Pattaya Open Tennis: Sania Mirza-Rodionova duo enter women's doubles final

Indian ace Sania Mirza and her Australian partner Anastasia Rodionova beat Kimiko Date of Japan and Akgul Amanmuradova of Uzbekistan 6-4, 6-4 to enter women's doubles final in Pattaya Open Tennis Championship here on Saturday, according to a report in The Hindu.

The 25-year-old Hyderabadi, who lost in the singles quarterfinal on Friday, made amends by making it to the women's doubles final, as she and her partner came up with high-quality display against the third-seeded opponents. It may be recalled here that Sania has decided to focus more on doubles so as to be in the reckoning for a slot in the London Olympics by trying to stay in the world top 10 women's doubles rankings, says the report.

Coming to another Hyderabadi Saina Nehwal, who will be spearheading Indian campaign in the Uber Cup, India suffered a blow to their Uber Cup campaign, with ace shuttler Saina Nehwal contracting viral infection. According to TOI, Saina, is unwell and as it is, the road ahead is tough for them, having been clubbed with China and Malaysia in Group W. Their chances of progressing into the next round largely depend on Saina and the doubles duo of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa. Even if Saina recovers from the sore throat, it would be difficult for her to give her best in the tournament, says the report.

In chess, Grandmaster Parimarjan Negi worked his way to an exciting draw with higher seeded Le Quang Leim of Vietnam in the fourth round of the ‘A' group of Aeroflot International chess tournament here. The newspapers report that playing white, Negi was up against a French defence and appeared to be in some difficulty in the middle game. The Indian eventually sacrificed material to open up Leim's King side and forced a draw through perpetual checks and inched himself to 2.5 points.

Abhijeet Gupta settled for a fighting draw with Csaba Balogh of Hungary. Abhijeet however slipped to the joint second spot after the draw as Anton Korobov of Russia emerged as the new leader on 3.5 points.

According to a news story in The Tribune, hockey players in Gurdaspur are in fix as the six-a-side Astroturf gifted by the Guru Nanak Dev University (GNDU) authorities about two years ago is lying in a state of disuse at the Government College ground. This district is known as a conveyer belt for producing top class hockey players. However, what is irking the game’s fans is that once youngsters of the region graduate to playing on the artificial surface, they are left with little option except to migrate to neighbouring cities including Jalandhar and Amritsar to hone their skills because the only turf lying with the Gurdaspur District Hockey Association (GDHA), courtesy GNDU, is slowly being cut to pieces by local residents who prefer to use it as door mats!

meanwhile, Asian champion Manavjit Singh Sandhu pulled himself up with rounds of 24 and 23 to stay marginally ahead of the pack in the Shotgun trials, in Delhi on Saturday. According to The Hindu, Manavjit had shot a below par 114 in the National championship, and came down further to an aggregate of 109 in the first trial for trap. Yet with three merit points in his kitty for winning the Olympic quota, to be added to the eventual aggregate, Manavjit who had competed in the last two Olympics in Athens and Beijing will nose ahead, with a decent performance in the second trials to be held in Patiala next week.