We are expecting Indian community to turn up for our matches: Savita
Amstelveen (Netherlands), Jul 2 (Hockey News) National women's hockey team captain Savita Punia is expecting the sizeable Indian community in the Netherlands to come to the venue and cheer the side in its World Cup matches.
India will open their campaign against England in pool B match here on Sunday, a year after losing to the same opponents in the bronze medal match at the Tokyo Olympics.
"There is a big Indian community in Netherlands and we are expecting many of them will turn up for the matches. We saw many of them come support us in Rotterdam during the Pro League matches and definitely fans support will motivate us even more," she said.
At the previous edition of the World Cup in London in 2018, India matched the performance of England with a 1-1 draw in the round robin league game.
Earlier that year, the Indian team had beaten England 2-1 in the group stage of the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast but had lost to them in the bronze medal match.
Talking about their opponents, Savita said, "Even though as a team, we would be focused on our own performance, England and India have faced off in some very close encounters and undoubtedly a rivalry has developed over the past three-four years in particular.
"Some of our players want to challenge their goalkeeper Maddie Hinge, who has been quite exceptional at the goalpost. And they also have some very experienced players like Laura Unsworth, Giselle Ansley, their Captain Hollie Pearne-Webb and Lily Owsley who will bring their 'A' game against us," she added.
India and England were scheduled to play a double-header in FIH Hockey Pro League earlier this year, which would have given insights into their game, but the match was cancelled.
"Yes, a match against them would have been ideal in the lead up to the World Cup but we can't be too bothered about what has happened in the past. The only aim for us right now is to get on to a good start in the tournament and the team is 100 per cent ready," added the goalkeeper.
After England, India will play China on July 5, followed by a match against New Zealand on July 7.
Also Read : Women's Hockey WC: India eye revenge against England in opener
News Source : PTI
Indian women's hockey team outclasses USA 4-0 to finish 3rd in debut season of FIH Pro League
Rotterdam, Jun 22 (Hockey News) The Indian women's hockey team produced a dominating performance to outclass USA 4-0 in the second-leg match to finish a creditable third in its debut season at the FIH Pro League here on Wednesday.
The Indians had earlier defeated USA 4-2 in the first match of the double header on Tuesday.
Vandana Katariya (39th, 54th) scored a brace, while Sonika (54th) and Sangita Kumari (58th) sounded the board once for India.
Argentina have already won the title with Netherlands finishing second.
USA started the match on a bright note and secured the first chance of the match a as early as in the second minute, but Elizabeth Yeager's high shot was easily saved by India skipper and goalkeeper Savita. The Indians too had their chances soon after but Sharmila Devi wasted a golden opportunity as she failed to beat USA goalkeeper from close range.
As usual, Salima Tete was a live wire from the right flank, creating chances for her side with her defence-splitting runs.
The Americans secured their second penalty corner in the 11th minute but wasted the chance.
USA once again started positively after the quarter break but the Indians drew in confidence as the match progressed.
India secured their first penalty corner in the 23rd minute but failed to execute the set piece.
The Indians kept on attacking thereafter and earned two more penalty corners but the end result was the same as both the teams failed to break the deadlock at half time.
Three minutes into the third quarter, India secured a penalty corner but Navneet Kaur's trap shot after initial fumble from the stopper was saved easily by USA goalkeeper Kelsey Bing. But it was Janneke Schopman's girls who broke the deadlock in the 39th minute when Vandana got a faint touch to deflect in Gurjit Kaur's flick from India's fifth penalty corner.
The Indians had numerous chances in the last two quarters. Navneet missed a sitter as her slap shot in front of an open goal went over the post.
The Americans secured a penalty corner in the 43rd minute but India defended well.
India then scored three goals in a span of four minutes to seal the match.
First, Vandana scored an open goal from a build up from the right flank and then seconds later, Sonika found the USA net from a goalmouth melee from another attack from the right.
India skipper Savita soon made a double save to deny the Americans from a penalty corner.
Young Sangita too registered her name in the scoresheet with a fabulous field goal in the 57th minute.
The last chance of the match fell before USA in the form of another penalty corner but they wasted it.
The win will boost India's confidence ahead of the Women's World Cup to be co-hosted by the Netherlands and Spain from July 1 to 17.
Also Read : We have several top order batters, everyone will have their chances: Harmanpreet
News Source : PTI
International hockey federation Pro League: Indian women beat USA 4-2
Rotterdam, Jun 21 (Hockey News) The Indian women's hockey team came from a goal down to beat USA 4-2 in its first match of the FIH Pro League double-header here on Tuesday.
Danielle Grega gave USA the lead in the 28th minute through a field effort before the Indians forced their way back into the match by scoring through Deep Grace Ekka (31st), Navneet Kaur (32nd) and Sonika (40th) to take a 3-1 lead.
The Americans reduced the margin in the 45th minute through Natalie Konerth's penalty corner conversion before Vandana Katariya sealed the game in India's favour with a field goal in the 50th minute.
India started on a positive note but it was USA who got the first chance in the form of a penalty corner in the 10th minute but squandered it.
Soon the Indians had the first shot at the goal but Gurjit Kaur's effort from a penalty corner missed the target.
In the 22nd minute, USA secured back-to-back penalty corners but wasted both. Vandana's twin efforts from field play in the 27th minute was defended well by USA but in the process India secured a penalty corner but to no avail.
A minute later, USA broke the deadlock through Grega who steered the ball into the goal from an Erin Matson's lofted pass from midfield, past Indian goalkeeper Bichu Devi Kharibam.
Just 45 seconds into third quarter, India drew parity through Deep Grace's penalty corner conversion before Navneet stunned the Americans with a brilliant field goal from Vandana's pass after a fine build up from the right flank.
The Indians had their chances in the form of penalty corners but wasted them.
In the 39th minute, Bichu Devi made a brilliant save to deny the Americans.
A minute later, Sonika extended India's lead with a field goal, courtesy a defensive lapse from the Americans.
USA did not give up and reduced the margin just at the stroke of the third quarter through a penalty corner conversion by Konerth.
Five minutes into the fourth and final quarter, India reclaimed their two-goal advantage when Vandana scored with a fierce shot from the right.
Thereafter, both the teams tried hard for goals, especially USA but they failed to breach the resolute Indian defence.
India and USA will again face each other in the second match of the tie on Wednesday.
Argentina has already claimed the title, finishing with 42 points from 16 matches, while India, making their debut in the tournament, are placed third with 27 points from 13 games.
Also Read : Indian junior women's hockey team holds Netherlands 2-2 in U-23 tournament
News Source : PTI
India lose 1-2 in second match as Netherlands claim FIH Pro League men's title
Rotterdam, Jun 19 (Hockey News) The Indian men's hockey team's FIH Pro League title hopes went up in smoke after suffering a hard-fought 1-2 defeat against the Netherlands in the second match of the two-leg tie here on Sunday.
India had lost 1-4 to the Dutch in the shoot-out on Saturday after both the sides finished 2-2 at the end of the regulation 60 minutes.
The Indians needed an outright win over the Netherlands to have an outside chance of clinching the tile, but it was not to be.
The Netherlands won the FIH Pro League in the men's section with 35 points from 14 games, with two games still in hand.
Olympic champions Belgium finished second with 35 points from 16 games, while India occupied the third spot with 30 points from 16 matches.
The Indians started on a strong note, taking the lead inside 30 seconds with a brilliant field goal by Abhishek.
Abhishek collected the ball in the right flank and dodged past four defenders with brilliant stickwork to push the ball past Netherlands' second goalkeeper Mauritzs Visser.
The Indians put the Dutch defence under persistent pressure from the start and dominated the early share of exchanges.
But the Netherlands forged their way into the game by levelling the scores in the seventh minute through a penalty corner conversion by Jip Janssen.
It was end-to-end hockey between the world No. 3 Netherlands and world No. 4 India, with both the teams matching each other stick for stick.
The Netherlands were patient inside the India circle, and by doing so, secured another penalty corner in the 11th minute, which Indian goalkeeper PR Sreejesh kept at bay.
The Dutchman secured three more penalty corners but failed to breach the Indian defence.
In the 16th minute India secured a PC but Harmanpreet Singh's flick was saved by the Dutch custodian.
The hosts managed another PC soon but once again veteran Sreejesh came to India's rescue.
Two minutes from half time, India managed back-to-back penalty corners but the Dutchman defended stoutly.
The third quarter too produced enthralling hockey but both teams failed to score till the 45th minute when Jorrit Croon sounded the board from a set piece to hand the hosts a 2-1 lead.
Trailing by a goal, the Indians gave their all in the fourth and final quarter, and created numerous scoring chances in the form of penalty corners but failed to avail the opportunities.
In the 47th minute, Varun Kumar's flick from a penalty corner was saved by the Dutch keeper Visser.
India had their chances, but Visser was brilliant in front of Netherlands goal, making numerous saves. Four minutes from the hooter, India secured a penalty corner, but once again wasted the chance to finish second best for the second consecutive day.
