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LP/MB/NV/Indian-Tennis: Notes for the week ending on Oct 9, 2000

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Oct 9 Note-2

Here is the AFP article, giving LP the headlines for his win today, as at yahoo.com .. As the top 8 seeds have first round byes, no big matches today, and LP got the headlines .. The match was delayed by 6 hours with rain, and LP had to rush back from the hotel and just about make it when his match was called .. He hardly got warm-up time, actually!

I have started the results page for the DSCL (That is DCM Shriram Consolidated Ltd.) Hardcourt Nationals - take a look .. You will find latest score updates during the day, etc, at the nice official web page, dsclopentennis.com ..

Oct 9 Note-1

Finally, we have a win!! .. Yes .. Leander has restarted his singles thing .. Today in Japan, he was facing the 3rd Swede on his return to singles after several months off .. Tillstrom had beaten him at Sydney, and then Mathieu had beaten him last week in the Hong Kong qualies, both in straight sets .. Today it was another Swede, and LP came through -- Lander Paes d. Fredrik Jonsson (SWE,181), 76(3) 63 .. This is the first win for Leander on the ATP tour ever since the win over Federer in the qualies at Indian Wells back in March .. His last wins were actually in early April in the Davis Cup against Korea .. He had lost 5 singles match in a row after that .. The win gives Leander 15 entry points .. More importantly, it's good to know that LP has not forgotten how to win a match in singles .. His next round opponent will be determined tomorrow, I believe .. LP-MB first round doubles also should be tomorrow .. Actually there is a website for the event (thanks, Danker for the info!) - check out the official site .. I had seen some pages at the Japanese Tennis federation site and had said there was no proper website, but those are not the official pages it seems.

At the $50K Albuquerque challenger, Nirupama reached the doubles final with her latest partner, Lisa McShea with a 63 36 64 over J.Embry/ K.Grant, but then lostthe final yesterday 46 46, against Brie Rippner (USA) and Elena Tatarkova (UKR) .. Lisa McShea was a bit off-color yesterday, and dropped serve once in each set - perhaps because they moved the final to an indoor court, due to rain .. Anyway, Rippner seems to be in great form there winning the singles title as well (with a 60 60 win over #89 Vento in the final, following on her 61 61, 61 61, 62 62, 63 60 wins in earlier rounds -- she must be on some serious spinach diet! :-)) .. As for Niru, she defended the points she had last year from the final at Albuquerque .. And this was the 7th doubles final of her career, in the company of 7 different partners (4 titles) .. Actually she has reached semi or better 12 times in challenger doubles, with 10 different partners! ..  Niru gets about 40 WTA points and the team gets $1500 to share for the runner-up finish .. With the $800 from one singles win, Niru made decent money this week .. Niru is skipping the Mirmar challenger in Florida this week, as it would need a one-week change of surface to clay from hardcourt .. She will be back on the tour next week at Largo, Florida ..

First day's news, as well as weekend qualifying news from the DSCL hardcourt nationals coming soon .. 13 yr old Sania Mirza qualified into the women's main draw yesterday .. 17 yr old defending champ in men's, Sunil Kumar, who had expected to play in an ITF junior event in Japan, changed his mind and has entered the men's draw as a wildcard.

Oct 8 Note-2

 Looks like LP made it in as a direct entry and not as a wildcard, based on the draw -- Here are the singles and doubles draw at the $700K Japan Open:

 1 Gustavo Kuerten (BRA)   vs    Bye                     \
   Nicolas Massu (CHI)     vs WC Satoshi Iwabuchi (JPN)  / \ _ QF
   Leander Paes (IND)      vs    Fredrik Jonsson (SWE)   \ /
16 Christophe Rochus (BEL) vs    Andrea Gaudenzi (ITA)   /

8 P.Kilderry/ P.Tramacchi   vs   A.Calatrava (ESP)/ A.Prieto (BRA) \
  M.Bhupathi/ L.Paes        vs   E.Taino/ C.Woodruff               / \ _ SF
  A.Gaudenzi/ O.Stanoytchev vs W H-T.Lee/ Y-I.Yoon                 \ /
2 J.Bjorkman/ D.Prinosil    vs   Bye                               /
Relatively easier first round encounters, but I have no idea about LP's and MB's form in singles and doubles right now, so no predictions :-)

Still waiting for any news from Albuquerque for Nirupama from the doubles semifinal and hopefully the final.

