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Rediff.com  » Sports » Sports Shorts: Somdev makes first round exit from French Open

Sports Shorts: Somdev makes first round exit from French Open

Last updated on: May 25, 2014 23:44 IST

Sports Shorts: Bopanna-Qureshi lose Nice final

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Somdev Devvarman failed to cross the first round hurdle at the second Grand Slam of the season as he waged a tough fight before losing to Aleksandr Nedovyesov in the French Open.

The unseeded Indian, ranked six places above his Kazakshatan rival at 93, fought for three hours and 13 minutes but ended up on the wrong side of the result, 7-5, 3-6, 6-7(4), 3-6.

At Australian Open also, Somdev had made a first round exit. He has never gone beyond the second rounds at Grand Slam events.

Interestingly, Somdev had beaten Nedovyesov to win the Delhi Open Challenger title in February and has been struggling since then.

After his triumph at the DLTA courts, Somdev has won only two matches on the ATP tour.

Mahesh Bhupathi, Rohan Bopanna and Sania Mirza will represent India at doubles events of the Clay Court Grand Slam.

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Image: Somdev Devvarman
Photographs: Gonzalo Fuentes/Reuters

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Hulkenberg earns 10 points for Force India, Perez exits early

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Nico Hulkenberg finished fifth for the third time this season after Sergio Perez suffered a crash in the first lap as Sahara Force India secured 10 points from the Monaco Grand Prix under overcast conditions, in Monaco on Sunday.

Hulkenberg showed great control to take fifth position after starting 11th from the gird in the race in which eight drivers suffered retirements.

The result meant that Force India remained in fourth position with 67 points but since Fernando Alonso finished fourth, third-placed Ferrai have increased the gap by taking the point tally to 78.

Perez's race ended in the first lap when he was hit by the McLaren of Jenson Button.

"Ten points today is a great reward after such a difficult race. The last twenty laps were really tricky because my super-soft tyres were at the end of their life and it was hard to hold off the cars behind me and stay away from the barriers," Hulkenberg said.

"There were a few close moments when I kissed the wall, but I survived and managed to hold on to fifth place. Fortunately my car was quick in the right places -- going into the tunnel and also through the final corner," the German added.

Sergio Perez said he wants to forget today's collision with Jenson Button.

"I was in a battle with Nico, who was ahead, and I went to take the apex normally. I was on the racing line and ahead of Jenson [Button] when he clipped my rear wheel and spun me around into the barriers. I did not expect him to be there as there wasn't really any space for another car there. It was very unlucky.

"As a racing driver you have good and bad Sundays but this is definitely one I want to forget as soon as possible. It is disappointing that we lost a big chance to score a good amount of points, but the car felt much better here than in Spain, as shown by Nico’s result. This is a very positive signal looking ahead to Montreal."

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Image: Nico Hulkenberg of Germany and Force India
Photographs: Mark Thompson/Getty Images

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India lose to Argentina in practice game ahead of hockey WC

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India fought hard before losing 1-2 to Argentina in their first practice game ahead of the hockey World Cup at The Hague, Netherlands on Sunday.

Argentina scored a goal each in both the halves while India's lone goal came in the second half from the stick of Dharamvir Singh.

India also suffered a big blow before the start of the mega-event as striker striker Ramandeep Singh was ruled out of the tournament after seriously injuring himself in the second half of the match against Argentina.

Ramandeep got hit in the socket of his right eye and also damaged his cheekbone during the match. He was immediately rushed to the hospital where he was operated upon.

Hockey India named Lalit Upapdhyay as Ramandeep's replacement. Upapdhyay will leave for The Hague on Sunday.

India will play another practice game against South Africa before the start of the tournament.

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Image: Sachin Tendulkar sees off the Indian Hockey team before their departure on Tuesday for the hockey World Cup
Photographs: IHF/Facebook

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Japan beat Malaysia to claim maiden Thomas Cup title

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Takuma Ueda prevailed in a thrilling decider as Japan claimed their maiden Thomas Cup title by edging out five-times champions Malaysia 3-2 in a pulsating final of the men's team event on Sunday.

World No 1 Lee Chong-Wei salvaged personal pride by beating Kenichi Tago 21-12, 21-16 in the first singles but the contest eventually boiled down to the fifth match and Ueda held his nerve to help Japan taste success in their maiden final appearance at the biennial tournament.

