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Indian-Tennis: Daily News for the week ending on Sep 29, 2008
(Previous weeks' notes) (Next week's notes) (Daily Notes Index 1997 thru 2008)

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Sep 29 Notes

At the $576K "AIG Open" ATP in Tokyo, Leander and Lukas Dlouhy are the top seeds and face Guillermo Garcia-Lopez/Ivan Navarro-Pastor of Spain in the first round .. Also in the draw is Rohan Bopanna with Eric Butorac (USA), but they have a tough R1 match against the second seeds Simon Aspelin (SWE)/ Julian Knowle (AUT) .. Good to see Bops with Butorac again .. The last time they played, they won the LA ATP title, which was Bops' first ATP tour title. At the $175K Tier-III WTA event at the same Tokyo venue, Shikha Uberoi is in the doubles draw with Mashona Washington of USA - they face Marta Domachowska (RUS) and Klara Zakopalova (CZE) first.

Sunitha Rao (IND,186) is seeded 8th this week at the $50K challenger in Troy, Alabama. She faces Shenay Perry (USA,360) in the first round .. Shenay could turn out to be  tough player - she was as high as #40 in 2006 but is just making a comeback after a year of break with some good result since July .. Sunitha is seeded second in doubles with Angela Haynes (USA) and plays Sandy Gumulya (INA) and Tetiana Luzhanska (UKR) in the first round.

Sep 28 Notes

Good news! .. At Bangkok today, Leander Paes and Lukas Dlouhy won the $576K Thailand Open doubles title!!.. In the semifinals, they beat Fabrice Santoro (FRA)/ Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) 64 62, and in the finals, they took out Scott Lipsky (USA)/ David Martin (USA), 64 76(4) .. This is LP's 40th doubles title (take a bow, Lee!) .. First of the year, and the first in Dlouhy's company .. Lee had reached the Rosmalen final with Hesh, and the finals at Halle and USO with Lukas so far this year ..

Prakash Amritraj was at the € 370K Monz ATP qualies over the weekend .. He beat
Lovro Zovko (CRO,504) 64 63 in the Q1 but was upset by Romain Jouan (FRA,440), 46 64 76(5), in the Q2 .. PA came back from 0-3 down in the third but could not close the show in the tiebreaker .. He gets back to the US this week and will be at the Sacramento challenger next week, with Somdev.  Also in action this weekend in tour event qualies were Rohan Bopanna and Shikjha Uberoi, both at the ATP and WTA events in Tokyo, but they went down in the Q1 rounds .. (WC) Hiroki Kondo (JPN,589) d. (10)Rohan Bopanna (IND,350) 63 46 76(4) .. Junri Namigata (JPN,239) d. Shikha Uberoi (IND,715) 75 36 62.

The SF and the third place tie did not go India's way at the u16 world finals in San Luis Potosi this weekend .. SF: India l. to USA 0-3 .. Saurabh Singh l. Evan King 26 06 .. Yuki Bhambri l. Denis Kudla 46 76 46 .. Abhishek/ Saurabh l. King/ Raymond 36 63 46 .. Third-Place: India l. russia 1-2 to finish 4th .. Saurabh Singh l. Richard Muzaev 06 16 .. Yuki Bhambri l. Mikhail Biryukov 60 64 .. Bhambri/ Singh l. Biryukov/ Muzaev 64 57 36 .. In fact, the third place tie was close enough and we could have pulled it off in doubles with some luck .. Anyway, a fabulous run nonetheless to have finished 4th in the world in u16 .. Congratulations boys.

Sep 26 Note-2

YES!!! .. Great news !!! .. India is in the Junior Davis Cup world semifinals!! ..  We beat Brazil 2-1 today, winning both the singles matches in comebacks! .. Saurabh Singh d. Henrique Tsukamoto 46 62 61 .. Yuki Bhambri d. Guilherme Clezar 36 61 61 .. SV Abhishek/ S.Singh l. H.Tsukamoto/ Tiago Fernandes, 76(6) 76(6) .. Up next in the semifinal for India are the top seeds USA .. The other semi is between Russia and Argentina .. Nice company, eh? .. Here are two pictures I got just now from Mexico, from a very hapy captain Kawaljeet Singh .. Don't worry, that is actually apple juice he is holding .. Have one now, captain .. Win a title, and you are allowed to open a champagne bottle for yourself and get some hot milk for the boys! .. Those are Saurabh, Kawaljeet, Abhishek and Yuki in that oreder behind the flag, which looks nice in Mexico!

