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Rediff.com  » Sports » Sports Shorts: Nadal confirms participation in Queen's Club Championships

Sports Shorts: Nadal confirms participation in Queen's Club Championships

Last updated on: February 08, 2018 00:00 IST

A summary of sports events and sports persons, who made news on Wednesday

Rafael Nadal

IMAGE:  Rafael Nadal of Spain takes a break during a practice session. Photograph: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

World number one Rafael Nadal will return to this year's Queen's Club Championships in what will be the 10th anniversary of his memorable triumph that served as a prelude to his maiden Wimbledon title.

 

Nadal came into the 2008 event on the back of his fourth French Open title and beat Serbia's Novak Djokovic in the final at West London. He then outlasted his great rival and defending champion Roger Federer in five sets at Wimbledon.

"It is going to be the 10th anniversary of my victory there in 2008, it's a great memory, winning there and three weeks later winning Wimbledon," Spaniard Nadal said in a video posted to the tournament's Twitter account.

"It was an unforgettable year. I am excited to be coming back and playing Queen's again... I can't wait to be there."

Nadal last played the Wimbledon warm-up event in 2015 and lost to Alexandr Dolgopolov in the opening round. He pulled out of the event in the last two years due to injuries.

The 31-year-old retired with an injury in the fifth set of his Australian Open quarter-final match against Croatia's Marin Cilic last month.

Three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray, who underwent hip surgery last month, is targeting a comeback at the event he has won five times, the organisers said.

The tournament will be held from Jun. 18-24.

India lose 1-2 to China despite Ankita's singles win

A fired-up Ankita Raina produced a stunning performance under pressure to shock world number 120, Lin Zhu, but that was not enough as India lost the Fed Cup tie against China 1-2 on the opening day of the Asia/Oceania Group I competition in New Delhi.

Playing with a lot of passion and energy, the 253rd- ranked Ankita came out with relentless hitting to catch Lin by surprise and beat her higher-ranked rival 6-3, 6-2 on the centre court at the R K Khanna Tennis stadium.

This was after 19-year-old Karman Kaur Thandi lost the first match 2-6, 2-6 to world number 125 Yafan Wang.

Later, Ankita came back to play the decisive doubles with Prarthana Thombare, but the Indian pair was no match to the combo of Wang and Zhaoxuan Yang, world number 31 in doubles, as it went down 2-6, 6-7(1) to lose the tie.

The Indians were not sharp enough, lacked coordination and missed several chances.

India next play formidable Kazakhstan, who blanked Hong Kong 3-0, in a must-win tie on Thursday.

The winners of the two Pools will clash against each other to qualify for the World Group Play-off.

Indian men rout Maldives 5-0 in Asia badminton c'ship

World No 5 Kidambi Srikanth led the charge as India drubbed minnows Maldives 5-0 to make a resounding start in the men's team competition of the Asia Badminton Championships, in Alor Setar.

Kidambi started the proceedings, easily outplaying Shaheed Hussein Zayan 21-5, 21-6 in the first singles match, before B Sai Praneeth took just 17 minutes to get the better of Ahmed Nibal 21-10, 21-4.

The rest of the tie followed a similar script as Sameer Verma toyed with Mohamed Arsalaan Ali 21-5, 21-1 to take an unassailable 3-0 lead.

In the men's doubles matches too, the Indians hardly broke a sweat.

In the first doubles match, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty beat Shaheed Hussein Zayan and Shaheem Hassan Afsheem 21-8, 21-8 before Arjun M R teamed up with Shlok Ramachandran to tame the pair of Mohamed Arsalaan Ali and Ahmed Nibal 21-2, 21-5.

The Asia Team championship is also a qualifier for the Thomas Cup Final with the semifinalists earning the right to play in Bangkok in May.

Constantine offered contract extension till 2019 Asian Cup

Indian football coach Stephen Constantine was today offered a contract extension till the end of the 2019 AFC Asian Cup, following a string of highly
impressive results in recent times.

The ‘unanimous’ recommendation was passed in Mumbai by the All India Football Federation's technical committee headed by former India player Shyam Thapa. The technical committee's recommendation will now have to be ratified by the AIFF's executive committee.

The team has stayed undefeated in 13 matches, an unprecedented run that includes 11 wins and two draws.

Under the Englishman, the Indian team also achieved its best FIFA ranking since February 1996 as it was placed at No 96 in the rankings released last July.

Given the team's dream run of wins, the AIFF's top brass was naturally not keen of parting ways with the 55-year-old Constantine.

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