Indian sports news wrap, January 18

Here are all the major developments in Indian sports on January 18, 2023.

Amandeep Drall in action.

Amandeep Drall in action. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Here are all the major developments in Indian sports on January 18, 2023.

GOLF

Amandeep shares lead with Pranavi on Day 1 of 2nd leg of Hero WPGT 2023

Amandeep Drall dropped two late bogeys on the back nine but still had a share of the lead with Pranavi Urs at the end of day one of the second leg of the Hero Women’s Pro Golf Tour 2023 on Wednesday.

The duo shot 1-under 69 each at the Bombay Presidency Golf Club and were one ahead of Mysore golfer Disha Kavery (70), who is only in her third season as a pro.

Two amateurs, Vidhatri Urs (71) and Nishna Patel (72), were third and fourth, while Vani Kapoor, who will shift her focus to the Ladies European Tour next month, carded 73 after a rough front nine of 3-over.

She shot 3-over 73 as did Asmitha Sathish and Afshan Fatima.

Four others -- Sneha Singh, Lakhmehar Pardesi, Khushi Khanijau and Ananya Datar -- were tied ninth with 75.

Amandeep, playing for the first time since the season-ending events on the LET Tour in 2022, had an early bogey on the second but three birdies in a row from sixth to eighth and another on the 11th saw her go 3-under. She then dropped shots on the 14th and 17th to finish at 69.

In contrast, Pranavi, who is likely to play on the Epson Tour in the US this season, birdied the first and fourth but dropped a shot on the ninth to reach the turn in 1-under. She parred each of the nine holes on the back-nine to finish at 69.

Disha Kavery had one bogey on the front nine and another on the 12th, but back-to-back birdies on the 14th and 15th, saw her card even-par 70.

Last week’s winner Seher Atwal had a difficult day with 7-over 77. She bogeyed three in a row from eighth to 10th and then a double bogey on Par-3 13th added to her woes as she finished bogey-bogey for a 7-over card. She was lying tied 15th.

Ridhima Dilawari had an even worse start at 9-over 79 with six bogeys and a triple bogey, and was tied 19th.

-PTI

Sharma looks for good start to 2023 season in Abu Dhabi

Indian golfer Shubhankar Sharma will be hoping for a good start to the season when tees off at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championships here on Thursday.

At 26, Sharma is already feeling like a veteran as he begins his 11th year as a professional here. Entering the paid ranks at 16, he rose very fast. By 2018 he was on the DP World Tour and had two wins in matter of four starts around the turn of 2017-18.

On Thursday, he will start his first round with Finland’s Tapio Pulkkanen and Englishman Matthew Southgate from first tee, while Belgian Thomas Pieters, targeting back-to-back wins on the Yas Island, is paired with two other past champions Shane Lowry and Tommy Fleetwood from the 10th tee.

Sharma will also try and prove once again that nice guys do win. In his years on DP World, he has earned praise not only for his game but also his great demeanour.

Pieters, the defending champion, said, “Shubhankar (Sharma), he’s one of the nicest kids I’ve ever met. His dad, as well. Always saying thank you, please. He is very well brought up. He’s just a really nice kid. He’s well-mannered. There’s nothing to dislike about him.” On Sharma’s game, Pieters added, “He’s got a very good golf game obviously. I think he hits really good stretches where he putts it well and drives it well, and then he goes off and has a couple months or half-year that he doesn’t really perform. But that’s golf and that’s just a part of growing up and dealing with those kind of stretches. Everybody has them.” Sharma has kept his card since, but has not been able to convert close finishes into wins.

Two of those excellent performances came in 2022, one a runner-up finish at this very tournament and at the same Yas Links and then there a third place at the Nedbank Challenge, the penultimate event of 2022.

“I had a great start and then it was a lull in the middle for various reasons – some club issues, a niggle in the back and then Covid. There were Top-15s in Kenya, Dutch Open and Singapore, but towards the finish was strong with third place in Nedbank in South Africa,” Sharma said, recalling last season. “At the DP World Tour Championships I did just enough finishing in mid 40s but that helped me finish the year in Top-30 on the DP World and secure a place for the 2023 (British) Open. So, I would call the year a mixed bag.” Sharma, who has played at Abu Dhabi every year since he came on the Tour fully in 2018, loves the place.

