Rio 2016 | Indian men's hockey team book historic quarters berth, Sania-Bopanna advance on day 6

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Rio 2016 | Indian men's hockey team book historic quarters berth, Sania-Bopanna advance on day 6

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SportsCafe Desk

08/12/2016

Despite losing their match today, the Indian men's hockey team qualified for the knockouts of the hockey event after a gap of 36 years. Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna won their first round, while badminton stars Saina Nehwal and P V Sindhu began their Olympic campaigns with wins in their matches.

Golf

Golfers Anirban Lahiri and SSP Chawrasia took to the field today, as the sport made a comeback into the Olympics after a gap of 112 years. With many stars missing from the event, both Lahiri and Chawrasia had an outside chance to earn a surprise medal for India. However, the day did not go well for the duo. Lahiri finished the day with +3 over par at 50th, while SSP Chawrasia ended the day with even-par. Marcus Fraser of Australia is currently leading the standings with -8 under par. The second round of the event will take place tomorrow.

Archery

India’s Deepika Kumari faced Chinese Taipei’s Tan Ya-ting in the pre-quarterfinal of the women’s individual archery event hoping to book a place in the quarters. However, it did not happen for the Indian. She lost the match 0-6 as the World No.2 reigned supreme on the archery range in Sambódromo. Deepika Kumari could only manage a solitary bullseye in the whole match, while the Chinese Taipei archer hit six in the match, including a perfect 30 in the third and final set.

Bombayla Devi, who defeated Austrian archer Laurence Baldauff and the world No 10 Lin Shin-Chia by identical 6-2 margins yesterday, did not have a good outing today and went down 2-6 to Mexico's Alejandra Valencia to exit the event. After losing the first set 26-28, Bombayla Devi bounced back by taking the second set 26-23. But the win in the second set proved to be her only success on the day. The Mexican managed bullseyes in the third and fourth set, while a 6 in the fourth set ended Bombayla Devi’s hopes of making it into the last 8.

Badminton

Women’s doubles pair of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa began India’s campaign in badminton, as they took on the World No.1 pair of Ayaka Takahashi and Misaki Matsutomo in the Group A clash.

The Indian pair had a good start and were leading 4-1 initially, but Takahashi and Matsutomo pulled it back after some good net play. The World No.1 pair, who had also won the past two meetings between the two, won the first set 21-15. The Indian pair continued their struggle in the second set and finally surrendered the match 15-21, 10-21. Gutta and Ponnappa will next face the Dutch pair of E Muskens and S Piek in their second group game tomorrow.

In the men’s doubles, Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy also started their campaign in the Olympics on a losing note after going down 18-21, 13-21 to the World No.2 duo of Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan of Indonesia. Attri and Reddy will face Chai Biao and Hong Wei of China in their next game.

In the women’s singles, PV Sindhu dominated her match against Laura Sarosi from the start to finish and won it 21-8, 21-9. The World No. 10 will now face former World No.1 Michelle Li in her next encounter. That will definitely be a tougher test for her.

Saina Nehwal was up against local lass Lohaynny Vicente in her opening game, but she was not at her best. Vicente managed to keep up with the World No. 5 all through, and the duo was locked at 11-10 at the half-way mark in the first set.

Ranked 68 places below Saina at No. 73, the local lass gave a tough fight all through the first set before losing it 17-21. Saina raced to an 11-5 lead in the second set, but then the Brazilian fought back again. The set eventually ended 21-17 in favour of the Indian, who encountered a tougher outing than expected.

Boxing

Indian boxing star Shiva Thapa faced Cuban Ramirez in the 56kg category. Ramirez, who won a Gold in 2012 London Olympics in the lightweight category, played to his strengths and won all the three rounds comfortably. Thapa, who bowed out of the London Olympics in the opening round, once again suffered a similar fate as India’s hopes of a medal in boxing suffered a severe blow.

Hockey

Netherlands maintained their unbeaten start with a 2-1 win over India in the Group B match at Rio on Thursday as Mink van der Weerden scored the winner. In a nail-biting finish to the match, India were awarded 5 penalty corners in a row, with the clock set at zero, but they failed to convert even once.

However, despite losing their match against Netherlands, the Indian men’s hockey team qualified for the quarterfinal after fourth-placed Argentina drew against Germany. India, who are third in the standings, have six points from four games and will face Canada in their last group match.

Coming back to match, Netherlands dominated most of the possession in the opening exchanges of the game as India sat back in their own half. However, the Dutchmen were not able to convert possession into attacking threats. India were comfortable without the ball, and their opponents were uncomfortable with it. The Dutch team scored their opening goal in the 33rd minute through Rogier Hofman. PR Sreejesh expertly kept out the penalty corner from Mink van der Weerden, however, the rebound fell kindly for Rogier Hofman, and he drilled it past the Indian skipper, who was still on the ground.

However, India replied back just six minutes later. VR Raghunath won a penalty corner for India, and Rupinder Pal Singh's shot was saved by Jacob Stockmann with his right glove, but he conceded another penalty corner in the process. This time, it was Raghunath who took it, and the big man drilled in a low shot into the right-hand corner of the net to make it 1-1.

But, Mink van der Weerden won the match for the Dutch in the 53rd minute from a penalty corner. The Dutchman drove it hard and low into the left corner of the net to beat a diving Sreejesh, who had no chance.

In women's hockey, India lost to USA 0-3. Kathleen Bam scored a brace for USA. while Melisa Gonzalez added a third in last quarter. Despite the loss, India are still in with a chance to qualify for the next round after Argentina were defeated by Australia, and Japan lost to Great Britain. India's last match in the group will be against the South American team, which will basically decide the fourth place in the group.

Tennis

Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna started a bit slow in the first set, but caught up with the Australians as they both held serve until 4-4. Bopanna was clearly the better of the two with his piercing winners and solid defence from the back. But then India found an opening on Peers' serve. 15-40 down, Peers saved both of them with his serve, but messed up a straightforward smash to give India the advantage and Bopanna took it in the next rally. With the game, India went up 5-4. But with Bopanna serving for the set, they messed it up to gift back the break. However, the next game again resulted in a break with Bopanna ending the game with a couple of brilliant volleys that forced Stosur into an error.

Serving once more for the set, Sania's poor serve once again impeded the Indians. After the duo's failure to convert the first two set points, Peers deposited the ball into the net on the third set point, and India were 1-0 up.

After both the pairs held their serves to 2-2 post which Peers committed two double faults in the next game to surrender the fifth game to the Indians to make it 3-2. After that, it was a matter of holding serve as both teams inched towards the inevitable. Bopanna then closed out the match on his serve with a lovely ace down the middle, and India were through to the next round with a final score of 7-5, 6-4.

The duo could face Andy Murray and Heather Watson or David Ferrer and Carla Suarez in the next round tomorrow.

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