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Indian-Tennis: Daily News for the weeks ending on Sep 1, 2008
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Sep 1 Notes

Leander reached the MxD semifinals, on the heels of reaching the doubles QF yesterday, but Mahesh is done at the US Open after a close loss in the doubles PQF .. Hesh's partner Mark Knowles was bothered by a knee injury and had withdrawn from his MxD match yesterday - so the PQF in doubles was expected to be iffy anyway .. Bad break for Hesh .. Also going down in an upset today was Yuki Bhambri, seeded 5th in doubles with his fellow-trainee at the Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Florida, Filip Krajinovic, who is set to face Yuki in the singles R2.  Today's scores:

[QF] (5) Cara Black (ZIM)/ L.Paes d. Vladimir Ulihrova (CZE)/ Martin Damm (CZE), 75 62
[R3] (4) M.Bhupathi/ Mark Knowles (BAH) l. Maximo Gonzalez (ARG)/ Juan Monaco (ARG), 62 46 46
[R1] (5) Y.Bhambri/ Filip Krajinovic (SRB) l. Takanyi Garanganga (ZIM)/ Karim-Md Maamoun (EGY), 16 64 [7]

Interestingly, the mixed doubles R2 match for leander and Cara never appeared in any day's schedule, and there is no official score anywhere in the draws at the US Open web site .. Just a blank space everywhere .. I assume it was a walkover from Wozniacki and Matkowski, but no idea .. In fact I was surprised to suddenly see their QF in the schedule for today while no R2 was ever played or scheduled.  Well, good to see them in the SF, and they are the only seeded team left now .. In fact, the seeds have all had a tough time in the men's doubles draw too - the 2nd seed Bryans in the lower half and the 7th seeds LP-Dlouhy in the upper half are the only seeds left in the QFs .. By the way, the top seeds Nestor/Zimonjic, sort of a nemesis for LP lately, got upset today by Robert Lindstedt and Jarkko Nieminen - who will run into LP-Dlouhy tomorrow in the QF.

At the € 30,000 challenger in Romania on red clay, Somdev Dev Varman faces the 8th seed David Marrero in the first round .. It is one of the first two matches tomorrow at 10 am, as the main draw starts only Tuesday there .. Somi is not playing doubles, and generally seems to be not focusing on doubles for a little while till the singles plans are all well in place.

Not much action at the $15K futures at Chennai, with only 4 main draw singles matches today, along with a good bit of doubles .. Check out our forum thread for Jaydeep's score round up ..

Aug 31 Note-2

Lee and Dlouhy won the third round and are in the QF at the US Open .. Easy 63 63 win ober Rik DeVoest (RSA) and Ashley Fisher (AUS) .. Ther QF opponents will be determined tomorrow as the the top seeds Nestor/ Zimonjic play R.Lindstedt and J.Nieminen ..

Yuki Bhambri, the 12th seed in the junior draw, beat Denis Kudla (USA,121), 62 57 63 .. He had an easy first set, but dropped serve in the second game of the 2nd set to fall behind .. He evened it at 4-4 and 5-5 but immediately got broken both times and lost the second set .. In the third set, though he again got broken  the first time, he kept breaking Kudla to win the match .. Kudla is not a bad player, having recently reached the semifinal of a US pro futures (actually the one that Somdev won a couple of months back) .. Good to see Yuki playing OK, though he once again did not play enough preparatory matches before the grand slam juniors .. He will have a tougher player to tackle in the second round, his doubles partner, Filip Krajinovic (SRB,24) who won the tough grade-1 Astrid bowl in belgium on clay in May and followed that with qualifying into the wimbledon juniors and reaching the semifinal! ..  That match will be on Tuesday, after they finish the remaining boys' singles R1 matches tomorrow.

Aug 31 Note-1

Today, LP and Dlouhy play Rik DeVoest and Ashley Fisher in the PQF of doubles at the US Open.  In the singles junior draw, 12th seeded Yuki Bhambri is set to face Denis Kudla (USA) .. Both matches are at about 1 pm there.

Awaiting the draw from the Brasov claycourt challenger in Romania, starting tomorrow .. The hoopla returns for everybody again, as Somdev gets back to court after a two week break since the Washington DC ATP quarterfinals.

Two weeks of $15K ITF futures start now in India - at Chennai and Delhi .. The qualies got completed today for the Chennai event, and six Indians have qualified in .. See the scores posted by Sameer in our sports-india thread for the futures.

