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LP/MB/NV/Indian-Tennis: Notes for the week ending on Aug 20, 2001
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Aug 20 Note-1

Great news from Syria -- 14 yr old budding star Karan Rastogi reached the final of the grade-5 junior event there, only going down to the 2nd seed in the title match, but in the process, upsetting the top-seed (one more top-200 win for Karan - his 4th, I believe) .. Here are the scores [R1] d. George Khawam (SYR)  60 60, [R2] Abbaz Zead (ALG)  63 61, [R3] d. Andras Khuaraszky (HUN,1003)  61 75 .. [QF] d. #7 Yassir Bouyaha (MAR,232)  57 63 62 .. [SF] d. #1 Fadi-Zyad Zamjoui (MAR,186), 16 63 64 .. [F] l. Anuwat Dalodom (THA,215), 46 16 .. [scores courtesy: ITF] .. See the article in The Hindu, which has some quotes from Karan and also about the good planning they did to get a coach for the bunch of Indian kids who traveled together, such as Rishi Behl .. Luis Reis of Portugal (based in Dubai) was the traveling coach .. Especially noteworthy were Karan's comeback wins in the QF and SF against top-250 players .. Not bad at all .. He gets 20 points for the RU finish which adds 10 to his best-6 for 105 total points - enough to raise his ranking by another 20 spots from the current 218, into the top-200 ..  He is corrently the youngest 14 year old, and only a 13 year old at #198 is younger than him in the ITF top-200 .. It's fair to say that Karan has not played all that many tough events yet, but the number of top-200 players he has beaten shows that he is no fluke .. I swear, we have been getting some really good news from a couple of very young kids on the boys' and girls' side .. All I can say is that we have not had this kind of results from our young ones in a long time - which means this is not the time to wait for things to happen by itself, with the "chalta hai" attitude we always have .. All who can influence/help these kids' developement should waste no time doing whatever is needed! .. Is everybody listening ??? ..

15 yr old Rishi Behl won two rounds in Syria to follow up on his nice QF last week .. He picked up some more points and will raise his ranking to about 350 .. This coach Reis must be a good one - Rishi is one who seemed to do better as his tour went on, despite some losses early on ..

I will have some comments on the Chennai juniors soon.

Karishma Patel went down in the first round of qualies today at the West End $10K satellite in Belgium, losing to Lakshmi Van der Wart (NED), 36 16, in the second round after a first round bye .. I had noticed that interesting name of the Dutch player last week in the qualies at Belgium too .. Didn't expect Karishma to run into her .. Sonal and Jyotsna have direct entry, but the main draw is not out yet.

Aug 19 Note-3

Mahesh and Lareau played a close match but fell a bit short in the end - #8 M.Bhupathi/ S.Lareau l. #5 M.Knowles/ B.MacPhie, 67(5) 75 46 this evening at Indianapolis .. When MB is with LP, there is something special that happens in the doubles finals - it's tough to find that with someone else .. But, congrats go to Mahesh and Lareau for doing this well together, in only their first event together .. Now, back to Indian Express .. Mahesh may have picked up enough points to move up a spot or two from the #9 ranking .. It may help in giving the Indian Express a #4 seed at the US Open too .. Not bad ..  By the way, I am not saure if Leander is playing the US Open singles qualies starting this coming Tuesday - there were newspaper reports a couple of days back that the doctors were advsing for a two weeks break to give his hip injury some time to heal .. We will find out in a day or two.

Here is the onsite fanclub member report from Vas Param on Stephen Amritraj's final match today at Philadelphia - Just got back from the finals of the boys USTA grasscourt championships at the Philadelphia Cricket Club.  Unfortunately, Stephen lost to K.C. Corkery of Manhattan Beach,CA  6-7(4-7), 3-6.  It was a match played under difficult conditions with both players slipping on the rain slicked grass.  The off and on drizzle that plagued the match gave the players trouble with their footing.  1st set:  Stephen gets off to a great start by jumping out to a 3-0 lead.  He has an exceptional serve and volley game with a lot of soft drop shots.  Stephen's opponent then won the next 3 games and the set went with serve to reach a tiebreaker.  In the tiebreaker, Stephen was able to fight back from an early mini-break but KC's returns were too strong and we won the tiebreaker 7-4.  2nd set:  Stephen gets off to another good start by breaking KC's serve in the 3rd game to go up 2-1.  Like the first set, Stephen loses his serve immediately to tie things a 2 games each.  From this point on Stephen really began to struggle.  After going up 40-0 on his serve at 3-4, he lost the next 5 points to get broken and fall behind at 3-5.  KC easily holds serve to close out the match ..... After the match, I had a chance to talk to Stephen's parents.  Stephen mentioned a couple of colleges he is considering (names withheld!).  Some IVY league schools want Stephen, but he is a bit apprehensive concerning their tennis programs.  Some of the top programs have questionable academics which is a concern too .. He will be playing singles and doubles at the US Open junior tournament .. Prakash Amritraj will only be playing doubles with Stephen, as he did not get a direct entry into the singles juniors .. Anyway, I told Stephen's mom I was doing some onsite reporting for the fanclub and that I would e-mail you as soon as I got home.   I gave her the internet address of your site and she is looking forward to checking it out.  Interestingly, Anand's phone cell phone went off in the middle of the match.  It was Vijay checking to see how Stephen was doing.

