TENNIS

RoundGlass Academy trainees to be given taste of European competition early in career

Coach Aditya Sachdeva ran one of the most successful tennis academies in the country, Team Tennis in the Capital, for many years. Having shifted to Chandigarh, he is pleased to have ’’more connect with nature, in a peaceful atmosphere to work'', even as he declares, ''I
love the city’’.

There has been a lot of excitement in the air as the effort was on to select 20 kids for the academy on full scholarship in the under-12, 14 and 16 age groups.

"We have selected 15 kids, mostly in the 12 and 14 age groups. 10 boys and five girls. We don’t want to rush into it, to fill the numbers. We will wait for the right candidates’’, said Aditya Sachdeva in a video interaction from Chandigarh.

Even though Yuki Bhambri has been his prime ward over the years as he guided him to the Australian Open junior crown and the World No.1 rank in juniors, the coach has also been working diligently with Karman Kaur Thandi for many years.

Joining the conversation, Karman was very positive about the "great initiative’’, and stressed that it was a good idea to get a strong start for the young athletes, with all facilities under one roof, as was the case for her during the training stints in Canada, France and Germany.

"The focus is also on the well being of the players, their education, and the preparation to help them compete at a high level’’, said Karman, who expected to return from her elbow injury lay-off, by the end of the months.

Having slipped from a career-best singles rank of 196 in 2018 to the current status of 447, Karman bemoaned the fact about limited opportunities during the pandemic and her own injuries keeping her away from competition, especially the recent Asia-Oceania Billie Jean
King Cup teams event.

Coach Aditya suggested that the trainees would be given a taste of European competition early in their career so that they are better prepared to tackle the best, in the long run.

"There is no dearth of talent. We need to give them the right exposure at an early age’’, he observed.

The tennis centre operates at the Chandigarh Club with clay, grass and hard courts.

"I share the vision of Sunny Singh who runs the RoundGlass sports project in football, hockey and tennis. I love the fact that the young athletes get to do cross training with other sports’’, he said.

- Kamesh Srinivasan

GOLF

Vani is best Indian at tied 43rd, Tvesa and Amandeep trail on LET

Vani Kapoor, who flew in from Australia, to tee up at the Comunidad de Madrid Ladies Open here, opened the week with an even par 72 that comprised four birdies and four bogeys.

At tied 43rd, she was the best among three Indians in the field.

Tvesa Malik, who was recently picked in the Indian team for the Asian Games in September, had one birdie and one double bogey in her round of 1-over 73 and was tied 60th while Amandeep Drall, who like Vani Kapoor, flew in from Australia, shot 77 and was lying tied 109th.

With Top-60 and ties making the cut, the Indian trio will have to put in a solid second round.

Asian Games 2022 postponed  

Maja Stark, who has been on a fine streak, shared the lead with Agathe Sauzon and Jess Karlsson on day one. They shot matching rounds of five-under-par 67 at Jarama-RACE Golf Club in the Spanish capital.

Stark, the Race to Costa del Sol leader, has recorded two second-place finishes and a win in the last three weeks on the Ladies European Tour and continued to be among the front runners with six birdies and one bogey, despite struggling with her driver.

Sauzon's round contained five birdies, two bogeys and an eagle on the 513-yard 11th hole.

Karlsson made eight birdies and three bogeys to share the lead, despite a recent illness. The 29-year-old Swede says she still feels fatigued after contracting the coronavirus in January and has been told by medical professionals that she likely has long COVID.

The prolonged after-effects mean that she has only played in one of the first eight LET tournaments of the 2022 Ladies European Tour season, the Aramco Saudi Ladies International.

A further four players are a stroke back on 68: Tiia Koivisto, Linette Littau Durr Holmslykke and home hopes Carmen Alonso and Cayetana Fernandez.

-PTI

Disappointing starts for Shubhankar, Chawrasia at Belfry

Indian golfers Shubhankar Sharma and SSP Chawrasia endured a disappointing opening round at the Betfred British Masters and run the risk of missing the cut.

Sharma carded 1-over 73 and Chawrasia, a four-time winner on the Tour, shot a 2-over 74 at the tournament hosted by Danny Willett.

Sharma, a two-time winner on the DP World Tour, is T-76 and Chawrasia is T-96. Both will need a solid second round to make the cut.

