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LP/MB/NV/Indian-Tennis: Notes for the week ending on Aug 27, 2001
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Aug 26 Notes

Sunil Kumar and Raian Luchici (ROM), the top seeds, won the doubles title at the ITF Grade-4 International Hardcourts at Windsor, New Jersey yesterday, beating Kevin Borzenski and Nathaniel Emge of USA, 62 62 in the final (that is the same team that upset the second seeds Amanjot and Saurabh Singh in the quarterfinals, 57 64 64) .. Earlier Sunil and Luchici had beaten Jarret Chrico and Wayne Odesnik of USA 75 63 in the semifinal and two other US pairs, William Bo-Wiegaard and Darrin Cohen 61 63 in the QF and before that Frank Green/ Josh Raff in the R2 .. They had a first round bye .. The title gives 30 points - it won't improve Sunil's doubles ranking at around #50, as his 6th best result is already of 30 points .. The good news is that he is not injured or anything - which is what I was worried about after his 06 06 upset loss to Jarret Chirico in the singles PQF .. But now I worry about that score line itself! :-)

In the QF at the $10K satellite in Westend, Belgium, Jyotsna Vasisht and Magdalena Zdenovcova were upset 63 64 by Arantxa Parra (ESP) and Alexandra Kravets (UKR) - that team has now reached the final there ..

A score from early in the week - Tushar Gautam, who had qualified into the $15K futures in Nigeria lost to wildcard Gabriel Otu (NGR), 46 57 in the first round ..

Aug 25 Notes

Niru's qualifying doubles first round match yesterday afternoon never really went like she wanted, as they dropped serve once in the first set in the 8th game and then in the 3rd and 7the games of the second set .. [Q1] #1 N.Vaidyanathan/ A.Vanc l. J.Embry/ A.Spears, 36 26 .. So, that ends the US Open for Niru, unless she somehow makes the mised doubles draw - doubtful ..  She should be in the commentary booth for a week or two and then I believe will go to Quebec for the WTA event there - she is in the qualifying list.

The doubles draw came out today for men .. LP-MB are the 5th seeds, as Mirnyi and Stolle teamed up as the 4th seeds - and these two teams could potentially meet in the quarterfinals .. They are in the upper quarter of the bottom half .. Here is the draw till thge SF:

 5 Mahesh Bhupathi/ Leander Paes IND/IND  vs Sergio Roitman/ Andres Schneiter ARG/ITA \
   Juan I. Carrasco/ David Skoch ESP/CZE  vs Massimo Bertolini/ Devin Bowen   ITA/USA / \
WC Mardy Fish/ Jeff Morrison     USA/USA  vs German Puentes/ Andre Sa         ESP/BRA \ / \
 9 Wayne Ferreira/ Y. Kafelnikov RSA/RUS  vs Jeff Tarango/ Daniel Vacek       USA/CZE /    \ SF
13 Joshua Eagle/ Andrew Florent  AUS/AUS  vs Johan Landsberg/ Peter Nyborg    SWE/SWE \    /
   David Adams/ Michael Llodra   RSA/FRA  vs Ben Ellwood/ Sebastien Lareau    AUS/CAN / \ /
   Jaime Oncins/ Daniel Orsanic  BRA/ARG  vs Jan Siemerink/ Jack Waite        NED/USA \ /
 4 Max Mirnyi/ Sandon Stolle     BLR/AUS  vs Andre Olhovskiy/ Fabrice Santoro RUS/FRA /

Reasonably tough draw actually .. Ferreira-Kafelnikov could be real trouble depending on which day and on how seriously they play doubles .. Eagle-Florent and Mirnyi-Stolle are both quite capable of beating the Indian Express is our boys are not sharp enough .. At least the first two rounds should be OK for LP-MB if they are in decent form .. The bottom quarter of the bottom half has the 8th seeds Bryans and the 2nd seeds Johnson-Palmer ..  Top seeds Bjorkman-Woodbridge and 3rd seed Novak-Rikl are in the upper half of the draw

