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LP/MB/NS/Indian-Tennis: Notes for the week ending on Sep 8, 2003
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Sep 8 Notes

The updated entry list with new rankings, as of this morning in the US, for the Tumkur challenger in three weeks -- Stefano Galvani (ITA,138), Rik DeVoest (RSA,174), Yeu Tzuoo Wang (TPE,228), Michal Tabara (CZE,237), Marcelo Craca (GER,238), Oliver Marach (AUT,254), Luis Vosloo (RSA,256), Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER,266), Frank Moser (GER,294), Leonardo Azzaro (ITA,315), Ota Fukarek (CZE,321), Prakash Amritraj (IND,323), Thomas Blake (USA,329), Teimuraz Gabashvili (RUS,332), Philipp Petzschner (GER,341), Harsh Mankad (IND, 351), Dmitri Vlasov (RUS,355), Zbynek Mlynarik (AUT,371), Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA,373), Frederico Luzzi (ITA,378) .. Those are the top-400 players as of now .. Except for Craca and Vosloo who may make other challengers, everybody else would stay in the list .. We can expect a few more entries today, before it closes at 5 pm Florida time .. 22 will make the cut, which should be somewhere around 360 or 375 ..

Good news from Uzbekistan again .. 16 yr old Tushar Liberhan won back-to-back ITF grade-4 junior titles there .. Following on his double crown in the previous week, he won the singles title and finished runner-up in doubles last week .. Here are the scores: [R1] d. Nodir Vakhadjanov (UZB,NR) 62 64 .. [R2] d. Andrey Boldarev (UZB,993) 63 62 .. [QF] d. Rumil Galiev (UZB,NR) 60 61 .. [SF] d. Sergei Kwak (UZB,822) 63 63 .. [F] d. (2) Eduard Khan (UZB,321) 36 63 60 .. Doubles: [R1] Yuriy Akatov (KAZ)/ Tushar Liberhan (IND) d. Akmal Kayumov (UZB)/ Evgeniy Nigmatyanov (UZB), 61 62.. [QF] d. Sergey Churin (UZB)/ Alexander Lidzar (KGZ), 61 46 64 .. [SF] d. Alexei Milner (ISR)/ Djamolhon Umarov (UZB), retd .. [F] l. Arsen Asanov (UZB)/ Vladislav Shegai (UZB), 36 67(5) .. The title gives Tushar 40 more ITF world ranking points .. His points total goes up to 175 and his ranking should be inside the top-150 this week .. Good to see the kid keeping his focus throughout two weeks.

Awaiting the draw for the Bangalore women's satellite, etc ..  Harsh Mankad will be playing only tomorrow at the Donetsk challenger.

Sep 7 Notes

Harsh Mankad and Jason Marshall (USA) went down fighting in the final at the $50K+H Kiev challenger - 26 63 46 loss to the 4th seeds, Ignacio Gonzalez-King and Juan Pablo Guzman of Argentina .. This turned out to be a good week for Harsh, as the first-time partnership worked with Jason, who is a friend of his from the time they were playing each other in the Big-10 college conference (Jason was a player at the Purdue university) .. Jason is ranked near top-150 in doubles .. He is a pretty good singles player but somehow doubles has worked out much better for him .. The 42 points raises HM's doubles point tally to 185 and his ranking to about #240 .. Interestingly,122 of those points have come in the last four months since he took the trip to Portugal and topped the satellite doubles there with 33 points and followed it with 2 futures titles .. 102 points from 8 weeks on clay in Europe .. With no points to defend till February in doubles, HM seems well-placed to go up the doubles rankings inside top-200 or 150 soon ..

The draw has come out at the Donetsk $25K+H challenger in Ukraine, which is on hardcourts .. Harsh is drawn against the 8th seed Jean-Francois Bachelot (FRA,270) .. He is the guy HM upset in the first round at Bangalore where he was the 3rd seed, then ranked #155 .. Bachelot was in the top-150 for a couple of years till his ranking dropped a bit recently .. He has been playing well lately again .. I hope Harsh can get past him once again .. In doubles, Mankad-Marshall are again the 3rd seed .. They play the Russian pair, Sergei Krotiouk and Michail Ledovskikh.

