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Rediff.com  » Sports » Sports Shorts: No centre court for Nadal at start of French Open defence

Sports Shorts: No centre court for Nadal at start of French Open defence

Last updated on: May 26, 2014 10:33 IST

Sports Shorts: No centre court for Nadal at start of French Open defence

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Rafael Nadal, looking to extend his French Open record to nine titles, starts his Roland Garros campaign with what is likely to be his only appearance on court Suzanne Lenglen on Monday.

The World No 1 from Spain, who takes on American Robby Ginepri in the first round, has a possible second-round meeting with local favourite Paul-Henri Mathieu and organisers surely want the showdown to be held on the main Philippe Chatrier court.

They said that Nadal usually plays one match on Lenglen before staying on Chatrier for the remainder of the tournament.

Maria Sharapova, the 2012 champion seeded seventh this year, opens proceedings on Chatrier against fellow Russian Ksenia Pervak before Novak Djokovic, who has never won the French Open, plays Portuguese Joao Sousa.

On Court Two, Frenchman Nicolas Mahut is up against Kazakhstan's Mikhail Kukushkin knowing a win would send him to a second-round meeting with American John Isner - the man with whom he played the longest match in tennis history at Wimbledon in 2010.

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Image: Rafael Nadal
Photographs: Julian Finney/Getty Images

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Kenyan men break 4x1500 metres relay world record; Blake back in form

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Kenya broke the world record in the infrequently run men's 4x1500 metres relay, clocking 14 minutes 22.22 seconds at the IAAF World Relays on Sunday.

The team, with double world champion Asbel Kiprop on anchor, eclipsed the previous world record of 14:36.23 a Kenyan team set in 2009.

The United States finished a distant second in 14:40.80 with Ethiopia third in 14:41.22.

Olympic silver medallist Yohan Blake made it a perfect trip to the inaugural IAAF World Relays as he anchored Jamaica to a triumphant run in the 4x100 metres.

A night after leading a Jamaican team to a world record in the 4x200 relay, Blake brought his countrymen home in 37.77 seconds to top Trinidad and Tobago in the final race of the two-day programme.

"After our world and Olympic gold (in the 4x100), we wanted to confirm our number one position today," said Blake, who missed the world championships and much of last season with a hamstring injury.

"It feels great getting into championship mode ... I am back on track."

The Jamaicans were missing world record holder Usain Bolt, who has yet to run this year, and key relay member Michael Frater, but veterans Nesta Carter and Nickel Ashmeade and young Julian Forte had Blake in position for another winning romp.

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Image: From left, Silas Kiplagat, Asbel Kiprop, James Kiplagat Magut and Collins Cheboi of Kenya pose together after setting a new world record of 14:22.22 in the Men's 4x1500 metres relay final
Photographs: Christian Petersen/Getty Images for IAAF

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NBA: Thunder strikes back to narrow Spurs deficit

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The Oklahoma City Thunder, buoyed by the return of Serge Ibaka from injury, recovered from two demoralising road losses to beat the San Antonio Spurs 106-97 in Game Three of the Western Conference Finals on Sunday.

The Spurs lead the best-of-seven series 2-1 but the Thunder at least breathed some new life into their season, which was in danger of ending with a whimper.

Power forward Ibaka, who missed the first two games with a left calf strain, scored 15 points on 6-of-7 shooting from the floor in nearly 30 minutes of action. He also grabbed seven rebounds and played strong defense, blocking four shots.

Oklahoma City started the final quarter with a decisive 7-0 run to take a 14-point lead and the Thunder were never in danger from that point as San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich rested most of his starters over the final few minutes.

Guard Manu Ginobili led the Spurs with 23 points, including 6-of-9 from behind the arc, but scored only three in the second half.

The Thunder out-shot the Spurs from the floor, 46 percent to 40 percent, and also dominated the boards 52-36 in rebounds.

Oklahoma City stars Russell Westbrook (26 points) and Kevin Durant (25 points) were not at their most brilliant but still top-scored.

Game Four is in Oklahoma City on Tuesday.


Image: Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder drives to the basket against Manu Ginobiliof the San Antonio Spurs
Photographs: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

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