Indian sports news wrap, February 9

Here are all the updates, results and developments from the world of Indian sports on February 9. 

Published : Feb 09, 2024 16:06 IST - 12 MINS READ

Former World No 25 Vasek Pospisil practicing at KSLTA stadium on Friday.
Former World No 25 Vasek Pospisil practicing at KSLTA stadium on Friday. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Former World No 25 Vasek Pospisil practicing at KSLTA stadium on Friday. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement


Former World No 25 Vasek Pospisil enters Bengaluru Open as wild card

Bengaluru Open on Friday announced the wild card entry for former top-30 Canadian tennis star Vasek Pospisil in the singles main draw.

The 2014 Wimbledon Champion in doubles and 2015 Wimbledon quarterfinalist in singles, Pospisil was ranked as high as 25 in singles in 2014 and fourth in the ATP doubles chart the following year. He also has a victory over the then World number one, Andy Murray in 2017.

In 2020, the Canadian Davis Cupper was awarded Comeback player of the Year when he made the US Open fourth round and also reached the final of Sofia Open the same year.

The 33-year-old has competed on Indian soil three times when the country hosted an ATP 250 tournament.

“I’m really excited to be in India again, and I’m very grateful to the event organisers for giving me the opportunity. I love the energy of this country and the people here so I’m hoping to have a great week,” said Pospisil, who is making a comeback and is now ranked 816.

Pospisil has had to contend with a few injuries in his career that pegged him back. He had to battle a back injury in 2019 for which he had to undergo surgery, and then faced an elbow issue in 2022 but is determined to bounce back.

“I’m looking forward to stepping on court and competing in front of the fans here in Bangalore,” he further added.

Sunil Yajaman, Tournament Director said, “Vasek Pospisil has always been one of the finest players on the tour. He is an inspiration and its nice he has chosen to be in Bengaluru, his life story and achievements speak for themselves. His presence adds strength to the field and makes the event more competitive. I am sure the Sporting fans of Bengaluru would enjoy watching Vasek and all the budding players of the city would look forward interacting with him and get motivated.”

Bengaluru Open is being organised by Karnataka State Lawn Tennis Association (KSLTA). The ATP Challenger event will begin on February 12 and conclude on February 18.

-Team Sportstar

Rohan Bopanna felicitated by Cricket Club of India

The world No.1 doubles star and Australian Open Grand Slam champion Rohan Bopanna was felicitated today by the Cricket Club of India (CCI) with the presentation of honorary membership on Friday.

After the first match of the ongoing WTA tennis event at the CCI, the organisers arranged for a quick felicitation of Bopanna who will be turning 44 next month.

Bopanna recalled the ATP Tour event at the same venue in 2006 when the organisers had worked wonders in handling rain and ensuring play, even though the finals had to be pushed to Monday.

Rohan Bopanna and Rutuja Bhosale at the felicitation function by the Cricket Club of India (CCI) in Mumbai on Friday.
Rohan Bopanna and Rutuja Bhosale at the felicitation function by the Cricket Club of India (CCI) in Mumbai on Friday. | Photo Credit: Kamesh Srinivasan

Rohan Bopanna and Rutuja Bhosale at the felicitation function by the Cricket Club of India (CCI) in Mumbai on Friday. | Photo Credit: Kamesh Srinivasan

Bopanna praised the Maharashtra State Lawn Tennis Association (MSLTA) for working towards the promotion of the game in the best possible way. Appreciating the work of his State, Karnataka, Bopanna hoped that the other States would also join in strengthening the game in the country.

Surrounded a bunch of kids, Bopanna hoped that kids training at the centre would one day reach Grand Slam excellence.

The organisers also made it a point to felicitate Rutuja Bhosale who had won the Asian Games mixed doubles gold with Bopanna in Hangzhou, China, last year.

-Kamesh Srinivasan

AITA ranking tennis: Coach Paramveer Bajwa beats his trainee Arjun Rathi

Coach Paramveer Bajwa beat his trainee from the Roundglass Academy, Arjun Rathi, 6-3, 6-3 in the final of the Rs.200,000 AITA ranking tennis tournament at the CLTA Complex on Friday.

It was the first tournament after nearly five years for the 26-year-old Paramveer who had played the international circuit.

Paramveer Bajwa, the champion of the AITA ranking tennis tournament in Chandigarh on Friday.
Paramveer Bajwa, the champion of the AITA ranking tennis tournament in Chandigarh on Friday. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Paramveer Bajwa, the champion of the AITA ranking tennis tournament in Chandigarh on Friday. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Paramveer had won the doubles title in the company of another of his wards, Aditya Mor.

Arjun Rathi’s sister and the top seed in the women’s event, Anjali Rathi outplayed Ishwari Matere 6-0, 6-3 in the final.

