Indian-Tennis: Daily News for the weeks ending on Oct 04, 2004
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Oct 4 Notes
Mahesh and Max Mirnyi
are at the $790K Lyon ATP in France .. I had thought they were going to the
Japan Open; I guess not .. They are seeded first and play the first round
against Xavier Malisse (BEL) and Vince Spadea (USA) .. Leander is taking
this week off.
The Indian juniors lost another heartbreak tie in the knockout playoffs
yesterday at the Junior Davis Cup yesterday, finishing at the 8th spot ..
India (6) l. Australia (7) 1-2 .. #2 Sanam Singh l. Todd Ley 46 75 26
.. #1 Rupesh Roy d. Steven Goh 76(2) 36 63 .. Roy / Singh l. Symons/ Ley 46
63 36 .. After that nice start we lost three in a row, to CZE who then reached
the final and became runner-up, to ARG who was the original #1 and beat #5
USA by an easy 2-0 score for the 5th place, and then to Australia. The
last two ties were all extremely close with 5 of the 6 matches going to three
sets, though we lost 4 of those .. India had actually beaten Australia earlier
in the year to top the Asia-Oceania regionals, if I remember correctly ..
I wonder if Jeevan was not well for the last tie, because Sanam himself was
nursing a palm injury which was why he was repotedly why he was not put in
for much singles earlier in the tie .. Anyway, despite the losses, I give
a lot of kudos to the boys for playing with so much spirit till the very
end. Rupesh's win in the final singles match to keep the tie alive was commendable
too - Steven Goh is a pretty good player .. Of course, we can never complain
about a team that finishes #8 in a world competition that started with some
80 odd teams. With a little luck we could have been anywhere in the 4-8 range,
looking at how close the level of play was among that group of teams ..
In this week's action, in addition to the DSCL, we have a few of our players
in the pro tours abroad .. Sania is at the $25K Lagos challenger in
Nigeria .. She should be the second seed there, based on the latest ranking
of #253, though she was only the 6th player or so when she enetered a couple
of weeks back .. Not a great player field there, but decent .. Meghaa Vakharia
was a couple of spots out from the main draw entry list at the $25K challenger
in Lafayette, Louisiana (USA) a few days back but based on the qualifying
draw, it looks like she made it into the main draw .. Harsh Mankad will be
at the $15K USA futures in Mission Viejo, California (USA) - he should be
the top seed there .. Sunil Kumar and Mustafa Ghouse are at the $15K+H Nigeria
futures at Lagos ..
Update - Sania Mirza won 62 61 over Ludmila Nikoian (ARM) a former top-500 player, in the R1 at the Lagos challenger .. Easy win there for SM ..
By the way, if you did not notice, the Chinese player who beat Sania at the
Asian Championship final (what looked like one of the worst losses by Sania
then!), has been on an incredible tear lately .. Na Li entered
the Tier-III WTA at Guangzhou as a qualifier, and proceeded to beat everybody
on the way to an amazing title this week .. This is interesting for us, because
Na Li picked up some 165 points and raised her ranking from #145 to #92 today!!
.. That means she now does not need the Asian wildcard to make the Australian
Open main draw .. It would be interesting to see if they would give that
wildcard to the Asian Championship runner-up, which would be Sania Mirza!
-- I don't think so, but I hope they would.
