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Rediff.com  » Sports » Sports shorts: Pallikal packs off Perry to enter Texas Open final

Sports shorts: Pallikal packs off Perry to enter Texas Open final

Last updated on: April 13, 2014 18:19 IST

Sports Shorts: Pallikal packs off Perry to enter Texas Open final

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India's top woman's squash player Dipika Pallikal marched into the biggest final of her career after getting past higher-ranked Madeline Perry from Ireland in the $50,000 Texas Open at the Downtown Club.

The 22-year-old World No.12 battled for 75 minutes, enduring three tie-break games, to beat eighth-ranked Perry 11-7, 11-13, 13-11, 10-12, 11-4 in the Women's Squash Association (WSA) Gold 50 event on Saturday.

The win, which levels her WSA tour head-to-head record with Perry to two-all, takes Pallikal into her first final of the year but the 12th of her career.

The Indian faces a mighty challenge in the final tonight when she takes on Egyptian qualifier Nour El Sherbini, who had stunned Malaysian World No.1 Nicol David to finish the youngest runner-up in the World Championship last month.

Pallikal goes into the title clash at the back of two matches lasting five games with the semi-final against Perry stretching to 75 minutes.

"It was another hard match, took a lot out of me. I knew she was going to come hard at me and was playing well of late. I was able to stick to my game plan and fight for every point," Pallikal said.

Pallikal is aware of what stands between her and the biggest prize of her career.

"Facing Sherbini will be harder. She is going to be very confident. I am hoping I pull one out of the bag. I have had a good tournament anyway and will try my best to end it on a high," she said referring to her 18-year-old opponent.

Pallikal added that it was "great" to have coach and five-time world champion Sarah Fitz-Gerald by her side.

In the other semi-final, the girl from Alexandria maintained the magnificent form she showed in the World Championship. In her fifth meeting with third seed Camille Serme, El Sherbini defeated the World No.6 from France 11-5, 11-9, 9-11, 11-6 in 55 minutes to move into her seventh tour final.

The final will mark the third meeting between Pallikal and El Sherbini since June 2010 with the Indian looking for her maiden win.

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Image: Dipika Pallikal
Photographs: Stanley Chou/Getty Images

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Pacquiao regains WBO welterweight title

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Manny Pacquiao scored a unanimous decision win over Timothy Bradley to regain the WBO welterweight title on Saturday and avenge a highly controversial loss to the American in June 2012.

Two judges scored the fight 116-112 for Pacquiao, while a third saw it as a 118-110 win for the Filipino. In their previous fight, Bradley was awarded a split decision victory that many observers felt Pacquiao had won clearly.

"He threw a lot of punches and I didn't want to be careless," said Pacquiao.

"In the second half of the fight, I listened to my corner and they told me to work on the timing of my punches."

Pacquiao added that his trainer Freddie Roach "told me to make adjustments and I did. Bradley was wild on the outside so I took it to the inside."

The early rounds of the fight were explosive, with Pacquiao the aggressor and Bradley looking to land big counter right hands as the Filipino moved forward.

A wild third round saw both men exchanging vicious shots, a pair of lefts from Pacquiao being followed by an uppercut and a right hand from Bradley and a series of ripping body shots by the American.

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Image: Manny Pacquiao of the Philippines celebrates his unanimous decision victory over WBO welterweight champion Timothy Bradley of the U.S. on Saturday
Photographs: R. Marsh Starks/Reuters

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'Manny's a great fighter, maybe one of the best ever. I lost to one of the best'

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Through five, Bradley (31-1, 12 KOs) appeared to be on top and Pacquiao looked uncertain how to land cleanly without exposing himself to big counters.

In the sixth, however, the momentum shifted.

Bradley's output suddenly dropped and Pacquiao (56-5-2, 38 KOs) adjusted his style to throw fast combinations and move out of the way before Bradley had the chance to load up.

The seventh may have been the Filipino's most dominant round, as he pinned Bradley to the ropes and unleashed flurries.

Bradley beckoned him on, daring him to attack, and Pacquiao paused warily before resuming his assault and landing a hard left hand that stunned his foe.

Bradley continued to have his moments, notably in the ninth round when he landed some hard combinations to Pacquiao's chin to stem the challenger's assault, but his punches were more ragged and wild, while Pacquiao's were shorter and sharper.

Bradley said he had been going for the knockout.

"I tried. I really tried," he said.

"I wanted that knockout. Manny's a great fighter, maybe one of the best ever. I lost to one of the best."

It was the first defeat of Bradley's career.

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Image: Manny Pacquiao (right) pushes Timothy Bradley on the ropes during their WBO world welterweight championship boxing match at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada on Saturday
Photographs: David Becker/Getty Images

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Marquez takes pole at Grand Prix of the Americas

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Honda's MotoGP world champion Marc Marquez stormed to pole position for the second straight year at the Grand Prix of the Americas in Austin, Texas on Saturday, as the Spaniard continued his early season domination of the series.