Also Read : Heartbreak for Indian men's team, loses to Netherlands in shoot-out to virtually exit from FIH Pro League title race
News Source : PTI
Heartbreak for Indian men's team, loses to Netherlands in shoot-out to virtually exit from FIH Pro League title race
Rotterdam, Jun 18 (Hockey News) The Indian men's hockey team produced a lion hearted performance before going down 1-4 to leaders the Netherlands in the shoot-out after both the sides were locked 2-2 at regulation time to virtually crash out of the title race of the FIH Pro League here on Saturday.
India are still placed third with 30 points from 15 games with just one match remaining.
The Netherlands are leading the table with 33 points from 13 games with three matches in hand, while Olympic champions Belgium are placed second with 31 points from 14 games with two matches remaining.
Breathtaking hockey was on display between two world-class teams as both India and the Netherlands fought each other in every department of the game in the entire 60 minutes.
While the Indians had the better share of ball possession, at least in the first two quarters, and went for the offensive from the onset, the Dutchmen relied more on counter-attacks to create goal-scoring opportunities.
There was also a battle of supremacy between two best goalkeepers of the world in PR Sreejesh and Pirmin Blaak.
Both Sreejesh and Blaak produced brilliant saves on numerous occasions in the first two quarters to keep their side afloat.
But it was the Netherlands who took the lead in the 10th minute when Derck de Vilder created the opportunity with some brilliant stickwork in the right flank to lay it for Tijmen Reyenga, who dribbled past two Indian defenders before slotting home past Sreejesh.
The Indians pressed the Dutch defence hard from the word go and secured two back-to-back penalty corners in the 10th minute but the home team's defence was alert to thwart the dangers.
Then, Abhishek had two brilliant chances to hand India the lead but on both occasions, Blaak came to Netherlands' rescue with breathtaking saves.
India secured another penalty corner minutes later but wasted the opportunity.
If Blaak was brilliant, veteran Sreejesh was not to be left behind as he denied the Netherlands from scoring.
India drew parity in the 22nd minute through another brilliant field goal by Dilpreet Singh from top of the circle. He used the pace of the pass from Varun Kumar to put the ball past Blaak in the bottom left corner.
The Netherlands earned their first penalty corner in the 16th minute which the Indians defended well.
After the change of ends, the Netherlands secured two more penalty corners but failed to get past the Indian defence. India too secured a penalty corner in the third quarter but wasted the opportunity.
The fourth and final quarters were no different as both the sides matched each other stick for stick to get an edge over the other.
It was the Netherlands who finally managed to get the upper hand through Koen Bijen's field strike in the 47th minute.
There was hardly anything to differentiate between the world no.3 Netherlands and world no. 4 India.
Netherlands secured two more penalty corners with little more than two minutes remaining in the game but wasted both.
With 23 seconds left from the final hooter, India earned three consecutive penalty corners, the last of which was converted by Harmanpreet Singh to level the scores at 2-2 and take the match to shoot-out.
But in the shoot-out, the Indians cut a sorry figure as Netherlands scored from four of the five chances, while only Vivek Sagar Prasad found the net for the visitors.
India and the Netherlands play again against each other in the second match of the double-leg tie on Sunday.
Also Read : Indian women's team registers famous win over Olympic silver medallist Argentina in FIH Pro League
News Source : PTI
Indian women's team registers famous win over Olympic silver medallist Argentina in FIH Pro League
Rotterdam, Jun 18 (Hockey News) Gurjit Kaur scored a brace as the Indian women's hockey team dished out a spirited performance to stun Olympic silver medallist Argentina 2-1 in the shoot-out after a 3-3 stalemate in regulation time in the first match of the double-leg FIH Pro League tie here on Saturday.
Gurjit's (37th, 61st minutes) two penalty corner conversions and Lalremsiami's (4th) field strike cancelled out Agustina Gorzelany's (22, 37th, 45th) hat-trick to take the match into the shoot-out.
In the shoot-out, Neha Goyal and Sonika scored for India, while Victoria Granatto was the lone scorer for reigning Pro League champions Argentina as the Savita Punia-led side registered a famous win and avenged their 1-2 defeat against the same opponents in the Tokyo Olympic semifinals.
The Indians started strongly in the match, dominating the early exchanges.
India put pressure on the Argentina defence early on and secured a penalty corner in the third minute but Monika's flick was saved by the opposition goalkeeper Belen Succi.
A minute later, India surged ahead through a brilliant field goal by Lalremsiami.
It was Deep Grace Ekka who created the chance with her defence splitting pass from outside the circle and Lalremsiami dodged her marker to get a brilliant touch which completely foxed the Argentine goalie.
Stunned by the goal, the Argentines came out out attacking and secured two penalty corners in succession soon but the Indian defence stood firm.
Seconds before the end of first quarter, Sharmila Devi's effort from close range from a Navneet Kaur pass was kept out by Succi. The Indians started on the same note in the second quarter but Argentina slowly and steadily got their acts together.
Six minutes into the second quarter, Argentina earned two quick penalty corners and Agustina Gorzelany scored after her flick went in after getting of deflection of Sushila Chanu's stick.
Argentina secured another penalty corner soon but Chanu made a goalline save to deny Valentina Costa.
Seconds from half-time, India too got a penalty corner but wasted the opportunity.
It was end-to-end hockey from both the sides but Argentina surged ahead this time when Gorzelany scored from a penalty stroke in the 37th minute.
Argentina's joy was short-lived as India drew parity seconds later through a perfect penalty corner conversion by Gurjit Kaur.
The Argentines continued to press hard and won two more penalty corners in the third quarter but the Indians defended stoutly.
Argentina secured their eighth penalty corner in the 45th minute and Gorzelany was bang on target to register her hat-trick and hand her side the lead again.
The Indians, however, did not give up and fought tooth and nail. Gurjit again came to her side's rescue with a brilliant penalty corner execution in the 51st minute to level the scores 3-3.
Thereafter, both the sides tried hard to score the winner but the defensive units stood tall to take the match to shoot-out.
India and Argentina will again play against each other in the second match of the tie here on Sunday.
Also Read : CWG in mind, Indian men look to end FIH Pro League campaign on high
News Source : PTI
CWG in mind, Indian men look to end FIH Pro League campaign on high
Rotterdam, Jun 17 (Hockey News) Their eyes firmly set on a podium finish in the upcoming Commonwealth Games, India would look to utilise their final 2021-2022 FIH Pro League tie against the Netherlands, starting here on Saturday, to address the grey areas.
In their previous tie against Tokyo Olympic champions Belgium in Antwerp last week, India won the first match 5-4 (3-3) in shoot-out before losing 2-3 to slid to the third position in the Pro League standings with 29 points from 14 games.
Belgium moved to the top with 31 points from 14 games -- on par with Netherlands -- who have played 12 matches.
Still in with an outside chance of finishing at the top of the standings, the Indian men would be hoping to sign off their campaign on a high against the mighty Netherlands.
But it is easier said than done as world No. 3 and reigning World Cup runners-up, the Netherlands are a formidable outfit and are expected to give the Indians a tough time in the double-leg tie.
Playing against such world-class opponents in European conditions can only benefit the Indians as they prepare for the Birmingham CWG, to be held from July 28 to August 8.
These matches are providing valuable insights to the Indian team's think tank on where it stands currently and what more needs to be done to finish on the podium in Birmingham.
Against world No.1 Belgium, the Amit Rohidas-led Indian team showed tremendous fighting spirit in both the matches, and the visitors would look to continue in the same vein against the Netherlands.
India's vice-captain and ace drag-flicker Harmanpreet Singh believed that the two overseas ties against Belgium and Netherlands will hold the side in good stead in the Birmingham Games.
"Playing back-to-back matches in Pro League has benefited us a lot. In Pro League you are playing against the 12 best teams in the world. After every match the thinking changes, the strategy changes and it is helping us a lot.
"We are learning in every aspect of the game in every match," he said.
Though India are still in with a chance of winning the league, Harmanpreet said they are just aiming to finish the campaign on a positive note. The rest depends on luck and results of other fixtures.
"It is our last two matches, we have no option but to win to be in the reckoning. There is not much difference between the top three teams but Netherlands have an edge as they still have four games remaining and Belgium have two games against England." Harmanpreet pointed out that finishing and stopping the opposition attack outside their 'D' are the two main areas on which they are focussing on ahead of the CWG.
Besides the men, the Indian women will also be in action in the weekend against Olympic silver medallist and world No. 2 Argentina, who are on a 14-match unbeaten streak.
The Indian women had lost 1-2 and 0-5 to Belgium in Antwerp last week.
Despite the defeat, the Indian women are placed third in the standings with 22 points from 10 games, behind Netherlands (32 points) and table-toppers Argentina (38).
But going into Saturday's first game, the Indian women would be low on confidence after the thrashing at the hands of Belgium last Sunday.
India captain Savita said the players ought to handle pressure if they are to book their places in the squad for the World Cup, to be held in Spain and the Netherlands from July 1 to 17.
"The players have to adapt and handle the pressure, but it's not the same everyday. Sometimes a player can let this very fact run their mind and let it affect their game because it's not easy when you're playing.
"It's easy to say don't get affected by the fact that if you will not perform and get dropped.
