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Indian-Tennis: Daily News for the weeks ending on Nov 15, 2004
(Previous week's notes) (Next week's notes) (Daily Notes Index 1997 thru 2004)

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Nov 15 Notes

MadMax were supposed to play their third pool match tomorrow at the Houston Masters Cup, against the Bryans.  Rain delays today has postponed two doubles matches to tomorrow, and it looks like Mahesh and Max will be playing only on wednesday.

At the Gurgaon second leg of the Indian satellites, the top seed Sunil Kumar advanced to the second round with an easy win over Ajay Ramaswami .. No other singles matches were done today, I believe .. I have not seen the main draws yet .. The qualies were completed and most of the R1 doubles were also done .. Young Rupesh Roy is the only Indian to qualify in (good job by him!) .. 
See the Gurgaon week-2 page for all the scores so far ..

Heard from Prakash Amritraj today that he skipped the Puebla challenger just as a precaution to not pick up a late year injury as there were some aches and pains .. Good time to take a break before the long year starts again ..

Nov 14 Notes

Really good match by Mahesh and Max today to stay alive (actually in decent shape) for advancement to semifinal, at the Houston masters .. They beat the 8th seedsd Gaston Etlis and Martin Rodriguez of ARG by a score of 63 76(5) .. They were up quickly to 4-1 in the first set and kept the advantage to finish it off .. In the second set they started with a barrage of aces and all that but dropped serve just like that in the 4th game and were behind 1-4 .. They climbed back with a break in the seventh game to even it at 4-4 .. It was a good thing that they finished it off in the tiebreaker because a 2-set win was probably important should teams be tied in match record after three rounds .. Later today, Bjor\kman-Woodbridge beat the Bryans by a similar score as in their win over MadMax yesterday - 63 64 .. As the Bryans had beaten Etlis-Rodriguez by a 63 76 score yesterday, they have nearly identical record so far with MB-MM .. These two teams play on Tuesday ..

Just saw the singles draw at the Puebla challenger, and it seems Prakash Amritraj withdrew over the weekend .. I am not sure what's up -- I will try to find out .. It's a pity that both HM and PAS will miss that challenger.

Sunitha Rao (USA) and Casey Dell'Acqua (AUS) won the doubles title at the $25K Port Pirie challenger in Australia .. Suniths has had a very good trip to Australia, picking up some nice singles results and now a doubles title in the week where the singles was not all that successful ..

That is about it .. The second leg of the $25K+H India satellites are starting in Gurgaon on Monday .. Awaiting the final draws.

Nov 13 Notes

Not a good start by Mahesh and Max at Houston .. In the frist round robin match today, they went down to the 3rd seeds Jonas Bjorkman (SWE) and Todd Woodbridge (AUS) 26 36 .. The game and set scores do not helo at all if they do better in the next two matches and need tiebreakers stats to advance ..

The singles title at the first leg of the four-week $25K+H India-2 satellites in Gurgaon went to the third seed Simon Gruel (GER) who was ranked as high as around #150 a couple of years back .. He won 64 64 over the 4th seed Alexy Kedriouk (KAZ) .. Based on the nice report by Kamesh in The Hindu, the German champion appears to be a nice chap .. He gave some compliments to Sunil Kumar - though he won the semi against SKS in two sets, Gruel said that he was lucky to win there .. He also said that the courts have become better and that it is not fair for players to be looking for European red clay everywhere, where the conditions are different .. That is cool .. Looks like everyone have got settled down and we can play a couple more weeks of good tennis there .. One comment from Gruel was interesting - he said, "The Indians are playing as if it is hard court" .. Looks like he has learnt the crux of the matter .. I assume he is talking about the Indians' tendency to finish off the points faster, rather than grind it out .. We probably need to improve on this, but only the coaches in India can do something about it .. Proper play on clay also requires the players to have confidence in their stamina too ..
See the Gurgaon week-1 page for all the scores from Gurgaon ..

