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LP/MB/NV/Indian-Tennis: Notes for the week ending on Sep 4, 2000

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Sep 4 Notes

Funny story about confusion at Delhi today at the $10K satellite .. The draw had to be redone after the "withdrawal" of the top seed Leanne Baker who faxed today that she had never sent an entry form to ITF for this in the first place! .. It looks like somebody goofed up - probably at ITF London .. I had noticed that Leanne was in the entry list for just this leg and not for the one before or the one after - and her name has been in the list for at least three weeks .. Nobody ever comes to India for just one week of a satellite, and I had thought that perhaps she had found some ticket that would allow a one-week layoff on the way from Europe to New Zealand or something! .. Anyway, as it turned out, her good friend Manisha, who knew that Leanne was in England and not in any playing shape due to fever right now, called her up and told that everyone was expecting her at Delhi .. That was when she knew about her name mysteriously being in the Delhi entry list!! .. Anyway, she becomes a "withdrawal", as she informed them just before the matches were about to start (otherwise it would be a "no show" with a lucky loser taking up the spot of the top seed) - so the draw had to be redone with the 2 thru 5 seeds moving up to the higher seeds' positions (the remaining three seeds would stay at the same spot with the new 8th seed Sonal Phadke taking up the 5th seeds's spot - that is the ITF rule for re-draws) .. On top of that, the 7th seed Joland Mens (NED) was a no-show clearing up a second spot in the draw .. Other than all that excitement, not too much happened on the first day .. The new #2 seed Sai Jayalakshmi, who had expected to play only Tuesday had to play today on short notice and dropped her first set, recovering after that .. The one interesting match was the convincing 62 62 win by Shruti Dhawan over Sheetal Goutham, who is not an easy foe .. Shruti's comeback is a nice story so far .. On the other hand, Sheetal never seems to get an easy opponent (there are a few such players at the Indian satellites, who are relatively easier preys who rarely go past the first round - but Sheetal never seems to draw any of them!) -- Sheetal rarely loses to anybody but the top 5 or 6 players, but the 1998 junior #1 has not been able to take that next step to beat the top players yet, however .. There was also one notable upset in doubles where Shruti and Radhika beat the seeded veteran pair, the Venkatraman sisters .. See the Delhi satellites page.

Sep 3 Notes

Not much news to report .. The $10K Delhi satellite starts tomorrow .. Quite a bit more healthy entry list there, with a few more foreign players .. Leanne Baker of New Zealand (who was Manisha's doubles partner in a few events in the US recently) has joined this week as the top seed .. Manisha is the second seed this week .. 7th seed Jolanda Mens is a new entrant as well ..  See the Delhi satellite page for some R1 matchups.

Manisha picked up 5 points from her final last week, including one bonus for a win over top-500 I-Ting Wang .. That will bring her rank up from #347 by about 15 to 20 spots a week from now .. Monique Adamsczak picked up 8 points, including three bonus for three top-500 wins over Wonglkamalasai, Viratprasert and Manisha .. That will bring her up from #665 to close to #500 .. It is very nice to see quite a few talented players coming to India this time .. Suchanan, Monique, Leanne, I-Ting, etc are all quality players, along with Manisha .. The Indian girls will certainly gain by playing against good opponents like that.

Prakash Amritraj (USA) and Adam Kennedy (NZ) won the doubles title at the prestigious Grade-1 Canadian Open at Cuebec on Saturday .. They were seeded 7th .. On the way to the title, they upset the top seeded doubles team of Lee Childs and James Nelson, both ranked in the top-5 in the world .. 16 yr old Yeu-Tzuo Wang of Taiwan won the singles title .. This kid has been quite amazing in the juniors, and he is already up near the top-10 in world juniors .. Prakash has also made it into the singles draw at the US Open - I believe as a US wildcard .. Rajeev Ram (USA) is also a wildcard .. Sunitha Rao (USA) is in the girls' draw .. Sunil Kumar and Vinod Sewa missed the draw, as they were probably 25 and 50 spots away from the cut ..

