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LP/MB/NV/Indian-Tennis: Notes for the week ending on Oct 23, 2000

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Oct 23 Note-1

No news yet from Basel on the doubles draw for LP-MB, and from the Dallas challenger for Nirupama .. Will have news soon.

The $10K ITF women's satellite in Delhi has started .. It's a very strong field, with two top-250 players in there and Manisha playing as the 3rd seed .. The reason for the strong field is that some players who are playing next week's challenger decided to play this event .. The Vesenjak sisters have come to India again, and they both won today .. Actually all the five foreigners who played today have won .. Sonal Phadke advanced, and all four qualifiers and a lucky loser from India went down rather tamely .. See today's results at the Delhi satellite page.

Oct 22 Notes

Sai won the final at the Gwalior ITF satellites with no sweat yesterday and continued the trend of Indians winning the ITF women satellites .. Manisha had won one, Rushmi and Radhika shared the next and now Sai has won this one .. Cool .. Sai showed a lot of fighting spirit this whole week, somehow working through her own inconsistency, but continuing to win .. The doubles title went to Larissa Shaerer and Monica Acosta, who beat Rushmi and Sai .. See the Gwalior results .. Next week's $10K event is at Delhi, and there may be some qualies today.

At the DSCL u14 and u16 national championships in Delhi today, Ankita Bhambri and Karan Rastogi reigned supreme, both coming up with triple crowns, in the u14 and u16 divisions (singles titles and a doubles title each) .. Results: Boys u16: Karan Rastogi (Mah) bt Tejeswar Chigateri (Kar) 62 63 .. Boys u14: Karan Rastogi (Mah) bt Tushaar Liberhan (Chd) 62 62 .. Girls u16: Ankita Bhambri (Del) bt Isha Lakhani (Mah) 36 61 63 .. Girls u14: Ankita Bhambri (Del) bt Sanaa Bhambri (Del) 62 63 .. Karan and Ankita have certainly served notice in the most emphatic way!

No new on the doubles draw from Basel, for LP and MB.

Oct 21 Note-2

At the DSCL national chamionships u14 and u16 semifinals today, the cream seems to have risen to the final .. Here are today's results (with AITA rankings in the given sections shown) --- u16 boys: #28 Karan Rastogi d. #10 Rishi Behl, 61 64 .. #11 P.C.Tejeshwar d. #2 V.Vignesh, 64 60 .. u14 boys: #12 Karan Rastogi d. #9 Vinod Murthi, 60 62 .. #7 Tushar Liberhan d. #6 Gautham Samarth, 61 60 .. u16 girls: #1 Ankita Bhambri d. #8 Lata Assudani, 62 62 .. #2 Isha Lakhani d. #3 Priyanka Parekh 62 61 .. u14 girls: #1 Sanaa Bhambri d. #9 Shraddha Lodha, 64 63 .. #2 Ankita Bhambri d. #3 Kartiki Bhat, 61 61 .. On the girls side, the rankings and seedings have held up well, with the Bhambri sisters ruling the place .. The real competition for them was to come from Sania Mirza in the u14, but she is not playing the event .. Actually Sania seems to be the only top player missing the event .. On the boys' side the seedings have not meant much, but close observers wouldn't be surprised to see Karan Rastogi (in both the finals) and Tushar Liberhan remaining there .. Karan has hardly played much u16 events and that is the only reason for his low rank in the u16 section, but he is one to really watch for  .. PC Tejeshwar has definitely made waves this time around .. Those who have followed him closely wouldn't be surprised that he has done well here, as he has been knocking on the doors for a while though unable to pull off the big wins in the past .. His upset of a talented #2 V.Vignesh today, as well as Manoj Sewa in the previous round and Punna Vishal in the PQF are very very impressive; especially when we look at the 60 61, 60 63 and 64 60 scorelines in those three successive matches .. Wow! .. Has Bhupathi Sr produced a true contender from his Tennisvillage in Bangalore, in Tejeshwar? .. It certainly looks so .. Tejeshwar's u16 final against a young Karan Rastogi will be interesting tomorrow! .. Also, Isha Lakhani will try to hold the Maharashtra fort against the Delhi attack by the Bhambri girls tomorrow too .. See the site for all scores.

Oct 21 Note-1

Got confirmation on LP-MB's schedule .. They are playing together for 4 of the next five weeks, except for the week after, when MB will be at Stuttgart masters and LP will be at the $100K+H challenger in Charleroi, Belgium .. I think MB would have gone to the challenger too if he could get singles entry .. I assume this challenger is on carpet .. Mahesh will be playing with Kevin Ullyett at the Stuttgart masters .. So the schedule is,  Basel, Stuttgart/Charleroi, Lyon, Paris Masters, Stockholm .. After that LP and MB will take a two weeks break in the US and will do training (in New York and Florida, respectively) for close to two weeks before proceeding to Bangalore for the World Doubles Championship.