There was an article in the Times Of India by Prajwal Hegde, who followed up on the sordid "security situation" saga of some people selling off Bengaluru without any explanation .. Excerpts (it is in their ePaper - so no link that I can find) -

The World Billiards Championship is slated to be held from September 1 to 10, while Ricky Ponting’s team start the four-Test series of India in Bangalore, where the first Test is scheduled to begin from October 9 .... If the Karnataka State Billiards Association Hall and the Chinnaswamy stadium, a mere stone’s throw from the KSLTA, are safe for international sporting action, why isn’t the KSLTA? .... Is Bangalore really unsafe to host an international sporting event? Or is there more to it than meets the eye? Could it be that the promoters failed to find a sponsor for the tournament and conveniently used the security factor to get away? .... Several calls to BIG Live over the last few days were met with either ‘I’m not authorized to comment on this issue’ or ‘Ask the ATP.’ .... “We don’t comment on specifics concerning security,’’ Nicola Arzani, vice-president, media and marketing operations, said when TOI quizzed the ATP on the procedure it followed while suspending a tournament for security reasons. “The local promoter believed it to be a security issue and regrettably the ATP accepted his petition to suspend the 2008 event,’’ Arzani added .... Prior to suspending the tournament, the ATP had asked KSLTA secretary Sunder Raju his views on the security situation .... “I told them the security risk perception this time was no different than when we had other ATP and WTA tournaments here in the last seven years. The government and the police said they would do everything in their power to ensure a safe tournament,’’ Raju said.

KSLTA's Sunder Raju is absolutely right in what he says .. As Prajwal says, there seem to be some people trying to pass the buck for a little "mischief" that they thought they could get away with it.  We have news for you, folks .. India is not a banana republic.  Some of us pay attention, OK? ..

Aug 30 Notes

Mahesh and Samantha Stosur (AUS) went down in a close match in the second round of the MxD at the US Open, 62 36 (10-12) to Rennae Stubbs (AUS) and Robert Lindstedt (SWE) ..

Also going down in a close match was Sudanwa Sitaram (IND,94) in the final qualies of the junior singles .. He lost Jose Hernandez (#60) of the Dominican Republic, 64 36 36 .. Earlier in the Q1, he had beaten Kosaku Hirota (JPN,1024) 62 36 61 .. Akash Wagh (IND,121) had lost 26 36 in the Q1to the 16th seed James Seal (USA,103) .. Akash has really not shown good results for the last couple of years though he seemed to be a player of high potential earlier on - he is done with the junior eligibility this year, but it is good to see 17 year old Sudanwa doing fine, and he is eligible for the junior tour next year.

At the Adidas-MCC national u14 and u18 in Chennai, the u18 boys title went to 4th seed Abhijit Tiwari (UP), and the u14 girls title went to Sharon Paul (TN) in easy 61 61 and 62 64 finals, respectively .. The much-awaited final  between the Mharashtrian firends and doubles partners, Kura Shriff and Ashvarya Shrivastava was a dandy but Kyra pulled it off in a 63 46 64 match .. The u14 boys final between the u14 world final bronze medal team mates Ronit Bisht (DLI) and Ramkumar Ramanathan (TN) turned out to be a damp squib with Ronit running away with a 62 60 score ..  See the article in The Hindu for some details .. Check out the photograph - that is 12 year old Ronit on the left? .. Hmm .. The dude looks much bigger and quite different than the kid at Prostejov earlier this month (check out the Prostejov podium picture I had pisted
three weeks back here - scroll down to the Aug 11 notes) .. Who impersonated Ronit, I want to know! :) ..

Aug 29 Notes

Both Mahesh and Leander advanced to the PQFs of doubles at the US Open .. [R2] (7) L.Paes/ Lukas Dloughy (CZE) bt Eduardo Schwank (ARG )/ Potito Starace (ITA) 64 16 63 ..Their PQF opponents are Rik De Voest (RSA) and Ashley Fisher (AUS) .. [R2] (4) M.Bhupathi/ Mark Knowles (BAH) d. Yves Allegro (SUI)/ Horia Tecau (ROU) 63 63 ..They face the Argentinians, Maximo Gonzalez and Juan Monaco next ..