Oct 3 Notes
The big National Championships, The DSCL Open is all set to start in Delhi monday .. The usual fantastic online coverage by dsclopentennis.com
has started (take a look!!) .. Pretty decent field there except for the usual
absence of the top few players from the men's and women's side .. The presence
of some top juniors definitely adds some colour to the men's draw, but it
really hurts to see Aqeel Khan of Pakistan seeded as the #1 at the Indian
National championships .. Hopefully it won't be as bad as a few years back
when our grasscourt national championships was won by a German! .. Notable
absence are, Mankad, Amritraj, Sipaeya, and Ghouse on the men's side .. Mankad
is playing the Souither California futures, Amritraj is taking the week off
after a few weeks of continuous travels, Ghouse and Sipaeya are at the Nigeria
futures .. Vishal Punna and Vijay Kannan are injured and skipping this week
.. On the women's side, Sania, Rushmi, Meghaa, Sai, and Ankita are missing
.. Sania is at the $25K challenger in Lagos next week .. Rushmi and Sai were
in the list there too, but they have now withdrawn .. Meghaa is in the US
and Ankita has reportedly withdrawn on medical advice .. Good to see Isha
Lakhani back in a tournament after some 8-9 months or so .. She is the top
seed with Sanaa Bhambri second .. Also nice to see all the top juniors
Karan, Tushar and Divij, and the latest promise, Vivek Shokeen, and
in the men's draw .. All four of them get seeds, with Shokeen having the
tough job of tackling the tough second seed Vinod Sridhar ..
Speaking of Vivek Shokeen, he just won the title at the ITF grade-4 at Gurgaon
.. Back-to-back titles for him .. I have added all the results from there
in the Gurgaon juniors
page .. Sandhya Nagraj won the girls' title and the doubles title also ..
Sandhya beat the promising Coimbatore girl, Preethi Subrahmaniam who had
some upsets on the way to the final .. Vivek beat Rohan Gide in the other
Rohan Gide, by the way, had to play something like 5 matches in two days
before playing Shokeen in the final, shuttling between Gurgaon and Delhi,
as he was also playing the DSCL men's qualifying .. I wish he had got a wildcard
at DSCL .. I should complain a bit more about some of the wildcard decisions
lately - one of the topics I normally stay away from, because I often don't
know the details of why somebody is given a wildcard in any of the tournaments
.. I have often heard complaints from players who are away from Delhi that
they do not get enough consideration .. That is subject for another time
An important junior event got done this week at the Bhupathi Tennis Village in Bangalore .. The Nike Junior India Masters
for the u12/u14 levels which determine the 4 players who will represent India
at the Nike INternational Masters to be held in 4 weeks at Pompadour, France
.. I have archived all the results in the Nike Juniors
page .. The u12 titles were won by Yuki Bhambri and YP Aishwarya .. The u14
titles were won by Akash Waugh and Sushrutha Reddy .. The entry field
at the Nike Masters was quite strong and is based on the points earned from
the best three results out of 5 nantional u12/u14 events, one of them a Nike
event in March and the next 4 from the AITA Nutrine-Naturo u12/u14 tour ..
The Nutrine tour has 2 more events remaining before the year-end u12/u14
Nationals in December .. The joint efforts by Nike, Nutrine, AITA and
the Bhupathis in conducting these tours commendable .. By the end of the
year, we now will have a pretty good idea of who all are the top kids in
those very young age ranges.
Oct 1 Notes
All of our pro players were done by thursday night this week; so it was certainly
not a great week for anybody .. At the $50K Troy challenger, both Shikha
and Neha lost their second round matches, though to higher ranked players
.. [R2] N.Uberoi (USA,312) l. (5) Edina Gallowitz (ROM,154), 26 36
..[R1] S.Uberoi (USA,173) l. (2) Shenay Perry (USA,96), 36 26 .. [R1] (Q)
N.Uberoi/ S.Uberoi l. S,Krivencheva/ A.Mall, 36 36 ..
Mustafa Ghouse lost
in the QFs of both singles and doubles at the $10K Rwanda futures .. [R1]
(2)Mustafa Ghouse (IND) d. Yassir Bouyahya (MAR,1250), 63 60 .. [R2] d. Jurgens
Strydom (NAM,NR), 75 76(3) .. [QF] l. (7)Toshiharu Kato (JPN,990), 26 62
26 .. Doubles: [R1] (2)Motaz Abou El Khair (EGY)/ M.Ghouse d. Jean-Claude
Gasigwa (RWA)/ Jean-Paul Nshimiyimana (RWA), 63 75 .. [QF] l. Kirill Krioukov
(RUS)/ Timour Lomtatidze (RUS), 64 16 67(3) ..