Thanks, Vas, for letting them know about TennisIndia; I have not had any contacts with the Amritrajs, though TennisIndia is based only an hour away from them in California, and we have contacts with most tennis people in India! :-) .. Actually I had talked to Stephen once, when Leander introduced me to him at the LA Mercedes Cup a couple of years back - very nice kid! .. As for the grade-3 event itself, though it is not graded very highly by ITF, the competition was pretty tough and Stephen reaching the final was pretty impressive .. He also went down in the doubles final (in the company of Jonathan Stokke) to Jacob Olson and KC Corkery, 26 76(4) 46 .. Stephen is a few months younger than cousin Prakash, but has one more year left in the ITF juniors, as he turns 18 only next year .. Incidentally, in the concolation "backdraw", Sunil Kumar went down to Hans Plukas (USA), 36 26 in the first round of 8 .. Plukas then lost to Pramod Dabir (USA) who went on to win the title - this kid seems to be pretty good .. In the final he beat Raian Luchici of Romania in straight sets - Luchici was the one who had bumped him off the main draw in the PQF - so good spunk from the 16 yr old.

Aug 19 Note-2

It looks like the doubles final at Indi got into a rain delay, according to the tournament website - not even sure if the match ever started .. I will report back in a couple of hours (by 9 pm Pacific time, hopefully!)

Stephen Amritraj (USA) went down today at the Philadelphia ITF grasscourts juniors final .. Will post an onsite match report from Vas Param soon!

Aug 19 Note-1

Mahesh and Lareau play the 5th seeds Mark Knowles and Brian MacPhie in the final this evening at the $800K Indi RCA championships .. Knowles/ MacPhie beat the 7th seeded Haggard-VanHoudt this morning ..  The doubles final will be after the smashing singles final (Kuerten-Rafter) which starts at 1.30 pm .. The doubles final will be at around 4 pm (2.30 am India .. 10 pm London), plus/minus 30 min ..  Mahesh has picked up 175 entry oints so far, and can make it 250 with a title today .. Actually, Mark Knowles was Mahesh's partner last year at Indianapolis in a first round loss, the week before LP and MB got back together .. They have got $23,400 to share and can pick up another $21,100 today for a title .. There will be game-by-game score updates from the tournament site, - they do that only for the center court matches ..

Nirupama and Yuka Yoshida reached the doubles semifinal on Friday at the $50K Bronx challenger, but went down yesterday to Clarisa Fernandez (ARG)/ Rika Fujiwara (JPN), 57 36 .. In the QF on Friday, they beat Vanessa Henke (GER)/ Bryanne Stewart (AUS), 60 76(2) [source:] .. Niru had not made the doubles draw last year at Bronx (going down in the qualies as the top seeds with Evie Dominikovic) - so 18 more points will go into her doubles list .. next up for Niru is the US Open qualies next week .. Now that the long streak of 3rd qualifying losses are over, let's hope she will play wthout any monkeys on her back and make it in! .. USO qualies start on Tuesday - the women's draw may not start till wenesday.

