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Indian-Tennis: Daily News for the week ending on Oct 24, 2005
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I had to stop the notes for two months after this, due to a very busy work period - so the next updates started only in late december!

Oct 25 Note-1

Today was a good day in singles, as Harsh Mankad won, but a bad day in doubles, as Mahesh, Shikh and Neha fell ..

At the $1M St.Petersburg Open, the third seeds Mahesh Bhupathi and Martin Damm were upset today in the R1 by Julian Knowle and Jurgen Melzer of Austria, 36 63 76(6) .. At the $170K Tier-III WTA in Hasselt, Belgium,  Shikha and Neha Uberoi went down in the R1 to the 4th seeds Maria Elena Camerin (ITA) and Nuria Llagostera-Vives (ESP), 46 26 today ..

.. But a really impressive fightback from Harsh Mankad (IND,230) in the first round of the $50K challenger in Carson, California, as he saved a match point and won a 2 hour 40 minutes match, 06 75 75, over Tyler Cleveland of (USA,663) who has been one of the hottest players on the US circuit in the last three months as he came back from 4 years away from tennis after a good college career .. I went to see the match, but had not expected what was in store .. It became quickly clear why this guy (a 6-4 tall fellow with a big serve and great mobility on court for a tall guy) has been doing so well in the US circuit, and how he was able to upset #315 Vlaski etc to qualify in.  This was his first challenger match after just three months on the futures circuit where he picked up some 26 points rather quickly -- which anybody who follows the USTA circuit knows is possible only by some good challenger quality players .. I had loosely written here yesterday that HM should be able to get past him, but after seeing his game and especially how he completely dismantled Harsh in the first set (though helped by a slow start from HM), it was clear that I really underestimated him .. It took every ounce of Harsh's fighting qualities, calm nerves and the ability to raise his game at key junctures to beat him in a barn-burner match where the timely 11th game breaks by Mankad in the second and third sets were the only breaks after the first set .. A nerve-wracking match which was tight all through the final two sets .. Harsh's solid second serve while the first serve misfired often despite 6 aces, and his adept change in strategy after the first set to not hit anything less than deep to TC's forehand was the key to the turn-around .. His ability to use his returns as a weapon to raise his game and pull off the key breaks won the match for him .. You can find my detailed onsite fanclub member match report in our forum ..

Harsh now has another tough match against another hot player, barely 20 year old Llia Bozoljac (SCG,232), who has been one of the hottest players in the European futures circuit over the last 3-4 months .. In fact this guy won 4 futures in four consecutive weeks in May-June in Europe where he did not drop a set for three weeks in a stretch .. He has also gone QF, QF and SF in his first three challengers, the latest coming in Sacramento two weeks back .. He will be a tough nut for HM to crack tomorrow - but that comes with the territory in these US challengers .. I am sure Harsh wishes he had some easy Indian challengers to play at, but we have not held a challenger in India in nearly 2 years now! .. But it is a good record this year for Harsh to have gone past the first round in 8 of the 12 foreign challengers he played this year though he went deeper only once .. He plays at 10 am again tomorrow (wednesday) at Carson .. I cannot go there tomorrow, but we will see if we can get a match report ..

The first round is all done at the $10K "MSLTA" women's event in Mumbai .. Except for Krushmi Chedda upsetting the 8th seed Sai Jayalakshmy, all the matches went on expected lines in the R1 .. You can find all the scores in the Mumbai women's $10K page ..

