Notes for the weeks ending on Oct 13, 2003
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Oct 13 Notes
Mahesh and Max could not pick up another title yesterday at the $765K Vienna ATP .. [F] #2 M.Bhupathi/ M.Mirnyi l. Y.Allegro/ R.Federer, 67(7) 57 .. Still a nice run with 7 wins in a row by Mad max, before the close loss yesterday .. The points from this event helped move MB up one spot past Woodbridge to #4 in doubles rankings, behind the Bryan twins and Max Mirnyi .. MB-MM moved up to #2 spot in team rankings as well (behind the Bryans at #1); That is somewhat significant, as far as the draw and groupings at the Houstin World Doubles Championships are concerned.
Good news in the qualies at the Belgaum challenger .. Vijay Kannan qualified in today, as Vinod Sridhar and Vishal Punna in the final qualies went down .. Nice straight set win by Vijay over the 5th seed in the qualies, the talented youngster Go Soeda (JPN) .. I guess Vijay did get the final laugh on this -- he richly deserved the main draw wildcard that went to Saurabh Singh this week (the other wildcards were Sunil Kumar, Somdev Varman and Mustafa Ghouse - no complaints on that) ..
The main draw at Belgaum is quite decent for most of the Indian players .. See the Belgaum challenger page .. Harsh is playing doubles with Aisam Qureshi this week, and Rohan and Prakash are not playing doubles.
The new rankings show Prakash cracking the singles top-300 and Harsh cracking the doubles top-200 for the first time .. The singles rankings are: Prakash at #277, Rohan at #337, Harsh at #367 .. The doubles rankings are: Harsh at #200, Rohan at #210 and Prakash at #230 .. Let us hope for them all to raise the rankings a bit more up this week.
Divij Sharan and Arun Prakash are at the grade-2 Hong Kong ITF, seeded 5th and 9th - they both had first round byes .. GayatriKrishnan, RK's daughter, qualified into the girls' draw but fell to the 4th seed today in the first round .. See the juniors thread in the players pages at our forum for scores.
Rupesh Roy won his second consecutive grad-5 title yesterday at the Pakistan grade-5 juniors.
Oct 12 Notes
MB-MM play the final soon at Vienna.
It was a Thai sweep at Dharwad today with Udomchoke winning his first challenger title and the surprising Ratiwatana pair (who were qualifiers!) upset last week's champions, Amritraj/DeVoest in 3 sets tp win their first challenger doubles title as well .. Hmmm .. Do the Thais like India or what? Paradorn, Tammi, Danai, a bunch host of junior girls -- nobody from Thailand ever seems to play any less than at their best in India .. Most have their first titles in India too. Congratulations to the Thai brigade. See the Dharwad challenger page.
Today's first round qualifying results are at the Belgaum challenger page. Vijay advanced, but both Vishal and Ajay went down .. I wonder why some of these guys did not get wildcards to the main draw .. It is really unfair for Vijay not to get a singles wildcard anywhere .. Sunil Kumar and Somdev would have taken two wildcards .. I don't know who got the other two - and I have a feeling that I will be complaining when I find out who.
Oct 11 Notes
Mahesh and Max reached their second consecutive final today, at the $765K Vienna ATP .. I forgot to report results from Vienna earlier -- so far, [R1] #2 M.Bhupathi/ M.Mirnyi d. J.Novak/ P.Pala, 63 62 .. [QF] d. J.Blake/ G.Oliver, 63 64 .. [SF] d. L.Arnold/ M.Hood, 63 67(2) 61 .. In the final tomorrow,they face Yves Allegro and Roger Federer .. Titles in back to back weeks would be sweet!
Prakash could not sustain his run today at the Dharwad challenger semis, as he went down 36 16 to Yeu-Tzuoo Wang .. He is in the doubles final though .. Danai Udomchoke beat Rik DeVoest in the other semi .. See the Dharwad challenger page.
The qualifying draw for next week's challenger is at the Belgaum challenger page.
Karan Rastogi again showed how he is getting ready for a terrific final junior year next year, by nearly pulling the upset on the world #1 junior Marcos Baghdatis today .. He even had a few match points on Baghdatis' serve in the second set, before Marcos prayed to the skies and came up with aces to stay alive .. The lost opportunity affected Karan badly in the 3rd set in a 75 67 (4) 16 .. A really nice week for Karan .. He will try to come to the Belgaum challenger, but airplane seasts seem to be a problem now.
