even top-100 in the next 7-8 months .. Watch out! .. Go Niru !!

Aug 5 Note-1

Great News! .. It looks like the Indian Express will be back in action in just over two weeks !! ..  Just learned from Mahesh that our beloved boys are planning to play the Long Island Hamlet Cup (the week before US Open) together! .. So, the long-awaited reunion is on the way - about 18 days and counting .. I assume this is perhaps still tentative, and depends on LP's wrist, etc ..  Then they will be playing again at Tashkent (week after USO) and then the following week at the Sydney Olympics .. Then, after they win the Gold (:-)), the Indian Express will be back on regular schedule, playing Hong Kong, Tokyo, Shanghai, so on,all the way to Bangalore ..

Mahesh says he too is concerned about their schedule with no breaks .. What he plans to do is to take it week by week, watching the shoulder .. He says the shoulder is feeling great right now, but he will stop whenever needed .. So, actually the schedule is really a tentative one, and they will take decisions as they go along .. In my view, if they feel fine at Long Island, then Tashkent will be less important as a practice event for Sydney .. On the other hand, if they are both out after one week at US Open and get a break, playing Tashkent may be fine too .. Mahesh says he is frequently in touch with Leander .. It was nice to get an update on Leander from him like old times - "Lee is doing OK" he says ..

I think LP had said earlier that he will try to play singles qualies for Hamlet Cup as well (I assume he will skip the USO qualies as they will be playing doubles that week at Long Island) .. So things are about to get heated up again, folks!

Aug 4 Note-2

Good and bad news .. Good news first .. Nirupama is on a remarkable run right now .. She has reached a second consecutive semifinal now .. At the the $50K Lexington challenger today, (q) Nirupama d. (q) Eun-Ha Kim, 60 61 .. Oh, brother .. She must be feeling it! .. The win gives her $2300 and 25.5 points here .. 6 wins in a row at Lexington in cluding the qualies, consecutive semifinals, and a 11-2 record in the last 13 matches (with a doubles title sandwiched in there too!) .. In three tournaments over 4 weeks, she has now picked up 56.5 points to bring her point total to 157 points and her ranks from near 220 to inside 170 soon .. Go Niru! .. Her opponent in the semis will be a tough one tomorrow - very talented US teenager Jennifer Hopkins, who started the pro career only last year and has come up to #104 already .. Jenny beat #130 Rachel McQuillan (AUS) 63 76(5) today.

The bad news is that Mahesh had a loss at the Toronto Masters quarterfinals .. J.Eagle/ A.Florent d. M.Bhupathi/ M.Knowles, 76(2) 57 63 .. I could not follow the match, and so have no details, except that JE-AF won 7 of the final eight points in the first set tiebreaker, and that MB-MK were down a break early in the 3rd set and could not recover, after they had fought well to tie it up in the second set .. In other matches, Lareau/Nestor finally had an easy win, and ferreira-Leach were upset as I expected by Bjorkman/Mirnyi .. As for Mahesh, he now goes to the Cincinnati masters next week, with Mark Knowles.

According to press reports earlier this week, Mahesh and Knowles will be playing Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Hamlet Cup and US Open in the coming weeks .. That is a scary schedule with no breaks .. Mahesh will be following the USOpen with Tashkent and Sydney with LP .. 7 weeks of tennis followed by Olympics immediately .. Hmmm .. He better be eating a lot of Wheaties ..

Here is a wonderfully touching article written by Rohit Brijnath in rediff.com today - "Just Do It!", about Leander and Mahesh .. I think this article so passionately shows how the sports fans feel about the Indian Express and what the fans' aspirations are about them .. an excerpt: To see them together was to believe in karma, that a benevolent God had designed it this way. Off court they were like enthusiastic kids; on court they carried with them the intensity of a prizefighter, the nerve of an assassin, and the arrogance that champions wear like a musk. But always, in every way, they seemed to be tied together by an invisible umbilical cord. Of all the hours I watched them, and spoke to them, of all the stories I knew of, like Leander ignoring advice not to play with Mahesh, and Mahesh staying on at the Atlanta Olympics only because Leander needed him, three things I never forget. The way that after every point, anywhere, they touched hands (though other pairs do it too), like some constant re-affirmation of their friendship. The way they explained that they just knew, through some sixth sense, where the other man was on court, giving the idea they were involved in some telepathic, athletic ballet. And the way they looked at each other when I asked, do you ever feel this sensation, this understanding, with anyone else, and them turning and saying, flatly, "No". You think of Rodgers and Hammerstein, Rice and Webber, Gilbert and Sullivan, and then you think of Paes and Bhupathi: together, they made sweet music. When the music died and they split it seemed unthinkable ..