Oct 8 Note-1

Alright, good news .. I had suspected that LP might have got a wildcard or something, when I did not see him in the qualifying draw at the $800K Japan Open in Tokyo .. He is in the main draw, and will be playing Fredrik Jonsson (SWE,181) on Monday at 10 am .. Actually I am not sure if Leander got a wildcard or if he made it into the main draw directly .. This is a big draw (56 size) event and the entries were closing quite low .. The entries originally closed 6 weeks back at about ATP #110 .. Jonsson himself was #123 at that time, and was in the waiting list .. He seems to have made it in, and LP probably got a wildcard, which is great news .. 23 year old Fred Jonsson has had a pretty poor year with only 3 or 4 wins on the tour this year .. He has only played 5-6 matches in the last 4 months or so (perhaps he was injured or something?) .. As for LP, he may still not be ready for singles, but as he has been playing and practising for a few weeks, he may get to match shape one of these days .. Anyway, L.Paes vs F.Jonsson on Monday at 10 am in Japan .. There is no proper website for the tournament (except some Japanese gobbledigook at the Japanese Tennis Association pages) .. There is no draws posted by ATP or any other source yet either - but we will have that later today .. All I have seen so far is a preview of Monday's matches which listed the match for LP.

Not sure if Niru's doubles semifinal was played yesterday -- I saw the singles semi scores but not the doubles .. That and news about the DSCL hardcourt championships later today.

Oct 7 Note-2

At the Japan Open in Tokyo today, Mahesh lost in the first round of the singles qualies to the 14th seed Kristian Kapalic (USA,326) 57 26 .. I don't think Leander played the qualies .. So, it will be doubles only for next week ...

Oct 7 Note-1

Niru and Lisa McShea reached the doubles semi yesterday with a QF win over Koulikovskaya and Watanabe, 63 75, at the Albuquerque challenger .. They face unseeded Jennifer Embry (USA) and Kim Grant (RSA) today in the semis .. This gives Niru 16 doubles points, and she will defend her points from last year with a win today ..

LP and MB must be in Tokyo for next week's $800K tournament .. I will find out soon if they are in the singles qualies this weekend.

Also, Mustafa Ghouse was in the qualies at the $25K four-week Australian satellite circuit first leg in Cairns, Australia .. Unfortunately, he missed the main draw by a whisker, ended up as the top seed in the qualies last weekend and lost in the second round of qualies after a first round bye (to Damien Ward of Australia, 26 16 - Ward went on to qualify in)  .. In doubles also Mustafa had a tough time, in the company of Alan Mackin -- they lost in the first round of the main draw, 36 67(5) to the 3rd seeds Stephen Huss and Lee Pearson .. Hopefully he will have better results next week .. [courtesy: Steve Gocha]

Oct 6 Notes

Darnit ... Close match for Niru against the fourth seed, #94 Holly Parkinson (USA), but no cigar .. 57 57 loss yesterday in the second round at the $50K Albuquerque challenger .. Niru gets 6 points from the event, which takes her ranking up by about 10 spot from 177 .. She moved on doubles, however .. Niru and Lisa McShea came back after dropping the first set to Joana Cortes (BRA) and Milagros Sequeira (VEN), 67(7) 64 62 .. They play Evgenia Koulikovskaya (RUS) and Jolene Watanabe (RUS) in the quarterfinal today.

Oct 5 Notes

At the Grade-5 ITF junior international in Islamabad, Sania Mirza easily won the title yesterday .. I think she played 4 matches in two days and finished it off fast .. I don't know her semifinal score, but in the final Sania beat Bilqees Ajam of Pakistan 6-0, 6-0 (who had upset the 2nd seed, #712 Salma Rahman in the semi) .. [source: Dawn, Pakistan] .. Competition is almost nonexistent in Pakistan junior events in the girls draws, and it was even worse this time with Pakistan's Nida Waseem in the top-150 not taking part [Pakistan has only two girls in the world junior rankings] .. Actually the Pakistan tennis federation has cancelled the girls draw in next week's event .. If I remember correctly, last year they had to appeal to ITF to allow the points to be counted in the girls doubles draw, as there were only about 8 teams who participated! .. I don't think the girls singles draw had more than 16 to 20 girls this time, but I guess ITF will award Sania 30 points for the title, which will bring the 13 year old closer to top-100 .. Always good to pick up cheap points, as long as the player has established the capabilities in tougher events - points and ranking are important for getting into higher grade events, of course .. I assume Sania will be coming back to play the DSCL Nationals at Delhi next week.

I have added the entry list for the Delhi women's challenger (Oct 30 to Nov 4) now .. Nirupama seems to have decided not to come to India for just one week .. As her ranking is high enough for direct entries in the US challenger series, she is sticking to the circuit here (challengers at Largo, Dallas, Hayward, Pittsburgh, Tucson etc in the next 6-7 weeks) .. Coming to India will basically require skipping three of those events, as she needs 3-4 days to recover from jetlag after long flights .. She has had good results this year in the US, partly because her brother is able to travel with her and coach at some of the events .. She told me yesterday that she would have liked to somehow make it to Delhi, but it doesn't look like she can .. Except for 3 or 4 more higher ranked players, the $25K challenger will probably have players from the $10K satellite the previous week at Delhi .. Manisha is not listed right now in the Delhi challenger entry list, but I am told she will be there (her shoulder is expected to be fine in a couple of weeks .. She may skip the Gwalior satellite, but should be there for the Delhi satellite and challenger) .. As of now, there are eight players in the top-300 playing the challenger .. See the Delhi challenger page.

