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LP/MB/NS/Indian-Tennis: Notes for the week ending on Sep 1, 2003
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Sep 1 Notes

The day was basically a washout at the US Open .. MB's doubles match is postponed, as are junior singles matches for Divij Sharan, Sania Mirza and Tara Iyer, along with some junior doubles matches .. Here are the first round matchups  for our juniors - [R1] Sania Mirza/ Anna Tchakvetadze (RUS) vs Madalina Gojnea (ROM)/ Vojislava Lukic (YUG) .. [R1] Sanja Ancic (CRO)/ Sanaa Bhambri vs Lindsay Burdette/ Michelle Mitchell (USA) .. [R1] (3) Somdev Dev Varman/ Karan Rastogi vs Juan Pablo Amado (ARG)/ Fabio Fognini (ITA)  .. [R1]  Arun Prakash Rajagopalan/ Divij Sharan vs Robert Cameron/ Vahid Mirzadeh (USA) .. According to the report in The Hindu, Sana had an elbow problem yesterday in the singles match when she retired injured, and she would not be playing doubles either ..

At the $50K+H Kiev challenger in Ukraine, Harsh Mankad is drawn to face a wildcard, Dmitri Kotchetkov (AUT,1126) .. If he advances, he will probably next run into the top seed and defending champion, Irakli Labadze (GEO,105) .. In doubles, Harsh has a good partner, Jason Marshall (USA,155) .. They are seeded 3rd and are drawn to face Stephane Bohli (SUI)/ Jan Minar (CZE) ..

Some troubling news today at the $15K futures in Jakarta, Indonesia -- Sadik Kadir (AUS) d. (2) Prakash Amritraj (IND) 75 21 retd .. I hope it is something minor and he can recover fast before the Davis Cup in two weeks .. In doubles, Rohan Bopanna and Vijay Kannan beat Sun-Yong Kim and Jung-Tae Yu of Korea, 63 63 .. In Tuesday's first round action, 3rd seed Rohan plays Dong-Hyun Kim (KOR) and 6th seed Vijay plays qualifier Fandi Suyadi (INA).

The $10K women's ITF satellite in Delhi is underway .. There were not surprising results today, except for Ankita Bhambri being a stretched a bit in two sets by Preeti Rao .. Shruti Dhawan unfortunately drew the top seed Suchanan Viratprasert (THA) and went down in straight sets .. Isha Lakhani didn't give any breathing room to Arthi Venkatraman in a 60 61 romp .. See the Delhi satellite page for all scores so far, including all the weekend qualifying results.

Aug 31 Note-2

Adding a non-tennis item that I forgot to say in the last note .. BIG CONGRATULATIONS TO ANJU GEORGE for the first medal at the World Athletics Championships by an Indian woman! .. (Thanks Prasenjit Mitra, for reminding me)

Bad news -- Hesh and Paola Suarez gave a walkover the second round of mixed doubles at USO .. Not sure what was the reason, but I suspect it was because Paola Suarez was way too tired after a looong singles match she won against Likhovtseva.

Finally great news -- Sunil Kumar Sipaeya won the Tunisia $10K F3 futures !!! .. He won the final against the surprisingly well-playing lucky loser, Patrickj Knoblach (GER), 67(2) 62 30, as his opponent retired .. Sunil became the second Indian to win a futures title this week, and after no titles abroad for over 2 years since Harsh won in Canada, we have two of them in the same weekend .. How about that? .. Sunil Kumar made it a grand double there in Tunis, as he had won the doubles title on Friday too .. Including the 4 for the semifinal last week, he has picked up 16 points in two weeks .. Fantastic to see the young man finally breaking out from all the injury and confidence problems that plagued him for a year .. It was only a matter of time .. Like the old saying, "you can only keep a cork down in water for so long" -- it will ultimately rise .. Sunil Kumar's talent was not going to just go away .. Welcome Back, Sunil!! ..