That is stuff that brings tears to the eyes of any true sportsfan in India .. Rohit says much more .. Here is another excerpt - They say now they will play the Olympics together and the season-ending World doubles championship. But they must not stop. They are bright, charming, gifted men who share a mutual respect, surely aware that the umbilical cord that binds them has been stretched but not broken yet. They may play well with other men, and win too, but this partnership was special, almost divinely ordained. And what God has put together let no man tear asunder. Not even them. .. I have to agree that many a time I have wondered along the same lines as Rohit does .. About the odds of Indian Express happening .. The only two world-class players we really have produced in a decade, one growing up in Calcutta and the other in the Gulf, and they turn out to be the most perfect complement to each other - and end up as the world's best who achieve things not accomplished by anyone else in the world in decades .. I mean, really, what are the odds ? .. There had to be a plan from somewhere above for this .. And, as Rohit says, even they cannot "tear that asunder" .. And it looks like it won't be.

News from France -- in the $10K futures there, Vikrant Chadha fell to second seed Julien Cuaz, 35 24 24 .. In doubles, after a first round bye, Chadha and Christophe Bosio won the QF over Luis Garcia and Christian Kawas, in a 5-setter, 42 42 35 24 40 ! .. Feels funny to report these strange scores .. They play the second seeds Luke Bourgeois and Domenic Marafiote in the semifinals.

Aug 4 Note-1

Mahesh Bhupathi and Mark Knowles play the Quarterfinal against Joshua Eagle and Andrew Florent today at the $2.95M Toronto Masters .. The match is scheduled as the second one on court 1 and should be starting by 2 pm (11 am Los Angeles, 11.30 pm India) .. The live coverage will be available at the tournament website, and so our chatroom will be open .. MB and MK have faced those two guys many times - they all know each others' games and whoever plays better today will win :-) ..  Here is the draw as of now,

7 D.Johnson/ P.Norval  vs W T.Martin/ C.Woodruff  \

3 D.Adams/ J-L.deJager vs 6 S.Lareau/ D.Nestor    / \ _ Title

  J.Eagle/ A.Florent   vs   M.Bhupathi/ M.Knowles \ /

2 E.Ferreira/ R.Leach  vs 8 J.Bjorkman/ M.Mirnyi  /
The top seeds and the US team for the Olympics,  A.O'Brien-J.Palmer, got upset yesterday 63 64 by wildcards Todd Martin and Chris Woodruff, the US Davis Cup pair .. Perhaps McEnroe was right in showing more confidence in TM-CW for Davis Cup than AO-JP, whom he had in the team earlier for the QF against CZE, but lost at home to Novak-Rikl ?? .. 5 of the 8 seeds are alive in the QF, though some have had to struggle .. Eagle-Florent beat the 5th seed Kafelnikov-W.Ferreira yesterday 76 67 62 .. MB-MK had upset the 4th seeds Novak-Rikl in the first round .. The 6th seeds Lareau-Nestor, the Canadian Olympics pair, had to go through a massive 2 hour 35 minute struggle to advance to QF at 1 am last night, 67(7) 76(4) 76(10) against Stark and Ullyett !! .. They had a 64 67(3) 76(4) struggle earlier in the first round as well - that one against Llodra-Pavel .. The 3rd seeds and the South African Olympics team, Adams-DeJager, also have had to struggle through three setters against Damm-Suk and Kilderry-Tramacchi in the first two rounds .. The Canadians and the South Africans meet in the QF today .. The second seeds Ferreira-Leach have had two relatively easy wins so far, but will have a tough test in the QF today against the 8th seeds Bjorkman-Mirnyi, a team with some good potential to do damage anywhere.

Qualifier Nirupama Vaidyanathan plays qualifier Eun-Ha Kim today at about 3 pm at the $50K Lexington challenger .. Niru lost the doubles first round (in the company of Evie Dominikovic) yesterday evening against the Taiwan-Indonesia pair Janet Lee and Wynn Prakusya, 46 26 .. So Prakusya and Janet got revenge on Niru for many many singles losses to her (I think Janet is 1-3 and Prakusya is 0-3 against Niru, with 5 of those wins being upsets by Niru based on their ranks -- from memory) .. I wonder if Evie is not doing well - I believe she lost her first round singles very cheaply, 06 16 or something this week ..

