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Sports Shorts: Pallikal fights her way into Texas Open semis

Last updated on: April 12, 2014 23:36 IST

Sports Shorts: Pallikal fights her way into Texas Open semis

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India's top squash player Dipika Pallikal earned a hard fought win over Nicolette Fernandes of Guyana to reach the the semifinals of the $50,000 Texas Open in Houston.

Pallikal, with coach and five-time world champion Sarah Fitz-Gerald in her corner, had to resist a determined fightback by the unseeded Fernandes before prevailing 11-4, 11-6, 10-12, 10-12, 11-5 in the quarterfinal.

The World No 12 from Chennai plays eigth-ranked Madeline Perry of Ireland in the semifinals later.

In other matches, Malaysian favourite and top seed Low Wee Wern was stunned by Egypt's teenage 'giant-killer', Nour El Sherbini. The 18-year-old qualifier tamed the World No.7 11-3, 11-8, 10-12, 11-6 to progress in the Women's Squash Association (WSA) Gold 50 event at The Downtown Club.

Quarter-finals results: [2] Madeline Perry (IRL) bt [Q] Emma Beddoes (ENG) 11-7, 9-11, 11-6, 11-8 (48m), [4] Dipika Pallikal (IND) bt Nicolette Fernandes (GUY) 11-4, 11-6, 10-12, 10-12, 11-5 (64m), [3] Camille Serme (FRA) bt [8] Rachael Grinham (AUS) 8-11, 17-15, 11-6, 11-4 (47m), [Q] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt [1] Low Wee Wern (MAS) 11-3, 11-8, 10-12, 11-6 (46m).

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Image: Dipika Pallikal
Photographs: Dipika Pallikal/Facebook

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Fighting Srikanth bows out of Singapore Super Series

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Rising Indian shuttler Kidambi Srikanth's impressive campaign at the Singapore Super Series finally came to an end as he went down fighting against top seed Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia in the men's singles semi-finals in Singapore on Saturday.

Srikanth fought valiantly against the world number one Lee before running out of steam to lose the contest 19-21, 18-21 in 42 minutes at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.

Lee play qualifier Simon Santoso of Indonesia in the summit clash on Sunday.

Santoso stunned fifth seed Pengyu Du of China 16-21, 21-17, 21-17 in the other semi-final.

Against Lee, Srikanth made a bright start and gave his fancied opponent a run for his money from the beginning.

It was a neck-and-neck affair between Srikanth and Lee in the first game and from 15-16 down at one stage, the Indian rode on his smashes to take a 19-16 lead.

But just when it seemed Srikanth will pocket the first game, pressure got the better of the Thailand Open champion Indian as he committed a number of unforced errors -- four in succession -- to hand the game to Lee.

With a 1-0 lead under his belt, Lee started to play more freely in the second game and took a huge 15-8 lead before extending the margin to 19-12.

But Srikanth was in no mood to give up without a fight as he clawed his way back into the match by pocketing six out of the next seven points to reduce the gap and sent some shivers into Lee's camp.

Lee, however, kept his composure and sealed the affair in his favour by pocketing the next two points.

With Srikanth's loss, India's challenge came to an end in the $30,00,000 tournament.


Image: Malaysia's Lee Chong Wei (R) celebrates after defeating India's K. Srikanth
Photographs: Edgar Su/Reuters

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Olympian shooter alleges vandalism at range, files FIR

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Olympian shooter Joydeep Karmakar lodged an FIR alleging vandalism at his training range in the North Calcutta Rifle Club.

The shooter claimed that his electronic target wires were snapped for the second time in six months and alleged it was a deliberate act to derail his preparations for the national trials.

"It's really quite frustrating to find the wires damaged this morning days before I'm set to leave for Delhi for the trials... It was perfect yesterday afternoon.

"The target is installed inside the hall which remains locked with security personnel but they are clueless. Certainly, it's done by insiders with an ill motive," Karmakar, who has lodged a complaint at the Ultadanga police station in this connection said.

The 50m rifle prone shooter had finished fourth at the London Olympics and he's now preparing for the selection trials for the upcoming Commonwealth Games, Asian Games and World Championships that will have quota berths for the 2016 Rio Olympics.

At the last Nationals, Karmakar finished second after topping the qualification round with 619.1 points.


Image: Joydeep Karmakar
Photographs: Lars Baron/Getty Images

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Manavjit pips Olympic champion to clinch gold

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India's Manavjit Singh Sandhu produced some excellent shooting to clinch the men's trap gold medal ahead of two-time Olympic champion Michael Diamond at the ISSF Shotgun World Cup in Tucson, USA.

The 37-year-old Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna awardee shot scores of 121 and 13 in the qualification and finals, respectively, to finish on the podium with the yellow metal dangling around his neck.

It was some achievement by the former World No 1  Indian and world champion as he was up against Australia's Diamond, who had won the top prize in the 1996 Atlanta and Sydney Olympics in 2009, besides winning five gold medals at the Commonwealth Games.

Diamond shot 119 and nine in the qualifications and finals, respectively.

Manavjit scored 14 out of 15 targets in the semifinals. The Indian sharpshooter had last won at the World Cup stage four years ago.

"We had some of the world's best shooters competing today. Winning the match against Michael Diamond has been definitely challenging but at the end you have to hit your own target, and the final score is what it is," Manavjit said after his win.

"I have prepared for this first World Cup throughout the winter season. We had several championships and trials in India in the last months. I never stopped shooting," the shooter, currently ranked 16th in the world, added.

One of the finest shotgun shooters in the country, Manavjit had last month clinched the Patiala Cup for the overall gross score in trap, double trap and skeet, at the Indian Shotgun Open.