Marquez, who also started from pole for the season opener in Qatar last month, put down a sizzling lap of two minutes, 2.773 second on his final lap around the twisting Circuit of the Americas, shattering his own track record.

Dani Pedrosa, Marquez's compatriot and Honda team mate, was second fastest on 2:03.062, followed by Germany's Stefan Bradl, on a non-factory Honda, to complete the front row for Sunday's race.

It will be an all-Yamaha second row with Spaniard Aleix Espargaro fourth fastest followed by twice world champion Jorge Lorenzo of Spain and Italian Valentino Rossi.

Marquez, who claimed his first career MotoGP premier class win at the Circuit of the Americas last year, continued his love affair with the Texas layout, topping all four free practice sessions.

Marquez shrugged off the pain of a fractured fibula in his right leg, suffered while dirt-bike riding in February, to earn the win in Qatar.

"The most important thing for me is that my leg feels ok - much better than it did in Qatar," said Marquez, following one of dominating practice efforts.

"The injury was bothering me a little but I was able to participate in both free practice sessions without taking any painkillers."

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Image: Marc Marquez of Spain and Repsol Honda Team rounds the bend during the MotoGp Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix of The Americas - Free Qualifying at Circuit of The Americas on in Austin, Texas on Saturday
Photographs: Getty Images

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Dortmund crush Lacklustre Bayern 3-0

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Borussia Dortmund reclaimed some of the Bundesliga's bragging rights after crushing champions Bayern Munich 3-0 on Saturday with a stellar performance to claim victory in the league's showcase encounter.

Just three days after they beat Real Madrid 2-0 but were eliminated in the Champions League last eight 3-2 on aggregate, Dortmund confirmed their battling spirit by inflicting the heaviest defeat in coach Pep Guardiola's career.

For the Bavarians, already crowned German champions, the defeat was their second in a row in the league after a record 53-game unbeaten run in former Barcelona coach Guardiola's first season in charge.

Bayern also had Brazilian Rafinha sent off for slapping Henrikh Mkhitaryan in stoppage time.

The visitors took a 21st minute lead when Mkhitaryan slotted home after some good play, the Armenian making up for a string of missed chances in the defeat against Real.

The midfielder, who apologised to team mates and fans for his midweek lapses, kept his cool after Marco Reus sent him through with a fine pass.

Bayern, who face Real in the Champions League last four, were further hampered when goalkeeper Manuel Neuer was taken off at halftime with a calf muscle injury, making way for third-choice Lukas Raeder.

The 20-year-old's league debut got off to a nightmare start after 49 minutes when Mkhitaryan launched a quick break and Reus tapped in with the keeper out of position.

Raeder could do nothing, however, when Jonas Hofmann broke free after a deep 60-metre cross from Sokratis Papastathopoulos to rifle in Dortmund's third in the 56th minute as the 71,000-crowd in the Allianz Arena fell silent.

Bayern tried desperately to hit back but they rarely got past a solid Dortmund defence and were reduced to long-range efforts which sailed wide.

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Image: Borussia Dortmund's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (3rd from left) Marco Reus (2nd from right) and Jonas Hofmann (right) celebrate a goal against Bayaern Munich during their Bundesliga match in Munich on Saturday
Photographs: Michaela Rehle/Reuters

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'Maybe I made a mistake by saying that the title race was finished'

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"The title has been decided and we cut back a bit," said Guardiola.

"I think it is a problem that we won the league. My goal as a coach is to build my team up again. Maybe I even made a mistake by saying that the title race was finished."

Dortmund, in second place, kept their three-point lead over Schalke 04, who beat Eintracht Frankfurt 2-0 on Friday, with four games left.

At the other end of the table, former Bundesliga champions VfB Stuttgart conceded an 89th minute goal to draw 1-1 at Borussia Moenchengladbach and remain deep in the relegation battle.

Midfielder Daniel Didavi, who was only picked to play at the last minute, slotted in from close range after 12 minutes to give Stuttgart the lead.

The visitors were far more aggressive than Gladbach and hit the post on 87 minutes through Ibrahima Traore's fierce free kick. But two minutes later they let their guard down and Juan Arango headed the equaliser.

Stuttgart are on 28 points, one above Hamburg SV who lost 2-1 at Hanover 96 courtesy of a late winner from Didier Ya Konan to remain in the relegation playoff spot.

Gladbach dropped to fifth with VfL Wolfsburg making the most of their draw to crush Nuremberg 4-1 and leapfrog into fourth place a point above, and in contention for a spot in the Champions League next season.

Werder Bremen also joined the relegation fray when they lost 3-0 at Mainz 05 to drop to 12th on 33 points, five ahead of Hamburg.

Freiburg moved up to 32 points after beating bottom-placed Eintracht Braunschweig 2-0 with an own goal and a second deflected effort to boost their own chances of staying up.

