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Indian-Tennis: Daily News for the week ending on Oct 17, 2005
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Oct 17 Notes

At the big $2.8M Madrid Masters, Mahesh Bhupathi and Martin Damm are drawn to face the top seeds Bob and Mike Bryan (USA) in the first round .. Tough match .. Leander Paes and Nenad Zimonjic run into Feliciano Lopez and Rafel Nadal of Espana ..

Harsh's first round match at the $50K Calabasas challenger is postponed to tomorrow due to non stop rain and drizzle today - no play was possible there ..

The big DSCL national hard courts (with over $30K in prize money and junior allowances) started today at the RK Khanna stadium ..  It is the largest domestic tennis event, spanning over two weeks and with over 500 players there .. The first week has the men's and women's draws aloing with the u18 boys and girls draws .. Plus the doubles draws and qualifying .. Of course it is probably the largest tennis "mela" in South Asia and probably even in all of Asia .. The DCM Shreeram Consolidated Limited (DSCL) has sponsoiired it for many years and the organizers hav always done a great job there .. The DSCL Open website (http://www.dsclopentennis.com) is up and running, and as always it is very prompt with results .. They continue their traidition of presenting us with the best web site for any tennis event in India (sorry Chennai ATP, Hyderbad WTA and Kolkata WTA -- these DSCL guys do a crisper and nicer job for a much much bigger event in terms of the number of matches held) ..

Good to see that Sunil Kumar, the 22 year old former national champion (then at age 16!) is the top seed on the men's side .. With Vijay Kannan, Isha Lakhani, etc playing there, the field is OK, though the top few (SM, LP, MB, HM, PA, RB, Rushmi, the Bhambris etc) are missing - as always .. The Bhmabri sisters and Rushmi decided to play the Lagos challengers these two weeks .. It would be good to see if any of the young talents emerge out there.

Forgot to report on some nice work by Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan at the Osaka Mayor's Cup grade-A in Japan, where he reached the QF late last week .. [R1] (3) Jeevan Nenducheziyan (IND,35) d. Perklat Siriluethaiwattana (THA,197), 61 61 .. [ R2] d. Edward Bouchier( AUS,193) 63 63 .. [ R3] d.(15) Lai Xiao Peng (HKG,118) 46 76(4) 60 .. [QF] l. (9) Kei Nishkori (JPN,72), 26 46 .. The Japanese boy Jeevan lost to, is not even 16, but he seems very good (he was #55 as early as march of this year) .. I had hoped that Jeevn would be able to reach SF though, as this was one of the easiest fields in a grade-A that I had ever seen .. But he did have a couple of good wins and it is always nice to reach a grade-A quarterfinal .. He still gets 30 extra points to raise his rank a bit-- up by 4 or 5 spots .. Jeevan and Sanam will be at a grade-2 this week.

Oct 16 Notes

The top seeds Leander and Nenad Zimonjic could not close the show at the final of the $680K Stockholm ATP, where they fell to the 2nd seeds Wayne Arthurs and Paul Hanley of Australia, 35 35 ..

Man, I hate these shortened sets that ATP is experimenting with .. Maddningly frustrating tinkering with the doubles game, in the name of "improving the situation" .. Damnit, ATP .. You guys should be ashamed of yourselves .. First make sure that you would at least list the doubles matches or the players in ANY of the media material you keep at the tournament media rooms, and at least mention the doubles matches in the daily schedule "highlights", before you start listening to the tournament directors' standard line that doubles does not bring "fannies to the stands" .. Puke, is the response I have to that! .. They should check with the fans who wander in for doubles with no idea who is playing and then leave with a "whoa, this stuff is cool" expression .. The wandering spectator has to walk to some side court behind the portable toilets at some of the events to catch a doubles match, probably at 9.30 pm at night, mind you .. But find me *one* such wanderer spectator who walked out from the doubles match who says, "these doubles guys are boring to watch .. the singles players have so much more skill" or some such remark .. You won't hear it - simple .. If the product they present on court is enjoyable, who is at fault? .. There is only ONE problem with doubles, and ONLY one - ATP's absolute incompetence in marketing that sports and their lack of resepct for the unique abilities that the doubles players bring on court, not to mention the speed and excitement of that game (yes, doubles game is indeed quite a different sport than the singles game - and the players should never be compared; that is in my view like comparing a discus guy to a shotput guy .. Saying that doubles should be kept only for the singles players to play is like saying that the one-day cricket team has to be the same team as the one for test-cricket, and then ICC insisting that one-day matches should be held, without any dates specified, it being held depending on how tired the players are after each test match .. Sachin, Saurav, etc are allowed to skip the one-day match on account of hurting toes or soiled shirts ..  Then we play the one-day match at GopicchettippaaLayam, at a time/day to be specified and told only to the players, when the media is given highlights of the next test match starting in three days .. Of course, TV deals are written with only test matches in mind, and they are allowed to skip the one-day coverage .. Imagine that! ..  You know what? --- the situation was not much different in the 1970s about the one-day game, but some people thought there was money to be made if it is properly sold and that the crazy one-day players may have some stuff that people might want to see (yeah, there were some in the 60s and 70s too, who were uniquely skilled for the limited overs version of cricket!), even though there were some occasional limited over internationals being held with hardly 500 people in the stands those days .. ATP needs to get a grip .. There are some who say that doubles would have died earlier but for ATP insisting that tournaments MUST hold it .. Yes, it is true that ATP has indeed kept it alive, but their "charity" attitude towards doubles is sickening - after all, it is ATP which has brought the game to its death-bed and they are the ones who refuse to do anything to rejuvenate the glory of that game ..