Aug 24 Notes

123rd ranked Nirupama missed the US Open doubles main draw narrowly, and ended up as the top seed in the qualies .. yikes .. 16 teams playing two rounds to make the main draw .. Niru is playing with yet another doubles partner, Andrea Vanc (ROM,112) .. They play Jennifer Embry (USA,137) and Abigail Spears (USA,193) .. The match is scheduled for today as the fourth and final one on court 4 .. The start time should be 3.30 pm (plus/minus 30 min) .. Let's meet in the chatroom during the match ..

The men's doubles draw is not posted yet at the official site.

Top seeds Jyotsna Vasisht and Magdelena Zdenovcova (CZE) won the first round at the $10K Westend satellite, over Barbara De Wilde (BEL) and Veronika Litvinskaya (UKR), 62 60 .. They face Arantxa Parra (ESP) and Alexandra Kravets (UKR) today in the QF .. Unseeded Sonal and Karishma went down to Elke Clijsters and Jaslyn Hewett, cheaply - 06 16.

2nd seeds Saurabh Singh and Amanjot Singh got upset in the QF of the ITF grade-4 USTA international hardcourts at Windsor, New Jersey .. They had won one round after a first round bye .. Top seeds Sunil Kumar and Raian Luchici are also in the QF with one win, but I have not seen the score for their QF match.

Aug 23 Notes

.. IT'S DAVIS CUP TIME .. IT'S DAVIS CUP TIME .. IT'S DAVIS CUP TIME !!! ..

Ok, not yet, but we are now at the 4 week count-down point for the Davis Cup, India @ USA, at the Joel Lawrence Coliseum in Winston-Salem and it's getting late to plan the trip .. So I am repeating some of the stuff I sent to the fanclub email list .. If you have not bought your air tickets to fly to North Carolina, do it now for thursday four weeks from now (actually you can fly in friday morning Sep 21st :-)) .. Those of you who will be there, please let me know.  We need to have a big presence.  The tickets are still available.  They sold about 75% of the 6000+ seats in a couple of weeks but it has been going rather slow since then. Don't worry too much about which row it is, etc.  They are not using the upper level seats in the 15000 capacity basketball arena and the view should be pretty fine from wherever .. No seats are higher than 15 or 20 rows high - great view, I am told.  $120 or $195 tickets for all 5 matches together. They have a few left for $195, at around the 16th row or something as of yesterday .. The $120 tickets up at around the 20th row are not bad either - two rows of $120 tickets are available.  About 300-400 seats still left.

Go to http://www.usta.com/pagesup/news12679.html and you will find the URL for ticketmaster's page for Davis Cup.  You can view the stadium seating chart there.  You can book online, but I think you may prefer a phone call, so you can ask more details.  Don't call the ticketmaster number, or you may have to hold longer .. Instead go to the USTA's number, 1-888-484-USTA and select Davis Cup - you will get Patrick McEnroe's message and will get connected to a real person immediately. DO IT TODAY, if you have not bought the tickets.  And then book your air ticket or greyhound pass .. Those from the US East Coast, who are notorious (in my book) for not traveling the distances that the west-coasters routinely travel out of necessity, need to get off yout butts and do it.  If you want to see INDIA playing USA in any sport in the US, you will need to wait for a long long time (like we are any good to play the US in much of anything else that gets a US crowd :-)) .. So, DO IT, DO IT!!

For hotel rooms, go to http://www.expedia.com (or your favorite hotel reservation service) and select Winston-Salem hotels.  $50-75 type rooms were available when I checked last, but don't wait too long - because that weekend also has a home football game for Wake Forest University on Saturday, and some freshmen orientation and all that.  If you want to check distances from the hotel addresses to the arena, go to http://www.yahoo.com, select maps and use the address of the Joel Lawrence Coliseum arena (300 Deacon Blvd. Winston-Salem, NC  27105 - here is the map) and the address of the hotel, to get driving  directions.

