Indians ride early hurdle
You have to believe you can do it: Srichaphan
Dutta tames Mullick
Bagan manage lean victory
John D’Abrew passes away
Jagarani in semi-finals
Calcutta Races/ 10 to vie for Sunday’s Derby
Bangalore tips

 
 
INDIANS RIDE EARLY HURDLE 
 
 
FROM AMITAVA DAS GUPTA
 
Chennai, Jan. 3: 
The Tata Open today got the ‘treatment’ it needed to come out of the ICCU. And no prizes for guessing who doctored the ‘patient’.

Three-time Grand Slam winners Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi brought the $400,000 tournament to life for the first time this week, taming Thomas Johansson and Andrei Pavel 6-3, 4-6, 6-4. The high-pitched battle lasted an hour and 52 minutes.

The Nungambakkam Stadium centre court was only about half full, but the highly vocal 2,500-odd crowd got its money’s worth as the top seeds got past a potentially tough first hurdle. In the quarter finals tomorrow, Paes and Bhupathi will face Juan Balcells and George Bastl.

Earlier in the evening, Guillermo Canas stood tall against a giant of an opponent to land safely in the quarters of the $400,000 meet.

Ivo Karlovic, a six-foot-eleven-inch qualifier from Croatia, served bombshells and tried all he could, but came up short against the Argentine who is playing the best tennis of his six-year-old career. Canas did have a couple of lapses in concentration but finished strongly to win 7-5, 6-2 in an hour and 10 minutes.

Jiri Vanek was made to battle hard to conquer Israeli Noam Okun. The 22-year-old Czech claycourt specialist survived some anxious moments in the second set before winning the two-hour battle 3-6, 7-6 (7-5), 6-4. Vanek, who brushed aside Mahesh Bhupathi in the opening round, will next come up against Canas.

Karol Kucera, a one-time top-tenner coming off a miserable year, squeezed out a 7-5, 7-6 (7-2) win over Dutchman Dennis van Scheppingen. After winning a close first set, the Slovak rallied from a 2-5 deficit in the second to book a last-eight berth against third seed Fabrice Santoro. The Frenchman dismissed Georgian left-hander Irakli Labadze 6-2, 6-3.

Flying start

Up against two accomplished singles players who were teaming up for the first time, Paes and Bhupathi were off to a flier. Bhupathi’s two-handed returns were functioning well and Paes was as sharp as usual at the net. Pavel bore the brunt of the Indians’ fury, getting broken in the third and seventh game.

Serving for the set at 5-2, Paes dropped serve. But that didn’t cost the Indians anything as they won Johansson’s next service game to pocket the first set.

The second set was a case of missed chances for the Indians who couldn’t convert any of the eight break-points that came their way. With Pavel serving better and Johansson hitting some inspired winners, the unseeded duo evened set scores after capturing Bhupathi’s serve in the ninth game.

The exciting third set saw games going on serve with very few openings for either team. Came game 10, and Bhupathi fired two stinging forehand service returns that caught Johansson napping. On first match-point, an eager Johansson rushed to intercept a Bhupathi return only to send the volley wide.

“It was tough as we had expected,” Paes said later. “They showed two high-quality singles players can play some great doubles.”

Bhupathi said he wasn’t worried after the loss of the opening set. “Our strength is to fight till the end. We did it again today and came up trumps.”

Targetting second serve

Canas, a technically solid baseliner with an enviable court speed, was quick to read Karlovic’s weaknesses. The Argentine knew he didn’t have much of a chance against his opponent’s first serve which touched the 200 kmph mark consistently. It was the more human second serve of the Croat which Canas targeted.

Karlovic, the tallest tennis player on the planet, did produce 11 aces but missed half of his first serves. That gave Canas the chance to assert his superiority. He pushed the Croat to 0-40 in the third game with two fine service returns. Karlovic crept up to 30-40 before being beaten by a classical backhand volley by Canas.

Serving for 4-2, Canas played a loose game to allow Karlovic the break-back. Given a fresh lease of life, the world No. 258 hung on for precious life. The 22-year-old Karlovic, who played just one Tour match last year, managed to stay alive till the 10th game before dropping serve again as he failed to bend down for a low forehand volley.

Canas had an early break in the second set. But, like in the first, he surrendered the initiative rightaway. Karlovic set it up with a rare backhand winner before Canas drove a forehand drive into the net.

