Nadal, Kyrgios and Norrie reach Wimbledon quarter-finals
(Tennis news) Rafael Nadal reached his eighth Wimbledon quarter-final after defeating Dutchman Botic van de Zandschulp 6-4 6-2 7-6 (8-6) in two hours and 22 minutes at the Centre Court. The 36 year old Spaniard remains on course for a calendar slam and will now face Taylor Fritz in the quarter-finals. In the on-court interview after the match, Nadal said “I am a little bit tired to talk about my body. Sometimes I am tired about myself and all the issues that I am having. I prefer to not talk about that now. Sorry for that.
"But I am in the middle of the tournament and I have to keep going. All respect for the rest of the opponents. I am just trying my best every single day. For the moment I am healthy enough to keep going and fight for the things that I want. It takes a lot of mental and physical effort to try to play this tournament after the things that I went through the last couple of months. But as everybody knows, Wimbledon is a tournament that I like so much. I have been three years without playing here. I really wanted to be back. That's what I am doing. So that's why it means a lot for me to be in the quarter-finals."
Taylor Fritz defeated Australia's Jason Kubler 6-3 6-1 6-4 to set up a match against Nadal in the quarter-finals. The 24 year old hasn’t dropped a single set at the tournament yet and won his eighth straight victory on the grass surface, having played at Eastbourne before Wimbledon began. Speaking after the match, Fritz said “My first Grand Slam quarter-final, that's really a big deal. Part of the final eight and... I'm glad I could get the win on the Fourth of July, being American."
In other results, Nick Kyrgios also reached the quarter-finals after a five set win over Brandon Nakashima, winning 4-6 6-4 7-6 (7-2) 3-6 6-2. The Australian tennis player was on his best behaviour after a fiery clash with Stefanos Tsitsipas and successfully made it to the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam for the first time in seven years. During the on-court interview after the match, Kyrgios said “It wasn't near my best performance, level wise, but I'm just super, super happy to get through. I've never lost a fifth set here. Honestly, that's what I was thinking about. I was like, I've been here before, I've done it before and I came through again."
Meanwhile, British tennis player Cameron Norrie will face David Goffin in the quarter-finals after defeating Tommy Paul 6-4 7-5 6-4. When asked about being the only British player still playing at Wimbledon, Norrie said “I'll take it. At the beginning of the tournament, you guys were asking me, 'You're British No 1, you got a lot of pressure, a lot of expectations on your shoulders'. For me to play the way that I did in all my matches so far means a lot. Unfortunately I'm the last one standing. But I think it's even more reason for everyone to get behind me. The atmosphere was great today and definitely helped me get over the line there. Especially on that last game, I was obviously pretty nervous. I was serving for my first quarter-final of a Slam. I wanted to get it done there.
"It's great to be through to the quarters. But no reason to be satisfied. I want to keep pushing. I'm looking forward to the next match. Another challenge. Very experienced player. There's still a long way to go, but it's pretty nice to tick the box making the quarters. I feel like I'm improving and my level is getting better. Definitely a little bit more calm in the bigger matches. It's nice to do it that way round."
As for Goffin, the 31 year old is playing at Wimbledon after a year’s gap, having suffered an ankle injury in the 2021 edition and was subsequently ruled out due to a knee problem. However, he reached the quarter-finals after defeating Frances Tiafoe in four hours and 36 minutes. He said “I have another opportunity to play on Centre Court to try to have a win, finally to have a win on Centre Court. I didn't have any chances. I had [Andy] Murray and I had [Novak] Djokovic. Not easy," said the former world No 7.
"Another British, against Cameron. He played less than me. He played well from the start of the tournament. He played really well. He's very consistent. He's a tough opponent to play, but I will try to recover. That's the most important now, today and tomorrow, try to be ready to play against the whole country."
Wimbledon: Mirza-Pavic pair cruises to mixed doubles semifinals
Wimbledon, Jul 5 (Tennis News) Indian tennis ace Sania Mirza and her Croatian partner Mate Pavic advanced to the Wimbledon mixed doubles semifinals with a hard-fought win over fourth seeds Gabriela Dabrowski and John Peers.
Mirza and Pavic, seeded sixth, eked out a thrilling 6-4 3-6 7-5 win over Canadian-Australian duo in one hour 41 minutes on court 3 on Monday night.
The Indo-Croatian pair will take on the the winners of the quarterfinal between Robert Farah and Jelena Ostapenko, the seventh seeds, and second seeds Neil Skupsi and Desirae Krawczyk.
This is Mirza's best mixed doubles performance at the All England Club. She had previously reached the quarterfinals in 2011, 2013 and 2015.
A Wimbledon title is the only mixed doubles Grand Slam missing from her trophy cabinet.
Mirza, a six-time Grand Slam winner, has already announced her retirement at the end of this season.
Also Read : Wimbledon: Novak Djokovic to face Jannik Sinner in the quarter-finals
News Source : PTI
Wimbledon: Novak Djokovic to face Jannik Sinner in the quarter-finals
(Tennis news) Defending champion Novak Djokovic progressed to the quarter-finals of the Grand Slam after defeating Van Rijthoven 6-2 4-6 6-1 6-2. It was a landmark victory for the Serbian, who managed to secure his 83rd Wimbledon match-win, 25th consecutive win on grass, 13th Wimbledon quarter-final, 53rd Grand Slam quarter-final and 83rd Wimbledon match-win. The result sets up an epic match between Djokovic and Italian youngster Jannik Sinner.
During the on-court interview after the match, Djokovic said “Thanks for staying for this late finish to watch tennis. Thank you Billie Jean for staying, I know it's been a long day. Under the roof it takes a bit of time to get used to the conditions, but I finished the match well. I don't know if there was a curfew. There is? Phew! I am lucky, thank God. I remember playing a match over two days with (Rafael) Nadal a few years ago, in the semi-final. It's never very pleasant."
The 20 year old defeated one of the tournament’s favourites Carlos Alcaraz to progress into the quarter-finals. It was a match between two of the most promising tennis players of the next generation but the Italian secured a fairly comfortable 6-1 6-4 6-7 (8-10) 6-3 victory in three hours and 35 minutes. Speaking after the match, Sinner said “I think what we showed today is a great level of tennis, great attitude from both of us.
“Hopefully this is going to be the case, but we never know. There are still so many other players who are playing incredible tennis. For sure we are the two youngest at the moment, so let's see. I don't know in the future what's going to happen. Yeah, I think it's just great for tennis to also have some new names, new players." As for Alcaraz, the Spaniard struggled on the grass surface but remained optimistic for the 2023 edition. The 19 year old said “I started really nervous. Playing on Centre Court is not easy for me. Jannik could handle it better than me, the nerves and the pressure, I'd say.
“But I felt really well here in Wimbledon. I got a lot of experience playing on grass. Now I'm thinking that I could be a great player on grass. Next year I hope to play some tournaments before here in Wimbledon to adapt my game, to get used to playing here on grass. But I would say I'm going to be a great player here."
In other results, Ons Jabeur defeated Elise Mertens 7-6 (11-9) 6-4 to reach the Wimbledon quarter-finals where she will face Marie Bouzkova. Both players will be battling it out to reach their first ever Wimbledon semi-final. Bouzkova defeated Frenchwoman Caroline Garcia 7-5 6-2 in what can only be considered to be an upset. Speaking after the match, the unseeded Czech player said “If you would have told me before the tournament started I would be in the quarters, I probably wouldn't have believed you. Always try to take it match by match. Since the first match it has been a really tough journey for me. Just to be now in the quarters, it's something very special for me. I'm just really proud that I've been able to handle everything the way I have and just enjoy the moment."
The Indo-Croatian pair of Sania Mirza-Mate Pavic in mixed doubles quarterfinals
Wimbledon, Jul 3 (Tennis News) The Indo-Croatian pair of Sania Mirza and Mate Pavic advanced to the quarter-finals of the mixed doubles event at the Wimbledon on Sunday.
The sixth seeded pair of Mirza and Pavic reached the mixed doubles quarter-finals after their second round opponents Ivan Dodig and Latisha Chan gave a walkover.
Mirza and Pavic had beaten Spain's David Vega Hernandez and Georgia's Natela Dzalamidze 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (3) in the first round.
In their last-eight match, Mirza and Pavic will face either the Brazilian duo of Bruno Soares and Beatriz Haddad Maia or the Australian-Canadian pair of John Peers and Gabriela Dabrowski.
Mirza, who has already announced her retirement at the end of this season, and her Czech partner Lucie Hradecka had earlier lost in the opening round of women's doubles event.
Also Read : Norrie defeats Johnson to progress into the fourth round at Wimbledon
News Source : PTI
Norrie defeats Johnson to progress into the fourth round at Wimbledon
(Tennis news) Britain’s number 1 Cameron Norrie defeated Steve Johnson 6-4 6-1 6-0 at the Centre Court. The 26 year old was in sublime form and his victory meant that it will be the first time in five years that a British man will be in the fourth round of Wimbledon. He will take on 30th seed Tommy Paul in the next match after the American defeated Jiri Vesley 6-3 6-2 6-2.
In the on-court interview after the match, Cameron Norrie said “I couldn't be happier, especially with all of my friends and family watching. I enjoyed the match today and it was a little less stressful for my squad! I'm enjoying playing at this level, enjoying the process of it all and enjoying improving. My team and I have all got the same goals and it's been a lot of fun. I want to keep going and keep on ticking more boxes."
It was a tight first set between Norrie and Johnson, with the 26 year old narrowly edging out his opponent with a backhand to make it 6-4. The British tennis player made a few uncharacteristic unforced errors but settled down after winning the first set, displaying a relentless performance in the second set. Steve Johnson struggled to match Norrie's intensity and athleticism, eventually resulting in the match ending in under two hours. “I'm as ready as I can be," Norrie added about playing in the fourth round. "I'm training as hard as I can. I'm moving better, feeling a lot better on the court and as I say, I'm as ready as I can be."
In other results, Novak Djokovic progressed to the fourth round after defeating fellow Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic 6-0 6-3 6-4. It was Djokovic’s 35th straight win at the Centre Court and has now reached Wimbledon’s Round of 16 for the 13th time in his career. However, what lies ahead is a tricky fixture against Dutch wildcard Tim van Rijthoven who the Serbian has never faced in his career. Van Rijthoven has won eight consecutive matches on the grass surface, his latest being a 6-4 6-3 6-4 third-round victory over Nikoloz Basilashvili.
Speaking ahead of his match against Djokovic, Van Rijthoven said “Before the tournament started, it was a dream for me to play him [Djokovic], basically. So, to be able to have that chance and to maybe even play on Centre Court or Court One is beautiful and magical. I go into every match thinking I can win the match. Also against Djokovic, I'll go into that match thinking I can win that match."
Carlos Alcaraz also progressed to the fourth round after defeating Oscar Otte 6-3 6-1 6-2 in just one hour and 38-minutes. Despite it only being Alcaraz’s third tournament on the grass surface, the 19 year old looked exceptionally comfortable and will now set his sights on Jannik Sinner, who the Spaniard will face in the next round. Alcaraz said “This was the best match on grass that I played so I'm enjoying every time I play on these amazing courts. It's tough to play on grass but Wimbledon gives you a special energy. I'm trying to get better every match and every day."
Sania and Pavic advance to second round of Wimbledon mixed doubles
Wimbledon, Jun 30 (Tennis News) Indian ace Sania Mirza, who is making her final Wimbledon appearance, and Mate Pavic advanced to the second round of mixed doubles event with a hard-fought win over David Vega Hernandez and Natela Dzalamidze here on Friday.
The Indo-Croatian duo won 6-4 3-6, 7-6(3) in a first round match.
Mirza, who has already announced her retirement at the end of this season, and her Czech partner Lucie Hradecka had earlier lost in the opening round of women's doubles event.
The 35-year-old Indian had won her maiden doubles title alongside Martina Hingis, back in 2015.
In a video footage uploaded on the official Twitter handle of Championships, Mirza said she is going to miss Wimbledon but it's time to move on.
"There are things in life which take priority over playing tennis matches and I am at that stage now," she said.
Also Read : Iga Swiatek extends unbeaten run while Coco Gauff reaches third round
News Source : PTI
Iga Swiatek extends unbeaten run while Coco Gauff reaches third round
(Tennis news) Polish tennis star Iga Swiatek extended her unbeaten run to 37 matches after defeating Lesley Pattinama Kerkhove 6-4 4-6 6-3. The result meant that the World Number 1 was able to equal the legendary Martina Hingis’ record of 1997 but admitted that she was finding it difficult to adapt to the grass surface, calling it ‘tricky’.
Speaking after the match, Swiatek said “Honestly during a match I don't even think about the previous matches and the streak because I don't think it's giving me anything at that point. I would say the grass is pretty tricky for me. I'm not going to lie. I mean, I guess you can see that I'm not playing maybe as efficiently as on other surfaces. Basically my confidence is getting better overall," she continued. "But this tournament is tricky and I'm still figuring out how to play the best game here."
Meanwhile, American teenager Coco Gauff defeated Mihaela Buzarnescu 6-2 6-3 on Centre Court. The 18 year old broke Buzarnescu's serve in the fourth game and won the fifth game with a 122mph serve, the fastest so far in the women’s category. Gauff broke Buzarnescu’s serve in the first set in just 31 minutes but couldn’t maintain the intensity for the duration of the match, falling in the sixth game of the second set. However, she forced Buzarnescu to make an error and broke her serve in the eighth game. Gauff then went on to serve three successive aces to wrap up the match and set up an encounter with Amanda Anisimova.
Speaking after the match, Gauff said “I'm pretty honoured to be on Centre Court today, especially following Nadal... that's pretty special too. Thank you guys for staying, I know it's been a long day and I appreciate you staying to watch me." In other results, Simona Halep defeated Kirsten Flipkens 7-5 6-4. Flipkens, who reached the Wimbledon semi-finals in 2013 played her final singles match of her career and received a great ovation from the crowd after the match.
Meanwhile, two time Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova defeated Ana Bogdan 6-1 7-6 (7-5) to advance into the third round. The 32 year old Czech player will face Paula Badosa in the next match with the Spaniard defeating Irina Bara 6-3 6-2 in just 72 minutes. Former US Open champion Bianca Andreescu was knocked out by Elena Rybakina 6-4 7-6 (7-5) while Amanda Anisimova overcame her compatriot Lauren Davis 2-6 6-3 6-4.
Rafael Nadal and Nick Kyrgios progress to the third round at Wimbledon
(Tennis news) Rafael Nadal continued his quest for a calendar Slam with a successive four set victory to progress into the third round after defeating Lithuania's Ricardas Berankis 6-4 6-4 4-6 6-3. The 22 time Grand Slam winner will take on Lorenzo Sonego in the next match and will look to secure his 308th Grand Slam victory, having already gone ahead of Martina Navratilova and being in fourth place in the all-time list. However, it was far from a perfect performance from the Spaniard with many unforced errors during the match.
In the post match interview, Nadal said “It's important for me to accept that things are not yet perfect, be humble and accept the challenge. Every day is a challenge, all the opponents are difficult - we are playing the best players in the world. I didn't play much on grass in the last three years so every day is an opportunity to improve. I'm through and I'm very happy with that. I need to improve. But the fourth set was much better, a good level of tennis and the serve worked better."
In other results, Nick Kyrgios defeated Queen's Club finalist Filip Krajinovic 6-2 6-3 6-1 in less than 90 minutes. The Australian was at his dominant best, losing just nine points and said that he wanted to prove a point with his performance. The 27 year old will face Greek fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas, who defeated Australia's Jordan Thompson 6-2 6-3 7-5.
In the on-court interview after the match, Kyrgios said “I guess just from a personal performance standpoint, my performance in my first round was just not where I wanted to be. Especially with the way I've been playing and the way I've been training, the hard work I've been doing. I was pretty disappointed in my performance in the first round. Then obviously the media's disrespect and just everything, it was just kind of a reminder to put you all back in your place from the performance today. He made finals at Queen's, top 30 in the world, seeded. It's a gentle reminder."
Sania Mirza and partner crashes out in 1st round of Indian's last Wimbledon
Wimbledon, Jun 30 (Tennis News) Indian ace Sania Mirza's final Wimbledon appearance ended in disappointment as she and her Czech partner Lucie Hradecka were eliminated in the opening round with the Polish-Brazilian combination of Magdalena Frech and Beatroz Haddad Maia beating them 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 in a hard-fought three-setter.
Mirza would have ideally preferred to last a bit longer in her swansong at the SW-19 but she will undoubtedly remember hallowed lawns where she won her maiden doubles title alongside Martina Hingis, back in 2015.
The 35-year-old Indian veteran failed to get past the third round of the mixed doubles at Wimbledon last year and will still have a shot at glory, partnering Mate Pavic of Croatia in the mixed doubles event. The duo will meet Natela Dzalamidze and David Vega Hernandez in the opening round of mixed doubles.
Also Read : Emma Raducanu knocked out of Wimbledon while Harriet Dart wins
News Source : PTI
Emma Raducanu knocked out of Wimbledon while Harriet Dart wins
(Tennis news) Emma Raducanu succumbed to a 6-3 6-3 second round defeat to Caroline Garcia at Wimbledon’s centre-court. The 19 year old clearly lacked match fitness after being sidelined for three weeks due to a side strain and could not match Garcia’s intensity during the 86 minute encounter. Raducanu will participate in the US Open next, where she famously won the title as a qualifier and insisted that she doesn’t feel the pressure from the expectations placed on her.
Speaking after the match, Raducanu said “There's no pressure. Like, why is there any pressure? I'm still 19. Like, it's a joke. I literally won a Slam. Going back to New York, it's going to be cool because I have got a lot of experience playing on big courts, playing with people in the stadium, playing with the spotlight on you. I don't mind that. For me, everything is learning. I'm embracing every single moment that is thrown at me."
Making her first appearance on Centre Court, Caroline Garcia said “I was preparing for this match really well. Emma is a huge player and in her home tournament she proved she can do very well on the big stage. It's fair that they support Emma and of course is a great memory for me." Meanwhile, Ukraine’s Lesia Tsurenko defeated Anhelina Kalinina 3-6 6-4 6-3 in two hours and 30 minutes. Showing solidarity with her country, Tsurenko wore a yellow and blue ribbon and both the players were well supported by the crowd on Court 12.
In other results, Harriet Dart progressed to the second round with a 6-1 6-4 win over Rebeka Masarova. The result meant that she became the 10th British player to progress into round two and will now face eighth seed Jessica Pegula. Second seed Anett Kontaveit was also knocked out of Wimbledon by Jule Niemeier 6-4 6-0. After the victory, 22 year old Niemeier said “It's amazing. It's one of the greatest wins of my career so far. I love to play on grass... it suits my game."
Wimbledon: Andy Murray gets knocked out while Djokovic secures win
(Tennis news) Scottish tennis player Andy Murray got knocked out of Wimbledon after succumbing to a four set defeat at the hands of John Isner with the score of 6-4 7-6 (7-4) 6-7 (3-7) 6-4. Murray could only manage to get 15 points against Isner’s first serve and took time to get into the rhythm, with Isner breaking Murray’s serve for only the second time in 25 sets over 12 years.
Speaking after the match, Murray reiterated his belief that he can produce his best tennis at Grand Slams and does not intend to step away from the game. He said “I think most of the players on the tour would tell you that a match like that was won or lost based on a few points here and there. I didn't play well enough on those points tonight. Like I said, I certainly didn't serve well enough at the beginning of the match, which I think is understandable. Look, he's a difficult opponent to play against. Like you say, I obviously played well against him in the past.
"Tonight's match, I don't see why it should change that, change that view really. Physically I feel good, then we'll try to keep playing. But it's extremely difficult with the problems I've had with my body in the last few years to make long-term predictions about how I'm going to be even in a few weeks' time, never mind in a year's time. If physically I'm in a good place, yeah, I will continue to play. But it's not easy to keep my body in optimal condition to compete at the highest level."
In the on-court interview after the match, John Isner said “I am most definitely not a better tennis player than Andy Murray, I might have just been a little better than him today. It was an incredible honour to play him on this court in front of this crowd. At the age I'm at now, I need to relish these moments. This was one of the biggest wins of my career. To play as well as I did against one of our greatest players ever was a huge accomplishment for me. He's a massive inspiration to each one of us in the locker room and we are so lucky to still have him around."
In other results, defending champion Novak Djokovic remained on course for his fourth consecutive title after defeating Thanasi Kokkinakis 6-1 6-4 6-2 in two hours. The Serbian may have been unconvincing in his win against Kwon Soon-woo, but was back to his dominant best. Speaking after the match, Djokovic said “I'm happy with my performance today. A really high-quality performance. I must say I'm quite pleased with the way I've raised the level of tennis in two days. Hopefully I can keep that trajectory, just thinking about the next challenge and hope things will get better as the tournament goes on." The Serbian will now face either Chile's Alejandro Tabilo or Serb compatriot Miomir Kecmanovic in the next round.
Meanwhile, British number 1 Cameron Norrie survived a 6-4 3-6 5-7 6-0 6-2 scare to defeat Juame Munar. Ugo Humbert, who forgot his rackets in the locker room despite the match being delayed by more than an hour and a half, overcame Casper Ruud 3-6 6-2 7-5 6-4. Ranked 112, Humbert has never won a match at the All England Club before this week and will now face David Goffin in the next round for a place in the Round of 16.
Businessman Punit Balan and rapper Badshah buy 6th Ultimate Kho Kho team
(Sports news) Popular Bollywood singer Badshah and renowned film producer, developer and sports enthusiast, Punit Balan have purchased the Mumbai franchise of the Ultimate Kho Kho team. Speaking about his first sports venture, Badshah said “My mother used to play Kho-Kho during her college days and this ground-rooted game is very close to my heart. This nostalgic and personal connection triggered me to be part of Ultimate Kho Kho. It’s an adrenaline packed, fast-paced indoor sport with extremely agile players doing Sky-Dives in air. In general, the culture of Mumbai is fast and efficient and that’s what we want this team to be. My vision would be to nurture the best players out of this league, and we want to ensure the best environment, infrastructure, training and nutrition for the players.”
Heading the Balan Group, a company valued at 3.500 crores, Punit Balan owns teams in various sporting leagues like badminton, tennis, table tennis and the handball league. Speaking about his Mumbai franchise, Punit Balan said “It’s very important to adopt the right approach if you want to grow something. I have been involved in developing sports through leagues in the past and now alongside Ultimate Kho Kho, I want to play a part in Kho-Kho’s journey to success.”
Ultimate Kho Kho CEO, Tenzing Niyogi said “We are absolutely thrilled to welcome Badshah and Punit as co-owners of the sixth franchise. We already have on-boarded big corporates as well as the Government of Odisha and now these two popular names from the entertainment sector reflect the positioning and calibre of the league. Kho-Kho has deep roots in Maharashtra and a team representing the state’s capital will surely help us bolster the popularity of the game.
Rafael Nadal defeats Francisco Cerundolo to reach Wimbledon second round
(Tennis news) Rafael Nadal continued his quest for a calendar Grand Slam after progressing into the second round of Wimbledon with a 6-4 6-3 3-6 6-4 win over Francisco Cerundolo. The Spaniard won the first two sets but his Argentinian opponent took the third. With momentum on his side, Cerundolo broke early in the fourth set but Nadal fought back to secure the victory on Centre Court.
Speaking after the match, Nadal said “All the credit to Fran, he started to play great, he was a very tough opponent. For me it was obvious I hadn't been here for three years on this amazing surface and it is amazing to be back. It is not a surface we play very often and I had not put a foot on a grass court in the past three years." The Spaniard’s involvement at Wimbledon was doubtful after being forced to use anaesthetic injections at Roland Garros. The 36 year old has since undergone radiofrequency ablation treatment in order to be match ready for Wimbledon.
In other news, Italy's Matteo Berrettini was forced to withdraw from Wimbledon after contracting COVID-19 while Canadian sixth seed Felix Auger-Aliassime was defeated 7-6 (7-5) 4-6 7-6 (11-9) 7-6 (7-5) to American world number 45 Maxime Cressy. Stefanos Tsitsipas secured a -6 (7-1) 6-3 5-7 6-4 over Swiss qualifier Alexander Ritschard while Denis Shapovalov fought back to defeat Frenchman Arthur Rinderknech 6-1 6-7 (6-8) 6-7 (4-7) 6-4 6-1.
Serena Williams knocked out of Wimbledon’s first round
(Football news) Seven time Wimbledon champion Serena Williams was knocked out of the first round by Harmony Tan 7-5 1-6 7-6 (10-7) on Centre Court. Having been sidelined for 12 months due to a hamstring injury, Williams couldn’t recreate her old magic, looking rusty and error prone throughout the encounter, suffering her third first-round loss at a Grand Slam event.
At the age of 40, Serena Williams’ time is running out on her illustrious career but the American remained coy about her future in the post-match interview. She said “Like I said coming into this, I'm just planning for right now, seeing how I feel, just to go from there.” When asked if this might be her final Wimbledon appearance, Williams said “That's a question I can't answer. I don't know. Who knows? Who knows where I'll pop up."
Despite a disappointing start to the match, Williams took a shaky 4-2 in the opening set but committed 21 unforced errors, resulting in her losing 7-5. However, the American bounced back in the second set to win comfortably (1-6) and looked to have edged out Harmony Tan in the deciding set after leading 3-1, only to falter at the end. Williams said “I think physically I did pretty good. I think the last couple of points, I was really suffering there. But I feel like in just those key points, winning some of those points, is always something mentally that you kind of need. I did pretty well on maybe one or two of them, but obviously not enough."
When asked if she was satisfied with the first round defeat being her final Wimbledon appearance, Williams said “Obviously not. You know me. Definitely not. But today I gave all I could do. Maybe tomorrow I could have given more. Maybe a week ago I could have given more. But today was what I could do. At some point, you have to be able to be OK with that."
In other results, World Number 1 Iga Swiatek defeated Jana Fett 6-0, 6-3 to win her 36th consecutive match. The Polish tennis player remains unbeaten since February, winning six tournaments and overcoming Venus Williams’ record set in 2020. She defeated her Croatian opponent on Centre Court, usually reserved for the defending champion, and is undoubtedly the favourite to win the Wimbledon title, especially in the absence of defending champion Ashleigh Barty.
Swiatek was playing in her first professional match since the Roland Garros and only took 33 minutes to win the opening set 6-0. However, Jana Fett threatened to make a comeback after being 3-1 up in the second set, only for Swiatek to win five games in a row to maintain her 36 game unbeaten run. Speaking after the match, Swiatek said “I'm just figuring out how to play. "I knew it was going to be tricky. I am pretty happy I came back and did it in two sets. I feel I have only played 12 weeks of my life on grass but the whole atmosphere and tradition is pumping me up and just looking forward to the next matches."
Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray secure wins at Wimbledon
(Tennis news) Defending champion Novak Djokovic made a winning start at Wimbledon after defeating Kwon Soon-woo in four sets 6-3 3-6 6-3 6-4. The Serbian will hope to become only the fourth player to win the prestigious grass court event for the fourth consecutive time along with Roger Federer (2003-2006), Pete Sampras (1997-2000) and Bjorn Borg (1976-80). Djokovic has won the Wimbledon title six times in his career so far and will face either Thanasi Kokkinakis or Kamil Majchrzak in the second round.
The 35 year old secured his 80th Wimbledon match in under two and a half hours and despite dropping the second set, Djokovic looked firmly in control of the proceedings. The win makes him the first tennis player to have won at least that many singles matches in each of the four Grand Slams. Speaking after the match from the Centre Court, the Serbian said “I've said this a few times before, but this court is truly special for me. It's always been the court I dreamed of playing and winning on. All of my childhood dreams came true here on this court at this tournament, so of course, it's an absolute honour and pleasure to come back."
Djokovic hadn’t played on grass since winning the Wimbledon final in 2021 against Matteo Berrettini and gave credit to his opponent Kwon Soon-woo. Djokovic said “Credit to Kwon for playing some really high-quality tennis. I didn't have any lead-up, preparation tournaments or matches prior so you're always going to feel a little bit less comfortable than you would like to, particularly playing against someone as talented as him who stays close to the line and hits very cleanly on both sides. It was really difficult to hit through him, so I had to figure out a way tactically to get in control of the point. It wasn't easy."
Meanwhile, Andy Murray fought back to defeat James Duckworth 4-6 6-3 6-2 6-4 in two hours and 43 minutes to progress into the second round of Wimbledon. The Scottish player was playing for the first time since he suffered an abdominal injury at the Stuttgart Open finals and will now face John Isner, who defeated Enzo Couacaud in five sets. Murray would be fairly confident heading into his next match, having an 8-0 record against the former semi-finalist. In the on-court interview, Murray said “It's amazing to be back out here with a full crowd. I am getting on a bit now so I don't know how many more opportunities I will get to play on this court so I want to make the most of every time. Glad I managed to get through and hopefully get another match on here in a couple of days.
"I did well to rebound after the first set, he likes playing on grass, he was playing very well, once I started playing my returns a bit more as the match went on I felt a bit more comfortable and did well to get through it.” Speaking about his fitness, Murray said “The last few days when I've been serving was fine. I went to get a scan, an ultrasound scan on it on Saturday after my practice just to see how it was progressing. It was all clear for the first time on the scans, which is really positive. I wanted that kind of peace of mind to know that the injury has healed. Obviously I still need to take precautions and still do some rehab and protect it when I can. In the match today it was absolutely fine."
Also read: Wimbledon: Ramanathan, Bhambri knocked out in first round qualifying matches
Williams out of Eastbourne after partner Ons Jabeur suffers injury
(Tennis news) Serena Williams has withdrawn from the semifinals of Eastbourne after her doubles partner Ons Jabeur suffered a right knee injury. This means that the duo are automatically knocked out of the tournament and Williams will now shift her attention to Wimbledon, where she has received a wildcard entry. Despite the numerous reports about her retirement, the 40 year old has made an impressive comeback in professional tennis and will look to secure her 24th Grand Slam title.
Speaking after Wednesday's match, Williams said: "I feel good, as good as one can feel after having such a long time off. I was telling Ons, this was a really good match and the second set in particular, they played really well, but we were able to just play under different circumstances. It was actually good match play and match practice, which is exactly what I needed and what I wanted to do coming here, so I couldn't have asked for more."
The pair made it to the semifinals after a narrow win over Maria Bouzkova and Sara Sorribes Tormo and a convincing victory over Shuko Aoyama and Chan Hao-ching. Jabeur, who is ranked third in the Women’s Singles category is doubtful about her participation at Wimbledon while Williams, who is unseeded, will find out her first opponent after the draw is made on Friday morning (today). There has also been speculation amongst the finals that the withdrawal was intentional due to Wimbledon beginning on Monday, 27th July and that the ‘injury’ is just an excuse to recover in time for the Grand Slam event. Irrespective, it remains to be seen how the pair will perform at the prestigious grass court event after an impressive run in Eastbourne.
Serena Williams and Ons Jabeur reach Eastbourne semi-finals
(Tennis news) Serena Williams and Ons Jabeur made it two out of two at Eastbourne after defeating Shuko Aoyama and Chan Hao-ching 6-2 6-4 on Wednesday. Despite looking a bit rusty during her first match of the event, Williams was back to her dominant best this time around, getting winners and aces as she prepared for Wimbledon with the hopes of securing her 24th Grand Slam trophy.
Williams took just two minutes to get an ace and several volleys as the pair wrapped the opening set in just 25 minutes. Their opponents Aoyama and Chan put up a more valiant effort in the second set, forcing Williams to defend a number of breakpoints on serve. However, the 40 year old showed great character by setting up the break point in the ninth game of the second set, giving her team the chance to close in on the victory.
In the on-court interview after the match, Williams said “I think we played together much better today, although I felt we played really well together yesterday. Ons really helped me out playing so well. Oh yeah, I don't know if you know the team name? It's Onserena. I have had some really good training leading up to Wimbledon and up to this tournament, really hitting the ball well and just working out. It's been working and it's just been connecting.
“I feel like I have been serving well so that's been really good. Working really hard on that. I have been returning well. I missed a lot today, but the young ladies were serving really well, the ball was staying lower, but yes, those two shots have really come together for me." When asked how she celebrated, Williams jokingly said “I went to the beach and for a swim like everyone here in the cold water... no, no way. I didn't do much. I just played with my baby (Olympia). She is so fun.”
Serena Williams makes her tennis comeback with doubles win at Eastbourne
(Tennis news) Serena Williams made her long awaited comeback in professional tennis by partnering up with Ons Jabeur and defeating Marie Bouzkova and Sara Sorribes Tormo 2-6 6-3 13-11 in the Rothesay International Eastbourne. It had been a year since the 23 time Grand Slam winner made her previous appearance, retiring in the first round of Wimbledon due to a right leg injury. Despite being somewhat rusty, Williams showed glimpses of her old self as the new doubles duo reached the last 16 at Eastbourne.
Speaking to the BBC, Serena Williams said “It was so fun to play with Ons. We had fun. Our opponents played amazing and we were just trying to stay in there.” When asked if she will partner with Ons Jabeur at Wimbledon, Williams replied “We're taking this show on the road! No, we're just taking it one day at a time.”
In other results, British No 4 Katie Boulter made a stunning comeback to defeat last year’s Wimbledon finalist Karolina Pliskova 1-6 6-4 6-4 in the second round of the Rothesay International Eastbourne. Having trailed 5-0 in the first half an hour to the World Number 7, Boulter made a brilliant recovery in what was a dramatic second and third set. The 25 year old managed to take 19 break-point opportunities to secure this memorable win and maintained her fantastic form, having already defeated Alison Riske in Birmingham last week.
Wimbledon: Ramanathan, Bhambri knocked out in first round qualifying matches
London, Jun 21 (Tennis News) India's singles players yet again failed to cross the qualifying hurdle at the Grand Slam stage as both Ramkumar Ramanathan and Yuki Bhambri exited the Wimbledon championships with first round defeats.
Bhambri lost to top seed from Spain Bernabe Zapata Miralles 5-7 1-6 while Ramkumar fell 5-7 4-6 to Czech Republic's Vit Kopriva on Monday night.
The 29-year-old Bhambri got off a flying start as he got an early break in the opening set and, at one point, was leading 5-3.
However, despite Bhambri being in an advantageous position, squandered two set points and it was Miralles who took the lead.
The second set, however, was a drab affair and Bhambri was eliminated from the grass court event.
Ramanathan, on the other hand, India's no.1 ranked tennis player, took on the 19th seed Kopriva, and the script turned out to be something similar.
The 27-year-old Ramanathan, thanks to his aces and winners, looked comfortable but lost steam soon after to lose the opening set.
He made a desperate attempt to bring things at level and even led 3-1 lead in the second but Kopriva bagged four games on the trot to regain control over the proceedings.
With both Bhambri and Ramanathan bowing out, Sania Mirza, who is in her last year on tour, remains the only Indian confirmed to play at SW19 this year.
The 35-year-old former double's world number one will is all set to feature in the women's doube draw alongside her partner Lucie Hradecka of Czech Republic.
Rohan Bopanna has decided not to play this event since ATP is not offering points this year as Russian and Belarusian players have been banned from competing by the organisers in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
Also Read : Prominent player Karman Kaur Thandi to train at RoundGlass Tennis Academy
News Source : PTI
Prominent player Karman Kaur Thandi to train at RoundGlass Tennis Academy
(Tennis news) RoundGlass Tennis Academy is delighted to announce that noted tennis star Karman Kaur Thandi will officially be training at the Academy in Chandigarh under its Technical Director, Aditya Sachdeva. Karman, 23, was most recently featured at the ITF Women’s tournament in Thailand.
Sharing her thoughts on this collaboration, Karman said, “I am delighted to train at the RoundGlass Tennis Academy. Aditya sir has over the years played a key role in shaping me as a player and I hope to continue developing my game under his guidance with the help of the world-class facilities at the Academy.”
Sachdeva added, “Everyone at the RoundGlass Tennis Academy is excited to have Karman on board with us. She is one of the brightest talents in Indian tennis and we are looking forward to helping her reach the next level. Her presence will be a huge source of inspiration for the young athletes training with us.”
About RoundGlass Sports
RoundGlass Sports is creating opportunities for children and youth to take up and excel in sports such as football, hockey, and tennis in India, underpinned by the principles of Holistic Wellbeing. Our aim is to channelize their energy and help develop and unlock their full potential. To this end, we’re transforming sports in Punjab and the rest of India by building infrastructure, providing high-quality coaching and training, and cultivating a culture of sports participation through its Academy and Grassroots programs.
Naomi Osaka withdraws from Wimbledon due to achilles injury
(Tennis news) Former world number 1 Naomi Osaka has announced her withdrawal from Wimbledon due to an achilles injury. The four time Grand Slam winner picked up the injury at the Madrid Open and will miss out on the prestigious grass court even for the third consecutive year, having chosen not to participate last year due to mental health reasons while the tournament was cancelled in 2020 due to COVID-19.
The 24 year old last played in the first round of the French Open and had already announced that her participation at Wimbledon was doubtful since the tournament was stripped off its ranking points in 2022. In a statement released on Twitter, Osaka said “My Achilles still isn't right so I'll see you next time. After the storm comes the calm. This is a saying that I'm actively trying to master.
"I feel like life keeps dealing cards and you're never gonna be used to them but it's how you adapt to uncomfortable situations that really says stuff about your character. I've been repeating mantras in my head a lot recently. I don't know if it's to subconsciously help myself through stressful times or to ease my mind into realising that everything will work out fine as long as I put the work in. Cause what more can you do?"
In other news, Eugenie Bouchard has also opted to not participate at Wimbledon due to the tournament having no ranking points. The 28 year old’s ranking dropped due to a shoulder injury but was still allowed to participate at the grass court event. The 2014 runner-up said in a statement: "As much as I love Wimbledon, and skipping it makes me sad, using a PR [priority ranking] entry at a tournament with no ranking points doesn't make sense. I must choose wisely and use my PR entries at tournaments that will help me get back to where I want to be. I will now use my two Grand Slam PR entries for the US Open and Australian Open."
Nadal set to compete at Wimbledon after recovering from foot injury
(Tennis news) Rafael Nadal has confirmed that he will be competing at Wimbledon after the pain in his injured foot has eased. The Spaniard suffers from a rare degenerative condition called Muller-Weiss syndrome which affects the bones in his feet and will travel to London to the The Hurlingham Club in order to prepare for the prestigious grass court event which will begin on Monday, June 27.
In an interview, Nadal said “I'm happy, I haven't been limping for a week. I have noticed changes with the treatment, I still have strange sensations, sometimes I can't feel my foot, but the pain that did not allow me to support my weight on my foot has subsided. My intention is to play Wimbledon, but it will all depend on what happens with my body next week. I'm without pain for a week and have been practising, so it tells me there may be a chance to play in the tournament."
Nadal was forced to take pain-killers in every match at the Roland Garros but won his 14th French Open and 22nd Grand Slam title in Paris. The Spaniard has not played at Wimbledon since 2019, having missed the 2021 edition due to injury while it was cancelled the year before that due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 36 year old appears to be in the form of his life and will look to go all the way at Wimbledon, having failed to reach the finals since 11 years where he finished runner-up to Novak Djokovic.
Nadal said “I haven't played on grass for three years and I have to adapt, every day I have been recovering sensations and feeling better. I have a week left before playing and I have to test myself little by little. Advancing in the first rounds is crucial. If you advance, you pick up the pace to reach the end. You have to survive no matter what."
The Spaniard also confirmed that his wife Mery Perello is pregnant with their first child. "If everything goes well, I'm going to be a father. I'm not used to talking about my private life. We live more peacefully with a lower profile. I don't expect that my life will change much with it," he said. "At the moment all has worked well for me and I am not a friend of changing what works well. My intention is to play Wimbledon, rest, then Canada and then be ready for the US Open."
Sathiyan stuns world number 6 in WTT, enters round of 16
New Delhi, Jun 17 (Table Tennis News) Indian paddler Sathiyan Gnanasekaran pulled off an upset by beating world No. 6 and reigning European champion, Jorgic Darko, 3-1 to enter the men's singles round of 16 in the WTT Contender in Zagreb, Croatia.
Sathiyan showed courage and executed his plans to perfection on his way to a 6-11 12-10 11-9 12-10 win over the second seeded Slovenian player in their round of 32 clash on Thursday.
"Went all guns blazing as I secured a MASSIVE WIN tonight taking down the World Rank 6 & current European cup champion Jorgic Darko (SLO) 3-1 in the Men Singles Round of 32 here in WTT Contender Zagreb 2022," Sathiyan tweeted.
This is Sathiyan's second win over a player ranked inside top 10 in the world.
Before this, Sathiyan had beaten former World No. 5 Tomakazu Harimoto of Japan during the 2019 Asian Championships.
Sathiyan is part of the Indian table tennis squad for the upcoming 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games, which is to start on July 28.
Also Read : TT player Diya Chitale, who moved court over her exclusion, included in CWG squad
News Source : PTI
US Open to allow Russian and Belarusian players to compete
(Tennis news) The United States Tennis Association (USTA) announced on Tuesday that the US Open will permit Russian and Belarusian players to compete at the event under a neutral flag. This means that World Number 1 Daniil Medvedev will have the chance to defend his title and consolidate his lead at the top of his rankings. It can be said that the USTA’s decision to not follow Wimbledon may have something to do with the fact that the ATP and WTA removed the ranking points from the prestigious grass court event, an outcome that the US Open has chosen to avoid.
A statement from the United States Tennis Association read: "The USTA will allow individual athletes from Russia and Belarus to compete in the 2022 US Open, but only under a neutral flag. Alongside the other Grand Slams, the ITF, the ATP and the WTA, the USTA, which owns and operates the US Open, has previously condemned, and continues to condemn, the unprovoked and unjust invasion of Ukraine by Russia. The USTA, standing with these other tennis entities, supported the banning of the Russian and Belarusian Tennis Federations from the ITF, and therefore all international team competitions, and the directive for players from those countries to play under a neutral flag when competing outside of international team competitions.
"We recognise that each organisation has had to deal with unique circumstances that affect their decisions. Based on our own circumstances, the USTA will allow all eligible players, regardless of nationality, to compete at the 2022 US Open. The USTA will work with the players and both Tours to use the US Open as a platform to further the humanitarian effort of the 'Tennis Plays for Peace' program. In addition, the USTA will introduce a broad, comprehensive set of initiatives to amplify existing Ukrainian humanitarian efforts, including committing to significant financial support, for which details will be announced soon."
Mike McNulty, USTA Chairman of the Board and President, said: "Tennis has done much through Tennis Plays for Peace for humanitarian support of Ukraine. Unfortunately, the need for help only continues to grow. The USTA will be responding very soon with a broad set of initiatives that will include significant financial assistance and other programs to further support humanitarian relief and the people of Ukraine."
Andy Murray forced to withdraw from cinch Championships due to injury
(Tennis news) Former World Number 1 Andy Murray was forced to withdraw from the cinch Championships at Queen's Club after sustaining an abdominal injury in Stuttgart. Murray has won the tournament five times in the past but was forced to pull out after a scan on Monday revealed a strain on his left abdomen. However, Murray is expected to be fit for Wimbledon preparations next week.
The Scot suffered the injury during the Stuttgart Open final where he lost by three sets to Matteo Berrettini. He said “After having a scan this afternoon, an abdominal injury means I won't be fit to compete at Queen's this year. The tournament means a lot to me and it's disappointing not to compete, especially after playing some good matches on the grass already." This means that Murray is expected to play an exhibition event at Hurlingham in an attempt to prepare himself for Wimbledon.
British number 2 Dan Evans has said that Murray’s absence from Queen's could not have a detrimental effect on his Wimbledon hopes. Evans said “It's never easy for people to be injured, especially this time of year. It's not ideal. In Andy's case, if anybody knows how to prepare himself for Wimbledon, it's him. "I don't think if he plays this week or next week, in my opinion it wouldn't matter for his preparations as long as he can prepare. If he can still play tennis in a week or so, I think he'll be OK. So in that sense, it's not ideal, but it's not the end of the world for him."
Tournament Director Luiz Carvalho said: "Obviously it's extremely sad that Andy won't be able to play here this year. Everyone at the cinch Championships wishes him a speedy recovery. We look forward to welcoming him back next year." The 35 year old last won a title on grass at Wimbledon in 2016 while his last ATP title was in Antwerp in 2019. Murray will now look to recover in time before the start of Wimbledon on June 27th.
Matteo Berrettini defeats Andy Murray at the Stuttgart Open final
(Tennis news) Former World Number 1 Andy Murray was defeated in the final of the Stuttgart Open to Italian tennis player Matteo Berrettini 4-6 7-5 3-6. It was Murray’s second loss in a grass court final and the 2016 Wimbledon winner had an injury scare during the match, requiring treatment from his trainer twice in the third set. As for Berrettini, the Italian was playing his first tournament since March after recovering from a hand injury that forced him to be sidelined during the clay court season.
Murray’s journey to the finals has been impressive to say the least. The Scotsman defeated Stefanos Tsitsipas in the quarter-fials and Nick Kyrgios to reach his 70th career final and 10th on grass. Despite losing to Berrettini, Murray has now entered the top 50 in World Rankings for the first time since 2018. Speaking after the match, Murray said “I got some pain in my ab when I was serving. Not something I've had before. I'll need to get it checked when I get home. Obviously I've played a lot of matches. This is the most matches I've played in two weeks since probably 2016. That's a really long time. It's probably normal that I would feel some stuff in my body but I don't really know the severity of it. Hopefully it's all right.
Obviously some good wins, it was a good week, but not the way I wanted to finish the week. I felt like I was playing well enough to win and I got myself in a really good position going into the third set, so a frustrating end to what was a good week. I really enjoyed it. I'd like to congratulate Matteo and his team on a fantastic week. He's just come back from a surgery and it's never easy. He played extremely well today and deserved the win. Finally, thank you to my team here and my team back home."
Murray failed to capitalise on four break points in the first set while trailing 2-1, resulting in Berrettini winning the set 6-4. Despite rescuing three break points, the Scot was unable to make the deficit. Both the players matched each other well in the second set but were also responsible for making sloppy errors. Murray saved three break points while at 4-4 to hold for the lead but Berrettini managed to strike back with a comfortable service game. Eventually, Murray was forced to take a medical timeout with the physiotherapist looking at his left leg and despite being able to continue, he was trailing by two as Berrettini took control and secured the victory in the finals.
Andy Murray defeats Stefanos Tsitsipas to reach BOSS Open semi-finals
(Tennis news) Former World Number 1 Andy Murray was at his vintage best as he defeated Greek top seed Stefanos Tsitsipas 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 in one hour and 40 minutes. It was a sublime performance by the Scot who won 82% of his first serve points and 65% of his second serve points. Murray will now face Nick Kyrgios for a place in the BOSS Open final, the Australian defeating Marton Fucsovics who was forced to withdraw during the second set when the score was 7-6 (7-3) 3-0.
Speaking in the on-court interview after the match, Murray said “I thought I did well. He served unbelievably well in the first set and I had very few chances when I was returning. But when he was creating opportunities on my serve I stayed strong. I played a really solid tiebreak and in the second set, I served well while he dropped a little bit. Once I was in the rallies I felt like I was dictating a lot of the points so it was a good performance. I don't want to say I was the smarter player, but maybe this surface suits my style. Stefanos plays well on all surfaces but this works really nicely for my game and I'm able to use my strengths better.
Murray’s next opponent Nick Kyrgios said “I know what to expect but he also is a veteran on the grass and I don't want to take him lightly at all. I'm just going to go out there, serve big, look after my serve and see what I can do on his return games.” In other results, 2021 Wimbledon runner-up Matteo Berrettini booked his place in the semi-finals after defeating fellow Italian Lorenzo Sonego 3-6 6-3 6-4. He will now face Oscar Otte, who progressed to the final four after getting a walkover by Frenchman Benjamin Bonzi.
In other tennis news, French Open champion Iga Swiatek will miss next week’s Berlin Open WTA 500 due to a shoulder issue. The World Number 1 won the Roland Garros after defeating Coco Gauff 6-1 6-3 and is expected to recover in time for Wimbledon. In a statement released on Twitter, Swiatek said “Due to a recurrent discomfort I am feeling in my shoulder, unfortunately, I need to withdraw from the bett1open in Berlin. I'm sorry I will not be able to play there. I will focus on recovery and rest in order to be ready for Wimbledon.”
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.
Alexander Zverev ruled out of Wimbledon due to ligament damage
(Tennis news) German world number 3 Alexander Zverev has undergone surgery on torn ligaments in his right ankle after being forced to retire in the French Open semi-final against Rafael Nadal last week. The 25 year old twisted his ankle at the end of the second set and began yelling in pain with Nadal and the Roland Garros staff rushing to his aid. He emerged on court 25 minutes later on crutches to inform the umpire that he would not be able to continue.
Since then, Zverev has undergone surgery and there is no potential timeframe for his return. Writing on Instagram, Zverev said: "We all have our own journey in life. This is part of mine. Next week I'll reach a career high ranking of number 2 in the world, but this morning I had to undergo surgery. After further examination in Germany, we received confirmation that all three of the lateral ligaments in my right ankle were torn.
"To return to competition as quickly as possible, to ensure all the ligaments heal properly, and to reclaim full stability in my ankle, surgery was the best choice. My rehab starts now and I'll do everything to come back stronger than ever! I am continuing to receive so many messages and would like to thank everyone once again for supporting me during such a difficult time." Speaking to German newspaper Bild, Zverev’s brother Mischa said that the 25 year old’s involvement at Wimbledon was “out of question” with the tournament beginning on June 27th.
Rafael Nadal sent his best wishes to Zverev on Friday by saying “Only thing that I can say is I hope he's not too bad. Hopefully it's just the normal thing when you turn your ankle, and hopefully [nothing is broken]. That's what everybody hopes, and I was with Sascha, [it] looks that they need to keep checking. I think he started the match amazingly. I know how much [this] means to him, to fight to win his first Grand Slam. We are colleagues, we have been practicing together a lot of times. And see a colleague on the tour like this, even if for me it's a dream to be in the final of Roland Garros, of course that way is not the way that we want it to be. Feels very sorry for, if you are human, you should feel very sorry for a colleague."
TT player Diya Chitale, who moved court over her exclusion, included in CWG squad
New Delhi, Jun 7 (Table Tennis News) Young Indian table tennis player Diya Chitale, who had approached the Delhi High Court over her exclusion from the women's CWG squad, was on Tuesday included in the side for the July-August event at the expense of Archana Kamath. However, Manush Shah, who had also filed a writ petition in the Delhi High Court against his non-selection, remains a reserve player with no changes made in the men's squad, which will be led by Sharath Kamal.
The Committee of Administrators (CoA) running the suspended Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) had last week announced a provisional women's team comprising Manika Batra, Kamath, Sreeja Akula and Reeth Rishya in the team with 19-year-old Chitale as the standby.
The team was subject to clearance from Sports Authority of India (SAI) but on Monday the Sports Ministry threw the ball back in CoA's court, saying squad selection was the responsibility of the national sports federation.
The selection committee, chaired by CoA member S D Mudgil, met again on Monday after SAI's response and finalised the team. Kamath, who was supposed to play doubles alongside Manika, has been excluded from the squad all together and Swastika Ghosh has been put on standby.
"There is only one change. Diya comes in as the fourth player in place of Archana. Archana did not meet the criteria but we thought she is also a good medal prospect (as she is world number 4 alongside Manika). But we were in a dilemma and that is why we went to the SAI and sought its guidance. "The selectors in the end took the call to include Diya who has also done well domestically and as well as in international events. She would be playing the doubles alongside Manika," Mudgil told PTI.