"Here, it was a team of 24 players first, then it got to 20 players then it had to be down to 18 players, so yes the players did feel the pressure and I think it does affect the performance.
"But no one is to blame in this scenario because we need to handle the pressure here if we want to perform in the World Cup.
"In Olympics, the team handled the pressure well, even in Bhubaneswar we got to know how the players handle the home ground pressure," she said.
Also Read : Hockey 5s can be game-changer, but won't let it take over 11-a-side: FIH
News Source : PTI
BOSS Open: Andy Murray to face Stefanos Tsitsipas in Stuttgart
(Tennis news) Andy Murray defeated Alexander Bublik 6-3 7-6 (7-4) to reach the quarter-finals of the BOSS Open in Stuttgart and will take on Greek top seed Stefanos Tsitsipas who defeated qualifier Dominic Stricker 6-3 6-4. The 35 year old Scot dropped serve twice in succession but managed to save two set points at 5-2 down as well as two games later, only to eventually recover by winning five of the last six points in the tie-break.
In the post match interview, Murray said “[Bublik] is predictable in his unpredictability. You're prepared for some amazing shots and then maybe some loose games. He played some amazing stuff for five or six games in the second set and everything was coming off. I was getting a bit frustrated but I kept fighting, held a tough game at 5-2 and then I thought I played well through to the finish."
The result meant that Murray extended his record to 3-1 against Bublik, having faced him thrice already this season. He previously defeated Bublik in Rotterdam before losing to the Russian-Kazakhstani player at the Indian Wells. Murray will be competing at Queen's Club next week, a tournament that he has previously won five times (2009, 2011, 2013, 2015, 2016) before taking part in Wimbledon from June 27.
Man United confirm appointments of McClaren and Mitchell van der Gaag
(Football news) Manchester United have confirmed the appointment of Steve McClaren and Mitchell van der Gaag in the role of assistant managers under Erik ten Hag. McClaren, who previously worked under Sir Alex Ferguson at Old Trafford from 1999 to 2001 and has previously worked alongside Ten Hag when the Dutch manager was his assistant at FC Twente. As for Van Der Gaag, he has been Erik ten Hag’s assistant at Ajax and the manager of the club’s reserve team for the last two years.
Van der Gaag’s appointment is subject to Governing Body Endorsement from the FA and a UK visa. He began his career at PSV Eindhoven and has played for NEC, Sparta Rotterdam and Utrecht as well as Scottish top flight club Motherwell for two years. The 50 year old began his coaching career at Portuguese club Maritimo followed by Belenenses. He has also worked for FC Eindhoven, Excelsior and NAC before joining Ajax in 2019.
As for McClaren, he was part of a huge successful spell at Manchester United from 1999 to 2001 followed by becoming a manager at Middlesbrough where he won the League Cup in 2004 and reached the UEFA Cup final in 2006. He was then appointed the England national team manager in May 2006 and left the role in November 2007. Speaking about Ten Hag, McClaren said “I thought I worked hard until I met Erik. His great strength lies not just in his attention to detail and organisation. He has a clear philosophy of how he wants to play football; the environment he wants to create.”
The Yorkshireman guided FC Twente to their first Eredivisie title in the club’s history, finishing ahead of Ajax by 1 point. The achievement meant McClaren was the first English manager to win a top flight title since Bobby Robson in 1996. He has also managed the likes of Nottingham Forest, Derby County, Newcastle United and Queen’s Park Rangers and was most recently working alongside Wayne Rooney as an advisor at Derby County.
India names team for FIH Women's Pro League, Savita remains captain
New Delhi, May 21 (Hockey News) India on Saturday named a 24-member women's hockey team, to be led by Savita Punia, for the European leg of the the FIH Pro League matches in Belgium and Netherlands in June.
The team will play six matches from June 11 to 22 ahead of the FIH Hockey Women's World Cup to be held in Spain and the Netherlands from July 1-17.
India play hosts Belgium on June 11 and 12 in Antwerp before shifting base to Rotterdam, the Netherlands, to face Argentina (June 18 and 19) and USA (June 21 and 22).
Savita will continue to lead the team though star striker Rani Rampal is likely to return to action after she made her last appearance at last year's Tokyo Olympics.
Rani was under rehabilitation after recovering from a prolonged hamstring injury. She was named in the Indian squad for the last two matches of the FIH Pro League in Bhubaneswar against the Netherlands last month but did not play.
Experienced defender Deep Grace Ekka will be the vice captain of the team which also has junior World Cup stars like Bichu Devi Kharibam, Ishika Chaudhary, Akshata Abaso Dhekale, Baljeet Kaur, Sangita Kumari and Deepika.
Rajini Etimarpu and Mahima Chaudhary -- who will be the captain and vice captain respectively of the Indian team for the June 4-5 FIH Women's Hockey 5s in Switzerland -- as well as Rajwinder Kaur have been named as standbys.
Talking about the team, chief coach Janneke Schopman said, "This is going to be a very important leg of Pro League matches in Europe as it will give us insights into our progress ahead of the World Cup in July.
"These matches are going to be critical in also finalizing our team for the World Cup," Schopman said.
The Indian team is currently placed second in the standings after Argentina with 22 points from eight matches with four wins, three draws and one loss.
The Team: Goalkeepers: Savita (captain), Bichu Devi Kharibam Defenders: Deep Grace Ekka (vice-captain), Gurjit Kaur, Nikki Pradhan, Udita, Ishika Chaudhary, Akshata Abaso Dhekale Midfielders: Nisha, Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam, Monika, Neha, Jyoti, Navjot Kaur, Sonika, Salima Tete, Baljeet Kaur Forwards: Vandana Katariya, Lalremsiami, Navneet Kaur, Sharmila Devi, Sangita Kumari, Deepika, Rani.
Also Read : On selection radar for South Africa series: Malik, Mohsin, DK
News Source : PTI
FIH Pro League: No major surprises in Indian team for away leg, Rohidas to lead
New Delhi, May 19 (Hockey News) Olympic medal-winning defender Amit Rohidas will continue to lead the Indian men's hockey team in the crucial last leg of the 2021-22 edition of the FIH Pro League in Belgium and the Netherlands, next month.
India are leading the FIH Pro League standings with 27 points from 12 games, three ahead of Argentina and the Tokyo Olympic bronze medallist will look to utilise the four matches to extend their domination and also get much needed match practice ahead of the Birmingham Commonwealth Games.
India will play world no. 2 Belgium on June 11 and 12 in Antwerp before facing the Netherlands on June 18 and 19 in Rotterdam.
As has been the case in the last two legs at home, star drag-flicker Harmanpreet Singh will be Rohidas' deputy.
There are no big surprises in the squad as the Indian team management continues to test various combination from the core group in the Pro League ties ahead of a busy calendar year, which includes the CWG and the World Cup next year.
Goalkeeper Kishan Bahadur Pathak has made way for Suraj Karkera as he has sustained an injury at the last minute.
In the backline, there is only one change from the last Pro League squad with Gurinder Singh, who will lead India in the inaugural FIH Hockey 5s in Lausanne on June 5 and 6, missing out.
Surender Kumar, Harmanpreet, Varun Kumar, Rohidas, Jugraj Singh and Jarmanpreet Singh make up for the rest of the defensive line-up.
Barring the exclusion of Moirangthem Rabichandra Singh and transfer of Akashdeep Singh from the forwardline, the midfield remains the same featuring experienced Manpreet Singh, Hardik Singh, Shamsher Singh, Vivek Sagar Prasad,and Nilakanta Sharma.
Gurjant Singh has come in place of Dilpreet Singh, who is part of the Hockey 5s squad, in the forwardline, which includes Mandeep Singh, Shilanand Lakra, Sukhjeet Singh, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay and Abhishek.
Speaking about the team combination, India's chief coach Graham Reid said, "This is the most important stage of the FIH Hockey Pro League with matches against the top teams of the world at their home ground. The plan is to carry forward our momentum from the home games in India." "...we continue to introspect our performance in the league so far and are focused on putting up an improved performance in Europe. The team continues to remain more or less the same with no major changes." The Indian team had beaten South Africa in the double header (10-2, 10-2), while they won one and lose one against France (5-0, 2-5).
At home, India won one and lost one game to Spain (5-4, 3-5) apart from winning 4-3 and losing 2-2 (1-3 SO) to Argentina. Recently, the team won both of its games against England, 3-3 (3-2 SO), and 4-3.
In their last two matches, India defeated Germany 3-0 and 3-1 in the double-leg matches.
Team: Goalkeepers: Suraj Karkera, Sreejesh Parattu Raveendran Defenders: Surender Kumar, Harmanpreet Singh (Vice-Captain), Varun Kumar, Amit Rohidas (Captain), Jugraj Singh, Jarmanpreet Singh Midfielders: Manpreet Singh, Hardik Singh, Shamsher Singh, Vivek Sagar Prasad, Akashdeep Singh, Nilakanta Sharma Forwards: Gurjant Singh, Mandeep Singh, Shilanand Lakra, Sukhjeet Singh, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, Abhishek.