Aug 18 Notes

Just got back  after two days - and here is a quick roundup .. Yeah -- Mahesh is on a big run .. Bhupathi-Lareau are in the final at the $800K Indianapolis RCA Championships ATP, after a 64 36 61 upset of the top seeds (got them again!) Bjorkman-Woodbridge in the QF and then a nail-biter comeback today, 36 64 76(5) over DeJager-Koenig! .. The finals will be against #5 Knowles-MacPhie or #7 Haggard-vanHoudt (that semi postponed to tomorrow due to rain .. Go Mahesh! .. I feel bad for almost predicting Sania's fortunes at the Durban grade-1 earlier that she would have trouble against Chani Scheepers in the semifinals - and she did, in a 36 16 loss, but she had beaten Tarryn Terblanche (RSA), 64 61 in the QF .. Darn, I cannot believe though that a 14 yr old from India reached the SF of a grade-1 event - beautiful! .. She picked up 80 pts which will raise her best-6 total by 40 pts to 330, for a top-35 ranking .. Holy Cow! .. You go girl! .. Sania-Sasha also reached the doubles semi there .. Fazal and Kauffman went down in a three-setter in the QF of the Bronx challenger .. Sai and Rushmi reached the semifinal at the $10K Bangkok satellite and went down, in doubles ..  I am still looking for the doubles results for Niru at Bronx .. Sunil-Amanjot went down in the semi of the grade-3 ITF US Grasscourts juniors at Philadelphia, but Stephen Amritraj of USA is on a big run and has reached the final there! .. Jacco Mathew beat Somdev Varman and Isha Lakhani beat Ankita Bhambri in the finals at the Chennai hardcourt junior nationals .. Comments and more score details tomorrow .. I need to go to bed :-)

Aug 16 Note-4

I need to be away for a couple of days and so the next update here will be sometime late on Saturday in the US west coast.

Bjorkman-Woodbridge play late evening today .. If they win MB-Lareau will play them tomorrow .. Niru's doubles QF will be tomorrow .. Fazal was to play doubles QF this evening .. No news on Sania from today .. Sunil Kumar was upset in the QF today at the Philadelphia grasscourts grade-3 .. Stephen Amritraj of USA had another nice win to reach the SF there - one of his best shows in the junior career .. At the Chennai hardcourts u18 nationals, Somdev Dev Varman has been making waves, winning his 8th match in a row going nack to last week .. Jacco Matthew is also in the semi .. BAT (and coach Illyas) can be proud .. Isha Lakhani upset  Nandita Chadrasekhar to reach SF too ..  More in two days.

Aug 16 Note-3

At the $10K satellites in Thailand, 5th seeded Rushmi Chakravarti followed her nice win in the first round by getting upset by Chathida Thimjapo, a not-so-highly-regarded 19 year old, 16 16 yesterday .. Chathida has since gone down in the QFs today .. The Bangkok Post wrote - "The ease of Chathida's win was all the more surprising, as her opponent had earlier beaten this year's junior Wimbledon champion, Angelique Widjaja" .. Jeez, when our women lose, they lose badly - one thing I have been often noticing throughout this summer .. I wonder what causes that - some technical deficiency that they all need to address (on top of the often-mentioned physical training deficiencies)? .. I fail to see what would have changed so fast in the world circuit this summer for our women to all have such difficulty adjusting when things go wrong .. They all looked at least somewhat better against foreign players last year, for instance ..

See this nice article in the Hindustan Times a couple of days back by Tina Sharma .. Money for travel abroad, is often spoken of as a problem for our players, but I tend to feel that there may be even more pressing problems with regard to coaching .. Some of the eastern countries which have lately been doing well have gone to some foreign-imported coaches to kick-start their country's fortunes .. Thai and Indonesian youngsters have all been playing with a lot of resolve lately, for instance .. Even places like Hong Kong have been doing such things .. On the other hand, India does have some tradition and a big pool of coaches (ITF actually no longer considers India as a place that needs help in this regard - our coaches and officials are sometimes called upon to coach other "developing regions" of the world) .. I know this is a taboo subject, and I won't be very popular among our good Indian coaches for saying it - but something more needs to be done on the coaching front .. Many of our players are hardly coached by anybody for any length of time, and even the few who are coached by somebody or other, have not done well - by that I mean any sort of sustained improvements over time .. Look, no Indian coach has produced a true top-250 caliber player (men or women) or a top-10 caliber junior player completly under his watch in ages (except perhaps say a CGK Bhupathi who would be somewhat justified in disagreeing with me :-)) .. Ultimately, it's the results that matter .. If we have to eat our pride, so be it ..  OK, perhaps we are not such dire straits to go in favor of too many foreign imports .. Actually an even worse thing to do will be to bring "washed-up" foreigners who waste our money and ask for 5-sar accommodation in India .. Indians are pretty smart and I do believe that our coaches are fully capable of making the adjustments to handle the needs in world tennis .. But, they can no longer do any "chalta hai" stuff .. Bacause, it an't working .. They all need to really get up, get off their behinds and start looking with some urgency and seriousness into what they all are doing and what needs to be changed .. As we have some pretty highly talented youngsters in the 12-15 age range, we should be making some hard choices, if needed .. Fodder for thought .. Sound off in the forum!

