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LP/MB/NS/Indian-Tennis: Notes for the weeks ending on Nov 3, 2003
(Previous week's notes) (Next week's notes) (Daily Notes Index 1997 thru 2003)

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Nov 3 Notes

At the "NSCI" ITF $25K challenger in Mumbai, the schedule was pretty light today .. The big match was between Ankita Bhambri and Shruti Dhawan that Ankita won in three sets .. Radhika Tulpule, showing good form, easily beat Thassa Vitayaviroj, also a qualifier but the top seed in the qualies .. Megha and Sonal also advanced to the second round .. See the scores at the Mumbai women's challenger page.

A bunch of our men are at the $10K futures in Thailand this week .. Sunil Kumar Sipaeya and Vinod Sridhar are drawn againsts qualifiers TBD .. Ajay Ramaswami plays Martin Slanar (AUT) .. Vijay Kannan gets the Vietnamese wildcard Minh-Quan Do (VIE) .. The only one facing a seed is Mustafa Ghouse who runs into the 4th seed Herbert Wiltschnig (AUT) .. In doubles, Ajay Ramaswami and Prima Simpatiaji (INA) play Lefteris Alexiou/ Nikos Rovas (GRE) .. Ti Chen (TPE) and Sunil Kumar play the 3rd seeds Toshihide Matsui/ Takahiro Terachi (JPN) .. Manoj Mahadevan and Vinod Sridhar play the 4th seeded Austrians, Martin Slanar and Herbert Wiltschnig .. 2nd seeds Mustafa and Vijay Kannan play Naoki Arimoto and Go Soeda of Japan ..

The Nike World u12/u14 Junior International has started in Sun City South Africa over the weekend .. The Indian team is managed by CG Krishna Bhupathi and includes GK Shwetha (u14), Nandita Krishnan (u12), Agnel Gladwin (u14) and Yuki Bhambri (u12) .. The first 4 days of competition is the WTT (world team tennis) ties .. India had a terrible draw, having to face unseeded China (of course the European teams and the USA always get great seedings at these events) .. China d. India 27-14 .. China then went on to upset the 3rd seeds Belgium 22-16, then the 7th seeds France 29-28 and have reached the semi today .. Those are game scores over multiple matches played (singles, doubles, mixed, involving the 2 u12 players and 2 u14 players in each team) .. India also went down today in the consolation tie against RSA , 22-31 .. I don't have the details of the scores with me .. The individual events are usually more interesting and they start soon, down there.

By the way, now that AITA has done a pretty nice job above the u15 levels in encouraging and at times financially supporting Indian players to take the ITF junior circuit seriously and in coordinating their pans well, it may be time to start seriously looking at what needs to be done at the u12-u16 age range .. One thing that China has been doing is to send a lot of kids in the 13-15 age range to Europe for the domestic circuit there .. I am not sure, but I don't think China has much of a strong domestic junior circuit (India does have quite a large domestic circuit, though with rather low levels of competition) .. I don't know if China pays for the trips for the kids to Europe, but over the last few years I have noticed a whole bunch of Chinese kids (12 to 14 year olds) in small and big ETA events (u14, u16 and pehaps some u12 also) in Europe while the only Indian kids who get exposed in Europe before 16 are the one or two who get selected to the ITF developmental teams every year (like Agnel Gladwin and Kartiki Bhat this year and Sanaa and Sumit Prakash last year) .. I wonder if China has gone one step ahead of us with this strategy of ealy exposure in Europe .. Something to keep an eye on .. I will investigate and write more on this later .. Anyway, our loss to China at Sun City made me think about this today .. I would love to see Yuki Bhambri next year for some events in Europe, for instance.

Nov 2 Notes

The draws are out for the Mumbai women's challenger - with the cuts falling below a rank of 700, it is not the toughest field and there is a great chance for some Indian women to pick up a bunch of points .. Sania is the highest ranked Indian and is seeded 7th - she is expected to run into the top seed Hisamatsu if the rankings hold up .. See the Mumbai women's challenger page ..  Good to see a familiar name popping up in the qualies .. Radhika Tulpule, who has not traveled and played a whole lot like a lot of other Indians lately, was in the qualies and made the main draw ..