Rushmi Chakravarti is at the $25K Alghero challenger in the Italy .. She played the singles qualies, had two decent wins but couldn't upset a player in the 3rd round to make the main draw .. She beat Manuela Kostner (GER,NR) 57 76(3) 60 in Q1, then Maria Cristina Bentivoglio (ITA,1054) 63 60 in Q2 but fell to the 4th seed in the qualies, Ines Heise (GER,447), 26 16 .. She made the doubles main draw with Anna Floris of Italy, but were drawn to face the top seeds, Trudy Musgrave and Lorna Woodroffe in R1 - I don't know the scores yet .. No news about Sai Jayalakshmi so far this week - she too is playing somewhere in Europe.

Aug 3 Note-4

Mahesh and Knowles are in the quarterfinals at the $2.95M Toronto masters after their second round win today .. M.Bhupathi/ M.Knowles d. (wc) N.Kiefer/ J.Robichaud, 76(3) 63 .. I could not follow this match due to website connection problems to the silly masters series website ATP has .. The site design and the live coverage pages were much better when ATP's normal site was carrying the masters series .. But no, they had to mess things up .. Anyway, there were three back and forth breaks of service with our pair serving twice for the first set at 5-4 and 6-5, before it went to a tiebreaker .. In the tiebreaker, it was 2-3 before our pair won 5 points in a row to take the set .. No details on the second set, but it seems to have been easier. Their QF opponents will be either W.Ferreira-Kafelnikov or Eagle-Florent, both good teams.

More good news .. Nirupama just continues to roll, pulling off another upset to make it three in a row over Prakusya and win her 5th match there at the $50K Lexington challenger .. In the second round today, Nirupama (IND,193) d. W.Prakusya (INA,121), 62 63 ! .. Hmmm .. Niru must be in great form, as she ended Prakusya's 6 match win streak .. The win gives her a total of 16.5 points (5 bonus included) and $1300 in prize money .. The points are enough to push her rankings up inside the top-180 too .. This is getting to be pretty interesting, how Niru has been mowing them down lately .. Go Niru! .. She comes back in the evening for doubles .. Her QF opponent is another qualifier, Eun-Ha Kim (KOR,224) who upset #135 Julie Pullin 63 62 today as well .. Both Niru and Eun-Ha are doing great, and one of them will have to lose tomorrow!

Aug 3 Note-3

Mahesh's doubles R2 match is scheduled for about 2 pm at the Toronto masters today .. That is 2 pm New York, 11.30 pm India .. We will have live scores and chat at our chatroom.

Nirupama will play Wynn Prakusya (INA,121) in the second round at the $50K Lexington challenger today at noon .. Wynn beat  the 5th seed Louise Latimer yesterday in three sets -- though I didn't say it, I was hinting in yesterday's note that I expected Wynn to be playing Niru today :-) .. This will be a very tough match as Prakusya is on a 6 match win streak and on a good roll .. Niru has beaten Prakusya last year in the Fed Cup, and then again in the Delhi challenger quarterfinals, both times when Wynn was ranked somewhere in the 180s but ahead of Niru ..  Let us hope for Niru to make it a three-peat on her .. Niru comes back later in the evening with Dominikovic to face Janet Lee and Wynn Prakusya in the doubles as well ..

Just got another update from ITF which says in this latest release --  "Mexican partnership of Enrique Abaroa and Alejandro Hernandez are the 24th and final pairing to be accepted into the Men’s Doubles at the 2000 Olympics" -- no mention of wildcards, but I am sure there are some coming in later (the other 23 teams are listed in the last note below) .. The draw is size 32, and so there should be eight wildcards, I guess.

Aug 3 Note-2

Here are the singles direct entries (55 spots - 9 wildcards later) for Olympics:

ARG - Juan Ignacio Chela, Mariano Zabaleta, Franco Squillari, Gaston Gaudio, ARM - Sargis Sargsian, AUS - Lleyton Hewitt, Patrick Rafter, Mark Philippoussis, Andrew Ilie, BLR - Max Mirnyi, Vladimir Voltchkov, BRA - Gustavo Kuerten, CHI - Marcelo Rios, Nicolas Massu, CRO - Goran Ivanisevic, CZE - Jiri Novak, Slava Dosedel, Jiri Vanek, ECU - Nicolas Lapentti, FRA - Nicolas Escude, Sebastien Grosjean, Arnaud Clement, Arnaud Di Pasquale, GER - Nicolas Kiefer, Tommy Haas, David Prinosil, Rainer Schuttler, GBR - Tim Henman, Greg Rusedski, ITA - Gianluca Pozzi, MAR - Younes El Aynaoui, Karim Alami, Hicham Arazi,
NOR - Christian Ruud, ROM - Andrei Pavel, RUS - Yevgeny Kafelnikov, Marat Safin, SLO - Dominik Hrbaty, Karol Kucera,
RSA - Wayne Ferreira, ESP - Alex Corretja, Juan Carlos Ferrero, Albert Costa, Fernando Vicente, SWE - Magnus Norman, Thomas Enqvist, Thomas Johansson, SUI - Roger Federer, Marc Rosset, George Bastl, UKR - Andrei Medvedev, USA - Andre Agassi, Michael Chang, Todd Martin, Jeff Tarango ..

