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LP/MB/NV/Indian-Tennis: Notes for the week ending on Aug 21, 2000

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Aug 21 Note-2

The reunion tour has started off with a straight sets win, though in somewhat of a tougher match than I expected - L.Paes/ M.Bhupathi d. (wc) J.Cerda/ R.Grille, 64 75 .. The good news is that the 7-5 second set shows them to have come through by raising their game when they needed to close out the match .. That is a good indication .. Close matches are good for practice for them right now - as long as they win! .. Only a couple of first round doubles matches were on schedule today, and their potential second round opponents, top seeds Kulti-Tillstrom, have not played; so LP-MB will get a day or two to rest .. Actually Tillstrom retired today in the 3rd set of his singles match, and I am not sure is he is injured or something.

In the latest doubles rankings today, Leander fell out of the top 50 for the first time in over three years .. He is at #63 this week with 931 points, as he has only played 10 events in the last 12 months .. Certainly a good time to get going again! .. LP has 515 points for the USO final and 26 for R2 at Shanghai with MB last year, 175 and 85 for the Orlando and Bermuda titles with Siemerink, 75 for the R2 at Indian Wells with Arthurs, and 40 for R2 in Chennai with Byron Black - 931 points and that is it! ..  Mahesh has played a few more events (15) and has 1467 pts - he is at #31 this week, as he didn't have many points falling off this week from Indianapolis-99 where LP was a finalist with Delaitre .. That was the first week where they played with others due to mutual misunderstandings, though they played till the end of the year, pushing things under the rug ..  After all the injuries and surgeries and heartburn for all of us, here they are, exactly a year later, back out there together again, with the ties seemingly strong again .. Go Indian Express!!

The US Open qualies start tomorrow (22nd) at New York .. The draw is not out yet, but Niru will be playing there .. The draw normally gets posted only on the first day of the qualies normally, and so we may not know till the last minute about when she ould be playing.

I think the Indian women (Manisha, Sai, Rushmi) may be off the tour this week, as they will all be going to the three weeks of $10K events in India starting next week at Jaipur.  No news yet on when Fazal and Sri will be playing again.

Aug 21 Note-1

Yes! .. The Indian Express just picked up their first win and points this year together! .. The tournament office just told me that they have won the match against Cerda/Grille, but they didn't have the score yet .. Will report that soon.

Aug 20 Note-2

Here is the doubles draw at Long Island .. Man, it feels good to see Bhupathi-Paes listed together! .. Our pair face the local wildcards (the match is on Monday at about 2 pm) .. The bottom half of the draw has the second seeds Damm-Hrbaty and 3rd seeds Carbonnell-Prinosil.

1 N.Kulti/ M.Tillstrom (SWE)     vs   S.Aspelin/ J.Landsberg (SWE)  \
  M.Bhupathi/ L.Paes (IND)       vs W J.Cerda(BRA)/ R.Grille(USA)   / \ _ Final
4 J-M.Gambill/ S.Humphries (USA) vs W S.Lipsky/ T.VanPeterman (FRA) \ /
  P.Albano/ L.Arnold (ARG)       vs   M.Barnard/ R.Koenig (RSA)     /
Talked to Leander Paes after a very long time today .. He is in very good spirits and looking forward to getting back out there this coming week at the Hamlet Cup in Long Island .. He says the long break has helped a lot .. After a couple of weeks of inaction after the wrist injury, he has been doing hard physical training for the last 8 to 10 weeks .. He had a removable cast, which helped the training a lot .. He was quite emphatic in saying that he is actually in the best physical shape he has EVER been in ..  Said he could have played a week or so earlier but that he decided to make sure that everything was 100% healed before restarting things .. Decided not to play singles qualies right now, to make sure that he wouldn't be playing too much in the first week back ..  His singles plans will be in place only a few weeks later .. Sydney doubles medal is the focus right now.

