Sponsors may bypass Chennai for Bangalore
Vinciguerra eliminated, Golmard concedes tie
Bihar smart under massive total
Paes, Bhupathi welcome Bal
AIFF presents no-star squads
City Ranji tie to continue today
East Bengal suffer first defeat
Calcutta Acceptances/ 9 to vie for Sunday�s Derby
Race Review/ A good victory for Fame Star
Mumbai Racing/ �Value� fancied

Chennai, Jan. 4: 
Never before have India hosted back-to-back mega international tennis events. The swanky Nungambakkam Stadium here has been home to the $400,000 ATP meet for five years now, while the refurbished state-of-the-art KSLTA Stadium in Bangalore just staged the $650,000 World Doubles Championship. Problem is, both tournaments have the same sponsor.

The day ITC (Gold Flake brand) signed up with KSLTA and ATP as title sponsors for the Bangalore meet, Chennai was in danger of losing its five-year-old principal financier. ITC�s contract with IMG, owners and promoters of the Chennai meet, expires after the current edition ends Sunday.

The Bangalore deal has been struck for two years (2000 and 2001), but The Telegraph has learnt that the top brass of the tobacco giants wants it renewed for a much longer term. The Garden City earns one-third of ITC�s total revenue and it will help give their business a further boost by associating with doubles at which Indians have been so successful.

Till last year, IMG was certain they wouldn�t have any problems persuading ITC to sign up for five more years. The tournament, after all, had established itself as an important fixture in the country�s sporting calendar. The highly enthusiastic crowd and participation of some really big names pushed the profile of the event sky-high. But suddenly, IMG officials discovered that they are up against it.

Of course, they are trying to show there�s nothing to worry about. �Talks are going on with ITC and we are hopeful of our wonderful association with them to be extended,� said Ravi Krishnan, IMG�s Delhi-based vice-president. But in case ITC says no, have they lined up an alternate sponsor? �I can�t discuss those things now. Let me just say IMG is a company which plans well in advance.�

When the decision-makers at ITC sit down to finalise the budget for the next financial year, there is bound to be a strong case in favour of choosing just one international tennis meet. Even for a company as stable and prosperous as ITC, a two-event involvement with a combined prize-money of over one million dollar may just be a little too much.

There will, obviously, be some hard bargaining over the next couple of months. IMG will no doubt be willing to retain their old sponsors even if it means a scaling down of �demands.� Now whether that will be enough for ITC to strike a compromise remains to be seen.

Not that the Chennai event is in danger of closing down if it loses its title sponsor. It�s too good a tournament for IMG to let go and they will surely find another corporate house as replacement. But that, they fear, may mean starting from scratch all over again.


Chennai, Jan. 4: 
The Gold Flake Open has made a name for itself as a favourites� graveyard. Year after year, the Nungambakkam Stadium has witnessed seeds falling like nine pins too early for the organisers� comfort. But what has happened in the 2001 edition borders on the incredible.

The demise of defending champion Jerome Golmard (No. 5) and Andreas Vinciguerra (No. 6) this evening meant that an unprecedented seven unseeded men will feature in Friday�s quarter finals. And that includes two qualifiers � Frenchman Cyril Saulnier and Danish Kristian Pless.

An average journeyman from Russia set the ball rolling for the underdogs, blowing Vinciguerra off court with a 6-1, 6-3 win in an hour. And after Magnus Norman-conqueror Taylor Dent had been overpowered 6-7 (9-11), 4-6 by Pless, left-handed Golmard conceded his match to Adrian Voinea, bothered by a recurring bad back. Voinea was serving 1-2, 30-0 at that stage.

In between, all this drama on Centre Court, Dutchman Peter Wessels dispatched Mikhail Youzhny on Court 2 to book a quarter-final slot. The 22-year-old Wessels, who clinched the Newport title last year to finish inside the top-100, whipped the Russian teenager 6-0, 6-4 in under an hour.

The Stoliarov style

Five feet and ten inches tall, Stoliarov hardly looks a modern day tennis player. The groundstrokes lack much punch and his serves look innocuous to the naked eye. What the 23-year-old does well is use his head � be it while playing from the baseline or serving � and minimise the mistakes.