Hmm -- That is 55 players out of the top 82 in there based on the July 10th ranks they used for entry .. Vanek at #82 seems to be the last entry .. There are NINE wildcards to be picked still - some by ITF (by Aug 10th) and some by what is called a Tripartite commission with ITF, IOC and some National Olympics Association reps (by Aug 15th) .. From my analysis based on the July 10th ranks, the players from countries not represented in this list in the order are,  #86 Marin (Costa Rica) #97 Srichaphan (THA), #103 Hipfl (Austria), #104 Stanoytchev (BUL), #105 Agenor (Haiti), #106 Savolt (Hungary), #121 Levy (ISR), #125 Lareau (CAN),  #141 Ullyett (ZIM), #148 Paes (IND) .. Leaving LP as the 10th ..  OK, let us drop Zimbabwe from consideration, as their top player #35 Byron Black is either not nominated or decided not to play .. That leaves us with 8 players ahead of Paes with wildcard claims and whom do we get as the last entry in the 64-men draw ?? .. Yes, Leander!! .. Of course, my criteria is not the criteria used by ITF and the commission for wildcards .. But representation from two big continents, Asia and Africa, will definitely need to be considered .. Only Wayne Black of RSA is right now there from these two continents .. Certainly those like Hipfl, Stanoytchev and Savolt from Europe have less of a claim than Paradorn and Paes .. I don't know if Asian tennis Federation's ability to argue for LP would be less because they have to probably ask for Paradorn first .. But then again, a couple of withdrawals/injuries would probably happen by then and Paradorn may make the direct entry anyway - I am not sure of the rules on alternates etc, for this ..  But ITF should give one wildcard to LP anyway .. He is the defending bronze-medalist for crying out loud (and his ranking is not any worse than in 1996) ! .. We will see how it goes.

As for doubles, ITF's press release says, "The Defending champions Todd Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde lead the list that includes Jared Palmer and Alex O’Brien of the United States, Jiri Novak and David Rikl of Czech Republic and Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes of India" ..

The entry list is, Chela-Zabaleta (ARG), Woodbridge-Woodforde (AUS), Knowles-Merklein (BAH), Kuerten-Oncins (BRA), Lareau-Nestor (CAN), Novak-Rikl (CZE), Escude-Clement (FRA), Cowan-Spencer (GBR), Brandi-Bertolini (ITA), Haas-Prinosil (GER), Paes-Bhupathi (IND), Brandi-Bertolini (ITA), Shimada-Iwabuchi (JPN), Marques-Mota (POR), Pavel-Trifu (ROM), Kafelnikov-Safin (RUS), Hrbaty-Kucera (SVK), Adams-DeJager (RSA), Corretja-A.Costa (ESP), Kulti-Tillstrom (SWE), Federer-Rosset (SUI), O'Brien-Palmer (USA), Zimonjic-Vemic (YUG), W.Black-Ullyett (ZIM) ..  From my quick look at the rankings, the underlined teams will be the seeds, with LP-MB becoming the 8th seed .. I think the seedings will all be done before the US Open gets done, and so our pair should remain seeded (after the US Open, their ranks may fall, as they have points falling off) ..

On the women's side, Jin-Qian Yi (CHN), Ai Sugiyama (JPN) and Tammi Tanasugarn (THA) are the Asian representatives with direct entry in singles .. In doubles Na-Li and Ting-Li (CHN), and  Tanasugarm-Sangram (THA), and Sugiyama-Miyagi (JPN) are the Asian representatives .. Actually I wonder if there if India even put in a nomination for Nirupama-Manisha .. With only one team allowed per country, we may have had a chance for a wildcard doubles entry ? .. I don't know.

Aug 3 Note-1

Bhupathi-Knowles will be playing the second round against wildcards Kiefer-Robichaud today by about 2 pm at the Toronto masters.