The great news from Osaka was however in doubles as well .. Divij Sharan and Arun Prakash upset the top seeds and won the grade-A title .. [F] (2) A.Rajagopalan/ D.Sharan (IND) d. (1) Lachlan Ferguson/Joel Kerley (AUS) 76 76(5) .. How about that .. 180 big points for those two, which will move Divij up from #38 to #13 and Arun up from #51 to #18 .. With Karan and Somdev, that is four Indians in the juniors doubles top-20 .. Yes, Indian Express, you have put the doubles big into all these Indian kids.
Oct 10 Note-2
I get up out here in California and, and it's great news everywhere -- and I can't stop smiling .. Reminded of that Timbuk3 song - "The future's so bright, I've got to wear shades!" ..
Yess, sirreee! .. Prakash is in his first challenger semifinal .. Prakash Amritraj (IND,319) d. Zbynek Mlynarik (AUT,316), 63 63 .. At the $25K+H in Dharwad, he seems to have given no escape route to the Austrian today .. After some injury difficulties for a few weeks, which may even have affected his play into the Davis Cup, he seems to be in great form again, this week .. It is great to see a 20 year old do this .. Yes, another Amritraj has "arrived", folks! .. Throw away all those doubts about how good he is, and whether he is ranked up ther only because of wildcards and dad's help .. PA is beginning to tamp his authority on the Indian tennis scene .. The win gives him 22 points, and takes his total to 125 points .. That will raise his ranking about 40 spots to somewhere near #275 .. He is also putting some little distance between him and Rohan in the race for the Indian #1 spot .. Up next for Prakash is the 3rd seed Yeu-Tzuoo Wang (TPE,211) .. I am going out on a limb and predicting a 64 64 win tomorrow for PA and a final appearance :-) ... Go Kash!
The other semi is between top seed Udomchoke and 4th seed Rik DeVoest .. In doubles, top seeds Amritraj/DeVoest advanced, but Rohan Bopanna and Harsh Mankad went down .. I am a little surprised at how RB-HM have not panned out yet .. I think they should continue to play together - I still believe they will turn out to be a smashing doubles team down the line .. See the Dharwad challenger page.
OK, just to counter all the good news from Prakash and Karan today, we had a very rare loss for the other leading light - [SF] Montinee Tangphong d. (1) Sania Mirza 26 63 62, at the $10K Jakarta satellite .. Sania had gone 33-1 in seven satellites and was on an 18 match win streak at that level, so we had to expect a loss somewhere .. No big deal .. Take rest and get ready for the AAG and the Indian challenger Sania! [..and will everybody give her some time to get away and get some coaching in Paris?] .. SM did a good thing by picking up 9 points from two satellites (and 12 from two titles in Nigeria this march) .. She will keep a top-400 type ranking well into next year and can focus on coaching and then challenger level tournaments ..
Oct 10 Note-1
Great stuff from Osaka -- [QF] Karan Rastogi (IND,32) d. Woong-Sun Jun (KOR,65) 26 63 63 at the Osaka Mayors Cup ITF grade-A junior tournament, the highest grade junior event in Asia .. Here are some details - "Karan Rastogi defeated Woong-Sun Jun from Korea in a 2 hour three set thriller 26 63 63. Karan started well holding his serves comfortably and putting pressure on the opponent's serve. He had break points in the first service game from Jun. At 1-2, the opponent was serving at 30-40. On a big serve down the middle, the line judge called it out but the chair umpire over ruled it and gave an ace. This disturbed Karan who lost his concentration, and dropped serve twice to lost the set 62. However, he regrouped himself and fought back brilliantly, stepping on the gas. From there on the match was more of nerves then any thing else, and the next two sets went easily - 63 63" ..
Karan Rastogi is the first Indian junior since Leander Paes to play in a group A (grand slam grade) semifinal.
This gives him 120 points which repalces the 80 he had at Osaka last year and takes his points total to 440. The ranking to inside the top-25. More interestingly, he is the 5th or 6th player among players aged under 18 (he turned 17 only this week!), and basically we can expect him to be at least a top-8 seed at the Australian Open Juniors early next year when the 18 year olds leave the rank list! .. Wow! - Incredible..
He gets his big test tomorrow though - up next is the world #1 junior and the Tumkur challenger semifinalist Marcos Baghdatis (CYP) in the semi! .. Go Karan!
Good news in doubles also -- Divij and ArunPrakash reached the final today - [SF] A.Rajagopalan/ D.Sharan d. Weerapat Doakmaiklee/ Kirati Siributwong (THA), 64 63 .. Fantastic!
