Indian sports news wrap, March 26

Here are all the major updates in Indian sports on March 26.

Published : Mar 26, 2023 17:36 IST - 9 MINS READ

(From L) Tennis players Manish Ganesh, Dr KV Rajendra, Deputy Commissioner of Mysuru and the chairman of the organising committee with Mr Peter Vijay Kumar, Tournament Director, during the PC on March 26, 2023.
(From L) Tennis players Manish Ganesh, Dr KV Rajendra, Deputy Commissioner of Mysuru and the chairman of the organising committee with Mr Peter Vijay Kumar, Tournament Director, during the PC on March 26, 2023. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

(From L) Tennis players Manish Ganesh, Dr KV Rajendra, Deputy Commissioner of Mysuru and the chairman of the organising committee with Mr Peter Vijay Kumar, Tournament Director, during the PC on March 26, 2023. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement


Donskoy headlines singles field at ITF Mysuru Open 2023

The city of Mysuru will witness exciting tennis action as Evgeny Donskoy will headline the singles main draw, which also includes eight Indians, at the ITF Mysuru Open 2023, scheduled at the Mysuru Tennis Club from March 27 to April 2. 

The USD 25,000 event—hosted by the Karnataka Lawn Tennis Association (KSLTA), also marks the return of ITF tennis to Mysuru after eight years. India’s Ramkumar Ramanathan emerged as the winner when Mysuru hosted an ITF tournament, an F6 Futures, last time in 2015.

“Mysuru has always been a premier centre for tennis in India and we are happy to bring a top-level ITF tennis tournament after eight years. I am certain that the event will go a long way in inspiring youth and furthering the development of tennis in the city as well as in Karnataka. We are confident of conducting a successful tournament here that will also be an enjoyable experience for the fans,” said Maheshwar Rao, Hon. Secretary of KSLTA. 

The 32-year-old Donskoy, who was once ranked 65 in the world, made the headlines in 2017 when he earned the biggest win of his career by beating tennis great Roger Federer in Dubai. The Russian also has wins over top tennis stars Daniil Medvedev and Canadian big-server Milos Raonic before they broke into the Top 10.

The tournament will also see other top international players including Vietnam’s Ly Hoang Nam, a World No. 245, and USA’s Oliver Crawford. 

“It is an honour to be associated with the tournament where a clutch of top tennis stars from India and other nations are participating. I take pride in welcoming Sporting Ambassadors from 15 countries to Mysuru. Mysuru has a strong history of tennis players with its local lad, Prahalad Srinath, going on to represent the country during the Davis Cup. I wish such kinds of events will attract more youth to take up sports and bring pride to the country. I am confident that Mysuru, a city of sports aficionados, will see more such events in the future which will firmly cement the status of the city as a premier sporting hub,” said Dr KV Rajendra, Deputy Commissioner of Mysuru and the chairman of the organising committee.

India No. 2 Mukund Sasikumar will lead the challenge for the hosts as Ramkumar, Sidharth Rawat, Digvijay Pratap Singh, Manish Sureshkumar, Niki Poonacha, and Karan Singh will also be vying for the title. 

Mysuru player SD Prajwal Dev too will be eyeing an ITF title after his good runs in recent events. There will be more local representation as Mysore lads Manish Ganesh and R Suraj Prabodh were handed wildcard entries to the singles main draw. Bengaluru lad Rishi Reddy too has received a wild card entry into the singles main draw. Gujarat’s Madhwin Kamath also made his way to the main draw through wildcard entry.

Sri Lanka’s Dharaka Ellawala has been appointed as the ITF Supervisor, while Peter Vijay Kumar will be the tournament director.

Ellawala, who is involved in officiating for well over a decade, is a ‘Silver Badge’ accredited referee, a rare honour awarded by the ITF.

The singles qualifiers will be played on March 26 and 27, while the main draw will begin on March 28. 

-Team Sportstar

25000 USD ITF Men’s Tournament: Donskoy wins title after beating Vanshelboim

Evgeny Donskoy made it two in a row as he won the title, beating Eric Vanshelboim 6-2, 7-5 in the final of the $25,000 ITF men’s tennis tournament at the Ekaana Sports Complex on Sunday.

Donskoy had earlier won the title in Delhi last week. In winning his second successive tournament, the former world No.65, Donskoy did not drop a set, except for the first round against Digvijay Pratap Singh.

Donskoy will attempt to perform a hat-trick as he would be competing in the next tournament in Mysuru, from Tuesday.

The results (final): Evgeny Donskoy bt Eric Vanshelboim (Ukr) 6-2, 7-5.

-Team Sportstar

Miami Open: Bopanna-Ebden duo crashes out in first round

Rohan Bopanna, seeded sixth with Matthew Ebden of Australia, was beaten 7-5, 4-6, [10-4] by Kevin Krawietz and Fabrice Martin in the doubles first round of the $8,800,000 ATP tennis tournament in Miami USA.

Fresh from the title triumph in Indian Wells, it was a setback for the Indo-Aussie pair which had to be content with $18,020 and no ATP points.

In the Challenger in Les Franqueses Del Valles, Spain, third seeded Anirudh Chandrasekar and Vijay Sundar Prashanth beat the fourth seeds Purav Raja and Divij Sharan 7-5, 6-1 in the doubles final.

It was the second Challenger doubles title for Anirudh and Vijay following the one in Pune.