Aug 31 Note-1

Sorry for a very late update -- weekends have been hectic lately for me .. Mahesh and Max had a bit of a scare yesterday but they held on to advance to the 3rd round .. [R1] (1) Mahesh Bhupathi/Max Mirnyi (BLR)  d. Anthony Dupuis (FRA)/ Hyung-Taik Lee (KOR), 67(7) 76(4) 63 .. They face (15) Lucas Arnold and Mariano Hood of Argentina next, probably tomorrow .. MB and Pola Suarez (ARG) play the MxD second round this evening.

I have *still* not seen any news from Tunisia after Friday when we saw Sunil had reached the final .. *Somebody* who is handling this youngster get the news out to the press, will you? .. Or send and email to me, and I will handle the rest! .. Yikes - it bugs me when an opportunity is lost for some press coverage on a player's achievements .. Of course that is assuming he won the title - if he did, it was only the 3rd time in 5 years that an Indian man won a professional title abroad and the news needs to come out in a timely manner.

The junior competition has started at the US Open, and though there was good news with Tara Iyer qualifying into the main draw yesterday, things have not gone well so far today with both Somdev and Karan going down in the first round .. Somdev Dev Varman went down 76(2) 67(5) 57 to the 13th seed Frederico Gil (POR) .. Karan just fell to Adam Fass (USA), 46 64 06 ..  Sanaa Bhambri retired at 26 03 against Volha Havartsova .. Here are the qualifying results and the remaining main draw matchups -- [Q1] (4) Horacio Zeballos (ARG) d. Arun P Rajagopalan 64 64 .. [Q1] (7) Tara Iyer d. Logan Hansen (USA) 63 61 .. [Q2] d. Lauren Albanese USA 61 16 63 .. [R1] Bethanie Mattek USA (1) vs. Tara Iyer .. [R1] Lara Giltinan AUS vs. Sania Mirza.

At the Canadian Open grade-1 doubles final yesterday, Sania and Anna Tchakvetadze (RUS) lost to Ana Ivanovic (YUG)/ Alla Kudryavtseva (RUS), 16 62 36

Aug 30 Notes

Great news!  -- Rohan Bopanna won the Indonesia $15K futures beating (6) Febi Widhiyanto (INA) 75 26 62 .. That is a run of 7 wins in the week for him, and it gives him his first futures title abroad .. It is the first title abroad since Harsh Mankad $10K title just in Canada, just over two years back .. It is actually only the second professional title by an Indian abroad, since Leander's 1988 title at the newport ATP, I think .. Terrific .. RB gets 18 points for the title, which will bring him back to the Indian #1 spot in the Sep 8th ranking, just ahead of Prakash Amritraj, who will have 98 points [this has some relevance, as far as the draw at the Davis Cup is concerned!] .. Anyway, Big congratulations go to Rohan who had gone quite a while without picking up too many points and had some points falling off in back to back weeks now .. I am sure he was dead tired after all the play this week - could not pull off a double crown .. RB and Vijay Kannan went down to (3) Sadik Kadir (AUS)/ Martin Slanar (AUT), 37 67(2) in the doubles final today.

Awaiting news from the Tunisia $10K on whether Sunil Kumar made it TWO titles abroad for Indian men all of a sudden after having just one title in the previous 5 years!  .. His match may not have started yet.

Aug 29 Notes

I am not sure if that news report from Kolkata that Lee will be discharged this Sunday was correct .. I got an email from Lee last night, thanking us in the fanclub for the flowers we sent .. He said he will be discharged in 10 days .. So I suppose it may be NEXT Sunday when he goes home .. It doesn't matter when they discharge him though; everything is fine and he is doing very well.

