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Indian-Tennis: Daily News for the week ending on Oct 10, 2005
(Previous week's notes) (Next week's notes) (Daily Notes Index 1997 thru 2005)

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Oct 10 Notes

Will do an update later today .. Prakash and Harsh play their singles first round at the sacramento challenger tomorrow .. Sania is at the $200K Tier-III Thailand WTA, playing Henrietta Nagyova (SVK,216) - they play tomorrow (Tuesday) evening  .. I have added the draw/results from Delhi in the the satellite masters page .. LP-Zimonjic are the top seeds at the Stockholm ATP and MB-Damm are the second seeds at the Moscow ATP.

As you know by now, sania had lost the SF against Golovin at Japan on saturday and Sunil Kumar Sipaeya had won the 3rd leg satellite title over Kedriouk at Gurgaon .. Later.

Oct 7 Notes

As I am away for a day, the next update will be late in the weekend -- hopefully sania would have won the title by then! :)

Sania pulled off one of the best matches of her career today (she herself said as much, afterwards) in a never-say-die 2.5 hour comeback marathon to upset the talented top seed Vera Zvonareva (RUS,24), 57 62 64 at the $170K Tier-III "AIG Open" WTA in Tokyo .. Sania was up a few times but kept getting broken back too, in the match .. Twice she was up in the first set and a mistake on an easy winner in the 12th game at 30-40 caused her to drop the set .. She kept the pressure on to take the second set without too much drama .. In the third set, she was up 2-0 quickly, got evened at 3-3, went ahead immediately to 4-3 with a break and kept that advantage under some pressure from Vera in the final three games to take the match .. She now faces another talented youngster, Tatiana Golovin (FRA,25), in the semifinal at around noon on Saturday ..  The win gives Sania 23 more quality points to add to the 10 she had already along with 55 round points for 88 total .. As she has 101 WTA points falling off for the rest of the year, she has taken care of business nicely now ..  Afw more wins from here on would help push her inside top-35 and get a possible seeding at the Australian Open early next year.

Sania and Shahar Peer later lost their doubles SF today to the 2nd seeds, Gisela Dulko (ARG) and Maria Kirilenko (RUS), 16 46 .. Also going down in doubles, in the QF, were Mahesh Bhupathi and Justin Gimelstob at the $765K ATP there, also to the second seeds - Simon Aspelin (SWE) and Todd Perry (AUS), 05 45 ..

In the third leg of the India satellites at Gurgaon, seasoned pro Vishal Uppal had enough guile to get past the very talented greenhorn, Karan Rastogi, in the QF .. The match of the day was between 18 yr old Vivek "Shogun" Shokeen and 19 year old 6th seed Divij Sharan .. Vivek aced his way to the semifinal in a close three-setter .. Sunil ended the nice run of Arjun Goutham, who turned 20 this week .. The now-looking-invincible Alexei Kedriouk (KAZ) stopped Ravishankar Pathanjali, who has come through beautifully in this circuit despite being forced to play qualifying the first two legs where he clearly deserved some wildcard help .. You can find all the scores in the Gurgaon third leg page .. I have also added the circuit point tally page now - it is nice to see all these youngsters, Karan, Sunil, Vivek, Divij, Arjun and Ravishankar in the top-10 in the point tally .. Vishal Uppal keeps the flag flying for the seasoned brigade (who have had a trerrible time - Vijay Kannan, Vinod Sridhar, Mustafa Ghouse etc) ..

I  was quite upset when I saw the entry list for next week's grade-A Osaka Mayor's junior ITF in Japan, the biggest junior event held in Asia .. Not a single Indian kid has entered on the boys' or girls' side .. That is absolutely terrible .. We need to do better planning (both AITA and the parents) to make sure that our kids are sent to these events .. Come on .. Let us not start sitting on the laurels of those like Sania -- we should remember what made somebody like Sania what she is -- that is, playing and playing and playing .. She went to all kinds of junior events, starting from trips to Pakistan and all that for years in the juniors .. If you think her forehand just fell out from the sky for her, you are mistaken .. She has been hitting that against all these good players who pushed her in the junior events where she hardly had great success (in comparison to what she is doing now) .. Did you know that Sania had played the same vera Zvonareva in the juniors once? -- then she lost 26 46 to her, and now she won against her .. That she faced a lot of competition and lost and won a lot made her what she is .. This idea of just sending some players for two or three grand slams is not enough .. The parents also need to start taking some matters into their hands rather than wait for help and advice from Delhi and elsewhere .. Everyone should take a look at the hard work put in by those like Imran/Naseema Mirza, Rahul Rastogi, etc, to beg, plead, and get along with everybody to make sure that their kids got a chance to play .. Wea re all giood at complaining (I am too! :)), but everyone also needs to do the homework at the same time .. Just some general comments - not directed at anybody in particular .. I am just frustrated at how we have really lost a lot of momentum in our junior programs from a few years back .. Somebody take charge, please!!!!

