Indian Sports Highlights, May 30: Praggnanandhaa beats Carlsen, Sindhu loses to Marin

Welcome to the daily ESPN India blog, where we aim to bring you all the news from the dynamic world of Indian sports: from the wide variety of Olympic sports to franchise leagues.

In May, a lot of sporting action takes place – which you can find in the ESPN India newsletter. sports calendar.

All four Indian boxers advance in Olympic qualifying

India's Sachin Siwach (57kg), Sanjeet Kumar (92kg), Amit Panghal (51kg) and Jaismine (women's 57kg) moved closer to a quota for the Paris Olympics as each of them recorded victories at the world boxing qualifiers in Bangkok today.

Sachin set the tone with a clinical 5-0 win over Turkey's Batuhan Ciftci in the pre-quarter-final round, then Sanjeet beat Venezuelan Luis Sanchez by an identical margin in the round of 16. Sachin must win two more fights to qualify. for the Paris Games since only three boxers get quotas in the 57 kg division, while Sanjeet, who got a bye in the previous round, will have a similar goal since the four semi-finalists will qualify in his category. weight.

Later in the day, Jaismine got the better of Azerbaijan's Mahsati Hamzayeva to advance in the women's 57kg category with a 5-0 verdict. Former World Championships silver medalist Amit Panghal completed a perfect day for the Indian contingent by getting the better of Mexico's Mauricio Ruiz 4-1.

Treesa-Gayatri upset world number 2 Baek-Lee

Treesa Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand stunned the world's second-ranked pair of Baek Ha Na and Lee So Hee 21-9, 14-21, 21-15 to advance to the women's doubles quarter-finals of the ongoing Singapore Open Super 750 .

This was the only bright spot for India after the tough three-match defeats suffered by Sindhu and Prannoy (more on that below)

Treesa and Gayatri have gone through a tough time on the BWF Tour and dropped down the rankings to 30th in the world, but on Thursday they used their momentum to score a big win after a long time. Indeed, it was their first victory in three meetings against the South Korean pair.

The Baek-Lee duo were error-prone early on as Treesa and Gayatri held an 18-9 lead before winning the opening match with relative ease. But the Indians and South Koreans bounced back and the Indians' number of unforced errors forced them to play a decisive role.

The third game was close, locked at 8 before the Indian duo took a slim two-point lead at the final mid-match break. They continued to play aggressively and scored six points in succession to make the score 16-9 and seal a memorable victory.

Next, they will face another Korean pair of sixth seeds Kim So Yeong and Kong Hee Yong, to whom they lost at last year's Hangzhou Asian Games in their only meeting so far.

Sindhu loses to Marin

In the round of 16 of the Singapore Open, PV Sindhu lost to Carolina Marin after a marathon match that ended 13-21, 21-11, 22-20 in favor of the Spaniard; Sindhu's wait to defeat her long-time rival continues for a sixth year.

Here's how the match unfolded game by game:

  • Sindhu wins the first match 21-13
    Marin started the stronger, but Sindhu progressed into the match, reducing an early 1-3 deficit to lead 7-4. Marin reduced that to 7-6, but a combination of a superb crosscourt smash and stubborn defense saw the Indian pull away to an 11-6 break at the interval. Marin closed it out at 11-8, but that was as close as she got, as she completely took over, pulling away to win 21-13.

  • Marin wins the second game 21-11 to force the decision
    Marin started the second game in much better form, finding the angles and hugging the wide lines, sprinting to a 4-0 lead. It became 6-1 before a sensational smash from Sindhu temporarily halted the momentum. Marin's lead narrowed slightly to 8-4 before she stepped on the gas again to take the lead at the interval in the second game, 11-6. A controlled smash and kill scored the first point after Sindhu's, but a misjudgment of a long clear from Marin meant any potential momentum building was blocked as Marin took a 13-7 lead. Marin then stepped on the gas as she took a 17-7 lead, eventually winning the match 21-11.

