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Indian-Tennis: Daily News for the week ending on Oct 13, 2008
(Previous weeks' notes) (Daily Notes Index 1997 thru 2008)

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Due to an extremely busy period for a couple of weeks,  please bear with me ..
I will be back with the updates in early November .. I Promise! .. Jay

Oct 10 Notes

Quick update, as I am leaving on a weekend trip till Monday morning (next update will be delayed) .. Hesh has reached the SF of doubles at Vienna .. Harsh/Ashutosh fell in a supertiebreak to Stephen Amritraj and Daniel King Turner, who then lost a supertiebreak in the semis, at the Sacramento challenger.  Kash has not played the doubles SF there.   Yuki had a good 76 61 win over Ehara to reach semi at the grade-A ITF in Osaka.  He is also in the doubles final!

Oct 9 Notes

Good stuff from Yuki at the Osaka grade-A ITF today .. [PQF] (1) Yuki Bhambri (IND,18) vs (14) Grant Ive (RSA,103), 61 62 .. That brings up the QF tomorrow against the sixth seed Hiroyasu Ehara (JPN,58) .. Ehara is actually a pretty good player. Runner-up at the Kentucky grade-1 last month in the U.S., where he beat #20 Rungkat by a 63 60 score, and only lost to junior #7 Mirza Basic in the final for a decent 57 46 score ... Yuki better play well, to avoid an upset, especially in that guy's home event .. Our boy has also had a nice doubles run this week and is in the semi with
Liang-Chi Huang of Taiwan - they are seeded first .. [R1] d. Shoki Hachiya (JPN)/ Koki Takada (JPN)  61 61 .. [R2] d. Juan Antonio Los Santos (MAS)/ Christopher Marquis (IND)  75 63 .. [QF] d. (6) Pierre-Hugues Herbert (FRA)/ Henri Laaksonen (FIN) 36 63 76(2) .. The SF is against two German boys who sound like Greek and American musicians or something - Alexandros Ferdinandos Georgoudas and Kevin Krawietz :) ...

Oct 8 Notes

Mahesh advanced to the doubles QF at the € 674,000 Vienna ATP .. Gicquel-Wawrinka, who were initially listed in the draw, withdrew and were replaced by the alternate pair, Ashley Fisher (AUS) and Travis Parrott (USA) .. They were promptly dispatched by a 61 62 score by Hesh and Mark Knowles.  The second seeds will face the Czech duo, Martin Damm and Pavel Vizner in the QF on Friday.

A pretty good doubles day at the $50K Sacramento challenger in Northern California, as Kash won the QF and Harsh/Ashutosh had an impressive R1 win .. [QF] P. Amritraj/ Frank Dancevic (CAN) d. Robert Kendrick (USA)/ Ryan Sweeting (USA) 67(4) 63 (10-6) .. [R1] H.Mankad/ A.Singh d. Benedikt Dorsch (GER)/ Todd Widom (USA), 63 60 .. Nice scoreline by our pair .. They play the QF tomorrow against the 4th seeds Stephen Amritraj and Daniel King-Turner (NZL) ..Kash's SF opponents will also be determined tomorrow.  Meanwhile, there is some info posted by the U.Virginia fans that Buji has been down with a virus all the way back from Romania and that it has affected his last couple of matches including the one this week, when we saw a rather uncharacteristic type of a loss.  I will try to find out more from the horse's mouth soon about whether it is true.

Sunitha Rao had a terrible day at Kentucky as she was upset in both singles and doubles by poor scores .. [R1] Sunitha Rao (IND,193) l. (Q) Asia Muhammed (USA,407), 36 36 and [R1] (3) S.Rao/ Angela Haynes (USA) l. Olga Puchkova (RUS)/ Ahsha Rolle (USA), 36 36 .. I am not sure what is up with Sunitha, as her form has been very patchy lately, except for a nice doubles run last week.  She has been very "ding"-prone all through her career .. Not exctly injured always, but dinged up fairly often with various muscle little things.  Even otherwise, it is very hard to ever predict her match scores or results .. She is on some days and she is off some days even if she is all healthy!

