Sports in brief - 2011-10-13

  • 2011-10-12

Dinamo Riga has acquired the services of Czech forward Jakub Sindel, who will join the club for his first taste of the Kontinental League Hockey (KHL). Sindel was expected to suit up for Dinamo Riga on Wednesday evening, when the Riga-based club began a four game home series against Slovakian club Lev. During the home series the maroons will also take on Avtomobolist on Friday, Baris Astana on Sunday and, finally, Traktor on Monday. 25-year-old Sindel was selected 54th overall in the second round of the 2004 NHL entry draft, but after being selected, Sindel would only spend one season in North America, playing for a farm club, the Brandon Wheat Kings. He then returned home to play for his former club, Sparta Praha. After one season back playing for Sparta Praha, Sindel changed clubs to Plzen HC, where he spent the next three-and-a-half seasons before moving to Finland to play for the Penguins in the SM-liiga. Returning to the Czech Republic in 2009-2010 to play for Brno Kometa for one season, Sindel would be back playing for the Penguins in 2010-2011, featuring in a career-high 59 regular season games, picking up 15 goals and 18 assists. The 1.82 meter, 82kg forward spent a trial period with Swiss club Kloten at the beginning of this season, featuring in four games before picking up a facial injury. Having recovered from the injury, Sindel opted to join Dinamo Riga.

Signs may finally be looking up for Dinamo Riga, and not just with the signing of another international forward. After a weak start to the season in which the Latvian club was only able to record one win and two shoot-out losses in nine games to see them sitting near the bottom of the KHL ladder, Dinamo Riga now look to have righted a sinking ship. In their most recent outing against Vityaz on Oct. 9, Dinamo Riga was able to produce seven goals to thump their opponents 7-1, recording one of the biggest victories in the history of the club. Veteran captain Sandis Ozolins was particularly efficient, scoring his team’s first two goals before also adding an assist in the third period. Although Vityaz is a team sporting a similar record to Dinamo Riga, the win will no doubt give the men in maroon a much needed confidence boost ahead of their four-game home series that began on Wednesday evening, after TBT went to print.

After defeating world no. 1 Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark in the round of 16 at the Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo, Japan, just over a fortnight ago, 26-year-old Estonian Kaia Kanepi was unable to repeat the feat a week later at the same stage at the China Open in Beijing. After giving up the only break in the opening set to go lose, 3-6, Kanepi was showing more tenacity in the second set, saving match point when trailing 3-5, to come storming back and win the next three games to be leading, 6-5. It would be in vain, however, with her Danish opponent holding on to take the set in a tie-break, wrapping up the win 6-3, 7-6 (3). This week Kanepi opted to take a deserved break, but Latvians Ernests Gulbis and Anastasija Sevastova were both in action. However, both failed to make any impact on their respective tournaments with Gulbis falling to Argentina’s David Nalbandian, 7-5, 6-4, in the opening round of the Shanghai Rolex Masters, while Sevastova would lose out to sixth-seeded German Julia Georges, 4-6, 6-3, 6-7 (7), in the opening round of the Generali Ladies Linz in Austria.