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Praggnanandhaa in focus as Norway Chess begins in Stavanger

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Stavanger (Norway), June 27 (IANS) India’s Praggnanandhaa Rameshbabu will be in focus as the prestigious 12th edition of the Norway Chess championship gets underway in Stavanger, Norway. The event features some of the world’s top players in both Norway Chess and the first-ever Norway Chess Women’s Tournament introduced to ensure equal participation.

Host nation’s World No.1 and five-time World Champion Magnus Carlsen will lead the men’s field along with reigning World Champion Ding Liren of China and World No.2 and 3 Fabiana Caruana and Hikaru Nakamura, both representing the USA, will also be in the fray.

Ranked 14th in the world, India’s young ace Praggnandhaa will be the lone Indian participant at the prestigious event. He will take on Alireza Firouzja of France in the opening match on Monday while his elder sister Vaishali Rameshbabu will take on reigning World Champion Ju Wenjun of China on the opening day of the Norway Chess Women’s Tournament.

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World No.2 Koneru Humpy from India will also be in the fray, and she begins her campaign against Pia Cramling of Sweden.

Both the Norway Chess as well as Norway Chess Women’s Tournament carry equal prize money.

The event will be conducted in a double round-robin format. The event will be held over a time control of 120 minutes with an increment of 10 seconds after move 40. In Armageddon, the player with white gets 10 minutes while black has seven. After move 41, there is a 1-second increment.

Each classical win fetches three points while 1.5 points will be awarded for a win in Armageddon. One point will be awarded for an Armageddon loss.

–IANS

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Wimbledon 2024: Krejcikova overcomes Paolini in three sets for first title at SW19 (Ld )

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London, July 13 (IANS) Barbora Krejcikova overcame a second-set loss to beat Jasmine Paolini of Italy in the women’s singles final, claiming her first Wimbledon title and second Grand Slam crown on Saturday. Krejcikova, the No. 31 seed, from the Czech Republic, defeated Paolini 6-2, 2-6, 6-4 in a well-contested maiden final for both at Wimbledon.

Three years ago, Krejcikova won the French Open title. Thirteen major events have passed since, marking the largest gap between Grand Slam titles since Karolina Pliskova’s 18-event gap between the US Open 2016 and Wimbledon 2021.

Krejcikova’s victory at Wimbledon adds to her growing resume, having also been a quarterfinalist in doubles at this year’s event.

At 28, Krejcikova is the oldest player to win her first Wimbledon title since Angelique Kerber six years ago. She is the fifth Czech player to reach the women’s singles finals at Wimbledon in the Open Era, following Jana Novotna, Petra Kvitova, Karolina Pliskova, and Marketa Vondrousova.

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On Saturday, Krejcikova also became the first Czech player in the Open Era to secure women’s singles Grand Slam titles at different events.

In the final, Krejcikova won 10 of the first 11 points, breaking Paolini’s serve to open the match with a smooth forehand winner. She broke the Italian’s serve twice in the 35-minute first set and did not face a break point herself. The Czech star had 10 winners against Paolini’s 10 unforced errors.

The way she started the first set, it looked like Krejcikova would cruise to a straight-set victory. But Paolini had other thoughts as she converted her first break point of the match to take a 2-0 lead and would break Krejcikova twice. Paolini had eight winners to Krejcikova’s 14 unforced errors.

But in the third set, the two players settled into a rhythm and played their most consistent tennis. With Paolini serving at 3-all, Krejcikova forged the first advantage. She converted her second break point of the game when Paolini hit a nervous double fault. It was a lead she would not relinquish and rode to a well-deserved victory.

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–IANS

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4th T20I: Today is the day to hold your head high and say India batted better, says Zimbabwe captain Raza

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Harare, July 13 (IANS) After being handed a 10-wicket thrashing by India in the fourth T20I at the Harare Sports Club, Zimbabwe captain Sikandar Raza said Saturday’s match warrants one to doff their hat to the scintillating batting display from Yashasvi Jaiswal and captain Shubman Gill.

Left-arm pacer Khaleel Ahmed took 2-32 in a collective bowling show for India to keep Zimbabwe to 152/7 in 20 overs. Raza stepped up to take Zimbabwe out of a mid-innings wobble and take them past 150 with a 28-ball 46, laced with two fours and three sixes at a strike rate of 164.29.

But in reply, Jaiswal (93 not out) and Gill (58 not out) carried their bats throughout the chase to hunt down the target in just 15.2 overs and get a big win as well as the series with 28 balls to spare.

“I think because the wicket was a touch on the slower side, we thought 160 was a par score, but 180 wouldn’t have been enough. Today is the day you hold your heads high and say they batted better,” said Raza after the match ended.

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The all-rounder also admitted they fell short of a few more runs in their batting innings and hoped Zimbabwe will be a competitive side in the future, especially with the 2026 Men’s T20 World Cup qualification in sight. During his quick-fire knock, Raza also became the first Zimbabwean batter to score 2000 men’s T20I runs.

“I am very sure we will be a very competitive side in a short time. Even though the last five overs went for 54-55 we could have got more runs. There was a bit of kick, bounce and we had to reign ourselves in.”

“They batted really well and batted us out of the game. The wicket was slightly on the slower side and it was spongy. The heavy roller did the trick for them. It became a beautiful wicket. We will want to finish the series 3-2 tomorrow,” he concluded.