The DSCL National Championships for u14 and u16 juniors are in full swing in Delhi .. I will copy my comments from the forum - In the girls 14s, the 4th seed Nandita Krishnan was upset by an LL girl in the first round... In the boys 16s, Kush Jagga upset the 6th seed Vijayant Malik ..... Today's second rounds saw one big upset -- In the 16s, Christopher Marquis beat the 3rd seed AS Suresh Krishna of AP (which I guess is probably not a huge surprise though, as Christopher is pretty good). Navinder Pal Singh upset 7th seed Krishna Karsolia (who has always been a patchy and unpredictable player, anyway) .. In the girls 16s, Aishwarya Aggarwal (MP) upset the 7th seed Inayat Khosla in three sets, but she will have to face the fury from the top seed Poojashree next .. Treta Bhattacharya (WB) upset Janani Suresh of AP, and she will have to face the 2nd seed Supriya Mallaya in the QFs in the 16s ... The match of the day was between the 16s second seed, 15 yr old Pryank Gangadharan (listed under TN, but from Kerala and listed as such a couple of years back if I remember correctly) playing the 13 yr old Yuki Bhambri ... I guess Yuki was widely expected to possibly upset Pryank (the Hindu even said that he will be "tested by Yuki") but the malayali held up in an easy 64 63 win over Yuki. It is one of the rare chances I get to be parochial with my home state, you know - so let me say, Go Pryank!!! :)  ...

Oct 24 Notes

Not a good day today .. Shikha Uberoi lost a heart-breaker in the final round of qualies, as she went down 26 76(7) 57 to Mandy Minella (LUX,260) a 19 year old who seems to be playing unusually well this week .. Neha and Shikha play the doubles main draw first round on Tuesday at about 6 pm ..

Also going down today was Prakash Amritraj (IND,273) at the $100K+H Seoul challenger, where he lost the first round 26 36 to Jacob Adaktusson (SWE,314) .. There was some good news in doubles at least, as Rohan Bopanna, playing with a wildcard in the company of Kyu-Tae Im (KOR) had a 57 61 [10-5] win over Sion Greul and Frank Moser of Germany .. Their second round opponents are yet to be determined.

At the $50K Carson challenger, Harsh Mankad is drawn to face a qualifier, Tyler Cleveland (USA,663) in the first round .. Harsh has played the 27 year old guy 4 years back in college when HM beat him 75 62 .. But this guy has been playing very well lately, reaching two succedssive futures finals as a qualifier and winning a title last month etc.  He upset the 4th seed Vlaski (#314) in the qualies yesterday .. One of those guys who get hot and cause problems for everybody once in a while in the US, I suppose ..  Harsh should be able to get past him though, I think.

At the $1M St.Petersburg ATP in Russia, the 3rd seeds Mahesh Bhupathi and Martin Damm will play the Austrians Julian Knowle and Judgen Melzer tomorrow in the first round .. Leander Paes and Nenad Zimonjic, who moved up to #5 in the team ranking for this year, are the third seeds at the $1M Basel ATP, where they are drawn to face  Juan-Ignacio Chela (ARG) and Nicolas Massu (CHI) .. That match may be on wednesday.

In some delayed news, Ankita Bhambri (IND,499), in her very first challenger semi, lost to Masa Zec-Peskiric (POL,355) 46 46 at the $25K challenger in Lagos on Saturday .. But a very good run by Ankita who has picked up some good points from two events there .. The Bhambri sisters won the doubles title there as well, when they got a wildcard from Rushmi Chakravarthi and Punam Reddy, after getting a walkover in the semis also!  .. In the earlier matches, the Bhambris had beaten Vjislava Lukic (SCG) and Charlene Vanneste (FRA) 62 46 10 (Ret.) in the R2 after a 64 63 first round win over Davinia Lobbinger (BEL) and Emily Webley-Smith (GBR) ..  Rushmi and Punam had beaten Dominika Cibulkova (SVK) and Ria Doernemann (GER) 75 63 in the R1, which was followed by a walkover and then a tough 62 36 60 semifinal upset over the 3rd seeds Anne Keothavong and Katie O'Brien, after which RC and PR themselves gave a walkover to the Bhambri sisters for the title! .. Anyway, all in all a productive trip for all four ladies to Nigeria ..

Not sure where Ankita is playing next .. She is not at the $10K in Mumbai this week .. Probably taking a rest week .. Sister Sanaa Bhambri has gone (surprisingly!) to the Asian juniors grade B1 ITF in Thailand .. We forget that Sanaa still qualifies for a year more of junior circuit though she has not been playing juniors at all this year ..