Anyway, LP-NZ and MB-MD will be at the Madrid masters this week where the tournament tried to drop doubles as late as last week, acting as though they support ATP in the lawsuit filed by leading doubles players (our own Mahesh Bhupathi included) against ATP .. But ATP insisted that they must hold it, and so doubles is there at Madrid.

Shikha Uberoi (IND,149) was at the big $1.3M Zurich Open WTA Qualifying rounds this weekend .. Not a good outing for Shik, as she lost in straight sets to Sandra Kleinova (CZE,217), 61 63 ..

By the way, if you have not checked out the website of the Uberoi Sisters, which was officially launched during the Kolkata Open (but was known to us in the fanclub beta-testing form for some time), take alook at www.uberoisisters.com .. You will certainly enjoy the nice racy music when you get there! .. Lots of info, pictures and even videos of the sisters .. I loke the work done by PranaMedia who made the website .. One of our fanclub members, Arun, has now taken up the score and news updates duties there too .. We will still have our "mastehead fan badge of honor" page for Shikha soon here, like the LP, MB and SM pages .. I am running a year lat in starting that page, but will do it during this upcoming year-end break .. But the TennisIndia pages are mostly just promtp news and score updates .. The Uberois site has a lot more of stuff for you to enjoy .. Take a look!

Harsh Mankad is drawn to face the 5th seed Jeff Morrison (USA,147), who was as high as #85 a couple of years back and sneaked into the top-100 last year too .. This will be a tough match .. HM plays tomorrow at around noon time .. Though HM was not planning to play doubles, he seems to have entered for the doubles qualies this week with Marcio Torres (BRA) .. They beat Ishay Hadash (ISR)/ Dekel Valtzer (ISR) 64 62 today in the Q1 .. They will play the final round of qualies tomorrow, after HM finishes his singles first round against Morrison ..

Oct 15 Notes

Mahesh and Max Mirnyi had to give a walkover in the semifinal at the $1M Kremlin Cup in Moscow, due to a stomach problem that Martin had .. Hope they would be able to do well in the next week's event - the big Madrid Masters ATP.  Leander and Nenad Zimonjic will play the Aussies, the second seeded Wayne Arthurs and Paul Hanley tomorrow at around noon time at the Stockholm Open.

Tough loss for Prakash Amritraj in the second round of the qualifying at the $50K Calabasas challenger in Southern California, USA .. PA had to play two rounds today .. The first match against a wildcard turned out to be much tougher than expected, as sometuimes happens against som of these unranked but talented guys in th US .. PA won 36 76(5) 63  against Michael McClune (USA) in the morning but went down in the second round against Brian Wilson (USA), 63 26 67(2) .. The tough part is that Prakash was up a break and serving for the match at 5-4 in the third before it all went wrong .. Oh well .. For consolation, most of the seeds have failed to even reach the final round of qualies there, some six of them losing today ..

Oct 14 Notes

Leander and Zimonjic reached the final of the $680K Stockholm ATP without having to sweat it .. They got a walkover from the 3rd seed Simon Aspelin and Todd Perry (AUS) .. Cool .. The final will be on Sunday, and the opponents.

At the $50K Calabasas challenger, where the qualies start tomorrow, it came down to the wire for Harsh Mankad to make the draw directly .. He was only two out from the cut when the entry closed (quite rare actually for somebody ranked at #227 to missthe cut at a small $50K challenger - and it points to the quality of the field at some of these challengers our guys are playing) .. Well, there was only one withdrawal .. And it was at 6 O'clock this evening that a player, who would have got a special exempt spot lost his QF at the Sacramento challenger, clearing up one spot reserved for an SE spot for HM to make the cut as the last player .. Prakash Amritraj was 13th out from the cut and is in a very tough qualifying field where he is only the 7th seed! .. Damn .. PA has an easier first round Q match against a wildcard, Michael McClune of USA ..