Oct 9 Notes
Leander is back in India .. He reached Mumbai a couple of days back after a few days in NewYork .. LP is in good spirits .. Has reportedly put on little bit more weight with all the medication, but he is in good shape .. He was wearing an Athens 2004 tee shirt - obviously symbolizing what he is looking forward to .. LP said the parasitic infection has been "dead, eradicated" .. That is what the latest MRIs have shown .. There is a little bit more of swelling to go away and that's about it .. The doctors have allowed him to do swimming and other work out for a while, and he says he will be back on court in 2 to 3 weeks .. Things are looking good for some 10 days of hitting and then the Houston World Doubles championships, if all goes well .. As of now, LP-DR are the #7 team in the world rank list and the #8 team may go ahead of them soon .. But with the nice gap from the #9 team, I believe the chances are very good for LP-DR to make WDC ..
LP made it a point in the chat with the media at Mumbai, to say that he was "greatful to Mahesh for all the support during the tough time" .. See this article from S.Kannan in the Hindustan Times last Sunday - "Jodi No.1" .. What I have found nice lately is that both have been quite comfortable talking about the other - unlike how they used to pick and choose words earlier .. There is indeed a good amount of trust and comfort level that has come back between them ..
OK, on to news .. MB-MM play the QF at the Vienna ATP tomorrow against James Blake and Graydon Oliver.
Great stuff at Dharwad today - Prakash Amritraj upset the second seed Michal Mertinak (SVK,188) in a 75 36 76(5) marathon match of three hours where he held his serve till the end .. Rohan, Vishal and Mustafa could not pull upsets to make the QF .. This is Prakash's first challenger QF, and the second by an Indian this year .. Top-250 wins are beginning to happen with some decent level of regularity from Indians, after many many years .. I am totally encouraged by how Indians hav done in the 4 challengers so far this year .. In doubles, top seeds Amritraj/DeVoest and second seeds Bopanna/Mankad have both reached the QF today .. See the Dharwad challenger page.
With Baghdatis, Marach, Moser, etc withdrawing, Rohan and Harsh have both now made the direct entry for next week's challenger .. See the Belgaum challenger page for the latest entry list .. So, there are four wildcards to give to other Indians next week!
At the Indonesia $10K satellite, Sania Mirza reached the semifinal - Scores from the second round (R1 scores below): [R2] (1) Sania Mirza d. (Q) Eny Sulistiowati (INA) 61 61 .. [QF] d. (7) Wilawan Choptang (THA) 61 63 .. [SF] vs Montinee Tangphong (THA, 741) .. Yesterday, Sandy Gumulya (INA) d. Shruti Dhawan 62 64 .. Doubles: [R1] Samrita Sekar/ Meng Yuan (CHN) l. Septi Mende/ Maya Rosa (INA), 26 (Samrita retired) .. [R1] Isha Lakhani/ Sonal Phadke l. (Q) Eny Sulistyowati/ Mimma Chernovita (INA) 64 46 67(6) .. [R1] Orawan Lamangthong (THA)/ Liza Pereira d. (WC) Mia Sacca/ Mega Sukmawati (INA) 61 67 63 .. [QF] l. Liza Andriyani (THA)/ Diana Julianto (INA) 46 36 .. [R1] (2) Wilawan Choptang (THA)/ Shruti Dhawan d. Ayu F Damayanti/ Joana Febri (INA) 64 64 .. [QF] l. Septi Mende/Maya Rosa 67(1) 67(5) ..[R1] (1) Sania Mirza/ Rushmi Chakravarthi d. Chattida Thimjapo/ Varanya Vijuksanaboon (THA) 61 62 .. [QF] d. (Q) Eny Sulistyowati/ Mimma Chernovita (INA), 62 61.
More good news -- Karan Rastogi, who celebrated his 17th birthday yesterday, won the 3rd round at the prestigious Grade-A Osaka Mayor's Cup today - scores for last two days - [R2] (13) ArunPrakash Rajagopalan l. Steven Popovic (AUS,217) 67 26 .. [R2] (10) Divij Sharan l. Martin Fischer (AUT,157) 16 46 .. [R2] (4) Karan Rastogi d. Takuma Nogami (JPN,591) 62 62 .. [R3] (4) K.Rastogi d. Philipp Oswald (AUT,116), 75 62 .. He now runs into a talented player - Woong-Sun Jun (KOR,65) .. Don't forget that this tournament has the same points as a grand slam (except for the title bonus), and is the biggest tournamnt held in Asia .. When Karan reached the QF and gave an injury walkover last year, it was only the second grade-A QF by an Indian in over a decade .. Now he has repeated it to defend the 80 points and will hopefully go further .. We also have a doubles team in the semis! .. [R1] (2) Arunprakash Rajagopalan/ Divij Sharan d. Martin Fischer/ Philipp Oswald (AUT) 64 64 .. [R2] d. Takuma Nogami/Kento Takeuchi (JPN) 75 62 .. In the QF today, they got a walkover from the 7th seeds Todd Ley (AUS)/ Maric Spicijaric (USA)! .. Go Indians!