Sai, seeded first, went down in the semis this week at the Nigeria $10K - Here are the results for Indians .. [R1] (1) Jayaram-Sai Jayalakshmy d. Blessing Anuna (NGR) 61 60 .. [R2] d. Femi Odeymi-Musa (NGR) 36 75 64 .. [QF] d. (5) Rebecca Dandeniya (GBR) .. [R2] l. (5) Rebecca Dandeniya (GBR) 26 57 .. [R1] (3) Liza Pereira d. Fatimah Abinu (NGR) 62 63 .. [R2] d. Ayoola Shelle 60 62 .. [QF] (8) Marija Abramovic (CRO) 36 62 46 .. [R1] Nandini Perumal d. Abiodun Oyegoke (NGR) 62 60 .. [R1] S.Jayalakshmy/ L.Pereira d. Seun Ogundare/ Aiodun Oyegoke (NGR) 60 61 .. [QF] d. Margret Olagundoye/ Ayoola Shelle (NGR) 61 60 .. [SF] l. Heidi El Tabakh/ Yomna Farid (EGY) 57 36 ..

Here are the complete set of results from the grade-4 ITF juniors in Thailand .. Tushar Liberhan reached the semi, Asha Nandakumar reached the QF, Punam Reddy played a hell of a match before going down to the top seed, Vandana/Madura reached the doubles final, and that was about it .. With all the Indian players who went there, I would have hoped for some more results .. [R1] (2) Tushar Liberhan (IND,131) BYE .. [R2] d. Boris Conkic (YUG,440)  63 63 .. [R3] d. David Jeflea (AUS,294)  64 62 .. [QF] d. (11) Kirati Siributwong (THA,208) 16 63 63 .. [SF] l. (9) Steven Moneke GER 16 63 06 .. [R1] Kaushik Raju d. Worapat Aethiratpunya (THA)  63 63 .. [R2] l. Philipp Piyamangkol (GER)  46 46 .. [R1]  Karthik Raju l. Syrym Abdukhalikov (KAZ) 26 26 .. [R1]  Jitin Bishnoi l. Aleksander Engevold (NOR) 63 36 36 .. [R1] Punam Reddy l. Jessica Engels (1) AUS 57 76(8) 46 .. [R1] Pooja Kommireddi (8) l. Gira Schofield (Q) USA 36 06 .. [R1] Kartiki Bhat (3) d. Emily Kwok (LL) CAN 76(6) 67(5) 64 .. [R2] l. Nungnadda Wannasuk THA 46 67(2) .. [R1] Sandhya Nagaraj d. Daowadueng Phonkan (Q) THA 75 62 .. [R2] l. (6) Nina Henkel GER 16 36 .. [R1] Sandri Gangothri d. (4) Vandana Murali 36 63 63 .. [R2] l. Joana Febri INA 26 26 .. [R1] Madura Ranganathan (2) IND d. Porntip Mulsap THA 61 61 .. [R2] Anastasia Poltoratskaya RUS d. Madura Ranganathan (2) IND 64 64 .. [R1] Asha Nanda Kumar d. Viet Ha Ngo VIE 64 26 64 .. [R2] d. (5) Carla Tamborini USA 76(3) 62 .. [QF] l. Anastasia Poltoratskaya RUS 46 36 .. [R1] Hung Yuan Chang/ Hsin-Han Lee (TPE) d. Tetta Oyama (JPN)/ Karthik Raju 76(6) 60 .. [R1] (8) Ryo Sekiguchi (JPN)/ Kaushik S Raju BYE .. [R2] l. Hung Yuan Chang/ Hsin-Han Lee (TPE) 67(4) 64 46 .. [R1] (2) Jitin Bishnoi/Kevin Doh IND/NZL BYE .. [R2] l. Dominic Muller/Petr-Hendrik Wilk GER/GER 67(2) 36 .. [R1] Worapat Arthiratpunya (THA)/ Manu Bajpai d. Yu-Hsuan Cheng/ Chun Chien Chou (TPE) 61 63 .. [R2] d. (5) Nikki Peel (GBR)/ Matthew Stark (NZL) walkover .. [QF] l. (3) Andrew Coelho (AUS)/ Tushar Liberhan 26 75 46 .. [R1] (3) Andrew Coelho (AUS)/ Tushar Liberhan BYE .. [R2] d. Chalermsak Saensane/ Narucha Wannabovorn (THA) 62 60 .. [QF] d. Worapat Arthiratpunya (THA)/ Manu Bajpai 62 57 64 .. [SF] l. Syrym Abdukhalikov (KAZ)/ Steven Moneke (GER) 64 36 67(2) .. [R1] Penporn Chantawannop/ Sophia Mulsap (THA) d. Ratchaya Chaichanachaicharn (THA)/ Gayatri Krishnan 26 62 75 .. [R1] Emily Kwok (CAN)/ Daowadueng Phonkan (THA) d. Asha Nanda Kumar/ Ayumi Yoshida (JPN) 60 60 .. [R1] (4) Kartiki Bhat/ Wei-Ping Lee (SIN) d. Punam Reddy/ Alexandra Tananihina (RUS) 26 62 62 .. [QF] l. Emily Kwok (CAN)/ Daowadueng Phonkan (THA) 46 26 .. [R1] Sandhya Nagaraj/ Gangothri Sandri d. Hataichanok Sanya Ukos/ Nungnadda Wannasuk (THA) 62 63 .. [QF] l. (1) Vandana/ Madura 16 46 .. [R1] (2) Pooja Kommireddi/ Jung-Yoon Shin (KOR) d. Natalie Solevski (AUS)/ Carla Tamborini (USA) 61 60 .. [QF]  d. Penporn Chantawannop/Sophia Mulsap (THA) 64 63 .. [SF]  l. (3) Ayu Fani Damayanti/ Joana Febri (INA) 26 16 .. [R1] (1) Vandana Murali/Madura Ranganathan d. Prariyawat Ratanakrong/ Thanyaluk Suthijindawong (THA) 63 75 ..[QF]  d. Sandhya Nagaraj/ Gangothri Sandri 61 64 .. [SF]  d. Emily Kwok (CAN)/ Daowadueng Phonkan (THA) 16 64 63 .. [F]   l. (3) Ayu Fani Damayanti/ Joana Febri (INA) 64 46 46 .. Well, that is a whole hell of a lot of players and matches .. Good to see Indian players taking the ITF tour seriously and getting nice exposure against good foreign players .. Waiting for a top-50 type player to emerge from this group of juniors - but so far no big signs of it .. Hopefully we will see better and better results soon.