Also Read : AHF to conduct Olympic qualifiers independently if Asiad not held by September 2023
News Source : PTI
Mitchell Van der Gaag to become assistant manager at Manchester United
(Football news) According to Fabrizio Romano, Manchester United are working towards signing Ajax assistant coach Mitchell van der Gaag to come alongside incoming new manager Erik ten Hag. Erik ten Hag was appointed as the new permanent boss at United and is set to join the club in the summer. He is currently in charge of Ajax, where he is trying to lead them to a hat-trick of Eredivisie titles.
The 52-year-old has a pressing style in his Ajax team and he intends to impose the same philosophy on his new set of players at United. This will require them to be at peak fitness in order to keep up with all the running and maintain their energy levels throughout the game. The task at hand is not an easy job as he intends to restore the glory days at Old Trafford where so many have already failed. Ten Hag has had a handful of famous names alongside him at Ajax, including 1995 Champions League winners Michael Reiziger and Winston Bogarde and former Ajax star Richard Witschge.
There are rumours flying around linking former England manager Steve McClaren being part of his new staff at United. McClaren is mostly known for his tenure as being the assistant manager to Alex Ferguson during the 1998/99 treble season and subsequently enjoyed success in Dutch football as well. It is also believed that United do not intend to table an offer for the former star striker Robin van Persie to join the backroom team. The 2012/13 Premier League title winner is currently on the coaching staff of Feyenoord and is set to continue his learning at his boyhood club.
Van der Gaag is two years younger than Ten Hag, and moved into coaching when he retired from playing in 2007. A centre-back who came through the youth academy of PSV Eindhoven, went on to play for a handful of clubs during his career, including the likes of Motherwell, Maritimo and finished off his career in Saudi Arabia. Van der Gaag returned to Maritimo as the B team coach and then he went on to manage the first-team of Belenenses, until a heart scare that saw him become unwell and collapse on the touchline during a game as he took a break from football.
He returned to coaching after two years with a short-lived spell at Cypriot club Ermis in 2015, before heading to lower league Dutch football with FC Eindhoven and then working his way up upto the first division with Excelsior Rotterdam and NAC Breda. Van der Gaag had never previously worked with Ten Hag before moving to Ajax in 2019 as Jong Ajax (Ajax youth team) head coach. The pair had previously spent time at Utrecht and De Graafschap as players. Yet it has only been a short time and they have formed a tight working relationship. It was in the summer of 2021 when Van der Gaag was promoted to Ajax first-team assistant coach to work alongside Ten Hag.
Lehecka makes his debut into the top 100 of ATP rankings
(Tennis news) Jiri Lehecka has moved up 42 places in the ATP rankings for a career best of number 95. Lehecka had made his main draw debut at the 2022 Australian Open where he lost to Grigor Dimitrov in four sets. In the recently concluded ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament at Rotterdam, the 20 year old had to battle a tough fight in the second qualifier match against Corentin Moutet who was ranked 30 places above him.
In just his second match on the ATP tour, Lehecka was facing Denis Shapovalov who is ranked 12 in the world. The victory could not have come at a better time for the tour debutant as entered the next round with a loss of eight games. The youngster went on to defeat Botic van de Zandschulp, Lorenzo Musetti and lost to Stefanos Tsitsipas in the semifinal in three sets.
As of now there is only player from Czech Republic who is in the top 100 of the rankings, the next highest ranked player after Lehecka is Tomas Machac at 115th place. The Czech number 1 has been the biggest mover of the week as Jenson Brooksby is the next as he moved 9 places to number 45.
The world number 95 is 6 feet one inch and does not have a rocket serve, at Rotterdam his fastest serve was clocked at 214 km/ hour in the semifinal and had an average of 201 km/ hour. Lehecka hit 20 aces in four matches with 7 of them coming in the final one, almost 55 percent of his first serve went in and in three matches won 70 percent of them. The right hander has an attacking game and comes to the net frequently to win points with mostly strong volleys rather than drop volleys.
Lehecka also showed moments of courage in the past week as he didn’t shy away from creating chances. The clean ball striking from the baseline allows him to come at the net as the opponent is chasing the ball or backing away from the baseline to defend it which leaves him time to prepare for the volley. The backhand is also stiff during defensive points which gives the return more speed and just above net height which reduces the opponent’s chances to continue the attack.
Players like Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek were the last stars from the country in the men’s tour. Although Berdych was one of the top players on the ATP tour a few years ago, Stepanek had found more success in the doubles competition. There are a few players on the rising players list as Lehecka is now leading among the next gen from his country.
Felix beats Tsitsipas to win first tour title at Rotterdam
(Tennis news) Felix Auger-Aliassime finally won his maiden tour title at Rotterdam as he beat Stefanos Tsitsipas in straight sets. The 1st time tour winner did not lose a single point on the first serve in the opening set and had 4 aces which gave him the best start to the final. In the second set, the world number 4 could only win 2 points on his second serve while losing 7 of them.
After taking a 5-1 lead in the second set, it was clear that there was no looking back for Felix as he was only a game away from winning the championship, both the sets did not take more than 40 minutes. 67 points had a rally length of 0-4 shots and there were only 8 points in which there were more than 9 shots.
Felix was playing in his 9th final, after taking 8 runner trophies the Canadian is now a Masters 500 winner. The pair was meeting for the 8th time with Tsitsipas winning the last five matches and the world number 9 recorded his first victory over his rival in three years. The Greek player leads their head to head meeting with 5 wins while the 21 year old has three straight set victories. It was their second meeting in a final after Marseille in 2020 which Tsitsipas won. The 23 year old was looking for his 8th title but suffered his 11th loss in a final. He is now only 2 wins away from 200 career wins and 2 more losses would mean 100 career losses.
“It has not been the smoothest road since my first final three years ago,” Auger-Aliassime said during the trophy ceremony. “It is an amazing day for me to get my first title and especially here. I played my first ATP main draw here a couple of years ago, so it is right that I won my first title here.”
Only Daniil Medvedev and Taylor Fritz have beaten Felix this season and the Russian has been able to do it twice. There will be no changes in the rankings as of now, Felix is only a few points behind 8th placed Casper Ruud. Tsitsipas needed a win in the final to reach closer to Alexander Zverev who is 500 points ahead. After winning the ATP Cup, reaching the quarterfinals of the Australian Open and now the title win puts Felix on top this season with 12 victories in 15 matches.
Lehecka one victory away from final at Rotterdam
(Tennis news) Jiri Lehecka is on a mission at Rotterdam as he sets up a semifinal clash with Stefanos Tsitsipas. Lehecka got a lucky break in the 8th game of the first set as Lorenzo Musetti hit a forehand long and the 20 year old was getting almost all of his first serves in as there were only 5 points in the second serve.
In the second set, Musetti saved all 5 breakpoints on his serve in the first game and had the right touch at the net which wrong footed the qualifier. The Italian only lost one game in the set as he took a 2-0 lead in the final set but was blown away by Lehecka after the first 4 games. The world number 137 hit 4 aces, 12 winners to win the set in 59 minutes as he advanced to the last four.
Stefanos Tsitsipas is yet to lose a match against Alex de Minaur and for the 7th time it was the Australian who ended up on the losing side. Tsitsipas’ fastest first serve was timed at 213 km/ hour as he only lost one point in the first set and somehow found a way to hit strokes so fast that even Alex could not get to it. One of the fastest players on tour, Alex could not figure how to answer the volleys by his opponent as he covered the baseline like usual. Tsitsipas defeated Alex 6-4, 6-4.
“I took my time, I tried to understand what works for me and what doesn’t, and with the right momentum, with the right intention, things kind of paid off," said Tsitsipas. "I was able to get ahead in the score, which gave me a lot of confidence, and I think my serve was very good today, it gave me a lot of points and applied a lot of pressure to him."
Andrey Rublev only lost three points on serve in the first set against Marton Fucsovics as the Russian seemed to be in his best form. Rublev’s average first serve speed was 200 km/ hour and did not give Fucsovics much time to come at the net to finish the rallies early. The 29 year old is yet to record a victory over the defending champion in three set matches and had lost to Rublev in the final here last year. The world number 7 will be up against Felix Auger-Aliassime for a place in the final. Rublev defeated Fucsovics 6-4, 6-3.
Felix can record a first victory over Rublev if he plays in the same level as the semifinal match against Cameron Norrie. The Canadian now has 10 wins this season but has been one of the rising stars over the past few tournaments. Norrie did his part but couldn’t remotely think of winning the match against the 21 year old as everytime an opportunity occurred it was broken to pieces by Felix. The world number 9 hit 42 winners of which 27 came in the second set and the forehand will have to be the same in the semifinal as the firepower it had was too good to be missed. Felix defeated Norrie 7-5, 7-6(7-4).
Felix maintains clean slate against Murray at Rotterdam
(Tennis news) Felix Auger-Aliassime is into the quarterfinals for the second time in his fourth appearance at Rotterdam. Felix had faced Andy Murray at the US Open two years and did not drop a set as he continued his dominance over the Brit. Murray lost the first four games of the match and broke serve in the 5th game to open his account. The Canadian was powering his groundstrokes through the court as he hit 22 winners as compared to 10 by the former world number one and even 14 points of 17 at the net. Felix defeated Murray 6-3, 6-4.