Making the 19-year-old Vinciguerra run from end to end, Stoliarov angled his returns wide enough to hustle the Swede into errors. The left-handed Vinciguerra, one of ATP�s New Ball Please kid, couldn�t handle the Russian�s soft but varied serves as well, winning no more than 30 percent of the return points.

Add to that a series of unforced errors, and you have a complete picture of a man in total distress. But for a couple of crunching forehand winners, Vinciguerra resembled a novice who had been pushed to the big stage against his wish. A far cry really from the Vinciguerra of 2000 when he won his first title (Copenhagen) and beat red-hot Marat Safin twice.

The only period Vinciguerra looked to be in the match was in the marathon third game of Set 1 when Stoliarov was lucky to hold serve after a dozen deuces. Had the sixth seed from Malmo used any of six break-point chances, it could have been a different story. The Swede was down a break then and who could say he wouldn�t have turned the tide after getting back on even terms.

In the event, Vinciguerra dropped serve a second time and just about managed to avoid a 0-6 washout.

The second set went on serve till 3-3 before Vinciguerra collapsed into a sorry mess. Stoliarov broke in the seventh game with a hell of a good point, sprinting all the way back to throw up a defensive lob measured to perfection. And in the ninth game, Vinciguerra ended his agony with a double-fault on match-point.

�He played better than me today, I just couldn�t hit the ball well,� was Vinciguerra�s simple explanation of a shocking performance.

Dent, the son of former Aussie pro Phil Dent, had impressed one and all with his aggressive brand of tennis against top seed Norman the other night. He came out firing on all cylinders today also but came across an equally hard-hitting opponent.

The first set was as close as it gets, Pless taking it on a faulty Dent backhand. The Dane, who won three hard-fought qualifying matches in the weekend here and followed it up with a straight-set victory over Wayne Black in the main draw first round, got the crucial service break early in the second set. And that was all he needed to close out the match.


SINGLES, 2nd round: Andrei Stoliarov (Rus) bt Andreas Vinciguerra (6, Swe) 6-1, 6-3; Peter Wessels (Net) bt Mikhail Youzhny (Rus) 6-0, 6-4; Kristian Pless (Den) bt Taylor Dent 7-6 (11-9), 6-4; Adrian Voinea (Rom) bt Jerome Golmard (5, Fra) 1-2 conceded.

DOUBLES, quarter finals: Ota Fukarek & Frantisek Cermak (Cze) bt Eyal Ran (Isr) & Jairo Velasco Junior (Spa, 3) 6-4, 6-2; Byron & Wayne Black (2, Zim) bt Vadim Kutsenko (Uzb) & Aisam Qureshi (Pak) 6-2, 6-0.


Calcutta, Jan. 4: 
For Bihar, the battle for a berth in the knockout stage of the Ranji Trophy is all but over. From here, it�s one big fight to salvage pride.

Failing to rise above the script at the Eden Gardens today, the visitors could do little as Bengal continued their domination and reached a mammoth 608 for five before closing their innings.

Rohan Gavaskar became the third centurion for the hosts with an unbeaten 121, while Deep Dasgupta fell 11 runs short chasing one.

Bihar, needing to win this tie to qualify for the next stage, will now have to try and save it. At stumps � drawn six overs too early because of poor light � they were 107 for three, still 302 runs away from forcing Bengal to bat a second time. Having lost a great deal of ground on the opening day, Bihar�s flickering hopes rested on some quick wickets today, and it was no surprise when skipper Rajiv Kumar claimed the new ball first thing in the morning.

With a little luck, they would have had Gavaskar in the very first over � an unfinished one from yesterday�s bad-light finish.

Dheeraj Kumar, who teased Gavaskar with well-directed away deliveries, induced a couple of outside edges and one of them flew past Nikhilesh Ranjan at gully. Gavaskar was then on 16.

While he survived this and some more anxious moments, skipper Devang Gandhi was not so lucky.

He left in the fourth over of the day, having added eight runs to his overnight 63, when Mihir Diwakar found the edge with a fine outswing. While there was very little wrong with his forward defensive plod, Devang was done in by the late movement.