At the $10K Thai women's ITF, 6th seed Sanaa Bhambri fell, 61 36 36 in the SF to unranked qualifer Yi Yang (CHN) who had upset Ankita earlier in a comeback three-setter too .. Yeek.  That doesn't look good .. I don't know the story on this 18 yr old girl Yang - who seems to be a "virtual unknown" who did not do anything much in the juniors either, with a top rank of just #323, though she had reached a grade-3 final in China a couple of years back.  Last week's doubles champs, Sanaa and Ankita, had fallen in the doubles SF yesterday to Chinese qualifiers Yang Yi and Zhi-Xian Guo 36 26 too .. What kind of spinach are these Chinese girls eating out there? ..

At the AITA Chennai national series u14 & u18, the finalists were decided today .. In the girls u18s, Ashvarya Shrivastava  got past the top seed Rashmi Teltumbde 63 63 and faces the second seed Kyra Shroff, who beat Shwetha Solanki in straight sets too.. The two finalists are in the Appollo program, FIST program, Bhupathi program, and Globosport (whatever fits the context - they are all kinda connected with Mahesh's hand somewhere in there! :)) .. I had written about Ashvarya from some three years back and had then thought she had better results than Rashmi and Kyra, but she seems to be somewhat more inconsistent among these three top players who are our top three u16 juniors now .. In girls' u14,  Sharon Paul (TN) and Eetee Mehta (GUJ) are in the finals ..

In the boys u18 section, 6th seed Kaza Vinayak Sharma (AP) upset the top seed Ronak Manuja (MAH) who was also in some stomach problems, to reach the final .. He runs into the 4th seed Abhijit Tiwari of Chattisgargh .. The boys u14 was the one sectiom where I had no doubt who the two finalists would be .. Ronit Bisht and Ramkumar Ramanathan of the world u14 junior bronze team , who were the top two seeds .. Neeraj Elangovan, whom I talked about yesterday, did not go down quietly - as he took a set off Ra,kumar before the second seed stepped on the pedal for a 46 62 60 win ..

Aug 28 Notes

At the US Open, Mahesh advanced to the second round of both doubles and mixed doubles today .. [R1] (4) M.Bhupathi/ Mark Knowles (BAH) d. Johan Brunstrom (SWE)/ Thomas Johansson (SWE), 63 64 .. The second round is against Yves Allegro (SUI) and Horia Tecau (ROU) .. In the MxD, [R1] Samantha Stosur (AUS)/ M.Bhupathi d. Alexa Glatch (USA)/ Scott Lipsky (USA), 63 63 .. Unfortunately, the Indo-Pak express got nowhere, as they fell in the first round, 57 36 to the French pair, Marc Gicquel and Sebastien Grosjean.

At the $10K Thailand women's ITF at Nonthaburi, the 6th seed Sanaa Bhambri (IND,527) reached the SF with a good 61 46 64 win over Stephanie Wiltshire (AUS) who had upset 2nd seed Rushmi earlier .. Up next is qualifer Yi Yang who had upset 5th seeded Ankita earlier ..

At the "Adidas-MCC" junior u14 and u18 national event in Chennai, a surprise run so far has been in the u14 boys section by 13 year old Neeraj Elangovan (TN), ranked only 63rd in the u14 AITA rankings .. He upset the third seed Arjun Kadhe (MAH) ranked #4 by a 62 75 score yesterday and upset the 14th seed Vilasier Khate (HAR,19) by an easy 64 62 score today .. He will have to handle the second seeded statemate Ramkumar Ramanathan, ranked third, in the SF now .. The top seed and India #1 in the u14, Ronit Bisht, is also in the semi .. In the girls u14s, the top two seeds, both from Maharashtra and ranked #1 and #2 in the national rankings got upset .. #6 Sharon Paul (TN) upset the #1 Prarthana Thombre and #7 Amritha Mukherjee (WB) upset the 2nd seed Vaidehi Bhagwat - both in easy straight sets .. 16th ranked Sansitha Nandakumar (TN) and 20th ranked Eetee Mehta (GUJ) are the surprise entries into the SF.

In the u18s at Chennai, the girls section has been a bit more interesting as most of the top ranked girls are there, as opposed to the u18 boys section where the top three are in the USA (Yuki Bhambri, Sudanwa Sitaram, Akash Wagh) .. In the girls u18, four of the top five active players in the AITA rank list (Poojashree having stopped playing the juniors) are in the semis! .. #1 Rushmi Teltumbde, #2 Kyra Shroff, #5 Swetha Solanki and #6 Ashwarya Shrivastava are the semifinals - which promise to be very good .. On the boys u18s, the top seed Ronak Manuja (MAH,5) and 6th seed Abhijit Tiwari (Chattis,10) are the highest ranked players remaining, as the second see Chandril Sood (UP,6) was upset by semifinalist Srikar Alla (AP,35) earlier and the third seed Christopher Marquis (MAH,9) was upset by 6th seed Kaza Vinayak Ram (AP,15) today ..

