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Indian-Tennis: Daily News for the week ending on Oct 3, 2005
(Previous week's notes) (Next week's notes) (Daily Notes Index 1997 thru 2005)

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Oct 3 Notes

The latest rankings show Neha and Shikha Uberoi all the way up to #134 and #155 respectively in doubles, right behind Sania at #128 .. The great show the last two weeks have pushed the sisters' combined ranking all the way up from near 700 to 289 now! .. In singles, Sania is at 37, Shikha at 147, Sunitha at #163 and Neha at 172  .. On the men's side, Harsh Mankad is at #234, Prakash Amritraj at #278 and Rohan Bopanna at #304 .. With his title at Thailand, Leander moved two spots up to #14 in doubles, behind Mahesh at #12 ..

Oct 2 Notes

Doubles title #34 for Leander today at the Thailand Open in Bangkok ..Paes and Paul Hanle beat the second seeds Jonathan Erlich and Andy Ram of Israel, 65(5) 62 61 in the final today .. It is LP's third title of the year (the earlier ones were at the Monte Carlo Masters and the Barcelona ATP in April, both with Nenad Zimonjic) ..  LP takes this coming week off, and then will get back with Nenad Zimonjic at the Stockholm ATP on Oct 10th  .. Congratulations, Lee!

The Uberoi sisters ran up against the tough third seeds today in the final at the $170K GuangZhou WTA .. A much more competitive final this week, as the fought well in a 67(5) 36 loss to Maria Elena Camerin (ITA) and Emmanuelle Gagliardi (SUI) .. It is great to see the sisters get some very good doubles matches like these - because there is no way to improve in doubles other than to play the good doubles players in enough matches .. They will start winning these matches soon .. They did not make the draw at the Tier-IV Tashkent WTA  which closed at a combined ranking of #373 (Neha and Shikha are 188 and 208 this week) .. Their combined rank will g o up another 100 odd spots tomorrow, and I think they will not have much problems getting into the main draws of most Tier-III or Tir-IV events form now on .. Shikha is drawn against the toip seed Bychkova at Tashkent - she is not in the schedule for Monday though.

AT the $170K WTA Tier-III AIG Open, Sania Mirza is the 8th seed and is drawn to face a qualifier, yet to be determined, in the first round .. In doubles, Sania is playing with Shahar Peer (ISR) and is drawn against Jill Craybas and Carly Gullickson of USA ..

I have started the page for the third leg of the India satellites .. Mustafa Ghouse, Vishal Punna, etc have qualified in .. Alexei Kedriouk is the top seed and Karan Rasrogi the second seed.

Oct 1 Note-2

The Uberoi sisters are cooking, ladies and gentleman .. Count in a medal at the 2006 Asiad in women's doubles, please! - at least a good possibilty, the way the Uberois are playing doubles suddenly .. Pretty good match by them today in the semfinal at the $170K Tier-III GuangZhou WTA .. [SF] Neha Uberoi (IND,188)/ Shikha Uberoi (IND,208) d. Shuai Peng (CHN,70)/ Yan-Ze Xie (CHN,259), 46 75 63 .. That was a really nice comeback on those two tough Chinese players .. Don't forget that Neha and Shikha were ranked near 300 and 400 just last week before the nice run at Kolkata .. And now this! .. In the final, they once again have a tough match against the 3rd seeds Maria Elena Camerin (ITA,67) and Emmanuelle Galgliardi (SUI,69) who  reached the final after two successive walkovers! .. Go sisters ..

When was the last time we had three Indians (and only one of them a man!) in the finals of tour events on the same day? .. Never .. Well at the $525K Thailand Open, Leander and Paul Hanley got past Mahesh and Justin GImelstob in a 64 65(5) match .. They play the second seeds Jonathan Erlich and Andy Ram tomorrow in the final ..

The draws have come out for the next week at the $140K Tier-IV Tashkent Open, and once again Shikha gets no help from the draw, as she runs into the top seed Ekaterina Bychkova (UKR,72) in the first round .. Due to the doubles at China, Neha can not get there for the qualifying in Tashkent, but I am sure the sisters will be in the doubles draw there ..