The team selection factors in performances in domestic (50 percent) and international tournaments (30 percent) while the remaining 20 percent is left for the selectors' discretion.
However, the CoA has decided to change the ratio to 40-40-20 from the next season.
The CoA also finalised former players S Raman and Anindita Chakraborty as the coaches for the men's and women's teams for the Games in Birmingham.
Raman happens to the personal coach of leading India player G Sathiyan and also runs a private academy but the CoA said it will be taking an undertaking from him to ensure there is no conflict of interest.
Squads: Men: Sharath Kamal, G Sathiyan, Harmeet Desai, Sanil Shetty, Manush Shah (standby).
Women: Manika Batra, Diya Chitale, Reeth Rishya, Sreeja Akula, Swastika Ghosh (standby).
Also Read : India's table tennis squad for CWG announced, women's team will need SAI's clearance
News Source : PTI
Rafael Nadal doubtful to play at Wimbledon due to injury concerns
(Tennis news) Rafael Nadal is defying his age at the moment, having already won two Grand Slams in the season so far. The 36 year old won his 14th French Open title last weekend after defeating Norway’s Casper Ruud 6-3 6-3 6-0. However, the Spaniard has remained coy about his participation at Wimbledon after struggling with a chronic foot injury. He said “I am going to be in Wimbledon if my body is ready to be in Wimbledon. Wimbledon is not a tournament that I want to miss."
In an interview after winning the French Open, Nadal explained that he played Sunday’s final with a numb foot after taking injections for his chronic foot injury. The Spaniard has said that he will not go through the ordeal again in order to compete at Wimbledon and also shed light on the severity of the issue, which almost prompted him to retire after missing a significant portion of the 2021 season including Wimbledon, US Open and the Olympics.
Nadal said “Wimbledon is a priority, always has been a priority. If I'm able to play with anti-inflammatories, yes. To play with anaesthetic injections, I do not want to put myself in that position again. It can happen once but no, it's not the philosophy of life I want to follow. Let's see. I am always a positive guy and always expect things to go the right way. Let's be confident, let's be positive and let's see what's going on."
Speaking about the path ahead, the Spaniard said “It's going to be a radio frequency injection on the nerve and trying to burn a little bit the nerve and create the impact that I have now on the nerve for a long period of time. That's what we are going to try. If that works, I'm going to keep going. If that does not work, then it's going to be another story. And then I am going to ask myself if I am ready to do a major thing without being sure that things are going the proper way, for example. A major surgery that doesn't guarantee me to be able to be competitive again and take a long time to be back [is a risk]. So let's do it step by step, as I did all my tennis career."
Iga Swiatek wins her second French Open title after defeating Coco Gauff
(Tennis news) World number 1 Iga Swiatek secured her second Roland Garros title in three years with a 6-1 6-3 win over Coco Gauff in an hour and eight minutes on Court Philippe Chatrier. Having taken over the top spot in WTA rankings following Ashleigh Barty’s shock retirement, Swiatek has been in unstoppable form, matching Venus Williams’ 35 game winning streak, becoming the ninth woman to win multiple Roland Garros titles in the Open era and becoming the fifth No 1 seed to win the French Open in 25 years.
Upon receiving the Suzanne-Lenglen cup, Swiatek said: "First I want to congratulate you [Gauff] because you are doing an amazing job. You are progressing all the time. You will find it and you will be there, I am pretty sure of that. I want to thank my team, you guys, I mean, oh my god, without you I wouldn't be here, I'm sure of that. I'm glad every piece has come together and we can do this. We deserve to be here. Thanks for your full support all the time no matter what. Also to my Dad, I wouldn't be here without him, so I have to thank him for everything. Everyone who is in my box, thank you all."
The Polish tennis player also extended her support for Ukraine by saying “I would like to say something about Ukraine. Stay strong, the war is still there. Since my first speech in Doha [in February] basically I was hoping when I am doing the next one the situation will be better. But I still have hopes and try to support so thank you guys.” The 21 year old has been seen with a ribbon in Ukrainian colours pinned on her cap throughout the tournament and was watched over by Polish football player Robert Lewandowski as she lifted her title.
Swiatek raced through the opening set against Gauff as the 18 year old made a nervous start with a double fault in the opening game. However, the American saved four breakpoints in her next service game and finally began to give Swiatek a run for her money. Despite her best efforts, Gauff simply couldn’t keep up against her Polish opponent and eventually succumbed to a straight set defeat at the hands of Swiatek. In the post match interview, a tearful Gauff said “Congratulations Iga, what you have done these past few months has been amazing. Hopefully we can play many finals and I can get a win on you one of these days. I'd like to thank my team. I'm sorry I wasn't able to get this one today."
Rafael Nadal wins 14th Roland Garros and 22nd Grand Slam title
(Tennis news) Rafael Nadal claimed his 22nd Grand Slam title by winning the Roland Garros, which meant that he is level with Steffi Graf for second-most major singles titles in the Open Era with Serena Williams in first place with 23 titles. The Spaniard secured a straight set 6-3 6-3 6-0 victory over Norwegian tennis player Casper Ruud on Court Philippe Chatrier, which means he now has two Grand Slams more than his closest rivals Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer.
In his acceptance speech, Nadal said “For me personally, it is very difficult to describe the feelings that I have. It's something that I never believed, that I would be here at 36, being competitive again, playing on the most important court of my career one more time in a final. It means everything to me. It means a lot of energy to try to keep going. I just want to say 'merci, merci beaucoup'. I don't know what can happen in the future but I am going to keep fighting to try to keep going."
Approaching the match, Ruud knew that he was against a seasoned veteran on his favourite court but the Norwegian could not have predicted just how quickly Nadal would begin to dominate as the opening set was quickly wrapped up. Ruud got a break to love for a 3-1 lead in the second set due to a double fault but Nadal fought back immediately with a forehand winner bringing up the set point for the Spaniard after which the Norwegian double-faulted to give his opponent a 2-0 lead.
Nadal may be 36 and a chronic foot injury means that the time is ticking for the Spaniard to call it a day on his illustrious career, however, the Spaniard is already halfway through the calendar Grand Slam for the first time in his career. His record at the Roland Garros is impeccable, having lost only three times at the tournament since his debut in 2005. In his post game interview, Casper Ruud said “This is a first time for me so let's see how I do. The first and most important thing is to congratulate Rafa. It's your 14th time, 22nd all round in Grand Slams. We all know what a champion you are. Today I got to feel how it is to play against you in a final. It's not easy and I'm not the first victim. I know there have been many before."
Cricket Ireland appoint new Head of Facilities and Operations
(Cricket news) Cricket Ireland has today announced that Richard Fahey will join the organisation as its Head of Facilities and Operations, a role that will oversee the development and implementation of a new National Facilities Strategy and oversee the day-to-day operations of current facilities and facility partnerships.
Richard has held senior management roles within the Irish sports industry over the last 20 years, including CEO of Tennis Ireland, Director of Club Licensing and Facility Development at The Football Association of Ireland, and has most recently been the interim CEO of Hockey Ireland.
This new role will primarily serve to deliver the high-level objectives outlined in the Cricket Ireland Strategic Plan 2021-2023 which include delivering high-quality playing and practice facilities in each of the major provincial unions, high-quality indoor facilities in each provincial union, ensuring contracted players have regular access to high quality grass facilities, completion of the High Performance Centre indoor and outdoor infrastructure, securing planning permission and funding for the National Sports Campus Stadium Project, procuring an improved range of facilities at international and regional grounds to support our needs (playing and non-playing), securing an increase in cricket clubs accessing grant schemes for capital investment in facilities, and overseeing the provision of high quality community facilities for cricket clubs by local councils.
Warren Deutrom, Chief Executive of Cricket Ireland, said: “This is a relatively unique role with a national governing body in Ireland, so we are delighted to have attracted a candidate of the calibre of Richard. His experience and skills in facilities development are exactly what we need as we enter a new era in Irish cricket and will help drive forward numerous programmes outlined as priority deliverables in our Strategic Plan 2021-2023.
“Richard’s appointment is yet another sign of our determination to follow through on the Portas Review recommendations around ensuring the fitness for purpose of our facilities at all levels. In this role he will seek to put in place high-quality playing and practice facilities in each of the major provincial unions, and also progress the National Sports Campus Stadium Project. We have furthermore asked Richard to look at the needs of the regional grounds and support local clubs with their efforts to attract grants and capital investment.
“Given Richard’s background, I don’t think there are many better qualified to deliver on our ambitious programme for growth and upgrade of cricket facilities across Ireland, and we very much look forward to welcoming him aboard.”
Richard Fahey said: “I’m really looking forward to getting stuck into this role. There is a good foundation in place from which we can, with the support of the cricket community and government agencies at local and national level, develop the necessary infrastructure to grow the game and support our high performance players.”
Richard will start the new role on 7 June 2022.
Rafael Nadal progresses to the French Open final while Ruud defeats Cilic
(Tennis news) Rafael Nadal reached the finals of the French Open after his opponent Alexander Zverev was forced off injured after turning his right angle on the final point of the 12th game of the second set. The Spaniard was leading 7-6 (10-8) 6-6 when Zverev was taken on a wheelchair following his fall. Nadal will take on Casper Ruud in the Roland Garros final on Sunday after the Norwegian defeated Marin Cilic in the semi-finals.
In the post game interview, Nadal said “It is very tough and I feel very sad for him. He was playing an unbelievable tournament. I know how much he is fighting for a Grand Slam - he will win more than one. I wish him all the very best. It is difficult to say a lot of things in this situation. For me to be in the final of Roland Garros is a dream but at the same time to finish that way is not nice. I was in a small room with Sascha [in the treatment room off court] and to see him crying was a tough moment."
In the second semi-final, Casper Ruud became the first Norwegian player to reach a Grand Slam single’s final after defeating Marin Cilic 3-6 6-4 6-2 6-2. The 33 year old Croatian was playing in his first major semi-final since losing the 2018 Australian Open final. However, the 23 year old Ruud broke Cilic’s serve in the third game of the second set and Cilic failed to capitalize on three chances to get it back on serve in the 10th game of the set. Ruud was 4-1 ahead in the sixth game of the third set before a protestor caused a 15-minute delay at Court Philippe Chatrier.
Speaking in the on-court interview after the match, Ruud said “Rafa has been my idol all of my life. He is the last of the big three top players in the world that I've never played with so it's perfect timing to play him in a Grand Slam final and it will be a special moment for me. He is playing a student from his academy so it's going to be a fun one. It's something I've dreamed of."
Nadal to aim for 14th French Open title with win over Alexander Zverev
(Tennis news) Rafael Nadal will hope to give himself the perfect birthday present by reaching the finals of the French Open by defeating Alexander Zverev in the semi-finals. The 21 time Grand Slam winner turns 36 today and it may very well be the last time he plays at the Roland Garros, a tournament that he has been extremely successful in throughout his career. The Spaniard is suffering from a chronic “foot” injury and is yet to find a solution to the longstanding problem, but it didn’t stop him from defeating rival Djokovic in a four set encounter that lasted four hours.
Speaking about his foot injury, Nadal said “The last three months and a half, for me, the only thing that I can say is they haven't been easy. If we are not able to find an improvement or a small solution, then it's becoming super difficult for me. So that's it. It's not the moment to talk about [what happens after the French Open]. We are going to talk about that when my tournament finishes. I am just enjoying every day that I have the chance to be here, and without thinking much about what can happen in the future. Of course I'm going to keep fighting to find a solution, but for the moment, we haven't. I don't know what's going to happen after this."
Victory in France would mean Nadal could move another title clear of both Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic and his chances of reaching the finals is quite likely, especially considering that Nadal has defeated Zverev in six of their last nine encounters and four out of five meetings on clay. The wait continues for the 25 year old’s maiden Grand Slam but the German defeated in-form Carlos Alcaraz to reach the semi-finals and underestimating the World Number 3 could have disastrous consequences for Nadal. The winner of this match will face either Norwegian eighth seed Casper Ruud or Croatia's Marin Cilic in the finals.
Speaking ahead of the match, Zverev said “I'm not 20 or 21 years old anymore. I'm 25. I am at the stage where I want to win, I'm at the stage where I'm supposed to win. Yes, I have not beaten [Djokovic or Nadal] in majors, but I feel like I was very close. "I feel like I have had very difficult and tough matches against them. But there is a big difference between having a tough match and beating them. Still a major difference."
In the other semi-final, World Number 23 Marin Cilic, who defeated Russian seventh seed Andrey Rublev in a fifth-set tie-break, will take on Norway’s Casper Ruud. The 33 year old Croatian became the fifth active men's player apart from Djokovic, Nadal, Federer and Andy Murray to reach the semi-finals of all four Grand Slams. As for Casper Ruud, he is the first Norwegian player to reach the semi-finals of a Grand Slam, recording the most ATP clay-court wins since the start of 2020 with an impressive 65. Speaking ahead of the match, Ruud said “These are the matches that you dream about playing, and hopefully of course even the final if it's possible. "I have to be really focused and bring my A-game to the semi-final. Marin has played great all week, and it's going to be another tough match."
Sports Ministry provides financial assistance to athletes, including Manika Batra, for future competitions
New Delhi, Jun 2 (Sports News) The Sports Ministry on Thursday granted financial assistance to several athletes across the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) core and development groups, including Tokyo Paralympics silver medallist Nishad Kumar and ace woman table tennis player Manika Batra, to support them in their preparations for upcoming competitions.
Nishad, who created an Asian record of 2.06m in the T-47 men's high jump, has been given a financial assistance of Rs 18.9 lakh towards training at the Olympic Training Centre in Chula Vista, United States. He has already left for the 73-day training camp, which started on Thursday and will continue till August 12, along with his physiotherapist Aalaap Jawadekar.
Nishad, who will be in action during the Asian Para Games next year, will be training in Chula Vista under Jeremy Fischer, who is the lead coach and director of the centre.
Paddlers Batra and Sreeja Akula have also been extended support. While the former has been provided financial support to have her personal coach Chris Pfeiffer for the WTT Contender Zagreb (June 13-19), Sreeja has been provided financial assistance towards participation in WTT Feeder Otocec, Slovenia (June 20-26).
3000m steeplechase runner Avinash Sable, who competed at the Tokyo Olympics, has been granted financial assistance to travel to Colorado Springs. He will compete at the Diamond League in Rabat, Morocco, on June 5.
Sable, who is a part of the TOPS core team, will also be assisted with a masseur as well as a Garmin GPS watch. The total financial assistance provided to him is Rs 3.52 lakh.
Tokyo Olympian Annu Rani has also been assisted financially for the procurement of Nemeth and Nordic Valhalla javelins, which will cost Rs 4.15 lakh.
Swimmer Aneesh Gowda has been provided financial assistance towards participation in Singapore National Swimming Championships (June 23-26), while men's sabre fencer Karan Singh has been extended support for a training camp at the Bauer Fencing Academy Orleans, France, from June 1 to July 31. Karan, who will train under the watchful eyes of Christian Bauer, will compete in the Asian Fencing Championship in Seoul from June 10-15 as well as in the Senior World Fencing Championship in Cairo from July 15-23. The only other fencer from India who is training under Bauer is Olympian Bhavani Devi.
Also Read : Nearly 4,700 athletes set to vie for honours in Khelo India Youth Games
News Source : PTI
Nearly 4,700 athletes set to vie for honours in Khelo India Youth Games
Panchkula, Jun 2 (Sports News) Nearly 4,700 athletes, including 2,262 girls, will participate in the Khelo India Youth Games which begins here on Saturday.
The Tau Devi Lal Complex here has been decked up for the grand opening ceremony.
It will also be the hub of action, with several of the 25 disciplines being held at the newly constructed multipurpose halls.
Among the popular games being held here are athletics, football, badminton, table tennis, kabaddi, handball, wrestling, volleyball, boxing and the five indigenous sports.
Four other cities -- Ambala (gymnastics, swimming), Shahabad (hockey), Chandigarh (archery and football) and New Delhi (cycling and shooting) -- will also play hosts to some disciplines.
For the first time, all the 36 states and Union Territories are taking part in this edition of the Khelo India Youth Games, with hosts Haryana fielding the largest contingent of 398 athletes.
Defending champions Maharashtra are fielding the second-largest contingent with 357 athletes while Delhi will have 339. Andaman & Nicobar is sending the smallest squad of six, all cyclists, while Ladakh will boast of seven.
The glamour discipline of athletics will see the maximum participation with 392 entries in various events.
Also Read : Maharashtra Open chess: Paichadze beats Venkatesh to jump to top spot
News Source : PTI
Bopanna-Middelkoop suffer heartbreaking defeat to bow out of French Open
Paris, Jun 2 (Tennis News) India's Rohan Bopanna and his Dutch partner Matwé Middelkoop saved two match points but their dream run at the French Open ended with a semifinal defeat at the hands of Marcelo Arevalo and Jean-Julien Rojer, here on Thursday.
The 16th seeds, Bopanna and Middelkoop, who have played some exhilarating tennis throughout, lost 6-4 3-6 6-7 (8-10) to the 12th seeded pair from El Salvador and the Netherlands in the men's doubles match that lasted two hours and seven minutes.
No Indian has played in a Grand Slam men's doubles final since Leander Paes' 2013 US Open triumph and Bopanna was bidding to become the first Indian in nine years to achieve the feat.
The first and last time Bopanna featured in a Grand Slam final was in 2010 with Pakistani partner Aisam-ul-haq Quereshi, losing the title clash to legendary Bryan brothers -- Bob and Mike.
Rojer's first serve accuracy was a huge factor in the outcome of the match.
While serving for the opening set, Middelkoop was down by two break chances but saved both to make it deuce.
The Dutch player then fired an ace to get to advantage point and Bopanna sealed the set with a backhand volley winner.
Bopanna sent forehand on net at 30-all to face a break point but served big to save that. The Indian's second serve was attacked again in the sixth game that resulted in him facing another break chance but saved that too.
He sealed that game with a stunning cross-court forehand winner that passed Rojer, who was standing in the middle of the court.
The Indo-Dutch pair too earned a break chance when Bopanna found a service return winner off Rojer but their opponents saved it. The 12th seeds though did not miss the crucial chance in the eight game as they broke Middelkoop for a 5-3 lead.
Arevalo served out the set at love to force a decider.
There was no break of serve in the deciding set and Super tie-breaker was required to decide the winner.
Bopanna and Middelkoop fell behind 2-5 with the Indian making three errors -- first an overhead smash, a forehand return error and then a backhand return.
Bopanna and Middelkoop logged four straight points from 2-7 to make it a close affair and even saved two match points but Arevalo converted the third.
With this defeat, India's challenge ended at the clay court major.
Also Read : Marin Cilic reaches French Open semi-final after defeating Rublev
News Source : PTI
Marin Cilic reaches French Open semi-final after defeating Rublev
(Tennis news) Marin Cilic progressed to the semi-finals of the French Open to set up an epic encounter against Casper Ruud. The 33 year old Croatian defeated Andrey Rublev 5-7 6-3 6-4 3-6 7-6 (10-2) and will take on his Norwegian opponent in the next round after Ruud overcame Holger Rune 6-1 4-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-3. Cilic has shown some impressive form in France, defeating world No 2 Daniil Medvedev in the quarter-finals. He got 33 aces and forced 71 unforced errors in a four-hour, 14-minute match.
Speaking in the on-court interview after the match, Cilic said “The win comes from being me, I played that kind of tennis the whole match. The fifth set was an incredible battle. Andrey played incredibly well, it was an incredibly fair-play performance on the court. A lot of heart. One had to go down and today was my day. But Andrey also played an incredible match. Bad luck to him. I felt more tired emotionally out there because Andrey plays a difficult game, he serves big, hits big, and you don't have many chances. You have to keep up with your level, which I did. Unfortunately, I lost that fourth set. I thought I was close to getting the break. When you play this long, there will always be ups and downs in the match but I kept my focus in the fifth."
In the other quarter-final match, Holger Rune, who had already defeated Stefanos Tsitsipas and Denis Shapovalov but could not overcome Casper Ruud. Speaking after the match, the Norwegian said “Of course a lot of nerves all day to get going. It's tough to find calm and peace. I started great but Holger fought back and raised his level. "I had played him three times already, now fourth, I guess I know a little bit how he plays. He plays fearless, goes for big shots. It's a big day for Norwegian tennis," Ruud added. "I will use tomorrow to prepare. These matches are the ones you are dreaming about playing."
Rafael Nadal defeats Djokovic in an epic encounter at Roland Garros
(Tennis news) It was a blockbuster encounter between old foes Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic in a clash that lasted a staggering four hours and 12 minutes on Court Philippe Chatrier. The Spaniard managed to secure passage into the semi-finals of the French Open with a 6-2 4-6 6-2 7-6 (7-4) win over the defending champion, avenging last year’s defeat at the hands of Djokovic.
In the post match interview, Nadal said “A very tough match. Novak is one of the best players in history and playing against him is always an amazing challenge. Today was another one. The only way to win against him is to play your best from the first point to the last. A magic night for me." The Spaniard had already survived a five set game against Felix Auger Aliassime in the last round but continues to defy his age on his favourite venue, where he has already won 13 times and lost on only three occasions since 2005.
The King of Clay had the better start, winning the first 11 games against Djokovic and leading the set 3-0 with a double break. However, Nadal’s intensity dropped which allowed Djokovic to restore parity as the Serbian won the second set in 88 minutes. Nadal, who knows court Philippe Chatrier better than anyone, was not to be defeated that easily and regained momentum to secure the third set. He saved two set points on Djokovic’s serve and levelled the fourth set from 5-2 down to 5-5. Nadal took a 6-1 lead in the tie-break but Djokovic fought back to make it 6-4 but it was the Spaniard’s backhand that finally brought an end to this incredible encounter between two all-time tennis greats.
Speaking after the match, Novak Djokovic said “He was a better player, I think, in the important moments. He started very well. I didn't start so well. I was gaining momentum, managed to win the second set and thought OK, you know, I'm back in the game. But then he had another two, three fantastic games at the beginning of the third. He was just able to take his tennis to another level in those. He showed why he's a great champion. Staying there mentally tough and finishing the match the way he did."
Nadal will face Alexander Zverev in the semi-finals of the French Open after the German defeated 19 year old Spanish teenager Carlos Alcaraz 6-4 6-4 4-6 7-6 (9-7). The 25 year old defeated a top-10 opponent at a Grand Slam for the first time in 12 attempts with Alcaraz making 56 unforced errors while Zverev saved a set point in the fourth set tie-break before securing the second match point with a backhand.
Speaking in the on-court interview after the match, Zverev said “I knew I had to play my best tennis today and I'm happy I did. I told him on the net he will win this a lot of times, I just hope I win it before he starts.” Carlos Alcaraz said “I would say I finished the match playing better. I leave the court, leaving the tournament with my head very high. I fought until the last ball. I fought until the last second of the match, and I'm proud of it."
Sania Mirza-Hradecka pair knocked out from French Open
Paris, May 31 (Tennis News) Sania Mirza and her Czech partner Lucie Hradecka displayed fearless brand of tennis but much younger and superior American singles players Coco Gauff and Jessica Pegula prevailed in the women's doubles third round of the French Open, here on Tuesday.
Despite a combined age of 72 years, Mirza and Hradecka produced some high quality tennis but lost 4-6 3-6 to Pegula, ranked 11th in the singles and world number 23 Gauff.
Mirza was impressive with her lower and angled forehands while Hradecka's power-packed backhand hitting from the baseline was a treat to watch but the Americans got those crucial points that dictated the outcome of the match.
Mirza and Hradecka were down 3-5 in the opening set but Gauff, while serving for the set, committed a double fault to hand a break chance.
Mirza easily dispatched a volley to grab the breakpoint for the team. Hradecka served next and at 30-all, Sania fluffed an overhead smash to hand the Americans set point, which got converted when the Czech made a return error. Mirza and Hradecka had got a measure of their rivals by now and the fearless and confident hitting had begun. The Indo-Czech pair nosed ahead in the second set by breaking the serve of Pegula in the very first game and Mirza made it 2-0 with an easy hold. Gauff's serve was put under pressure. At 30-all, Mirza went for a deep return but that sailed over the baseline. Hradecka too went for big shots but her unforced error put the Americans on board. Pegula found a stunning angled winner that sped off from the corner of the court when Hradecka served at 15-40, making it 2-2. They were in danger of dropping serve again but Mirza saved three breakpoints in the sixth game. The Americans too saved three break chances.
However Americans found a way to get one more break and Pegula served out the match and the pair moved to the quarterfinals.
Also Read : Bopanna makes first Grand Slam semifinal since 2015 Wimbledon
News Source : PTI
India's table tennis squad for CWG announced, women's team will need SAI's clearance
Bengaluru, May 31 (Table Tennis News) The selectors of the Indian table tennis team on Tuesday named a four-member women's squad for the Commonwealth Games, subject to clearance from the Sports Authority of India, after Archana Kamath was included in the side despite not meeting the existing criteria.
Kamath is the second highest-ranked Indian player at 66 after Manika Batra (39) but she was not among the top four players going by the existing selection criteria which also factors in domestic performance.
The Committee of Administrators (CoA) plans to tweak the selection guidelines in the future.
The chosen players are Manika, Archana, Sreeja Akula (rank 66), Reeth Rishya (100), with Diya Chitale (129) as the standby.
Experienced players like Ayhika Mukherjee and Sutirtha Mukherjee were ignored.
Explaining the reasons behind awaiting concurrence from SAI, S D Mudgil, CoA representative and chairperson of the selection committee said, "Under the existing selection criteria, one of the members (Archana) falls outside the top four.
"The selection committee is convinced that the existing guidelines are "flawed" and has moved to make necessary course-correction, with new guidelines effective from October 1.
"However, in this transitionary phase, with an eye on a rich medal haul in Birmingham, we have included the said player in the team. She (Archana Kamath) is one half of the doubles pair (Manika the other) that is ranked No. 4 in the world and which will be the top seeds at the Commonwealth Games.
"Therefore, the selection committee feels that this is a case worthy of consideration by SAI." The men's team which has been picked is a more straightforward one, consisting of the great Sharath Kamal, G Sathiyan and Harmeet Desai. Manush Shah will be the standby.
Mudgil also made it clear that all the 15 players (eight men and seven women) at the camp will be fielded at the ensuing World Table Tennis Tour events in Zagreb (Croatia), Ototec (Slovakia) and Budapest (Hungary) in June-July as part of an ongoing process to bolster the strength of Indian table tennis.
The CWG-bound paddlers will also be provided with an acclimatisation camp in partnership with a leading European team.
'Aim is to have 10 Indians in world's top-100' ------------------------------------------------- The CoA led by Justice (retd) Gita Mittal was appointed by the Delhi High Court in February this year to "clean up the TTFI".
Unveiling an ambitious five-year plan that envisages setting up a national academy along the lines of the National Cricket Academy, with regional academies in four other cities, she said, "The aim is to have at least 10 Indians in the top-100 in the world in both the senior and the junior categories among men and women.
"For that, we need cooperation from all quarters, not criticism just for the sake of it." Justice Mittal insisted that the CoA would like to carry out its responsibilities and exit as quickly as possible.
"We want to put structures in place and ensure a smooth transition. For us, all players are equally important. Also, the player is the most important stake-holder and it is in their best interest that we will function," she added.
The squads were picked after a week-long national camp at the Padukone-Dravid Centre for Sports Excellence in Bangalore.
Also Read : TTFI to offer equal prize money from new table tennis season
News Source : PTI
Bopanna makes first Grand Slam semifinal since 2015 Wimbledon
Paris, May 31 (Tennis News) India's Rohan Bopanna reached his first Grand Slam semifinal in seven years after he and his Dutch partner Matwe Middelkoop rallied to beat Lloyd Glasspool and Henri Heliovaara in the men's doubles quarterfinals of the French Open, here.
The Indo-Dutch pair eked out a 4-6 6-4 7-6 (3) win over the British-Finnish combination in a hard-fought contest on Monday night.
Bopanna last reached the semifinals of a tennis Major at the 2015 Wimbledon Championships when he had teamed up with Romania's Florin Mergea and lost in a gruelling five-setter to Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau.
Bopanna, 42, and Middelkoop, 38, will face 12th seeds Marcelo Arevalo and Jean-Julien Roger on Thursday in the last four.
The Bopanna and Middelkoop squandered the opening set but dished out a superb fightback to win the next two as emerge victories.
In the decider, the Indo-Dutch pair showed tremendous mental fortitude to fightback from 3-5 down to take the match to a super tiebreak.
They were again 0-3 behind but won 10 straight points to come up trumps.
Bopanna and Middelkoop had saved five match points to knock out Mate Pavic and Nikola Mektic, the reigning Wimbledon champions, from the Roland Garros, on Saturday.
Also Read : Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas knocked out of the French Open
News Source : PTI
Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas knocked out of the French Open
(Tennis news) Stefanos Tsitsipas’ French Open dreams came to a disappointing end as the Greek player was eliminated by Danish teenager Holger Rune 7-5 3-6 6-3 6-4. The 19 year old had not won a single match at a major since arriving in Paris and had to save three break points in the final game before getting over the line. The Danish tennis player will take on fellow Scandinavian Casper Ruud in the last eight.
Speaking after the match, Rune said “I have an unbelievable feeling. I was so nervous in the end. I was very nervous. I told myself to keep at it and play my plan. I mean it is so great to still be here. Part of the tactic was to play as aggressive as possible, when he gets shorter balls he attacks them. I really liked playing the drop shots and it worked out pretty good so I am happy."
Meanwhile, World Number 2 and US Open champion Daniil Medvedev lost to Marin Cilic 6-2 6-3 6-2. The Russian was recently sidelined with a hernia surgery and that may have played a role in his defeat to the Croatian veteran, being dominated from start to finish in what can only be considered a disappointing loss. Cilic said “It was an absolutely fantastic match from the first point to the last. I enjoyed the atmosphere and enjoyed the night session here. I played incredible tennis - one of the best matches of my career from start to finish."
Casper Ruud overcame Poland's Hubert Hurkacz 6-2 6-3 3-6 6-3 to reach his maiden Grand Slam quarter-final. The Norwegian has been one of the most consistent players on clay, winning seven out of his last eight titles on the surface but has been eliminated in the third round of Roland Garros in 2019, 2020 and 2021. Speaking after the match, Ruud said “It feels great, it was one of my goals this year. I feel more experienced playing best of five sets. Hubert has improved a lot on clay, he has become a dangerous player on all surfaces; he has a dangerous serve but I did well at returning it today."
Italian tennis player Jannik Sinner was forced off injured against Andrey Rublev. The 20 year old was hoping for his second quarter-final since 2020 and won the opening set 6-1 before sustaining a knee injury which led him to lose 6-4 in the second set. Rublev was 2-0 up in the third set before Sinner withdrew from the match. The Italian said “I felt good or quite ok in the first set and after serving at 2-1 (in the second) I felt something from that point.”
Novak Djokovic to face Rafael Nadal in French Open quarter-finals
(Tennis news) Novak Djokovic was at his dominant best at Roland Garros as he defeated Schwartzman 6-1 6-3 6-3 in two and a quarter hours. The defending champion and World Number 1 will now take on 21 time Grand Slam winner Rafael Nadal in the quarter-finals. The Spaniard overcame Felix Auger-Aliasimme 3-6 6-3 6-2 3-6 6-3. Djokovic was booed at Court Suzanne Lenglen by a large South American and Spanish contingent in the stands and the Serbian was seen cupping his ear by the third set as he inched closer towards victory.
Speaking in the post match interview, Djokovic said “I have a lot of respect for him (Schwartzman). He's a good guy on and off the court and he's a clay-court specialist so it's not easy, especially in slow conditions today with a ball that was not bouncing high. I found the good serves at the right moments." As for Nadal, the Spaniard said this about his upcoming match against Djokovic “Of course we know each other well. We have a lot of history together. I am going to be focused, I will try my best. I don't know what will happen but I will fight until the end."
The two players will face each other for the 59th time, the most number of times in the professional era of tennis. Djokovic leads Nadal 30-28 in their 58 previous meetings. It remains to be seen if Roland Garros decides to schedule this blockbuster match at night, with Nadal already stating that he doesn’t enjoy playing under the lights while Djokovic said “All I will say is Rafa and I would make different requests."
In other results, Alexander Zverev defeated Spanish qualifier Bernabe Zapata Miralles 7-6 (13-11) 7-5 6-3 after two hours and 45 minutes to progress into the quarter-finals for the fourth time in five years. Speaking after the match, Zverev said “He was driving me nuts. He is one of the fastest players. I felt every return was put on the baseline. We played three sets but we played three hours. He was playing the best tennis of his life, with the crowd supporting him. You can see how hardworking he is.” The German will take on Alcaraz after the Spaniard defeated Karen Khachanov 6-1 6-4 6-4.
Bopanna, Middelkoop save 5 match points to knock out Wimbledon champions from Roland Garros
Paris, May 28 (Tennis News) The never-say-die spirit was at work as Rohan Bopanna and Matwe Middelkoop saved five match points to knock out Mate Pavic and Nikol Mektic, the reigning Wimbledon champions, from the Roland Garros, here on Saturday.
Bopanna's serve was as venomous as it has been throughout his career and his volleys too were as sharp as ever while his Dutch partner showed exemplary calm under pressure in an edge-of-the-seat action in the men's doubles third round. A break of serve early in the third set put them at a disadvantageous position but there was no dearth of spirit or class from Bopanna and Middelkoop, who eventually prevailed 6-7 (5) 7-6(3) 7-6 (10) in two hours and 32 minutes.
Bopana, thus, matched his best performance at the clay court major by reaching the quarterfinals, having done it four times in the past.
After annexing a set each, the pair of Mektic and Pavic got a break chance straight away in the opening game of the decisive third set when Middlekoop fired a forehand long at 30-all.
Middelkoop put a terrific first serve in but Mektic found a solid return which the Dutch could not put across the net, his backhand kissing the net.
Mektic had no trouble whatsoever in making it 2-0 with a comfortable hold. Bopanna held his own and left-hander Pavic too stayed solid on his serve as the second seeds were now leading 3-1.
Bopanna made a backhand error, close to the net when Middelkoop served at 30-30 to be down by another breakpoint but they saved that and the next one too.
They eventually held with Bopanna finishing the game by dispatching a backhand volley.
Pavic was put under pressure when Bopanna fired in a stunning service return winner and Middelkoop too sent in a fierce return to make it deuce but the tall southpaw pulled off two big serves to set his partner up for easy volley winners on returns.
Mektic was serving for the match in the 10th game but was clearly feeling the pressure.
Down by a match point, Middelkoop found a winner to make it deuce while Bopanna pulled off a stunning forehand service return winner, his shot just kissing the line, to earn a break chance which they converted to make it 5-5.
The momentum had shifted.
Bopanna came out firing on all cylinders, holding at love. Pavic too served big, forcing a Super tie-break.
The second seeds got to 9-6 to have a number of match points but the Indo-Dutch combine kept fighting in a stunning fashion and eventually saved four more match points in the Super Tie-break.
They earned their first match point when the rivals fluffed a return at 10-10. Pavic served decent while facing a match point but Middelkoop made an angled return, which the left-hander put out.
Middelkoop fell on the ground in disbelief as Bopanna let out a roar.
Also Read : French Open: Djokovic and Nadal secure wins while Norrie is knocked out
News Source : PTI
French Open: Djokovic and Nadal secure wins while Norrie is knocked out
(Tennis news) Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal secured straight set victories at Roland Garros to progress into the fourth round of the tournament. Djokovic defeated Aljaz Bedene 6-3 6-3 6-2 on Court Philippe-Chatrier while Nadal overcame Botic van de Zandschulp 6-3 6-2 6-4. Their results mean that if the pair manage to win their fourth round matches, they will face each other in an epic clash at the French Open quarter-finals. The Serbian will take on Diego Schwartzman next while the 21 time Grand Slam winner will face Felix Auger-Aliassime.
Speaking after his match, Nadal said “I had my chance with a breakpoint for 5-0 in the third but then he made a great second serve, an ace wide. I played a bad game with my serve after and he played very aggressive tennis. You always feel the nerves to finish the match [off], so I'm happy to be through I straight-sets. I think it was my best match of the tournament for two-and-a-half sets. So, I'm very happy about that."
Nadal’s opponent Felix Auger-Aliassime is coached by the Spaniard’s uncle Toni. "I already talked with Toni after my match," Nadal said. "I know you are going to ask the question, but for me it's very simple. He's my uncle. I don't think he will be able to want me to lose, without a doubt, but he's a professional and he's with another player. I don't know what's going to happen, if he's going to stay in the box or not, but I don't care. I have zero problem with that. So it's not a story at all for me. I know the feelings that we have between each other. I know he wants the best for me. Now he's helping another player. But honestly, for me, it's zero problem and I know he wants the best for me."
Djokovic’s next opponent Diego Schwartzman overcame Grigor Dimitrov in three sets 6-3 6-1 6-2 on Friday. The Argentinian only made 20 unforced errors compared to Dimitrov’s 50 and Schwartzman will take on Djokovic for the seventh time on the ATP tour, with the Serbian having won every match from their encounters. Alexander Zverev defeated Brandon Nakashima of the United States 7-6 (7-2) 6-3 7-6 (7-5) on Court Suzanne-Lenglen. The German will take on Bernabe Zapata Miralles in the fourth round after the Spaniard defeated John Isner in five sets 6-4 3-6 6-4 6-7 (7-5) 6-3.
British Number 1 Cameron Norrie was knocked out of the third round at Roland Garros after losing to Karen Khachanov 6-2 7-5 5-7 6-4. The result meant that there are no more British players competing in the singles main draws at the French Open. Speaking during the on-court interview after the match, Norrie said “I'm very disappointed but I tried as hard as I could and had a good attitude, gave myself a chance. I need to keep doing what I'm doing and learn from these matches. I think Karen was better than me, he played the bigger points better and deserved the win. I had a lot of break points but he made it difficult for me. I thought he played great. I wanted to make the second week for the first time but I didn't play my best."
Dan Evans knocked out of French Open while Iga Swiatek secures win
(Tennis news) British tennis player Dan Evans was knocked out in the second round of the French Open by Mikael Ymer 3-6 6-3 2-6 3-6. The result means that Cameron Norrie is the only remaining player from Great Britain at the Roland Garros. Norrie has not dropped a set yet in the Grand Slam event across the two rounds and will take on Karen Khachanov in the fourth match on Court Simonne-Mathieu.
Speaking after the match, Evans said “I couldn't care less. I gave away the last point, but I couldn't care less, to be honest with you. "I think I'd put enough effort in for three-and-a-half hours. I was physically exhausted. That was it for me. It's frustrating and it's upsetting, don't get me wrong, but that's the way it goes. I've been struggling with a chest infection. It's not ideal really. Normal symptoms, sweating a lot at night, bad sleep. It probably took a lot out of me. It's not an excuse. I was in some good situations, but physically I wasn't spot on."
In other results, Stefanos Tsitsipas defeated Zdenek Kolar 6-3 7-6 6-7-7-6 in a match that lasted four hours while Daniil Medvedev overcame Laslo Djere 6-3 6-4 6-3. The World Number 2 won 70 percent of points behind his first serve and capitalised on his opponent's high unforced error count during the two and a half hour match. He will face Miomir Kecmanovic in the next round as the Serbian defeated Alexander Bublik in four sets 4-6 7-5 6-2 6-1. Speaking after the match, Medvedev said “Today I think to be honest, Laslo was playing better clay-court tennis. But I managed to fight and just put one more ball in the court than him. It was a very tough match, but I am happy to win. "I honestly think I played better in the first round. I definitely need to play better next round, because it's going to be tougher and tougher. Again, I am not going to lie, I prefer hard courts."
Casper Ruud also secured a win at the French Open as the Norwegian defeated Emil Ruusuvuori of Finland 6-3 6-4 6-2. Speaking after the match, Ruud said “It was definitely a challenge. Even though it was three straight sets, there were some tough moments and some chances I didn't get, but some I did. All in all, I'm very happy with the performance." In the women’s category, Iga Swiatek defeated Alison Riske 6-0 6-2 in just 61 minutes to extend her winning run to 30 matches. The World Number 1 thoroughly dominated the match, hitting 23 winners. She will face world No 95 Danka Kovinic in the third round on Saturday.
Speaking in the on-court interview after the match, Swiatek said “I'm pretty happy. I'm just happy that I'm playing really solid tennis and I think this is my first singles match on Court Suzanne-Lenglen so it was a pleasure playing here and thank you [to the fans] for cheering. It's been something I've been working on since I started. Just being focused and wanting to put pressure on my opponent is really helpful as it means that I have the initiative from the beginning and can really lead on court. It's not that easy before every match because you have to get pumped up and in the zone, but I'm getting better and better at it."
Bopanna-Middelkoop, Sania-Lucie win in French Open, Ramkumar loses
Paris, May 26 (Tennis News) India's Rohan Bopanna and Sania Mirza notched up contrasting wins along with their respective partners in the men's and women's doubles competitions at the French Open here on Thursday.
While Bopanna and his Dutch partner Matwe Middelkoop marched into the pre-quarterfinals with a straight set win over Andrey Golubev and Fabrice Martin, Sania combined with Czech Republic's Lucie Hradecka to prevail in three sets over Italian duo of Jasmine Paolini and Martina Trevisan in their opening round.
Bopanna and Middelkoop won the second round match 6-3 6-4 in one hour and six minutes.
Later in the day, Sania and Lucie beat Jasmine and Martina 4-6 6-2 6-1 in an hour and 58 minute clash.
Ramkumar Ramanathan and his American partner Hunter Reese, however, suffered a 3-6 2-6 loss to sixth seeded pair of Wesley Koolhof of the Netherlands and Great Britain's Neal Skupski in another second round men's doubles match.
Earlier, the Indo-Dutch combo of Bopanna and Middelkoop, seeded 16th, broke the from Kazakhstan-French pair at 4-4 in the second set and then Middelkoop served out the match at love.
Bopanna's best performance at the clay court major is last-eight stage appearance in 2011, 2016, 2018 and 2021.
Also Read : Bopanna-Middelkoop enter French Open pre-quarterfinals
News Source : PTI
Bopanna-Middelkoop enter French Open pre-quarterfinals
Paris, May 26 (Tennis News) India's Rohan Bopanna and his Dutch partner Matwe Middelkoop marched into the pre-quarterfinals of the French Open men's doubles event with a straight set win over Andrey Golubev and Fabrice Martin here on Thursday.
Bopanna and Middelkoop won the second round with a 6-3 6-4 scoreline against their opponents in one hour and six minutes.
The Indo-Dutch combo, seeded 16th, broke the from Kazakhstan-French pair at 4-4 in the second set and then Middelkoop served out the match at love.
Bopanna's best performance at the clay court major is reaching the last-eight stage in 2011, 2016, 2018 and 2021.
Later in the day, Ramkumar Ramanathan and Sania Mirza will be in action in their respective doubles events.
Also Read : French Open: Djokovic and Nadal progress while Raducanu gets eliminated
News Source : PTI
French Open: Djokovic and Nadal progress while Raducanu gets eliminated
(Tennis news) French Open’s defending champion Novak Djokovic and 21 time Grand Slam winner Rafael Nadal progressed to the third round of Roland Garros with relative ease. The World Number 1 Serbian defeated Alex Molcan 6-2 6-3 7-6, hitting 40 winners and 10 aces on Court Suzanne-Lenglen while Rafael Nadal overcame France's Corentin Moutet 6-3 6-1 6-4, securing his 300th Grand Slam victory and 107th of the French Open.
Carlos Alcaraz also secured a narrow victory at the French Open after surviving a match-point during a five set game. The Spaniard has been the in-form player in 2022 and defeated his countryman Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-1, 6-7, 5-7, 7-6, 6-4. Alcaraz, who is 15 years younger than Ramos-Vinolas, saved the match point in the 10th game of the fourth set to take it on a tiebreak and went on to rally after a poor start to the fifth and final set to win it 6-4. He will face Sebastian Korda in the next round.
In other results, Alexander Zverev defeated Sebastian Baez 2-6 4-6 6-1 6-2 7-5 in a match that lasted for three hours and 36 minutes on Court Philippe-Chatrier. The German struggled against Baez and had to be at the top of his game to secure passage into the next round where he will face Brandon Nakashima of the United States.
Speaking after the match, Zverev said “I said to him that how he feels now is the worst you're going to feel on a tennis court. It was such an incredible match. I know how it feels, as I lost the US Open final by two sets to love up. I was two points away from winning it and I lost 7-6 in the fifth. You always get better from it. I wish him nothing but the best, he's an unbelievably great kid and he's going to do a lot of great things in this sport."
In the women’s category, Emma Raducanu was knocked out from the 2nd round of the French Open after losing to Aliaksandra Sasnovich 3-6 6-1 6-1. The Belarusian tennis player will now face Angelique Kerber in the third round while Raducanu will shift her attention to the grass-court season. In other results, Maria Sakkari was also knocked out of the Roland Garros after a 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (7-4) defeat to Karolina Muchova while Coco Gauff overcame Alison van Uytvanck of Belgium 6-1 7-6 (7-4).
Maiden Grand Slam main draw win for Ramkumar, moves to French Open 2nd round with partner Reese
Paris, May 25 (Tennis News) Indian tennis player Ramkumar Ramanathan cherished his first ever main draw win at a Grand Slam as he combined with American Hunter Reese to beat the German team of Daniel Altmaier and Oscar Otte in the men's doubles event of the French Open, here on Wednesday.
Ramkumar, who has made umpteen attempts to crack a singles main draw of a Grand Slam without success, and Reese beat their rivals 7-6(4) 6-3 in their opening round of the clay court major.
The 27-year-old Indian had broken into the doubles top-100 early this year, following his maiden ATP Tour title win with compatriot Rohan Bopanna in Adelaide and at home in Pune, competing in the Tata Open Maharashtra.
Rohan Bopanna and his Dutch partner Matwe Middelkoop had progressed to the second round with 6-4 6-1 win over local wild cards Sascha Gueymard Wayenburg and Luca Van Assche, on Tuesday.
Also Read : Tsitsipas and Medvedev progress in the French Open while Tsonga retires
News Source : PTI
Tsitsipas and Medvedev progress in the French Open while Tsonga retires
(Tennis news) Stefanos Tsitsipas, who reached the finals of the French Open last year, overcame a two set deficit to defeat Lorenzo Musetti 5-7 4-6 6-2 6-3 6-2 and progress into the second round. The Greek player hit 64 winners and fired 10 aces on his way to victory against the Italian and will now face world No 134 Zdenek Kolar. Speaking after the match, Tsitsipas said “I refuse to give up. That's simply how it works with me. You never really think about getting back after being two sets to love. You just play it point after point. You just wish that your efforts will pay off. It's a mountain that you have to climb. It was a great first round. I'm going to keep working hard to improve and build a relationship with the crowd here."
Meanwhile, Daniil Medvedev progressed to the second time of the French Open by defeating Facundo Bagnis 6-2 6-2 6-2. It was clear that despite Medvedev’s obvious quality, the match was an easy victory because Bagnis’ movements were restricted with his calf heavily strapped. As for Medvedev, the Russian lost in the opening round at the Geneva Open last week to Richard Gasquet and will look to do better than his quarter-final finish at the Roland Garros last year.
After the match, Medvedev spoke about being banned from Wimbledon and becoming World Number 1 by saying “Very strange. I need to be honest, but yeah, as I said last time, I'd be really happy to play Wimbledon. I love Wimbledon. I love playing on grass. I will play on grass after Roland Garros. But if I cannot, I mean, [I'm] just going to prepare for next tournaments, and, you know, just follow what's happening there. [If] there are no points, I become No 1, well, great for me. If there are points, I cannot become No 1, I'm going to be gutted. It is what it is. I cannot change some decisions, both about ATP and Wimbledon."
In other results, an emotional Jo-Wilfred Tsonga waved goodbye to the crowd at the French Open after losing to Norway’s Casper Ruud 6-7 (6) 7-6 (4) 6-2 7-6 (0), thereby ending his 18 year long professional career. The 37 year old received a standing ovation from the crowd as the curtains closed on his illustrious career where he won 18 ATP titles. Speaking after the match, Tsonga said “It's a great day for me. The day when I say goodbye to my long-time companion. I've never looked back but now is the time to do it. I want to thank all the people who helped me achieve my dream of becoming a professional tennis player. Thanks to the French tennis federation and all my coaches who supported me even when I was extremely silly. I managed to be good amid the best generation of players and I'm happy about it."
Nadal and Djokovic win at the French Open while Osaka crashes out
(Tennis news) Rafael Nadal comfortably defeated Jordan Thompson 6-2 6-2 6-2 in the opening round of the French Open. The Spaniard has suffered from a chronic foot injury in the season so far but will hope to secure the Roland Garros title at a venue he has traditionally excelled in throughout his career. The victory against Thompson was his 106th at the French Open, the most wins at a single Grand Slam (Roger Federer is in 2nd place with 105 wins at Wimbledon).
Speaking after the match, Nadal said “Of course the confidence is higher when you win in Monte Carlo, Barcelona, Madrid, or Rome. Without a doubt, things are easy in this world to understand, no? When you are winning more matches and more tournaments you have better confidence. When this is not the case, things are different. But I never expected to be winning 15 Monte Carlos and Romes, so that's the situation today.
“I got injured, and that's it. What happened is past and here we are. We are in Roland Garros. I am here to try my best. And how is my level of confidence? How the things would be or if I didn't get injured, I don't know. We never know. So I'm not a big fan of thinking about the things that could happen if... 'if' is a dangerous word. And then it's the moment to accept the situation and to have the confidence to put all my effort into every single day, to get better and better. Let's see how far I can keep going."
Speaking about Wimbledon, Nadal said “In the end, I understand both sides. I respect and I understand Wimbledon's position, without a doubt, but on the other hand, I understand and I respect too that the ATP is protecting its members. That's it. Is not that one is doing a negative thing and the other one is doing the good thing. Everyone is half. In my personal opinion, (they) have good reasons to make the decisions that they make today. Hopefully ATP and Wimbledon can be together and sit together and negotiate a better future for both sides."
In other results, World Number 1 Novak Djokovic defeated Japan's Yoshihito Nishioka 6-3 6-1 6-0. The in-form Serbian, who recently won in Rome, dropped just four games against Nishioka to seal his passage into the second round by wrapping up the match in just under two hours. Speaking after the match, Djokovic shared his thoughts about Wimbledon as the Grand Slam will not be a ranked event due to the actions taken by the ATP, WTA and ITF. He said “I think collectively I'm glad that players got together with ATP, the governing body of the men's tennis, and showed to the Grand Slam that when there is a mistake happening, and there was from the Wimbledon side, then we have to show that there is going to be some consequences."
Meanwhile, Naomi Osaka crashed out of the first round of the French Open after losing to Amanda Anisimova 7-5 6-4. The Japanese tennis player had withdrawn from the 2021 French Open due to her mental health and raised her doubts about playing in Wimbledon next month. She said “I would say like the decision is kind of affecting, like, my mentality going into grass, like I'm not 100 percent sure if I'm going to go there. I would love to go just to get some experience on the grass court, but at the same time, for me, it's kind of like - I don't want to say pointless, no pun intended, but I'm the type of player that gets motivated by... seeing my ranking go up.”
