Notes for the week ending on Oct 29, 2001
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Oct 29 Notes
LP-MB are the 5th seeds at the last ATP doubles event of the year, the $2.95M Paris masters .. They get a first round bye in the draw of size 48, and will play the second round against the winners of the match between David Adams (RSA) and Lucas Arnold (ARG) and the Australians Andrew Florent and David MacPherson .. The Indian Express are in the bottom quarter of the upper half in the draw, along with 4th seeds Eagle-Woodbridge .. The top seeds are Johnson-Palmer and Novak-Rikl are the #2 seeds .. It would be nice for LP-MB to win a title and 500 entry points to finish the season with a good bang and over 3000 pts .. LP-MB now have 529 race points this year (2645 entry pts) .. It looks quite probable that LP-MB will finish the season as the 4th ranked doubles team for the year behind Bjorkman-Woodbridge (785 race pts), Johnson-Palmer (704) and Novak-Rikl (618) .. There is an outside chance for them to overtake Novak-Rikl to #3, or to get overtaken by Pala-Vizner for the #4 spot ..
The main draw matches have started at the Deccan-Gymkhana in Poona in the India F6 $10K futures .. Today's best match was the tough fight from Vinod Sridhar, who went down to the second seed Eyal Erlich, 57 75 57 .. 6th seed Mustafa Ghouse got upset by Rishi Sridhar, and Sunil Kumar advanced to the second round .. 11 of the first round matches will be tomorrow .. see the Pune futures page.
Amanjot Singh moved to world junior ranking #81 from near #100, after his runner-up showing in the Thailand grade-3 ITF last week .. Megha Vakharia moved up to #106 with her runner-up finish too .. Amanjot Singh has a good chance to make it into to the upcoming Australian Open junior main draw - he will probably be ranked inside the top-55 or so, after the 18 yr olds leave the rank list on Jan 1st .. Megha needs to do some work to raise her ranking high enough to make it to the AO juniors along with Sania .. The bunch of Indian juniors along with AITA's junior development officer Sunil Yajaman goes to Miri, Sarawak (East Malaysia) for the grade-4 event there this week.
Oct 28 Notes
I had got so used to counting on LP-MB winning any final they play (except some grand slams and all WDCs) and had virtually added in their 21st title to occur today .. But Ferreira-Leach had other ideas .. Our pair went down today in the final at the $1M Basel indoors .. #3 M.Bhupathi/ L.Paes l. E.Ferreira/ R.Leach, 67(4) 46 .. This is only the 8th loss for LP-MB in 28 ATP finals .. Actually 2 of those losses were in grand slams and 3 in world doubles championships .. This is only their 3rd finals loss in other events where they now have an 17-3 record .. The other two losses were to Woodies in the Singapore final in 1998 October and to Lareau-O'Brien in the Stuttgart masters final, also in October 1998 .. Here is another interesting stat, all three of those losses have come on carpet .. In fact, if you add the two carpet losses in the Hartford finals in 97 and 99, they have 5 of theor 8 finals losses on carpet (the other three finals losses were on hardcourts at the AO final 99, USO final 99 and Bangalore WDC 2000) .. Interesting stats .. Whichever way you look at it, they have a tremendous record in ATP finals .. By the way, Rick Leach and Lareau-O'Brien are the only guys to beat them more than once in the finals .. Lareau-O'Brien three times (Stuttgart 98, USO 99, WDC 99), Leach-Stark once (WDC 97), Ferreira-Leach once (Basel 01), Woodies once (Singapore 98), Bjorkman-Rafter once (AO 99) and Johnson-Norval once (WDC 00) .. It takes some really good doubles players to beat our guys in a final, for sure [I am writing from memory; I hope I have not missed any matches in these stats!].
Bad news to report from Thailand as well .. Top seed Megha Vakharia and second seed Amanjot Singh went down in the finals of the grade-3 ITF junior event yesterday .. Megha lost to unseeded casey Dellacqua (AUS), 36 16 and Amanjot Singh lost to the top seeded Chirs Kwon 26 06 .. Very very disappointing scorelines in the finals for these two, but good show in reaching the finals though.
Oct 27 Note-3
LP-MB will be proceed to the Paris masters next week.
