Davis Cup: Bopanna and Ramkumar crack in must-win doubles match, India lose tie to Finland
Espoo (Finland), Sep 18 (Tennis news) Rohan Bopanna and Ramkumar Ramanathan blew away their chances in the must-win doubles match as India lost the World Group I tie to Finland after conceding an unassailable 0-3 lead, here on Saturday.
Captain Rohit Rajpal changed the doubles combination at the last minute by pairing Bopanna with Ramkumar instead of left-handed Divij Sharan but nothing helped as they lost the crucial match 6-7(2) 6-7(2) to Henri Kontinen and Harri Heliovaara in one hour and 38 minutes.
Both Prajnesh Gunneswaran and Ramkumar had lost their singles matches on Friday and to stay alive in the tie, the Indians needed to win the doubles.
The reverse singles have now been rendered inconsequential.
Heliovaara was considered the most vulnerable of all four players on the court but he raised his game by several notches and created a huge impact on the outcome of the match with his fearless approach.
The Indian, on the contrary, fumbled even when they had advantage as they squandered as many as four breakpoints in the eight game of the second set when winning that game could have given them the chance to put the hosts under the pump.
After doing all the hard work, the Indians cracked at crucial junctures.
At 3-3, the Indian pair attacked the serve of Heliovaara, going 30-all but the home player served big on the next two points to ensure the set stays on serve.
Eventually the opening set went to tie-breaker. Heliovaara found a stunning service return winner off Bopanna on the second point to get the mini break and also held his serve as Finland took a 4-1 lead.
Then came Ramkumar's double fault and a volley error at the net that gave Finland players five set points. They converted the second when Ramkumar could not return Kontinen's serve.
A forehand winner by Ramkumar at 30-all in the second game of the second set, set up the first break chance for India and they converted when Kontinen could not return Bopanna's backhand.
However, the big-serving Bopanna dropped his own serve in the next game when he made consecutive unforced errors.
In the next game, the Indians went up 40-0 on Heliovaara's serve but blew away all three breakpoints and later one more to let the rivals hold for a 4-4 scoreline.
Another tie-breaker followed. Helovaara pulled of a sensational forehand winner at 5-2 to get to first match point and it was all over for India when Ramkumar could not return the ball in the next point.
Also read: Davis Cup: Prajnesh, Ramkumar lose on Day 1, India trail 0-2 against Finland
News source: PTI
Davis Cup: Prajnesh, Ramkumar lose on Day 1, India trail 0-2 against Finland
Espoo (Finland), Sep 17 (Tennis news) Prajnesh Gunneswaran yet again lost to a lower-ranked player in the Davis Cup while Ramkumar Ramanathan went down fighting in the second singles as India trailed 0-2 in the World Group I tie against Finland, here on Friday.
Up against Otto Virtanen, ranked as low as 419 in the ATP ranking chart, the 165th ranked Prajnesh lost 3-6 6-7(1) in just one hour 25 minutes.
Ramkumar, ranked 187, presented a good fight but lost 4-6 5-7 to Finland's number one player, Emil Ruusuvuori, who is ranked 74th.
While Ramkumar tried a few tricks in his bag to overcome his rival, Prajnesh's defeat was extremely disappointing since he had a less experienced player, who had won just one Davis Cup match before this tie, to contend with.
After dropping his serve in the sixth game, Ramkumar got the break back immediately, playing smartly. He often charged the net to surprise his opponent, getting some good points.
However, he went down 0-40 in the 10th game while serving to stay in the set and lost it when he hit a backhand wide.
Ruusuvuori countered Ramkumar's strategy of chip and charge easily in the second set, hitting a few passing winners. The home player even got a breakpoint in the fourth game but Ramkumar saved that to stay on serve.
The Finnish player raised his game post 5-5 scoreline as he started to add more power to his game and strokes.
He hit a splendid cross court winner at 40-40 to earn his first match point but Ramkumar kept his cool and saved that by dispatching a winner in open court from close the net.
However, the Indian served a double fault soon to hand Ruusuvuori his second and the Finland player converted that with a backhand passing winner.
Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan now must the doubles match to keep India alive.
Earlier, Prajnesh saved two breaks early but dropped serve in the sixth game to fall behind in the opening set. The left-hander got a chance to break back when Virtanen double-faulted at deuce point in the next game but Prajnesh could not capitalise on the chance.
Virtanen served out the set without any fuss in the ninth game. With home support, Virtanen kept the Indian under the pump. Prajnesh was again in danger of dropping serve early in the second set but he managed to hold the third game after a couple of deuce points.
Prajnesh kept fighting till 4-all but was down 0-40 after serving a double fault in the ninth game. However, he saved five breakpoints and eventually held the game with a well-calculated drop shot.
The Indian served the 11th game set love and now needed to break his rival, who was playing effortlessly.
He got that little chance when Virtanen hit forehand on net at deuce point but the Finnish pulled off an ace at the break point. Eventually it went to a tie-breaker, in which Prajnesh fell behind 0-3 and then 1-5.
An angled serve that Prajnesh could not return gave the home player a match point, which he converted with an easy winner.
Also read: Davis Cup: Indian players need to give their all against Finland
News source: PTI
Davis Cup: Indian players need to give their all against Finland
Espoo (Finland), Sep 16 (Tennis news) India's singles players will need to back their talent with some killer instinct for the team to emerge victorious against a reasonably strong Finland in the Davis Cup World Group I tie, starting here on Friday.
Prajnesh Guneswaran and Ramkumar Ramanathan have the experience of playing the big matches.
They have rubbed shoulders with better players but it's time for them to move forward from playing mere close matches. They need to deliver that knockout punch that will take India to the next year's Qualifiers.
If Ramkumar can play the same way he competed against 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic in the previous tie against Croatia and does not miss the chances he gets, India will have a very good chance in the tie.
As the second-best ranked player from India, Ramkumar will be up against Finland's number one player Emil Ruusuvuori, who is placed 74 in the world, on the opening day of the tie.
If Ramkumar takes the court first and puts India on board, that will be a huge result for the visitors and take the pressure off Prajnesh (ranked 165) who will most likely compete against Otto Virtanen (ranked 419).
Prajnesh too gets close to wins with his talent but has the tendency of giving up advantageous positions, like the one against Borna Coric in the last tie against Croatia.
Maybe it's pressure of playing for the flag but the left-hander from Chennai insists it is not the case.
"Matches against good players are always close if I'm playing well. I have won matches against good players being in the lead and I have also lost matches being in the lead. That's just the way they go," Prajnesh told PTI.
"Matches which are closely fought can go either way. There is no pressure of playing for India that influences me...Sometimes there's more pressure, other times that's less.
"Again, just depends on how well I cope on that particular day," he added.
India considered the doubles point in their pocket till the time Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi competed together but now things have changed.
Rohan Bopanna (44) has immense experience of the big stage and he needs to use all of that to shepherd the team with Divij Sharan (86) since their opponents -- Henri Kontinen (ranked 46) and Harri Heliovaara (ranked 76) -- will be a tough nut to crack.
Bopanna and Sharan have played only one tie together, winning against Italy in March 2019.
Most of 40-year-old Bopanna's doubles wins have come either with either Paes or Saketh Myneni.
It remains to be seen if captain Rohit Rajpal fields Bopanna with Sharan or Myneni, who is the fifth member of the squad.
Kontinen has played three of the four Grand Slams this year with Edouard Roger-Vasselin but paired with Heliovaara at the US Open, probably to get ready for this tie.
They had a decent first round before losing in a close three-set match.
Non-playing captain Rohit Rajpal feels that the conditions are not entirely in the favour of the hosts since the low bounce of the courts will benefit the Indian players, who can play the chip-and-charge game to counter their rivals.
Also Read : Low bounce, not-so-fast court surprises Indian Davis Cup team in Finland
News Source : PTI
Bopanna-Dodig pair goes down fighting in US Open
New York, Sep 7 (Tennis news) Veteran Indian tennis player Rohan Bopanna and his Croatian partner Ivan Dodig fought their hearts out before losing their men's doubles third round to fourth seeds Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury at the US Open here.
Bopanna and Dodig, seeded 13th, lost 7-6(4) 4-6 6-7(3) to the Australian Open runners-up in a gruelling contest that lasted two hours and 30 minutes on Monday night.
With this defeat, India's challenge has ended at the last Grand Slam of the season.
Also read: Emma Raducanu breezes past Shelby Rogers at the US Open, Matteo Berrettini seeks Wimbeldon revenge against Novak Djokovic
Sania Mirza lost her both women's doubles and mixed doubles first rounds and Ankita Raina also lost in the women's doubles.
Prajnesh Gunneswaran, Sumit Nagal and Ramkumar Ramanathan could not not qualify for the singles main draw, falling in the Qualifiers.
News source: PTI
Emma Raducanu breezes past Shelby Rogers at the US Open, Matteo Berrettini seeks Wimbeldon revenge against Novak Djokovic
(Tennis news): In Men’s Singles, Novak Djokovic was challenged initially in the start of the match by Jenson Brooksby. Jenson seemed not to be bothered by the World’s best player as he took the first set. The crowd went wild only to watch in despair as Djokovic took the next three as Andy Roddick, a former world number 1 and the champion here in 2003 tweeted perfectly about the match that First he takes your legs, then he takes your soul. Djokovic defeated Jenson 1-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2.
Matteo Berrettini looked strong and fast as he took on World no 144 Oscar Otte in the fourth round of the US Open. Oscar had reached the fourth round of a Grand Slam for the first time and suffered blows from Berrettini, Oscar took the second set to add some mystery in the clash but it was soon put off as Berrettini close with an ace as he faces Djokovic for third time in a Grand Slam this year after the French Open quarterfinal and the Wimbledon final. Berrettini defeated Oscar 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2.
Lloyd Harris reached his first Grand Slam Quarterfinal as he out performed Reilly Opelka in every aspect of the game. Harris even lobbed the ball over the 6 foot 11 inch American in the very first game of the match, even though Opelka took the first set Harris simply played better throughout the match. Harris even served more aces than Opelka in every set and in the final two sets Harris was seen toying with perfection as he did not commit a single unforced error and progressed to the quarterfinals. Harris defeated Opelka 6-7(6-8), 6-4, 6-1, 6-3.
In Women’s Singles, Emma Raducanu took just an hour to knock out Shelby Rogers who had beaten Asheligh Barty in the previous game. The scoreboard was supposed to be the same but not in favour of Emma as she took the first set with a blazing forehand return winner. Emma just continued her A game in the second set as she was up 5-0 and Rogers somehow got one game off her. Emma defeated Rogers 6-2, 6-1.
Maria Sakkari reached the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam for the second time after reaching the semifinals of the French Open a few months earlier. Maria had to play a marathon match against 2019 champion Bianca Andreescu in the fourth round. Biana had the chance to settle the match in the second set tiebreak as she needed two points for a win but Maria took the set and took the last three games in the final set to finally finish out in the match in three and half hours. Maria defeated Bianca 6-7(2-7), 7-6(8-6), 6-3.
