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Ankita Raina falls short again, loses final round of Australian Open Qualifiers | Tennis News

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MELBOURNE: Ankita Raina‘s bid to qualify for a Grand Slam singles main draw failed yet again when she lost the final round of the Australian Open qualifying event to Serbian Olga Danilovic on Wednesday.
In the women’s singles qualifiers being held in Dubai, Ankita lost the third and final round 2-6 6-3 1-6 to her Serbian opponent in almost two hours.
Not being able to win points on her first serve hurt Ankita.
It was the Indian’s sixth attempt to qualify for a competition at the grand stage.
Her defeat means that Sumit Nagal will be the only Indian to compete in the singles event of the first Grand Slam of the season.
Nagal has been awarded a wild card entry into the men’s singles.
Ramkumar Ramanathan had lost in the first round of the men’s singles event while Prajnesh Gunneswaran lost his second round to French player Constant Lestienne 2-6 3-6.


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Sindhu and Saina look for better show after listless display in first event of Asia leg | Badminton News

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BANGKOK: Indian shuttlers, including Olympic hopefuls PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal, will hope to give a better account of themselves at Toyota Thailand Open Super 1000 tournament, starting here on Tuesday, after a lacklustre show last week.
The Indian players seemed to struggle with their fitness as none of them could cross the second round at the Yonex Thailand Open, the first event of the Asia leg here.
Barring Kidambi Srikanth, it was the first tournament for the whole Indian contingent in nearly 10 months.
If Olympic silver medallist Sindhu struggled to keep pace with her first-round opponent Denmark’s Mia Blichfeldt, London Games bronze winner Saina simply ran out of steam against Thailand’s Busanan Ongbamrungphan in the second round.
Among others, world no 13 B Sai Praneeth looked a mismatch against Thailand’s Kantaphon Wangcharoen, while former world no 1 Srikanth and 2014 Commonwealth Games champion Parupalli Kashyap were either forced to withdraw or retire after suffering calf muscle pulls.
World champion Sindhu, a medal contender at Tokyo Games, has been training at London for last two months and she will be itching to go deep in the draw when she opens against world no 12 Busanan, who had outlasted Saina last week.
Saina, who recently recovered from COVID-19 and had to go through the ordeal of a false positive test last week, will however have an imposing task as she faces fourth seed and home favourite Ratchanok Intanon in the opening round.
Saina, who is currently world no 20, has a 11-5 head-to-head record against Inthanon, a former world champion but the Indian will have to play out of her skin against the Thai star, who had reached the quarterfinals last week.
In the men’s singles, Praneeth will need to find his rhythm when he takes on Daren Liew of Malaysia, while world no 14 Srikanth, who had withdrawn from the second round match after complaining of a calf muscle pull, faces Thailand’s Sitthikom Thammasin, an opponent he has beaten twice in the past.
Kashyap, who had retired in the decider against Jason Anthony Ho-Shue of Canada last week, will face Denmark’s world no 17 Rasmus Gemke.
HS Prannoy will look to put behind last week’s first-round loss when he takes on the formidable Indonesian Jonatan Christie, who is seeded sixth.
The Verma brothers will also have their task cut out as Sourabh is pitted against fifth seed Indonesian Anthony Sinisuka Ginting in the first round, while Sameer crosses swords with the speedy Malaysian Lee Zii Jia, seeded eighth.
The only silver lining from last week was the performance of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty, who looked impressive during their win over the South Korean combination of Lee Yong Dae and Kim Gi Jung in the opening round.
The duo will open against fellow Indians Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy, while Satwik and Ashwini Ponnapa, who had defeated sixth-seeded Indonesians Hafiz Faizal and Gloria Emmanuelle Widjaja in a thrilling match just days ago, will take on Danish paring of Niclas Nohr and Amalie Magelund.
Ashwini and N Sikki Reddy will meet the German pairing of Linda Efler and Isabel Herttrich in their opener.


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Test captaincy is Smith’s chance for redemption: Healy | Cricket News

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BRISBANE: Legendary wicketkeeper Ian Healy wants to see former Australia captain Steve Smith return to the top job in Tests and seek “redemption”, saying he has paid a “heavy price for not doing much” during the ball-tampering scandal.
Smith and vice-captain David Warner had resigned in the aftermath of the scandal during the Cape Town Test against South Africa in March 2018 and since then Tim Paine has been at the helm of the Test team.
Aaron Finch has handled the limited-overs leadership.
“In 12 to 18 months from now, I want him to do it, only if he wants to, because it’s a chance for redemption,” Healy told ‘SEN Radio’.
“I want him to lead strongly, become that statesman of the game and put those doubters and haters to bed. I like redemption – he paid a heavy price for not doing much,” he added.
With Paine, at 36, reaching the fag end of his career, a fresh captaincy discussion has started.
“Everyone around the world thinks he scratched the ball. All he was, was a bit of a lazy captain and let things run in his team that he wasn’t aware of,” Healy opined.
Pace ace Pat Cummins has been touted as Australia’s next Test captain following his recent appointment as the sole vice-captain after previously sharing the role with Travis Head.
Healy feels the speedster should be handed the reigns in the white-ball formats to gain experience before potentially leading the Australian Test side.
“I think we should try Pat Cummins in short form games. Give him a taste and get his feedback on how he might cope, that would be a good way to start.”
The last time a speedster captained Australia was Ray Lindwall in a Test against India in 1956.


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Simi Singh on song as Ireland crush UAE to square series | Cricket News

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ABU DHABI: Leinster all-rounder Simi Singh produced a career best one-day international performance with bat and ball to steer Ireland to a crushing 112-run win over United Arab Emirates on Monday which levelled the series at 1-1.
Coming in with Ireland struggling at 99-5, Singh made 54 not out from 57 balls and shared a sixth-wicket partnership of 91 with Curtis Campher who made 56.
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UAE made a good start in the chase to reach Ireland’s 228 with the openers Zawar Farid and Vriitya Aravind adding 46 before off-spinner Singh, in his second over, had Farid caught by Gareth Delany at deep square-leg on the sweep.
Shortly after, Chundangapoyil Rizwan and Aravind both hoiked the 33-year-old spinner down the throat of Craig Young at long-on before Singh had Basil Hameed caught behind by Lorcan Tucker and Muhammad Usman leg before.

Singh, who was born in India but has lived in Ireland since arriving as a student when he was 17, picked up the first five wickets as the hosts crumbled and finished with an astonishing five for 10 from his 10 overs.
It is the second-best performance by an Irish bowler in ODIs after Paul Stirling‘s six for 55 against Afghanistan in 2017.
UAE won the opening encounter on January 8 without vice-captain Chirag Suri and uncapped left-arm spinner Aryan Lakra who both tested positive for coronavirus.
The next two games, in what had been scheduled as a four-match series, were then axed despite a series of attempts to reschedule as the home squad were hit by a wave of Covid-19 positive tests.
After losing the toss and being put in, Ireland made a poor start to their innings as Kashif Daud removed Kevin O’Brien, playing in his 150th ODI, in the second over.
When Paul Stirling and Andy Balbirnie fell in quick succession to Zahoor Khan, the Irish were in deep trouble at 10-3.
Harry Tector, who made 33, and Tucker, 42, began the rebuilding process before Campher, who was named man of the series, and Singh joined forces in a vital sixth-wicket stand.
Ireland will remain in the UAE to play a three-game ODI series against Afghanistan.



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