I will have the results from the $10K women's ITF in Mumbai soon in a page .. Rushmi, Isha, Shruti, Sai, Sonal, etc are all there ..

Sana, Sandhya, Sanam, Jeevan, etc are all at the Asian juniors this week in Thailand.  The results coming soon.

Also on this week are the younger draws (u16 and u14) at the DSCL National championships in Delhi ..

Oct 23 Notes

At the $170K Tier-III WTA in Hasselt, Belgium, the 8th seed Shikha Uberoi (IND,146) has reached the final round of the qualies by beating Tatiana Poutchek (BLR,177), 63 36 61 .. Neha Uberoi went down after a good start against Olga Savchuk (UKR,156), 64 36 06 .. Shikha's final qualies opponent is yeat to be determined .. Shikha and Neha are in the doubles main draw, drawn to face 4th seeded Maria Elena Camerin (ITA) and Nuria Llagostera-Vives (ESP) in the first round this week.

LP and Zimo finished runners-up today in the Madrid Masters .. The lost the final to the 3rd seeds Mark Knowles and Daniel Nestor in a good match, 63 36 26 .. Still a nice run by LP-NZ .. I wish LP and Zimo could find a way to continue together next year .. It is crazy that they will be splitting up ..  They will proceed to Basel (Switzerland) for the ATP next week .. Mahesh and Damm will be at the St.Petersburg ATP next week ..

At the $100K Seoul challenger, Prakash Amritraj is drawn to face Jakob Adaktusson (SWE,330) .. Adaktusson was ranked up to about 215 last year, but is an injury protected entry at Seoul .. He had a 46 46 loss to Prakash at the Nottingham challenger this April when he was just returning from an injury break, but he had later gone on to a Brazilian challenger final, etc .. Not an easy match for Prakash, but that is expected in these challengers ..

Harsh Mankad is drawn to face a qualifier to be determined at the $50K Carson (California) challenger this coming week .. That also will be a tough match, with players ranked inside top-250 playing qualies there! ..

Oct 22 Notes

Shikha Uberoi (IND,146) and Neha Uberoi (USA,274) are at the qualies for the $170K Tier-III "Gaz de Franc" WTA at Hasselt, Belgium this weekend .. Goiod start by both .. Shikha, seeded 8th, beat wildcard Davinia Lobbinger (BEL,802), easily, 61 60 .. She faces Tatiana Poutchek (BLR,177) in the Q2 .. Neha Uberoi had a very good upset win over Eva Hrdinova (CZE,219), 63 62 and faces Olga Savchuk (UKR,156) in the second round .. Savchuk had upset  the top seed Camille Pin (FRA,109) in the first round .. Go ladies! .. Don't forget to check out www.uberoisisters.com for the latest news on them - our friend Arun is doing a good job of keeping up the latest scores there.

Excellent win by Leander Paes and Nenad Zimonjic today at the $2.8M Madrid Masters, where the unseeded pair reached the final! .. [SF] L.Paes/ N.Zimonjic d. (4) M.Llodra/ F.Santoro, 76(5) 75 .. That is a pretty good win for our pair .. LP-NZ had lost 26 36 earlier this year at the Hamburg Masters semi to the same pair, actrually .. Nice revenge .. They play the third seeds Mark Knowles and Daniel Nestor in the final tomorrow .. The win gives them 350 ATP points and basically makes sure that they will; be in the year end Masters Cup at Shanghai, though it was really not much in doubt even before this match ..

Rohan made his return from the 4-week injury break after the Davis Cup today at the qualies of the $100K Seoul challenger in Korea, but the rust showed - [Q1] Bart Beks (NED,916) d. (4) Rohan Bopanna (IND,301) 76(2) 62 .. H will play at the $25K Busan challenger next week .. He is 4th in the waiting list as the list closed earlier .. Hopefully he will make the draw directly, in the end .. Prakash Amritraj is in the main draw at Seoul and Busan ..

Still awaiting scores from the Nigeria $25K challenger in Lagos, where Ankita Bhambri had reached the SF when we heard last ..  The Bhambri sisters are in the doubles final too ..