Good news from Basel, Switzerland .. At the $1M Davidoff Swiss Indoors ATP, Paes-Bhupathi reached their 5th final of the year .. [QF] #3 M.Bhupathi/ L.Paes d. (wc) G.Bastl/ I.Heuberger, 63 63 .. They face old pals E.Ferreira/ R.Leach in the final (they beat the top seeds Nestor-Zimonjic in the other semi tiday) .. Go Indian Express! .. Pick up your 5th title of the year!
Oct 27 Note-2
P.Srinath had beaten Rohan Bopanna in last week's futures final, 63 64 .. This time Rohan played a closer match, but as I said, it is not easy for *anybody* in India to beat an in-form Srinath .. Sri won the Indore futures title today, 76(4) 76(2) .. Rohan can still take heart in reaching back-to-back finals, picking up 16 ATP points and playing Srinath as closely as he did .. In due course of time he will learn to win these matches too, hopefully .. Srinath has won double crowns for two weeks in a row and has picked up 24 ATP points to bring his ranking up from #1055 to inside top-600 soon .. And he will now be the India #2 behind Leander .. And it took him all of TWO weeeks to do that! .. Rohan will also move into the top-5 in India in ATP ranking.
Some more good news - Fazaluddin did not make a bad decision to skip the two futures to play in Dubai .. At the Dubai Aviation Cup invitation event organized by Dubai Duty Free, top seeded Fazal beat the second seed Amr Ghoneim (#882) of Egypt, 64 62 in the final .. Not great competition at this event, but there was some decent prize money that Fazal could use for some more foreign travel later, as he had told me earlier .. Though this was not an event with any ATP points, he will now get a wildcard into the Dubai ATP qualies early next year too .. Incidentally Amr Ghoneim had beaten Fazal in the final last year - but I believe Fazal is also playing with a bit more purpose lately .. Earlier, Fazal had beaten Ali Ghonaim (EGY) 62 63 in the semi and Pravin Anthony of Dubai, 61 61 in the QF .. In the first round, he had beaten Mohammed Tavakoli (Iran) 64 62 .. Zeeshan Ali, who is a coach in Dubai, was also in the field, but he fell in the quarterfinals [news source: Gulf News] .. Fazal now goes to India to play at the $10K India F6 at Pune.
Awaiting news on LP-MB from Basel.
Oct 27 Note-1
Very good news from the grade-3 ITF junior tournament in Nonthaburi, Thailand .. Top seed Megha Vakharia has reached the girls final and second seed Amanjot Singh has reached the boys final .. Megha beat Susan Delport (RSA,269), 64 61, Tanya Markovic (NZL,257), 63 64, #7 seed Sandy Gumulya (INA,223), 64 64, and #4 Petra Teller (HUN,184), 63 61 on the way to the final, where she will play Casey Dellacqua (AUS,253) in the final .. Dellacqua had upset the 5th seed Sasha Abraham (IND) in the PQF and then the 2nd seed Diana Julianto in the SF .. On the boys' side, after a first round bye, Amanjot Singh beat Artur Djabarov (RUS,580), 75 61, Yishai Hadash (ISR,334), 62 60, Marco Beeler (SUI,356), 64 61, and the 9th seed Anuwat Dalodom (THA,177), 06 62 64, on the way to the final against the top seed Kris Kwon (USA,80) .. Among others, the 8th seed Jaco Matthew lost to the 10th seed Artem Sitak (RUS,187) 46 64 26 in the QF .. 7th seed Rohan Gajjar was upset by Anuwat Dalodom in a close PQF match, 63 46 63, and then the same Thai beat unseeded Saurabh Singh, 75 63 in the QF, before he himself was beaten by Amanjot .. 11th seed Nishank Mishra lost 06 06 (injury?) to Marco Beeler in the second round .. Also losing early, as I reported earlier was the 3rd seed Karan Rastogi .. And as I had suspected, he is injured - I have just been told that Karan is withdrawing from next week's grade-4 event in Sarawak (east Malaysia) .. Unfortunate for the young guy. [sorry I wrote Rohan earlier by mistake, instead of Karan .. Rohan is fine].
By the way, I believe AITA's development officer, Sunil Yajaman, is with the team of Indian players in this Asian swing.
