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Indian-Tennis: Daily News for the weeks ending on Oct 11, 2004
(Previous week's notes) (Next week's notes) (Daily Notes Index 1997 thru 2004)

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Oct 12 Note-1

OK, this week's news -- Leander Paes and David Rikl are the second seeds at the $683K Vienna ATP, and play Taylor Dent (USA)/ Robbie Ginepri (USA) in the first round, at about 4 pm today .. Mahesh is playing with Jonas Bjorkman (SWE) at the $1M Moscow ATP, where they are the top seeds .. They play Simon Aspelin (SWE)/ Jim Thomas (USA) in the R1, at about 5 pm today.

Good job at the $50K challenger at Tiburon, California, USA, by Harsh Mankad, ranked #295 this week .. He qualified into the main draw yesterday, after a Q1 bye, an easy 62 63  Q2 win over Fritz Wolmarans (RSA,859) and a tough 36 63 64 win over the 4th ranked junior player and the top US prospect Scott Oudsema in the Q3 .. Harsh has been struggling a bit over the last three weeks, trying to mix in some serious workout regime at Dr. Sunil Hegde's Huntington Elite Athlete Training program in Pasadena, along with trying to play the futures circuit .. He seems to have adjusted to the changes, and is playing well again .. Hopefully he will do well back in the challenger circuit over the next few weeks .. He has a tough match today in the R1 against the 5th seed Hugo Armando (USA,160), who was ranked as high as #100 a coupleof years back and player and has  moved up from #300 back to #160 in the last three months - so he is playing well too ..

Prakash Amritraj is not playing this week - I will try to find out if he is doing fine .. He lost his points from last year's semi at the Dharwad challenger, and has dropped to #330 in rank .. Hope he will get back soon to the tour and pick up some serious points.

No news yet on the draws for Sania at the $25K and Sunil Kumar and Mustafa at the $15K+H - all in Nigeria ..

A couple of our juniors are at the prestigious ITF grade-A Osaka Mayor's cup, the highest grade event held in Asia .. 11th seed Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan beat Shinta Fujii (JON) 62 60 in the first round but 13th seed Punam reddy lost 26 57 to wildcard Emmy Fritz-Krockow (USA) .. I had hoped to see Vive Shokeen, Sanaa, Tara, Sanam, Rupesh  etc also there, but most of them were quite tired after the DSCL Nationals and could not have gone to Japan .. 16 year old Tara Iyer was at the qualies for the $25K challenger in Ashburn, Virginia (USA), where she played avery good Q1 match in a 36 62 36 loss against #442 ranked 8th seed Liga Dekmeijere (LAT) ..

The u14 tournament at the DSCL Nationals is on this week at Delhi .. I will compile the results soon.

Oct 11 Notes

Lots of updates to do .. First last week's news --  The big story is of course Sania Mirza, still not 18 just yet winning a challenger double crown at the $25K in Lagos, Nigeria .. This is the  first time since a 19 year old Nirupama Vaidyanathan did that in a German challenger in 96, that we are having such a great show from an Indian girl .. Here are all the scores of her big run - singles: [R1] (2) Sania Mirza (IND,254) d. Ludmila Nikoian (ARM,688) 61 62 .. [R2] d. Vasilissa Bardina (RUS,832) 64 60 .. [QF] d. (6) Shelly Stevens (NZL,328) 62 62 .. [SF] d. (4) Magda Mihalache (ROM,284) 76(2) 62 .. [F] d. (3) Tiffany Dabek (USA,303) 63 57 63 .. Doubles: [R1] (1) S.Mirza/ S.Stephens d. Daputi Fernanda Caputi (BRA)/ Katarzyna Siwosz 62 63 .. [QF] d. Maria Abramovic (CRO)/ Nathilde Johansson (FRA) 62 76(4) .. [SF] d. Simona Matei (ROM)/ Gabriela velasco-Andrieu (ESP) 64 64 .. [F] d. Chennelle Scheepers (RSA)/ Surina Debeer (RSA) 61 64 .. She only dropped one 5-7 set in those 9 matches .. Man, she was on fire last week! ..  The singles title gives her 28 WTA points which will take her point total to 132.5 next week and raise her rank to just outside #225 .. That is incredible .. She is not done, as she goes for anmother run this week in a second challenger right there in Nigeria.

The other big story last week was the tremendous run of Sanaa Bhambri who turned 16 only a few weeks back, winning all three events she entered at the DSCL Nationa Hardcourts .. Sana was in full flow, and won the women's title, the girls u18 title and the women's doubles title (in the company of Isha Lakhani) .. The men's title went to Pakistan's Aqeel Khan, his only real test coming against Karan Rastogi in a three-setter in the semis (Karan really let one slip through after being up a break in the third set -- but it is great to see him playing very good tennis after a few months of not making much news; he turned 18 only this week and we hope a lot out of the young fellow soon) .. Vinod Sridhar had a nice quiet run to the final where a groin injury prevented him from doing much against Aqeel .. On the women's side, one relatively surprising thing was a re-emergence of talented Sonal Phadke who has been MIA for a while and reached the final there - her best win being against Isha Lakhani in the semi, Isha herself coming back after nearly 9 months of time away from the tour with an injury .. On the girls' side there was nothing much to look for - as it was a foregone conclusion that nobody there could match Sanaa - though GK Shweta did take a set off her in the semi .. Parul Goswami who reached the u18 final upsetting the 8th, 4th and 6th seeds before losing to Sanaa, was a bit of a surprise too .. Preethi Subramaniam also played well in getting to the semi .. On the boys' side, the latest big news in the juniors, Vivek Shokeen, fully lived up to his rising reputation and took the title .. Top seed Rupesh Roy did show his class in reaching the final without dropping a set and played hard in a three-set loss to Vivek .. Unseeded Rahil makharia's run to the semi was another notable thing in the u18 boys .. The men's doubles title went to Ajay Ramaswami and Vinod Sridhar .. The junior doubles titles went to Rupesh Roy/ Anshuman Dutta, and to GK Shwetha/ Preethi Subramaniam .. See trhe scores in the DSCL Open page.

