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Sports Shorts: Paes returns to top 50 in rankings

Last updated on: March 05, 2018 20:51 IST

A summary of sports events and sports persons, who made news on Monday

Jamie Cerretani and Leander Paes in action against Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau during the ATP Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships men's doubles final at the Dubai Duty Free Stadium in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on Saturday 

IMAGE: Jamie Cerretani and Leander Paes in action against Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau during the ATP Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships men's doubles final at the Dubai Duty Free Stadium in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on Saturday. Photograph: Tom Dulat/Getty Images

Leander Paes returned to top-50 with a six-place jump following his runners-up show at the ATP Dubai event, while India's top singles players slid in the latest rankings, issued on Monday.

Paes, who reached the final in Dubai with Jamie Cerretani last week, jumped to 46, two places behind Divij Sharan (44), who gained one place. Rohan Bopanna was unchanged at the 20th spot.


Purav Raja was next best at number 62 (loss of one place) while Vishnu Vardhan reached a career-best doubles rank of 99 as he gained one place.

In the singles, Yuki Bhambri lost five places to slide to 110 and was followed by Ramkumar Ramanathan (135, -2), Sumit Nagal (223, -3) and left-handed Prajnesh Gunneswaran (235, -3).

In the women's rankings, Ankita Raina also lost five places to be placed 255 and was followed by Karman Kaur Thandi, who moved up three places to career-best 278.

In the doubles, injured Sania Mirza was unchanged at number 13 while Prarthna Thombare dropped two places to 141.

Italian Fognini wins Brazil Open title

Italy's Fabio Fognini with the Brazil Open trophy

IMAGE: Italy's Fabio Fognini with the Brazil Open trophy. Photograph: ATP World Tour/Twitter

Fabio Fognini fought back from a poor start to beat Chilean Nicolas Jarry 1-6, 6-1, 6-4 and win the Brazil Open title on Sunday.

The Italian struggled with Jarry's big serve early in the match and the 22-year-old Chilean, playing in his first ATP final, looked intent on claiming his first tour crown as he stormed through the first set in 21 minutes.

But Fognini adjusted his game and romped through the second set before overpowering a tired-looking opponent to take the title, the sixth of his career.

"He started very well and I had to wait a bit for his serve to calm down," Fognini said. "I've always played well in Sao Paulo and never been able to win so I'm very happy."

New British number one Edmund wants 'legitimate' Murray battle

Kyle Edmund

IMAGE: Great Britain's Kyle Edmund. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Kyle Edmund is proud to have become Britain's top ranked tennis player but the 23-year-old says he would have preferred to have beaten Andy Murray fair and square for the honour rather than inherit it from the injured Scot.

While a hip issue has kept Murray on the sidelines since Wimbledon last year, Edmund progressed to his first grand slam semi-final at the Australian Open in January and has risen to a career high 24th in the latest ATP rankings released on Monday.

Three-times grand slam winner Murray, who took over as Britain's number one in 2006, has slipped to 29th in the world.

"As proud as I am, I would have been much happier had Andy stayed healthy and occupied his place at the very top where he belongs," Edmund told British media.

"It is humbling to become the British number one and perhaps unwittingly, as Andy has dropped down in rankings due to his injury.

"I'm wishing Andy a speedy recovery and I hope to battle it out with him in a more legitimate fashion in years to come."

Edmund, who has not played since January after a hip injury in Melbourne, returns on tour to play the Masters 1000 event in Indian Wells, which begins later on Monday.

Indian women hockey team beat South Korea 1-0 in Tour opener

Indian women's hockey team defeated South Korea by a solitary goal in the opening match of the five-game series to make a positive start to their tour.

India scored an early goal through Lalremsiami (5th minute) at the Jinchun National Athletic Center and then defended stoutly to hold on to the lead for a morale-boosting win.

India looked positive from the word go and were rewarded for their intent in the fifth minute when Lalremsiami found the back of the South Korean net past goalkeeper Mijin Han.

The Indian team looked in good shape as they made forays into the opposition half regularly and also defended well as a unit.

In the second quarter, India were rewarded with a penalty corner in the 18th minute, but Mijin Han came to her side's rescue this time.

Three minutes later the Korean goalkeeper made another fine save from a penalty corner to keep the hosts in the hunt.

In the 23rd minute India conceded a penalty corner but debutant goalkeeper Swati made a fine save to keep her team's lead intact.

It was a crucial phase in the match as world no. 9 South Korea were constantly looking for an opening to equalise but the Indian defense stood tall to deny the hosts.

In the fourth quarter, debutant Swati made some important saves to keep India's 1-0 lead intact.

The 24-year-old Indian goalkeeper saved two penalty corners in the opening six minutes of the final quarter and then kept out a penalty stroke in the 50th minute to deny the hosts a way back into the match.

The visitors then earned two more penalty corners but their efforts were kept out by a well-organised South Korean defense.

Agianst South Korea today, India captain Rani Rampal completed 200 international caps while Monika reached a century of caps.

India will play their second match of the series against South Korea on Tuesday.