Buy your air tickts to the Greensborough, NC airport (airport code GSO right by the side of I-40 freeway - here is the map) .. It's 27 miles from the arena.  Type in the airport code GSO in yahoo maps to get your directions to the hotel, etc.

Play starts at 2 pm on Friday Sep 21st (and I believe on all three days). Two back-to-back matches on Friday, when at least LP will win his match, then doubles on Saturday, when we will go up at least 2-1 and then two more on Sunday starting 2 pm, when we will finish off USA .. [Hey, I can dream, no? :-)]

Now you know all the details, and you have no excuses.  There are a lot of you folks from the east coast in the fan club, and also those who read these pages .. Do us a favor for all the work the fanclub and I do to bring news here - COME AND SCREAM YOUR LUNGS OUT .. Even 20 organized people (screamers!) are enough to create more noise in an indoor arena than some 4000 quiet and shell-schocked (:-)) US fans .. Get hold of as many Indian flags as you can!  Anyone who has "Saare Jahaan Se Acha" on tape, please bring it - we will somehow get it played for LP and Co., at least in the locker room .. Nothing gets them going more than that .. We will also have a practice session to sing it, if we need ..

First, email me - all of you who will be there.    We will set up a time and place to meet, and have a big party lunch and all that, too .. Big India fans tail-gate party somewhere .. And I need a local contact to coordinate it - I may even bring a fanclub banner to mark the meeting point .. Anybody for body painting ? .. OK, now i am pushing it -- this is tennis, not american football, I know .. and we are not from Brasil :-)

Alright, so you are John Madden and fear flying .. Or you are cheap and want to save money .. No problem .. There is more .. Here are the distances and driving times from cities within 600 miles and 10 hours of driving (under $200 of driving expenses even at federal government rates)

Charlotte, NC -- 82 miles .. 1 hour 31 minutes drive
Raleigh, NC -- 105 m .. 2 h 13 m
Columbia, SC -- 182.1 m .. 3 h 08 m
Atlanta, GA -- 332.7 miles .. 5 h 37 m
Washington, DC -- 338 m .. 5 h 48 m
Baltimore, MD -- 400 m .. 6 h 52 m
Nashville, TN -- 430.9 m .. 7 h 29 m
Pittsburgh, PA -- 405.0 m .. 7 h 59 m
Jacksonville, FL -- 455.0 m .. 7 h 48 m
Birmingham, AL -- 467.3 m .. 7 h 53 m
Philadelphia, PA -- 478.5 m .. 8h 09 m
Cleveland, OH -- 470.0 m .. 8 h 49 m
Newark, NJ -- 566.0 m .. 9.42 m
Indianapolis, IN -- 579.1 m .. 9 h 55 m
New York, NY -- 585.1 m .. 9 h 58 m

(I left the decimals in for dramatic effect! :-)) .. In my book, those are all places from where I would drive - but then I like driving! .. And there is a large Indian population in those cities .. If keeping it away from the indian population in cities like New York was part of the calculation by the US, let us show that it didn't work .. Rather than sitting and complaining that INDIA did not come to your backyard to play, get your behind into your car and get out on the road to Winston-Salem .. Even if the tickets are supposedly sold out, don't worry - I am sure you will find them in the end .. Anyway, let us grab the last 500 tickets out there right now .. The upper-most two rows should have all Indians and we will do a mini-wave for India sometime!

OK, if you are still not convinced - just look at Florian from Germany who is not even an Indian but a huge fan of LP-MB .. He is flying in from Germany to watch this .. Again, you have no excuse .. FINALIZE YOUR DAVIS CUP PLANS FOR SEP 21-23 .. NOW !!