He said he and Mahesh had a few days of practice and that he is very positive about the future .. I did not press for any details on how Hesh and Lee got back together, but he said keeping everyone (that means EVERYONE) away from coming in between them is the key to their getting back together .. Cool .. We will take it whichever way it works - the trust between the two seems to be back, and that is more than enough .. There is also another piece of news item that is good, but I can't announce it for a few more days .. Anyway, Leander thanks everybody for the support during the "tough times" !

OK, now, who are these wildcards who get to play the Indian Express in their historic (:-)) reunion match, you wonder ? .. Juan Cerda and Rodrigo Grilli .. They play for a community college called the "College of the Desert" near Palm Springs in California .. The intercollegiate tennis association (ITA) in the US has about 5 divisions for tennis and also issues periodic rankings for one community college group, which is the "California Community Colleges" .. Cerda and Grilli are the top ranked doubles team who also won the year-end championships for that division, and they were also finalists against each other in singles .. Neither has an ATP ranking .. I have no idea what the connection is, between Long Island and California Community Colleges! .. Anyway, if LP and MB are in their former form, this would be what one would call "cannon fodder" - but since they have not played together for 9 months, we can't take anything for granted .. It appears that LP-MB got a nice break in the draw for their return.

Aug 20 Note-1

In the doubles final yesterday at the $10K satellite in Cumberland (London), the 4th seeds Manisha Malhotra and Suzie Bensch (GER) fell to the top seeds in a very close match, 26 75 67(6) ..  More later.

Aug 19 Note-3

I have updated all the stats, points, singles and doubles results, schedule, etc, etc, for Leander and Mahesh (see the LP, MB results main page) .. Over the last few months I have generally not been doing much on those pages which used to be regularly updated all the time .. Now that the boys are back together, we will get back to the regular routine again! Go Indian Express!!

The doubles draw is not out from the Hamlet Cup ATP at Long Island where LP asnd MB will play in a couple of days .. Looking forward to seeing our pair listed together for the first time since November last year!

At the junior nationals in Chennai today, Kamala Kannan won the title over P.Ravikrishna, and Sonal Phadke beat Radhika Tulpule to win the girls title .. So, Kamala Kannan defended the title from last year .. Actually in that tournament he was unseeded and upset three seeds on the way to the title .. Kamala then looked to be at the top of the junior totem pole .. Sunil Kumar was on the other hand the 6th seed who was upset (by Gurmehar Singh!) in the first round .. Kamala also beat Sunil in the final in the India-Pistons u18 tournament the next week too .. Of course Sunil did his heroics at Delhi 6 weeks later and went straight to the top ..  Vinod Sew followed with his titles and finals in the ITF events as well .. I am glad to see Kamala Kannan showing he is right behind too (but this is his final junior year - and with him having hardly played many ITF events, he is much less exposed to foreign players, etc) .. He is a trainee at the Krishnan center and also in the Tamil Nadu for Tennis Excellence (TATE) scheme, and he is a first year student at the Loyola college .. He is one of the players we will look closely at, in the DSCL nationals and the November ITF futures .. Nothing much interesting on the girls's side, except that Sonal has certainly edged a bit ahead of Radhika over the last year or so, among the 18 yr olds - Radhika won the title last year here .. Radhika is still bothered by that tennis elbow she has had for many months, but Sonal is tough to beat even on a good day for anybody in the juniors in India now .. See the Chennai nationals results page.

Aug 19 Note-2

Alright, I have been reporting a lot of juniors stuff this week, but the serious senior stuff starts next week .. The INDIAN EXPRESS will be rolling out from the sheds at Long Island .. I think both decided to concentrate on doubles this week, and are not playing the singles qualies .. Good decision, as they only have very little time to get ready for Olympics .. I am getting way too excited!

Nirupama will be at the US OPen qualifying rounds next week.