Mazhesh Bhupathi amd Max Mirnyi lost in the semis at the $790K Lyon ATP .. [R1] (1) M.Bhupathi/ M.Mirnyi d. X.Malisse/ V.Spadea, 63 64 .. [QF] d. D.Hrbaty/ J.Johansson, 46 64 63 .. [SF] l. J.Erlich/ A.Ram, 76(3) 36 46 .. A bit of a surprise that they let the SF match slip away .. Mahesh is at the Moscoq ATP with Bjorkman next ..

Meghaa vakharia (IND,468) lost the first round last week to the 7th seed Lina Stanciute (LTU, 332) in a tough match, 75 46 62, at the $25K in Lafayette, Louisiana, USA .. The Uberoi sisters were off from the tour last week ..

Sunil Kumar had a couple of wins at the $15K+H at Lagos, Nigeria, falling in the QFs .. [R1] (5) Sunil-Kumar Sipaeya d. Alexandre Koudriavtsev (RUS) 61 61 .. [R2] d. Lior Barbash (ISR) 63 61 .. [QF] l. (2) Sebastian FITZ (GER), 06 26 .. Mustafa fell in the first round to the 7th seed .. [R1] (7) Filip Urban (POL) d. M.Ghouse 63 64 .. In doubles,  Mustafa and Aisam Qureshi (PAK) were top seeds but got upset Abdul-Mumin Babaloa and Sunday Maku of Nigeria, 63 26 75 .. Sunil Kumar and Raven Klaasen, seeded 3rd, reached the QF defeating . Tobias Raab and Henrych Seeger of Germany 62 62 before losing 67(5) 26 to the Swiss pair, Fabien Roetschi and Benjamin Rufer .. Sunil Kaumar came out with 4 points in singles for the QF, which is not bad .. Hope he does better in the two futures still to go in Nigeria.

Somdev Dev Varman had a pretty good run at the College All-American Championships, the first leg of the "collegiate grand-slam" of 4 big tournaments over the year .. Somdev upset a couple of ranked guys to reach the main draw through qualies, before losing a tight 3-setter to the #28th ranked player, but then pulled off 4 more wins to reach the consolation final, again with a couple of top-50 wins etc .. Buji looks more ready for college tennis than any other freshman that I can remember - and he has been there only for 3 weeks!

There was a grade-5 ITF ju8nior international in Pakistan, where Indian kids swept the titles .. Inayat Khosla won the girls title, and Jitin Bishnoi won the boys' title .. Not too great in competition, but always good to see Indian kids win these titles and grow in confidence .. Hey, it was in Pakistan that Sania Mirza won her very first ITF junior title! ..

Oct 8 Notes

Had some travels and other things this week, so I could only pop in and put some updates in the forum page for the last 2-3 days... Quick updates -- Bhupathi-Mirnyi are in the SF at Lyon .. Sania is in the final of singles and doubles at the Lagos Challenger !!!!! .. Karan lost a tough 3-setter at the DSCL semis against Aqeel Khan (PAK) who plays Vinod Sridhar in the semi .. Sonal upset Isha in the semi today .. Sanaa is in the u18 and women's final! .. Parul faces Sanaa in the u18 final .. Rupesh vs Shokeen in the boys' final .. Harsh Mankad went down in the second round at the USA F27, Sunil Kumar went down in the QF of the Nigeria F5 ..  Details are in avrioud threads in the forum, but I will round up everything here later today ..

Oct 5 Notes

Bhupathi-Mirnyi play the first round against Malisse-Spadea this evening at about 7.30 pm at the Lyon ATP in France today ..

Meghaa Vakharia (IND,468) is drawn to face the 7th seed Lina Stanciute (LTU,332) at the $25K challenger in Lafayette, Lousiana (USA) .. In doubles, Meghaa and Montinee Tangphong of Thailand have a tough draw - facing the top seeded American pair, Julie Ditty and Kristen Schlukebir .. Megs plays singles tomorrow.

Harsh Mankad is the top seed at the $15K USA F27 futures at Laguna Niguel, California (USA), about 15 minutes away from where I live .. He is drawn to face a qualifier, Matt Cloer (USA,929) in the first round .. Harsh is not playing doubles, as he has to try to find time to continue the physical training program he is in right now at Pasadena .. The first round is tomorrow (wednesday).

No info yet about the draws for Sunil Kumar Sipaeya and Mustafa Ghouse at the $15K+H in Lagos, Nigeria.

All four of the youngsters we were keeping an eye on at the DSCL National Hardcourts in Delhi, played well yesterday, two of them upsetting seeds in the men's draw .. Karan rastogi beat the 7th seed Ashutosh Singh easily and Tushar Liberhan upset the 3rd seed Kamala Kannan .. Vivek Shokeen played a good match in a 57 36 loss to the 2nd seed Vinod Sridhar and Divij Sharan (last year's surprise runner-up) went down in a third set tiebreaker to the 5th seed VM Ranjeet .. Actually, what was probably impressive was that Ranjeet, who himself turned 19 only last week, played that well to get past Divij .. No big surprises in the other draws .. See the results at the DSCL Open page.

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.

.. Previous notes are at Notes for the weeks ending on Oct 04 ..

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