Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Nikesh still top gun in Penang

All the category winners celebrating at the Penang Sports Club Tennis Hub in George Town recently. Pic by K. Kandiah

NIKESH Singh Panthlia has reestablished himself as the best tennis player in Penang.
He retained his Penang Closed men's singles title after defeating former champion Muhammad Noor Noordin 5-7, 6-2, 6-4 at the Penang Sports Club Tennis Complex in Jalan Utama recently. After losing the first game to the former Penang No 1, Nikesh went on the offensive and never gave his opponent any opportunity to recover in the following two games.
Nikesh, the top seed, was the state champion between 2007-10 but had to play second fiddle to Muhammad Noor Noordin. Last year, in the absence of Muhammad Noor, Nikesh won the title by defeating Johnson Ooi Jing Wuu,
But Nikesh, 27, was denied a double when he and partner Mahesh Sivaramakrishnan pulled out of the doubles competition due to the former suffering a muscle pull.
In the men's doubles, 28-year-old Muhammad Noor, a former national player, and Jesril Jamel thrashed unseeded pair, Alvin Chew and Kelvin Khong 6-2, 6-2.
In the women's singles final, Loo Shi Pei created the biggest upset of the tournament when she toppled top seed Michelle Khoo Li Sha 6-2, 7-6 (7-4).
The three-day annual tournament featured seven categories: the Men's, Women's and Veterans singles and doubles, and the Open mixed doubles.
The competition, which offered RM2,600 in prize money, was hosted by the Penang Lawn Tennis Association (PLTA).
The uniqueness of the competition was that all the matches were played on grass courts, unlike the conventional hard courts in many places.

RESULTS: Men's singles semi-finals: Nikesh Singh Panthlia bt Mahesh Sivaramakrishnan 6-3, 6-0; Muhammad Noor Noordin bt Johnson Ooi Jing Wuu 6-1, 6-0. Final: Nikesh Singh Panthlia bt Muhammad Noor Noordin 5-7, 6-2, 6-4.
Losers' Pool semi-finals: Ahmad Aq'l Ahmad Nizam bt Brian Lee How Cheng 8-2; Neoh Khai Keat bt Chan Kai Lun 8-4. Final: Neoh Khai Keat bt Ahmad Aq'l Ahmad Nizam 6-2, 6-0
Women's singles semi-finals: Michelle Khoo Li Sha bt Chin Lih Jean 6-1, 6-0; Loo Shi Pei bt Cherylene Tan Sui Ling 6-2, 6-1. Final: Loo Shi Pei bt Michelle Khoo Li Sha 6-2, 7-6 (7-4).
Doubles semi-finals: Michelle Khoo Li Sha-Chin Lih Jean bt Kristi Ong Jun Ling-Joselyn Loh 6-1, 6-2; Karen Tang-Ngiam Li Siok 6-2, 6-2. Final: Michelle Khoo Li Sha-Chin Lih Jean bt Karen Tang-Ngiam Li Siok 6-0, 6-0. -

SLTA set to host Asian U-14

KUCHING: The highly anticipated Asian Tennis Federation (ATF) Asian U-14 tournament will be back again for the eight consecutive year at the courts of the Sarawak Lawn Tennis Association (SLTA) here from September 5-9.
SLTA president Dato Patrick Liew said he expected Asia’s top under-14 players from around 15 countries to come to Kuching for the competition.
He also confirmed last year’s winners from Uzbekistan and Hong Kong will be returning to defend their titles.
“I am excited about this tournament as this is one the tournaments that we have been waiting for in our yearly calendar. It is a platform to groom new and rising talents in tennis,” he added.
“We hosted this tournament last year and it was a huge success. We are also committed to give the best again this year (in organising the tournament)” informed Liew.
For the record, Hong Kong’s Jack Wong Hong Kit was the boys’ champion, beating his nearest rival Kareem Allaf of Syria.
In the girls category, last year’s winner Sarvinozhon Saidhujeva defeated Taiwan’s Chien Pei Ju in the final.-

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Ferrer heads list of top players for the Malaysian Open

PETALING JAYA: The ATP Malaysian Open at the Putra Stadium, Bukit Jalil, from Sept 22-30 promises to be a blast with 19 of the world’s top 55 players on parade.
World No. 5 David Ferrer of Spain is the top seed and the biggest name. He will be joined by countryman Feliciano Lopez, the popular Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis, towering American Sam Querrey and 2009 winner Nikolay Davydenko of Russia.
The other top names include Argentine world No. 11 Juan Monaco, Japanese sensation Kei Nishikori and Ukranian world No. 16 Alexandr Dolgopolov, who confirmed their participation last month.
The other players in the main draw are Pablo Andujar, Albert Ramos (Spa), Julien Benneteau (Fra), Carlos Berlocq (Arg), Alejandro Falla, Santiago Giraldo (Col), Denis Istomin (Uzb), Martin Klizan, Lukas Lacko (Svk), Jurgen Melzer (Aut) and Andreas Seppi (Ita).
“The cut-off for the Malaysian Open is at 55 this year, meaning any player ranked below that will have to go through the qualifiers or gain a wild card for the main draw,” said tournament director Nick Freyer.
“This highlights how strong the competition is this year. It promises to be a sensational week.”
Among the new faces will be Frenchman Benneteau, who won the doubles bronze in the recently concluded London Olympics.
Benneteau also took Roger Federer to five sets at Wimbledon this year and will be a strong contender.
Besides the 19 direct entries, there will also be three wild cards and four qualifiers for the main draw.
Two wild cards will be provided for local players in the singles.-