The results (finals)
Men: Paramveer Bajwa bt Arjun Rathi 6-3, 6-3.
Women: Anjali Rathi bt Ishwari Matere 6-0, 6-3

-Kamesh Srinivasan

Dallas Open: Anirudh, Vijay beaten in the doubles quarterfinals

Anirudh Chandrasekar and Vijay Sundar Prashanth were beaten in the doubles quarterfinals 7-6(5), 4-6, [12-10] by Emilio Nava and Ben Shelton in the $841,590 ATP tennis tournament in Dallas, USA.

In the ATP event in Marseille, Yuki Bhambri in partnership with Robin Haase was also beaten 12-10 in the super tie-break of the doubles pre-quarterfinals by Vasil Kirkov and Sebastian Korda.

The results
$841,590 ATP, Dallas, USA Doubles (quarterfinals): Emilio Nava & Ben Shelton (USA) bt Anirudh Chandraskear & Vijay Sundar Prashanth 7-6(5), 4-6, [12-10].
€801,335 ATP, Marseille, France Doubles (pre-quarterfinals): Vasil Kirkov & Sebastian Korda (USA) bt Yuki Bhambri & Robin Haase (Ned) 1-6, 6-4, [12-10].

-Kamesh Srinivasan


Sneha holds off Hitaashee to score 2nd win of 2024 at 4th Leg of Hero WPGT

Sneha Singh picked up her second win in three starts despite two bogeys in the last three holes at the fourth leg of the Hero Women’s Pro Golf Tour at the East Point Golf Club.

Sneha, who held a five-shot lead, carded an even par 72 for a total of 5-under 211.

Hitaashee Bakshi did make a charge with a bogey-free 69 on the final day, but it was not enough to overturn the five-shot deficit she started with.

Hitaashee aggregated 3-under 213 for another second place and young amateur Zara Anand put together a fine 69 to grab the third place at 1-under 215.

Sneha bogeyed early but a birdie on the seventh meant she turned in even par. While she birdied the Par-5 14th, bogeys on the 16th and 18th indicated some nerves but she also had a comforting birdie on the 17th.

Hitaashee, who won the third leg, birdied three times without a bogey, but even that fell short of Sneha’s total of 5-under.

Sneha has won twice and was the joint runner-up with Hitaashee in the opening leg. She was the only player this week to have carded all three rounds at par or better. This is also the second year running she has won more than once and becomes the first multiple winner in 2024.

Hitaashee now has three runner-up finishes in the first, second and fourth legs and a win in the third.

Zara, who is seen as a very promising talent, shot a fine 69 after rounds of 74-72 on the first two days. She has been attracting a lot of attention with her silver medal at the National Games and the runner-up finish at the All-India amateurs run by the Indian Golf Union.

The round of the week came from Ridhima Dilawari, whose 6-under 66 included a superb run of five birdies from the 11th to 15th. It was also a course record for Ladies at the East Point Golf Club.

Overall, Ridhima had seven birdies against one bogey on the Par-5 10th. She finished the birdie-filled round with three pars and finished fourth at even par 216.

Khushi Khanijau (76) was fifth, while Jasmine Shekar (77), runner-up in the third leg at Kolkata, was sixth. Rhea Jha (76) was seventh and Shweta Mansingh (74) ended eighth.

Seher Atwal (78), Snigdha Goswami (76) and Disha Kavery (78) were tied for ninth place.

Sneha also sneaked ahead of Hitaashee to get to the top of the Hero Order of Merit. Sneha in four starts has won Rs. 4,59,500 while Hitaashee has earned Rs. 4,59,000.

Khushi is third with Jasmine and Ridhima occupying the next two places.


Indian-American Theegala tops leaderboard on rain-hit day at WM Phoenix Open

Indian American golfer Sahith Theegala, who came close to winning the WM Phoenix Open in 2022, got off to a flying start with a sizzling six-under 65 at the TPC Scottsdale to take lead on a rain-hit opening day here.

Theegala, who since his 2022 runner-up finish won the Fortinet Championships, his only win on the PGA TOUR, is a big crowd favourite at this event.

Despite a delayed start due to weather, Theegala, who warmed up by sitting in his car, opened at the 10th hole and got going with a birdie. He had six more birdies and just one bogey.

He leads Andrew Novak by one, but Novak has played just nine holes.

Shane Lowry and SH Kim shot 67 each and Jordan Spieth had a 68, while Nick Taylor and Cameron Young were at 3-under, but they had played just six and five holes respectively.

Five days after weather shortened the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am to 54 holes, storms have arrived on the PGA TOUR as it moved to the desert.

Only about half the field was able to finish and the rest will return next morning to resume their first rounds.

SH Kim eagled the par-5 13th and got to 6-under with consecutive birdies starting on No. 5, but closed with two bogeys to shoot 67, matching Shane Lowry. Jordan Spieth shot 68.

Two-time defending champion Scottie Scheffler was 1-over through six holes in his bid to become the first PGA TOUR player to win the same tournament three straight times since Steve Stricker at the John Deere Classic from 2009-11.