It was 2-2, and time for the world No. 14 to stamp his class all over again. Canas did that in style as he captured the next four games taking advantage of a fast tiring opponent. Karlovic, who has modelled his game on Goran Ivanisevic, served like him but could do little else like his famous countryman.

RESULTS — SINGLES, second round: G. Canas (Arg, 1) bt I. Karlovic (Cro) 7-5, 6-2; J. Vanek (Cze) bt N. Okun (Isr) 3-6, 7-6 (7-5), 6-4; K. Kucera (Svk) bt D. Van Scheppingen (Hol) 7-5, 7-6 (7-2); F. Santoro (Fra, 3) bt I. Labadze (Geo) 6-2, 6-3.

DOUBLES, first round: L. Paes & M. Bhupathi (Ind, 1) bt T. Johansson (Swe) & A. Pavel (Rom) 6-3, 4-6, 6-4. Quarter finals: F. Cermak & P. Luxa (Cze) bt P. Srinath & A. Ramaswami (Ind) 6-2, 6-2.

   

 
 
YOU HAVE TO BELIEVE YOU CAN DO IT: SRICHAPHAN 
 
 
FROM AMITAVA DAS GUPTA
 
Chennai, Jan. 3: 
Paradorn Srichaphan landed here Saturday morning with an eye on the Tata Open qualifiers. A few hours later, he was told that he had made it to the main draw as first alternative following the withdrawal of Sergi Bruguera. And now, the 22-year-old Thai is in the quarter finals having beaten sixth seed Max Mirnyi and 2001 runner-up Andrei Stoliarov.

“I have never started a year this well, I hope I can maintain this form for the rest of the year,” said the smiling Srichaphan as mediapersons made a beeline for Asia’s hottest player of the moment.

Having won the Bangkok Challenger and the Asian championship in Hong Kong last month, Srichaphan came here on a nine-match winning streak. “I got a lot of confidence after winning those two tournaments and felt good coming into this one. The two wins this week have been very satisfying,” said Srichaphan.

It was in 1999 that Srichaphan first made a mark on the ATP circuit. As a strapping teenager, he made his first semi-final (in Singapore) — beating Magnus Norman on the way — as well as two quarter finals (Tashkent and Shanghai). He was identified as the next big Asian hope after our Leander Paes.

“Unfortunately, I couldn’t quite maintain the tempo in the next two seasons and remained in the vicinity of the top 100,” said Srichaphan, adding that this could be the year when he finally makes that important breakthrough.

“It’s a mental thing… you have to believe that you can do it. Now, for the first time, I really feel I have it in me to compete with and beat the top players. I am more mature now,” Srichaphan observed.

And how far does he think he can go? “Well, if I can consistently play like the way I am doing, I can be in the top-50 for sure. But I have to stay healthy and fit, that is very, very important.”

Coached by father Chanachai ever since taking to the game at the age of seven, Paradorn is the best of three tennis-playing brothers. He even won the South East Asian Games doubles gold with one of them (Naratorn). “Being born in a tennis family really helped. I learnt a lot watching both my older brothers play when I was a kid. Then, of course, my dad taught me so many things,” said Srichaphan.

Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi have been sources of great inspiration to Srichaphan. “What they have done for Asian tennis is terrific. Watching them win Grand Slams on television made me very proud.”

One of the most popular sportspersons back home from the time he and Tamarine Tanasugarn helped Thailand reach the Hopman Cup semi-finals two years back, Srichaphan wishes more tennis players from his country and other Asian countries get a chance to play on the Tour.

As for his plans in 2002, Srichaphan wants to concentrate on Challengers after the Australian Open where he has got a wild card. “Last year, I played more in ATP events. This time, I’ll enter more Challengers to push my ranking up.”

All Indians are with you, Srichaphan. We don’t have a singles player who can hold his own on the big stage. We’ll all be proud to see you break into the top 50.

   

 
 
DUTTA TAMES MULLICK 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, Jan. 3: 
Arup Mullick’s giant-killing spree was stopped by second-seed Anshuman Dutta of Assam. Mullick lost 3-6, 2-6 to Dutta in the boys’ under-16 quarter finals of the West Coast Paper-sponsored AITA junior meet at the South Club today.

QUARTER FINAL RESULTS: Boys’ (U-16): Rupesh Roy bt Devesh Shukla 6-0, 6-3; Vivek Shokeen bt Sabyasachi Bose 6-1, 6-2; Jitin Bishnoi bt Gursher Singh Harika 6-0, 6-2; Anshuman Dutta bt Arup Mullick 6-3, 6-2.

