Notes for the 2 weeks ending on Oct 22, 2001
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Oct 22 Note-1
LP and MB are the 3rd seeds this week at the $1M Basel Open ATP in Switzerland .. They are drawn against T.Cibulec and L.Friedl in the first round.
Awaiting news on what happened to Manisha and Leanne yesterday at Largo.
The India F5 futures main draw starts today. More later.
Oct 21 Notes
Great news from the $50K Largo challenger in Florida .. Manisha Malhotra and Leanne Baker are up to their usual mischief again! .. They have reached the doubles final beating Ansley Cargill (USA) and Petra Rampre (SLO), 62 46 61 in the QF and then upsetting the top seeds Marissa Irvin (USA) and Kristen Shlukebir (USA) in straight sets, 64 63 in the semi yesterday .. The final is against the second seeds Erica Delone (USA) and Emmanuelle Gagliardi (SUI) .. Go Manisha!
Nothing much else happening .. Jyotsna Vasisht is listed in the qualifying draw at the $50K Dallas challenger ..
At the grade-3 event in Malaysia, both top seed Amanjot Singh and 4th seed Rohan Gajjar went down in the semifinals .. Amanjot lost 36 46 to Strahinja Bobusic (AUS), the eventual winner .. In the whole tournament, Bobusic dropped only one set, and thatw as in his firt round upset of the 3rd seed Karan Rastogi .. So, 14 yr old Karan can take heart in that! .. Rohan lost 46 26 to GD Jones of New Zealand, who also had a great run out there dropping no sets till the final .. Jones had upset the 2nd seed Dias Dokarayev (UZB) in straight sets earlier .. Amanjot and Rohan picked up the doubles title there.
Oct 20 Notes
Srinath Prahlad showed that he is still the one to beat in Indian tennis, after LP and MB .. If he plays, that is .. Bopanna reportedly did not play as well in the final as he did against Ajay in the semi, but Srinath was not going to be easy anyway .. 63 64 win for Sri .. The newspaper reports once again mentioned that Sri was making a statement against the selectors for dropping him from the Davis Cup team .. There were some reports a while back about Sri complaining about this .. Much as I like Srinath and respect his brand of tennis, I have to say that it is horsecrap .. Sri has only himself and his bad (injury) luck to blame .. On his part, he did not make use of the chances to play last year (especially when he had a very high doubles ranking last year after the Chennai ATP final, and had a chance to play in a lot of challengers, with assured hospitality due to doubles entry and reduced expenses) .. He missed quite a bit of time with a recurring leg injury, but I think he still could have made much more of an attempt than he actually made, to play more .. Davis Cup selection should be based on the record, and it is tough to find fault with any of our selections in many many years .. But then again, I think the press has probably made a bigger deal of this than Srinath .. I hope he stays healthy and plays longer, though ..
Srinath is 27 or 28, but I often feel that such an age should not be considered the end of the road for Indian players .. Those like Sri and Fazal have played much less competitive tennis over the years than many foreign players; If they would stop thinking that they are gorwing old, they can have a lot more tennis .. Everyone should look at how Agenor continued playing top-notch tennis well into mid 30s with sheer determination, hardwork in physical training, and proper tour planning to stay away from fatigue injuries .. I also look at someone like Todd Woodbridge, who has played so much tennis, consistently playing good singles and staying in the top-50 for so many years and still playing top class doubles at 30 years age .. Heck, despite being a legend in doubles and with nothing really to prove in singles (he was world #19 at one time), he still played 4 or 5 challengers for singles this year and had a 5-set first round win at Wimbledon too .. Actually, even LP, whom we talk about as one who has a body that has taken so much of beating over the years, should not be giving up on his singles career like he seems to be (he never said that, but it has looked like that, for a while) .. LP should be looking at Todd for inspiration .. Woodbridge also started very young in his late teens and has been doing it for over 12 years now; and he has probably played twice the matches in both doubles and singles than LP has .. Age is actually way too over-rated, I feel .. Staying young in one's mind is more important .. Anyway, as for Srinath, frankly we can use him in the Davis Cup team next year .. Here's hoping that Sri stays healthy and shows renewed commitment to make a serious comeback into the top-300 ranges of ATP where he rightfully belongs .. And he has the kind of modern game that *can* take him even higher if he believes in himself and sets higher goals .. Well, just my opinions -- it is one of my pet topics .. On the "can do" mental spirit that we would all like to see a bit more of, in Indian sports.