At the $10K in Balikpapan,
Indonesia, Geeta and Krushmi went down in the second round - [R1] (7) Geeta
Manohar d. Ayu Fani Damayanti (INA) 62 75 .. [R2] l. Mudarwati (INA), 36
46 .. [R1] Krushmi Chheda d. Marsela Gunawan (INA) 62 60 .. [R2] l. (2) Sandy
Gumulya (INA), 62 06 36 .. Also, [R1] Mudarwati (INA) d. Nandini Perumal
63 61 .. In doubles, [R1] (4) G.Manohar/ N.Perumal BYE .. [QF] l. S.Gumulya/
P.Thongdach, 26 16 .. [R1] Prim Buaklee (INA)/ K.Chedda d. Joana Febri (INA)/
Wei-Ping Lee (SIN), 60 26 60 .. [QF] l. (1) M.Rosa/ T.Vittayaviroj, 16 26
After a good start with 3-0 and 3-0 win in the first two pool ties,
our 6th ranked u16 Junior Fed Cup boys ran aground against the 4th seeds
and missed the semifinal yesterday .. Today, in the 5th-8th playoffs, they
ran into the top ranked Argentina and lost 0-3 though after some close matches
.. (6) India l. (4) Czech Republic 0-3
: Jeevan Nedunchzehiyan l. Miroslav Navratil 46 63 46 .. Rupesh Roy l. Dusan
Lojda 36 26 .. R.Roy/Sanam Singh l. Filip Zeman/Miroslav Navratil 67(6) 46
.. (6) India l. (1) Argentina, 3-0 : Emiliano Massa d. Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan
36 64 64 .. Juan Martin del Potro d. Rupesh Roy 46 63 62 .. Terrera / Massa
d. Roy / Sanam Singh 75 64 .. Those were some really close matches against
some very good players from ARG .. Unfortunately, despite all the heroics,
our biys will have to play for the 7-8 spot tomorrow ..
I still have not updated the scores from the ITF grade-4 in Delhi and the
Nike International Masters at Bangalore .. Vivek Shokeen continues his unbeaten
streak in Delhi .. Those like Aishwarya Shrivastava, Yuki Bhambri, Shriram
Balaji, etc are in the later rounds at Bangalore .. I will put up the results
Sep 30 Notes
Bad news from Bangkok .. The Indian Express lost the quarterfinal to Justin
Gimelstob (USA) and Graydon Oliver (USA), 76(5) 46 46 .. It hasn't been all
that often in their career that Paes-Bhupathi lost a match after winning
the first set .. I don't have any details on the match, as it just ended
.. It happens, I guess .. Mahesh plays next week at the Tokyo Open, and Leander
takes the next week off .. The week after that, Leander and Rikl will play
at the Vienna ATP, while Mahesh will play with Jonas Bjorkman at the Moscow
ATP .. The tour starts to wind down now for the year, the main big events
remaining after that being the Madrid and Paris masters events followed by
the Tennis Masters Cup in Houston .. Mahesh and Mirnyi, now ranked 6th in
team rankings, would probably qualify for the Hoston with another 200 odd
points .. Leander and Rikl probably needs another 400 odd points to make
sure that they will be in the top-8 for Houston.
Some good news from the Davis Cup draw, as India got a good one yesterday for the 2005 Asia-Oceania regionals:
(1) Thailand AT Pakistan
That is about as good
a draw as we could have got .. The top half looks so much tougher than the
bottom .. China is always much easier to take care of at home than away ..
We will play them in February .. If we advance and face Indonesia, it will
also be in India .. If we advance to face UZB, a coin-toss will decide on who
gets home court .. Uzbekistan is clearly a bit down from their best years
when Ogorodov and Kutsenko were at the top of their games ..