Good news from the Cumberland (UK) satellite .. 4th seeds Manisha Malhotra and Suzie Bensch are in the finals of doubles !! .. Yesterday in the semis, they upset the 2nd seeds Mareze Joubert (RSA) and Nicole Sewell (AUS) in a nice comeback three-setter, 26 62 63 .. They are playing the final against the top seeded South African pair, Natalie Grandin and Nicole Renckin .. Manisha-Suzie reached the semis after their opponents in the postponsed QF from thursday (Ejeson and Homewood) retired at the overnight score of 26 23 ..

At the men's satellites at the same place, Vikrant Chadha and Barry Fulcher went down in the quarterfinals to the second seeds Vaiughan Simon and Haydn Wakefield, both of RSA .. I don't know the score of the match.

Still no news out of Jordan where Vijay Kannan and gang are in the futures event.

Aug 19 Note-1

More stuff on Vinod Sewa who had an 8 match win streak in North America snapped this week in the QFs at the Philadelphia grasscourt ITF juniors .. I just found out the results from the Windsor Canadian grade-5 ITF international last week - and Viod had won that! .. It is the first junior international won in the last few years by any Indian in North America, and may even be the first since Leander won the US Open juniors .. Of course this was only a grade-5 event last week, but it's still a good to see Vinod winning it .. Adding the 30 points he got for the title there and the 20 points for the QF in the bigger grade-3 event this week, his ranking will soon come close to top-100 from the #151 it is this week .. With Sunil Sipaeya at #93, we will have two Indian 17 yr olds ranked decently high .. Here are the results from Windsor (Ontario), Canada, last week - [R1] Bye .. [R2] Vinod Sewa d. Miron Mann (CAN), 62 63 .. [R3] d. #15 seed Andre Radulescu (CAN), 63 60 .. [QF] d. #7 seed Adil Shamsadin (CAN), 62 61 .. [SF] d. #14 seed Darius Craton (CAN), 57 60 75 .. [F] d. #2 seed Kyle Sherry (USA) 41 retd .. Those are some pretty good wins .. He continued that with three good wins in Philadelphia as well .. Great job by Paes-en-Sport sending him out here - Vinod is really on the move! .. It is also great that the best two Indians will indeed be playing together in an elite team with sponsorship .. Practising against each other will certainly help Vinod and Sunil, as well.

At the Chennai junior nationals, the semifinals got stopped early by rain yesterday .. #3  Kamala Kannan vs Arun Prakash, and #4 P.Ravikrishna vs lucky-loser Siddharth Sudhakar, on the boys' side .. 18 yr old Kamala Kannan is quite talented, and though he is ranked #5 in India behind Sunil, Vinod, Nishank and Parantap, he could quite possibly be the 3rd best out there - he has not played as many ITF events and got points as has Nishank and Parantap - 3 events as opposed to 19 and 9 by the other two (The top two seeds, Nishank and Parantap, fell in the first round by the way) .. Kamala Kannan has been getting decent support from the Tamil Nadu Tennis Association, I believe ..  P.Ravikrishna who is only 16, is very promising too .. The one to really, really, watch out for is actually Arun Prakash of Tamil Nadu, who is just 15 - he finished 1999 as the #1 in the Indian under-14 ranking and he will now be inside the top-20 rankings in the seniors as well ! .. It is also good to see the ncie run by Siddharth Sudhakar, the "cinderella" man here .. The semis are today .. On the girls side, the semis are between #1 Sonal vs #3 Liza, and #2 Radhika vs #7 Geetha Manohar .. Geetha had the nice upset of #4 Nandita Chandrasekhar in a QF match that was postponed to Friday after it was tied at 5-5 in the 3rd set .. Geetha pulled it off in a tiebreaker yesterday .. The semis had just started and geetha was actually up a break early in the first set against Radhika when rain stopped play .. See the Chennai junior nationals results page .. I will update today's results, as soon as they are available.