Aug 22 Notes

Only losses to report today .. At the $10K Westend satellite first round in Belgium yesterday, Jyotsna Vasisht lost to Alexandra Kravets (UKR), 06 46 and the second seed Leslie Butkiewicz (BEL) easily handled Sonal Phadke, 60 61 .. In doubles, Jyotsna is top seeded with magdelena Zdenovcova (CZE), and faces Barbara De Wilde (BEL) and Veronika Litvinskaya (UKR) .. Sonal Phadke and Karishma Patel face unseeded Elke Clijsters and Jaslyn Hewett, a talented young pair .. I have not seen today's doubles scores yet.

Terrible news out of the grade-4 ITF event in New Jersey, as the second seeded Sunil Kumar went down in the PQF to unseeded Jarrett Chirico (USA), 06 06 .. Sunil must be ill or injured or something - otherwise I don't know how he can go down by that score .. Sunil has often been up and down in his junior career and has had many upset losses along the way, but he does not go down that easily .. 7th seed Stephen Amritraj was also upset, 64 64 yesterday by Chris Brown (USA) .. I have not seen the doubles scores from today, yet .. On the girls' side, 13 yr old Tara Iyer went down to the seventh seed Samantha Hammond (USA) 36 16 [there was a mistake in the draw I saw yesterday, Samantha had not been upset by Paula Zabala in the second round, as I had said] ..

At the US Open qualies, the two Indian-Americans also went down yesterday .. Rajeev Ram held up well for a while, before going down 64 16 36 to Dmitry Tursounov (RUS,161), a tough player to play .. Sunitha Rao lost to Claudine Schaul (LUX,231), 26 26 ..

Aug 21 Note-2

Some of her best wins and most of her most heartbreaking losses have come in the grand slam qualies .. Today's was unfortunately of the latter variety as Niru wasted three match points in a loss - one of the rare ones against a lower ranked player in grand slam qualies ..  [Q1] N.Vaidyanathan l. Anastassia Rodionova (RUS,220), 64 36 57 ..  I could not follow much of the first two sets, but Niru was up at 5-4 in the first set and had to go through a few decues before closing it out .. In the second she was behind 2-5 and could not force a break at 3-5 .. In the 3rd set, she started by being broken early and was down 1-2, facing serve from Rodionova .. The real drama started there, as Niru went on a 5-game streak and went up to 5-2, breaking Rodionova in the 4th and 6th games .. After Rodionova finally held serve in the 8th game, Niru served for the match at 5-3, 40-15 with double match pts .. Next thing we know, she had lost four points and got broken .. 5-4 on serve .. In the next game, from 30-0, Niru won three points to earn a match pt at 30-40 off Rodionova's serve .. The Russian still wouldn't give up and won the next three points to hold serve .. It was obvious that Niru would have trouble focusing in the next game, after letting three chances go away .. She was down 0-40 in the next game .. Fought off two break pts but fell on the 3rd to go 5-6 .. Now Rodionova went up to 40-0 with triple match points .. Niru showed she wasn't giving up either, and saved two match points .. At 40-30 Rodionova closed it out .. So, that's the end of that .. A rare loss against an unseeded player for Niru in grand slam qualies ..

Aug 21 Note-1

Niru's match is scheduled for about 2 pm Today (11.30 pm India .. 7 pm London), +/- 30 minutes .. The official site should be having ball-by-ball updates, and so we will be in our chatroom during the match ..