“It is a great place. Great places to go to and see. I went to the Ferrari World (across the Yas Links) here and I have great memories from the tournament last year. The elite Rolex series events in Abu Dhabi and Dubai are a great way to start the year.

“I played with Viktor Hovland and Rafa Cabrera Bello last year in the final and ahead were Shane Lowry and Thomas Pieters. It was really close. A late bogey cost me a chance to get into a play-off.” Séamus Power makes his tournament debut following his appearance in last week’s Hero Cup. The Irishman also won his second PGA TOUR title at the Butterfield Bermuda Championship in October last year and currently leads the FedExCup standings.

There are 19 members from last week’s Hero Cup teams, including the 2021 winner Tyrrell Hatton, as well as Ryder Cup Captain Luke Donald and his vice captains Thomas Bjørn, Nicolas Colsaerts and Edoardo Molinari.

-PTI

TENNIS

$40,000 ITF women’s tournament

Ankita Raina fought her way past Ekaterina Maklakova of Russia 4-6, 7-6(3), 6-4 in the first round of the $40,000 ITF women’s tennis tournament at the Arera Club on Wednesday.

In the pre-quarterfinals, Ankita will challenge the second seeded Joanne Zuger of Switzerland, who beat Ekaterina Yashina in straight sets.

Karman Kaur Thandi beat Daria Kudashova of Russia 6-3, 6-3 to make the second round. She will face fifth seed Anastasia Tikhonova of Russia in the second round.

The only other Indian player to progress to the pre-quarterfinals earlier on the opening day, Rutuja Bhosale will face sixth seed Ekaterina Makarova of Russia.

The results:

Singles (first round): Nigina Abduraimova (Uzb) bt Emily Welker (Ger) 6-1, 6-0; Ekaterina Reyngold (Rus) bt Vaidehi Chaudhari 6-4, 6-2; Karman Kaur Thandi bt Daria Kudashova (Rus) 6-3, 6-3; Anastasia Tikhonova (Rus) bt Sharmada Balu 6-2, 6-0; Irina Khromacheva (Rus) bt Sravya Shivani 6-1, 6-2; Ekaterina Makarova (Rus) bt Funa Kozaki (Jpn) 6-0, 6-4; Valeriya Savinykh (Rus) bt Zeel Desai 6-0, 6-2; Zhibek Kulambayeva (Kaz) bt Ziva Falkner (Slo) 6-7(5), 6-1, 6-4; Mana Kawamura (Jpn) bt Saki Imamura (Jpn) 4-6, 6-4, 6-2; Gozal Ainitdinova (Kaz) bt Carole Monnet (Fra) 6-2, 6-4; Dalila Jakupovic (Slo) bt En Shuo Liang (Tpe) 5-7, 6-3, 6-3; Ksenia Zaytseva (Rus) bt Diana Marcinkevica (Lat) 6-1, 7-6(6); Ankita Raina bt Ekaterina Maklakova (Rus) 4-6, 7-6(3), 6-4; Joanne Zuger (Sui) bt Ekaterina Yashina (Rus) 6-4, 6-2.

Doubles (pre-quarterfinals): Dalila Jakupovic (Slo) & Rosalie van der Hoek (Ned) bt Ekaterina Maklakova & Ksenia Zaytseva (Rus) 6-4, 6-1.

-Kamesh Srinivasan

Arjun Kadhe in doubles quarterfinals

Arjun Kadhe in partnership with Fernando Romboli of Brazil beat Ivan Marrero Curbelo and Hillel Rousseau 6-1, 6-2 in the doubles pre-quarterfinals of the €118,000 Challenger tennis tournament in Tenerife, Spain.

The results:

€118,000 Challenger, Tenerife, Spain

Doubles (pre-quarterfinals): Fernando Romboli (Bra) & Arjun Kadhe bt Ivan Marrero Curbelo (Esp) & Hillel Rousseau (USA) 6-1, 6-2.

$40,000 Challenger, Nonthaburi, Thailand

Doubles (pre-quarterfinals): Anirudh Chandrasekar & Vijay Sundar Prashanth bt Krittin Koaykul & Jirat Navasirisomboon (Tha) 6-3, 6-2.

