* India were on Wednesday handed an easy draw for next years Davis Cup campaign in the Asia/Oceania Group I as they were pitted against Chinese Taipei in their first round tie,here. It will be a home tie for India as they had played Taipei in Kaohsiung in 2009,eking out a 3-2 win over the hosts when the two teams played for the first time against each other. Uzbekistan and Korea are the seeded teams this year and they have got a bye in their first rounds. India are in the bottom half of the draw and if they win against Taipei in the first round,slated for January 31 to February 1,they will travel to Korea in the second-round. AITA President Anil Khanna said they will decide on the venue shortly. It is a good draw for us. We will discuss the venue and announce that shortly, Khanna said.
* Divij Sharan and Purav Raja suffered their second successive first round defeat as they bowed out of the St. Petersburg Open after a 6-7(6) 4-6 defeat against Russians Victor Baluda and Konstantin Kravchuk. The Indian pair had also bowed out of the Luxembourg Challenger after the first round defeat. Before that they had a superb US Open campaign,where they reached round of 16. The Indians had two set points in the first tie break but lost four straight points to hand lead to the local pair. The two teams played solid serve games as no break featured in the first set. However,in the second set Divij and Raja dropped serve in the fifth on deuce. Both teams went on to hold serves thereafter and the Russians walked away with the match.
Yuki in round two
* Yuki Bhambri maintained his clean record against Amir Weintraub as he beat the Israeli in straight sets to move to the second round of the ATP Challenger tournament. Yuki,who reached singles main draw via qualfiers,recorded a 7-6 (8) 6-1 win over his opponent,who is placed 287 spots above the Indian at 190. It took Yuki one hour and 23 minutes to down the Israeli,whom he had beaten last year in Uzbekistan. The 21-year-old Indian next faces Japanese seventh seed Yuichi Sugita and it will be tough encounter for the Delhi youngster as he lost both his previous matches to Sugita. Yuki is the lone Indian competing in the singles event of of the USD 125,000 hard court tournament as Karunuday Singh had failed to qualify after losing his final qualifying round.
Sessegnon gets work permit
* West Bromwich Albion’s record signing Stephane Sessegnon has been granted a work permit and is available to play against his former team Sunderland in the Premier League on Saturday,the Midlands club said. West Brom completed a deal to sign the Benin forward from Sunderland just before the transfer window closed on Sept 2 and he can now make his debut at The Hawthorns this weekend. Deemed surplus to requirements by Sunderland manager Paulo Di Canio,who questioned his desire and attitude,Sessegnon will relish the chance to prove his worth to new boss Steve Clarke. Sessegnon’s availability will be a boost for The Baggies,who are second from bottom in the standings with only two points.
Coutinho to go under the knife
w Liverpool’s Brazilian midfielder Philippe Coutinho has been ruled out until late October after injuring his shoulder in their 2-2 draw at Swansea City in the Premier League on Monday. Liverpool said the 21-year-old will require surgery following the injury that forced him off in the second half after a challenge by Ashley Williams at the Liberty Stadium.
Haryana double prize money
* Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda announced to double the prize money of the medal winners at World Cups and World championships besides raising rewards for those who get Bhim and Arjuna Awards. Hooda said that Bhim and Arjuna awardees would now get award money of Rs five lakh instead of Rs two lakh.The prize money for those winning gold,silver and bronze medals in World Cup or World championships for both general and para athletes would be awarded with Rs 10 lakh,Rs 8 lakh and Rs 6 lakh respectively.