(3) Japan AT Chinese Taipei
(4) Uzbekistan AT Indonesia
(2) India HOSTS China
Here is my periodical
reminder on the Davis Cup format, in case any of the new readers need to know -- This is for
deciding two teams after two rounds next year .. Those two teams will play
world group ties next October against two teams drawn from outside the Asia-Oceania
region .. The eight teams who reach playoff stage from the various regional
groups will be pooled with the 8 teams who lose the 2005 world group R1 next
february; 8 teams will be seeded and drawn against the other 8 .. The eight
WG playoff ties next October determines the 8 teams joining the world group
in 2006 .. The eight winners in the world group R1 next february are automatically
in the WG 16 for 2006 .. So, we are trying to make it to the WG playoff in
the first two regional ties next year .. It seems like we have a very good
chance to do that, if we take care of business like we normally do and don't
unnecessarily get overconfident and mess it up like in Japan this year.
At the $25K challenger in Birmingham, Alabama, USA, Meghaa Vakharia (IND,479)
lost the singles first round yesterday to qualifier Maria Jose Lopez (MEX,548),
57 26 .. Meghaa and Montinee Tangphong (THA) had gone down earlier to Katarina
Kachlikova (SVK) and Karolina Kosinska (POL), 75 46 16 in a first round doubles match on Tuesday.
At the $50K Troy challenger in Alabama, Shikha Uberoi plays the second seed
Shenay Perry and Neha Uberoi plays the 8th seed Edina Gallowitz today in
the second round..
Sep 29 Note-2
Leander and Mahesh play the QF at the Bangkok Open tomorrow against Justin
Gimelstob and Graydon Oliver of USA .. The match is at about 6 pm there.
Good news form our kids in Barcelona at the Junior Davis Cup .. India beat Morocco 3-0 .. Jeevan
Nedunchezhiyan d. Mehdi Benhamou 75 64 .. Rupesh Roy d. Reda El Amrani 75
76(5) .. Jeevan/ Sanam Singh d. Mehdi Benhamou/ Ayoub Benamar 63 62 .. Pretty
good win over a team that gave quite a bit of trouble to the 4th seeds Czech
republic yesterday in a 1-2 loss .. 6th seeds India play the 4th seeds CZE tomorrow in
the all-important tie that decides the group winner who advances to the final 4 .. India
is already assured of at least second place in the group which means we will
finis in the top-8 .. I am sure our boys have what it takes to win the tie
tomorrow against the Czechs and advance to the knockout final-4 ..
Sep 29 Note-1
Lots of news today .. The best wins yesterday were by the Uberoi sisters at the $50K Troy (AL,USA) challenger ..
[R1] Neha Uberoi (USA,312) d. Jewell Peterson (USA,254), 62 63
[R1] Shikha Uberoi (USA,173) d. Varvara Lepchenko (UZB,245), 63 46 61 .. Shikha
has a big second round match against the second seed Shenay Perry (USA,96)
.. Neha's R2 opponent is TBD - it could be the 8th seed Edina Gallovitz (ROM,154)
.. The sisters qualified into the main draw of doubles once again - [Q1]
(1) N.Uberoi/ S.Uberoi d. Christina Fusano (USA)/ Jennifer Tuchband (USA),
54(5) 53 .. [Q2] d. (3) Arpi Kojian (USA)/ Dominique van Boekel (NED), 42
42 .. Up next in the first round are Svetlana Krivencheva (BUL) and Anne
Meghaa plays the R1 of singles today at the $25K Birmingham (AL,USA) challenger
against qualifier (Q) Maria Jose Lopez (MEX,548) .. In doubles, she was to
play yesterday with Montinee Tangphong (THA) against Katarina Kachlikova
(SVK) and Karolina Kosinska (POL) - no news yet.
