Tag Archives: Chennai open

Australian Open 2011 – Djokovic triumphs and Lee-Hesh fall at the final hurdle

Brilliant Djokovic with the tropy after he demolished Andy Murray in the Australian open finals

In my review of 2010 tennis, I had mentioned how Djokovic could challenge the hold of Federer and Nadal on grand slams. Djokovic though did not waste any time in proving me right. Djokovic thrashed Murray, the other player who had a great 2010 to win the first slam of the year. Murray stood no chance against a red hot Djokovic who was flying high after his three set demolition of Roger Federer in the semis. It was a great win as Roger was tipped to win the title after the shock exit of Nadal by David Ferrer in the quarters.

Murray will be disappointed as he has once again lost the opportunity to become the first player from UK to win a grand slam since Fed Perry about 70 years ago. Both these players were the ones to watch out for after their good performances in 2010 along with Robin Soderling. Now with Djokovic winning the Australian open, it sets up the rest of the year beautifully. I am sure that Federer and Nadal will want to bounce back soon and regain their supremacy. But at the moment all the accolades should go to Djokovic who played brilliantly to win his second Australian open title.

In the doubles, Leander and Mahesh joined hands together after a long time at the grand slams. Their brilliant reunion at Chennai open almost turned into a fairy tale when they reached the finals at the Australian open. They played brilliant tennis and reminded one and all that they still have a lot to offer to their fans. The final though was an anti-climax as the Bryan brothers were too good for the Indian pair. But nothing can be taken away from the brilliant run they have been having since their reunion. All in all a good beginning to the year and it sets up some great contests in the upcoming grand slams. Will anyone be able to challenge Nadal for the number 1 ranking? We will have to wait and see.

Tennis – A perfect reunion and brilliant Roger

Leander and Mahesh won their 24th tour title and their 5th at Chennai this weekend

Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi won the Chennai open for the fifth time as it marked a perfect reunion for the two great Indians. The pair prevailed over the young pair of Robin Haase and David Martin in a tense 3 setter. This was their 24th title together and something which all the Indian tennis fans have been waiting for. The Chennai open started disastrously for the Indian contingent as Somdev, Bopanna and Yuki all wild card entrants had lost in the first round in the singles. But the doubles title was really a sweet end to the tournament for the Chennai crowd.

The great news is that Leander and Mahesh or Lee-Hesh as they are lovingly called by their fans have decided to play in the Australian open together in an attempt to win their 4th Grand Slam title together. It was yet another special win for the Indian pair and I hope they get few more before the end of the year. Congrats to Leander and Mahesh for an excellent victory.

Elsewhere it was business as usual for the Champion Roger Federer as he defeated Nikolay Davydenko in straight sets to capture his 67th tour title at Doha this weekend. This was an ideal preparation for the champion for his defense of the Australian open later this month. Roger finished 2010 in style when he defeated Nadal in the London Masters final and has began the year 2011 brilliantly by capturing the Doha title. Robin Soderling was another winner this weekend at Brisbane, Australia as he defeated American Andy Roddick to claim his 7th tour title. This is a brilliant beginning for the Swede who ended the year 2010 at number 5 in the rankings. The win has enabled him to reach his career high ranking of No.4 again. He will try to put up a great show in the upcoming Australian open where he was ousted in the first round last year.

Chennai the champions and an incredible Davis Cup triumph

Champions Trophy (Cricket) and Davis Cup (Tennis), the two major events which took place last month had one thing in common. The common factor was Chennai, my hometown. The Champions Trophy cricket was won by Chennai Super Kings and the Davis Cup tie between India and Brazil was held in Chennai. I was in India while both these events took place and was fortunate enough to witness them at a convenient time zone.

The Davis Cup was held in Chennai’s Nungambakkam stadium where the yearly Chennai open takes place. The venue was chosen by India’s number 1 player Somdev Devvarman as hard court is his favorite surface and he felt that the city’s heat and humidity will work against the visitors. But when Bopanna took on Thomaz Bellucci who happens to be ranked 27th in the world, the weather in Chennai was uncharacteristically pleasant. The game which was supposed be an easy one for the Brazilian turned out to be a 5 set marathon.

Bopanna played a brilliant game and should have won it but mistakes at crucial times in the final set cost him the match. With Brazil leading 1-0, Somdev stepped on the court to face Brazil’s second best player Ricardo Mello. This game was supposed to go India’s way and after the first set it did not seem otherwise. Somdev breezed through the first set and it seemed like the first day will end with the honors even between the two teams. After the first set Ricardo Mello upped his game quite a bit and Somdev started wilting under the pressure exerted by the Brazilian. It was another 5 set epic and another victory to Brazil and India got off to the worst possible start. Brazil would have been thrilled to be 2-0 up after the first day. The decision to play on the hard court seemed to have back fired and it seemed like the Brazilians were not minding the Chennai weather either.

After the disappointing first day the onus was completely on the champion doubles team of Leander and Mahesh to keep the Indian team in the hunt. Leander and Mahesh played a brilliant game defeating the Brazilian pair of Marcelo Mello and Bruno Soares in straight sets to get the first victory for India. The third day began with India needing to win both the reverse singles game and boy did they play well. Both Somdev and Bopanna played brilliant tennis to win their respective games to had India one of the most famous Davis cup victories and an entry into the world group.

The other major event which concluded just a week ago was the Champions trophy. The event this year was held in South Africa and three IPL teams participated in the same. Chennai Super Kings who were the IPL Champions began their campaign in style when they demolished Central Districts by 57 runs in the opening game. Chennai seemed to have the best team suited to the conditions in South Africa. Their batting was strong and had one of the most balanced bowling attacks for the pitches in South Africa. Chennai just lost a single game in the round robin stage to Victoria and that too in the super over.