Aug 27 Notes

Leander and Cara Black advanced to the second round of the Mixed doubles draw at the US Open with an easy 63 62 win over the young American wildcards, Melanie Oudin and Donald Young .. Mahesh and Rohan have not been in action yet .. Our friend from Pakistan, Aisam Quereshi had made it into the singles draw as a lucky loser but went down in four sets to Carlos Moya .. Tomorrow, Mahesh plays his doubles and Mixed doubles first round, and Rohan/ Aisam play their first round doubles.

An addendum to what I wrote about the disturbing
cancellation of the Bengaluru Open with ATP stating "local promoter's security concerns" as the reason - today Mr. CS Sunder Raju of the Karnataka State Lawn Tennis Association (KSLTA) stated to The Hindu that they had nothing to do with either organizing the event or cancelling it .. KSLTA had only offerred to help with the Kingfisher tennis stadium .. So, we should not blame the KSLTA folks for having created any phantom security situation stories .. Mr. Raju reportedly said that the sports promotion group "Big Live" owned by Anil Ambani were the ones who were organizing ATP Bangalore .. Well, I don't know much about "Big Live", except that they are a company floated out of Adlabs Films late last year, apparently to focus on organizing sports and entertainment events (but probably with an eye to organizaing the 2010 Commonwealth Games opening and closing ceremonies etc, as I saw in a news report) .. Anyway, if it was BigLive who created this canard about a security situation and told ATP to announce it to the whole world, with no concern on how it would cause our country (and Bengaluru) to be viewed around the world, it is pitiable and shameful.  I am tempted to do wordplay with the name Big Live, but it wouldn't be fair to even insinuate that they did anything, without knowing the full facts.  Anyway, I continue to be pretty annoyed at seeing the news item at the ATP front page about the reason for the cancellation.

Meanwhile, the mates who are usually the first to wet their pants on hearing of bomb blasts and "security situations," the Australian cricket, have found Bengaluru perfectly fine and have cleared the city for the cricket test starting on October 9th, barely 4 days after the end of the cancelled tennis event ..  Either a serious security situation is there 5 weeks from now, that suddenly disappears 4 days later, or somebody is trying to pull a fast one somewhere! .. By the way, the IBSF world billiards championships are also supposed to be in Bengaluru from Sep 1 thru 10th - and IBSF has not cancelled it .. So, no security situation is expected next week - it's only 5 weeks from now that all Bengaluru folks should consider leaving town, if they believe the tennis organizers :) ...

At the $10K Thailand womens ITF, the 4th seed Rushmi Chakravarthi was upset 64 62 by unranked Australian Stephanie Wiltshire (AUS) and the 5th seed Ankita Bhambri was upset 46 62 75 by the unranked Chinese qualifier Yi Yang .. The 6th seed Sanaa Bhambri (IND,527) had a bit of trouble but came through in a 36 63 64 win over Tomoko Dokei (JPN,639), as the only Indian quarterfinalist - but she has to play Wiltshire who has upset Parul Goswami and Rushmi so far.

There have not been a whole lot of upsets in the "Adidas-MCC" junior (u14 and u18) national AITA events in progress at the MCC in Chennai .. The second seed Chandril Sood was upset by 13th seed Sikar Alla in the u18 boys ..  All the talented  youngsters like Ronit Bisht and Ramkumar Ramanathan in the u14, and Rashmi Teltumbde, Kyra Shriff, Tanvi Shah and Ashwarya Shrivastava in the girls u18 are in the QFs .. 14 yr old Ramkumar (member of the recent world bronze medallist Indian u14 team with Ronit and Digvijay) also qualified into the u18 and went a couple of rounds .. Good job by him .. Saurabh Singh of our current u16 junior Davis Cup team fell in the u18 today to third seed Christopher Marquis .. More competitive and interesting matches are in store now from the QF onwards ..

Aug 26 Notes

Leander had a good start in doubles today at the US Open .. [R1] (7) L.Paes)/ Lukas Dloughy (CZE) d. Oscar Hernandez (ESP)/ Albert Mondanes (ESP) 67(2) 61 64 .. Up next for them will be Eduardo Schwank (ARG ) and Potito Starace (ITA) .. The mixed doubles draw also came out .. Lee is seeded 5th with Cara Black (ZIM) and they play the American youngsters, Melanie Oudin and Donald Young .. Mahesh is unseeded this time, playing with Samantha Stosur (AUS) .. They also face an American pair - Alexa Glatch and Scott Lipsky ..