By the way, Karan Rastogi and Rishi Behl had won their first rounds by easy margins in Syria this week .. There are actually a whole bus-load of other Indian kids (mostly starting out on the ITF circuit, etc) who have gone there.

Aug 16 Note-2

Nirupama and Yuka Yoshida (JPN) moved into the QF of doubles last evening, with a 36 64 64 comeback win over Dawn Buth (USA) and Natalie Grandin (RSA) .. Good job, Niru .. They get rest today and will play the QF tomorrow against the winners of the match between the 2nd seeds Lubomira Bacheva/ Laurence Courtois and Vanessa Henke/ Byanne Stewart ..

Also advancing to the doublesQF at the $50K men's challenger at the same venue in Bronx was Fazaluddin .. He and Cedric Kauffman (FRA) got a walkover from the 3rd seed Brandon Hawk and Robert Kendrick .. They play unseeded Kelly Gullett (USA) and Bobby Kokavec (CAN) in the QF today .. I am not sure why Hawk-Kendrick gave a walkover yesterday; actually they are scheduled to play each other in singles today!

Aug 16 Note-1

Mahesh and Lareau moved on easily to the quarterfinals today at the $800K RCA Championships in Indi yesterday .. They beat  James Blake and Nenad Zimonjic, 64 62 .. Their opponents in the QF on Friday could be the top seed Bjorkman-Woodbridge, who play their R2 match tomorrow ..

Bad news from the $50K Bronx challenger .. Nirupama went down after a second set comeback, 46 76(6) 06 to Miriam Schnitzer (GER,136) yesterday .. Looks like Niru started getting bothered by something in the 3rd set - I hope it's not the neck muscle problem again .. The scoreline looks awfully similar to her loss in the first round of qualies at Stanford three weeks back, when the neck acted up a bit by the 3rd set .. She got 8.5 points for qualifying in and playing a round, which will replace the 6 poinst she has for the 3rd round qualifying loss last year at Bronx .. Her ranking will stay at right around 180 - the good news is that she does not have much to defend for the rest of the year at all ..  USO qualies next week for her .. She played her first round doubles also yesterday at Bronx, but I don't have the scores yet.

Top seed Sania Mirza reached the quarterfinal of the grade-1 ITF junior event in Durban, South Africa yesterday with a comeback win - 46 63 61 over Sandri Klue (RSA) .. She played Tarryn Terblanche of RSA next - that girls upset the 5th seed Dominique van Boekel (NED) yesterday - and so it may be another tough match for Sania .. Here is the agency report in the Deccan Chronicle, Hyderabad (not sure who is reporting this to the Deccan Chronicle - but great to get the report!) - "Sania was up against 18-year-old Sandra Cleu. The tall and muscular Sandra was off to a rousing start and won the first set 6-4. But Sania soon got into her groove. She came up with deep groundstrokes to pin Sandra on to the baseline. Plus Sania started to hammer in her first services regularly and forced errors from Sandra .. Sania also played the crucial points better and earned the breaks quite comfortably. He sewed up the two-hour, 40-minute encounter .. With this victory, Sania Mirza’s world ranking is likely to go up to 40, with that qualification into the main draw of the US Open, the last Grand Slam tournament of the year" .. This is the first grade-1 quarterfinal by any Indian in my memory - though it comes at perhaps the weakest grade-1 event in the ITF circuit, I will gladly take it - and it is no mean task for a 14 year old to be doing these things .. Simply incredible - I am truly having trouble believing what I am seeing from her .. The win gives her 60 points .. As her current 6th best event has 40 pts, it adds 20 more to her total of 290 - which is enough to take her to around #40 as says the news report .. As for direct entry to US Open, it was never in any doubt - she would have easily made it with her current ranking of #47 anyway ..  Here are a couple of pictures of Sania ..