Mahesh and Paola Suarez, seeded #1, advanced in a tough match today in the R1 of Mixed doubles at the US Open -- [R1] #1 P.Suarez/ M.Bhupathi d. Petra Mandula/ Graydon Oliver, 67(7) 64 (10-6) in a super tiebreak .. There is that blasted, stupid invention at the US Open - the super tiebreaker .. I had written last year about how this thing breaks the one fabulous mystery in the traditional tennis scoring schemes (including set tiebreakers, which were selected after some careful studies some three decades back) - that the chance for a losing team winning more total points is minuscule; more like once in 100 matches .. Already in the first round of mixed doubles, they have had 5 super tiebreakers and two teams with fewer points have advanced .. When will they stop this crap? .. Anyway, MB-PS did win more points and deserved to advance today in the comeback .. Next up for them are Liezel Huber and Pavel Vizner .. Mahesh plays doubles R2 tomorrow.

Great great news today, as TWO of our guys reached futures finals!!! .. Rohan in Indonesia and Sunil Kumar in Tunisia, with Prakash missing a final by a whisker .. Scores -- At the $15K INA F1, [SF] (2) Rohan Bopanna (IND) d. Sadik Kadir (AUS) 46 64 62 .. At the $10K TUN F3, [SF] (3) Sunil Kumar Sipaeya (IND) d. (1)Thomas Oger (FRA,452) 76(5) 64 .. Unfortunately, in the other semi in Indonesia, (6) Febi Widhiyanto (INA) d. (1) Prakash Amritraj (IND) 57 76(6) 76(4) ..

Terrific work by Rohan this week, as he has won two rounds of qualies and four main draw rounds to reach the final and pick up 12 ATP points, which can become 18 tomorrow - though the players were not highly ranked, it is always impressive when one wins 6 matches in a row (9 including doubles in 7 days) .. Sunil's work is even more heartening, because he is finally breaking out of a nearly year-long slump with 9 points so far this week and 4 last week for the semi .. Nice upset of a top-500 player today too .. Rohan plays Widhiyanto tomorrow and SKS plays a surprising lucky loser, Patrick Knobloch (GER) ..

Sunil and Rohan are in line for double crowns actually .. SKS and Ajay won the doubles title at TUN today .. [F] (2) Ajay Ramaswami/ S.K.Sipaeya d. Bart de Gier (NED)/ Thomas Oger (FRA) 61 61 .. In Indonesia, [SF] (1) R.Bopanna/ Vijay Kannan d. (4) Hendri Susilo Pramono/ Febi Widhiyanto (INA) 64 63 .. The final tomorrow is against (3) Sadik Kadir (AUS)/ Martin Slanar (AUT) ..

Harsh Mankad moved into the main draw of singles at the $50K+H challenger starting in Kiev, Ukraine next Tuesday .. He is at #4 in wiating now for the following week's challenger in Donetsk, Ukraine .. Prakash, Rohan and Vijay Kannan will be at the second $15K futures in INdonesia next week.

Aug 28 Notes

The news reports are quoting Dr.Vece Paes that Leander may be discharged from the hospital by Sunday .. That is somewhat earlier than expected .. Still he will need several weeks (a couple of months at least) more time before he can get back on court .. We will sorely miss him at the Davis Cup .. I watched the US Open match between Todd Martin and Martin Verkerk (the Netherlands' #2 player behind Schalken) on TV today -- the 16th seeded Verkerk got upset by Martin in 4 sets, and I couldn't help wondering what if Leander could take a crack at him ..  Despite the big run to the Roland Garros final, Verkerk is just 2-6 in matches away from clay courts since March .. Actually it would have become 1-6 on Tuesday, as he was a few points away from losing to wildcard youngster Bogomolov at the USO when Bogomolov had the worst type of cramp attack and conceded the match .. The pressure of expectations probably is affecting the 24 year old Verkerk and he has even lost on hard courts to #200 Noam Okun recently .. Can Prakash, Rohan and Harsh pull something on him at Zwolle in three weeks ? .. Who knows! .. By the way, I saw a news item yesterday in a Dutch newspaper that Schalken has decided that he won't be playing doubles .. Their doubles team will almost surely be Verkerk and Sluiter (Paul Haarhuis is apparently injured or something and won't be in the team) ..

