Here are all the major developments in Indian sport on Friday, March 3.
Akshay Bhatia lies second, slow start for Atwal
Akshay Bhatia, who scored his breakthrough win on the Korn Ferry Tour last year, showed signs that he is ready to get a shot at the main PGA Tour.
The 21-year-old Bhatia, who is of Indian origin but born in the US, opened the Puerto Rico Open with a round of 6-under 66, but was still three shots shy of Carson Young, who made three eagles on his way to a 9-under 63.
Arjun Atwal, the only Indian to have won on the PGA Tour and looking to go better than the three missed cuts earlier this year, had another rough opening with a round of 5-over 77 leaving him with a lot of work to do to make the cut.
Atwal is also simultaneously getting ready to have a go at the Champions Tour, as he turns 50 later this month.
The winner in Puerto Rico gets a two-year exemption on the PGA TOUR, along with a spot in the PGA Championship.
The Puerto Rico Open is held opposite the Arnold Palmer Invitational, where every PGA TOUR member from the top 50 in the world ranking is playing.
Bhatia, who won last year on Korn Ferry, has had a good start to the 2023 season with two Top-10 finishes and a win this week would immediately catapult him into the top Tour.
Pranavi, Ridhima make cuts at Joburg Ladies Open
Indian golfer Pranavi Urs finished with a birdie in the second round to make the cut along side compatriot Ridhima Dilawari at the Euros 300,000 Joburg Ladies Open here.
Ridhima made the fourth cut in five starts on the Sunshine Ladies Tour, where some of the events are co-sanctioned with the Ladies European Tour.
Pranavi, at one-under for two rounds, is tied 17th while Ridhima, at even par, is tied-29th.
The 36-hole cut to 60 and ties fell at two-over, leaving 64 players to contest over the next two rounds.
Pranavi, who is playing her first full season outside India, made her first cut on the LET, as the Joburg Ladies Open is a co-sanctioned event.
Three other Indian golfers - Vani Kapoor (75-78), Amandeep Drall (76-78) and Diksha Dagar (78-77) - missed the cut at the par-73 Modderfontein Golf Club on Thursday.
Denmark’s Nicole Broch Estrup (72-66) improved by six strokes from her first round to card a bogey free seven-under 66 in the second round to take a two-stroke lead in the tournament.
Pranavi, a multiple-time winner in India and topper on the Hero Order of Merit in 2022 with four wins, shot two-under 71 on the first day.
Starting at the 10th on the second day, she initially struggled and had three bogeys on the back nine. However, she birdied first and second and closed with a birdie on ninth. In between she bogeyed once for 74.
Last week, Pranavi made her first cut on the Sunshine Ladies Tour and finished T-13 at the Jabra Ladies Classic.
Ridhima, who has been having a decent run in South Africa, continued her fine show as she added one-over 74 to her first round of one-under 72 to be even par for two rounds.
Ridhima, also a multiple-time winner on her home Tour, the Hero WPGT, is lying 12th on the Sunshine Ladies Tour’s Order of Merit.
Australia beats India in Women’s World Cup playoff
Australia beat India 2-0 for the fifth place in the Asia-Oceania World team cup wheelchair tennis tournament in Pattaya, Thailand, on Friday.
Earlier, the Indian men’s team had finished third in its group, having lost to Korea and Thailand.
The Indian women, beaten by Korea, China and Thailand in the four-team competition, had a tougher time, as they managed to eke out four games in all, in eight matches.
Balaji, Nedunchezhiyan beaten in Santiago
Sriram Balaji and Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan were beaten 3-6, 6-1, [10-4] by Tiago Seyboth Wild and Matias Soto in the doubles quarterfinals of the $718,245 ATP tennis tournament on clay in Santiago, Chile.
The Indian pair collected 45 ATP points and $5,950.
$718,245 ATP, Santiago, Chile
Doubles (quarterfinals): Thiago Seyboth Wild (Bra) & Matias Soto (Chi) bt Sriram Balaji & Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan 3-6, 6-1, [10-4].
Pune Challenger: Palan beats Chun-Hsin in quarters
Qualifier Dominik Palan of Czech Republic beat second seed Chun-Hsin Tseng of Chinese Taipei 7-6(4), 1-6, 6-3 in the quarterfinals of the PMR Open $130,000 Challenger tennis tournament at the Balewadi Stadium on Friday.
In the semifinals, Palan will play fourth seed Luca Nardi of Italy.
The other semifinal will be between the champion of the last two tournaments in Chennai and Bengaluru, Max Purcell of Australia and Miljan Zekic of Serbia.
In doubles, Anirudh Chandrasekar and Vijay Sundar Prashanth set up a title clash against the Japanese, Toshihide Matsui and Kaito Uesugi.
Singles (quarterfinals): Miljan Zekic (Srb) bt Harold Mayot (Fra) 6-2, 6-4; Max Purcell (Aus) bt Francesco Maestrelli (Ita) 6-0, 6-2; Luca Nardi (Ita) bt Rio Noguchi (Jpn) 6-3, 6-0; Dominik Palan (Cze) bt Chun-Hsin Tseng (Tpe) 7-6(4), 1-6, 6-3.
Doubles (semifinals): Toshihide Matsui & Kaito Uesugi (Jpn) bt Mukund Sasikumar & Vishnu Vardhan 6-2, 7-5; Anirudh Chandrasekar & Vijay Sundar Prashanth bt Arjun Kadhe & Maximilian Neuchrist (Aut) 4-0 (retired).
AITA Nationals Series Juniors: Dhananjay beats Om in straight sets
Dhananjay Tibrewal beat Om Patel 6-4, 6-4 in the boys final of the AITA National series under-16 tennis tournament at the Singha Sports Academy on Friday.
Dhananjay had earlier won the doubles title with Ranvir Singh.
The results (finals):
Under-16 boys: Dhananjay Tibrewal bt Om Patel 6-4, 6-4.
Under-16 girls: Diya Chaudhary bt Sherry Sharma 6-3, 6-4.