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LP/MB/NS/Indian-Tennis: Notes for the weeks ending on Sep 29, 2003
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Sep 29 Notes

Not much news today .. I still have not got the draws from Tumkur .. Rohan plays the 6th seed Craca, Harsh plays Karan Rastogi and Prakash gets Martin Lee (a former top-200 player but coming back from injury right now and ranked quite low) .. Not sure whom Sunil and Karan are playing .. Three Indians made the final round of qualies - Ajay, Mustafa and Parantap Chaturvedi (who had a big upset of Vijay Kannan in Q2) .. All three went down to top-400 players seeded in the top four .. Those three are in line for 2nd thru 4th lucky loser spots if there are main draw no shows .. See the Tumkur challenger page .. One piece of good news - I am told Harsh and Rohan are playing doubles together;  if were to guess, it could turn out to be a pretty strong team with all kinds of perfectly complimenting skills, though they have never played together despite being our highest ranked two doubles players (HM at #211 and RB at #219) after LP and MB!

The Jakarta $10K main draw starts tomorrow for Sania, Rushmi and party.

The big bunch of Indian kids who "walked across the Wagah border" for the Islamabad grade-5 ITF juniors have all pretty much advanced to the second round today.

In some late news, Rushmi had gone down in thge QF last week to the top seed Nuria Llagostera Vives (ESP,187), 16 26, at the Lebanon $25K challenger .. She picked up some good 7 WTA points there, though - nice run.

Not much else .. Sunitha Rao (USA) is at the $50K Troy challenger in the US - main draw starting tomorrow.

Sep 28 Notes

Mahesh and Max are playing this week at the $1M Kremlin Cup at Moscow, starting on Monday -- (1) Mahesh Bhupathi/ Max Mirnyi (BLR) vs Tomas Cibulec/ Pavel Vizner (CZE) in the first round ..

The Tumkur qualies have started .. As I don't see Sunil, Karan, and Somdev in the qualifying draw, I assume they have got the main draw wildcards along with Aisam Qureshi of Pakistan .. Things pretty much went as expected today in the first round of qualies, which saw four top-400 entries from abroad .. Vijay, Vinod and Ajay were the 6th through 8th seeds, with Mustafa unseeded but pulling a tough three-set win over Vinod .. Other than that the top Indian players have all advanced to the second round, and now it gets tougher .. See the Tumkur challenger page for scores - I will add the main draw, as soon as it becomes available.

Still no news about how Rushmi Chakravarthi's big quarterfinal match against #187 ranked top seed Nuria Llagostera Vives (ESP) went on Friday at the $25K challanger in Lebanon .. She and Elizabeth Bahn had given a walkover in the doubles QF though - not sure why.

A bunch of Indian girls are expected at the $10K satellite in Jakarta next week .. Sania Mirza (411) was the top player when the entries closed .. Rushmi (450,2nd), Isha Lakhani (495,4th), Sonal Phadke (571,7th), Liza Pereira (696,11th), Samrita Sekar (819,12th) and Shruti Dhawan (822,14th) were the others in the main draw entry list.

Rain played spoilsport at the MSLTA courts yesterday and they abandoned the boys and girls finals at the grade-4 ITF juniors in Mumbai .. That is a pity - Tushar Liberhan has been in irrepressible form lately and would have quite possibly won the title against Purav Raja whom he had beaten in straight sets last week .. They shared the title, as did Preethi Subramaniam and S. Punam Reddy on the girls' side .. See the Mumbai juniors page .. The great news in these two junior events was the nice return to top form by 16 yr old Tushar Liberhan .. After coming all the way to #108 last December, Tushar basically had not done anything this whole year on the circuit (injuries? studies? .. something like that) .. Anyway, he was in danger of having hardly any points left by now, and he came through with flying colors winning four titles in the last 4 grade-4 events, all in 5 weeks time two in UZB .. He will now be ranked around #120 .. I am not sure if he is going to the few good East Asian junior events coming up .. With a few more points from those and the Asian Juniors in December, Tushar will be ready to join Karan and Divij next year as part of our grand slam junior team, as things look right now.

Sep 27 Notes

Sorry for a couple of late updates this week .. I hope you saw the scores I was updating at the ITF juniors page and the scores being reported from Tashkent and elsewhere in the forum page though..

In yet another three-setter, Harsh Mankad went down to the 3rd seed vadim Kutsenko (UZB,230) at the Tashkent Asian championships, 61 06 57 .. Well, at least he made it to the QF when all 5 other Indians there fell in the first round .. Harsh made some decent money for the trip and he gets 3-4 days of rest before the Tumkur challenger -- he has been continuously on the road without complete rest for 5 weeks now, and has three more weeks of play coming up.

The best news is from the $25K challenger in Jounieh, Lebanon this week .. Rushmi Chakravarthi has reached the singles QF there (also doubles) .. She got lucky in the first round, getting a retirement when she led 4-1 on the 7th seed Dominika Luzarova (CZE), and has made full advantage of that with a second round win over wildcard Mariana Muci (VEN) 64 46 76(4) .. In doubles, Elisabeth Bahn (AUT) and Rushmi beat Rawya Seif (EGY) and Julia Acs (HUN) 60 64 and was to play Veronica Riozhik (ESP) and Ana Timotic (YUG) in the QF .. GO Rushmi - she can really use some points now, after a few months of injury-comeback problems.

