Avani cards 3-under 70; finishes second
Avani Prashanth carded a fine 3-under 70 in the fourth and final round but still ended up second to Rianne Mikhaela Malixi of the Philippines by one shot in the Australian Master of Amateurs Championships here Friday.
The Indian was in fine fettle and her 70 on the day saw her finishing the 72-hole event with a total of 6-under, even as the 16-year-old Malixi, who was tied with the Indian in the second place after three rounds, shot 4-under 69 to grab the title.
Avani had rounds of 71-68-77-70 for a 6-under 286 while Malixi with 70-72-74-69 carded 7-under 285.
Japan’s Nika Ito, who led after the first two rounds, finished third with 68-70-78-71 at 5-under 287, while the 54-hole leader, Australia’s Lion Higo was fourth with cards of 71-71-70-76.
Malixi and Avani will battle it out again next week at the Australian Amateurs and then at the Women’s Amateur Asia-Pacific in Thailand in early February.
But Avani was not disheartened. “Well, I think it was a good week. I can’t complain too much. But I didn’t have the best day in the third round. But there’s always the next week.” Nevertheless, it was another fine result for Avani, who since finishing sixth at the same event last year, has been in great form.
She won individual honours at Queen Sirikit Cup, where Malixi was third. Avani also topped the Asian Games trials ahead of the professionals in India, but was only 18th at the event.
The other Indian participant in the women’s section Heena Kang missed the 54-hole cut, as did Rohit Narwal and Sandeep Yadav.
Bopanna and Ebden in Adelaide final
Second seeds Rohan Bopanna and Matthew Ebden beat Gonzalo Escobar and Aleksandr Nedovyesov 6-4, 6-4 to set up a title clash against third seeds Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury in the $739,945 ATP tennis tournament in Adelaide, Australia, on Friday.
ITF junior tennis: Top seed Nikita beats Rethin in semifinals
Top seed Nikita Bilozertsev of Ukraine wriggled out of the clutches of Rethin Pranav for a 5-7, 6-3, 6-0 victory in the semifinals of the ITF junior tennis tournament at the DLTA Complex on Friday.
The athletic Nikita, quite energetic on both flanks, found a strong match in Rethin for the better part of the contest. However, after playing admirably for a set and a half, Rethin wavered slightly in dropping serve in the seventh game of the second set. Thereafter, the tide turned against him, and he was a step slow in coping with the strong opponent.
Rethin had stepped it up nicely after dropping serve midway through the first set to turn it around in his favour, especially with his strong serve. In the climax, it was only Nikita who was able to sustain the high quality game.
In the final, NIkita will play third seed Ognjen Milic of Serbia who outplayed Luc Wieland of Switzerland for the loss of five games.
In the girls’ section, Maria Golovina, the champion of the last tournament in Chandigarh, proved too smart for Daria Shadchneva. In the final, Maria will face top seed Lidia Podgorichani of Thailand, who pulled through in a long three-setter against Christasha McNeil of USA.
Odisha claimS Women’s National T20 Cricket Tournament for Blind title
Odisha emerged as champion at the Women’s National T20 Cricket Tournament for the Blind after beating Karnataka by six wickets in the final here on Friday.
Chasing a target of 94, Odisha received early jolts, with skipper Phula Saren being dismissed for a golden duck.
However, Jamuna Rani Tudu and Basanti Hansda scored 24 and 34 runs respectively to take Odisha home.
Batting first, Karnataka lost five wickets in the powerplay, while star batter Deepika scored 16 runs in 29 balls.
The side lost wickets regularly and was reeling at 44 for six in the eighth over, but Divakka and Renuka Rajput took Karnataka past the 90-run mark. However, the team was skittled for 93 in the 19th over.
Chennai Rockstars wins the TN Volleyball League
Chennai Rockstars did it in style. Led by India International and team captain M. Ukkarapandian, Rockstars delivered a stand-out performance to defeat Cuddalore With US 21-17, 21-16, 21-19 in the final of the SNJ-Tamil Nadu volleyball league (TNVL) held here on Friday.
Rockstars came prepared and implemented its plans to a ‘T’. From setter Ukkarapandian to attacker Raman Kumar and blocker Prince, the team was clinical in its display.
However, in the third set there was a touch of drama and controversy. Trailing 16-18, Cuddalore Lad Om Vasanth’s serve looked to touch the sidelines and a replay from side angle (inconclusive) proved so. It was called a super serve (as an ace is called in TNVL) and the team got two points. Jerome Vinith, the captain of Cuddalore, was not happy as he kept arguing with the referee. But, the referee’s decision stood.
Cuddalore fought hard to take add more points. At 19-20, Santhosh’s attacking shot kissed Cuddalore Chandrasekar’s hands and bounced out, giving Rockstars a much-deserved victory.
Rockstars head coach Harun Ahmed Khan gave full credit to Ukkarapandian. “All credit to my captain. In my team, apart from Ukkra, there are no stars players in my team. Our plan was to block and serve well. After our loss to Cuddalore earlier in the league where we did mistakes in reception and blocking, we rectified them.”
Ukkarapandian praised the league as a great platform for the young and upcoming players. He hoped that TNVL would become an annual affair. “It’s a big opportunity and a huge platform for young players. There are seven college players, one school player and four departmental players in a team, apart from two outstation players.
It’s a great vehicle for grassroots development and a chance for producing more quality players from Tamil Nadu. When young players watch players like me, Jerome Vinith, Santhosh, Raman Kumar and Prince, they get to learn a lot and get motivated.”
When asked about the controversy regarding the super serve, Ukkarapandian said: “TV replays can be done only with high quality cameras. It will take time [in TNVL].”
Special awards: Most valuable player of the tournament: M. Ukkarapandian (Chennai Rockstars); best setter: Lad Om Vasanth (Cuddalore With US); best outside hitter: S. Nandha Gopal (Virudhunagar King Makers); best blocker: Prince (Chennai Rockstars); best Universal: Jerome Vinith (Cuddalore With US); best libero: R. Ramanathan (Cuddalore With US); best fair play award: V. K. Vinith Kumar (Virudhunagar King Makers).
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