“From the start of the match I was ready and focused and I think that is why I was able to produce a high level from the first point,” Auger-Aliassime said in his on-court interview. “He made me bring out my best tennis and I am really happy with the way I played and that I was able to stay ahead. To win in straight sets is a great relief.”
Ilya Ivashka was facing Stefanos Tsitsipas in their first career meeting. Tsitsipas did not have any weakness against Ivashka as the Greek god had a fatal serve which got faster in the second set. The world number 4 kept the rally length to a bare minimum as he only lost a handful of first serve points, he also won 49 points in the 0-4 shots rallies and the Belarusian could only win 26. In the second set, the 23 year old took the first five games until the world number 48 pulled out a well sliced backhand shot from the baseline just over the net to avoid a bagel. Tsitsipas defeated Ivashka 6-4, 6-1.
The scoreboard was simple in the match against an established hard hitter and a rising hard hitter. Andrey Rublev and Soonwoo Kwon are 24 years old as the Russian turned professional a year before his opponent in 2014. While Rublev has played more than 300 matches on tour, Kwon is yet to cross the 100 matches mark. The South Korean had 4 breakpoints in the match and all of them were in the 7th game of the first set but failed to convert any as Rublev was leading by a break. In the second set, the world number 7 did not concede more than 2 points on his serve to enter the quarterfinal where he will face Marton Fucsovics. Rublev defeated Kwon 6-3, 6-3.
Jiri Lehecka continued his tour debut with a three set victory over Botic Van De Zandschulp. It was 3 breakpoints which overturned the whole fate of the match towards Lehecka as Zandschulp was serving, hitting and volleying better than his rival. After being dominated in the first set, the 20 year old started hitting the ball harder in the second set and in the decider he only had 5 unforced errors as opposed to 17 by the world number 51. Lehecka defeated Zandschulp 1-6, 6-4, 6-4.
Murray beats Bublik at Rotterdam, Musetti overcomes Hurkacz
(Tennis news) Andy Murray announced his comeback into the top 100 with a victory over Alexander Bublik at Rotterdam. Bublik could only win 10 points out of 31 in his second serve although the average speed was more than 180 km/ hour. Murray was down a break at 6-5 in the opening set but broke back for a tie break, the former world number 1 was in the lead but the Kazakh had the drop shots to make it close enough. The world number 35 even fended off a breakpoint in the opening game of the first with a surprise under arm serve mixed up with a forehand dropshot.
The three time Grand Slam winner was forced to come to the net but did chase down most of them. A backhand cross court pass gave him the break in the second set as it was all over for the first time tour winner. Murray defeated Bublik 7-6(8-6), 6-4.
“There were some tough moments in the first set for both of us,” said wildcard Murray after the match. “I just managed to come through at the end of it. Some great returns off some big second serves from him at the end and I did a good job. It’s not easy playing against someone like that, huge serves, a lot of drop shots and you’ve got to keep your focus and I did that well tonight.”
Lorenzo Musetti learned his lessons after a straight loss to Hurbert Hurkacz at Wimbledon last year. Musetti gained the momentum at the crucial points as Hurkacz was broken in the opening game which was enough in the first set. In the second set, both players were holding serve until the Polish number one won 8 of the last points of the set to break serve and win the set. Four unforced errors by the world number 11 in the eighth game gave the teenager a chance to serve for the match which he finished with an ace clocked at 212 km/hour. 6-3, 5-7, 6-3.
Cameron Norrie and Karen Khachanov had played against each other four times last year, the Russian was 2-0 in hardcourts including at Rotterdam while the Brit was 2-0 in clay. This time it was the left hander who secured his first hard court victory over the 25 year old, the 6th seed got his first victory of the season in the 5th match after a first round loss at Australia. If Khachanov was moving up ahead of the serve it was also bringing him down with 8 aces and 3 double faults. The world number 28 took a 4-1 lead in the second set but could not convert any further chances as Norrie came back to level it to 4-4. In the tie break, two double faults by the 25 year old gave the world number 13 his 104th career victory. Norrie defeated Khachanov 6-4, 7-6(7-5).
Felix Auger-Aliassime came back from a set down against Egor Gerasimov in the opening round. The qualifier got the first break in the 5th game which helped him to get a headstart to the match, in the second set the 21 year old took 4 games to take the set under 40 minutes. In the deciding set, Gerasimov lost 7 of his 11 second serves and could not make a change at the net as he lost his 5th match in 7 matches. Felix defeated Gerasimov 3-6, 6-2, 6-2.
Shapovalov and Karatsev suffer shock exit at Rotterdam
(Tennis news) It was a dream ATP tour debut for Jiri Lehecka who turned professional two years ago. The 20 year old looked eager to set the tone against Denis Shapovalov in the 1st round at Rotterdam, Lehecka broke the Canadians serve in the third game and went on to save three breakpoints in the 6th game. Shapovalov was serving better and even had more winners but could not dismantle the qualifier’s serve, he had 11 breakpoints in the match but could only win one.
In the second set, the world number 12 served two double faults to lose the opening game but broke back for the first time in the match. The left hander could not get his groundstrokes under control during the breakpoints even though he had a much better serve. In the 5th game when the 22 year old had to defend two breakpoints instead of a defensive approach, an aggressive forehand went too long as the rally was cut short and gave another break to the world number 137. Lehecka defeated Shapovalov 6-4, 6-4.
Aslan Karatsev had countless chances to finish the match against Tallon Griekspoor but it was not meant to be. The Russian had 4-2 lead in all the three sets but could only close out the deal in the opening set after which the wildcard entry recorded his third top 15 victory at Rotterdam. Griekspoor had defeated Stan Wawrinka in 2018, in the next year he defeated Karen Khachanov and this year it was another Russian in the target this time. The 25 year old saved two match points in the 9th game of the third set as he also won 7 straight points in the tie break. Karatsev ended the match with a broken racquet in his first time at Rotterdam. Griekspoor defeated Karatsev 2-6, 7-6 (7-2), 7-6(7-0).
Defending champion Andrey Rublev found competition among the heavy hitting groundstrokes as Henri Laaksonen hit as many winners as the Russian. Rublev only hit 9 unforced errors and won 11 of the 13 netpoints to complete a win in an hour. The 24 year old was playing in his second event of the season after a third round exit at the Australian Open, he even hit a backhand volley which spun back into his side of the court which was the highlight of the match. Rublev defeated Laaksonen 6-4, 6-4.
Stefanos Tsitsipas served 15 aces including 7 in the second set against Alejandro Davidovich Fokina. Both players were engaging in high intensity rallies as there were also consistent net plays in the first two sets. Fokina has now lost three opening matches out of 4 events in the 2022 season so far, the 22 year old had a chance to take the first set when he was serving at 5-4 but could only win two points in the game. The world number 46 again made a comeback in the second from 2-4, he only conceded a single point while winning the tiebreak. In the 7th game of the final set, Fokina saved a breakpoint then was a point away from holding serve but a backhand into the net gave Tsitsipas the lead. Tsitsipas defeated Fokina 7-5, 6-7(1-7), 6-4.
Verdasco gets first tour victory in 9 months at Argentina Open
(Tennis news) The clay court fest continued in Argentina as the matches began at Argentina Open in Buenos Aires with many former top ten players set to start their season here. Fernando Verdasco had to wait 9 months for a tour victory as his previous victory at Belgrade in May over Adrian Mannarino, this time it was over Hugo Dellien. The qualifier had to retreat in the first set as the Spaniard’s forehands blazed across the red dirt, in the second set the forehand was still leaving Hugo vulnerable but he managed to level the score.
In the decider, the 28 year old broke serve to get the first game of the set but that was it as the former world number 7 showed pure strength and class to proceed to the next round. Verdasco is playing at the event for the 4th time and has never recorded more than one victory in the past. Verdasco defeated Hugo 6-4, 3-6, 6-1.
Dusan Lajovic was hell bent on avoiding his 200th career loss as he saved 3 match points against Benoit Paire in a thrilling opening match encounter. Paire has now lost the last three matches on tour, the 32 year old took the first with trademark drop volleys and backhands that put the Serbian in defence mode. In the second set, the Frenchmen had three points and even missed an overload as Lajovic not only covered the court with speed but returned the balls in pressure to win the set.
In the final set, Paire again had chances at 5-3 and 5-4 but the balls were landing at the right spot. He was serving for the match at 6-5 when he lost four points at serve as the match went for a tiebreak, the first four points were won by the 31 year old and then had 3 match points which ultimately led him to victory. Lajovic defeated Paire 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(7-3).
Pablo Cuevas played his first match of the season which did not end in his favour. The 36 year old lost 5 consecutive games in the first set as Federico Coria was on his way for a second victory over Cuevas in as many meetings. In the second set, Coria lost the first three games and then won his first game as Cuevas again won the next three to take the set. The 29 year old continued to impress the crowd as he was picking up balls well outside of the court and even had a dive in the match. The youngster played a strong backhand return and followed it up with a cheeky disguised forehand drop shot to take the break in the final set. The single break gave the road for victory as Coria will next face Lajovic in the fourth round. Coria defeated Cuevas 6-1, 1-6, 6-3.