$25,000 ITF men, Doha, Qatar

Singles (first round): Mukund Sasikumar bt Mashari Nawaf (Qat ) 6-0, 6-1; Prajnesh Gunneswaran bt Tibo Colson (Bel) 6-4, 6-0.

$15,000 ITF men, Jakarta, Indonesia

Singles (first round): Sidharth Rawat bt Karan Singh 3-6, 7-6(3), 7-6(3); Hong Kit Wong (Hkg) bt Rishab Agarwal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6(3); Niki Poonacha bt M Rifqi Fitriadi (Ina) 4-6, 6-2, 6-4; Duckhee Lee (Kor) bt Siddharth Vishwakarma 7-6(5), 6-7(5), 6-3; Arthur Weber (Fra) bt Abhinav Sanjeev Shanmugam 6-3, 6-7(6), 7-6(5).

-Kamesh Srinivasan

SHOOTING

National shotgun trials

Prithviraj Tondaiman beat Olympic quota winner Bhowneesh Mendirata 32-30 to top the second National shotgun selection trials in trap at the New Moti Bagh Gun Club on Wednesday.

Qualification topper and winner of the first trial, Zoravar Singh Sandhu topped qualification with 121, but ended up third ahead of Anirudh Singh in the medal round.

Lakshay Sheoran, Rayyan Rizvi, Manavjit Singh Sandhu and Aryavansh Tyagi were eliminated in the semifinals.

In women’s trap, Shreyasi Singh prevailed 29-25 over Sabeera Haris, while the topper of the first trial, Preeti Rajak, ended third ahead of Snehlata Rajawat.

Rajeshwari Kumar, Kirti Gupta, Nilaa Baalu and Neeru got eliminated in the semifinals.

The results:

Trap:

Men: 1. Prithviraj Tondaiman 32 (20) 120; 2. Bhowneesh Mendiratta 30 (21) 114; 3. Zoravar Singh Sandhu 23 (20) 121; 4. Anirudh Singh 11 (22) 113.

Junior men: 1. Aryavansh Tyagi 112; 2. Bakhtyar Uddin Malek 111; 3. Vivaan Kapoor 111.

Women: 1. Shreyasi Singh 29 (19) 103; 2. Sabeera Haris 25 (19)103; 3. Preeti Rajak 18 (22) 109; 4. Snehlata Rajawat 8 (20) 104.

Junior women: 1. Preeti Rajak 109; 2. Sabeera Haris 103; 3. Nilaa Baalu 102

-Kamesh Srinivasan

FOOTBALL

NEROCA FC stun TRAU 3-1, move up from relegation zone

 Jourdain Fletcher scored a brace as NEROCA FC came out of the relegation zone with a come-from-behind 3-1 win over local rivals Tiddim Road Athletic Union in an I-League match at the Khuman Lampak Stadium on Wednesday.

Fletcher struck in the 37th and 90+1st minute, while Michael Kporvi fired in another in the dying minutes to hand NEROCA full points that took them to the 10th spot with 11 points from 12 matches.

The win also avenged the first-leg defeat to their arch-rivals who remained at third place from 12 matches. Ten minutes into the game, trying to clear a cross from the right by TRAU’s Salam Johnson Singh, NEROCA captain and defence mainstay David Simbo headed it on to TRAU’s lone striker Komron Tursunov, who calmly chested it down and put it into the net with his right foot.

Till the half-hour mark, TRAU kept attacking and looked like scoring at any time but coach Leimapokpam Nandakumar Singh’s tactical display kept them at bay.

NEROCA came back into the match with the equaliser when Paogoumang Singson crossed from the left and Jourdain Fletcher scored a world-class goal with a side volley.

TRAU had the chance to go up once again just before the breather when they were awarded a penalty but Fernandinho’s low left-footer was saved by Soram Poirei.

TRAU came close to scoring twice in the second-half but could not convert their chances.

NEROCA coach Wangkhem Khogen Singh’s decision to replace Kamo with Michael Kporvi in the 87th minute proved to decisive.

His precise pass across the field to Fletcher caught the TRAU defence napping and hand them the lead.

TRAU were still trying to salvage a point, but the counter-attack settled the result as Kporvi made it 3-1.

-PTI

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