HIMALAYAN MIRROR GANGTOK, SUNDAY 01 FEBRUARY 2015 SPORTS 7 Indian Open golf to have strongest field ever New Delhi, Jan 31 (IANS) : A strong contingent from Europe, which has more than 60 titles in their collective kitty, besides another heavy field of Asian Tour golfers who have won more than 100 titles, have entered for the 2015 Indian Open, which becomes a co-sanctioned event between the European and Asian Tours for the first time. With entries from 16 players from the top-100 on the European Tour's 2014 Race to Dubai (Order of Merit) rankings, and 27 from the top-30 of the Asian Tour's 2014 Order of Merit, the field is set to become one of the strongest ever assembled in India. The field also includes five players in the world's top-100, including India's Anirban Lahiri. The tournament will be held Feb 19-22 at the par71 Delhi Golf Club (DGC). Every top Indian has entered the event and it includes the famed 'Big 3' of Indian golf -- Jeev Milkha Singh, Arjun Atwal and Jyoti Randhawa -- who between them have won more than 30 titles on Asian, European, US and Japan Tours. Besides them, the current crop led by Anirban Lahiri, Gaganjeet Bhullar, Shiv Kapur, S.S.P. Chowrasia and the 23year-old Rashid Khan will also be seen in action. Indian golf had a great 2014 as players won no less than six titles on Asian Tour -- the most by any country during the season. The 27-year-old Lahiri, now the highest ranked Injury forces Guinea's Pogba out of Afcon Malabo (Equatorial Guinea), Jan 31 (IANS) : Guinea head coach Michel Dussuyer Saturday confirmed that Florentin Pogba is ruled out of the knockouts of the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon). "Pogba picked a bad thigh injury in our game against Cameroon and he will have to be out for some months. We have even recommended that he travel back to his team in France to further assess the nature of the injury," said Dussuyer, reports Xinhua. Guinea will face the 'Black Stars' of Ghana in the quarter-final Sunday at the Malabo Stadium. Dussuyer's team was lucky to win the lottery Thursday which was carried out by the Confederation of African Football (CAF). Guinea and Mali were tied on points and goal difference and CAF went ahead Indian in the world, and Rashid won two titles each while Chowrasia and Atwal won one each. Another title came on the Asian Development Tour (ADT) from the promising S. Chikkarangappa. From the European contingent, as many as five players accounted for seven titles on the 2014 European Tour with Alexander Levy and the seasoned Miguel Angel Jimenez winning twice each. Dane Thorbjorn Olesen, Australian Scott Hend and Swede Mikael Lundberg are the other winners to send their entries for what will be the 51st edition of the event. The star cast includes Asia's most successful winner of all time Thaworn Wiratchant, who has 18 titles on Asian Tour, and Spaniard Jimenez, who has 21 European Tour titles, and figures 10th on the all-time list of most successful players on European Tour. The field also has all the Indian Open champions from 2004 onwards and five players who have won the Asian Tour Order of Merit seven times since 2002 including Jeev and Wiratchant, who have won it twice each. Sardar Singh suspended for one game to follow the rules and draw the lots. Dussuyer said they will miss the St. Etienne player who was instrumental in the team's qualifiers. Pogba is the fourth player at the tournament to suffer injury serious enough to rule them out for the duration of the finals in Equatorial Guinea. Team captain Ibrahima Traore said they will miss Pogba but will use the other available players. Ranji Trophy: Karnataka in command against UP Bengaluru, Jan 31 (IANS) : Champions Karnataka secured a massive 499-run first innings lead over Uttar Pradesh, who managed a meagre 220 as the hosts decided against enforcing a follow-on and were eight without loss at stumps on the third day of the Group A Ranji Trophy league match here Saturday. Leg-spinner Shreyas Gopal (4/51), who had contributed 90 runs to Karnataka's first innings tally of 719/9 declared, and seamer Arvind Sreenath (3/48) did the bulk of damage as the Uttar Pradesh batsmen, save Himanshu Asnora (70, 172b, 8x4) did not offer much of a resistance. UP were never really in the hunt after losing three wickets for 61 before Asnora and Parvinder Singh (34) added 83 runs for the fourth wicket to retrieve the situation. However, once the partnership was broken, the end of the innings followed swiftly, leaving Karnataka with a lead of 499. The 