Tomorrow at 5 pm at the Florida ATP office (or 6 hrs earlier at the Monte Carlo office in Europe) is the deadline for entries for the first of the three Indian challengers, the $25K+H at Tumkur, Karnataka .. A couple of top payers have entered in the last two days .. #157 Stefano Galvani and #179 Rik DeVoest .. After them, the list right now has Yeu Tzuoo Wang (TPE,218), Luis Vosloo (RSA,250), Leonardo Azzaro (ITA,256), Oliver Marach (AUT,269), Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER,271), Frank Moser (GER,292), Prakash Amritraj (IND,320), Thomas Blake (USA,324), Philipp Petzschner (GER,332), Dmitri Vlasov (RUS,346), Harsh Mankad (IND, 360), Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA,366) and Zbynek Mlynarik (AUT,373) as the top-400 players .. Except for Azarro, Vosloo and Blake who have Tumkur as the second choice and could make another challenger in the same week, all the rest are pretty much going to be at Tumkur .. There will also be at least another 10 or so payers who should be expected to enter in the next day before it closes, as they put in the entry faxes from the weekend (one of them should be Rohan Bopanna, by the way) .. The cut will probably be somewhere in the 375 to 450 range, if i were to guess .. PA, RB and HM look safe for direct entry right now .. With four wildcards and four qualifier spots, we should have about 8 players in the main draw from India .. After many years, we will finally have some challengers with decent Indian participation.

By the way, I just noticed an ATP fact sheet that is posted on the Internet for the Tumkur challenger that says september 15th is the deadline for entry.  That is wrong.  The deadline IS tomorrow, the 8th! .. I am sure the players know that 3 weeks ahead is the usual challenger deadline, so I don't think anyone is mistaken on this -- but just to be sure....

Sep 6 Notes

Harsh Mankad and Jason Marshall (USA) upset the second seeds and reached the final of the $50K+H challenger at Kiev, Ukraine .. The scores so far - [R1] (3) H.Mankad/ Jason Marshall (USA) d. Stephane Bohli (SUI)/ Jan Minar (CZE), 60 46 64 .. [QF] d. (wc) Michail Filima/ Orest Tereschuk (UKR), w/o .. [SF] d. (2) Michail Elgin/ Dmitry Vlasov (RUS), 63 76(6) .. The final is against the 4th seeds, Ignacio Gonzalez-King and Juan Pablo Guzman of Argentina .. 42 ATP doubles points so far for HM .. That is timely because he loses 24 points on monday from the two futures titles last year in India .. The extra points are enough to raise his ranking by about 25 spots to near #240 ..  He has done very well in doubles in the last 4 months, most of it on clay in Europe, actually.

At the $75K+H Istanbul challenger yesterday, Mustafa Ghouse and Danai Udomchoke (THA)  lost the QF to the top seeds Jonathan Erlich and Andy Ram (ISR), 36 36 .. Nothing much else to report today.

Top seed Suchanan Viratprasert (THA) had no problem winning the $10K satellite final in Delhi over Chin-Bee Khoo (MAS) .. Khoo and Megha Vakharia had won the doubles yesterday .. See the Delhi satellite page for all scores.

Sep 5 Notes

Only a brief update .. This US Open was painful right from the beginning  - it ended for us today with MB-MM falling 62 62 (no idea how/why they were that offcolor today against Santoro-Llodra) and Sania falling 26 36 to 10th seed Emma Laine .. Both Megha and Samrita lost at the Delhi staellites semis and so the final there is between Suchanan Viratprasert (THA) and Chin-Bee Khoo (MAS) .. The only good news today was that Mankad-Marshall won the doubles first round and then got a walkover to the semis at the Kiev challenger .. Somdev has come to California for the futures down here, but the qualies sign-in was thursday night and he couldn't have made it on time as the USO junior doubles draw was cancelled too late yesterday .. He will practice for a week and perhaps try for the doubles draw and then play the futures qualies next week .. Leter; Gotta run.

Sep 4 Notes

They finally got a few hours of play today at the US Open .. Enough time for Mad Max to reach the QF .. [R3] (1) Mahesh Bhupathi/ Max Mirnyi (BLR) d. (15) Lucas Arnold / Mariano Hood (ARG) 76(8) 62 .. Up next tomorrow are the 6th seeded French pair, Michael Llodra and Fabrice Santoro ..