Actually I am a bit confused what nationals it is .. I thought the MCC courts this is being played at have claycourts, and assumed this was the claycourt nationals .. Actually The Hindu mentions today that the courts are clay, but Deccan Herald and other newspapers call this the "hardcourt" nationals .. I thought the "hardcourt nationals" would be the DSCL nationals in Delhi .. I am pretty sure this has to be the "claycourt nationals", but I will just call it the "nationals" for now :-)

Aug 18 Notes

Hey, nice coincidence that I was talking a bit about Sunil Kumar and Vinod Sewa over the last couple of days -- here is a PTI news item from today about Paes-En-Sport and CLTA (Chandigarh Lawn Tennis Association) forming an elite junior team comprising Sunil, Vinod and  Amanjot Singh, the current u16 national champion .. So I guess it was Paes-en-Sport who sponsored Vinod's trip to the US .. Sunil Kumar will join Vinod for next week's junior event, which I believe is in New Jersey .. He has proceeded to the US after the Commonwealth Youh Games in Ednburgh last week .. Coach Gary O'Brien is with Vinod and will coach the team during the next few weeks in the US .. Also, they will get to hit with Leander Paes during the US Open weeks .. After the US Open juniors, Sunil Kumar will be attending the Sydney Olympics Youth program in Australia (I am still not sure if he will make it into the USO junior draw, though) .. Dr. Vece Paes announced these developments today .. That is all great news!

By the way, Vinod Sewa lost in the quarterfinals at the Philadelphia grade-3 grasscourt event yesterday, 57 46 to Lester Cook, one of the promising top-20 US juniors .. Congrats go to Vinod for the good job of reaching the QF there and picking up some good points which will move him closer to top-125 in the world .. USA's Rajeev Ram's long win streak (10 or 15 matches in a row) also came to an end yesterday in the same tournament in the QFs.

Next week's US junior event is a grade-4 ITF event (USTA Junior Hardcourt International) at the Mercer County Tennis Center in West Windsor, New Jersey .. Hey, perhaps some folks from the large Indian community out there in New Jersey could go and cheer our boys! .. Email me for details.

No news on the quarterfinal doubles today yet for Manisha Malhotra and Suzi Bensch at the $10K Cumberland satellite (London) .. They are seeded 4th and were leading 62 32 over Helena Ejeson (SWE) and Carly Homewood (GBR) when play was postponed on thursday .. They had won the first round 62 62 against Carla Arguelles (GBR) and Sarah Wright (GBR).

Vikrant Chadha and Barry Fulcher have won the first round of doubles against Paul Allott and Ben Haran, 41 42 40 at the $15K Britain F7 futures at Cumberland (London).  Their QF opponents for today were yet to be determined yesterday - probably the second seeds Snyman/Wakefield who were leading by two sets when play was postponed.

Will update the semifinal results from the ongoing Chennai Junior Nationals soon today.

Aug 17 Note-1

Got the latest calendar from AITA and there is lots of good news there .. They have decided to put back three futures for men in November, in the weeks originally slated for challengers which are now moved to Feb 2001 - the locations are yet to be determined, and will have to be fixed soon .. The folks at AITA do not seem to ever rest, eh?  (damn, I am sounding like a big AITA suporter these days .. I don't like it, but they don't seem to give me much reason to complain :-)) .. See the 2000-01 calendar .. There are a bunch of satellite weeks reserved for both men and women till June 2001, which is nice .. The latter ones are possibly tentative as of now though .. Note that quite a few dates in October have changed by one week forward or backward, inlduing the two women's satellites and the women's challenger, which are all moved to one week later, from last month's calendar release .. It's a busy, busy calendar ..