21-year-old Gopal took four wickets, including those of Parvinder and Asnora, in a little over 10 overs to break the UP resistance. The hosts opted to bat again rather than enforce the follow-on with very little time left before the stumps and also to provide some breather to their bowlers. Brief scores: Karnataka 719/9 declared and 8/0 in 3 overs vs Uttar Pradesh (first innings) 220 all out in 87.4 overs (Mukul Dagar 30, Himanshu Asnora 70, Parvinder Singh 34; Shreyas Gopal 4/51, Arvind Sreenath 3/48, Vinay Kumar 2/58). Bronze for Indian squash teams Kuala Lumpur, Jan 31 (IANS) : The Indian girls and boys settled for bronze medals at the Asian Junior Squash Team Championship here Saturday after losing 1-2 to Malaysia in both the semi-finals. It was a massive effort by the Indian girls to take Malaysia into the decider but were unable to cross the line against the top seeded team. It was a great start for Akanksha Salunkhe who won the first game and held a game ball 10-9 in the second. However, she was unable to capitalise as Teh Min Jie took the game and the next two to put Malaysia 1-0 ahead. With Harshit Kaur Jawanda and Rachael Mae Arnold, it was a see-saw battle with both players leading in games and throwing away the advantage. Harshit clawed her way back with a gritty effort winning the fourth game convincingly and held her nerves to win the decider. In the third tie, Sivasangari Subramaniam, a seasoned campaigner, won in four games despite a fine effort by Adya Advani to put Malaysia in the final. In the boy's event, Velavan Senthilkumar gave India the start that was required against the higher ranked Malaysian Mohammad Syafiq Kamal. Velavan matched Kamal stroke-for-stroke and took control of the game. Although the Indian dropped the third game, he had kept Kamal on court for long enough to win the fourth with ease for an outstanding victory. In the second singles, Indian Kush Kumar very quickly found out why Ng Eain Yow is a triple British Junior Open champion. Yow was clinical in his straight game victory to level the tie. In the decider, Sandeep Ramachandran fought gallantly but was unable to keep pace with the charged up Darren Chan, going down 3-0. The results (semifinals): Girls: Malaysia beat India 2-1: Teh Min Jie bt Akanksha Salunkhe 2-11, 12-10, 11-4, 11-4; Rachel Mae Arnold lost to Harshit Kaur Jawanda 12-14, 1210, 11-8, 4-11, 8-11; Sivasangari Subramaniam bt Adya Advani 11-5, 11-3, 7-11, 11-8. Boys: Malaysia beat India 2-1: Mohammad Syafiq Kamal lost to Velavan Senthilkumar 1214, 8-11, 11-7, 3-11; Ng Eain Yow bt Kush Kumar 11-7, 11-8, 11-4; Darren Chan Ti Lunn bt Sandeep Ramachandran 11-7, 11-9, 11-5. New Delhi, Jan 31 (IANS) : Delhi Waveriders captain Sardar Singh was Saturday handed a one-match suspension for "inappropriate physical contact with the opponent player" during a Hockey India League (HIL) match. HIL's disciplinary committee met Saturay morning to discuss Sardar's conduct in Friday’s match against Jaypee Punjab Warriors at the Major Dhyan Chand Stadium here. "The incident involved Sardar Singh’s inappropriate physical contact with the opponent player which clearly breached the HIL Code of Conduct. The incident was proved by the video footage as well as Sardar Singh accepting the breach on the field," said an HIL statement. "HIL disciplinary committee has suspended Sardar Singh for one match. He will not play the match against Dabang Mumbai scheduled to be played Feb 1 in New Delhi." MELBOURNE, Jan. 31, 2015 (Xinhua) -- Tereza Mihalikova (L) of Slovakia and Katie Swan of Britain show their trophies after the Junior Girls' Singles final match at the 2015 Australian Open tennis tournament at Melbourne Park in Melbourne, Australia, Jan. 31, 2015. Mihalikova won 2-0. (Xinhua/Bai Xue/IANS) Serena wins Australian Open title Melbourne, Jan 31 (IANS) : American star Serena Williams held off a determined Maria Sharapova of Russia to win her sixth Australian Open title and the 19th Grand Slam title of her career, separating herself from Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova for the second-most Grand Slam titles in the Open Era. The No.1-seeded Williams recorded a straight sets 6-3, 7-6(5) victory over the No.2-seeded Sharapova. Going into the final, Williams was the favourite not just because she was World No.1 and Sharapova No.2, but because she had won the pair's last 15 clashes, 12 of those coming in straight sets. Early on in the match that pattern continued, with Williams breaking in the very first game and, after a short rain