It was reward for some very impressive bowling by the youngster over the two days of the match.

Devang later failed to take the field because of a problem with his left knee. After an X-ray at CAB�s medical unit revealed no damage, he had to go for an MRI at a nursing home. The report is expected tomorrow.

As a precaution, Devang may sit out the rest of the match. Srikant Kalyani is leading the side in his absence.

The runs couldn�t have come at a better time for Gavaskar, for he surely looked to be struggling for form in the early part of the innings. It is to his credit that did not let that spoil his focus.

His was at the crease for over four hours for a 174-ball innings, and ended up hitting 11 boundaries.

Deep, with whom he added 197 runs for the fifth wicket, looked good both with the bat and the big gloves today. He fell trying to rush to his hundred before the declaration, slashing Dheeraj way outside his off-stump for Kunjan Sharan to take a brilliant diving catch at gully.

It signalled Bengal�s declaration. Bihar began their reply well, but things took a turn when the Bengal new-ball bowlers switched ends. The line and length was suddenly better, and Shib Sankar Pal made the breakthrough with his first ball from the High Court end. Zeeshan-ul-Yaqin, who was showing and aggressive streak, was bowled through the gate.

Next over, Laxmi Ratan Shukla removed Zeeshan�s opening partner, the ball going onto the stumps off Nikhilesh Ranjan�s pads.

Skipper Rajiv fell to a rush of blood, spooning Utpal to deepish mid-on and new-man Sunil Kumar could have gone next ball, Alokendu failing to snap up a sharp chance at silly mid-off.


Chennai, Jan. 4: 
The Indian Davis Cup team has got a coach after a one-year gap, and the top two players are delighted.

Welcoming Nandan Bal�s induction to the hot seat, Leander Paes said the team needed a coach and it would help ease captain Ramesh Krishnan�s job. �We have worked with Nandan in a couple of ties before, he�s good at his job,� the Indian No. 1 observed.

The Pune-based Bal had worked jointly with Enrico Piperno during two home ties in 1995.

The job went vacant after Piperno�s contract wasn�t renewed at the beginning of last year. The Calcuttan, who has been named to take over Bal�s place as Fed Cup coach, had served the Davis Cup team for 10 long years.

Mahesh Bhupathi felt it was high time a coach was appointed. �I�ve been saying all along that you need a good support system for the Davis Cup team. A coach is a must and I�m happy we�ve got one.�

Some in the AITA had wanted a younger man to do the coach�s job and the names of Gaurav Natekar and Asif Ismail had been discussed. But the experienced Bal got the nod because it was felt he deserves the prestigious post after serving well with the women�s team.


New Delhi, Jan. 4: 
With the AIFF releasing team lists of 15 of the 16 countries to take part in the Millennium Cup, it is now clear that none of superstars that the federation chief had promised is likely to turn up.

The Iraqi team list has not been received.

AIFF chief Priya Ranjan Das Munshi had claimed that the national teams will be sent from Romania, Chile, Uruguay, and Cameroon. The lists available are on second string sides only.

Not that the claim of the availability of Ivan Zamorano and Marcelo Salas from Chile was taken seriously, the list available now does not include them. Howsever, the AIFF hopes that since Chile has only sent 19 names so far, one of the stars may join the squad later.

Bangladesh and Jordan will send their full squads.

Jordan, playing in group 3, have eight first team players in the squad. Their most experienced internatioinal is 35-year-old midfielder and skipper Jamal Abu Abed who plays for Al-Faisely club, the champion club of Jordan. Others from the champion club are defender Haitham Al-Shaboul and sweeper back Adnan Al-Shuaibat.

The Jordan team also includes striker Bassam Al-Khatib who played for Mahindra United last season and promising 23-year-old striker Ghanem Al-Dayeh who plays for their premier league club, Shahbab Al Hussein club.

Indonesia, drawn in India�s group, have also named very few of their players who participated in the Asia Cup final rounds in Lebanon. Their talented strikers Rochi Putiray who plays as a professional for Instant-Dict in Hong Kong and 21-year-old Bambang Pumangkas are missing.