Oct 26 Notes
The Indian Express are in the semifinal at the $1M Basel indoors ATP, after a tough comeback win, 46 63 64 against Julien Boutter and Arnaud Clement of France .. In the semifinal tomorrow, they face the wildcards, George Bastl and Ivo Heuberger .. Those two hae done well so far, having upset the second seeds Pala-Vizner in the first round and then Corretja-Moya .. Our guys play the final match of the day, at about 6.30 pm.
At the $10K Indore futures, we have a repeat of the final from last week, between the comeback man and the upstart "what spinach have you been eating lately" guy .. Srinath plays Bopanna tomorrow .. In the semifinal today, Bopanna beat Ajay Ramaswamy and Sri beat Mustafa .. Rohan Bopanna's emergence is slowly turning into the real story .. Do we have a late-bloomer emerge out of nowhere ? .. Today he was playing Ajay who is a very solid player from the backcourt - one with a reputation from US colleges as a tough nut to beat .. And Rohan was playing on slipper clay, perhaps not the surface for his power-serve game .. In a repeat of last week's semifinal, Rohan once again beat Ajay, and this time it was in straight sets .. That he only served three aces, but had backhand returns zipping past Ajay, shows that Rohan showed a different aspect of his game today .. This guy's confidence seems to be very high now .. Consider this -- her did not qualify into two of the three futures early in the year and had a first round loss in the Bangalore futures with a wildcard .. In the first satellite circuit in India in March, Rohan was not even able to pick up enough circuit points in the first three legs (he had to play qualies once, had one win once and that was it) and got no ATP points .. In the May satellites, he ended up with just 2 ATP points with a couple of wins .. Now, look how far he has come .. He has picked up 16 ATP points in two weeks of futures play with two finals .. True that the competition is not great but going past the QF and SF has required him to beat some quality players .. He was in the semifinal at the national grasscourts in March this year with wins over Vijay Kannan, Manoj Mahdevan, etc, and then had his real breakthrough in late August when he beat Vinod Sridhar, Rishi Sridhar and Nitin Kirtane to win the title at the AITA claycourt national ranking event in Chennai .. In that final against Nitin, Rohan had dropped the first set 57 .. Then he simply aced the hell out of Nitin in winning the next two sets 61 61 (the reports talked about Nitin muttering, "this can't be the same guy! .. this can't be happening..") .. Well, it looks like Rohan has not looked back since then .. The good thing is that he is one of the players who is not talked about as one "with limitations" .. Has a scorching serve and all kinds of tools, and he has lately shown a lot of court smarts and mentals strengths too .. Had a late start, and hardly played much ITF junior events either, if I remember correctly .. That means, he has had to play a lot of domestic events to get enough quality matches .. Incidentally, I remember a comment by Bhupathi Sr, who said in one of his newsletters about the young guy from Coorg, who could be a real find .. That was a year or two back .. Could his comment be coming true now ? - I hope so, and I hope much bigger things can still come from Rohan .. OK, enough of hyping from me! .. Happy to see the 21 yr old doing well .. But across the net he will have Srinath tomorrow, the immovable object who has won 9 singles matches and 8 doubles matches without a loss so far in the two weeks of futures .. Can Rohan beat Sri ? .. Well, if Sri is playing well, he is not easy for anybody to beat .. This will be a good final tomorrow .. By the way, Sri and Ajay won the doubles title again, today .. See the Indore futures page.
Oct 25 Note-2
LP-MB play the doubles QF tomorrow (Friday) at 5 pm at the $1M Davidoff Swiss Indoors ATP in Basel, against Julien Boutter and Arnaud Clement .. The winners will play (on saturday) the wildcards George Bastl and Ivo Heuberger who beat Moya-Corretja in the QF today (they had also upset the second seeds Pala-Vizner in the first round) .. The top seeds Nestor-Zimonjic have also already reached the SF.
Things not going all that well for Sai and Rushmi in Australia .. They are at the $25K challenger at Home Hill .. Sai was in the singles draw and lost in the first round to the 6th seed Mireille Dittman (AUS), 26 16 .. I am not sure why Rushmi did not play singles qualies or main draw this week - hope she is not injured .. Sai and Rushmi had a bad loss in the doubles first round as well, 06 26 to Nicole Rencken (RSA) and Sarah Stone (AUS) .. News courtesy: Alain Vincent.