Barbora Krejčíková won her first Grand Slam in Singles this year at the French Open, She was facing Garbiñe Muguruza for the third time this year and Barbora had won their last meeting in the fourth round of the Cincinnati Open. In the first twelve points of the match, Muguruza could only win two points as Barbora raced off to a 3-0 lead. Muguruza came back with 3 continuous games but Barbora took the next three to take the first set and in the next set Barbora again took the first 4 games. This time there was a much stronger Muguruza as she took the next five games and even had two set points while Barbora was serving at 4-5. Barbora took it to a tie break as it was a close contest in the second set. Barbora defeated Muguruza 6-3, 7-6(7-4).
In Men’s Doubles, Joe Salisbury and Rajeev Ram defeated Rohan Bopanna and Ivan Dodig in the fourth round as the Indian contention at the US Open came to an end. Joe and Rajeev defeated Rohan and Ivan 6-7(3-7), 6-4, 7-6(7-3). Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos did not face much trouble as they defeated Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi and Jonny O'Mara 7-5, 7-5 to go into the quarterfinals.
In Women’s Doubles, Hsieh Su-wei and Elise Mertens continued their smooth run with a hat trick of straight set victories. Hsieh Su-wei and Mertens defeated Greet Minnen and Alison Van Uytvanck 6-0, 6-2 in the fourth round. Luisa Stefani and Gabriela Dabrowski had it rough in the start but eventually defeated Dayana Yastremska and Marta Kostyuk 6-7(5-7), 6-4, 6-2.
In Mixed Doubles, Marcelo Demoliner and Ellen Perez faced tough competition as they defeated Joran Vliegen and Andreja Klepač 6-7(4-7), 6-4, 10-5 to advance into the quarterfinals. Max Purcell and Dayana Yastremska only lost five games as they defeated Fabrice Martin and Yaroslava Shvedova 6-2, 6-3 to enter the semifinals.
Also read: Novak Djokovic four victories away from making history at the US Open, Leylah Fernandez knocks out Angelique Kerber in fourth round clash
Novak Djokovic four victories away from making history at the US Open, Leylah Fernandez knocks out Angelique Kerber in fourth round clash
(Tennis news): In Men’s Singles, Novak Djokovic shook off a slow start to secure victory over former US Open finalist Kei Nishikori. Nishikori took control in the first set as Djokovic made few unforced errors in crucial stages, but after losing the first set Djokovic made sure the audience will have to wait to see him lose as he progressed into the fourth round. Djokovic defeated Nishikori 7-6(7-4), 6-3, 6-2.
Carlos Alcaraz Garfia continued to scale new heights as he beat Peter Gojowczyk in another five set contest to progress into the quarterfinals. Alcaraz is the youngest Grand Slam quarter finalist since 1990 and will look to create more milestones ahead. Both the players had a good start as they started with a set apiece, Gojowczyk then took the third set for a two set lead as Alcaraz looked in danger. Alcaraz responded sharply as he gave no chances to Gojowczyk in the next two sets to steer the match in his favour. Alcaraz defeated Gojowczyk 5-7, 6-1, 5-7, 6-2, 6-0.
Botic van de Zandschulp from the Netherlands is another player who is seen making great progress in this year’s US Open. He has battled through the qualifiers and has so far 5 career victories all of which have come this year. Zandschulp had taken out eighth seed Casper Ruud in the second round and in his biggest career win defeated Diego Schwartzman in the fourth round. In his four hour battle against Diego, Zandschulp was on fire from the start and took the first two sets. Diego, under pressure fought hard and took the next two and was the favourite to win the final set. Zandschulp crushed the hopes of the world number 14 to progress into the quarterfinals. Zandschulp defeated Diego 6-3, 6-4, 5-7, 5-7, 6-1.
In Women’s Singles, Leylah Annie Fernandez took on another US Open champion and the result was the same as the previous round. Angelique Kerber could only delay her fate as Leylah proved to be too good for her. In the first set Kerber played her usual self and took the first set but in the next set the teenager shot back by winning the second through a tie breaker. In the final set Leylah gave away no chances to Kerber as she cruised into the quarter finals. Leylah defeated Kerber 4-6, 7-6(7-5). 6-2.
Shelby Rogers secured a huge win as she overcame World number 1 Ashleigh Barty in a final set thriller. The first set saw Rogers taking the lead with a defensive play and tried to land the shots in the court, in the second set Barty played even more aggressively as she used her serve and netplay to force the match into a decider. In the final set Barty looked promising with a 5-2 lead until Rogers turned into a gladiator and fought back with mighty force as it came to a tiebreaker. In the tiebreak both the players were on level with five points each until Rogers took two points as the crowd could not believe what they had just witnessed. Rogers defeated Barty 6-2, 1-6, 7-6(7-5).
In Men’s Doubles, Rohan Bopanna and Ivan Dodig had mid match hiccups as they outplayed Arthur Rinderknech and Hugo Nys in a three set second round clash. Bopanna and Dodig defeated Rinderknech and Hugo 6-3, 4-6, 6-4. Jack Sock and Neal Skupski started their campaign with a thumping win over Filip Krajinović and Laslo Đere in the first round, Sock and Skupski defeated Krajinović and Laslo 6-2, 6-3.
In Women’s Doubles, Luisa Stefani and Gabriela Dabrowski had a tight second round clash against Shelby Rogers and Petra Martić as it took two and half hours to secure a victory. Stefani and Dabrowski defeated Rogers and Petra 6-4, 6-7(7-5), 7-6(7-3). Top seeds Elise Mertens and Hsieh Su-wei had an relatively easy second round as they defeated Ulrikke Eikeri and Elixane Lechemia 6-4, 6-2.
In Mixed Doubles, Giuliana Olmos and Marcelo Arévalo caused an uproar as they took out top seeds Nicole Melichar-Martinez and Ivan Dodig in the fourth round. Olmos and Marcelo defeated Nicole and Dodig 7-5, 3-6, 10-5. Jessica Pegula and Austin Krajicek had to struggle in the beginning as they defeated the Japanese pair of Ena Shibahara and Ben McLachlan 7-6(7-1), 6-3.
Also read: Carlos Alcaraz and Leylah Fernandez lead with huge victories at the US Open
Carlos Alcaraz and Leylah Fernandez lead with huge victories at the US Open
(Tennis news): In Men’s Singles, 18 year old Carlos Alcaraz Garfia reported a major casualty when he beat World number 3 Stefanos Tsitsipas in the third round of the US Open. Alcaraz covered over 9 kms during the four hour battle, he even came back from 2-5 in the third set as Tsitsipas simply couldn’t get the ball past him. In the fourth set, Tsitsipas came back roaring with 6 consecutive games to take the match into the decider. Alcaraz played like a true warrior against the Greek god to go into the fourth round. Alcaraz defeated Tsitsipas 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(7-2), 0-6, 7-6(7-5).
World no seven Andrey Rublev was also knocked out by Frances Tiafoe in another five setter as two top ten players have already crashed out of the US Open. Rublev started well taking the first set but Tiafoe immediately answered as he took the next one. In the third set Rublev had a set point in the tie break but Tifaoe managed to sabotage it and went on to win the set. Things were never smooth for Rublev as he could never carry the momentum in the match as Tiafoe constantly troubled his rhythm to take the match. Tifaoe defeated Rublev 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(8-6), 4-6, 6-1.
The third five setter match saw Felix Auger Aliassime continue his good run at the Grand Slams as he recorded a victory against Roberto Bautista Agut in the third round. Felix had earlier reached the quarterfinals in Wimbledon for the first time, he was on course for a straight set victory by taking the first two sets comfortably until Roberto fought back taking the next two. The match was suddenly even and both of them had equal chances. Felix showed tremendous stamina to come out firing in the final set for a well deserved win. Felix defeated Roberto 6-3, 6-4, 4-6, 3-6, 6-3.
In Women’s Singles, 18 year old Leylah Annie Fernandez caused the biggest upset of this year’s US Open so far as she ended the campaign of defending champion Naomi Osaka in the third round. Osaka took the first set and was almost close to taking the next one too until Leylah found hope at the right time. Osaka was serving for the match 6-5 in the second set when Lelyah had other ideas and won the set in the tiebreaker. The final set saw Leylah winning 18 of her 19 first serves and had enough energy left in the tank to blast winners as she grew with confidence in the last few games. Leylah defeated Osaka 5-7, 7-6(7-2), 6-4.
Garbine Muguruza, a two time Grand Slam champion was up against another two time Grand Slam champion Victoria Azarenka. Muguruza started off on a bright note as she took the first set and the duel was bound to go to the third set when Azarenka took the second set with equal ease. In the third set Azarenka lost control of her serve and groundstrokes as Muguruza won the match. Muguruza defeated Azarenka 6-4, 3-6, 6-2.
Two former US Open champions collided in another exciting contest, Angelique Kerber won here 5 years ago and Sloane Stephens had won 4 years ago. Stephens took the first as she looked more comfortable on court than Kerber, but the next two sets saw Kerber walk all over her opponent. Kerber was striking the ball so well and finished the last two sets in jiffy. Kerber defeated Stephens 5-7, 6-2, 6-3.
In Men’s Doubles, Rohan Bopanna and Ivan Dodig took the last two sets to win their opening match against the pair of James Duckworth and Jordan Thompson. Bopanna and Ivan Dodig defeated Duckworth and Thompson 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(7-1). Third seeds Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert needed three sets which involved two tie breakers to see off Marcelo Demoliner and Marcus Daniell. Mahut and Herbert defeated Demoliner and Daniell 6-3, 7-6(7-3), 7-6(7-1).
In Women’s Doubles, Desirae Krawczyk and Alexa Guarachi had an easy outing against Rebecca Peterson and Danka Kovinić, Krawczyk and Guarachi just gave four games as they are into the third round. Krawczyk and Guarachi defeated Peterson and Kovinić 6-3, 6-1. Samantha Stosur and Zhang Shuai continued their good run as they defeated Miyu Kato and Sabrina Santamaria 6-2, 6-4.
In Mixed Doubles, Rajeev Ram and Sania Mirza lost their opening match to Dayana Yastremska and Max Purcell as they couldn’t turn things around in the final set tiebreaker. Dayana and Max defeated Rajeev and Sania 6-3, 3-6, 10-7. Joe Salisbury and Desirae Krawczyk had a tough opening match as they defeated Mitchell Krueger and Jamie Loeb 5-7, 6-3, 10-8.
Also read: Jack Sock and Kei Nishikori turn back the clock at the US Open, Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić exit in the first round in doubles
Dimtrov and Berrettini notch up victories as Giorgi gets knocked out in Cincinnati
Cincinnati (Tennis news): In Men’s Singles, John Isner had a rough start in his opening match against Cameron Norrie in Cincinnati Masters 1000. Norrie raced off to take the first set as Isner was looking at an early exit, in the second set both were players going head to head and a tiebreak was needed to separate the two. Isner took the tiebreak 7-5 as he avoided defeat and in the final set the American made no mistake as he won the match 4-6, 7-6(7-5), 6-4. Isner served his way into the record books as he became the second player to cross the 13,000 aces mark in the match. Ivo Karlovic leads the chart with 13,709 aces followed by Isner and Roger Federer. Isner will next face Jannik Sinner in the next round while another huge server Reily Opelka also needed three sets to advance against Corentin Moutet.