The $10K ITF womens' event in Thailand is in progress at Nonthaburi, and our results are much better this week compared to the last, as all three seeded Indians reachedthe second round .. Fourth seeded Rushmi Chakravarthi (IND,508) had a very good 61 62 win over Shlomo Karen (ISR,598) yesterday, and faces Stephanie Wiltshire (AUS) next .. Wiltshire had beaten Parul Goswamy (IND,689) by a 76(5) 46 60 score in the R1 .. Fifth seeded Ankita Bhambri (IND,522) beat Achiraya Sprirome (THA,NR), 62 46 61 and now squares off against the unranked Chinese qualifier Yang Yi in the R2 .. Sixth seeded Sanaa Bhambri (IND,527) beat qualifier Katherine Westbury of THA and runs into Tomoko Dokei (JPN,639) next.. Rushmi and Bhambri sisters have reached the doubles QF as well.

Aug 25 Notes

Nothing much significant going on right now on court, as we await the doubles draw to get going at the US Open by mid-week ..

The other important news is that both the pro events scheduled in September and October in India have been cancelled .. The WTA Sunfeast Open Mumbai has been cancelled due to problems with venues, and the ATP Bengaluru Open has been cancelled due to "security concerns" .. The latter item  does not make much sense to me .. Has the Indian or Karnataka government, Bengaluru police, RAW, CBI or whichever appropriate agency been the source of this "security concern" or is it just that the tournament was having trouble attracting even a top-15 player's dog to take a sniff at the tournament? ..  As I saw the tournament organizers' openly saying earlier in a press release when #18 Tsonga was announced that "nobody else seems to be coming," (I was impressed by their honesty, actually) it seemed pretty clear that they were in some trouble, or that they did not have the money or other wherewithals to get some top players .. Then to suddenly hear this "security concern" as posted by ATP at their site today, was a bit too much .. If this was a white lie to save face, that would be utterly shameful because it is India's prestige that goes down when we cancel events due to cheap statements on security concerns .. In fact, I hardly remember any high-profile sports event being suddenly cancelled for security fears like this .. Aren't we supposed to have a cricket test in Bengaluru later this year? .. Heck, aren't we supposed to hold mega events like CWG and hockey world cup in a couple of years in India - what about "security situation" then? .. An announcement to the whole wide world by ATP that there is some phantom "security concern" is how we do things in India? .. Somebody let ATP do that? .. We are what, Pakistan? ... Again, if Indian people put the blame on the city and our country to save face, they should be brought to task by somebody .. Shame on you .. If that is not the case and a proper security assessment was done by proper agencies in India who suggested cancelling the event, of course, I will shut up .. If many players told the organizers that they were scared to come, again I can understand to some extent - but then I would make sure that ATP would not write that there is a "security situation" but rather blame the payers .. Otherwise, I want to see the proper security agencies in India issuing a press release that they had not advised the cancellation of the Bengaluru event!

Meanwhile, where the frig is our press?? ... The two ATP events are among largest international sports events we do every year, outside of cricket (and Golf?) - on prize money... Our press, including the local Deccan Herald, seems least bit bothered to even find out what was up with the tournament, a whole week after we mentioned here that ATP had talked about a "situation" in Bengaluru .. Not a single newspaper in India has cared to find out and tell us what exactly is going on.  As for Mumbai WTA, again, no news on what exactly was happening, but thankfully there were no nationally shameful statements coming from there or WTA, for me to complain.  I know, I know, our press has been spending time trying to interview Abhinav's, Vijendar's and Susheel's grandmothers, dhobis and dhootwallahs to fill up fishwrap space in the latest feeding frenzy.   I do have many friends among the sports writers, but sorry friends, you have all collectively dropped the ball on this matter - however, I understand that some of you are not back from Beijing, though..

Bottom line - Chennai Open ATP coming up in January is the next international tour event in India - barring unforeseen last-minute "security situations" .. Everybody will need to wait till that to see Somdev reaching the semis or better :) ....

The first AITA national tournaments of the year for the u14 and u18 players just got underway in Chennai .. The qualies were over the weekend.  Will give some updates during the week.

.. Previous news are at 
Notes for the weeks ending on Aug 25, 2008 ..

.. Please email questions/comments/criticism to me email me - R.Jayakrishnan