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Sports Shorts: Sindhu still searching for a title this year...

Source: PTI
Last updated on: November 05, 2018 21:49 IST
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PV Sindhu

IMAGE: A title has eluded P V Sindhu this season. Photograph: How Foo Yeen/Getty Images

Still searching for a title this year, India's top shuttler P V Sindhu opens her campaign in the China Open women's singles against Evgeniya Kosetskaya of Russia, in Fuzhou, China, on Tuesday.

Olympic silver medallist Sindhu, who has finished second best on five occasions this year, has been seeded third in this BWF World Tour Super 750 and she is unlikely to face much challenge from the unseeded world number 30 in the first round.


World number three Sindhu has been clubbed along with Nozomi Okuhara of Japan in one half of the draw and both can meet in the semifinals if they reach that stage.

Olympic and world champion Carolina Marin of Spain and world number 2 Akane Yamaguchi of Japan have been clubbed in the other half of the draw.

Another Indian in the women's singles, Vaishnavi Reddy Jakka opens her campaign on Wednesday against Pornpawee Chochuwong of Thailand.

The women's doubles duo of Ashwini Ponnappa and N Sikki Reddy will play against the Japanese pair of Shiho Tanaka and Koharu Yonemoto in the first round on Tuesday.

Also on Tuesday, the Indian men's doubles pair of Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy will take on Kim Astrup and Anders Skaarup Rasmussen of Denmark.

In the men's singles, Kidambi Srikanth, seeded fifth, and H S Prannoy are in the fray and both have their opening round matches on Wednesday. 

Bengaluru maintain perfect away record


Bengaluru FC kept their all-win record against Kerala Blasters FC intact in the Indian Super League football with a 2-1 win in Kochi.

Captain Sunil Chhetri opened the scoring in the 17th minute with a neat finish past Naveen Kumar. Kerala equalised from a spot-kick by Slavisa Stojanovic in the 30th minute but an own goal by Nikola Krcmarevic in the 80th minute settled the tie in favour of the visitors.

The win meant Bengaluru FC have now won all three of their away matches on the trot to maintain a perfect record. They have also recorded wins in all the three matches they have played against Kerala Blasters in the ISL till now.

The home side could have earned an early lead had C K Vineeth kept his shot on target from Prasanth Karuthadathkuni's low cross from the right. The forward sneaked into the box from the right but sent his effort over the bar.

Erik Paartalu had the goal at his mercy at the other end minutes later. Dimas Delgado's delivery from a free-kick was headed by Sandesh Jhingan into the feet of the Australian whose effort from the near post was cleared by Lalruatthara who was positioned near the goal line.

The Blues made a breakthrough in the 17th minute through a neat finish by Chhetri. Miku's terrific through-ball behind the Kerala defence allowed Chhetri to race into the box and put the ball into the net.

Kerala Blasters were back in the contest at the half an hour mark. Sahal Samad collected Cyril Kali's throw-in from the right flank but was fouled inside the box by Nishu Kumar before he could get his shot away. The referee pointed to the spot and Stojanovic stepped up to score from the spot-kick.

The hosts, boosted by the equaliser, could have taken the lead before half-time. Nikola Krcmarevic's excellent cross-field diagonal reached Prasanth on the right flank who found Doungel inside the box and the Indian striker forced Gurpreet to a good reflex save.

After the break, Erik Paartalu's long ball into the box had the Kerala defence on alert. Harmanjot Khabra headed the ball back to Chhetri who lobbed it forward for Miku but the Venezuelan's deflected effort went wide.

Another long punt up the field, this time by goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh, allowed Miku to sneak into the box past Lakic-Pesic. The Venezuelan found Udanta Singh in the centre but the winger's powerful shot took a deflection and was parried away by Naveen.

In the final quarter of the game, Vineeth threatened again when he beat the off-side trap to latch onto Prasanth's delightful through-ball but his shot past Gurpreet rolled wide of the goal.

Bengaluru broke the Kerala hearts with nine minutes to go. Xisco released Miku into the box and the latter's return was sent goalwards by the Spaniard. Naveen's save off the substitute's shot hit Krcmarevic before rolling into the net.

Kerala hardly created any chance of note thereafter as their unbeaten start to the season came to an end.

India's Divyansh wins silver, bronze for Elavenil in Asian Championship

India's junior shooters Divyansh Singh Panwar and Elavenil Valarivan won the silver and bronze medals in their respective air rifle events of the 11th Asian Shooting Championship on Monday.

Divyansh shot 251.4 in the final of 10m air rifle junior men's event to finish behind gold medallist Wang Yuefeng of China, who shot a junior world and Asian record score of 252.3 to emerge triumphant.

Elavenil shot 227.9 in the 10m air rifle junior women's event to claim a bronze. The competition saw a 1-2 finish by Chinese shooters with Shi Mengyao winning gold with an effort of 250.3 while compatriot Xu Hong won silver with a final score of 249.3.

Both events saw three Indians qualify for the eight-woman final round.

In the junior men's competition, besides Divyansh, Arjun Babuta and Hriday Hazarika made it to the final to finish fifth and sixth respectively.

In the women's event, Shreya Agrawal and Mehuli Ghosh also entered the finals along with Elavenil to finish sixth and seventh respectively.

Divyansh was impressive as he went below 10 (9.8) only once in the 24-shot final but his opponent from China proved to be too good on way to shattering two records. 

Harika in second round, Padmini ousted in tie-breaker

Grandmaster Dronavalli Harika kept herself in contention by winning against Sopiko Guramishvili of Georgia in the first round's first tie-break but Padmini Rout's campaign ended after a loss in the Women's World Chess Championship, in Khanty Mansiysk, Russia.

Harika won 2.5-1.5 and Rout went down to Zhansaya Abdumalik of Kazakhastan by a similar margin.

With Koneru Humpy already in the second round of the 64-player knockout event, all eyes were on Harika and she did not disappoint despite being held to a draw in the first round of the rapid tie-breaker.

Viswanathan Anand once famously said that "it's easier to draw with white when you don't want to". The golden words struck chord once more as Khukashvili paid the prize of playing for a level position with the slightly favourable colour.

It was a Petroff defense by Harika in which the queens got traded very early in the opening and in her bid to exchange everything, Khukashvili surrendered the Bishop pair in the ensuing endgame. This was not a decisive mistake, but as the game progressed Harika just hung in there by making adequate moves till the position opened up.

Once her Bishops came in game, Harika was on a mission, and her precise calculation coupled with fine technique helped her win the long grind after 72 moves.

In the first game, Harika could not make use of her white as Khukashvili equalised in the middle game and the resulting rook and knights endgame turned out to be just equal.

Rout also lost the second game after drawing the first with black against Zhansaya. Going for an English opening as white, the Indian national champion was outplayed even though she got a slight advantage out of the opening.

Zhansaya got her chances after forcing some exchanges of heavy pieces and she obtained crucial control in the queen and minor piece endgame. In her bid to generate counter play, Rout sacrificed a pawn but could not regain the control over the position. The game lasted 60 moves.

Humpy and Harika were the two remaining Indians in the last 32 as Bhakti Kulkarni also bowed out after losing to Natalija Pogonina of Russia under normal games.

Humpy will meet Jolanta Zawadzka of Poland while Harika takes on another Georgian – Bela Khotenashvili - in the second round of the $ 450000 Championship that has $ 60000 reserved for the winner.

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