On to results -- Good day today, as three Indians reached futures semis! .. Prakash, Rohan and Sunil .. Harsh went down on clay in Netherlands though .. At the $15K in Indonesia F1, [QF] (2) Rohan Bopanna d. (5) John Paul Fruttero (USA,540) 63 76(7) .. [QF] (1) Prakash Amritraj vs (7) Martin Slanar (AUT,570) 63 64 .. At the Tunisia $10K F3, [QF] (3) Sunil Kumar Sipaeya d. (WC) Abdel-Hak Hameurlaine (ALG,1062) 62 63 .. At the $15K Netherlands F5, [R2] (6) Harsh Mankad (IND,360) l. Paul Logtens (NED,479), 46 46 .. Prakash plays Febi Widhiyanto (INA,572), Rohan plays Sadik Kadir (AUS,930), and Sunil plays (1) Thomas Oger (FRA,452) in the SFs tomorrow .. In doubles, Sunil and Ajay Ramaswami are in the finals - they beat Laurent Hild/ Gilles Kremer (LUX) 62 63 and face Bart de Gier (NED)/ Thomas Oger (FRA) in the final .. Rohan and Vijay Kannan are in the doubles semi with a tough 67(7) 76(4) 62 win on Igor Branisa (SVK)/ Georg Novak (AUT) and they run into (4) Hendri Susilo Pramono/ Febi Widhiyanto (INA) in the semi ..

Great doubles news from the Canadian Open ITF grade-1 tournament -- Divij Sharan won the doubles title! .. That happened in a walkover, and Sania Mirza reached the doubles final there too, today ..  Unseeded pair Divij and GD Jones (NZL) pulled their third upset in a row over a seeded pair today in the semi - beating (6) Alex Kuznetsov (USA)/ Mischa Zverev (GER),  75 64  .. Those are two very talented youngsters they beat .. They then got a walkover in tomorrow's final from the 3rd seeds Andrew Murray (GBR)/ Daniel Vallverdu (VEN) .. The title gives Divij 100 points, taking his point total from 205 to 285 .. His doubles ranking from #82 to somehwre right outside top-40 .. Sania and Anna Tchakvetadze (RUS) won the semi today, 61 61 over the 7th seeded Mari Andersson (SWE)/ Sheng-Nan Sun (CHN) 61 61 .. The final tomorrow is against Ana Ivanovic (YUG)/ Alla Kudryavtseva (RUS).

No other news today .. By the way, all our women players are taking this week off, getting ready for the upcoming $10K satellites in India, if  you are wondering why there is no news on them.

Aug 27 Notes

Hesh and Max had a rather routine first round win today at the US Open .. [R1] (1) Mahesh Bhupathi/ Max Mirnyi d. Dominik Hrbaty (SVK)/ Andre Sa (BRA) 63 76(3) .. The R2 is against Anthony Dupuis (FRA)/ Hyung-Taik Lee (KOR) .. I just can't seem to get too excited about this US Open at all, though; one particular guy not being there and rather sitting in a hospital in Orlando has something to do with it, I guess ..

Well, always a good feeling when the top four men's singles player all are alive goung into a thursday, though other than HM, nobody has had to face a top-1000 win so far .. Prakash and Rohan have reached the QF at the $15K Jakarta futures, and Sunil is in the QF at the $10K Tunisia futures .. [R2] (2)(q) Rohan Bopanna d. (q) Igor Branisa (SVK,1308) 63 64 .. Up next is (5) John Paul Fruttero (USA,540) .. [R2] (1) Prakash Amritraj d. Georg Novak (AUT,1140) 61 62 .. He faces (7) Martin Slanar (AUT,570) tomorrow .. Fir Sunil Kumar, [R1] (3) SK Sipaeya d. (WC) Fares Zaier (TUN,NR) 61 63 .. [R2] d. (Q) Jorge Laranjeiro (POR,1382) 62 62 .. The QF is against a wildcard Abdel-Hak Hameurlaine (ALG,1062) .. The 5th seed Ajay Ramaswami went down to qualifier Acaymo Medina (ESP,NR) 46 36 in the R1 at Tunisia .. In doubles, 2nd seeds Ramaswami/ Sipaeya beat qualifiers Marcos Conde and Acaymo Medina (ESP) 64 61 .. Up next for them is a lucky loser team, Laurent Hild/Gilles Kremer (LUX) .. The draws are easy everywhere except for Harsh in Netherlands .. HM plays the second round tomorrow against Paul Logtens (NED,479) .. HM and Jan Weinzierl (GER) lost the doubles QF today to Michel Koning/ Steve Korteling (NED) 46 64 57.

