Uzbeks bring ‘junior’ side
Carmichael’s changing priorities
Maiden ATP title for Michal Tabara
UP take control
4 from Bengal make squad
Win for E. Rly
Title for Bose
Calcutta Races/ Altimara slams rivals

Calcutta, Jan. 7: 
The Uzbekistan team was the first to land in the city for the Millennium Cup soccer meet this morning. And the team’s coach and manager clarified through an interpreter that it is basically a junior side, with no national team player whatsoever.

Despite the claims of All India Football Federation (AIFF) president Priya Ranjan Das Munshi, this team is no great shakes. The average age is of 20-22 years, and only midfielders Otabek Piramatov (who is also the skipper) and Oybek Usmankhodjaev have represented the country at the last Asian Games in Bangkok. And Konstantin Kuznetov had represented the country at the 1997 Nehru Cup.

None in the team was in the team for the last Asian Cup.

Manager Viktor Borisov said that the senior national team was busy playing in a tournament in Tel Aviv, and this team has been assembled primarily to get a feel of the new crop of players in the country. He said many in the senior team are somewhat old for competitive play, and fresh blood is becoming essential. There is no specific plan, though, for any player who may shine in this meet.

Manager Viktor was formerly a coach, and now has relinquished charge to Rauf Inileev, for whom this is the first proper international coaching assignment.

The team comprises four players from Pakhtakor club, three from Pablodar and four from league champions Dusleague. The coach said that the combination has had two weeks’ practice. He said the temperature back home is now around 5-6 degrees Centigrade, so the weather here is unlikely to create any problems for them. They play Japan Wednesday evening.

THE SQUAD: Andrey Baklanov, Sergey Golovanov, Evgeniy Zakutilin, Asror Alikulov, Leonid Koshelev, Timur Kapadze, Ilya Romas, Alexey Sobolev, Sandjar Askaraliev, Davron Adilov, Alexander Bakalidis, Otabek Piramatov, Konstantin Kuznetsov, Ignatiy Nesterov, Bahadir Annamatov, Yuri Nikitkov, Aleksey Zhdanov, Shukhratbek Mirkholdirshayev, Shukhrat Kurbanov, Viktor Chepik, Oybek Usmankhodjaev, Oleg Kaharov, Davronbek Karimkulov, Andrey Vlasichev, Ilyas Zeytullaev.Coach: Rauf Inileev. Manager: Viktor Borisov.


Chennai, Jan. 7: 
When Bob ‘Nails’ Carmichael took charge of Leander Paes, his primary goal was to guide the Indian to the top-50 of the ATP singles ranking. That didn’t quite materialise, though the Indian No. 1 climbed to a career-high world No. 73 following a sensational run at the Pilot Pen International in August, ’98.

Four years down the line, the priorities of the 58-year old coach have changed. Now coach to both Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi, Carmichael’s main brief is to help the Indian duo get back the world No. 1 ranking. Though the Aussie veteran has helped Bhupathi in the past, too, it was in on an ‘honorary’ basis.

Now that he is on the payroll of both players, his responsibility is more doubles-oriented. “I want to see Lee and Hesh back as No. 1,” Carmichael said during a conversation with The Telegraph. “They have showed here and in Bangalore that they can still play some great doubles together. It’s a question of staying healthy and getting more matches under their belt.”

Last night’s three-set semi-final defeat against Mose Navarra and Barry Cowan doesn’t bother Carmichael too much, though he feels the Indians could have won the match in two sets. “They didn’t take their chances in the second set and paid the price.”

What concerns Carmichael is Paes’ singles performance here. “He had such a good draw here and with all the top players losing early, Lee could have won the tournament if he played well,” Carmichael observed. “Against (Tommy) Robredo, he should have won the first set and then it could have been a different story (Paes lost 6-7, 0-6). For a serve-and-volleyer, he missed too many easy volleys.”

Does he see his ward fulfilling the top-50 singles ambition? “Lee wants to give it a serious shot at singles this year,” Carmichael said, avoiding a direct answer.

“He was playing really well during end of October last year when he had the knee injury at the Charleroi Challenger. Had he been fully fit, he probably would have won the title there and ended the year in a comfortable position (ranking-wise). Now he has to try and qualify at Australian Open. If he can’t get his ranking up, Challengers will be his only option for playing singles. That would mean some more juggling with doubles which we all know is a difficult job.”