Tom seed Yuki has had an easy run at the grade-A ITF Osaka Superjuniors in Japan .. He reached the PQF with a 62 60 shellacking of Shu Saito (JPN,719) .. The only other Indian to be in the second round, Kaza Vinayak Sharma (IND,437), put up a decent fight in a 46 46 loss but upsetting the 7th seed Nikala Scholtz (RSA,67) was not expected of him.  Yuki plays the 14th seed Grant Ive (RSA,103) tomorrow.

Oct 7 Notes

.. Let me first take a moment to say a word or two about my old friend Karthik Rajaram, who took the lives of his family and himself in California, seemingly due to financial troubles, as you would have seen in the newspapers.  Karthik was a classmate of mine in the 1980-85 civil engineering batch out of IIT Madras.  The very first guy I met on getting out of the bus when I went to IIT-M for counselling in 1980.  I remember that he was the first one I met, because he was the most extroverted guy among all of us there.  We spent five years in classes together, and as fate would have it, both of us ended up in Southern California later.  He did an MBA and went the business route while I stayed with the civil engineering field in academia.  Though we rarely met around here, as he was some 75 miles away from where I live, we knew that we were both doing fine and had occasional email and phone contacts ..  We feel lost, hearing of something as sad and shocking as this, and can only wonder if anything could have changed if we didn't assume all was well and had kept closer touch.  Friends who met him even very recently thought he was still a happy guy, proud of his three sons, one of them a very well-behaved and bright 19 year old studying at UCLA, etc.  Even a few weeks back, Karthik had sent emails to our IIT alumni list with jokes on IIT Bombay and all that.  I am unable to figure out how something like this could happen.  I know we cannot blame ourselves, but it is also tough not to think of it.  Why did you forget all of us here to help, man? .. We can only remember those days of laughter from you some 25 years back in Saraswathi hostel in IITM.  We will miss you.  Life is short and we should all cherish everything good we all have with us.

Tennis and all that are much less important, but let me do my job.   A bad day there too, as Somdev and Prakash could not bring out enough stuff for upsets against high-ranked seeds they were up against at the $50K Sacramento challenger.  Prakash Amritraj (IND,228) lost to 2nd seed Robert Kendrick (USA,101) 64 67(6) and Somdev DevVarman (IND,240) went down to the 5th seed Ilia Bozoljac (SRB,119), 57 26 .. Prakash won the doubles first round last night in a big upset, as he and Frank Dancevic upset the second seeded Serbians,  Bozoljac and Dusan Vemic, 63 62 .. Also advancing in a tough match today were the 4th seeds Stephen Amritraj and Daniel King-Turner (NZL) who beat Santiago Gonzales (MEX) and Ivan Miranda (PER), 63 16 (12-10) .. Harsh and Ashutosh play the doubles R1 tomorrow night, and Kash plays the doubles QF.

At the $50K in Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania, USA), Sunitha Rao (IND,193) is drawn against an American qualifier, Asia Muhammed (USA,407) .. In doubles, Sunitha and Angela Haynes (USA) are seeded third and play Olga Puchkova (RUS) and Ahsha Rolle (USA) in the first round.

At the $10k Spain F18 futures, qualifier GP Prajnesh lost a chance for an ATP point as he lost aftera tough fight, 67(5) 62 57 to Jordi Samper-Montana (ESP,1134) in the first round .. Another Indian abroad, Navdeep Singh (IND,924) retired at 0-5 in the first set against second seed Niels Desein (BEL,333) in the R1 at the France F18 futures.

As many as 8 Indians are at Japan for the prestigious ITF grade Osaka Mayor's Cup, one of 5 events of the grade just below grand slams in the ITF junior circuit ..  Unfortunately only one was seeded and 4 of the other three ended up with seeds.  Here are the results from the first round today .. (1) Yuki Bhambri (IND,18) d. Dino Dell'Orto (HKG,163) 62 75 .. Kaza Vinayak Sharma (IND,437) d. (Q) Hikaru Kawasaki (JPN,969) 76 64 .. Ronak Manuja (IND,176) l. (3) Cheng-Peng Hsieh (TPE,40) 75 46 46 .. Chandril Sood (IND,189) l. (13) Henri Laaksonen (FIN,114) 16 57 .. Christopher Marquis (IND,245) l. (15) Alexandros-Ferdinandos Georgoudas (GER,123) 26 76(4) 46 .. Kyra Shroff (IND,117) l. (4) Aki Yamasoto (JPN,25) 36 26 .. Ashvarya Shrivastava (IND,238) l. Laura Slater (GBR,251) 06 36 .. Rishika Sunkara (IND,226) l. Katherine Westbury (THA,156) 36 16 .. Tough draws for many players, but actually a terrific match from Ronak Manuja, and some very good fight from Chstopher too .. Kura got no help from the draw, but I hope Ashwarya would do better, as only she had a beatable player .. Kaza Vinayak made use of the chance he got against a qualifier though .. In the second round,  Yuki plays Shu Saito (JPN,719) amd Kaza Vinayak has a tough one agaunst the 7th seed Nikala Scholtz (RSA,67).