At the Canadian Open grade-1 ITF juniors in Repentigny,  Karan Rastogi went down to Alex Kuznetsov (USA) 57 26 .. Karan has always seemed to show trouble in the next game afater a big upset (has lost pretty much every time after a top-50 upset if I remember correctly!) .. That is something he needs to work on - I am sure he will get consistent enough to string together wins like that -- actually this is one reason why he is not ranked somewhat higher than he is (which is not shabby at all, at #45 at age 16!) .. The story in doubles has been Divij Sharan out there -- he and GD Jones of New Zeland, unseeded there,  have pulled upsets of the 7th seeds and 4th seeds to reach the semis .. Sania, with yet another partner, Anna Tchakvetadze (RUS) is seeded 8th and have also reached the semis .. Sanaa and Somdev/Karan lost in the first round and Tara in the second .. Here are all the doubles scores - [R1] GD Jones (NZL)/ Divij Sharan  BYE .. [R2] d. (7) Lado Chikhladze (GEO)/ Aljoscha Thron (GER) 46 64 76(13) .. [QF] d. (4) Jesse Huta Galung/ Romano Tatuhey (NED) 75 67(4) 75 .. [SF] vs (6) Alex Kuznetsov (USA)/ Mischa Zverev (GER) .. [R1] Somdev Dev Varman/ Karan Rastogi d. Aleksey Malajko/ Matthias Wellermann (GER) 67(4) 67(5) .. [R1] (8) Anna Tchakvetadze (RUS)/ Sania Mirza  BYE .. [R2] d. Shahar Peer (ISR)/ Agnes Szavay (HUN) 61 75 .. [QF] d. Anna Blagodarova/ Ekaterina Shulaeva (CAN) 61 62 .. [SF] vs (7) Mari Andersson (SWE)/ Sheng-Nan Sun (CHN) .. [R1] Tara Iyer/ Valerie Saillant (CAN) d. Krysty Marcio/ Michelle Mitchell (USA) 36 76(5) 62 .. [R2] l. (7) Mari Andersson (SWE)/ Sheng-Nan Sun (CHN) 75 26 26 .. [R1] (2) Sanaa Bhambri/ Agnes Szatmari (ROM) BYE .. [R2] l. Anna Blagodarova/ Ekaterina Shulaeva (CAN) 36 36

Aug 26 Note-3

I updated yesterday's press conference transcripts from Orlando with the second half of the conference, later today as they came .. If you didn;t see the full transcript, take a look at our forum (in the player forums, under the heading "Leander Hospitalized") .. More interesting stuff to read there.

Very good upset from Karan Rastogi today at the Canadian Open grade-1 second round .. Our top junior player shellacked the 10th seeded Jamie Baker (GBR,25), 62 61 .. This is the same player whom he had lost to, three times this year .. Karan continues to impress .. By the way, he is already the junior player with most top-50 wins since Leander, as far as I know .. And, what a scoreline, that too .. Dhruv, who saw the match seems to be "maha" impressed by Karan, his game and his confidence (check out Dhruv's reports in the forum) .. No surprise there - the boy something extra special; I hope he continues the great form he is showing there .. By the way, he is coming off a few weeks of training at the Bollitieri's academy in Florida .. The bad news was that all three other Indians lost - though to high seeds .. Somdev Dev Varman (IND,52) l. (7) Leonardo Kirche (BRA,18) 57 57 .. (Q) Arun P Rajagopalan (IND,250) l. (9) Julien Gely (FRA,22) .. (Q) Tara Iyer (IND,90) l. (3) Tatiana Golovin (FRA,8) .. Nice match from Somdev though he could not hold serve at some crucial points, according to Dhruv .. Tara played a good match too, though not reflected in a score line which was something like 06 26 .. She just kept losing very long rallies against a brickwall across the net .. Golovin is a serious talent .. I am awaiting final scores for all matches.