Nov 12 Notes

The draws are out for the Houston Masters Cup doubles .. Mahesh Bhupathi and Max Mirnyi are the 5th seeds, placed in the relatively tougher Green group with second seedsd Bryans, 3rd seeds Bjorkman/ Woodbridge and the 7th seeds Eltis/ Rodriguez .. The Red group has the top seeds Knowles/ Nestor, 4th seeds Black/ Ullyett, the 6th seeds Damm/ Suk and the special entries, 8th seeds Malisse/ Rochus who are the highest ranked (and only) grand slam winners who are not in the top-8 of team rankings .. The only top team who skipped the event are the French pair, Llodra/ Santoro .. MB-MM play Bjorkman-Woodbridge in the first match tomorrow at about 3 pm .. The top two teams in each group after three round robin matches by each advance to the semis, as usual.

Harsh Mankad was told by the Mexican Tennis federation that they cannot organize him a visa on time for next week's Puebla challenger, so unfortunately he had to withdraw from the event - despite him having started the paperwork over two weeks ahead .. Pity, because there are six challengers next week and the cuts have fallen below #450 in some places .. Harsh's year is over and I believe he will start on a physical training program again .. Harsh lost a lot of money, staying in Miami waiting for the visa too .. It is an absolute pity that the national #1 is now virtually out of money (he has basically a few hundred dollars left with him) to continue on .. We had started some work in our fan forum to help find Harsh Mankad some (any) kind of sponsorship - because we figure that nobody else is doing anything to help him and we fear that if we don't do something, he really cannot continue .. I will write a bit more soon on this ..
Harsh will next be at the Indian futures in early January (and hopefully the Chennai tournament can give him a little help with a wildcard too) ..

Prakash Amritraj is still in the list for the Puebla challenger - being an American citizen, he should have no problem going to Puebla - as will be the case with all other players there, who are mostly from Europe.

At the Gurgaon satellites today, Sunil Kumar could not get past the tough third seed Simon Gruel, falling in a 67 26 semifinal match .. Mustafa Ghouse and Vishal Uppal went down in teh doubles final as well .. See the Gurgaon week-1 page for all the scores.

Nov 11 Notes

Basically only the Mumbai satellite going on .. Prakash Amritraj, seeded first, had a tough barn-burner loss in the first round at the $15K USA F31 in Waikaloa, Hawaii - he lost to Juilen Cassaign (FRA,727), 57 64 57 in a three hour match .. Ah, our top two players both being haunted by something .. Well, at least Prakash got to play this week .. Harsh Mankad is stuck in Miami, now for TWO weeks, waiting for the Mexico consulate there to give him a visa - the most ridiculous crap I have ever seen.  He has already missed the Meixco F17 futures this week, and now looks quite probably to be missing next week's Puebla challenger too (such a pity, because he might even have got seeded there) .. The two tournament offices, ATP, ITF etc gave no warning at all in any fact sheets about Mexico's visa policies unlike what is done in many other countries - it looks like everybody was caught unares of how it is now -- and Harsh has once played in mexico before when he walked in and got a visa in three hours .. Of course, Americans and Europeans can still walk in with no visa, but those "terrorist" tennis players need to be clared with a permit from Mexico City before a consular official at Miami can stamp a passport .. The tennis tournament entry lists only come less than three weeks ahead. Harsh immediately contacted Mexico, over 2 weeks back, and now it seems like he will end up losing next week also.  That basically ends the season and he hardly has a chance to grab some points somewhere (he has 24 tro defend in December) ..  He could have as well played the Indian satellites, but for the Puebla challenger - and of course he has to plan to play the challenger where he could get entry and this was one.  Now he can't even get entry to the blasted country and play a challenger in a week when there are SIX challengers around the world, three of them he would have made it into at least after withdrawals (Puebla was the only one that he would have made the first cut itself) .. Man, the kind of things tennis players have to go through!