Things weren’t that rosy for the other IPL teams in the championship. Mumbai struggled for consistency in both batting and bowling and Bangalore had issues with their bowling attack. The Royal Challengers though made it to the semis with the help of couple of big wins as Mumbai Indians made a sorry exit from the event. The Royal Challengers faced the Super Kings in a one sided semifinals where Suresh Raina hammered an unbeaten 90 odd to steer his team to the finals. Bangalore though struggled throughout the game after their strike bowler Steyn injured himself taking a difficult catch to dismiss Hussey. Their bowling and fielding completely fell apart and they allowed Chennai to pile up 170+ in 17 overs. In the end the target proved too much for the Royal Challengers team who succumbed without a fight.

Chennai’s opponents in the finals were the home team Warriors who had been brilliant till then in the competition. The finals though again was a one sided affair as Chennai demolished the Warriors batting to dismiss them to a modest 128. Chennai knocked of the required runs without much fuss in 19 overs with 8 wickets still in hand. It was a brilliant win for the team from Chennai and they once again proved that they are one of the most consistent teams in the IPL pack. This was also an emotional moment for the franchise and the players as this was a last game for them as a team before the players will be shuffled again in a fresh auction later this year. In a way this was a nice farewell for a bunch of players who had worked extremely hard and have emerged victorious in the IPL 3 as well as in the champion’s league becoming the first team from IPL to achieve the double.

All in all a brilliant win for Dhoni and Chennai Super Kings. Hopefully we will see the franchise carrying this legacy forward, no matter what team they put forward next year. All in all a good month for Indian sports and I had a blast watching all of it during my vacation without the worries of losing my sleep in doing so.

Collection of my thoughts

The Indian team with the trophy in SL

The Indian team with the trophy in SL

AR Rahman with the Golden Globe

AR Rahman with the Golden Globe

I have had a frustrating last few months which came to an end yesterday with the visa approval. For all of us here the extension process has been a real long and frustrating journey which controlled our thoughts for all these months. I have decided to put in a summary of the happenings in the last few months about which I was planning to write about.

Indian cricket team’s successful 2008 and the NewZealand tour

I would like to begin with the exceptional season the Indian cricket team has been having since they won the Perth test match last Jan. The only blip being the test series in Srilanka. The Indian team under Dhoni has performed really well and are in top 3 in both forms of the game. The recent series in SL where Dhoni’s men won 4-1 further emphasized their raise in the shorter format of the game. The Indian team has found great bunch of youngsters who are hungry for success and want to win every game. Having said all that Dhoni’s great test is just around the corner, the tour of  NZ. This will be his first full tour as a captain of the Indian team. India would be looking to win the test and the one-day series against the Kiwis which will not be an easy task.

The Kiwis have had a good series against the Australians recently where they drew the one-dayers 2-2 and lost the one-off Twenty20 by one run. They will be full of confidence and would be hoping to drive their home advantage to trouble the Indian team. The Indians on the other hand would want to erase the memory of their disastrous 2002/03 tour to the Kiwiland by turning in good performances in the both forms of the game. If India play to their potential they should win the series. The series gets underway with the first of the 2 Twenty20 games next wednesday. Lets hope that the series is competetive and may the best team win.

Slumdog Millionaire and A R Rahman

Musical genius A R Rahman made every Indian proud when he received the Golden Globe award for the best original score for his song “Jai Ho” in Danny Boyle’s award winning movie Slumdog Millionaire. There has been lots of speculation in the Indian media reagrding the movie as well as A R Rahman’s music claiming that both are over-rated. Few people in the media have slammed the movie and some also said that it has shown India in a poor light. As far as I am concerned the movie was just okay and was nothing great but thats my opinion. To be frank its a movie made by a British director in India and if Hollywood calls it as the best movie of the year then so be it. I dont think that this movie showed anything wrong about India.

At least the movie was made in India. How many bollywood directors make movies in the slums of Mumbai? How many Indian directors who commented on this movie can make a movie which will prove otherwise? Actually no one cares. Its just that this movie has become so big that people have decided to cash in on its popularity. The Johars and the chopras have stopped making movies in India and few more directors probably will follow suit. I guess we have to treat SM as a hollywood movie which has been made in India with Indian actors, thats about it.  We have made so many substandard movies in US and UK, they dont claim those as theirs and slam it in the their media when we give awards to those movies. So lets just be realistic, Hollywood thinks its the best movie of the year so thats where it ends.As far as the award to ARR is concerned I am really proud of him and his achievements. He has put Indian music on the world map.

Whether this is his best composition is open to speculation but there is no denying the fact that he deserves all the accolades he is receiving right now. Lets not unnecessarily dissect the music and enjoy the success of one of the finest composers in India. Congrats to ARR on his Golden Globe and hope he wins Oscars too.

Tennis in India

Tennis in India received a tremendous boost when Yuki Bhambri won the junior Australian Open title earlier this year. His victory along with the performance of Somdev in the Chennai open gives great hope to the Tennis scene in India. Mahesh won yet another mixed doubles championship, this time with our own Sania Mirza to make this the most memorable Australian Open for the Indians. Sania though continued her horror run in singles when she was beaten in the second round. Hopefully Somedev and Yuki can take the Indian Tennis forward and make a successful transition to the senior level.

Thats all for now from me. Lets hope that India continues to shine in 2009 and we have more awards and titles to add.