Of course, this is the very first time that we have reached the junior davis cup semifinal .. Fabulous that it has happened the same year when we reached semifinals of the u14 world championship too, and finished third .. Hope "Kawaljeet's Cavalry" can do even better than third !!

Sep 26 Note-1

Top seeds Leander and Lukas Dlouhy beat Tomas Berdych and Simone Bolelli 61 62 today to reach the semifinal at the Bangkok ATP .. In tomorrow's semi, they square up against the French pair, Fabrice Santoro and Jo-Wilfred Tsonga, who upset the third seeds there in a supertiebreaker match.

Rohan Bopanna (IND,355) is the 10th seed in the qualies of the Tokyo ATP, playing a wildcard Hiroki Kondo (JPN,593) .. If he advances in the 2-round qualies, he may run into the 4th seed Brendan Evans (USA,187) .. I assume Bops will be in the doubles main draw too.  In the Tier-III "AIG Open" WTA in Tokyo, Shikha Uberoi (IND,737) is in the qualies .. She also faces a Japanese, 232nd ranked Junri Namogata .. It is a tough three-round qualies in the women's event, where Shikha is in the quarter of the 3rd seed Vania King (USA,103).

Eagerly awaiting news from San Luis Potosi, on how the junior Davis Cup tie against Brazil went today!

Sep 25 Notes

A pretty unexpected loss for Somdev at the Bucharest challenger today .. He went down 16 26 to Gero Kertschmer (GER,490) .. Not sure what exactly happened, and it is indeed a big surprise, after the way he had beaten top-100 and top-200 players on red clay recently .. I hope there was no injuries or anything and some item in his game got exploited .. That happens when you get on any surface for the first time - and European red clay is one where the "tricks of the trade" are know well-enough only by Europeans and South Americans.  Somdev is probably a bit tired too, this being the 4th week of a stretch when he was contiuously hitting every day .. He needs a break.  He gets it now - as he is off for the next 10 days .. Up next is the Sacramento challenger, back on the familiar hard courts, starting Oct 6th in Northern California .. Both Somdev and Prakash are in the main draw .. Harsh Mankad says he will be there too, playing qualies, as will be Ashutosh Singh if he gets a visa on time.

Good news from San Luis Potosi, as India beat Britian in the postponed doubles match today, taking the final game of the second set and winning the tiebreaker .. 64 76.   That puts India at the top of the pool with 2-0 in the two ties .. Brazil, who had beaten 8th seeds Britain 2-1 on the first da, lost the postponed doubles tie against Mexico in a three-setter today.  So, BRA and MEX are 1-1 and GBR is 0-2 .. India will top the pool with a win over Brazil tomorrow.  The top teams from the 4 pools move to the world semifinal.   The tie tomorrow may not be easy, but no tie is, at the world final-16 .. Go Yuki and party!

Sep 24 Notes

Somdev, Prakash and Sunitha are in action at the Bucharest (Romania, clay), Grenoble (France, indoor hard), and Ashland (Kentucky, USA, hard) challengers this week .. 244th ranked Somdev won the first round in an upset on Tuesday, 64 62 over the 7th seed Dominik Meffert (GER,179), and plays a qualifier, Gero Krestchmer (GER,490) in the R2 tomorrow .. 224th ranked Prakash had a good start but went down 75 26 46 against Gary Lugassy (FRA,279) .. Sunitha had the toughest assignment, as she was up against the second seed Julie Ditty (USA,116) .. She gave it a go but could not pull the upset in a 67(3) 67(2) match ..