Sep 2 Notes

Leander and Mahesh decided yesterday to not mess around with any other events and go straight to Sydney "to work our rears off" as Mahesh put it in his email yesterday .. They would have considered playing a challenger next week, but decided against it, as Mahesh probably needs a few days to rest his shoulder which was hurting a bit .. He has a Rafter-kind of situation, I think, where the shoulder can start hurting once in a while and it goes away with some rest for a few days .. The doctors have told him to take 5-6 days off, and so they will skip the plans for a challenger .. I am not that worried, as I am sure they have a good idea what they need to work on, after having played 5 matches together so far and some tough sets too .. As for Tashkent, they decided that it was also too much of hassle right now anyway .. They will just get to Sydney and "work their rears off" .. That is a good sign that they have the confidence that with practice together on the Sydney courts they will be fine - I am sure they would have gone to Tashkent if they felt they really, really, needed it .. So, all is well -- Leander will carry the flag for India !! .. Actually, they will have no problem finding some good teams to practice against at Sydney unlike in other places where the good teams don't arrive that early .. Let us look up for positive things, folks !! ..  I am still looking for a medal.

Manisha pulled off a barn-burner 8-6 third set tiebreaker win yesterday in the semis at Jaipur, but fell today in the final in another three-setter to Monique Adamczak of Australia .. Monique was a top junior player last year (quarterfinalist at Wimbledon juniors), but had not come up that fast up the pro ranks this year due to some injuries etc .. So I had not expected great results from her, but she seems to be on a roll again .. Monique and Jennifer Schmidt of Austria won the doubles title also, over Sai and Rushmi .. More later.

Sep 1 Notes

Talked to Leander last night after the bloodbath in Flushing Meadows .. He was disappointed at the loss, but also said it is just a matter of time and getting matches under their belt .. He said there were many moments when he felt their magic was there, but just that edge needed to raise their game at some points was not there, and so they couldn't blow the other team away like they would do in the past .. He said they were both getting to their positions and setting each other up pretty well .. He said it was not just the serve, but both of them need their edge in the net game to come back too .. It will happen in due course of time.

The problem now is that Leander is in some serious dilemma about what to do for match play before Sydney .. Carrying the nation's flag at Sydney is something that he has dreamt of and it's a once in a life time chance to do that .. He said he would be meeting Mahesh for practice today and decide what to do about Tashkent .. As before, the problem is that the opening ceremony is on the 15th and the Tashkent doubles starts on the 11th .. Even the quarterfinal of doubles are normally not played before thursday and to get to Sydney by Friday would be difficult .. The other problem is that if they don't play Tashkent, they will be playing Sydney doubles (starting on 20th) with three weeks without match play ..  So I asked him about the three challengers in Europe next week .. He said he would rather go and play one of those, but the problem with that is the surface -- all three challengers ($37.5K+H in Germany, $100K+H in Austria and $25K in Bulgaria) are on clay .. It may be OK to play on clay next week because they will get about 10 days to practice on hardcourts again in Sydney ..  Anyway, let us see what they decide to do.

Bad news yesterday at the Jaipur satellites -- Manisha Malhotra is the only one among 5 Indians in the QFs to reach the semis .. Rushmi and Sai went down, hardly winning even a match .. I had said right from the beginning that Suchanan Viratprasert was one to watch out for, but even I didn't expect her to take out second seed Sai for a 60 61 score .. Sonal fought well for one set to Monique Adamczak, a highly ranked junior from last year who is ranked in the 600s just below Sonal .. Shruti played a decent match but went down to Manisha .. see the Jaipur satellite page .. I will add today's results soon.

Aug 31 Note-5

The totally wretched day got completed with Leander also losing in the mixed doubles .. B.Schett/ J.Eagle d. L.Paes/ L.Raymond, 67(3) 46 .. LP-LR did fine in the first set till the tiebreaker, when they fell behind by two minibreaks immediately and were down 0-3, facing two serves .. They got one minibreak back but lost another minibreak to fall 3-7 .. In the second set, our pair dropped serve immediately in the first game, but got that back in game 6 to tie it at 3-3 .. That did not last long as LP-LR dropped serve after 5 deuces in the next game to fall behind again to 3-4 .. Then it was over soon.