Shivika Burman went down in the semifinal to the 2nd seed yesterday at the Doha grade-5 ending the Indian show there.

Nov 1 Notes

LP and David Rikl have officially withdrawn from the Houston masters cup -- as expected.

The qualies have started for the Mumbai $25K challenger today .. I will post the scores later.

Sorry for a late update on this - there was some nice news from Qatar yesterday .. Unseeded and currently unranked 13 year old, Shivika Burman has surprised a couple of seeds and reached the semifinals of the grade-5 ITF juniors in Doha .. In the first round she beat Gelina Suslova (UZB), 61 61 .. She then upset the 5th seed Katriona Stewart (GBR,592) 62 36 62 in the PQF and the 4th seed Rana Tharwat (EGY, 637) 64 62 in QF .. She was to play the 2nd seed Franceska Kinsella (GBR,445) in the semi today .. Also in the main draw, 7th seed Tejaswini Datla lost to the top seed Miray Eshak (EGY,200) in the QF .. 3rd seed Shraddha Lodha was upset in the R2 by Mrtina Lauterschlager (SUI) 60 62 .. 6th seed Orrmila Ram lost to Judith Konig (GER) 26 46 in the R2 .. All three Indian seeds had R1 byes .. The rankings of the European players in thart tournament aren't high, but there seems to be some tough and talented kids there; nice to see Shivika make a run .. By the way she turned 14 this week, I believe .. Rohan Gide and Arjun Vaidya were in the boys draw but lost in the R1 and R2 respectively.

