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LP/MB/NS/Indian-Tennis: Notes for the weeks ending on Oct 27, 2003
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Oct 27 Notes

Still awaiting news on whether Leander has decided to play the Tennis Masters Cup doubles (called World Doubles Championships earlier), starting late next week ..

Two Golds for India in tennis today ans the men's team (Prakash Amritraj, Rohan Bopanna, Vijay Kannan, Vishal Uppal) and the women's team (Sania Mirza, Rushmi Chakravarthi, Megha Vakharia, Sonal Phadke) won team golds .. Scores -- Men's Final: IND d. NGR 3-0 (Rohan Bopanna d. Rotimi Jegede (NGR) 62 62 .. Prakash Amritraj d. Sunday Maku (NGR)  64 61 .. Vishal Uppal/ Vijay Kannan d. Abdul Babalova/ Sunday Maku 61 64); Women's Final: IND d. INA 2-0 (Rushmi Chakravarti d. Septi Mende (INA) 63 46 76(4) .. Sania Mirza d. Sandy Gumulya (INA) 61 57 76(5) .. Doubles not played on mutual consent) .. Hmmm, the women's final turned out to be not as easy as people expected .. Actually I had felt there was a chance for India to have to play doubles, because both Septi and Sandy are pretty good players for Indonesia .. Anyway, Rushmi and Sania came through with their winning attitude in the end in both matches .. The men's final was pretty stright forward, except that Prakash having to play hard at the end of the first set to avoid problems .. PA really hasn't been in top form ever since the injury in the futures in Indonesia a few weeks back, but he did the job in workman fashion to get his first Gold representing India .. Rohan was in roaring form in his match .. Congratulations to both teams .. Mahesh must have reached Hyderabad by now for the individual doubles events starting now .. Individual singles draws have started, but Indians have not played yet.

At the $10K satellite in Lagos, Nigeria, top seed Sai finished runner-up this weekend .. Scores - [R1] (1) Jayaram-Sai Jayalakshmy d. Akintunde Kuburat (NGR) 60 60 .. [R2] d. Alice Izomor (NGR) 62 61 .. [QF] d. Lizaan Du Plessis (RSA) 26 62 64 .. [SF] d. Noha Mohsen (EGY) 63 60 .. [F] l. Heidi El Tabakh (EGY) 46 46 .. [source: The Hindu - the news from NGR has been tough to come by, but the newspaper tracked it down!] .. Great run by unseeded Egyptian junior player Heidi, who seems to be very talented ..  Sai and Liza Pereira were the top seeds in doubles and fell in the final at Lagos.

No big-point events in the juniors in our region this week, but there are two grade-4 ITF events in Thailand and Vietnam [correction - Vietnam event is next week] .. The Thailand event should be having some indian kids' playing (haven't seen the draws yet) .. There is also a grade-5 in Doha (Qatar) .. The Indian players in the list at Doha are - Rohan Gide, Arnav Jain, Mark Silva, Shraddha Lodha, Oormila Ram, Shivika Burman and Tejaswini Datla.

Oct 26 Notes

Indian women also reached the team event final, to join the men, who did that yesterday at the AAG .. Today, the women beat Nigeria, 2-0 to reach the final .. Rushmi Chakravarti d. Osaro Amadin (NGR) 60 63 followed by Sania Mirza d. Clara Udofa (NGR) 62 62 .. They play Indonesia in the final tomorrow, as the men's team faces Nigeria .. Not much else in the news today.

By the way, they did play a doubles match at the AAG tie yesterday, though we had won the men's SF tie already after the singles matches - Vijay Kannan/ Vishal Uppal d. Johnny Arcilla/ Adelo Abadia 46 76(2) 64

Oct 25 Notes

The Afro Asian Games tennis have started today .. The competition is very light in tennis, sadly .. The AAG is a good idea, but the way everybody kept thinking we would never really be doing it till 2 months back, seems to be what is causing problems .. Well, when you do things the first time, there will be a lot of luke-warm, "are they really doing it?" responses .. That is eactly what we got all along from Asia and Africa .. It was great that India took the leadership to start it off .. The problem started with finding the right people with guts to get it done .. In 1991 the idea was about to be canned with everybody passing the buck to each other and looking at everyone else to take charge .. Then the Prime Minister took a personal decision that we were going to do it - which was a curveball at everybody who thought the PM would let them off the hook .. But the Delhi politicians went about in their own half-assed ways and were about to make Mr.Vajpayee look bad, when they got a break and a reason to can it due to Sep-11 .. Rather than monkeying around with the idea of Delhi hosting this (YEAH, RIGHT!!) for two years, this should just have been given to Hyderabad right then .. Finally we decide that only Mr.Naidu and Hyderabad can pull this off, and dumped the baby at them .. I am amazed that the CM and the city came through in just about 2 months for an event of this magnitude .. I love the "can do" spirit in this, and hence I will not make snide remarks on things going wrong, like the Indian press which is having a field day trying to point out everything that is not being done properly .. Nary a word on how amazing it is, that this much got done in such a short time .. Everybody tried to skip out and hide, but many in the end were not allowed to .. AITA was actually right in saying that tennis events are really not viable and should be canned, as the participation would show .. Then the top players (again rightly) were not interested in messing up all their plans, especially after a tiring period of continuous play .. But the arms were twisted and everybody was given basically no choice but to DO IT it seems .. That is unusual in India and I love it! .. Call me also a doubting Thomas - I too didn't think we would do it - but also count me in among those excited about it happening.

