TENNIS

Sania Mirza and partner crashes out in 1st round of Indian's last Wimbledon

Indian ace Sania Mirza's final Wimbledon appearance ended in disappointment as she and her Czech partner Lucie Hradecka were eliminated in the opening round with the Polish-Brazilian combination of Magdalena Frech and Beatroz Haddad Maia beating them 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 in a hard-fought three-setter.

Mirza would have ideally preferred to last a bit longer in her swansong at the SW-19 but she will undoubtedly remember hallowed lawns where she won her maiden doubles title alongside Martina Hingis, back in 2015.

The 35-year-old Indian veteran failed to get past the third round of the mixed doubles at Wimbledon last year and will still have a shot at glory, partnering Mate Pavic of Croatia in the mixed doubles event. The duo will meet Natela Dzalamidze and David Vega Hernandez in the opening round of mixed doubles

-PTI

Davis Cup 2022: India to face Norway on September 16-17

Hosts Norway have confirmed that they will host the Indian Davis Cup team on September 16 and 17 in their next World Group I tie, the All India Tennis Association (AITA) announced on Thursday.

The hosts have a choice playing either on Thursday-Friday or Friday-Saturday and Norway have chosen the first option.

India will face Norway for the first time in the prestigious event.

"There is a lot of hope and anticipation amongst the fans as India and Norway will face each other for the first time in the history of the Davis cup and we look forward to observe some scintillating Tennis from the Men in Blue," the AITA said in a statement.

-PTI

AITA women’s tournament: Riya beats Sharanya to enter semifinals

Lucky loser Riya Sachdeva beat Sharanya Shetty 6-1, 6-1 to reach the semifinals of the Rs.100,000 AITA women’s tennis tournament at the Joygaon Academy.

In the semifinals, Riya will play qualifier Sonal Patil. The other semifinal will be between qualifiers Tamanna Takoria and Medhavi Singh.

-Kamesh Srinivasan

Ankita Raina storms into quarterfinals in Baliawas

Second seed Ankita Raina had a fortuitous entry into the quarterfinals as her opponent Sofia Costoulas of Belgium retired midway through the second set in the $25,000 ITF women’s tennis tournament at the Tennis Project, Baliawas, on Thursday.

Ankita-Raina-jpg

Ankita Raina in action at the $25,000 ITf women's tennis tournament in Gurugram.

 

On a day of persistent rain and long delays, with matches starting in the morning and finishing under floodlights, Ankita was in trouble as she had lost the first set 2-6. She recovered to be 3-2 in the second set when the 17-year-old world No.3, Costoulas quit, with a calf muscle injury.

Like the champion last week, Karman Kaur Thandi, exhausted owing to the constant work under the scorching sun, and not finding the answers against Sahaja Yamalapalli, Costoulas, the finalist last week, was also unable to be at her physical best, especially in the atmosphere of high humidity.

For the best performers of last tournament at the same venue, it was perhaps hard to find the freshness of mind to tackle the new challenge and hungry opponents trying to make the best of the opportunity.

In the quarterfinals, Ankita will play Punnin Kovapitukted, the Thai left-hander who thrives with her quick feet and stout heart.

Rutuja Bhosale stopped wild card entrant Vineetha Mummade in straight sets and will play third seed Viktoria Morvayova of Slovakia in the quarterfinals.

Four other singles matches were interrupted by rain. Referee Puneet Gupta had no option but to postpone the matches for Friday.

-Kamesh Srinivasan

Arjun Kadhe in doubles semifinals in Malaga Challenger

Arjun Kadhe in partnership with Victor Vlad Cornea of Romania beat Sergi Perez Contri and Adria Soriano Barrera of Spain 6-3, 6-2 in the doubles quarterfinals of the €45,730 Challenger tennis tournament in Spain on Thursday.