De Minaur and Mackenzie set up round 16 clash at Rotterdam
(Tennis news) The opening matches of the ABN Amro World Tennis Tournament saw seeds and wildcards being knocked out of the event. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Nikoloz Basilashvili were beaten in their opening matches. Hubert Hurkacz started the season with three victories at the ATP Cup then had a shocker at Australia as he exited in the second round. At Rotterdam, the 24 year old was against wildcard Tsonga who was serving as good as his younger opponent. A counter punch backhand by Hurkacz in the 10th game broke Tsonga’s serve as he lost the set even though lost the final crucial points.
In the second set, the Polish number one continued serving well but Tsonga too did not give away any breaks this time and even had set points in the tie breaker. This time the world number 11 again took the final few points to win the match, he came to the net 21 times and only lost 1 point as Tsonga failed to beat his volleys. Hurkacz defeated Tsonga 6-4, 7-6(9-7).
Cameron Norrie got his first victory in the 5th match of the season as he beat Ugo Humbert to go 1 all in their head to head meetings. Norrie started by winning the first 4 games of the match, Humbert was not able to get the finish he wanted at the net. The Frenchmen could only win one point out of 12 against Norrie’s first serve and lost more than half of his first serves. The world number 13 faced resistance in the second set as he was down 1-4 as Humbert began to finish points from the baseline and increased his second serve speed. The 23 year old had his chances at 4-2 and 4-4 but the Brit upped his defense and took the last five games of the match to advance to the next round. Norrie defeated Humbert 6-2, 6-4.
Alex De Minaur has so far lost two matches this year and both were against top 10 players. The 22 year old picked up his 6th victory of the season by beating David Goffin in which he bageled the Belgian in the opening set. De Minaur did not let Goffin win any of the second serves as the 31 year old lost all of his second serves in the opening set, the Australian won 7 straight games in the match. In the second set, Goffin broke serve to take a 2-1 lead in a marathon game but the lead was short lived as his service got broken the very next game. The world number 34 again broke serve in the 8th game and served out the match in an hour and 13 minutes. De Minaur defeated Goffin 6-0, 6-3.
Alexander Bublik wins first ATP tour title at Montpellier
(Tennis news) Alexander Bublik finally secured his first ATP tour title in his fifth final as he beat Alexander Zverev 6-4, 6-3 in the Open Sud de France at Montpellier. Bublik also recorded his first victory over a top 5 opponent and his second victory over Zverev after beating him at Rotterdam last year.
Bublik broke Zverev’s serve in the ninth game with superb defense which pressurized the German into making two unforced errors, the first one was an overhead at the net and the second one was a forehand into the net. Bublik put up with two overheads to break Zverev who was about to smash the racquet, if it was defense which gave the crucial break then the strategy was turned into offense for the final game of the set.
The six foot five inch player started attacking from the start in the second set and was also covering the court better than the first set. With a couple of forehand disguised drop shots, Bublik won the 5th and 6th game as Zverev lost eight points in a row. Bublik had a huge smile and jumped up in the air in celebration after winning the final point. Meanwhile Zverev will have to wait in line for his 20th title, the world number 3 was facing Bublik for the second time and is yet to take a set off his opponent.
Zverev had won the title here in 2017 and reached the semifinals the previous year as this was his third appearance in the main draw. He was on a six match winning streak at finals and had last lost a final at the 2020 Paris Masters 1000 to Daniil Medvedev. Zverev now has 10 career runner up finishes.
“I played four finals before and in the fifth final I have won against a great player against Sascha,” Bublik said. “It is great. All my games together. I was serving well and returned well and kept my nerve. I was lucky in the moments and when I had my chances I used them.”
With the title win the Kazakh moved to four places ahead in the rankings for his highest rank of 31. Having had a personal best of 35 wins last year, Bublik will certainly aim for more wins and enter the top 20 rankings this year. He will next play at Rotterdam in the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament where he will be playing against wildcard Andy Murray in the opening match.
Also read: Bopanna-Ramkumar pair lift Tata Open trophy
Bopanna-Ramkumar pair lift Tata Open trophy
Pune, Feb 6 (Tennis News) India's Rohan Bopanna and Ramkumar Ramanathan won their second ATP World Tour title together after pipping the top seeded Australian pair of Luke Saville and John-Patrick Smith in the final of the Tata Open Maharashtra, here on Sunday.
The second-seeded Indians erased the first set deficit to win 6-7(10) 6-3 10-6 in one hour and 44 minutes.
Bopanna and Ramkumar had combined as a team on the ATP Tour for the first time at the Adelaide event last month in the run-up to the Australian Open and won the trophy.
For Bopanna, it was his 21st ATP doubles title while for Ramkumar it is his second trophy at this level and it will push him inside doubles top-100 for the first time in his career.
They split USD 16370 as prize money and earned 250 ranking points each.
Bopanna had won this event with compatriot Divij Sharan in 2019.
Still going strong at an age of 41, Bopanna said it's his years of playing experience that is helping him out in the circuit.
"A lot is to do with experience, which you really bring in, years and years of experience and the biggest thing is my body is feeling very very good at the moment," Bopanna said after the match.
"I did a lot of yoga which has helped me tremendously and I am very thankful to my Yoga Teacher (Mohan) in Bangalore which has made such a difference for me and I can try something new at this age.
"It has made a difference and that really shows as long as I am playing matches, competing and doing something that is physically appealing. May be at the practice court I may not be giving my 100% but as long as I am feeling good and go out their and enjoying the pace as currently right now." Asked to compare the two titles that they have won together, Bopanna said performing before the home crowd was tough while in Adelaide no one watched them.
"Both are extremely special but anytime you win a title at home it's lot more pressures. In Adelaide no one was really watching, but here there were lot more expectations and especially coming here with a win people expected an automatic win which wasn’t easy but at that tie break the crowd really helped.
"You just get that extra boost, that extra energy. Even if your legs are feeling tiered that’s the energy you need to hit the serve especially for me. Winning in India is always especial and especially with an Indian partner is truly truly great." Ramkumar said he now wants to play ATP 500 event in Dubai and for that wil try to do well in the the upcoming two Challengers in Bengaluru.
"Let's see if there is a chance to get in Dubai and hope I can play that," said the 27-year-old.
Ramkumar said everyone believed in his game and that gave him confidence in this tournament.
"Coming from Bops (Bopanna) who always believes in me, my coaches and every one who have always believe in me and said you play well and that just keeps me going.
"I just have to work on a few thing on court and just keep competing at this level as much as I can which will improve my game and automatically the ranking," he said.
Big serves marked the beginning of the contest with only Ramkumar and Luke losing a point each in the first four games.
Bopanna's volley error on a return from Luke made it 30-all in the fifth game but Ramkumar pulled off an ace and followed that up with another huge serve to hold for a 3-2 lead.
The Indian team had got a chance to break Patrick-Smith's serve in the next game when Luke made an error while attempting an overhead volley at 40-30 but the opportunity could not be utilised as the Australian pulled of a big serve on the deuce point.
The Australians also created break opportunity on Ramkumar's serve in the ninth game when they found two service return winners and the Indian serving a doubler fault at 40-30 but the home team managed to hold.
A comfortable hold at love by Patrick-Smith made it 5-5.
Eventually a tie-break was required for deciding the first set. Both the teams had a number of set points as the Indians squandered two chances and the Australians three before converting their fourth.
They got the chance when Bopanna made an unforced error at 10-all and Ramkumar netted a forehand on set point.
In the second set, the Indian duo needed a good start and they got it by breaking Luke's serve in the third game when the Australian made a volley error on deuce point.
Bopanna saved a break chance on his serve in the next game to keep their nose ahead. Patrick-Smith was serving to stay in the set in the ninth game and was broken to allow the Indian team force a Super Tie Breaker.
At 30-all, an engrossing rally ensued between the two pairs. Luke blinked to give Indian first set point which they converted when Bopanna dispatched a volley winner with ease.
Bopanna and Ramkumar dominated the STB to secure the title.
Also Read : Rublev and Tsitsipas getting ready for rematch at Rotterdam
News Source : PTI
Rublev and Tsitsipas getting ready for rematch at Rotterdam
(Tennis news) ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament, Rotterdam will begin from February 7th as the qualifiers will start from today. The first ATP Masters 500 event of the season will see the top players battle in the Netherlands, the main draw list has been published and the four qualifiers will be decided in two days. Stefanos Tsitsipas and Andrey Rublev will be playing their first event after the Australian Open as the Greek good will be ready to avenge last year’s semi final loss against the Russian. Here are the top players to watch out for in Rotterdam.
Tsitsipas was well in form at Australia reaching the semifinals until Daniil Medvedev ended his run. Medvedev will not be seen in action for a week and Alexander Zverev is currently at Montpellier which makes the world number 3 the top seed of the event. Tsitsipas had reached the semifinals last year by beating Karen Khachanov and Hubert Hurkacz on the way. The 23 is six wins short of 200 career victories and can face Alex De Minuar in the quarterfinals.