Late news from earlier this week, on a pretty good run by Amanjot Singh, former junior #1 from India about three years back, who has been playing in the US colleges, though he had not made any big news there .. 21 year old Amanjot pulled two good upsets to qualify into the $15K USA F26 futures, and then won a round too, to pick up two ATP points .. [Q1] Amanjot Singh (IND,NR) d. Clancy Shields (USA,NR) 26 76(7) 64 .. [Q2] d. (2) Angelo Niculescu (ROM,745) 62 76(2) .. [Q3] d. (15) Pete Stroer (USA,1528), 64 76(7) .. [R1] (q)Amanjot Singh (IND) d. (WC)Daniel Hwang (USA) 4-6 7-5 6-1 .. [R2] l. (Q) Benjamin Becker (USA,1088) 26 06 .. Benjamin Becker is a  recent top-ranked college player, and the loss was not too surprising, but a fine run nonetheless from Amanjot to win 4 matches .. I hardly remember any Indian coming through qualifying and winning 4 matches to pick up ATP points in a US futures .. I hope Amanjot continues this with focus - he is a talented player.

The DSCL National Champions were decided today .. Here are the finals scores from today ---
Singles Men:  Sunil Kumar Sipaeya (CHD) d. Ashutosh Singh (DLI) 64 64 36 63
Singles Women: Isha Lakhani (MAH) d. Sonal Phadke (MAH) 61 76(7)
Singles Boys u18: (Q) Arnav Jain (MAH) d. Kinshuk Sharma (CHD) 62 63
Singles Girls u18:  Poojashree Venkatesh (KAR) d. Shweta G. Kakhandki (KAR) 62 67(5) 64
Doubles Men: Divij Sharan (DLI)/ Vivek Shokeen (DLI) d. Kamala Kannan (TN)/ Ashutosh Singh (DLI) 64 61
Doubles Women: Isha Lakhani (MAH)/ Sonal Phadke (MAH) d. Sheethal Goutham (KAR)/ Geeta Manohar 61 62
Doubles B u18: Sumit Prakash Gupta (UP)/ Saket Sai Myneni (AP) d. A. S. Suresh Krishna (AP)/ Vignesh Pernamallur C. (AP) 36 61 60
Doubles G u18: Parija Maloo (MAH)/ Shweta Kumari Solanki (DLI) d. Sampada Kanade (MAH)/ Anushree Thamanna (KAR) 62 63

No big surprises in the end, except for Ashutosh Singh showing how good he is, by beating Vijay Kannan and then giving a pretty lively fight to Sunil Kumar in the final, which is the only 5-setter domestic match held in India .. Both Isha and Sunil had won the title before too, and there was hardly much surprise in their repeat performances .. Sonal Phadke once again finished runner up there .. On the boys' 18s side, the beautiful run by the qualifier Arnav Jain is noteworthy .. He is a trainee under Rico Piperno at the CCI club in Mumbai ..  I hope to see a lot more of good results from Arnav down the line, in the ITF junior circuit which he should start playing seriously soon .. The boy did not even drop a set along the way in winning some 7 or 8 matches in a row to take the boys title .. Tha tall Poojashree showed that she may be a tad bit ahead of GK Shwetha at the top of the chart among the girls about 16 years age .. These two also need to get seriously into the ITF junior circuit soon .. Other notable performance in the National hardcourts was of course by the young Shalini Sahoo in the women's and u18 draws .. See all the scores from there in our the DSCL Open results page .. Here is a very nice article on the finals, by Kamesh Srinivasan in The Hindu ..

In the QFs of the ITF garade-2 juniors at Thailland, both our boys got upset today .. [QF] (1) Jeevan Nenducheziyan l. Yann Marti (SUI,196) 26 46 .. [QF] (2) Sanam Singh l. Dylan "Loic" Sessagesemi (SUI,401), 57 36 .. Though the two Swiss boys may be ranked lower than they should be, I thought our boys would be able to get past them .. Need to see more from both Jeevan and Sanam soon .. Come on guys, do it next week at the big Asian Juniors ITF ..