A bad outing for Harsh Mankad at the $15K in Irvine, California (USA)
.. HM was off the court for over a week with some hard physical training
program he started in Pasadena, as I reported below, and was too sore to
do much match practice over the weekend .. And the rust clearly showed in
a 67(4) 46 loss .. He played a decent match against Brian Wilson (USA) who
is the current college #2 and a talented big-server who had won one of only
3 futures he has played this year in the US .. HM bascially lost because
his backhand was completely wayward all through the match, strangely - I
counted about 18 BH errors, almost all of them unforced and three of them
on AD court second serves at 30-40 break points he had, which is incredible
for HM who does not miss more than 1/3rd of such chances normally .. Though
Harsh was quite down about an extremely rare fiorst round ouster in a futures,
to me it was not too unexpected this week .. To me, the reason to play this
week was to make sure that he would not completely lose his tennis sharpness
during the training program .. He does not have the luxury like top players
to go away and train for 4 weeks and then take 2 week to get back to playing
shape - as he has some points to defen before the year ends .. He will do
more hard physical training work this week but is expected to be able to
do much more practice tennis this weekend before going out for the $15K in
Laguna Niguel (CA, USA) next week .. See my report
in the forum on the match.
Mustafa Ghouse is the second seed at the $10K Rwanda futures in Africa ..
[R1] (2) M.Ghouse vs Yassir Bouyahya (MAR) .. In doubles he and Motaz Abou
El Khair (EGY) are seeded 2nd; they play Jean-Claude Gasigwa and Jean-Paul
Nshimiyimana of Rwanda ..
At the $10K in Balikpapan, Indonesia, the seventh seed Geeta Manohar plays
Ayu Fani Damayanti (INA), not an easy foe .. Nandini Perumal plays Mudarwati
(INA) and Krushmi Cheeda plays Marsela Gunawan (INA) in the first round.
The Indian Junior Davis Cup team had a very good start yesterday, beating
Tunisia 3-0 .. No.2 Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan d. Slah Mbarek 61 60 ..
No.1 Rupesh Roy d. Wael Kilani, 67(4) 60 63 .. Sanam Singh/ Nedunchezhiyan
d. Maher Boughnimi/Kilani, 63 62 .. Good match and set score stats, in case
we need tiebreakers to advance .. The 4th seed CZE in our group beat Morocco
2-1 yesterday but went through a very tough tie, one of the #2 singles match
going to 7-6 5-7 10-8 and the deciding doubles going to third set .. India
plays Morocco today, which is a key tie. Go India!!
The Nike International Masters is underway at the Bhupathis' TennisVillage
in Bangalore .. Big u12/u14 event .. I will compile the results soon .. Also underway
this week is the ITF grade-4 in Gurgaon .. Results coming soon.
In other news, the upcoming US college season should be fun for us to follow
.. Since Harsh left college two years back, we have not had a lot to look
for in colleges, but Somdev Dev Varman's entry has made it very exciting
.. Buji is quite possibly the best freshman entering college this year ..
He showed that with his win over last year's #1 player at the Claremont futures
a couple of weeks back .. He was up to more stuff this weekend to shock and
scare the college tennis world .. He won a tough tournament in Virginia last
week to start the college year on a five-match win streak .. During the tournament
he upset the 59th ranked and the 75th ranked college players also .. See
I posted in the forum .. There are some college coaches in the ACC conference
quite qorried about what the heck to do to beat the Virginia Cavaliars, if
their #3 freshman player is so good (he may not be #3 for too long by the
way, and the cavaliars already had a top-10 player, Doug Stewart, in the
team) .. A couple of other Indians are expected to do something in college
tennis this year .. Amanjot Singh, in his second year at the University of
Louisiana-Lafayette, is ranked #96 and Rohan Gajjar, in his third year at
the University of Arkansas, is ranked #119 in the preseason rankings.
Sep 28 Notes
The Indian Express had no trouble winning their first round at the Thailand
Open, 62 61 over Attila Savolt (HUN) and Jiri Vanek (CZE) ..