GK Shweta has reached the grade-5 singles final at Islamabad .. I will compile all the results from Pakistan together after the two weeks get done.
Oct 8 Notes
AITA announced the team for the Hyderabad Afro-Asian Games yesterday .. RB, PA and HM told them that they really have nothing left in the tank after so many months of continuous play for them to do the AAG .. That is fair, and we know that the three would certainly play otherwise -- actually, after these challengers and previous work at Davis Cup and other events, there is some serious injury concerns if they do not take some break .. The team is Vijay Kannan, Vishal Uppal, Sunil Kumar and Vinod Sridhar .. On the women's side, the team is fullstrength with Sania, Rushmi, Megha and Sonal .. I m not sure which country's teams are coming, bt I expect the tennis competition to be not top-notch, ebcause of the poor timing of the event in the tennis calendar.
MB-MM have advanced to the second round at the Vienna ATP with a 63 62 win .. At Dharwad, Vishal Uppal pulled a big upset over last week's runner up Childs, and Prakash Amritraj also advanced to R2, making it 4 Indians in the second round .. VVery NNice! .. Harsh could not get past the second seed Mertinak .. See the Dharwad challenger page .. Sania won the R2 and reached QF in Indonesia, but Shruti fell .. Karan reached final-16 at the grade-A Osaka Juniors, but Divij and Arun lost .. Those are the quick updates .. More details later.
Oct 7 Notes
Good news from the Dharwad challenger today, as pluck and luck brought good results for Indians .. #350 Rohan Bopanna upset the 6th seed Vadim Kutsenko (UZB,244), 63 36 76(9) .. He came through against a comeback charge from Kutsenko, the recently crowned Asian champion (at the Tashkent championships) .. To add gravy to that, Mustafa Ghouse hardly had to sweat today, as Alex Bogdanovich retired midway through the first set .. Only four singles maches today, and the other five Indians (Harsh, Prakash, Sunil, Vishal and Vinod) play tomorrow .. The qualifiers were placed in the main draw today, after Aisam Qureshi lost the final qualifying match to Lauri Kiiski of Finland .. (Q) Vinod Sridhar gets Zbynek Mlynarik (AUT) in the first round, and wildcard Sunil Kumar gets Kiiski .. See the Dharwad challenger page.
It turns out that the three Indians I was wondering about, Vijay Kannan, Ajay Ramaswamy and Rishi Sridhar, had to skip this week's challenger (and next week's too) because they are Railway Employees and have to represent Indian Railways at the World Railway Games in Italy .. I am pretty sure no other Railways in the world has three top-750 quality players as employees; so these three should be able to win everything for our railways .. Terrible timing because they end up missing two challengers at home, but hey, they get to have some fun in Italy, not exactly the worst place to have to go to!
The ATP announced today that the $25K+H Bangkok challenger scheduled for Dec 1st, has been cancelled .. I think some of the Indians might have been considering going for that .. I believe it is the same week as the final week of the three Indian futures, though - so this would increase the competition in the Indian futures a little bit.
At the $10K Indonesian satellite, it was a terrible day for most Indians, as 2nd seed Isha, 3rd seed Rushmi, 6th seed Sonal all lost .. Shruti pulled a minor upset and Sania had reached the second round yesterday, to be the only two Indians in the R2 .. Scores so far - (1) Sania Mirza d. (Q) Meng Yuan (CHN) 76(9) 62 .. Shruti Dhawan d. Chattida Thimjapo (THA) 61 62 .. Sandy Gumulya (INA) d. (2) Isha Lakhani 36 63 75 .. Maya Rosa (INA) d. (3) Rushmi Chakravarthi 76(5) 76(4) .. Montinee Tangphong (THA) d. (6) Sonal Phadke 62 61 .. (Q) Eny Sulistyowati (INA) d. Liza Pereira 76(8) 64 .. (Q) Mimma Chernovita (INA) d. Samrita Sekar 26 61 63 .. The sad thing is that all the losses, except Sonal's, were in very close matches .. Sania plays Eny and Shruti plays Sandy next.
The ITF grand slam committee (or whatever they call it) met last week to announce to the world loudly that ITF had made a mistake in the whole drama about junior grand slam bonus points for the doubles winners at the Wimbledon .. They approved giving the 180 bonus points, which has placed Sania Mirza as the #1 junior doubles player in the world .. Her partner in the crime, Alisa Kleybanova, moved up to #4 .. Now, why did ITF have to send this matter to this commitee and waste their time? - should have just admitted a silly mistake and moved on after Wimbledon .. Anyway, I was getting ready for another tirade on ITF had they not approved the points, and I am glad this saved me time .. All is well that ends well.