The Russian started his season at Australia with a below par performance against Marin Cilic in the third round. The world number 7 dropped a place after the performance and needs to defend his title to protect his rankings. Rublev has won 142 matches in hardcourts against 85 losses and 6 of his titles have come on this surface. The 24 year old will be playing for the fourth time and has at least reached the quarterfinals in his last three appearances. He will start against a qualifier and has the possibility of facing Aslan Karatsev in the quarterfinals.
Felix already has 7 wins in his pocket within a month of the 2022 season. The Canadian showed unreal guts while winning the ATP Cup and was a point away from making it to the semifinal at Australia. He lost in the first round at Rotterdam last year but was the runner up to Gael Monfils two years ago.
The world number 12 started the season with a loss against Daniel Evans then had a 7 match winning streak which was snapped by Rafael Nadal at Australia. Shapovalov will be playing at Rotterdam for the third time, in 2020 he came back without a win and in 2019 reached the quarterfinals. He and Feilix have the most wins in this season amongst those playing at Rotterdam.
Majchrzak knocks out second see Musetti from Tata Open
Pune, Feb 4 (Tennis News) Kamil Majchrzak pulled off the second big upset of the tournament by knocking second seed Lorenzo Musetti out of the Tata Open Maharashtra with a three-set win, here on Friday.
Returning extremely well and using the drop shots quite effectively, the 95th ranked Polish player eked out a 6-2 7-6(5) 6-4 win over the world number 66 in two hours and 13 minutes to advance to the semifinals.
The top seed and world number 15 Aslan Karatsev has already exited the event after defeat in the second round at the hands of qualifier Elias Ymer.
Musetti faced a breakpoint in the sixth game after going up 40-15 and dropped serve when his cross court forehand went wide. It was tᨊhe Polish player's returns along with excellent court coverage that opened up the opportunity.
Majchrzak came out serving next game at love to lead 5-2.
Serving to stay in the set, the young Italian began with a forehand error and ended with a backhand error.
The unforced errors continued to flow from Musetti's racquet as he was trying too hard but he managed to hold his serve in the beginning of the second set, coming out with two big serves at 30-all.
Majchrzak, though, was not only returning well he also came out serving extremely well to keep the match under his control.
Serving at 2-3 and up 40-30, Musetti served a double fault but returned well to win the deuce point but again unforced error made it back to deuce.
Musetti got his first break opportunity in the next game when he found a passing single backhand winner at 30-all but netted the forehand on next point to let go of advantage.
In the absence of a break, the second set went into a tie-breaker, in which Musetti led 4-2. Soon he had three set points. He spoilt the first two but Mazchrzak double faulted on the third to make it one-set all.
The Italian teenager managed to contain his unforced errors and also served well in the decider. Serving first, he stayed ahead, holding his serves comfortably.
Majchrzak also kept it simple and apart from his huge serves, his use of drop shots to cut short points and intermittent charge at the net was pretty impressive.
In the ninth game, at 30-30, Musetti hit a backhand long to face first break chance of the third set but used his backhand slices well to stave off the danger.
Majchrzak returned a backhand on far right of Musetti to earn another break chance, which was converted when the Italian made a return error.
Serving for the match, the Polish player saved two break chances with serve and volley before closing the match with a back hand volley winner on his third match point.
Also Read : Murray and Tsonga accept wildcards for Rotterdam, Medvedev opts out
News Source : PTI
Murray and Tsonga accept wildcards for Rotterdam, Medvedev opts out
(Tennis news) The first Masters 500 event of the season has announced former champions Andy Murray and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga accepting the wildcards at Rotterdam. ABN Amro World Tennis Tournament will start from February 7th as players get ready for either dropping or gaining valuable points. There are two more Masters 500 events this month as many players will play 2 of them because of the lack of time gap between the events.
Tsonga was last seen playing 24 hours ago when he was defeated early at Montpellier. The Frenchman had won the title at Rotterdam 5 years ago while not dropping a set until the final against David Goffin. The 36 year old was the runner up to Robin Soderling in 2011 and is making a comeback at the event after a 2 year gap. Tsonga last reached a final three years ago when he won the title at Metz and ended the year ranked 35; currently he is ranked 259 and a return to the 100 feels like a distant dream.
Andy Murray had made his debut at the event 14 years back and the title win in 2009 was his 10th career title win. Murray had lost to eventual champion Andrey Rublev last year in the 4th round after a five year absence. The former world number one made his first final in over three years this year at Sydney and has already played two 3+ plus hour matches in which the second one was 8 minutes short of the 4 hour mark. His fitness has improved from last year so he is expected to play a lot more matches.
Daniil Medvedev will not be seen on court for a few days as he announced that he would not be playing at Rotterdam. The Russian had been brutally honest after the 2022 Australian Open final, it is not clear when he will be back but might act differently with the crowd this time. The world number 2 had reached the quarterfinals in his debut here in 2018 then made the semifinals next year but over the past two years he has lost in the opening match.
“Unfortunately I will not play in Rotterdam this year,” Medvedev said. “I just got back from Australia and am not ready to compete. Rotterdam is one of the favourite stops on the Tour and Richard does a great job for the players there. I look forward to coming back in the future.”
Fabio Fognini and Benoit Paire looking to end title drought next season
(Tennis news) The 2021 season saw a lot of next gen players taking the centre stage as the older players struggled to get their form on court. There have been some players who have had a poor run this season which saw their rankings drop and though they are expected to hit back the critics next season, it is a sign of the dominance of the latest sensations on court. Given below are some of the players who couldn't get their mojo up and working.
Fabio Fognini: Italy
The 34 year old is the second oldest in the list but has won the most titles among the four. This season, he finished with 22 wins and 22 losses, his last title came 2 years ago at Monte Carlo Masters 1000. The Italian team was the runner up in the ATP Cup where Fognini won two matches out of four, he lost to Denis Novak of Austria who was ranked 100 at the time. Fognini began the year ranked 17 and ended the season ranked 37. He is known for his comebacks at the Grand Slams and usually has a powerful groundstroke with minor movement but his on court behaviour has been known to create issues. He was the world number 9 two years ago which remains his best till date.
Benoit Paire: France
Paire is known for his backhand drop shots which has a great amount of spin and his powerful forehand return of serve which has been measured upto 183 km/ hour. He has a huge swing for his forehand and a very unorthodox style of play, he is known to play it too casually sometimes. Paire won his last title in 2019 at Lyon and reached the finals at Auckland last year, but this year he hasn't been able to progress beyond the quarterfinals. Paire has played 43 matches this year in which he won 13 of them and was ranked at 28 at the start of the year, now he is in 46th position.
Adrian Mannarino: France
The only left hander in the list, Mannarino has a shorter swing than Fognini in his forehand but is also known for his backhand dropshots from the baseline. Mannarino most famous dropshot was in 2017 at Rome against Pablo Cuevas where he hit a backhand drop shot from the baseline which made a bounce on the other side of the court and spun back into his own court. Mannarino is a crafty left hander, his best finish this year came at Mallorca where he reached the semifinals. His first title came 2 years ago and then reached a final last year which was his 9th career runner up finish. This year he won 14 matches out of the 40 played which resulted in his ranking drop from 34 in the start of the year to 71 by the end of the season.
Grigor Dimitrov: Bulgaria
The only one handed backhand player in the list, Dimitrov played 42 matches this season in which he won 24 of them. His best run came at the Indian Wells where he reached the semifinals defeating Daniil Medvedev in the fourth round. Dimitrov started the year by reaching three consecutive quarterfinals, at the Australian Open he defeated Dominic Thiem in the fourth round even bageling the world number in the third set. After that his best winning streak was 2 matches for a few months until in San Diego and Indian Wells where he reached back to back semifinals. The Bulgarian last won a title in 2017 at the Nitto ATP Finals and last reached a final three years back at Rotterdam. Dimitrov started the year with a ranking of 19 and now is 28th, his career best ranking of 3 came four years back.
Domene's hat-trick hands Argentina second Junior Hockey WC title
Bhubaneswar, Dec 5 (Hockey news) Lautaro Domene struck a hat-trick as a determined Argentina stunned six-time champions Germany 4-2 to clinch their second FIH Junior Men's Hockey World Cup title at the Kalinga Stadium here on Sunday.
Domene converted three penalty corners in the 10th, 25th and 50th minute, while Franco Agoistini (60th) scored a field goal just seconds from the final hooter to hand Argentina their second title.
Julius Hayner (36th) and Mas Pfandt (47th) were the goal getters for Germany.
Argentina had earlier won the title way back in 2005 in Rotterdam where they defeated Australia 2-1.
The Argentines were by far the better side on display in the first quarter as they dominated the game by pressing hard on the German defence.
As has been their game, the Germans sat back and waited for counterattacks.
But Germany's ploy backfired as Argentina took the lead in the 10th minute through Domene from a penalty corner.
Argentina doubled their lead in the 25th minute when Domene once again found the back of the net from a penalty corner to go into half time leading 2-0.
But the Germans came out a completely different side after the change of ends and and managed to reduce the margin in the 36th minute through a field strike by Hayner.