"I was under pressure before the start of the game but... was determined to win. I have not experienced anything like this before," a dazed Ueda told reporters after beating Daren Liew 21-12, 18-21, 21-17.

After waging a grim battle for one hour and 18 minutes, Liew dropped his racket in dismay when his smash sailed wide, dashing Malaysia's hopes of winning their first Thomas Cup title since 1992.

Across the net, a jubilant Ueda collapsed on the court before getting up to join his dancing teammates who had formed a ring around him.

"I could not win Thomas Cup as a player and I'm happy that I won as a coach," said Japan's Korean coach Park Joo Bong, hoping a successful campaign that included semi-final victory over formidable China would raise badminton's profile back home.

Lee, who said reaching the final was a "bonus" for Malaysia, put his team ahead but Japan won the next two contests to snatch the lead.

Kenichi Hayakawa and Hiroyuki Endo eked out a 12-21, 21-17, 21-19 victory over Tan Boon Heong and Hoon Thien How in 76 minutes to level before Kento Momota downed Chong Wei Feng 21-15, 21-17 to put Japan ahead.

Malaysia crawled back into the contest with Goh V Shem and Tan Wee Kiong claiming the second doubles 19-21, 21-17, 21-12.

World No 25 Ueda walked out for the decider against Liew, 41 rungs below him in world rankings, and looked under pressure in the second game when he squandered a four-point lead to his dogged rival who forced the third game.

The final game was a neck-and-neck affair and Ueda soaked in tremendous pressure before emerging victorious.

"We are very happy to have won what we never could win," Park said.

"There was tremendous pressure but our focus was very strong today and I think we handles pressure better than Malaysia," the coach added. 

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Image: Takuma Ueda of Japan plays a shot
Photographs: Stanley Chou/Getty Images

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Bopanna-Qureshi lose Nice final

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Rohan Bopanna and his doubles partner Aisam-ul-haq Qureshi ended runners up for the second time this season when they lost the final of the ATP 250 event to Martin Klizan and Philipp Oswald, in Nice, France.

The top seeded Indo-Pak pair were outplayed 2-6, 0-6 to the Slovakian-Austrian pair in the clay court event.

Bopanna and Qureshi had won the Dubai tournament in February but ended runners-up in Sydney in January.

Klizan and Oswald broke serve five times for earn their first ATP World Tour team doubles title. 

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Image: Rohan Bopanna of India and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi of Pakistan
Photographs: Scott Barbour/Getty Images

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Vettel retires from Monaco GP in 100th race for Red Bull

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Quadruple Formula One world champion Sebastian Vettel retired from the Monaco Grand Prix, his 100th race for Red Bull, on Sunday.

The 26-year-old German, who had made a good start to take third place from Australian team mate Daniel Ricciardo behind the two Mercedes drivers, slowed on lap four and reported he had no power.

"Come on guys," exclaimed the frustrated driver, before adding: "I mean, you're trying everything."

After a long pit stop, Vettel returned to the track in last place but then told his team over the radio on lap seven that he was stuck in first gear.

On lap eight, with a string of blue flags warning him to let faster cars through, he was told to return to the pits and retire.

Vettel, winner of the last four championships and final nine races of 2013, has been on the podium just once this season -- third in Malaysia in March.

The German started the weekend in fourth place in the championship, 55 points adrift of Lewis Hamilton who had won the last four races for Mercedes.

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Image: Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull
Photographs: Andrew Hone/Getty Images

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Blake, Jamaicans steal show at World Relays

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Yohan Blake and a speedy Jamaican 4x200 meters relay team did not need Usain Bolt to add to the island nation's collection of world records on Saturday.

Blake, the world's second fastest 200 meters runner behind Bolt, turned on the jets and anchored Jamaica to a world record one minute, 18.63 seconds at the inaugural IAAF World Relays in the Bahamas.

The sizzling performance took 0.05 seconds off a 20-year-old record held by a Carl Lewis-anchored American team in 1994.

"We knew we could come here and get this medal and world record," said Blake, whose training partner Bolt holds both the 100 and 200m world records and Olympic titles but has not run this year.

"It feels very good enough I think that we could have gone faster," added 100m Olympic silver medallist Blake.

Nickel Ashmeade, Warren Weir and Jermaine Brown put Blake into position for the record. None had been on Jamaica's world record teams in the 4x100, making the victory more sweet.

St. Kitts and Nevis finished a surprising second in 1:20.51 while France took third in a European record 1:20.66 after the US team were disqualified.