10th seed Divij Sharan has also reached the second round at the grade-A Osaka Mayor's Cup in Japan, joining Karan and ArunPrakash who won yesterday .. (10) Divij Sharan (IND, 107) d. Kirati Siributwong (THA, 237) 76 64 .. The R2 matches are on wednesday.
Oct 6 Note-2
Good news - Vinod Sridhar qualified into the main draw at the Dharwad challenger ! .. He beat P.Vishal, then upset the 3rd seed Paul Logtens (NED,421) and then beat Sonchat Ratiwatana (THA) to make the main draw .. Excellent 64 64 upset win over Logtens by Vinod! .. He was the only Indian in the second round of qualies .. That was perhaps expected, with Vijay Kannan, Ajay Ramaswami and Rishi Sridhar not playing the qualies this week for some reason .. The other notable match was Somdev Varman going toe-to-toe with Aisam Qureshi (PAK,494) in a 36 75 46 loss in the Q1 .. Top seed Leonardo Azzaro, and Kentaro Masuda also qualified in .. I have not seen the score of the 4th qualifying match between Aisam Qureshi and Laurie Kiiski ..
Main draw matchups - Mankad vs (2) Mertinak, Bopanna vs (6) Kutsenko, Amritraj vs Schukin, Ghouse v. Boghdanovich, Uppal vs Childs, Sipaeya vs Qualifier TBD .. Not great for HM and RB ..
Oct 6 Note-1
Mahesh has reached the 30-title mark in doubles .. Wow! .. In the final at the $1M Kremlin Cup yesterday, MadMax did not run into any sudden power-failure like they have occasionally done in some finals .. Took care of business - [F] #1 M.Bhupathi/ M.Mirnyi d. W.Black/ K.Ullyett 63 75 .. Congratulations to them .. They took off straight to this week's event in Austria, the $765K Vienna ATP .. These are good prize money events .. They are second seeds this week behind Bjorkman-Woodbridge - [R1] #2 M.Bhupathi/ M.Mirnyi vs Jiri Novak/ Petr Pala (CZE) ..
Also pulling off his first challenger title yesterday was Prakash Amritraj .. PA and Rik DeVoest won the final, beating Michal Mertinak/Branislav Sekac (SVK) 64 63 .. Congrats .. So, within the last three months, all three of our top player have won challenger titles - RB, HM and PA .. Good going .. PA kept in the Indian interest alive at Tumkur till the end, which was nice .. The singles title went to Michael Kohlschreiber of Germany who ended qualifier Lee Child's great run .. See the Tumkur challenger page.
I have not seen the qualies results from the Dharwad challenger yet .. As Mical Tabara withdrew from the event in the last monutes due to injury (he has withdrawn from next week's Belgaum challenger also), Rohan Bopanna made it into the draw .. That freed up one more wildcard for us .. Harsh ended as the second in qualies and got a main draw wildcard .. The other three WCs have gone to Sunil Kumar Sipaeya, Mustafa Ghouse and Vishal Uppal .. I hope Vijay Kannan also gets a wildcard to one of the challengers .. Somdev is in the quaklies this week. Main draw starts tomorrow, and the draw may have been made by now .. Will update the Dharwad challenger page as soon as I get some news.
Sania has started off the second week of Indoensian satellites with a win today .. Rushmi etc are also there .. More later on it.
Three of our boys are at the prestigious grade-A Osaka Meyor's Cup ITF juniors in Japan this week .. Karan Rastogi is the 4th seed behind Marcos Baghdatis, the Austrakin Open winner (aworld #1 junior), Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (USO juniors winner and world #3) and Tai-Wei Liu of Taipe the Asian #1 .. That is a surprisingly good field (I suppose Marcos and Tsonga are there to grab some points to cement down the year end junior rankings) .. Good start today for our boys .. (4) Karan Rastogi beat Kristen Farron Mahon (IRL) 61 64 .. (13) Arun Prakash Rajagopalan d. Tomohira Tohira (JPN) 63 63 .. 10th seed Divij Sharan is playing tomorrow against Siributwong Kirati (THA).
Rupesh Roy won the junior grade-5 ITF in Islamabad yesterday with a win over Sumit Prakash Gupta(IND) 75 46 62.
.. Previous notes are at Notes for the week ending on Oct 6 ..
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 player, let me know .. I would like to have a mailing list where I can post general announcements and inquiries from the coaches too .. Please email me - R.Jayakrishnan.