Indian men won the first tie in the team events today .. 2-0 over Philippines .. Rohan Bopanna d. Joseph Victorino (PHI) 63 62 .. Prakash Amritraj d. Johnny Arcilla (PHI) 63 64 .. Not sure if they are playing the doubles match in the tie.

Here is how the original schedule is, for th AAG tennis events ..
25-27 SAT-MON team events
26-30 SUN-THU women's singles
26-31 SUN-FRI men's singles
28-30 TUE-THU men's doubles
28-31 TUE-FRI women's doubles
29-31 WED-FRI mixed doubles

India, Philippines , Sri Lanka and Nigeria are the participants in the men's section.. India, Nigeria, Zimbabwe , Phillipines and Indonesia besides the hosts fill the draw in the women's section .. I guess today's win puts Indian men's team in the final already .. They will face the winners of the Nigeria-SriLanka tie going on now.

In the individual events, beside those like Prakash, Rohan and Sania, we also have strong doubles teams in Mahesh-Rohan and Mahesh-Sania (mixed doubles), etc ..

Oct 24 Notes

MadMax had a very unexpected loss today and missed a chance to become the #1 team next week .. At the $1M St.Petersburg ATP, [SF] #1 M.Bhupathi/ M.Mirnyi l. Julian Knowle (AUT)/ Nenad Zimonjic (SER), 46 46 .. MB-MM were on a nice win streak of 6 matches and had gone 13-1 prior to this; must have had a bad day .. As MB is expected at the Afro Asian Games for the individual doubles events next week, MB-MM will be skipping the Paris Masters .. Next up for them is the Houston WDC.

Somdev had a nice doubles run at the $10K Sri Lanka F1 futures, that ended in the semi today .. Playing with Koji Motomura (JPN), he beat David Brewer and Steven Lockwood of Britain 60 63 in the first round, and then Franklyn Emmanuel and Oshada Wijemanne of Sri Lanka 60 63 in the QF before falling to the 2nd seeds and the Dhawad challenger winners Sanchai and Sonchat Ratiwatana (Thailand), 64 36 26 in a good semifinal .. Nice work this week by Somdev, who had also won a round in singles.

Sai Jayalakshmy and Liza Pereira re the first and 3rd seeds at a $10K in Lagos, Nigeria .. Sai is in the QF there - [R1] d. Akintunde Kuburat (NGR) 60 60 .. [R2] d. Alice Izomor (NGR) 62 61 .. [QF] vs. Lizaan Du Plessis (RSA) .. Liza Pererira was upset in the QF already - [R1] d. Fatimah Abinu (NGR) 63 62 .. [R2] d. Diana Vranceanu (GER) 60 ret .. [QF] l. Noha Mohsen (EGY) 16 46 .. Also out there is Nandini Perumal - [R1] d. Ronke Akianbade (NGR) 62 60 .. [R2] l. (2) Michelle Snyman (RSA) 36 16 ..

The Afro Asian Games' tennis events start at Hyderabad tomorrow ..

Oct 23 Notes

I was away for 4 days -- now, back to news.

Made a mistake in the last notes - The Madrid Masters title was MB's 31st title, not 32nd .. Mahesh and Max are at the $1M St.Petersburg Open this week and they are continuing their fabulous run in the last three weeks .. In the semis once again -- [R1] #1 M.Bhupathi/ M.Mirnyi d. (WC) Vadim Davletshin/ Mikail Elgin (RUS) 75 63 .. [R2] d. (WC) Harel Levy/ Mikhail Youzhny 26 63 63 .. Their SF opponents are yet to be decided.

The Bryans got upset in the first round at the Basel Open this week by Blake-Verkerk .. Not sure what is up suddenly with the twins - perhaps some injury/fatigue at the end of the year? .. Anyway, MB-MM have now come within 2 race points of overtaking the Bryans as the #1 team this year .. 900 to 902 .. One more win, and MadMax will be the top team .. Terrific.

At the $10K futures in Sri Laka this week, wildcard Somdev Varman and qualifier Jaco Mathew picked up first round wins and 1 point each .. Both fell to seeded players in the second round though .. See all the scores in the forum thread on the SRI F1 for all the scores.

The big result in the juniors this week was by Pooja Kommireddy, who upset the second seed Mari Anderson (SWE,54) at the Thailand grade-2, on the way to a QF where she could not pull another upset .. Though a bit inconsistent, Mari is a talented girl, who has a win this year even over the current #1 Krtisten Flipkens .. Great work by Pooja .. 8th seed Madura Ranganathan also won two matches and reached the QF, falling to the 3rd seed .. 9th seed Tushar Liberhand reached the 3rd round, and fell in a 67 64 67 barnburner to the 7th seed, which ended Tushar's 21 match unbeaten streak in the juniors .. Again I leave a link to our forum "juniors abroad" thread page for the Thai gr-2, for all the scores reported there when I was away [Thanks Neil!].

.. Previous notes are at Notes for the week ending on Oct 20 ..

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 player, let me know .. I would like to have a mailing list where I can post general announcements and inquiries from the coaches too .. Please email me - R.Jayakrishnan.