Cameroon have only Carlos Kameni and Mohammed Idrissou from their squad which won the gold medal at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

Star players like defender Patrick Wome, striker Patrick Mboma and midfielders Samuel Et�O and Geremi Njitap Fotso who play for European club champions Real Madrid of Spain are missing.

Romania have also sent a second string list.

In Calcutta, the AIFF released names of the Yugoslav squad, adds a Staff Reporter. Yugoslavia are in group A and play their matches in Kochi. The Kerala city, incidentally, will also host India�s matches, in group 2.


Calcutta, Jan. 4: 
The CAB has decided to hold the third day�s play of the Bengal-Bihar Ranji Trophy tie at Eden Gardens tomorrow despite the bandh call by Trinamool Congress.

This evening the Bengal players were put up at a city hotel. According to CAB joint secretary Debdas Banerjee, all security arrangements to bring the visiting team from the hotel near Park Circus to the ground have been made �from 5 am�.

The association has, however, decided to postpone by a day all Vijay Merchant Trophy quarter final matches scheduled to begin tomorrow.

The Ambar Roy Memorial sub-junior meet matches remain scheduled. Matches which fail to start will be rescheduled later.

The final round of the Bengal ladies amateur golf championship at the Royal will be held on Saturday.


Calcutta, Jan. 4: 
East Bengal suffered their first defeat in the CAB senior division league this season when they lost to Young Bengal by seven runs today.

Medium pacers Rajesh Chakraborty (six for 68) and Ambar Roy (four for 62) ended East Bengal�s run chase at 136.


Tollygunge Agragami 372. DKS 305/5 (Utkarsh Gautam 133, Pitambar Dutt 75). Match drawn.

BNR 270/9. Customs 223/7 (Nilambar Saha 42, Dilip Dubey 37). Match drawn.

Kalighat 391/5. Burnpur 145 (Sourav Mitra 52; Timir Chanda 5/40). Kalighat won by 246 runs.

City 172 (Sarfraz Ahmed 5/74, Siladitya Mazumder 3/30). CPT 173/5 (Sanjeev Pandey 60, Mithun Mazumder 45). CPT won by 5 wkts.

Young Bengal 143. East Bengal 136 (Rajesh Chakraborty 6/68, Ambar Roy 4/62). Young Bengal won by 7 runs.

Aryan 387/3. Excelsiors 310 (Vikash Mansatta 67). Aryan won by 77 runs.

Suburban 317. Belgachia United 321/3 (Biplab Singh 110 n.o.). Belgachia won by 7 wkts.

Kumartuli 332/9 (Ayan Nandi 113). Cal Rangers 232/6 (Parikshit Nanda 109). Match drawn.


Calcutta, Jan. 4: 
Five geldings and four fillies make the 2,400m Kingfisher Calcutta Derby Stakes line-up on Sunday. First race starts at 12.30 pm.


1. Wiseman Cup 1,200m (Cl I; Rt. 88 & over) 12.30 pm: Mystic Hill 60; Tsavo 58.5; Anolini 57.5; Highland Flame 55.

2. Alokananda Stakes 1,200m (Terms, 3-y-o only) 1 pm: Caloresce-nce 54; Albright 50; Andrada 50; Lamborghini 50; Maid To Measure 50.

3. Golden Can Handicap 1,600 (Cl V; Rt. 00-28) 1.40 pm: Blessed Spirit 60.5; Soviet Port 60.5; Eau Savage 60; American 60; Crest Star 54; Adeline 50.

4. Rising Bell Handicap 1,400m (Cl III; Rt. 44-72) 2.15 pm:Santa Monica 60; Lovely Prospect 56; Lockers Park 56; Aragrove 55; Sky Command 54.5; Gambino 53.5; High Life 53; Gentle Priest 52; No Regrets 51.5; Just Kidding 51; Black Mane 51; Crucible 50.

5. Aphroze Handicap 1,100m (Cl III; Rt. 44-72) 2.50 pm: Santillana 60; Winning Hand 60; Endless Surprise 57; Abstract 55; Scarlet Raider 53.5; Andestine 53.