The top four players in the frey (in my view :-)) have rightfully reached the semifinal stage at the India F5 futures in Indore .. Srinath had no difficulty in beating Neir Deir of RSA .. He faces Mustafa next, who beat Vinod Sridhar .. I was a bit concerned about Michal Varsanyi, who despite his lower ranking, is a good player - but Ajay Ramaswamy took care of him .. Ajay will play Rohan Bopanna .. The most interesting match of the day was expected to be between Bopanna and Sunil Kumar but as I have been saying lately, Rohan seems to be really coming on strong these days -- 62 62 win over Sunil Kumar .. Sunil has done reasonably OK in these two futures as he is now moving full-time into the pro circuit (I guess he decided not to go to US college for now) .. He gets 2 ATP points for QF, same as what he got last week as well .. Srinath is of course on a tremendous roll, having won 7 singles matches and 6 doubles matches on the trot (Sri and Ajay who have struck up what I think is a very formidable team, are in the SF again) .. See the Indore futures page .. None of the Indian newspapers reported any news in the friday editions, and a couple of newspapers had Aayudha Pooja holidays also, but the official scores did come through Steve Gocha.
By the way, the next week's F6 futures in Pune will have one more quality player in the frey .. Fazaluddin will join as a wildcard next week .. I believe Fazal is in Dubai for the invitation tournament there (good prize money with a chance to get a qualifying entry into the Dubai open next year -- last year he had won the event and had played in the Dubai ATP qualies this year, coming within a couple of poinyts of qualifying in as well!) .. Ajay and Sunil have been given two of the other wildcrds for next week .. Hopefully the Deccan Gymkhana will have their usual well-organized event with online score updates etc, next week.
No news from Thailand on the grade-3 ITF junior event for a couple of days.
Oct 25 Note-1
The Indian Express reached the quarterfinal at the $1M Davidoff Swiss Indoors ATP at Basel, beating the Czech pair T.Cibulec and L.Friedel easily, 64 62 .. I don't think I ever saw the match listed in the schedule at the official website, but they played it some time .. In the QF on Friday, LP-MB play Julien Boutter and Arnaud Clement.
How difficult it is to play with somebody new in doubles was underscored yesterday at the $50K challenger in Dallas, where Manisha Malhotra, fresh from the shared title at Largo but with a new doubles partner in Erica Krauth (ARG) ran into the top seeds Nannie DeVilliers and Irina Selyutina and had a bad loss 06 06.
At the Indore futures yesterday, a whole bunch of seeds got upset, including the top seed Anton Kokurin (by Deri meir of Israel) .. 6 Indians are in the QF, which is nice .. Srinath, Ajay, Rohan, Sunil, Mustafa and Vinod Sridhar .. See the Indore futures page - I still have not seen the scores for three of the matches, as the PTI agency reports publsihed by the Times of India, Deccan Herald, etc, had only 5 of the scores (The Hindu, the most reliable, in score reporting, simply did not have any news on it yesterday) .. I will await the official scores to come around some time via Steve Gocha .. Will report today's QF results later today.
Oct 24 Notes
LP-MB may be playing the first round at the Basel Indoors today, but the official website's schedule doesn't seem to list it still .. If correct, then our boys have to be playing thursday.
Oct 23 Notes
At the claycourt India F5 futures in Indore, Rohan Bopanna once again showed that he has been steadily improving in his tennis - he is one of those who had a bit of a late start, but the well-built guy from Coorg, Karnataka, is among the best in India in serve and power game .. Rohan upset the 2nd seed Eyal Erlich ranked in the 700s .. Also advancing with an upset of the 6th seed was Kamala Kannan .. Srinath, Sunil Kumar, Ajay Ramaswamy, etc, have all advanced .. See the Indore futures page.
Manisha is playing at the $50K Dallas challenger .. She could not get there for the singles qualies, as she was in the doubles final over the weekend at the Largo challenger in Florida .. In doubles at Dallas, Manisha is playing with a new partner, Erica Krauth (ARG) .. They play the top seeds Nannie DeVilliers (RSA) and Irina Selyutina (KAZ) in the first round.