Harsh Mankad, our only experienced red clay player, seems to have played one of his best matches today though he lost it at the $50K+H Kiev claycourt challenger .. He went down in the second round, 64 57 46 to the highest ranked player he has ever played on the professional tour, defending champ Irakli Labadze (GEO,105) .. I'm quite impressed at what HM was able to do against a genuinely good quality clay player, but once again no cigar when you don't win .. Still a good week for HM, as he made some money and picked up 6 more points for his 5th challenger level win (all since April) .. That will take his total up to 87 pts and ranking a few spots up, inside the top-350 for the first time .. They postponed his doubles R1 match to tomorrow .. HM and Jason Marshall play Minar-Bohli and if they advance, they will play the QF also tomorrow .. By the way, HM just moved into the main draw for next week's $25K+H hardcourt challenger at Donetsk, Ukraine .. He was 4 out earlier today but there were that many withdrawals today - so he doesn't have to worry about getting there fast for qualies ..

At the Delhi $10K satellites, Samrita Sekar pulled off her second upset, this time over 6th seed Sai in three sets to recah the final .. I am sure Samrita is thrilled to have upset Rushmi and Sai in the same week that not too many Indians have been able to do .. Isha could not put up enough of a challnge to the top seed Suchanan Viratprasert of Thailand .. Megha took out Archana and faces the 2nd seed Chin-bee Khoo (Malaysia) .. See the Delhi satellite page for all scores.

Good news from Sania Mirza at the US Open, as she became the only Indian to advance to second round, with a 62 63 win over Lara Giltinan (AUS) .. 15 yr old Tara Iyer unfortunately could not do much against a strong #1 seed, Bethanie Mattek (USA), going down 06 46 .. Divij Sharan, one of the lowest ranked players in the field showed that he belonged in there, playing a tough match against the 16th seed Hyun-Joon Suk (KOR), 64 46 46 .. Darnit -- all three of our boys played three-setters but came out at the wrong end of the scorelines.

I just heard from Somdev Varman that they have cancelled the junior doubles competition altogether at the USO, as there is no time to do it .. That is bad news ..  Actually Somdev will come down to California tomorrow if a flight ticket works out and will be with me for two weeks, to play the two $10K futures down here in Southern California - he will need to sign in for qualies tomorrow night here .. AITA had set up the two weeks trip for him, but I was wondering how he was going to make it for the first one, as the doubles draw had not even started so far at USO.

Sep 3 Notes

It is 11 am and it is raining quite steadily for a 3rd day in a row at the US Open .. Did they move USO to Seattle or London? .. I have no earthly idea how they will finish this tournament!

Bad news from Indonesia futures, as Rohan Bopanna was upset 63 61 by Martin Slanar (AUT) today, following which Rohan and Vijay also conceded the doubles match at 36 01 to Dong-Whee Choi (KOR)/ Yew-Ming Si (MAS) .. Not sure who is injured, but looking at the scorelines, Rohan does not appear to have been doing great today .. Hopefully there is nothing serious and he is simply tired after all the matches last week .. 9 singles matches and 6 doubles matches in 12 days is way too much of playing .. He may have decided not to push things too much - I hope.

Vijay Amritraj is quoted today by PTI to be saying that Prakash's injury at Indonesia is not serious (a knee tendon problem, he said) and that PA will be ready for Davis Cup.

Mustafa Ghouse and Danai Udomchoke advanced to the second round of doubles at the $75K+H Istanbul challenger beating the Greek pair, Konstantinos Economidis and Solon Peppas (GRE), 63 64 ..  The next round opponents TBD.

At the Delhi satellites, there were no upsets today, as all 7 seeds advanced to the QFs .. One interesting match was Sonal Phadke's win over Ankita Bhambri, 63 76(3) .. Ankita is returning from an ankle injury after she won the satellites 3 months back and has been rusty .. Apparently she had 8 double faults today .. Tough to win against somebody like Sonal when that happens .. I hope Ankita gets the rust off from her game soon .. Isha Lakhani playing the top seed Suchanan Viratprasert is an interesting match in the QF .. Ranked right inside the top-300, Suchanan may be the highest ranked player to come for a women's satellite in India in recent years .. See the Delhi satellite page for all scores.

Sep 2 Note-2

Well today also was a washout at the US Open .. Now MB-MM and other wait for tomorrow ..

