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Sports Shorts: Narang-Ghatkar win silver medal in shooting meet

Last updated on: May 06, 2018 22:52 IST

A summary of sports events and persons who made news on Saturday

Gagan Narang

IMAGE: Gagan Narang with Pooja Ghatkar. Photograph: Gagan Narang/Twitter

Olympic medallist Gagan Narang made a fine comeback to the 10m air rifle event as he combined with young Pooja Ghatkar to win the mixed team silver medal in the Grand Prix of Liberation international shooting competition in Pilsen, Czech Republic.

Having topped the qualification with 833.2 points, with Pooja shooting 413.5 and Gagan 419.7, the Indian pair came close to overtaking Jurate Cesynaite and Karolis Girulis for the gold, before missing the target by 1.3 point.


P. Shri Nivetha and Amanpreet Singh claimed the mixed air pistol silver after having topped qualification with a score of 775.

Earlier in the tournament, Mihika Poore bagged the women's air rifle gold while a day before that, Shri Nivetha Paramanantham clinched the gold medal in the women's air pistol after topping the qualification.

In men's rifle 3-position, Narang shot 1,157 to finish 35th.

In men's rapid fire pistol, Arpit Goel was the best among the Indians as he shot 569 for the 18th spot.

Zverev retains Munich Open title

Alexander Zverev

IMAGE: Germany's Alexander Zverev celebrates with the trophy after winning the final against Germany's Philipp Kohlschreiber. Photograph: Michael Dalder/Reuters

Alexander Zverev warmed up for this month's French Open by winning his first title of the year at the Munich Open, where he beat compatriot Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-3, 6-3 in the final on Sunday.

World number three Zverev will be eager to improve on his first round exit at last year's French Open after a composed display earned him back-to-back Munich trophies, and his seventh ATP title.

Three-time champion Kohlschreiber took a 3-2 lead in the opening set in Munich but an energetic Zverev was quick to level the scores and won three straight games to clinch the set.

The second set was played out in similar fashion as Zverev outplayed his 34-year-old opponent with the score at 3-3 to win the remaining games and retain an ATP title for the first time in his career.

"(I feel) quite good, obviously winning a title here (in Munich) helps," Zverev said.

"I played well in Monte Carlo so (I am) very confident and hopefully I can continue to play like I (have) played."

The 21-year-old, who reached the semi-finals of the Monte Carlo Masters in April, will continue his preparations for the second grand slam of the year at the Madrid Open.

Ostapenko, Venus suffer shock Madrid exits

 Anett Kontaveit

IMAGE: Anett Kontaveit of Estonia plays a backhand against Venus Williams of the United States in their first round match on at the Mutua Madrid Open tennis tournament. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko's preparations in the run-up to the claycourt major hit the skids in the first round of the Madrid Open on Saturday as she was beaten 6-3, 6-3 by unseeded Romanian Irina-Camelia Begu.

The Latvian has failed to scale the same heights she reached last year when she emerged out of nowhere to conquer Roland Garros.

But if the 20-year-old harbours any hopes of repeating that run in Paris later this month, she will have to make a vast improvement on Saturday's error-filled performance.

Joining her at the exit was American Venus Williams, a runner-up in Madrid in 2010. She was beaten 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 by Estonian Anett Kontaveit.

World number four Elina Svitolina and former world number one Karolina Pliskova, however, eased to victories.

Ukrainian Svitolina, the fourth seed, struck 28 winners and lost her serve just once as she brushed Alize Cornet aside for a 6-2, 6-2 victory.

Svitolina is aiming to win her third title of the year but the 23-year-old has never progressed past the second round in Madrid.

Sixth seed Pliskova, coming off a Stuttgart Open title win last month, extended her winning run to six matches after striking 29 winners and seven aces to sweep past Elena Vesnina 6-4, 6-2.

The duo will be joined by French seventh seed Caroline Garcia and Russian Daria Kasatkina in the next stage.

American 12th-seed CoCo Vandeweghe's defeat by unseeded Frenchwoman Kristina Mladenovic was the other upset of the day.

World number one Simona Halep, Race to Singapore leader Caroline Wozniacki and Spaniard Garbine Muguruza will take to the courts for their first round matches on Sunday.

Resurgent Azarenka confirms European charge after long-awaited return

Victoria Azarenka says she will compete throughout the European grass and claycourt season, including at the French Open and Wimbledon, after making a winning return at the Madrid Open.

The 28-year-old Belarusian missed the majority of last season due to a prolonged legal battle over the custody of her son and only played at Wimbledon and in Mallorca, exiting both competitions in the round of 16.

The twice Australian Open champion returned to the court at Indian Wells in March, where she was ousted in the second round, and also progressed to the semi-finals of the Miami Open.

"I'm playing all the way through Wimbledon," Azarenka told reporters after her 6-3, 6-3 win over Aleksandra Krunic in the first round in Madrid.

"I play Rome, I play Paris, I'm going to play Mallorca, I'm going to play Wimbledon. That's my schedule for the next couple months. It's definite."