Opelka started strong as he took the first set 7-6(7-3), Corentin fought back to take the second set 6-4. The final set saw Opelka securing victory as he took it 6-4 and will next take on Casper Ruud. Wimbledon runner up Matteo Berrettini made a return to the tour by defeating Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-7(5-7), 6-3, 7-5 in his first match since his incredible run on grass. Grigor Dimtrov defeated Roberto Bautista Agut in straight sets to set up an exciting contest against Alexander Bublik, this will be their third meeting and they last met in Wimbledon this year where Bublik prevailed. Benoit Paire secured his third win against Denis Shapovalov, he overcame Denis 6-3, 4-6, 7-5 as he looks in form this time around. The young Canadian had an early exit in the Toronto Open as well in the same round of 32 and will look to be his old self as he comes back for the US Open.
Also read: Paire and Shapovalov battle in round three as Murray advances in Cincinnati
In Women’s Singles, Jessica Pegula was in incredible form when she demolished Camila Giorgi when she secured victory as Camila could only win four games in total. Jessica will next face former world number Simona Halep, Halep had earlier defeated Magda Linette and had issues in the second set. Halep won the first set 6-4 and Magda came back with equal power by taking the second set 6-3 but the decisive set saw the two time grand slam winner conceding just a single to take it 6-1. Belinda Bencic also announced her return with a victory after winning the Gold in Singles at the Tokyo Olympics. She won her match against Markéta Vondroušová 6-3,7-5 to set up a round of 32 match against Shelby Rogers. Markéta Vondroušová had upset Naomi Osaka in the third of the Tokyo Olympics, Osaka who finished as runner up last year to Azarenka will start her campaign against teenager Coco Gauff who breezed past Hsieh Su-wei. Victoria Azarenka beat Ludmilla Samsonova 6-2,6-3 in her opening match, Azarenka had won here last year and back in 2013.
In Men’s Doubles, Rohan Bopanna and Ivan Dodig exited in their opening match as they lost 1-6, 6-4, 10-7 to Filip Krajinović and Fabrice Martin. It was a tough defeat as they took the first set and things looked set for a victory. They lost the second set and could not stage a dramatic run down the finish line in the final set. John Peers and Filip Polasek shook off a first set setback and took the next two sets against Luke Saville and Matwe Middelkoop to confirm a showdown with Alex de Minaur and Cameron Norrie.
In Women’s Doubles, Japanese pair of Ena Shibahara and Shuko Aoyama toppled Jeļena Ostapenko and Jil Teichman without much trouble with a 6-3, 6-3 victory. Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Iga Świątek won a marathon match against Petra Martić and Shelby Rogers when finally the scorecard read 2-6, 7-5, 10-5 and they will next face the pair of Darija Jurak and Andreja Klepač in the round of 16.
Paire and Shapovalov battle in round three as Murray advances in Cincinnati
Cincinnati (Tennis news): In Men’s Singles, Denis Shapovalov will face Benoit Paire for a fourth time as the pair last met two years ago, this is the second time they are meeting in a Masters 1000 after their Madrid clash three years ago and Paire leads their head to head with two victories as the Canadian has one which was the first time they met in Madrid. Andy Murray started his Cincinnati Open in style as he defeated Richard Gasquet in straight sets to enter the third round. Alex de Minaur had to come back strong as he was bageled by Filip Krajinović in the first set but the young Aussie did not back down and took the next two sets to set up a third round encounter with Jannik Sinner. Jannik had earlier beaten Federico Delbonis in straight sets to proceed to the third round. Karen Khachanov beat Kevin Anderson 6-2, 6-4 and will lock horns with Felix Auger Aliassime. Felix had to struggle a bit against Márton Fucsovics in the first set as it went till tiebreak, Fucsovics even had a set point at 5-4 only to be broken and in the tiebreak Felix took seven consecutive points to take the first set and in the second set he had it easy.
Also read: Cincinnati Open looks promising as two weeks left for the final Slam of the year
In Women’s Singles, Paula Badosa saved 5 matchpoints against Petra Martic in the second round. Martic had three match points while she was serving 5-4 and even Paula had two match points when she was leading 6-5 but both of them couldn’t finish it. It eventually led to the tiebreak with each one having more than one match points and finally after 2 hours and 34 minutes, Paula sealed with 10-9 in the tiebreak. With her heroics she will next face Aryna Sabalenka in the third round. Toronto Open winner Camila Giorgi will face Jessica Pegula for the second consecutive time as the pair met in the semifinals of the Toronto Open, Angelique Kerber had it easy against Maria Sakkari as she came out on firing with 6-2, 6-2 victory and will face Tokyo Olympics Bronze medallist Elina Svitolina in the fourth round. Coco Gauff will start her campaign against Hsieh Su-wei, an opponent twice her age. Simona Halep will also begin today she is up against Magda Linette who reached the semifinals in doubles of the Toronto Open.
In Men’s Doubles, Rohan Bopanna and Ivan Dodig are set to face Filip Krajinović and Fabrice Martin in their opening match. The American pair of Frances Tiafoe and Nicholas Monroe defeated Andrey Golubev and Andreas Miles 7-6(7-5),7-5 in the third round. They will be facing Toronto champions Joe Salisbury and Rajeev Ram for place in the Quarterfinals.
In the Women’s Doubles, Gabriela Dabrowski and Luisa Stefani fresh off from their Toronto title will begin here by competing against Anna Danilina and Yarslova Shvedova in the third round.
Sania Mirza is back as this is her first event after the Olympics, she is paired up with Ons Jabeur and they will be up against Veronika Kudermetova and Elena Rybakina in their first match.
Isner and Opelka lead the American dream as Aryna sets up a Wimbledon rematch with Karolina in Toronto
Toronto (Tennis news): In Men’s Singles, Stefanos Tsitsipas dominated Casper Ruud as he beat him in straight sets to book a semifinal clash with Reilly Opelka. Opelka served his way through Roberto Bautista Agut as he swiftly took the first set but had to struggle in the second as it went till tie break but the American eventually came through. Daniil Medvedev was staring at a quarterfinal exit as he had to pull out every trick in the book against Hubert Hurkacz in a marathon three set battle. After winning the first set 6-2, Hubert was two points away from a semifinal spot in the second set tiebreak as both the players were leveled on 6 points each. The third set also saw both the players take it to the extreme as Medvedev scraped through and got himself a semifinal berth against John Isner. Isner defeated Gael Monfils 7-6(7-5), 6-4 as the first was nothing apart from magic when Monfils came back from a 1-5 deficit in the tie break but the American finished with an ace. Isner improved and took the second set with less trouble as he will face the young Russian for a place in the final.
Also read: Isner Upsets Rublev as Bautista saves three match points for a place in the quarterfinal in Toronto
In Women’s Singles, Ons Jabeur who had earlier defeated the defending champion Bianca Andreescu in the round of 16 lost to Jessica Pegula in a three set thriller quarterfinal. Jessica now has two victories against Jabeur in as many matches. Jabeur had a perfect start as she took the first 6-1, in the second set she was serving for the match at 5-4 but couldn’t finish it off as Jessica came back with a bang by taking the second set in a tiebreak 7-6(7-4). She kept improving as she bageled Jabeur to confirm her place in the semifinals. Top seed Aryna Sabalenka powered her way through to the semifinals when she defeated former world no 1 and two time Grand Slam winner Victoria Azarenka 6-2,6-4. The last time they played was last year in the Ostrava final where Sabalenka prevailed. Sabalenka had 33 winners to help her get past her opponent and will be needing those again when she faces Karolina Pliskova in the semifinals. Pliskova had earlier defeated Sorribes Tormo 6-4, 6-0 for a place in the semifinals, she was troubled by the Spaniard early on into the match as she was down 3-1 in the first set but that was the only setback she had in the whole match. She took 10 games in a row as she trounced her opponent in the second set by bageling her and stamping her place in the semifinals. Teenager Coco Gauff's run was halted by Camila Giorgi who is in terrific form this tournament as she had earlier taken out Elise Mertens and Petra Kvitova. The first set saw Camila leading early on as she took the first set 6-4, the second set saw both players go head to head as Gauff denied Camila twice when serving for the match at 5-4 and 6-5. In the tiebreak Gauff started early by securing a 2-1 lead but Camila took the next 6 points for a well fought victory.
In Men’s Doubles, Ivan Dodig and Rohan Bopanna were defeated in three sets in the quarterfinals by Joe Salisbury and Rajeev Ram. The winners will next face Sander Gillé and Joran Vliegen in the semifinals. In the second semifinal, Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić will be facing Kevin Krawietz and HoriaTecău.
In Women’s Doubles, Sabalenka and Mertens lost to Gabriela Dabrowski and Luisa Stefani in the quarterfinals. The victors will next face Elena Rybakina and Veronika Kudermetova for a place in the final. Bernarda Pera and Magda Linette will face off Andreja Klepač and Darija Jurak in the first semifinal.
Canadians crash out in Toronto as Medvedev looks to reach second final
Toronto (Tennis news): In Men’s Singles, Daniil Medvedev defeated Alexander Bublik in three sets to reach the round of 16 in the Toronto Masters 1000. Bublik started off strong as he took the first set but could not carry on the momentum as Medvedev began to find his form and took the next two sets. He will be facing James Duckworth who caused an upset when he defeated Jannik Sinner in the round of 32. The 2018 runner up Stefanos Tsitsipas will face Karen Khachanov in round of 16, Khachanov earlier recorded a straight set victory over Aslan Karatsev to set up a match against the Greek god. Canadians Denis Shapovalov and Felix Auger Aliassime fell in round 2 as they suffered losses against Frances Tiafoe and Dušan Lajović respectively. The tournament saw its second withdrawal as Hubert Hurkacz did not need to step on court to progress to the next round when he received a walkover from Kei Nishikori who pulled out of the tournament with a shoulder injury. Frenchmen Gael Monfils looked in good form when he defeated John Millman in three sets as he will play Frances Tiafoe in the round of 16.
Also read: Shanghai Masters 1000 cancelled this year as COVID-19 cases rise in China
In the Women’s Singles, Danielle Collins staged an emphatic victory over Simona Halep in three sets as she will face Jessica Pegula in the round of 16. Elina Svitolina was also knocked out in the round of 32 as she lost to Britain’s Johanna Konta.
In Men’s Doubles Ivan Dodig and Rohan Bopanna emerged victorious over Simone Bolelli and Máximo González in the round of 16. In the Women’s doubles Ellen Perez and Květa Peschke are into the Quarterfinals and will be facing Bernarda Pera and Magda Linette.
Serena, Venus Williams and Sofia Kenin have pulled out of the Cincinnati Open as injuries are piling up before the US Open. Serena Williams is out with a leg injury and Sofia Kenin is down with a foot injury. Serena has been suffering with injury this year as she had to withdraw in the beginning of the season in Yarra Valley Classic as well as recently in Wimbledon.