Sania's draw at the Japan Open had not come out when I checked last .. Sunitha Rao (USA,160) could not do too much today in the Qualies round 1, as she went down to the 5th seed Martina Muller (GER,123) 16 26 ..

At the Gurgaon satellites leg-1, the 3rd seed Alexei Kedriouk won 63 36 63 over the 2nd seed Sunil Kumar .. Kedriouk with a runner-up and title finishes lead the circuit point table with 39 points, while Karan with a title and SF is second with 33 points .. I think Sunil Kumar with 17 circuit points is the 3rd seed for the next week .. See the the satellite leg-2 page for all the scores.

Oct 1 Note-1

LP-Hanley and MB-Gimelstob play at 3 pm this afternoon at the Thailand Open .. ATP made a big deal about how they were going to put doubles matches on featured courts, blah, blah, when they introduced the tiebreaker at 5-5 and all kinds of crap to  reduce the length of doubles match, yadda yadda .. Then I see a really good doubles match that people would have enjoyed, between these best two players who are the best doubles players Asia ever saw, being shunted to the second court, and scheduled at 3 pm when the Federer match is on the center court .. Yeah right, ATP is doing all this to help doubles! ..

Shikha and Neha play Shuai Peng (CHN) and Yan-Ze Xie (CHN) in the semifinal today at the GuangZhou Tier-III in China .. This is the third match on center court after the two singles finals starting from 2 pm .. Incidentally, Neha is in the qualifying draw at the Tier-IV Tashkent WTA, as the 5th seed, facing an unranked 15 year old wildcard Vlada Ekshibarova (UZB) .. If Neha-Shikha win the doubles match today, she may have to skip the qualies at Tashkent - otherwise they may let her play there on Sunday if sh can get there .. I assume Shikha is in the main draw there, as the cut closed at about 165 ..

Sania and Sunitha will be at the Tier-III $170K in Tokyo .. Sania is in the main draw, which is not out yet .. Sunitha Rao (USA,160) faces the 5th seed in the qualies, Martina Muller (GER,123) in the Q1 if the 3-round qualies ..

At the 2nd leg of the the 4-week $25K+H India satellites in Gurgaon, the 6th seed Karan Rastogi's 8 match win streak ended at the hands of the guy he had beaten in the first leg final - a 26 46 semifinal loss to Alexei Kedriouk (UZB) .. IN the other semi, the giant-killer qualifier Arjun Goutham played a tough match once again, but the second seed Sunil Kumar Sipaeya came through in a 3-setter for the third time in this leg .. Nice to see SKS reaching the final, after an early exit last week .. Karan is assured of a top-2 seeding in the third leg and gets three days off to recharge for the final assault in the next two legs .. Sunil and Kedriouk will be among the top-3 seeds as we ll .. See all the results in the satellite leg-2 page ..

Sep 30 Notes

Yuck .. This whole month has been terrible for me, as far as the news updates are concerned .. First of all a lot travels, then some serious hardware problems for my computer(s) .. Once those were over, there were problems at the server end this week too - so apologies for a late update ..

Some good news to report from the $525K Thailand Open in Bangkok, where LP-Hanley and MB-Gimelstob are all set to face each others in the semifinal tomorrow .. The top seeded Paes and Paul Hanley (AUS) beat Yves Allegro (SUI) and Graydon Oliver (USA) 64 62 yesterday and the good Thai pair of Paradorn Srichaphan and Danai Udomchoke, 64 64 today to reach the SF .. Mahesh and Justin Gimelstob (USA) are unseded and they beat Robby Ginepri (USA)/ Gilles Muller (LUX) 65(1) 65(1) on wednesday [The strange score is because of the new silly 5-5 tiebreaker system ATP is experimenting with] .. They then beat the South African pair, Jeff Coetzee and Chris Haggard, 64 61 today to reach the semi tomorrow against LP-PH ..

