TENNIS

AITA women’s tournament: Shefali beats Joel

Jhajjar: Second seed Shefali Arora fought her way past lucky loser Joell Nichole 7-5, 6-4 in the quarterfinals of the Rs.100,000 AITA women’s tennis tournament at the Joygaon Academy on Wednesday.

In the semifinals, Shefali will play fourth seed Hitakamya Singh Narwal.

The other semifinal will be between the champion of the last tournament at the same venue Sonal Patil and her doubles partner third seed Kavya Khirwar.

In the doubles final, Sonal and Kavya will play top seeds Medhavi Singh and Ayushi Singh.

- Kamesh Srinivasan

AITA Championship series juniors: Ananya beats top seed Ekkam

Chandigarh: Ananya Sharma beat top seed Ekkam Kaur Shergill 6-3, 3-6, 7-5 to set up a title clash with Rabiah Dullet in the girls under-12 section of the AITA Championship series junior tennis tournament at the CLTA Complex on Wednesday.

- Kamesh Srinivasan

Asian U-14 tournament: Second seed Aleena knocks out Snigdha in quarters

Second seed Aleena Farid beat Snigdha Ruhil 6-3, 7-6(6) to set up a semifinal against Saanvi Reddy in the girls section of the Asian under-14 tennis tournament at the Tennis Project, Baliawas, on Wednesday.

In the other semifinal, Vennela Gaarugupati will play sixth seed Sri Lakshmi Purmani.

In the boys section, unseeded Prakaash Sarran continued with his fine run and beat the fifth seed Praneeth Reddy. Prakaash who had earlier knocked out the second seed, will play third seed Rudra Batham in the semifinals.

The other semifinal will feature top seed Om Verma against fourth seed Tavish Pahwa.

- Kamesh Srinivasan

Prarthana Thombare reaches doubles quarterfinals in Versmold

Prarthana Thombare in partnership with Emily Appleton of Britain beat Vivien Sandberg & Annickk Verhaar 6-1, 6-3 in the doubles pre-quarterfinals of the $100,000 ITF women’s tennis tournament in Germany on Wednesday.

In the Challenger in Portugal, Purav Raja and Divij Sharan made the doubles quarterfinals with a 6-2, 7-6((7) winn over Fabio Coelho and Goncalo Falcao.

- Kamesh Srinivasan

GOLF

Eyeing The Open, Lahiri returns to Links after three years

India's Anirban Lahiri returns to Scotland after a gap of three years as he tees up at the Genesis Scottish Open, which is co-sanctioned with the PGA Tour for the first time.

The event features 14 of the world's top 15 players, including world No. 1 Scottie Scheffler, the 2022 Masters champion, and the other three defending Major champions Collin Morikawa (2021 Open), Justin Thomas (2022 PGA Championship) and Matthew Fitzpatrick (2022 US Open).

The field also includes Shubhankar Sharma, who will be hoping to end a run of missed cuts -- he has missed the last three in a row and six in the last seven starts.

Lahiri played a practice round on Tuesday with Sharma and said, "It is good to be back at the Links golf. I am here after a full three years. So, in a manner of speaking things are fleetingly similar.

"The big difference between here and the US, where also we play in the cold sometimes, is mainly in and around the greens."

"That is the big adjustment. From pure greens and speeds of 13 and 14 (on stimpmeter) in the US, it is Links golf.

"The wind, the direction of the wind and so on. Yet I think the most important part for Links golf is knowing what to avoid and having played here before I think I know it."

Lahiri wants to do well at the Scottish, not just because it is an event with a great legacy, but also because it is his last chance to get into the 150th Open.

"I would love to be in The Open at St. Andrews. Last time when I was here, I loved it. Except for the last few holes, I played well, and I have great memories from the past Open starts, including a hole-in-one on my debut."

Lahiri made his debut at the 2012 Open, that was 10 years ago, and had a hole-in-one on the ninth at the Royal Lytham. His Dad, Tushar, still has "that" ball as a keepsake.

On having played little and getting less than satisfactory results, Lahiri added, "I am resetting the system in a way. The birth of my son made me want to spend more time with the family and that came after a series of good results (including second at PLAYERS).

"But I know in the second half I have a long season and many events, so I need a balance between work and family. I have not played badly as the results might suggest but it is just that I have played on and off and I like to have a series of 4-5 weeks at a stretch.

"It is just the quantity of competitive golf that has been less. One week on, one week off and so on."

Lahiri goes out in the first round with Brandon Stone and Connor Syme, while Sharma plays with Cameron Tringale and Guillermo Pereira.

The two Indian players are in different halves of the draw, with Sharma playing in the morning on Thursday and Lahiri turning out in the afternoon, and it will be the other way around on the second day.

- PTI

Diksha Dagar to lead Indian contingent in Estrella Damm Ladies Open

Deaflympics gold medallist golfer Diksha Dagar will be leading a six-member Indian contingent in the Estrella Damm Ladies Open, to be held in Sitges, Spain, from this week.

Diksha, who has been performing consistently for over a month, including in the Amundi German Masters, will set her sights at a top-10 finish while also hoping to win the Ladies European Tour for the second time in her career.

In 2019, Diksha became only the second Indian female golfer after Aditi Ashok to win the Ladies European Tour. The 21-year-old golfer won the gold at the Deaflympics in Brazil this year.

Joining her in the contingent will be Tvesa Malik, India's best golfer on the LET Order of Merit last year. The 26-year-old is currently struggling to find the kind of form that earned her a bunch of top-10s, including a runner-up finish last year. The other Indians who are part of the six-woman contingent are Amandeep Drall, Vani Kapoor, Ridhima Dilawari and Neha Tripathi.

While Diksha has had only moderate success this season with five cuts in nine starts and a best of tied 16th finish, Tvesa, on the other hand, has made six cuts in 12 events, while Drall has made five cuts in 11 starts.

The Indians will be facing a strong home challenge with Carlota Ciganda leading it.

Ciganda won the tournament in 2019 and was also part of the playoff for the title two years earlier in 2017. Ciganda is also the reigning Ladies European Tour winner. Besides Ciganda, the tournament will feature some of the best names, including the likes of Ana Peláez, Nuria Iturrioz, María Hernández, and Carmen Alonso.

The 26-year-old Iturrioz will arrive in Sitges after achieving her career-best seventh position this year at the Ladies Italian Open.

- PTI