Girls’ (U-16): Shivika Burman bt Neha Rana 6-3, 6-3; Tanya Ahuja bt Sanjukta Barooah 7-6 (6-4), 6-4; Karina Ahuja bt Anukriti Prasad bt 6-4, 7-5; Asha Nanda Kumar bt Shilpa Dalmia 6-4, 6-0.

Boys’ (U-18): Manoj Sewa bt J. Jayanth 6-1, 6-1; G. Arjun bt Arka Mondal 6-2, 6-2; Rupesh Roy bt Anshuman Dutta 6-3, 6-1.

Girls’ (U-18): Ragini Vimal bt Shilpa Dalmia 6-0, 6-0; Reenu Jayakumar bt Varsha Datta 6-3, 6-3; Neha Rana bt Tanya Ahuja 6-1, 7-5.

Harinder still ahead

Harinder Gupta increased his lead and was ten strokes ahead of Ranjit Singh in group A after the third round of the Mayor all-India junior/sub-junior golf meet at the RCGC today. Despite having the day’s best round, Jaskirat Dullet had to be content with third position.

In group C, city boy Nikhil Sanwal maintained his lead but the gap was closed by Madhav Soi who was only three strokes behind.

   

 
 
BAGAN MANAGE LEAN VICTORY 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, Jan. 3: 
Belgachia United Club failed to continue yesterday’s good work and lost to Mohun Bagan by 12 runs in their two-day CAB senior division league game today.

SUMMARISED SCORES

Mohun Bagan 202. Belgachia United 190.Bagan won by 12 runs

Barisha 320/9. ABP Sporting Club 159/7 (Alekh Barik 42; Sudipta Mukherjee 4/74). Match drawn.

Wari AC 359/6 decl. Calcutta Rangers 156 (Prabir Mukherjee 3/35). Wari won by 203 runs.

Sporting Union 369/7. Rajasthan Club 323/7 (Sayan Dey 129, Sanjay Agarwal 54; Sudipta Mukherjee 4/99). Match drawn.

Calcutta Customs 344/9. Netaji Subhas Institute 214 (Debashish Rakshit 55; Arup Das 4/55). Calcutta Customs won by 130 runs.

Mohanlal Club 180. Eastern Railway 181/3 (Asif Murtaza 54, Souvik Mukherjee 42). E. Rly won by 7 wickets.

YMCA(College) 307/9. Town 240/8 (Pritam Ghosh 59, Sudip Mitra 44; Siddhartha Sinha 3/37). Match drawn.

Tapan Memorial 240. Shyambazar 241/3 (Amitava Chakrabarti 126). Shyambazar won by 7 wickets.

   

 
 
JOHN D’ABREW PASSES AWAY 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, Jan. 3: 
Veteran sports journalist John D’Abrew passed away in his sleep this morning, following a cardiac arrest. He was 61 and a bachelor. The closest among relatives who survive him are his two brothers.

John, as he was affectionately known among fellow journalists, was the most amiable of characters. He had a nearly four-decade long association with The Statesman, where he started his career as a proof-reader in the early Sixties. Of late, he had been maintaining indifferent health, bothered by bronchial problems.

John was with the city daily till his death, barring a few years just before 1974 when he had gone to Australia to be with his brother. He specialised in the reportage of basketball, golf, equestrianism, rowing and motorsport. He has also written a good number of short stories.

His extremely pleasant countenance makes his passing away painful. Funeral will be around the weekend.

   

 
 
JAGARANI IN SEMI-FINALS 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, Jan. 3: 
Jagarani Sangha entered the semi-finals of the under-16 football meet by beating Chaitali Sangha 2-0 at the Rabindra Sarobar stadium today. Mohan Sarker and Pradip Halder scored for Jagarani.

President’s Cup

Khalsa Model School and Khalsa English School won their matches in the BHA Prseident’s Cup today. Khalsa Model beat Calcutta West Club 1-0 and Khalsa English beat Marian Friends 3-1. The match between SA Hockey Academy and Julien Day School ended 2-2.    

 
 
CALCUTTA RACES/ 10 TO VIE FOR SUNDAY’S DERBY 
 
 
BY OUR TURF CORRESPONDENT
 
Calcutta, Jan 3: 
There are four filies in a field of 10 vying for honours in Sunday’s star event, the Kingfisher Calcutta Derby Stakes. First race starts at 12 noon.

1. Metrop[olitan Handicap 1,200m (Cl I; Rt. 88 upwards) 12 noon:Artwork 61; Beneficent 58.5; Acute 58; Clarice Cliff 52; Reine Beau 48.