6. Kingfisher Calcutta Derby Stakes 2,400m (Terms, 4-y-o only) 3.30 pm: Andreyev 56; Daggers Drawn 56; Earl Grey 56; Soviet Ace 56; Wandering Warrior 56; Altimara 54.5; Alvarada 54.5; Silver Toy 54.5; Tsaynen Blue 54.5.

7. Glasgow Courser Handicap 1,400m (Cl IV; Rt. 22-50) 4.10 pm: Spanish Drum�s 61; Remember The Day 58; Cool Quest 58; Red Trident 56; Stella Blue 54.5; Falconaire 53.5; Abashed 53.5; Russian Czar 53; Supreme Desire 52; Alembic 52; The Stud 51.5; Calculus 51; Ghunghat 49.5.

Jackpot: 3; 4; 5; 6 & 7.

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

Calcutta, Jan. 4: 
Fame Star�s victory in the Eveready Calcutta Gold Cup, on New Year�s Day, may do city racing some good. With only a handful of lady horseowners in the city, the joint-property of Sharon Singh and Anne Wright may inspire the fairer sex to take more interest in the sport.

It was no ordinary victory for the Vijay Singh-trained filly. Yes, she was carrying 52 � kg by the terms of the race and was at a considerable weight advantage against stalwarts like Alternator (62 � kg) and Artwork (59 kg). But the Gaswar-Dancing Flame daughter is beginning to peak now and the way she is improving with each run it is just a matter of time when she learns to tackle the opposition at even terms. It was her sixth victory in-a-row.

C. Rajendra, the Mumbai-lad, made no mistake on Fame Star. He had her settled behind Bountiful Treasure who tried to steal a march from the 1,000m marker. In the process, the Zari Dara-shah-trainee managed to burn herself out, thus shifting out alarmingly and making Rajendra�s task much easier.

Alternator, the favourite to strike an encore in the Gold Cup, did come with his customary finishing run but Fame Star had no consideration for his reputation. The three-parts of a length verdict recorded over the favourite looked exaggerated.

Vijay had a tailor-made day for his stable. He won five events and could have made it six had Actress retained the advantage she build up from the start in the opener, the India Automobiles Opel Trophy. Running after nearly five months, the 6-4 favourite was given a fair ride by Cristopher Alford. But the Exclusive Virtue-Simpatica daughter lacked the cutting-edge and surrendered meekly a stride or two from the wire when Rajendra on Alkido came charging. Alkido was first of the three winners booted home by Rajendra. His third chance came right in the next race and he, once again, demonstrated as to why he is emerging as one of the most feared horsemen.

The wily jockey displayed no urgency when Alsheim, the 8-10 favourite in the 1,200m The Telegraph Cup, made a tardy start. Rajendra nursed the Tecorno-Krishma�s Pet colt in the mid-bunch before pushing her into the lead in the final two furlongs. The Vijay Singh-trainee led and countered a strong challenge issued by the Asfand-trained Princelene.

Asfand, however, did not have to wait for long for his New Year�s Day prize. In the Nepal Gold Cup over 2,200m, he found his ward Colonial handing a comfortable defeat to Surfside, trained by his mentor, Darius Byrami.

S. Rajesh, who partnered the winner, was not in a hurry when Allosaki tried to upset the rhythm of the free and front running six-year-old. Allowing Allosaki to lead till 300m the Vijay Mallya-property took over and cruised home.

Mallya�s other ward, Soviet Song, too, was an easy winner of the Tez Tea Calcutta Sprinters� Trophy. The Darius Byramji-trainee made her own running and justified her short odds. The speedy daughter of Bold Russian- Palace Music is in line for an encore.

Vijay claimed the rest in the eight-event-card. However, two of his other winners who also impressed were Ansbach in the baby race, the George Williamson Indian Produce Stakes and Annalee, the winner of the Eveready Heavy Duty Cup.

Ansbach won the way the Alnasr Alwasheek-Pass The Secret colt liked in the hands of Aslam Kader. Annalee�s win was equally creditable as she easily beat a highly rated Arctic Fancy.


Mumbai, Jan. 4: 
Perceived Value may lift the Dawn Ramniwas Ramnarain Ruia Gold Cup in Mumbai on Friday.