The Tumkur challenger entry had fallen by one more spot to #366 yesterday, as I updated at the Tumkur challenger page.  The sign-in for qualies is in a few hours (saturday night 9 pm) out there .. One wildcard has gone to Aisam Qureshi .. I am not sure I agree with giving a wildcard to a Pakistani, though like Aisam a lot - at least he has consistently come to India all the time and has done well playing with Indian partners (like Rohan in that challenger doubles win, etc) .. Perhaps a "goodwill gesture" to Pakistan .. I also learned just now that the Pakistani embassy went out of their way to process quick visas (on a Saturday!) today to clear 7 Indian payers who are going to the grade-5 junior tournament to Pakistan ...

At the ITF junior grade-4 "MSLTA" international tourney in Mumbai, the run continued for 16 yr old Tushar Liberhan, who picked up his 18th two-set win in a long 19 match win streak in four consecutive ITF grade-4 events .. He is in the final against Purav Raja, who is a nearly 18 year old player who is settled in the UK and is getting ready to go to college there .. Purav used to be a pretty good player in Mumbai earlier, before the family moved to UK - I heard from a couple of folks (including his former coach Mayur Vasant) about him .. Considering that he is a slightly older player, it is not a big surprise that he has picked up the wins to reach the final, though .. He had lost to Tushar in straight sets last week in Gurgaon, and the repeat match is in the final today .. On the girls' side, the story has been the consistent play of two 16 year olds - Preethi Subrahmanyam, the daughter of a very good Karate exponent from Kovai (TN) versus Punam Reddy .. Both Preethi and Punam have shown more consistency in wins lately than most of the seeded players on the girls' side .. The boys doubles title yesterday went to Tushar and Navdeep Singh, and the girls title to Prrethi and Sandri Gangothri .. See the Mumbai juniors page.

Sep 25 Notes

At Tashkent Asian Championships, Harsh Mankad reached the QF today with an unexpectedly tough 75 67(5) 63 win over Mohammed Al Ghareeb (KUW) .. HM had beaten Seung Hoon Oh (KOR) 61 62 yesterday .. He is the only one to go past the first round out of 6 players from India though, as Rohan Bopanna who is suffering from cold and an upset stomach was upset yesterday, 64 64 by Denis Salimsakov of UZB ..  All the Indians had won their frist round doubles, but all lost today .. [R1] Anton Kokurin (UZB)/ Sunil Kumar d. Shahab Hassan Nafez (IRI)/ Renouk Wijemanne (SRI) 64 62 .. [QF] l. (1) Alexey Kedriouk (KAZ)/ Aisam Qureshi (PAK), 67(5) 36 .. [R1] Ankita Bhambri/ Po-Kuen LAM (HKG) d. Eleonara Sitdjemileva/ Alexandra Sorotyaga (UZB) 62 61 .. [QF] l. (2) Chin Bee Khoo (MAS)/ Napaporn Tongsalee (THA), 26 06 .. [QF] Isha Lakhani/ Megha Vakharia d. Chattida Thimjapo/ Wilawan Choptang (THA), 16 62 63 .. [QF] l. (3) Chia-Jung Chuang/ Chin-Wei Chan (TPE), 06 16 .. Those are some disappointing scores in doubles as well, though all were against seeded pairs.

The Davis Cup Draw for next year's regionals have come out, and unlike this year when we had a piece of cake regional schedule, we have a much tougher road next year to the WG playoffs .. India plays New Zealand again, but at NZL next year, and if we advance, we will face the winner of JPN@INA .. If we make the second and it is against Japan, we travel .. If it is against Indoensia, we play at home .. But remembering that we needed every ounce of leander energy in our previous trips to Japan and New Zealand, this is a tough draw, but RB, PA and HM are all much better players now to handle it.

They figured out that there were no possibilities for special exempt entries at the Tumkur challenger and so ATP dropped the cut down to 24 spots today.  With a couple more withdrawls among the lower ranks, the cut has now fallen to #355 and Harsh Mankad has made the main draw .. That gives us 4 wildcards to hand out to other Indians .. Perhaps Sunil, Vijay, Karan, Somdev etc could get one each?

At the Mumbai ITF gradd-4 juniors, rain has been delaying things a bit, and they have started playing some matches at the CCI courts, inaddition to the Ranade courts .. Anyway, Tushar Liberhan has reached the semifinal, extending his winning streak to 18 matches .. I am having all kinds of difficulties in gauging the quality of a lot of players in either draws, due to some serious age-discrepancy problems (not in Tushar's case - his age id legit; I can't say that about quite a few others in both draws) .. This is a terrible situation right now and something AITA needs to handle very soon before some crap hits the fan .. Anyway, that is a long discussion for another occasion .. Rupesh beat last week's runner up Vishnu in the first round, was then upset by Aditya Madkekar in the second round, who was upset by a wildcard Purav Raja (had never noticed that name before - somebody good?) who had also upset the 8th seed Gulati in the second round .. On the girls's side, S.Preethi is in the semis .. Some of the other QFs are not done yet I think .. Punam Reddy has been quite consistent in her wins lately .. See the Mumbai juniors page.

