Catch all Indians in action in the world of sports on February 9.
ITF Women: Mihika Yadav follows Vaidehi, Humera and Zeel into quarterfinals
Qualifier Mihika Yadav played close to her best in beating seventh seed Marie Mettraux of Switzerland 6-2, 3-6, 6-4 in the Pre-quarterfinals of the $15,000 ITF women’s tennis tournament at the Joygaon Academy on Thursday.
After Vaidehi Chaudhari, Humera Baharmus and Zeel Desai had confirmed the Indian presence in the quarterfinals, all attention was on the former Asian junior champion Mihika, as she moved well and stroked with ease and intensity, exasperating a quality opponent.
Everyone was cheering for Mihika, and she rarely put a foot wrong in the battle that lasted two hours and 24 minutes.
Mihika did miss a match point while serving at 5-3 in the decider, but broke back at love in the next game to close out the contest with admirable authority.
Having missed tennis for about six months owing to her mother’s health issues, Mihika was happy to play and was not concerned about winning.
It was her fifth win in the tournament including three in the qualifying event. Mihika will challenge the second seed Tamara Curovic of Serbia.
Top seed Vaidehi Chaudhari will play HUmera Baharmus in the quarterfinals. Zeel Desai was quite composed in wearing out her opponent Celine Simunyu of Ireland for the loss of three games. She will play Vanessa Ersoz of Sweden.
Divij and Purv go down fighting in Lithuania Challenger
Purav Raja and Divij Sharan were beaten by the second seeds Romain Arneodo and Sam Weissborn in the doubles quarterfinals of the €118,000 Challenger tennis tournament in Vilinius, Lithuania, on Thursday.
- Kamesh Srinivasan
Asian junior squash: Indian men win; women lose to Hong Kong China
India endured mixed fortunes in the HCL-SRFI 21st Asian Junior squash team championship here on Thursday, with the men posting a third win but the women lost 1-2 to Hong Kong Kong China.
After opening their campaign with victories over Singapore and Chinese Taipei on Wednesday, the Indian junior men overwhelmed Japan 3-0 with all three players --Shaurya Bawa, Paarth Ambani and Krishna Mishra -- winning in straight games against their opponents.
The Indian women, however, were outclassed by Hong Kong China with Yuvna Gupta and Pooja Arthi going down in straight games to their respective opponents. The highly-rated Anahat Singh beat Wai Sze Wing for a consolation win.
Shubhankar, Chawrasia to spearhead home challenge as Indian Open returns after four years
The Hero Indian Open golf returns later this month after a four-year hiatus with a bevy of national and international stars in action and a bigger prize purse as the organisers aim for normality to be restored to the premier event following the COVID-19 disruption.
The tournament, to be held at the DLF Golf and Country Club in Gurgaon from February 23 to 26, was last played at the same venue in 2019 after which it could not be held due to pandemic-related restrictions.
But with the situation normalising and air travel back to pre-pandemic days, a field of 120 national and international players, including several top-100 foreign and Indian stars such as Shubhankar Sharma and Shiv Kapur, will vie for the USD two million prize purse.
The tournament gains significance with its 2,750 ‘Race to Dubai’ ranking points and 2,000 Ryder Cup points on offer. And with the top-10 players from the DP World Tour, who are not otherwise exempt, also getting a card to the PGA Tour, there is an added incentive for players to compete here.
A total of 28 Indians, including Shubhankar, Manu Gandas -- who earned a card in the DP World Tour because of the latest alliance between PGTI, DP World Tour and PGA Tour -- and two-time Indian Open winner SSP Chawrasia -- who has received a sponsor invite -- will rub shoulders with the best in the world.
Shubhankar, who got off to a flying start at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship -- the first strokeplay event of the year on the DP World Tour -- will spearhead the Indian challenge and hope to bag his maiden Indian Open trophy.
The title triumph could provide the perfect motivation to the 26-year-old to compete in the 151st Open to be held at Royal Liverpool in July.
Among the international players, defending champion Stephen Gallacher of Scotland, 2018 Ryder Cup-winning captain Denmark’s Thomas Bjorn, his country-mate and fellow Ryder Cup team-mate Thorbjorn Olesen, besides top Scottish golfer Robert MacIntyre (OWGR rank 87) will vie for the top prize of USD 3,40,000 (Rs 2.80 crore approximately). The runner-up will be richer by USD 2,20,000 (Rs 1.80 crore).
Olesen, the winner of the British Masters in May 2022, will be one of the favourites for the top purse, given the 33-year-old’s current form and his tied-4th finish in the recent DP World Tour event at Ras Al Khaimah Championship.
Europe’s rising star, Nicolai Hojgaard, will make his maiden visit to India, as will Olesen. With two DP World Tour (originally European Tour) titles to his name, the 21-year-old Hojgaard will turn 22 a little over two weeks after the Indian Open and a win at the DLF Golf and Country Club will be an early birthday present for the Dane, currently ranked 133rd in the world.
Terming the Indian Open as the country’s flagship event, Indian Golf Union (IGU) president Brijinder Singh said it was time to get the bonhomie back to the event after four years of COVID-enforced break.
Sachin Baisoya breaks away into two-shot lead after third round
Sachin Baisoya carded a five-under 65 to total 15-under 195 over three rounds and remained in lead in the TATA Steel PGTI Players’ Championship at the Tollygunge Club golf course in Kolkata on Thursday.
Harsh Gangwar, the overnight joint leader with Baisoya, stayed in the hunt with a 67. He closed the round at second place with an aggregate of 197.
The scores: 195-Sachin Baisoya (64, 66, 65); 197-Harsh Gangwar (66, 64, 67); 198-Varun Chopra (65, 68, 65); 199-Angad Cheema (65, 67, 67), Aman Raj (65, 66, 68); 200-Kartik Sharma (67, 67, 66), Aryan Roopa Anand (65, 67, 68), Karan Pratap Singh (69, 64, 67); 201-Om Prakash Chouhan (65, 70, 66), Kapil Kumar (68, 66, 67), Gaurav Pratap Singh (66, 65, 70).
- Y. B. Sarangi
National Ranking Archery tournament begins on Friday in Delhi
Top Indian archers like Abhishek Verma, Atanu Das and Vennam Jyothi Surekha will be seen in action in the National Ranking Tournament, which begins at the DDA Yamuna Sports Complex here on Friday.
The preliminary elimination rounds of the event will be held on Friday, and the final rounds of the compound and recurve events will be staged on Saturday and Sunday.
The NTPC National Ranking Archery Tournament, being organised by the Delhi Archery Association under the aegis of the Archery Association of India (AAI), will feature senior, junior and sub-junior (cadet) recurve and compound competitions for both men and women.
Only 32 best senior, junior and sub-junior archers of the season, eight in each of the four categories (recurve men, recurve women, compound men and compound women) -- totalling 96 -- got selected for the finals, after taking into account their performances in the four legs of the domestic circuit held from January to October last year in Hyderabad, Saraikela (Jharkhand), Amaravati (Maharashtra) and Narmadapuram (Madhya Pradesh).
The total prize purse of the tournament will be Rs 50 lakhs, double the amount given in the last edition, also held here in 2014, the AAI said in a release.
A total cash incentive of Rs 40 lakhs has already been distributed at the rate of Rs 10 lakh each in the four ranking tournaments, it added.
The AAI also said that it’s organising a day-night event under floodlights for the first time.
Four archers -- Aditi Gopichand Swamy, Preneet Kaur, Bhajan Kaur and Kushal Dalal -- are competing in all three age groups -- senior, junior and sub-junior.