I have also added the latest AITA Boys/ Girls u18, u16, u14 ranks at the Calendar/rankings/Archive page .. Take a look .. The u18  ranking points include ITF points as of last week's ITF rank list, and so the latest two ITF internationals in India are not counted there (Anyway ITF still doesn't seem to have counted the Chennai points from two weeks back, though they have added last week's Mumbai results into the rankings this week)

Will be back later today, with scores from Niru's big match against the top-100 fourth seed, Holly Parkinson (USA,94) .. Holly has actually played doubles with Niru in the past, but I don't think they have played singles against each other.

Oct 4 Note-2

Svetlana Kriventcheva from Bulgaria had come through qualies into challengers three weeks in a row, and had reached the QF's with upsets the previous two weeks .. She tried again and troubled Niru quite a bit, but our lady pulled through in the end .. Nirupama d. Svetland Kriventcheva (BUL, 253), 62 26 64 at the $50K Albuquerque challenger .. Now she runs into a tougher match in the second round, against the 4th seed Holly Parkinson (USA,94) tomorrow .. Niru was supposed to play doubles today, but that is postponed to tomorrow, due to rain.

Oct 4 Note-1

Nirupama Vaidyanathan, ranked 177 this week, plays qualifier Svetlana Kriventcheva (BUL,253) in the first round today .. Svetlana was a qualifier last week at the $75K challenger in Santa Clara also, but went to the QF beating Jane Chi and Sandra Cacic (#156) before losing to the top seed Jana Nejedly .. She will be a tough opponent in the first round .. Niru is also in the doubles draw with Lisa McShea (AUS,67) as the top seed .. That is a very highly ranked partner for her in doubles, actually .. Niru is ranked 178 in doubles, but she has points to defend from last year at Albuquerque when she reached the final with Marion Maruska .. Niru-McShea play Joana Cortes (BRA) and Milagros Sequera (VEN) in the first round.

I had said yesterday that no Indians seemed to have gone to Pakistan for the ITF junior event this week .. Actually the girls draw started yesterday, and there is indeed an Indian there .. Sania Mirza is the top seed, and she has reached the semifinals after a couple of wins including a 60 60 shellacking of a Pakistani player .. I believe Sania had a first round bye .. Girls draws in the Pakistan ITF junior events never have any competition, so this should be an easy title and some good points for Sania .. This girl keeps on rolling.

Oct 3 Notes

At the $50K challenger in Albuquerque (New Mexico, US), Nirupama is in the main draw and faces a qualifier (to be determined today) in the first round .. She will be playing tomorrow.

Not much else going on this week .. I saw the boys' draw at the Islamabad ITF juniors - no Indians seem to have gone there, as expected ..

In the latest ITF junior world rankings, Sania Mirza of Hyderabad has cracked into the top-150 at #148 .. I am not sure when it was that a 13 year old in the top-150 last .. Phenomenal ! .. Rohan Gajjar of Maharashtra who won the title last week at Mumbai has debuted in the rankings straight at #405 .. Also pretty impressive.

Oct 2 Notes

In the first round at today the $350K Hong Kong ATP, the Indian Express lost today to Jonas Bjorkman and Brent Haygarth, 67(2) 46 .. This was the opening match on center court for the tournament, actually .. Looks like a close match, but they need to get the edge back in staying on top in tiebreakers and close sets .. I guess we need to wait for some more time for good times to start  :-(   ..  Paes and Bhupathi will be at the $800K Tokyo ATP next week, and I guess they will be there for the singles qualies this weekend.

Nirupama will be at the $50K challenger in Albuquerque (New Mexico) this week .. She had made the main draw there .. The main draw matches will start from Tuesday.

This week is an off week in the AITA domestic calendar, which is a rarity these days, I guess .. The DSCL (sriram) hardcourt nationals is on the schedule for next week .. Take a look at the nice website for the event - http://www.dsclopentennis.com .. They did fantastic coverage of the event last year, with nice timely updates of scores and news .. I hope they will continue it this year as well.

The subcontinental ITF junior internationals circuit continues this week with the grade-5 event at Islamabad on claycourts .. There is also another claycourt grade-5 event at Islamabad next week .. I don't know if any of our players are going to Pakistan - perhaps not, especially since the DSCL open is starting next week where there is the u18 competition next week along with the men/women draws (u16 and u14 are in the following week) .. Starting on the 9th there is a high grade (grade-A) event in Japan as well .. Strarting on the 16th, there is the grade-2 event in Hong Kong and then on 23rd there is the grade-3 Thailand ITF event (once again, nice higher grade events in the far east - it continues to bug me that our juniors *have to* travel to foreign countries to face good competition -- we just need to force ITF to approve some such events for India, and I believe AITA has been working on this) ..

.. Previous notes are at Notes for the week ending on Oct 2 ..

I am getting some enquiries 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 enquiring 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 enquiries from the coaches too .. Please email me - R.Jayakrishnan.