Listen: Full script of Episode 213 of Spodcast where we discuss Saurabh Chaudhary, Rahi Sarnobat's gold medals, Serena Williams surviving French Open scare and more
In today's episode of Spodcast, we discuss Saurabh Chaudhary and Rahi Sarnobat clinching gold medals in ISSF Shooting World Cup, Serena Williams surviving a first-round scare at the French Open and more.
Rahi Sarnobat booked a place for India at the 2020 Olympics in shooting after she won the gold in the women's 25m pistol event.
Serena Williams survived a first-round scare at the French Open on Monday as she fought back from a set down to defeat World No 83 Vitalia Diatchenko.
Jason Roy led with the bat as England thrashed Afghanistan in their last warm-up match before the World Cup.
Rahi Sarnobat booked a place for India at the 2020 Olympics in shooting after she won the gold in the women's 25m pistol event on Monday at the season's third ISSF World Cup in Munich. Teenager Saurabh Chaudhary also grabbed the limelight yesterday by setting a new world record en route to a gold medal.
Asian Games champion Rahi clinched her career's second World Cup gold, helping India win its sixth quota place in shooting for the Tokyo Olympics. In the women's final, compatriot Manu Bhaker made a better start, having five out of five hits in the first of 10 series of five shots each while Rahi started with three hits. After the sixth series, Manu, Rahi and Olena Kostevych of Ukraine were jointly tied at the top with a score of 21.
Manu then suffered an unfortunate double weapon malfunction in the seventh series and that was followed by a shock elimination in the fifth place. Rahi, however, kept getting stronger, scoring perfect 5s in the 8th and 9th series to finish with 37 points. Olena bagged silver with 36 points while Bulgarian Antoaneta Boneva won the second available quota place by claiming the bronze with a score of 26.
Saurabh won the gold in the 10m air pistol event, shattering both senior and junior world records with a score of 246.3. He had held both the existing records. His previous senior world record shot at Delhi was 245 while the junior world record was at 245.5. Silver medallist Artem Chernousov of Russia, a world championship silver medallist last year, had lesser scores in the 9s in the 24-shot final than the Indian. Saurabh beat him by nearly three points in the eventual standings. He finished with a superb 246.3 to Artem's 243.8. Former Olympic champion Pang Wei of China shot 220.7 to win the bronze.
In tennis news from the French Open, Serena Williams survived a first-round scare at the French Open on Monday as she fought back from a set down to defeat World No 83 Vitalia Diatchenko.
37-year-old Serena, who is attempting to equal Margaret Court's all-time record of 24 Grand Slam titles, brought up her 800th career main draw win with a 2-6, 6-1, 6-0 victory in front of a half-full Court Philippe Chatrier. Monday’s win was only her fifth match since collapsing to defeat against Karolina Pliskova in the Australian Open quarter-finals earlier this year. The three-time
French Open winner started poorly, as Diatchenko broke her serve to love in the fifth game en route to taking the first set.
Serena, who made 14 unforced errors in the opening set, made just 10 errors during the rest of the match as she found some form and overpowered Diatchenko, losing just one game after the first set.
She said after the match, “It wasn't easy today, I've practised hard and I'm happy to win today.”
In the men’s draw, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic both eased through to the second round. He won 6-2, 6-1, 6-3 over German qualifier Yannick Hanfmann. He raced to a 3-0 lead in the opening set before a second break of serve in the eighth game sealed it after just 40 minutes. The second set was over in a flash as Nadal crushed nine winners past the beleaguered German. The third set proved a tad more challenging but Nadal broke Hanfmann’s serve to go up 2-1 and soon closed out the set 6-3 to take the match.
World No 1 Novak Djokovic also had a simple match in the first round, winning 6-4, 6-2, 6-2 over Hubert Hurkacz of Poland. He said, “I was very solid. I'm happy with my game today...It's a long tournament... But I just want to concentrate on my next match."
In cricket news, Jason Roy led with the bat as England thrashed Afghanistan in their last warm-up match before the World Cup.
Roy made 89 not out on his Surrey home ground as England won by nine wickets with nearly 200 balls to spare.
Two days after losing their practice match to defending champions Australia, England, the favourites to lift the Cup, returned to winning ways in convincing fashion. Afghanistan, who won against Pakistan in their first practice match, slumped to 160 all out as Jofra Archer and Joe Root took three wickets apiece. At one point, Afghanistan were in danger of being dismissed for under 100 but Mohammad Nabi chipped in with a useful 44 as the last two wickets added 68 runs.
But that was not nearly enough to even test England’s mighty batting. Roy struck 11 fours and four sixes as he made short work of the chase. He ended the match in the 18th over with a six over mid-wicket.
In football news, an Aston Villa side managed by one lifelong fan in Dean Smith and captained by another in Jack Grealish ended a three-year exile from the Premier League on Monday with a 2-1 win over Derby County in the Championship playoff final at Wembley.
One year after losing to Fulham in the same stage, 1982 European champions Aston Villa celebrated their return to English football's lucrative top-flight that will be worth between £170 million and £200 million to the Birmingham club.
Anwar El Ghazi put Villa ahead with a header on the stroke of half-time before John McGinn capitalised on a goalkeeping error to score Villa's second just shy of the hour mark. Substitute Jack Marriott scored one for Derby nine minutes from time, causing some nervousness for Aston Villa but that did not prevent County losing in the playoffs for the fourth time in six seasons.
After the win, an elated Grealish said, "I'm speechless. It was such a hard game, but when I look around and I've got John, Anwar, I believe. It means the world to go up, we know where this club belongs...I've stayed here and we're back there now. I've led my boyhood team to the Premier League." El Ghazi said, "We know and felt the pressure. This club has to be in the Premier League and it deserves to be there." It was a poignant moment for Smith, whose father suffers from dementia. He said, “I went to see my old man on Friday and I managed to get his eyes open for two minutes and I said to him 'next time you see me I'm going to be a Premier League manager'..."He smiled and nodded, for me, that's enough."
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Finals are where legends are written and the highly rated Saurabh never recovered from his initial shots which consigned him to last place after five.
Chaudhary did not get off to the best of starts and, with a score of 47.7, was placed eighth in the standings after the first five shots.