Vikrant Chadha is having a good week .. I had a trivia line a couple of days back about the Indian to win the first short-set match in the pros .. It turns out that there was a match between two Indians over the weekend .. Vikrant Chadha and young Saurabh Singh were at the qualies for the $10K Saint Rafael futures in France over the weekend .. Not too many people at these qualies (compared to the 50+ people who played the qualies at the Egypt futures where Rishi, Rohan, etc went down) .. There was only one round of qualies with 16 players .. Vikrant was the 4th seed, and beat Saurabh (also from Chandigarh, I believe?), 40 41 40 to make the main draw .. Vikrant then beat  lucky loser Christian Kawas 42 53 53 .. Surprisingly low entries at this French futures, as the 8th seed is ranked around 750 ! .. Good place to go get some points, as Vikrant picked up one ATP point from this futures already .. He faces the second seed Julien Cuaz (FRA,545) in the second round .. In doubles Vikrant and Christophe Bosio are the 3rd seeds and have a first round bye in the main draw .. Not bad! ..

The Olympics direct entries have just been announced by ITF --  will be right back with that.

Aug 2 Note-2

Qualifier Nirupama upset Nana Miyagi in a tough three-setter today to advance to the second round at the $50K Lexington challenger ! .. (Q) N.Vaidyanathan d. N.Miyagi (JPN,161), 46 76(5) 75 .. Niru's good run continues against those top-175 players .. I need to check this, but I am pretty sure that it is the first time in about three years that she is winning 4 rounds in a row at a challenger or higher event .. I have to think that her fitness levels have indeed improved this year - this was one thing that she constantly talked about working on, over the last year or so .. She had had so many cases of losses in the final round of qualies, in the first round of main draws after qualifying, or in the SF after a direct main draw entry .. A tough three set win where she had to come back from the brink today is a good sign! .. Her opponent in the R2 will be either the 5th seed Luis Latimer (GBR,132) or Wynn Prakusya (INA,121), both tough customers .. Prakusya had just won the $75K Salt Lake City challenger last week and has gone up 28 spots in the rankings - she is not seeded only because they used last week's rankings for seeding .. Niru has beaten the 19 yr old a couple of times in the past though .. Latimer and Prakusya play an evening match there today .. The R2 match for Niru may be on Thursday .. Her R1 doubles match is not on schedule today.

Got the scores for Fazal's qualifier wins in Poland over the weekend, finally .. In the first round of qualies, he beat James Greenhalgh (NZL,754), 67(4) 76(3) 62 .. Nice fighting comeback there from Fazal ! .. He then had a very good upset win over the 8th seed in the qualiies .. Fazaluddin Syed (IND,647) d. #8 Olivier Malcor (FRA,316), 26 76(1) 61 .. That is a very impressive win on clay, as Malcor is ranked much higher than Fazal and is not an easy player to beat .. Fazal actually had to pull out another Houdini comeback after dropping the first set, to get past him too .. I am very happy to see Fazal doing that - because for quite a while it was looking like that old fighting qualities he was known for earlier had gone away .. The bad news was in the final round of qualies where he went down 36 06 to the second seed, Hector Moretti of Argentina (#228) .. This is a clay challenger, and it was a nice show by Fazal that he is not exactly chicken feed on clay, as we think .. Can't feel too ashamed about losing to an Argentinean clay monster either .. Actually Fazal had sent me a short email saying he had won two rounds but then lost to a guy who he said "showed him a totally different level of tennis" .. I didn't know the scores or his opponents, and learned only now (courtesy: Steve Gocha) that he had actually had a pretty good upset win in Q2! .. Let us look out for how he does in next week's Poland challenger in Sopot.

Aug 2 Note-1

193rd ranked Nirupama made the main draw at the $50K Lexington challenger yesterday .. She had no trouble at all against the 8th seed in the qualies ..  Niru d. Ansley Cargill (USA,253), 60 62 .. I didn't expect that match to be such a washout - Niru has indeed been in nice form lately! .. In the main draw, she faces Nana Miyagi (JPN,163) .. In doubles, 183rd ranked Niru is in the main draw with Evie Dominikovic (AUS,141), with whom she won the Mahwah challenger title the week before last .. They play Wynne Prakusya (THA,181) and Janet Lee (TPE,195) in the first round .. She has picked up 3.5 points so far from the qualies, and can pick up 7 more points if she gets past Miyagi in R1 ..