Sania in Durban South Africa (Aug 01) - courtesy -, RSASania in Bangladesh - Feb 22, 2001 newspaper picture

Also reaching a quarterfinal, at the grade-3 ITF grasscourts international in Philadelphia, was Sunil Kumar yesterday! .. He beat the 15th seeded Vincent Perna (USA) easily, 61 64 .. Sunil needs to get to the final and pick up 45 or 60 points to improve his #67 ranking from this event though .. In doubles, Sunil and Amanjot (3rd seeds) have reached the secnd round (PQF) with a win over Cliff Grier and Kirk Thomas of USA .. Tara Iyer won one round over Megan Zebroski (USA) 57 62 62 before falling in the final-32 to the 7th seed Jackie Carleton (USA) 16 16 .. Preethi Mukundan (USA), the 8th seed fell in the PQF to the 12th seed .. Stephen Amritraj of USA, the 9th seed upset the 8th seed Rylan Rizza (USA) 63 62 - a good win for Stephen - to reach the boys' QF too .. Pramod Dabir (USA) fell in the PQF to Raian Luchici 46 62 26 ..

Still being a bit lazy in compiling the results from the national hardcourt juniors in Chennai .. I will have them soon .. Top seed Lata Assudani fell in the girls 18s second round yesterday .. My personal favorite player (because she is the only one from Kerala playing anywhere!), Sandra Sashidharan, qualified in, pulled an upset over a seed and went down in the second round .. More later.

Aug 15 Notes

.. Swaatantrya Dina-Aashamsa (Independence Day Best wishes) to all ! ..

Mahesh and Sebastien Lareau won the first round at the $800K RCA Championships ATP in Indianapolis - over wildcards Mardy Fish and Andrei Pavel, 64 26 64 .. They play James Blake and Nenad Zimonjic next - today at 11.30 am there.

Niru will be playing first round singles at the $50K Bronx challenger today against Miriam Schnitzer (GER,136).

Finally a good result to report for Rushmi Chakravarti .. She beat Angelique Widjaja, this year's junior Wimbledon champion (and the current world junior #3 .. Angie had beaten either Rushmi or Sai last year, if I remember correctly, too) at the $10K Thailand satellite .. Rushmi won 76(3) 75 to reach the second round for the second week (she had beaten Megha in the first round last week in Thailand) .. Sai Jayalakshmy's incredibly poor form continued as she was upset 61 62 by Monthika Anuchan (THA) in the R1 .. She lost to Monthika??? .. I am really puzzled now - Sai has got to be bothered by something, but I haven't seen any news reports on any injuries or anything yet .. Chao Chiao-Han (TPE) beat Megha Vakaria 61 60 .. Perhaps Megha should play one more year in the junior level before trying the pros? .. You can get more matches, practice and more experience at the junior level than in the pros at her age of 16-17 .. I don't know if it is a good idea for our players to move to the pros before 18, especially outisde India - because they almost never seem to be ready for that based on the results we have seen .. Ataka Miyako of Japan beat Lisa Pereira (another player who did not play her final year of juniors), 62 62 .. I have not seen the result for Sheetal Gautham yet.

#509 Sonal Phadke was upset 61 62 by qualfiier Yvonne Muesberger (AUT,649) today at the $10K Koksijde satellite in Belgium .. Qualifier Karishma Patel lost 26 46 to the second seed Nicole Melch (AUT,348) .. Gabriela Velasco and Rosa Sitja of Spain beat Sonal and Karishma in doubles last night, 60 63 as well .. Jyotsna plays singles later today I think ..

At the $15K Cumberland futures in UK, Mustafa Ghouse, after all the good work in the qualies, went down to an unranked wildcard, 17 yr old Mathew Smith (GBR) ranked #112 in the ITF juniors, in the first round - 46 67(4) .. I thought Mustafa had a great chance to pick up another ATP point there, but no such luck ..

Good news from Philadelphia grade-3 ITF junior grasscourt event -- the 2nd seeded Sunil Kumar has reached the final-16 .. He beat Christopher Clayton (USA,291) 63 61 and Badr Rharbi (Morocco), 76(5) 64, and faces the 15th seed Vincent Perna (USA) next .. Saurabh Singh won one round 62 67(2) 64 over  Joseph Mirabile but lost in the final-32 to D.J.Geatz (USA) 16 63 26 .. 13th seed Amanjot Singh was upset in the first round by Raian Luchici (USA) .. Amanjot has not had any good results in a while actually .. Pramod Dabir (USA) upset the 4th seed Sukhwa Young (USA), 63 63 in the first round (repeating the big upset he had last week in the USTA nationals 16s, in a strange coincidence - except he won by an even better score this time!)  - this is Pramod's first ITF event I Think, but these US kids are battle-tested in domestic competitions .. He has won another round and faces Luchici in the PQF .. 9th seed Stephen Amritraj (USA) is also in the PQF .. I have not seen the score for India's Tara Iyer in the girls' draw.