2. Alokananda Stakes, 1,200m (Terms, 3-y-o fillies only) 12.30 pm: Anatolia 57; Abys-sinia 53; Assertive Dancer 53; Social Girl 53; Star of Ring 53; Star Selection 53s.

3. Brave Dancer Cup, 1,600m (Cl IV & Cl V; Rt. 00-50) 1.05 pm: Flying Scot 60; Asprey 58.5; Beau Bruno 56; Accrete 55.5; Iron Warrior 53.5; Alborada 53; Leading Conquest 52; Rich Dominion 50.5; Scavenger’s Son 50.

4. Aphroze Cup, Div-I, 1,200m (Cl IV; Rt. 22-50) 1.45 pm: At My command 61; Master Bold 59.5; Bold Aparel 56.5; As A Rule 56; Red Trident 55.5; Dictate 54; April Ace 53; Constantine 52; Abandoned 51; Grecian Prince 49.5; Floral Path 47.

5. Robin Hood Cup, 1,600m (Cl III & Cl IV; Rt. 22-72) 2.20 pm: Illustrious Reign 61; Yukon 61; Winning Glory 60.5; Own Legacy 59; Raring To Go 57.5; Gallant Romeo 56; Peace Envoy 55.5; Lovely Prospect 55; Tajik 55; Giorgio 54; Laurels 54; Acklins 53; Flamebird 52; Discomatic 49.5; Rescue Act 48.

6. Aphroze Cup, Div-II, 1,200m (Cl IV; Rt. 22-50) 2.55 pm: Santillana 61; Lively Project 58; Spanish Drum’s 56.5; Tewquila Shot 56; Royal Ruler 54; Storm Centre 53.5; Sergeant Slipper 53; Ever So Loyal 52; Flying Power 51.5; Crest Star 48.5.

7. Kingfisher Calcutta Derby Stakes, 2,400m (Terms, 4-y-o only) 3.30 pm: Alamito 56; Antequera 56; Arterial 56; Mack The Knife 56; Star Cavalier 56; The Archer 56; Amber Dancer 54.5; Blue Gardenia 54.5; Calorescence 54.5; Touch of Silver 54.5.

8. Robert Bruce Handicap, 1,400m (Cl V; Rt. 00-28) 4.05 pm: IMpressive Prince 61; Bay Dragon 60.5; Brave Show 60; The Stud 60; Heaven’s Blessing 58.5; Scenic Song 58; Finders Keepers 57.5; Odyssey 56; Wild is The wind 54.5; Jeypore 52; Cat Storm 51; Blushing Brave 50.5.

Jackpot: 4; 5; 6; 7 & 8.

Treble: (i) 1; 2 & 3; (ii) 3; 4 & 5; (iii) 6; 7 & 8.

Thursday’s track trials, outer sand track

2,000m: Star Cavalier (Upadhya) in 2-26s; (400m) 30s. Good.

1,600m: Actress (C. Alford) in 2-2s: (400m) 32s. Easy.

1,400m: Midnight Escape (C. Alford) and Affliction (Amil) in 1-43s; (400m) 30s. Level.

1,200m: Mack The Knife (Rutherford) and Estocade (Upadhya) in 1-24s; (400m) 28s. Note former. Abridge (C. Alford) and Altiama (Shanker) in 1-22s; (400m) 28s. Former far better. Scavenger’s Son (Bird) in 1-30s; (400m) 30s.

1,000m: Flamebird (Gowli) and Grand Lodge (Som S.) in 1-11s; (400m) 28s. Level. Abandoned (Dalpat) in 1-12s; (400m) 29s.Laurels (Som Singh) in 1-12s; (400m) 28s. Blue Gardenia (Rutherford) and Earl Grey (Rb) in 1-10s; (400m) 26s. Former better. Phunny Phellow (Rutherford) and Sweet Painted Lady (Rb) in 1-11s; (400m) 29s. Level. Soviet Port(Rabani) and Alkido (Rb) in 1-10s; (400m) 30s. Leval. Accrete (C. Alford) in 1-10s; (400m) 27s. Handy. Soft Classic (Rutherford) and Kargil Soldier (Rb) in 1-11s; (400m) 27s. Level. Artwork (C. Alford) and Winning Glory (R. Gowli) in 1-10s; (400m) 26s. Level.Discomatic (Asghar) and Peace Envoy (Connorton) in 1-13s; (400m) 27s. Level. Assertive Dancer (Connorton) and Social Girl (Asghar) in 1-11s; (400m) 28s. Former 4 ls better. Reine Beau (A. P. Singh) and Secret Blessing (Asghar) in 1-15s; (400m) 27s. Former a length better.