2 pm: Inimitable 1. National Velvet 2.
2.30 pm: Deep Blue 1. Alice Charms 2. Gold Berg 3.
3 pm: Afilado 1. Lightning Arrow 2. Kahini 3.
3.30 pm: Crimson Rage 1. Wild Wind 2. Star Of Attention 3.
4 pm: Perceived Value 1. Torres 2.
4.30 pm: Romanza 1. Stardotcom 2. Millennium King 3.
5 pm: Rumaan 1. Arabella 2. Fantasy Royal 3.
5.30 pm: Infamous 1. Silver Blue 2. Gulmohor 3.

Day�s Best: Deep Blue

Double: Perceived Value & Afilado.

RCTC will not conduct inter-venue betting in Calcutta on Friday.


(With inter-state dividends)

1. Mrinal Plate, Div-II 1,100m: (2-1-3) Persian Lord (Prakash) 1; Color Me Good 2; Wings Of Fire 3. Won by: 8; 2-1/4; (1-17.7). Tote: Win Rs 22; Place: 13; 18; 14; Quinella: 52; Tanala: 235. Fav: Persian Lord (2).

2. Mrinal Plate, Div-I 1,100m: (7-1-2) Texas King (Prakash) 1; Dalsinghar 2; As A Rule 3. Won by: 5-1/2; 5; (1-8.3). Tote: Win Rs 18; Place: 12; 15; 32; Quinella: 27; Tanala: 207. Fav: Texas King (7).

3. Bright Hanovar Trophy 1,200m: (6-4-7) Green Paradise (Prakash) 1; Immaculate 2; Soviet Ride 3. Won by: 3/4; Hd; (1-13.5). Tote: Win Rs 71; Place: 22; 18; 14; Quinella: 256; Tanala: 1,568. Fav: Soviet Ride (7).

4. Thumbelina Plate 1,200m: (4-3-7) Supreme Statesman (Prakash) 1; Super Sword 2; Blues Clues 3. Not run: Secret Obsession (8). Won by: 1/2; 1-1/2; (1-15.3). Tote: Win Rs 23; Place: 12; 22; 369; Quinella: 78; Tanala: 5,215. Fav: Supreme Statesman (4).

5. Greek Baron Plate, Div-I 1,200m: (5-3-8) Rapallo (Bajrang) 1; Adam�s Blessings 2; Shanillo 3. Won by: 1-3/4; 2-3/4; (1-14.3). Tote: Win Rs 52; Place: 19; 14; 24; Quinella: 62; Tanala: 413. Fav: Adam�s Blessings (3).

6. Maharaja Sir Harisinghji Trophy 1,600m: (8-17-7) Regal Equity (Marshall) 1; Top Mover 2; Star Fortune 3. Not run: Crystal Man (1). Won by: Nk; Hd; (1-38.1). Tote: Win Rs 101; Place: 38; 23; 18; Quinella: 434; Tanala: 3,911. Fav: Al Dente (9).

7. Greek Baron Plate, Div-II 1,200m: (11-6-4) Royal Secret (Rajendra) 1; Adam�s Touch 2; Natural Spark 3. Won by: 2-1/4; SH; (1-13.8). Tote: Win Rs 53; Place: 17; 14; 14; Quinella: 57; Tanala: 319. Fav: Adam�s Touch (6).

8. Endurance Plate 2,400m: (8-7-11) Count Dracula (Belose) 1; Suratha 2; Zongrilla 3. Won by: 2-1/2; 5; (2-36.1). Tote: Win Rs 237; Place: 36; 31; 17; Quinella: 1,047; Tanala: 44,280. Fav: Great Alliance (6).

9. Unforgettable Plate 1,600m: (14-1-3) Rigged For Revenge (Rajesh) 1; Balahak 2; Demedici 3. Won by: 3; 3; (1-41.4). Tote: Win Rs 341; Place: 63; 28; 17; Quinella: 1,143; Tanala: 6,583. Fav: Valid Appeal (13).

Jackpot: Rs 1,36,066 (Carried over); (C) Rs 34,988.

Treble: (i) Rs 353; (ii) Rs 1,031; (iii) Rs 67,790 (Carried over).

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