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PV Sindhu loses to Okuhara in Thailand Open final

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P.V. Sindhu (File Photo)

Bangkok, July 16: India’s star shuttler P.V. Sindhu lost to reigning world champion Nozomi Okuhara of Japan in straight games in the women’s singles final of the Thailand Open here on Sunday.

The second seeded Sindhu lost 15-21, 18-21 in 50 minutes as the 2016 Olympic bronze medallist took a 6-5 lead in head-to-head record.

While fourth seeded Okuhara got a prize money of $26,250, Sindhu, a three-time World Championship medallist, bagged $13,300.

The Japanese was quick off the blocks, taking a 6-2 lead. But Sindhu did well to gain three consecutive points, trailing 5-6.

Okuhara then won a 23-rally battle to take a 7-5 lead before she went on to extend her lead to four points with the scoreline at 12-8, thanks to couple of unforced errors on the part of the Indian.

Sindhu sensed the urgency in reducing the deficit as she didn’t allow Okuhara to run away with the game. However, the Japanese cotinued to maintain at least a two-point game until she reached 17 points.

Thereafter, Okuhara produced four consecutive points in a hurry to pocket the first game 21-15. A body smash rattled Sindhu, who then hit a shot wide before hitting one onto the net to trail 0-1 in the match.

In the second game, Sindhu started brigh, racing to an early 6-2 lead. But Sindhu was left stranded at the six-point mark as Okuhara fought valiantly to garner five points on the trot to take a 7-6 lead.

The Indian then brought her high-jump smashes to the fore to reel in three successive points to lead 9-7 but the Japanese equalised at the nine-point mark. Sindhu managed to go into the midgame break with a two point lead.

Afterwards, Okuhara brought out some delectable cross-court net-game to trouble Sindhu and lead 14-12. Even though Sindhu quickly pulled level, Okuhara raced to a 17-14 lead.

Sindhu came out with a strong defence which earned her two quick points. Okuhara smashed at the left and Sindhu dived to put it slowly past the other net but the Japanese couldn’t reach there. Then Okuhara shot wide to manage to hold a slim 17-16 lead.

Then, Sindhu’s smash went long as she trailed 16-18. Under pressure, both matched shots for shots as a half-smash on the right from Sindhu made Okuhara lead by a point before the Japanese could only defend a smash into the net, with the scores tied 18-all.

Just like the first game, Okuhara then showed her aggression to force Sindhu on the defensive. And as the Indian’s shot hit the net, the Japanese got her match point.

In the men’s singles final, Kanta Tsuneyama of Japan defeated Indonesian Tommy Sugiarto 21-16, 13-21, 21-9 in 58 minutes.

The men’s doubles title went to Japanese top seeded pair of Takeshi Kamura and Keigo Sonoda, who defeated compatriots Hiroyuki Endo and Yuta Watanabe 21-17, 21-19 in 44 minutes.

The mixed doubles final witnessed a huge upset as Indonesian eighth seeds Hafiz Faizal and Gloria Emanuelle Widjaja stunned English top seeds Chris Adcock and Gabrielle Adcock 21-12, 21-12 in 28 minutes.

In the women’s doubles final, Indonesian fourth seeds Greysia Polii and Apriyani Rahayu thrashed Japanese third seeds Misaki Matsutomo and Ayaka Takahashi 21-13, 21-10 in 53 minutes.

IANS

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Wrestlers Bajrang, Sakshi to lead Indian challenge at World C’ships

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Bajrang Punia Sakshi Malik

New Delhi, Oct 16 : Olympic medallist Sakshi Malik and Asian Games gold medallist Bajrang Punia will spearhead the 30-member Indian contingent at the World Wrestling Championships to be held in Budapest, Hungary from October 20 to 28.

The Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) has selected 10 members each in freestyle, Greco-Roman and women’s wrestling categories.

The burden of India’s medal hunt at the worlds will mostly be on the shoulders of Bajrang (65kg) and Sandeep Tomar (57kg) in the men’s freestyle category.

In the women’s section, Sakshi (62kg), Pooja Dhanda (57kg) and Ritu Phogat (50kg) are expected to be strong medal contenders in their respective weight categories.

Ritu is the only Phogat sister to feature in the squad as Asian Games gold medallist Vinesh was ruled out because of an elbow injury during the trials.

Four wrestlers — Bajrang, Kuldeep, Gurpreet and Harpreet — have been training in Hungary for more than a fortnight while the rest of the squad joined a week back.