In other results, defending champion Barbora Krejcikova lost to French teenager Diane Parry 1-6 6-2 6-3 while Iga Swiatek extended her unbeaten run to 29 with a win against Ukrainian qualifier Lesia Tsurenko 6-2 6-0. Britain's Harriet Dart narrowly lost to Italy's Martina Trevisan 6-0 6-2 while Emma Raducanu overcame Czech qualifier Linda Noskova 6-7 (4-7) 7-5 6-1. The British number 1 said after the match “I mean it was an absolute battle. I have to say Linda is playing some amazing tennis and she really came out there firing.
“As soon as I dropped my ball speed, she was all over me and killing me from the end of the first set. So, it was definitely really challenging in the second set to hold on and keep holding my serve and break back a couple of times. I am really proud of the way I fought but all props to Linda as she played an amazing match. Honestly, I have no expectations of myself. You know I am really happy to be able to compete here after Rome. I really fought hard to be here in this second round and I am looking forward to trying to stay as long as possible."
Dominic Thiem crashes out of Roland Garros while Alcaraz secures win
(Tennis news) Two time French Open finalist Dominic Thiem crashed out of the first round after losing to Hugo Dellien 6-3 6-2 6-4. The Austrian has struggled tremendously since making his comeback from a wrist injury and is yet to win a match at any tournament since his comeback. Thiem made 42 unforced errors against Dellien, struggling with his forehand throughout the match and looked like a shadow of his former self on a surface he was once a force to be reckoned with. Hugo Dellien wasted no time asserting his dominance, earning his first break-point in Thiem's opening service game and breaking him on his second to win the first set while the Austrian struggled for consistency.
Speaking after the match, Thiem said “It was not a good match at all but it is what it is. I knew it would take time and the level is extremely high. It is going to take a few more months until I say now I am ready to beat those guys again. The problem is in practice it is really decent but a match situation is something different, Grand Slam especially. I am definitely thinking of going back to Challenger level for one or two tournaments. I am more tight, more nervous and the whole body gets tighter. This is toxic to my forehand because I am still missing the fine feeling there.”
In other results, Spanish tennis player Carlos Alcaraz defeated Argentina’s Juan Ignacio Londero 6-4 6-2 6-0 in the opening round. The 19 year old has already won the Madrid and Barcelona Open and will now take on fellow Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas. Speaking after the match, Alcaraz said “I always say that you have to improve every day if you are the best player in the world. Not in my case. But for example, Rafa (Nadal) says every day that he always improves every day. I would say I have to improve everything a little bit. You can improve everything every day, you know. And I would say everything. I have to improve everything."
Meanwhile, Alexander Zverev defeated Austrian qualifier Sebastian Ofner 6-2 6-4 6-4 while Canadian ninth seed Felix Auger-Aliassime made a stunning comeback to defeat Peru's Juan Pablo Varillas 2-6 2-6 6-1 6-3 6-3.
Deaflympics gold has spurred me to win medals at Asiad, 2024 Olympics: Diksha
New Delhi, May 20 (Golf News) Bolstered by her unprecedented gold-medal winning run at the 24th Summer Deaflympics, Indian golfer Diksha Dagar has now trained her eyes on returning with medals from the postponed Asian Games and the 2024 Olympics.
The 21-year-old from Haryana defeated American Ashlyn Grace in the final to bag gold at the Deaflympics.
She thus became the only golfer with two Deaflympics medals – a silver in Samsun, Turkey in 2017 and gold in 2022, which is actually the 2021 edition of showpiece.
"Last time, when I lost in the playoffs, I was so disappointed because I expected to win. But this time, I was 100 per cent sure that I will return with gold because of my exposure and experience in international tournaments," Diksha told PTI during an interaction.
"I have played across the globe, against the best players, so I was confident and when I won, I was so proud to see the national anthem play in the stadium. This win is special because it is for the country and bigger than all my individual success.
"Now I want to win medal at the Asian Games and the 2024 Olympics. I have competed at the Tokyo Olympics but it was my first experience. Now I am so motivated to make my country proud in these major events." Dikha was not given a direct entry into the Asian Games with the Indian Golf Union (IGU) deciding to pick Aditi Ashok and Tvesa Malik based on their world rankings.
"IGU has played a major role in my growth as a golfer but I was really hurt and disappointed when I was not selected despite being only the second Indian to win two events in LET after Aditi Ashok," said Diksha, who had become the youngest Indian woman to win on Ladies European Tour when she claimed the 2019 Investec South African Women's Open.
She had also helped her team win the Aramco Team Series – London last year.
"I didn't know that they will pick two players on world ranking. I thought it would be like the Olympics. But now that the Asian Games has been postponed, I will start my preparation.
"Winning this medal has also spurred me to work harder on my game and rack up ranking points so that I can qualify for the event next year and win medals for the country." Coached by her father Col Narinder Dagar, Diksha has never sought the services of any specialised coach since turning professional in 2019 but now she is seriously planning to have a professional set up around her to prepare her for the Paris Olympics.
"I realised at Tokyo and other tournaments that playing against top players I will have to work hard and this is not enough. I need professional people around me like a specialised coach, physios, mental trainers, nutritionists etc.
"It will help me to play consistent golf. I have to work on my fitness and distance and if I can keep working hard I know I can win medals at Asian Games and Olympics." Diksha also won numerous titles as an amateur with the 2018 Singapore Ladies Amateur Open being the last as she turned pro the following year. "I can't imagine life without golf. I used to play tennis, swimming. But golf is something that I love most. I am a professional but I have been playing like an amateur but now I want to take my game to the next level," she signed off.
ALso Read : Tvesa T-16 after Round 1, Aditi gets hole-in-one in Round 2 at Jabra Ladies
News Source : PTI
Wimbledon stripped of ranking points by the ATP and WTA
(Tennis news) The ATP and WTA have stripped Wimbledon of its ranking points after the prestigious event banned Russian and Belarusian players from competing in the tournament. The decision was taken following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with the verdict being criticised by the ATP, WTA and a number of players such as Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray. According to Wimbledon chairman Ian Hewitt, they were left with no “viable alternative” but to ban the players from the two countries due to the UK Government. Hewitt has said that there were only two options, one being to make players sign declarations condemning the invasion of Ukraine or an outright ban.
A statement released by the ATP said “The ability for players of any nationality to enter tournaments based on merit, and without discrimination, is fundamental to our Tour. The decision by Wimbledon to ban Russian and Belarusian players from competing in the UK this summer undermines this principle and the integrity of the ATP Ranking system. It is also inconsistent with our Rankings agreement. Absent a change in circumstances, it is with great regret and reluctance that we see no option but to remove ATP Ranking points from Wimbledon for 2022."
The statement continued “Our rules and agreements exist in order to protect the rights of players as a whole. Unilateral decisions of this nature, if unaddressed, set a damaging precedent for the rest of the Tour. Discrimination by individual tournaments is simply not viable on a Tour that operates in more than 30 countries. We greatly value our long-standing relationships with Wimbledon and the LTA and do not underestimate the difficult decisions faced in responding to recent UK Government guidance.
"However, we note that this was informal guidance, not a mandate, which offered an alternative option that would have left the decision in the hands of individual players competing as neutral athletes through a signed declaration. Our internal discussions with affected players in fact led us to conclude this would have been a more agreeable option for the Tour. We remain hopeful of further discussions with Wimbledon leading to an acceptable outcome for all concerned. More broadly, we believe this matter again highlights the need for a united governance structure across professional tennis so that decisions of this nature can be made in a joint manner."
Following ATP’s statement, Steve Simon, WTA Chairman, said in a statement: "As a result of the AELTC's position that it will not honour its obligation to use the WTA Rankings for entry into Wimbledon and proceed with a partial field not based on merit, the WTA has made the difficult decision to not award WTA ranking points for this year's Wimbledon Championships. The stance we are taking is about protecting the equal opportunities that WTA players should have to compete as individuals. If we do not take this stance, then we abandon our fundamental principle and allow the WTA to become an example to support discrimination based on nationality at other events and in other regions around the world. The WTA will continue to apply its rules to reject such discrimination."
Meanwhile, the International Tennis Federation has also confirmed that junior and wheelchair events at Wimbledon will also be unranked. "The ITF has determined that Wimbledon's entry criteria banning Russians and Belarusians compromises the integrity of its international competition, in particular its ranking system, as there is a lack of alternative equivalent opportunities for players to compete for ranking points and prize money," it said in a statement.
In response, Wimbledon released their own statement in which they stood by their decision by saying “We appreciate that opinions differ in relation to our decision to decline entries from Russian and Belarusian players to the championships this year, and we deeply regret the impact of this decision on the individuals affected. However, given the position taken by the UK Government to limit Russia's global influence, which removed automatic entry by ranking, and the widespread response of Government, industry, sport and creative institutions, we remain of the view that we have made the only viable decision for Wimbledon as a globally renowned sporting event and British institution, and we stand by the decision we have made.
"We therefore wish to state our deep disappointment at the decisions taken by the ATP, WTA and ITF in removing ranking points for the championships. We believe these decisions to be disproportionate in the context of the exceptional and extreme circumstances of this situation and the position we found ourselves in, and damaging to all players who compete on tour. We are considering our options, and we are reserving our position at this stage. We are also in discussion with our Grand Slam colleagues."
WTA to keep ranking points for UK’s grass court events next month
(Tennis news) Following the ATP’s decision to award ranking points for United Kingdom’s grass court events next month, the WTA has followed suit with the same decision. However, Wimbledon could still be stripped of points after the All England Club and the LTA decided to ban Russian and Belarusian players from competing in the prestigious event due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The verdict regarding the outcome of the Grand Slam event is expected to be announced in the coming days.
Speaking for the first time since the ban was announced, LTA chief executive Scott Lloyd said “I acknowledge the fact that it is a very complex matter and there's a range of opinions, but given the circumstance that we are operating under in this country and public sentiment about Ukraine, I feel we have made the right decision. I don't believe discriminatory is the right description here. We are necessarily needing to work within the framework of government guidance here in the UK. We, alongside a number of other sports, have come to the same conclusion - the likes of boxing, motor sport, athletics and the IOC."
According to the ATP, the decision to ban Russian and Belarusian players “undermines the ability for players of any nationality to enter tournaments based on merit.” The Lawn Tennis Association and the All England Club have reiterated that their decision is based on "directional guidance" from the United Kingdom government, with the LTA recently receiving a £10.2m support package from Sport England.
Lloyd spoke about the importance of government funding by saying “Our partnership with Sport England and indeed the government is very important to tennis in this country. The government is going to invest some £22m in helping the LTA to restore park tennis facilities, which is very important for grassroots tennis. And of course we've got to remember that last summer tennis tournaments, and Wimbledon in particular, were one of the first sporting events to get back to some sense of normality post the Covid pandemic. That couldn't have been done without the support and partnership of the government."
While the decision to ban Russian and Belarusian players has attracted a lot of criticism, the decision to strip an event like Wimbledon would be unfair to the players participating in the tournament and it is not beyond the realm of possibility that the ATP and WTA may reach different conclusions. The idea of stripping Wimbledon off points could also have bigger repercussions on certain players, such as Novak Djokovic, who will not be able to defend the 2000 points he secured last year, which would mean he will lose his number one ranking.
Andy Murray to play at Queen's Club and Surbiton grass court events
(Tennis news) Former men’s World Number 1 and three time major champion Andy Murray will be featuring at the Queen’s Club, thanks to a wildcard entry on June 13th, having previously won six ATP Tour titles at the event and will also be competing for the Surbiton trophy on May 29th, in hopes of preparing for Wimbledon next month. The Scottish player will feature alongside fellow Brits Cameron Norrie, Dan Evans, Jack Draper, Joe Salisbury, Neal Skupski, Jamie Murray, Alfie Hewett and Gordon Reid.
Murray said “I'm really looking forward to playing at Surbiton and Queen's this year - two great events. It's always special playing on the grass in front of a home crowd." Cameron Norrie, who won the Indian Wells Masters in October 2021 will be hoping to go one step further than last time, having lost in the finals of the Queen’s Club in the last iteration. Dan Evans reached the quarter-finals of the Queen’s Club the last time while Jack Draper was a wildcard entry in 2021 and reached the last eight of the competition.
Wheelchair tennis player Alfie Hewett, who won the Australian Open singles and doubles earlier this year will be partnering with Gordon Reid at the Queen’s Cup. Leon Smith, Head of Men's Tennis at the LTA and Davis Cup captain said “To see so many of our British players thriving at the top of the game highlights the progress our sport has made in recent years, and it will be fantastic to see so many of them taking to the grass courts for the LTA's summer events.
"In a year that has seen Cam Norrie break into the top ten of the ATP rankings, Dan Evans and Andy Murray serve up some great performances, Joe Salisbury rise to No.1 spot in the doubles rankings, Neal Skupski win his first ATP 1000 event and Jack Draper continues to make such great progress, there is so much to look forward to this summer in our grass courts events leading into Wimbledon."
On the doubles court, Joe Salisbury, who is a two-time majors champion along with Miami Masters winner Neal Skupski and seven-time major champion Jamie Murray will also be representing Great Britain on the doubles court.
Andy Murray withdraws from French Open to focus on Wimbledon
(Tennis news) British tennis player Andy Murray has withdrawn from next week’s French Open in order to prepare for Wimbledon. The soon to be 35 year old had initially planned to skip the clay court season but changed his mind after receiving a wildcard entry for the Madrid Open. He reached the third round in the Spanish capital, defeating the likes of Dominic Thiem and Denis Shapovalov but was forced to withdraw ahead of a clash against Novak Djokovic due to illness.
Murray has only played in one French Open since 2017, suffering elimination in the first round in 2020. The Scottish player hasn’t progressed beyond the third round of a Grand Slam event since he reached the quarter-finals at Wimbledon five years ago. Murray will now prepare for the grass court season which will begin in early June with Wimbledon scheduled for June 27th. The Scot could play in the Surbiton Trophy, a second-tier Challenger event in London beginning on May 30 before going to Stuttgart for the ATP tournament.
One of the biggest talking points from this year’s iteration of Wimbledon is the ban on Russian and Belarusian players from competing. The ATP and WTA are yet to announce the repercussions of that ban with the removal of all ranking points a realistic possibility. The two organisations have been holding meetings in Rome and Madrid to discuss the consequences of the ban, which means that Murray could be choosing to not participate in the French Open for an event in which he might not receive any ranking points.
Djokovic wins Italian Open after defeating Tsitsipas in the finals
(Tennis news) Novak Djokovic secured his first title in over six months after defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-0 7-6 (7-5) in the Italian Open finals on Sunday. The Serbian had not won a title since the Paris Masters in November but his performance in Rome was so sublime that he didn’t drop a single set to secure the Italian Open title. Djokovic produced 24 winners to Tsitsipas’ eight and had only 14 unforced errors to Tsitsipas' 20.
Speaking after his match, Djokovic said “I've been building my form the last few weeks. It couldn't be better timing coming into Roland Garros. Perfect scenario for me. This year it was a particular situation. With everything that happened in Australia, it took some time. I found my best shape here. I'm going to Paris with a lot of confidence."
It was his sixth successive win over the Greek tennis player as Djokovic stormed through the first set. In the fourth game of the second set, an unforced error by Djokovic gave Tsitsipas two break points which led to him taking a 3-1 lead. However, the Serbian then gained momentum to win five of his next seven games to take it to a tie-break before winning his sixth Italian Open title in his illustrious career.
The 34 year old became only the fifth player in the Open era to reach the 1,000 wins milestone, joining the exclusive club of Jimmy Connors, Roger Federer, Ivan Lendl and Rafa Nadal. During the trophy ceremony, Djokovic dedicated his title to his son Stefan. He said “Today at 4pm, when we started this match, my son Stefan, who is seven-years-old, was playing his first tennis match. I hope he won. This is for him."
Novak Djokovic progresses to the semi-finals of the Italian Open
(Tennis news) Novak Djokovic secured his 999th career victory with a straight sets victory over Felix Auger-Aliassime. The Serbian triumphed over his Canadian opponent 7-5 7-6 (7-1) and will now face Casper Ruud for a spot in the finals after the Norwegian won 7-6 (9-7) 7-5 against Denis Shapovalov.
Speaking after the match, Djokovic said “I thought it was high-level tennis. He did ask me to raise the level and I had to play consistently well. I thought I could have finished the job earlier... but credit to him for fighting back. Amazing atmosphere as well tonight. I know Felix well. He's been around the top of the men's game for quite a few years. He's got a lethal serve, honestly... He's hitting his spots in the box incredibly well with the serve, and it was not easy for me at all to return. He's also returning well, he's moving well. He's a very complete player.”
In the other semi-final, Stefanos Tsitsipas will take on Alexander Zverev after the pair defeated Jannik Sinner and Chilean Cristian Garin. Tsitsipas won 7-6 (7-5) 6-2, with Zverev, who is ranked third, progressing 7-5 6-2. In the women’s category, reigning champion Iga Swiatek will take on Aryna Sabalenka after defeating Bianca Andreescu 7-6 (7-2) 6-0. The result meant that Swiatek extended her winning streak to 26 matches while Sabalenka beat Amanda Anisimova 4-6 6-3 6-2.
In other results, Ons Jabeur upset World Number 4 Maria Sakkari 1-6 7-5 6-1. She will play Daria Kasatkina, who defeated 6-4 3-2 against Jil Teichmann after the Swiss tennis player was forced to retire due to a thigh injury.
Swiatek and Djokovic progress to quarter-finals while Nadal knocked out
(Tennis news) Iga Swiatek and Novak Djokovic progressed to the quarter-finals of the Italian Open while Denis Shapovalov defeated Rafael Nadal. Swiatek, who is aiming for her fifth consecutive title, defeated Victoria Azarenka 6-4 6-1 while Novak Djokovic defeated Stan Wawrinka in straight sets 6-2 6-2. As for Nadal, the Spaniard started strongly against Shapovalov, winning the first set 6-1 but the 23 year old levelled the game. In the decider, Nadal appeared to be in visible discomfort and struggled to cope with the match.
During the post match press conference, Nadal spoke about his injury by saying “I had my foot again with a lot of pain, and that's it. (The pain) is sometimes more, sometimes less. Today was crazy. I am not injured. I am a player living with an injury. That's it. (This) is nothing new. It's something that is there. Unfortunately my day-by-day is difficult, honestly. Even like this, I am trying hard. Of course, it's difficult for me to accept the situation sometimes. What can happen in the next couple of days, I don't know. What can happen in one week, I really don't know now. It's time to accept the situation and fight. That's it."
Swiatek saved eight out of 11 breakpoints as the first set took 79 minutes. However, the Polish tennis player picked up momentum in the second set and will now face Bianca Andreescu in the next round. Swiatek’s result means that the Pole extended her winning streak to 25 matches, the longest run since Serena Williams won 27 straight games in 2015. She will now face former US Open champion Bianca Andreescu who defeated Petra Martic 6-4 6-4 while Aryna Sabalenka overcame Jessica Pegula 6-1 6-4.
Speaking after the match, Swiatek said “For sure I didn't start well, and everybody could see that. I'm really happy with the way I reacted and how I improved in the first set. Also how different the second set looked to the first one because I could really reset and really change the way I played. That's the most positive thing for me."
World Number 1 Novak Djokovic defeated Stan Wawrinka 6-2 6-2 to reach the quarter-finals of the Italian Open. The Serbian will now face eighth seed Felix Auger-Aliassime who defeated Marcos Giron 6-3 6-2. Speaking after the match, Djokovic said “It's great to see Stan back. He won two tough matches and you could see he's not physically where he wants to be. But, nevertheless, he's Stan Wawrinka, he can hurt you if you give him time and I managed to do well I think. From the beginning I really moved him around the court and held my serve pretty comfortably, except for that loss of serve in the second set."
In other results, Alexander Zverev defeated Alex De Minaur 6-3 7-6 (7-5) while Stefanos Tsitsipas overcame Karen Khachanov 4-6 6-0 6-3 despite being a set down and will now face Jannik Sinner in the next round.
TTFI to offer equal prize money from new table tennis season
New Delhi, May 12 (Table Tennis News) The Committee of Administrators (CoA), running the affairs of Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI), on Thursday said it would offer equal prize money for men and women in all the national zonal tournaments including national championships across age groups.
A statement from the CoA read: "We hereby decide that women and girl players shall receive equal pay/awards/prize money as their male counterparts in all tournaments and competitions of the game of table tennis." "This is an attempt by the Committee to ensure equal rights, equal pay, equal opportunity and equal recognition for our women players." The winners of the singles events in the 2022 senior nationals got Rs 2.75 lakh in the men's section and Rs 1.80 lakh in the women's competition, the huge difference of close to Rs one lakh forcing the CoA to bring about a change.
"The Committee of Administrators of the Table Tennis Federation of India is deeply concerned about the discriminatory treatment meted out to women and girl players in the sport of table tennis in the context of award of prize money and payments.
"During the 83rd Senior National Table Tennis Championship recently concluded at Shillong, the deep chasm and differential in the payments in the singles events came to the fore," the CoA added in the statement.
"Sports, it is often said, mirrors society. The discrimination prevalent in the society in terms of equal pay and rewards for men and women has persisted even within sport. But this doesn’t make it any less egregious.
"In fact, it is more so because the fundamental essence of all sport is fair-play, fairness in action, equality of access, and of opportunity." The CoA comprises Chetan Mittal and SD Mudgil, with Gita Mittal as its chairperson.
Also Read : Indian paddler Hansini Mathan Rajan wins U-13 girls title in Austria
News Source : PTI
Nadal progresses to last 16 at the Italian Open with win over Isner
(Tennis news) Defending champion Rafael Nadal defeated American tennis player John Isner 6-3 6-1 on Wednesday, thereby progressing to the last 16 of the Italian Open. The Spaniard returned from a rib injury this month and is now setting his sights on his 11th title in Rome. The 21 time Grand Slam winner successfully negated Isner’s serve, with the American having 450 aces in 2022, the highest at the ATP Tour.
The match went with serve in the opening set but the American couldn’t capitalise on two break points at 3-3, which led to Nadal stepping up as the Spaniard broke in the next game. In the second set, Nadal broke the opening game as Isner ran out of gas. The Spaniard will face Denis Shapovalov in the next round, in their encounter last year, Nadal saved two match points in his journey for his 10th title in Rome.
Speaking after the match, Rafael Nadal said “The beginning of the match was not good for me and even he had some chances on the return to break. I was in his hands at that moment. Lucky that he missed those couple of shots. Then I was able to break and then the match changed." With reference to his next opponent Denis Shapovalov, the 21 time Grand Slam winner said “Last year was a joke, that match I saved here against him. I know how dangerous he is. I need to play well, of course, I need to play better than today. But it's another victory and now tomorrow again a chance to play against one of the best players in the world."
In other results, Stefanos Tsitsipas defeated Grigor Dimitrov 6-3 5-7 7-6(4) despite the fact that the Greek tennis player struggled in the second set when his opponent found his rhythm. With Tsitsipas serving for the match, Dimitrov broke to love and won four straight games to take it to the third set. The Bulgarian tennis player earned match points at 5-4 and 6-5 in the decider but Tsitsipas forced a tiebreak and went onto taking a 5-0 lead.
Speaking after the match, Tsitsipas said “Incredible fight, I'm extremely happy I was able to overcome this obstacle. Grigor played really well, and gave me a hard time on the court. The fact that I was able to process all of that and come back stronger in the third set tiebreak, it was such a great way to redeem myself."
Second seed Alexander Zverev, who lost in the Madrid Open final, also progressed to the last 16 after defeating Argentine Sebastian Baez 7-6(6) 6-3. Meanwhile, British number 1 Cameron Norrie lost to Marin Cilic 5-7 6-2 6-1 after suffering an injury scare. The 26 year old had problems in his right foot in the last 32 round and was seen receiving treatment in the third set and limped away at the end of the match.
Emma Raducanu forced to retire from Italian Open due to back injury
(Tennis news) Emma Raducanu was forced to retire during her first-round match against Bianca Andreescu in the Italian Open due to a back injury. The 19 year old was trailing 6-2 2-1 at the time of her withdrawal and was seen clutching her back when she took a medical timeout but returned just minutes later, after which her Canadian opponent took the opening set. At the start of the second set, Raducanu looked uncomfortable yet again and took the decision to retire when the score was 2-1, claiming that she couldn’t move.
The World Number 12 has failed to replicate her form that saw Raducanu win the US Open last year but did manage to reach the quarter-finals in Stuttgart and the last 16 at the Madrid Open, where she faced back issues as well. Raducanu is currently without a full time coach after splitting with Torben Beltz last month. She will be aiming to return to full fitness ahead of the Roland Garros in two weeks time.
In the men’s results, Novak Djokovic defeated Aslan Karatsev 6-3 6-2 in the second round. The World Number 1 is on his way to win his sixth Italian Open title and needs to at least reach the semi-finals to maintain his ranking after missing out on a number of tournaments due to not being vaccinated against COVID-19. The Serbian made only 10 unforced errors compared to Karatsev’s 36 and will now face either Stan Wawrinka or Laslo Djere in the next round. British number 1 Cameron Norrie also won his second round match against Luca Nardi 6-4 6-4 and will now face Marin Cilic in the next round.
Injury plagued Wawrinka wins at the Italian Open while Osaka withdraws
(Tennis news) Former Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka earned his first ATP victory in 15 months when the 37 year old defeated Reilly Opelka 3-6 7-5 6-2 at the Italian Open. The Swiss tennis player was featuring in what was his second tour match since March 2021 after sustaining a foot injury and is currently ranked 361st. Speaking after his victory, Wawrinka said “The support is the main reason why I'm still playing and came back.”
The former World Number 3 was trailing 14th seed Opelka by a set and 2-4 in the first round in Rome but the Swiss tennis player fought hard to turn the game around to secure his maiden victory against the American. Wawrinka said “I think in general I was feeling good on the court. Physically I was feeling great. For sure when you don't win a match in more than a year, you start to think about it more than you should and not focus on the right things. In general I think it was a great match, a great battle. I stayed positive. I started to feel much better with my tennis by the end of the second set, and [in] the third set. I'm really happy with this victory.”
“You just have to stay positive and try to fight. If you get a bit lucky, if you show him that you're going to stay there, you are going to get some chances. I got some chances, I played better, and he started to miss a few. After two surgeries, at my age I could easily have stopped playing because my career is way better than what I expected when I was young. But I still have this fire in me. I still believe that I can play great tennis. I still believe that I will make some big results, maybe not now, but in a few months. There is no shortcut. I needed to do that time on the court and off the court. It has been a long time since I was out. I gained some weight, it was tough. With foot surgery you can't do much. I needed a lot of effort to be back, but already in the last few weeks since [Monte Carlo] it is much better.”
In other results, British tennis player Dan Evans’ winless run continued as he lost 7-6 (7-2) 6-2 to Georgia's Nikoloz Basilashvili. The result means that the 31 year old has now lost all five first-round matches on clay in Rome. Japanese tennis player Naomi Osaka has announced her withdrawal from the tournament due to injury. The 24 year old said “Unfortunately I'm going to have to withdraw from Rome as the injury which I picked up last week in Madrid hasn't healed yet. It's an Achilles injury, so I need to be careful especially in advance of Roland Garros.” Osaka will hope to be fit for the Roland Garros which will begin on 22nd May after controversially withdrawing from the tournament over refusing to speak to the media and revealing her mental health struggles. She subsequently took a break from the sport and has won 12 of her 16 matches since her return.
Ons Jabeur defeats Jessica Pegula to secure historic Madrid Open win
(Tennis news) Ons Jabeur became the first African player to win a WTA Masters 1000 event after defeating Jessica Pegula 7-5 0-6 6-2 in a roller coaster clash that lasted just under two hours. The Tunisian was forced to survive a set point in a taxing opening set and recovered from a second-set bagel to secure the biggest victory of her career. Her American opponent established an early 4-1 lead by fending off a series of break points but Jabeur recovered valiantly and claimed six of the final seven games.
The Tunisian tennis player survived a set point at 5-4 down by unleashing her brilliant backhand and broke to love subsequently, closing the opening set in under an hour. However, Pegula fought back and won the second set emphatically in just under 26 minutes, leading to a decider. The American saved three break points in the opening service game, resulting in a string of unforced errors from her opponent. The game continued to shift in either direction as the pair exchanged breaks but Jabeur was the first to convert a precious hold, coming through a decisive seventh game to claim a double-break and lead 5-2. The result meant that Jabeur will rise to World Number 7 ranking next week after her Madrid Open win.
Speaking after the match, the Tunisian tennis player said “I honestly still can't believe it. I went through a roller coaster of emotions during the past few days, just after the semifinal. I was really stressed trying to breathe like a pregnant woman. She had great momentum in the second set. I cannot say much, but at the same time, I wasn't being patient enough with her shots. I could have stayed longer with the rallies or tried to put the ball in, but I know she was playing really great. Afterwards, I was like, 'No matter what you do, just don't lose your serve.’ There were tricky moments there. I felt like even my body language was much better the third set. I was trying to go more forward and be able to back her shots, because she was really playing good.”
Jabeaur’s opponent Jessica Pegula said “I thought it was really high level. I thought we had some really great points. I'm happy. I wish I could have closed off the first set, not just on the set point but I mean like being up 4-1, I wish I could have maybe been more aggressive and kind of taken the lead there, but I was happy with how I bounced back in the second and thought I played really well. We were breaking a lot. It felt like whoever could kind of hold on to their serve and consolidate the break was going to win the match, especially in that third set.”
Carlos Alcaraz defeats Alexander Zverev to win the Madrid Open title
(Tennis news) Spanish teenager Carlos Alcaraz showed exactly why he’s the best in the world after defeating defending champion Alexander Zverev in straight sets in the final of the Madrid Open. The 19 year old already defeated Rafael Nadal in the quarter-final and Novak Djokovic in the semi-final before brushing aside World Number 3 Zverev 6-3, 6-1.
The 19 year old broke Zverev for love, taking a 4-2 lead and closed the set on his own serve quite comfortably. Alcaraz then went on to take a 2-1 lead in the second set, frustrating his German opponent and enjoyed tremendous home support. He went on to find a double break at 4-1 and won the next two games to wrap up the match in an hour. The result meant that Alcaraz earned his seventh straight top-10 win and his fourth title of the season so far, becoming the youngest winner of the Madrid Open, having previously won in Miami, Barcelona and Rio De Janeiro.
Speaking after the match, Alexander Zverev said “Right now you (Carlos Alcaraz) are the best player in the world. It is great for tennis that we have such a new superstar that is going to win so many Grand Slams, that is going to be World No 1 and I think is going to win this tournament many more times.” Alcaraz was ranked 120th just a year ago and his mercurial rise to superstardom has seen the 19 year old rise up to World Number 6 and with the most wins this season, one more than Stefanos Tsitsipas.
After winning the Madrid Open, Carlos Alcaraz said “It feels great to be able to beat these players. To beat two of the best players in history and then Zverev, the World No. 3. He is a great player. I would say this is the best week of my life. I am 19 years old, which I think is the key to being able to play long and tough matches in a row. I am feeling great physically. Watching Rafa (Rafael Nadal) lift this trophy gave me a lot of power to work hard for this moment. It is a great moment for me. It is the first tournament I watched, so lifting the trophy today is so emotional.”
Nadal knocked out of Madrid Open while Djokovic to face Alcaraz
(Tennis news) Novak Djokovic progressed to the semi-final of the Madrid Open after defeating Hubert Hurkacz 6-3 6-4 while Rafael Nadal was knocked out of the tournament after losing to Carlos Alcaraz 6-2 1-6 6-3. The teenager defeated Nadal for the first time on clay and the 21 time Grand Slam winner will be disappointed, especially considering that it was his first tournament after recovering from a rib injury. The 19 year old had previously defeated Nadal at the semi-finals of Indian Wells and the last 32 of the Madrid Open in 2021.
Nadal, who has won the Madrid Open in 2005, 2010, 2013, 2014 and 2017 was hoping to meet rival Djokovic in the semi-finals, which would have been their 59th meeting on the ATP Tour. The Serbian currently leads 30-28 with regards to games won, having secured a victory in their last encounter in the semi-finals of the French Open in 2021. Djokovic has won the Madrid Open in 2011, 2016 and 2019 and defeated Hurkacz in an hour and 20 minutes to extend his winning streak against the Polish tennis player to 4-0.
In their Madrid Open journey so far, Djokovic defeated Gael Monfils before receiving a walkover as Andy Murray withdrew because of illness. As for Nadal, the Spaniard defeated Miomir Kecmanović before overcoming David Goffin in a game where he saved four match points. However, the 35 year old fell short against Carlos Alcaraz, who will be hoping for a fourth title, having already won in Rio de Janeiro, Miami and Barcelona.
In other results, Greek fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas defeated Andrey Rublev 6-3 2-6 6-4 to progress into the semi-finals and will now face defending champion Alexander Zverev. Speaking after the match, Tsitsipas said “It wasn't easy playing him, it was tough to predict what's coming next from him.” It was the Greek player’s 27th win of the season while his upcoming opponent Zverev defeated Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-3 7-5 despite getting eight double faults in the second set.
Murray withdraws due to illness while Evans and Norrie knocked out
(Tennis news) Andy Murray was forced to withdraw from his clash against Novak Djokovic at the Madrid Open due to illness. The pair were expected to face each other for the 37th time on tour and for the first time in five years. A statement on the Madrid Open’s twitter feed read “Unfortunately, Andy Murray is unable to take to the Manolo Santana Stadium due to illness." The Scottish tennis player had accepted a wildcard entry to compete in the Spanish capital despite initially planning to skip the entire clay-court season in order to focus on the grass-court events.
In other results, British number 2 Dan Evans was knocked out of the tournament 7-6 7-5 by Andrey Rublev. The match between the two took place at the centre court as Djokovic and Murray’s fixture was called off. Evans managed to break Rublev in the opening game of the contest and had a setpoint during the tiebreak after he failed to convert two opportunities to go 5-3 up in the second set. World number 8 Andrey Rublev will now face Grigor Dimitrov or Stefanos Tsitsipas in the quarter-finals while Novak Djokovic will take on Poland's Hubert Hurkacz.
As for Cameron Norrie, Britain’s number 1 tennis player fell short against Spain’s Carlos Alcaraz and lost the match 6-4 6-7(7) 6-3. It was Alcaraz’s 19th birthday and the teenager prevailed against his more experienced opponent despite being pushed hard. Alcaraz will now face Rafael Nadal in the quarter-finals after the 35 year old defeated David Goffin 6-3 5-7 7-6(9). In the post match interview, Nadal revealed that he used Real Madrid’s triumph over Manchester City in the Champions League semi-final as inspiration.
Nadal said “Yesterday was an unforgettable night. The spirit that Real Madrid had was just incredible. For me today, in some way, it was an inspiration. It was a tough match, David played at a very high level but at the same time I am not completely happy, because I think I had to finish the match in straight sets, without a doubt."
Indian paddler Hansini Mathan Rajan wins U-13 girls title in Austria
New Delhi, May 5 (Table Tennis News) Indian paddler Hansini Mathan Rajan has returned with two medals, including a gold in the U-13 girls event, from the World Table Tennis Youth Contender tournament held in Linz, Austria.
The tournament was held from May 1-3.
She won the U-13 championship defeating Romania's Andreea Baisu in a thrilling final. The final scoreline read 11-3, 7-11, 9 -11 ,11-0 ,11-8 in the Indian's favour.
She secured bronze in the U-15 category after stunning Choi Hosea of South Korea 3-0 in the quarterfinals. However, Hansini was overpowered by another South Korean, Yoo Yerin, in the semifinals.
Lee Seuengeun won the U-15 title beating compatriot Yoo Yerin in five games.
Also Read : ITTF Rankings: Manika Batra jumps 10 spots to achieve career-best world no 38, Sathiyan is world no 34
News Source : PTI
Dan Evans and Norrie progress into the third round of Madrid Open
(Tennis news) British history was created on Wednesday when Dan Evans and Cameron Norrie joined Andy Murray in the third round of the Madrid Open as it is the first ATP Masters 1000 event on clay where three British players are being featured at the stage. A tough test lies ahead, especially for Andy Murray who will face Novak Djokovic in the next match while Dan Evans and Cameron Norrie will play the following day.
Norrie defeated American John Isner in three sets, winning 6-4 6-7 (5) 6-4. The British No 1 could find decisive breaks at important moments in the first and third set and will now face a monumental task ahead of him as Carlos Alcaraz is his next opponent. As for Dan Evans, the 31 year old overturned his poor form to secure an impressive 6-3 5-7 7-6 (2) win over Roberto Bautista Agut and will take on world No 8 Andrey Rublev in the next round.
Rafael Nadal also progressed to the last 16 Miomir Kecmanovic 6-1 7-6(4). The Spaniard is competing in his first tournament since March after recovering from a rib injury. Rain suspended play early in the second set which resulted in the Spaniard losing momentum but the 21 time Grand Slam winner recovered from failing to serve out the match at 6-5 and sealed the win in just under two hours.
If Nadal manages to go all the way and win the Madrid Open, it will be his sixth title on home turf in Madrid, having last won in 2017 but will first need to overcome David Goffin in the next round. In other results, German tennis player and World Number 3 Alexander Zverev defeated Marin Cilic 4-6 6-4 6-4 while qualifier Dusan Lajovic beat fifth seed Casper Ruud 7-6(7) 2-6 6-4.
Anhelina Kalinina knocks out Emma Raducanu from the Madrid Open
(Tennis news) Despite a spirited comeback, Emma Raducanu was knocked out of the Madrid Open’s third round by Ukraine’s Anhelina Kalinina. The first set lasted just 35 minutes as Raducanu couldn’t keep up with the demands and was forced to leave the court for a medical timeout, clutching her back on multiple occasions.
Raducanu put up a valiant fight and took the third round match to a decider but Kalinina displayed nerves of steel to win 6-2 2-6 6-4. Speaking after the match, Kalinina said “I want to give credit to Emma because I think we both played very good quality tennis, the match was great in my opinion. I appreciate in this moment I was maybe luckier and I did better in the decisive points. I am happy I won this match."
The match lasted for a total of two hours and 19 minutes with the last set going on for a mammoth 63 minutes. It was a one sided first set for Kalinina who has only lost three games when she defeated former French Open and Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza earlier this week. Raducanu had no answer to Kalinina’s groundstrokes despite putting up a much improved performance in the second set. As the match progressed, Kalinina couldn’t maintain her intensity which allowed Raducanu to mount a spirited comeback.
When Kalinina found her range again, Raducanu refused to concede and the pair competed hard for the points with the Ukrainian fighting back from 3-1 to win three games in a row. Fatigue ended up creeping in for both the players, Kalinina managed to get a decisive break with a magnificent backhand and eventually won the match when Raducanu volleyed wide. It will be the Ukrainian’s first WTA 1000 quarter-final of her career and she will face Switzerland’s Jil Teichmann.
Andy Murray to face Novak Djokovic at the Madrid Open
(Tennis news) Andy Murray defeated Denis Shapovalov 6-1 3-6 6-2 in two hours and nine minutes to set up a last 16 meeting with world No 1 Novak Djokovic at the Madrid Open. The Scottish tennis player produced a magnificent first-set display but Shapovalov fought hard to level the match. However, Murray ended up sealing a 6-1 3-6 6-2 win in two hours and nine minutes.
It will be the first time since 2017 that Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic will face each other. The Serbian advanced to the last 16 with a straight set win over Gael Monfils. Speaking ahead of the match, Murray said that he has been looking forward to a 37th career meeting with Djokovic. He said “I thought about it a little bit at the beginning of the third set. I didn't know if I was going to get the chance to play matches like that again. In theory I shouldn't have a chance in the match, but I've put myself in a great position. I worked extremely hard in the last five or six weeks to get myself here and it's a fantastic opportunity to play against him again on a huge court in a big tournament."
Murray’s first match on clay in two years was against Dominic Thiem at the Madrid Open’s first round and the Scot won the game in straight sets. In the match against Shapovalov, Murray broke his serve twice before taking the opening set in 36 minutes. Currently ranked third, Murray applied more pressure on Shapovalov’s serve in the fifth game of the second set but ended up squandering two break points for the first time in the match in the next game and trailed 5-2 before Shapovalov served out to level at one set all after one hour and 25 minutes of play.
The deciding set went with serve until the fifth game and Murray subsequently seized on his first break point to go ahead 4-2. Currently 78th in the ATP rankings, Murray held at 5-2 and went 40-0 before Shapovalov’s serve and eventually won the game on his third match point. The Scotsman received a wild card entry for the Madrid Open which led him to reverse his decision to skip the entire clay court season and rigorous four weeks of training on clay has led the Scotsman to play at his vintage best.
ITTF Rankings: Manika Batra jumps 10 spots to achieve career-best world no 38, Sathiyan is world no 34
New Delhi, May 3 (Table Tennis News) Ace paddler Manika Batra attained a career-high singles ranking of 38 with a jump of 10 spots while G Sathiyan was the best placed Indian male at 34 in the latest International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) rankings.
Veteran Achanta Saharath Kamal also gained a place to be world no 37 as most of the Indian players made fair gains in the latest charts.
While Sharath and Sathiyan are the only two male players in the top-100, there are three more apart from Manika in the women's list.
At no 66 is Archana Kamath, who has made a big leap from her previous rank of world no 92. Young Sreeja Akula, who is world no 68, has gained 39 spots from 107th position.
The last Indian woman to be in top-100 is Reeth Tennison, who has gained an astounding 197 spots to be world no 97.
In the men's doubles, G Sathiyan and Harmeet Desai are ranked 28th in the while the pair of Sathiyan-Sharath are placed 35th.
In the best ranking across categories, Manika and Archana are ranked world no 4 in the women's doubles section while Sutirtha Mukherjee and Ayhika Mukherjee are next best at world no 29.
In the mixed doubles section, Manika and Sathiyan are ranked world no 6 while Manav Thakkar and Archana Kamath are world no 22.
Also Read : ITTF Rankings: Manika Batra, Archana Kamath make it to top 5 in women's doubles
News Source : PTI
Raducanu defeats Kostyuk to progress into third round of Madrid Open
(Tennis news) Emma Raducanu displayed a sublime performance to defeat Marta Kostyuk 6-2 6-1 to progress into the third round of the Madrid Open. It was perhaps her best performance since winning the US Open and the 19 year old looks to be in good form, having won 11 out of the last 12 games to defeat Tereza Martincova in the opening round despite a poor start and then defeating fellow teenager Kostyuk.
Speaking after the match, Raducanu said “I'm definitely very happy with my performance today. Marta is a great opponent, we played several times in the juniors and then once last year. I knew it was always going to be a really tough battle so I went out there trying to be really aggressive and it definitely paid off." The pair are almost the same age but Kostyuk has been in the professional tennis circuit since she was 15 years old while Raducanu has been a full-time professional for less than a year.
The pair faced each other last year with Kostyuk winning with an identical scoreline although Raducanu was unwell but the British tennis star made amends this time around, starting on the frontfoot and the 19 year old on her own delivery during the match. The ninth seed will face another Ukrainian in Anhelina Kalinina who defeated Garbine Muguruza convincingly. Meanwhile, Naomi Osaka lost 6-3 6-1 to Sara Sorribes Tormo, who will now face Daria Kasatkina.
In other results, unseeded Bianca Andreescu overcame Danielle Collins 6-1 6-1 and will now face Jessica Pegula who defeated Kaia Kanepi. After the match, Andreescu said “I did not expect for it to go like that at all, but I stuck to my game plan and it worked so I'm very happy.” Jack Draper also defeated World Number 27 Lorenzo Sonego 6-4 6-3 and will face Andrey Rublev in the next match. Having lost six of his last seven matches, Dan Evans enjoyed a morale boosting 6-3 6-4 win over Argentina’s Federico Delbonis.
First-ever Kerala Olympic Games gets underway in Thiruvananthapuram
Thiruvananthapuram, Apr 30 (Boxing News) The first-ever Kerala Olympic Games was inaugurated by state Sports Minister V Abdurahiman at the University Stadium here on Saturday.
Athletes, bearing the torch and flag of the Games, took out a march across the city before reaching the inaugural venue.
Olympic medallists Mary Kom, P R Sreejesh, Ravi Kumar Dahiya and Bajrang Punia, along with Olympians from Kerala Sajan Prakash, Alex Antony, K T Irfan and M P Jabir accompanied the athletes in an open jeep.
State Finance Minister K N Balagopal awarded the lifetime achievement award to boxer Mary Kom.
Ministers V Sivankutty, G R Anil and Antony Raju presented awards to Sreejesh, Dahiya and Punia respectively. Other Olympians were also felicitated during the event.
The maiden Kerala Games is a mega multi-sporting event organised by the Kerala Olympics Association (KOA).
As part of the Games, which will be held from May 1 to 10, a 21.1 km-long half marathon will be held on Sunday.
The KOA said the prize money for the marathon is Rs 11 lakh for winners under various categories.
The association expects over 1,000 participants in the marathon from across the country.
The Games was originally slated to be held in mid-February but was rescheduled to May in view of the pandemic.
A mega Olympic Expo was also inaugurated.
On December 22, state Education Minister Sivankutty had unveiled the mascot of the Games, a rabbit named Neeraj, in honour of Neeraj Chopra, the first Indian athlete to win an Olympic gold medal.
The mascot has been installed at various places across the city.
Athletics, aquatics, archery, basketball, boxing, badminton, cycling, football, wrestling, hockey, judo, karate, kambadi (kabaddi), kho-kho, netball, rugby, shooting, wushu, tennis, table tennis, taekwondo, volleyball and weight-lifting will be part of the Games.
Athletes and teams participating in the Kerala Olympic Games were selected through district-level events. More than 8,000 sportspersons are expected to participate in the Kerala Olympics.
Also Read : I've evolved as technical boxer, says Nikhat Zareen
News Source : PTI
Emma Raducanu progresses to the second round of the Madrid Open
(Tennis news) After being 5-2 down in the opening set, British tennis star Emma Raducanu made a stunning comeback to defeat Tereza Martincova 7-6 (3) 6-0 to progress to the second round of the Madrid Open. The 19 year old is currently being supported by the Lawn Tennis Association’s head of women's tennis, Iain Bates after Raducanu split with her coach Torben Beltz earlier this week.
Speaking after the match, Raducanu said “It was a tricky first set. I think it's always tough playing on a brand new court, so it took me a little bit to adjust to my surroundings. And, of course, if you're low or lacking in your own game then an opponent at this level is going to take advantage of that. I'm just glad I stuck through the first set and then definitely relaxed in the second. I love Madrid, I've been out once, it's such a cool vibe. I'm looking forward to it and hopefully I get to spend some more days here."
In other results, Naomi Osaka also progressed to the second round of the Madrid Open after defeating Anastasia Potapova 6-3 6-1. The Japanese tennis player is playing in the tournament thanks to a wildcard entry and defeated Potapova in a little over an hour. It was Osaka’s first clay-court match of the season and she won 86 percent of her first-service points and converted five of her nine break points to sweep to victory.
Speaking after the match, Osaka said “I'm honestly trying to be more positive with myself. This year I came a week early to train on red clay, so just trying to give myself more chances to do better. ... To be able to do it in two sets, for me, it's a really good starting block. I think today for me it was really fun, just being able to be back on the clay and kind of not taking those moments for granted."
Making of Umran Malik: First coach Manhas remembers 17-year-old terrorising Ranji batters at nets
New Delhi, Apr 28 (Cricket News) It was business as usual for coach Randhir Singh Manhas during a winter day in 2017 when a 17-year-old boy walked up to him during a net session at the Maulana Azad Stadium in Jammu's Nawabad Area.
"Sir, kya aap mujhe ball daalne dengey? (Could you allow me to bowl)," Manhas remembered the short and stout boy's request while senior state team batter Jatin Wadhawan was having a knock at the nets.
"What's your name?" "Umran Malik," replied the boy, who had dropped in at the net session without bowling spikes.
Manhas obliged but till date, he has failed to figure out whether it was his gut feel or just wanting to be indulgent with a young boy, that made him agree to the request. He had a bowler short at the nets, though.
Whatever it was, Manhas' role in giving a precocious talent wings to fly is beyond doubt.
The seeds of the express pace deliveries that Umran is hurling at the best of batters under intense pressure on a platform like the IPL, were sown that very day at the MA Stadium.
It was the birth of Umran Malik, the fastest bowler in the history of Indian cricket, who has made heads turn with 15 wickets in just eight games in this edition of the T20 league.
"On that day, he was very quick for a 17-year-old as Jatin, who was a first-class player was hurried by him.
"In my mind, I knew that the kid was special and my views were seconded by our senior team pacer Ram Dayal, who had then just reached the ground and saw him bowl. Ram told me that this boy had bright future," Manhas, the coach of the Jammu District Cricket Council said.
Umran is not a product of the system but despite the system, and his rise can be attributed to that.
He didn't receive any structured coaching till the age of 17, never played with a leather ball, and all he did was to play in the 'Mohalla' tennis ball tourneys, from which any teenager could earn anything between Rs 500 to Rs 3000 per match depending on the reputation.
Hailing from a middle-class family in Jammu's Gujjar Nagar, his father, who runs his own fruit shop in the local market, initially wanted him to focus on studies, but later, along with his wife, encouraged him to take up professional cricket.
Having impressed the coach, Umran was asked to enrol in the academy but Manhas recollected that in the initial days in 2017-18, he was never a regular.
"He would come one day and then remain absent for the next few days. We had to tell him that he needs to be disciplined about training as he cannot let the opportunities go abegging.
"I told him, 'listen Umran, the day you play at the national level, you won't have to look back. So be serious'. I sent him for -19 trials, where he borrowed bowling spikes and bowled. He was picked for Cooch Behar Trophy but got only one match, and that too, a rain-truncated one against Odisha.
"But those who watched him told me that the keeper was standing a good 35 yards behind the stumps, something that doesn't happen a lot at U-19 level," said the coach, who is a storehouse of anecdotes.
One of his favourite stories is the one where the Assam Ranji team, coached by former keeper Ajay Ratra, had come to Jammu for an away game.
"Umran was at the stadium that day and Assam team needed net bowlers for practice. Ajay asked Umran that if he would like to bowl at the nets. Umran agreed immediately but after 15 minutes, the Assam coach asked Umran to stop. Reason? His men had a match to play and didn't want them to get hurt," Manhas laughed.
In fact, Ratra was surprised that Umran wasn't playing Ranji Trophy back then.
The sandy banks of River Tawi and strongly built lower body ------------------------------------------------------------------ One of the greatest pacers of all time, the legendary Andy Roberts, in various interviews have laid out one basic ground rule about a fast bowler's physique.
"You bowl fast not just because you have strong upper body but because you have strong legs that help in building the rhythm," Roberts had once said.
In the case of Umran, one would be surprised to know that before he entered the Sunrisers Hyderabad fold, he had never been a part of any systematic gym sessions but still had a rock like lower body.
"His house is near river Tawi and the adjoining area of the river bank is primarily sandy. Umran grew up running on sandy fields and playing cricket all his formative years. That has led to a very strong lower body. You won't find many guys who at 17 had such fabulous body structure and in-built strength without any gym training," Manhas said.
As far as his yorkers are concerned, credit goes to tennis ball cricket where a fast one aimed at the base of the stumps, is often the go-to delivery for a pacer.
Jasprit Bumrah mastered it from tennis ball cricket, and so has Umran.