That is the end of US Open for us .. Blinked and it was over .. Now, they can both actually go play a challenger next week in Europe i they want to -- there are three challengers there .. I doubt they will, though.

Aug 31 Note-4

Oh darn .. What a nightmare day for Mahesh today! .. I couldn't follow the match online - it started earlier than I thought and ended entirely too fast .. K.Habsudova/ D.Rikl  d.  #5 A.Sugiyama/ M.Bhupathi, 61 63 .. I have no idea how the defending champs went down so easily .. I will wait for the fans who saw it to email me some report.

LP's mixed doubles match may not start till about 5.45 pm there.

Aug 31 Note-3

The mixed doubles should be starting by about 4.30 pm in New York .. Meanwhile, here are the pictures from today's matches (courtesy:IBM netcam, USOpen) .. LP does have that mean gangsta look .. I like it - and he looks fit and ready .. Just needs to get a bit of sharpness back , and watch out!  .. (see below for report on today's loss)

LP-shaven-head

mean-gangsta-LP

lp-mb-together-again

Good to see them together again! .. Go Indian Express! .. Let nothing stop you! .. The losses will end soon.

Aug 31 Note-2

No, they are not yet ready for big time, though there are all kind of signs that they are close as well - J.Oncins/ D.Orsanic d. M.Bhupathi/ L.Paes, 46 76(5) 62  just now in the first round of doubles at the US Open ..  Heartbreaking, but we can keep hope up - after all it was the #15 team in the world that they were playing .. And had they been a bit more successful in a bunch of break points in the first two sets (6 of them - had chances in two games in the second set too), they would have advanced today .. Well, that is the "edge" that a top team needs to get and it takes a few matches to get going ..

The match started with a new-look LP out there, with his hair completely shaven off .. I will post a picture soon .. He looks healthy and has a mean "gangsta" look now!

LP-MB started in the old typical fashion, jumping on the South Americans immediately and getting a break in the very first game .. Then at 3-1, our boys had another chance for going up a second break, with triple break points, but JO-DO took five points in a row to hold serve .. Then LP was taken to a couple of deuces (no break points) in the 8th game, but he held to go up 5-3 .. The set ended with Mahesh serving a love game, at 6-4 .. The set took 30 minutes ..

In the second set, LP-MB had one wasted break point at AD off Oncins serve in game 5, but otherwise things went on serve .. The Indian Express had another break chance in game 7 and that also went astray .. Then there were some anxious moments with LP-MB facing the forts break attempts on them with JO-DO having set points at 15-40 off LP's serve .. An ace followed, and it was tiebreaker .. In the tiebreaker, two minibreaks went to the other guys at 2-3 off LP's serve .. Oncins served the next point to go up 6-2 with 4 set points .. LP-MB fought off three more set points to make it 5-6, and then Orsanic served to take the set on their 6th set point .. 64 67(5) .. The set took an hour and 5 minutes ..

The 3rd set started disastrously with Leander dropping serve in the first game at 30-40 .. Then they had Orsanic down 15-40, but wasted two more break chances and finally converted the next break chance at AD out, to tie it up 1-1 .. LP was again down on serve at 15-40 in game 5 and fell at 30-40 .. The ship was sinking fast now .. In game 7, Mahesh was quickly down 0-40, and he was broken at 15-40 .. Then it was over soon -  46 67(5) 26 .. Break sequence - [set1: JO broken in game 1] .. [set2: No breaks] .. [set3: LP broken in games 1 and 5, MB in game 7, DO in game 2] .. The match took two hours and 5 minutes ..