Oct 21 Notes

Yet another close match between Leander and Mahesh, as is invariably the case when these old friends go up against each other .. This was in the QF today at the Madrid Masters  .. [QF] L.Paes/ N.Zimonjic d. M.Bhupathi/ M.Damm, 76(3) 75 ..  Close match today .. They traded breaks early in the first set .. Later, LP-NZ had a couple of break points in the 8th game and MB-MD had a couple in the 11th game, but those were saved .. In the rt\tiebreaker, MB-MD went up a minibreak early to 2-0 but then LP-NZ went on a 5-1 run to take the set .. In the second set, there were no break points at all till the 12th game when LP-NZ found the first BP of the set and converted it .. That wasd the match .. 1 of 3 in BPs by MB-MD and 2 of 5 by LP-NZ .. The match took 1 hour and 52 minutes .. If my memroy is correct, the matches between these two are now at 6-5 in LP's favor, with LP having won the last two .. But every one of those matches have seen tiebreakers and 7-5 sets .. I hardly remember set won by either LP or MB by more than one break, actually! .. [Argh, why can't these two play together, dammnit! .. Oh well, I know why, but that does not mean that I won't slip once in a while and shed a tear hear and there, about what all it could have been..]

Anyway, with that Mahesh is pretty much sure of not having any chance to make the Shanghai ATP doubles championships - as he started late in the year with MD after Woodbridge quit, they don't have enough points to finish in the top 10 or 12 and be at least an ALT team or something .. Thy needed to pretty much win the titles at the Madrid and Paris masters to have a chance .. LP and Zimonjic are pretty much assured of making the entry as one of the top 6 or so teams.

At the $25K Lagos-2 challenger yesterday, Ankita Bhambri (IND,499) beat Rushmi Chakravarthi (IND,417) 64 62 toi reach the semifinal .. This is the first challenger semifinal for Ankita Bhambri who (some may be surprised) is still only 18 .. She turns 19 in a couple of weeks .. Excellent work by Ankita .. In the semifinal, she will face the talented young 5th seed Mesa Zec-Peskiric (SLO,355) ..

Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan and Sanam Singh, both under contract with AITA for travel and coaching support, are the top two seeds at the grade-2 ITF juniors in Thailand this week .. Both have reached the quarterfinals there .. After a first round bye, Jeevan beat Dae Yung Kim (KOR,458), 61 62 and Carl Sundberg (NOR,204) 61 64 .. Sanam also had a first round bye, after which he has beaten Kyle Joshua Dandan (PHI, 327), 63 63 and the 15th seed Peraklat Sirilethaiwattana (THA,183), 62 63 .. In the QFs today, Jeevan and Sanam play Yann Marti (SUI,196) and Dylan "Loic" Sessagesemi (SUI,401) respectively .. Good to see both Jeevan and Sanam out there, picking up some nice match practice before the big Asian juniors next week in Thailand .. On the girsl' side, only Sandhya Nagaraj went there (because of the DSCL u18 this week, other Indians decided to stay in India) .. Sandhya then lost in the first round to Anastasia Petukhova (RUS,153) by a 46 36 score ..

Oct 20 Notes

Qualifiers Harsh Mankad (IND,265 doubles) and Marcio Torres (BRA,401) could not do much today in the first round of doubles, losing 26 36 against Brian Vahaly (USA,480) and cecil mamiit (USA,209) who are both much higher ranked and more experienced singles players .. HM had entered doubles just for some more match practice this week - so nothing much was expected .. He will practioce for tyhree days and go to the $50K carson challenger next week in southern California.

Good news -- Prakash Amritraj made the main draw of the $100K Seopul challenger today and doe s not have to play qualies now .. H was 2 out when the entries closed and had to wait till the last day to mak the cut, only after one of the special exempt spots went unused .. The Seoul challenger actually has a lower cut than the $50K in southern California where HM will be playing .. Prakash would have preferred to play at Calabasas I am sure, but he was some 13 out there, and has to make the long trip to Korea .. He will play Seoul followed by the $25K in Busan the week after .. Harsh will proceed to the $75K+H in Boston next week where (incredibly) he is 4 out despite a #227 ranking ...