And while we are on that topic, when will we see some singles again from Mahesh ?? .. He seems to have given up on ever playing singles -- such a pity, because he had and probably still has incredible potential as a singles player, and it is one of the biggest trajedies in Indian sports that we never get to see him play anymore .. It has puzzled me how somebody like him, who clearly spent his lifetime enjoying tennis, does not enter even an occasional qualifying draw to play some singles, at least for some fun .. I will cut him some slack though, as he probably has been advised that his shoulder may not survive the kind of hard serving needed in singles - and it may be much more prudent to keep himself available for a longer career in doubles ..
After a big fight, Sania Mirza went down to the top seed Matea Mezak (CRO), the 13th ranked player in the world today in the grade-2 Hong Kong ITF junior event final .. The score was 46 76(2) 26 .. Once again the 14 year old shows that she can play well against all these older, highly ranked players .. Impressive!
Oct 19 Notes
LP-MB seems to have let a close match slip away today in the QF at the Stuttgart masters .. They lost to Ellis Ferreira and Jeff Tarango, 75 67(4) 36 ..
At the $10K Mumbai futures, Rohan Bopanna continued his fine big serving and confident play (he seems to be one of those players who have made a "move up" this year, so to say) in beating Ajay Ramaswamy in two tiebreakers .. He faces Srinath in the final .. Sri and Ajay, who must be a very tough team for anybody to beat, won the doubles title there .. See the Mumbai futures page.
Good news from Hong Kong, as the 2nd seeded Saia Mirza finally beat Kristina Czafikova (SVK,46), 76(7) 36 64 .. She had lost to Czafikova in straight sets last November in Malaysia and had lost to her again last week at Osaka in a three-set QF match .. This time Sania got the job done! .. Incidentally, this is Sania's first top-50 win .. Though her ranking is #35 and she hardly loses to anybody below top-100 these days, she has not yet played a whole lot of top-50 players .. But she keeps proving that her ranking is no fluke .. She now faces the top seed and world #13 Matea Mezak (CRO) in the final .. The SF win gives her 75 points and puts her in her first grade-2 final .. Her best-6 point total goes up by 35 and her ranking will move inside the top-30 now .. In the doubles final, the top seeded Sania and Matea went down to the second seeds Kristina Czafikova and Andrea Hlavackova (CZE), 36 62 16 ..
Good news also from the Grade-3 ITF event in Malaysia .. Top seed Amanjot Singh and the 4th seed Rohan Gajjar are in the semifinals of singles .. Rohan had a good win over the 5th seeded Roman Kutac (CZE,212), 61 75 .. Amanjot beat the 6th seed Dannio Yahya of Malaysia (#258), 62 64 .. Amanjot now plays the giant-killer Strahinja Bobusic of Australia, who had earlier upset the 3rd seed Karan Rastogi in the first round 36 76(5) 60 and then the 8th seed Saurabh Singh 75 75 in the QF .. Rohan plays GD Jones of New Zealand .. Amanjot and Rohan are in the doubles final too.
In other news, Sai and Rushmi were in Australia for the $25K challenger in Cairns .. Not a good week, as they both lost in the singles first round and also in the doubles first round .. Sai lost 63 46 57 to Jenny Belobrajdic (AUS) and Rushmi lost 06 26 to the second seed Bryanne Stewart (AUS) .. Belobrajdic and Michelle Summerside (AUS) beat Sai-Rushmi 63 63 in doubles ..
Oct 18 Notes
Just got back from a trip abroad, and it's time to update everybody on what has been going on for the last few days .. No, I just stepped out for a few days - did not disappear .. Had internet access been as easy in Germany as it is in USA (or India, I believe), I could have had more updates.
Anyway, I guess everybody knows what happened at the Davis Cup .. The results of the last three matches were - M.Bhupathi/ L.Paes d. D.Johnson/ J.Palmer 64 16 63 76(6) .. Andy Roddick d. Leander Paes 46 63 62 75 .. James Blake d. Harsh Mankad 63 60 .. The bottom line, based on all the reports, both from the fans in our forum page, and from newspapers, is that LP raised his game as he normally does in Davis Cup, but that wasn't enough .. LP-MB added to the miserable record that USA has in doubles (regardless of often throwing a worls top-3 doubles team out there!) .. And LP-MB have now won 8 Davis Cup doubles matches in a row, over about 5 years .. The reports on Harsh is that he has again shown a bit more improvement over the last few months in college, but the old problem of the lack of power is not going away ..
LP-MB are at the Stuttgart masters tournament .. 4th seeds with a first round bye .. They won their second round match today over David Adams and Lucas Arnold 75 63, and are in the QFs against unseeded Ellis ferreira and Jeff Tarango, who upset the 7th seed Pala-Vizner .. I wish I could stay back for an extra day in Germany to catch them play at Stuttgart - but i couldn't .. So I missed them in the US as I was in Germany, and I missed them in Germany, as I returned to the US!