Samad: A friend in need is a friend indeed ---------------------------------------------- The Jammu and Kashmir teams over the years have bene dominated by cricketers from the valley but in the case of Umran, it wasn't the cricketing establishment but a friend and a fellow competitor, who showed him the first staircase towards stardom.
It was his friend Abdul Samad, who is also a part of SRH.
"It was Samad, who would record his bowling videos and mail them to VVS Laxman sir and Tom Moody in June 2020, when only a few people were training post the first lockdown. Sunrisers liked his videos and the rest, as they say, is history." Umran went to the UAE in 2020 as a net bowler and was performing the same duties in 2021, before T Natarajan's injury opened the doors for him, and his consistent 150 click bowling forced the selectors to make him a net bowler for the last T20 World Cup.
Now, things are happening too fast for Umran but Manhas is confident that he will adapt to the changes in life and the focus will remain on cricket and donning the India colours.
"He is learning a lot from the likes of Dale Steyn and I believe as he plays at the highest level, he will just keep on improving." If life is a beautiful dream, Umran Malik is living it.
Also Read : Mumbai Indians rope in Kumar Kartikeya Singh for injured Arshad Khan
News Source : PTI
Iga Swiatek ruled out of Madrid Open due to shoulder injury
(Tennis news) World Number 1 Iga Swiatek has withdrawn from the Madrid Open due to a shoulder injury. The 20 year old won her fourth consecutive title at the Stuttgart Open on Saturday and was due to start her Madrid campaign today but said: “My body needs rest”. The Polish tennis player has confirmed that she hopes to take part in the Italian Open in May followed by the French Open.
In a statement released on Twitter, Swiatek said “After an intense few weeks and winning four titles in a row, it's time to take care of my arm that has been fatigued since the Miami Open and I haven't had the chance to handle it properly. I need a break from playing so intensively in order to treat my arm well.”
She later spoke to reporters in Madrid and said “It's not like we have some drama because everything is OK. We just thought that this is the best decision for me to recover properly because I didn't really have time to recover after all these tournaments. Right now I feel like this is the best decision for us to get ready for Rome and have the peak of my form in Roland Garros."
Swiatek will aim for her second Grand Slam title in Paris and will enter the tournament as one of the favourites, having previously won the Roland Garros in 2020. She was crowned World Number 1 last month after Ashleigh Barty unexpectedly retired from professional tennis and the 20 year old Polish player is currently in red-hot form, winning 23 consecutive matches.
Djokovic and other unvaccinated players to feature at Wimbledon
(Tennis news) Wimbledon organisers have confirmed that players unvaccinated against COVID-19 will be permitted to participate in this year’s tournament. This means that World Number 1 Novak Djokovic will be competing in the tournament and attempt to defend his title, after defeating Italy's Matteo Berrettini in last year's final to win the Wimbledon title for the sixth time.
Chief executive of the All England Club, Sally Bolton, said: "The requirements set out by the government to enter the UK do not include mandatory vaccination, therefore whilst of course it is encouraged, it will not be a condition of entry to compete at the Championships this year." Earlier this year, the Serbian was deported from Australia due to his vaccination status and couldn’t compete at the Australian Open as well as enter the United States for any tournament.
"We are planning to return to a normal Championship this year. And so we don't intend to implement any of the Covid-19 measures that we saw last year in any substantial fashion. But we are, of course, keeping it on our radar in case we need to take further action when we continue to engage with DCMS, public health officials and with other sports. But this means that players will be able to return to their own choice of accommodation. We will see full capacity crowds for the whole event. And we're absolutely thrilled to welcome back the wider tennis family to Wimbledon this year."
Despite the lack of competitive action so far, Djokovic will undoubtedly be one of the favourites to win his seventh Wimbledon title. With most countries relaxing their COVID-19 regulations, the Serbian can now expect an almost full calendar in the clay and grass events. The Wimbledon Championship will begin from 27 June to 10 July.
Emma Raducanu splits with coach Torben Beltz after just five months
(Tennis news) After only five months together, British tennis star Emma Raducanu has parted ways with her coach Torben Beltz. In a statement released by Raducanu, she said “I want to thank Torben for his coaching, professionalism and dedication over the last half a year. He has a huge heart and I have enjoyed our strong chemistry during the time together. "I feel the best direction for my development is to transition to a new training model with the LTA supporting in the interim."
This means that Raducanu is now once again on a hunt for a new coach, her fourth in a year. The US Open champion appointed Beltz after splitting with Andrew Richardson, who guided her at New York and worked alongside the 19 year old at Bromley Tennis Centre. Before that, Raducanu was coached by Nigel Sears who helped her reach the fourth round of Wimbledon last summer.
Raducanu had previously mentioned that she was looking for a more experienced coach after her US Open win and subsequently announced her partnership with Beltz in November 2021. The German had parted ways with Angelique Kerber in a partnership that had lasted a decade and had helped her reach the top 10 for the first time before their first split in 2013. The pair reunited in 2016 when Kerber won the Australian and US Open, reached the Wimbledon final, received a silver medal at the Olympics and was crowned World Number 1.
Raducanu’s announcement comes after her best week since hiring Torben Beltz, winning consecutive matches on clay at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart. The 19 year old has a history of switching coaches frequently, right from her junior days when she was ranked 11 and will now depend on the Lawn Tennis Association for the time being until a new coach is hired.
Lewis Hamilton and Serena Williams join consortium to buy Chelsea FC
(Sports news) Seven time Formula 1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton and 23 time Grand Slam winner Serena Williams have joined a large consortium to purchase Chelsea FC from Roman Abramovich. The consortium is led by Sir Martin Broughton and it also includes World Athletics President Sebastian Coe as well as Josh Harris and David Blitzer, owners of the NBA team Philadelphia 76ers. Hamilton’s communications consultancy Freud Communications have already confirmed the British racing driver's involvement in the bid while Serena Williams’ representatives are yet to make a public statement.
Speaking to CNN Sport, Ben Peppi, sports commercial expert at JMW Solicitors said “It's a move away from what they're investing in traditionally, [by] investing in a club's franchise, especially a club the size of Chelsea. [Sportspeople are] typically seen as investing in consumer brands, early stage businesses that clearly have relevance to their sporting career, but also kind of that move into the wider business world.
“This, to me, looks more like a traditional investment play. Clearly, it's a financial return. It's not going to be acting as brand ambassadors for Chelsea Football Club in a traditional way that they might with other consumer brands. With Lewis Hamilton there's a lot of talk around the fact that he's in there because he's going to promote values close to him with regards to kind of race, inclusion, and diversity” Peppi concluded.
Hamilton said “We were contacted and Sir Martin took time to speak to me on the phone and explain his and his team’s goals, if they were to win the bid, which was incredibly exciting. And it was very much aligned with my values and again, as a kid, I remember collecting all the stickers and books to trade cards. I remember filling all of those up as a kid and collecting all those pennies and trading them for sweets with the other kids for the most valuable ones.
“Ultimately I’m a sporting fan. It’s the biggest sport in the world and Chelsea is one of the biggest clubs in the world and one of the most successful. When I heard about this opportunity I was like ‘wow’, this is one of the greatest opportunities to be part of something so great. Well, at the moment my primary focus is continuing in Formula 1, and this isn't my first business venture or investment. But yeah, it’s something I'm excited about, I would say early on I’m for sure not going to be able to be hands on as the other people that are a part of it. But again, we haven't won (the bid) yet. But if we do, there's lots of opportunity to get involved more and more over time, which is super exciting."
Iga Swiatek wins fourth WTA title after defeating Aryna Sabalenka
(Tennis news) World Number 1 Iga Swiatek extended her winning streak to 23 matches after defeating Aryna Sabalenka 6-2 6-2 in the finals. The 2020 French Open champion defeated Emma Raducanu in the quarter finals and overcame Ludmilla Samsonova from a set down in the semi finals on Saturday.
The 20 year old Polish international showed little signs of fatigue as she saved an early break point and got a 3-0 lead while third seeded Sabalenka had a double fault. Despite the 23 year old Belarusian player attempting a comeback after getting a hold of the serve at the start of the second set, Swiatek managed to go 4-2 ahead and secured her win when Sabalenka’s effort went long.
The result means that Swiatek is the first player to get 30 match wins this season, with an impressive overall record of 30-3. By winning the Stuttgart Open, she will take home a Porsche as well as the prize money of the tournament as well as get a monumental 2,000 points lead in the rankings.
Meanwhile, Novak Djokovic lost to Russia’s Andrey Rublev in the final of the Serbia Open. The 34 year old fought back from a set down but couldn’t mount a comeback as Rublev ended up winning the match 6-2 6-7 (4-7) 6-0 in two hours and 29 minutes. It was the Russian’s first win over Djokovic who broke the World Number 1’s serve twice in the opening set and saved five set points to force a tie-break in the second. Rublev then saved two break points in the opening game of the third set and proceeded to break Djokovic’s serve three times to win the game.
Spanish teenager Carlos Alcaraz defeated compatriot Pablo Carreno Busta 6-3 6-2 in the final of the Barcelona Open to secure his third title of the season. The result meant that the 18 year old is the youngest player to break into the top 10 in the World Rankings since Rafael Nadal 17 years ago. Speaking after the match, Alcaraz said “It means a lot. I've watched this tournament since I was a kid. I always wished to play in and of course to be able to win this tournament."
Emma Raducanu to face Iga Swiatek in Porsche Tennis Grand Prix
(Tennis news) Emma Raducanu won back-to-back matches for the first time in 6 months when the 19 year old defeated Tamara Korpatsch 6-0 2-6 6-1 on clay. Having won against American tennis player Storm Sanders in round 1, the US Open champion only dropped seven points against Korpatsch in the first set but the German stepped up in the second, finding her range and applying pressure on Raducanu. The British tennis player held her ground in the deciding third set, throwing Korpatsch from her rhythm with high balls and eventually going past the finish line.
In the post match interview, Raducanu said “Overall I feel like Tamara came out in the second set and played some unbelievable tennis. I didn't even think that I was making too many mistakes but I dropped the ball slightly short and she was all over it. For me it was just about regrouping for the third set and trying to stay aggressive." Speaking about Iga Swiatek, Raducanu said “Of course she's in great form and it will be an interesting match but she's No 1 in the world. I feel like I've got no pressure going out there, playing on clay against her, so I'm looking forward to the match."
Raducanu will face World Number 1 Iga Swiatek in the quarter-finals of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix. The Polish tennis player is on a 20 game winning streak and has only lost three games in her last six sets. The last time the pair met was at the quarter-finals of the girls' singles in Wimbledon 2018 when Swiatek won 6-0 6-1. After this tournament, Raducanu will shift her attention to tournaments in Madrid and Rome followed by the French Open where she will be making her senior debut.
Russian and Belarusian players banned from participating at Wimbledon
(Tennis news) US Open champion Daniil Medvedev, world number 8 Andrey Rublev and women’s fourth ranked Aryna Sabalenka will be ineligible to participate in this year's Wimbledon as per a ruling by The All England Club. Medvedev reached the fourth round of Wimbledon last year while Sabalenka was knocked out in the semi-finals. Russian world number 15 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Belarus' Victoria Azarenka will also not be participating.
The All England Club said in a statement: "We share in the universal condemnation of Russia's illegal actions and have carefully considered the situation in the context of our duties to the players, to our community and to the broader UK public as a British sporting institution. If circumstances change materially between now and June, we will consider and respond accordingly."
Ian Hewitt, chairman of the All England Club, said: "We recognise that this is hard on the individuals affected, and it is with sadness that they will suffer for the actions of the leaders of the Russian regime. We have very carefully considered the alternative measures that might be taken within the UK Government guidance but, given the high profile environment of The Championships, the importance of not allowing sport to be used to promote the Russian regime and our broader concerns for public and player (including family) safety, we do not believe it is viable to proceed on any other basis at The Championships."
Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston said “The UK has taken a leading role internationally to make clear that President Putin must not be able to use sport to legitimise Russia's barbaric invasion of Ukraine. "Whilst the withdrawal of individual athletes is a complex issue that will divide opinion, there is a bigger cause at stake. We have set out our position with sport governing bodies and event organisers and will continue to encourage them to take appropriate action for their sport."
An ATP statement read: "We strongly condemn Russia's reprehensible invasion of Ukraine and stand in solidarity with the millions of innocent people affected by the ongoing war. Our sport is proud to operate on the fundamental principles of merit and fairness, where players compete as individuals to earn their place in tournaments based on the ATP Rankings. We believe that today's unilateral decision by Wimbledon and the LTA to exclude players from Russia and Belarus from this year's British grass-court swing is unfair and has the potential to set a damaging precedent for the game.
"Discrimination based on nationality also constitutes a violation of our agreement with Wimbledon that states that player entry is based solely on ATP Rankings. Any course of action in response to this decision will now be assessed in consultation with our Board and Member councils. It is important to stress that players from Russia and Belarus will continue to be allowed to compete at ATP events under a neutral flag, a position that has until now been shared across professional tennis. In parallel, we will continue our joint humanitarian support for Ukraine under Tennis Plays for Peace."
A WTA statement read: "The WTA strongly condemns the actions that have been taken by Russia and its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. We continue our humanitarian relief efforts to support Ukraine through Tennis Plays for Peace. We are, however, very disappointed in today's announcement by the AELTC and the LTA to ban individual athletes who are from Russia and Belarus from competing in the upcoming UK grass court events. A fundamental principal of the WTA is that individual athletes may participate in professional tennis events based on merit and without any form of discrimination.
"That principle is expressly set forth in our rules and has been agreed to by both AELTC and LTA. Prohibitions against discrimination are also clearly expressed in their own rules and the Grand Slam rules. As the WTA has consistently stated, individual athletes should not be penalised or prevented from competing due to where they are from, or the decisions made by the governments of their countries.
"Discrimination, and the decision to focus such discrimination against athletes competing on their own as individuals, is neither fair nor justified. The WTA will continue to apply its rules to reject discrimination and ensure that all athletes are able to compete at our Tour events should they qualify to do so, a position that until today's announcement has been shared across professional tennis. The WTA will be evaluating its next steps and what actions may be taken regarding these decisions."
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said “Given that Russia is a strong tennis country the competitions [which take this decision] will suffer from this. To make sports people hostages of political intrigue is unacceptable. I hope the players won't lose their fitness."
Ton-up Jos Buttler makes merry as Royals post 217 for 5 vs KKR
Mumbai, Apr 18 (Cricket News) Jos Buttler's dream season just got a bit better after he knocked the stuffing out of a quality Kolkata Knight Riders attack with a magnificent second IPL hundred to power Rajasthan Royals to an imposing 217 for five here on Monday.
Buttler's 61-ball-103 had nine fours and five sixes, some of which were out of the ordinary, including one off Umesh Yadav (0/44 in 4 overs) which landed into the adjacent tennis courts of Cricket Club of India.
When he finally got out trying to hook Pat Cummins (1/50 in 4 overs), Royals had crossed 180-run mark and by then the Australian Test captain was hammered for as many as seven fours and a six, bulk of them by the dashing England keeper-batter.
Buttler added 97 runs for the opening wicket stand with Devdutt Padikkal (24 off 18 balls), who only faced deliveries worth three overs in the first 10 overs.
He was then joined by skipper Sanju Samson (38 off 19 balls), who was equally destructive in their 67-run second wicket stand in just 5.4 overs.
None of the KKR bowlers save Sunil Narine (2/21 in 4 overs) looked like posing any threat to Buttler, who seems to be walking away with the Orange Cap with an aggregate of 375 runs in six games so far.
Varun Chakravarthy (0/30 in 2 overs) is getting from bad to worse during the season as neither there is bite nor any mystery in his deliveries and it was like cannon fodder on a Brabourne batting beauty.
The fifth bowling option turned out to be a nightmare as Andre Russell (0/29 in 2 overs) completed Chakravarthy's quota as they cumulatively gave away 59 runs in 4 overs.
Shivam Mavi (1/34 in 4 overs) and Umesh started off well during the first two overs primarily because Padikkal is out of sorts.
However, showing cricketing smarts, Padikkal gave Buttler bulk of the strike and that changed the course from the third over of the match.
Umesh, who had started the tournament on a bright note, got back to his old self of being erratic as Buttler lofted him for a four and a six off successive deliveries.
The floodgates opened after that as he literally toyed with Chakravarthy, whom he hit for a six by rocking back and having enough time to send him into the orbit.
If there was a wide yorker, he would steer past third-man, short deliveries were pulled and those on the legs were tucked behind square.
Also Read : My plan was to bat till end, couldn't continue with run-rate after Finch's dismissal: Shreyas Iyer
News Source : PTI
Tsitsipas defeats Davidovich to win Monte Carlo Masters title
(Tennis news) Stefanos Tsitsipas defended his Monte Carlo Masters title after winning against Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 6-3 7-6 (7-3) in a little over 90 minutes, moving the Greek player into second in the ATP Race to Turin. His opponent, Davidovich Fokina knocked out Novak Djokovic and Indian Wells champion Taylor Fritz in the earlier rounds, and had the better start in the finals, leading 2-1 against the reigning champion.
However, the world number 46 surrendered his serve in the next game, which allowed Tsitsipas to take control of the match and the Greek player subsequently went a set up in just 31 minutes after an almost perfect display. Tsitsipas capitalised on a tie-break to secure the win and get his eighth career title while Davidovich Fokina struggled to deal with his backhand. Speaking after the match, Tsitsipas said “I am very proud of myself. Things weren't going well at one point, but I managed to stay composed to finish the match off. I am really proud of the belief I put in my game. Sometimes you doubt yourself, but it is always important to keep your head high."
In other results, Joe Salisbury and Rajeev Ram defeated Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah 6-4 3-6 10-7 to cement their place as the top-ranked doubles pairing in the world. At 29, Salisbury reached the Number 1 spot in rankings for the first time on Monday. Speaking after the match, Salisbury said “It's unbelievable. I'm so happy right now. It's a first title on clay together, on a surface that we always thought was a weaker one for us. [We have] not done too well here before, but we've been working really hard, and we knew we could play well. [I am] just so happy that it's come together and to get the win here."
Tsitsipas will now turn his attention to the Barcelona Open where he reached the final in 2021. He could face Grigor Dimitrov in the third round while Carlos Alcaraz could be a potential opponent in the quarter-finals. The bottom half of the draw will feature the likes of Casper Ruud and Felix Auger-Aliassime and their opponents could be Frances Tiafoe and Alexander Bublik respectively.
Stefanos Tsitsipas to face Alexander Zverev in Monte Carlo semi-finals
(Tennis news) After surviving a first set blip, Alexander Zverev broke Jannik Sinner’s resilience to win the match 5-7 6-3 7-6 and progress into the semi-finals. The German fought back twice from a break down in the third set as it went into a tiebreaker, which he won 7-5. The result means that second seeded Zverev will now face fifth rank Stefanos Tsitsipas who defeated Diego Schwartzman 6-2, 6-7, 6-4.
The Greek tennis player easily won the first set but failed to capitalise on a 5-2 lead in the second, only to make a stunning comeback after being 4-0 down to win six games on the trot. Zverev was given a suspended eight week ban from ATP sanctioned events after being thrown out of the Acapulco Open for repeatedly hitting the umpires chair. Speaking after the match, Zverev said “It means a lot, definitely, especially (with) how this year has been going so far for me. I've lost long matches like that, so I'm happy I won this one."
In other results, Alejandro Davidovich Fokina of Spain reached his first Masters semi-final after defeating American Taylor Fritz 2-6 6-4 6-3. The Spaniard will take on Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov who defeated Hubert Hurkacz of Poland 6-4, 3-6, 7-6. Dimitrov dropped two points in the deciding set before taking it 7-2 in the tiebreak.
Jamie Murray and Joe Salisbury also progressed to the men’s doubles semi-final with their partners. Murray and India’s Rohan Bopanna overcame third seeds Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos 7-6 (8) 7-6 (8) and will now face Salisbury and America's Rajeev Ram who won 6-4 6-3 against Tim Puetz and Michael Venus.
Emma Raducanu defeats Martincova in maiden Billie Jean King Cup match
(Tennis news) Emma Raducanu won her first senior professional tennis match on clay at her Billie Jean King Cup debut after defeating Czech Republic's Tereza Martincova 7-5 7-5. The result ensured that Britain ended the first day at 1-1 as Marketa Vondrousova defeated Harriet Dart 6-1 6-0 earlier in the day.
Having not played a professional tennis match on clay since the French Open Juniors in 2018, the 19 year old put up an impressive display to save a set point at 4-5 in the opening set and fought back from 1-4 down in the second set to win the match. Speaking after her victory, Raducanu said “This one means so much to me. It's my first Billie Jean King Cup match and to represent my team on a clay court, in my first professional match on clay, it's really amazing. We're still in this, we're still in this battle and it's all to play for tomorrow."
The 19 year old was under significant pressure after Dart lost in 55 minutes to Vondrousova. Raducanu saved a set point after dropping serve in the eighth game and took the first set with a run of three straight games. However, her performance dipped at the start of the second set, resulting in the teenager going two breaks down at 0-3 and 1-4. Raducanu eventually fought back, winning six of the last seven games.
Raducanu said “The team had my back 100 percent, as we had Harriet's back this morning. It's amazing to be in a team competition when everything is so individual in this sport. I'm really cherishing the memories I'm gaining this week." This is just the third win Raducanu has managed this season and Martincova is the highest-ranked player she has beaten since her semi-final victory over Maria Sakkari at the US Open. The winner of the Qualifiers will progress to the finals while the losers will compete in the Play-Offs for the 2023 Qualifiers.
Emma Raducanu to face Tereza Martincova in Billie Jean King Cup debut
(Tennis news) British tennis player Emma Raducanu will take on Tereza Martincova in her Billie Jean King Cup singles debut on Friday. The British team will face Czech Republic on clay at the Tennis Club I.CLTK Prague, the venue of the 1986 finals and comprises Raducanu, Harriet Dart, Katie Swan and Sonay Kartal. The winner of the qualifiers will advance to the Billie Jean King Cup Finals in November while the losers will take part in the 2023 Qualifiers Play-Offs.
Raducanu, currently ranked 12th in the world, was selected alongside British No 2 Harriet Dart to play in the opening singles match on Friday. Dart will take on Marketa Vondrousova before Raducanu faces Martincova. Both the players will swap opponents with the potential for a deciding doubles match to follow. It’s a landmark event for the 19 year old, as she will not only be making her senior Great Britain debut but will also be playing her first professional match on clay.
Speaking before the match, Raducanu said “This is going to be my first professional match on clay so I'm definitely learning. I feel this could be one of my strongest surfaces going forward but of course, it's early days right now. I feel like I have got a lot more potential, physically and I do enjoy sliding. So, after spending more time on this surface, I'm sure I'll time it better and learn more about the surface but also just the time that the clay brings. I feel like I can really use it and play aggressively."
Great Britain are currently ranked 15th amongst 115 nations at the Billie Jean King Cup while the Czech team is fifth and seeded fourth for the qualifiers. However, they will be without French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova, Karolina Pliskova and Petra Kvitova. World doubles No 1 Katerina Siniakova was also a late injury withdrawal for the Czech Republic team.
Cameron Norrie knocked out of the Monte Carlo Masters by Ramos-Vinolas
(Tennis news) Britain’s number 1 tennis player Cameron Norrie was knocked out of the Monte Carlo Masters after being defeated in three sets by Spain's Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-4 2-6 6-4. Norrie, who received a bye in the first round, managed to recover from a set and a break down to force a decider while his Spanish opponent struggled with an abdominal injury. The match took a total of two hours and 32 minutes and Albert Ramos-Vinolas won his eighth match against a player from the top 10 rankings.
The Spaniard has now won all four matches against Norrie on clay but the British player defeated Ramos-Vinolas on the grass surface at Queens last year. Norrie served a break-point at the opening game of the match with two aces but was eventually broken in his seventh game and was not able to convert his only break point of the set. Ramos-Vinolas managed to break in the opening set of the seventh game and held a 2-0 lead but Norrie managed a stunning comeback, winning the next six games in a row including three breaks of serve, to set up a decider.
Ramos-Vinolas struggled with an abdominal injury but rediscovered his form and momentum after taking painkillers and eventually secured the win. Speaking after the match, the Spaniard said “We always have good matches and he's in the top 10 so for me today it's a great win. I started off well and was 2-0 up in the second set but tennis is like this. I lost seven (games) in a row but somehow I started to play good and I'm happy to be in the next round."
In other results, British number 2 Dan Evans was also knocked out of the Monte Carlo Masters after losing in straight sets against David Goffin. The Belgian managed to save five break points in the opening set and won the tie break to seal a 7-6 (7-5) 6-2 win. Germany’s Alexander Zverev defeated Federico Delbonis and Andrey Rublev overcame Alex de Minaur 2-6 6-1 6-4 to reach the Round of 16 while Lorenzo Musetti defeated Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-2 7-6 (7-2).
Miami Open champion Carlos Alcaraz lost to Sebastian Korda 7-6(2) 6-7(5) 6-3. Speaking after the match, Korda said “After losing to a Spaniard in Indian Wells and serving for it, it was nice to get a victory today. I had to just stay calm and believe in my return. Every time you'd throw up the ball, it would move around. It was super tough to serve today but I'm super happy with the way I handled myself. I did get a lot of good practice on my return, but I don't know what to say. It was a crazy match!"
Djokovic knocked out of Monte Carlo Masters to to Davidovich Fokina
(Tennis news) World number 1 Novak Djokovic was knocked out of the Monte Carlo Masters to Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in a match that lasted two hours and 54 minutes. Playing in just his second event of the year, the Serbian made 51 unforced errors, resulting in his first loss at the opening round of a tournament since being defeated by Martin Klizan in Barcelona in 2018.
After the match, Djokovic said “I'm disappointed. No one likes to lose. We're professional athletes. This is what we do. We go out on the court to compete and try to win against each other. I didn't like the way I felt physically in the third set. I just ran out of the gas completely. Just couldn't really stay in the rally with him. If you can't stay in the rally, not feeling your legs on the clay, it's mission impossible. So I don't like that feeling I experienced in the third set but I'm going to look with my team into reasons why that was the case and go back to the drawing board and hopefully next week will be better in Belgrade."
Having already won the Monte Carlo Masters twice in his career, Djokovic simply lacked match fitness this time around, lost the first set and was immediately broken at the start of the second set. Davidovich Fokina, being 12 years younger than Djokovic, showed his inexperience by diving at the start of the seventh set on the clay court, which prompted injury fears and allowed Djokovic to take 10 points in a row.
However, the momentum turned back into Davidovich Fokina’s favour when Djokovic committed four unforced errors while serving on the set, allowing the 22 year old to get back in the tie and force a tie-break. The 34 year old Serbian’s lack of match fitness was evident as he was broken three more times in the deciding set, ultimately costing him the match.
In the post match interview, Djokovic said “This win is so special to me because I grew up watching Nole (Djokovic) and I'm a big fan of his. I knew Nole didn't have the confidence because he didn't play a lot this season. I had my chances in the beginning of the match and I took them. When he won the second set it was tough mentally, but I worked hard to be focused. I had to be prepared for the war."
After his disappointing exit, Djokovic will now shift his attention to the French Open next month and will be undoubtedly hoping to defend his crown. The Serbian said “That's the big goal of the clay season. I knew a few days ago when I spoke to you... that it's going to take time for me to really feel my best on the clay. That's historically always been the case. Never played very well in the opening tournaments of the clay season. But it's OK, I have to accept the defeat and keep working."
In other results, Britain’s Dan Evans defeated Frenchman Benjamin Bonzi 6-0 7-6 (7-4) to reach the second round and will face David Goffin who overcame Jiri Lehecka 6-4 6-3.
Victoria to host 2026 Commonwealth Games across cities; shooting, wrestling not in initial list of sports
London, Apr 12 (Sports News) Victoria will host the 2026 Commonwealth Games with the Australian state's regional centres organising the majority of events in a break from the traditional single host city model.
The Games will be staged in March 2026 across multiple cities and regional hubs including Melbourne, Geelong, Bendigo, Ballarat and Gippsland, each with its own athletes' village.
The opening ceremony will take place at the iconic 100,000-capacity Melbourne Cricket Ground, the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) announced on Tuesday.
The announcement follows an exclusive dialogue period between the CGF, Commonwealth Games Australia (CGAus) and Victoria.
An initial list of 16 sports, including Twenty20 cricket, have been put forward for the Games, with further sports to be added later this year.
The initial list, however, does not feature disciplines such as shooting and wrestling, sports in which India has done well in the previous editions of the sporting extravaganza.
Archery also does not feature in the list.
Premier of Victoria Daniel Andrews said: "It's a great honour to have Victoria chosen as the host venue for the 2026 Commonwealth Games - we can't wait to welcome the world to all of our state.
"The Commonwealth Games in regional Victoria is great for jobs, hospitality and our economy." Australia has staged the Commonwealth Games on five occasions, with Victoria playing host to the Melbourne 2006 Games; widely considered one of the most successful editions of the event in history.
The country has also staged the Games in Sydney in 1938, Perth in 1962, Brisbane in 1982 and most recently Gold Coast in 2018. Victoria has also hosted the Commonwealth Youth Games in Bendigo in 2004.
CGF President Dame Louise Martin said: "The Commonwealth Games Federation is absolutely delighted to award the 2026 Commonwealth Games to Victoria.
"Commonwealth Games Australia and the Victorian Government have set out a bold and innovative vision for hosting our major multi-sport event. In Victoria, we believe we have found the perfect partner for the next stage of our journey." As per the CGF's new "strategic roadmap" unveiled at its 2021 General Assembly on October 11, athletics and swimming will be the only compulsory sports in the CWG from the 2026 edition, allowing host cities greater freedom to include disciplines of their choice from a proposed core list of 22 sports.
The proposed core list of the Commonwealth Games Federation after a review includes shooting, wrestling and archery. Disciplines that have previously been listed as optional sports such as T20 cricket, beach volleyball and 3x3 basketball were also brought under the proposed core list of sports.
The roadmap was approved at the CGF's General Assembly, which was held virtually last year.
The 2026 Games will be the 23rd edition of the major multi-sport competition, which first began in Hamilton, Canada in 1930.
Victoria is a world-leading major events and tourism destination. The state has a strong track record for staging high profile sporting competitions including The Australian Open tennis grand slam, the Melbourne Formula 1 Grand Prix and the Melbourne Cup.
The state also regularly hosts elite cricket, golf and Australian Rules Football competition.
Also Read : India to host the 44th Chess Olympiad
News Source : PTI
Bublik defeats Wawrinka in the first round of the Monte Carlo Masters
(Tennis news) After returning from injury from a 13 month layoff, three time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka made a losing return to the ATP tour after being defeated by Alexander Bublik in the first round of the Monte Carlo Masters 3-6 7-5 6-2. The 37 year old was sidelined due to a foot injury but managed to stretch his opponent to three sets before succumbing to a loss.
Speaking after the match, Wawrinka said “I think the body's getting much better. I'm still far away from where I want to be, but I think I'm (going in) the right direction. I think today was a positive match. It was a tough loss, of course, but I'm happy with the way I was playing." Meanwhile, Jannik Sinner defeated Borna Coric 6-3 2-6 6-3 in two and a half hours. The World Number 12 shrugged off an apparent stomach injury midway in the match after a difficult second set.
In other results, veteran tennis player Marin Cilic defeated Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-2 6-2 while Diego Schwartzman overcame Karen Khachanov 6-7 (5) 6-3 6-3 and Pablo Carreno Busta progressed to the next round with a 6-4 4-6 6-2 win over Sebastien Baez. Sebastian Korda defeated Botic van de Zandschulp in straight sets while Hubert Hurkacz, Fabio Fognini and Alex de Minaur also won their respective matches.
Charleston Open: Indian tennis player Sania Mirza-Hradecka lose in final
Charleston, Apr 11 (Tennis News) Veteran Indian tennis player Sania Mirza and her Czech partner Lucie Hradecka's splendid run at the Charleston Open ended after they lost the title clash to Andreja Klepac and Magda Linette.
The unseeded Mirza and Hradecka went down 2-6 6-4 7-10 in one hour 24 minutes to the fourth seed Polish-Slovenian duo on Sunday.
Mirza and Hradecka had a stunning run at the WTA 500 event, reaching the women's doubles final after pulling off a major upset by stunning top seeds Zhang Shuai and Caroline Dolehide in the semifinals.
In the quarterfinals, they got the better of third seeds Alexa Guarachi and Jessica Pegula.
Mirza and Hradecka had also reached the semifinal of the Dubai Tennis Championships in February.
The 35-year-old Mirza, who is India's most accomplished woman tennis player having won six Grand Slam titles, including three mixed doubles trophies, had earlier announced that 2022 would be her last season.
Also Read : Berrettini undergoes surgery, to miss three ATP Masters 1000 events
News Source : PTI
Berrettini undergoes surgery, to miss three ATP Masters 1000 events
(Tennis news) Italian tennis player Matteo Berrettini is set to miss three ATP Masters 1000 events after recovering from a minor surgery on his right hand. The 25 year old reached the final at Wimbledon last year, losing to Novak Djokovic and was eliminated from the semi finals of the Australian Open earlier this year. He also reached the first Masters 1000 final last year, losing to Alexander Zverev in the Madrid Open.
In a statement released by Berrettini on Instagram, he said “Following advice from the medical experts, my team and I have decided that it is crucial I do not put time pressure on my recovery process. We have therefore decided I should withdraw from the Monte-Carlo, Madrid and Rome tournaments to ensure I give myself the proper amount of time to return at my highest level.
“Withdrawing from these events, particularly Rome, was an extremely tough decision, however it is the right one to ensure many more years of competing at the highest level for the biggest trophies. Thanks very much for all the support. My recovery process is on track and I look forward to seeing you on-court soon."
The Italian World Number 6 has won three of his last five ATP Tour titles on clay but has played only one event on the surface this year, losing to Carlos Alcaraz in the Rio De Janeiro quarter-finals.
Serena Williams hints at Wimbledon return while Tsonga to retire soon
(Tennis news) 23 time Grand Slam winner Serena Williams has hinted that she could make her long awaited comeback at Wimbledon, exactly a year after playing her last tournament. The 40 year old suffered an ankle injury in the first round and was forced to retire in tears against Aliaksandra Sasnovich. As a result, she missed the Tokyo Olympics, US Open and the Australian Open this year.
Speaking at an Instagram story with NFL quarterback Aaron Rodgers at a Bitcoin conference in Miami, Williams said: "We've been talking about my comeback and he's been hyping me up and getting me ready for Wimbledon. Can't wait! Wimbledon's before the US Open, I've got to play Wimbledon first. Exciting!"
The tournament is set to take place from June 27 to July 10 this year and Williams has already won the prestigious event seven times, but hasn’t won the title since 2016. She last won a Grand Slam at the 2017 Australian Open and has been on a hunt for the 24th title of her career but has been hampered due to injuries, dropping to 246th in the WTA rankings.
Meanwhile, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga has announced his intention to retire from professional tennis after the French Open this year. The 36 year old has suffered from injuries in recent years and only managed to get his second win in February since 2019, missing the entire 2020 season due to a back injury.
In a video shared on social media, Tsonga said “My head tells me, 'But you can play all your life,' and at the same time your body reminds you that your abilities to surpass yourself are no longer there. I hope that I will stay in shape before (the Roland Garros) and be able to be who I always have been at this tournament. The goal is to be myself, to be Jo-Wilfried Tsonga the tennis player.I have always set myself high goals to try to get what I can. For me, this will be the opportunity to do it one last time."
The Frenchman has won 18 ATP titles which include two Masters 1000 tournaments since he turned professional in 2004. He also won an Olympics silver medal at the London Games in 2012.
UK Government in talks with Wimbledon about featuring Russian players
(Tennis news) Wimbledon officials are taking part in ongoing talks with the government of the United Kingdom regarding the participation of Russian and Belarusian players in this year’s championship. One of the favourites to win the tournament is World Number 2 Daniil Medvedev and the Russian could be banned as there are fears that his victory could boost Vladimir Putin’s regime while the ongoing invasion in Ukraine is taking place.
As things stand, Russian and Belarusian players have been allowed to compete at ATP, WTA and ITF competitions as long as they participate under a neutral flag and no anthem. However, Wimbledon is hosted by the All England Club which could ban players from these countries without any legal repercussions as it’s an independent body. Wimbledon organisers are working alongside the government and the Lawn Tennis Association before next month’s deadline.
A statement released by the All England Club said “We have noted the UK Government's guidance regarding the attendance of Russian and Belarusian individuals in a neutral capacity at sporting events in the UK. This remains a complex and challenging issue, and we are continuing to engage in discussion with the UK Government, the LTA, and the international governing bodies of tennis. We plan to announce a decision in relation to Wimbledon ahead of our entry deadline in mid-May."
Earlier, UK Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston had asked for the Russian and Belarusian players to prove that they are “genuinely neutral” and give assurances that they don’t give or receive money from Putin’s regime. When asked in a recent interview if players from these countries would be allowed to play, Huddleston said “Absolutely nobody flying the flag for Russia should be allowed or enabled. We need some potential assurance that they are not supporters of Vladimir Putin. We're considering what requirements we may need.
"Would I be comfortable with a Russian athlete flying the Russian flag? No. When it comes to individuals, that gets a bit more complex so we are looking at and talking to various sports in terms of what the response and requirements should be there." If permitted, some of the players who could play at Wimbledon include Daniil Medvedev, Andrey Rublev, Karen Khachanov, Aslan Karatsev, Aryna Sabalenka, Victoria Azarenka, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Veronika Kudermetova, Daria Kasatkina and Ludmilla Samsonova. The last Russian player to have won the Wimbledon title was Maria Sharapova in 2004 after defeating Serena Williams.
ITTF Rankings: Manika Batra, Archana Kamath make it to top 5 in women's doubles
New Delhi, Apr 5 (TableTennis News) Indian women's doubles pair of Manika Batra and Archana Girish Kamath jumped two places to break into the top-5 in the latest rankings, released by the ITTF.
The duo now occupies the fourth spot with 1501 points.
Batra and Kamath had claimed the bronze medal at the WTT Star Contender Doha 2022 after losing the semifinals to the Chinese Taipei's pair of Li Yu-Jhun and Cheng I-Ching, last week.
The Chinese pair of Wang Manyu and Sun Yingsha is sitting atop the chart with 4289 points, followed by Japanese combination of Mima Ito and Hina Hayata and Luxembourg's Xia Lian Ni and Sarah de Nutte.
Also Read : Manika-Archana pair settles for bronze in WTT Star Contender
News Source : PTI
How chance encounter with Suresh Raina changed 12-year-old Tilak Varma's mindset
Navi Mumbai, Apr 4 (Cricket News) Suresh Raina most certainly won't remember the chance encounter he had with a little known Hyderabad cricket coach Salam Bayash or the 12-year-old kid, who had accompanied him in tow during that evening at the HCA Stadium in Uppal back in 2014.
Chennai Super Kings were pitted against Sunrisers Hyderabad on the very next day and little did 'Chinna Thala' know that his five-minute interaction and a photo with a then 12-year-old Namboori Thakur Tilak Varma will have such an impact on 12-year-old's impressionable mind.
Eight year hence, the now 20-year-old left-hander's lucid style of strokeplay must have brought a wide grin on Raina's face while watching him reverse sweep Ravichandran Ashwin for a six.
"I had a friend of mine, who was a local manager. I took his help to procure permission to watch the practice and had little Tilak accompany," it seemed as if it happened yesterday in the manner Bayash recollected events of that day.
"I distinctly remember a wide-eyed Tilak just watching Suresh Raina's batting with awe. He didn't remove his eyes even once and watched every shot played by Raina. Then we clicked pictures with him and I strongly feel that the "special meeting" with Raina was enough for Tilak to decide that he wanted to become a cricketer," the childhood coach said about his ward, who has become the find of Mumbai Indians.
MI lost against Rajasthan Royals but Tilak's 61 had garnered a lot of attention, especially after head coach Mahela Jayawardena showered him with glowing praise.
Son of an electrician, Varma believes that the Rs 1.7 crore contract will help him provide a better life for his parents, who has sacrificed a lot to see their son realise his dream.
But Bayash always knew that Varma was special and did play a huge role in shaping his career from age-group cricket to U-19 and now sending a near-finished product to Mumbai Indians.
"Had my coach and parents not backed me, I wouldn't have come so far. I dedicate this innings to all of them," the southpaw had said moments after his whirlwind innings.
Bayash recalled how Varma's batting in a tennis ball match at a local ground, caught his attention.
"I saw him and felt that the kid was doing well. Then I called his parents and persuaded them to take the kid to my academy. He had issues while commuting, so he used to accompany for practice. We used to cover 40 km one way," Bayash remembered.
Varma's is a resident of Salala Barkas area in Belapur locality and travelled all the way to Lingapally to practice at the Legala cricket academy. He studied at the Cresent Model English school.
"I had taken special permission from school authorities and often he would have lunch at the academy before starting training in the afternoon session. While Tilak's family at that point had hardships but I must give credit to his parents, who were very supportive with his career choice," Bayash said.
Bayash is elated that Varma was roped in by a champion outfit like MI where he can learn a lot from legends.
"Mumbai Indians, Chennai Super Kings, Kolkata Knight Riders are good teams and so is Punjab Kings, which gives a lot of opportunities to youngsters and it's luck that he landed in a champion team like MI. Which coach won't be proud if his student plays for MI," Bayash said.
But amidst all these Bayash' real happiness lies somewhere else. When he played cricket, Bayash's only wish was to meet Sachin Tendulkar once in his lifetime, talk to him and seek his blessings.
What he couldn't achieve, his favourite ward has done it.
"When I was playing, I nurtured only one dream to meet and greet Tendulkar. I am more pleased that my student is now meeting him and taking his tips," he signed off.
Also Read : Trevor Bayliss joins London Spirit as Interim Men’s Head Coach
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Carlos Alcaraz and Iga Swiatek win the Miami Open
(Tennis news) Spanish teenager star Carlos Alcaraz secured his maiden ATP Masters 1000 after defeating Casper Ruud in straight sets in the final of the Miami Open. The 18 year old won 7-5 6-4 against the Norwegian in an hour and 52 minutes. After a slow start in which he was down 4-1, Alcaraz bounced back by breaking Ruud twice early in the second set to seal the victory. The result means that Alcaraz is now the youngest Miami men’s champion and the third-youngest ATP Masters 1000 champion.
Speaking after the match, Alcaraz said “I have no words to describe how I feel right now, but it is so special to win my first Masters 1000 here in Miami. I'm so happy with the win and for sure with my team. I knew Casper is playing very well, he has a big forehand. I tried to play to his backhand first and tried to go to attack, to not let him dominate the match."
In the women’s category, Iga Swiatek defeated Naomi Osaka 6-4 6-0 in the Miami Open finals. The Polish second seet didn’t drop a single set and has now won 17 consecutive matches going back to her championship run at the Qatar Open in February. The result also means that the 20 year old has become the fourth woman to win the Indian Wells and Miami Open back-to-back.
Speaking after the match, Osaka said “I have learned that like, I don't know, I'm not as disappointed as I normally would be, like I think normally I would be crying in the locker room or something, but now I'm kind of like chill. I feel like I know what I want to do better, and I just want to go back and start training again to hopefully win a tournament next time. It's all about keeping a certain perspective.
“Playing Iga today, just knowing the kind of roll that she's on, I guess I have to think about it more, like what specifically did I learn today. It's kind of cool to be blown away by a person, like an opponent, but at the same time, I feel like I'm strong enough that that shouldn't happen. So I'm a bit irritated a little bit, but I feel like, you know, this is like the learning process, and something good will happen eventually if I keep sticking with what I'm doing."
Casper Ruud defeats Francisco Cerundolo to reach Miami Open finals
(Tennis news) Norwegian tennis player Casper Ruud secured his place in his first Masters 1000 final with a 6-4 6-1 win over Francisco Cerundolo in the semi finals of the Miami Open. The World Number 8 took one hour and 34 minutes to secure the win and got the decisive break of serve in the 10th game of the opening set. Argentinian player Cerundolo, currently ranked 103rd was then outclassed in the second set.
The 23 year old Casper Ruud progressed to the semi finals of the Miami Open after a three-set win over Alexander Zverev while Cerundolo reached the last four in his Masters 1000 debut after Reilly Opelka and Jannik Sinner were forced to retire due to injury. "It was a tough match, even though the scoreline said two straight sets," Ruud said. "It was tough."
Meanwhile, Carlos Alcaraz became the second youngest Miami Open finalist in history after defeating Hubert Hurkacz 7-6 (5), 7-6 (2) on Friday. The youngest finalist was Rafael Nadal, a month younger than his compatriot Carlos Alcaraz, the tournament was called NASDAQ-100 Open and Nadal lost that five setter match to Roger Federer. Alcaraz will be hoping to win his second title of the season so far, having already secured the 2022 Rio Open in February where he only lost a single set in the whole tournament.
Hubert Hurkacz defeats Daniil Medvedev in the Miami Open
(Tennis news) Polish tennis player Hubert Hurkacz defeated Daniil Medvedev 7-6 6-3 in the quarter-finals of the Miami Open, denying the Russian the opportunity to reclaim the World Number 1 ranking. Hurkacz won the first three games while Medvedev appeared unwell because of the heat and struggled on his first serve and suffered four double faults in the first set.
Medvedev attempted a comeback, fighting off two set points to hold the serve in the eighth game and breaking in the ninth, but Hurkacz maintained his composure during the tiebreak. In the second set, the Polish tennis player managed to break in the fifth game that lasted 11 minutes while the high temperature seemed to greatly affect Medvedev who complained of dizziness and requested assistance from his physiotherapists.
Speaking after the match, Hurkacz said “Playing Daniil is always fun but it's super competitive. "I was hitting my forehand a little better and I was returning better so that was big for me." In order to reclaim the World Number 1 rankings, Medvedev needed to reach the semi finals or higher in the Miami Open. Having claimed the top spot from Novak Djokovic earlier this season, the Russian was forced to concede it after his disappointing third round exit at the Indian Wells.
Meanwhile, Naomi Osaka is set to face Iga Swiatek of Poland in the final of the Miami Open after defeating Belinda Bencic 4-6 6-3 6-4. It will be the first time the Japanese tennis star will reach a finals since her 2021 Australian Open victory. Her opponent, Iga Swiatek is currently ranked 2nd and defeated American Jessica Pegula 6-2 7-5, becoming the first player to reach the finals of both American hard-court events since Victoria Azarenka, who won both tournaments in 2016.
Swiatek is on a 16-match winning streak and has won 18 consecutive sets but has not faced Osaka since 2019 where the Japanese player won in straight sets. Swiatek said “My second match on the WTA Tour, when I felt I was making a breakthrough, was against Osaka. Even though I lost that match, it inspired me to work harder because she was number one back then. Right now I feel like I am on a different level, so I can actually compete. I'm really excited."
India drawn to meet Norway in Davis Cup, away tie dates clash with Asian Games
New Delhi, Mar 31 (Tennis News) The Indian Davis Cup team was on Thursday drawn to meet Norway in its next World Group I tie but the country's participation in the away contest is under doubt since it is clashing with the Asian Games in September.
The Davis Cup tie will be held either on September 16-17 or 17-18 while the tennis event at the Asian Games are scheduled to be held from September 10-14.
Even if the Indian players complete their Asian Games engagement by April 14, it will be practically difficult to reach Norway for the tie since the players need to acclimatise before they take to the courts.
It is going to be a challenge for the All India Tennis Association (AITA) to ensure that the country is represented in both the events.
"We and the Asian Tennis Federation had written to ITF about this, since 12 Asian countries are going to be affected by this. We had asked for a change in date but they did not agree, so we are filing an appeal to the ITF," AITA Secretary General Anil Dhupar told PTI.
"We want to play both the events and so do other nations. Pakistan is also filing a separate appeal. Let's see." Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Japan and India feature in World Group I while China, Lebanon, Thailand, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong and Indonesia feature in World Group II in this year's September ties.
Korea and Kazakhstan are part of the Davis Cup Finals. The Group stage of the event will played from September 14-18.
India and Norway, who have world number eight Casper Ruud in their ranks, have never clashed in the history of Davis Cup.
Their next best player is Viktor Durasovic, who is placed 329 in singles ATP chart.
"Every tie at this level is tough and when it is an away tie, it is a different challenge. It is too early to see if the draw is good for us. There is still a lot of time before the tie," said India coach Zeeshan Ali.
The Indian government is supporting tennis players like Rohan Boanna and Sania Mirza through the TOPS scheme and would like to see these established names competing for the medals at the Asian Games.
At the 2018 Games in Jakarta and Palembang, India's Ankita Raina and Prajnesh Gunneswaran won the singles bronze medals, while the pair of Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan claimed the men's doubles gold.
Also Read : First Yogasana senior national championship starts in Ahmedabad
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Alcaraz shocks Tsitsipas at the Miami Open while Kyrgios crashes out
(Tennis news) At just 18 years of age, Carlos Alcaraz defeated World Number 5 Stefanos Tsitsipas in straight sets 7-5 6-3 in a match that took almost two hours at the Miami Open. It was a rematch between the pair as they faced each other at the US Open and the Spanish teenager emerged victorious in that clash as well.
Speaking after the match, Alcaraz said “It was really, really tough. He was playing unbelievable. All I can say is I fought until the last ball in the first set [to] come back.” The Spaniard will now face Miomir Kecmanovic in the quarter-finals after the 22 year old Serbian defeated Taylor Fritz 3-6 6-1 6-4. Earlier, Nick Kyrgios crashed out of the Miami Open after receiving a game penalty in the fourth round clash against Jannik Sinner. The Australian constantly vented out to the umpire Carlos Bernardes in a tight first set.
Kyrgios went on to lose the tie-break after being docked a point for smashing his racquet and double faulting and was docked a game after smashing his racquet again in the second set before succumbing to a 7-6 (3) 6-3 defeat. The Australian yelled to Bernardes “What is unsportsmanlike? I just don't think he controls the crowd well at all, in my personal opinion. People can have their opinions on it. I just don't think my point penalty was worth a point penalty."
The result also means that Cameron Norrie’s chances of breaking into the top 10 rankings this week look slim, as the British tennis player lost 6-3, 6-4 to Norway’s Casper Ruud. Playing with a heavy strapping on his left leg, Norrie couldn’t replicate his form that he had displayed earlier in the tournament and failed to manage a single break-point against the Norwegian World Number 8 until he converted three in the eighth game of the second set.
Meanwhile, Daniil Medvedev needs just one more win to reclaim the World Number 1 spot after progressing to the quarter-finals with a 7-5 6-1 win over Jenson Brooksby. The Russian was forced to rally from 5-3 down in the first set to book a place in the last eight. In the women’s tournament, Naomi Osaka progressed to the quarter-finals after defeating Danielle Collins in straight sets 6-2 6-1. The Japanese tennis player, currently ranked 77th defeated the World Number 11 for the second time, the first being at the Indian Wells in 2019 when Osaka was World Number 1 and Collins was 25th. Osaka will face Belinda Bencic of Switzerland in the semi-finals.
First Yogasana senior national championship starts in Ahmedabad
Ahmedabad, Mar 30 (Sports News) The first Yogasana senior national championship kicked off here on Wednesday with over 169 participants from 14 states vying for medals.
The two-day event has been organised by the National Yogasana Sports Federation (NYSF), an organisation set up by "like-minded shareholders" to promote Yoga as a competitive sport, and Gujarat State Yogasana Association in association with the government of Gujarat.
The event is being held ahead of the first World Yogasana Championship in June, a statement from the NYSF said.