By the way, the qualies have started at Basel, and it doesn't look like LP got there by Friday to get into the qualies .. This being his first trip to Calcutta in 5-6 months, he probably had a pretty busy schedule that didn't allow him to leave within 3-4 days after arriving from Japan .. Both LP and MB will be at Basel by Sunday or so .. The doubles main draw has not come out yet.

Magnus Norman (#4) and Cedric Pioline (#13) have confirmed their entries for the Chennai Goldflake Open starting onm Jauary 1st, 2001 .. Great that Pioline coming back .. Always nice see a repeat visitor who is ranked high .. Chennai has had trouble in the past in getting the top ranked ones to return; it may be changing.

Later, with the women's satellite news.

Oct 20 Notes

When the dust settled at the $10K ITF Gwalior satellite, one Indian remains in the final, with the Indian youngsters going out by QF or earlier .. The semis were high quality affairs today, both going to five-setters .. Top seed Sai beat Anna Nefedova and Rushmi went down to the second seed Andrea .. All in all, a good tournament, with the top two seeds playing the finals in singles and doubles .. I am a bit surprised that Sai with her inconsistent form over the last few days has still reached the final with some gutsy wins, three 5-setters in a row .. Rushmi was on a big run for the last few days including her title at DSCL over Sai, but ran up against a talented foreigner today in the second seed Andrea .. See the Gwalior results page.

The u14 and u16 DSCL National championships in Delhi have reached the semifinal stages .. Here are today's results -- Boys u16 QFs: Rishi Behl (Mah) bt Vikran Sane (Mah) 62 36 76(6), Karan Rastogi (Mah) bt Somdev Dev Varman (TN) 62 64 .. Tejeshwar Chigateri (Kar) bt Manoj K. Sewa (WB) 60 63, V. Vignesh (AP) bt Vikran Aditya Menon (TN) 62 36 62 .. Boys u14 QFs: Karan Rastogi (Mah) bt Rupesh Roy (Bng) 60 60, Murthi Vinod (TN) bt Keshav Narsimhan (Mah) 64 26 64, Samrath Goutham (Mah) bt Ajay Selveraj (TN) 64 57 62, Tushaar Liberhan (Chd) bt Anshuman Dutta (Asm) 62 63 .. Girls u16 QFs: Ankita Bhambri (Del) bt Kartiki Bhat (Mah) 64 60, Lata Assudani (Mah) bt Sanaa Bhambri (Del) 64 63, Priyanka Parekh (WB) bt Parul Goswami (Del) 60 61, Isha Lakhani (Mah) bt Neha Singh (Chd) 6- 3, 6-1 .. Girls u14 QFs: Sanaa Bhambri (Del) bt Sharanya Pattabi (TN) 61 64, Shraddha Lodha (Mah) bt Parul Goswami (Del) 62 62, Kartiki Bhat (Mah) bt Oormilla Ram (AP) 61 60, Ankita Bhambri (Del) bt Neha Singh (Chd) 61 61.. Generally not too many surprises in the players who have made the semis, though Vikrant Sane's loss to Rishi Behl would go as an upset.

A few roundup topics from this week .. LP and MB must be on the way to Basel, Switzerland, by now .. Yashwant Sinha took over as the AITA president from RK Khanna, officially .. Sania Mirza and Parantap Chaturvedi were at Grade 2 ITF junior event in Hong Kong .. Sania lost in the first round and Parantap lost in the second round.

Oct 19 Notes

Niru had a pretty bad time in Florida this week .. She lost in the first rounds of both singles and doubles at the $50K Largo challenger .. In singles, Niru lost to Lisa McShea (USA,159), 67(4) 16 .. In doubles Niru and Jana Nejedly lost to the top seeds Erica DeLone and Nana Miyagi, 16 16, as well .. That's the nature of the US challengers .. Tough draws, tough matchups and very tough to pick up points ..  Oh well .. She will be at the Dallas challenger next week.

At the ITF $10K satellite in Gwalior yesterday, Shruti Dhawan went down in 5 sets to Monica Acosta from Paraguay, and Sonal Phadke beat Radhika Tulpule in a 5 set comeback, exacting revenge for her loss to Radhika at the DSCL u18 final last week - these two seem to beat each other about half the time and it's a very healthy rivalry .. Top seed Sai moved on after some hiccups .. Rushmi, Archana and T.Yamini (who beat T.Sricharanya) are also in the QF, along with Monica, Anna Nefedova and the second seed Andrea Van den Hurk .. Shruti and Radhika upset the Venkatraman sisters in doubles as well .. See the Gwalior results page.

I am awaiting confirmation on LP's and MB's schedules for the next 5 weeks .. They are confirmed for Basel, Lyon and Stockholm, but the other two weeks are not clear to me yet .. I saw in today's newspaper reports that LP, who is in Calcutta for a cuple of days) mentioned Brussels for the week after Basel, which has to be the $100K+H challenger at Charleroi, Belgium .. I am not sure of Stuttgart masters after Basel, and Paris Masters after Lyon .. Stay tuned.