Our ladies continues to do a creditable job at the $25K Lagos-2 challenger .. Rushmi Chakravarthi, showing that a lot of her losses abroad were mostly due to uincanny coincidences with injuries, etc, showed that she can upset some players abroad too, taking out the 8th seed .. Ankita got a bit of a gift, as the 4th seed withdrew .. Sanaa Bhambri put up a very good fight for some time against the top seed .. R2 Scores -- Rushmi Chakravarthi (IND,417) d. (8) Oksana Kryshkova (RUS,408) 64 61 .. Ankita Bhambri (IND,499) d. (4) Surina De Beer (RSA,326) 33 Ret. .. (1) Petra Cetkovska (CZE,232) d. Sanaa Bhambri (IND,475) 36 61 62 .. (6) Anne Keothavong (GBR,363) d. Punam Reddy (IND,564) 63 61 ..

At the DSCL Open national hardcourts, the big news is about 15 year old Shalini Sahoo of Delhi, who is a qualifier into the women's section, reaching the semifinal!! .. She beat Varsha Shivshankar, a pretty good player who had upset the 5th seed Sheetal Goutham earlier .. Shalini is suddenly playing at a higher level than before -- and her great run should be properly noted .. Not easy for a 15 year old (turning 16 next week) to beat some of these players, coming through the qualies .. She also had an upset in the u18s, though she went down to the 4th seed Poojashree today (no shame, as Poojashree is a very talented player herself) .. Shalini will have a very tough nut to crack tomorrow - Isha Lakhani, who is ramming through the draw so far .. The girls u18 has gone on predicted lins with Madura, Poojashree GK shweta and Shwta Solanki reaching the SFs .. Shwetha is under-seeded, as he ranking is a bit lower now in the 18s - she upset the 2nd seed, but that was not a big surprise .. On the men's side, Sunil Kumar continus the run .. Arjun Goutham went down to 5th seed kamala Kannan, but has again shown that he is among the "bigger boys" now .. Vijay Kannan beat young Tushar Liberhan in a close match to make the semi against Ashutosh .. On the boys u18 side, some lesser known names have done well .. 16 year old Arnav Jain from Mumbai was qualifier and has reached the semi -- he had upset the 4th seed Gursher Singh earlier .. Third seed Kinshuk Sharma, 16 yr old, beat 18 year old Rohan Gide to reach the semi against Saket Sai, the secod seed .. The junior competition and ranking are pretty much a mess right now, and it is hard to mak a judgment on some of these players as many of them are not even polaying the ITF events .. The second seed in the 18s, Saket sai (18 year old from AP) has only played two ITF events in his whole junior career and has only played domestic events .. He has done fine to reach the semi though, where he faces Kinshuk tomorrow .. Sumit Prakash Gupta, listed at 16 years and turning 17 in a couple of months, is the top seed there .. He has cruised so far .. I had not taken Sumit all that seriously before, despite some high rankings at a young age, but he has certainly played better than I had expected lately (he qualified in and reached the second round in the men's draw, giving a decent fight for a set to Vijay Kannan too) .. See all the results in the DSCL Open results page ..

In other news, I found today a news item from the French media, which was out last week, with an announcement from Fabrice Santoro (FRA) that Nenad Zimonjic will be his partner for the next year, as his partner Llodra wants to focus on mostly singles next year .. This was really terrible news, because that means LP will again have to look for somebody else .. Without a doubt nenad was the best partner LP has had since Mahesh .. I don;t know why this partnership is slpitting up .. Well, I can guess, but bascially there were reports at the US Open about some friction between the two which showed up in the mixed doubles match where LP and NZ were on opposite sides .. Oh well .. Good things just don't last with Leander .. What can I say? .. I heard from some sources that there was one more attempt at considering LP and MB together again, which was a few weeks back, but that didn;t get anywhere .. MB then decided to pick Wesley Moddie, a good one, for next year .. I don't know what LP is going to do .. There aren't too many good players left ..