Its president Udit Sheth said the organisation aims to promoted Yoga as a sport on par with tennis and football by developing infrastructure and organising events at district, state, and national levels.
Also Read : Grandmaster Arjun Erigaisi wins Delhi International Chess title
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Manika-Archana pair settles for bronze in WTT Star Contender
Doha, Mar 30 (Table Tennis News) India's Manika Batra and Archana Kamath signed off with a bronze medal after losing the women's doubles semifinals to Li Yu-Jhun and Cheng I-Ching at the WTT Star Contender Doha 2022 here on Wednesday.
The higher-ranked Indian duo failed to reproduce the form they showed on Tuesday and lost to Li and Cheng 8-11, 6-11, 7-11.
Both Manika and Archana, ranked 6th, did well in the first game to stretch the Chinese Tapei duo a little longer, but once the latter had the measure of the Indians, they combined splendidly to shut them out in the second and third game without much ado.
Both G. Sathiyan and Manika also lost their respective singles in the pre-quarterfinals to end India's campaign in the Star Contender events.
Sathiyan lost to Kristian Karlsson of Sweden 11-5, 8-11, 7-11, 4-11 in the men's singles pre-quarterfinals.
Sathiyan began on a confident note but he could not match up with the Swede who was nimble-footed and attacked with pace.
Manika, too, lost her women's singles pre-quarters to Ying Han of Germany meekly.
The 48-ranked Indian was no match for the 17-ranked player of Chinese origin, who won 11-5, 11-2, 11-4.
Also Read : Manika-Archana pair enters medal round in WTT Star Contender
News Source : PTI
Miami Open: Bopana-Shapovalov pair ousted after quarterfinal loss
Miami, Mar 30 (Tennis News) India's Rohan Bopanna and his Canadian partner Denis Shapovalov were knocked out of the Miami Open men's doubles event after a straight set quarterfinal loss here.
Frequent partners since 2019, the Indo-Candian duo went down 2-6 1-6 to sixth seeds Wesley Koolhof of Netherlands and Great Britain's Neal Skupski, failing to advance to the semifinal on Tuesday.
The unseeded pair of Bopanna and Shapovalov had stunned the top seeded Croatian duo of Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic in straight sets in the previous round.
Also Read : Osaka progresses to the quarters of the Miami Open with win over Riske
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Manika-Archana pair enters medal round in WTT Star Contender
Doha, Mar 29 (Table Tennis News) India's Manika Batra and Archana Kamath entered the medal round of the women's doubles in the WTT Star Contender event after beating Soo Wai Yam Minnie and Lee Ho Ching of Hong Kong 3-1 in the quarterfinals on Tuesday.
The match picked up momentum in the first game itself. The Indians, ranked sixth, fought well to win it on extended points. But in the next, they lost after gaining a slender lead.
Nevertheless, the duo did exceedingly well to put the loss behind and went 2-1 up before winning the fourth in what was a repeat of the first game.
The Indian pair, which won 13-11 8-11 11-5 13-11, will take on Taipei's Li Yu-Jhun and Cheng I-Ching in the semifinals.
Unfortunately, Manika and G. Sathiyan failed to go past the first round when they lost 1-3 (7-11, 11-9, 7-11, 5-11) to Spaniards Maria Xiao and Alvaro Robles last night. The Indian mixed pair is ranked seventh while the Spaniards are 12 places behind them.
Earlier, Sharath Kamal and Manav Vikas Thakkar lost 1-3 their men's doubles to Robles of Spain and Ovidiu Ionescu of Romania.
Sharath lost his second-round match to Dang Qiu of Germany after leading 2-0 in the men's singles. The German player of Chinese origin won 7-11, 7-11, 11-5, 11-3, 11-7.
In contrast, G. Sathiyan, trailing 0-2, overcame Mattias Falck of Sweden to enter the pre-quarterfinals. The highest-ranked Indian won 8-11, 3-11, 11-6, 11-7, 11-6. In the pre-quarterfinals, Sathiyan will clash with another Swede, Kristian Karlsson. Manika accounted for Germany's Xiaona Shan, ranked 26th, in the round of 32 to advance to the next round. The Indian, ranked 48th, won 7-11, 11-6, 11-7, 11-9.
Manika showed great character to come back after the first game’s loss and fought back with the higher-ranked German. Manika proved her mettle in the fourth game as she held on courageously to win the close fourth game.
She will next take on German Ying Han, who is ranked 17, in the pre-quarterfinals.
Also Read : WTT Contender Doha: Silver for Sathiyan-Manika pair, Sharath earns bronze
News Source : PTI
Osaka progresses to the quarters of the Miami Open with win over Riske
(Tennis news) Japanese tennis player Naomi Osaka progressed to the quarter finals of the Miami Open with a 6-3 6-4 win over Alison Riske. The pair faced each other for the first time since 2019 and their clash lasted 92 minutes, but as expected, it was the former World Number 1 who secured a straight sets victory. The four time Grand Slam winner will now take on American Danielle Collins in the next match after the 28 year old defeated Ons Jabeur 6-2 6-4.
Speaking after the match, Osaka said “It's really funny for me because last year I made it to the quarters too, but it was after I won Australia and I wasn't that grateful, I kind of expected to win. I'm in the same position this year and this is really like one of the most fun times in my life, so I'm really grateful. I want to say, 'Thank you everyone for coming out'.
Meanwhile, World Number 2 Daniil Medvedev inched closer to the summit of the world rankings after defeating Pedro Martinez 6-3 6-4. The third round clash between the pair took an hour and 24 minutes and Medvedev only dropped four points on serve in the first set and secured it via an eighth-game break. Martinez fought back to make it 2-2 and Medvedev broke again in the seventh and produced eight points in a row on serve to secure the win.
Speaking after the match, Medvedev said “I think, in general, I didn't play so badly. Really slow courts here so playing against a Spanish [opponent] is not easy. I felt like we had a lot of rallies where he was bringing the pace down and I couldn't really do much. So I tried to serve well, to keep consistent, and I managed to make fewer errors in important points, and I think that was the key today."
Medvedev will take on American Jenson Brooksby in the fourth round of the Miami Open, the 21 year old World Number 39 defeated 15th seed Roberto Bautista Agut 6-3 5-7 6-4. Meanwhile, defending champion Hubert Hurkacz overcame Aslan Karatsev 7-5 4-6 6-3.
Rohan Bopanna-Denis Shapovalov pair enters Miami Open quarterfinals
Miami (US), Mar 28 (Tennis News) India's Rohan Bopanna and his Canadian partner Denis Shapovalov stunned top seeded Croatian pair of Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic in straight sets to enter men's doubles quarterfinals at the Miami Open tennis tournament here.
The unseeded Indo-Canadian pair surprised Mektic and Pavic 6-3 7-6(3) in a second round doubles match on Sunday.
Bopanna and Shapovalov will now face the sixth seeded pair of Wesley Koolhof of Netherlands and Great Britain's Neal Skupski for a place in the semifinals.
Koolhof and Skupski defeated Spanish-Italian combination of Pedro Martinez and Lorenzo Sonego 6-3 7-6(8) in the second round.
Bopanna and Shapovalov earlier registered a fighting 6-7(5) 6-2 10-3 win over Marceloa Avrevalo of El Salvador and Jean-Juien Rojer of Netherlands in the opening round of the ATP Masters 1000 event.
Also Read : Murray set to face Medvedev in the second round of the Miami Open
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Medvedev defeats Murray in the second round of the Miami Open
(Tennis news) World Number 2 Daniil Medvedev defeated Andy Murray in straight sets 6-4 6-2 to progress into the third round of the Miami Open. Medvedev, who finished runner up in the Australian Open, made an early breakthrough against Murray’s serve in the third game of the opening set and was in complete control of the match.
Murray, who has previously won the Miami Open twice in his career, was given a wildcard entry this time around but faced a formidable opponent in Medvedev who continued to dominate his serve while Murray failed to hold in the fifth and seventh game. The Russian secured his win when Murray’s backhand hit the net on a first match-point chance.
Meanwhile, fellow British tennis player Cameron Norrie defeated Frenchman Hugo Gaston 6-3, 7-5 to progress to the fourth round of the Miami Open. Norrie is the only British player at the tournament as Andy Murray, Dan Evans and Heather Watson were eliminated from the tournament on Saturday and the 26 year old is on course to break into the top 10 for the first time next week.
Norrie could have won the match in a more comfortable fashion, having recovered from dropping serve in the opening game to take a 5-3 lead. The British tennis player held five match points from his opponent's serve and another in the following game, but Gaston made his way back into the match, making the tie more exciting. However, Norrie managed to break serve again to move 6-5 in front while Gaston hit the net before his opponent clinched the match point.
Speaking after the match, Norrie said “It was one of those days where it was tough to close it out. I was a little bit stressed there. I managed to sneak through. I just got a little bit tentative and lost my feet and wasn't moving enough. I was really happy with how I responded to getting broken. He's a tricky guy. You feel like you need to be really aggressive otherwise he's going to throw in a drop shot at any moment. I think that's something I need to work on."
Murray set to face Medvedev in the second round of the Miami Open
(Tennis news) Former World Number 1 Andy Murray will face World Number 2 Daniil Medvedev in the second round of the Miami Open after a straight sets win over Argentina's Federico Delbonis 7-6 (7-4) 6-1. The Scotsman bounced back from his defeat to Kazakhstan's Alexander Bublik in the second round at Indian Wells last week but now faces an uphill task against top seed Medvedev.
Medvedev was recently crowned World Number 1 and must reach the semi finals of the Miami Open to overthrow Novak Djokovic for the first place once again. Speaking about his meeting with Medvedev, Murray said “[It's] obviously a tough match. He's played extremely well on the hard courts the last few seasons. He deserves to be right up there at the top of the game. It'll be a big challenge for me, it'll be a great test for where my game's at and the things I need to work on."
Meanwhile, Simona Halep is out of the Miami Open after withdrawing due to a leg injury and is expected to be sidelined for up to three weeks. The former World Number 1 reached the semi-finals at the Indian Wells last week, her first appearance in the semi finals of a WTA 1000 event since her title run in the 2020 Italian Open.
Raducanu knocked out of the Miami Open after losing to Siniakova
(Tennis news) British tennis star Emma Raducanu was knocked out in the second round of the Miami Open after losing 3-6 6-4 7-5 to Katerina Siniakova. The 19 year old has endured a difficult season so far, winning just two out of seven matches played and was far from her best in this match. Raducanu converted only five out of 17 break-points and it seemed like her inexperience had caught up with her as she looked nervy throughout the match.
Raducanu started off strongly and got off to a 4-1 lead before Siniakova was forced to take some time out due to a rib problem. The 19 year old eventually closed the set and took a break lead in the second, but the World Number 53 got back in the game as the set went into a decider. The trend continued with Raducanu taking the break lead early in the third set and had the opportunity to go 3-0 up but Siniakova had a fantastic comeback to win three games in a row.
Despite the setback, Raducanu broke and served for the match at 5-4 but a double fault gave the advantage back to Siniakova and the Czech player took full advantage of the opportunity to win the game.
Meanwhile, her compatriot Heather Watson came from a set down to defeat 15th seed Elina Svitolina 4-6 6-3 7-6 (7-4). The result means that the British tennis player progressed to the third round of the Miami Open for the first time in six years. Speaking after the match, she said “I love this tournament. I've been coming here for so long. I just love it here, I feel like it's home. I'm really happy that I'm coming back into form this year. I was just thinking at the end that my fitness got me through that match. I'm really glad I held my nerve and was able to get over the line." Heather Watson will face either Belinda Bencic or Marta Kostyuk in the next round.
Naomi Osaka also progressed to the third round of the Miami Open after defeating Angelique Kerber 6-2 6-3. The former World Number 1 got off to a strong start and took an early break to go 2-0 up and was in rampant form in a 29 minute opening set and won 91% of her first serve points. The 29 year old’s performance was so sublime that Kerber was denied any chance of fighting back into the match and closed out the 60 minute encounter on her third match point. It was Osaka’s first victory against Kerber since the 2017 US Open and her first win against a top 20 opponent since last year’s Miami Open.
In her post match interview, Osaka said “She's like the first high-seeded player I've beaten this year. I went into the match just really wanting to play my game and I still have memories of all the matches she's beaten me before. I feel like I came into the match wanting to dictate and actually I wanted to come into the net if I needed to ... that's something I'm practising and hopefully as I keep playing it will get better."
WTT Contender Doha: Silver for Sathiyan-Manika pair, Sharath earns bronze
Doha, Mar 24 (Table Tennis News) India paddlers finished the WTT Contender Doha 2022 with two medals, including a singles bronze won by Achanta Sharath Kamal, as seniors showed the way on the concluding day of the competition.
As expected, G Sathiyan and Manika Batra settled for the silver, capitulating in the final of the mixed doubles against the top-seeded Chinese Taipei pair of Lin Yun-Ju and Cheng I-Ching. The Indians lost 4-11, 5-11, 3-11.
Sharath Kamal, on the other hand, failed to up the ante from an advantageous position in the sixth game and went down fighting 3-4 (5-11, 11-8, 6-11, 11-7, 11-5, 10-12, 9-11 in the semifinals of the men’s singles against Yuan Licen of China.
This was the first medal for Sharath in two years. The Indian veteran had won a gold in the Oman Open in 2020.
The No. 7 Indian mixed pair found the going tough against the Taipei combine right from the start. Their troubles only multiplied when Sathiyan and Manika failed to comprehend the left-right combination that went about the task clinically.
Yet, it was creditable for the Indians to resist as much as they could before eventually surrendering to the Taipei paddlers.
But Sharath will rue his missed opportunity on a day when he had the rhythm and form on his side. Trailing 1-2, the higher-ranked Indian (No. 41) came back strongly to go 3-2 up against the Chinese, ranked 264.
In the sixth game, Sharath was up 9-7 but frittered away his chances and let Licen off the hook. The Chinese not only reduced the margin but was on game-point. Sharath managed to deuce but failed to hold his serve, allowing his opponent to level the score.
In the decider, Sharath once again led 6-4. But he could not maintain it and the Chinese, gaining confidence, kept the lead before completing the task without giving any opportunity to his rival.
"I should have wrapped it up in the sixth game itself," admitted Sharath, who has had a knee procedure done some time ago. But Sharath was happy with his form, especially his backhand coming off well.
"I am glad I finished on the podium (bronze) and carry the form from here to the next tournament," he added.
Also Read : Sharath Kamal sails into semifinals at WTT Contender Doha
News Source : PTI
Osaka makes winning start at the Miami Open by defeating Astra Sharma
(Tennis news) After a tearful exit during her second round loss to Veronika Kudermetova at the BNP Paribas Masters, a match where a spectator heckled her with “Naomi, you suck” comments from the stands, the four time Grand Slam champion made a winning start at the Miami Open after defeating Australian world No 96 Astra Sharma 6-3 6-4 in the first round.
Despite being Japanese, Osaka considers the Miami Open to be her home tournament and displayed a sublime performance at the Hard Rock Stadium court, never giving Sharma any room to breathe while applying constant pressure on her opponent, converting two of 11 breakpoints.
During her post-game interview, Osaka said “This is like my home tournament. Honestly I just didn't want to let anything bother me today no matter what happened. The last match I played was not the greatest memory for me. I just wanted to prove I could come back out here and compete and, no matter if I won or lost, just know I had the best attitude that I could."
The result was Osaka’s 50th career WTA 1000 win and she will now face former World Number 1 Angelique Kerber in the second round.
Meanwhile, 20 year old British tennis player Jack Draper defeated former world No 6 Gilles Simon 7-5 6-1. A year ago, Draper collapsed on the court during the Miami Open due to heat exhaustion against Kazakhstan's Mikhail Kukushkin and was forced to retire. Since then, the British tennis player has won three challenger titles and has risen to 146th rank this year.
Watching in the stands was compatriot Emma Raducanu as Draper grabbed the crucial break in the 11th game to take the first set. His 37 year old opponent suffered a foot injury in the second set which was instantly capitalised on by the 20 year old and won the first four games to register his first victory at a Masters 1000 event. Speaking after the match, Draper said “Last year was in the back of my head. I felt I could have done things better but he's very experienced and makes you work hard for the points. I thought I handled the situation very well."
It will be an all British showdown next as Jack Draper will take on Cameron Norrie in the second round of the Miami Open.
Sharath Kamal sails into semifinals at WTT Contender Doha
Doha, Mar 23 (Table Tennis News) Veteran Sharath Kamal finally made the men's singles medal round in a major championship when he entered the semifinals of the WTT Contender Doha here on Wednesday.
He was the lone Indian, ranked No. 41, in the fray after beating Tomislav Pucar of Croatia 11-8, 11-7, 11-4, following the exit of G Sathiyan, in the first round.
However, Sathiyan and Manika Batra combined well to reach the final of the mixed doubles. The pair, ranked No. 7 in the world, accounted for Hong Kong's Wong Chun Ting and Doo Hoi Ken 3-2.
The Croat, just a place ahead of Sharath in the world rankings, failed to contend with the Indian onslaught in the quarterfinals and was error-prone on the day.
The closest he came to Sharath was in the first game in which he managed eight points, and one less in the second. However, in the third, Sharath ran into a sizable lead and maintained it throughout to win it in style.
In the semifinals, Sharath will take on Chinese Yuan Licen, who is ranked 264. But it was the same Chinese who accounted for Sathiyan on Monday when he decimated the Indian 11-5, 11-6, 14-12.
Other men's paddlers that could not make it to the main draw of the men's singles included Manav Thakkar, Harmeet Desai, SFR Snehit and Mudit Dani.
The win in the semifinals by the mixed duo against the world No. 4 pair was indeed creditable, particularly after the way the Indians kept their hopes alive when the Hong Kong pair levelled the score 2-2, taking the issue to the decider.
In the crucial fifth game, they stopped their opponents well short to win the match 13-11, 9-11, 11-9, 8-11, 11-8. In the final on Thursday, they will meet the top seeded pair from Taipei -- Cheng I-Ching and Lin Yun-Ju.
In the women's singles, Manika Batra tasted defeat in the first round of the main draw, bowing out to Chinese Fan Siqi 7-11, 5-11, 6-11. Ranked 81, the Chinese proved to be a tough nut to crack for the 48th ranked Indian.
Among the women paddlers, except for Archana Kamath and Sutirtha Mukherjee, all others folded in earlier rounds, including Sreeja Akula, Krittwika Sinha Roy and Prapti Sen.
Also Read : India's mixed and women's doubles pairs win silver medals at WTT Contender Muscat
News Source : PTI
World No 1 Ashleigh Barty announces her shock retirement from tennis
(Tennis news) Current World No 1 Ashleigh Barty shocked the world when the 25 year old announced her retirement. The news sent shockwaves, not just in the tennis world but throughout the sporting industry because less than two months ago, she won the Australian Open for her third Grand Slam singles title and became the first Australian player in 44 years to triumph at the nation's Grand Slam tournament.
This is not the first time Barty has walked away from tennis. She was the Wimbledon junior champion at age 15 in 2011 and looked like she would choose tennis as her professional sport but left the tour entirely for nearly two years in 2014 because of burnout, as she was overwhelmed by the pressure and travel required during the tours. She came back home and started playing professional cricket in Australia, then eventually picked up a racket once again and returned to tennis.
Barty went on to win her first singles major championships on three different surfaces, first on clay at the 2019 French Open, then on grass at Wimbledon last year and recently won on the hard courts at Melbourne Park in January. Barty has gone on to win 15 tour level titles in singles and another 12 in doubles since first turning pro in 2010. She has spent 121 weeks at No. 1 in the rankings, including the past 114 in a row, which is quite an achievement since the women’s draw is quite competitive and open.
Her announcement was all the more shocking from an on-court perspective given that her recent run of success was quite extraordinary: Barty had won 25 of her past 26 matches and three of her past four events she participated in. Only one other woman who has walked away from the sport while being at the top of the WTA rankings was Justine Henin who was the former No. 1 when she retired in May 2008, after she spent around 61 weeks ranked at the top. Henin was also 25 at the time of her retirement, but she came back two years after her announcement, reaching the final of the 2010 Australian Open before stepping away for good in 2011.
"I'm so happy and I'm so ready. I just know at the moment, in my heart, for me as a person, this is right," Barty said. “It's the first time I've actually said it out loud and, yeah, it's hard to say.'' Barty said of her decision to retire, which she announced during an informal interview with her former doubles partner, Casey Dellacqua, "I don't have the physical drive, the emotional want and everything it takes to challenge yourself at the very top of the level any more. I am spent.''
"I know I've done this before,'' Barty said with a laugh in the retirement video, "but with a very different feeling. I'm so grateful to everything that tennis has given me. It's given me all of my dreams, plus more, but I know that the time is right now for me to step away and chase other dreams and to, yeah, put the rackets down.'
"I'll never, ever, ever stop loving tennis,'' she said. "It will always be a massive part of my life, but now I think it's important I get to enjoy the next phase of my life as Ash Barty the person, not Ash Barty the athlete.'
"I am so supportive of Ash that she does what makes her happy,'' Goolagong Cawley told The Associated Press on Wednesday. "I can't wait to see what happens in the next chapter of Ash's life, and what helps her achieve her dreams.''
Rafael Nadal out for up to six weeks due to rib injury
(Tennis news) Rafael Nadal is expected to be out of action for up to six weeks due to stress fracture of the rib, which means his involvement at the French Open is doubtful. The Spaniard experienced breathing difficulties during his defeat to Taylor Fritz in the finals of the Indian Wells on Sunday, having initially sought treatment after his semi-final match against Carlos Alcaraz.
The 35 year old will most definitely miss the Monte-Carlo Masters and the Barcelona Open, tournaments that he has won on many occasions in his illustrious career and is also doubtful for the Madrid Open in May. The Spaniard will be hoping to regain fitness for the French Open in late May, a tournament that he has won 13 times in his career, four years in a row from 2017 to 2020 until he lost to Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals in 2021.
Nadal is the most successful tennis player amongst the big three, winning 21 Grand Slam titles and was on a 20 game unbeaten streak until he lost to Fritz in California. The Spaniard had already decided to miss the Miami Open to prepare for the clay court season but his appearance will be delayed due to his ongoing injury.
Announcing on twitter, Nadal said: "Hello everyone, I wanted to announce that I have returned to Spain and I immediately went to visit my medical team to do the tests after the Indian Wells final that I played with discomfort. As it turns out, I have a stress crack in one of my ribs and will be out for four to six weeks. This is not good news and I did not expect this.
"I am down and sad because after the start of the season I have had such a good time. I reached a very important part of the year with very good feelings and good results. But I've always had that fighting and overcoming spirit and what I will do is be patient and work hard after my recovery. Once again I thank everyone for the support."
After the match against Fritz at the Indian Wells, Nadal said “It's tough for me to breathe. When I try to breathe, it's painful and it's very uncomfortable. When I'm breathing, when I'm moving, it's like a needle all the time inside here. I get dizzy a little bit because it's painful. It's a kind of pain that limits me a lot. It's not only about pain, I don't feel very well because it affects my breathing."
Taylor Fritz wins Indian Wells title after defeating Rafael Nadal
(Tennis news) American tennis player Taylor Fritz ended Rafael Nadal’s 20 game unbeaten streak to claim his first ATP Masters 1000 title at the Indian Wells. Both players were guilty of errors as Fritz took the first set while the pair ended up in a tiebreak for the second, with neither player having lost in that situation throughout the tournament. However, the 24 year old World Number 20 won the match 6-3 7-6 (7-5), becoming the first American to win the tournament since Andre Agassi’s victory in 2004.
Speaking after the match, Fritz said “This is just one of those childhood dreams you just think would never come true. I can't even describe how ridiculous it is how I could play today. I have never experienced worse pain in my life before a match. If I knew it was going to be that bad, I wouldn't have come out here. I took a couple of change-of-direction steps and screamed and honestly I was trying to act tough because I had cameras on me. We did a lot of work leading up to the match and I went through a rollercoaster of emotions before the match thinking there's no way I could possibly play today."
Fritz’s ankle injury almost ruled him out against Nadal in the finals and the Spaniard was also not feeling at his best, picking up a chest issue in the three set semi-final against Carlos Alcaraz. Nadal said “When I'm breathing, when I'm moving, it's like a needle all the time inside. I get dizzy a little bit because it's painful. It's a kind of pain that limits me a lot. It's not only about pain, I don't feel very well because it affects my breathing. More than sadness for the loss, (it's) something that I accepted immediately and even before the match ended. I'm suffering a little bit, honestly."
The 35 year old has already decided not to play in the Miami Open and will be taking a short break before the beginning of the clay court season next month. Speaking after his defeat, Nadal said “I wanted to make it perfect before clay. It has been very, very, very beautiful. Honestly I am sad because of the way I was not able to compete. It's tough to have these feelings every day, but in the final it's very, very ugly. But I am not the kind of person that goes down or goes very high emotionally depending on the moment. I am normally stable, putting everything in perspective.
"Of course, the last two months have been amazing, unforgettable and very emotional. I enjoyed things that I never thought I could live again a few months ago. Now is the moment to try to solve this problem as soon as possible, try to start on clay. The thing that worries me is about what's going on there, what I have to do now to recover and how long it's going to take."
In the women’s category, Poland's Iga Swiatek defeated Maria Sakkari 6-4 6-1 to lift the title. Speaking after the match, the World Number 2 said “We've already started a pretty cool rivalry and I think it's going to last a few more years so it's pretty exciting. We're going to play many more finals. Today was pretty crazy because of the conditions. My team did an amazing job." Meanwhile, Sakkari said “Obviously it wasn't my day. There's not much I can say about the way I played. Clearly it was windy. We were both struggling with our serves in the beginning of the match. (But the) wind is never an excuse because wind is for both of us."
Nadal progresses to semis at Indian Wells while Alcaraz defeats Norrie
(Tennis news) British number 1 Cameron Norrie failed to defend his Indian Wells title after losing to Carlos Alcaraz 6-4 6-3 in the quarter finals. Despite strong starts in both the sets against the Spaniard, Alcaraz fought back both times to win in straight sets. Norrie managed 28 winners compared to Alcaraz’s 38 and converted 49% of his break-points compared to Alcaraz’s 68%. The result also means that Alcaraz became the second youngest semi-finalist in the history of the competition, the youngest being Andre Agassi who was 17 years old in 1988.
Speaking after the match, the teenager said “I'm enjoying every single second. I have no words to describe my feelings right now. I remember that I played really, really nervous," Alcaraz said about the last time he played Nadal. "I think this time I trained with him a couple of times, I know more how to play against him. I think now it's going to be a little bit different this match."
In other results, Rafael Nadal defeated Nick Kyrgios 7-6 (7-0) 5-7 6-4 and is now set to face Carlos Alcaraz in the semi finals. Trailing by a break in the opening set, Nadal went behind in the last set as well before overcoming Kyrgios who was playing in his first ATP Tour quarter finals in 2019. The Australian was so frustrated that he smashed his racket on the court after the post-match handshake.
The result means that Nadal has moved 19 games unbeaten and said after the match “It's difficult to play against him, always tough because he changes the dynamic of the point very quick and his serve is huge, especially the first serve. I think I played a good third set. Returning better. I was solid with the serve; I just suffered in one game with my serve. Nick is one of these kinds of players that you're going to have problems with when he's motivated."
I always think whatever I've done and achieved so far is not 'the best': Neeraj
London, Mar 18 (Sports News) Olympic gold is the ultimate glory for an athlete but star Indian javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra says his best is yet to come as he strives to breach the 90m mark in the upcoming top events this year.
The 24-year-old Chopra won the men's javelin throw event in Tokyo Games last year with an effort of 87.58m to win India's first Olympic gold in athletics. He also became only the second Indian after shooter Abhinav Bindra to win an Olympic individual gold medal.
He said touching the 90m mark will be one of his targets this year with a medal in the upcoming World Championships and defending his titles in the Asian Games and the Commonwealth Games being the other aims. "I always think whatever I've done and achieved so far is not 'the-best'. I think that I can really do better in future. It feels good that whole nation believes in me and have really high hopes for me," he told the Laureus World Sports website.
"We have been trying to reach the 90m mark for a very long time now. I think I can really do it sometime soon in near future. There's no pressure on me to get past 90m, but I will work on my technique along with my strength and speed and would like to achieve it this year," said Chopra, who has a personal best of 88.03m.
Chopra earned a nomination for the prestigious 2022 Laureus World Sports Awards in the World Breakthrough of the Year category.
"The gold medal (in Tokyo) has motivated me in life to do even better. Performing well and ending up on podium will be my target in the World Championship (in July)," he said.
"There are other big tournaments lined up this year such as Commonwealth Games, Asian Games, Diamond League Final. All of these are really major tournaments. I have to win medals in all these major tournaments.
"I have won a gold medal in Commonwealth and Asian Games and I would like to repeat my performance there. I represented India in the World Championship held in London. I couldn't get into the finals there, but I'll try my best to finish the tournament on the podium this year." Iconic cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, a Laureus Academy Member and winner of the Laureus Sporting Moment Award in 2020, congratulated Chopra for his nomination. “My heartiest congratulations to you for your continued success representing India on the world stage. A Laureus Nomination is another great achievement – with many more to come," he said.
World Athletics President Sebastian Coe, whose grandfather was an Indian, said he was in tears when he saw Chopra clinch the gold in Tokyo.
"I have done my level best to be entirely neutral when I'm watching competitions, but my impartiality in Tokyo was really tested to its limit because my grandfather was an Indian, my mother was born in Delhi and brought up in India.
"So, I have obviously very strong emotional ties to that country. Chopra's win that night had me, Adille (Sumariwalla), the president of India Track and Field, and one of my executive board colleagues from India, Sunil, all three of us standing there in tears at the win." Also nominated in the Laureus World Breakthrough of the Year category with Chopra are tennis players Daniil Medvedev and Emma Raducanu, FC Barcelona football star Pedri, Venezuelan triple jump world record holder Yulimar Rojas and Australian swimmer Ariarne Titmus.
"If I win, I would like to place this Award on the top of my list since it's an international Award. It's very special and I also hope that in future a lot of Indians will be nominated and will win it for India, as legend Sachin has," Chopra said.
Asked about the best memory of the Tokyo Olympics, he said, "I won't be able to forget the moment when I was at the podium and my National Anthem was played. I got a flashback of how I started my journey, the challenges I faced, the hard work over the years."
Also Read : Mirabai Chanu to begin CWG and Asiad preparation in US this week
News Source : PTI
Rafael Nadal overcomes Opelka to reach Indian Wells quarter-finals
(Tennis news) Rafael Nadal claimed his 18th consecutive win this season after defeating Reilly Opelka 7-6 (7-3) 7-6 (7-5) to progress to the quarter-finals of the Indian Wells on Wednesday. Only Novak Djokovic has had a better record than Nadal; the Serbian won 26-0 to begin 2020 and won 41 consecutive games in 2011.
Opelka served nine aces as compared to Nadal’s six, but the 21 time Grand Slam winner used his experience to progress into the next round. At 6 feet 11 inches, Opelka served at 140 mph and produced some trademark big shots, but Nadal withstood the attack and produced some incredible winners of his own. The Spaniard is targeting a fourth title in the California desert.
Speaking after the match, Nadal said “It's difficult because it's not only about the speed. It's difficult to read his serve because the serve is sometimes with a topspin, sometimes slice. At the same time it's not enough just to put the ball in because then he has a huge forehand. So it's a great victory for me against one of the toughest opponents that I can play."
In other results, World Number 6 Matteo Berrettini lost to unseeded Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic 6-3 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 to set up a quarter-final clash against Taylor Fritz. It was only the second time that Kecmanovic progressed to the quarter-finals of the tournament; the Serbian absorbed his opponent’s power swerve in the first set and converted on the break-point chance in the fourth game.
Late in the second set, Kecmanovic failed to close the match as a break-point opportunity slipped through his fingers. Berrettini struck 21 winners to win a tense tie-break to level the score and saved two breaks in the eighth game in a tightly fought final, only for Kecmanovic to pounce on the Italian’s serve to love in the final game. The Serbian will play against Fritz, who defeated Australian Alex de Minaur 3-6 6-4 7-6 (7-5).
In other results, Australian Nick Kyrgios advanced to the next round after getting a walkover from Italian Jannik Sinner who was forced to withdraw from the tournament due to illness. Grigor Dimitrov progressed to the quarter-finals for the second consecutive year after defeating John Isner 6-3 7-6 (7-6).
Raducanu defeated Garcia to make winning start to Indian Wells
(Tennis news) Emma Raducanu made a winning start at the BNP Paribas Open in the Indian Wells after defeating Caroline Garcia 6-1 3-6 6-1. After passing a late fitness test, Raducanu overcame the World Number 69 and showed glimpses of the form that we had previously witnessed at the US Open.
In an on-court interview, Raducanu said “I'm so happy to have just got my first win in the desert here and I hope to come back for many more years. I think the level of tennis was pretty high today so it means a lot to come through that because it could have gone either way. To get this win after a stop-start year that I've had at the beginning means a lot and I'm really happy to have given myself another opportunity”
Raducanu was hampered by blisters at the Australian Open in the second round and she picked up an injury at Guadalajara in her season so far. The former World Number 4 was left bewildered by the 19 year old’s aggressive and accurate shot making. She maintained her high intensity in the opening game but then her level dropped, allowing Garcia the space to move 4-2 up. The British tennis player refocused and surged through the first three games, winning 12 points in a row from 3-1 up to claim a superb win.
Raducanu will face Petra Martic in the third round on Sunday in her next match, the Croatian upset 19th seed Tamara Zidansek 7-5 7-6 (8-6).
Novak Djokovic set to participate at the Monte Carlo ATP Masters
(Tennis news) Serbian tennis star and World Number 2 Novak Djokovic has confirmed his participation at the Monte Carlo ATP Masters as he looks to defend his French Open title. The 20 time Grand Slam winner couldn’t defend his Australian Open title due to the COVID-19 vaccination requirements in Australia and recently withdrew from the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells as well as the Miami Open.
Djokovic is a resident of Monaco and the country allows international travellers with a proof of recovery from COVID-19 in the last six months. The Serbian had recently recovered from COVID-19 in December for the second time. A post on Djokovic’s website said “Novak will open his 2022 clay court season in Monte Carlo, where he won the Masters 1000 title twice, in 2013 and 2015.
The Monte Carlo Masters will take place from April 10th to 17th and will be the second tournament Djokovic will participate in during the 2022 season so far. The Serbian was recently eliminated from the quarter finals of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships last month and will hope to regain his rank 1 in the foreseeable future.
Novak Djokovic withdraws from Indian Wells and Miami Open
(Tennis news) Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic has withdrawn from the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells and Miami Open due to the COVID-19 restrictions in the United States. The World Number 2 remains unvaccinated and is not permitted to enter the US to compete in the tournaments.
In a statement released on social media, Djokovic said “While I was automatically listed in the @bnpparibasopen and @miamiopen draw, I knew, given the entry requirements to the US, it would be unlikely I'd be able to travel there. But as international COVID regulations are always being amended, I wanted to wait and see if anything would change. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) confirmed today that regulations are not changing which means I will not be playing in the US."
Having been recently deported from Australia, the 20 time Grand Slam winner saw his visa cancelled twice after arriving in the country with a medical exemption. Since then, Djokovic has reiterated that he is willing to miss tournaments due to his vaccination status and his withdrawal from the tournaments means that Grigor Dimitrov will take the Serbian’s place in the draw while a qualifier will get Dimitrov’s place after it’s completed.
Djokovic last appeared at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships and was defeated by Jiri Vesely from the Czech Republic in the quarter finals, resulting in the Serbian conceding his number 1 status to Daniil Medvedev.
Ramkumar bows out of Indian Wells Masters' qualifying event, Prajnesh advances in Mexico
Indian Wells, Mar 8 (Tennis News) Ramkumar Ramanathan's winless run against Liam Broady continued as the Indian Davis Cupper suffered his fourth straight defeat against the Briton to bow out of the Indian Wells Masters' qualifying event but Prajnesh Gunneswaran advanced at the Mexico Challenger tournament.
Ranked 170, Ramkumar came into the tournament after wining both his singles in the Davis Cup tie against Denmark.
He lost 2-6 6-3 4-6 to 17th seed and 124th ranked Broady in the opening round of the hard court event.
Meanwhile, left-handed Prajnesh made a winning start at the Challenger 100 event in Monterrey, knocking out American wild card Ryan Harrison 6-3 6-4.
His next opponent is also an American in Alex Rybakov, who disposed off the challenge of Rubin Statham 7-5 6-3.
Prjanesh did not get play a single match in the home Davis Cup tie against Denmark.
Also Read : Djokovic entered into Indian Wells draw despite vaccination uncertainty
News Source : PTI
Nigel Smith is changing India's cycling culture one step at a time
The culture of cycling in India is still in its nascent stages but there has undoubtedly been a global boom due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Whether it’s for leisure or competitive events, the benefits of cycling are undeniable and with fuel prices on a high, not only is it the economical option but also environment friendly.
In this exclusive interview, Nigel Smith, British Cycling Level 3 Coach speaks about the potential for cycling in India, changing the culture of cycling, growing popularity, mental health benefits, helping trainees fulfil their potential and his future short/long term goals.
Q 1) Being a British Cycling Level 3 coach, what brings you to India and how much potential do you see for cycling in the country?
I came to India in 2015 with my wife to support her career move. She works in retail for one of the Tata companies. The potential for cycling in India is huge. What is lacking is an administrative structure that can bring together all the regions and create a generic development programme across the whole country so that whether you live in Kochi or Kashmir, the type of learning activities, coaching, talent ID, competition and attitudes to the bicycle as a mode of transport as well as a fitness tool are the same.
Q 2) What are your views on cycling being the next big thing in fitness in India? Do you feel you can change the culture of cycling in India?
As a fitness activity, sports will always be in competition with each other to be the next big thing, but certainly the number of people I see riding for leisure and fitness has increased in the past 6 years. My impact on the culture of cycling is limited to each individual or small group I’m privileged to work with. The culture is relatively very nascent, and I see and hear the cycling community’s thirst for more products, information, coverage etc. Whenever I find myself in a discussion with a cyclist, I just try and help broaden their horizons. It could be helping them decide which bike or brand they should buy, or maybe it’s just suggesting a nice route for a ride.
Q 3) Do you believe the cycling boom has been a COVID-19 fad or do you think it is here to stay?
Cycling has certainly seen a global boom due to COVID-19. I think the echo of that boom will be heard for many years to come. What’s frustrating, particularly for Indian cyclists, is the paucity of products available. To my knowledge, there are only two bike brands with a direct presence in India, Scott Sports being one of them. Everything else has to be imported via agents & distributors with very aggressive import duties on everything ranging from a pair of shoes right up to a bike. This restricts what the consumer can choose and afford.
Q 4) Apart from the obvious physical benefits, how does cycling benefit mental health?
By exercising, we’re not only getting fitter, but also feeling better as well. The endorphins released during exercise leave us with a sense of positivity. Being healthier means we reduce the risk of illness, creating a desire to continue these habits. The sense of accomplishment, regardless of the scale of the task, felt after we’ve exercised can help massively with reducing anxiety and depression. Even if it’s just getting off the sofa to go for a short pedal outside, the sense of achievement and knowledge that you can do more next time is a fantastic motivator.
Also, the camaraderie of group rides means riding with friends we can talk and engage with others. Being outdoors is a wonderful enabler for the relaxation of the mind and a stimulation for communication. Finally, the skills developed whilst riding a bike all require a mental engagement: balance, technique, being open to the sounds and sights of your surroundings whilst being mindful of others around you and your own ‘state’ (breathing & posture). You can be completely detached from the stresses of the world, yet totally engaged in the activity of riding a bike.
Q 5) What are some of the lessons that you learnt at the British Cycling Academy that you are looking to pass to your trainees so that they can fulfil their potential?
I coach riders from all corners of the performance spectrum – some are in their 40’s and venturing outside on a bike for the first time, others use the bike for improved fitness, and some aspire to National and International glory. Whoever I’m coaching, and at whatever level, the thing that’s stuck with me from all the coaching courses at British Cycling is:- decide what you want to achieve, create a process of multiple small steps that culminates in that achievement, agree milestones and how the difficulty will progress, then follow the process. I only ask riders to progress when we’ve agreed they’ve mastered a particular skill or effort level. Sometimes we have to repeat a step more times than we originally planned, but that’s ok. One of my mantras is we ‘learn through failure’ – identifying what went wrong, what we can do better. In that respect, every session can be a success.
Q 6) What are your short and long-term goals? How do you plan to achieve them?
I’m blessed to have a core group of very supportive clients, some of whom I’ve been working with for over 5 years. In the short term, my goals are to retain and hopefully grow this core group, helping them achieve on the bike all that they desire. I can only do this by avoiding complacency and trying to stimulate maximum client engagement through better sessions, better communication, and better feedback. I try (but don’t always succeed) to self-appraise after each session and seek feedback from the clients.
Longer term, it’s three-fold. I’m already working with a handful of riders who will be competing at state and national level. With the help of Scott Sports India, I’d like to grow this group & create something where riders can spend more time training and learning about the sport together. There are too many silos with not enough horizontal integration. The bigger the groups, the greater the knowledge sharing, helping the sport to grow faster. Building on that group learning, I’d love it if some of the companies that support riders via free products in exchange for being an ‘ambassador’, thought a little more laterally. What if they all gave away 20% less product and pooled together to create a fund to send a handful of deserving riders abroad for more experience?
Secondly, I’ve recently led a 4-day curated cycle tour of Nashik for the more leisure-fitness rider. I see this as a massive opportunity to offer riders an incredible few days with wonderful cuisine, accommodation and on-the-bike coaching during rides so that on & off the bike they are taken care of at all times. I’d love to grow this little niche area of cycling through the groups I already work with and trying to engage more with bike riders through social media.
Finally, I’d just love the number of people using a bicycle for leisure or sport to keep growing and so whenever the opportunity arises, I’ll keep engaging with the cycling communities and spreading the bike benefits of freedom, fun and fitness!
Djokovic entered into Indian Wells draw despite vaccination uncertainty
(Tennis news) World number 2 Novak Djokovic has been added to the Indian Wells draw by the tournament’s organisers but there remains uncertainty about whether the Serbian will be eligible to enter the United States. The 20 time Grand Slam winner has refused to take the COVID-19 vaccination and is prepared to miss tournaments as a consequence of his decision. Djokovic was deported from Australia due to his vaccination status after two visa cancellations, two court challenges and five nights at an immigration detention hotel.
In a statement by the Indian Wells organisers on Tuesday, they said on Twitter “Novak Djokovic is on the tournament entry list, and therefore is placed into the draw today. We are currently in communication with his team. However, it has not been determined if he will participate in the event by getting CDC (US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention) approval to enter the country."
As things stand, the CDC website says that non-US citizens who are not immigrants must show proof of vaccination against COVID-19. The California based tournament is often regarded as the “fifth major” in the tennis calendar and was previously cancelled in 2020 and moved to October last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Djokovic recently competed at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships where he lost the quarter finals to Jiri Vesely from the Czech Republic.
My vision is to build an athlete development structure: Rosemary Owino
Kenya is a country known for an abundance of talent, especially in the sports industry but harnessing that potential is one of the challenges the country has faced for a long time. Kenyan tennis players are yet to make a significant mark in the field but efforts are being made to produce future Grand Slam winners who will pave the way for future generations to consider the sport as a viable career option.
In this exclusive interview, Kenyan tennis coach Rosemary Owino speaks about the potential in her country, mental training, overcoming challenges, the need for better infrastructure and her short/long term goals in tennis.
Q 1) As a tennis coach in Kenya, how much potential do you see in the country and do you believe we can see a Grand Slam winner from Kenya in the future?
There is a lot of potential in Kenya, not only as far as tennis is concerned, but in all the sports. Definitely our weather and altitude might have a lot to do with it but also the culture of our people, of discipline and also the in-built desire to make something better of ourselves and of our society or surroundings. I mean, who ever thought we could have one of the best sprinters in the world, one of the best actresses in the world, and well, I guess the whole world does expect us to have the best long distance runners in the world….so hey, tennis is only but an honest attempt away.
Q 2) Apart from fitness training, how do you provide mental training to aspiring tennis players so that they can go on to compete at the highest level?
We try to ensure that the players understand what areas of their mental training they need to focus on seasonally and ensure that they include this in their daily practices. We help them to understand that mental skills are as important as tactical and technical training on a daily basis and give them responsibilities to ensure that they carry this out. All the way from goal setting for the season and sessions as they would for a match to preparedness for practice as they would for matches and daily routines and general body language and attitude at every session. We also occasionally hold seminars for the players, parents and coaches to cover different sessions on the same to ensure that everyone on the players support system understands the different ways that we can all work with the players in these areas.
Q 3) As a tennis coach at Tennis Kenya, what are some of the major challenges you have faced? How can they be rectified?
One of the biggest challenges has been helping parents and schools find a balance between school and sport for the players. The education system in Kenya is very vigorous and combined with the traffic issues, our young players are barely able to make it to the clubs for training. The fact that the tennis courts are also not easily accessible makes it more difficult to ensure that players are getting a chance to play during the week. What this means is most of our players can only train during the weekends and also for most coaches, those who do not coach at schools, the business of tennis becomes only a weekend one. The ripple effect goes all the way to tournaments, even the few we have, our players struggle to attend and therefore all round sports development is an issue because of this.
How can they be rectified? First of all, it is important to share the benefits of exercise and sports to a wider extent with the education department so we can all find a middle ground/balance for the players. Then probably build a centre if possible in each county where we as a federation can have our best juniors training together from each region and then with a healthy competition calendar for them all year round, and coaches education, for sure we can have that Grand Slam junior from Kenya in the future….we already have aspiring ones….more to come….there is belief and hope, there is a light.
Q 4) Do you believe that Kenya needs a better tennis infrastructure for aspiring players to thrive?
Yes we do, however what is more important is that we need to improve on all the pillars for tennis as a sport in development in Kenya. This entails bettering our coaches education and development programs, organisational and club structures to support tennis. Improve structures from financial support to talent identification and general development systems and ensure that they are functional. We must also improve on our competition structures locally, even as we look at the international events and compete in them. It is also important that as we focus on developing high performance structures and athletes, we also have to grow participation in the sport, so yes, we do need to improve our infrastructure for players to thrive but we also need to do a lot more within the same system for the environment to be conducive for the players to thrive and for there to be consistency in the thriving.
Q 5) What are some of your short and long term goals for the future? How do you plan to achieve them?
One of my short/long term goals is to help my federation develop a manageable Long Term Athlete development structure and to help get the coaches, clubs and schools implement it in their physical education curriculum. The implementation bit falls into my long term goal as looking at our systems at the moment, this could take two to five years. I hope to first of all attempt to make the acting technical directorship job which I currently hold and is a volunteer post at the moment a full time job so activating some of these ideas and making time and getting a team to implement them becomes easier. One of my very long term goals is to see one of our own players, not necessarily my own, get into the top 100 WTA and ATP and I strongly believe that this is possible if we are able to get a functional system in place…which we are working towards daily.
Sania, Ankita, Karman named in Indian Billie Jean King Cup team for upcoming competition
New Delhi, Mar 8 (Tennis News) Veteran Sania Mirza and singles players Ankita Raina and Karman Kaur Thandi were on Tuesday named in the five-member Indian Billie Jean King Cup team for the Asia/Oceania Group I competition, beginning April 12 in Antalya, Turkey.
Rutuja Bhosale also kept her place in the side while Riya Bhatia replaced Zeel Desai in the squad.
India had lost 1-3 to Latvia in the play-offs in April last year to get back to the zonal competition.
India will compete with China, Indonesia, Japan, Korea Republic and New Zealand in round-robin format, where the top two nations will get a chance to compete in the play-offs.
Captain Vishal Uppal said the team will have to work hard to make it to the next stage.
"The selection committee felt that Riya being the higher-ranked deserves opportunity. She had missed out the last time due to COVID-19. It is a tough qualification zone. China and Japan will be the biggest threat," Uppal told PTI.
Uppal said ideally the players should have a preparatory camp since the matches will be on clay courts.
"We will see if we can get together and practice. The tournament is on clay. Our players are experienced on playing on European clay, they are familiar with the surface but homework is needed on matching up with these countries," he added.
Shalini Thakur will be the coach of the squad.
Also Read : Bopanna-Sharan pair keeps India in World Group I after saving three match points
News Source : PTI
Five most influential female athletes of the past century
(Sports news) Female participation in sports has evolved tremendously over the past century. Rewinding to 1967, Kathrine Switzer was the first woman to run the Boston Marathon and was attacked by race director Jock Semple because she was a woman. Considering that the incident occurred just 55 years ago, it’s fair to say that public perception has evolved and participation of women at the biggest sporting events is not just tolerated but celebrated in the world we live in. However, we have many influential female athletes to thank for as without their valuable contributions to the sporting landscape, the situation may have been very different.
Here are five female athletes that will continue to influence generations to come.
1) Wilma Rudolph
The first American woman to win three gold medals in a single Olympics, Wilma Rudolph’s story is inspirational because she overcame the loss of her left leg and foot due to Polio at the age of five and became the fastest woman in the world in the 1960 Olympic Games. She continues to hold the record for the fastest time over 100 metres at 11.2 seconds and 200-metre at 22.9 seconds. If that wasn’t all, Rudolph fought for the rights of African Americans and women during the civil rights movement and was responsible for breaking the barrier of all-male events in track and field.
2) Billie Jean King
Widely regarded as one of the greatest women’s tennis players of all time, King had an illustrious career in which she won 39 Grand Slam titles, including 12 in singles, 16 in women's doubles, and 11 in mixed doubles. She also is an advocate for gender equality and campaigned for equal pay at the beginning of the Open Era in 1968. Despite the gender inequality, King continued to earn upwards of $100,000 and remains an advocate for women and LGBTQ equality.
3) Serena Williams
Considered as one of the all time greats of the Open Era, Serena Williams holds the most Grand Slam titles in singles, doubles, and mixed doubles amongst active players and is third in the all-time list. She has the most tournament wins in the Open Era and 23 Grand Slam wins, becoming the only woman to be listed on the world's highest-paid athletes, according to Forbes. Along with her sister Venus WIlliams, the pair have been an inspiration to African American women and paved the way for future generations to make their mark in the sport.
4) Jackie Joyner-Kersee
Jackie Joyner-Kersee is believed to be one of the greatest American track and field athletes of all time. Known for the heptathlon (in which athletes compete in seven different track and field events in two days) and long jump, she won a total of three gold, one silver, and two bronze medals in the two events. Apart from her impressive achievements, Joyner-Kersee also founded the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Foundation in 1988, providing athletic lessons to youth, adults, and families as well as resources to improve the quality of life. She is also one of the 11 athletes who founded Athletes for Hope which helps professional athletes take part in charity events and volunteering. Apart from that, Joyner-Kersee is an activist for racial equality, children’s education and women’s rights.
5) Marta Vieira da Silva
Commonly known as Marta, the Brazilian footballer was the first one to score at five FIFA Women's World Cups and her 17 goals record remains the highest number of goals scored at the prestigious tournament. Regarded as the best female footballer of all time, Marta has been named FIFA World Player of the Year six times and received the award five consecutive times from 2006 to 2010. She has also won the Golden Boot and Golden Ball at the 2007 Women’s World Cup and has two Olympic silver medals due to her participation at the 2004 and 2007 Olympic Games.