Mustafa Ghouse is in the main draw of doubles at the $75K+H Istanbul challenger, with a good partner - Danai Udomchoke (THA) .. They play  the Greek pair, Konstantinos Economidis and Solon Peppas .. Good to see Mustafa using his doubles rank wisely, entering a higher prize money challenger and saving money from hospitality, etc .. He was not very successful in the singles qualies, which had quite a tough field .. 816th ranked Mustafa beat Yannis Vlachos (GRE,1382) 61 60 and then fell in the Q2 to the 6th seed Jaroslav Levinsky (CZE,411) 16 26 ..

Sep 2 Note-1

It continues to rain in New York, as of noon today ..  Now there is serious scheduling crunch at the US Open ..

The Telegraph (Kolkata) reported that Leander was discharged from the hospital on saturday morning .. I have not talked to Orlando since last week, but all is fine with Lee I assume.

Good news from the $50K+H Kiev challenger, as Harsh Mankad reached the second round in the first claycourt challenger win by an Indian in over six years - since Mahesh won one round at the Budapest challenger in 1997 May! .. [R1] H.Mankad d. (wc) Dmitri Kotchetkov (AUT), 62 62 - he finally got some help there from the draw for a round, for a change! .. In the second round he will probably run into the top seed on thursday .. He plays the doubles R1 tomorrow.

By the way, the entries are due by Monday next week for KSLTA's  $25K+H Tumkur ATP challenger .. So far only few entries have gone in, with #218 Yeu-Tzuoo Wang, #320 Prakash Amritraj, #360 Harsh Mankad, #366 Jo-Wilfred Tsonga, #482 Ti Chen as the only top-500 players who have entered Tumkur as thir first choice .. Most entries would be going in only this week - so it's early ..

At the $15K Indonesia futures today, Rohan Bopanna advanced to R2 with a 76(5) 64 win over Dong-Hyun Kim (KOR) .. Unfortunately, 6th seed Vijay Kannan was upset by young qualifier Anuwat Dalodom (THA), 63 57 63 .. RB plays Martin Slanar (AUT) tomorrow.

At the Delhi $10K women's satellite, Samrita Sekar had a big upset today, over the 3rd seed Rushmi Chakravarthi .. Samirta is one of those players who is always dangerous, it seems (she has had some big upsets in the past too) - but she often does not seem to string together enough wins to make the move up the ranking ladder .. The other interesting match today was as expected between Sai and Sheetal .. The 6th seed Sai somehow made it through in an 8-6 3rd set win .. See the Delhi satellite page for all scores.

There was a double crown by an indian junior last week that I came to know of only now after seeing an AITA press release .. 16 yr old Tushar Liberhan won both the singles and doubles at the grade-4 ITF in Uzbekistan .. Tushar was among the two guys I had kept an eye on from late 2001 when they turned 15 (the other being Karan, of course) ..  He was doing fine last year, as he finished the year at #108 in the world .. But since losing the 2002 september grade-4 events in India in the final and semi to Somdev and Karan, he seemed to be in a funk for a long time, going 2-7 in junior matches this year .. I am not sure what was wrong .. It is great to see Tushar finally coming through last week - perhaps the time recently at the National Tennis Academy among the first batch of trainees there has helped him a bit to get his focus back .. Scores - [R1] Tushar Liberhan d. Alexei Milner (ISR,990)  60 60 .. [R2]d. Vaja Uzakov (UZB,852)  64 75 .. [QF] d. Alexey Namazov (UZB,NR)  61 62 .. [SF] d. (4) Djamolhon Umarov (UZB,442)  64 61 .. [F] d. Marsel Khamdamov (UZB,1134)  62 60 .. Doubles: [R1] (2) Eduard Khan (UZB)/ T.Liberhan d. Arsen Asanov/ Akmal Kayumov (UZB) 61 63 .. [QF] Talgat Baygulov (UZB)/ Sergey Tsay (KAZ) 57 64 75 .. [SF] (4) Yuriy Akatov (KAZ)/ Djamolhon Umarov (UZB) 16 63 64 .. [F]  Vladislav Shegai/ Vaja Uzakov (UZB) 76(6) 64 .. Congratulations to Tushar!

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

.. Previous notes are at Notes for the week ending on Sep 1 ..

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.