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Indian-Tennis: Daily News for the weeks ending on Oct 25, 2004
(Previous week's notes) (Next week's notes) (Daily Notes Index 1997 thru 2004)

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Oct 25 Notes

There was good and bad news at the Nigeria F6A futures in Lagos over the weekend - Sunil Kumar won the doubles title but went down in the singles final to Viktor Bruthans (SVK,315), 26 46 .. Still an excellent week for Sunil Kumar, who picked up enough points to move to about #355 in singles rankings next week! .. Good job .. He needs to now start moving on to some of the tougher futures and pick up some wins at the higher levels (against top-350 opponents) .. He seems ready to start doing that .. SKS was in the entry list for the Thailand futures series starting this week (three $10K events), but seems to have withdrawn from the first week.

The $10K women's ITf event has started in Pune, sponsored once again by NECC (National Egg Coordination Committee, I believe) .. Pretty decent field there, led by Akgul Amanmuradova of UZB, the winner of the event last year at Pune .. The runner-up last year, Meghaa Vakharia, is not playing as she is taking some time off to rets some injury etc .. The big match today was between the Bhambri sisters .. Sanaa who has usually had trouble against her elder sister in the past, turned the tables on 3rd seed Ankita in a straight sets upset .. Sanaa really seems to be in great form lately .. 5th seed Isha Lakhani and 8th seed Sonal Phadke also won .. Rushmi, Sai, etc are yet to play .. See the scores in the Pune $10K page.

18 yr old Karan Rastogi did a good job in the qualifying rounds at the $10K Thailand F1 futures this weekend .. After beating a Thai wildcard in the Q1 round, he beat tetsuya Chaen (JPN,1311),m 46 63 64 in the Q2 round and then upset the 5th seed Mourad Inoyatov (UZB,839) in the Q3 to make the main draw where he will face another qualifier, Joji Miyao (JPN), who had upset Jaco Mathew who was the 6th seed in the qualies, in the Q2 .. Also qualifying in was Ashutosh Singh, who beat Chris Nathan (USA) 61 60, Ante Andric (CRO), 76(4) 76(3) and Idan Rosenberg (ISR), 61 62 .. Ashutosh has a tough R1 against the 4th seed Terachi (JPN) .. In the main draw, VIinod Sridhar plays a wildcard, Vijay kannan plays Martin Slanar (AUT), Vishal Uppal plays the 6th seed Wiltschnig .. You can see all the results posted by our friend jirobkk in the forum thread on the Thai events ..

Forgot to report on the Asian Tennis Federation (ATF) u14 tournament that finished this past weekend in Delhi .. Shriram Balaji won the final over Yuki Bhambri, 75 64 .. Poojashree Venkatesh beat Prerna Mythry, 63 62 in the girls finals .. If I am not mistaken, the winners of this event will be sent to Australia for a one month program, in an arrangement between the Asian Tennis federation and Tennis Australia (something like that) .. So, it is a very nice break for the youngsters Shriram and Poojashree!  .. Congratulations.

Oct 24 Notes

Busy weekend again -- so, a late update ..  Leander Paes was to play at the Basel ATP from Monday but has withdrawn from there due to illness .. He is back in India, at an undisclosed location, in an undiclosed hotel .. Well, it so happened that my sister is the resident engineer at the same hotel, and so I cam eto know of it .. I talked to Lee just now .. He has had 103 temperature and body aches last week once he got to Madrid .. Possibly because of temperature change from Thailand to Madrid to Vienna .. Anyway, he is doing some relaxation and ayurveda treatment too .. Hopefully will be fine to play Paris next week ..

Good news  from the Burbank challenger .. Prakash Amritraj and Eric Taino (USA) had a nice run over the weekend (the doubles draw started only Friday) and finished tunners-up there ..  They beat lucky losers Trent Aaron and Jim Martinez of USA, 60 62 in the first round, then upset the top seeds Andre Sa and Bruno Soares of Brazil, 75 76(1) in the QF and wildcards Cody Conley and  Shuon Madden USA in the SF, before falling this evening to Nick Rainey and Brian Wilson of USA, 26 36 ..

Sunitha Rao (USA) had another great run to the final at the Rockhampton challenger in Australia, but unfortunately she had to retire at 0-6 2-0 in the final against the top seed Evie Dominikovic (AUS) ..

No news yet on the weekend matches for Sunil Kumar at the Nigeria futures .. He was the doubles SF and singles final there.

Oct 22 Note-1

The 6 match win streak at the Madrid courts ended for Mahesh and Max today, as the 3rd seeded defending champs went down in the semifinal to the top seeds Knowles-Nestor, 46 67(3) ..

Neha Uberoi's hot run ended at the $50K challenger in Cary, North Carolina, as she lost to the 3rd seed Shenay Perry (USA,85), 67(2) 36 .. Not a bad match, considering Shenay's rank.