Asked about Bhupathi, Carmichael said he could have been a wonderful singles player. “I thought he played a great match the other night (against Andrei Stoliarov who won 7-6 in the third set tie-break). He has a great technique, returns so well and has a big serve. Now, of course, with his shoulder problem, he has little option but to be very careful with his singles.”

Both Paes and Bhupathi will head for Melbourne for next week’s qualifying rounds at Flinders Park. After that will be the Davis Cup tie in China, followed by Challengers in Mumbai and Chandigarh and then ATP tournaments in Dubai, Indian Wells and Miami.

Beyond March, their schedule hasn’t been finalised yet. Both want it to be flexible, so that they have the option of focussing on singles if the situation demands. That’s the ‘juggling’, in Carmichael’s words.


Chennai, Jan. 7: 
The superior groundstrokes of Michal Tabara prevailed over Andrei Stoliarov’s sweat-and-guts brand of tennis in the Gold Flake Open final this evening. It took the Czech 83 minutes to win the battle of first-time ATP finalists 6-2, 7-6 (7-4). That he didn’t drop a set the whole week makes Tabara the worthy champion of a strange tournament which saw the underdogs raise their heads like never before.

In doubles at least, the top seeds justified their status. The Black brothers, Byron and Wayne, breezed through the final whipping wild cards Mose Navarra and Barry Cowan 6-3, 6-4.

The singles final was the most low-profile in six years of this event in India. While Stoliarov was No.143 in last year’s Champions Race, Tabara was 195. Both spent more time last year on the Challenger circuit, Stoliarov playing 21 of those and Tabara 12. To see close to four thousand people coming out to watch the finals is a tribute to Chennai’s rich tennis tradition.

None involved with the game would have seriously believed a week ago that either had a chance of making the final, let alone pocket the winner’s cheque for $ 54,000. Not even Tabara or Stoliarov.

But that’s the way the dice rolls in sport sometimes and there they were, on totally unfamiliar territory, striving to kick-start the 2001 season with the biggest prize in their career.

Tabara admitted he was overawed by the occasion. “It was a big match, I’m not used to it, so I was very nervous today,” the 21-year-old said in broken English.

It was a match of long rallies with the two often playing upto 20 shots to decide a point. Tabara, the stronger man with a better forehand, faced the first break-point in the fourth game only to wriggle out with an ace. He went on to slam nine more aces, quite a few of them at crucial moments.

Stoliarov, who can hit all day from the baseline, committed more errors than his usual quota. He dropped serve twice in the first set — neither of which was due to Tabara’s skills. The first set was gone in 28 minutes, Tabara closing it out with an ace.

Stoliarov had his chances in the second set. He broke Tabara for the first time with a backhand crosscourt winner following a 16-shot rally. But the Russian handed back the initiative in the very next game, netting a simple forehand with Tabara at his mercy.

With Tabara also showing signs of vulnerability, Stoliarov was presented more chances to get on top. The Russian refused to take a break-point in Game 6 and then a set-point in Game 12.

In the tie-break, too, it was the Russian who gained the first mini-break. But Tabara then produced a couple of delightful winners to storm into the lead.

It remained like that as the Czech made capital of his first match-point. A backhand sliced return sailed over an advancing Stoliarov to bounce well inside the baseline, signalling Tabara’s maiden ATP title.

Wish fulfilled

Byron and Wayne had played very few tournaments together and never gone beyond beyond the semis. It has long been big brother Byron’s wish to win a title with Wayne. Today, he fulfilled that dream as he became a champion for the 21st time and Wayne for the fifth.

But for the first match, when they were taken the full distance by Emilio Alvarez and Marcus Hilpert, the Zimbabwean pair was never tested. If anyone thought the conquerors of Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi would run them close today, the Black brothers quickly dispelled such a thought.

Navarra looked drained and wasn’t half the threat that he was. Both he and fellow-leftie Cowan were under pressure from the Blacks’ strong returns, and both were broken. In the end, it was all too simple for Black and Black.


Calcutta, Jan. 7: 
UP took control of the Vijay Merchant quarter final tie against Bengal today. At close on the second day, the visitors were on way to a first-innings lead.