Speaking of that, here is a newspaper article on what the players are going through at the Indian satellites .. I am normally not too quick to play up problems in the Indian events - and I am not into blaming our country and our country men when things don't go well .. That is because I know that a lot of crap happens around the world that we Indians think do not happen .. Just check with a $50K women's challenger in China that had just one portable toilet at the site and no internet connection .. Of course you will also find some beautifully conducted events in India (just check with how well the players were treated at a futures in Assam some three years back) .. But there are some fine lines in these things and I hope thhings are not as terrible at Gurgaon as the newspaper says .. Of course the players often complain -- and tennis players are well-known to be way too picky about all kinds of things like how much the ball fluffs up and how much a 1000 feet of altitude affects their game, about  etc etc! .. Anyway, I wonder if it was a good idea to hold three weeks at a stretch at Gurgaon, as the National Tennis Academy itself is in the early years of its development there .. Could have waited the facilities were better set a year or two later .. I agree with the conclusion in The Hindu article, that it might take some time to recover from the effects of a satellite circuit like this .. For one thing there are a LOT of foreigners - a bit more than usual - there .. And, it is my opinion that certain places like India need to be extra careful because we don't have much margin of error when it comes to opinions .. There is often the talk among the players about how tough it is to play in India (though many who talk may never have gone to India!) .. Anything that even slightly reinforces such canards should be avoided carefully .. It is also worthwhile to remember that the best way to handle organizational problems is to admit the problems and show that steps are being taken to reduce the troubles .. Hey, hold a couple of parties for the players and serve some tandoori chicken and KingFisher -- and get a cheap band to play :) .. If it is indeed true, as the newspaper says, that the clay courts are terrible -- you can't much about that .. Try something else to win back a bit of goodwill from the players there, I say! .. I am not trying to laugh off the problems .. Just suggesting something to make things a bit better -- everyone should remember that this is the end of a long year of grind for these players, and they deserve some sympathy ..

OK, on to tennis itself ... Three Indians (Sunil Kumar, Vijay Kannan, Vishal Uppal -- all three Indian seeds) reached the QF yesterday and one, the second seed Sunil Kumar Sipaeya, reached the semifinal today ..
Mustafa and Vishal reached the doubles final today as well .. All in all, not a terrible show by the Indian contingent, in a decent field of players .. Hopefully Sunil can continue the good run and make it a great week with an Indian title .. SKS had a good win (61 62) over Vishal Uppal today, but he runs in to the third seed Simon Gruel (GER) who is actually ranked near 150 a couple of years back, if I am not mistaken .. See the Gurgaon week-1 page for all the scores.

Nov 10 Notes

.. Had a computer hassle; hence the late update .. Will restart detailed updates later today .. Quick ones -- Divij Sharan had a big upset of the top seed at Gurgaon yesterday!  .. Good start by most Indians .. Mexico would not give HM a visa and so he missed this week's futures -- would hopefully make it in for Puebla Ch next week .. Prakash is at the USA futures .. Later.

Nov 8 Notes

The Houston Masters Cup does not start till the coming weekend; so Mahesh and Max get a few days off.

Not much going on, except for the satellites in India .. Only doubles today in the main draw at the Gurgaon leg-1 .. The qualies are completed and Kamala Kannan is the only Indian who made it in trough qualies .. He was the top seed in the qualies .. Vivek Shokeen is the first lucky loser, I believe .. See the satellite leg-1 page for all the scores and draws ..

At the qualies for the $50K challenger in Pittsburgh,#316 Neha Ubeori (USA) won one round beatolle (USA,389)ing Ahsha Rolle, 57 62 61 yesterday, but  she fell in the Q2 to  the 7th seed Jewell Peterson (USA,252), 46 46 ..  #172 ranked Shikha Uberoi (USA) will play Sofia Arvidsson (SWE,167) in the main draw .. Sunitha Rao  (USA) is at the Port Pirie challenger in Australia .. That's about it for news today.

.. Previous notes are at Notes for the weeks ending on Nov 8 ..

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