–IANS

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CFL 2024: East Bengal win season's first Kolkata derby 2-1

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Kolkata, July 13 (IANS) Second-half goals by Vishnu P.V. and Jesin T.K. powered East Bengal FC to a 2-1 win over archrivals Mohun Bagan Super Giant in the season’s first derby in a Group B fixture of the Calcutta Football League 2024 at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan here on Saturday.

Emami East Bengal’s Debjit Majumder, Hira Mondal, Vishnu PV, and David Lalhlansanga made their first starts of the season. Despite creating multiple chances, the Red & Golds were unable to break the deadlock in the first half. After the first half ended goalless, EEB’s Adil Amal and Md Roshal made way for Sarthak Golui and Sayan Banerjee at the start of the second half.

It took the Red & Golds only six minutes in the second half to find the opener as Vishnu, who earlier missed the target by an inch in the 21st minute, received a long ball from Sarthak Golui from the centre line and dribbled past two opposition defenders to slot the ball in.

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In the 65th minute, substitute Jesin T.K, who came in for David, doubled the lead after Aman C.K won the ball from a rival defender inside the box and set it up for Jesin.

EB were reduced to ten men in the 77th minute when Joseph Justin was booked for the second time in the match and received his marching orders. Mohun Bagan scored their only goal of the match late into the second-half stoppage time, courtesy of Suhail Bhat.

With the win, East Bengal now occupies the second spot in the Group B table with nine points from three games, having played a game less than leaders Bhawanipore FC (10 points from 4 games).

This was East Bengal’s 56th win over Mohun Bagan (47) in 162 derby clashes with 59 games ending in stalemate.

East Bengal will face Calcutta Customs in their next CFL match on July 16.

The two archrivals will meet in the season’s second Kolkata Derby in the Durand Cup as they have been paired in the same preliminary group.

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–IANS

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Wimbledon 2024: Krejcikova overcomes Paolini in three sets for first title at SW19

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London, July 13 (IANS) Barbora Krejcikova overcame a second-set loss to beat Jasmine Paolini of Italy in the women’s singles final, claiming her first Wimbledon title and second Grand Slam crown here on Saturday. Krejcikova, the No. 31 seed, from the Czech Republic defeated Paolini 6-2, 2-6, 6-4 in a well-contested maiden final for both at Wimbledon.

Three years ago, Krejcikova won the Roland Garros. Thirteen major events have passed since, marking the largest gap between Grand Slam titles since Karolina Pliskova’s 18-event gap between the US Open 2016 and Wimbledon 2021.

Krejcikova’s victory at Wimbledon adds to her growing resume, having also been a quarterfinalist in doubles at this year’s event.

At 28, Krejcikova is the oldest player to win her first Wimbledon title since Angelique Kerber six years ago. She is the fifth Czech player to reach the women’s singles finals at Wimbledon in the Open Era, following Jana Novotna, Petra Kvitova, Karolina Pliskova, and Marketa Vondrousova.

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She is the second Czech player in the Open Era to make the women’s singles finals in both Wimbledon and Roland Garros after Marketa Vondrousova. On Saturday, Krejcikova also became the first Czech player in the Open Era to secure women’s singles Grand Slam titles at different events.

–IANS

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4th T20I: I was trying to play my shots and enjoy my game, says Jaiswal after an unbeaten 93 against Zimbabwe

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Harare, July 13 (IANS) Under glorious sunshine at the Harare Sports Club on Saturday, India had tons to cheer about, more so in their chase of 153. It all came thanks to Yashasvi Jaiswal and captain Shubman Gill striking unbeaten fifties in resounding fashion as India thrashed Zimbabwe by ten wickets to take an unassailable 3-1 lead in the five-match series.

With Zimbabwe’s bowlers giving them width and desirable lengths to hit, Jaiswal and Gill kickstarted a rollicking show that saw India raise their fifty in just 3.5 overs. It was effectively one-way traffic as Jaiswal got to his half-century off 29 balls, while Gill got his fifty in 35 balls as India completed the chase in just 15.2 overs.

“I really enjoyed today. The wicket was really good. I was trying to play my shots and I enjoyed my game. When the ball was new it was coming onto the bat. When the ball got old, it was slow. I understood and changed my game. We really enjoyed together. Initially, I wanted to go after my shots. After that, I wanted to rotate and wanted to stay till the end,” said Jaiswal, named Player of the Match, after the game ended.

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Exactly a week ago, India were bowled out for 102 in a chase of 116 against Zimbabwe in the T20I series opener. But after that, everything has gone India’s way, something which Gill made a note of.

“Chasing was one thing we talked about. We could not do it in the first game, so good to get it done. The job is not done though. This is a great team, a great bunch of players. Hopefully, we will be able to take the team forward. Haven’t discussed with the coach (on changes tomorrow). If there are any changes, we will let you know at the toss tomorrow.”

Left-arm pacer Khaleel Ahmed took 2-32 in a collective bowling show for India to keep Zimbabwe to 152/7. In his first series for India after nearly five years, Khaleel said he was happy with his bowling show so far, which have featured him making good use of slower balls.

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“I am very happy with my performance. The kind of rhythm I have got, and the execution has been great. This series is everything for me. When I was not part of the dressing room, I was missing it a lot. Very happy to be a part of it.”

“We have all played in the IPL, we are all together in this. I have a lot of responsibility when I start the first over. I was part of the World Cup reserves and there I worked a lot on my cutters and yorkers,” he concluded.

–IANS

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