Trailing by a goal and with just 15 minutes remaining, the Germans continued to attack and drew level in 47th minute when Pfandt scored from a set piece.
But it was not to be Germany's day as Domene struck again from a set piece in the 50th minute before Agostini scored from a field effort just at the stroke of the final hooter to shatter Germany's seventh title hopes.
Earlier in the day, defending champions India lost 1-3 to France to finish fourth in the competition.
Also Read : India lose to France 1-3 to finish 4th in Jr Hockey WC
News Source : PTI
Grigor Dimitrov struggling with his form on tour, drops out of top twenty in rankings
(Tennis news) Grigor Dimitrov is currently ranked 28th in the world and is one of the most athletic players on tour. Dimitrov has played 35 matches this year so far while winning 20 of them, he has a similar playing style like Roger Federer and has an elegant backhand just like him.
Dimitrov has been one among many who have been in the shadows because of the dominance of the big four. His best performance in the last two years came at the 2019 US Open where he defeated Roger Federer for the first time to reach the semifinals. Since then Dimitrov has failed to reach any final of any tournament and this year reached the quarterfinals of the Australian Open beating Dominic Thiem on the way.
Dimitrov had reached the last four at San Diego Open which was his only last four appearance this year. He last reached a final of a tournament in 2018 at Rotterdam where he lost to Federer and last won a title in 2017 which was the Nitto ATP Finals. Since then Dimitrov has struggled with his form, even though he has been reaching the last eight in few of the tournaments it has been tough for him to shine at the big stage.
Dimitrov is currently playing at the Indian Wells and has reached the fourth round for the first time. He is one of the most talented players on tour but has always struggled with consistency throughout his career, with the next gen winning Grand Slams and slowly taking over the game will be causing trouble to the generation who are in the middle. Dimitrov turned 30 this year although he is much younger than the big three, he has to prove himself against the next generation. Given his talent he can do much more for sure and there is still a lot left in him.
Dimitorv has a single handed backhand which is fast and has an effective slice but the best part in his game is his athleticism and the ability to stretch. He has been known to perform trickshots at the net but will have to step up and start winning titles again. With his experience, he can dominate the game and still has time to capture a Grand Slam as he knows what it takes, having come close on many occasions. Dimitrov will face Daniil Medvedev in his next match at Indian Wells, looking at Medvedev he will know that opportunities are taken by force in this sport.
Jannik Sinner wins the Sofia Open for the second time
(Tennis news) Jannik Sinner defended his title at the Sofia Open as he beat Gael Monfils in straight sets. Sinner has won three titles this season and all of them in hardcourts, he has now entered the top ten rankings and is the youngest of the group.
Sinner has faced Monfils at the US Open in the third round and has three victories over Monfils in four matches. Sinner played aggressively right from the start in the final as Gael kept returning the ball, Sinner kept hitting forehands across the court to take the first set. In the second set, Monfils came into form as he hit speeding forehands and even slam dunked a smash but Sinner’s form was not affected as he came into the net to finish off points against Monfils. Sinner defeated Monfils 6-3, 6-4.
Monfils has had a rough year as he is yet to win a title, his last title came a year back at Rotterdam. The 35 year old has reached the finals for the first time this year and his best performance at Metz where he reached the semifinals losing to Pablo Carreno Busta. As for Sinner, his first title came at the same tournament a year back and has won multiple titles this year and now has a chance to play in the world tour finals given his performance at the handful of tournaments left in the season.
Sinner started the year with a title at Melbourne and then reached the quarterfinals in Dubai but his highlight was reaching the finals of the Miami Masters 1000 where he lost to Hubert Hurkacz. He also reached the semifinals in Barcelona and the fourth round of the French Open. The 20 year old has already qualified for the Next Gen ATP finals which will begin next month, he won it in 2019 and can continue his winning streak at home in Italy.
Sinner had won the title here last year beating Vasek Pospisil in the final and this time had not dropped a set while capturing the title. With his third title of the year, Sinner has slowly transformed himself into a probable for the majors next year. This season has seen the youngsters play the major role in most of the events, especially in the second half of the year. With one more month to go in the tennis calendar, Sinner will look to climb up the rankings ladder.
Grigor Dimitrov records first victory over Marton Fucsovics at San Diego Open
(Tennis news) Grigor Dimitrov so far has had a disappointing year after a good start in the opening few months. He had reached the quarterfinals in the Melbourne Open and defeated Dominic Thiem in the Australian Open to reach the quarterfinals but since then has had nine victories and 11 losses. He has not yet reached the last four in any tournament and hasn’t won a title since 2017.
He faced Marton Fucsovics in the opening match, an opponent he has played twice and lost both the matches but this time Dimitrov gave a glimpse of his attacking game as he struck winners from the forehand and backhand. His athletic game was not on display but his strokes were fast and on point which was enough to beat Marton. Dimitrov defeated Marton 6-3, 1-6, 7-5.
Dimitrov will next face Felix Auger-Aliassime and has a similar history with the young Canadian. Dimitrov has lost both the matches against him and is yet to take a set, their last meeting was at Rotterdam in the fourth round.
Diego Schwartzman did not let US Open quarter finalist Llyod Harris stage an upset as he recorded his second victory over Harris after the first round win in the Australian Open last year. Schwartzman is one of the fastest movers on court and was competing against an equally quick player as there were long rallies with the players running from one end to the other, a single break in the first two sets gave them a set a piece. In the final set, Schwartzman broke Harris in the very first game and continued his form till the last point to set up a match with Andrey Rublev. Schwartzman defeated Harris 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.
Schwartzman faced Rublev at the Laver Cup this year as the Russian finished on top and their previous meeting was at the 2017 French Open in a first round marathon with Schwartzman going into the second round.
Rublev showed no mercy against wildcard Brandon Nakashima as there umpteen winners coming from Rublev. Brandon had reached the finals at La Cabos and Atlanta and even beat John Isner at La Cabos in the semifinal and at the US Open 1st round but lost to him at the Atlanta finals. This time there was no scope for a win as he couldn’t handle the power of Rublev who kept thrashing the ball leaving no option for Brandon but to watch it go across him. Rublev defeated Brandon 6-2, 6-1.
Fresh off from winning the title at the Moselles Open, Hubert Hurkacz continued his winning run in San Diego as he beat Alex Bolt in the first round to set up a first time meeting with Aslan Karatsev. Hubert looked fresh from the start as he tackled strong forehands from Bolt as the first set needed a tie breaker to settle the scores, Hubert’s supreme net play won him the first set. In the second set, Hubert played with the same energy as Bolt began to falter from the start which gave Hubert an early lead which he maintained till the end to beat the left handed qualifier. Hubert defeated Bolt 7-6 (7-2), 6-1.
Kohli, Rohit static in ODI batting chart, Bumrah 5th among bowlers
Dubai, May 26 India skipper Virat Kohli and his deputy Rohit Sharma held on to their second and third positions respectively in the batting chart, while pacer Jasprit Bumrah remained static at number five in the bowling list of the latest ICC ODI player rankings issued on Wednesday.
Kohli and Sharma were sitting pretty with 857 and 825 points respectively in the batting list headed by Pakistan's Babar Azam with 865 points.
In bowling, Bumrah was at the 5th position with 690 points, while New Zealand's Trent Boult was atop with 737 points, followed by Bangladesh's Mehidy Hasan (725), Afghanistan's Mujeeb Ur Rahman (708) and Kiwi pacer Matt Henry (691).
Bangladesh off-spinner Hasan became only the third bowler from his country to be ranked among the top two after a fine showing in the first two matches of their ongoing World Cup Super League series against Sri Lanka.
Hasan has advanced three places to reach the second position after returning figures of four for 30 and three for 28 bowling with the new ball.
All-rounder Shakib Al Hasan had grabbed the number one position in 2009 for the first time, while left-arm spinner Abdur Razzak is the other Bangladesh bowler to have been in the top two, reaching the second position in 2010.
Left-arm fast bowler Mustafizur Rehman is another one from Bangladesh to move up the list, his hauls of three for 34 and three for 16 lifting him eight places to ninth position.
Mushfiqur Rahim, player of the match in both ODIs, has moved up four places to a career-best 14th position after scoring 84 and 125. His best position has been fifth, which he had attained in December 2018.
Mahmudullah has advanced two places to 38th position after his scores of 54 and 41.
For Sri Lanka, fast bowler Dushmantha Chameera's haul of three for 44 in the second match has lifted him 11 places to joint-61st along with compatriot PWH de Siva, who too has advanced eight places.
Dhananjaya de Silva (up nine places to 83rd) and Lakshan Sandakan (up nine places to 94th) are among the other bowlers to gain in the latest weekly update that also includes performances in the two-match series between the Netherlands and Scotland.
Scotland batsman Richard Berrington's knock of 41 in the first match of the series played in Rotterdam has lifted him two places to joint-72nd while the Netherlands’ opener Max O’Dowd’s 102-ball 82 in the same match sees him progress 11 places to 150th.
Scotland's new-ball bowler Alasdair Evans has moved up 10 places to 89th after his five-wicket haul in the second match helped his team draw the series 1-1. New source PTI