Injured Rafael Nadal pulls of Toronto Open, as Novak Djokovic withdraws from Cincinnati Masters
Toronto (Tennis news): Rafael Nadal has pulled out from the Toronto Open due to a foot injury, it will be a major crisis as the US Open is only two weeks away. His withdrawal ensured lucky loser Feliciano Lopez taking his place in the draw where he will be facing Lloyd Harris. Stefano Tsitsipas overcame Ugo Humbert in a three set marathon in which the second set tiebreak needed 18 points to decide the winner. Benoit Paire sailed smoothly as he won in straight sets against Mackenzie McDonald in round 64 and next will face Diego Schwartzman. In round of 32, Karen Khachanov will face his compatriot Aslan Karatsev which will prove to be a mouth watering clash. Reilly Opelka continued his fine form as he beat Grigor Dimitrov 6-3, 6-4 and had earlier beaten Nick Kyrgios in the first match.
In the Women’s Singles, Bianca Andreescu started her title defence by beating Harriet Dart as she had to struggle in between as Harriet stretched it till the deciding set. Garbiñe Muguruza is out of the tournament as Kateřina Siniaková came out as the winner in the final set even after being bageled in the second set.
In Men’s Doubles Ivan Dodig and Rohan Bopanna defeated the pair of Fabio Fognini and Lorenzo Sonego, they will face Simone Bolelli and Máximo González in the round of 16.
In the Women’s doubles Ellen Perez and Květa Peschke continued their winning run as they will face next Jeļena Ostapenko and Dayana Yastremska in the round of 16.
Also read: Reilly Opelka overcomes Nick Kyrgios in opening match, Garbiñe Muguruza to start her campaign today
With Nadal out in Toronto it has raised concerns as Novak Djokovic has withdrawn from the Cincinnati Masters which starts on 15th August. Djokovic’s last match was the Bronze medal playoff in the Tokyo Olympics and is resting after winning three Grand Slams this year. Roger Federer has also pulled out of the Cincinnati Masters as he is down with a knee injury. There is only one Tournament just before the US Open that is the Winston-Salem Open which ends 2 days before the US Open, Cincinnati is the last Masters 1000 before the US Open. The big three will look to come back in form and compete in the year end Grand Slam as the tennis season is slowly coming to an end.
Reilly Opelka overcomes Nick Kyrgios in opening match, Garbiñe Muguruza to start her campaign today
Toronto (Tennis news): The National Bank Open which started yesterday saw Nick Kyrgios poor form in the tournament as he failed to win his opening match for a third consecutive time here. He was beaten by Reilly Opelka in three sets and the big server will face the athletic Grigor Dimitrov. Lloyd Harris, the Washington Open champion, will face Rafael Nadal tomorrow for the second consecutive time as Nadal will be looking for revenge. Top seed Daniil Medvedev will be facing the crafty Alexander Bublik in his opening match today and Bublik will try to stage an upset.
Also read: Rafael Nadal looking for a Hatrick in Toronto, chases record Masters 1000 title
Kei Nishikori will also start his campaign against Miomir Kecmanović today and will look to continue his incredible comeback into the tour. Third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas will have a challenging opening round as he will face frenchmen Ugo Humbert who earlier defeated Lorenzo Sonego in straight sets.
In the Women’s Singles, Océane Dodin made headlines as she defeated 14th seed Karolína Muchová in her opening match and she is set to face teenager Amanda Anisimova in her next match. Garbiñe Muguruza the 5th seed will start her campaign against former Grand Slam doubles champion Kateřina Siniaková who overcame Jeļena Ostapenko in her first match and the defending Champion Bianca Andreescu will face Harriet Dart from Great Britain in her first match.
In Men’s Doubles Ivan Dodig and Rohan Bopanna will face the Italian pair of Fabio Fognini and Lorenzo Sonego in their opening round. Russian duo Andrey Rublev and Karen Khachanov will face second seeds Colombians Robert Farah and Juan Sebastián Cabal in the round of 16. The Russians have started playing doubles consistently quite recently.
In the Women’s Doubles, Jessica Pegula and Coco Gauff lost to Elena Rybakina and Elena Rybakina in their first match. Ellen Perez and her 46 year old partner Květa Peschke seem to be in form after they reached the semifinals of the Silicon Valley Classic Open and they will be facing Lyudmyla Kichenok and Makoto Ninomiya in the round of 32.
Bopanna retains place in Indian team for Davis Cup tie against Finland in September
New Delhi, Aug 6 (Tennis news) Doubles exponent Rohan Bopanna on Friday retained his place in the Indian Davis Cup team despite his recent run-in with the national federation, which named a five-member squad for the upcoming World Group I away tie against Finland.
Expectedly, all top three singles players of the country -- Prajnesh Gunneswaran (ranked 158), Sumit Nagal (159) and Ramkumar Ramanathan (204) -- have been picked for the September 17-18 tie, which will be held on indoor courts in Espoo Metro Areena in Espoo city.
The AITA selection committee had a virtual meeting on Thursday to decide on the team.
Rohit Rajpal will be the non-playing captain of the side and Zeeshan Ali the coach.
Bopnna, ranked 40, will have his doubles partner in Divij Sharan, ranked 82.
The duo could not qualify for the ongoing Tokyo Olympics due to low combined rank.
In the last tie against Croatia which India lost 1-3, Bopanna had paired with Leander Paes. Rest is the same squad.
Bopanna had accused the All Indian Tennis Association (AITA) secretary general Anil Dhupar of misleading him and the nation by claiming that the ITF had accepted his and Sumit Nagal's entry for the doubles competition of the Tokyo Games.
Bopanna made public his telephonic conversation with Dhupar, putting the audio recording on his twitter page.
Finland has one higher-ranked singles player in Emil Ruusuvuori, who is placed 69th in the ATP chart, while it does not have a player inside top-100.
Finland also has two decent doubles players in Henri Kontinen and Harri Heliovaara, who are ranked 39 and 38 respectively.
Also read: Sania and Ankita lose to Ukranian Twins as World number one shocked in Singles
Selection committee member Balram Singh told PTI that the recent controversy regarding Bopanna was not discussed by the members.
"There are former players in the committee and they know the value of a doubles rubber point in Davis Cup. Rohan, being our top player, was a natural choice," Balram said.
"It was just a matter of misunderstanding that a controversy erupted," he said.
The winner of the tie will qualify for the Qualifiers in 2022 while the losing teams will compete in the play-offs to retain their place in World Group I next year.
News source: PTI
AITA to refer Bopanna's recording act to ethics committee, makes pubic correspondence with ITF
New Delhi, Jul 20 (Sports news) Rohan Bopanna's act of making public his conversation with All India Tennis Association (AITA) secretary general Anil Dhupar will be referred to its ethics and managing committee, the sports body said on Tuesday.
AITA also released its complete correspondence with the International Tennis Federation (ITF) concerning the qualification of India's men doubles team for the Tokyo Olympics.
Seeking to clear the air around the negative perception created by comments of Bopanna and Sania Mirza, the AITA put on record how it aggressively pursued the case of Bopanna and Divij Sharan for an entry into the Games, between June 28 and July 16.
The e-mail correspondence revealed that on July 2, AITA demanded a clarification from ITF on how the world body gave entry to USA (CR 118), Spain (CR 170) and Portugal (CR 204) in the men's doubles despite the fact that their combined rank was below Bopanna and Sharan's rank of 113.
Another correspondence revealed that AITA pleaded with ITF to consider Bopanna and Sharan's feat of the 2018 Asian Games for an entry.
The ITF, though, back in 2018, had announced that only the singles winners would be given the Asian Continental quota.
AITA made public the correspondence after Bopanna tweeted a video of a call-recording in which Dhupar was heard saying the ITF had accepted Bopanna and Sharan's entry in the men's doubles.
Dhupar was heard telling Bopanna to "keep his fingers crossed, maybe we get good news (of qualification) tomorrow." When specifically asked by Bopanna if his and Sharan's entry has been accepted, Dhupar replied in an affirmative.
Bopanna's contention was that why the AITA gave him false hopes of qualification.
"This act of recording a call and making it public will not be accepted. The matter will be looked into by AITA's managing committee and the ethics committee," Dhupar told PTI.
"The two committees will decide if a disciplinary action is required against Bopanna." Dhupar said the "unfortunate" episode may change the way the federation deals with the players.
"I am afraid that it is a possibility we will interact with the players only through e-mails, so that everything is crystal clear. They can't go on recording calls and making it public.
"I will not be surprised if other sports federation also take note of what Bopanna did and start communicate with their players in a different way," he said.
Asked if Bopanna would be considered for selection in India's Davis Cup team, Dhupar refused to comment.
"I can't say what will happen but if an action is recommended against him, his name will not be given to the selection committee for consideration." The selection committee is usually given 15 names after checking availability of the players to pick a five-man squad.
India next take on Finland in an away tie in September.
The controversy began when it to came light that AITA said it has withdrawn Sharan and has paired Bopanna with Sumit Nagal so that India can have a better chance to qualify for the men's doubles.
Also read: AITA says why did Bopanna not qualify on his own after player accuses it of misleading on nomination
The ITF cited rules to say that a change was not possible and that even if India were to pair Bopanna with Nagal, the new pairing would not qualify.
The AITA though remained optimistic that more withdrawals may push the Indian team in the competition. Dhupar said they even had asked for a wild card for Leander Paes so that the legendry player could get a record eighth appearances at the Olympic Games.
"We wanted that Leander gets this unprecedented feat but ITF told us that there were no wild cards this time. We fought for Bopanna and Sharan also but unfortunately they could not get in. It was not our fault that they could not qualify due to their rankings," he said.
In the release, AITA also did not appreciate Sania saying that a medal chance in the mixed team has been sacrificed.
"Even the comments of Sania Mirza are most inappropriate, because there was no possibility of her being able to partner Rohan in the Mixed Doubles event till he qualified.
"Ranking of Rohan with Divij or Sumit Nagal were not good enough for qualification. So how did we we lose an opportunity to win medals either in men’s doubles or mixed doubles.
"This tweets and statements of Mr. Bopanna are condemned unequivocally by the AITA," the statement read.
News source: PTI
AITA Secretary General Anil Dhupar rues Bopanna and Mirza comments on social media, calls it inappropriate and misleading
With the Tokyo Olympics just around the corner, controversy surrounding veteran Indian tennis player Rohan Bopanna and AITA continues over the Tokyo 2020 Olympics qualification. Taking to Twitter, Bopanna accused the Indian body of misleading him, resulting in a public exchange between the two parties.
In an exclusive interaction with SPOGO, the Hon’ Secretary General of AITA Mr. Anil Dhupar clarified the controversy that has made waves on social media and condemned the tweets by Indian senior tennis players Rohan Bopanna and Sania Mirza.
Full statement below:
“These tweets by Rohan Bopanna and Sania Mirza are most inappropriate and misleading. They are without facts, in fact I’m shocked that they don’t know the basic knowledge about the guidelines regarding the ITF rules about getting entry into the Olympics. I don’t understand Rohan and Sania’s frustration and they are most unwarranted. To make things clear, it’s up to the players who get good ranking who get into the qualifying of the Olympics. The Federation does not have a wild card to make our own kids enter into the Olympic qualifying.”