Aug 26 Note-2

I have posted a nearly complete transcript of the Leander Paes press conference/interview in our forum (under player threads) .. Thanks go to Michelle Lynch at the MDACC, Orlando, for sending it to us .. Take a look - it's very interesting to read .. Leander is as philosophically and emotionally eloquent as always, and he is one of the most articulate sportsmen I know of, in that department .. Leander says in there that he will not be back on court surely for at least 2 months .. There are also PTI reports today, based on interviews that NDTV had, where Leander talked about how moved he was about Mahesh going down and spending some time with him, and how the bridge between them has been built back .. He also has reportedly thanked his girlfriend, actress Mahima Chaudhury (whom I hardly mention here normally, as the relationship is something he and Mahima like to keep totally personal), for getting on a plane within 4 hours of hearing the news and going down to Orlando .. The doctors also thanked her for being there and helping, and Lee thanked the movie people for releasing her from her commitments to be there.

Harsh Mankad, Rohan Bopanna and Prakash Amritraj have all won their futures first rounds so far this week .. Harsh at the $15K NED F5 had the iffy task of moving to clay and facing a guy who had come through a tough qualifying field .. His clay experience helped though .. [R1] (6) Harsh Mankad (IND,356) d. (Q) Baptiste Dupuy (FRA,659) 64 63 .. At the $10K INA F1 in Jakarta, Rohan qualified in with a 64 62 win over Sung-Hyuk Yu (KOR,NR), got seeded 2nd  and then beat another qualifier, Yong-Bum Seo (KOR,NR) 62 76(5) .. Now he plays yet another nearly unranked player, qualifier Igor Branisa (SVK,1308) in the R2 .. PA is the top seed - he too beat a qualifier, Weerapat Doakmaiklee (THA,NR) 75 62, and faces Georg Novak (AUT,1140) next .. Going down in the first round there was the 4th seed Vijay Kannan, upset by Suwandi Suwandi (INA,929) 46 26 .. The field looks very week in Jakarta, except for the Indians and a couple of Indonesians .. In doubles, Rohan and Vijay are top seeds and won their R1, 75 64 over wildcard Indonesian youngsters Imanuel Prabowo/Imanuel Prakoso .. 2nd seeded Prakash and John-Paul Fruttero (USA) got upset in a very close match by Prima Simpatiaji and Suwandi Suwandi (INA), 75 67(5) 64.

At the Tunisia $10K F1, Sunil Kumar is seeded 3rd and plays wildcard Fares Zaier (TUN) .. Ajay Ramaswami is 5th seeded and he too plays a qualifier, Acaymo Medina (ESP) .. In doubles Ajay/ Sunil-Kumar beat Ivan Estevez (ESP)/ Marco Pedrini (ITA) 61 62 [The scores courtesy: ATP online, via Neil Kothari]

I believe Dhruv may get to watch the Canadian Open junior grade-1 this week, as our onsite fanclub reporter .. He has posted some of the Sunday match reports in the forum .. Excellent work by him; take a look.

Aug 26 Note-1

The doubles draw came out yesterday at the US Open .. (1) Mahesh Bhupathi/ Max Mirnyi vs Dominik Hrbaty (SVK)/ Andre Sa (BRA) in the R1 .. 15th seeds Arnold-Hood are the potential PQF opponents .. (9) Black-Ullyett or (6) Llodra-Santoro possible in the QFs, and 4th seeds Bjorkman-Woodbridge for semis, if the seedings hold up .. I am glad to see David Rikl finding a very good partner in Leander's absence - he is seeded 7th, with Yevgeny Kafelnikov! -- Go David!