Aug 17 Note-1

Just when I was beginning to feel a little down again about our junior boys, I got some very positive news to report .. Vinod Sewa, our national junior #3 has won three rounds and reached the quarterfinal of the Grade-3 ITF international, the USTA grasscourts open at the Philadelhia Cricket Club .. It is a 64-draw event, and Vinod has beaten David Lynn (USA), 76(5) 63, Marlo Santoso (INA), 63 76(1) and Mark Dietrich (USA) 62 62 .. In the QF he plays Lester Cook (USA) .. 3rd seed Rajeev Ram has also reached the QF after a comeback three-set win in the PQF against the 12th seed .. Prakash Amritraj was upset in the first round and Stephen Amriyraj lost to sixth seed Bruno Echegary of Mexico 46 46 in the final-32 .. Good to see two Indians names in the final-8 of a USA tournament .. Vinod's wins are not bad here - David Lynn was a top 25 player in the US 16s last year, and Marlo Santoso is the highest ranked Indonesian junior .. Actually, in my memory, Vinod is the first Indian junior to reach even the final-16 of any junior event in the US in many many years .. Lester Cook is a top-20 junior player in the USTA rankings, and so Vinod has a tough QF match.

By the way, if you are wondering who Vinod Sewa is, you might remember him winning the ITF junior international in Kolkata last november, upsetting three seeds; actually winning the the doubles title as well there .. He also reached the final of the ITF international at Kolkata this February, coming up from an ITF rank of around 800 last Nivember to Indian #2 at #153 by now .. By the way, both those Kolkata tourneys were on hard-gravel surfaces - so he may not be just a grass wonder from Cal .. He is 17 year old as well, and is the son of a Nepalese marker at a Kolkata tennis club, according the The Hindu, during the Kolkata event last november .. I have been following this kid, and his results show a lot of signs of him having the right stuff, attitude and desire .. Sunil Sipaeya and Vinod Sewa for the future ? .. Could be .. I am glad to see that somehow he is getting the opportunities to play some good events (AITA had him in the Indian team that went to the far east circuit for three weeks in march along with Sunil Kumar, and if I remember correctly, he is the only won to win even two rounds in any of the events - not sure who sponsored his trip to the US this time).

Aug 16 Note-2

Nirupama missed the main draw for doubles by a whisker and ended up as the top seeds with Evie Dominikovic in the qualies at the $50K Bronx challenger - three rounds qualies for which they had a first round bye .. I have not seen the results of the qualifying rounds but the doubles main draw (courtesy: Alain Vincent) does not show them as the qualifers, and so I guess they went down in the qualies .. News has been tough to come by from Bronx so far, but anyway, Niru seems to have had a tough time in the qualies there, though she did well in two rounds of singles .. By the way, the score of her upset over 7th seed Evie Dominikovic in Q2 was 62 61 .. The girl who upset Niru in the final qualies, Tina Hergold, has won a main draw round as well, upsetting Rachel McQuillan ranked #128 - I guess Niru did run into a hot up-and-coming player (as I reported earlier, Hergold was a top-10 junior in the world a few months back)

Manisha Malhotra is in the doubles draw at the $10K London satellite, playing with Suzie Bensch of Germany - they are seeded 4th .. They have won the first round over Carla Arguelles and Sarah Wright of Britain, but I don't have the scores yet.

At the $10K Rimini satellite in Italy last week, 7th seeded Sai Jayalakshmy beat lucky loser Marisol Berengeno (ARG,855) 36 76(3) 76(5), but was upset in the second round by #585 Olga Lazarchuk of Ukrain, 16 36 .. Rushmi Chakravarti lost in the first round to the second seed Maria Elena Camerin (ITA,335), 26 26 .. Gosh, it has been a continuing struggle for them both in Europe, but we have to give them credit for continuing to push forth in the circuit.

Vikrant Chadha was at the qualies for the $15K GBR F7 futures in England, but went down in the first round 53 04 14 14 to Neil watts of GBR .. No news from Jordan on Vijay and Rohan.