“Till 16th of July, Divij (Sharan) and Rohan (Bopanna), who are our best doubles players, were on the waiting list. All of a sudden, we received the good news from ITF on the 16th of July that Sumit Nagal has qualified to play singles. Anybody in the tennis fraternity who understands the sport knows that when a doubles player participates in the Olympics, they are also entitled to play the mixed doubles, the entry is not separate. We were very happy that we will be able to get doubles entry now with the singles entry of Sumit Nagal as the IOC has already mentioned in their rules that singles players will have priority over doubles players. Everyone is aware of this, including Mr. Rohan Bopanna”
“Since 16th of July was a Friday, we sent a note to the ITF that since our singles player has been included, we would like to change our nomination from Rohan - Divij to Rohan Bopanna and Sumit Nagal, if the rules permit. They wrote back to us on the 16th itself that there is no provision to change the nomination unless a player is injured, illness or due to special circumstances. However, this proposal will be open for seven hours and even if the nomination is accepted, the new player will not qualify as there are two better singles players already in the pipeline, so they became number three.”
“If Mr. Rohan Bopanna does not have a better ranking and he is not getting qualification because of that, then what is he talking about? Our job is to promote tennis, send recommendations which we are doing day in and out and instead of appreciating the efforts of the Federation, there are words being used that are not appreciated at all. We at AITA condemn his (Rohan Bopanna) and Sania Mirza’s statements. Sania doesn’t know if there is no men’s double entry, how does one win the medal? We feel proud that she is the only Indian lady to feature in the Olympics for the fourth time, but she is supporting a cause that she’s well aware of, despite that she is still writing things for reasons I don’t know.”
“If a men’s doubles team is not entered into the Olympics qualifying, no mixed doubles can be played. Everyone is aware of this, including Sania (Mirza) so why is she saying that we lost an opportunity to win a medal? No you have not lost, because losing is when we are not able to send the team. It is the ITF rules and it’s a sad thing for Indians as tennis players who have been supported by TOPS, who have been funding Indian players are unable to qualify. It’s bad luck.”
“Making such comments will not help the tennis fraternity or the sport at all. The fact is that we tried our best, despite the lack of time. The good news is, Sumit Nagal is playing singles and we applied for accreditation, invitation and other formalities for him on Saturday which needs to be done because of COVID. We only had Saturday and Monday where his application needed to be approved and I’m thankful to the Indian Olympic Association, the Deputy Chief Dr Prem Verma who worked very hard on Saturday evening and Monday to get Nagal his accreditation and invitation and he is flying to Tokyo today (20th July).”
“Through good teamwork we have managed to secure his entry in 24 hours, so allegations and words are only showing their frustration, we are all feeling bad that India is not playing doubles. For senior players to speak out, tweeting, retweeting, deleting and recording is not showing maturity. Nobody in the world can record without their consent, it’s against the law. Stop all these things Mr. Rohan Bopanna, we all feel proud of your achievements, you still have the age to accomplish more things and we can do that together.”
Also read: The Golden Slam Awaits Novak Djokovic at the Tokyo Olympics
AITA says why did Bopanna not qualify on his own after player accuses it of misleading on nomination
New Delhi, Jul 19 (Tennis news) Doubles player Rohan Bopanna, who failed to make the cut for the Tokyo Olympics along with Divij Sharan because of their low combined rank, on Monday accused AITA of misleading everyone by claiming it had changed the combination by pairing him with Sumit Nagal for a shot at qualification.
The All India Tennis Association (AITA) hit back at Bopanna by saying that it only tried to help him since he could not qualify on his own.
The AITA had announced the nomination of Bopanna and Sharan for the men's doubles event of the Tokyo Games.
However, Bopanna (38) and Sharan (75), with a low combined rank of 113 missed out on qualification. According to the International Tennis Federation (ITF), a few days before the July 16 deadline, they were the fifth alternate.
But, after Nagal made the cut for the men's singles on July 16 following large-scale withdrawals, AITA saw hope in getting a men's doubles team's entry since singles players were being given the priority to fill the doubles draws.
The AITA announced that it had changed the combination by pairing Bopanna with Nagal.
Also read: Tennis player Nagal makes singles cut for Tokyo Olympics; AITA pairs him with Bopanna, withdraws Sharan
"ITF has never accepted an entry for Sumit Nagal & myself. ITF was clear that no changes were allowed after the nomination deadline (22nd June) unless Injury/Illness. AITA has mislead the players, government, media and everyone else by stating we still have a chance," Bopanna tweeted.
AITA secretary general Anil Dhupar said they reached out to the ITF for changing the nomination.
"We wrote to the ITF that we want to change the nomination and now want to pair Bopanna with Nagal, so please advise us how to go forward. While they said changing the nomination was possible only in case of injury and illness and also under special circumstances, they said they would keep us posted even as only seven hours are left for deadline to expire," Dhupar told PTI.
"So, where is the question of misleading anyone. How are we supposed to gain by it? The fact is that Bopanna's ranking was not good enough for qualification. We only tried to help him so that he could compete in the Games. Why he did not qualify on his own?" Reacting to Bopanna's tweet, Sania Mirza wrote, "Whaaattt??? If this is true then it's absolutely ridiculous and shameful..by this it also means that we have sacrificed a very good shot at a medal in the mixed doubles if you and I would have played as planned. We were both told that you and Sumit's names have been given." However, the question of missing out on a shot at medal in the mixed doubles does not arise since Bopanna could not qualify for the men's doubles.
Only those players can play the mixed event who are are already part of the singles or doubles draw.
The tennis competition opens on July 24.
News source: PTI
Tennis player Nagal makes singles cut for Tokyo Olympics; AITA pairs him with Bopanna, withdraws Sharan
New Delhi, Jul 16 (Tennis news) Indian tennis player Sumit Nagal on Friday made the cut for the men's singles event of the Tokyo Olympics as large-scale withdrawals pushed him inside the qualification mark.
The All India Tennis Association (AITA) promptly paired him with Rohan Bopanna for the men's doubles competition by withdrawing Divij Sharan's nomination.
The International Tennis Federation (ITF) communicated to the AITA that Nagal was eligible for men's singles, hours before the deadline for entries expires.
Nagal was ranked 144 on June 14, when ATP rankings were to be considered for direct entries.
Till Thursday, the cut-off was in the range of 130 as Yuki Bhambri, with his protected ranking of 127, made the cut.
However, since he recently underwent a procedure on his right knee in the US, he has made himself unavailable and confirmed it to the PTI.
The stringent protocols under which the Games are being held and the fear of contracting the coronavirus has pushed many to withdraw, forcing the authorities to keep lowering the cut-off mark.
Prajnesh Gunneswaran was ranked 148 on June 14 and it remains to be seen if he also makes the cut by the time the deadline ends at 8:30pm IST.
"ITF has confirmed Nagal's entry for singles. We spoke to him and he accepted his entry. We have approached IOA and requested to arrange for his accreditation," Anil Dhupar, AITA's secretary general, told said.
Since the ITF is giving priority to singles players for filling up the men's doubles draw, AITA sniffed a chance to get a spot by fielding Nagal with Bopanna, who was earlier nominated with Divij Sharan.
Bopanna and Sharan, with a combined rank of 113, till Friday morning formed the fourth alternate team.
"We have withdrawn Divij Sharan's nomination and sent a new team to ITF. Let' see if Bopanna and Nagal can enter," Dhupar added.
It is imperative that Bopanna makes the cut for the men's doubles because it is highly unlikely that Nagal and Sania Mirza would make it to the mixed doubles event, which is a 16-team affair.
Also read: Tennis player Nagal now eligible for Tokyo singles draw, Yuki misses out due to injury
The ITF, as of now, has not confirmed if Bopanna and Nagal can enter the men's doubles.
"We are not in a position to speculate on doubles scenarios. Gunneswaran is still a few places below the cut-off," an ITF official told PTI.
As of now only Sania Mirza and Ankita Raina are certain to compete in the women's doubles draw. Sania used her protected rank of nine to enter with Ankita.
All top-10 players get direct entry and have the privilege to choose a partner of their choice, who is ranked inside top-300.
News source: PTI
Tennis player Nagal now eligible for Tokyo singles draw, Yuki misses out due to injury
New Delhi, Jul 16 (Tennis news) Indian tennis player Sumit Nagal is now eligible to compete in the men's singles event at the Tokyo Olympics, the world governing body ITF has communicated to the AITA, a source in the national tennis body said on Friday.
Nagal was ranked 144 on June 14, when ATP rankings were to be considered for direct entries.
Another specialist singles player Prajnesh Gunneswaran was ranked 148 and it remains to be seen if he also makes the cut as the deadline for accepting tennis entries is closing in a few hours from now.
The stringent protocols under which the Games are being held and the fear of contracting coronavirus has forced many withdrawals that kept lowering the cut-off mark.
"We have received a mail from the ITF that Sumit is now eligible. They have asked for his details. We have started the process of getting him in," an AITA official told PTI.
Yuki Bhambri, with his Protected Ranking of 127, also made the cut but since he recently underwent a procedure on his right knee in the US, he has made himself unavailable.
Also read: Touching 40s, India's Table Tennis great Sharath Kamal hits peak ahead of Tokyo Olympics
"I won't be playing," Bhambri told PTI in a terse message.
If Nagal can make it to Tokyo by completing all the required formalities, it remains to be seen if he makes the doubles draw with Rohan Bopanna, who could not enter with Divij Sharan till now.
Bopanna and Sharan's combined rank is 113 and they were still fifth alternate recently.
ITF is giving priority to the singles players to fill the doubles draw.
Nagal's entry would also mean that India can now have a team in the mixed doubles draw as well.
As of now only Sania Mirza and Ankita Raina are certain to compete in the women's doubles draw. Sania used her protected rank of nine to enter with Ankita.
All top-10 players get direct entry and have the privilege to choose a partner of their choice, who is ranked inside top-300.
News source: PTI
Naomi Osaka is looking to triumph at home in the Tokyo Olympics
It is always a proud moment to represent the whole nation and compete against the top players in the world. Victory anthem in the podium and the millions of eyes watching these moments, it is indeed an event which is every athlete’s dream finish. The women’s Olympic tennis witnessed history upon its continuance in 1988 when Steffi Graff won the only ever Golden Slam. After that, it has seen the Russians taking home the top three medals in singles at the Beijing Olympics 2008. There have been a lot of records and milestones in the Olympics for women in tennis. There have been different winners on top with the most consistent being the Williams sisters.
The women's singles draw looks promising as most of the top players in the field are competing in this year’s Olympics which is being held at Tokyo. Serena Williams would not be competing this time because of her injury, as for her sister Venus Williams who has been competing since 1996 and has won five medals most likely won't compete this year. Monica Puig the defending champion will also not be competing as she has undergone shoulder surgery, she earlier became the first Puerto Rican to win a gold medal at the Olympics. US Open winner and teen sensation Bianca Andreescu will also not be competing this time due to Covid concerns.