Rohan Bopanna had won the first round of qualies at the Indonesia F1 $15K futures, beating Han-Woong Jo (KOR,NR) 60 61 and was to face Sung-Hyuk Yu (KOR) to qualify into the main draw .. He had not entered for this event earlier, otherwise he would be a top seed in the main draw .. He must have easily qualified in, but no news since sunday on that event.

Harsh Mankad decided to go to Europe for three weeks leading to the Davis Cup .. As there aren't any hardcourt events, he is playing on clay this week .. Harsh may be the only one among Indians who doesn't try to run away from clay these days, though it is really not his favorite surface or anything .. He is playing a $15K futures in Nederlands this week and will then be at the $50K+H challenger in Kiev, Ukraine (on clay) followed by a $25K+H chellenger in Donetsk, Ukraine .. He was #14 in the qualifying entry list for Kiev and #6 for Donetsk when entries closed .. He will be among the top seed in the qualies, but will easily make the doubles draw and can make use of the hospitality to save some money .. HM has been trying his best to conserve money and play as much as possible with as few back and forth international trips as possible .. He is seeded 6th in the $15K NED F5 futures, which seems to have an incredibly tough field for a futures .. Drawn to face qualifier Baptiste Dupuy (FRA,659) in the R1 .. Harsh, now ranked #266th in doubles, won the first round yesterday with a new partner, Jan Weinzierl (GER,346), beating Melle van Gemerden (NED)/ Nejc Smole (SLO), 76 64 .. They face a Dutch pair next - Michel Koning/ Steve Korteling .. HM had never even met or heard of his doubles partner till the draw came out with them as the second seeds (the ATP supervisor hooked up these two as they were both looking for partners! - looking at his ranking and all, he looks like a good partner) .. HM plays R1 singles today.

At the ITF grade-1 Canadian Open juniors in Repentigny, Canada, all seven Indian kids made the main draw, 4 direct entries (Sania, Sanaa, Karan, Somdev), 2 qualifiers (Tara, Arunprakash) and one lucky loser (Divij Sharan) .. Good and bad results yesterday in the first round .. The worst news was thet Sania was upset by a Canadian girl .. Tara's upset win and Karan's smooth sailing are good news .. Here are the scores - Sania Mirza (IND,32) l. Stephanie Dubois (CAN,85) 67(3) 57 .. Sanaa Bhambri (IND,53) l. Volha Havartsova (BLR,56), 36 06 .. (Q) Tara Iyer (IND,90) d. Agnes Szatmari (ROM,57), 64 26 61
(LL) Divij Sharan (IND,102) l. G.D Jones (NZL,44) 26 06 .. Karan Rastogi (IND,45) d. Sun-Yong Kim (KOR,58) 64 62 .. Somdev Dev Varman (IND,52) d. (LL) Dylan Arnould (USA,221) 75(2) 57 64 .. (Q) Arun P Rajagopalan (IND,250) d. (LL) Kamil Pajkowski (CAN,1109) 76(3) 62.

I have finally put up all the scores from last week's big Claycourt Junior Nationals in Chennai .. The winners were, Rupesh Roy in the boys u18, Navneetha Kannan in the boys u14, Sandhya Nagraj in the girls u18 (in a nice upset run, though not very surprising despite her being unseeded) and GK Swetha in the girls u14 .. See the Claycourt junior nationals page .. By the way, AITA website has been updating most of these events' scores lately and that has made my job much easier .. On name that has been catching our attention lately is Tariq Jacob from TN, who lost to Navneetha in a nice three-set u14 final .. He has had a few upset wins in the last few tournaments (over the 4th, 6th and 8th seeds last week) ..  On the other hand, it is fair to say that nobody has emerged as a big force in the 14s or 18s on both the girls and boys's sides this year.