BRIEF SCORES: Bengal 207. UP 197/3 (Tahir Abbas 72 n.o., Ravi Kant Shukla 64; Soujan Biswas 2/45).

Chatterjee passes away

Former CAB secretary and present Trustee board member Naranarayan Chatterjee (84) died today.


Calcutta, Jan. 7: 
Four players from Bengal have been included in the East Zone squad for the Duleep Trophy. Shiv Sundar Das has been named captain while Utpal Chatterjee will be his deputy.

THE SQUAD: Shiv Sundar Das (captain), Nikhil Haldipur, Rashmi Ranjan Parida, Zakaria Zufri, Sanjay Raul, Rohan Gavaskar, Rajeev Kumar, Deep Dasgupta, Ganesh Kumar, Debashish Mohanty, Utpal Chatterjee (vice-captain), Mihir Diwadkar, Javed Zaman, Sukhwinder Singh, Mridul Gupta.

North, Central gain 5

North Zone got five points, after their match versus South was drawn in Duleep Trophy today, reports PTI from Vijaywada. In Nagpur, Central Zone restricted West Zone to 421 today and the match was drawn. Central gained five points.


In Nagpur: Central Zone 536 & 156/8 (Raja Ali 55; Sairaj Bahutule 3/26, V. Buch 3/49). West 421 (Neeraj Patel 62) & 44/0. Match drawn.

In Vijayawada: North 708/8 & 326/4 (Akash Chopra n.o. 125, Vikram Rathore 69, Yuvraj Singh n.o. 80). South 477/9 (Robin Singh 67; Surendra Singh 5/115). Match drawn.    

Calcutta, Jan. 7: 
Asiph Murtaza’s allround show earned a win for Eastern Railway and Utkarsh Gautam’s fourth consecutive hundred helped Dakshin Kalikata to victory, while Kalighat skipper Safi Ahmed’s 141 stopped East Bengal in their tracks in their senior division CAB league today.


Taltala Inst. 208 (Sanjib Ghosh 3/40). Kumartuli 212/4 (Utpal Chatterjee 53, Ayan Nandi 51 n.o., Kamal Hossain Mondal 44). Kumartuli won by 6 wkts.

Shyambazar 227(Aditya Sengupta 73; Mohit Kaushal 5/35). DKS 229/2 (Utkarsh Gautam 118, Kaustav Roy 84 n.o.). DKS won by 8 wkts.


Calcutta, Jan. 7: 
Top seed Sabyasachi Bose won the boys’ under-16 title of the Ad-Out junior tennis meet at the Calcutta South Club today.

In the final he beat second seed Nirvick Mohinta 4-6, 6-1, 6-3. The girls’ under-16 crown went to the top seed, Tanya Ahuja, who beat unseeded Rohini Das 7-6, 6-4.


(All finals)

Boys’ U-14: Anup Mullick bt Farid Alam 6-2, 7-5.

Girls’ U-12: Karina Ahuja bt Shivika Burman 7-6 (7-3), 6-3.

Boys’ U-12: Dharamveer Biswakarma bt Ranjan Prasad 6-4, 6-4.

Boys’, girls’ mixed U-10: Md Imran bt Ranveer Srivastava 5-7, (conceded).


Calcutta, Jan. 7: 
The fashionably bred filly Altimara walked away with the 2,400m Kingfisher Calcutta Derby Stakes today. The comfortable 1,000 Guineas winner, who narrowly missed the ‘2,000,’ was bred at the Usha Stud Farm. Trained by maestro Rashid Byramji, the Razeen-Treasure’s Nest daughter was partnered to a shade under seven-length victory by Aslam Kader in a field which was reduced to eight runners following the withdrawal of Alvarada. Alvarada was inflicted with a cut injury on her left cannon bone by some miscreant last night.

Kader had Altimara settle in-fifth until the half-way mark but he quickened to be second soon and sent Altimara in to a five-length lead 800 metres from home. It was virtually a fight for the minor placings, once she entered the final stretch way clear of her rivals.

Coming with a good acceleration from way back in the last 250m, Soviet Ace finished second, though Daggers Drawn looked to be holding on to the advantage 150m from home.