There are more reports the last couple of days about the Indian Express getting ready to start playing together regularly again -- newspaper reports that Rico may be gone after September, etc .. I have a few different things to update in the notes later today .. Back soon ..

Aug 1 Note-2

Sorry for a very late update today -- but good news .. Mahesh-Knowles d. #4 seeds Novak-Rikl, 62 63 in the first round today at Toronto .. That's a pretty impressive win over a top-notch team .. How about that .. There was some rain at Toronto today, and only two first round doubles matches are done so far .. MB-MK won't be playing tomorrow as their opponents are not yet determined.

Will have to wait till tomorrow morning to find out about Niru's match today at Lexington .. Busy day again for me, today.

Aug 1 Note-1

Nirupama is in the final round of the qualies today at the $50K Lexington (Kentucky) challenger today .. In the Q2 yesterday, she beat wildcard Jennifer Langer of USA, 62 62 .. She faces a very talented young player in the final qualies today, 8th seed Ansley Cargill (USA,253) .. Cargill is one of those upcoming players out there, and this will be a tough more Niru today .. The second seeded Niru is ranked #193 in singles and #183 in doubles this week .. As the top seed in the qualies has lost in the second round, Niru is first in line for a lucky loser spot in the main draw if Cargill manages to upset her today.

Mahesh and Mark Knowles will be playing the 4th seeds Jiri Novak (CZE,14) and David Rikl (CZE,14) at the $2.95M Toronto masters first round today .. Novak-Rikl are the 5th ranked doubles team in the "Race to Bangalore" now .. The match is scheduled for about 3 pm on Tuesday at Toronto (3 pm New York, 12.30 am Wednesday India) .. Come for chat in our chatroom, as there will be online live scores for this match.

News from Egypt -- At the $10K F2 futures in Cairo this week, Vijkay Kannan made the main draw, and faces the 8th seed Rafael De Mesa, and in doubles, 4th seed Rishi Sridhar and Rohan Bopanna face Tomas Janci and Michal Mertinak .. Unlike last week, Rohan and Rishi missed the singles main draw and had to play the qualifiers for this futures - Rohan was the 4th seed and Rishi the 7th seed in the qualies, but both were upset in the second round .. After beating Marko Schwindt 63 30 (retd), Rohan lost to Alvaro Izquierdo 57 36 .. Rishi beat Juraj Michalko 62 26 75 and then lost to Nikola Vidovic 16 57 .. Unfortunately the first round main draw matches for our players are not great this week based on last week's result which I finally got now .. De Mesa is the same guy who beat Vijay Kannan 62 60 in R1 last week week and Janci and Mertinak were the doubles winners last week .. Rohan Bopanna had a very good first round win last week, 64 67(3) 76(5) over 8th seed Jalal Chafai, before losing to Jiri Vecl, 75 62 in R2 .. Rishi Sridhar lost in the first round to Marko Neunteibl 62 62 .. In doubles last week, 3rd seeds Rohan and Rishi beat Andrew Derer and Sam Swan, 60 63 and were then upset in the QF by wildcards Mahmoud Rezk Mohamed Wafa, 64 75 .. Vijay and Mohamed Maamoun beat wildcards Omar Khaled Abdel-Aziz and Khaled El Dorry 63 61 in the first round and then lost 16 67(0) to the 4th seeds and eventual winners, Janci and Mertinak.

July 31 Note-2

Bad news from Poznan, Poland - Fazal lost in the 3rd and final round of qualies. Then Fazal and Sri also lost the doubles first round to Hugo Armando and J. Frontera, 46 67 .. They will be off to Sopot in Poland for next week's challenger. I will find score details soon.

July 31 Note-1

Mahesh and Mark Knowles are unseeded and have a tough first round match at the Toronto masters .. They face the 4th seeds Novak-Rikl .. I would have preferred about 30 other teams in the draw than those two, but if Hesh and Knowles click quickly, Novak-Rikl are beatable .. Will post the draw later today - slightly busy day for me .. MB-KN are not on the scedule today there.

Yikes - Nirupama did not make the main draw at the $50K Lexington challenger and is playing qualies there -- She is the second seed in the qualies, and has won the first round over Feriel Esseghir (ALG,584) 61 63 .. Two more rounds to go .. I didn't expect the draw to get filled above WTA 200 .. Manisha is not in the qualifier draw - not sure if she did not make it or decided to go to the Harrisonberg satellite this week.

No news or details from Poland on Fazal's qualifying final round.

.. Previous notes are at Notes for the week ending on Jul 31 ..

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.