As for my Sri Lankan quartet, here's their progression:
** Anil Mehul -- 73rd to 62nd singles, 206th to 192nd doubles. He continues to move up steadily. Already Mehul is the only Top 200 doubles player the nation has ever had, and the singles mark, set over 30 years ago at world no. 58 by Prakash Manohari, looks like it will go soon.
** Amrik Chittoor -- 93rd to 92nd singles, 1113th to 850th doubles. Chittoor is pretty much stuck where he is, and I don't expect huge strides upwards anytime soon. For a player of his subpar athleticism to reach the Top 100 is really pretty good.
** Anil Manohar -- 436th to 490th singles, 659th to 712th doubles. It's hit and miss whether Manohar makes it to the business end of even mid-level futures tournaments now. He's in full trainer preparation mode now.
** Girish Girsh -- Unranked at the start of the year as he'd just finished a 7th-place finish among juniors, Girsh is 1571st in singles, 3335th in doubles.
2038 WTC Group Play, Round 3, Level 3
Sri Lanka vs. Ukraine
It was an anticlimactic tie as Sri Lanka was already going to make the quarterfinals, but was important for getting a relatively favorable draw and of course continuing to move up the rankings.
Monday: A. Chittoor d. Y. Tupikov, 6-3, 6-3, 6-1
Tuesday: A. Mehul d. I. Piaskovsky, 6-1, 6-0, 6-0
Wednesday: Mehul/Nilima d. Preobrazhensky/Chichelnitsky, 6-1, 6-2, 6-0
Thursday: A. Mehul d. Y. Tupikov, 6-1, 6-0, 6-1
Friday: A. Chittoor d. I. Piaskovsky, 6-1, 6-1, 6-1
Yawn. I expected us to win, but I didn't expect this kind of crushing. Nowhere did we come close to losing a set, four bagels and eight breadsticks served up!
Sri Lanka advances to the knockout stage every bit as convincingly as we did last year in Level 4. I thought it would be a bit more difficult this year. Our opponent in the vital quarterfinals has been drawn as Canada. I don't expect them to be able to offer major resistance. There are two other nations that could be tough: Austria, who we could face in the semis, and Poland who is on the other side of the bracket and we wouldn't see until the finals. Assuming we get by Canada, we'll have the chance to be in the playoffs for another promotion at the end of the year.
After the strong undefeated run through group play Sri Lanka has risen to a new high of 55th in the rankings. Upward and onwards! The WTC takes a break now, as the quarterfinals don't come up until after the USO in the fall. It will be a relatively quiet period for the next several weeks. Girsh will be looking to get a couple more amateur wins, while Chittoor and Mehul will be playing only as much as needed to stay sharp. Challengers in Chittoor's case, it's possible Mehul may enter a 250 but clay is not our forte and with the masters events limited to a field of 56 it'd be a reach to have either of them enter those. The next big event is of course Roland Garros coming up in a little under two months time. The daily grind of training will cover most of this period for my contingent of players.