The afternoon saw a repeat dominance of favourites after New Year’s Day races. Highland Flame in the opener, the Wiseman Cup, set the ball rolling. The failed-favourite in his last start, had an easy measure of Tsavo, a rank-outsider. Calorescence in the baby-race, the Alokananda Stakes, followed the trend, though the Vijay Singh-trainee was pressed-hard by Andrada on whom S. Rajesh tried to win from the start. Soviet Port and Endless Surprise, too, followed the day’s order and claimed their respective events without being punished. Soviet Port, however, gave an armchair ride to Pesi Shroff. Lockers Park continued with his winning form but a solid blow in the last race was delivered by a friendless Abashed.

The crowd was in a festive mood though the attendance fell short by a couple of thousands compared to the Derby Day races last year. The total day’s collection at the totalisator also failed to surpass last year’s mark of Rs 72 lakh.


1. Wiseman Cup 1,200m: (4-2-1-3) Highland Flame (Kader) 1; Tsavo (Khalander) 2; Mystic Hill (Yasin) 3; Anolini (C. Alford) 4. Won by: 1-1/2; 1/2; 3-3/4; (1-13.9). Tote: Win Rs 14; Place: 11; 43; Quinella: 77; Tanala: 226. Fav: Highland Flame (4). Winner trained by Daniel D.
2. Alokananda Stakes 1,200m: (1-3-4-5) Calorescence (C. Alford) 1; Andrada (Shanker) 2; Lamborghini (Yasin) 3; Maid To Measure (A. Imran) 4. Not run: Albright (2). Won by: 1/2; 7-3/4; 8-1/2; (1-15.8). Tote: Win Rs 12; Place: 11; 13; Quinella: 13; Tanala: 52. Fav: Calorescence (1). Winner trained Vijay S.
3. Golden Can Handicap 1,600m: (2-4-3-5) Soviet Port (Shroff) 1; American (Kujur) 2; Eau Savage (Shanker) 3; Crest Star (Yasin) 4. Won by: 8-3/4; 3-3/4; 5-3/4; (1-41.3). Tote: Win Rs 19; Place: 14; 61; Quinella: 122; Tanala: 433. Fav: Soviet Port (2). Winner trained by Bath.
4. Rising Bell Handicap 1,400m: (3/9-2-7) Lockers Park (Rabani) & No Regrets (Gowli) 1; Lovely Prospect (A. Imran) 3; High Life (Rajesh) 4. Won by: D-H; 2-1/4; SH; (1-27.4). Tote: Win Rs 33 (on 3); 13 (on 9); Place: 23 (on 3); 16 (on 9); 17; Quinella: 86; Tanala: 266. Fav: No Regrets (9). Winner trained by Bath & Javed K.
5. Aphroze Handicap 1,100m: (3-2-1-5) Endless Surprise (Kader) 1; Winning Hand (Gowli) 2; Santillana (A. Imran) 3; Scarlet Raider (Som S.) 4. Won by: 3; Nk; 4-3/4; (1-7.1). Tote: Win Rs 16; Place: 12; 23; Quinella: 38; Tanala: 52. Fav: Endless Surprise (3). Winner trained Daniel D.
6. Kingfisher Calcutta Derby Stakes 2,400m: (6-4-2-1) Altimara (Kader) 1; Soviet Ace (Shroff) 2; Daggers Drawn (F. Lynch) 3; Andreyev (Rajesh) 4. Not run: Alvarada (7). Won by: 6-3/4; 3/4; 1-1/4; (2-32.2). Tote: Win Rs 15; Place: 11; 13; 16; Quinella: 22; Tanala: 61. Fav: Altimara (6). Winner trained by R. Byramji.
7. Glasgow Courser Handicap 1,400m: (7-10-4-11) Abashed (A. P. Singh) 1; Alembic (C. Alford) 2; Red Trident (Rutherford) 3; The Stud (Gowli) 4. Not run: Falconaire (6). Won by: 3-1/4; Hd; 3; (1-27.6). Tote: Win Rs 487; Place: 58; 13; 14; Quinella: 796; Tanala: 5,357. Fav: Alembic (10). Winner trained by Vijay S.
Jackpot: Rs. 6,713; (C) Rs 31.
Treble: (i) Rs 63 & 31; (ii) Rs 1,338.    

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