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Image: Manavjit Singh Sandhu of India
Photographs: Desmond Boylan/Reuters

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Costa back in Atletico squad for Getafe game

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Atletico Madrid top scorer Diego Costa has been given the all clear by medical staff and included in the squad for Sunday's game at Getafe after shaking off a thigh strain, the La Liga leaders said on Saturday.

Brazil-born forward Costa missed Wednesday's Champions League quarter-final, second leg win against Barcelona after picking up the injury in the first leg the previous week.

Costa's was the final name on the 19-man squad list for the game at Getafe's Coliseum stadium that Atletico published on their official Twitter feed.

Atletico are a point clear of Barca with six games left and three clear of third-placed city neighbours Real Madrid.

Barca and Real play on Saturday, with the champions at Granada and Real at home to Almeria.

Atletico coach Diego Simeone, who has transformed his unfancied team into genuine contenders in Spain and Europe since taking over at the end of 2011, said 18th-placed Getafe would be a dangerous opponent as they are fighting to avoid relegation.

"Tomorrow's game is difficult because of the need Getafe has," Simeone, who was playing for Atletico the last time they won La Liga in 1996, told a news conference on Saturday.

"It breeds anxiety and motivation to play against us and I expect a dangerous opponent with good dead ball skills and plenty of options in attack," added the Argentine.

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Image: Diego Costa of Atletico Madrid
Photographs: Denis Doyle/Getty Images

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Aamir's World Cup dreams over

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The banned Pakistan fast bowler Mohammad Aamir will not be eligible to play in next year's World Cup even if he returns early to domestic cricket, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said PTI that the PCB was not hopeful about the ICC clearing the pacer to play international cricket until he completed his five-year ban, which would end around August 2015.

"What we have tried to convince the ICC to do is to allow him to be back into domestic cricket by reviewing his ban period so that he is ready when the times comes for him to play international cricket," Ahmad said.

The PCB Chairman Najam Sethi announced at a press conference that he was confident the youngster could be playing first class cricket later this year once the ICC enforced its amended anti-corruption laws in June.

"Once the amended laws come into force on the recommendations of the special committee formed by the ICC to review existing laws then Aamir could have one year of his ban period reduced so that he can get back into domestic cricket this year," he added.

Aamir was 18 when the spot fixing scandal broke out while Pakistan was touring England in August, 2010 which eventually led to the imposement of bans on Aamir and his senior teammates -- Salman Butt and Muhammad Asif.

The PCB has pleaded with the ICC to review the five year ban on the pacer on the basis of his age factor.

The idea behind the move is to help the player get ready to play competitive cricket as soon as the ban period is over rather than wait for the ban to end before he can start training.

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Image: Mohammad Aamir
Photographs: Getty Images

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Misbah likely to retain captaincy till 2015 World Cup

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Misbah-ul-Haq does not seem to be in danger of losing the captaincy of the national One-day team before the World Cup 2015 despite speculations about experienced allrounder, Shahid Afridi being a strong contender for this job.

The sources in the Pakistan Cricket Board said that all rumours pertaining to the national One-day team captaincy were unfounded.

"There is no plan to change Misbah as captain of the Test or ODI sides as he has led the players well in both formats and is now an experienced campaigner and more importantly his own individual performances have been exemplary and consistent," a source said.

He conceded that a lobby was interested in bringing back Afridi as the One-day captain before the World Cup but the Chairman of the board, Najam Sethi was convinced there was no justification for changing Misbah ahead of the major event in Australia and New Zealand early next year.

The source said that Sethi had a good understanding with former captain, Moin Khan and would take his feedback on who should be the new captain of the T20 side.

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Image: Misbah-ul-Haq
Photographs: Getty Images

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Advani advances in World Championship qualifiers

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He was left hassled after his baggage was misplaced but unfazed by it, ace Indian cueist Pankaj Advani rallied to beat China's Li Hang in the second round of the qualifying event for the World Snooker Championships in Sheffield.

Advani notched up a 10-9 triumph to set up a clash against England's Robbie Williams in the penultimate qualifying round on Sunday. The main event is scheduled from April 19 to May 5.

Advani was trailing throughout the match against Hang, who scored heavily in many frames.

However, it was the eight-time world champion from India, who used his experience and showed nerves of steel to get past the finish line first.

The match played over two days saw the first session ending with the Chinese leading 5-3. On resumption the following day, Hang maintained the lead and at one stage the score was 8-5.

With only two frames away from defeat, Advani responded to the pressure and won the next three on the trot.

What has made this trip to the UK for Advani even more challenging was when his regular Dubai-based airline failed to check the baggage which resulted in a co-passenger mistakenly exiting with Advani's suitcase from the Manchester airport.

The Indian was without any of his belongings for three days only to receive it the night before his match.

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Image: Pankaj Advani


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Karthikeyan qualifies second for Super Formula opener

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After making his mark in the Formula One circuit, Indian racing driver Narain Karthikeyan began his 2014 Super Formula campaign by qualifying second for the season opener in Suzuka, Japan on Sunday.

The completely revamped Super Formula series (erstwhile known as Formula Nippon) has switched to a new Dallara SF14 chassis this year; powered by two-litre, 550 bhp turbocharged engines – similar to the new Formula 1 regulations.

“It is incredible to qualify on the front row on the first weekend of the season, considering the competition. We managed to improve bit by bit over the weekend and hopefully will be in a good place for the race," said Karthikeyan after the qualifying at the famed Suzuka Circuit,

Driving for Team Impul Hoshino Racing, the 37-year-old qualified just a tenth behind 24-hour Le Mans winner and World Endurance champion Andre Lotterer of Team Tom’s Toyota.

Like Formula 1, Super Formula features a knockout-based qualifying format with Q1, Q2 and Q3 sessions determining the final grid for the 43-lap, 250km long race on Sunday.


Image: Narain Karthikeyan


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