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LP/MB/NV/Indian-Tennis: Notes for the week ending on Oct 30, 2000

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Oct 30 Note-1

Leander is drawn against Julian Alonso (ESP,155) in the first round of the $100K+H challenger in Charleroi, Belgium .. LP is unseeded and if he wins, the second round will be against 5th seed Michal Tabara (CZE,96) or Michael Llodra (FRA,154) .. He is also in doubles there, playing with Chris Haggard of South Africa - they are seeded first and play Karsten Braasch and Michael Kohlmann of Germany ..  I have no idea why LP is playing doubles and adding unnecessary matches to tire himself out, as the maximum points he can get is just 80 and even the money is rather meager .. I guess he just likes to play! :-)  .. Not sure if LP will be playing on Monday ..

Mahesh could not have got into the singles draw at the challenger, so he is sticking to playing doubles at Stuttgart .. he is playing with Kevin Ullyett for just this week (LP and MB will be together for the next three weeks again) .. MB-Ullyett face wildcards Jens Knippschild and Rainer Schuttler in the first round and are drawn to face the 5th seeds Novak-Rikl (who have an R1 bye) in the second round.

Oct 29 Note-2

Damn .. For the second time in three weeks, Niru reached a challenger doubles final, and for a second time she faced the same team, Rippner/ Tatarkova in the final .. Just as at Albuquerque earlier, it rained, and the doubles was moved to an indoor facility .. Just like last time, it was a close match, but no cigar .. B.Rippner/ E.Tatarkova d. N.Miyagi/ N.Vaidyanathan, 63 36 63 .. Still, not bad for Niru to defend all of the douibles points she had to defend this month and pick up some 10-15 extra also .. She will be moving up into the 160s soon in doubles rankings as well .. Niru will be at the Haywards challnger in Northern California, where she is in the main draw.

At Delhi, Sonal Phadke ended up having to play qualies .. Anyway, she qualified in, along with Sheetal Gautham and 14 year old Ankita Bhambri and Angela Cordoza (Portugal) .. Quite impressive to see Ankita beating more experienced and talented customers like Geeta Manohar and Harsimran Kaur to make it in .. See the Delhi challenger page for results .. I have added some of the matchups in the main draw first round, and things don't look good for most Indians ..

Oct 29 Note-1

Good news from the $50K Dallas challenger yesterday -- The 3rd doubles final of the year for Nirupama! .. #2 N.Myagi/ N.Vaidyanathan d. M.Mesa/ M.Sequera, 36 76(2) 64 .. In the final Niru and Nana run into a pretty good team, Brie Rippner and Elena Tatarkova .. They are the same team that beat Niru and Lisa McShea in the $50K challenger three weeks back (by a 64 64 score) .. Rippner-Tatarkova upset the top seeds DeLone-Horn yesterday easily 62 61 and they seem to be in good form .. I hope Niru gets her revenge this time over them .. Niru has picked up 27 points for the final .. She had about 40 points to defend this month (for the Albuquerque final and Largo semifinal from last year), and she has picked up about 55 points from the two finals this month .. Good job by her .. I think she has picked up $800 from doubles so far at Dallas.

At Delhi yesterday, the doubles final was won by Rushmi and Sai over the vesenjak sisters in 4 sets .. See the Delhi satellite page for all the scorss.

The qualies start for the $25K Delhi challenger today .. The wildcards for the main draw were announced as Manisha Malhotra, Shruti Dhawan and Jyotsna Vasisht .. I have to complain about the number of wildcards Jyotsna has been given .. I believe about 5 or so so far - basically for all the satellites and the challenger, and except for beating a struggling Manisha this week, she has not gone past one win in any event .. I hear that she is a good player, though not one who set the US college tennis circuit on fire .. Those who have seen her play, such as Kawaljeet Singh who is now coaching her, seem quite impressed with her - so I guess she shows promise .. Still there is no need to give anybody that many widlcards .. Playing qualies is actually not a bad idea in WTA, as you do get some points from there .. If she is given a wildcard over Sonal Phadke or Radhika Tulpule, that's really not fair (I have to see the final draw to find out if those two have made it)! .. I do hope for good results from Jyotsna though .. She seems to be talented, with a good serve and other tools, based on news reports.

Oct 28 Notes

A couple of notes before the server goes down .. Again, as said above, bookmark the forum page (which is on another server) for news for next two days as this page and all other pages here could become unavailable .. Niru's soubles semi scores, any news about LP-MB, and any interesting qualies news from the $25K Delhi challenger will be there .. Leander is expected to play the Charleroi challenger in Belgium starting monday, and Mahesh, barring any very unexpected wildcard into the Stuttgart masters singles qualies over the weekend, should be in action in Stuttgart doubles next week).