Siva shatters pole vault national record, Seema Punia set for CWG

Tamil Nadu's Subramani Siva shattered his own national record enroute to winning the men's pole vault title while veteran Seema Punia clinched a gold in women's discus throw to virtually book a Commonwealth Games berth on the opening day of the 22nd Federation Cup National Senior Athletics Championships in Patiala.

Siva, a havildar in the Indian Army, cleared 5.15m to break his own earlier national record of 5.14m set last year at the same venue, the Netaji Subhas National Institute of Sports.

Despite the record effort, the 21-year-old fell short of the Commonwealth Games qualifying standard of 5.45m set by the AFI.

He blamed a fever he suffered a few days ago for not jumping even higher.

Seema, on the other hand, overcame initial hiccups to achieve the AFI norms of 59m for the Gold Coast CWG with her last round throw of 61.05m which was also a meet record. It was Seema's best mark in two years. She was competing in her first competition of the year.

The 34-year-old Haryana thrower has been a regular entrant in Commonwealth Games since 2006 and she has always been on the podium -- winning a silver (60.56m) way back in 2006 at Melbourne, a bronze at Delhi 2010 Games and silver in 2014 Glasgow.

The throw was a big improvement for Punia. She had had a dismal last year, managing a best effort of 54.14m in December.

Behind Punia was Navjeet Kaur, who recorded a best throw of 57.75m. She had cleared the AFI norm in the first leg of Indian Grand Prix at the very same venue less than a week ago with a throw of 59.18m.

Govindan Lakshmanan bagged the men's 5000m gold by by clocking 13:47:28 and eclipsing the old meet mark of 13:49:17 set by Kheta Ram here in 2014. Despite the run, the quickest by an athlete in India, Lakshmanan would fall short of the CWG qualifying standard of 13:25:00.

In the women’s 5000m, L Suriya didn’t push herself too hard even as she claimed gold with a time of 15:46:96. Suriya, who held the old meet record of 15:39:55 set in 2016, said she knew she would find it difficult to match the qualifying standard of 15:09:00.

She said she was focusing on qualifying in the women’s 10000m in which she had a better chance.

East Bengal held 2-2 by Shillong Lajong in I-League

Shillong Lajong gave East Bengal a scare before settling for a 2-2 draw, leaving the I-League title race tantalisingly poised with one last round to go.

Nigerian striker Dudu Omagbemi scored on either side of Shillong Lajong's two goals to keep East Bengal afloat in the title race at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.

Dudu gave East Bengal the lead in the 20th minute before a second half fightback by the home team saw Aibanbha Kupar Dohling (49th) and Samuel Lalmuanpuia (69th, penalty) score twice to push the visitors on the brink.

In the 88th minute, Dudu, who scored four goals in the 7-1 drubbing of Chennai City FC in their last game, pulled one back for East Bengal to take them to 30 points, same as third-placed Mohun Bagan with one game in hand.

Second-placed Neroca FC (31 points) take on East Bengal in Kolkata on March 8. Minerva Punjab FC (32 points) are top of the table and play Churchill Brothers in their last outing on the same day.
On March 8, Mohun Bagan will take on Gokulam Kerala FC away.

East Bengal got the first chance of the game when Brandon Vanlalremdika set up Dudu into the space between the defenders and the goalkeeper but the Nigerian veteran could not meet the aerial ball as goalkeeper Nidhin Lal punched it away.

A minute later, Ansumana Kromah shot over the bar after doing well to get inside the 18-yard box.

The visitors got the lead minutes later.

The impressive Lalram Chullova put in a beautiful through ball inside the area for Dudu, who timed his run to perfection, to sneak in a header.

Lajong got a couple of chances after that but could not convert.

In the second half, Shillong Lajong came roaring back into the game with two goals. Dohling first turned in the brilliant Samuel's free kick, beating Gurwinder Singh in the air to equalise.

Then Samuel was brought down by Mehtab Singh inside the box and the former stepped up for the spot kick to make it 2-1.

When it looked like East Bengal would lose, Dudu made it 2-2, nodding in Kromah's cross.

Doping: Sky and Wiggins crossed 'ethical line' - UK parliamentary report

Team Sky crossed an "ethical line" by using permitted medication to enhance the performance of Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins, said a British parliamentary committee report published on Monday.

Team Sky immediately issued a statement to "strongly refute" the claim.

The long-awaited Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) select committee report on 'Combatting doping in sport' said the widespread therapeutic use exemption (TUE) system was open to abuse.

It was unable to say for sure what was in a mysterious package delivered to Wiggins at the June 2011 Criterium du Dauphine race but found no "reliable evidence" to support Sky's assertion that it was a legal decongestant.

The committee said it believed a powerful corticosteroid, triamcinolone, was being used "to prepare Bradley Wiggins, and possibly other riders supporting him, for the Tour de France.

"The purpose of this was not to treat medical need, but to improve his power to weight ratio ahead of the race."

Wiggins, an asthma sufferer who has said he sought no unfair advantage, had been granted a TUE for the banned anti-inflammatory ahead of the 2012 Tour.

The report said that while there was no violation of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) code, "it does cross the ethical line that (team principal) David Brailsford says he himself drew for Team Sky."

Team Sky said they took full responsibility for mistakes made in areas where they had already acknowledged they fell short.