  • Marin won the third game 22-20 and the match 2-1.
    Sindhu's impeccable defense allowed her to take an early lead in the third, 3-0 after forcing Marin into errors. The Spaniard won her first point immediately afterwards, however, with a tricky disguised fall that left Sindhu completely off guard. A body smash made it 3-2, but Sindhu once again took advantage of a few errors to take the lead at 5-2, then two great falls made it 7-2, Sindhu's intensity rejecting Marin and nullifying the Spaniard's momentum. had been building throughout the second game. Marin's controlled aggression brought her back into the match, however, bringing the scores close to 8-6, then 9-8 and 10-9 before a sensational horseshoe made it 11-9 at the break. She increased the lead to 15-10 thanks to a combination of aggressive shooting and Marin overplaying her hand at times. Sindhu's fairly basic errors then allowed Marin back into the match, 15-13, before Sindhu pulled away again to take a 17-14 lead. The game had now become a war of attrition, with both champion athletes making errors at crucial moments, and another direct strike into the net from Marin ensured Sindhu maintained a three-point advantage at 18-15. A powerful push which was misjudged by Sindhu, however, made the score 18-17 before a long clearance saw the score move to 19-17, but an error from Sindhu and a body smash from Marin saw the score equalizes at 19-19. Another mistake and at 19-20, Marin had a match point which she wasted with a wild smash to the side. A superb transition from defense to attack saw Marin force her way to another match point, which she won after another terrible misjudgment on a simple long clearance: symbolic in many ways of the errors which cost the Indian this match.

HS Prannoy loses to Kenta Nishimoto

In a long three-match series, Japan's Kenta Nishimoto defeated India's top men's singles player, HS Prannoy, 21-13, 14-21, 21-15. It will be a concern if Prannoy continues to struggle to get fit after health problems kept him out for a month in the run-up to the Paris Olympics.

Praggnanandhaa defeats Carlsen

Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa defeated five-time world champion Magnus Carlsen for the first time in the classical chess format. He beat the world No. 1 with the white pieces in the third round of Norway Chess 2024, taking the lead from the opening and calmly converting it. With this victory, the young Indian takes sole lead in the event, with 5.5 points.

Praggnanandhaa, traditionally a stronger player in the faster formats of the game, has focused on classical chess over the past year, and his improvement in this format has been marked. Earlier this year, he competed in the 2024 Candidates, taking on the world's best (excluding Carlsen – who withdrew) as they competed for the honor of challenging world champion, Ding Liren . He finished fourth, but learned important lessons: “If I had been more practical, I would have been better”. This victory now, against one of the greatest players of all time, is his greatest in this format and marks further progress.

Praggnanandhaa is now half a point ahead of American Fabiano Caruana, who scored his first classic victory against reigning world champion Ding Liren of China. Carlsen, with three points, looks a distant third in the updated standings for now, but with each classic win worth three points, that might not hold up for too long.

Hikaru Nakamura of the United States, Firouzja Alireza of France and Liren are all together currently fourth with 2.5 points in the six-player double round robin. “I wish Magnus would take similar risks against us old guys,” Nakamura said of Carlsen's choice to take a risky battle against Praggnanandhaa.

Vaishali also moved up to 5.5 points and is one point ahead of women's world champion Wenjun Ju of China, who is alone in second with half a point ahead of her compatriot Tingjie Lei.

Muzychuk, Pia Cramling of Sweden and Koneru Humpy share fourth place here with three points each.

What is there today ?

  • Boxing: The world boxing qualifying tournament, the last chance for Indians to access Olympic sports in Paris, continues in Bangkok.

  • Badminton: The Singapore Open Super 750 continues, with PV Sindhu, Lakshya Sen and HS Prannoy in action.

  • Tennis: Rohan Bopanna, seeded second with his partner Matt Ebden, competes in the men's doubles at Roland Garros.

What happened yesterday ?

  • Badminton: PV Sindhu set up a thrilling second-round clash with Carolina Marin, while Lakshya Sen battled against world number 1 Viktor Axelsen at the Singapore Open.

  • Boxing: Nishant Dev and Ankushita Bora have qualified for the quarter-finals of the Olympic qualifiers.

  • Chess: India has officially offered to host the World Championship clash between D Gukesh and Ding Liren scheduled for later this year.

You can find details of yesterday's events here.

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