800m: Grecian Prince (Asghar)and Bay Dragon (Connorton) in 59s;(400m) 29s. Level. Touch of Silver (Yasin) and Amber Dancer (Connorton) in 54s; (400m) 28s. Level. Antequera (C. Alford) and Leading Conquest (Gowli) in 54s; (400m) 27s. Former far better. Arterial (Gowli) in 52s; (400m) 27s. Handy. Sargeant Slipper (Yasin) and Bold Apparel (Gurang) in 57s; (400m) 27s. Level. Rich Dominion (A. P. Singh) and Impressive Prince (Upadhya) in 55s; (400m) 28s. Former 4 ls better. Floral Path (G. Singh) and Jeypore (Shanker) in 56s; (400m) 28s. Level. Anatolia (C. Alford) and Master Bold (Surender) in 55s; (400m) 28s. Former 2 ls better. Ispahan (Rutherford) and Harry The Horse (Rb) in 54s; (400m) 27s.Former 4 ls better. Arendal (Gajender) and Alyssum (Amil) in 56s; (400m) 29s. Former 2 ls better. Si Senora (Gowli) in 56s; (400m) 29s. As A Rule (som S.) in 56s; (400m) 28s.Dancing Rhythm (Shanker) in 57s; (400m) 28s. The Stud (Gowli) and Tsaynen Blue (Rn) in 55s; (400m) 29s.

Sand track:

1,000m: Adorer (Rb) in 1-6s; (400m) 27s.

800m: Beneficient (Gurang) in 51s; (400m) 25s. Note. Moon Mission (A. P. Singh) and Star of Ring (Yasin) in 52s; (400m) 25s. Level. Bold Chieftan (Gurang) in 53s; (400m) 25s. Appyness (Gajender) and Scenic Song (Bird) in 52s; (400m) 26s. Level.    


 
 
BANGALORE TIPS 
 
 
FROM WILLIAM TELL
 
Bangalore, Jan. 3: 
The following are tomorrow’s selections:
2.30 pm: Bacardi Star 1; Fingers Crossed 2. Diamond Harbour 3. Startrix 1. Auchterarder 2. Luca Brassi 3.
3.30 pm: Flying Scotsman 1. Hope and Faith 2. Concur 3.
4 pm: Brave Persian 1. Gem 2. Priceless 3.
4.30 pm: Lyrical Queen 1. Noble Minstrel 2. Silvertre 3.
5 pm: Sacrista 1. Forest Rose 2. Dover 3.
5.30 pm: Mumbai Dancer 1. Auric 2. Aryawun 3.

Day’s Best: Brave Persian

Double: Flying Scotsman & Sacrista.

Thursday’s Mumbai results

(With inter-state dividends)

1st race: Tactful 1; Waleshan 2; C’Est Egal 3. (W) Rs 61; (P) 16; 24; 12; (Q) 238; (T) 975.

2nd race: El Campeador 1; Pleasure Hunt 2; Suratha 3. (W) Rs 13; (P) 13; 18; (Q) 17; (T) 50.

3rd race: Ice Magic 1; Forest Angel 2; Exploding Wonder 3. (W) Rs 14; (P) 13; 15; 13; (Q) 30; (T) 59.

4th race: Beyond 1; Betsy 2; Deep Finesse 3. (W) Rs 91; (P) 44; 26; 24; (Q) 616; (T) 5,299.

5th race: The Pelican 1; River God 2; Starsky 3. (W) Rs 71; (P) 17; 45; 13; (Q) 754; (T) 3,965.

6th race: Amorous Warrior 1; Beau Wonder 2; Latest News 3. (W) Rs 82; (P) 32; 21; 26; (Q) 156; (T) 1,730.

7th race: Fortune’s Wheel 1; Maratha Princess 2; Crown Affair 3. Not run: Roll of Dice (W) Rs 209; (P) 37; 16; 73; (Q) 232; (T): 5,983.

8th race: Original 1; Overtures 2; Mischiefmaker 3. (W) Rs 46; (P) 17; 21; 34; (Q) 157; (T) 1,867.

Jackpot: Rs 1,87,140 (Carried over).

Treble: (i) Rs 276; (ii) Rs 15,702.
   
 

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