Oct 18 Notes

Nirupama is at the Largo challenger but has a rather difficult draw .. She faces Lisa McShea (USA,159) in the first round, and if she advances it will be the top seed Jana Nejedly (USA,67) in the next round .. Not first round scores yet from there ..  I will find out more today.

At the $10K Gwalior ITF women's satellite, a few of foreign players originally in the list have not showed up, as always .. And there hasn't been any big surprises in the first round, with one R1 matches still to be done on Wednesday .. This should get interesting from the second rund onwards, with some matches like the one between Radhika and Sonal coming up today .. See the Gwalior satellite page - today's results will be added later today.

There were quite a few newspaper articles the last two days with some press conference comments from Mahesh at Bangalore .. He said he's confident of doing well with LP at the World Doubles Championship .. He even said that the Indian Express will be the team to beat .. One interesting comment was when he was asked about whether their relationship is just professional now .. He said "not really", and explained that he didn't want to sound like their relationship is only at the professional level and that they are good friends again, occasionally hanging out together as well .. I also saw a report in the Hindustan Times that MB may play the Paris and Stuttgart masters with Knowles, as LP may not get entry there (I believe the newspaper is talking about singles entry; I don't think there will be any problem for doubles entry as MB and LP are #44 and #84 now) .. Otherwise, they are on for Basel next week, and also for Lyon and Stockholm .. I will try to check with them on anything new on the schedule.

Here is a delayed item from Japan that I could not post earlier, as I was away .. Onsite fanclub member report from Balaji Narasimhan at the Tokyo final:  Leander-Mahesh won a hard-fought 3 setter 6-4, 6-7 (1), 6-3 .. Tarango-Hill were introduced to the crowd as the pair who had teamed up 3 tournaments ago and had reached the semis in their previous tournament (I think the Shanghai Open) .. Leander-Mahesh were introduced to the crowd as the pair who had reached all 4 GS finals last year and also the pair which had won Wimbledon and the French Open last year, which led to audible gasps from the crowd. The Tokyo crowd is fairly knowledgeable, since tennis is quite popular and there is a huge no. of people who tennis ....  In the 1st set, the match went even till 4-4 when LP-MB had break points on Tarango's serve. Our guys converted the 3rd to go ahead. Bhupathi then held serve on the 10th game and converted the 3rd set-point to wrap up the 1st set 6-4 ....  In the 2nd set, Paes was broken in the 6th game and JT-MH went ahead 4-2, then held to 5-2. Bhupathi held in the 8th game to make it 5-3, then our pair broke Tarango in the 9th, then Paes held in the 10th to make it even 5-5. The 10th game was most important in that our guys were down 15-40 on serve, but then managed to make it deuce and hold serve.  Hill held to make it 6-5, then Bhupathi held to make it 6-6 to force the tie-breaker ... The small Indian crowd egged our guys to go for it, but somehow our guys lost their concentration to lose it 7-1 on JT-MH's first set-point ..... We were quite tense, since Hill's serve had picked up remarkably and he was returning quite well too, using his height to good advantage. He hadn't lost serve yet and had delivered a few booming aces ....  In the 1st game of the 3rd set, Bhupathi held. Then, Hill was broken to make it 2-0 (we all shouted a war-cry then). Paes and Tarango duly held serve to make it 3-1. Bhupathi then was broken and Hill held to even the scores 3-3 .... However, Paes held the 7th game and Tarango was broken in the 8th game to make it 5-3. Bhupathi closed out the match in the 9th game to make it 6-4, 6-7, 6-3 .... In retrospect, it was a very close match. Our guys converted 4 breaks, while Tarango-Hill converted 2.  I think their experience paid off very well in the ultimate analysis ..... Paes-Bhupathi in their victory speeches conveyed that they felt very good coming back together and winning after a while ..... I'd like to mention a few interesting sidelights. Tarango threw his usual temper tantrums and argued with the umpire umpteen times. He threw down his racket a couple of times, placed the ball in the center of court and sat beneath the umpire and refused to receive serve once .... It was quite an enjoyable match, made sweeter when Paes-Bhupathi won it. At the end of the match, Paes-Bhupathi spent about 15 minutes signing autographs and joining in photographs with the sparse Indian crowd, which I guess numbered about 30 .... Paes-Bhupathi are also quite popular among the Japanese crowd, since they are aware that Bhupathi has won 2 GS titles with Rika Hiraki and Ai Sugiyama. Our guys were mobbed by the young Japanese autograph hunters .... Our guys are back on track. Expect to see greater feats from them ...  Thanks a lot Balaji, for the match report!

The DSCL national championships for u14 and u16 are underway at Delhi .. I will start a page soon .. You can find the results at the official site, for now.

There are no notes for three days (Oct 16-18) as I was away without computer access! ..

.. Previous notes are at Notes for the week ending on Oct 16 ..

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.