If I were to guess, LP's serve becoming unreliable at crunch situations was part of the problem here .. This I had expected in his case, as his strength is the variations he brings out in his serve (many a time we have seen even 85 mph aces at crunch situations because he is accurate in hitting the right spots and angles) .. So I expected that it would take a bit of time before he gets his service confidence back, unlike the boom-boom servers who would be fine faster after they get healthy .. Just my guesswork - I may be wrong [but I did notice that the first thing LP said last week after the first match at Hamlet Cup was about his serve and how he was happy it was alright there] .. Anyway, the good news is that he looks very healthy - just as he had said to me last week, that he is in the best shape he has ever been in .. Looking at it another way, though they have only played four matches since their return, three of them have been against top-15 teams .. They beat the #14 team (Aspelin-Landberg) in two tiebreakers, and allowed three-set comeback wins to the #12 team (Gambill-Humphries) and the #15 teams (Oncins-Orsanic) .. That is certainly not a bad record for two guys playing together after 9 months with one off them coming off a three month layoff too .. It may be just a matter of a few more matches for LP to get his service accuracy back, for them to get that edge back fully .. Let us hope so ..

On the other hand, this makes it pretty much imperative that they should go to Tashkent and play some matches .. Can't go to Sydney with effectively a three week off-period without match practice (Sydney doubles starts only around the 20th of September .. Dhanraj may end up carrying our flag - that will be just fine, if that is how it has to be .. Now I hope everybody understands why LP was saying he may need to miss the flag ceremony .. For once, will the IOA people and our sports fans take him for his word and trust him?

Aug 31 Note-1

OK, it's grand slam time again for Paes-Bhupathi .. The match against Jaime Oncins (BRA,36) and Daniel Orsanic (ARG,44) is scheduled for today on court 10 at Flushing Meadows, at 11 am (8 am LA, 4 pm London, 8.30 pm India) .. There will be live scores and chat in our chatroom during the match - it should be fun, as we have not had a chat during an LP-MB match in a long long time .. Court 10 is one of the bigger courts there, and I think we will have live match stats also.

Oncins/ Orsanic is the 15th ranked team in the ATP team rankings this year .. They are tough foes, though they are a team that probably had the worst match of their year against Leander and Wayne Arthurs at the Indian Wells in March this year, a 16 36 loss .. I saw that match, and I could not believe it was even possible for ATP players to ever serve as many faults as those two did that day -- I mean, it was funny because a lot of them were not even crossing the net .. But for the fact that it was a 10 am match then, I would have thought they were drunk or something! (See March 14 Note-2 for my report) .. But this is another day and I am sure they will have their morning coffee and be ready ..

Both LP and MB will be back out there later in the day, at about 4.30 pm (plus/minus an hour) for their respective first round mixed doubles matches as well..

There were some upsets in doubles yesterday .. 5th seeds Novak/ Rikl lost to MacPherson/ Stafford .. 6th seeds Adams/ DeJager lost to the Bryan twins of USA .. 10th seeds Eagle/ Florent lost to Knippschild/ Tarango .. and 12th seeds Bjorkman/ Black lost to Haygarth and Coetzee 26 26 (look at that score! .. wonder what went wrong with Jonas and Byron) .. The Woodies showed no effects from the leg injury Woodbridge had a few days back - the top seeds won 64 61 over Cecil Mamiit and Jim Thomas, and they will play a dangerous Hewitt/ Mirnyi pair next .. 8th seeds W.ferreira/ Kafelnikov, and 11th seeds Damm/ Hrbaty also won today .. Jan Siemerink played with Alexander Kitinov of Russia, but went down 46 46 to the 14th seeds Federer and Kratzmann.

Aug 30 Notes

LP and MB are both expected to be in action tomorrow (Thursday) at the US Open.

