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French Open: Sindhu, Subhankar enter Round 2

Saina Nehwal and Parupalli Kashyap will play their first-round matches of the tournament on Wednesday.

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PV Sindhu

Paris, Oct 22 : Ace Indian shuttler P.V. Sindhu on Tuesday entered the second round of the ongoing French Open after outclassing Canada’s Michelle Li in straight games here.

Sindhu convincingly defeated her opponent 21-15, 21-13 in the 44-minute affair.

The Indian wrapped up the first game with ease in just 20 minutes and continued to dominate the Canadian in the next game too.

Sindhu, who earlier this year became the first Indian to win gold in the BWF World Championships, has been out-of-form as she has failed to cross the second round in three tournaments — China Open, Korea Open and Denmark Open recently.

Earlier in the day, shuttler Subhankar Dey also advanced to the second round of the tournament in the men’s singles event.

Dey made a comeback against Indonesia’s Tommy Sugiarto after facing a 15-21 defeat in the first game. He won the second game 21-14 before also clinching the third game 21-17.

Saina Nehwal and Parupalli Kashyap will play their first-round matches of the tournament on Wednesday.

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Special programmes to be broadcast ahead of D/N Test

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Day Night Pink Ball Test Match

Kolkata, Nov 20 : The excitement around the historic Pink Ball Test to be played at one of crickets most iconic venues, the Eden Gardens, has reached fever pitch. Star Sports Network will begin broadcasts as a run up to the #PinkBallTest as early as on November 21. Cricket fans and viewers alike can tune in across the Star Sports Network to enjoy engaging and innovative content.

Fan favourite programmes like ‘Follow the Blues’, ‘Game Plan’ and the flagship pre and post show ‘Nerolac Cricket Live’ will feature the Star Sports panel of experts who will deliver deep insights to create excitement amongst the fans in the build-up to the start of the test match. As part of the content line up, Ajinkya Rahane who is expected to play the historic test, will speak about playing the pink ball. Star Sports has curated segments on the making of the pink ball including an interesting documentary – “17 times to get the colour right”.

One of the most watched pre-game shows, ‘Game Plan’ will feature VVS Laxman, Gautam Gambhir, Sanjay Bangar and Aakash Chopra who will talk about the challenges of playing the pink ball especially under lights. A key point that will be discussed at length will be what to expect out of the pink ball and how different it will be for the players playing in the first ever day and night test in India. Viewers will be able to watch how the players go through their preparations and make the necessary adjustments to account for the movement of the pink ball and the weather during the all-important net practice LIVE.

In addition, Star Sports 1 Bangla will be providing Kolkata fans a unique cricketing experience by hosting a cultural extravaganza for the first ever ‘Pink Ball’ match. Cricket fans across the country will witness a cultural utsab LIVE on Star Sports 1 Bangla only for the India vs Bangladesh test match in Kolkata. As fans will witness the first ever Day and Night Test Match, Star Sports 1 Bangla will ensure that the content remains engaging and keeps fans glued to the Test Match over the course of all five days or till the match comes to a close. Special segments as part of the pre-show of Nerolac Cricket Live will include a series of iconic spots in Kolkata that celebrate the bond between India and Bangladesh will also be shown to bring a cultural flavour to the programme.

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Lethal trio of Shami, Ishant and Umesh ready for pink Test

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Shami Umesh Yadav Ishant Sharma

Kolkata, Nov 20 : The Indian team seems to be leaving no stone unturned in order to prepare for their first ever D/N Test and it looks like the stakeholders too are putting in similar efforts to promote the affair. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has been tweeting images of a decked up Eden Gardens and of the mascots for the Tests for the past few days and the latest image shows India’s pace trio posing with the ball.

Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav posed with the pink ball in the air as they flicked it up. The pacers are expected to play a big role in the upcoming Test against Bangladesh, as they normally do when the pink ball is new.

Earlier, Virat Kohli batted throughout the twilight period and faced a lot of deliveries from Shami at the iconic stadium. All the talk has been around getting used to the “twilight zone” which cricketers who have played with the pink ball, have acknowledged to be challenging.

Many players who have played the Duleep Trophy, including Cheteshwar Pujara, have said that sighting the pink ball at twilight is a challenge as the crimson hue of the sky and the pink colour of the ball makes it look more like orange. The second Test starts on February 22.

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Anand an inspiration, consistency defies logic: Wesley So

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Wesley So vs Viswanathan Anand

Kolkata, Nov 17 : Filipino-American Grandmaster Wesley So on Sunday hailed Viswanathan Anand as his inspiration, saying that he had no clue how the Indian chess legend was still going strong and was among the best in the world.

“He is an inspiration. I don’t think I could play at this level 20 years from now. It’s incredible what he is doing,” Wesley said on the sidelines of the Tata Steel Chess India event where the recently-crowned World Fischer Random Chess champion met budding chess players.

Wesley, one of the top players in the world, will be seen in action in the penultimate round of this year’s Grand Chess Tour (GCT) in Kolkata from November 22.

The 26-year-old was asked whether he thought former world champion Anand, who will turn 50 next month, could continue further.

“It’s very difficult. Fifty is quite pushing it, but we will see,” said Wesley, who recently crushed world champion Magnus Carlsen 2.5-13.5 in the first ever World Fischer Random Chess Championship final held at Carlsen’s home city Oslo.

“It still amazes me how he does it,” he said of Anand, who became the first Grandmaster from India in 1988.

“Chess players’ prime is mid 20s to mid or early 30s. So it’s clear that he is past his prime, but he is still one of the best players in the world and is in the top 10. I don’t know how he does it. He is fit and a hardworker. He is a big inspiration,” Wesley said.

He added that Anand was so intelligent that he could have been something great even if he did not become a chess player.

“He is a magnificent person and a gentleman. My family likes Vishy a lot. I have been competing with him regularly for the last five years. If he wasn’t a chess player, he would be great in something else.

“He is very intelligent. I can only imagine how good he was 20 years ago when they said he was the fastest player on the planet,” said Wesley, who lost to Anand in the fifth round of the Altibox Norway chess tournament earlier this year.

On his shock win over Carlsen, the former world number two said that it was unexpected.

“Winning the championship was unexpected. Magnus was there and I was seeded No. 4. It was a big success for me this year,” he said.

He also said that Carlsen would be itching to take revenge and it could very well be at the Tata Steel Chess India meet.

“He would want to beat me. He doesn’t like losing tournaments,” said a smiling Wesley.

Asked if World Fischer Random Chess, which is a new format, is the way forward, Wesley said, “I think every player who has played it, likes it. I haven’t heard much criticism so far.”

He also praised India for producing young Grandmasters of late.

“India has a lot of rising talent. I am very happy to be here. I met a lot of kids and it makes me happy,” Wesley said.

The world’s top 10 players will match wits during the rapid and blitz meet between November 22 and 26 in the penultimate leg of the GCT.

The iconic National Library will stage the mega event where Anand will be facing Norwegian Carlsen for the first time in India since his 2013 World Championship defeat in Chennai.

Anand battled to a creditable third place after an unbeaten nine-round blitz streak on the final day of the GCT Superbet rapid and blitz championship in Hungary.

Anand is now placed sixth with 32 points and his fate on whether he can make the GCT Finals, which carries a prize purse of $350,000 and will be held in London from November 30 to December 10, will be decided here. The top four will make the finals.

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