Another doubles semifinal for Nirupama with yet another new partner, Nana Miyagi of Japan .. At the $50K Dallas Challenger yesterdy, #2 Myagi-Vaidyanathan d. Joana Cortez (BRA)/ Kelly Liggan (IRL) 6-3, 6-4  [Surce: Dallas Morning News] .. I have not seen the result for one of the quarterfinals; not sure whom they will be playing in the semi, but it could be the 4th seeds Dawn Buth and Sandra Cacic or Mariana Mesa and Milagros Sequera.

At the $10K Delhi satellites, 4th seed Urska Vesenjak beat 6th seed Masa Vesenjak, 41 45(4) 42 54(3) in a good final today to lift the title .. These two twins had met in another satellite final this year (at Antalya), and Urska had com up on top then too .. I have not seen the score from the doubles final between the Vesenjak twins and Sai-Rushmi.

Oct 27 Notes

175th ranked Nirupama Vaidyanathan and Nana Miyagi (JPN, 38) won the first round of doubles at the $50K Dallas challenger .. Miyagi-Vaidynathan d. Jean Okada (USA) and Ryoko Takemura (JPN), 67(6) 60 63 .. Niru and Nana are seeded second .. I notice that Niru has been getting some highly-ranked players as her doubles partner these days - I guess that Niru's doubles abilities are becoming quite respected in the pro tour.

The Indian women's good run at the satellites ended with no India appearing in the final for the first time in SEVENfinals this year .. Masa and Urska Vesenjak reached the final at Delhi today, Urska beating Rushmi and Masa beating Maja .. See the Delhi satellite results .. Here is a run-down of the 7 $10K satellites in India this year .. S1, Mumbai in February - Sai d. Sonal (Sonal had beaten Urska and Kinjo in the QF and SF there), S2 in Delhi in Feb - Niru d. Sai (Niru beat Masa and Urska there), S3 last month at Jaipur - Adamczak d. Manisha .. S4 at Delhi - Manisha d. Raimrova .. S5 at Bangalore - Rushmi and Radhika shared the title (Rushmi beat Raimrova in QF) .. S6 last week at Gwalior - Sai d. van den Hurk (Sai beat Nefeova in semi) .. S7 this week at Delhi (Vesenjak vs Vesenjak in the final .. In addition, in the four-week $20K circuit in march, the finals were, Sonal over Archana, Megha over Sonal, Megha over Archana, and Sonal over Megha (no foreign players came for that circuit) .. All in all, the Indian women have certainly taken steps forward this year .. Especially gratifying is the number of different players who have reached the finals this year .. There is a pretty good level of competition among about 9 different players in India, with about 5 of them being 19 or younger.

The men, however, really need to start showing some improvement -- there has hardly been any to mention this year, among any men, excet for Mankad, Ramaswamy and Rishi showing something in the satellites earlier in the year .. This week at the Indonesia F5 satellite, Mustafa Ghouse, who had qualified in, lost in the first round of singles to Esat Tanik (TUR,762) .. Ghouse and Donovan September lost in the doubles first round to 3rd seeded Promono-Wedhiyanto pair of Indonesia .. I don't know the scores [source: Suara Merdeka, Indonesia]

Oct 26 Notes

No upset job from Paes-Bhupathi today .. Our guys went down in the first round to the 3rd seeds O'Brien/ Palmer at the $975K Basel indoors in Switzerland, 67(5) 46 .. This is the difficulty in not being ranked high enough to be seeded .. LP-MB has traditionally been a team which needed a couple of matches before getting into a stride in any tournament .. Being seeded normally gave them the luxury before to play themselves into a tournament .. It will take them some time before their rankes are both inside top-40 or so for them to start getting seeded.

At Delhi, Rushmi beat Shruti in 4 sets and kept our hopes alive, as the Solvenian girls, Maja, Masa  and Urska made made it to the semis along with Rushmi .. Maja upset the 7th seed Andrea ven den Hurk .. Rushmi will now face 4th seed Urska, which could be a tough match .. Rushmi has been serving harder and playing well lately, so let's hope we will see her in the final .. See th Delhi stallite page.

Oct 25 Note-2

LP-MB will finally play their first round tomorrow (thursday) afternoon at the $975K Swiss indoors at Basel .. #3 seeds O'Brien/ Palmer will not be easy to beat, but they are beatable - so whoever plays better will win :-)

The puzzling first round exits continue for Sunil Kumar in junior events .. At the Grade-3 ITF junior event in Bangkok on Monday, the 2nd seeded Sunil was upset in the first round by unseeded Hiu-Tung Yu of Hong Kong 75 26 63 .. Sunil has played a good number of ITF junior internationals in the past year - 14 of them, I think - but other than 3 titles and a final, he has basically lost in the first round about 8 times (Actually, I think in all those losses he was the seeded player losing to an unseeded player too) .. It seems like it is either feast or famine with Sunil .. I cannot figure out how a player who could give an ATP top-100 Ron Agenor a run for the money in a 46 46 loss as a 16 year old at the Chennai Open, who has reached the national championship title round two years in a row, can lose to such no-names in the ITF junior circuit! .. Sunil certainly seems to play up or down to the level his opponent depending on whether he is playing a junior or a senior event .. Anyway, I hope he will start winning a few more and raise his ranking from #96 to somewhere near top-60 soon to make it into the good junior events and play quality competition next year .. I have not seen the complete results from Thailand to see if Sania Mirza was there .. Sunil's loss was mentioned as a big upset by The Nation (Bangkok).