Newly crowned Wimbledon champion Ashleigh Barty, who is also the world number 1 will be tough to deal with and world number 2 Naomi Osaka will be the favourite to win the gold medal as it also played in hardcourt, that too in her own backyard. Iga Świątek the 2020 French Open Champion will make her debut this time and she can pull a major upset in Tokyo. Heather Watson will be playing Singles and Doubles this time, she won the 2016 Wimbledon mixed doubles and will hope to do one better this time. In tennis news, the USA team will be led by one of the youngest Olympic tennis players, 17 year old Coco Gauff, who made the Quarterfinals of this year’s French Open and defeated Venus William in the Wimbledon in 2019. In the Indian team Sania Mirza and Ankita Raina will be competing in the women’s doubles, as India for the first time since 1988 won't feature a Men's doubles team. In the Rio Olympics, Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna came real close to winning a medal in the mixed doubles.
Aryna Sabalenka, Elina Svitolina, Karolina Pliskova, and Garbine Muguruza are all set to compete. Pliskova will be looking to avenge her Wimbledon final loss to Ashleigh Barty.Garbine Muguruza, the former world number 1 and two time Grand Slam champion can use her powerful flat groundstrokes which can come in handy to tackle the opponent in hard courts and with her experience can take on the new recruits. Osaka can become the first Women’s tennis player from Japan to win a medal in the Olympics as Kei Nishikori is the only other one. There won't be any spectators for the first time and it would be interesting to see how the players battle it out.
Interesting Fact: Venus Williams is the first tennis player to win a medal at four Olympic games. (2000, 2008, 2012, 2016)
Mirza-Bopanna pair ousted from Wimbledon Championships
London, Jul 7 (Tennis news) Rohan Bopanna stayed solid with his service games and net play but Sania Mirza's serve was consistently put under pressure as the Indian team was ousted from the Wimbledon Championships following a three-set defeat in the stop-start mixed doubles third round, here on Wednesday. The contest resumed with the 14th seed pair of Jean Julien-Roger and Andreja Klepac having a one-set lead and they finished on the right side of the result with a 6-3 3-6 11-9 scoreline.
Mirza has not played much competitive tennis post her comeback and is struggling to get her serve right.
Serving to stay in the match at 5-6 in the decider, Mirza managed to hold after a few anxious moments.
It was largely Bopanna's reflexes at the net and a solid game from the baseline apart from a superb lob from Mirza that helped the Indians pull off the game after two deuce.
Mirza again served in a similar situation at 9-10. Roger hit a crushing forehand winner at 15-15 and then Bopanna's volley sailed over the baseline.
The Dutch player, on the second match point, then executed a stunning service winner, that whizzed past from Bopanna's right side.
It was Mirza's last tournament before the Tokyo Games where she will compete in the women's doubles with Ankita Raina.
With this defeat India's challenge has ended at the grass court Grand Slam.
Also read: Former tennis players Paes-Bhupathi set to reunite for a web series
News source: PTI
Bopanna-Mirza pair wins historic all-Indian Wimbledon match
London, Jul 2 (Sports news) The experienced pair of Rohan Bopanna and Sania Mirza defeated the brand new combination of Ramkaumar Ramanathan and Ankita Raina 6-2 7-6 (5) in the historic all-Indian mixed doubles first round match at the Wimbledon here on Friday.
It was the first time in open era that two Indian teams competed against each other at a Grand Slam tournament.
The contest finally brought a Grand Slam debut for Ramkumar, who has made 21 attempts to qualify for the singles main draw of a tennis major.
While the first set ended quickly in favour of the veterans, Ramkumar and Raina presented a good fight in the second set, which even they led for a brief period with a break of serve.
Also read: India at Wimbledon: Ankita Raina and partner bow out in first round of women's doubles
Bopanna was clearly the best player on the court with his powerful serve and solid ground strokes from the baseline as well as the ability to execute a superior net game.
On expected lines, Ramkumar served big while Raina gave her all after growing in confidence.
Mirza's serve is still not at its best and would improve as she plays more matches.
Mirza has moved has also moved to women's doubles second round with Bethanie Mattek-Sands while Raina and her American partner Lauren Davis lost in straight sets to the US pair of Asia Muhammad and Jessica Pegula on Thursday night.
The 14th seeds disposed off the challenge from the Raina-Davis pair 6-3 6-2 in 70 minutes.
Bopanna and Divij Sharan are already out, having lost their men's doubles opening round match.
News sourece: PTI
India at Wimbledon: Ankita Raina and partner bow out in first round of women's doubles
London, Jul 2 (Sports news) Ankita Raina's maiden appearance in Wimbledon's main draw ended in disappointment as the Indian and her American partner Lauren Davis lost in straight sets to the US pair of Asia Muhammad and Jessica Pegula.
The 14th seeds disposed off the challenge from the Raina-Davis pair beating them 6-3 6-2 in 70 minutes during a late evening match on Court No 11.
Ankita, however, will be pairing with compatriot Ramkumar Ramanathan in the mixed doubles event where they would meet their country's seasoned pair of Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna.
Also read: Rohan Bopanna, Divij Sharan miss cut for tennis men's doubles event at Tokyo Games
Sania and her American partner Bethanie Mattek-Sands are through to the second round of women's doubles while Bopanna and Divij Sharan are already out, having lost their men's doubles opening round encounter.
News source: PTI
Rohan Bopanna, Divij Sharan miss cut for tennis men's doubles event at Tokyo Games
New Delhi, Jun 30 (Tennis news) In a setback to India's medal chances in the tennis event of Tokyo Olympics, Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan have missed the cut for men's doubles, which also rules out the country's presence in the mixed team competition, its best chance for a podium finish.
It was expected that with a low combined ranking of 113, Bopanna (38) and left-handed Sharan's (75) entry would depend only on large scale withdrawals.
"The ITF has confirmed that Bopanna and Divij could not be entered as a team in the men's doubles team. However, things might change till July 16 (if there are more withdrawals)," an AITA source told PTI.
When All India Tennis Association (AITA) Secretary General Anil Dhupar was contacted, he said he will be able to give a clear picture only when he has the complete entry list in his hands.
Despite some withdrawals, the cut for 22 teams out of 24 direct acceptances was as high as in mid-60s, according to sources but the final cut-off could not be confirmed.
Even if there are more withdrawals, it will be extremely difficult for India to have a team in men's doubles.
The priority would first be given to singles ranked players, then the singles-doubles combination and then the doubles-doubles ranking combination.
Since many top players are not part of the singles draw, the lower-ranked players, who consistently compete in doubles also, would not miss the chance to play two events at the Olympics.
Each player is allowed to be in two events.
As per rules, only those players can be a part of the mixed team event who are already in one of the main draws (either singles our doubles).
In India's case, it was imperative for Bopanna to be in men's doubles so that he can be paired with Sania Mirza, who is set to compete in her fourth Olympics with Ankita Raina in the women's doubles event.
Sania and Rohan came close to winning a bronze in 2016 but they lost the bronze play-off to Czech Republic's Radek Stepanek and Lucie Hradecka in straight sets.
The limited number of opportunities in terms of tournaments due to the COVID-19 lockdown and travel restrictions made it tough for both Bopanna and Sharan to improve their rankings.
Bopanna was ranked 38th at the start of the year while Sharan's ranking only got worse after starting at number 63.
India have never missed out on fielding a men's doubles team at the Olympics ever since a young Leander Paes and Ramesh Krishnan competed at the 1992 Games in Barcelona.
In editions after that, Paes was there mostly with Mahesh Bhupathi. In 2016 Paes and Bopanna competed and lost in the first round. News source: PTI
AITA requests ITF to consider Ankita Raina’s Asian Games bronze for Olympic entry
New Delhi, Jun 26 The national tennis federation has requested the ITF to consider Ankita Raina's bronze-medal winning performance at the 2018 Asian Games for a place in the women's singles draw of the Tokyo Olympics since the gold and silver medallists from China are eligible for a direct entry due to their higher ranks.
Ankita had won a bronze at the 2018 Asian Games, where the winner was assured of a Continental qualification place in the women's singles draw at the Tokyo Olympics.
Wang Qiang had won the gold while her Chinese compatriot Zhang Shuai took silver at the Games held in Jakarta and Palembang.
As per the June 14 WTA rankings, both Zhang (world number 36) Shuai (world number 38) are eligible for direct entry.
The ITF rules for the eligibility criteria state that athletes who achieve both a Continental Games qualification place and subsequently a Direct Acceptance ranking, will qualify using the Continental Qualification quota place.
As per the ITF rules, if the winner does not accept the quota or becomes ineligible for it, the Continental place can be given to the silver medallist and so on.
However, the All India Tennis Association (AITA) has written to the International Tennis Federation (ITF) that Ankita be considered for an entry so that the country can have representation at the Games in the singles event. "We wrote to them about Ankita's entry through the Continental route and they said they will let us know," a senior AITA official told PTI.
"It makes sense that the Continental place is given to the next best performer if gold and silver medal winners can make it to the draw basis their higher rank." Ankita was ranked 181 on June 14 when the rankings were considered for direct entries.
With such a low rank even mass withdrawal won't help in the draw of 64.
Ankita, though, will make her Olympic debut in Tokyo in the women's doubles after being picked as partner by Sania Mirza, who was assured of direct entry due to her top-10 rank.
Sania has used her protected ranking (9) to enter the Olympics.
Meanwhile, reliable sources have said India will not be able to have representation in the men's singles since the cut fell at 105 and India's best players -- Sumit Nagal (144) and Prajnesh Gunneswaran (148) are not even close to the mark.
It remains to be seen if Rohan Bopanna (38) and Divij Sharan (75) will get entry in the men's doubles. Their combined rank of 113 as of June 14 means that their qualification would depend on withdrawal of teams from other nations.
Bopanna and Sharan had won the gold at the Asian Games but the quota was kept only for the singles winners.
If India won't be able to field a team in the men's doubles, then the country will also go unrepresented in the mixed doubles event since the 16-team competition will have players only from main draws of other events. News source PTI
Noventi Open: Indian tennis players Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan ousted after quarterfinal loss
Halle (Germany), Jun 18 India's Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan were knocked out of the Noventi Open men's doubles event after suffering a straight-set quarterfinal loss here.
The Indian pair went down 3-6 6-7 to the sixth-seeded Belgian duo of Sander Gille and Joran Vilegen, failing to advance to the semifinals of the event on Thursday.
Bopanna and Sharan, who are waiting to know if they will make the cut at the Tokyo Olympics as a team, had got the better of second seeds Lukasz Kubot and Edouard Roger Vasselin in the second round of the Euro 14,55,925 tournament that marked the beginning of the grass-court season.
While the 41-year-old Bopanna is ranked 38th, the left-handed Sharan is placed as low as 75th for a combined rank of 113th on June 14, the cut off date for rankings to be considered for entries at the Tokyo Olympics.
The Indian pair needs a lot of withdrawals from other nations to make the cut due to its low combined ranking. News source PTI
India’s Rohan Bopanna, Divij Sharan knock out second seeds at Halle
Halle (Germany), Jun 16 India's Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan knocked out second seeds Lukasz Kubot and Edouard Roger Vasselin to move to the quarterfinals of the Noventi Open, here on Wednesday.
Bopanna and Sharan, who are waiting to know if they will make the cut at the Tokyo Games as a team, beat the Polish-French combination 7-6(11) 6-4 in the second round of the Euro 1455925 tournament that marked the beginning of the grass court season.