According to Supertennis, Southa Africa, Sania Mirza has advanced to the second round at the big grade-1 event in Durban, beating Simri van Rooyen (RSA), 63 63 .. She plays Sandri Keu (RSA) in the second round .. Sania is the top seed and may get her biggest challenge from Chani Scheepers who was ranked in the top-60 last year .. She has been playing the pros and has not played any junior events this year - I have no idea what Chani is doing playing this event all of a sudden -  she decided to return to the juniors for a year again ?? .. Anyway, she is unranked in ITF right now actually, but they seeded her 4th .. If Sania advances to the semi, she will probably run into her .. Dasha Leonyuk (RUS) beat Sasha Abraham 62 76(3) .. Nishank was in the original entry list, but has not gone there.

Aug 14 Note-5

Good job by Niru in a tough comeback .. Though I said Sassi would be a tough one, I didn't expect her to cause this much trouble .. Anyhow, Niru qualified into the Bronx challenger!! .. [Q3] N.Vaidynathan (IND,183) d. Valentina Sassi (ITA,180), 57 76(4) 75 .. Stared at yet another defeat, but she pulled it off this time, finally breaking a looooong streak of final qualifier losses .. Go Niru!! .. The main draw placement of qualifiers will be done later today for us to know whom she will be playing in the first round.

Aug 14 Note-4

Hmmm .. I thought Niru would make the main draw as a direct entry at the $50K Bronx challenger, but not so .. She had to play qualies and had reached the final round with two nice wins over the weekend based on the lastest info from USTA .. [Q3] #5 N.Vaidyanathan vs Valentina Sassi (ITA,180)  - that will be a tough match - Sassi had upset the top seed Anabelle Ellwood (#152) in the first round and has generally been playing well lately .. In the earlier rounds, [Q2] Niru d. Bryanne Stewart (AUS,193), 62 75 .. [Q1] Niru d. Ansley Cargill (USA,258), 61 63 .. The scorelines suggest that she has been feeling alright so far, with the neck pain she had been carrying for a while .. Niru is also in the doubles Main Draw, this time with Yuka Yoshida of Japan .. They are unseeded and face Dawn Buth (USA) and Natalie Grandin (RSA) in the firt round .. They are drawn to possibly face the second seeds in the QF.

Aug 14 Note-3

Fazaluddin fell to the top seed in the qualies, Mathew Breen (AUS), 36 16 yesterday in the final qualies at the $50K Bronx challenger .. :-(

A bunch of junior news items .. First of all, Sunil Kumar has arrived in the US .. He is at the ITF Grade-3 USTA Junior International grasscourt championships in Philadelphia .. He is the second seed and plays Christopher Clayton (USA) in the first round .. Amanjot Singh is the 13th seed, playing Raian Luchici (USA) .. Saurabh Singh is also there and plays Joseph Mirabile (USA) .. Stephen Amritraj of USA is the 9th seed, playing Mak Kendall (USA) .. On the girls's side, Tara Iyer is in the main draw, playing Megan Zebroski (USA) .. Preethi Mukundan of USA is the 8th seed, playing Yana Krgly (USA) .. I have not seen the doubles draw yet.

Roundup of the US Junior hardcourt supernationals at Kalamazoo, Michigan, last week .. 2nd seeds Rajeev Ram and Jonathan Stokke won the doubles title there, beating the 7th seeds Ytai Abouzgir and Alex Bogomolov, 63 60, easily .. The top seeds Prakash and Stephen Amritraj had fallen in the 4th (PQF) round .. Rajeev, who had fallen to 9th seed Prakash Amritraj in the PQF of the main draw as reported earlier, reached the final of the feed-in draw (called "back-draw" that the losers in each round falls into) .. He lost to Ytai Abouzgir, the world #4 player, in the feed-in final .. Alex Bogomolov beat Brian Baker in the main draw final ..  Prakash fell to the 5th seed Todd Widom in the QF, after beating Rajeev Ram and Todd Wodim finished behind Bomolov and Baker after the 3rd place match ..  Rajeev Ram received the Dr. Allen B. Stowe Sportsmanship Award for the 18s Division .. I think he had won the award in the 16s last year too .. Rajeev is a very well-liked kid .. The 16s feed-in draw was won by Pramod Dabir of California, who had fallen in the QF of the main draw after his huge upset of the top seed Sukhwa Young in the PQF .. Good show by all the Indian-Americans there.