At the Junior u18 nationals in Chennai, all the top eight seeds have advanced on the girls side to the quarterfinals .. The top two seeds Radhika and Sonal flew in this mroning after their trip to Edinburgh, and promptly won two matches each to reach the QFs .. 6th seed Samrita Sekhar beating Isha Lakhani and 8th seed T.Yamini beating Lata Asudani were the only significant results to talk about so far .. Those were potential upset matches .. All the players who went to Edinburgh went to Chennai, except Sunil Kumar the national #1 junior are at the nationals .. On the boys side, the top two seeds Shivang Mishra and Parantap Chaturvedi of Delhi also flew in and played their first rounds today but neither was ready to do anything .. In Parantap's case, he was also sick .. Shivang, though he is ranked #2 in the juniors, has not shown great results in the domestic circuit against good opponents .. He has picked up a lot of experience and points playing a lot of ITF events abroad though .. Kamala Kannan, who is the 3rd seed had a pretty good win, basically eradicating talented Benjamin Xavier .. Benjamin had played the final last year at this event as a qualifier against Kamala Kannan, but narrowly missed being seeded this time .. 4th seed P.Ravikrishna had a good win in the first round over Anant Sitaram who qualified in, and once again pushed his opponent to a 3rd set .. See the Chennai juniors page ..

Aug 16 Note-1

Some junior news .. 17 yr old AITA 18s #3 (also the #2 Indian in ITF ranks at #151) Vinod Sewa is at the Junior grasscourts ITF international at Philadelphia this week .. He is the 8th seed and has won the first round beating David Lynn of USA 76(5) 63 to reach the final 32 where he faces Marlo Santoso of Indonesia .. Rajeev Ram, Prakash Amritraj and Stephen Amritraj of USA are also at the same event .. Prakash is the 4th seed, but was upset in the first round by Daid Gopstein of USA 46 64 63 (rather surprising, as Prakash is not bad on grass I am told) .. Stephen won his first round but faces a talented Mexican kid (6th seed) in the second round .. Rajeev Ram is the 3rd seed, and beat Matthew Cloer of USA 63 61 in the first round .. By the way, I have no idea how they seeded him 3rd, despite an ITF ranking in the 500s! -- he does deserve to be seeded that high based on USTA results, but his ITF ranking is low as this is only his second ITF junior event - I thought ITF ranking is all that counted for seeding at their events .. Grasscourt junior events are extremely rare in the US and Philadelphia conducts one every year at the Cricket Club of Philadelphia (just the old name - I don't believe they have played cricket there since late 1800s or something!).

India #4 in ITF rankings and the #1 in the AITA 16s rankings, 16 yr old Amanjot Singh was in Portugal for some ITF junior internationals for the last three weeks -- not much success though .. Last week at the Grade-3 Vila Do Conde Junior Tennis Cup in Portugal, he was seeded 7th but lost Austria's Patrik Schmolzer in the first match .. In doubles, he and Michael Frick of HongKong were seeded 3rd, and had two wins before losing to the top seeds in the semifinals in three sets .. The previous weeks at the Grade-4 ITF junior event in Leiria, Portugal, Amanjot was the 3rd seed and was upset in the first round by L.Laranjeira of Portugal 75 61 .. He played doubles with a lower ranked player, Zoltan Bus of Romania, and lost in the first round .. Da-Jung Hong of Korea won the girls title there, by the way .. Two weeks back at the Grade-4 event at Porto, Portugal, Amanjot was the 3rd seed and won the first round against Kai Ho Keith Lo 61 75 before being upset in the second round by M.Wachter .. He also lost the doubels first round there .. Ouch .. This has been a brutal trip for Amanjot, but that's what you get when you see the European clay for the first time .. The experience will help him in the future though.