Bopanna (38) and Sharan (75) ended up with a combined rank of 113 on June 14, the cut off date for rankings to be considered for entries at the Tokyo Games.
The low combined rank means that the Indian pair needs a lot of withdrawals or pull outs from other nations to make the cut. News source PTI
India's chances to field men's doubles team at Tokyo Olympics to depend on entries from other nations
New Delhi, Jun 14 India will have to wait to know if a men's doubles team from the country will compete at the Tokyo Olympics since Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan's qualification, who have a low combined ranking of 113, would depend on number of entries from other nations.
The top-10 players have the privilege to select a partner of their choice as per the ITF rules but Bopanna is ranked 38 and left-handed Sharan is placed as low as 75 after the fresh rankings were issued on Monday following the conclusion of the French Open.
Bopanna's quarterfinal appearance helped him gain two places while Sharan's first round exit resulted in him losing one place. A total of 32 teams each will feature in the men's and women's doubles draw.
Both Bopanna and Sharan are unsure of their participation.
"Completely alien as it all depends which players and teams are going . Impossible to calculate like other events," Bopanna told PTI when asked about their chances.
According to International Tennis Federation (ITF) qualification system, rankings of June 14 will be considered for entries and each nation is limited to a maximum of six men and six women, with a maximum of four singles players and two doubles teams for both genders.
The ITF will announce on July 5 which players have made it to the draws and Bopanna and Sharan will get an idea by the end of June to know their fate.
If the ITF receives fewer entries due to the concerns around pandemic, Bopanna and Sharan's chances will improve.
As of now, only Sania Mirza is assured of a place in the women's doubles as she will use her protected ranking to enter the Games, She was ranked nine before she took maternity leave and has decided to compete with Ankita Raina.
There is a possibility that Ankita may enter the women's singles draw, getting one of the six Continental places.
The two finalists at the Asian Games were to be give Tokyo Olympics places but since China's singles champion Wang Qiang (38) and runner-up Zhang Shuai (36) may get direct entry courtesy their high ranks, bronze medallist Ankita could be given the Continental place. For 16-team mixed doubles event, on-site entries will be accepted on July 27.
The tennis event will start on July 24 and will culminate on August 1. News source PTI
My aim is to train champion athletes and ensure that they bring laurels to the country.- Chelston Pinto, Strength and Conditioning Coach of FC Bengaluru United
The demands of sports in today’s day and age requires athletes to remain at the peak of their physical and mental prowess. With sports science, data driven analysis and high performance training, athletes are constantly breaking records and pushing the boundaries of what the human body can achieve even further.
To delve deeper into this topic, Mr. Chelston Pinto, strength and conditioning coach at FC Bengaluru United speaks about his journey so far, the growth of fitness in India, the importance of mental training, overcoming challenges, working with different sporting organizations, maintaining fitness during the lockdown and his future goals in this exclusive interview with SPOGO.
Q 1) What motivated you to get involved in strength and conditioning? How much potential do you see in India for the growth of fitness?
I’ve played sports from a very young age and when I made the transition, it was clear to me that I wanted to be connected with sports throughout my life. During my teenage years, when I was playing, I faced a lot of challenges with regards to training and injuries so when I finished my graduation, I joined a training center and felt it was the right way forward. I wanted to take up strength and conditioning, become a coach to help future generations of athletes to perform at their maximum capacity. Over the last few years, fitness has really caught up not just amongst athletes but the general population as well. There are a number of football pitches that have come up on rent as well as badminton courts and it attracts the corporate crowd to step out and play. There are a number of running groups across the country and that has motivated the general population to run on the weekends and practice by themselves during the week. The main reason I see so many people taking up fitness in India especially is because of online fitness influencers and the number of gyms that are opening. They have spread the word about how fitness can be really beneficial to someone. This is just the start and over the next few years I can really see fitness booming, especially with more qualified coaches coming in and a lot more education about the right fitness movements, nutrition and performance guides.
Q 2) How do you balance fitness with all the other activities in life? What is your day to day routine?
I don’t have a fixed structure to my day because I have to depend on the athletes and teams that I work with. For me, playing football and my strength routine is something I do regularly and as a strength and conditioning coach it’s very important for me to stay fit throughout the year and work on myself continuously so that I can deliver the best to my athletes.
Q 3) At the highest level, when the margins are so less between the strength and conditioning of elite athletes, how important of a role does mental health play?
Mental training is as important as physical or skills training. I feel that if an athlete cannot handle pressure, more often than not he or she will come out with an unfavourable result. It’s very important for athletes and coaches to design programmes where training is done under stress, fatigue and pressure situations so that they meet those demands that are expected of them in a game-like situation. Those situations need to be created while the athlete is training and I believe it’s very important for an athlete to go through this a number of times before doing it in a match. During a competition, there is a lot more pressure at the highest level with regards to the crowds coming in, there’s a lot more at stake but with experience athletes can handle it better. We as the general population must understand that athletes are just human beings and are bound to make errors at some point of time. They should not be judged as extraordinary individuals who need to deliver all the time. It’s the responsibility of the media and fans to be a little more realistic with regards to results they expect from athletes just so that we maintain a good ecosystem around the sport.
Image credit: FC Bengaluru United
Q 4) What are the various challenges that you have had to overcome in your journey so far?
The first one would be education, with regards to strength and conditioning, we don’t have a top quality degree or a masters in India. For coaches to specialize in this field, they have to go abroad which is not financially viable because in the end most of us or me in particular want to help the athletes of our country. Secondly, entering the sports industry as a beginner was difficult because 10 years ago people were not accepting the fact that a newcomer wants to come in the industry. I’ve had to face a lot of no’s at the beginning but it taught me to be self dependent, make my way up the ladder by myself and I could handle that because of the lessons sports has taught me, that when you’re down you need to pick yourself back up. It took me a few years but I’m glad I went through it because today I can see the younger generation going through the same and it’s only right for me to guide them and also to show them the hard way. I know for sure that if you’re self dependent, you learn by yourself and figure out a way to reach the top, that’s the best life lesson you can have. Even though my goal was always to train athletes so that they can perform to their maximum ability, I had to start with the general population. I had to understand people, learn how to sell and these are skills that still help me and I’m glad I was exposed to a wide variety of people with different objectives such as fat loss, housewives who wanted some sort of physical activity during the day. Elderly people who wanted exercises so they don’t have back pain and that experience really helped me. When I came up the ladder, training athletes was a lot easier because I started training at the grassroots, kids from the age of 8 to 10, 10 to 12, 12 to 14. I’ve gone through the whole process and it really helps me take care of a wide variety of athletes from different sports.
Q 5) Which are the different sporting organizations that you have worked with? How does the training regime differ from one sport to another?
I started my career as a group trainer in a gym, training the general population. I did that for about two years and then got myself certified for personal training and group training. Later I started my own company called Rapid Sport Fitness where I initially began training the general public at rented 5 aside grounds and in government parks. I had a passion for sports and ensured that I transfer that passion to the people I train. For example, even though we were training for three days a week, most of the people had a goal of running 10kms or playing a game of football or badminton during the weekend and my aim was to ensure that they play the game pain free and to their maximum potential. The aim of my training was to ensure whatever work I do with them in terms of strength and conditioning transfers into their sport at the end of the week. It gave them a goal while they were training and that caught on, so from one centre I moved to seven different centres across Bangalore and six months later I had gathered myself enough to start a small gym and continued with my outdoor programs. I also started training athletes at grassroots levels at that point of time. I grew with the team, got a couple of partners who helped me grow my brand and one and half years later I moved into a much bigger space in the heart of the city in Bangalore where I got a 7500 sq ft gym. That was a performance centre where I trained athletes and the general public. I tied up with a lot of academies and teams and in a way I was living up to my dream. Along the way I trained at a lot of tennis academies, the most notable of them being the Rohan Bopanna Tennis Academy which I continue to train with my team. We have a structure at the sports school in Kanakapura where we run an entire performance program. Apart from that I also train FC Bengaluru United where I have a dual role of player cum coach. These are the two major organizations I am currently working with. Prior to this there were plenty of football academies, tennis academies, track and field athletes, some International hockey players and a few Ranji Trophy cricketers that I had trained.
Q 6) What would be your advice to people with regards to maintaining fitness at home during the lockdown?
We are all going through a difficult time and it's important for us to keep ourselves physically active because of the numerous benefits it could have in defeating the virus. First things first , move around as much as possible. Even for people who are working from home it is important that they make sure they are moving out of their seats every 20 to 30 minutes, walk a few steps, move around and stretch a bit. Apart from that, if people should workout at least four to five times a week for a minimum of 30 minutes depending on what they like-it could be yoga, strength or High Intensity Workouts (HIIT) to keep themselves fit and mentally in a good space. I also recommend everyone to start with at least 5 to 10 minutes of meditation anytime during the day. It will really help their breathing and their mental space. Also there are plenty of programs available these days with online fitness coaches, gyms doing online sessions, and a lot of professionals that are willing to offer help. Just with the help of a few bands, you can do a lot of work with regards to your body to keep yourself healthy. Ideally there should not be any excuses with regard to not having gyms open or being able to go outdoors. Staying fit can happen anywhere, you only need to be determined to do it.
Q 7) What is your vision and goals for the future? How do you plan to accomplish them?
My goal is to ensure that sports is accessible to all people in the country and just to spread the awareness of fitness and living a balanced lifestyle. My vision would be to scout, nurture, educate and train champion athletes and ensure that they perform at the highest level and bring laurels to the country.
Indian tennis player Rohan Bopanna crashes out of French Open, India's campaign ends
Paris, Jun 7 India's campaign in the French Open came to an end as Rohan Bopanna and his Croatian partner Franko Skugor lost their men's doubles quarterfinal here on Monday.
The 41-year-old Bopanna and Skugos went down 5-7 3-6 to the Spanish duo of Pablo Andujar and Pedro Martinez in a match that lasted one hour and 17 minutes.
The unseeded Indo-Croat pairing had received a walkover in the pre-quarters on Sunday against Netherlands' Matwe Middelkoop and Marcelo Arevalo of El Salvador.
Last week, Divij Sharan and Ankita Raina had lost their opening round matches of men's and women's doubles events respectively In the singles events, Sumit Nagal, Ramkumar Ramanathan, Prajnesh Guneswaran and Ankita had failed to enter the main draw. New source PTI
Indian tennis player Rohan Bopanna and Croatia's Franko Skugor advance to French Open quarterfinals
Paris, Jun 6 India's Rohan Bopanna and his Croatian partner Franko Skugor advanced to the quarterfinals of the French Open after receiving a walkover from their opponents here on Sunday.
The Indo-Croat duo got a walkover in its men's doubles pre-quarterfinal clash against Netherlands' Matwe Middelkoop and Marcelo Arevalo of El Salvador.
Bopanna and Skugor will now face the Spanish pairing of Pablo Andujar and Pedro Martinez in the quartefinals.
The unseeded Bopanna and Skugor had notched up a straight set win over Americans Frances Tiafo and Nicholas Monroe in the second round earlier this week.