"I found out close to the end of April that I could go... I've done a little bit of better preparation overall. I'm trying to get a little bit more stability right now."

Azarenka's long absence from the game had caused her to fall to 208 in the WTA rankings but the Belarusian's run this year has helped her climb back up to 99.

Azarenka, a finalist at Madrid in 2011 and 2012, will face sixth seed Karolina Pliskova, who won the Stuttgart Open title earlier this month, in the second round of the French Open warmup tournament on Monday.

Kadhe finishes runner-up in Abuja ITF Futures

Arjun Khade

IMAGE: Third runner-up finish for Arjun Khade this year. Photograph: Kind courtesy Arjun Kadhe/Facebook

India's Arjun Kadhe emerged runner-up at the ITF Futures event at Abuja, Nigeria, after losing to Brazil's Joao Menezes the final.

Playing his fourth final on the ITF circuit this season, the 397th-ranked Kadhe lost 3-6, 1-6 to an opponent three places above him in the ranking chart.

"First set was pretty close and he played really well. It was tough for me to break him. In the second set, I lost the first few games which I should have won on deuce," Kadhe told PTI from Abuja.

It was a third runner-up finish for the 24-year old from Pune after similar results in Kolkata and Trivandrum early this year.

"It's a learning process and being consistent with performance is key too, especially when you are playing doubles and singles both," he said.

Kadhe had won the title in Bhubneswar in February.

Bhullar loses playoff to finish second, Sandhu 5th in Korea

Gaganjeet Bhullar was edged out in a four-way playoff for the GS Caltex Maekyung Open Golf Championship as Korea's Sanghyun Park won the event for the second time in three years with a par at the third playoff hole in Seongnam, Korea.

Park, who won the event in 2016, had to go the extra distance to lift his sixth professional title after he carded an even-par-71 in the final round to force his way into a play-off with compatriots Yikeun Chang (69), Junggon Hwang (70) and Bhullar (70).

Bhullar said, "I gave my 100 per cent and I played really well especially the last 36 holes. I played steady and gave myself opportunities today. I hit the ball well and gave myself lots of good looks out on the course. But I would like to congratulate Park as he's a deserving winner."

It was Bhullar's best result since his win in Macao last October. He is the first Asian to win eight times before the age of 30.

Another Indian Ajeetesh Sandhu (72) was unable to find a birdie in the last seven holes which would have got him into a play-off. With the top four finishing at one-under par, Sandhu finished at even par 284 and was Tied-5th. Shiv Kapur (76) was T-29, while S Chikkarangappa (74) was T-55 and Arjun Atwal (75) was T-67.

Bhullar threatened to break the dominance of the Koreans at the GS Caltex Maekyung Open Golf Championship which has not had a foreign winner since American Mark Calcavecchia emerged victorious in 2004.

Bhullar, who had bogeys on second and fourth, fought back with birdies on sixth, ninth, 13th and 14th against a bogey on 10th. As he parred the last three holes he ended in a tie.

But the man who must be ruing his final hole error was Junggon Hwang, who seemed to have sewn it up as he came 3-under for the day and 3-under for the tournament when he came to 18th tee. But he double bogeyed and fell into a tie for play-off and lost it.

Bhullar, however, was the first player to bow out of the four-man playoff at the first hole. He conceded the hole after he knew his best effort could only be a bogey while the Koreans had easy par putt chances. Hwang was next to fall out of contention after he carded a bogey while Park and Chang birdied.

Victory belonged to Park when Chang was left with an uphill task to sink a 15-foor par putt, which he missed, while Park made no mistake when his turn came at the Namseoul Country Club.

Park became the fourth Korean player after KT Kim, Sangho Choi and Namshin Park to have won the GS Caltex Maekyung Open Golf Championship twice.

When Park won the event in 2016, it was also in a playoff against compatriot Soomin Lee.

Marquez wins in Spain and takes MotoGP lead

Marc Marquez

IMAGE: Repsol Honda Team's Marc Marquez celebrates winning the race. Photograph: Jon Nazca/Reuters

Marc Marquez won his home Spanish Grand Prix and took the overall MotoGP lead on Sunday after the reigning champion's main rivals collided spectacularly.

The Honda rider was in a race of his own for the last eight laps after the Ducati pairing of Andrea Dovizioso, the previous championship leader, and Jorge Lorenzo collided with Honda's Dani Pedrosa while fighting for second place.

Pedrosa, who had wrist surgery less than a month ago, was thrown high over his bike after trying to go past the two Ducatis on the inside.

Lorenzo came across into the corner as Dovizioso went wide, colliding with Pedrosa and sending the two Ducatis into the gravel. All three riders walked away from the crash.

French Tech3 Yamaha rider Johann Zarco was gifted the runner-up slot, 5.241 seconds behind, and is now Marquez's closest rival in the championship.

Four times world champion Marquez, who started the race from fifth place, now has 70 points after four races to Zarco's 58. Dovizioso dropped to fifth overall with 46.

Italian Andrea Iannone finished third for Suzuki.