Quite a few Indian players are at the grade-3 ITF junior event in Thailand this week .. Sania, who cannot add to her 6-best point total from events lower than grade-2, is skipping the event, of course .. Four Indians are in the final-16 on the boys' side after today's matches .. Unseeded Saurabh Singh upset the #14 seed Al Imron (INA) 75 62 in the second round to reach the PQF .. All the seeds had first round byes .. Second seed Amanjot Singh beat Artour Djabarov (RUS) 75 61 in R2 to reach the final-16 .. #4 seed Rohan Gajjar is in the PQF with a 75 62 win over Minh Quan Do of Vietnam after a first round bye .. #8 Jaco Mathew had a 62 63 win over Adam Jaya of Malaysia in R2 .. #6 seed Karan Rastogi had a bad day, losing to wildcard Weerapat Doakmaiklee of Thailand, 36 46 .. I hope Karan is not injured - I had suspected that after he had an 0-6 3rd set in last week's first round match in Malaysia where he he was about to win the second set against the eventual winner of the event .. Rain prevented second round play in the 32-draw for girls today, but bith the Indian girls there, #1 seed Megha Vakharia and #5 seed Sasha Abraham had reached the final-16 yesterday ..
Oct 22 Note-2
First of all, Sanjeevi alerted me that I forgot to mention an important news item from late last week.. ATP announced that the Bangalore WDC is now officially cancelled .. The reason given was security cncerns .. I don't really buy that .. There is no big security problem for an event like this one - not at a place like Bangalore .. I am not sure what really caused the cancellation and wonder if any of the top teams showing cold feet was part of the problem .. We had heard earlier that the concern about finding a new title sponsor had been taken care of, but I am not sure if any of the sponsors balked because of perceived fear of good teams not showing up .. Actually there were reports earlier about players like Woodbridge and Bjorkman being upset about the dates being changed due to AA games, etc .. I don't know if other teams now joined due to security fears .. If any of the teams were part of the reason, I would be quite upset .. Frankly, doubles teams should realize that they have a duty to go the extra mile .. Already doubles appear to be really dying a fast death on the tour (well, not a death yet, but quite a decline) .. India (and Bangalore) came through big time last year when there really weren't any good takers for the event itself - the players should remember that .. That is why it was quite disgusting when we heard earlier of big complaints about it being moved a week, etc. Again, I have no info at all that players were the reason for the cancellation, but if they were, it was quite short-sighted on their part .. The ATP cancellation came somewhat suddenly last week, though .. Many had suspected earlier that it would be cancelled due to lack of a title sponsor (after GoldFlake had to pull out), but lately it had looked like that was not a big problem - at least based on all the back-and-forth on changing the dates, etc .. So, what suddenly changed? .. Anyway, I will try to find out what the real scoop is.
I think LP-MB will be playing the doubles first round at the $1M Basel Open only on wednesday.
The doubles final at the $50K Largo (Florida) challenger was abandoned due to rain - so Manisha and Leanne did not get a chance for another title .. Both the teams received the runner-up prize money ($1500 per team) and points (25) .. I hate it when that happens!
The India F4 futures started today at Indore .. Not too many singles matches today .. Mustafa Ghouse has returned from the Davis Cup practice in the US and is seeded 4th .. He took a little time to settle down and dropped a set vefore beating Kedar Tembe .. 3rd seed Nitin won, and there was a marathon 3 hour match between two Israelis - Dooyev beat Srugo .. See the Indore futures page.
Vikrant Chadha qualified into the main draw after three wins, at the $15K USA F23 futures in Jackson, Mississippi .. He plays another qualifier, Nathan Price (USA) in the first round .. In the qualies, he beat Kevin Borzeuski (USA) 61 63, Robert Gallman (USA) 62 63 and Mark Arrowsmith (USA) 62 63 .. Jyotsna Vasisht retired after a 3-6 first set against Paloma Collantes (USA) in the singles qualies first round at the $50K Dallas challenger; not sure why she retired.
Sania Mirza moved up 7 spots to #28 this week, with her runner-up finish at the Grade-2 Hong Kong ITF ..
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.
.. Previous notes are at Notes for the week ending on Oct 22 ..
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.