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The 25-year old Sharma started with three bogeys and later had two birdies for 73, while Chawrasia, who started on the 10th, closed with a double bogey on eighth and a bogey on ninth to finish with a 74.

Ryan Fox and Thorbjorn Olesen carded six under par rounds of 66 to share the first round lead.

Olesen, who represented Team Europe at the 2018 Ryder Cup, set the clubhouse target after a blemish-free round on the Brabazon Course with Fox matching him late in the day to join him at the top of the leaderboard.

The pair sit one stroke ahead of Germany’s Hurly Long, Scotsman Richie Ramsay and Ashun Wu of China, who each carded five under par rounds of 67.

Sharma, who began 2022 with a second place finish at the Rolex Series Abu Dhabi HSBC event, has had just one more Top-15 finish in Kenya since then.

As for Chawrasia, he has missed six cuts in nine starts and only one of the three cuts has been outside India.

Rasmus Hojgaard, who won the ISPS HANDA UK Championship at The Belfry in 2020, is one stroke further back alongside Italy’s Edoardo Molinari and South African duo Brandon Stone and Justin Walters.

Tournament host Danny Willett carded a one over par round of 73, but raised 4,000 punds for the tournament’s official charity Prostate Cancer UK.

Title sponsors Betfred have pledged to donate 1,000 pounds for every birdie and 2,000 pounds for every eagle made by the 2016 Masters Tournament champion, with Willett carding four birdies on day one.

-PTI

GS Caltex Maekyung Open : Madappa lands a hole-in-one on way to 65, lies 4th in Korea

Indian golfer Viraj Madappa holed an ace on way to the day's best card of six-under 65 to zoom to tied-fourth at the halfway stage of the GS Caltex Maekyung Open on Friday.

Madappa, who shot even par 71 on the first day, is now 6-under and one shot behind the leading trio from Korea, Bio Kim (67-68), Dongmin Lee (65-70) and amateur Minhyuk Song (69-66).

It was a good day for the Indian contingent as seven of the nine goflers in the field made the cut.

Khalin Joshi added 68 to his first round 71 and at three-under was T-11, while Veer Ahlawat (71-71) was T-27.

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Honey Baisoya (72-71) birdied his final hole to get to T-38, while Gaganjeet Bhullar (70-74) was going fine till he found a double bogey and finished with a round of 74 and was now T-51 alongside S Chikkarangappa (73-71).

Karandeep Kochhar (70-75) squeezed inside the cut line and was T-63. However Shiv Kapur (76-72) and Aman Raj (80-75) missed out on weekend action.

Madappa, who also made the Indian team for the Asian Games, which have now been postponed, was pleasantly surprised by the hole-in-one.

"It was actually anticlimactic, because I thought the ball went long but it ended up going in the hole. We were actually looking for the ball and ended up looking in the hole thankfully. As for the leaders, Bio Kim had five birdies and a double bogey, while Dongmin Lee had three birdies and two bogeys. Minhyuk had six birdies and one birdie in his 66.

Kim grew up playing top-level amateur golf at the legendary Namseoul Country Club course and made his debut on the Asian Tour when he tied fourth in the 2007 GS Caltex Maekyung Open before claiming equal third the following year. On both occasions he was still an amateur.

And as a member of the professional ranks, he has also posted five other top-five finishes in addition to his victory a decade ago when the event was not on the Asian Tour schedule.

-PTI

3x3 BASKETBALL

Dribble Academy edges Noida Nightmares

Dribble Academy beat Noida Nightmares 12-11 in the under-18 women’s final of the INBL 3x3 basketball league at the Bal Bharti Public School, Ganga Ram Marg, recently.

The four champions in the men’s, women’s and the under-18 sections from an overall gathering of 142 teams, will compete in the National 3x3 league to be staged in Bengaluru from May 27 to 29.

- Kamesh Srinivasan

€90,280 Challenger tennis tournament: Ramkumar loses in quarterfinal

Top seed Benjamin Bonzi beat Ramkumar Ramanathan 6-2, 3-6, 6-0 in the quarterfinals of the €90,280 Challenger tennis tournament in France on Friday.

Ramkumar won 20 ATP points and € 2,480.

- Kamesh Srinivasan