The squads:

Freestyle: Sandeep Tomar (57kg), Sonba Tanaji Gongane (61kg), Bajrang Punia (65kg), Pankaj Rana (70kg), Jitender (74kg), Sachin Rathi (79kg), Pawan Kumar (86kg), Deepak (92kg) Mausam Khatri (97kg), Sumit (125kg), Jagminder Singh (chief coach).

Women: Ritu Phogat (50kg), Pinki (53kg), Seema (55kg), Pooja Dhanda (57kg), Sangeeta (59kg), Sakshi Malik (62kg), Ritu (65kg), Navjot Kaur (68kg), Rajini (72kg), Kiran (76kg), Kuldeep Malik (chief coach).

Greco Roman: Vijay (55kg), Gyanender (60kg), Gaurav Sharma (63kg), Manish (67kg), Kuldeep Malik (72kg), Gurpreet Singh (77kg), Manjeet (82kg), Harpreet Singh (87kg), Hardeep (97kg), Naveen (130kg), Kuldeep Singh (chief coach).

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Saina survives, Sindhu ousted from Denmark Open

Saina, who lost to Cheung in their sole previous meeting two years ago, came back from a game down before eventually holding her nerve to advance to the next round.

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P.V. Sindhu And Saina Nehwal

Odense (Denmark), Oct 16 (IANS) Star shuttler Saina Nehwal survived a scare before progressing to the second round of the Denmark Open but it was heartbreak for Rio silver medallist P.V. Sindhu, who crashed out after being stunned by unseeded American Beiwen Zhang in the opening round of the womens singles event here on Tuesday.

Saina overcame stiff resistance from Hong Kong’s Ngan Yi Cheung before eventually pocketing the match 20-22, 21-17, 24-22 in 81 minutes. However, third seed Sindhu lost 17-21, 21-16, 18-21 to Zhang in another tough opening encounter that lasted 56 minutes.

Saina, who lost to Cheung in their sole previous meeting two years ago, came back from a game down before eventually holding her nerve to advance to the next round.

The match went down to the wire with both the shuttlers going for the kill. But the London Olympics bronze medallist finally managed to keep her cool and save two match points at 21-20 and 22-21 in the decider which helped her pocket the pulsating tie.

Earlier, Sindhu succumbed to her third consecutive loss to American Zhang, who also beat the Hyderabadi at the Indian Open in February this year.

After meekly losing the opening game 17-21, the 23-year-old Sindhu came back strongly in the second and did not allow the American to move ahead before finally winning it 21-16.

In the decider, the American bounced back in style to first take a 12-8 lead before Sindhu hit back to make it 14-13 in her favour.

From thereon, both the shuttlers went neck and neck before the match ended in Zhang’s favour with the scoreline reading a close 21-18.

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Windies coach banned for first 2 ODIs for ICC code breach

The incident took place on Sunday afternoon when Law, following the dismissal of Kieran Powell, went to the TV umpire’s room and made inappropriate comments.

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West Indies coach Stuart Law

Dubai, Oct 16 : West Indies coach Stuart Law has been suspended for his team’s first two One-day Internationals (ODI) against India – on October 21 and 24 – following a breach of the ICC Code of Conduct during the second Test in Hyderabad.

Besides the ban, Law was penalised 100 percent of his match fee and slapped three demerit points. This means his accumulated demerit points reached four within a 24-month period leading to the two-match ban.

Law had previously received a 25 percent match fee fine and one demerit point in May 2017 for a similar transgression during the Dominica Test against Pakistan.

“Law was found guilty of breaching Level 2 Article 2.7 of the ICC Code of Conduct for Players and Player Support Personnel, which relates to ‘Public criticism of, or inappropriate comment in relation to an incident occurring in an international match or any Player, Player Support Personnel, Match Official or team participating in any international match, irrespective of when such criticism or inappropriate comment is made,” an ICC statement read.

The incident took place on Sunday afternoon when Law, following the dismissal of Kieran Powell, went to the TV umpire’s room and made inappropriate comments.

He then walked to the fourth umpire’s area and in the presence of the players, again directed inappropriate comments at the fourth official.

“On Monday, Law admitted the offence and accepted the sanction proposed by ICC match referee Chris Broad and, as such, there was no need for a formal hearing,” the statement further read.

The charges were levelled by on-field umpires Bruce Oxenford and Ian Gould, third umpire Nigel Llong and fourth official Nitin Menon.

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