In doubles this week, the top seeds Leander and Lukas Dlouhy got a scare from Rohan and Aisam (good job, guys!) but were too good to go down in a 76(3) 46 (10-7) supertiebreak match at the $576K Bangkok ATP .. In the QF, LP-LD face Tomas Berdych (CZE) and Simone Bolelli (ITA) .. At the Grenoble challenger R1, Prakash and Richard Bloomfield (GBR) beat the French pair, Gary Lugassy and Vincent Millot, 63 61 and run into the third seeded Austrians, Martin Fischer and Philipp Oswald .. At Ashland, Sunitha and Angela Haynes (USA) had a heartbreaker loss, just as in singles for Sunitha, as they fell to Liga Dekmeijere (LAT) and Jelena Pandzic (CRO) after a big comeback, 36 75 (10-12)

At the world u16 junior Davis Cup final-16, San Luis Potosi, Mexico this week, the Indian team (Yuki Bhambri, Saurabh Singh and SV Abhishek, captain: Kawaljeet Singh) is seeded second .. That is the highest seeding that any junior Indian team has got in any real world sport ever, that I remember .. It is primarily on the strength of Yuki Bhambri's junior ranking .. Seedings do not matter though, and it will come down to how the second singles and the doubles matches go .. India is in the toughest pool group too - with 8th seeds Britian, Brazil and hosts Mexico (are you kidding me? - that was my reaction, seeing that draw!) .. We had a tough but winning start yesterday with a 2-1 win over Mexico [Saurabh Singh l. Alexis Carlos, 46 26 .. Yuki Bhambri d. Fernando Larrea, 75 60 ..Bhambri/ Singh d. Carlose. Carlos/ Daniel Fernandez, 61 64] .. Today India played the 8th seed Britian, who lost to Brazil in a tight 1-2 tie yesterday .. As the tie was postponed to tomorrow due to rain, things are hanging on a balance with India in a dogfight in doubles [Saurabh Singh l. Ashley Hewitt, 46 76(5) 46 .. Yuki Bhambri d. James Marsalek, 61 60 .. Bhambri/ Singh vs Hewitt/ George Morgan, 64 56, Yuki to serve.] .. Hope the boys will take the doubles when the match restarts tomorrow morning at 9 am.  They come back later for the tie against Brazil.

Sep 22 Notes

At the $576K Bangkok ATP qualies, Rphan Bopanna had a good upset win in the first round over the 7th seed, but could not get past the 3rd seed in the second and final qualies .. [Q1] Rohan Bopanna (IND,355) d. (7) Mikhail Ledovskikh (RUS,263) 76(5) 67(2) 75 .. [Q2] l. (3) Lukas Dlouhy (CZE,166) 26 62 64 .. Rohan and Aisam Qureshi face Leander and Dlouhy in the first round of doubles .. Rohan's singles career has really been getting affected by his playing doubles at the ATP level, as his singles rank is much lower than his #51 doubles rank.

There were two ITF junior grade-5 (the entry level grade) events in India the last two weekss - at Chennai and at Hyderbad .. Both the titles on the girls' side were won by Nimisha Mohan of Karnataka, who has shown terrific consistency .. Nimisha has always been hurt a bit by the fact thats she was born on Dec 30th and was up to a year younger than others at all age levels .. Hope these events helps her make a late push in her junior career .. The boys' events were won by Saurabh Singh in the Chennai week and Digvijay S. Mehta in the Hyderabad week .. Saurabh is our #2 in the u16 junior Davis Cup team behind Yuki and Digvijay is our #2 behind Ronit Bisht in the u14 team that finished #3 in the world .. Great to see these two boys making their first moves in the junior ranks .. Saurabh had to leave for Mexico late last week to join the junior Davis Cup team in the world finals, and so he only played the Chennai week .. Digvijay had to play three rounds of qualies and 6 rounds of main draw for 9 wins in a row - which is tremendous for a boy of his age! .. With the 60 pts from the two events, 16 year old Nimisha has raised her point total to 71 pts and her ranking from somewhere below 1400 to #560 .. 15 year old Saurabh has moved up to #431 and 13 year old Digvijay who turned 14 only last month, gets his first points and ranking to move to #909 .. Good job by them all ..

.. Previous news are at 
Notes for the weeks ending on Sep 22, 2008 ..

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