Here are the results for Karan Rastogi and Rishi Behl at the grade-5 ITF junior event in Syria .. After a bye in the first round, Karan beat Mowafak Al Hafez (SYR)  61 60 and Mohamed Al Kawary (QAT) 64 60, before falling in the QF to Sherif El Sherie (EGY,252)  06 26 .. As for Rishi, he had a pretty good show, considering his ranking near 400 .. [R1] d. Baldzs Bulozszky (HUN)  63 76(3), [R2] d. Hayan Marouf (SYR)  62 75 .. [PQF] Mohammed Al Nabhani (OMA,292)  64 63 .. [QF] l. Musaad Al Jazzaf (KUW,218)  36 06 .. Pretty good win in the PQF by Rishi .. The doubles runners-up finish at Syria is the best doubles result so far for Karan and Rishi who raised their rankings about 60 and 100 spots each to #235 and #291 in doubles .. Pretty good for two very young kids at 14 and 15 yrs of age.

Play starts today at the grade-1 KawZulu Natal ITF junior event in Durban, South Africa .. Sania, Sasha and Nishank in the main draw.

Aug 14 Note-2

Mahesh and Lareau play the wildcards Mardy Fish (USA) and Andrei Pavel (ROM) in the first round of doubles at the $800K RCA championships at Indi today at 11.30 am.

Still awaiting news on what happened in the final round qualies at the $75K Bronx men's challenger yesterday - Fazal was playing the top seed Mathew Breen .. Fazal is in the doubles main draw, playing with his old partner, Cedric Kauffman (FRA) .. They are drawn against the 3rd seeds Brandon Hawk and Robert Kendrick .. Quite a few of the challenger-level Asian players are out at Bronx this week .. Aisam Qureshi (PAK), Danai Udomchoke (THA), Yong Il-Yoon (KOR), Suwandi Suwandi (INA), and Motomura, Suzuki and Terachi of Japan .. Of course, India does not have anybody at the challenger level anymore (except LP), sadly - I hope Fazal made it in somehow.

Good news from UK .. Mustafa Ghouse qualified into the main draw .. After a first round bye as the 3rd seed in the qualies, he beat Jeffrey Viskovich (AUS) 63 64 and the 11th seed Ibrahim Kimmerling (GER) 76(7) 64 .. In the main draw, he faces a british wildcard, Matthew Smith, and so has a good chance to pick up an ATP point.

Some good news to report from the $10K Koksijde satellite in Belgium .. Karishma Patel , ranked only 1014, qualified into the main draw with some tenacious wins! .. She beat Vanessa Kratz (AUS) 26 61 75, Sara Jaddoule (BEL) 61 26 64 and Natasha van Der Merwe (RSA,658), 76(3) 75 .. That final round qualifying win upsetting the 4th seed Natasha is impressive - I think that is the first upset win abroad by one of our upcoming girls against a foreign player all summer long! .. In the main draw, she has a tough match tomorrow - against the second seed, Nicole Melch (AUT,348) .. Also in the first round, #509 Sonal Phadke who is unseeded this week, plays a tough qualifier, Yvonne Muesberger (AUT,694),  and #541 Jyotsna Vasisht plays Arancha Parra (ESP,450) .. Sonal and Karishma are in the first round of doubles, drawn to face Gabriela Velasco and Rosa Sitja of Spain in a late evening match today.

More later about Thailand satellite, Junior ITF news, National junior hardcourts in Chennai etc.

Aug 14 Note-1

Here is a nice picture of our guys right after winning the final point for the title on Sunday - courtesy Cincinnati Enquirer (thanks, Samarth!) ..

LP and MB after winning the title at Cincinnati Masters 2001

Here are a couple of articles from the local newspapers yesterday - in the Cincinnati Enquirer and in the Cincinnati Post, about the title ...

Aug 13 Note-2

Hey, just when we thought Fazal had disappeared into thin air, he resurfaces! .. He has reached the final round of qualies at the big Bronx challenger .. Here are the scores:  #7 Fazal d. (wc) Doug Root (USA) 63 64 .. #7 Fazal d. Julien Cassaigne (FRA) 75 75 .. He has a tough match today to make the main draw, as he goes against Mathew Breen (AUS) .. Go Fazal!!

