Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Rohan Bopanna ranked career-best 51 in doubles

He may be missing from the tennis courts in April but that didn't stop Rohan Bopanna from reaching his career best ranking of 51 in doubles this week - a bit closer to Vijay Amritraj's milestone of 39. Bopanna was ranked 52 (his previous best) last week.

The 28-year-old hasn't played on the Tour since helping India beat Japan 3-2 in the Davis Cup on April 11.

Bopanna's last doubles outing was as a wildcard entry at the Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships in the first week of March, where he partnered Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi of Pakistan to reach the quarterfinals.

He is ranked 306 in singles, 58 spots behind Indian men's number one Prakash Amritraj.

This week Bopanna comes out of hibernation to partner Mahesh Bhupathi, who won his 501st doubles match at last week's Monte Carlo event, at the BMW Open in Munich.

1 Bhupathi, Mahesh (26 Apr '99)
1 Paes, Leander (21 Jun '99)
39 Amritraj, Vijay (21 Oct '85)
51 Bopanna, Rohan (28 Apr '08)
80 Amritraj, Anand (2 Jan '84)

Saturday, April 19, 2008

INTERVIEW - Karan Rastogi

Somdev Dev Varman and Yuki Bhambri may be gathering all the accolades but this week Karan Rastogi showed he's still in the reckoning as far as Indian tennis is concerned.

The Mumbai lad beat three Chinese players in straight sets to reach the semifinals of the $15,000 TCL Futures in Taizhou, China -- his best performance since winning the Morocco F5 Futures claycourt tournament in July last year.

The 480-ranked Rastogi fell to Zhe Li, yet another Chinese player, in the last four of the hardcourt tournament --- but not before showing glimpses of the form that have made him one of India's best prospects in the sport.

The 21-year-old also teamed up with Ashutosh Singh to win the doubles event in Taizhou, his first doubles title since triumphing with the same partner in the 2005 Chandigarh Futures.

Rastogi's semifinal run in China is expected to get him closer to the Top 400 in singles and a few consistent performances may see him cross his career-best ranking of 327, which he achieved as a 19-year-old in June 2006.

In this exclusive interview, Rastogi told The Indian Tennis Blog it's good to finally get some wins under his belt.

This is your first foray in the semis of a tennis tournament since winning in Morocco. Was reaching this far a confidence-booster for you?
It's always nice to win some matches. In the past I have been playing good matches but been a little unlucky not to win some - losing in third set tiebreakers and close matches. So it's good to get some wins under your belt.

China hadn't been too nice to you this year (losing opening round matches at both Futures in January) so did you enter this tournament hoping to live up to your seeding and get this far?
I really didn't think about winning or getting to the semis, finals... when I came here. I had my own goals in mind and I just wanted to enjoy my tennis and be happy at the end of the day with my effort.

You played four Chinese players at Taizhou - did the home crowd support put you under pressure? Was Zhe Li one Chinese player too many?
I've been playing a lot of matches where there has been home support against me so that really didn't have any effect on me. Saying that, Chinese players are tougher to beat in their own backyard.

What is your tennis schedule for April-end and May?
There is another $15,000 event next week in Taizhou, after that I play two more $15,000 events in Korea and then the two challengers in Delhi.
Is Karan Rastogi's tennis career back on track?
Can't say
pollcode.com free polls

Grand Slam dreams for Yuki Bhambri

Teenage prodigy Yuki Bhambri, considered by many to be India's next tennis great, is eyeing a junior Grand Slam title this year.

The 15-year-old's dream run in the 2008 Australian Open Boys' Singles in January ended in the semifinals, where he lost in three sets to eventual champion Bernard Tomic of Australia.

But his exploits at Melbourne Park gave Bhambri the impetus he needed, with another semifinal showing at the Asian Junior championship last week helping him rise to number 5 in the ITF Junior rankings.

"Reaching the semifinal at the Australian Open does give me a lot of confidence going into the next three Grand Slams this season," Bhambri told the Indian Tennis Blog.

Last week, American Ryan Harrison became the third player since 1990 to win a ATP main draw match before the age of 16 and Bhambri said he would have liked to join that group. But time is running out.

"I'm not sure if I will be able to participate in an ATP tournament before my birthday in July this year as my schedule is extremely busy," he said.

Currently at a career-best ranking of 1205 in the men's singles, the Delhi lad's quarterfinal run at the Chandigarh Futures event this month surprised many. Bhambri said he hoped to dominate the Indian circuit next year although juniors would continue to be a priority till the end of 2008.

But first he has to conquer a tough opponent -- his class X Board exams.

Once his exams get over this week, Bhambri is set for some junior Davis Cup action and the Delhi Challenger before heading to Europe for claycourt events in the run-up to the French Open.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Mahesh Bhupathi gears up for French Open

A straight-set loss to the Bryan siblings must rankle - especially when it comes in the final of a Masters tournament. But Mahesh Bhupathi and Mark Knowles need not despair. There are plenty of opportunities ahead as the ATP Tour moves inexorably towards the second Grand Slam of the Year.

The Indian doubles specialist has a lot going for him. This is Bhupathi's best season-opening performance since 2004 when he and Fabrice Santoro of France annexed titles at Auckland and Dubai in the run-up to the French Open.

This time around, Bhupathi and Knowles laid claim to back-to-back titles at Memphis and Dubai without dropping a set, racing to number two in the ATP Doubles Race.

They won 14 of their last 15 matches - until they ran into the Bryan brothers. And it took just 53 minutes for the Americans to carve out an emphatic 6-2, 6-2 victory in the final of the Sony Ericsson Open.

So is winning the doubles crown at Roland Garros still on his wishlist for 2008?
"Of course it is," the 33-year-old Bhupathi told the Indian Tennis Blog.

It's not an impossible task. Bhupathi won on Parisian clay in 1999 and 2001 (both times with Leander Paes). And he may win again. It's just a question of peaking at the right time.
For everything ever written on The Indian Tennis Blog, click here
For posts on Sania Mirza, click here
For posts on Leander Paes, click here
For posts on Somdev Devvarman, click here
For posts on Tara Iyer, click here
For posts on Mahesh Bhupathi, click here
For posts on Rohan Bopanna, click here
For posts on Prakash Amritraj, click here
For posts on Sunitha Rao, click here

With Somdev Devvarman (January 13, 2009 and October 4, 2007)

Check upper-right corner of this blog

Popular Posts