Oct 6 Notes

Pretty good day at Tokyo, as Sania won both her matches and Mahesh won his match too .. In the second round of the $170K Tier-III WTA, Sania Mirza (IND,37) had no problems in beating the local favorite Aiko Nakamura (JPN,70), 61 64 .. She was up 4-0 quikly in the first set and basically cruised from there .. She came back later in the company of Shahar Peer (ISR) to upset the third seeds Tathiana Garbin (ITA) and Nicole Pratt (AUS) easily, 62 61, to reach the doubles semifinal as well .. In the singles QF, she runs into a tough customer, the top seeded Vera Zvonareva (RUS,24) tomorrow .. The doubles SF (probably on Saturday) will be against the second seeds Gisela Dulko (ARG) and Maria Kirilenko (RUS) .. Sania has picked up 40 points including 10 bonus so far, which helps, because she is losing 28 and 29 points each from two Lagos (Nigeria) challenger titles last year in early October .. She also loses 7.5 and 36.5 from two challengers in late November and early December .. As she is planning to take a break soon for a long enough training break now, it would be good to grab some points in these last few events she is playing this year .. Of course, more than the points, it would be fabulous to see her pick up another top-25 win with a big upset of Zvonareva tomorrow .. Go Sania.

Mahesh and Justin Gimelstob finished the postponed match, winning the third set today, over Jaroslav Levinsky (CZE) and Radek Stepanek (CZE), 45(7) 51 53 .. In the QF tomorrow, they face the second seeds Simon Aspelin (SWE) and Todd Perry (AUS) ..

At the  ITF satellites third week in Gurgaon, it was a very good day for India, especially the youngsters, as seven Indians reached the QF ..  Sunil Kumar and Karan Rastogi won, as did Vivek Shokeen, Divij Sharan, Arjun Goutham, Ravishankar Pathanjali and Vishal Uppal .. Vishal's win over Vinod Sridhar and Vivek's win over Vishal Punna were noteworthy .. Arjun has been the real revelation of this circuit so far .. P.Ravishankar, who is one of those "unfortunate" ones who had to play qualies in the first two legs and do it the hard way, as some less deserving players got wildcards, came through with a win over Salifu Mohammed of Ghana, the giant-killer of the last satellites who has not had a good time on his return to India .. All of the Indians are well-poised to make a big push in the masters leg now .. See the Gurgaon satellite-3 page for all the results.

Oct 5 Notes

At the Tier-IV WTA in Tashkent, Shikha Uberoi was not in her best health to try to mount a serious upset bid against the top seed Ekateryna Bychkova (RUS,72) today, and went down 36 46 .. Shikha has been having both asthma and a diarrhea problem from the China trip last week .. Bychkova herself was not playing her best, but said that she "was luckier" against Shikha who she said was a "serious opponent" (here is the tournament press release at rediff.com, about the match) ..

At the Tokyo ATP and WTA events, most of the wednesday matches were rained out .. Sania's R2 singles match against Nakmura will be on thursday .. Her doubles QF match may be on friday, as the opponents are to be determined on thursday .. Mahesh's doubles R1 match, postponed in the 3rd set on Tuesday, is again postponed - to Friday ..

Prakash Amritraj has moved up from 9th out in the initial list to second in line as of today for the $50K Sacramento (California) challenger next week .. Harsh Mankad had made the main draw earlier and is flying from Mumbai to the US west coast tomorrow, getting ready to play a six challenger sequence (Calabasas, Carson, Boston, Nashville, Champaigne following it) ..

Oct 4 Notes

Sania has won her singles and doubles first round at the Tokyo Tier-III WTA in Tokyo .. In singles, Sania, ranked 37 this week, easily beat the qualifier Vilmarie Castellvi (PUR), 61 63 .. In doubles, SM and Shahar Peer of Israel beat Jill Craybas and Carly Gullickson in a comeback, 36 63 61 .. Sania's second round opponent in singles will be Aiko Nakamura (JPN, 70) .. The doubles QF opponents are yet to be determined in a match postponed to wednesday ..

At the Tier-IV WTA in Tashkent, Shikha Uberoi's first round match against the top seed Ekaterina Bychkova (RUS,72) is tomorrow ..

Mahesh and Justin Gimelstob (USA) are at the $765K ATP tournament at the same place in Tokyo .. They are at 45 51 21 when the match was potponed to tomorrow .. By the way the funny scores are from another messed up scoring system that ATP is experimenting with, this week .. 5 games to win for a set and a tiebreaker at 4-4 .. ATP is such a messed up, incompetent organization that it is mind-boggling - but that is a longer discussion for another time ..

At the third leg of the India satellites, qualifier Vishal Punna pulled the big upset over the 4th seeded Clement Rousseau of France to make the second round .. Vinod Sridhar is in the R2 but Vijay Kannan went down to Vishal Uppal and Mustafa Ghouse lost to Benjamin Dracos of France .. Mustafa was a qualifier, and now does not have enough points to make the masters leg and get any ATP singles points .. His singles career is in a never-ending slump; This is somebody who had even won a satellite in India once .. Sadly he just cannot seem to win a match these days .. The youngsters are all doing well though .. Divij Sharan, who is the 6th seed, had a good win over Ashutoshj Singh - and now has a good chance to be seeded in the masters leg as well .. Talented youngsters like Vijay Sundar Prashant, who had to play qualies while wildcards continue to be given inexplicably to players like Arindam Dutta who have no results (ever!) that make it deserving,  beat the same player in straight sets .. Everybody who have reached the second round is basically in the masters leg and a few others too .. 8th seed Arjun Goutham, so far a bit of a revelation in this circuit, is in the second round against another of our favorite youngsters, Vishnu Vardhan ..Vivek Shokeen is another one who has done fine .. Then of course Karan Rastogi and Sunil Kumar  ..
All in all, these satellites are going quite well for the young players .. See all the results in the Gurgaon satellite leg-3 page ..

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 ..


.. Previous notes are at Notes for the weeks ending on Oct 3, 2005 ..


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