At the Jaipur satellite today, the heartening result is that young Shruti Dhawan is still on her comeback trail .. She is the only qualifier to reach the quarterfinal, after upsetting 8th seeded veteran Archana Venkatraman in straights sets .. Shruti will have a tough task tomorrow against top seed Manisha ..  Manisha, who has a penchant to make life miserable for herself occasionally by dropping a second set, did the same today - but it was against Radhika Tulpule, who is not an easy foe anyway .. 6th seed Suchanan Viratprasert is in the QF and will certainly give #2 Sai Jayalakshmy a good test tomorrow .. Sonal Phadke, I-Ting Wang, Monique Adamczak, etc, have also advanced .. See the Jaipur satellite page.

The trip to Canada this week did not result in much for Sunil Kumar and Vinod Sewa, ranked 165 and 183 .. Yesterday in the first round of doubles at the Cuebec Canadian Open Grade-1 ITF event, they went down to Simon Rea (NZL,77) and Nick Lane (NZL,193), 06 76(6) 46 .. Very nice turnaround and comeback in the match by our boys, but they fell a bit short in upsetting the higher ranked team .. By the way, though they have only played three or four matches together, I see some signs in Vinod and Sunil that they may turn out to be a pretty good doubles pair if they continue to play together at the junior level like this .. By the way, the South African kid whom Sunil had beaten in the Commonwealth youth games in UK two weeks back, #44 ranked Peter-Jon Nomdo, upset the top seed Joachim Johansson of Sweden in the second round at Cuebec in a big surprise.  As Sunil, Vinod, Prakash Amritraj (USA), and Sunitha Rao (USA) all lost in the singles first round, the only Indian name left is in doubles - Prakash (ranked 64th in doubles) has reached second round with Adam Kennedy (AUS,33).

Aug 29 Note-2

Both LP and MB are playing mixed doubles at the US Open .. LP is playing with his usual partner, Lisa Raymond (USA,1), and MB is playing with Ai Sugiyama (JPN,4) .. MB-AS are seeded 5th, and of course the defending champions ..  It is a 5-round 32-draw mixed doubles event.

Here are the draws till SF for LP-LR, in the bottom quarter of the upper half, and for MB-AS, in the bottom quarter of the lower half:

4 Anna Kournikova/ Max Mirnyi        vs Alicia Molik/ Sandon Stolle     \
  Alexandra Stevenson/ Brian MacPhie vs Martina Navratilova/ Rick Leach / \_ SF
  Manon Bollegraf/ Wayne Arthurs     vs James Blake/ Lori McNeil        \ /
6 Barbara Schett/ Joshua Eagle       vs Lisa Raymond/ Leander Paes      /

5 Ai Sugiyama/ Mahesh Bhupathi       vs Karina Habsudova/ David Rikl    \
  Julie Halard Decugis/ Cyril Suk    vs Sandrine Testud/ Diego Nargiso  / \_ SF
  Cara Black/ Mark Knowles           vs Laura Montalvo/ Martin Garcia   \ /
2 Arantxa Sanchez-V/ Jared Palmer    vs Katarina Srebotnik/ Piet Norval /
The upper quarter has #1 seeds Stubbs/Woodbridge and #8 Suarez/Oncins, and the lower half also has #7 seeds Hingis/Gambill and #3 Likhovtseva/Haarhuis .. I think this is a wide open draw (any time when the Williams sisters are not playing on the women's side, it pretty much becomes a wide open draw, I guess :-))

I believe neither LP nor MB is playing doubles or Mx-D on wednesday - they should be playing on thursday .. Stay tuned - I will confirm later.

I have updated the Jaipur satellite page with all of today's results .. Good to see some decent foreign players in the draw .. Watch out for Suchanan Viratprasert from Thailand, the 6th seed - though I am not sure how good she can handle the grasscourts .. The reports are that the grasscourts are making the players without grass experience mad (women players are even worse these days in their grass experience than men players) ..  The low and uneven bounce on the Jai club courts has been making it quite interesting so far .. Whoever can play sharp and smart according to the surface has a chance .. Kamesh Srinivasan called the courts a nice "equalizer" in the report in The Hindu today .. I am sure there are a lot of players hoping to somehow get to the next two weeks on hardcourts at Delhi and clay at Bangalore .. See the Jaipur satellites page.