delay, grabbing a second break for 5-2. Sharapova got one of the breaks back in the next game but Williams broke one last time to take the first set 6-3. All of that went out of the window in the second set, as the top 2 players in the world held tightly to all of their service games, with absolutely no breaks of serve - Williams did have her chance to finish the match with Sharapova serving at 4-5, 30-40, the first match point of the night, but the Russian bludgeoned a forehand down the line for a winner and subsequently held that service game. The tie-break was tight but Williams forged ahead, building a 6-4 lead, and after Sharapova fought off a second match point with another huge forehand down the line. Williams had the match on her racquet, stepping up to the baseline to serve on match point No.3. There was a bit of a hiccup - she fired what looked like a Barca aim to keep good times rolling against Villarreal Madrid, Jan 31 (IANS) : FC Barcelona and Villarreal face each other Sunday evening in what is a dress rehearsal for the Kings Cup semi-final between the two sides. Both Barca and Villarreal booked their places in the last four of the knockout competition during the week as Barca knocked out Atletico Madrid, while Villarreal beat Getafe, reports Xinhua. It promises to be an entertaining tie between two sides which like to play a passing game, but before the business of the Cup, both sides have to focus on the BBVA Primera Liga, where Barca are battling for the title and Villarreal a place in the top four. Barca are second in the table and Luis Enrique's side have enjoyed a turnaround in form in recent weeks following the minicrisis which surrounded the club after their defeat away to Real Sociedad in the first match of the year. That turnaround may be due to the calmness which has come following the decision by club president Josep Maria Bartomeu to call for elections at the end of the season, but it is more likely a result of the fact that Luis Enrique has largely ditched his policy of squad rotation and tried to play a more settled starting 11. That has benefited everyone with the defence looking more stable and cohesive, the midfield more creative and complete, whilst the attacking trio of Neymar, Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi is now the threat on the pitch that they looked to be on paper. Whilst it's true Suarez has not scored the goals that were expected of him, the Uruguayan has contributed with his movement and has provided more than his share of assists. Meanwhile, Messi has outscored Cristiano Ronaldo by two goals to one in 2015, whilst Neymar has been a revelation. "He's still progressing and he's making the differ- ence in this Barca side, which isn't easy when you are just 22 years old," said Barca captain Xavi Hernandez, who nevertheless, believes the turnaround in recent weeks has not been so important. "The results have changed, but if we had won in San Sebastian people would be talking about a great run of form. We were not so bad in the past and we are not so great now," he said. massive ace out wide, and she even began celebrating, but the serve was called a let. But she regrouped and fired the exact same ace to finally close it out. Williams came into the Australian Open tied with Evert and Navratilova for the second-most Grand Slam titles in the Open Era, but she now has the standalone second-most with 19. Steffi Graf has 22. Windies coach Williams takes charge of Zouks Castries (St. Lucia), Jan 31 (IANS) : Current West Indies coach Stuart Williams will be in charge of St. Lucia Zouks for the upcoming Caribbean Premier League (CPL). The 45-year-old, currently with the Caribbean side in Australia, will replace Englishman Matthew Maynard, who has taken up a post as Director of Cricket at English county Somerset. Williams served as Maynard’s assistant last year, reports CMC. The Antiguan is a former West Indies batsman who played 31 Tests and 57 OneDay Internationals (ODI). He was dominant at first class level, amassing nearly 10,000 runs at an average of 40. He quit international cricket in 2005. Williams joins another former West Indies batsman Carl Hooper, who has already been appointed Guyana Amazon Warriors head coach. Meanwhile, South African Mickey Arthur will head 2013 champions Jamaica Tallawahs, Australian Simon Helmot will again be incharge of the Trinidad & Tobago Red Steel while India's Robin Singh has returned to lead reigning champions Barbados Tridents.
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