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Nagal loses Challengers final in Perugia

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Perugia, June 17 (IANS) Sumit Nagal’s remarkable run on the ATP Challenger Tour met a formidable obstacle as he fell short in the final of the Perugia Challenger, succumbing to World No. 37 Luciano Darderi in a brisk 62-minute match.

The final score, 6-1, 6-2, did little justice to Nagal’s recent surge in form and tenacity on the court. Having played 10 matches in the last 12 days, including a triumphant campaign in Heilbronn, Germany, where he clinched the sixth Challenger title of his career, Nagal had propelled himself to new heights in the ATP Rankings.

Nagal’s victory in Germany was a testament to his grit and skill, propelling him to a career-high ranking of 77 and virtually securing his spot in the men’s singles event at the Paris Olympics. However, the physical toll of his relentless schedule became evident in Perugia. The 26-year-old Indian entered the final after a grueling three-set semifinal battle against Spain’s Bernabe Zapata Miralles, which left him visibly fatigued against a fresher opponent in Darderi.

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Darderi, the top-seeded Italian, wasted no time asserting his dominance, breaking Nagal thrice to take the first set in just 27 minutes. Nagal, showing glimpses of his resilience, managed to break Darderi’s eight-game winning streak by leveling the second set at 1-2.

However, the Italian swiftly regained control, breaking Nagal again in the sixth game to establish a 4-2 lead. Darderi’s relentless pressure proved too much, and he broke Nagal for the sixth time while the Indian was serving to stay in the match, sealing his victory.

Despite the defeat, Nagal’s remarkable journey in recent weeks has seen him rise to 71 in the live ATP Rankings. This ascent has significant historical resonance, as it places him above the legendary Leander Paes, who achieved a career-high ranking of 73.

Nagal now stands joint-fourth on the all-time list of highest-ranked Indian men since the advent of computerised rankings in 1973, sharing the spot with Sashi Menon and trailing only behind Somdev Devvarman (62), Ramesh Krishnan (23), and Vijay Amritraj (18).

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–IANS

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Sub jr men & women north zone hockey championship set to begin in Uttar Pradesh

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New Delhi, July 14 (IANS) The 2nd Hockey India sub junior men & women north zone championship 2024 is set to start in Jhansi, Uttar Pradesh from July 15. The Finals will take place on July 22.

The member units participating in the sub junior men are Hockey Haryana, Hockey Chandigarh, and Hockey Uttarakhand in Pool A, while Uttar Pradesh Hockey, Hockey Punjab, Delhi Hockey, and Hockey Jammu and Kashmir are in Pool B.

Meanwhile, the member units participating in the sub junior women are Hockey Haryana, Uttar Pradesh Hockey, Hockey Punjab, Hockey Himachal, Hockey Chandigarh, and Hockey Uttarakhand.

Hockey Punjab and Hockey Jammu and Kashmir will get the event underway in the sub junior men’s category in Uttar Pradesh on Monday, followed by matches between Uttar Pradesh Hockey and Delhi Hockey.

In the sub junior women’s category, Hockey Haryana will face Hockey Chandigarh, followed by a clash between Hockey Punjab and Hockey Himachal. The last match of the day will see Uttar Pradesh Hockey play against Hockey Uttarakhand.

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“Uttar Pradesh has a rich history of hockey. I am sure that through this Championship, we will see exciting action and impressive performances by our young players. I am looking forward to the matches,” said Hockey India president Dilip Tirkey.

Hockey India secretary general Bhola Nath Singh added, “The 2nd Hockey India Sub Junior Men and Women North Zone Championship 2024 is a platform for all the young players to showcase their skills and impress the selectors. Through this, we aim to identify players and give them proper guidance and support. I would like to wish all the teams participating the best of luck and hope to see some exciting matches in the tournament.”

–IANS

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'It was amazing experience with Shubman': Yashasvi on match-winning partnership with captain

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New Delhi, July 14 (IANS) India opener Yashasvi Jaiswal hammered an unbeaten 93 off 53 balls in the fourth T20I against Zimbabwe to steer the side to an emphatic 10-wicket win in Harare on Saturday. The left-handed batter said he had an amazing experience with captain Shubman Gill during their match-winning 156-run unbeaten partnership.

Gill’s 58 not out enabled Men in Blue to register their third consecutive win to clinch the five-match series 3-1 with the final game to be played on Sunday.

“I just enjoyed my process and really enjoyed being a part of the World Cup champion team. I learnt a lot, I was really excited whenever I get a chance, I will try my best and make sure that I’m contributing to my team and winning the game for the team. I really enjoyed playing today. It was an amazing experience with Shubman bhai,” Jaiswal said while answering a fan’s question in a video posted by BCCI on X.

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Jaiswal missed the opportunity to score his second T20I hundred by seven runs and expressed that it was not in his mind during the 153 chase. The opener said they were more focussed on taking the side over the line rather than personal milestones.

