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Rediff.com  » Sports » Sports Shorts: Serena to meet Kerber in Stanford final

Sports Shorts: Serena to meet Kerber in Stanford final

Last updated on: August 03, 2014 18:43 IST

Sports Shorts: Serena to meet Kerber in Stanford final

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Top seed Serena Williams won the final eight games to rout Andrea Petkovic in the semi-final at the Stanford Classic in California on Saturday.

Williams eventually turned what started as a closely-fought contest into a one-sided romp as she beat the frustrated German 7-5, 6-0.

The American will go for her third title in four years when she meets third seed Angelique Kerber in the final on Sunday.

"Andrea and I both had really long matches yesterday, so I was just hoping to come out again today with fresh legs, and just try to do the best I could out there," said Williams, who survived a tough three-setter to beat Ana Ivanovic in the quarters on Friday.

"My body feels great. I'm just really excited to be in the finals of Stanford again. I love playing in California. I’m a Californian girl."

Asked what had been going through her mind at 5-5 in the first set, she said: "I just had to step up my game because Andrea was playing so well.

"She was doing everything right. I had to either play better or be down a set. I just started making my shots and got into a rhythm a little better. Everything just started to come together for me towards the end."

Williams, winner of 60 WTA titles, is playing her first event since a surprise third round loss to Alize Cornet at Wimbledon in June.

Petkovic beat Venus Williams in the quarters, and was hoping to become just the ninth player to beat the two sisters in the same year.

German Kerber returned from the brink of defeat to beat unseeded Uzbekistan-born American Varvara Lepchenko 4-6 7-6(4) 6-2 in the other semi-final.

Lepchenko served for the match at 5-3 in the second set, but was broken before losing the tiebreak.

It was all Kerber in the third set as she broke Lepchenko twice to prevail in two hours and 39 minutes.

- NEXT: Raonic to face Pospisil in all-Canadian final


Image: Serena Williams of the United States plays against Andrea Petkovic of Germany during Day 5 of the Bank of the West Classic at the Taube Family Tennis Stadium on Saturday
Photographs: Noah Graham/Getty Images

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Raonic to face Pospisil in all-Canadian final

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Milos Raonic and Vasek Pospisil will meet in an all-Canadian final at the Citi Open in Washington on Sunday.

Second seed Raonic did not face a break point and used his dominating serve to beat unseeded American Donald Young 6-4, 7-5 at the WilliamH.G.FitzgeraldTennisCenter in an afternoon match on Saturday.

Pospisil, the 13th seed, had to work much harder to get past France’s Richard Gasquet 6-7(5), 6-3, 7-5 in an evening encounter that stretched for nearly two hours, 30 minutes.

It was a long day for Wimbledon doubles champion Pospisil, who had to return to the hardcourt early in the afternoon to play the third set of his quarter-final that was delayed by rain on Friday night.

He won that match 6-7(4), 6-3 6-4 against Colombian Santiago Giraldo, and also started his semi by losing a first set tiebreak to sixth seed Gasquet, before fighting back to prevail in a match that hung in the balance until almost the very end.

Pospisil trailed 0-3 in the third set before breaking his opponent twice.

Earlier, World No 7 Raonic, in his first event since reaching the Wimbledon semi-finals, broke Young at the end of each set to advance to the 11th ATP final of his career, the first this year.

On the women’s side, Japan’s Kurumi Nara will meet Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova in the final.

Nara recovered from a terrible start to beat New Zealand’s Marina Erakovic 0-6, 6-4, 6-4, while sixth seed Kuznetsova bested compatriot Ekaterina Makarova 6-3, 6-2.

- NEXT: Negi held, but Indians off to a good start in Olympiad


Image: Milos Raonic of Canada hits a return
Photographs: Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

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Negi held, but Indians off to a good start in Olympiad

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Grandmaster Parimarjan Negi was held to a draw by little known Basher Iyti but the Indian

team coasted off to a 3.5-0.5 victory over Syria in the 41st Chess Olympiad in Tormso, Norway on Saturday.

On what turned out to be an indifferent start from Negi, the Indian was staring at a shocking loss in the first round but survived, thanks to Iyti missing out on some simple winning moves. The Indian, however, sensed that he had no chances just in time and his peace offer was something that Iyti could not refuse after 44 moves.

On the remaining three boards, the Indian men scored victories. S P Sethuraman used his white pieces to beat Hasan Omrani, Akhras Khaled proved no match for B Adhiban, while M R Lalith Babu had it easy against Ward Al-Tarbosh to complete the Indian triumph.

Highest rated Indian, Krishnan Sasikiran was rested in the opener.