Sep 24 Note-1

Prakash had a good start today at the $550K Thailand Open ATP in Bangkok, but he could not sustain that to pull off the upset .. [R1] Nicolas Thomann (FRA,123) d. (wc) Prakash Amritraj (IND,333), 57 63 63 .. Prakash now goes to India for the three challengers.

The entry list for the 3rd of the Indian challengers came out yesterday .. I have posted it at the Belgaum challenger page ..  Similar list as in the previous two weeks, but a couple of entries less .. Better chance for PA, RB, HM to make it in by the time it starts -- all three are among the top few entries in the qualifying list initially .. No withdrawals are listed yet for next week's Tumkur challenger, and at this point Harsh Mankad will need a wildcard to make it .. I will update the Tumkur page as the entry list cut moves down, which it normally starts doing at around this time, about 3 days before qualifying sign-in (saturday).

Rushmi Chakravarthi is at the Lebanon $25K challenger -- Tough first round, against the 7th seed Dominika Luzarova (CZE) for her .. Good start in doubles for her -[R1] Elisabeth Bahn (AUT)/ R.Chakravarthi d. Rawya Seif (EGY)/ Julia Acs (HUN) 60 64 [Thanks Neil for finding her playing there; I was not aware she was going there!]

At the $100K ATF Asian Championships in Tashkent, 4th seed Bopanna and 5th seed Mankad play today .. Yesterday was a terrible day for our women, as all three lost .. Says ATF's news release - Ankita Bhambri forced crowd favorite Ivanna Isroilova of Uzbekistan to earn her a three-set victory, 1/6, 6/3, 6/1. A losing finalist last year, Isroilova who is presently ranked 507, got off to a poor start but picked up the pace and power in her play in the second and third sets to race away to victory. Isha Lakhani had the closest contested tie in her match against Thailandís Choptang Wilawan and lost with a score of 7/6, 7/5. Megha Vakharia however was overwhelmed by Hong Kongís Lam Po Kuen, 6/1, 6/4 .. In doubles, Sunil Kumar and Anton Kokurin (UZB) advanced to the QF with a 64 62 win over Shahab Hassan Nafez of Iran and Renouk Wijemanne of Sri Lanka .. All three of our women are in the doubles draw, but Rohan and Harsh are skipping doubles to conserve energy, as they have three weeks of challengers coming up.

Mustafa Ghouse (IND,760) who qualified into the $10K Spain F24, could not get past the 2nd seed in the first round, losing 57 36 to Marc Fornell (ESP,337).

The first round got all completed at the ITF gradd-4 "MSLTA" junior international in Mumbai .. The kids from our Junior Davis/Fed Cup have come back from Germany and joined the draw .. Rupesh, Jeevan, Kartiki and Sandhya are all playing this.  Rupesh beat last week's runner-up Vishnu Vardhan .. Tushar continued his winning streak to 16 matches .. See the Mumbai juniors page.

Sep 22 Notes

Not much going on this week, except for the Asian Championships at Tashkent, and Prakash at the Thailand Open .. There was only bad news today, as Sunil Kumar got upset 63 61  in the first round by wild card Murad Inoyatov (UZB,1004) - the official press release from the Asian Tennis Federation says, "Inoyatov took his chances well and covered much of the court to outpace much of his opponentís groundstrokes to win.  Sipaeya was let down by his serves and lacked consistency.  His second set, in particular, was riddled with several unforced errors" .. I wonder if Sunil could have used an extra day of practice there .. He played one of the few matches there today, as many players were only getting there, and some first round matches will only be done on wednesday .. Tomorrow, Isha, Megha and Ankita play their R1 matches .. Rohan and Harsh should be playing their R1 matches only on wednesday, I think .. The draws are all posted in the Asian Championship thread under "Tournaments" in our forum.  The Asian Tennis Federation continues to be prompt in posting the results at their website like last year, and in forwarding the news releases to all of us!

Prakash also will be playing the first round at Bangkok only on wednesday, I believe.

At the Spain F24 $10K futures, 6th seed Mustafa Ghouse beat 15th seed Theodoros Angelinos (GRE) 63 61 in the Q3 to make the main draw .. Tough match for him next in the R1, against the second seed Marc Fornell (ESP).

The second week of ITF grade-4 juniors is underway in Mumbai, conducted by Maharashtra State Lawn Tennis Assocation at the GA Ranade courts .. I have not seen the draw and all the results yet, but there were some upsets according to The Hindu -- 13 year old Parija Maloo (who is the #1 u14 player in the AITA ranking) beating the 7th seed Asha Nandakumar 26 64 61 was some sort of a surprise to me .. S.Preethi beat 4th seed K.Pooja and Sandri Gangotri upset the 5th seed Nidhi Shah .. I will start a page soon for this tournament.

.. Previous notes are at Notes for the week ending on Sep 22 ..

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.