Aug 13 Note-1

Leander has been bothered a bit by a hip problem he has had since Wmbledon, and seems to have decided not to push it .. So LP-MB are skipping the Indianapolis doubles this week .. LP has to be playing the next three weeks with the USO qualies and main draw, making it 5 weeks of continuous play if played Indi, which is dangerous .. So it sounds like a good decision to take rest this week .. MB does not have to play next week and so he is playing with Sebastien Lareau this week at the $800K Indianapolis ATP .. They are seeded 8th there, and play a wildcard team.

LP-MB moved up to #4 in the ATP doubles race this year .. More importantly, their 52-week doubles entry rankings are now #9 and #11, which should be enough to give them a #4 or #5 seeding at the US Open - hopefully #4, so that the way is clearer till the semis ..  MB has 2915 points and LP 2684 .. In team rank (doubles race), they have 471 race pts from this year's tournaments (2355 entry pts), which is behind Bjorkman-Woodbridge with 704, Novak-Rikl with 499, Johnson-Palmer with 496 .. Pala-Vizner is at #5 with 437, the Bryan twins at #6 with 420, and Hill-Tarango at #7 with 373 ..

LP-MB are 8-3 against the top-10 teams so far this year .. Two wins over #2 Novak-Rikl, two over #7 Hill/ Tarango, one over #1 Bjorkman/ Woodbridge, one over #3 Johnson-Palmer, one over #5 Pala-Vizner, and one over #6 Bryans .. Losses: one to #1 Bjorkman/ Woodbridge, one to the #6 Bryans, and one to #9 Eagle/ Florent ..  In other words, the Indian Express is basically doing stuff exactly like they were doing before the break-up .. Those are some impressive numbers!

I believe Nirupama is playing this week at the Bronx challenger .. No news yet.

15 yr old Rishi Behl and 14 yr old Karan Rastogi reached the final of doubles at the grade-5 ITF junior event in Syria .. They finished runner-up there - good show by them! .. According to The Hindu a couple of days back, Karan and Rishi had both reached the singles QF as well .. Not sure whther they fell in the QF or SF .. I will report the score details as soon as ITF publishes them.

Mustafa did not make the main draw this week at the UK futures, but is seeded 3rd in the qualies .. He had won the second round after a first round bye, when last reports came in .. The women are at the Thailand satellite (Sai, Rushmi, Sheetal, Liza) and the Koksijde satellite in Belgium (Sonal, Jyotsna, Karishma) ..

Completing some of last week's remaining events that I had forgotten to do: .. Jyotsna and her foreign partner went down to the 2nd seeds in the doubles semis at the Rebecq $10 satellite in Belgium .. Manoj Mahadevan and Marcio Torres (ARG) fell in the second round last week at the USA F21 futures, to Lee Radovanovich Daniel Willman of NZL, 16 46 .. Sania and Sasha had fallen in the first round of doubles at the grade-2 ITF juniors in Durban .. Sasha has hopefully recovered from her illness and both would be doing better this week at the more important grade-1 event, also in Durban .. Sania is again the top seed in singles.

At the AITA ranking junior national event at the Krishnan Tennis Center last week, there were two upsets in the boys u18 draw in the semis .. P. Ravikrishna (AP) beat top seed Vinod Sewa (WB) and Somdev Dev Varman (TN) upset second seed Rohan Gajjar (Mah) .. The latter upset was by a score of 16 16 - which is very surprising, if Rohan was not bothered by any physical problems ..  Ankita Bhambri and Nandita Chandrasekhar, the 2nd and 3rd seeds reached the singles final, as the top seed Lata Assudani had been upset in the early rounds by Geeta Manohar ..  There was one kid who pulled some upsets in the u14 section on the way to the final - M.Jeevan (TN) who beat the 2nd seeded M.Vinod and 3rd seeded Hariprashant, and was to meet the top seed Rupesh Roy (WB) for the title .. S.Preethi and Fathima Baig of TN were in the u14 girls final too .. The finals were on saturday, but I still have not seen the results reported by any online newspapers [source for these results: Chennai Online] .. If anybody has the results, do pass it on to me .. The bigger event, the junior hardcourt nationals starts today in Chennai at the Madras Cricket Club courts.

.. Previous notes are at Notes for the week ending on Aug 13 ..

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.