Also, today it was officially announced that Sania Mirza will undergo a coaching program in december with the legendary Australian coach Tony Roche .. This is great news! .. Earlier there were some reports that she might go to Pat Etcheberry in the USA for some physical training .. I am not sure if she can do both during the november-december break though.  There are some obvious flaws in her service technique (especially second serve), etc, that needs immediate work - and Tony Roche could be the one to fix some of those problems and get he ready to move to top-10 early next year,

Oct 19 Notes

Big win by Mahesh and Martin Damm today at the $2.8M Madrid Masters - They upset the top seeded Bryan twins, 63 67(8) 62 .. Now they run into Leander and Nenad in the QFs on Friday.

Good start by our girls in the $25K Lagos-2 challenger this week in Nigeria .. All four of them advanced to the second round there! .. Sanaa Bhambri (IND,475) defeated Lisa Sabino (ITA,1044) 63 64 .. Punam Reddy (IND,564) defeated Charlene Vanneste (FRA,617) 63 76(6) .. Rushmi Chakravarthi (IND,417) defeated Ria Doernemann (GER,875) 62 60 .. Ankita Bhambri (IND,499) defeated Nosa Esorae (NGR, NR) 60 60 .. Excellent work by our ladies; none of them getting upset, and Punam pulling off a pretty good win.

Things have gone without too much surprises at the DSCL Open where the quarterfinalists were decided today ..15 year old Shalini Sahoo continued her run in the women's draw .. Varsha Shivshankar upset the 5th seed Sheetal Goutham in the women's draw, and Prerna Bhambri upset the 5th seed Shivika Burman in the girls u18 .. See all the results in the DSCL Open results page ..

Oct 18 Notes

Leander and Nenad Zimonjic advanced to the QF at the $2.8M Madrid Masters today with a 61 16 76(4) win over the alternate team of Robbie Ginepri and Taylor Dent of USA .. They await the winners of the MB-MD vs Bryanbs match tomorrow.

At the $50K Calabasas challenger in California, Harsh Mankad played a very close match in 67(3) 67(4) loss against Jeff Morrison who is a top-125 caliber player, ranked as high as inside the top-100 within the past year (though his ranking fell some 40 spots to 186 this week) .. Harsh has had a lot of close losses in these matches against top-100 and top-150 caliber players .. I could not watch the match, but Harsh's current coach Harshul Patel (a lesser known Indian coach now based on Southern California - but a very good one in my opinion, with a keen eye for the details in my view, who has experience working with some great coaches like Tony Roche and Vic Braden) watched the match and felt that Harsh is still making some mistakes when he tries to win points at crunch times.  Need to work more on some of his lesser used shots - more drill work on improving the accuracy of those shots is needed .. As HM is not the type of player who goes to just a plan-A bread and butter item like a big serve or something, but is rather a player who has all kinds of shots that he could try at the crunch junctures, he neds to make sure that all of thos shots have higher accuracy (and in some cases some more polished mechnics) than he now has.  During the training break at the end of this year, I believe this is what coach wants him to focus on.

Harsh and Marcio Torres (BRA) qualified into the doubles main draw

A few upsets at the DSCL Open National hardcourts today .. Sixteen year old qualifier Shalini Sahoo had a big upset of the 5th seed Ragini Vimal ! .. Shalini also upset the 7th seed Supriya Mallaya in the girls u18 first round .. Qualifier Arnav Jain upset the 4th seed Gursher Singh Harika in the boys u18 second round .. On the men's side Vijay Kannan took care of Vivek Shokeen in the first round yesterday .. I had expected a slightly better fight from Vivek against Vijay but I suppose he is probably a little jaded after 4 weeks of the satellites .. Tushar Liberhan upset the 7th seed P.Pavan, but that was probably not so unxpected ..
See all the results in the DSCL Open results page ..

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.

.. Previous notes are at Notes for the weeks ending on Oct 17, 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