For the second consecutive week, young Lithuanian tennis star Richard Berankis has fallen in the first round of a tournament to the eventual champion. Two weeks ago he lost to American Andy Roddick in the Regions Morgan Keegan Championships before Roddick went on to win the tournament, then last week he suffered a similar fate, losing to Juan Martin Del Potro of Argentina in the opening round of the Delray Beach International Tennis Classic. This week it is hoped Berankis will represent Lithuania in their Davis Cup clash with Estonia. In other tennis news, Latvian Ernests Gulbis, who was playing in the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, finally managed to make it past the first round of a tournament, only to then capitulate in a deciding third set against Ukraine’s Sergiy Stakhovsky (3-6 7-5 1-6). He will not front for Latvia’s Davis Cup tie with Greece this weekend. After a busy start to the year, coupled with nagging injuries, Estonian Kaia Kanepi withdrew from the Qatar Ladies Open in Qatar. She is also taking this week off. Another not playing last week was Latvian Anastasija Sevastova, but she returned to action this week, playing in the Whirlpool Abierto de Tennis Monterrey in Mexico.
The Baltic nations have managed just one top ten finish in the opening week of the FIS Nordic Ski World Championships in Oslo Norway. Peeter Kummel of Estonia qualified for the cross country men’s sprint free final, but failed to make an impact, finishing last in the six-man field. Despite the Baltics having heavy representation in Oslo, few other athletes have been able make an impact, with a number struggling just to make it past the qualification round. The Championships will continue for another week.
Latvian Andrejs Rastorgujevs has completed a promising build-up to the International Biathlon Union (IBU) World Championships by finishing seventh in the men’s 12.5 K pursuit at the IBU Open European Championships in Ridnaun, Italy on Sunday. Ratorgujevs will be competing in the same event at the World Championships this coming Sunday. It is yet to be determined as to what other disciplines, if any, he will compete in at the World Championships, which will be held in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia.
National Basketball Association (NBA) veteran center, Zydrunas Ilgauskas of Lithuania, has seen his playing time severely reduced in recent weeks. Playing for the star-studded Miami Heat, Ilgauskas has gone from playing the starting center role to seeing no court time at all as Miami head coach Eric Spoelstra continues to tinker with his starting lineup. Spoelstra has been reported as saying in the media that it is no indictment on the way Ilgauskas has been playing and he can expect to see plenty more court time as the season progresses. The Miami Heat is one of the outright favorites to win the NBA title this season.