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Image: Bayern Munich's coach Pep Guardiola (left) congratulates Borussia Dortmund's coach Juergen Klopp after their Bundesliga match in Munich on Saturday
Photographs: Michaela Rehle/Reuters

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Roma keep title chase on with seventh straight win

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Second-placed AS Roma did their best to keep the Serie A title race alive by romping to a 3-1 victory over Atalanta on Saturday for their seventh successive league win.

Rodrigo Taddei, Adem Ljajic and Gervinho shared the goals as Roma swept Atalanta aside with an irresistible display to keep the pressure on leaders Juventus.

Roma, who made light of the absence of suspended top scorer Mattia Destro, are five points behind Juve, who visit Udinese on Monday (1845).

Roma, who have five games to play, are hoping they can prevent Juventus clinching the title before the two sides meet at the Stadio Olimpico in the penultimate round of the season.

Taddei fired Roma into a deserved lead with a shot from the edge of the area in the 13th minute after they had dominated the opening exchanges.

A superbly-worked move produced the second goal just before halftime as Gervinho released Francesco Totti who chipped the ball over the defence for Daniele De Rossi to touch it into Ljajic's path for the Serb to sidefoot home.

Stalwart Totti was also involved in the build-up to the third goal in the 63rd with a backheel to Ljajic who put Ivorian Gervinho clear to finish off the move clinically.

Ljajic hit the post and Gervinho missed an open goal as Roma looked for a fourth but instead Atalanta got a consolation when Giulio Migliaccio outjumped Maicon to head in from 12 metres.

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Image: Rodrigo Taddei (left) and Leandro Castan (right) of AS Roma vie for possession agianst Giuseppe De Luca of Atalanta during their Serie A match at Stadio Olimpico in Rome on Saturday
Photographs: Paolo Bruno/Getty Images

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Bayern keeper Neuer fit for German up semis

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Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer will be fit for next week's German Cup semi-final against Kaiserslautern despite injuring a calf muscle in their 3-0 league defeat by Borussia Dortmund on Saturday, he said.

Germany international Neuer was replaced at halftime by 20-year-old reserve team keeper Lukas Raeder, who conceded two goals in the opening 12 minutes of his Bundesliga debut, with second choice Tom Starke also out injured.

"It is not at risk," Neuer told reporters when asked whether his participation in Wednesday's game was in doubt.

"I was not taken off for no reason. We did not want to risk anything because for us it was more important for me to be fit on Wednesday," said Neuer.

Bayern, looking for an unprecedented back-to-back treble, are also through to the Champions League last four in which they will face Real Madrid later this month.

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Image: Manuel Neuer


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Monaco put PSG title celebrations on hold

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Monaco put Paris St Germain's Ligue 1 title celebrations on hold when they snatched a 1-0 win at Stade Rennes on Saturday.

Emmanuel Riviere's second-half strike put the principality side on 69 points from 33 games, 10 adrift of champions PSG, who travel to Olympique Lyon on Sunday.

A Monaco defeat would have given PSG the opportunity to clinch their second title in a row with five games to spare, but Claudio Ranieri's side, who are set to secure a direct Champions League qualifying spot, decided otherwise.

Visitors Monaco were the first in action with Joao Moutinho's early drive going just over the bar and Riviere's low shot being blocked by Benoit Costil.

Layvin Kurzawa also came close from close range midway through the first half but Costil made another good save.

Kurzawa left the pitch with a thigh injury shortly before the break and was substituted by Andrea Raggi.

Monaco went ahead 10 minutes into the second half when Riviere beat Costil from close range after being set up by Jeremy Toulalan.

Rennes pushed hard to equalise but the Monaco defence, perfectly marshalled by Ricardo Carvalho, held on.

Monaco, however, were without French international defender Eric Abidal, whose chances of making it into France's World Cup squad look extremely slim as he was not included in the squad.

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Image: AS Monaco's Emmanuel Riviere celebrates after scoring against Stade Rennes during his French Ligue 1 match at the Route de Lorient stadium in Rennes, on Saturday
Photographs: Stephane Mahe/Reuters

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Former Brazil striker Adriano leaves Paranaense after three games

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Former Inter Milan and Brazil striker Adriano has parted company with Atletico Paranaense after just three games, the southern Brazilian club said on Saturday.

The decision was a mutual one and was taken after the team were knocked out the Libertadores Cup at the group stage last week.

"The striker Adriano is no longer an employee of Club Atletico Paranaense," they said in a short statement, without giving any details.

Adriano, 32, was once one of Brazil's most prolific strikers and helped his country win the Copa America in 2004 and the Confederations Cup in 2005 alongside Ronaldo, Ronaldinho and Roberto Carlos. He also won four Scudettos with Inter Milan.

However, his career has fallen apart in recent years due to an appalling disciplinary record. He has played for five different teams since leaving Inter in 2009, never spending long at any of them, amid accusations of binge eating and drinking. 


Image: Adriano
Photographs: Paolo Bruno/Getty Images

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