Great news from Nigeria -- After Sania did her job for two weeks winning the titles, it was Sunil's turn to create some news this week .. The 7th seeded Sunil Kumar Sipaeya (IND,384) beat. Benjamin Rufer (SUI,597), 64 62 in the semifinal of the $15K futures .. Tough final coming up for Sunil, as he faces the top seed Viktor Bruthans (SVK,315) on Saturday ..  He has already picked up 12 more ATP points and is enough to move his rank to a career-high just outside 350 in a couple of weeks.

Oct 21 Notes

Mahesh and Max are the defending champions at the Madrid masters and they continued their nice run, reaching the SF again today .. [QF] (3) M.Bhupathi/ M.Mirnyi d. Dominik Hrbaty (SVK)/ Rainer Schuettler (GER), 64 62 .. In the semifinal tomorrow at 11 am, MB-MM play the top seeds, Mark Knowles (BAH) and Daniel Nestor (CAN).

The top few girls of Indian origin are all doing well lately .. This week is the turn for 18 year old Neha Uberoi (USA,339)  .. She pulled off another top-200 upset with a 62 16 62 win over Maria Fernanda Alves (BRA,194) at the $50K Cary challenger .. She runs in to the tough 3rd seed Shenay Perry (USA,85) tomorrow .. Neha edges closer to top-300 now .. Cracking back into top-200 soon would be Sunitha Rao (USA,230) who continues her fine run from last week, in Australia .. Sunitha beat 472nd ranked qualifier Emily Hewson (AUS) easily, 62 60 today to reach the semfinal of the $25K challenger in Rockhampton .. She faces the 6th seed Cindy Watson (AUS,313) next .. Sunitha is also in the doubles SF there.

At the Nigeria futures today, Sunil Kumar Sipaeya (IND,384) had a very gnice win over Jonathan Igbinova of Nigeria, who had been on a pretty good roll, with a win last week over the top-200 ranked top seed Aisam Qureshi on the way to a semi, and also this week over the second seeded Sebastioen Fitz .. 7th seed Mustafa put an end to Igbinova's run with a 63 75 win .. Yesterday, Sunil had reached the QF with a 62 60 win over Abdul-Mumeen Babalola (NGR,1028) yestedray .. The semifinal is against Benjamin Rufer (SUI,597) .. Rufer had upset the 8th seed in the first round, but hopefully Sunil can do the job on him tomorrow in the SF .. SKS has picked u p 6 ATP points and can make it 12 with a win tomorrow.

There is an ATF under-14 event in progress in Delhi .. All the top Indian u14 players seem to be there .. The big winner at the DSCL 14s, Vinay Kamineni, got upset today by Vikram Singh .. Yuki Bhambri, Shriram Balaji, Poojashree, Janaki Rao, etc are in the semis ..

Oct 20 Note-2

At the Madrid Masters today, MB-Mirnyi beat LP-Rikl in a rather close two set match, 64 76(4) ..  I could not follow the match, as it started a couple of hours later than I expected .. Anyway, the loss puts some pressure on LP-Rikl as they have to scramble and pick up some points in the next two events (Basel ATP next week and Paris Masters the week after) .. They need at least some 400 odd points and move up from #10 to #8 in the team rankings (also need #7 Etlis-Rodriguez or #8 Damm-Suk to falter from now on, etc) .. MB-MM are in better shape, as they are #6 in team rankings this week ..

Terrific upset win today at the $50K Cary challenger first round by qualifier Neha Uberoi (USA,339) - she beat the 7th seed Vilmarie Castellvi (PUR,128), 63 63 .. Great scoreline too .. She plays Maria Fernanda Alves (BRA,194) next .. Down under in Australia, Sunitha Rao (USA) reached the QF of the Rockhampton challenger with a 62 62 win over Dubravca Cupac (AUS,464).

Oct 20 Note-1

Some good news for the 2005 Chennai Open .. The 6th ranked player in the world, Carlos Moya (ESP) has tentatively entered the tournament .. The final list of entries will be out only in 4 weeks (Nove 22nd) .. It is good to see "King Carlos" returning to Chennai .. He is one top player who seems to like the Chennai .. Of course, I assume "Mr.56" Paradorn will also be there as usual..

At the $2.5M Madrid Masters, Leander-Rikl and Mahesh-Mirnyi go against each other today at about 7 pm .. There will be point-by-point score updates in our chatroom during the match -- come on in!!