The fabulous Uberoi sisters are in another WTA doubles semis too! .. They have been showing some pretty good stuff in doubles lately .. Following up on their finals tun at Kolkata last week, they reached the QF at the $225K Tier-II GuagZhou WTA in China earlier this week with a nice 46 63 61 win over Ashley Harkleroad (USA) and Trudi Muisgrave (AUS) .. They got more good news today with a walkover in the QF just now, from Na Li and Ting Li of China, due to heat illness to Ting Li.

Earlier in the week, Prakash Amritraj had one of the best matches he has ever played in a loss to Jiri Vanek (CZE,103), 67(6) 76(4) 46 .. Man, so close .. It is tough to play with such focus after a Davis Cup tie, and Prakash really played a great match .. Next time, Kash! .. Also going down this week was Shikha Uberoi at GuangZhou against the tough 3rd seed Na Li (CHN), 46 16 .. Shikha actually led with a break at 3-0 in the first set but then Na Li stepped on the pedal ..

The 2006 Davis Cup draw came out this week .. India are the top seeds in Asia, but we have a tough matchup against Korea in Korea .. Yeek .. We have NEVER won in Korea - the three trips that way in 1980, 1990 and 1999 yielding 2-3, 0-5 and 2-3 losses .. Though only #104 Hyung-Taik Lee is a top player in their list, their next two guys ranked just below 350, Oh-Hee Kwon and Kyu-Tae Im are both tough players .. Take a look at all the details we have discussed already in our Davis Cup 2006 thread in the forum .. The problem in Korea, as usual, will be the weather .. It will be even worse this time, as the Davis Cup is earlier by thre weeks (Feb 10-12) .. We hardly have much time to prepare, as it will be Australian Open in the heat, followed by one week off and Davis Cup in Korea .. If they pick clay against us, we are in more trouble, because I don't know if there is much time for Prakash and Rohan, who have not played on soft clay for a long time, to get some practice somewhere .. Harsh should be OK, but he too has not played clay for a while, though he is quite comfortable on it .. This may be a good time to get Karan and Somdev to join the team, at least for practice, as both are capable of playing a clay style game ..  Somdev has been doing very well in college, but we should do everything to prevent the guy from growing too much rooots in the US and bring him in to the team RIGHT NOW, even if his college coach objects in the middle of the tough Spring season .. Captain leander has some work to do, and he needs to start planning right now, getting in touch with all the players and checking up on their schedules ..  Not sure if Korea will necessarily pick a clay surface, but we should just go ahead and plan, and try to see if Prakash and Rohan can play some clay somewhere .. Rohan is, by the way, out for three weeks due to the injury but should have about 4-5 weeks to play before the season ends ..

Some very interesting results this week from the Gurgaon second-leg of the Indian satellites .. Karan Rastogi upset the top seed Peter Clarke in a nice comeback, 26 61 61 and reached the semifinals .. The really surprising semifinalist is Arjun Goutham, 20 year iold younger brother of the more well-known Sheetal Goutham from Bangalore .. Arjun was a qualifier, and had upset the 7th seed Vishal Uppal in the second round .. He has been playing at a notiiceably higher level this year, his earlier big win this year having come over Vijay Kannan at a dometic AITA event in Imphal ..Sunil Kumar had to pull off a couple of tough matches to get into a flow, but the second seed has reached the SF yesterday - it is heartening to see Sunil Kumar get back to his fighting ways .. For quite a long time, it had looked like he was sleep-walking or something :) .. See the Gurgaon satellites-2 page for all the scores.

Sep 27 Notes

Prakash Amritraj has a wildcard at the $380K Vietnam Open ATP at Ho Chi Minh City .. He plays Jiri Vanek (CZE,103) in the first round tomorrow (wednesday) at 1 pm .. Great that he got a wednesday start, and got a day to get used to the place .. It is always diffficult to fly into a place right after Davis Cup and play in a totally different atmosphere .. His on-and-off foot injury problem stayed away at Delhi, and hopefully Kash can make a run in Vietnam ..