The world record also tumbled in the women's 4x1500 to help launch the innovative championships in the relay-loving Bahamas.

Kenya, with Hellen Obiri on anchor, obliterated the global mark in the infrequently run event, taking top honours in 16:33.58.

Mercy Cherono, Faith Chepngetich and Irene Jelegat put Kenya in a commanding lead as they wiped out the previous record of 17:05.72 a different Kenyan squad had set in Nairobi last month.

The United States also dipped under the former record as the Americans ran 16:55.33 with Australia placing third in 17:08.65.

Kenya's men took the other long relay of the night, winning the 4x800 as Alfred Kipketer held on for victory in 7:08.40 with Poland a close second.

The United States wrapped up the evening of speed by winning the women's 4x100 in 41.88 seconds with rival Jamaicans second.

The relays, which will return to the Bahamas next year, continue on Sunday at Nassau's national stadium.

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Image: From left, Yohan Blake, Nickel Ashmeade, Warren Weir and Jermaine Brown of Jamaica pose together after setting a new world record
Photographs: Christian Petersen/Getty Images for IAAF

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Caterham F1 team up for sale

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AirAsia chief executive Tony Fernandes is trying to sell his Caterham Formula One team and sportscar company, a Malaysian newspaper reported on Sunday.

A team spokesman had no comment at the Monaco Grand Prix while Fernandes - who was in London celebrating the promotion of his English soccer club Queens Park Rangers to the Premier League - was not immediately available.

The Edge Malaysia, citing an unidentified source, reported on its front page that Fernandes was looking for about 350 million pounds for his Caterham Group of companies.

It said an information memorandum was being circulated in the Middle East.

Fernandes, who said on Twitter on Sunday that he hoped Caterham could pull off a surprise in Monaco, warned in January that he could walk away from Formula One if the team's performance on the track did not improve.

Caterham have not scored a point since entering the sport as Lotus Racing in 2010 and are currently last in the championship with Japan's Kamui Kobayashi and Sweden's Marcus Ericsson as their driver line-up.

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Image: Marcus Ericsson of Sweden and Caterham
Photographs: Clive Mason/Getty Images

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Mahindra Racing picks Chandhok for inaugural Formula E season

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Mahindra Racing, the only Indian team on the Formula E grid, is set to announce Karun Chandhok and Brazilian Bruno Senna as its drivers for the inaugural season beginning in September.

Sources close to Chandhok told PTI that a deal between Mahindra and the former Formula 1 driver will be signed before the official announcement in Mumbai on Monday.

Senna, Chandhok's teammate at the now defunct F1 outfit HRT, will be unveiled as the team's foreign driver. The two also raced in the 2008 GP2 season for iSport International.

Mahindra's decision to recruit Chandhok for the world’s fully electric racing series took longer than expected as an announcement on the same was expected during the Auto Expo here in February.

Mahindra also has a Moto3 team which competes in the MotoGP Championship, the premier two-wheel racing series. Formula E had earlier named Chandhok and fellow Indian Narain Karthikeyan in its Drivers' Club.

Audi Sport Abt and Virgin Racing, two out of the 10 teams confirmed for the championship beginning in Beijing, have already announced their drivers' line-up.

All 10 races will be held on the streets of famous cities around the world including London, Los Angeles and Monte Carlo. The cars used will have speeds in excess of 150 mph.

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Image: Karun Chandhok


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13-year-old becomes youngest woman to scale Everest

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In a historic feat for Indian mountaineering, 13-year-old Malavath Purna on Sunday became the youngest female climber to scale the Mount Everest.

Purna was accompanied by Sadhanapalli Anand Kumar (16), a Class IX student from the Khammam district of Andhra Pradesh, and completed the feat on Sunday morning.

Anand and Purna are both students of Andhra Pradesh Social Welfare Educational Society.

"They climbed Everest at 6 am today after a 52-day long expedition," he said.

"Purna created a record by becoming by youngest girl to climb the Everest," he said.

The duo were selected among about 150 children who were initially chosen for adventure sports as part of the society's initiative to promote excellence in the students of the society, he said.

Twenty of them were sent to a prestigious mountaineering Institute in Darjeeling for training and nine among them were sent on expedition to Indo-China border earlier.

The two students with a higher degree of toughness and endurance were sent to the Everest Expedition in April, he said.


Image: Aerial photograph of Everest Base camp
Photographs: Paula Bronstein/Getty Images

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