Awaiting news from the Thailand gradd-4 where Tushar Liberhan and Asha Nandkumar had reached the QFs.

Oct 31 Note-1

A clean sweep of seven golds for India in tennis .. Sania/Rushmi d. Rosa/Mende (INA), 76 63, and Vijay Kannan d. Jhonny Arcilla (PHI), 61 61 .. As the MxD final later is between Indian pairs, we get 7 golds, 3 silvers and a bronze from tennis.    Congrats for a job well done, as expected, with no hiccups!

Oct 30 Note-1

Neelam and Shakti came through with golds in discus and shotput and tennis added two more golds to take our tally to 12 golds, in 4th place behind South Africa with 14 golds as of now.  Hopefully the women's hockey team can pull an upset over RSA for a gold (match at 1-1 as I type) and close the gap to the 3rd spot .. Tennis is assured of bringing in one gold tomorrow (MxD) and we have a good chance for the men's singles and women's doubles gold as well .. The big match today was Vijay Kannan's beautiful comeback to pull one out against a good Nigerian player, Sunday Maku, in the semifinal .. I had worried about this match, but Vijay was up to the task in a 46 63 76 win! .. Now he faces Jhony Arcilla of Philippines and I am sure he can bring us the gold .. Go Vijay! .. Mahesh and Rohan won the men's doubles gold over Sunil Kumar and Vinod Sridhar though SKS-VS managed to take a set off them .. Then the forgone conclusion about Sania winning the singles medal .. She beat Rushmi .. Though Rushmi has what it takes to upset Sania, the young girl is way too tough when she is determined to win it .. Not too many Indian sports persons have the kind of winning attitude that Sania has .. She has now picked up two golds and can quite possibly finish with four golds after tomorrow .. Megha/Sonal went down in a 3-setter to Maya Rosa and Septi Mende (INA) and the Indonesians will give Rushmi-Sania a tough match tomorrow, I am sure .. See the Afro-Asian Games 2003 tennis page for all of today's scores.

At the $10K SRI F2 futures n Sri Lanka, Ajay Ramaswamy had a good start in an upset bid over the 5th seed Bo-Ram Cha (KOR,522) in the QF but had to retire due to cramps in a 64 16 23 (retd) match .. Bo-Ram had beaten Somdev yesterday and Ajay had beaten Jaco Mathew .. Jaco and Yeu-Ming Si went down in the semifinal today .. I have posted all the scores in the forum thread on the SRI F2 ..

Oct 29 Note-2

Better day for India at the AAG today, as Anju (long jump), Shobha (heptathalon - I think she is the least known "best" athlete in India), Anjali (shooting), Rathore (shooting), Anil Kumar (discus) and came up with Golds [OK, the shooters are producing - 3 Golds from them so far!] .. India moved up to #4 in the medal tally - anthing much lower than that in the end would be rather embarassing, considering the lower competition at the Games in many events ..  Good 5-3 semifinal win by our soccer team over Zimbabwe (yes, this will count as a win in a friendly, for FIFA rankings) and good to see IM Vijayan and Bhutia getting 2 golas each .. Our hockey team struggled but held on for a 1-1 draw against Malaysia and a 5-3 win after penalty shootout; Now we can eat Pakistan alive once more, in the final :-)

Tennis is proceeding as expected, with India making sure of of two more golds (men's doubles and women singles, where we have all-Indian finals) .. The only bad news was that Prakash is down with a bad fever and had to concede the singles QF to a Congo player who now picks up Congo's first medal (he gets a bronze for semi!) .. Vjay Kannan will have to take care of Sunday Maku (NGR) in the semi and then should have no problem in the final to get us the Gold ..  MB-RB and SKS-VS are in the men's doubles final .. The mixed doubles semis started and were delayed by rain late in the first sets (MB-Sania leading 5-2 and Rushmi-Vishal at 4-4); seem to be postponed to tomorrow .. See the Afro-Asian Games 2003 tennis page for all of today's scores.