Not a great day at Lagos, Nigeria, at the $25K challenger, as the Indian ladies have gone down, though not after some hard fights ..  The top seed Petra Cetkovska (CZE,214) beat Rushmi 64 76(6) and the thrid seed Surnia deBeer (RSA,328), a former top-150 player, beat Ankita Bhambri, 62 36 63 .. The ladies really did come ready to play this week at Lagos .. Always good to see unseeded Indians reaching quarterfinals and playing very close matches like that .. All four of them, Rushmi, Ankita, Punam and Sanaa did very well there .. Theye did not do as well in doubles though - as all of them lost in the first round .. Vojislava Lukic (SCG) and Katarzyna Siwosz (POL) beat Rushmi and Lizaan DuPlessis (RSA), 62 57 63  .. Unseeded Lisa Sabino (ITA) and Masa Zec-Peskiric (SLO) upset the second seeded Bhambri sisters, 26 64 63 .. Petra Cetkovska (CZE) and Ria Doernemann (GER) beat Lisa Pereira and Punam Reddy 60 64 .. The ladies will all be at the $25K challenger next week, again at Lagos ..

At the $25K Lyneham challenger in Australia, the top seed Sunitha Rao (USA,161) was upset by Beti Sekulovski (AUS,439) in a close match 61 67(4) 64 .. Yikes.

Terrific work by the young Karan Rastogi, who finished off the India satellites in style winning the masters in 76 63 match over Vishal Uppal and topping the circuit point tally by a mere one point over Alxei Kedriouk .. The yoiuingster who turned 19 only last week, picked up 9 more ATP points (including 8 bonus for topping the circuit!), for a total of 43 points .. That will take him to 85 total points next week, and place him as the 4th Indian player behind Harsh, Prakash and Rohan .. Karan will now move up inside top-365, a fabulous achievement for anybody that young .. Sunil Kumar, who picked up 30 points and will have 80 points next week, will also be inside top-375 but gets pushed back as the India #5 .. Let us give some big kudos to 29 year old Vishal Uppal, who at last reached top-500 in ranking for the first time .. You have to give it to him for staying focused and determined to keep doing this work .. See the Delhi Masters page and the point tally page.

Oct 13 Notes

Mahesh and Martin Damm won the QF at the $1M Kremlin Cup ATP in Moscow, against Philipp Mukhometov Evgueni Smirnov of Russia, 45 53 51 .. Their semifinal opponenets are yet to be determined  .. Probably the 3rd seeds Max Mirnyi and Mikhail Youzhny ..  LP and Nenad Zimonjic reached the SF at the $680K Stockholm Open with a 54(8) 25 52 win over Wayne Black (ZIM) Chris Haggard (RSA) ..

Sania's year ended today with an injury in the second round of the Thailand Open Tier-III, as she retired after one set, at 5-7 0-0 against Meng Yuan (CHN,183) .. She went up for an overhead smash and had a lkower back injury .. Does not seem serious, and she could recover in a couple of weeks or so, I think .. However, as the WTA tour year is winding down, Sania has decided to just take rest and get into her training program, planned for the last couple of months, a bit early.  That is good, because after a tremendous year, she has identified a lot of things to work on .. Her second serve, mobnility on court, physical fitness, etc etc .. A good break now till January would get her all fit and ready to conquer the tour next year ..

Rushmi Chakravarthi (IND,422) beat Vojislava Lukic (SCG,592) 63 36 76(5) and Ankita Bhambri (IND) got past Katarzyna Siwosz (POL,987) 67(2) 62 64 .. The 6th seed Anne Keothavong (GBR,377), a former top-150 player, beat Sanaa Bhambri (IND,473) 62 64 and the top seed Petra Cetkovska (CZE,214) defeated Punam Reddy (IND,571) 36 63 64 .. Good fight by Punam there ..

At the India satellites, Karan Rastogi pulled off the upset of the tournament by beating the top seed A;exei Kedriouk (KAZ), 61 61 .. This was an important match to win, because it was the last chance for anybody else to top the circuit point standings, as Kedriouk had a 14 point lead on Karan and Sunil, and the most our two guys could get from the last two rounds would be 15 more pts .. Sunil Kumar went down to Vishal Uppal today .. Now Karan can top the circuit tomorrow with a win in the final .. Sunil lost a chance for finishing first with the loss today, and can finish third if Vishal, currently in 4th place goes down tomorrow .. See the Delhi Masters page and the point tally page.

Oct 12 Notes

Sania, Harsh, LP and MB had off days today at Bangkok, Sacramento, Stockholm and Moscow respectively ...