-Kamesh Srinivasan

GOLF

Lahiri eyes Open Champs berth through John Deere Classic

Indian golfer Anirban Lahiri will be eyeing a dream ticket to The 150th Open Championship at St Andrews when he tees off at the John Deere Classic at TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Illinois this week.

Lahiri, who had turned 35 on Wednesday, has missed the last three cuts. The John Deere Classic will be the second outing for Lahiri in two weeks. He last played at the Travelers. The Indian will next travel to Scotland for the Scottish Open. This week Lahiri will have the company of fellow senior pro from India Arjun Atwal, who is also in the field.

Anirban-

Anirban Lahiri of India plays his shot from the 18th tee during the second round of the Memorial Tournament presented by Workday at Muirfield Village Golf Club on June 03, 2022 in Dublin, Ohio.

 

Lahiri has played the Open six times, including the 2015 Open at St Andrews. His maiden appearance at the Open was in 2012, the year in which he had a magical hole-in-one with his family in attendance. His last appearance was in 2018.

"That's (playing the Open) definitely a huge motivation to be here," said Lahiri about the three Open Championship spots available at this week's PGA TOUR stop.

"This (John Deere Classic) is a great event no doubt but that (Open spots) makes it much more rewarding." Lahiri enjoyed a T-31 finish in his Open debut in 2012 at Lytham St Annes and he was T-30 at St Andrews in 2015.

"I had a really good chance of finishing in the top-10 at St Andrews. I had a couple of bad holes coming home on Sunday. I certainly have fond memories of the time I was there. It's St Andrews, it's the home of golf. You dream about playing golf at St Andrews and it'll be special to go back again," he said.

Lahiri, who finished runners-up at THE PLAYERS Championship in March to earn a career high USD 2.18 million, enters the week ranked 62nd on the FedExCup standings and with the Playoffs looming, he will be looking to build momentum towards the business end of the season.

Aside from the FedExCup, which is the TOUR's ultimate prize, the Presidents Cup qualifying will also conclude at the BMW Championship, the second event of the Playoffs.

Lahiri, who featured in the 2015 and 2017 Presidents Cup, is currently 15th on the International Team standings with the top-8 earning automatic selection.

"This is my third time here and it's a great event. It's fantastic for the community here and has a good history. It's a unique track and it's in the best shape I've seen. If it rains or the winds die down, then it gets a little easier. You've got to make as many birdies as you can," he said.

"I love this weather, I like it when it's warm and sweaty. I feel really comfortable. I've gotten used to these grasses here and I think it's a really good layout and it fits my eye. There's a lot of shape and a lot of stuff to aim at. These are the types of things which I enjoy." Lahiri is also scheduled to compete in the Genesis Scottish Open next week, an event co-sanctioned by the PGA TOUR and DP World Tour as part of a strategic alliance, and has attracted a stellar line-up of global stars.

"I've not been playing that much in the last couple of months," said Lahiri, who welcomed the arrival of his son in May.

"Now that we're heading into the final stretch, I love playing weeks and weeks in a row. This is my second week now and then I'll play in Scotland. I'm trying to build the rhythm, get the momentum going and roll into the Playoffs and play some of my best golf." Compatriot Atwal, Korea's Sung Kang and Seung Yul Noh, Japan's Satoshi Kodaira and Chinese Taipei's CT Pan are among the other Asian golfers in this week's field.

Sharma starts with solid 69 in Irish Open

Indian golfer Shubhankar Sharma got off to a great start with six birdies in the opening round but gave away three bogeys to finish at three-under 69 in the Horizon Irish Open here.

While a 69 is a solid start, the three dropped shots must be irking Sharma, who has been holing a lot of birdies for a good part of the season but also giving many away.

Sharma was lying T-20, though a lot of players were yet to complete their first round.

Ryan Fox, who started from the 10th, had just two birdies on the back nine on the 10th and 17th.