There were no surprises in the opening round and fancied teams scored easy victories. Match point being the case here, each of the winning team got two points apiece.

In the Women's Olympiad, which is being held simultaneously, the Indian eves had little problems in outwitting New Zealand 4-0.

Led by Tania Sachdev on the top board, it was an expected whitewash.

Sachdev defeated Helen Miligen on the top board as D Harika dropped herself in the first round. Eesha Karavade put it across Marani Meyer, while Mary Ann Gomes and Padmini Rout accounted for Judy Gao and Nicole Tsoi to ensure a perfect score.

With 10 rounds still to go, heavyweights like Russia, Armenia, Ukraine, United States, France and China all scored an identical 4-0 win in the opening round in the open section. In the women's section too, Russia, Ukraine, Georgia and China had similar result.

Indian men are pitted against Canada, while the women will take on Denmark in the second round.

The Chess Olympiad is the biggest chess event. This time there are 171 countries on open section. There are 11 rounds in all in both open and women's section.

Indian results round 1: Basher Iyti drew with Parimarjan Negi; S P Sethuraman beat Hasan Omrani; Khaled Akhras lost to B Adhiban; M R Lalith Babu beat Ward Al-Tarbosh.

Women: Helen Milligan lost to Tania Sachdev; Eesha Karavade beat Marani Meyer; Judy Gao lost to Mary Ann Gomes; Padmini Rout beat Nicole Tsoi.

- NEXT: United's Van Persie to miss Premier League opener


Image: Parimarjan Negi
Photographs: rorkhete/Wikimedia Commons

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United's Van Persie to miss Premier League opener

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Dutch striker Robin van Persie is set to miss Manchester United's opening Premier League match against SwanseaCity after being given an extended break after the World Cup.

Van Persie, 30, did not travel with United on their pre-season tour of the United States, and will not appear in the final friendly against Valencia at Old Trafford on Aug. 12, four days before their first league match.

Manager Louis van Gaal said his compatriot would resume training on Monday and, having missed much of last season through injury, would not be rushed back into the team before he reached full fitness.

"When a player has been on holiday for three weeks they have to train," van Gaal was reported as saying by British media.

"I'm sorry but players have to train and Robin needs a full training regime behind him before he can play again. People can criticise me for my decision but I know what to do with players who have had three weeks' holiday.

"Hopefully, Robin will get his fitness back very fast but, for now, he won't play. Robin wants to play every game, I know that, but so do the other 30 players in the squad." 

NEXT: French lesson for Benfica as Sanogo hits four for Arsenal


Image: Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie
Photographs: Chris Brunskill/Getty Images

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French lesson for Benfica as Sanogo hits four for Arsenal

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French striker Yaya Sanogo sent a message to Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger with a four-goal blast in a 5-1 victory over Benfica in the pre-season Emirates Cup on Saturday.

Sanogo is yet to start a Premier League game for Arsenal since joining from Auxerre in July 2013 but grabbed four goals in the opening 50 minutes at the Emirates Stadium.

Costa Rica forward Joel Campbell was also on target, scoring his first goal in the club's colours.

Sanogo put Arsenal ahead in the 26th minute and completed his hat-trick with two goals just before the break.

He added his fourth after Aaron Ramsey's shot was saved by Benfica keeper Moraes Artur.

Arsenal's recent signing Alexis Sanchez appeared for the first time since joining from Barcelona, coming on as a late substitute, but the day belonged to the 21-year-old Sanogo.

- NEXT: Ibrahimovic leads PSG to Champions Trophy win in Beijing


Image: Yaya Sanogo of Arsenal celebrates scoring his 4th goal with fans during the Emirates Cup match between Arsenal and Benfica at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday
Photographs: Michael Regan/Getty Images

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Ibrahimovic leads PSG to Champions Trophy win in Beijing

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic struck twice in 20 minutes as Paris St Germain beat Guingamp 2-0 to win the Champions Trophy for a fourth time in Beijing on Saturday.

The Swede scored after eight minutes with a curling long-range shot before doubling his tally from the penalty spot to effectively decide the annual match between the respective winners of the French league and the French cup.

Mali striker Mustapha Yatabare missed a golden chance to pull a goal back for Cup holders Guingamp after 31 minutes when his penalty was well saved by PSG keeper Salvatore Sirigu.

The intensity of the match slumped on a humid night at the Workers Stadium in the Chinese capital, with PSG's Marco Verratti and Thiago Motta controlled the midfield.

Uruguayan striker Edinson Cavani, at the centre of speculation about a potential transfer away from the French champions, came on as a substitute in the 61st minute but skewed a shot well over the Guingamp goal.

