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Rediff.com  » Sports » Sports Shorts: Bopanna-Katarina advance; Wenger in new Arsenal deal

Sports Shorts: Bopanna-Katarina advance; Wenger in new Arsenal deal

Last updated on: May 30, 2014 21:00 IST

Sports Shorts: Bopanna-Katarina advance; Wenger in new Arsenal deal

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India's Rohan Bopanna and his Slovakian partner Katarina Srebotnik faced stiff resistance from Marc Lopez and Andrea Hlavackova before winning a tense first round mixed doubles match at the French Open.

The second seeded Indo-Slovak pair scored a 7-6(5), 7-5 victory over the Spanish-Czech combo in an hour and 23 minutes.

Bopanna and Katarina are now up against Zimbabwe's Cara Black and Robert Farah of Colombia.

They converted four of five break-points and fired eight aces to two of their opponents.

However, Bopanna-Katarina had too many double faults, eight in sum against to just one. They won 85 points while Lopez and Hlavackova managed 67.

Sania Mirza is already in the pre-quarter-finals with Romanian partner Horia Tecau. If both Bopanna and Sania win their next matches, they will clash in the semi-finals, which would mean that at least one Indian will fight for title.

Bopanna has never won a Grand Slam while Sania has two mixed doubles trophies in her cabinet.

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Image: Katarina Srebotnik and Rohan Bopanna
Photographs: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

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Wenger commits to Arsenal, targets more success

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The Premier League's longest-serving current manager Arsene Wenger will stay at Arsenal into a third decade after signing a three-year contract extension that will keep him at the Emirates Stadium until 2017, the Premier League club said on Friday.

"Wenger has been with Arsenal for 17 years, making him the longest-serving and most successful manager in the history of the club," the north London side said.

The 64-year-old Frenchman has led Arsenal to three Premier League titles and five FA Cups since joining from Japanese club Nagoya Grampus Eight 18 years ago, but this month's 3-2 FA Cup final win over Hull City was their first silverware since 2005.

Wenger had delayed putting pen to paper on a new contract, despite stating publicly that he was planning to stay at the London club.

"I want to stay and to continue to develop the team and the club," Wenger said.

"We are entering a very exciting period. We have a strong squad, financial stability and huge support around the world. We are all determined to bring more success to this club.

"The club has always shown faith in me and I'm very grateful for that. We have gone through fantastic periods and also periods where we have had to stick together.

"Every time when that togetherness was tested I got the right response. I think I have shown some loyalty as well towards this club and hopefully we can make some more history. I am sure we can."

Arsenal led the Premier League for much of last season before fading to fourth, good enough to secure Champions League football for a 17th successive year.

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Image: Captain Thomas Vermaelen of Arsenal passes the trophy to manager Arsene Wenger (right) after the FA Cup final against Hull City at Wembley Stadium on May 17, 2014.
Photographs: Clive Mason/Getty Images

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Spurs silence Thunder to lead series 3-2

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Manu Ginobili and Boris Diaw were electric off the bench as the San Antonio Spurs routed the Oklahoma City Thunder 117-89 in Game Five of the Western Conference Finals on Thursday to move one win away from a berth in the NBA Finals.

Ginobili scored 19 points, Diaw added 13 and veteran forward Tim Duncan contributed a team-high 22, along with 12 rebounds, as the Spurs made the most of home court advantage to take a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series.

All-Star point guard Tony Parker weighed in with 12 points while Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green tallied 14 points apiece as top-seeded San Antonio had six players in double-figures.

The Spurs, aiming for a return to the NBA Finals after losing to the Miami Heat in seven games last year, outshot their opponents by 51 percent to 43 from the field as they rebounded from their 105-92 Game Four loss in Oklahoma City on Tuesday.

"Aggressiveness," Ginobili told Turner Network Television in a courtside interview when asked what had been the biggest change for the Spurs. "We played so much harder, sharper, smarter - everything we talked about. It was a fun-to-play and fun-to-watch game. If we play like this, it's a completely different story."

San Antonio out-rebounded Oklahoma City 48-35, an especially satisfying result for Ginobili after the teams had been evenly matched in that statistic in Game Four.

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Image: Manu Ginobili of the San Antonio Spurs falls to the court after colliding with Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder
Photographs: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

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Ex-Microsoft CEO to buy NBA's LA Clippers for $2 billion

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Former Microsoft Corp Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer won the bidding war for the NBA's Los Angeles Clippers franchise with a $2 billion offer, a record for a professional basketball team, a source with knowledge of the bidding said on Thursday.

Ballmer outbid two groups, one led by media mogul David Geffen that offered $1.6 billion that included TV talk show maven Oprah Winfrey and Oracle Corp CEO Larry Ellison, the source said.

A group of Los Angeles investors also bid $1.2 billion for the team. A Microsoft spokesman said Ballmer was not available for comment.

The Clippers came up for sale after the National Basketball Association banned owner Donald Sterling for life because of racist remarks he made in a recorded conversation that was leaked last month to entertainment news website TMZ.com.

Sterling, who has vowed to fight the NBA's punishment, would have to approve the sale, as would league owners. Sterling authorized his wife Shelly, a co-owner of the team, to review the bids.

Ballmer's winning bid was raised from an initial $1.8 billion offer made earlier in the day, according to the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. If approved by Sterling and the NBA, the deal would be second only to the $2.15 billion paid in 2012 for baseball's Los Angeles Dodgers.

Ballmer, 58, who retired as Microsoft CEO in February, remains on the board and still owns about 4 percent of the Redmond, Washington-based software giant, worth $13.4 billion.

An NBA spokesman and Sterling's attorney were not immediately available for comment.

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Image: Steve Ballmer,left, attends an NBA playoff game
Photographs: Getty Images

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Memorial Tournament: McIlroy soars into three-shot lead

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Rory McIlroy, making the most of ideal scoring conditions, shrugged off a painful knee to soar three shots clear with a spectacular nine-under-par 63 in Thursday's opening round of the Memorial Tournament in Dublin, Ohio.

The Northern Irish world number six, just four days after winning the European Tour's flagship BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth, recorded two eagles on his back nine to seize control of the elite PGA Tour event hosted by Jack Nicklaus.

Though McIlroy was troubled by a sore left knee from his seventh hole of the day, he surged up the leaderboard with a brilliant homeward nine of 31 that included a double-bogey at the 14th.

"I obviously played really well from tee to green," McIlroy told Golf Channel after totalling only 22 putts and ending the first round three ahead of Americans Bubba Watson and Chris Kirk, and Englishman Paul Casey at Muirfield Village Golf Club.

McIlroy, whose victory last week came just days after he broke up with his tennis-playing fiancee Caroline Wozniacki, drained a 28-foot putt to eagle the par-five 11th, then sank a 15-footer for eagle at the par-five 15th.

Masters champion Watson, the World No 5 who is among seven players in the top 10 competing this week at Muirfield Village, was delighted with his opening round on a rain-softened course with barely a breath of wind.

Australian Adam Scott, who clinched the Crowne Plaza Invitational on Sunday and is making his second consecutive appearance on the PGA Tour since replacing Tiger Woods as world number one, opened with a 69 playing in the company of McIlroy.

US Open champion Justin Rose of England, who won the 2010 Memorial Tournament, returned a 73 while American world number four Matt Kuchar, launched his title defence at Muirfield Village with a 74 that included two double-bogeys.


Image: Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland hits his second shot on the first hole during the first round of the Memorial Tournament
Photographs: Andy Lyons/Getty Images

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