At the Thailand grade-4 tournament, Tushar Liberhan has reached the quarterfinal .. Quite a strong/talented field for a gr-4 there .. [R1] (2) T.Liberhan (IND,131) BYE .. [R2] d. Boris Conkic (YUG,440)  63 63 .. [R3] David Jeflea (AUS,294)  64 62 .. [QF] vs (5) Kirati Siributwong (THA,208) .. I have not seen the girl's draw there .. Kaushik Raju fell in the second round to Philipp Piyamangkol (GER,194)  46 46, after an R1 win over Worapat Arthiratpunya (THA)  63 63 .. Karthik Raju lost in the R1 to Syrym Abdukhalikov (KAZ,273) 26 26 ..

Oct 29 Note-1

Cool! .. India is assured of a Gold and a Silver in women's singles tennis .. Sania Mirza d. Czarina Mae Arevalo (PHI), 64 61, and Rushmi Chakravarthi d. Sandy Gumulya (INA), 63 26 63 to reach the finals just now in Hyderabad.

Oct 28 Note-2

According to reports today, Leander's MRI showed that the swelling has nearly gone away, and the doctors have allowed him to start training soon .. Looks like the first competitive tennis matches will be in January, and so the Houston Masters-Cup seems out of question ..

The individual events have started at the Afro Asian Games .. Sania, Rushmi and Vijay Kannan advanced today to the semis .. Prakash plays tomorrow .. In doubles, Bhupathi-Bopanna and Sunil Kumar - Vinod Sridhar play tomorrow in the semis (only four teams in men's doubles!) .. In mixed doubles, MB-Sania and Rushmi-Vishal play tomorrow .. I believe two Indian women's teams are drawn straight into the semis as well, but they will play on thursday .. With India not doing great in other events so far, as far as golds are concerned, we can use all the cheap golds we can grab in tennis .. The shooters haven't come through (once again?) with any golds, and Bobby missed one in high jump closely .. Good win by Indian hockey ladies today and good going by the men's hockey team so far .. JJ Shobha will hopefully come through with the heptathalon tomorrow, and Shakti, Anju etc will produce too .. I have added the tennis results in the Afro-Asian Games 2003 page.

Good show at the $10K Sri Lanka F2 futures by Indians .. Jaco Mathew made the draw as a lucky loser and upset the 4th seed Febi Widhiyanto (INA,518) in three sets .. R1 scores -- Ajay Ramaswami d. (WC) Rajeev Rajapakse (SRI) 60 60 .. (LL) Jaco Mathew d. (4) Febi Widhiyanto (INA) 63 46 75 .. (WC) Somdev K.D. Varman d. (WC) Anuwat Dalodom(THA) 62 62 .. (Q) Punna Vishal l. (Q) Mathew Smith (GBR) 63 46 26 .. Manoj Mahadevan l. (8) Norikazu Sugiyama (JPN) 26 26 .. Tough loss for Vishal, after making the draw with a gruelling three tibreaker Q3 win .. Ajay plays Jaco next .. Good to see Somdev picking up another point - he runs into the 5th seed next, though.

Oct 28 Note-1

Here are some details of the Sania match yesterday to clinch the Gold at AAG after Rushmi won the #2 singles (source: PTI) -- "Sania took the first set without much problem, but some mistakes showed. Sandy was improving, and accepting Sania’s strong forehands kept tossing up to upset the rhythm. She broke Sania in the third game of the second set but the Indian had restored parity by the tenth before losing serve again as the Indonesian served out for the set ... In the decider Sania took a 4-0 lead, but failed to hold her serves in three consecutive games as her rival shot ahead 5-4. Breaks were traded before Sandy, serving for the match in the 12th game, pulled a hamstring trying to reach out to a forehand cross court and received treatment on court. Sania broke through and kept her cool to win the match" ... She was up 4-0 and lost a bunch of games before winning? -- well, that sounds like a classic Sania match where she goes berserk for a while before getting bored or something and causing herself trouble -- but then again, she normally comes through when it counts!

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.

.. Previous notes are at Notes for the week ending on Oct 27 ..

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.