The results
$8,800,000 ATP, Miami, USA Doubles (first round): Kevin Krawietz (GEr) & Fabrice Martin (Fra) bt Rohan Bopanna & Matthew Ebden (Aus) 7-5, 4-6, [10-4].
€73,000 Challenger, Les Franqueses Del Valles, Spain Doubles (final): Anirudh Chandrasekar & Vijay Sundar Prashanth bt Purav Raja & Divij Sharan 7-5, 6-1.

-Team Sportstar


Ahlawat best Indian at eighth in Hong Kong, rookie Taichi Kho wins title

 India’s Veer Ahlawat shot a solid four-under 66 to finish tied eighth at the inaugural World City Championship here on Sunday.

With rounds of 71-67-66, Ahlawat totalled six-under 204 in the weather-hit tournament that was reduced to three rounds to record another Top-10 finish.

While Ahlawat was the best-placed Indian, Taichi Kho made history by becoming the first player from Hong Kong to win an Asian Tour event.

Kho, who only turned professional in January, won by two shots from New Zealand’s Michael Hendry on another wet day at the Hong Kong Golf Club.

Among other Indians, S Chikkarangappa was the next best as he closed with 70 for five-under 205 and was tied 18th. Gaganjeet Bhullar (66) finished tied 24th, while Shiv Kapur (69) was tied 31st.

Jeev Milkha Singh and SSP Chawrasia both shot 71 each and finished at two-under 208 and were tied 39th. Karandeep Kochhar (70) was tied 45th, while Honey Baisoya (77) ended tied 70th.

Ahlawat had five birdies against one bogey in his 66 and it was his best card of the week.

The 22-year-old Kho closed with an even-par 70 to finish the tournament with a total of 12 under, and also secure one of the four spots up for grabs in this year’s Open Championship at Royal Liverpool Golf Club in July.

Hendry shot a 68, while Australian Travis Smyth returned a 66 to finish third, three behind Kho. Korean Bio Kim (65) and Miguel Tabuena (72) from the Philippines tied for fourth, a shot further back.

Hendry, Smyth and Kim also made it through to The Open, where Kho will also become the first Hong Kong Chinese player to compete in the game’s oldest and most prestigious Major. Kim secured his berth ahead of Tabuena due to a better world ranking.

This is only Kho’s third event as a professional on the Asian Tour as he made it through the Tour’s Qualifying School in January.

The Asian Tour now has a two-week break before the inaugural International Series Vietnam at KN Golf Links from April 13 to 16.


Chouhan’s fabulous 65 earns him first international title at Duncan Taylor Black Bull Challenge

India’s Om Prakash Chouhan showed nerves of steel, firing a seven-under 65 on the final day to earn his first international title at the USD 300,000 Duncan Taylor Black Bull Challenge here on Sunday.

The 36-year-old finished two shots ahead of the rest of the field much to the delight of the home crowd at the Karnataka Golf Association (KGA) golf course here.

Chouhan (70-67-66-65), who hails from Mhow in Madhya Pradesh, fired the last day’s best score to total 20-under 268 for the week while joint runners-up Ashley Chesters (67-68-68-67) of England and Victor Pastor (72-64-67-67) of Spain had a tally of 18-under 270.

Aman Raj (67-68-71-70) took tied eighth place at 12-under 276 to finish as the second Indian in the top-10 at the event co-sanctioned by the European Challenge Tour and PGTI.

Chouhan’s eighth professional win helped him secure his Challenge Tour card and claim his biggest ever prize money cheque of USD 48,000 (Rs 39,84,000) that in turn catapulted him from 16th to first position in the TATA Steel PGTI Rankings with season’s earnings of Rs 44,52,750.

Among the other notable records set on Sunday, Chouhan became the third Indian to win on the Challenge Tour following the likes of Gaganjeet Bhullar (won in 2011) and Shiv Kapur (won two titles in 2013).

It was also the first win by an Indian on Indian soil since Khalin Joshi’s triumph at the Panasonic Open India in October 2018. Chouhan also equalled Udayan Mane’s 2017 record for the lowest winning total at KGA.

Chouhan, a winner of seven PGTI titles in the past, saved his best round for the last day as he went error-free with three birdies on the front-nine and four more on the back-nine.

On the front-nine, Chouhan hit his wedges close on a couple of occasions to pick up birdies and also made a great par save on the fifth after finding the water hazard.

After a birdie on the 12th and salvaging a good par on the 14th, Chouhan sank a crucial 10-feet birdie conversion on the 15th to draw level with Ashley Chesters who was the leader for most part of the day.

Chouhan then extracted a birdie from a tough position on the 17th as he drained another long putt. An unruffled Chouhan, who turned pro in 2002, finally saw it home in style with a 10-feet birdie conversion on the 18th.

“I’m thrilled. It’s a huge achievement for me as I had never won an international title previously. I definitely have plans to play on the Challenge Tour in Europe now. This win opens a lot of doors for me,” Chouhan said.

“I just wanted to focus on my strengths and my game and not drop any shots. I had targeted a seven-under at the start of the round.

“I’ve worked a lot on the mental aspect of my game lately. That has brought a lot of improvement in my game. In the past, if I dropped shots or made mistakes early in the round, I would generally start playing more aggressively. But now, I don’t let the errors affect my game too much.” Ashley Chesters (67) had a bogey-free day while Victor Pastor (67) made six birdies and a bogey as the duo couldn’t catch up with Chouhan in the final stages.

M Dharma (70), playing at his home course, finished tied 21st with a total of nine-under 279.


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