Meghaa Vakharia plays at the $25K Birmingham (Alabama USA) challenger and
the Uberoi sisters play at the $50K Troy (Alabama, USA) challenger - the
main draws starting today .. No idea why USTA allowed two challengers in
Alabama in one week, but the cuts are quite lower because of that .. Sunitha
Rao (USA) had a great weekend, qualifying into the $140K WTA event in Seoul,
South Korea, with a couple of top-400 wins ..
Indian u16 juniors are seeded 6th and grouped with the 4th seeds Czech Republic
at the Junior Davis Cup final-16 in Barcelona, Catalunya, Spain .. Morocco
and Tunisia are the other two teams in the group. Not an impossibly tough
group to come out through but a competitive one.
Sep 27 Notes
Prakash Amritraj could not pull off another top-150 upset like he did
last week .. At the $550K Thailand Open ATP in Bangkok, PA went down 36 36
this afternoon to Flavio Saretta (BRA,125) .. This was one of only
two main draw singles matches in the scheduled today, as a lot of Davis Cup
players like Roddick, Paradorn, Danai, Andreev, Safin, Garcia, Reid, Levy,
Okun, etc were all playing Davis Cup this weekend. The featured night
match today are between Lopez and Johansson, followed by the best doubles
team Asia has ever seen, the Indian Express!! .. Will report soon how the LP-MB match goes.
In other news, Harsh Mankad will be at the $15K futures in Irvine,
California, as he plays two weeks of futures at Irvine and Laguna Niguel,
barely 5-10 minutes from where I live .. Harsh Mankad started a very intense
physical training program last week at the Huntington Elite Athletes Training (HEAT)
program at a physical rehab facility in Pasadena, owned by Dr. Sunil Hegde,
a sports medicine specialist (who happens to be my brother in law; how conveeenient!
:)) .. Dr. Hegde may sponsor/help other indian athletes in this program later,
but Harsh is the first Indian athlete they have taken on .. They have been
working with others such as some Latin American national soccer players,
etc. HM is under the watch of a couple of trainers who have experience with
LA Galaxy soccer, Chilean soccer, USC football/tennis, NHL hockey etc ..
The guys have been ripping Harshs body apart so far, from what I hear - focusing
on things like "core abdomen stability, etc" which I don't understand ..
HM is glad to do the hard work, as he trusts what they are trying to do with
him - but he is sore as hell for now :-) .. No idea how he will do on court
for the upcoming two weeks -- he is on a 5-6 week program with a couple of
playing weeks mixed in .. The plan is more long term in nature and they expect
to bring him up a few notches by the end of the year (he is expected to be
back later this year for another stint with them).
Speaking of that, Rohan Bopanna has been undergoing rehab in Bangalore
after surgery to his shoulder/arm a few weeks back in Mumbai .. I am glad
to see that Rohan got the durgery done .. Very often the doctors are
too slow in recommending the surgery option to tennis players with shoulder/arm
problems - I suspect due to a lack of understanding of how intense the playing
schedule of a top tennis player is (many doctors tend to assume that one
could carry on a top career in tennis with proper rest and rehab of a shoulder
with problems -- which is of course not at all true, and top players can
hardly find more than 2-3 days to stay away from the courts) .. I have rarely
seen shoulder/arm pain problems in tennis go away without surgery, and some
of the careers, such as possibly Niru's for instance, have been badly affected
by late diagnosis of the nature of the shoulder problems and slower recommendation
of the surgery option (in my view) .. Rohan probably lost a few months this
year, but he got the work done without wasting any more time .. Bofors will
start hitting on court by November but a realistic return to competitive
tour tennis is not expected before January.
One correction on what I said about Sania being off the tour for two weeks
.. Actually it is only a one-week break .. She will play a $25K challenger
in Nigeria next week - she is listed as the 5th seed as of now.
Forgot to mention over the weekend that Vivek Shokeen and Punam Reddy won
the singles titles at teh Mumbai grade-4 .. No suprises really .. The scores
are all at the Mumbai juniors
.. Previous notes are at Notes
for the weeks ending on Sep 27 ..
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