India's mixed and women's doubles pairs win silver medals at WTT Contender Muscat
New Delhi, Mar 5 (Tennis News) The Indian mixed doubles pair of Manav Thakkar and Archana Kamath clinched a silver medal after losing their final match, as did the women's doubles duo of Sutirtha Mukherjee and Ayhika Mukherjee at the WTT Contender tournament in Muscat on Saturday.
The Thakkar-Kamath duo lost 3-11 3-11 6-11 to the Chinese pair of Wang Chuqin and Chen Xintong in the mixed doubles final while Sutirtha and Ayhika suffered a 6-11 11-8 10-12 7-11 defeat at the hands of Zhang Rui and Kuai Man, also from China, in the women's doubles summit clash.
On Friday, Sreeja Akula and Selenadeepthi Selvakumar had won a women's doubles bronze after losing in the semifinals to Sutirtha and Ayhika.
It was a creditable performance from both the mixed doubles and women's doubles pairs as they could finish on the podium while the likes of G Sathiyan and Manika Batra failed to rise to the expectations.
The focus of Indian paddlers will now shift to Singapore Smash tournament that carries a USD 2 million prize purse. The event begins with the qualifiers on March 7 and runs till March 20.
Also Read : Archana and Sreeja Akula make cut, men exit
News Source : PTI
Karnataka High Court quashes FIR against Dream11 co-founders
(Sports news) The Karnataka High Court has quashed an FIR lodged against Dream11 co-founders Harsh Jain & Bhavit Sheth on the grounds that in view of a division bench’s order striking down several provisions of Karnataka Police (Amendment) Act, 2021, nothing remains in the FIR. This removes all the impediments for the Fantasy Sports Business in the State. Earlier this year, the Karnataka High Court had struck down several provisions inserted by the Karnataka Police Amendment Act in 2021 holding them to be ultra vires the Constitution.
Senior Advocate Gopal Jain commenting on this development, said, "Several High Courts are gradually but steadily recognising the distinction between Fantasy Sports and games of chance, gambling, betting and wagering. The FIR registered by Karnataka Police against Dream11 founders was quashed in court today, signalling another positive step toward deeming India's sunshine sector legal. Such moves will enable more investment in the Fantasy Sports industry, which has already extensively contributed to creating a deeper engagement with sports."
The Supreme Court of India had already taken a similar position in August 2021. It dismissed an appeal against a Rajasthan High Court decision and stated that Fantasy Sports platforms involve skill and do not account to gambling.
Bopanna-Sharan pair keeps India in World Group I after saving three match points
New Delhi, Mar 5 (Tennis News) Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan saved three match points in an edge-of-the-seat thriller to prevail against a fighting Danish pair of Frederik Nielsen and Mikael Torpegaard as India kept its place in the Davis Cup World Group I by taking an unassailable 3-0 lead in the Play-off tie, here on Saturday.
Sharan, playing his first Davis Cup tie since February 2019, and Bopanna came from behind to win 6-7 (4) 6-4 7-6 (4) in one hour and 58 minutes.
The tense win ensured that India will stay in World Group I for the 2022 season while Denmark will now again go back to World Group II.
Serving to stay in the match in the 12th game of the decider, Sharan faced three match points but the Indian team held nerves to save all, two of them on second serves, to force a final tie-breaker, in which they raced to a 4-1 lead and sealed the win when Torpegaard could make a return on Bopanna's serve.
This is India's first win since they beat Pakistan 4-0 in November 2019 when Rohit Rajpal took over as non-playing captain. After that India lost to Finland (1-3) and Croatia (1-3) in away ties.
The reverse singles have been rendered inconsequential now.
Bopanna's big serve was at work since the beginning as he started off with three consecutive aces for an easy hold. Torpeggard and Nielsen too were sharp and solid even as Sharan's serve was put under pressure.
In both the third and seventh games that Sharan served, he was down 15-30 but somehow managed to hold.
Nielsen's smooth-actioned serves and precise placings combined with Torpegaard's firepower made it a tough contest for the home pair. Nielsen did not lose a single point on his serve in the entire opening set and that made a huge difference.
There was no break of serve in the opening set and a tie-breaker was required. Bopanna lost the first point on his serve and the Danish team opened up a huge 5-1 lead from where Torpegaard found a volley winner on Sharan's return to earn five set points.
Bopanna managed to save two with his booming serves but Torpeggard fired a body serve on Bopanna to seal the opening set.
Ironically, it was Nielsen who blinked in the second set, dropping his serve in the opening game. At 15-30, he could not return one shot from Bopanna to be down by two break chances. He saved the first but double-faulted on the second to hand the Indians an advantage.
That break stayed with the Indians and Sharan served out the set in the 10th to force a decider.
The Indian team had three break chances against Torpegaard in the fifth game but fluffed all. The Danish team showed nerves of steel to hold that crucial game after going down 0-40. Credit to Torpegaard to pull off those big serves under pressure.
Bopanna came out to serve to stay in the match in the 10th game and was under pressure when Torpegaard found a backhand winner to make it 30-all but the Indian held to stay afloat after one deuce point.
Edge of the seat action followed in the 12th game when the Indian team, saved three match points and sealed the match in tie-breaker.
Nielsen double faulted at 1-2 and then made a backhand overhead volley error to give India a handsome 4-1 lead which proved enough for India to seal the win.
Also Read : Novak Djokovic set to play French Open after change in vaccine rules
News Source : PTI
Novak Djokovic set to play French Open after change in vaccine rules
(Tennis news) Novak Djokovic is most likely to play at Roland Garros this season after the new vaccine rules were imposed. France will be announcing new rules later this month which can provide a safe passage to the Serbian after a controversial Australian affair. Djokovic has only played 3 matches this year all at Dubai, he reached the quarterfinals and lost to Jiri Vesely.
With the decline in cases, Djokovic is expected to have a smooth run to the rest of the season after a tough opening month. By missing the Australian Open and losing his no 1 status, the 20 time Grand Slam winner will have positive results as places around the globe will go easy on the current restrictions. Djokovic had earlier said in an interview with BBC that he is willing to miss Wimbledon or Roland Garros because of his stance because of his principles but his rankings will be affected as he continues to miss events.
The 34 year old has now won 991 matches in his career, he needs 9 more matches to become the 5th player in history to have won 1000 or more matches. Rafael Nadal is in 4th place with 1043 wins, Roger Federer is in 2nd place with 1251 wins but the Spaniard has the highest win percentage of 83.31 and Djokovic comes in second with 83.21 percent.
Djokovic is also into his 19th year as a professional and hasn’t missed the French Open since making his debut at the event in 2005. He missed the Australian Open for the first time in 17 years as he had been playing at the event from 2005. This year’s clay major will witness Nadal coming back for revenge and Djokovic aiming for a 21st Slam to tie with Nadal. The 13 time French Open winner was beaten for the 2nd time by Djokovic in the semi final last year and this time, Nadal has the edge since he started the year with a 15 match win streak.
The world number 2 has been inviting criticisms about his stance on vaccination but has also received praises from former players for his bold and courageous decision. Roland Garros will be held in May and from March 14, spectators will not have to show their vaccination certificates to get access to stadiums in France. If there won’t be any change of rules by May then it is guaranteed that Djokovic will be able to defend his title.
Barty to miss Miami and Indian wells, Murray receives wildcard
(Tennis news) Ashleigh Barty has announced her withdrawal from Indian Wells and Miami events this month. Both the WTA 1000 events will be held back to back, Barty is the double defending champion in Miami. She has only played twice at Indian Wells and has not progressed beyond the fourth round. The world number 1 has won 11 matches this season along with two titles, she has only lost a single set so far against Cori Gauff in her opening match of the season at Sydney.
"I wanted to share an update on my schedule for the coming months," Barty said in a statement. "Unfortunately my body has not recovered the way I’d hoped after the Australian Open and I have not been able to adequately prepare for Indian Wells and Miami. I don’t believe I am at the level necessary to win these events and as a result I have decided to withdraw from both tournaments. I love these events and am sad not to be there competing but getting my body right must be my focus”.
The Australian has a healthy lead in the rankings as second place Barbora Krejcikova is almost 3000 points below her. Barty had won her third major at Australia a month back, she became the first from her country to win the title in 4 decades. Australian Open runner up Danielle Collins will also be missing the Indian Wells event due to an injury. Sofia Kenin will be seen in action in Indian Wells for the third time as she received a wildcard entry and will be looking to go beyond the second round for the first time.
In the ATP tour, Andy Murray will be playing at Indian Wells for the 14th time as he will play as a wildcard entry this season. Murray had first played at the tournament in 2006 where he reached the second round and lost to Nikolay Davydenko. The former world number 1 has already played 14 matches this year, he won 8 of them and reached the finals in Sydney.
The Indian Wells continues to remain the only hardcourt Masters 1000 title the right hander has not won. He had reached the finals in 2009 after beating Roger Federer but lost to Rafael Nadal in straight sets to take the runner up trophy. Murray also reached the semifinals in 2007, 2015 and both times it was Novak Djokovic who emerged on the winning side. The 3 time Grand Slam winner hasn’t won a title in 3 years and hasn’t reached a Masters 1000 final in 6 years.
Davis Cup: Ramkumar puts India ahead with easy win over Sigsgaard
New Delhi, Mar 4 (Tennis News) Ramkumar Ramanathan did not even need his 'A game' to put India 1-0 ahead in the Davis Cup World Group I Play-off tie against Denmark as he walked out with an easy straight-set win over an error-prone Christian Sigsgaard, here on Friday.
Taking full advantage of the Danish player's discomfort on the low bounce grass court, Ramkumar cruised to a 6-3 6-2 win over Christian, ranked as low as 824, in the opening singles of the tie at Delhi Gymkhana Club.
There was hardly any fight in the match, that lasted just 59 minutes, as Christian made it easy for the 170th-ranked Indian with his unending unforced errors.
Yuki Bhambri will now take on Mikael Torpegaard in the second singles.
Christian struggled with his serve, committing as many as three double faults in the second game of the opening set and was down a breakpoint but Ramkumar could not capitalise on that chance.
Ramkumar mostly used backhand slices for returns and stayed solid on his service games. Christian again handed Ramkumar a break chance when he double-faulted at 30-all in the fourth game.
A long rally ensued with both players putting to use their backhand slice stroke but Ramkumar eventually prevailed.
There were not many points when the lanky Indian charged the net, a strategy which was expected to be followed by him, but the error-prone game of Christian made it easy for Ramkumar.
The Indian had three set points in the eighth game but could convert none. He sealed the opening set in the next game with a solid serve that Christian could not return, netting a backhand.
In the second set it was Christian who blinked first, going down 0-40 in the third game. He began with a double fault and Ramkumar put his rival under more pressure with a stunning forehand crosscourt return winner. Christian then netted a return.
The Danish player handed the break to the home player when he hit a backhand long on the third breakpoint. There was no end to Christian's struggle and Ramkumar finished the match with an ace in the eighth game after failing to convert four match points in the previous game.
Also Read : There is a gap in Indian tennis but structured plan in place for future: Rohit Rajpal
News Source : PTI
There is a gap in Indian tennis but structured plan in place for future: Rohit Rajpal
New Delhi, Mar 2 (Tennis News) India's Davis Cup captain Rohit Rajpal acknowledged that there is a "gap" in Indian tennis at the moment with the next line not quite visible but asserted that a "structured plan" is in place to ensure that the fresh pool of talent emerges soon.
Speaking to the media ahead of the Davis Cup World Group 1 play-off tie against Denmark on Friday and Saturday, Rajpal was asked about the plan for the future in Indian tennis given that the squad still features a 41-year-old doubles specialist in Rohan Bopanna.
"We have a decent line-up for singles, we have a good line-up for doubles but we do have an issue that some of the players are getting older for example, Rohan is getting on the other side of 40, and that is worrying for me," Rajpal said in a press conference here.
"There is a gap in Indian tennis at this moment. We are also opening centre of excellence and sports science centre. Overall, we are trying to create a pipeline. (Davis Cup coach) Zeeshan Ali has moved to Delhi, we have picked up some kids, some more will be picked. We have a structured plan. We are trying to cover the gap. That's the effort," he added.
About the tie, Rajpal reiterated that the grass court would work to India's advantage and was especially pleased to have Yuki Bhambri back in the mix. Bhambri (863) along with Ramkumar Ramanathan (182) and Prajnesh Gunneswaran (228) make up the singles line-up.
"Ram has been playing well, he won a Challenger in the Middle East. I am very happy to have Yuki Bhambri in the team. We have been working on his fitness to make sure he is ready for the tie," Rajpal said.
Asked about the home advantage against the Danes, Rajpal said the surface certainly gives India the edge.
"It all depends who you are playing against, if you have a Federer and Nadal then you haven't won half the battle. Otherwise, the home side has advantage because you get to choose the surface," he pointed out.
Denmark Captain Frederik Nielsen agreed with that assessment.
"I trust my boys, playing on the grass court will not be the biggest upset in the history of Davis Cup but it's needless to say that it may cause some upsets to win this tie," said Nielsen.
The two captains also touched on the dying art of serve and volley in an increasingly power-driven game.
"The art of serve and volley is dying. The players are strong, athletic, stroking machines, they run down and hit back, and they hit very hard. The touch is gone, the craft is dying, which is quite sad. (But) over here you will see lot of serve volley," said Rajpal.
Nielsen was not particularly sad about the craft's fading relevance and listed the practical reasons why players are looking for big, powerful shots.
"Conditions don't suit serve and volley anymore. The players are big, the conditions are slow. The equipment is too good. It's too easy to hit and hit harder shots.
"In order to change that you have to change the surface, play on faster surfaces. There is really no benefit in encouraging serve and volley anymore. The surface encourages baseline rallies," he said.
Also Read : Novak Djokovic parts ways with long term coach Marian Vajda
News Source : PTI
Archana and Sreeja Akula make cut, men exit
New Delhi, Mar 2 (Table Tennis News) Indian paddlers Archana Kamath and Sreeja Akula qualified for the women's singles main draw of the WTT Contender Muscat 2022.
They will join Manika Batra, who got a direct entry into the round of 32.
In the men's singles, however, none of the five players made it to the main draw. It leaves G Sathiyan, another direct entrant into the second stage, to fight for India's honours. He will clash with 16-year-old Chinese Lin Shidong in the round of 32.
In the third round of the qualifiers, Archana defeated Oze Yilmaz 11-8 5-11 12-10 11-7. The 145th ranked player from Turkey managed to take the second game off Archana and came close in the third at 10-10.
But the 99th ranked Indian saw through the crucial phase to stamp her authority. In the main draw, she will take on higher-ranked (No 42) Mo Zhang of China in the round of 32.
Sreeja, in her third-round triumph (11-5 11-13 12-10 11-4) over Yang Huijing, had to endure good resistance from the 223rd ranked Chinese. The Indian paddler, ranked 111, won the third game 12-10 before closing out on her rival.
Sreeja will meet Jia Nan Yuan, a player of Chinese origin, representing France in her next round.
Young Diya Chitale put up a good fight against Shi Xunyao, also from China, before losing 7-11 4-11 11-9 18-16 11-8. The Mumbai girl, down 0-2, picked up well but eventually lost in the decider.
But Reeth Rishya and Sutirtha Mukherjee went down in the second round even as veteran Madhurika Patkar failed in the first.
World no 49 Manika Batra will enter the fray for the first time, along with two other Indians, later this evening. She will clash with Lin Ye (No 62) from Singapore.
As for India's male paddlers, only Manav Thakkar (No 133) managed to enter the fourth round of qualification. However, he lost to 387th ranked Yuan Licen of China 12-10 11-5 11-6 11-13.
Harmeet Desai, Sanil Shetty and Manush Shah exited in the third round, while Anthony Amalraj bowed out in the second round.
India received a double jolt when the second-seeded pair of G Sathiyan and Harmeet Desai first went down to Taipei duo of Peng Wang-Wei and Chuang Chih-Yuan 2-3 (11-7 10-12 4-11 13-11 9-11), followed by the exit of Manika Batra and Archana Kamath, also seeded second. They lost to the Hungarian pair of Leila Imre and Mercedes Nagyvaradi 7-11 9-11 6-11.
But success came for Manush Shah and Manav Thakkar, who posted a hard-fought 7-11 11-3 6-11 11-7 14-12 win against Brazil's Eric Jouti and Vitor Ishiy. They will now run into the same Taipei pair that beat Sathiyan and Desai in the quarterfinals.
More surprise, however, was in store for India when Sutirtha Mukherjee and Ayhika Mukherjee combined well to upset the top-seeded Diaz siblings, Adriana and Melanie of Puerto Rico, 11-6 11-5 11-9.
They will meet Zdena Blaskova and Katerina Tomanovska of the Czech Republic in the quarterfinals On Thursday. Sreeja and Selena Deepti Selvakumar paired up to beat the Singaporean duo of Lin Ye and Zeng Jian 11-8 5-11 13-11 5-11 11-4 in round of 16.
They await a quarterfinal showdown against Goi Rui Xuan and Wong Xin Ru, also from Singapore.
Also Read : Manika Batra breaks into top-50 of world rankings
News Source : PTI
Novak Djokovic parts ways with long term coach Marian Vajda
(Tennis news) Former world number 1 Novak Djokovic has split with his long term coach Marian Vajda for the second time. The 34 year old Serbian lost his number 1 ranking to Daniil Medvedev on Monday and announced the decision to part ways with Vajda, who has been with him since 2006 on Tuesday. The pair previously parted ways during Djokovic’s injury-stricken 2017 season with Vajda alongside fitness specialist Gebhard Phil-Gritsch and physio Miljan Amanovic departing at the same time.
Djokovic was deported from Australia due to his vaccination status earlier this year and one notable absentee from his camp was Vajda with head coach Goran Ivanisevic present at not just Australia but also in Dubai. The split between Djokovic and Vajda was mutually decided during the ATP Finals in Turin at the end of last season and 56 year old Vajda had expressed his desire to spend more time with family after being associated with Djokovic for 15 years. The Slovakian joined Djokovic’s camp in 2006 and has been an integral part of his team ever since, even though his role has evolved over the years.
"Marian has been by my side during the most important and memorable moments in my career," said Djokovic. "Together we have achieved some incredible things and I am very grateful for his friendship and dedication over the last 15 years." "During my time with Novak, I have been lucky to watch him transform into the player he is today. I will look back on our time together with immense pride and am so very thankful for the success we have achieved. I remain his biggest support on and off the court and look forward to new challenges," said Vajda.
Ivanisevic is expected to continue as Djokovic’s head coach while the rest of the team structure is also expected to remain the same including physios Ulises Badio and Amanovic and fitness coach Marco Panichi. It remains to be seen how much Vajda's departure affects Djokovic in a period of uncertainty for the Serbian who has only played three matches this year. In an interview with BBC, Djokovic said "Yes, that is the price that I'm willing to pay because the principles of decision making on my body are more important than any title or anything else.”
Rafael Nadal looking to extend winning streak in US
(Tennis news) Rafael Nadal is having the best start to the 2022 season with a hat trick of titles and 15 consecutive match wins. The Spaniard became the fourth player in ATP history to have won more than 90 career titles in singles, he is three short of Ivan Lendl’s record and will most likely overtake the former player.
Nadal had ended the 2021 season with a foot injury but his comeback has been highlighted by a record 21st Grand Slam title and for the time in his career has won two titles at Australia. The left hander also became the second player on the ATP tour after Novak Djokovic to win all the four Grand Slams more than once. The former world number 1 also defeated Danill Medevedev twice this season, he defeated the Russian in straight sets at Acapulco.
The world number 4 is a thousand points behind Alexander Zverev in terms of rankings and was last ranked in the top three in August. Nadal so far has been the top player in the first two months of the season, his form last week suggested it will be tough for Djokovic and Medvedev to battle for two Masters 1000 titles this month.
The current world number 1 will need to fend off challenges by Djokovic and Nadal to keep a stable lead at top. The next gen has got hold off the rankings as of now, two consecutive losses to Nadal will definitely be in Medvedev’s head when the pair meets next. The 26 year old needs to improve his form on clay in the coming months as he will be expected to battle against Nadal and it will be their first meeting on the surface. It will be tough for any player to beat the veteran as April and May have clay events lined up and the surface has been ruled by Nadal since 2005.
Nadal had a 11 match inning streak in 2014 which was his personal best while starting a season, this time he has added four matches and is yet to play on a clay event. The Monte Carlo Masters, Barcelona and Rome Open have been his favourite as he has won each event at least 10 times. The 35 year old will also be seeking revenge for the semi final defeat at Roland Garros last year to Djokovic, Nadal can add to his Grand Slam tally when he triumphs for the 14th time.
Anett Kontaveit snaps Jelena Ostapenko’s winning streak in Doha
(Tennis news) Anett Kontaveit put an end to Jelena Ostapenko’s 9 match winning streak in the semifinals of the Qatar TotalEnergies Open. Kontaveit has now reached 7 finals in the last 6 months and will face Iga Swiatek in the championship match. The Estonian will play her second career WTA 1000 final and her first one in 4 years. Kontaveit made the breakthrough early on in the match as she was carried forward by the Latvian’s 20 unforced errors to take the first set.
In the second set, the 26 year old began with a 3-0 lead as Ostapenko started her fightback with fiery winners from the forehand and backhand. The unforced errors came down and Kontaveit looked in trouble at 5-4 when saving two breakpoints in which one was a lucky net cord. In her second matchpoint, the world number 7 secured a straight set victory to advance to the final match. Kontaveit defeated Ostapenko 6-1, 6-4.
"She can outplay anyone, and then she might not find the consistency sometimes, so you have to be ready for that," Kontaveit added in the press conference. "I was trying to play a consistent match and just do my best on my serve and hold on to it, especially in the second set when I was broken. Sometimes when she's on fire, her returns are unplayable and it's just very difficult.
Iga Swiatek had never taken a set off Maria Sakkari in their previous three meetings, the pair had met a few months in the WTA finals where Sakkari only lost 6 games on her way to victory. This time not only the Polish player got her first victory over the 26 year old but also picked up a straight set win to reach the final stage at Doha. The 20 year old was down 1-3 but with constructive net play and strong backhands she outsmarted Sakkari who clearly was more powerful.
In the second set, the world number 8 managed to hit flat groundstrokes as the top seed could not bring out as much defense from the first set. Although Sakkari broke early in the match, there was no chance for taking a lead with Swiatek responding immediately and it was the 2020 Roland Garros winner who emerged victorious. Swiatek defeated Sakkari 6-4, 6-3.
"Really excited," Swiatek said in her post-match press conference. "For sure I showed consistency throughout the whole tournament, and I'm really happy that I could keep my level of tennis at a really high level."
Jiri Vesely sets up high intensity final against Andrey Rublev in Dubai
(Tennis news) Andrey Rublev reached the finals at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships by beating Hubert Hurkacz. Rublev had lost his previous two matches to Hurkacz and had to fight hard through a defensive masterclass to win the semifinal. The Russian started the winners early into the match but the 25 year old defended most of them to take the lead in the first set.
Hurkacz hit 10 aces and 14 winners in the opening set as Rublev was far behind with 2 aces and 5 winners. In the second set, the Polish player again served 10 aces with as many winners but the 24 year old was still behind and got through in the final game with long extreme rallies. In the final set, both players held their serve but the world number 11 only lost one point off his first serve and kept on pounding aces against Rublev. The world number 7 did not slow his strokes as he kept hitting in the final point of the match as an unforced error by Hurkacz ended the match in 2 hours and 23 minutes. Hurkacz finished the match with 27 aces, 33 winners, 9 unforced errors and also 99 points in total which was 3 more than Rublev. Rublev defeated Hurkacz 3-6, 7-5, 7-6(7-5).
“I’m feeling super happy and super tired," said Rublev, who is now one win from his fifth ATP 500 title. "I could not imagine that it would happen this week again, that I would be in a final, and I’m just happy."
Jiri Vesely entered his first Masters 500 final when he beat Denis Shapovalov in a three hour, three tie breaker match. Vesely started with a 3-0 lead which was slowly pulled back as Shapovalov was quick with his feet to level the score and enter the tiebreak with growing confidence. The Canadian saved a set point with his attacking shots and took the first chance to take the set.
In the second set, the Czech started coming to the net more but it was Shapovalov who was more successful in the front as he won all the 8 net points. However, the serve quality went down for the 22 year old and had to defend 4 set points in the tiebreak but a double fault made it easy for Vesely to make a comeback. In the third set, the 28 year old was regularly serving above 200 km/ hour and his fastest serve was timed at 224 km/ hour as he only lost 4 points in his first serve. The world number 14 was still struggling with 6 double faults in the deciding set even though he was two points away from winning the match in the 10th game while returning serve. Vesely defeated Shapovalov 6-7(7-9), 7-6(7-2), 7-6(7-3).
“I think I’m having a dream run here so far," said Vesely after the win. "I was just trying my best to really enjoy it as much as possible. It was my first ATP 500 semi-final and the only way to get through is just to fight until the last point, and I’m very happy.”
Daniil Medvedev ends Novak Djokovic’s reign in ATP rankings
(Tennis news) Daniil Medvedev will create history on 28th February when he captures the no 1 ranking on the ATP tour. Medvedev will become the first player outside the big four to take the top spot, the last time it happened was in 2004 when Andy Roddick was the world number one. Since then Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray have never surrendered the top position in almost 18 years.
The 26 year old will become the third Russian after Yevgeny Kafelnikov in 1999 and Marat Safin 2000-01 to ascend to the top of the rankings. Medvedev will also become the 27th player in history to achieve the number 1 ranking on the ATP the tour, Djokovic had been holding the spot for over a year and Medvedev had his chances last year during Wimbledon but could not capture it back then.
Djokovic was trying to win the title in Dubai as he had to do well in order to delay the takeover. Djokovic's loss to Jiri Vesely in the quarterfinals confirmed the news for Medvedev who will take on Nadal in the semi final at Acapulco. An early loss for Medvedev and a deep run for Djokovic would have meant more time for the 20 time Grand Slam winner; while the current number 2 had to reach the final at Acapulco to confirm the ranking no matter what happened in Dubai.
The 2021 US Open winner first became number 2 in March 2021 but was floating around no 2 and 3 for a month, he has been sticking to number 2 since May. On Monday when the rankings will be released it will be a major change as the Serbian’s run will finally come to an end, the next gen has finally completed a key part of the mission.
Dominic Thiem’s US Open victory two years later opened the gates for the younger players as Medvedev made it bigger while beating Djokovic in a historic US Open final a few months ago. The last 2 years has seen the emergence of the next gen as they have won Grand Slams and now taken the rankings. Rafael Nadal won the Australian Open a month back, the next mission of the youngsters would be to win as many major titles as that will take care of the rankings and with time in their hands it will be a start of a new era.While there are still a lot of tournaments left in this season, it will be a positive change to the tennis community next week.
Swiatek topples seed at Doha, Ostapenko extends winning streak
(Tennis news) Iga Swiatek reached the last four for the first time at the Qatar TotalEnergies Open in Doha. Swiatek had lost her only previous meeting against Aryna Sabalenka but this time it was a formidable performance as she will face Maria Sakkari for a place in the final.
The top seed lost the first three games of the match, she seemed motivated even though she was down 2-4 as there was no halt on celebrations. The 20 year old on the other side was not very vocal when winning points as a clenched fist was more than enough, Swiatek had steady groundstrokes which was not fast but was very effective. Sabalenka did crush some of the groundstrokes but it came to use once or twice in a game.
In the second set, the world number 2 took the first three games with her hard hitting groundstrokes which affected her rival’s game for the first time in the match. Sabalenka’s sliced strokes were consistently getting hit for winners by Swiatek even from her backhand, the Belarusian could not never anticipate where the ball was going to go after slicing it. The world number 8 started hitting more and more winners as the match went in her favour as she took the next 6 games for the win. Swiatek defeated Sabalenka 6-2, 6-3.
"This match is going to give me a lot of confidence," Swiatek said in her post-match press conference. "I'm very happy that tactically I did a great job, and my mental game was also on point. That's the most important thing for me, because from the beginning I wanted to be aggressive and to be focusing on myself and on my game."
Jelena Ostapenko was playing against Garbine Muguruza for the 5th time in her career and had only one victory which was in 2017. Ostapenko had only taken two sets in their previous meetings but was on a 8 match winning streak that started at Dubai and it did continue at Doha. There were rarely long rallies in the match as it was either a winner from Ostapenko or an unforced error from her as it was the Latvian who ended most of the rallies.
In the first set, the Spaniard was struggling to stop Ostapenko from attacking every possible ball as there was a slight comeback from Muguruza when she took 2 straight games. Other than the minor lag there was nothing to block the 24 year old who finished the set by hitting 2 return winners. In the second set, there was no fight from the former world number 1 as Ostapenko gave no chances to survive her onslaught. In total, the world number 13 hit 39 winners in the match while Muguruza hit 5 of them. Ostapenko defeated Muguruza 6-2, 6-2.
Vesely stops Djokovic in Dubai, Rublev looks for first win against Hurkacz
(Tennis news) Jiri Vesely recorded a historic win over Novak Djokovic in the quarterfinals of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. Vesley now has 2 wins against Djokovic as the Serbian is yet to secure a win in their career head to head meetings. There were service breaks by both players in the first four games of the match after which the Czech held his serve with powerful backhands and disguised dropshots.
In the second set, the world number 123 had faster serves than the earlier set which made him finish the points early. Even though the world number 1 served more aces in the second set, the left hander was more aggressive and even had a front facing tweener to win the point. Vesley’s serve reached speeds of 225 km/hour in the second set and his average second serve was around 180 km/ hour while for Djokovic it was 153 km/ hour. Daniil Medvedev will ascend to the top of the rankings on monday as he will face Rafael Nadal in the semifinals at Acapulco.
“It is an amazing feeling,” Vesely said in his on-court interview. “I never really thought I would have a chance against Novak. He is one of the greatest of all time. After the past 12 months, it is unbelievable. I have so many emotions inside. It is hard to describe. It is an amazing feeling.”
Hubert Hurkacz entered the semifinals in Dubai for the first time with a straight set victory over Jannik Sinner. Hurkacz had reached the quarterfinals in 2019 where he lost to Stefanos Tsitsipas, the Polish number one who will face Andrey Rublev for a place in the final. In the quarterfinal, the 25 year old placed the ball perfectly whenever Sinner failed to hit it with his punishing speed. The 20 year old was broken thrice in the match but could not get a single break not even a breakpoint as the service games gave Hurkacz the lead in the match. Hurkacz defeated Sinner 6-3, 6-3.
Andrey Rublev reached the last four for the second consecutive time in Dubai. Rublev beat Mackenzie McDonald as he had lost to the American three years ago at the Australian Open. This time, Mackenzie started well with 10 winners in the first set as Rublev had 4 and the 26 won the net points on all five occasions coming forward. Mackenzie broke thrice in the first set as the world number 7 managed to break once, in the second set both players had three breakpoints as the 24 year old converted two of them and saved all three points on serve.
In the third set, there were a handful of volleys as it was all baseline power hitting. The world number 61 stood no chance as Rublev only hit 1 unforced error and lost a single point out of 13 in his first serves. Rublev will look for his first against Hurkacz in their third career meeting. Rublev defeated Mackenzie 2-6, 6-3, 6-1.
Nadal, Medvedev and Norrie progress to last 8 of the Mexico Open
(Tennis news) Rafael Nadal extended his unbeaten run to 12 matches as he defeated Stefan Kozlov 6-0 6-3 to progress into the quarterfinals of the Mexico Open. It has been the Spaniard’s best start to a season since 2014 when he was unbeaten for 11 games before falling to Stan Wawrinka in the finals of the Australian Open.
The 35 year old will be facing Tommy Paul for a place in the semifinals of the tournament after which he could potentially face world number 2 Daniil Medvedev who he defeated in the finals at Melbourne in January. Speaking after his 76 minute match against Kozlov, Nadal said “It's always important to win as quick as possible but the most important thing is to win. Tonight has been straight sets - that's great news, and I'll try to be ready for tomorrow against a tough opponent."
Meanwhile, Russia’s Daniil Medvedev defeated Spain's Pablo Andujar 6-1 6-2 in just 64 minutes to progress into the quarterfinals. Medvedev will face Yoshihito Nishioka in the next match and will aim to win the tournament and progress to the top spot in the world rankings at the expense of Novak Djokovic by winning the title.
Britain’s Cameron Norrie was also one of the victors as he defeated America’s John Isner 6-7 (2-7) 6-3 6-4. Norrie will face Germany's Peter Gojowczyk in the quarterfinals. World number four Stefanos Tsitsipas defeated American qualifier JJ Wolf 6-1 6-0 in just 47 minutes to progress into the quarterfinals where he will face America’s Marcos Giron.
One of the controversial moments from the tournament has been when world number three Alexander Zverev was thrown out of the Mexico Open due to ‘unsportsmanlike conduct’ when the German attacked the umpire’s chair at the end of a doubles match. A statement released by the ATP said “Due to unsportsmanlike conduct at the conclusion of his doubles match on Tuesday night, Alexander Zverev has been withdrawn from the tournament in Acapulco”.
As a result, Zverev’s opponent Peter Gojowczyk will be given a walkover in the third round. The 24 year old German took to Instagram to apologise for his actions, calling his behaviour “unacceptable”. Zverev said he had "privately apologised" to umpire Alessandro Germani and that he was “disappointed in myself”. He wrote “As you know, I leave everything on the court. Yesterday, I left too much. I am going to take the coming days to reflect - on my actions and how I can ensure that it will not happen again."
Also read: Ostapenko sets up rematch with Krejcikova at Doha, Kvitova issues walkover
Ostapenko sets up rematch with Krejcikova at Doha, Kvitova issues walkover
(Tennis news) Two former champions issued walkovers on day 5 of the Qatar TotalEnergies Open. Two time champion Victoria Azarenka did not play a single point in her second round match against Madison Brengle, Azarenka is suffering from a hip injury as Brengle will now face Garbine Muguruza in the next match.
Petra Kvitova also had to leave in between the match as she was down with a wrist injury in her match against Elise Mertens. Kvitova is the defending champion and had won the title in 2018; in the first set Mertens took the lead and was 1-2 in the second set before the Czech player decided to end the match. Mertens defeated Kvitova 7-5, 1-2.
Jelena Ostapenko needed an hour and 40 minutes against Amanda Anisimova in their second round clash. Anisimova had to move around the court a lot while losing the first set as it became worse at the end of the match. In the second set, with quick serves the 20 year old took control of the match as she pounced on the returns by Ostapenko. In the decider, the match was back in the court of the Latvian as her powerful groundstrokes made a comeback to advance to the next round.
Ostapenko recorded her 7th win in a row as she will next face Barbora Krejcikova, the pair had met a month earlier at the Australian which Krejcikova won and now Ostapenko seems to be the favourite. Ostapenko defeated Anisimova 6-3, 4-6, 6-4.
Krejcikova was using her service games against Magda Linette to push her way through the second round. Linette had two chances of breaking serve in the match but could not make it through and the second seed broke serve four times to take a comfortable lead in both sets. Although the 30 year old landed more first serves in the second set, it was still not enough to hold a lead. Krejcikova defeated Linette 6-1, 6-3.
Paula Badosa completed the fastest match of the day when she beat Clara Tauson to progress to the round of 16. Tauson could only win 16 points in the 69 minute match, she won 9 points of her serve and 7 of Badosa’s serve. The Spaniard had lost to teenager last year in the semifinals at Lyon and this time only lost three points on first serve and had 9 aces to complete a well all round victory. The world number 4 had set points at 5-0 as she was a shot away from securing a bagel but Tauson recovered from her brave forehands to save 4 set points in the first set and avoid a bagel. Badosa defeated Tauson 6-1, 6-2.
Mackenzie McDonald sends Aslan Karatsev packing in opening round at Dubai
(Tennis news) Mackenzie McDonald was playing at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships for the first time. He had a tough draw and was pitted against Aslan Karatsev in the opening round; the pair had met a month earlier at the Australian Open where Karatsev came out on top in four sets. The curtains came down early for the Russian as Mackenzie looked faster and stronger than his opponent, the defending champion was playing here for the second time after his strong run last year.
Karatsev was not looking sharp as usual and could not find a way to tackle the American’s serve. In the first set, Mackenzie served 8 aces and was behind in the number of winners but covered the margin in terms of unforced errors. Court coverage was also missing from the 28 year old while the world number 61 did not think twice in chasing the ball around the court. Mackenzie defeated Karatsev 7-5, 6-3.
Jannik Sinner has played 9 matches this year so far and has only lost one, he lost to Stefanos Tsitsipas at the Australian Open. Sinner has only played in hardcourt events so far in the 2022 season, this time in Dubai he had to down three match points against Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in the opening round. Fokina was much more agile in the first two sets than Sinner as he got to most of the balls and kept overpowering the Italian in the rallies.
The word number 10 tried to be aggressive but the Spaniard had the final answer as he took the first set. In the second set, it seemed like the Italian was slowly building his power as he had to defend three match points in the tiebreak. The first match point was saved in a defensive rally by the 20 year old as the world number 42 hit an inside out forehand long, the second one was saved by a 203 km/ ace and the third one was all due to the reliability on Sinner’s backhand which returned the ball perfectly.
The 22 year old lost his form in the deciding set as Sinner began attacking especially from his backhand. The 5 time title winner had 2 winners in the first and in the next two sets he hit 22 winners as he finished the match with an attacking forehand. Sinner defeated Fokina 4-6, 7-6(6), 6-3.
“It was a very tough match,” said Sinner after completing the comeback. “I know Davidovich Fokina, but we’ve never played against each other. It was the first time for both of us and it was a tricky one, saving three match points. On the first one I got lucky because it was out, but not so far out.”
Halep suffers earliest exit in 5 years at Doha, Svitolina falls to Martincova
(Tennis news) Simona Halep had to return without a win at the Qatar TotalEnergies Open, Doha. Halep had lost in the opening round in 2016 to Elena Vesnina which was her only first round exit at the event, the Romanian was playing for the 7th year after making her debut in 2012. The former world number 1 had reached the final in 2019 and won the title in 2014 but this time she was beaten by Caroline Garcia.
The pair was meeting for the 9th time on tour, Garcia only had a single victory against Halep which came at Beijing in 2014. Halep’s form and her record should have taken her through but the 28 year old saved 9 breakpoints while converting 2 of her own to take the lead in both the sets. The world number 76 had a much more aggressive forehand and at the same time used dropshots which landed perfectly at the other end of the court. Garcia defeated Halep 6-4, 6-3.
Elina Svitolina was the next high profile player to make an early exit at Doha. Svitolina fell in the first round for the third time in 8 appearances, although it took 3 hours for Tereza Martincova to avenge her defeat at the Indian Wells last year. The Ukrainian had the edge in the shorter rallies in the opening set and in the tiebreak played breathtaking tennis to take the lead.
In the second set, Martincova’s backhand was no match for her opponent as it did the trick during breakpoints. While the 10th seed finished points at the net and the baseline for the world number 42, it was the baseline that helped her take the second set. In the decider, the 16 tour winner took a 5-3 lead and began playing more aggressively. In the 9th game, after an excellent defensive battle the Czech player hit a forehand pass shot which gave her the break and it was the turning point of the match.
In the tiebreak, the former world number 40 maintained her good record at tie breaks by changing the direction of the ball during the rallies. Martincova did not allow Svitolina to rest for one moment as the rallies were becoming more physical for the world number 15 and it took a toll on her in the end. Svitolina saved 12 of the 22 breakpoints she faced as Martincova saved 1 out of 10, both players could not do justice to their service but were successful while returning serve. Martincova defeated Svitolina 6-7(2-7), 7-5, 7-6(7-5).
Novak Djokovic wins first match of the season at Dubai
(Tennis news) Novak Djokovic had a great start to his 2022 season by beating Lorenzo Musetti in the opening round at Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. The world number 1 has a task in hand in his first ever event of the year as his pole position is at risk, Djokovic will be keeping a close watch at the results in Acapulco as Daniil Medvedev is also on a mission. The Serbian had trouble in dealing with the one handed backhand which was slicing, hard hitting the ball as Musetti started the match with an inside out backhand winner.
The Italian had 7 chances to break serve in the match but failed to convert all of them, the 34 year old got the breaks as the rallies ended because of the untimely unforced errors. Djokovic defeated Musetti 6-3, 6-3.
“All in all, it’s a straight-sets win, so of course I have to be satisfied with my tennis, especially after not playing for two-and-a-half, three months,” Djokovic said in his on-court interview. “Of course, there were moments when I played great, there were moments when I made a couple of unforced errors in a row uncharacteristically. But it’s normal to expect that in my first match after a while.
Andy Murray pulled off a few textbook shots in his match against Christopher O'Connell. Murray also slammed his racquet to the ground a few times in the opening set, there was a huge improvement from the former world number 1 as his hand skills and speed gave him the second set. Each set lasted an hour but it was the qualifier who looked exhausted and not Murray who was getting to the ball somehow even though the match was short of nine minutes to 3 hours.
The 2017 champion got a break in the 12 game of the decider with defensive skills that got a standing ovation from the crowd as Christopher could not have played the rally better. Murray defeated Christopher 6-7(4-7), 6-3, 7-5.
Taro Daniel was playing at Dubai for the first time and made sure there was an upset on the opening day when he beat David Goffin. The Belgian is making his fourth appearance at the event but has not won a match yet, the streak continues as the world number 111 hit 18 winners and 3 unforced errors. In the second set, it was Goffin who was attacking the court with 20 winners but could not close it in the tiebreak. Daniel defeated Goffin 6-3, 7-6(7-5).
Also read: Carlos Alcaraz defeats Diego Schwartzman to reach new milestone at Rio
Regaining my ranking is my top priority - Vimalraj Jayachandran
Vimalraj Jayachandran is one of the country’s rising stars in Tennis, he has been associated with the sport since his childhood. He considers Gael Monfils as his idol for his court coverage, energy and interactions with the crowd. The 25 year old also runs TEE TO Z, a startup which designs all kinds of clothing.
In this exclusive interview with SPOGO, Vimalraj shares his journey on and off the Tennis courts, cricket getting all the attention in the country, running a startup and his future goals in the sport.
Q 1) How did you start playing Tennis and when did you plan to take it up professionally?
I started playing tennis at a very young age but I had briefly stopped playing the sport because I lost my racket. I resumed playing in 3rd grade when I was 9 years old. I started playing professionally at the age of 14 and subsequently started winning national level matches and events which gave me a lot of confidence.
Q 2) Which type of courts are you most comfortable on and how is it better suited than the others?
I prefer playing on clay courts as the ball usually comes slower than other surfaces and it suits my playing style. I tend to use a lot of topspin on my shots which makes the ball bounce higher so it is easier for me. On the other hand I’m a counter puncher, so it tends to be easier to receive, strike and slide easily on the clay courts and to keep on rallying. I'm actually improving on all surfaces but if I’m being honest then grass courts are also my favourite but the problem is that there aren’t many grass courts in India. I have only played once on a grass court but loved the feel of it. I have played a lot of matches on clay and that's where I am most comfortable.
Q 3) With the lack of exposure to the sport in the country, how difficult is it for a player to gain points on tour?
I think our country should support other sports as much as they support cricket or at least somewhat comparable. There is not much support for other sports financially and even crowd wise everything is just cricket and it is very annoying for other athletes. Even though we play professionally it's tough to get sponsors to go abroad and play. Tennis is a very expensive sport and I don't think the government is supporting our athletes enough. It is very difficult to score points because you need to travel abroad very often to get those points. You need to travel every month and play 2-3 ITF tournaments to get those ATP points. It requires a lot of money and that is why every player needs sponsors.
Also read: I want to gain points to compete at the highest level - Meiraba Luwang
Q 4) What have been some of your most prized moments over the past few years?
I would say winning Khelo India was very good for me as I felt very proud and I really enjoyed playing it. During the finals I had a full body cramp and I was with 3 or 4 physios to play the doubles finals and we won the tournament so it was an amazing experience. Another one was when I played well in China, I also faced the top seed but couldn't take the match towards my side. My entire journey itself has been amazing and when I look back at it there is a smile on my face no matter what the consequences and hurdles. It's always a pleasure to have had that journey.
Q 5) What are some of the challenges that you have faced in your journey so far and how did you overcome them?
Playing any other sport professionally other than cricket in India is itself a major obstacle to pass through. Being able to play the sport for a prolonged period of time without financial support is a challenge as there isn't sufficient funding for the players. It becomes a barrier when you want to play more matches or events.
These experiences are part of the reason why I started my own business a few months ago. It is a startup called TEE TO Z which is into cloth manufacturing. It has helped me financially as the number of clients are slowly increasing. In my game, I'm focusing on playing more aggressively on court and try to play as many matches as possible on tour.
Q 6) What are your short term and long term goals and how do you plan on achieving them?
I suffered an ACL tear recently which put me out of competition for six months although it did not require surgery as it healed through time. It certainly affected my mind as it was my first injury and made me question my future in the sport. In my comeback, I played a few tournaments and my form was decent which put my mind back at ease.
The short term goals would be to play more matches in the ITF circuit and regain my rankings on tour as I haven't played specific events due to financial restraints. In the long term goals, I want to enter the top 1000 of the rankings by the end of this year.
Jelena Ostapenko overwhelms Veronika Kudermetova in Dubai final
(Tennis news) Jelena Ostapenko battled four Grand Slam champions and was a point away from making an exit in the semifinals at Dubai but it did not stop her from winning a 5th career title. Ostapenko was making her 5th appearance at the Dubai Duty-Free Tennis Championships and had one victory in her last 4 visits. She defeated Veronika Kudermetova 6-0, 6-4 in 65 minutes, Kudermetova was playing in her third career final and the second one this year after Melbourne.
The Russian is now ranked at a career-best of 25 after her results over the past week. Ostapenko broke into the top 15 with a ranking of 13 which is her highest in 4 years, she started the year at 28 and has a possibility of entering the top 10 again.
"I was fighting until the very last point, I even was down a match point against Petra Kvitova," said Ostapenko. "Every match was very tough, and I was fighting, that was the main thing I was doing, because I honestly had no other choice. But I’m really happy with the way I was playing all week, and I think this way I can gain more confidence."
The former world number 5 spent over 8 and half hours on court and lost three sets in 5 matches at Dubai. The Latvian only needed 22 minutes to take the first set as the winners kept coming, especially her backhand which was at its peak while hitting cross-court winners. Kudermetova was failing badly to land her first serves in as there were only 4 of them and overall won 5 points in her service games. Although Ostapenko did not serve a single ace in the match, the 2017 Roland Garros champion lost just three points of her serve in the opening set.
After the first set bagel, the 2021 Charleston winner retaliated in the second by converting all three breakpoints and broke serve in the opening game. Ostapenko started punching the returns as she made it 2-2 and broke serve in the 8th game to serve for the match at 5-3. The four time title winner had no answer to her opponent’s forehand as it looked like Kudermetova had a chance to extend the set when she took the game to make it 5-4. After saving a championship point, a forehand into the net gave Ostapenko her first title of the season.
In the women’s doubles, Kudermetova gained revenge along with Elise Mertens as the pair beat Ostapenko and Lyudmyla Kichenok in the final. It was a much more lucid affair as Kudermetova and Mertens only lost four games in a match that lasted for 58 minutes. It was the Belgian’s 15th career doubles title as for the young Russian it was her 3rd doubles title. Kudermetova and Mertens defeated Ostapenko and Kichenok 6-1, 6-3.
Carlos Alcaraz defeats Diego Schwartzman to reach new milestone at Rio
(Tennis news) Carlos Alcaraz won his second career title after defeating Diego Schwartzman 6-4, 6-2 in the final of the Rio Open. Alcaraz is now the youngest ever ATP Masters 500 winner and has now reached a career high ranking of number 20 as he climbed 9 places after the final. Schwartzman climbed a place above with a ranking of 13 with his loss in the final, the Argentine was playing in his second consecutive final after losing to Casper Ruud at Buenos Aires.
The 18 year old had a weak start by losing the first two games but set up two breakpoints in the third game and won the point with a strong backhand towards Schwartzman who failed to set up a forehand half volley. The Spaniard was hitting huge groundstrokes as the 29 year old was getting more winners of the backhand and through volleys at the net. Alcaraz made the crucial move in the 9th game with an outstretched cross court backhand passing shot which was totally misjudged by Schwartzman.
In the second set, the first three games were broken in which the youngster was leading with two breaks. The world number 29 started using more dropshots as the 2018 winner could not catch up on time, a final break in the 5th game and the champion dropped to his knees in celebration.
“I can’t believe it, honestly. It has been a great week for me playing at a great level,” Alcaraz said in his on-court interview. “First tournament on clay in a long time, so I’m really happy with the performance during the whole week. It’s an amazing feeling right now. I think this is my game. There's a lot of variety. It’s the key to how I won the match. I know how Diego plays and this was really important for me.”
Schwartzman has played 16 matches this year out of which he has won 11 and lost his first ever meeting against Alcaraz. The former world number 8 has now lost two consecutive finals and reached the semi final at Cordoba.
Alcaraz has so far played 8 matches this year, twice has he been taken to the deciding set and it was Matteo Berrettini on both the occasions. Berrettini also defeated him at the Australian Open which is the Rio winner’s only loss so far this season. The 6 foot one inch player is now 2-0 in finals as he defeated Richard Gasquet at Umag last year.
The players will be now shifting to hardcourts as the action starts in Dubai and Acapulco from today. The two Masters 500 event has top two players fighting for the top honour as Novak Djokovic will play his first match of the season while Daniil Medvedev needs to reach the final to become the world number one.
Kadhe-Erler lift doubles title in Bengaluru Open 2 ATP Challenger
Bengaluru, Feb 19 (Tennis News) India's Arjun Kadhe and Austrian Alexander Erler defeated defending champions Saketh Myneni and Ramkumar Ramanathan in the finals to win the doubles title of Bengaluru Open 2 ATP Challenger here on Saturday.
The top seeded pair secured a 6-3, 6-7 (4), 10-7 win over third seeded Indian duo of Myneni and Ramanathan 6-3, 6-7 (4), 10-7 in the summit clash.
In singles semifinals, top seed Aleksandar Vukic halted the run of last week's finalist Borna Gojo of Croatia with a 7-6 (5), 6-3 victory.
In the title clash, the Australian will meet Bulgarian Dimitar Kuzmanov, who scripted an epic comeback victory against third seeded Frenchman Enzo Couacaud 4-6, 7-5, 6-3.
Results Singles (Semifinals) 1-Aleksandar Vukic (AUS) bt Borna Gojo (CRO) 7-6 (5), 6-3; Dimitar Kuzmanov (BUL) bt 3-Enzo Couacaud (FRA) 4-6, 7-5, 6-3.
Doubles (Finals) 1-Alexander Erler (AUT)/Arjun Kadhe (IND) bt 3-Saketh Myneni (IND)/Ramkumar Ramanathan (IND) 6-3, 6-7 (4), 10-7.
Also Read : Ostapenko reaches final at Dubai, Kudermetova receives walkover
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Ostapenko reaches final at Dubai, Kudermetova receives walkover
(Tennis news) Jelena Ostapenko has had an arduous draw at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. Ostapenko lost the first set for the third time in a row as she has one straight set victory in the last 4 matches, the Latvian has spent almost 8 hours on her way to the final.