Oct 6 Notes

Mahesh and Mark are finally back in action this week .. At the € 674,000 Vienna ATP, [R1] (2) M.Bhupathi/ Mark Knowles (BAH) vs Mark Gicquel (FRA)/ Stanislas Wawrinka (SUI) .. Leander and Rohan are taking a week off from doubles ..

The main draws are out at the $50K Sacramento challenger .. Both Kash and Somi have tough matches against seeds .. Prakash Amritraj (IND,228) plays the 2nd seed Robert Kendrick (USA,101) and Somdev DevVarman (IND,240) plays the 5th seed Ilia Bozoljac (SRB,119) .. In doubles, Kash and Frank Dancevic (CAN) plays the second seeded Serbian pair, Bozoljac and Dusan Vemic .. Stephen Amritraj and Daniel King-Turner (NZL) are seeded 4th and face Santiago Gonzales (MEX) and Ivan Miranda (PER) .. If the advance, they could run into Harsh Mankad and Ashutosh Singh who square off against Benedikt Dorsch (GER) and Todd Widom (USA) ..  Only Prakash's doubles match is there in today's schedule.

Sunitha Rao is at the $50K in Pittsburgh .. The draws are not out yet, there.

Some good weekend work to reoprt from 18 year old Prajnesh Gunneswaran who has been playing at a noticeably higher level in the last few weeks, as I wrote recently.  He has again qualified into a Spanish clay futures .. He had qualified and reached the QF of another Spanish future in August and had also reached the semifinal of an Indian futures upsetting a top-450 Japanese player and cracking into the top-1000 himself .. Over this weekend Prajnesh, ranked 981, took care of a couple of unranked guys - 60 63 over Inaki Bellos Ausin (ESP) and 63 62 over Benedikt Peischler (AUT) and then beat Emilio Rodriquez-Navarro (ESP,1919) 57 63 62 to make the main draw .. He now gets a wild card, Jordi Samper-Montana (ESP,1134) in the R1 .. Though these are not upsets or anything, it is good to see the consistency from him, because so many of our players have been in qualies in futures in Spain, USA etc - never making it despite being seeded and all that.  So I am quite upbeat on Prajnesh these days, as he is showing some fire in the belly.

Oct 5 Notes

Pretty bad day, as Lee and Sunith both lost their doubles finals today and then HM and Asutosh each went down in the singles Q1 in Sacramento ..

Leander and Dlouhy had their win streak snapped at 7 matches, as the fell in the final of the $576 AIG Open ATP in Tokyo, 36 46 to Mikhail Youzhny (RUS) and Mischa Zverev (GER) .. An early break on Dlouhy's serve at 0-1 in the first set when he threw in two doubles faults, set the tone for the match and our guys never recovered, as they were unable to convert any of about 4 or 5 break points they had .. A break in the 5th game of the second set put them in a hole they couldn't get out of .. So, LP and Dlouhy have gone down in three of the four finals this year.

At the $50K at Troy (Alabama, USA), the second seeds Sunitha Rao and Angela Haynes appear to have been no match fr the top seeded American pair, Raquel Kops-Jones and Abigail Spear in the doubles final - a 26 06 loss there.

At the $50K Sacramento challenger singles qualifying first round, Harsh Mankad (IND,565) could not sustain a good start (like he has had in a few losses lately), going down to Filip Krajinovic (SRB,890) 61 36 46 .. Ashutosh Singh (IND,662) lost to the 8th seed Cecil Mamiit (PHI,329), 16 36 .. Now we await the main draw for Kash and Somi .. I think Harsh and Ashutish will try for the doubles main draw too.

.. Previous news are at
Notes for the week ending on Oct 6, 2008 ..

.. Please email questions/comments/criticism to me email me - R.Jayakrishnan