At the $15K Nigeria F6A futures in Lagos, Sunil Kumar (IND,384) advanced to the second round with an easy 62 62 win over Andrei Somov (NGR,1217) and now faces Abdul-Mumin Babalola (NGR,1028) in the R2 .. Mustafa Ghouse (IND,622) had a tough time, going down to former top-125 player Oleg Ogorodov (UZB,1315) in a close match, 36 75 57 .. In doubles, top seeded Mustafa and Sebastien Fitz (GER) got a walkover to the second round and S.K.Sipaeya/ Raven Klaasen (RSA) beat Jakub Hasek (CZE)/ Josef Nesticky (CZE), 46 63 76(4).
 
18 yr old Neha Uberoi plays the first round at the $50K Cary challenger in North Carolina (USA) .. 19 year old Sunitha Rao (USA,230) beat Tiffany Welford (AUS,381), 61 62 in the first round at the $25K Rockhampton challenger in Queensland (AUS) today .. Good to see Sunitha also in pretty good form now.

Oct 19 Notes

First, some good news -- I spoke to Mahesh Uberoi today and got confirmation that he has received the PIO card for Shikha Uberoi (I believe Neha's is also in the works) .. He has forwarded the paperwork through official channels .. USTA had not objected to her playing for India, and ITF had cleared it earlier - there was a mandatory six month period of wait, which is all done now .. Now, it seems it is only a matter of time for her to wear Indian colors, after AITA takes care of the rest .. I believe she will be available for Fed Cup next year, if selected (well, with her being the highest ranked Indian, that is a given!) .. The final decision on which country to play for, was Shikha's .. After all, she was born in India, even went to school in India a bit, and she grew up very much as an Indian girl, though in the USA - so not surprising that she had India in her heart .. Well, welcome aboard Shikha!

It would be great to see two top-200 players, Sania and Shikha in the Indian Fed Cup team soon -- it would be the first time for us to have two in the team like that .. By the way, I believe these two are good friends..

After a two week rest period, Shikha was a bit rusty today in her R1 match at Cary, Indiana and went down 63 36 26 to Jamea Jackson (USA,190) .. Younger sister Neha qualified in with another good win, 63 46 63 over Krysty Marcio (UISA,529) who had upset the 8th seed before and was playing well ..  Neha now plays the 7th seed Vilmarie Castellvi  (PUR,128)  in the R1 tomorrow.

At the Burbank challenger, 5th seed Harsh Mankad ran into a hot player today .. HM went down 57 67(5) in the Q3  to Andrew Piotrowski who seems to be playing in a zone this weekend, having upset the 2nd seed Brian Vahaly in the Q2 earlier .. HM is first in line for an LL spot, but it doesn't look like there are any withdrawals.. None of the first round matches were done today due to rain .. So both Harsh and Prakash would be playing doubles only on thursday, most probably.

At the $15K futures in Lagos, Nigeria, Sunil Kumar Sipaeya beat Andrei Somov (RUS,1217) 62 62 in the first round [source: This Day, Lagos] .. No news on Mustafa.

Oct 18 Notes

Neha Uberoi  (USA,339) had another good win, at the Cary challenger Q2, over Milangela Morales (USA,392), 61 67(4) 63 - Morales had upset the 2nd seed in the qualies, earlier .. Neha meets Krysty Marcio (USA,529) in the Q3 .. Shikha Uberoi (USA,168) is drawn to play James Jackson (USA,190) in the R1 ..  Sunitha Rao (USA), who had a great run last week with a runner up finish at the $25K Mackay challenger in Australia, is playing at the $25K in Rockhampton, Queensland, AUS, this week - 230th ranked Sunitha is the 2nd seed there.

No news yet from the $15K futures in Nigeria, where Sunil Kumar and Mustafa are playing this week ..

Harsh Mankad's Q3 qualifying match against Andre Piotrowski at the Burbank challenger was basically postponed due to rain at 2-3 (on serve) in the first set .. Hopefully they will get the matches done tomorrow  ..

At the grade-2 ITF juniors in Thailand, 6th seed Punam Reddy was upset by Nudnida Luangnam (THA), 63 61 in the R1 .. I was VERY disappointed in finding that only ONE junior player from India went for a good grade-2 event in Thailand .. The junior players' plans really need to get streamlined again .. Things have been quite inconsistent all through this year, after the juniors seemed to be doing well for the last three years or so .. We cannot let the pipeline dry up .. I wonder if the juniors are again listening to the bad advice from various coaches in India who play down the importance of the ITF junior tour and the benefits from playing at the higher grade events in the ITF juniors .. If anybody is giving that old story about the odd top player who did not play or didn't do well in the juniors, that is basically BS .. I will write more on that later ..

Speaking of that, I heard recently that AITA has now appointed a new junior development officer.  As I have not seen an official press release on this, I will wait for confirmation .. That is good .. There is much work to be continued on that front - things that Sunil Yajaman did so passionately for some years at AITA before leaving for personal reasons a few months back.

.. Previous notes are at Notes for the weeks ending on Oct 18 ..

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