At the $25K challenger in Lagos, Nigeria, it was a nice start, with four Indians reaching the second round .. The best was a very good 64 64 upset of the 5th seed Larissa Carvalho (BRA,326) by Rushmi Chakrvarthi (IND,422) .. Sanaa Bhambri (IND,473) had a tough 63 57 64 win over Diana Vranceneau (GER,546), Ankita Bhambri (IND,499) beat Gianna Doz (CRO,606), 60 64, and Punam Reddy (IND,571) had an easy 61 62 win over Fatimah Abinu (NGR,1131) .. The second round matches will be tougher - actually the player field is not as pooor as you would normally expect in Nigeria.

Sunitha Rao (USA,161) is the top seed at the $25K challenger in Lyneham, Australia (near Canberra, I think) .. She has reached the QF with two easy wins - 63 62 over Shannon Golds (AUS,NR) and 64 60 over Alison Bai (AUS,1224) .. She now faces Beti Sekulovski (AUS,439) in the QF.

Shruti Dhawan (IND,520) was the 6th seed at the $25K challenger in Jersey UK .. After a bye, she beat Natasha Khan (GBR,902) 46 61 64 and then fell to the 16th seed Rebecca Fong (GBR,717), 46 63 46 in the final qualies ..

At the Delhi satellite masters, the top four seeds, Kedriouk, Sipaeya, Rastogi and Uppal rached the semifinals .. Karan will need to beat Kedriouk tomorrow to prevent the Kazakh guy from winning the circuit ..The other youngsters like  Arjun, Vivek, Divij, Ravishankar, etc, ar all done but they all had a nice satellite circuit, picking up some valuable points .. See the points tally page also.

I had complained earlier in the forum about not finidng any of our juniors in the grade-A Osaka Mayor's cup IUTF juniors in Osaka, Japan .. I am glad top find that Jeevan Nedunchezhiya n has indeed g one there this week! .. He entered as a wildcard and is the third seed, in a field which is quite poor for a grade-A, though there are two talented top-10 players as the first two seeds .. Jeevan reached the final-32 yesterday with an easy 61 61 win over peeraklat Siriluethaiwattana (THA,197) .. He faces Edward Bourchier (AUS), anotther top-200 player next.

Man, our players are all over the world this week ... USA, Britain, Africa, Sweden, Russia, Thailand, Japan and Australia, as above! .. What, nobody went to Antartica? :-)

Oct 11 Notes

A pretty good day today, as there were a lot of wins .. Sania Mirza, now the Asian #2 with a #31 ranking, beat Henrietta Nagyova (SVK,197), who was once ranked as high as #21, by a score of 61 46 60 at the $200K Tier-III Thailand Open .. Not sure what happened to Sania in the second set! .. Harsh Mankad, now at a career-high ranking of #227, beat Nicolas Todero (ARG,270) 36 64 64 .. Harsh had just changed his racket to Yonex, and I am glad that the first match ended up as a win .. This was at the $50K challenger in Sacramento .. Unfortunately, Prakash Amritraj (IND,277) had something bother him after about 4-4 in the second set (I suspect that his foot problem flared up - he was reportedly stretching his foot etc, according to the excellent match reports by "gigado" in our forum thread) .. Prakash lost at Sacramento, 64 46 06 to the 5th seed Brian Vahaly .. Also winning today were Leander and Zimonjic, the top seeds at the $680K Stockholm Open, 15 52 52 over Juan Ignacio Chela (ARG) and Nicolas Massu (CHI) .. Mahesh and Martin Damm were the second seeds and advanced at the $1M Moscow ATP, also with a three-set comeback, 35 51 53 over Jeff Coetzee (RSA) and Rogier Wassen (NED) .. By the way, Sania and Shahr Peer had earlier won the doubles first round at the Thailand Open, 62 76(3) over Carly Gullickson and Abigail Spears.

Sania now plays Meng Yuan (CHN,183) in the second round of singles .. Harsh faces Zack Fleishman (USA,281) at Sacramento .. Both Sania and Harsh have wednesday off.

The satellites masters at Delhi has gone rather well so far, with six Indians reaching the QF leg .. Al;exei Kedriouk is now assured of at least a second place finish, but both Karan and Sunil have a chance to top the circuit point tally, if Kedriouk can be beaten by at least the SF .. Arjun Goutham had a very nice 3-set win over Ravishankar Pathanjali to reach the QF .. Youngster Vivek Shokeen also has reached the QF .. Karan had a 3-set win to get past Vijay Kannan .. Ashutosh upset the 6th seed, Divij Sharan rather easily today .. See the results at the Delhi masters Page ..

A few of our ladies are at the $25K challenger in Lagos, Nigeria - Ruishmi, Bhambri sisters etc .. More news from there, later ..

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.


.. Previous notes are at Notes for the weeks ending on Oct 10, 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