Saina Nehwal, Somdev Devvarman, Sania Mirza, Yuki Bhambri Celebrate Indian Sport
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There was much to celebrate last weekend for Indian sport.
The Indian team ensured that they finished their group matches on a high, relegating the Windies to fourth place in Group B.
Team India now face Australia in the quarterfinals at Motera, Ahmedabad.
The bowling has regained some of its zing with R Ashwin’s entry. Question marks remain, especially about the lower order. Home advantage should count for something, especially against a no-longer-mighty Australia.
Saina Nehwal rediscovered her mojo to clinch the Swiss Grand Prix. It was her first tournament win this year. It is small consolation for her below-par performance at the All-England championships, though.Her desire to emulate her coach and mentor Puella Gopichand remains an unfulfilled dream.
The Indian ace is,however, on course to clinch the World No. 1 ranking this year.
This is the Hyderabadi’s fourth Grand Prix title. Saina avenged her loss to Japan’s Eriko Hirose at the All-England championships in the second round. The Japanese made the final there, succouring a beleaguered nation.
The Indian shuttler remarked: "I am very happy about this victory. Though the win here will never compensate the All-England loss I am still delighted about the title. It’s always nice to win a title after a long injury lay off"
It was in tennis, however, that Indian sport had most cause to rejoice.
Somdev Devvarman announced his arrival on the big stage in style at the Indian Wells Masters in California. He made it through the qualifiers and made a run to the quarterfinals, succumbing to the World No.1 Rafael Nadal in two close sets 5-7 4-6.
En route, he kayoed Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis in the second round before beating Belgian Xavier Malisse in the third.
Somdev finished the week No. 73, his highest ever ranking in singles.
In doubles, the good news continued. Indo-Pak express Rohan Bopanna and Aisam-ul-Haq Qureishi made the men’s semifinals, losing to Xavier Malisse and Alexandr Dolgopolov 6-3, 3-6 (8-10).
Sania Mirza and Russian Elena Vesnina capped off a perfect tournament by clinching the WTA women’s doubles title at Indian Wells.The Indo-Russian pair defeated Americans Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Meghann Shaughnessy 6-0, 7-5 in the finals.
Mirza is now in the top 40 in doubles and regained her top 100 status in singles following her new No. 99 ranking.
The Indian said, “I’m happy with the way I’m striking the ball. The forehand is back and physically I’m pretty much pain free."
In more tennis back home, young Indian hope Yuki Bhambri showed signs of fulfilling his promise by clinching the $15,000 CCI-ITF Men’s Futures title in Mumbai.
He won the final, vanquishing Croatian Roko Karanusic 2-6, 7-5, 6-3 in three sets.
Bhambri beat fellow Indian Karan Rastogi in the quarters and fourth-seed German Gero Kretschmer in the semis during his title run. Rastogi was the top seed.
This is the 18-year-old’s sixth Futures crown.
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