“We’re thinking about how to win the game without losing a wicket,” the Player of Match awardee said.

When asked about does domestic cricket helped as he was coming from a long break after not getting a chance to play in the T20 World Cup, Jaiswal said, “Playing in domestic cricket helps you a lot. You can prepare and be ready for the matches. Domestic games are really important for us and we really enjoy playing.”

Earlier, India’s spirited bowling restricted Zimbabwe to 152/7 after opting to bowl first at Harare Sports Club. Khaleel Ahmed bagged two wickets while debutant Tushar Deshpande, Washington Sundar, Abhishek Sharma and Shivam Dube got one wicket each.

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In reply, the dominating opening partnership between Jaiswal and Gill allowed the visitors to trounce Zimbabwe comfortably with 28 balls to spare.

–IANS

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Wimbledon: Heliovaara and Patten save three championship-point to win men's doubles title

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London, July 14 (IANS) Harri Heliovaara and Henry Patten won one of the most dramatic Wimbledon doubles finals in history when they saved three championship points to defeat Max Purcell and Jordan Thompson.

In a contest of the finest of margins, Heliovaara and Patten required a hard-fought two hours and 49 minutes to record their 6-7(7), 7-6(8), 7-6 (11-9) win.

Purcell and Thompson were the fourth seeded team they defeated in their giant-killing run.

Heliovaara stopped playing tennis 11 years ago due to injury. He then earned a Bachelor’s degree and Master’s degree from Aalton University in a bit less than four years and worked at Helsinki Airport at 5 am each morning to serve as a passenger guide. He made his comeback in 2017 and has since won seven tour-level doubles titles.

The 28-year-old Patten, who worked as a statistician at the 2016 and 2017 Championships, combined with Heliovaara to claim the 2024 gentleman’s doubles title.

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He becomes only the third British man of the Open era – alongside Jonathan Marray in 2012 and Neal Skupski in 2023 – to lift the trophy. The 35-year-old Heliovaara is the first Finnish man in history to win the title.

Heliovaara and Patten teamed up for the first time in April and quickly gelled as a partnership; taking in ATP title runs at Marrakech and Lyon, they entered Saturday’s final with wins in 28 of the 32 matches they’d played.

–IANS

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Copa America: Uruguay beat Canada on penalties to finish third

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Charlotte, July 14 (IANS) Uruguay beat Canada on penalties following a 2-2 draw in the Copa America 2024 third-place playoff match on Saturday at the Bank of America Stadium.

Rodrigo Bentancur opened the scoring early on for Uruguay, while Canadian midfielder Ismael Kone scored one of the great goals of this edition to equalise at halftime. Jonathan David came on to score his second goal of this edition, turning the score around for the Canadians.

In stoppage time, Luis Suarez forced a penalty shootout where Uruguay hit every shot with Valverde, Betancur, Arrascaeta and Suarez, while Rochet saved Kone’s shot. And then Davies hit the crossbar to determine the winner of the duel.

La Celeste lost just one match in this edition of the Copa America; the semifinal in which they fell by a narrow margin to Colombia.

Before beating Canada on penalties for third place, Uruguay won on penalties against Brazil in the quarterfinals, they beat the United States1-0, Bolivia 5-0 and Panama 3-1.

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–IANS

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Siniakova and Townsend bag Wimbledon women's doubles title

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London, July 14 (IANS) No. 4 seed Czech-American duo of Katerina Siniakova and Taylor Townsend battled past No.2 seeds Gabriela Dabrowski and Erin Routliffe to clinch Wimbledon women’s doubles title.

Under a closed roof in the late evening, Siniakova and Townsend came back from two set points down in the first set before beating the reigning US Open champions 7-6(5), 7-6(1) in 2 hours and 4 minutes to wrap up a memorable result. The victors wrapped up the win just before 10:30 pm London time.

This is the duo’s first title together as a pair in only their third tournament alongside one another.

Moreover, it is Siniakova’s third Wimbledon doubles trophy and a ninth major overall while Townsend tasted a Grand Slam success for the first time having finished runner-up in doubles finals at both the US Open and Roland-Garros in the past.

“I feel great. I got 500 text messages. I didn’t know that many people had my number. That’s going to take a while to go through,” Townsend said after the match.

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“This is my first one, my first Grand Slam title. I’ve been close two other times. To get over the finish line the way that we did, I think we played so well. We were just locked in, in control. We played our way. It felt good the way we did it,” she added.

The result completed a remarkable couple of months for Siniakova who makes it back-to-back majors on two different surfaces – with two different partners – after landing the Roland-Garros title in June with Coco Gauff.

“I agree with Taylor, I think it was a really tough match. “We played amazing. I think we stick together. That’s what makes the team even stronger. So I’m really proud of ourselves. Even if it’s nine (Slams), I’m every time happy. It feels every time different, every time good,” Siniakova said.

–IANS

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