On his second nine, the front side of the Mount Juliet Estate, Thomastown, Fox went on a birdie spree with six in all for six-under. He had four in a row from first to fourth and then again on sixth and eighth.

Fox was followed by Frederic Lacroix of France, who shot seven-under 65 with two eagles on the 10th and 17th and four birdies but dropped a shot on Par-4 16th.

The field includes home heroes like the 2019 Open winner Shane Lowry, a big crowd favourite, who carded one-under 71 and Padraig Harrington, a three-time Major champion, who won a fourth on the Champions Tour recently.

Harrington was one-under through nine holes. Scotland's Robert McIntyre was three-under through nine.

Sharma recovered from an early bogey on third with birdies on fifth and seventh. On the back nine, he birdied 10th but dropped a shot on 11th, birdied 13th and 14th before giving away a shot on 16th.

He then birdied 17th and closed with par for 69 with the hope that he would not drop as many in the second round.

Sharma was playing with Stephen Gallacher, who was clearly relishing the Indian's company.

Gallacher won the last Hero Indian Open held back in 2019 and is still waiting to defend that title. He shot 72 with six birdies, four bogeys and a double on a day that was good for scoring.

Three players Lawrence Thriston, Dale Whitnell and Antoine Rozner carded six-under 66 each.

Thriston had five birdies and an eagle against one bogey, while Whitnell and Rozner had six birdies each and no bogeys.

-PTI

Modest start for Indian women golfers in Germany

 India's Amandeep Drall carded 1-under 71 to be Tied-60 after round one of the Amundi German Masters on the Ladies European Tour here on Thursday.

Only three of the six Indian women had finished their opening round, while others were still out on the course.

Amateur Avani Prashanth, playing her first LET event outside India, opened with an action-packed and eventful 72. She had seven birdies but also dropped five bogeys and a double bogey.

Amandeep Drall was lying T-38 and Avani was T-60 as was Diksha Dagar.

Diksha, one of the only two Indian women to have won on the LET, also carded 72 but with three birdies and three bogeys. Vani Kapoor finished with 74 and was T-88.

Ridhima Dilawari was 1-under through 12 holes, while Tvesa Malik started with an early birdie, but then dropped three bogeys to slip to 2-over through eight holes.

Emphasising the depth in Swedish golf, Jessica Karlsson led the field with an 9-under bogey free 63 that included nine birdies and no bogeys. She was followed by Leonie Harm (66), Gabriela Cowley (66) and Klara Spilkova, who was on a rampage with 5-under through just eight holes.

- PTI

BOXING

Elorda Boxing Tournament: World youth champion Sachin moves to quarters

Current World youth champion Sachin Siwach moved into the quarterfinals while Olympian Simranjit Kaur lost in the last-eight stage at the Elorda Cup boxing tournament in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, on Thursday.

Sachin dominated the men’s 57kg first-round fight to beat promising Turkmenistan boxer Ykhlas Gylychjanov 5-0.

Simranjit lost to China’s Xu Zichun 3-2 in a well-contested women’s 60kg quarterfinal bout.

Two other Indians, Lakshya Chahar (86kg) and Harsh Lakra (80kg), also lost their respective bouts.

-Y.B.Sarangi

 

WRESTLING

Deepak Punia to join Bajrang Punia in US training camp

Tokyo Olympian wrestler Deepak Punia will join compatriot and Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist Bajrang Punia for training at the Michigan University in the United States ahead of the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

The Union Sports Ministry's Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) will be providing the financial assistance for the two athletes to carry out their training, travel, daily costs and boarding for the camp at Michigan University, scheduled till July 30.

"Dr Anand, Bajrang's physiotherapist will also be attending to Deepak during the foreign camp," said SAI in a release.

The training stint in USA will be helpful for preparation for the Commonwealth Games and upcoming major competitions like the World Championships in Oregon.

"Both Bajrang and Deepak are now waiting for UK Visa and shortly they will depart for USA,"

PTI