Ferrer heads starry cast for Malaysian Open

 SOME of the world's best players are set to grace the fourth ATP Malaysian Open on Sept 22-30 at Putra Stadium in Bukit Jalil. 

Spain's World No 5 David Ferrer heads the star list, also comprising Argentina's World No 11 Juan Monaco, Japan's World No 18 Kei Nishikori and last year's finalist Marco Baghdatis of Cyprus.The entry deadline closed yesterday.

"I am very excited to reveal that the ranking cut-off for the event is World No 55, meaning that any player ranked beyond that would have to get through the qualifying round or gain a wild card into the main draw," said tournament director Nick Freyer yesterday.

World No 16 Alexandr Dolgopolov of Ukraine, former champions Nikolay Davydenko of Russia, Olympic medallist Julien Benneteau of France, Sam Querrey of Australia, Alejandro Falla of Colombia and Yuki Bhambri of India are among the other confirmed players.

The draw of 32 singles event will consist of 19 players from the direct entry main draw list, three wild cards and four qualifiers. The doubles will comprise only 16 pairs.
Tickets, priced between RM10 and RM100, are available via the tournament's website -- or

Confirmed players — David Ferrer (Spa; World No 5), Juan  Monaco (Arg; 11), Alexandr Dolgopolov (Ukr; 16), Kei
Nishikori (Jpn; 18), Andreas Seppi (Ita; 27), Sam Querrey  (US; 29), Julien Benneteau (Fra; 30), Feliciano Lopez (Spa;  31), Denis Istomin (Uzb; 33), Jurgen Melzer (Aut; 36), Pablo  Andujar (Spa; 40), Marco Baghdatis (Cyp; 42), Carlos Berlocq  (Arg; 45), Santiago Giraldo (Col; 46) Albert Ramos (Martin  Klizan (Svk; 48), Nikolay Davydenko (Rus; 50), Alejandro  Falla (Col; 54), Lukas Lacko (Svk; 55),

Alternate list (selected players) — Ryan Harrison (US; 58),  Alex Bogomolov (Rus; 62), Lu, Yen Hsun (Tai; 74), Sergei  Bubka (Ukr; 154), Donald Young (US; 80), Somdev Devvarman (Ind; 85)

Monday, 6 August 2012

Ferrer aims to break into top four

WORLD No 5 David Ferrer will be hoping to ace only his second career title in Asia when he plays in the US$947,750 (RM3 million) ATP Malaysian Open in Kuala Lumpur.
   The Spaniard, the top seed at the Sept 22-30 event, won in Tokyo five years ago by overcoming French No 1 Richard Gasquet but lost in the Beijing final in 2010.The 30-year-old, a semi-finalist at the recent French Open and a quarter-finalist in Wimbledon, has won more matches than any other player on the tour. It will be histhird visit to Kuala Lumpur, his last being in 2010, where he reached the semi-finals.
   “I’ve not won many tournament in Asia. I just want to play as good as I can in KL,” Ferrer told Timesport recently.
   Ferrer has been in superb form since the start of the season, having clinched his fifth title at the Swedish Open after victories in s-Hertogenbosch, Acapulco, Buenos Aires and Auckland.
   On his secret behind his great season, Ferrer said: “Every player is different. There are many fit players on the tour and I just try to improve my game to keep up with them. I am just having a regular season. I believe the best of me will come soon,” said Ferrer, who has won 16 titles since turning professional in 2000.
Despite the encouraging season, Ferrer failed to transfer his winning form to the on-going London Olympics, losing to Japan’s Kei Nishikori in an epic third-round match and finishing fourth in the doubles.
   Ferrer, whose brother Javier was a former junior champion in Spain, also loves to read during his free time.
   “I love reading because it helps me to relax. I have a huge collection of books,” said Ferrer, who resides in Valencia.
   On his goals, he said he hopes to break into the top-four bracket before the end of the season It will be tough for him to achieve this as the world’s top four — Switzerland’s Roger Federer, Serbian Novak Djokovic,Rafael Nadal of Spain and BritonAndy Murry — have been dominating tennis for the last two seasons.
   “They have been consistent and one needs to be consistent to break into the top four. Furthermore, they work very hard physically and mentally,” added Ferrer, who singled out Spain’s David Cup wins in 2008, 2009 and 2011 as the most memorable moments of his career.- NST