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Sports Shorts: Prajnesh advances; Bopanna-Sharan crash out

August 19, 2019 15:03 IST

Prajnesh Gunneswaran

IMAGE: Prajnesh Gunneswaran. Photograph: Edgar Su/Reuters

India's top single's player Prajnesh Gunneswaran advanced to the second round of the Winston Salem Open ATP 250 tournament with a straight set win over Cedrik-Marcel Stebe in North Carolina.

Prajnesh, ranked 89th in the world, beat his German rival 6-3, 6-4 in a match that lasted one hour and 13 minutes on Sunday night.

The Indian utilised two of the five breakpoints he earned while holding his serve throughout the match.

 

He will next face top seed Benoit Paire of France, who received a first round bye. Paire is ranked 30 in the world.

The Indian will fancy his chances in the next round as earlier this year, Prajnesh had stunned Paire at the Indian Wellls ATP Masters event for one of the biggest wins of his career.

In the doubles event, the Indian pair of Divij Sharan and Rohan Bopanna crashed out in the first round.

The Indian duo lost to American pair of Nicholas Monroe Tennys Sandgren 3-6, 3-6.

Meanwhile, wild card entrants Leander Paes and his Israeli partner Jonathan Erlich, will take on the duo of Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury in the opening round.

Berdych ends drought with opening win at Winston-Salem Open

Tomas Berdych earned his first ATP win in six months with a 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 first round victory over Andreas Seppi at the Winston-Salem Open on Sunday. The Czech, who missed four months prior to Wimbledon with a back injury, had not recorded a triumph since February in Dubai.

"It’s been a very tough time for me," Berdych told reporters. "I've been really up and down. Just because of the love of the sport I was wanting to give myself one more try to come back and give it a good shot of preparation, come here and play some matches and go to the Open and see what it’s like, what I’m going to do, how my tennis is going to be.

"So it’s ‘Let’s see, let’s go step by step.’ "

Against Seppi, Berdych fired eight aces and broke his opponent’s service five times as the match shifted momentum.

Berdych, one of four wild cards in the field, raced to a 5-0 advantage in the opening set but battled rust as Seppi rallied to take the second set before Berdych hit back.

Berdych will now face eighth-seeded Filip Krajinovic in the second round.

In other matches, Robin Haase of Netherlands beat American Denis Kudla 6-4, 7-6(3).

South African’s Lloyd Harris took down Spain’s Jaume Munar 7-6(5), 4-6, 6-1. India’s Prajnesh Gunneswaran beat Cedrik-Marcel Stebe 6-3, 6-4 and Romania’s Marius Copil defeated Denmark’s Martin Klizan 6-4, 3-6, 6-3.

Former world number one Andy Murray will play his opening match against American Tennys Sandgren on Monday. The three-time Grand Slam champion is continuing his comeback from hip surgery back in January.

He suffered a first-round loss to Richard Gasquet last week in Cincinnati. "My expectations are pretty low," Murray said. "I’m not thinking about winning events like this, I’m just trying to get matches. Hopefully with each match I’ll feel better and gain confidence."

Woods misses chance to defend Tour Championship title

There will be no defending champion at next week's Tour Championship after Tiger Woods failed to qualify for the season-ending event.

Only the top 30 players on the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup points list are eligible to play at East Lake in Atlanta, where $ 15 million will be up for grabs for the winner.

Woods needed to place about sixth at the BMW Championship on Sunday to qualify, but he tied for 37th at Medinah, a distant 18 strokes behind winner Justin Thomas.

Apart from his win at the Masters for his 15th major title, Woods had a relatively quiet season, which petered out without a whimper amid physical and emotional fatigue.

"The rest of the tournaments I didn't really play as well as I wanted to, but at the end of the day, I'm the one with the green jacket," he told reporters on Sunday.

Still, Woods will be disappointed not to get a chance to return to the scene of one of the most memorable victories of his career.

Successfully returning last year from major back surgery, he ended a five-year drought with his two-stroke win at East Lake, the 80th of his PGA Tour career, which was at the time just two shy of Sam Snead's all-time mark.

Junior women boxers claim 12 medals at Serbian tourney

India's junior women boxers clinched 12 medals, including four gold, at the third Nation's Cup in Vrbas, Serbia.

The team won four gold, four silver and four bronze medals and claimed the runners-up trophy.

Tamanna (48kg), Ambeshori Devi (57kg), Preeti Dahiya (60kg) Priyanka (66kg) notched up the gold medals.

Tamanna was adjudged Best Foreign Boxer. She blanked Russia's Alena Tremasova 5-0 in the final, the Boxing Federation of India (BFI) said in a statement.

Manipur's Ambeshori and Haryana's Dahiya continued their fine runs from the Black Forest Cup in June to secure hard-fought 3-2 wins over Sweden's Duna Sipel and Ukraine's Kristina Kartavtseva respectively.

Haryana's Priyanka secured a commanding 5-0 win over Russia's Olga Petrashko.

In 50kg, Karnataka's Anju Devi settled for a silver along with Maharashtra's Simran Verma (52kg), Haryana's Manshi Dalal (75kg) and Punjab's Tanishbir Kaur Sandhu (80kg).

Goa's Aashreya Naik (63kg), Neha (54kg), Khushi (70kg) and Alfiya Akram Khan Pathan (+80kg) picked up bronze medals after losing their respective semifinal bouts.

Over 160 boxers from 20 countries participated in this tournament, for which India sent a 13-member squad.

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