In the semifinal, Ostapenko was against Simona Halep, an opponent who she has faced twice. Both their meetings were in 2017, the first one was in the Roland Garros final where Ostapenko won the title and next in Beijing where Halep won to reach the final. This time the 24 year old gathered extra strength for hard hitting winners as she hit 36 winners in the match whereas Halep could only manage a handful.
In the first set, it was Ostapenko going for winners straight away as the former world number could not get her racquet to most of them. The unforced errors were more in number for the world number 21 as she lost the first set. In the second set, the winners increased in intensity from Ostapenko as Halep’s defence was in no state to counter punch and in the last 34 points it was the younger player who took 27 of them. In the deciding set, the 2020 champion here simply had to retreat from the court as the groundstrokes were unplayable and for the first time the 2017 Roland Garros champion bageled the two time Grand Slam winner. Ostapenko defeated Halep 2-6, 7-6(7-0), 6-0.
"I knew I had to play aggressively no matter what the score was," Ostapenko said afterwards. "She really doesn't like to play against players who play aggressive and take time away from her.
Veronika Kudermetova will feel energised when she plays in the final against Ostapenko as she received a walkover from Marketa Vondrousova in the other semifinal. Kudermetova has spent 6 hours on court so far, she defeated Victoria Azarenka and Garbine Muguruza in the first two matches. The Russian entered the semifinal by beating Jil Teichmann and will be playing Ostapenko for the first time.
"The injury started a few days ago and I've played so many matches here which has aggravated it," Vondrousova said in a statement. "I'm really sad to leave the tournament this way but I've still enjoyed a great week and am proud of how I've played. I will travel to Doha and see how the injury is. I've played six amazing matches this week having come through qualifying and proud of my performances so it's unfortunate this has happened. Health is the priority for me."
Matteo Berrettini to face Carlos Alcaraz for semifinal spot at Rio
(Tennis news) The rain delayed fourth round matches set up an exciting quarter final clash at the Rio Open. Matteo Berrettini was tested by Thiago Monteiro and the weather as a six hour rain delay further pushed up the proceedings. Berrettini was using forehand to the maximum as it looked deployable in all rallies, a cross forehand gave him the first break of the match which was more than enough to take the opening set.
In the second set, the Brazilian began using his forehand which was not as fast but was placed well and the world number 6 is not known for his speed around the court. The 27 year old took a 4-1 lead but lost his flair with the strokes and the Italian paced himself to take it to the tiebreaker. In the tiebreak, Berrettini was clearly the better player as he reached matchpoint with a decisive forehand dropshot which made the wildcard miss his footing, in the next a scathing forehand attack implied the match like the rain will continue for some more time.
After saving match points in the second set, Monteiro was given a chance in the decider as the rain again halted play in the 8th game when he was facing breakpoint. After a few hours, the players were back on the court and the crowd was hoping for their players to replenish their energy during the break. It only seemed to have made the right hander stronger as he served well and picked up 3 match points in the 9th game in which one point was saved with a brave forehand pass by the world number 106. The 25 year old hit a few punishing forehands which made Monteiro move out of the court and then a sudden forehand dropshot to end a well set up rally and enter the quarterfinals. Berrettini defeated Monteiro 6-4, 6-7(6-8), 6-3.
Carlos Alcaraz had only played 3 matches before coming to Rio but has a deep attachment with clay. Alcaraz was facing Federico Delbonis for the first time who had played 10 matches before coming to the event and had reached the semifinals at Buenos Aires. The Spaniard did not make any hasty decisions on the first set as he did not commit many unforced errors. The thought of the match being delayed for almost 48 hours might have hit Delbonis as he tried to speed up the match at the start which caused the break and even though his tactics changed it did not affect the teenager.
In the second set, the Argentine took no chances as he successfully attacked the world number 29 for a 4-2 lead. The forehand errors especially the ones from the baseline, the half volleys kept going out for the 31 year old. In the tie break, Alcaraz’s aura was too powerful as he had 5 match points in hand and needed just one to finally end the round of 16 match. Alcaraz defeated Delbonis 6-4, 7-6(7-1).
On his third meeting with Berrettini, Alcaraz added: "Everyone knows the level of Matteo. I lifted myself in Melbourne, but I think on clay it's going to be a little bit different. His serve is not going to be as dangerous as on hard court. But I'm really excited to play against him. We've played great battles." The pair has met twice in hardcourts, both have shared victories and this will be their first meeting on clay.
Dubai Tennis Championships: Sania-Hradecka lose in semifinals
Dubai, Feb 19 (Tennis News) Trailblazing Indian tennis star Sania Mirza and her Czech partner Lucie Hradecka fritted away a great opportunity to lose the Dubai Tennis Championships doubles semifinal here.
After dominating the first set, Sania and Hradecka lost 6-2 2-6 7-10 to Lyudmyla Kichenok of Ukraine and Latvia's Jelena Ostapenko on Friday night.
The Indo-Czech duo, which had received a wild card for the tournament, saved 11 break points while converting two of the three in the first set to take a 1-0 lead in the WTA 500 tournament.
However, the two were unable to keep the momentum going as Kichenok and Ostapenko levelled the proceedings in the second set and then eventually sealed the match in their favour.
The veteran Indian had won the doubles title here in 2013 with USA's Bethanie Mattek-Sands.
The 35-year-old, who is India's most accomplished woman tennis player having won six Grand Slam titles, including three mixed doubles trophies, had earlier announced that 2022 would be her last season.
Also Read : Jelena Ostapenko bounces back to beat Petra Kvitova at Dubai
News Source : PTI
Jelena Ostapenko bounces back to beat Petra Kvitova at Dubai
(Tennis news) Jelena Ostapenko survived a matchpoint scare in her quarterfinal match against Petra Kvitova at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship. Ostapenko had beaten Sofia Kenin, Iga Swiatek in the previous rounds and had to spend almost 3 hours against Kvitova. The Latvian had a match winning start by taking a 4-1 lead and was only a point away from serving the set until the 31 year old swung the momentum back to her favour as her service returns steered her comeback.
In the second set, the Czech player took a 4-2 lead and was two points away from winning the match at 5-4 but Ostapenko went out of her way to get back into the match. The 24 year old was again a game away from losing the match but sabotaged the serves to force a tiebreaker. In the tiebreak, the youngster had three match points in which one went down due to a forehand return which made her look at Kvitova in disbelief. The former world number 2 also had a match point but an almost perfect backhand denied her the opportunity and a forehand down the line gave the world number 21 a semifinal matchup against Simona Halep. Ostapenko will be facing a former Grand Slam winner for the fourth consecutive match as she looks to stay for 2 more days at Dubai. Ostapenko defeated Kvitova 5-7, 7-5, 7-6(11-9).
For the third time in her career, Veronika Kudermetova made the last four at a WTA 500 event. Kudermetova had beaten Victoria Azarenka and defending champion Garbine Muguruza in the last two matches. The Russian was facing Jil Teichmann for the third time and had a 2-0 record against her with the previous 2 matches going till the decider. This time again it was Kudermetova who kept the record intact with the blend of strong strokes at the baseline and delicate touches at the net. Teichmann did win points from a losing cause as her reflexes off her forehand and backhand put pressure onto her opponent. Kudermetova defeated Teichmann 6-2, 5-7, 6-4.
Marketa Vondrousova is only a win away from becoming the first qualifier to reach the championship match in the event. Vondrousova had a powerful start to every game in the opening set but somehow could not play to the extent of winning the game as Dayana Yastremska took a 5-3 lead. The 22 year old put up a clutch performance to turn around the match and take the first set. In the second set, the world number 38 could troubleshoot and resolve the issues from the set as the Ukrainian was put to the test. A couple of dropshots did give Vondrousova the advantage in the set and her defence too was a level higher later in the match. Vondrousova defeated Yastremska 7-5, 6-4.
Francisco Cerundolo continues winning run on clay at the Rio Open
(Tennis news) Two of the round of 16 matches were delayed due to rain at the Rio Open. Matteo Berrettini and Thiago Monteiro did not hit a single shot in the match as it got suspended, Carlos Alcaraz was two points away from taking the first set against Federico Delbonis who will look to take advantage of the given break.
Francisco Cerundolo made his third career quarterfinal and his second consecutive one after reaching the last eight at the Argentina Open a week ago. Cerundolo was struggling with serve against Roberto Carballes Baena in the first 4 games of the match. After securing an early break the set was his to take as Roberto failed to make an impact with his returns.
The Argentine won the first 8 points of the second set and went on to take a 3-0 lead. The Spaniard finally got his break point of the match to get his first game in the set, after a hold of serve it was the 23 year old who edged ahead in the pair’s first meeting. Pablo Andujar and Alcaraz are the only players left from Spain as they have lost 5 players in 2 days. Cerundolo defeated Roberto 6-3, 6-2.
Miomir Kecmanovic was on the winning side for the second time against Lorenzo Sonego after defeating him at the Australian Open. The pair have now met in hardcourts, clay and grass with Sonego having won in grass. The Serbian could only win 2 points in the first three games as he was down 0-3 and broke serve after 2 games for the equaliser. The 26 year old was left behind in the 10th game and could only win one point of his rival’s 8 second serves.
In the second set, Kecmanovic was improving on his first serve as it was getting the speed and accuracy needed. A break in the 3rd game enabled the 22 year old to set up a quarterfinal meeting with Cerundolo, they had met a week ago at Buenos Aires and the world number 70 lost the match. Kecmanovic defeated Sonego 7-5, 6-4.
Diego Schwartzman will be playing Pablo Andujar for a place in the semifinal, Schwartzman only dropped two games in the previous match against Pedro Martinez. The 29 year old is looking at a third consecutive semi final entry after Cordoba and Buenos Aires where he reached the final. Fabio Fognini will face in form Federico Coria as the Italian will need to cook something special in order to get a place in the last four.
Kadhe, Rawat go down fighting; Myneni-Ramkumar in doubles semifinals
Bengaluru, Feb 17 (Tennis News) Indian campaign in the men's singles event of the Bengaluru Open ATP Challenger ended on Thursday after wildcard entrants Arjun Kadhe and Sidharth Rawat went down fighting in their respective second round matches here.
While Kadhe lost to third seed Enzo Couacaud of France 6-7 (7), 5-7, Rawat suffered 4-6, 6-2, 4-6 defeat to Swiss rival Antoine Bellier.
However, two Indian pairs entered the semifinals in the doubles event.
Saketh Myneni and Ramkumar Ramanathan got past Ukrainian-German pair of Vladyslav Orlov and Kai Wehnelt 6-4, 7-6 (3), N Sriram Balaji and Vishnu Vardhan beat the duo of Markos Kalovelonis (Great Britain) and Toshihide Matsui (Japan) 6-3, 4-6, 11-9.
Kadhe compensated his singles loss by pairing up with Alexander Erler of Austria and defeated the Indian duo of SD Prajwal Dev and Niki Kaliyanda Poonacha 6-1, 3-6, 10-6 to make it to the last four.
In the singles match, Kadhe did not show any kind of jitters in his match against Enzo. Despite being broken in the opening game and the fifth game to trail 1-4, he fought back by breaking Enzo’s serve in the sixth and 10th games to restore parity.
As the issue was being settled via a tie-break, Kadhe, with just a point to win the set 6-2, squandered away the opportunity, losing the tie-break 7-9, thanks to his own mistakes that gave his opponent an edge.
The second set saw both the players holding their serves until the fifth game before they broke each other for the next four games.
Despite the 11 double faults by Enzo against four by Kadhe, the Indian could not take advantage of his opponent’s mistakes as he was broken once again in the 12th game to lose the set and the match.
Rawat, meanwhile, traded blow for blow in his pre-quarterfinal match against Bellier until the 10th game where he made two double faults to lose serve and the set.
The Indian played some flawless tennis in the second set, which he won with two breaks in the fifth and seventh games.
The final set was an exact replica of the opening set, only this time, Bellier was brilliant with his ground strokes and broke Rawat’s serve in the 10th game to grab a spot in the quarterfinals.
Also Read : Sania-Hradecka pair enters semifinals of Dubai Tennis Championships
News Source : PTI
Indian pro boxer Chandni Mehra to fight in Korea this weekend
New Delhi, Feb 17 (Boxing News) Indian professional boxer Chandni Mehra is all set to take on Korea's Shin Bo Mi Re in a featherweight contest in the city of Gangwon-do on Saturday.
This will be the 21-year-old boxer's 11th professional bout since making her professional debut in 2018. She has an impressive record of 8 wins and 2 losses in the 10 fights that she has competed in.
So far, Chandni has fought six-round bouts, but the one on Saturday will mark her debut in the 10-round format. Chandni is assured of USD 3,500 as appearance fee for the bout.
Chandni started boxing after getting inspired from Bollywood movie 'Mary Kom', based on the life of six-time world champion and Olympic medallist from Manipur.
Her mother Kanchan is a former tennis player.
"Mary Kom is her idol. As a kid, she was good at a lot of sports. She did karate too, but it not being an Olympic sport, we decided to focus on a sport that is part of the Olympic charter," the boxer's mother said.
"In 2014, she got so inspired by Mary Kom's story after watching the movie and decided to take up boxing," she added.
"Pro boxers can win quotas for Olympics now and it is her sole aim to play for the country and win medals at the Olympics." Chandni holds a professional boxing license from the Indian Boxing Council, the National Commission for Professional Boxing in India.
Also Read : Boxing: Pooja Rani, Sonia Lather pull out of Strandja Memorial
News Source : PTI
Sania-Hradecka pair enters semifinals of Dubai Tennis Championships
Dubai, Feb 17 (Tennis News) Indian tennis star Sania Mirza and her Czech partner Lucie Hradecka progressed to the semifinals of the Dubai Tennis Championships with a straight set win over Japan's Shuko Aoyama and Aleksandra Krunic of Serbia here on Thursday.
Sania and Hradecka, who had received a wild card for the tournament, claimed a 7-5 6-3 win over the Japanese-Serbian combination in the quarterfinals of the WTA 500 tournament.
The Indo-Czech pair will face the winner of the match between top seeds Japan's Ena Shibahara and China's Shuai Zhang and Ukraine's Lyudmyla Kichenok and Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia.
Sania is a past winner here, having lifted the title in 2013 with USA's Bethanie Mattek-Sands.
The 35-year-old, who is India's most accomplished woman tennis player, having won six Grand Slam titles, including three mixed doubles trophies, had earlier announced that 2022 would be her last season.
Also Read : Novak Djokovic’s return to 2022 season remains unclear
News Source : PTI
Novak Djokovic’s return to 2022 season remains unclear
(Tennis news) Novak Djokovic stood by his words in an exclusive interview with the BBC. Djokovic is yet to play a match on tour this year as he last played a match in December at the semifinals of the Davis Cup. This was the first time the Serbian has given his side of story after his controversial exit a day before the Australian Open.
The 20 time Grand Slam winner was the highlight last year as he reached the finals at the four Grand Slams and lost in the final at the US Open to Danill Medvedev. Djokovic is still firm on his stance about vaccination as he said it's a personal choice to take or not take the vaccine, he insisted that he is not an anti-vaxxer. If the pandemic protected his rankings last season, there are chances it will take a dark turn this year as his no 1 spot is in danger.
When asked whether he is willing to miss the French Open and Wimbledon because of his vaccination status, the 9 time Australian Open champion did not hesitate to say yes. Although both the majors will be played at the end of May and June respectively and the guidelines can change accordingly. It will be a question as to who will step up the no 1 ranking if Djokovic is absent.
The 34 year old has confirmed his stance on the topic, but the amount of time he has on tour is very limited. The next gen players are only getting better at every event and as months pass by it might be tough to get back on top. Medvedev can become the world number one if he wins at Acapulco which will start in 4 days while Djokovic will hope to play at Dubai and has to go for the title. If Medvedev wins the title or reaches the final then the position is confirmed, Djokovic will hope the Russian falls early while he can reach the semis or the finals at Dubai. The scenario can be confirmed by the end of next week as Medvedev prepares the third Russian to take top honours.
Roland Garros will be a stepping platform for Rafael Nadal to create another record at the Grand Slams. While he can aim for his 22nd title, the top three position will also be a possibility for the clay king. Nadal’s archnemesis has been Djokovic, although the absence of the 2 time Roland Garros winner won’t be a huge relief as the next gen has its way of rising to the occasion. There are still three Grand Slams to go this year as the tour will go on like usual, but Djokovic’s comeback to the season remains in doubt.
Yastrameska and Kvitova take out top seeds at Dubai
(Tennis news) Day 6 of the Dubai Duty Free Championships saw 5 seeded players end their run at the event as Ons Jabeur was the only seeded player to survive. Aryna Sabalenka had reached the quarterfinals in the past two years but was beaten by 2013 winner Petra Kvitova. The top seed could not handle the serve of Kvtiova who had also reached the final three years ago and did not need much of her ferocious forehands as her service was creating chaos.
Sabalenka committed 6 double faults in the first set which completely threw her off rhythm, in next she did have a break but the score was levelled immediately. The 31 year old broke serve for the second time in the set to set sail for the next round. Kvitova defeated Sabalenka 6-4, 6-4.
Garbine Muguruza got off the right foot against Veronika Kudermetova, the defending champion managed to take a 4-2 lead in the first set as Kudermetova’s powerful groundstrokes were guided to the right corners of the court. From the second set, the Russian started taking risks even though she was behind and had strong service games which were mostly 3 shot rallies and with quick hand skills at the net it was 1 set each.
In the final set, there was no break of serve until the final game as the defending champion extended the rallies but could not add the finishing touches. The 24 year ended a three match losing streak against the Spaniard who hit 3 double faults to end her title defence. Kudermetova defeated Muguruza 3-6, 6-4, 6-4.
Barbora Krejcikova had a dream debut at the event last year, she made the finals without dropping a set before losing to Muguruza. This year there was no place for the runner up after the round of 16 as she got ousted in straight sets by Dayana Yastremska. Dayana got her first victory at the event a few days ago in her third appearance and viciously attacked the ball to enter the quarterfinals. Krejcikova had trouble with deep shots into her backhand as the world number 146 consistently returned serves to the backhand baseline which worked out till the end.
In the second set, the 2nd seed had few final shots which saw her come close to taking the set. The world number 3 was out of breath to cover the court as her returns were treated severely which led to the tie breaker. In the tiebreaker, the Ukrainian started with lightwork to prevent her from levelling the score and finished the last two points with speeding inside out backhands. Dayana defeated Krejcikova 6-3, 7-6 (7-3).
My goal is to become a Paralympic medallist - Asiya Mohamed
Having suffered a tragic accident at the age of two, Asiya Mohamed lost both her legs and many fingers on her left hand. Due to various circumstances, she lost both her parents at a young age and endured difficulties that would make most individuals give up on their life. However, despite the innumerable hardships, she recently became the first Kenyan female rower to compete at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo. The 29 year old excels in wheelchair marathons, tennis and rowing and is an ardent disability advocate to improve the conditions of other para-athletes.
In this exclusive interview, Asiya Mohamed speaks about her journey so far, experience at the 2020 Summer Paralympics, overcoming hardships, being a disability advocate and her future goals.
Q 1) When were you first introduced to Wheelchair tennis? What motivated you to switch from wheelchair marathon events to tennis?
Wheelchair tennis was introduced to me in 2013 in Mombasa by Lawrence Karanja. I have been doing wheelchair marathons for the longest time compared to any other games and I haven’t moved to wheelchair tennis. I play them all when I am available and when I am both physically and mentally fit.
Q 2) You are the first Kenyan female rower to compete at the 2020 Summer Paralympics. How was the experience at the event and is it one of the proudest moments in your career?
It was a mind blowing experience, from the Paralympic Village to the Forest river where rowers were competing. There was an air of competing at the highest level or packing your bags and going home, which I was not ready for. It is definitely one of my most proudest and memorable moments.
Q 3) You have undoubtedly endured many hardships in your journey so far. What are some of the challenges that you have faced in your sporting career and how did you overcome them?
There have been so many challenges but the main one is the lack of sponsors to facilitate training and participation in international competition. Most of the time I overcome this through contributions from my family and funds from the government. In terms of emotional challenges, I overcome them by having self love and self belief which makes me mentally strong.
Q 4) What are the various issues that you feel strongly about as a Disability Advocate? What must be done to address them?
1. The government doesn’t give para sports the spotlight compared to able bodied sports.
2. Majority of us disabled people are not educated
3. Women with disabilities face double the amount of challenges compared to able bodied women.
4. There is still that misconception that we’re cursed.
5. Youth and teenagers living with disabilities are not given the special attention needed as they pass double of what able bodied teenagers and youth are passing through.
What should be done?
1. Equal opportunities and funds should be given to both para and able bodied sports.
2. The government should build vocational training facilities across the country, especially rural parts and sensitize the importance of education to parents of children living with disabilities.
3. Empowerment activities for women living with disabilities and call centers for women to aie their grievances and find refuge.
4. Mobilization and sensitization to able bodied persons living with disabilities especially to the rural parts across the country.
5. Center for guidance and counseling for the youth and teenagers living with disabilities.
Q 5) What are your goals and aspirations for the future? How do you plan to achieve them?
My dream is to become a Paralympic medallist and the first Kenyan rower, either male or female, to participate in either Olympics or Paralympics for two consecutive times. I plan on finding sponsors for my training outside the country since I lack specialized coaches, equipment, high quality training and the experience of participating in competitions.
Fognini covers ground after 2 year absence at Rio
(Tennis news) Fabio Fognini made a comeback at the Rio Open after 2 years and is a match away from making his first semi finals since 2019. He has now beaten Pablo Carreno Busta twice in 9 meetings, the Spaniard was down a break in the opening set and saved two set points in the 10th game to break serve. Fognini had four chances in the 12th game to take it to the tiebreak but a speedy backhand by Pablo put an end to the set.
In the second set, a double fault by the 30 year old helped the Italian to level the match and take it to the decider. In the third set, both players started with a break of serve but it was the 34 year old who started hitting winners left and right to break serve for the 5th time in 3 hours. Fognini defeated Pablo 5-7, 6-4, 6-3.
Federico Coria also had to play a three hour match to get to the quarterfinals as he was up against Fernando Verdasco. Coria broke serve in the second game of the match and in the next two sets won the breakpoints in the third game. There were a total of 30 breakpoints and both players saved 4 each although the youngster had to face 17 of them but managed to get out of the situation. The Argentine was chasing the ball well even in the final set of the match, in the 9th game the 38 year old missed an overhead lob which gave the break and Coria served out the match. Coria defeated Verdasco 7-6 (7-2), 4-6, 6-4.
It was a rough day for Spain as four of their players were knocked out of the event. Pablo Andujar was the only one to survive the day at the expense of fellow countrymen Albert Ramos- Vinolas. Andujar had last reached the quarter final stage at Geneva in 2021 where he beat Roger Federer in the fourth round. The 36 year old had reached the semifinal in his first appearance at the event in 2014 where he lost to Rafael Nadal in a deciding set tiebreak which lasted 22 points.
Andujar was facing Albert for the 10th time and was leading with 6 victories. The pair had first met in 2005 at a challenger event in 2005 and 6 years later on the tour. The 34 year old took the 10th game under pressure due to two double faults as Andujar was 2 points away from taking the set. Unfortunately, the world number 74 after an hour and 6 minutes did win the set and took an early lead in the second.
The world number 33 was down 4-1 and 5-3 in the set but was yet to give in the quarterfinal pass to his friend. Four games in a row from 5-3 down as the match went past the two hour mark, Albert was serving at 30 all 3-2 when a double fault gifted a chance to break but it was saved thrice and he had a chance to hold serve but it drifted away quickly. All the three sets took an hour each as it was the longest match of the day. Andujar defeated Albert 7-5, 5-7, 6-3.
Saketh-Ramkumar, Prajwal-Niki enter doubles quarterfinals at Bengaluru Open 2 ATP Challenger
Bengaluru, Feb 16 (Tennis News) The Indian pair of Saketh Myneni and Ramkumar Ramanathan beat compatriots Yuki Bhambri and Divij Sharan in straight sets to advance to the quarterfinals of the Bengaluru Open 2 ATP Challenger here on Wednesday.
Saketh and Ramkumar, who had won the doubles title at the Bengaluru Open 1 last week, saw off Yuki and Divij 6-1 7-5 in the round of 16 at the KSLTA Courts.
Wild card entrants SD Prajwal Dev and Niki Kaliyanda Poonacha also brought cheers to the Indian camp when they overcame the better-ranked Canadian-Japanese combination of Steven Diez and Rio Noguchi 6-2 6-4 en route to the quarterfinals.
Arjun Khade, who will take on third seed Frenchman Enzo Couacaud in the singles pre-quarterfinal match on Thursday, combined with Austrian Alexander Erler to breeze past the duo of Bogdan Bobrov of Russia and Dominik Palan of Czech Republic with a 6-0 6-3 victory.
In men's singles, top seed Aleksandar Vukic and sixth seed Max Purcell -- both from Australia -- registered contrasting wins to advance to the quarterfinals.
While Vukic brushed aside the challenge of Great Britain's Jay Clarke 6-1 6-3, Purcell struggled past his compatriot Marc Polmans with a 7-6 (7) 4-6 6-2 victory.
Results: Singles (Round of 16): 6-Max Purcell (AUS) bt Marc Polmans (AUS) 7-6 (7), 4-6, 6-2; Mathias Bourgue (FRA) bt Steven Diaz (CAN) 6-3, 6-4; Dimitar Kuzmanov (BUL) bt Alexandre Muller (FRA) 6-4, 6-1; 1-Aleksandar Vukic (AUS) bt. Jay Clarke (GBR) 6-1, 6-3.
Doubles (Round of 16): 1-Alexander Erler (AUT)/Arjun Kadhe (IND) bt Alt-Bogdan Bobrov (RUS(/Dominik Palan (CZE) 6-0, 6-3; Enzo Couacaud (FRA)/Andrew Harris (AUS) bt Raul Brancaccio (ITA)/Johan Nikles (SUI) 6-4, 6-2; Marcos Kalovelonis(GRE)/Toshihide Matsui (JPN) bt PR-Anirudh Chandrasekar (IND)/N Vijay Sundar Prashanth (IND) 7-5, 7-6 (3); WC-SD Prajwal Dev (IND)/Niki Kaliyanda Poonacha (IND) bt Steven Diez (CAN)/Rio Noguchi (JPN) 6-2, 6-4; 3-Saketh Myneni (IND)/Ramkumar Ramanathan (IND) bt Yuki Bhambri (IND)/Divij Sharan (IND) 6-1, 7-5.
Also Read : Richard Gasquet looking to end 4 year title drought
News Source : PTI
IOA conducts meeting with ESFI to set up plans for Asian Games
(Esports news) In his attempt to go through the preparations and planning of non-Olympic sports federations participating at the upcoming Asian Games, Indian Olympic Association (IOA) President, Dr. Narinder Dhruv Batra called upon and met the officials of 9 sports federations, including Esports Federation of India (ESFI) at the Olympic Bhawan, here on Monday i.e. 14th February 2022.
Asian Electronic Sports Federation (AESF) is recognized by the Olympic Council of Asia as the sole governing body for Esports in the Asian continent. The organization is also in charge of technical conduct for Esports at the 2022 Asian Games. ESFI, which is a recognized member of the Asian body in India and has been sending esports teams since 2007 to Asian Indoor & Martial Arts Games and in the last Asian Games 2018 as well where India got Bronze Medal in the esports title HearthStone as Esports was a demonstration event.
Esports will make its debut as a medal event at the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China to be held from September 10 to 25.
“We are very thankful to the President of IOA Dr. Narinder Dhruv Batra ji for appraising ESFI & other non-Olympic sports federations on the various organizing aspects of the Asian Games, to be staged later this year. We also discussed & apprised Batra ji on the preparations, requirements and future planning for the country’s Esports contingent and ‘AESF’s Road to Asian Games’ program which will be launched soon to select the national esports contingent of our country. The “AESF Road to Asian Games 2022” will prove to be a milestone journey and act as a catalyst in not only the growth of the esports ecosystem in India but also to consider esports as a form of sports in India. At ESFI end, we are fully committed to growing the esports ecosystem and creating enough opportunities for the Indian esports athletes to participate in the various such events of repute.” said Mr Lokesh Suji, Director, Esports Federation of India & Vice President of the Asian Esports Federation (AESF) after the meeting.
The meeting was co-chaired by Chef de Mission, Mr. Bhupender Singh Bajwa and detailed discussions were held regarding training camps and various expenditures that are required.
During the meeting, IOA laid importance on the need for a fair and transparent selection process of players and athletes. The last date for the submission of the Indian Team entries by name is April 15, 2022.
ESFI is also recognised by the International Esports Federation (IESF) as well as the Global Esports Federation (GEF), who are oversee the the trial events for the Inaugural Commonwealth Esports Championship at this year’s Commonwealth Games which will be held in Birmingham from July 28 to August 8, 2022.
On behalf of ESFI, Mr Lokesh Suji, Director, Esports Federation of India & Vice President of the Asian Esports Federation (AESF), Mr Yugal Sharma, Director, Esports Federation of India and Mr Prabhat Kumar, Treasurer, Esports Federation of India were present in the meeting. ESFI team also presented the “Road to Asian Games” Jersey to IOA President, Dr. Narinder Dhruv Batra and Chef de Mission, Mr. Bhupender Singh Bajwa.
“ESFI is committed to the development of esports and bringing together the esports fraternity to unlock the full potential of our athletes and provide them with enough international opportunities to compete with their counterparts at an equal level. We take this opportunity to further request the esports community to carry on with their training and get used to the challenges for making into the team to represent in this mega event.” pledges Mr Vinod Kumar Tiwari, President of Esports Federation of India.
The 2022 edition of the Asian Games will see medals being awarded in eight categories of Esports, which are EA SPORTS FIFA branded soccer games, an Asian Games version of PUBG Mobile and Arena of Valor, Dota 2, League of Legends, Dream Three Kingdoms 2, Hearthstone and Street Fighter V.
ESFI has again asked the probable qualifying gamers/players to get their passports ready and to get fully vaccinated.
Other than ESFI, other eight non-Olympic sports federations which attended the meeting were Bridge, Chess, Ju-Jitshu, Kurash, Sepaktakraw, Sports Climbing, Soft Tennis and Softball.
Richard Gasquet looking to end 4 year title drought
(Tennis news) Richard Gasquet is playing his 20th year as a professional on tour and has been the flag bearer for France for a long time now. Gasquet is currently playing at Marseille and is into the second round where he will face Andrey Rublev, the Frenchmen has 566 career victories so far and is the only from France who has more than 530 victories.
The 35 year old has won 15 titles with the last one coming in 2018 when he defeated fellow mate Jeremy Chardy in the Libema Open. Since then he has failed to win a title, last year the veteran had a chance to end the drought at Umag but lost to Carlos Alcaraz in the final. Gasquet’s ranking has had an impact because of his recent form, he is currently ranked 76 after starting the year at 87 which was his lowest since 2005. In the past 12 months, the right hander has had a decline in the rankings and it became worse in the last 5 months.
The former world number 7 is known to possess one of the best backhands of all time. His single handed backhand is powerful and still has no match on tour. Gasquet's forehand has been questioned at times for being slower and less effective as compared to his backhand. Although his game does not involve risk taking, he waits for a long time to take chances and in the current courts where the balls are fast it is not a very successful strategy. It can be a positive sign if a player can use his athletic strength but at this age the legs would not support it but power can still be used to beat younger players or even serve and volleys.
Gasquet is known to change his grip after every change of ends due to excessive sweating from his hands as the players sometimes play in extremely humid conditions which adds to his problem but the 15 time tour winner in a video put together the grip in 8 seconds to show how comfortable he was with the routine.
Gasquet had played in few challenger events last year in addition to the tour. Although he did not find much success there, on tour the French player recorded three quarter final appearances and one runner up trophy. The 2007 Kingfisher Airlines Open winner started last season ranked 48 but slipped over 40 places and now will try to stay in the top 100. He can catch up on the rankings in the next few months as it will be a mix of hardcourt and clay events. Although the 6 foot player is not as fast as he used to be, his performances on clay can give him a chance to redeem himself.
Ruse secures first top 10 victory at Dubai, Azarenka exits early
(Tennis news) Elena-Gabriela Ruse was making her debut at the Dubai Duty Free Championship along with Paula Badosa. Ruse was making her presence felt from the baseline as Badosa had fast serves but found it difficult to cut short the rallies, a handful of winners helped the Spaniard to level the score in the second set.
In the final set, the 3rd seed was leading 4-1 but the qualifier was yet to give up as she took the last five games for a first the biggest win in her career. The 24 year old was brave enough to go for the winners in the final few games even though she had a lot to cover for. Ruse defeated Badosa 6-3, 5-7, 6-4.
Victoria Azarenka was playing at Dubai after a 11 year absence. Azarenka had reached the finals back in 2010 where she lost to Venus Williams, this time it was Veronika Kudermetova who handed an opening round loss to the former finalist. Kudermetova was surging ahead in the match as she did not allow the 32 year old to take the lead in both sets. The world number 31 is into the round of 16 for the first time at the event and will face Garbine Muguruza for a place in the quarterfinals. Kudermetova defeated Azarenka 6-3, 6-4.
Elina Svitolina showed how familiar she is with the courts when she played against Mayar Sherif in the opening round. Svitolina had won the titles here in 17,18 and reached the semifinals in 16,19 but had faced first round defeats in her last two appearances. The Ukrainian showed consistency in the match as she had few unforced errors and was hitting solid winners.
Mayar had her moments in the match, her dropshots were too good as the 10th seed failed to get most of them. After 2 set points in the first set, Svitolina finally won the game which lasted for 10 mins and in the next set the wildcard was down 4-1. The Egyptian still took points from the net but it was enough for the world number 15 advancing to the next round. Svitolina defeated Mayar 6-2, 6-3.
Ons Jabeur hit over 42 winners in her return to tour after a month due to a back injury. Jabeur had to give everything against Vera Zvonareva as she entered the round of 16 for the third year running. The Tunisian’s forehand was strong and found its way across Zvonareva in the opening set, in the second set the veteran took a 4-0 lead with vintage defensive tactics. In the final set, there were service breaks by both players but the 37 year old lost control of her serve to give the lead in the 11th game. At 6-5, the former world number 2 had three breakpoints but Jabeur’s forehand made sure the match ended before the tie breaker. Jabeur defeated Zvonareva 6-2, 2-6, 7-5.
Lahiri aims to regain form in star-studded Genesis
Los Angeles, Feb 16 (Golf News) Indian golfer Anirban Lahiri returns to the Riviera for the first time since 2019 when he tees up at the prestigious Genesis Invitational hosted by Tiger Woods this week with an aim to to regain his form.
Lahiri, who has had mixed results at the storied tournament, will look to improve on his best here which was T-26 in 2018. He made the cut in 2017, but missed it in 2019. He did not play in either 2020 or 2021. Lahiri’s best round here was 67 in 2018.
It has been a mixed season for Lahiri, who after a disappointing fall, has made three starts in 2022 and made the cut twice.
There have been rounds, where he has shown his ‘A’ game, but has also made errors as he shakes off the rust.
Lahiri’s last worldwide win came at the 2015 Hero Indian Open after which he has been on the PGA Tour.
The Genesis is one of three PGA TOUR events with elevated status, along with the Memorial Tournament and the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
Those three events offer a larger purse of USD 12 million which is a big jump from USD 9.3 million in 2021.
The Genesis Invitational at the Riviera Country Club this year will feature all 10 players in the Official World Golf Rankings. It is the first time since last year’s TOUR Championship that all Top-10 in the OWGR will tee up at the same event.
In both 2017 and 2020, the Genesis Invitational had nine of that week’s top 10. It is a rare case for a PGA Tour event that is neither a Major or a FedExCup Playoffs event, World Golf Championships event, or THE PLAYERS Championship.
The last time any TOUR event had all Top-10 was the 2007 Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow Club.
The Riviera has some of the most difficult greens on the TOUR and often requires a lot of crucial par saves. Amidst all this, world No.1 Jon Rahm comes with superb records of 33 successive rounds of par or better and that goes back to the first round of the 2021 Open Championship.
The record for most successive rounds par or better is 52, held by Woods starting in 2000 AT&T Byron Nelson running to the Phoenix Open in February of 2021.
Woods had six TOUR wins, including three majors, in that amazing stretch.
Collin Morikawa, one of the hottest players on the Tour, grew up 30 miles from The Riviera. He hasn't had much success here and will be looking to change that as he is one of the favourites.
Also Read : Sunhit Bishnoi fires 66 to establish early lead at Final Qualifying Stage
News Source : PTI
Federico Coria beats defending champion Cristian Garin at Rio
(Tennis news) Federico Coria was meeting Crisitan Garin for the third time and all of their meetings have been on clay. Coria had won their previous meeting at Bastad but Garin had defeated Coria at the Rio Open in 2020 on his way to winning the title. The defending champion looked set to trouble the Argentine again but could only win 2 games in the match as it looked even in the first set. In the second set, both players could not land most of the first serves but the Chilean could only win 2 points in his return games as the 29 year old did not lose 6 of his first serve points. Coria defeated Garin 6-2, 6-0.
Thiago Monteiro had an unimpressive start against Sebastian Baez, the Brazilian could not sustain the rallies and was down 4-0 in the first set. In the second set, the wildcard entry started to dominate the match as he was always on the move as the Argentine saved double breakpoints in the 5th and 7th game but a single break was enough to level the score. In the final set, the 27 year old raised his game as his service was the key in keeping the qualifier down and will next face top seed Matteo Berrettini for a place in the quarterfinals. Monteiro defeated Baez 1-6, 6-4, 6-4.
"Of course I'm very happy. It's always an unbelievable atmosphere playing at home, an unbelievable feeling to win those important matches," Monteiro said after the match. "Today after the first set, I took time to think of the possibilities I had to do to try and come back. Luckily I could do it today. I played at a very good level."
Lorenzo Sonego is one match away from making his 4th quarter final out of 5 events this season. The Italian was beaten in the third round of the Australian Open but has made it to the last or better in the rest of the events. He was facing Laslo Djere who won the first 9 points in his service games and the 6th seed only lost one point in his first 2 service games. After the fourth game the match was all about Sonego as he won 10 straight games to take the match. The Serbian had 6 chances to hold his serve in the second game of the 2nd set after which he won three points in the 4 games to end the match in an hour and 9 minutes. Sonego defeated Djere 6-2, 6-0.
Mirza-Hradecka pair advances to quarterfinals of Dubai Tennis Championships
Dubai, Feb 16 (Tennis News) Indian tennis star Sania Mirza and her Czech partner Lucie Hradecka eked out a hard-fought win to advance the quarterfinals of the Dubai Tennis Championships here.
Mirza and Hradecka dispatched Chinese Taipei's Chan Hao-Ching and world number 12 Demi Schuurs of the Netherlands 7-6, 5-7, 11-9 in one hour 55 minutes on Tuesday night.
The Indo-Czech pair had received a wild card for the tournament and will now take on Japan’s Shuko Aoyama and Aleksandra Krunic of Serbia in the quarterfinals of the WTA 500 tournament.
Mirza is a past winner here, having lifted the title in 2013 with USA's Bethanie Mattek-Sand.
The 35-year-old, who is India's most accomplished woman tennis player, having won six Grand Slam titles, including three mixed doubles trophies, had last month announced that 2022 would be her last season.
Also Read : Yubarani Banerjee scores upset win over Mihika Yadav
News Source : PTI
Being a good person takes precedence over being a good athlete - Smit Toshniwal
In a world where everything appears to be a rat’s race, especially in a competitive industry such as sports, placing importance on sportsmanship and using your platform for the greater good is a welcoming breath of fresh air. International badminton player Smit Toshniwal has overcome many odds to reach the stage she is at today and aims to use her on field capabilities to try and change the world.
In this exclusive interview, Smit Toshniwal speaks about her badminton journey, her childhood idols, importance of mental strength, memorable achievements, overcoming challenges and future goals.
Q 1) Tell us about your badminton journey, how old were you when you started, who introduced you to the sport and when did you decide to pursue it professionally?
I started as a 7 year old as my mom introduced me to the sport but mostly as a hobby. I decided to pursue it professionally at 14 when my mom and I moved to Hyderabad. She has been the backbone of my career. I moved for the love of the sport but without her staying there leaving all her family behind for 4+ years, none of this would have been a reality. The person who really inspired and motivated me was S.M Arif sir as the former Dronacharya Award and Padma Shri Awardee has been the backbone for badminton over the years.
Q2) Who were some of your badminton idols while growing up and why?
I tend to believe in being a good person before being a good athlete. For me sportsmanship comes before anything and for this reason I always looked up to Ratchanok Intanon because she tends to keep her cool on court and display immense levels of sportsmanship on the badminton court.
Q 3) Despite badminton being a physically demanding sport, how important do you think is mental toughness to achieve the desired result?
I have always believed in giving greater focus on mental toughness in order to be in form during the matches, physical fitness does matter but once you are set mentally then it helps you regain your physical health.
Q 4) As an international badminton player, what are some of your most memorable achievements in your career so far and why?
The most memorable achievement for me was that as a kid, the U10 and U13 were years where it wasn’t complicated as it is today. It was as easy as being on the court and playing and I’m grateful to have been introduced to the sport at a young age. It was a very different and fulfilling experience which I still remember to this day.
Q 5) What are some of the obstacles and challenges you have faced in your journey so far? How did you overcome them?
Every athlete has so many obstacles and challenges especially in a country like India. Everyday is a challenge but for me specifically for so long I've tied winning to my self worth. Just getting over that phase has been a challenge and it continues to be even today. Also staying away from home for long periods away from friends and family is always a challenge. I am extremely close to my dad. Not currently, but for the longest time that I have been in Hyderabad, my mom has stayed with me. It's almost been 7-8 years, I have hardly spent time with Dad, I don't like that at all. Apart from that, if you want to compete in Europe twice a year, that does take a lot of money. Getting sponsors has been so challenging I cannot stress on that enough.
Q 6) What are your short and long term goals as a badminton player? What are you doing to achieve them?
Honestly I feel that short term and long term aims and goals are conceptualised. I never aimed to win the Odisha medal, it just happened. You can always have goals but you can never know what's in store for you and what's coming. Success can come to you in so many unexpected ways that these ideas are very conceptual. I watch a lot of Tennis and I'm a follower of Naomi Osaka. She uses her platform for activism and to try and change the world. She is known for not just her on field capabilities and I want to be something like that. You could say that is one of my goals. Take one day at a time and devote it to things that make your heart full.
Yubarani Banerjee scores upset win over Mihika Yadav
Gurugram, Feb 15 (Tennis News) Wild card entrant Yubarani Banerjee knocked out sixth seed Mihika Yadav in straight sets but other seeded players in action -- Sathwika Sama and S Bhamidipaty advanced to the second round of the USD 15,000 ITF Women's event, here on Tuesday. Banerjee eked out a 6-4 6-4 win in the opening round of the tournament, which is first ever international women tennis event being held in Gurugram.
Sama beat Prathyusha Rachapudi 6-3 6-4 but Bhamidipaty had to dig deep before emerging a 2-6 6-1 7-5 winner against Arthi Muniyan.
Farhat Aleen Qamar also made it to the second round with an easy 6-2 6-1 win over Anjali Rathi.
"It's a great chance for the Indian girls to earn some valuable world ranking points and gain more experience. Hosting such tournaments will help our players tremendously," said Vishal Uppal, India's Billie Jean King Cup captain and host of the event.
Also Read : Rawat wins, Ramkumar loses; Jeevan-Purav enter quarterfinals in Bengaluru Open 2 ATP Challenger
News Source : PTI
Rawat wins, Ramkumar loses; Jeevan-Purav enter quarterfinals in Bengaluru Open 2 ATP Challenger
Bengaluru, Feb 15 (Tennis News) India's Sidharth Rawat secured a straight-set win over compatriot Mukund Sasikumar to enter the last 16 but it was curtains for local favourite Ramkumar Ramanathan in the men's singles at the Bengaluru Open 2 ATP Challenger, here on Tuesday.
The 28-year-old Rawat beat Sasikumar 6-4 6-4 to emerge as the only Indian in the single draw.
However, seventh seed Ramkumar's gallant fight ended with a 6-4 3-6 2-6 loss to France's Mathias Bourgue.
Doubles pair of Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan and Purav Raja, meanwhile, quelled the challenge of Australians Thomas Fancutt and Jason Kubler 6-3 7-5 to enter the quarterfinals.
It was an exodus of fancied players in the first round with the biggest casualty being the defending champion and eighth seed Chun-hsin Tseng crashing out of the tournament.
Tseng, who had won the Bengaluru Open 1, went down tamely to Greece qualifier Markos Kalovelonis 2-6 2-6 in a match that lasted just 62 minutes.
A total of five seeded players bit the dust in their opening encounters on Tuesday.
Top Indian player, Ramkumar began with a bang earning a break in the opening game which set the tone for the rest of the set, which he eventually won 6-4.
However, his luck ran out in the second set and he also lost his composure as the match progressed with his French rival breaking his serve in the second game and winning the set 6-3.
He kept the pressure up against the crumbling nerves of Ramkumar, whose best shot was an ace which came at the fag end of the third set but could not stop Bourgue from walking into the pre-quarterfinals.
Among the top players in fray, Swiss Antoine Bellier felled fourth seed Federico Gaio of Italy 6-4 6-3, Andrey Kuznetsov of Russia won a long-fought battle against fifth seeded Czech Vit Kopriva 6-1 1-6 6-3, while runner-up last week Czech Borna Gojo survived a scare against qualifier Dominik Palan before prevailing 4-6 6-3 6-4.
Also Read : Lehecka makes his debut into the top 100 of ATP rankings
News Source : PTI
Mithali Raj stays at number 2 spot in ICC ODI women's rankings
Dubai, Feb 15 (Cricket News) India skipper Mithali Raj maintained her second spot in the ICC Women's ODI player rankings even as New Zealand batter Amy Satterthwaite moved up to number three after a splendid show in the series-opener against India.
Raj made 59 off 73 balls in India's 62-run defeat in the first ODI of the five-match series in Queenstown.
Satterthwaite, who smashed a 67-ball 63 and was involved in an important 98-run third wicket partnership with opener Suzie Bates, has overtaken Australia's Beth Mooney with a gain of 13 rating points.
She is now 15 rating points behind Raj, who is second with 744 in the list led by Australia opener Alyssa Healy who has 749 rating points.
Bates' 11th ODI hundred, which helped her team take a 1-0 lead in the series, has lifted her into the world's top 20 batters in ODIs for the first time in six months.
The former captain has advanced five places to 17th position in the latest weekly update that includes the last match of the Australia-England series.
Australia completed their Ashes triumph with another comfortable victory in the final ODI in Melbourne last week.
Tammy Beaumont returned to form for England with a half-century, as did Meg Lanning with an unbeaten 57, allowing both batters to gain three places for their efforts.
Beaumont and Lanning are now in fourth and fifth positions, respectively, with just one rating point separating them.
In the bowlers' list, England spinner Sophie Ecclestone was a bright spark in the final ODI, bowling her 10-over allocation and conceding just 18 runs while dismissing Rachael Haynes, taking an an excellent catch off her own bowling.
She has moved a place up to second, closing in on the opportunity to top both the ODI and T20I bowling rankings at the same time.
Ellyse Perry's return to all-round excellence also enabled her to gain three places with the ball and increase her lead over second placed Nat Sciver in the all-rounders’ table to an impressive 87 rating points.
New Zealand’s Lea Tahuhu is up four places to 13th and India’s Rajeshwari Gayakwad is up five places to 16th. Both bowled economically in the first ODI in Queenstown to move up in the world's top 20 ODI bowlers.
In the T20I rankings, Beth Mooney is back in her third stint as the top ranked batter with captain Meg Lanning also gaining a slot to reach second position. India opener Shafali Verma is now third in the list.
New Zealand bowlers Amelia Kerr is up five places to eighth and her sister Jess Kerr is up 16 places to 34th, also making notable gains in the T20I rankings.
Also Read : My parents have finally agreed to stop working: Tennis-ball sensation Ramesh Kumar after landing IPL deal with KKR
News Source : PTI
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.
My parents have finally agreed to stop working: Tennis-ball sensation Ramesh Kumar after landing IPL deal with KKR
New Delhi, Feb 15 (Cricket News) A Rs 20 lakh contract may not sound like much when deals worth crores were sealed at the IPL auction but for tennis-ball sensation Ramesh Kumar, it has ensured that his father doesn't have to make a living as a cobbler and his mother no longer needs to criss-cross villages in Punjab's Fazilka district to sell bangles.
Ramesh, who is better known as 'Narine Jalalabad' in tennis-ball circles, was already a youtube star due to his exploits with both bat and ball. Post the auction and the signing with Kolkata Knight Riders last weekend, his remarkable story has reached a wider audience.
Even as a tennis ball 'nomad', he requested his ageing parents to stop working but they would "never listen" to him. An IPL deal, however, has finally convinced them that their son can have a future in the game and they need not slog.
"They have finally agreed to not work anymore. I never wanted them to do this work in the first place but it had to be done out of necessity," Ramesh, who once blasted a 10-ball 50 in a local tournament, told PTI.
He also plans to use the IPL money for the education of his younger brothers.
The phone has been buzzing non stop since KKR made a winning bid for him at the auction but Ramesh remains grounded and focussed.
"Life has not changed yet paaji, life will change when I perform in the IPL. The way I see it, I have finally got the platform I needed," he said.
The 23-year-old from Jalalabad plied his trade in tennis-ball tournaments across India for seven years but it was only last year he got a taste of 'leather' ball. Ramesh impressed in Punjab Cricket Association's district level tournament following which he was called for the Ranji Trophy camp.
He owes his career to senior Punjab batter and IPL regular Gurkeerat Mann who helped him reach the KKR trials in Mumbai.
KKR assistant coach and former India all-rounder Abhishek Nayar was also convinced about his rare talent at the trials which eventually led to Ramesh's signing at his base price.
Having not played proper cricket at any level, it remains to be seen if Ramesh will be ready for his big break at the IPL but if T Natarajan can play for India after making his name in tennis-ball cricket, 'Narine Jalalabadi' too fancies his chances.
Ramesh fondly recalls the time he travelled the country for making Rs 500-1000 a day in tennis ball events, a career that also made him board his first ever flight.
"You must have seen my videos (on youtube) paaji. I am basically a tennis ball player. Since I could turn the ball away and turn back in, people advised me to play to with leather ball. They would say 'you might make it big'.
"But I didnt' have the support that I need to pursue the game professionally. I used to play an odd leather ball game but mainly it was all tennis ball cricket.
"It started with me playing all across Punjab, when I performed I got calls from other states too. Sometimes I made 500 in a day, sometimes it was 1000. It was just about enough to run the house and manage my travel expenses," he said.
Having got the stage he was desperately looking for, Ramesh now feels playing for India is also a possibility though he knows he has a long way to go.
He needs to improve his skills and fitness drastically.
"Paaji I used to bowl with cosco ball which is very light. The leather is ball much heavier and it is harder to make it turn but I am slowly getting better. I am sure the IPL stint with help my game in a big way," he added.
Also Read : My game is simple, to attack and take singles: Richa
News Source : PTI
Pegula hands opening round defeat to Gauff at Dubai
(Tennis news) After two opening round exits in the 2022 season, Jessica Pegula had reached the quarterfinals at the Australian Open. After a few days of break she defeated Coco Gauff in their first ever meeting at the WTA 500 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. Gauff served 5 double faults in both sets as it gave free points to Pegula who held on the service break, the 17 year old also committed 52 unforced errors which pulled her back even more.