Aug 29 Note-1

LP-MB should be playing at the USO either tomorrow or the day after .. The mixed doubles draws have not been posted yet .. One result from yesterday that caught my eye was Hyung-Taik Lee advancing to second round with a win over #76 Jeff Tarango .. 24 year old Lee has been coming on very strong lately - actually he was in the final at the Bronx challenger a couple of weeks back, and had come through the qualifiers at USO .. He is ranked #182 and the points will push him inside top-140 .. Leander is ranked #154 now and will be #4 in Asia soon, with Srichaphan (THA,85), Takao Suzuki (JPN,136) and Hyung-Taik Lee ahead of him ..

In doubles ranks this week, Leander moved up a few spots from 63 to 54 with the 75 entry points from the Long Island semifinal .. Mahesh, who had 55 points to defend at Long Island, stayed at 31 .. Vishal Uppal and Mustafa Ghouse moved up about 15 spots each to 421 and 441 in doubles .. Rishi Sridhar and Manoj Mahadevan moved up 70 and 120 spots to 743 and 840 .. I believe those are from the doubles semifinals at the Jordan F1 futures two weeks back - they all got 6 points each.

At the $10K Jaipur satellite today, Monique Adamczak (644) of Australia upset the 3rd seed Orawan Wongkamalasai of Thailand, 64 63 .. Top seed Manisha beat Shalini Thakur easily 60 61, and #2 seed Sai beat Arthi Venkatraman after a bit of struggle, 63 26 62 .. I believe Jennifer Schmidt of Australia has also won - not sure against whom (source: UNI), and I am waiting to see if Suchanan Viratprasert the 6th seed from Thailand, the player I was watching for, has played .. See the Jaipur satellite page .. I will update the remaining 5 results from the first round, later today.

A couple of disappointing junior results to report .. At the Canadian Open Junior Grade-1 ITF international in Cuebec, Sunil Kumar (#94) lost to the Canadian wildcard, Hiroud Akhavan, 67(5) 67(4) and Vinod Sewa (#134) went down 36 36 to 124th ranked Ryan Russell of Jamaica .. For some reason Ryan Russell had to play qualies over the weekend to make the draw, and it's often tough to play someone who has had such match practice on the courts .. Sunil's loss to Hiroud was a bit more disappointing .. Hiroud is a 16 year old canadian who is ranked in the 800s in ITF as he has not played much ITF events; he is near the top of the Canadian 16s rankings and somewhere inside the top-20 in the 18s ranks .. He is the kind of player I would have expected Sunil to beat, but predicting how well Sunil would do against anybody in any given tournament has been very difficult actually, as he is still learning the junior circuit .. It's fair to say that our boys have had trouble right off the blocks in the higher grade international events (both here, and in the far east circuit earlier in the year) -- both Sunil and Vinod seem to be able to do something in the grade-4 and grade-5 events, but not in events filled with top-200 quality players .. But that is the nature of international tennis now, and what I am so glad about is that these two have started getting the higher-level exposure early enough with over a year to go in the juniors .. The days of miracle-kids coming up out of nowhere into ATP are simply over .. Indian kids anyway seem to develop somewhat slower physically as well, and it's all the more reason to send them around to play the junior events till the last day of their eligibility before they go seriously into the bigger events - I hope all the knee-jerk reaction to Sunil's senior title last year and all the chest-thumping that Sunil was ready to take over from LP and MB have stopped .. Give him time - he is our best junior for now, and let him come up at his own pace without pressure .. Sunitha Rao of USA lost 36 61 16 to the 9th seed Eva Birnerova (CZE) in the girls event and Prkash Amritraj (USA) has not played yet .. In doubles, Sewa-Sipaeya are drawn to play Nicholas Lane and Simon Rea of New Zealand, and will possibly run into the top seeds Lee Childs and James Nelson of Britain if they advance to the 2nd round (PQF) ..