The India F4 futures is underway in Mumbai .. When I saw the entry list a couple of weeks back, I thought it was the weakest ever in futures history, with a top seed just barely at 600 in ATP ranking .. In fact Eyal Erlich of Israel was the only foreign player that I thought really had a chance .. And it has turned out that way, with Ajay Ramaswamy, Srinath and Rohan Bopanna reaching the semis .. Sunil Kumar reached the QF with a couple of good wins, especially over the 5th seed in the first round .. Good show .. He went down to Ajay, who seems to be showing the kind of fire in the belly that saw his go up to the top of the US college ranks last year .. Ajay praised Sunil for the unusual power he shows in his service, for his size .. Sunil had 11 aces in the match that ended in a 3rd set tiebreaker that Ajay won .. Bopanna is another player who has looked uite improved this year. Good to see Sri back out there agai - he reportedly is a bit inconsistent, but has done well .. See the Mumbai futures page.
Manisha was at the $50K Largo (Florida) challenger qualies, but went down in the final round of qualies to the top seed .. She and Leanne Baker (NZL) have won the first round of doubles over Maureen Drake and Svetlana Krivencheva, 26 64 61 yesterday ..
7th seeded Sania lost in the PQF to the 11th seed Kristina Czafikova (CZE) 06 64 26 at the Osaka Mayors Cup grade-A ITF juniors in Japan last week .. Jacco Matthew upset the 14th seed Lars Poerschke (GER) 62 61 to reache the PQF but feel to 3rd seed Yeu-Tzuo Wang 06 26 there ..
In this weeks' event, the Grade-2 Hong Kong Open, Sania is the 2nd seed and has reached the semifinals! .. She beat Shi-Tong Shao (CHN) 62 60 after a first round bye, and then held on against the 6th seed Natalia Papadopolou (SWE), 26 64 63 .. She again runs into Czafikova, to whom she has lost twice in the past .. Sania and Matea Mezak of Croatia have won two easy rounds after a first round bye, and are in the doubles final there too .. They face Czaficova and Andrea Hlavackova (CZE) in the final .. Jaco Matthew and Nishank Mishra are also there, but not great results to report.
There is also a grade-3 event in Malaysia this week .. Amanjot Singh (top seed), Rohan Gajjar (4th seed), Saurabh Singh (8th) have all reached the QF stage .. Megha Vakharia and Sasha Abraham were the top seed and the 4th seed on the girls' side there, but both were upset in the second round .. Once again I wonder, why don't I see Isha Lakhani at any of these events ?? ..
More later -- a bit stressed for time for now.
Oct 13 Notes
Just a quick note, just in case you looked here for scores .. India is down 0-2 after the first day of Davis Cup .. No big heroics from Leander, though he apparently started with a lot of energy and surprised Blake a bit .. That was about it .. 57 36 36 loss for Leander .. The outcome of the second match between Harsh Mankad and Andy Roddick was not unexpected at all, barring an unbelievable miracle .. Harsh took a few games off Roddick, but the strong serve from Roddick was too much in a 36 46 16 loss .. .. By the way, I am a bit angry at the reports of Indians saying that they would try to be polite and not cheer much, considering the circumstances .. Come on guys, you have been living in the US and you still can't understand what Americans appreciate? .. They don't want any sympathy politeness .. They would rather like us to feel they are fine .. The best way to show appreciation is to take the fight to them, and the US people will appreciate a good fight and sportsman-spirited cheers .. What are you all thinking? I am not asking for any anti-American cheers, but to hell with anybody who complains about some "Saare Jahan se Accha" and "Jai Hind" to be impolite in a Davis Cup tie .. Get your lungs in shape, and get those screams going, folks! ..
Oct 8 Notes
Only 4 days for the Davis Cup!!
As the India F4 futures is next week and the Davis Cup is next this week, i don't think any of our men are playing any pro events this week.. Will find out if any Indian women are playing anywhere.
Sania Mirza and Jaco Matthew are in the draw at the big Grade-A ITF Osaka Mayor's Cup in Japan .. Sania is the 7th seed and faces Seul-Ki Chin of South Korea in the first round .. Jaco is unseeded and plays Shusei Kanabara of Japan .. Both draws are of size 64 .. I have not seen the doubles draws yet .. A lot of top players are there, as can be seen with #37 Sania being seeded only 7th.
.. Previous notes are at Notes for the week ending on Oct 08 ..
I am getting some enquiries 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 enquiring 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 enquiries from the coaches too .. Please email me - R.Jayakrishnan.