15 yr old Sasha Abraham of Hyderabad was at the ITF South and Central Africa junior circuit in Botswana last week and reached the QF of the Grade-3 event.  In the previous week at the grade-4 event in Namibia, she lost in the second round (both times to the top seed, Maretha Van Niekerk of RSA) .. She reached the semis of doubles in both weeks with Allma Mohammed of Ghana .. Perhaps her best wins in the tour where in South Africa in the previous week at the Grade-3 events in Johannesburg, South Africa .. There she beat Etrecia Coetzee (RSA) in a comeback three setter and then Mia Van Rooyen of RSA (who had upset the 6th seede Slovakian in the previous round) in straight sets, before falling in the QF to the top seed Chani Scheepers of RSA .. She was also at Pretoria the previous week but retired hurt in the first round .. Sash has just turned 15 and this brings her up to #311 in the world rankings already, which isn't bad at all .. She finished her 14s last years as #7, though with points from just 4 events, and will now get ranked close to top-10 in the 18s rankings by AITA with these ITF points .. She is another one among our girls to watch out for.

As Sunil Kumar has not played any ITF junior events since before Wimbledon, his ranking remains at #94 .. That means he will  probably miss the US Open juniors too .. I cannot believe that Sunil may go through this year without playing a singles grand slam junior event .. Evertbody knew by October of last year what had to be done to make sure he played at least 2 or 3 such events this year, before making the final push in his junior career against top juniors next year .. He now has 180 points from 10 ITF events (he had 160 by late Januray - that point total hardly went up), and he basically needed to get up to the 250+ range for grand slam entries .. Now you know why I was pulling my hair out when he missed two or three ITF junior events in India earlier this year because of wildcards to futures and challengers and all that useless stuff (assured first round losses and really nothing much else) .. When he started the year getting inside the junior top-150, I thought we would easily see him playing enough to go up near top-75 to make it to grand slams .. Not so .. He will go the usual way the Indian players do - that is, play one or two grand slam juniors in their final year of eligibility, face the top-50 players they have hardly faced before, and run into trouble (Harsh, Vijay, Uzma, Radhika, Sonal - they all had the same experience) .. One cannot improve without playing against better and better players at ones' level .. Though Sunil played 7 or 8 events in the Far East and Europe since January, asll as a seed, he went past the first round only in one or two events and never got any match practice against top players, which means what had to be done was to get him to play even more events to get quality matches under his belt .. Once I saw IMG was signing him up late last year (did they? - I don't know), I thought we would see him hit the circuits big time .. None of this has happened in Sunil's case which is worrysome .. We will just have to trust everyone's judgement that he will improve on his own somehow .. That is why I was so happy to see him play a tough three-setter and win a match against a junior top-50 player finally last week at the Edinburgh Commonwealth Youth Games .. I hope I am worrying unnecessarily, and that Sunil is coming along like everyone wants him to ..

When people wonder why our players are learning tennis even at 23 and 24, ask the question about whom they were playing when they were 16, 17 and 18 .. There lies the answer .. As far as I can see, career planning for most of our players have been quite poor .. But then again, what do I know? ..

Aug 15 Note-2

Bad news .. Tina Hergold (SLO,284) d. Nirupama, 63 63 today in the Bronx challenger final round qualies .. It's really odd that Niru almost never loses to somebody in the top-175 in challengers, but we can never be that sure against lower ranked players .. Actually, quite often those losses are against some young up-and-coming player she does not know much about .. 18 yr old Tina Hergold who beat her today was a top-10 junior player in the world last year who has been coming up the WTA ranks lately and was just at top-200 a couple of months back .. Anyway, darnit .. Niru gets 6 points including 4 bonus for the two wins in the qualies .. She will be 2nd or 3rd in the lucky loser waiting list - and chances are low for her to make it in.

More bad news .. 3rd seed Manisha was upset in her first round match today at the London satellite, by 16 yr old Anna Hawkins of Britain 16 46 .. This upset must quite definitely have been due to Manisha's ankle injury .. She had said that she would make an attempt to play but that it didn't look like she could do much this week.

I have not seen the doubles draw at Bronx to see if Niru and Dominikovic are in it.