Theegala broke through with his first PGA TOUR win last fall at the Fortinet Championship, earning a spot in The Sentry to open the 2024 season. Theegala finished second in Maui, a shot behind Chris Kirk, and tied for 20th at Pebble Beach last week. Theegala was third at the 2022 WM Phoenix Open.



SAT boys stunning show may not shake up Kerala’s Santosh Trophy team in any way

Satheevan Balan, Kerala’s Santosh Trophy head coach, in Kannur on Friday
Satheevan Balan, Kerala’s Santosh Trophy head coach, in Kannur on Friday | Photo Credit: Stan Rayan

Satheevan Balan, Kerala’s Santosh Trophy head coach, in Kannur on Friday | Photo Credit: Stan Rayan

The Sports Academy Tirur boys may have shocked the mighty Kerala Police in the Kerala Premier League semifinal here on Thursday night but that is not likely to shake up the Kerala football team for the Santosh Trophy’s final phase in any way.

In fact, the youngsters’ impressive performance may have come a bit late to help their cause. After losing the first three matches of the super-six phase, SAT won the next two and made it to the semifinal where it came up with a magical second half.

“That was a big upset, especially after the Police had won so many matches. The SAT players, they are young blood, they played with spirit, their speed and counter-attacking were very good but they don’t have players who are of extraordinary quality,” said Satheevan Balan, the head coach of Kerala’s Santosh Trophy team, in a chat with The Hindu at the Jawahar Municipal Stadium here on Friday.

“This (Kerala squad) is a team that has already been selected. We need to make changes only if somebody is performing better than the players in the team. But to motivate youngsters, if there a player who is really good then we will give him a chance.”

Satheevan pointed out that he would have had a bigger pool of players to pick from if the Kerala Premier League had concluded earlier.

“If the KPL had been held earlier, we could have done better scouting from this event, we have many talented players here but it is a little late to select them. It would have been ideal if they had finished the KPL by at least January 25, before our camp started.”

The Santosh Trophy’s final phase begins in Arunachal Pradesh on February 21, the Kerala camp moved from Kothamangalam in Ernakulam to Kannur three days ago and the team is likely to be announced on February 14 but Satheevan is still waiting for many of his leading players to join the camp. The KPL final, between defending champion Kerala United and SAT, will be held here on February 11.

“Our players are now inside the KPL. Even though the Police team has lost here, we will get its players only after two days. There are four Kerala United players, who are in the Santosh Trophy team, playing the KPL final. Only after they arrive can the team be set but they will come only on February 13. We will get all the players by February 13 and they will declare the team a day or two after that. So, we will not get much time with the full team to work out combinations and other things,” said Satheevan who had coached Kerala to Santosh Trophy triumph in 2018.”

- Stan Rayan

I-League 2023-24: Rajasthan United debutant Mudrazija’s late strike upsets Real Kashmir

An injury-time goal by debutant Marin Mudrazija gave Rajasthan United a stunning win over Real Kashmir in the I-League on Friday.

The win took Rajasthan United to ninth spot on the table, eight points clear of the relegation zone, albeit having played a game more.

The win took Rajasthan to relative safety and put a gap between them clear of the bottom two, while dealing a big blow to Real Kashmir’s recently ignited title hopes.


Gokulam Kerala ride on Ikwaput’s brace to go top of IWL

en’s League title race on its head with a come-from-behind 2-1 victory over Odisha FC at the EMS Stadium here on Friday.

Despite making a dream start at the home of the defending champions with a goal inside 23 seconds, Odisha FC were unable to deal with the firepower of Fazila Ikwaput, who netted a first-half brace to take the Malabarians to the top of the table for the first time this season.

With this win, their fourth in a row, Gokulam now have 20 points in nine games.

Although the fate of the title still rests in the Kalinga Warriors’ hands as they have a match in hand, they will feel the first loss of the season like a huge missed opportunity to get one step closer to the trophy.

Skipper Indumathi Kathiresan’s 23-second strike, which topped Aruna Bag’s goal for Kickstart against East Bengal on Monday as the fastest goal of the season, was the only positive from the contest for Crispin Chettri’s side.

From outside the box, the former Gokulam midfielder launched an accurate left-footed effort into the bottom corner beyond the reach of goalkeeper Sowmiya Narayanasamy.

But with Ugandan striker Ikwaput spearheading the attack, Gokulam’s response was swift. She equalised in the 15th minute after receiving a pass from Soumya Guguloth in the box.

After fluffing a first-time effort with her right foot, Ikwaput managed to drill it in with her left to equalise for the hosts.

For the remainder of the first half, it was all Gokulam Kerala in attack and Odisha’s Shreya Hooda was kept busy between the sticks, saving a host of shots from her international teammates like Anju Tamang, Nongmaithem Ratanbala Devi and Sandhiya Ranganathan.

But Hooda could do nothing about Ikwaput’s second strike at the stroke of half-time.

It was a goal created by classic route-one football as Tamang got on the end of defender Phoeby Okech Owiti’s long ball before racing into the box from the left.

With a square pass into the six-yard box, she set up Ikwaput who only had to tap it into the empty net.


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