Oct 25 Note-1

Bad news from the $50K Dallas challenger .. Another close loss for Niru against a top-100 player .. In the first round yesterday, 4th seed Erika De Lone (USA,96) d. Nirupama, 75 36 76 .. Darnit .. No news on the doubles draw yet.

At the Delhi satellite, Manisha Malhotra continued to have trouble with her serve - perhaps not fully recovered from the shoulder injury yet? - and she went down to Jyotsna Vasisht in straight sets, committing 18 double faults in the process! .. Shruti and Rushmi have made the quartterfinal with wins over a couple of foreign players .. Archana is also in the QF, but the Vesenjak twins seem to be in good form, ready to spoil everytbody's plans in this event .. Sonal lost to the 7th seed Andrea Van den Hurk of Nederlands in 5 sets .. See the Delhi satellite page.

Oct 24 Notes

LP-MB are not scheduled to play on wednesday either at the $975K Swiss Open in Basel .. They should be playing the first round on Thursday .. Here is the draw till the final (upper half of the draw):

1 P.Haarhuis(NED)/ S.Stolle(AUS)  vs   W.Ferreira(RSA)/ B.Haygarth(RSA) \
  D.Adams(RSA)/ D.MacPherson(AUS) vs W T.Haas(GER)/ L.Hewitt(AUS)       / \_ Final
3 A.OBrien(USA)/ J.Palmer(USA)    vs   M.Bhupathi(IND)/ L.Paes(IND)     \ /
  R.Federer(SUI)/ D.Hrbaty(SVK)   vs W M-K.Goellner(GER)/ L.Manta(SUI)  /
Some pretty good teams out there in Basel .. Interestingly LP-MB were the last team to get direct entry in the draw .. I didn't expect it to be that close! .. In today's matches, the second seeds (bottom half of the draw) Ferreira/Leach were upset by wildcards Lapentti and Bastl.

Nirupama is at the $50K Dallas challenger, and again has a rather tough first round match against the 4th seed Erika De Lone (USA,96) .. I have not seen the doubles draw yet.

At the Delhi satellite, the big upset today was by Maja Mlakar of Slovenia who beat the top seed Katarina Daskovic rather easily .. The other upset was by Archana Venkatraman, who took out 5th seed Sai Jayalakshmi in 5 sets .. Sai had beaten Archana the previous three times they played .. Rushmi got a stiff challenge from Radhika Tulpule but she advanced in a five-setter .. 3rd seed Manisha Malhotra had to come back from being two sets down, and again had to fight through three match points and get the gift of a "home court" line call before winning the match against Angela Cordoso of Portugal in a 5th set tiebreaker .. Let's hope that Manisha has recovered from her shoulder problems - she will get a good challenge in the next round from Jyotsna Vasisht, who seem to be slowly doing better and better in India after returning from college tennis in the US .. Shruti Dhawan was supposed to play the second seed Zuzana Valekova, but ended up with a lucky loser and won the match, as Zuzana was a no-show .. See the Delhi satellite results page.

Mustafa Ghouse qualified into the main draw of the futures in Indonesia this week .. He was the second seed in the qualies and had a first round bye - he won the next round and qualified into the main draw .. He plays Esat Tanik (TUR,762) in the first round .. In doubles he is in the draw with Donovan Septrember, but they face the 3rd seeds Pramono/ Widhiyanto .. Mustafa Ghouse is returning from a pretty futile trip to Australia where he failed to qualify into the draws of the first two weeks of the satellite circuit and had to come back empty-handed (heck, why didn't he instead play the DSCL championship where he was runner-up last time? .. There was some decent money there!) ..

No news about Fazal and Srinath in a while .. Srinath has often been injured and not in playing condition .. Fazal had been training in the US last month; not sure where he will be playing next.

Oct 23 Note-2

LP-MB have a pretty good hurdle to cross in the first round at the Swiss Open in Basel .. They are drawn against the 3rd seeds,  O'Brien/ Palmer .. Not sure when the match will be played - either Tuesday or wednesday .. I will post the draw soon.

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.

.. Previous notes are at Notes for the week ending on Oct 23 ..

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.