Aug 25 Note-2

I have not received any transcripts of the Interview but Arthur Pais and Tanmay Nanda of India Abroad (of rediff.com) has published a lot of details in this article - "Leander Paes thanks fans for support" .. Interesting to know that Leander said he first felt some problem at Wimbledon during mixed doubles, when he came down all disoriented after a smash and had to hold on to Martina .. It could have come from a sushi which he has been eating lately .. Leander does NOT eat red meat .. By the way, I feel that the easy speculation in India that it is all from "pork sausage" may not necessarily be true .. This could have come from leaf salads as well - I suppose there are reasons that tropical countries' cultures went away from eating uncooked leaves! .. Anyway , it is true that Lee is not the type who has taken his own personal health lightly - for instance, he does not even touch a drink (I know personally, as he was there for my daughter's first birthday in LA in 1999 and I tried till 2 am in the morning to get him to take a sip of wine!) .. Anyway, of all people, Lee had to get affected by a relatively rare desease! .. I take this whole thing as yet another twist in the life of a remarkable man, which is filled with drama from start to end -- and I know we have not seen the final acts yet ..

By the way, I forgot to give a link to the Orlando Sentinel newspaper article frm a couple of days back, that actually mentions this fan club, and has a really nice quote from Bud Collins on LP in the end (that article may not stay in their free archives for too long, so read fast!)

Aug 25 Note-1

Here is the news release from the MD Anderson Cancer Center after this afternoon's press conference -

ORLANDO, FL --- Leander Paes, 1996 Atlanta Olympic Bronze Medallist and 2003 Wimbledon Mixed Doubles Champion with us here today, remains in stable condition, continuing to be monitored, following his admission to M. D. Anderson Cancer Center Orlando on Tuesday, August 19, 2003. Prior to admission to M. D. Anderson - Orlando, Leander checked himself into the emergency room of a local hospital near his home, on Sunday, August 17, after suffering from severe headaches for three days.

Diagnosis
On Sunday, August 24, Leander was diagnosed with neurosysticercosis, a parasitic infection causing a brain abscess. The series of tests, performed at M. D. Anderson - Orlando, leading to the diagnosis include: two MRIs; a CT scan; three biopsies to remove muscle tissue from his right playing arm and multiple blood tests. Blood samples were also sent to and reviewed by a team of physicians in Bombay, India, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta and the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

Treatment
To treat neurosysticercosis, Leander is taking albendazole (an anti-parasitic medication) to shrink the abscess. He is also taking steroids to reduce possible inflammation and resultant swelling caused by the abscess. Due to a previous medical condition, Leander is also taking an anti-seizure medication. The anti-seizure medication is to prevent the onset of seizures, a possible side effect from taking the other medications. Leander is taking each of the three medications, three times per day. The medications cause weakness, drowsiness and dizziness. Leander also will be monitored for other possible side effects.

Recovery
Leander is expected to remain hospitalized, receiving medication for 8 to 20 days. After being discharged from MDACCO, outpatient observation is expected to last for approximately two weeks. Depending on his body’s ability to recover, Leander hopes to return to playing tennis in three to four months.

So, it looks like at least three months for his to be back on court - I hope he can at least play the year-end world doubles championships .. But first thing is to get cured of the cyst problems and get fully healthy.

Here is a picture of LP with Dr. Charles Browne and Dr. Vece Paes (courtesy: MD Anderson Cancer Center, Orlando).

Dr.Charles Brown, Dr.Vece Paes, Leander Paes at 8/25/03 Orlando press conference (courtesy: MDA Cancer center)

Other tennis news soon .. The US Open doubles draw is out for MB-MM,  Harsh won the doubles first round at the Netherlands F5, Rohan has advanced in the Indonesia F1 .. Tara and Arunprakash qualified into the grade-1 Canadian Open juniors and have won the first rounds .. Sania, Sanaa and Divij lost in the main draw first round, but Tara, Arun, Karan, and Somdev reached second round.

.. Previous notes are at Notes for the week ending on Aug 25 ..

I am getting some inquiries 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 inquiring 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 inquiries from the coaches too .. Please email me - R.Jayakrishnan.