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Rediff.com  » Sports » Sports Shorts: Prajnesh avenges Fabbiano to reach Liuzhou Challenger semis

Sports Shorts: Prajnesh avenges Fabbiano to reach Liuzhou Challenger semis

October 26, 2018 19:47 IST

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

Prajnesh Gunneswaran had lost to Fabbiano in the Ningbo Challenger last week

IMAGE: Prajnesh Gunneswaran had lost to Fabbiano in the Ningbo Challenger final last week. Photograph: PTI/Files

India's Prajnesh Gunneswaran knocked out third seed Thomas Fabbiano of Italy to seal his place in the semi-finals of the Liuzhou Challenger in China on Friday.

The win enabled Prajnesh to exact sweet revenge over Fabbiano, who had defeated the Indian in the final of the Ningbo Challenger last week.

Prajnesh came from behind to beat the Italian 6-7(5), 6-1, 6-3 in the battle of baseline, having lost to him the title clash, last week.

Prajnesh struck the ball hard, retrieving almost everything thrown at him and found some delectable winners on both flanks.

 

Asked how he managed to beat Fabbiano this time around, Prajnesh said, the conditions suited him better.

"The courts were a bit slower and it suits my game more. I played well. It was not the best of first sets. I had chances but did not play well when I was close to getting break of serves," Prajnesh told PTI.

"In the second set I really played well. I got an early break and played well to finish the set. The third set was very close, could have gone either way. I saved a breakpoint at 3-3. I broke at 4-3 and served very well in the last game of the match," he said.

Prajnesh finished the two-hour eight minute battle with an ace, serving at love.

In the doubles, fourth seeds N Sriram Balaji and Saketh Myneni lost in the semi-final 7-5, 0-6, 5-10 to second seeds Mao-Xin Gong and Ze Zhang.

Sandhu lies at 3rd, Jeev moves to T-6 at Panasonic Open India

Indian golfer Ajeetesh Sandhu shot a second successive five-under 67 to stay one shot off the lead at the US$400,000 Panasonic Open India in New Delhi on Friday.

Overnight leader Suradit Yongcharoenchai (66-67) from Thailand and Bangladesh's seasoned star Siddikur Rahman (67-66) shared the halfway lead at 11-under 133.

Sandhu, one of the seven players Tied-2nd a year ago, is now 10-under and sole third.

The scoreboard continued to have a liberal sprinkling of the Indian tricolour as half of the Top-14 players were home stars and just over a half, 38 out of 74 making the cut were home golfers. The cut fell at 2-over 146.

Rashid Khan (68-68) was fifth, while veteran Jeev Milkha Singh, who has made just two cuts in 15 starts in 2018 and has just one Top-5 finish since his win in 2012 Scottish Open, was T-6th with M Dharma (70-67) and four others.

One shot behind them in T-12 place were 53-year-old Mukesh Kumar (71-67), the 2016 Panasonic Open India champion; 23-year-old Aman Raj (70-68) and 17-year-old debutant pro Kshitij Naveed Kaul, indicating India's growing depth in golf.

Defending champion Shiv Kapur scored a second successive 70 to lie tied 21.

Interestingly, two Indian youngsters, both making their debut this week, Kaul and Yuvraj Sandhu also shot 66s, but with contrasting fortunes.

Kaul (72-66) made the cut on his debut and was T-12 but Yuvraj, despite fighting back from his first round 81 with a 66 for a 15-shot swing, missed the cut by one. Also missing the cut was debutant Aadil Bedi (77-74).

Suradit, who opened his campaign with a solid 66, returned with a flawless round 67 highlighted by five birdies.

Jeev rolled the clock back with 69-68 and is Tied-4th.

"It's been a long time since I was interviewed, so it feels great. I am not sure when I last played so well and confidently. I was patient and I managed to hole a few putts coming in.

"I started from the back nine, made on birdie on the 17th where I holed a 10-footer. Made the turn at one-under and birdied the fourth hole from about 20 feet.

"On the seventh hole, I hit a good seven-iron shot to about 15 feet and holed that as well. Went on the birdie the eighth after chipping to about six feet and made that putt. Bogey-free 68, I am very pleased with myself."

Thailand's Jazz Janewattananond, who has played numerous rounds with Sandhu this season, had a matching 67, but is sole fourth.

Bhullar at T-31, Shubhankar struggles again at WGC-HSBC

Gaganjeet Bhullar produced a second successive 72 but Shubhankar Sharma continued to struggle with another eighth-over 80 in the second round of the World Golf Champions-HSBC Champions in Shanghai on Friday.

Bhullar, who was T-27 slipped to T-31, as Tony Finau (66-67) took a three-shot lead over first leader, Patrick Reed (64-72).

Shubhankar, playing his fourth straight WGC Championships, is now 16-over and lying at the bottom at 77th place. His best at the WGC has been T-9 in his first appearance in Mexico.

Starting from back nine, Bhullar birdied the 10th hole, double bogeyed the 18th and then picked up birdies at the second and fourth holes before dropping a shot on 17th.

Shubhankar started with a bogey on 19th and then had a double on 17th and a birdie on 18th to turn in 2-over.

On the second nine, he bogeyed five times and also had a double and just one birdie on Par-5 second.

Finau built a three-shot lead as Reed began to stumble when Finau hit an approach from the rough on the 11th hole toward the green at Sheshan International.

The ball landed on a sprinkler, shot high in the air and rolled over the back and into the hazard. It led to a double bogey and cut his lead to one shot.

Finau had a pair of birdies on the par 5s, laid up on the reachable par-4 16th and made birdie, and wound up with a 5-under 67. That put him at 11-under 133, three shots clear of Reed (72), Tommy Fleetwood (68) and defending champion Justin Rose (67).

Rose won last year by rallying from eight shots behind on the final day, so a three-shot deficit shouldn't look all that daunting. He plodded his way around the course and kept bogeys off his card. He missed a 15-foot eagle attempt on the last hole.

This year Finau had 10 finishes in the top 10 and his consistency led to him making his first Ryder Cup.

Dustin Johnson after a quick start shot 73 and was 14 shots behind. Rory McIlroy was even worse. It took him 15 shots to play the two par 5s on the front nine, taking a triple bogey on No. 2 and a double bogey on the par-5 eighth hole.

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