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And, there is life beyond cricket

other Updated: Mar 14, 2009 00:15 IST
HT Correspondent

India's success in sport is extending far beyond the cricket boundaries. Jeev Milkha Singh, Sania Mirza, Saina Nehwal and Koneru Humpy once again gave a shining account of the changing face of Indian sports.

While Jeev stole the thunder against a star-studded line-up in Miami, which included a certain Tiger Woods, the leading dames of Indian sport, Sania, Saina and Humpy, continued to make their presence felt.

Jeev carded a sensational seven-under 65 to join Major winners Phil Mickelson and Retief Goosen at the top of the leaderboard after the opening round of the $8,500,000 WGC-CA Championship golf tournament.

The 11th hole bogey was the lone blot in Jeev's otherwise impeccable card as the Chandigarh pro reeled off eight birdies on a breezy afternoon to soar to the top in a four-way lead that also includes Thailand's Prayad Marksaeng.

In contrast, world number one Tiger Woods shot one-under 71 to be at 40th position. Jeev's game left playing partner Briny Baird spellbound. "He was unbelievable. It was blowing out there but he never looked in trouble," Baird gushed.

Sania fights back

Meanwhile Sania Mirza, awarded a wild card for the Indian Wells Masters and fresh from a training stint with American Gil Reyes, launched a late comeback to advance to the second round. Trailing 2-6, 1-3, Sania beat Ukraine's Mariya Koryttseva 2-6, 6-3, 6-2 in a first round contest that lasted almost two hours. She next faces Italy's Flavia Pennetta.

Across the Atlantic, Saina put up a brave performance at the Swiss Super Series in Basel, as she defeated world champion Lin Zhu in the second round before going down narrowly to third seed Lu Lan of China.

Saina, who upset Lin 22-20, 11-21, 21-11 on Thursday night, took the opening game against Lan and despite losing the second game looked like pulling off another upset as she led 17-13 in the decider. But the Indian lost eight points in a row.

In Istanbul, top seed Koneru Humpy outwitted overnight joint leader Martha Baquero Fierro of Ecuador to jump to tied second after the fifth round of the Is Bank Ataturk Women Grand Prix chess tournament.

Stick check

In Johor Bahru, Malaysia, the India Under-21 hockey team stunned Pakistan 3-1, and set up a summit clash with their archrivals for the Genting Four-Nation hockey title.