Aug 15 Note-1

I don't have the scores yet, but Nirupama d. (#7 seed) E.Dominikovic (AUS,161) yesterday in the second round of the qualies at the $50K Bronx (NY) challenger .. She is playing the final round qualies against Tina Hergold (SLO,284) as I type .. Will have scores later today .. By the way, there was in interesting name who had a wildcard at the Bronx qualies - Priya Bhupathi, who I believe is Mahesh' cousin (?) who is based in New York - I need to check on that .. She didn't do too well and lost in the first round though.

Manisha Malhotra is at the $10K London satellite .. She had to withdraw last week at the Bath satellite from her second round match in the 3rd set, as she injured her ankle while running back for a backhand .. The ankle was not hurting much though it was swollen late last week .. Manisha, the one who just can't seem to stay off the court, is out there this week though! ..  She is the 3rd seed at the London satellites, drawn to play qualifier Anna Hawkins (GBR, 903) in the first round.

I don't think Fazal and Sri are playing thise week ..I have seen all the European challenger main draws and qualies and no sign of either .. Not sure if they are playing any futures events.

Vijay Kannan, Rohan Bopanna, etc, are at the Jordan F1 futures this week at Amman .. I believe Jordan is a new tour stop at the futures level -- I read a little bit on the futures event in the Jordan Times, which said ITF is footing a part of the bill to help spread tennis to Jordan, with the Jordanian Tennis Federation organizing the rest .. Anyway, Vijay is in the main draw and is also playing doubles with Rohan there .. I doubt I would get much results details soon from there, but will try to find out .. By the way, Vijay and Rohan won a couple of godo rounds of doubles and lost in the semis at the Egypt F3 last week.

The Junior Hardcourt Nationals have started at the Madras Cricket Club courts in Chennai .. Some of the top seeds are yet to play (Radhika, Sonal, etc, I believe are expected there, but AITA had requested delayed first round matches for them, as they are returning from Scotland after the Commonwealth Millennium Youth Games) .. Kamala Kannan, Arun Prakash, etc, on the boys side have advanced, as have Lata Asudani, Isha Lakhani and Nandita Chandrasekhar .. The marathin kid, Anant Sitaram of AP played yet another tough three-setter to continue his win streak from last week .. I will start a page soon.

Aug 14 Note-2

Mahesh had another first round loss today in Mark Knowles' company, 62 67(5) 57 to Marius Barnard and Robbie Koenig at the $800K Indianapolis RCA Championships .. Yikes .. That is two matches in a row where they have allowed comebacks after winning the first set .. Actually this is the 4th such loss in the company of others for Mahesh since May .. One of the most notable characteristics of the Indian Express was their ability to prevent anybody from pulling comeback wins on them - I believe they have allowed only one or two such comebacks during their three years on the big tour (except two or three matches where injuries caused them to lose - like at Hartford in 1998) .. There is that special fire that comes out from Mahesh when Leander is on the deuce court, I am sure .. There is no doubt though, that MB has the ability to carry a match against anybody, as he did in the company of Kratzmann at the St.Poelten finals, when they dropped the second set and Mahesh went into a tear in the 3rd set .. But he was proving something to everybody and himself there, I have to believe, winning his first tour title since the comeback .. They also had a terrific comeback win against Bjorkman-Rafter there .. Somehow it doesn't look like he has gone into such heroics with Knowles so far .. Anyway, it's all moot .. Hesh and Lee will be back together next week, and watch out, folks !!

Vijay Kannan and Rohan Bopanna had reached the semifinal of doubles at the Egypt F3 futures last week, pulling off some three-set toughies .. No news after that .. It may be a couple of weeks till the results/details come out from ITF (a contact person is on vacation) .. Vijay lost in the first round of singles to the top seed there, though - he has been getting some pretty tough draws in Egypt.

.. Previous notes are at Notes for the week ending on Aug 14 ..

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.