Leander and Paul Hanley (AUS) are the top seeds at the $525K Thailand Open in Bangkok .. They play Yves Allegro (SUI) and Graydon Oliver (USA) in the first round .. Mahesh is playing with Justin Gimelstob (USA) and they run into the singles pair, Robby Ginepri (USA) and Gilles Muller (LUX) .. MB's match is set for wednesday evening and LP's match will be on thursday ..

Shikha Uberoi, who moved up from #152 to #139 following the nice QF run at Kolkata, is at the $170K Tier-III "JinJianNan" WTA in GuangZhou, China .. She has a tough first rouond match against the third seed Na Li (CHN,42) .. Shikha and Neha (who have moved up to 188 and 208 respectively, from 289 and 392 after the run to the Kolkata final!) are in the doubles draw at GuangZhou and play Ashley Harkleroad (USA) and Trudi Musgrave (AUS) in the R1 .. By the way, once again, the official draw lists Neha Ubroi under IND (niiiice!!) .. Both the singles and doubles matches for Shikha will be on wednesday.

Harsh Mankad reached a career high #233 ranking this week, but he is off for the next two weeks, resting in India (and changing his racket, if I am not mistaken) before he goes to the six-challenger series in the US, starting with Sacramento (Oct 10), followd by Calabasas, Crason, Boston, Nashville and Champaign in successive weeks ..

The bad news is that Rohan Bopanna has injured himself with a tendon tear on his foot(?) near the end of his singles match at Delhi and will miss the next few weeks (perhaps up to a month?) ..

The second leg of the India satellite's main draw singles starts today at Gurgaon .. I will post the draws and results soon ..

I also have to still post the complete results from the two ITF grade-5 junior events in the last two weeks at Chennai and Hyderbad .. Rohan Gide won the boys' title in both weeks and Poojashree Venkatesh won the girls' title both weeks! .. Gide is 18 years old, but Poojashree is only 15 and the Mysore girl's run is impressive ..

Sep 26 Notes

LP-MB recreated their magic once again in a close match (in terms of points) where their abilities to still come up big at the crucial points helped them waltz to a 36 63 64 63 win to get the first live rubber point from Sweden in some decades! .. Well done, Indian Express .. Sandly, I feel that may be the last time I may be saying those words .. Prakash could not do a whole lot against Johansson in a 46 36 26 loss where by the end Johansson was reading Prakash's game very well .. PA did play a lot of good points in patches, but against a top-20 player, that was not enough .. So a 1-3 loss for us against Swden, as they decided not to play the final dead-rubber match because the Swedish players needed to get going to Bangkok, Hoc Chi Minh, etc for the ATP tour events this week ..

Big congratulations go to Sweden who did their homework and came ready to play and win, even if they themselves had their problems with their #2 player (Joaquim Johansson) being unavailable, and with India throwing the Delhi heat and an equalizing surface at them  .. I was surprised to find that the Swedes were even aware of our forum discussion - see this - on a possible alternate surface, whioch really only we in the forum talked about! .. They really did their homework .. From all I have heard, they had a team that was in perfect team spirit and despite all the trouble with the heat, they came through.

All in all, the results were as expected, but despite a lot of acrimonious episoides and discussions, we end with some huge positive, in my view, from this tie .. The first is of course that Rohan once again showed what he is capable of .. I would put his show against Johansson as more impressive than what he did against Verkerk in NED because Verkerk was on a bad loising streak on hard courts at that point .. This recent work was against an inform player who knows how to play on grass courts (upset as he was, about the uneven quality of it) .. Bofors has nbbow shown his abilty to play his best, and he has done that on two different surfaces .. Fabulous .. The other positives will be poisitives if everybody calmly looks at what all happened before and during this tie and learns from it .. A lot of issues about how Davis Cup is done, have come out in the open, and evberyone knows that things cannot be just pushed under the rug for ever .. I am happy that everyone got along in the end and I hope that everyone has learnbed a thing or two and are wiser thanks to this tie .. Back to the Asian regionals again next year but with renewed spirit.

.. Previous notes are at Notes for the weeks ending on Sep 26 ..

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 playera, let me know .. Please email me - R.Jayakrishnan