To say some more on the junior tennis matter, I am still disappointed that there seems to be no plans to bring grade-3 and higher junior events to India .. We have done the internationalization of the senior circuits for men and women exceedingly well, and AITA deserves credit .. I still do not understand why the biggest junior event in the subcontinent is a grade-3 event in Bangladesh while the Malaysias, Indonesias, and Thailands can bring the top junior players to the grade-3 and grade-2 events .. This matter just needs to be taken seriously and I have been harping on it for two years now .. Our players' development get stunted without match practice against top players in the 16 to 18 years of age, and then they jump into the senior events against top-500 ATP players which is just too much .. By the time they get even 20 matches in their careers against quality opponents (the juniors and seniors who reach top-300 quality in ATP and WTA eventually), our players are 23 to 25 - as in the case of Fazal, Sri, Manisha, etc.

Aug 28 Notes

The $10K ITF satellite event has started at the Jai Club grasscourts in Jaipur today .. 5th seed Rushmi and 7th seed Sonal have advanced .. A nice result to report -- Qualifier Shruti Dhawan is in the second round .. Remember her winning the satellite masters in late 98 ? .. She was just 16 then .. A few missed ITF events and then a long layoff due to a back problem had pushed her completely out of the limelight .. She did play the two weeks of $10K events a few months back, but did not create any waves then .. She has looked good so far, qualifying in, and then easily winning her first round too .. Sheetal Gautham, the top junior in 1998, won a tough three-setter to advance too .. The top two seeds, Manisha and Sai and a few foreign players are all scheduled to play tomorrow .. See the Jaipur satellite page .. Also, I have updated the entry lists for the upcoming Delhi and Bangalore satellites in the next two weeks with the Aug 25th updates.

The Indian u14 boys left Prostejov (World Junior Tennis Final-20) on a good note, winning their last two ties (after losing the first 4 ties in the pool they were in) .. Yesterday they beat Mexico 2-1 to top the group of 4 teams which played for placement in the 17-20 spots .. Rafael Gutierrez d. Tushar Liberhan, 61 64 ..  Karan Rastogi d. Ernesto Arrieta, 61 67(5) 64 .. Rastogi / Divij Sharan d. Gutierrez/ Miguel Angel Reyes Varela, 62 16 61 .. That placed India at the 17th spot in the world .. As for the Asia-Oceania countries, Japan ended at #12, Australia at #13, India at #17 and Thailand at #19 .. Nice comeback work by Karan Rastogi yesterday after we were down 0-1 .. Actually the young pups should be commented on fighting hard to place well in the lowest set's placement, rather than get demoralized after all the poor results in their original group ..  This is actually the best result for India since 1998 when our under 16 team then (Kamala Kannan, Karan Doctor etc) placed #9th in the world at the World Youth Cup .. Spain beat Russia for the top spot in boys. Russia beat CZE for the girls' title .. Shaui Peng and China upset USA to take the 3rd spot .. Taiwan at 5th, Japan at 15th, and Korea 17th in the girls' final standings ..

The PaesEnSports boys, 17 yr old Sunil Kumar Sipaeya and Vinod Kumar Sewa are at the Canadian Open Junior Grade-1 ITF international, the prestigious pre-USOpen warmup event at Repentigny, Cuebec, Canada ..  Vinod Sewa is drawn to face qualifier Ryan Russel of Jamaica in the first round of the 64-draw event, and Sunil Kumar faces wildcard Hiroud Akhavan of Canada .. Vijay Amritraj's son, Prakash Amritraj (USA) has a tough first round match against #5 seed Yen-Hsun Lu of China .. Most top junior names are playing this event .. As far as I know, this is the first Grade-1 event that either Sunil or Vinod has taken part in .. Grade-1 is the second highest ITF grade, behind only the Grade-A level of the junior grand slams .. Winning two rounds to get to final-16 is as good as a title at a grade-5 event, for instance .. Good to see the two boys getting a chance to play there! ..

.. Previous notes are at Notes for the week ending on Aug 28 ..

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.