Sunil Kumar, Amanjot Singh, Saurabh Singh, Tara Iyer and Stephen Amritraj (USA) are at the ITF grade-4 US hardcourts championships in West Windsor, New Jersey this week .. The winner only gets 40 points, which means it is not a big deal for Sunil as far as points are concerned - on the other hand, it is a good idea for him to play as much as possible in the juniors and face as many different players before his junior days are over (US events typically have a lot of hard-hitting and talented kids, though not highly ranked) .. Sunil is the second seed and has reached the PQF after two wins - over Daniel Yoo (USA), 64 63 and Darrin Cohen (USA) 61 62 .. He faces Jarrett Chirico in the final-16 .. Amanjot Singh was not seeded in the draw, surprisingly - the USTA events do not seem to follow the seeding procedures at the other ITF events - they are allowed to combine the USTA rankings somehow, it seems .. Amanjot beat the 13th seed Nathaniel Emge (USA), 64 26 62 and fell in the final-32 to Eric Langenkamp, 46 64 57 .. Saurabh Singh beat Oliver Small (CAN), 61 62 and then lost to Marvin Rolle of Bahamas, 57 16 .. 7th seeded Stephen (USA) has won one round - I have not seen the second round score for him .. Sunil Kumar is playing doubles with the talented Raian Luchici (ROM) and is seeded first .. Amanjot and Saurabh are seeded second .. They both have first round byes in the 32-size draw ..

But a nice story from New Jersey is about Tara Iyer who has pulled off a couple of good wins to reach the PQF .. And she has picked up her first ITF junior points!! .. Tara is now our youngest entry into the ITF rankings - she is really a baby, having turned 13 just last month (Sanaa Bhambri is our other 13 yr old in the ITF list) .. We are beginning to really get them out there early .. I think that is not a bad way to go, if one can come up with the money needed to do it .. Not to push the kids too much, but for them to see the standards of play and much more importantly the physical development they need to make in the mid-teen years to reach the higher levels later on .. She beat Candice Carlin (USA), 61 61, and then Sara Schiffman (USA), 62 62 .. These are not highly ranked players but decent ones (Schiffman is in the USTA 16s top-75 I believe), but it is a good sign for Tara to pick up wins against older players in only her first couple of events with some impressive scorelines, that too in the US .. She plays Paula Zabala (USA) next .. By the way, Tara had picked up a 75 62 win over Megan Zebroski (USA) but had fallen in the final-32 to the eventual runner up Jackie Carleton (USA) in last week's tournament in Philadelphia .. Tara was ranked #4 in under-14  Indian rankings, in the April rank lists, if you are wondering where she stands domestically ..

Aug 20 Note-2

Nirupama Vaidyanathan is in the qualifying draw at the US Open, but unfortunately the hip trouble seems to be keeping LP away from the courts .. Shoot.

In the first round of qualies, Niru faces Anastassia Rodianova of Russia, ranked #220 .. Rodionova is a 19 year old up and coming player whom I don't know much about - except that she was somwhere in the top-20 juniors a couple of years back .. Niru is drawn in the same part of the draw as the 16th seed Saori Obata (JPN,128) and the 29rd seed Alexandra Fusai (FRA,142) ... Last year Niru went down in the second round to the top seed in the qualies, Bedanova - so it's a slightly better draw this time, but it is never easy in these qualies .. Fusai is the one who beat Niru in three rounds in the final round qualies at the Australian Open this year .. Niru is ranked #180 in singles and #123 in doubles .. Her doubles ranking went up by six spots with the 18 points from Bronx last week ..

Also in the qualifying rounds are Rajeev Ram and Sunitha Rao, 17 and 15 yr old US players who have been given wildcards .. They will both also be in the junior draws too, I think - the junior competition does not start till almost two weeks later.

At the $10K Westend satellite in Belgium, #496 Sonal Phadke plays Leslie Butkievicz (BEL,364) and #547 Jyotsna Vasisht plays Alexandra Kravets (UKR,644) ..

Tushar Gautam came through well with two wins in the qualies to make the $15K futures in Nigeria over this weekend .. He faces a Nigerian wildcard, Gabriel Otu, in the first round .. Tushar was among the promising players once, but had not improved much after the college years in the US and has hardly had much success on the pro circuit over the last year or so .. He has a good chance to pick up an ATP point at this event.

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.

.. Previous notes are at Notes for the week ending on Aug 20 ..

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.