The 41-year-old Bopanna, ranked 40 in the world, is not defending any points this year at the Roland Garros.
The Indian needs to earn points since this is his last chance to improve his ranking. The rankings on June 10 will be considered for entry into the Tokyo Olympics. New source PTI
Indian tennis player Rohan Bopanna and Croatian Franko Skugor progress to 3rd round at French Open
Paris, Jun 3 Veteran Indian tennis player Rohan Bopanna and his Croatian partner Franko Skugor advanced to the pre-quarterfinals of the French Open with a straight set win over Americans Frances Tiafo and Nicholas Monroe here on Thursday.
The unseeded Bopanna and Skugor prevailed over their rivals 6-4 7-5 in the second round match that lasted one hour and 20 minutes.
The 41-year-old Bopanna, ranked 40 in the world, is not defending any points this year at the Roland Garros.
He needs to earn points since the this is his last chance to improve his ranking. The rankings on June 10 will be considered for entry into the Tokyo Olympics.
Divij Sharan, though, lost his chance by losing his first round match.
The combined rankings of Bopanna and Sharan will be taken into account for entries. A low ranking will scuttle their chances.
As of now only Sania Mirza is assured of a place in the women's doubles draw. She will most likely pair with Ankita Raina. New source PTI
Indian tennis player Rohan Bopanna and Croatia's Franko Skugor enter second round of French Open
Paris, Jun 1 India's Rohan Bopanna and Franko Skugor of Croatia sailed into the men's doubles second round at the French Open with a straight-set win over Gerogia's Nikoloz Basilashvili and Andre Begemann of Germany here on Tuesday.
The Indo-Croat combination took just an hour and one minute to dispose off their rivals 6-4 6-2 in their tournament opener.
Bopanna and Skugor broke their opponents once in the first set and twice in the second to wrap up in style.
Bopanna and Skugor will next take on the winners of another first round match between American duo of Nicholas Monroe and Frances Tiafoe and eight seeds Marcelo Melo of Brazil and Poland's Lukasz Kubot. New source PTI
Our dream of winning the tennis Grand Slams can come true if the right sponsorship and training is provided - Anil Dhupar, Secretary General of AITA
Over the years, India has produced some outstanding tennis players. From Leander Paes, Mahesh Bhupati, Sania Mirza, Vijay Amritraj and Rohan Bopanna to name a few, the sport has surged in popularity with India’s talent making its mark on the global stage. While the next generation aspires to accomplish greater heights, we’re delving into the world of tennis in India to see what’s in store for the future.
In an exclusive interview with SPOGO, Mr. Anil Dhupar, Secretary General of the All India Tennis Association speaks about the impact of COVID-19 on tennis in India, grassroot development, overcoming challenges, mental health and the future of tennis in the country.
Q 1) The COVID pandemic has disrupted sports around the world, how much of an impact has it had on AITA’s plans?
Ans: The pandemic has really made a lot of impact. After the first wave, we started a theme called ‘Return of Tennis’ which started on November 16th. Even though all the states in India were unable to conduct all the tournaments because of the restrictions given by the local government, we really did a good job at organizing all the tournaments at the junior, nationals, and international level with a prize money of 15,000 USD. Things were going on pretty well until the 2nd wave but since April onwards everything has stopped. There is no tennis, all academies are closed and it’s making a big impact on the junior players who could not be sent to the World Group Qualifying, the wheelchair team which was due to play for the first time in Portugal and similarly there were innumerable sectors that were affected in India. It has definitely impacted India more than other countries, especially in Europe.
Q 2) What is AITA doing at the grassroot level to promote tennis, especially in tier 2 and 3 cities?
Ans: We are conducting almost 600 tournaments in a year for the juniors. The junior category is from 10 years old to 12, 14, 16 and 18 years of age. These are All India Ranked Tournaments and the 12 and 14 year old juniors are sent to participate in the Asia/Oceania group. A child who is representing India is holding the flag as early as at the age of 12. We have the world’s finest scheme for junior tennis players known as the Talent Series Tennis Tournament which is organized for all age groups. When they become well versed with the tournament structure they progress to the Championship Series, Super Series and National Series. That’s how aspiring tennis players are promoted and it helps them develop into a good player. For the first time, we have started a national coaching camp in Delhi this January for 24 participants each amongst boys and girls from different states for a duration of 21 days. Unfortunately things have come to an end right now due to the pandemic.
Q 3) What are the biggest challenges that Indian tennis players face? How can those challenges be overcome?
Ans: There are multiple challenges that are faced by Indian tennis players. We need to have many more national and international tournaments in India which require money and sponsorship, either by corporates, state government or central government so that when Indian tennis players participate, they can get good points. We need to upgrade the tournament structure and have a series of international tournaments even at the junior level from grade 1 to 5. It is absolutely necessary for high ranked tournaments to be played in India so that tennis players in the country get ATP points to play across the world. Tennis is an expensive game and it needs sponsorship for players to travel and compete around the world. Sponsors need to support tennis as a sport and the government must support tournaments and despite the fact that they have started doing it, it's not to the extent that is required. There needs to be more tournaments for all categories. Having tournaments in India will help players save money that would be spent on travelling and would help get entry at the larger tournaments around the world.
Q 4) How is AITA grooming upcoming stars so that they can be competitive at the highest level?
Ans: A lot of tennis academies have come up around the country and there are many coaches that are certified by AITA. The benefits of that are that tennis players at the junior level are properly trained and even senior players are getting the best coaching facilities. We are still insisting to have many more in the years to come. There also has to be a willingness to come up in the grid and progress from the top 300, 200 to 100 in the world. Just like any other sport, passion is very important, not just for tennis players at the junior level but also parents. Parents need to be patient and supportive. We are conducting coaching camps, tournaments and are trying to get our junior players to participate in the Asia/Oceania group to give them more opportunities to participate and know where they stand as players. Even during the COVID times, we get 400 to 500 entries for the Nationals so the participation has grown and the desire to excel is now a part of the upcoming tennis players. That’s very important.
Q 5) Despite the fact that tennis is a physically demanding sport, how important of a role does mental health play?
Ans: It does play a very important role in every sport, especially in tennis. According to me, physical and mental strength is what determines a win or a loss. When two players contest a game they are at par in terms of physical strength but when they know which point to play in which fashion it makes all the difference. We have seen a lot of players losing a game from a winning position owing to the level of their mental toughness. They lose their mental toughness at some of the matches and lose the game. Mental toughness is very important and therefore many courses are brought into place in many academies including ours to make a child mentally tough. A child needs a physical trainer and a coach but along with it guidance on mental health and fitness is also very important.Therefore we have brought in some of the courses in this regard. Indeed mental fitness is equally as important as physical fitness.
Q 6) What needs to be done to get Indians to not just compete at the highest level such as Grand Slams or Olympics but also win?
Ans: It's a dream for all of us. In Europe there are about thirty to forty countries wherein the tennis circuit is still active and in full swing despite the pandemic. Naturally, the players hailing from these countries benefit from playing many more tournaments, spending a very little amount and gaining a large number of points. It Is very difficult for Indians as they have to travel extensively which a lot of people are not able to. We have a lot of talent to exploit but we need support, specially from corporate for grooming players. The dream of entering and winning Grand slams would definitely come true when we invest a lot of energy, money and corporate support as only then an Indian player will be able to do well at such levels.
Q 7) What do you envision as the future of tennis in India?
Ans: I think the future of tennis in India is fantastic. It's a game that has recently picked up as there were not many takers of the game earlier but today all towns and states across India are doing very well. We have a policy of registering players for junior, senior, men, women as well as the wheelchair categories. We have a system of registration and when you see it you will find that more and more players are joining the sport. My vision would be to create a system where a tennis player is not deprived of playing any tournament and his talent is exploited along with taking great care of it. We would like to go to the World Group as we did in the Fed Cup, the Billie Jean King Cup for the first time and we went into the World group this time. This can go on even in the junior levels, the junior Davis Cup and the Davis Cup. However, this will be only possible when all our players do well physically and mentally and are put into the right areas of playing the game. The biggest challenge for the All India Tennis Association today is where and when to start tennis and what kind of tennis as right now we don't have any clue from any corner of the state or anywhere else where tennis or any other game can be started. Hence once the pandemic is over, we are all geared up and will do our best to put our children on the roll and I'm sure this thing will help them in their future endeavors.
Indian tennis player Sumit Nagal also fails to make French Open main draw cut
Paris, May 27 India's top player Sumit Nagal could not make a hat-trick of Grand Slam main draw appearances following a straight-set defeat in the second round of the French Open Qualifying event here.
The Haryana youngster crashed out of the Clay Court major with a 3-6 3-6 loss to Alejandro Tabilo from Chile, last night.
In the engrossing contest that lasted one-and-a-half-hours, Nagal could break the serve of his rival, ranked 23 places below him at 146, only twice while he himself dropped his serve five times.
With the defeat of the 23-year-old from Jhajjar, India's challenge has ended in the Qualifiers.
Ramkumar Ramanathan, Prajnesh Guneswaran and Ankita Raina have already exited from the tournament.
Now India will be represented through Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan in the men's doubles main draw.
It is crucial for both of them to earn ranking points by going deep in the draw since the official rankings of June 10 will decide which players make the cut for the Tokyo Olympics.
Sania Mirza has decided not to compete in this tournament as she wanted to use her 'special ranking' to enter the Wimbledon Championships. New source PTI
Bopanna-Shapovalov go down fighting in Madrid Open quarters
Madrid, May 8 India's Rohan Bopanna and Denis Shapovalov of Canada fought hard before losing in three sets to German duo of Alexander Zverev and Tim Puetz in the men's doubles quarterfinals of the Madrid Open here.
Bopanna and Shapovalov went down 6-4 3-6 10-5 against their German opponents to crash out of the ATP Masters 1000 tournament. The Indo-Candian pair hit five aces as against their opponent's three, but they committed more double faults, which hampered their prospects.
Bopanna and Shapovalov had committed five double faults as against two by the German pair.
The Germans were also better on first serve, with a win percentage of 83 as against 79 by their opponents.
Earlier in the tournament, the unseeded pair of Bopanna and Shapovalov had stunned top seeds Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah in straight sets.
Bopanna and the 22-year-old Canadian have been teaming up regularly on the doubles tour since 2019. News Source : PTI
Bopanna-Shapovalov reach quarterfinals of Madrid Open Masters
Madrid, May 6 India's Rohan Bopanna combined with his Canadian partner Denis Shapovalov to stun top seeds Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah in straight sets and reach the men's doubles quarterfinals of Madrid Open Masters 1000 tournament here.
This was the 41-year-old Bopanna's first win on the ATP tour in 2021.
The Indo-Canadian duo won their round of 16 match 6-3 6-4 on Wednesday.
Bopanna and Shapovalov will take on German duo of Alexander Zverev and Tim Puetz in the quarter-finals.
"A superb victory by #TOPSAthlete tennis player @rohanbopanna and his partner @denis_shapo who beat World #1 men's doubles pair of Robert Farah and Juan Sebastian Cabal 6-3, 6-4 to reach the quarterfinals of the @MutuaMadridOpen," Sports Authority of India (SAI) tweeted. News Source : PTI