The world number 14 only hit 9 winners in the match but had a minor scare when her three match points were dusted by the teenager with her super strong groundstrokes. When the world number 20 finally hit a slice which went long even though her counter attack was working perfectly as the 27 year old entered the fourth round. Pegula defeated Gauff 6-4, 6-4 and is one win away from 300 career wins.
Petra Kvitova secured her first victory over Camila Giorgi in 8 years, Kvitova’s victory at the 2014 Fed Cup was their first meeting and the left hander’s last win over Giorgi. The next two meetings were won by Italian including last year’s fourth round clash at Montreal. The former world number 2 only needed an hour and 8 minutes to beat her old rival, Kvitova saved all 4 breakpoints she faced in the match to keep her perfect service record. In the second set, there was no leniency by the 31 year old as she bageled the world number 29 who could only win a single point of her 2nd serve in the set . Kvitova defeated Giorgi 6-2, 6-0.
Simona Halep has already won 1 title in this season and reached the fourth round in Australia. The former world number 1 had won the event in 2015, 2020 and made her debut 10 years ago in the main draw. Alison Riske suffered her fourth loss in as many matches against the Romanian as she couldn’t break serve as she had 2 chances in the second set. Riske was hitting her strokes in the middle of the court and could only find winners from the net. Halep defeated Riske 6-2, 6-4.
Iga Swiatek notched up her 9th win of the season and is looking to enter the semifinal for the third consecutive time this season. Swiatek was against familiar foe Daria Kasatkina who she had met a few weeks back in Australia. The 6th seed lost 3 points in each set off her first serve and lost 5 points each on her second serve. Kasatkina was broken 5 times in the match, 2 of them were in the second set where the Russian denied four other chances. Swiatek defeated Kasatkina 6-1, 6-2.
Berrettini looking for first title of the season at Rio
(Tennis news) The second ATP Masters 500 event of the season has started with top seeds playing for their first titles of the season. While Matteo Berrettini is the top seed and is back after a semifinal exit at the Australian Open to Rafael Nadal. Carlos Alcaraz has only played three matches this year and will look to rise in the clay courts, something he did last year. Casper Ruud and Diego Schwartzman are in the draw after playing a three set final at Argentina. Here are the top four players to watch out for at Rio Open.
Berrettini did not find his form at the ATP Cup but defeated Gael Monfils and Alcaraz at Australia. The Italian is playing his third event of the season and has plenty of time to reorganize himself for some action on clay in Brazil. The 25 year old will be playing at the event for the first time and has a potential semifinal meet up against Alcaraz. He reached the finals at ATP Masters 1000 Madrid last year and is now chasing a first Masters 500 clay title.
Ruud is coming into Rio after a title win at the Argentina Open, the Norwegian can bring out his best form on the clay. The world number 8 is playing here for the 5th time and reached the semifinals 5 years later losing to Pablo Carreno Busta. He will meet Benoit Paire or Francisco Cerundolo in the opening match.
The teenager was shining on clay 12 months earlier and continued his run on the hardcourts till the end of 2021. The world number 29 won his first title at Umag which was also his first final, this is the second time for the rising star at Rio as previously he lost in the 4th round in 2020. After a 2 week lay off from the tour the world number 29 can pounce on the seniors when he gets back on court.
Sonego has so far reached three quarter finals from events this season, his groundstrokes did leave an impact at Buenos Aires especially his forehand which generates a lot of power. The Italian is looking for his third title and second clay title. He is playing for the third time and reached the quarterfinals in 2020. The 26 year old will face Serbian Laslo Djere in the opening match, the pair has met thrice with Djere winning once in hardcourt and Sonego leading in their other two meetings at clay.
Also read: Prajnesh ousted from Bengaluru Open-2 after defeat against top seed Vukic
Prajnesh ousted from Bengaluru Open-2 after defeat against top seed Vukic
Bengaluru, Feb 14 (Tennis News) Prajnesh Gunneswaran was knocked out of the Bengaluru Open 2 but Arjun Kadhe advanced to the singles second round here on Monday.
Paying a price for his unrelenting errors, Prajnesh lost 4-6 2-6 to top seed Aleksandar Vukic but Kadhe brushed aside the challenge of compatriot Adil Kalyanpur 6-2 6-2.
Dimitar Kuzmanov of Bulgaria upset second seed Frenchman Hugo Grenier 6-4 6-3 to advance to the pre-quarterfinals.
Although the match between Vukic and Gunneswaran seemed to go on an even note, the 25-year-old Australian achieved a crucial break in the third game, which eventually helped him walk away with the first set.
Vukic moved ahead 2-0 after a break in the very first game of the second set and got one more break in the fifth game for a decisive 4-1 lead.
In another interesting match of the day, after an early break in the second game, 28-year-old Dimitar dominated the proceedings.
However, Grenier showed signs of a comeback with a break in the seventh game to narrow the lead to 3-4 but lost his serve again in the 10th to lose the set.
The games went with the serves in the second set, each of them fiercely contested with long rallies. A double fault in the sixth game followed by another unforced error cost him his serve, which paved the way for Dimitar's win.
Earlier in the day, Nitin Kumar Sinha toiled his way into the main rounds by ousting third seed Rio Noguchi of Japan 6-4 6-7 (5) 6-1 in the final qualifying round.
Joining him was the top seed in qualifiers, Mukund Sasikiran, who was stretched by fellow Indian Manish Suresh Kumar before prevailing 7-5 1-6, 6-3.
Also Read : Kontaveit inches closer to Novotna’s record after St. Petersburg title
News Source : PTI
Kontaveit inches closer to Novotna’s record after St. Petersburg title
(Tennis news) Anett Kontaveit won her fourth straight indoor title by beating Maria Sakkari in the final at St. Petersburg. Kontaveit was facing Sakkari for the 13th time, the pair had 6 wins apiece but the Estonian now has the lead by winning the last three matches. The second seed is now a win away from equalling Jana Novotna’s winning streak of 21 matches in 1994, Kontaveit can become the 6th player since 1989 to have 21 consecutive wins indoors.
The world number 9 was off to a lightning fast start with a 5-2 lead but Sakkari came back with all her might to take the set. The top seed took the lead in the second set by winning the first two games but Kontaveit did not lose grip and leveled the scores. There were no further service breaks until the 11th game as the Greek player saved a set point and took it to a tiebreaker. In the tiebreak, the former world number 6 did not stumble in taking the lead with her returns as she won the set.
In the final set, last year’s Ostrava runner up took a 4-1 lead as she had a second chance to win the title. For the third time in the match, there was a change in the end as Kontaveit was only a game away from losing the match at 5-3 but hit a forehand passing shot which gave her the break at 5-5. This time there was no exchange of comebacks as Sakkari will have to wait a few days for her second career title. Kontaveit defeated Sakkari 5-7, 7-6(7-4), 7-5.
When asked about her record breaking indoors streak, "Yeah, I'm not sure what to say about that," Kontaveit told WTA Insider after the match. "I like to hit the ball. Indoors there's no wind, there's no sun, there's nothing that's affecting you. But I think that would also help everyone else. So I don't know. I don't know what it is. I can't really put my finger on it."
Kontaveit has now moved three places up for a career best number 6 in the rankings, Sakkari went down one place as she is now ranked 8 and is four points below Garbine Muguruza. The Dubai Duty Tennis Championships will begin from today as the players get ready for a tightly packed tour this month. The first WTA 1000 event of the season, Qatar Totalenergies Open will begin next week.
Ruud beats home favourite Schwartzman to win first title of the season
(Tennis news) Casper Ruud took the title at Buenos Aires as he was playing on tour after a month since playing at the ATP cup. Ruud is now unbeaten at the Argentina Open, he entered the main draw in 2020 and went on to lift the title; this time he did not drop a set on the way to the final. While it was the second win for the Norwegian at the event, runner up Diego Schwartzman has been reaching the quarterfinals or better since 2018. He was the runner up in 2019 and won the title last year.
The defending champion had a tough run to the final after losing a set in the last two matches and battling a two set tiebreaker in the opening match. Schwartzman had last reached a final three months ago at Antwerp where he lost to Jannik Sinner whereas Ruud was on a 5 match winning streak in the finals which started last year. Ruud had won his first tour title at the event two years ago where he beat Pedro Sousa in the final, Sousa had a walkover in the semifinal against Schwartzman.
The world number 8 had a set point in the first set which took 42 shots for the Argentine to overcome and save the set in the most suited fashion. The first break came in the 10th game as the home crowd favourite took four straight points to set the match up and running. In the second set, Ruud got the break in the 6th game with a cheeky shot at the net and well timed forehands during the breakpoint. After taking the second set, the 23 year old took an early lead which led to another break as he completed the victory in 2 hours and 35 minutes. Ruud defeated Schwartzman 5-7, 6-2, 6-3.
“It’s been an unbelievable week," said Ruud after sealing his seventh ATP Tour title. "To come back here and try to defend the title not from last year but from two years ago has been a challenge, and I enjoyed every minute of it.”
The pair has now met 4 times on clay with Schwartzman winning the first two meetings, overall the 29 year still leads their career head to head meeting with 5 wins as Ruud has won thrice. The result has pushed the ranking by one place ahead for Schwartzman as he is now ranked 14 below Cameron Norrie. Ruud is still behind Andrey Rublev at number 8 and the Russian leads by over 600 points.
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.
Chun-hsin Tseng pockets Bengaluru Open title
Bengaluru, Feb 13 (Tennis News) Chun-hsin Tseng of Chinese Taipei clinched the Bengaluru Open ATP Challenger title after beating qualifier Borna Gojo of Croatia in straight sets in the final here on Sunday.
The 20-year-old player won 6-4 7-5 over the crowd-favourite Gojo in the summit clash that lasted one hour and 44 minutes for his second ATP Challenger title.
Despite the fact that there was no Indian involved in the final, a sizeable crowd had gathered to witness the title clash.
Tseng, who has an impeccable record as a junior finishing as World No.1 in 2018, began on a shaky note, trying to gauge his rival's game. He won a break in the fifth game to take the upper hand in the opening set.
The second set was a roller-coaster ride with Tseng grabbing the first two games with a break in the first.
The change of shirt in the second set seemed to have changed his outlook as Bojo played some aggressive tennis coupled with deft cross court drop shots and seemed to be running away with the second set when he led 5-2.
However, the diminutive Chinese Taipei player’s never-give-up spirit came to the fore as he began his fight back, winning five games in a row.
He was also gifted some points by an error-prone Gojo who lost his serve in the ninth game owing to two double faults. Gojo once again lost his serve in the 11th game after being two game points up.
The agility and the manner in which Tseng put the ball back into the court was the key factor for his win.
"It was little bit up and down. It was difficult to adjust initially and control the ball as it was getting dark and fast," said Tseng, who pocketed USD 7,200 and 80 ATP ranking points after his win.
"I knew he had a good serve but I had to keep making longer rallies. After 2-5 down, I told myself to relax and keep going." Gojo earned USD 4,240 and 50 ATP ranking points.
Also Read : Prajnesh, Ramkumar get tough draw at Bengaluru Open 2 ATP Challenger
News Source : PTI
Prajnesh, Ramkumar get tough draw at Bengaluru Open 2 ATP Challenger
Bengaluru, Feb 12 (Tennis News) India's Prajnesh Gunneswaran will take on top seed Australian Aleksandar Vukic, while Ramkumar Ramanathan has been pitted against seventh seed Mathias Bourgue of France in the opening round of the Bengaluru Open 2 ATP Challenger, which begins with the qualifiers on Sunday.
The 25-year-old Vukic, currently ranked 138th in the world, was handed the top seed, while Frenchmen Hugo Grenier, ranked 158th and 161st ranked Enzo Couacaud were seeded second and third respectively. Italian Federico Gaio received the fourth seed during the draw ceremony here.
Vit Kopriva of Czech Republic, Australian Max Purcell and Taipei’s Chun-hsin Tseng bring up the rear of the seeds.
Prajnesh had lost in the second round to top seed Jiri Vesely, while Ramkumar exited in the first round after losing to Australia's Max Purcell at Bangaluru Open 1.
The qualifying rounds of Bengaluru Open 2 will be held on Sunday and Monday.
It is the second challenger event to be held in Bengalore.
The ATP Challenger Tour is a series of international tennis competitions -- the second-highest tier of tennis competitions after the ATP Tour and is administered by the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP).
Also Read : Kontaveit looking to extend indoor winning streak at St. Petersburg
News Source : PTI
Kontaveit looking to extend indoor winning streak at St. Petersburg
(Tennis news) Anett Kontaveit has now won 18 consecutive indoor matches with a win over Belinda Bencic at St. Petersburg. The momentum kept shifting from one player to another in the opening set as Kontaveit started with a 3-0 lead and Bencic took it from there by winning the next 5 games. The Swiss was a game away from winning the set and was a point away in the tiebreak but untimely errors gave the 2nd seed the set. In the second set, the Estonian again had a lead by taking the opening four games as the 5th seed took the next two but could not create any breaks further. Kontaveit defeated Bencic 7-6(9-7), 6-2.
"It was a very competitive match today," said Kontaveit. "I think the momentum changed quite a few times in the first set, but I was very happy with the way I fought, and no matter the score I was trying to stay the same and keep a positive mindset. I think that was the key for me today."
Jelena Ostaopenko will be eager to stop Kontaveit’s indoor match winning streak in the semifinal. Ostapenko was surprisingly overpowered by Aliaksandra Sasnovich in the opening set of the match, the world no 71 did lose the set but her groundstrokes seemed to be more deadly. In the second set, the world number 25 started by taking a 4-2 lead but from there on Sasnovich came back from the bottom and took the set as the match now took a turn.
In the third set, the Latvian saved 11 of the 12 breakpoints as the 27 year old lost 16 of the 21 breakpoints in the match. Ostapenko didn’t look too happy as she won the match after a double fault by Sasnovich. Ostapenko defeated Sasnovich 7-6(7-5), 4-6, 6-3.
Maria Sakkari reached her first semifinal of the season with a comeback victory against Elise Mertens. Sakkari was down 2-4 in the first set as Mertens kept her on the go, the world number 7 had set points at 5-4 but the Belgian was too ambitious to let her lead go in vain. In the tiebreak, the top seed saved three setpoints and went on to win the marathon set. In the second set, it was the Greek who took 5 lightning quick games as she was about to bagel her opponent but it was avoided with strong service returns. The 6 time tour winner saved three match points but fell in the fourth one when a backhand return went wide. Sakkari defeated Mertens 7-6(9-7), 6-2.
Irina-Camelia Begu reached her fourth career semifinal on tour with a win over Tereza Martincova. Irina-Camelia won the first breakpoint in the 7th game of the match with a stunning backhand winner of a long rally which was just needed to win the set. Martincova’s groundstrokes were concentrating on creating angles while the 31 year old was hitting straight but it reached the deep end of the court. In the second set, the world number 42 had three breakpoints but wasn’t able to convert any and lost two games of her serve to give the Romanian an unassailable lead. Irina-Camelia defeated Martincova 6-4, 6-2.
Lorenzo Sonego ends Verdasco run at Buenos Aires
(Tennis news) Lorenzo Sonego and Fernando Verdasco were up in the first quarterfinals at the Argentina Open. The pair has played thrice on tour and all of them have come on clay with Sonego winning the last two matches. The world number 22 was controlling the rallies with his forehand which had heavy implications on the Spaniard’s shot selection. The left hander had trouble with the highball on his backhand as it seemed to slow down his shots as well as his footwork.
The 38 year old lost serve in the final game of the opening set and it continued in the start of the second set. The 26 year old had a 4-0 lead as the veteran pulled the luck on his side and made it 5-5. In the tie break, the former world number 7 started with a double fault as the match started slipping away from him. Sonego defeated Verdasco 6-4, 7-6(7-4).
Fredrico Delbonis first faced Fabo Fognini on clay at Hamburg in 2013 which Fognini won. They have met a total of 9 times, twice at Buenos Aires and Delbonis won both the matches. The Argentine has now 4 victories in 9 matches against his old rival, the 34 year old last reached a quarterfinal 9 months ago at Monte Carlos. The world number 42 seemed to have much better groundstrokes as Fognini had too many unforced errors and couldn’t finish rallies like he did in the previous round. Delbonis defeated Fognini 6-4, 6-4.
Casper Ruud had competed in the main draw at the event for the first time in 2020 and went on to win the event. The top seed placed the ball with the right amount of pace as Federico Coria could not interrupt his strokes with his power. Coria is yet to take a set off Ruud as the pair had played in the final at Bastad last year. Ruud defeated Coria 6-3, 6-4.
“It was very difficult with the weather,” Ruud said in his on-court interview. “It was not typical weather for Buenos Aires but more like Norwegian weather. On days like this, it is not easy to find your perfect game, so you have to play point by point, building the points. I think I was able to do that well and I am very happy to come through.”
The winner of the quarter final match between Diego Schwartzman and Francisco Cerundolo will face Sonego in the second semifinal.
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).
Ramkumar-Saketh cruise into final of Bengaluru Open
Bengaluru, Feb 11 (Tennis News) Third seeded Indian pair of Saketh Myneni and Ramkumar Ramanathan cruised into the final of the men's doubles event of the Bengaluru Open ATP Challenger with an easy straight-set win over Jay Clarke and Marc Polmans here on Friday.
The Indian duo defeated the Great Britain-Australia combine of Clarke and Polmans 6-4, 6-4.
They will take on the French pair of Hugo Grenier and Alexandre Muller, who stunned the second seeded Austrian-Czech pair of Alexander Erler and Vit Kopriva 6-3, 6-4, in the summit clash.
In the singles event, qualifier Borna Gojo from Croatia continued his dream run as he stormed into the semifinals with a 7-5, 6-4 victory over higher-ranked Belgian Kimmer Coppejans.
The 28-year-old will meet Frenchman Alexandre Muller in the last four match after the latter downed a fighting Cem Ilkel of Turkey 6-4, 7-6 (7) in another quarterfinal played at the KSLTA Stadium.
However, there was a huge disappointment for the tournament’s top seed and hot favourite Jiri Vesely of Croatia who had to quit his quarterfinal match against sixth seed Enzo Couacaud owing to severe stomach ache caused by food poisoning.
Enzo had won the first set 6-4 before Jiri threw in the towel.
In the second semifinals, the Frenchman will clash with Chun-hsin Tseng of Taipei who beat qualifier Brazilian Gabriel Decamps 6-4, 6-4 in another last-eight match.
Adil, Sidharth, Arjun get wildcards for Bengaluru Open 2 ATP Challenger =================================== The trio of Adil Kalyanpur, Sidharth Rawat and Arjun Khade have been handed wildcards for the upcoming second leg of Bengaluru Open ATP Challenger that begins on Monday.
Incidentally, all three had played the qualifying event of Bengaluru Open 1, with only Arjun making it to the main draw where he had lost in the first round.
Sidharth and local lad Adil had lost in the first round of the qualifiers.
The qualifiers of the tournament will be held on Sunday along with the singles final of Bengaluru Open 1.
Also Read : Irina-Camelia ends 5 match losing streak against Kvitova at St Petersburg
News Source : PTI
Irina-Camelia ends 5 match losing streak against Kvitova at St Petersburg
(Tennis news) Irina-Camelia Begu advanced to the quarterfinals at St Petersburg for the first time in her third attempt. She had last played the event in 2018 where she lost to Petra Kvitova in the fourth round. It was a spot on victory for the Romanian as she finally got a victory against Kvitova in their 6th career meeting. The world number 23 was down 2-0 in the first set but the fiery service returns gave her ground to cover, she had chances at 3-4 but the 31 year old did not let the lead go in vain. In the second set, the former world no 2 was beaten by flawless groundstrokes as Kvitova lost 7 straight games to lose for the first time against Irina-Camelia . Irina-Camelia defeated Kvitova 6-4, 6-0.
Elena Rybakina had to withdraw from the fourth round due to illness, she was set to face Tereza Martincova. Irina-Camelia will play against Martincova for a place in the semifinals.
Jelena Ostapenko reached her first quarterfinal in 3 months as it took her less than an hour to beat Andrea Petkovic. Ostapenko hit 40 winners in the match as Petkovic could only win three games in total. The 24 year old used her groundstrokes, slowed down the rallies with her slice and used the lob to hit winners all around the court. Both players shared 2 victories in their last four meetings as two of them have come due to mid match retirements, this time it was utterly impossible for the 34 year old to outperform the Latvian. Ostapenko defeated Petkovic 6-1, 6-2.
Aliaksandra Sasnovich reached her first quarterfinal at a WTA 500 in 4 years as she beat Jaqueline Cristian in straight sets. Sasnovich had reached the season opening Melbourne Summer 2 as a qualifier and will now face Ostapenko for a place in the last four. The Belurasian broke serve 6 times in the match as Crisitan could only do it twice, the 27 year old only lost two points of her first serve in the second set. Sasnovich defeated Cristian 6-2, 6-3.
The quarter finals has two high intensity clashes, Maria Sakkari will play against Elise Mertens and Anett Kontaveit will battle Belinda Bencic. Kontaveit seems to be the favorite as she is riding on an indoor 17 match winning streak and Sakkari seems to be the one in form as she will look to win a second career title.
Schwartzman to face Cerundolo in repeat of last year’s final at Buenos Aires
(Tennis news) Diego Schwartzman is trying his luck at home for the second time in two weeks. The 29 year old had lost in the semifinals of the Cordoba Open a few days ago and is now into the quarterfinals of the Argentina Open for the 4th successive year. The Argentine beat Jaume Munar in a close two set tie breaker, he had faced the Spaniard in last year’s quarterfinal which was a much shorter affair. The world number 15 had a chance to take the set at 5-3, Munar fought back with brute force for a 6-5 lead and was also 2 points away from winning the set but in the tiebreak it was the defending champion all along.
In the second set, the 24 year old had a lead in the start and in the end but could never take that one crucial point which cost him the match. In the tie break there was no doubt about the winner as Schwartzman won 6 points while his opponent was yet to win a point. Munar took 4 points as it looked the tie break could go on longer than expected but a ferocious forehand cross court return put the speculations to dust. Schwartzman defeated Munar 7-6(7-2), 7-6(7-4).
Francisco Cerundolo had reached the finals last year at Buenos Aires as a qualifier where he lost to Schwartzman. This year too as a qualifier Cerundolo is into the quarterfinals where it will be a rematch of last year’s final. The 23 year old looked pumped up against Miomir Kecmanovic as the forehands looked untouchable while winning the first set. In the second set, it was Kecmanovic who had superior groundstrokes and netplay which put him on board alongside his rival. In the final set, it was again the world number 107 who mixed up his tactics to overcome the Serbian a few seconds before the 2 hour mark. Cerundolo defeated Kecmanovic 6-3, 3-6, 6-2.
Fabio Fognini restricted his movement as much as possible against Pedro Martinez as the crowd witnessed an Italian special. Fognini denied Martinez an ace all match while he hit 4 of them as it might have contributed to the Spaniard serving 4 double faults in the second set. The 34 year old looked unmoved as he was down 4-2 in the first set and proceeded to wreck the ball as his groundstrokes could not have been hit better. In the second set, the world number 61 saved a matchpoint at 5-4 but could not avoid the same at the tie break. Fognini defeated Martinez 6-4, 7-6(7-5).
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.
Prajnesh exits Bengaluru Open with second round defeat
Bengaluru, Feb 10 (Tennis News) India's singles challenge ended at the Bengaluru Open with the second round defeat of Prajnesh Gunneswaran against top seed Jiri Vesely, here on Thursday.
Prajnesh won the first set but eventually made exit with a 6-3 2-6 1-6 defeat that sent the Czech into the quarterfinals, where he will meet sixth seed Frenchman Enzo Couacaud who quelled the challenge of Max Purcell 6-4 3-6 6-2.
"I think I went wrong somewhere at the end of the second set as I committed too many mistakes which could have been avoided," Prajnesh said after the match.
The 28-year-old Vesley said, "I just wanted to be myself and play my natural game. Although his confidence was high after the first set, I don't know what happened to him, his game just dropped." Meanwhile, three Indian pairs bowed out of the doubles event with only the third seeded team of Saketh Myneni and Ramkumar Ramanathan advancing to the semifinals after getting a walkover from their opponents Steven Diez of Canada and Malek Jaziri of Tunisia.
In the other singles pre-quarterfinals, Cem Ilkel of Turkey made a superb comeback to down the big-serving Russian Evgeny Donskov 2-6 6-3 7-5 to set up a last eight showdown with Alexandre Muller of France, a 7-6 (4) 6-4 winner over Bulgarian Dimitar Kuzmanov in a match that lasted for three hours.
Also Read : Sakkari to face Mertens for semifinal spot at St. Petersburg
News Source : PTI
SAI has established para centre at its regional centre in Gandhinagar: Thakur
New Delhi, Feb 10 (Sports News) The Sports Authority of India has established a para centre under its National Centre of Excellence Scheme at SAI regional centre in Gandhinagar, Sports Minister Anurag Thakur said in the Parliament on Thursday.
Under the 'promotion of sports among persons with disabilities' vertical of the Khelo India scheme, financial assistance is provided to support district and state level games to the concerned national sports federations, namely, Special Olympic Bharat, All India Sports Council of Deaf and Paralympics Committee of India.
Further, under the 'talent search and development' vertical of the Khelo India Scheme, 29 para-athletes have been identified in four para-sports disciplines and are being provided with out of pocket allowance of Rs 10,000 per month.
In addition, the nodal body has also established a para centre at SAI's regional centre in Gandhinagar. The centre is operational in the disciplines of athletics, swimming, powerlifting and table tennis.
The selected athletes are provided support in the form of expert coaches, sports equipment, boarding and lodging, sports kit, competition exposure, educational expenses, medical/insurance and stipend as per the approved scheme norms.
Most of the other centres of SAI have also been made disabled friendly.
This ministry implements the Khelo India Scheme with the twin objectives of mass participation and promotion of excellence in sports under which various programmes have been launched under the different Khelo India verticals to realise the objective of broad-basing and promoting the culture of sports.
These initiatives are undertaken in both rural and urban areas across the country.
The information was given by Thakur in a written reply in Rajya Sabha.
Also Read : Raiders shine as UP Yoddha beat Tamil Thalaivas, Gujarat outwit Titans in PKL
News Source : PTI
Sakkari to face Mertens for semifinal spot at St. Petersburg
(Tennis news) Maria Sakkari delivered a serving lesson against Ekaterina Alexandrova in their round of 16 at St. Petersburg. Sakkari only lost 2 points on serve in the first set as Alexandrova could only win 9 points in the second set, the world number 7 did not face a single breakpoint in the match. The Greek player will face Elise Mertens for the 8th time for a place in the semifinals. Sakkari defeated Alexandrova 6-2, 6-4.
Mertens needed multiple setpoints in the first set against Petra Martic as the 8th seeded had minor hiccups in the end. Martic hit a few successful dropshots in the beginning of the match but Mertens took the lead and faced defiance beginning from the sixth game when she had three setpoints. The Croatian won the next three games as the set moved farther for her opponent, after finally winning the set it was Martic’s turn to level scores in the second set.
A perfect backhand dropshot by the 31 year old gave her the lead in the opening game, the world number 26 responded by hitting defensive lobs from the baseline and finishing with a sudden down the line winner. Mertens defeated Martic 6-4, 3-6, 6-2.
Belinda Bencic followed Sakkari’s path as she breezed past Kaja Juvan in an hour and 20 minutes. Bencic dominated the rallies from the baseline as Juvan lost six games in the first set, in the second set the Slovenian had a chance to fight back with a serve break but the Swiss broke back. In the tie break, 5th seed took the charge with her forehand as she hit multiple forehand winners to secure four matchpoints. Bencic defeated Juvann 6-1, 7-6(7-2).
Anett Kontaveit was facing Sorana Cirstea for the 6th time and only once had the match gone to a three setter. Kontaveit maintained her perfect winning record against the 31 year old by hitting strong crosscourt groundstrokes, most of which came in the first set. In the second set, the world number 9 was down 3-4 but the returns of serve gave her a second chance in the set. The Romanian’s serve went down in 10th game as she couldn't win a point and after saving two match points it was a 6th consecutive defeat for Cirstea. Kontaveit defeated Cirstea 6-4, 7-5.
Kontaveit will face Bencic in their third career head to head meeting in the quarterfinals, the Estonian hasn’t lost a set in their previous two meetings and is the favourite to advance to the last four.
Federico Coria sets up late recovery against Lajovic at Buenos Aires
(Tennis news) Federico Coria had a tough fight in his match against Dusan Lajovic in the second round of the Argentina Open. Lajovic had a great first half as he won the first three games of the match, he set up a 5-1 lead in the first set and derailed Coria’s comeback at the end of the set. The Serbian was 5-3 in the second set as he was two points away from advancing to the next round when the 29 year old applied the brakes on his rampage and set his own course by winning the next 4 games.
The world number 37 could never recover from the second set attack as he lost consecutive points from the 2nd game till the 4th one. The Argentine may have had his roots helping him hold a grasp over the match as he secured a three set victory in 2 and half hours. Coria defeated Lajovic 4-6, 7-5, 6-4.
Casper Ruud played a match after a month as he had to withdraw from the Australian Open due to an ankle injury. Ruud did need some time to get used to the court against Roberto Carballes Baena, the world number 8 found his flair in the tiebreak as he won by a comfortable margin. In the second set, the Norwegian needed just one breakpoint to take a 2-0 lead but Baena recovered by breaking serve to make it 3-3. In the next game, the Spaniard’s could not win a single point on his serve as he was down a break and a double fault on matchpoint gave Ruud the victory. Ruud defeated Baena 7-6(7-2), 6-3.
“I know Federico well,” Ruud said, previewing their Friday quarter-final—a rematch of the 2021 Swedish Open final, won by the Norwegian. “Last year we played in Bastad, so it was my home court, and now we’re playing here in Buenos Aires, so it’s his home. It will be tough for me, and I hope I can play a good match and of course feel the good energy from the stadium.”
Fernando Verdasco made it into the quarterfinals for the first time at the event in his fourth attempt. Verdasco was down 1-4 in the first set and in the next game Thiago Monteiro needed 7 deuces to make it 5-1 as the Spaniard made a late fightback. The inspiration continued in the next set as the 38 year old was now in the lead with the exact score as the first set 4-1 and Monteiro could only two more games of his serve. In the final set, the Brazilian couldn’t hold on to an early break as the veteran had the final call even though he was 3 points away from losing the match in the 9th game. Verdasco defeated Monteiro 2-6, 6-3, 7-5.
Lorenzo Sonego will also be a first time quarterfinalist when he faces Verdasco next, the Italian needed 2 hours to get past the fourth round. Sonego had faced Sebastian Baez at Sydney International a month ago and the results were similar. The 3rd seed was clearly too powerful for Baez as the Argentine had his supporters but it was not enough to overthrow his opponent’s form. The 21 year old had a lot of chances in the second to break serve but could not convert any as the world number 22 had just 2 chances and converted one to progress to his third quarterfinal of the 2022 season. Sonego defeated Baez 6-3, 6-3.
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.
Kvitova and Ostapenko ease into round 16 at St. Petersburg
(Tennis news) Petra Kvitova had won the title here in 2018, she was facing Jule Niemeier in their first career meeting. The left hander always had the control of the match from the beginning as she opened up with a 2 game lead and was constantly hitting return winners off Jule’s serve. Kvitova served four aces in a row to win the first set and took the first 3 games in the second set. The 31 year old went on to win the match in an hour and 9 minutes. Kvitova defeated Jule 6-2, 6-1.
In another big hitting match, Jelena Ostapenko only conceded 5 games in her first round match against Xinyu Wang. Ostapenko groundstrokes were too fast for Wang to cover as the Latvian took the first set without any setdowns. In the second set, the world number 25 was not able to hit her strokes similar to the opening set and was down 0-2. After breaking serve, Ostapenko was back in form as her strokes were again causing trouble and even hit a forehand down the line to avoid a 1-3 deficit. The former world number 5 served out the match with a rocket serve as her opponent could only touch it with the edge of her racquet. Ostapenko defeated Wang 6-1, 6-4.
Maria Sakkari dug her way out against Anastasia Potapova in the opening match at St. Petersburg Open. Potapova was exhausted after her energy was almost spent in the opening five games of the match as she hit 7 winners in the first three games. Sakkari was done 1-4 but took the opportunity as her opponent looked tired and won the next 5 games to take the set. In the second set, the top seed took the first two games while the Russian was slowly recovering and had three chances at 4-3 to break serve but lost them all to end the match. Sakkari defeated Potapova 6-4, 6-4.
"I managed to find a way to win, which is the most important thing, to give myself another chance tomorrow to play a lot better," Sakkari said afterwards. "I just found solutions when I was down in the score, just tried to make more balls than her and tried to make her feel a little uncomfortable than usual."
Tereza Martincova maintained her composure while pulling off a comeback against two time semifinalist Vera Zvonareva. Martincova’s patience was tested in the first set as the rallies were long and Zvonareva seemed to have the perfect winner at the end of the rally. The 27 year old looked out of place after losing the first set but in the second set she created chances with riskier shots and won 5 continuous games to level the score. In the final set, the 37 year old was down 0-2 and a point away from 0-3 when she hit a perfect forehand drop shot after pushing her opponent in the far end of the court. It was 4-4 as the junior player did not stumble, the world number 42 broke serve to take the lead and won the match. Martincova defeated Zvonareva 2-6, 6-1, 6-4.
Del Potro makes emotional comeback at Argentina Open
(Tennis news) Juan Martin Del Potro made a spirited return on tour after a 3 year absence, the crowd support did make the home favorite a bit emotional at the Argentina Open. The 33 year old last played in June 2019 at Queens and had announced about the comeback a few months ago. Del Potro was up against fellow country mate Federico Delbonis, he broke Federico’s serve in the opening game which invited loud cheers and claps from the crowd. Federico did get a slight taste of the forehands but it did fade away as the match went on, a crucial break in the 7th game put an end of a 4 match losing streak for the left hander. Federico defeated Del Potro 6-1, 6-3.
"It's difficult to explain how I felt on the court. So many emotions," del Potro said post-match. "The atmosphere was crazy, the people were crazy, and I had one of my best ever matches in my career with the crowd."
Albert Ramos-Vinolas might be the most successful at the Cordoba Open but at the Argentina Open things are different. Albert has been playing at the event since 2011, last year he reached the semifinal for the first time and so far has 16 victories in 12 appearances. The Spaniard was up against Thiago Monteiro who was the first to break serve and take a 3-1 lead. Thiago had 3 set points at 5-3 but lost three consecutive points as the 34 year old got a crucial chance to break but failed to convert and lost the set. In the second set after an exchange of breaks in the 4th and 5th game it was the world no 104 who broke serve for the 4th time to win the match. Thiago defeated Albert 6-3, 6-3.
Wildcard Sebastian Baez was playing in the main draw for the first time at the event after losing in the qualifiers last year. He was up against another wildcard, a familiar foe Holger Rune as they had played twice last year which included a challengers event in Chile. Rune had won their ATP tour meeting but Baez made a few changes from last time. The 18 year old won the opening three games of the match as the Argentine won the next three and there were no service breaks which called for a tie breaker. After an hour and two minutes, the 21 year old pocketed the first set. In the second set, the world number 74 took the chances early and took a 4-2 lead which was enough to close out the match for his 5th victory of the season. Baez defeated Rune 7-6(7-4), 6-3.
Pablo Andujar first played at Buenos Aires in 2007 at the qualifiers, he got into the main draw for the first time in 2009. The Spaniard is into the round of 16 for the 3rd time, he went after Juan Ignacio Londero’s second serve and only lost 7 of the 22 serves. It was a match of baseliners as both players finished most of the points without the assistance of the net. Pablo defeated Juan 6-2, 6-4.
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.
Prajnesh advances, Ramkumar exits Bengaluru Open
Bengaluru, Feb 8 (Tennis News) Prajnesh Gunneswaran emerged as the only Indian to manage a win in the singles main draw of the Bengaluru Open as Ramkumar Ramanathan and Arjun Kadhe made first-round exits, along with two other home players, here on Tuesday.
The left-handed Gunneswaran, who returned aggressively, beat French player Mathias Bourgue 7-6(4) 6-2 in the opening round of the USD 53,120 ATP Challenger tournament.
However, Ramkumar, who won the doubles trophy in Pune last week with Rohan Bopanna, squandered a one-set advantage to lose 6-3 0-6 5-7 to Australia's Max Purcell in his opening round.
Kadhe, who had qualified for the main draw, struggled with his serve and lost his match 16 2-6 to Turkey's Altug Celikbilek.
Wild card S D Prajwal Dev lost 2-6 2-6 to Bulgaria's Dimitar Kuzmanov.
Rishi Reddy, another wild card entrant, lost 1-6 3-6 to sixth seed Frenchman Enzo Couacaud.
Prajnesh is now the only Indian surviving in the singles draw as Saketh Myneni has already exited the event following his first-round defeat on Monday.
In the doubles, the Indian pair of Yuki Bhambri and Divij Sharan moved to the quarterfinals after the Turkish team of Altug Celikbilek and Cem Ilkel retired midway into the contest. The Indians were leading 3-1 at the time.
Also Read : Kontaveit faces uphill task at St. Petersburg Open
News Source : PTI
Kontaveit faces uphill task at St. Petersburg Open
(Tennis news) The St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy began with a few high profile matches in the opening round. Anett Kontaveit was facing Jil Teichmann for the third time in her career in which the Estonian had never lost a set. Kontaveit broke Teichmann’s serve twice in the opening set and saved a breakpoint off her own serve. In the second set, the 24 year old for the first time took a set off her opponent as the service game was too strong and only lost 7 points out of 24 on serve.
In the third set, the world number 9 got a hold of her returns as she had five chances to take lead and could only convert one of them but it was enough for victory. Kontaveit defeated Teichmann 6-3, 1-6, 6-3.
Alizé Cornet sure did bring her form from Australia to Russia as she started well against Elise Mertens. In the first set, Cornet’s first serve could not be decoded by Mertens as well as the dropshots which also handed the 32 year the only break in the set. But after the opening set, there was a change in tactics by the Belgian as the forehands grew stronger with every strike and did not miss the targets. Mertens had 13 winners in the opening set and in the last two sets she had 31 winners to progress to the next round. Mertens defeated Cornet 3-6, 6-2, 6-4.
"It was a very tight match," Mertens said afterwards. "It could go either way, it was a battle - it's always difficult against her but I just kept fighting. I think I raised my level a little bit in the second and third sets. I stepped more into the court, the service was a bit better and I ran better."
Belinda Bencic had reached the final when she was 18 years old at St. Petersburg and reached the quarterfinal 2 years ago. The opening match was a high quality one as there were 103 winners and 151 unforced errors between the players. Veronika Kudermetova had beaten the swiss player thrice in their last six meetings and was a few points away from her fourth victory.
The double Tokyo Olympic champion did not let Kudermetova serve well or return well as the rallies were short and both players went for the winners. The Russian learned her mistakes from the opening set as she improved a bit in the second but still had to struggle to break serve and did it to take the set. In the final set, the world number 29 took a 3-1 lead as she squandered the lead as the scores were level at 3-3 and from there on the court was set for a tie break. After 2 hours and 17 minutes, the 6 time WTA tour title winner had three match points lined up in which one was demolished by a forehand return winner and one more was saved. Finally a cross court forehand went long as Bencic entered the round of 16. Bencic defeated Kudermetova 6-2, 4-6, 7-6 (7-5).
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.
Kadhe makes main draw, Myneni out of Bengaluru Open Challenger
Bengaluru, Feb 7 (Tennis News) India's Arjun Kadhe booked a slot in the main draw of the Bengaluru Open but Saketh Myneni exited the ATP Challenger tournament following a first round drubbing here on Monday.
Kadhe, who entered the Qualifying event as an alternate, knocked out Austrian Alexander Erler 6-3 6-4.
In the main draw he is set to compete against Turkey's fifth seed Altug Celikbilek in the first round.
Sasikumar Mukund, though, could not clear the Qualifiers, losing 3-6 2-6 to Croatia's third seed Borna Gojo in the final round.
Myneni, who has been included in the Indian Davis Cup team as a reserve member for next month's tie against Denmark, lost the men's singles first round 1-6 1-6 to Italy's Gian Marco Moroni.
Prajnesh Gunneswaran and Ramkumar Ramanathan will open their campaign on Tuesday against Mathias Bourgue and Max Purcell respectively.
Rishi Reddy and S D Prajwal Dev have been given wild card entries into the main draw.
Yuki Bhambri and Divij Sharan will compete in the doubles as a team.
Kadhe and Adil Kalyanpur have also entered as wild card entrants.
Also Read : We have shown to world, India can pull off big events despite COVID-19 challenge: Tata Open Organisers
News Source : PTI
We have shown to world, India can pull off big events despite COVID-19 challenge: Tata Open Organisers
Pune, Feb 7 (Tennis News) A strict bio-bubble for the players, two separate dedicated hotels for officials and linesmen, 600 tests over 10 days and a drastically reduced workforce, were key factors in successful hosting of Tata Open Maharashtra, the organisers said on Monday.
Not a single main draw player got infection and no match was cancelled in the ATP 250 event, country's biggest tennis tournament.
The organisers say given the massive withdrawals witnessed at the India Open badminton tournament and the way Indian women football team was forced out of the Asian Cup, they certainly felt the pressure.
"These incidents happened and we were under pressure to deliver. But we were determined to pull it off. Now we can boast about an incident-free and successful event for the world to see and prove critics, who demean India most of the time, wrong," Sunder Iyer, Secretary of Maharashtra State Lawn Tennis Association (MSLTA), told PTI.
"The successful hosting of the event has given a positive message to the world about the reopening of the sports events. We don't need to cancel any sporting event, we just need to find a way to do it." "Not only this, the big message is that India can successfully host big tournaments," Iyer, who is also a AITA joint secretary, said.
India's Ramkumar Ramanathan and Rohan Bopanna won the men's doubles title while Portugal's Joao Sousa annexed the men's crown.
Fans were also allowed in the stands during the last three days.
The MSLTA cut down the number of people working for the tournament to about 100-130, including housekeeping, security and logistics team as compared to usual 300 in pre-Covid era.
The volunteers were also less in numbers - from 55-60 to 18-19.
"The players stayed in one hotel while we settled in another. A different hotel was dedicated to the balls men, the linesmen. Everybody working in the vicinity, near and around the players, who are in direct contact with each other, are all in the bio-bubble and were regularly tested," "We carried out over 600 RAT tests and RTPCR a during the last 10 days," informed Iyer. The result was that one German player, who was in the qualifying event, and only 4-5 MSLTA officials contracted infection but no main draw player was affected.
The German player was replaced by an alternate and the officials were quarantined and isolated immediately.
Tournament Director Prashant Sutar said hosting the Tata Open was not only crucial for the sporting fraternity and the players but also for many a different people, who work in unorganised sector.
"The sports industry is a major contributor to economic and social development. The cancellations and postponement of events adversely affected the players, coaches, and others involved.
"The event generated a revenue of about Rs 15-16 crore in terms of prize money, production, media broadcasting, catering, event management companies, people in security and medical services.
"The sound guys, light guys, carpenters, plumbers got work. The sigh of relief these people, got was evident from their enthusiasm for work.
"One of the guys came to me and said that he had barely received Rs 20,000-25,000 in the whole year, but I was able to earn a lakh from this tournament. Close to 20 officiating people earned about 14-15 lakh collectively," said Sutar.
The organisers felt that India's image had taken a massive hit during the second wave of the pandemic when pictures of floating dead bodies were widely circulated but now the country has proved that it can cope with the COVID-19 challenge.
Also Read : Sakkari seeking chances to enter top 5 at St. Petersburg Open
News Source : PTI
Sakkari seeking chances to enter top 5 at St. Petersburg Open
(Tennis news) The third WTA 500 event is set to start today as the players come back after the opening Grand Slam of the year. Maria Sakkari, Anett Kontaveit and Elena Rybakina are the top three seeds at the event as 2018 Champion Petra Kvitova will be playing as a wildcard. Here are the top four players to watch out for at the St. Petersburg Open.
The world number 7 has so far played in two events since the start of the season. At Adelaide International 1 she lost to Shelby Rogers in the fourth round and in the Australian Open she lost to Shelby Rogers in the fourth round. Sakkari has a shot to enter the top 5 with a title and beat her previous best of rank 6. The Greek player has won one title in her career which came three years ago and needs to make an impact in Russia. She lost to Julia Georges in the opening round in 18,19 and in 2020 she reached the semifinals.
Kontaveit had the right start to the year by reaching the semifinals at Sydney but lost in the second round at Australia. The Estonian player needs to bring her season ending form of last year to the start of this season. She will be participating at the event for the first time and will face Jil Teichmann in the opening match.
One of the tallest players on the WTA tour, Rybakina stands 6 foot tall and is currently on her career high number 12 in the rankings. The 22 year old already has played 9 matches from three tournaments this season and reached the finals at Adelaide International 1, she defeated Shelby Rogers in the quarterfinal and lost to Ashleigh Barty in the final. The Russian born player beat Emma Raducanu with the loss of just one game at Sydney and had to retire mid match at Australia against Shuai Zhang due to a left thigh injury. Rybakina was the runner here two years ago and beat Maria Sakkari in the semifinal.
Mertens will be playing in the main draw for the second time at St. Petersburg Open and is playing the event after a 5 year gap. The 26 year old reached the fourth round at Sydney and in Australia lost to eventual runner up Danielle Collins. The Belgian was ranked 12 four years ago, at present she has slipped down to 26th. Her 6th title came last year by beating Caroline Garcia, Elina Svitolina and Kaia Kanepi in the final.
Ramkumar enters doubles top-100, touches career-high 94 after Tata Open triumph
New Delhi, Feb 7 (Tennis News) India's Ramkumar Ramanathan on Monday broke into the doubles top-100 for the first time in his career, after winning the Tata Open Maharashtra along with compatriot Rohan Bopanna, who also jumped eight places to 35 in the ATP list.
Ramkumar, who zoomed to a career-best 94, and Bopanna won their second title together on Sunday after beating the Australian team of Luke Saville and John-Patrick Smith.
The 250 points earned helped Ramkumar jump 14 places while Bopanna gained eight places for the performance.
Bopanna, 41, and the 27-year-old Ramkumar are the only players from India ranked inside top-100.
The left-handed Divij Sharan is ranked 134, having moved up by one slot.
Ramkumar is also the highest ranked Indian in the singles chart. He is placed 185 after losing three places and is followed by out-of-action Sumit Nagal (217,+5), Prajnesh Gunneswaran (235, -7) and Mukund Sasikumar (334).
Comeback man Yuki Bhambri, who made the second round in the singles event of the Tata Open, jumped 193 places to 670. He began the season outside 1000 bracket having missed three years of action due to a knee injury.
Also Read : Albert Ramos-Vinolas ends Alejandro Tabilo’s dream run to win the title
News Source : PTI
Albert Ramos-Vinolas ends Alejandro Tabilo’s dream run to win the title
(Tennis news) Albert Ramos-Vinolas won his fourth ATP tour title with a win over Alejandro Tabilo at the Cordoba Open. The Spaniard defeated the qualifier 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in the final that lasted for 2 hours and 40 minutes. Tabilo only had 3 wins on the tour before this year and racked up four wins at Cordoba, he beat Diego Schwartzman in the semifinal for his biggest career victory so far and did not drop a set from the qualifiers to the final. He was looking to be the second from his country to win the title after Cristian Garin’s victory two years ago.
Albert was playing at Cordoba for the fourth time and in the previous three always lost against an Argentine. Last year he played 5 of his matches against Argentines and lost in the final against Juan Manuel Cerundolo who was ranked 335 at that time. Before that he had reached the quarterfinals and the fourth round in 2019.
The 32 year old had lost in the first round of the Australian Open this year but did not drop a set on his way to the final at the clay event. He was down a set and 2-0 in the second but fought his way through to win the next 6 games out of 7. In the third set, it was again the Chilean who took a 4-1 lead but it was not yet over as Albert broke serve thrice and unleashed forehands that were meant to crush his opponent’s hopes. Tabilo hit a backhand long as Alber fell to the ground with 5 consecutive games for an inspiring victory.
"I don't know how I came back to be honest. I think I played a little bit more aggressively from 1-4 in the third. He missed some first serves. He was serving well and I started to return a little bit more aggressively than before," Ramos-Vinolas said. "When I came back from 1-4 to 3-4, I was feeling I had a chance."
The 24 year old has now climbed up 32 places in the rankings after his performance for a career best 112 and is on his way to the top 100. The veteran also jumped 12 places to be ranked 32 as all four of his career titles have come on clay. Both players will next play at Buenos Aires where Tabilo will face another Spaniard Pedro Martinez in the opening round as for Albert he will be up against Brazilian lefty Thiago Monteiro.
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.
Zverev reaches last four with huge victory at Montpellier
(Tennis news) Alexander Zverev maintained his winning streak against Adrian Mannarino with a demolishing performance. Zverev needed just 50 minutes as he gave away just a single game in the match, he won the first four games in the opening set then took the next 8 games to bagel Mannarino in the second. The Frenchmen was not at his best form as he didn’t seem too happy after the match handshake. Zverev defeated Mannarino 6-0, 6-1.
With Mannarino’s defeat, the Montpellier winner will be a non French player for the fourth time overall and in a one first instance the feat is happening for a second consecutive time as David Goffin had won last year.
Mikael Ymer beat Richard Gasquet in a three set fiasco as the veteran even saved a matchpoint in the second set. Gasquet is a three time champion, one of the most successful players on the event and the only one to win it on consecutive occasions. Ymer broke Gasquet’s serve twice as it was cramped in the opening set with exchange of breaks, in the second there was the 35 year old’s backhand which was the only hope and even went on to save a matchpoint in the 12th game. In the final set, the 23 year old did not struggle to take the first four games and proceeded to the semifinal. Ymer defeated Gasquet 7-5, 6-7(6-8), 6-1.
Filip Krajinovic was the only player other than Zverev to enter the last four with a straight set victory. Qualifier Damir Dzumhur was ranked 23 in 2018 and in the last four years the rankings have dropped at a steady pace until an upward movement last month. Krajinovic took due advantage of unforced errors in the second set as the first set had plenty of chances of break and the Serbian was ahead. In the second set, Dzumhur failed to break the serve and lost half of his first serves to end the match with a double fault. Krajinovic defeated Dzumhur 7-5, 6-2.
Alexander Bublik set up a semifinal clash with Krajinovic as the pair will be meeting for the first time on tour. Bublik beat in form Roberto Bautista Agut as his service games were too strong for the Spaniard in the first set, in the next one it was Roberto who served well to level the score. In the decider, the first four games saw the 24 year old serving 6 aces and in the 12th game hit three aces to make it 6 all. In the tiebreaker, the world number 35 hit his 26th ace to win the match. Bublik defeated Roberto 6-4, 2-6, 7-6(7-4).
Majchrzak knocks out second seed Musetti from Tata Open, Vesely also bows out
Pune, Feb 4 (Tennis News) It turned out to be a day of upsets at the Tata Open Maharashtra as Kamil Majchrzak knocked out second seed Lorenzo Musetti while defending champion Jiri Vesely also exited along with two more seeded players here on Friday.
Returning extremely well and using the drop shots quite effectively, the 95th ranked Majchrzak from Poland eked out a 6-2 7-6(5) 6-4 win over the world number 66 Musetti 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 a loss in th