- NEXT: Tottenham confirm arrival of Sporting defender Dier


Image: Zlatan Ibrahimovic of Paris Saint-Germain celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal during the friendly match between Kitchee and Paris Saint-Germain at Hong Kong Stadium on Saturday
Photographs: Victor Fraile/Getty Images

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Tottenham confirm arrival of Sporting defender Dier

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Tottenham Hotspur have completed the signing of English defender Eric Dier from Portuguese side Sporting on a five-year deal, the Premier League club announced on Saturday.

No fee was disclosed but media reports say Spurs paid around four million pounds ($6.73 million)for the England under-21 International.

"It has always been my ambition and my dream to come back to England and play in the Premier League," the 20-year-old told the club website (www.tottenhamhotspur.com).

"I've watched a lot of Tottenham and I've always enjoyed the way they play, their attacking football."

"I think, coming from Portugal, that suits me and this season I just want to adapt really quickly to the Premier League and do the best I can."

Dier's family moved to Portugal when he was a child.

He made 30 appearances for the Lisbon club, and spent time on loan at Everton in 2011.

He is Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino's third signing following the arrival of Wales defender Ben Davies and Netherlands goalkeeper Michel Vorm, both from SwanseaCity.

Spurs open their league campaign at West Ham United on August 16.

- NEXT: Melbourne secures Australian Grand Prix until 2020


Image: Eric Dier
Photographs: Christopher Lee/Getty Images

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Melbourne secures Australian Grand Prix until 2020

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Melbourne has secured the Australian Formula One Grand Prix until 2020 after striking a new deal that will reduce the taxpayer subsidy of around $50 million a year, the head of the Victoria state government said on Sunday.

The race, which has been run in the city's Albert Park since switching from Adelaide in 1996, became a local political issue because of the noise and the subsidy, which amounted to A$50.67 million ($47.17 million) in 2013.

Race organiser Ron Walker had negotiated a new deal for when the current contract ran out after next year's race but there had been some question about whether it would be signed off by the current government of Victoria.

State Premier Denis Napthine on Sunday, though, confirmed the deal had been struck.

"This is a terrific announcement that reaffirms Melbourne and Victoria as the sporting and events capital of the world," he told 3AW radio station in Melbourne.

"We've secured another five-year deal for the grand prix and we've secured a great deal for the people of Victoria that's a better deal than the existing deal."

Napthine said that under the new deal, the race would retain its place in a Formula One calendar that featured 19 rounds this season.

"The new deal is on the same terms as the existing contract in that it will be the first race of the season, it will be in March each year," Napthine added.

Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone, who has in the past suggested the race was one of the least viable because of the time difference with the key European television market, said the city deserved the race.

"I congratulate Melbourne for the excellent way in which it presents Formula One to the world," he was quoted as saying a news release.

German driver Nico Rosberg won this year's race for Mercedes.

($1 = 1.0742 Australian Dollars)

- NEXT: Former Bulgarian goalkeeper denies involvement in match-fixing


Image: An F1 race in Melbourne
Photographs: Getty Images

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Former goalkeeper denies involvement in Bulgarian match-fixing

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Former Bulgarian top-flight goalkeeper Daniel Gyaurov has denied being involved in attempts to manipulate matches at last month's Under-19 European Championship.

"I'm completely innocent," former Lokomotiv Sofia and Vidima-Rakovski keeper Gyaurov said in local media on Saturday after being released from custody. "I don't know who did this to me but it's disgusting."

Gyaurov, 20, suspected of being a key figure in the match-fixing scandal that rocked the Balkan country, was held for 24 hours after he was arrested following a joint operation involving the interior ministry and the Bulgarian Football Union (BFU) on Friday.

"His aim was to manipulate Bulgaria matches at the European Championship," BFU spokesman Pavel Kolev told Reuters after Gyaurov's arrest.

Bulgaria Under-19 coach Alexander Dimitrov said he decided to drop one unnamed player after receiving information about "some controversial contacts".

"Some of the players told me one of their team mates had contacted and asked them to throw games," Dimitrov said.

"I talked to him and he confessed everything. He seemed very worried, I think he may have been threatened but it's something the investigation should reveal. I released him of course, there's no way he could be in my squad."

Police have already questioned several individuals including players from the Under-19 squad.

"I and three of my friends met with some of the (Under-19) national team players at a petrol station (near the town of Pravets where the team was preparing for the tournament)," Gyaurov, who has since retired, said.

"We know each other from the (soccer) fields and the national team. But I only asked them if they're keen to join a team. I don't want to reveal the name because of the ongoing investigation.

"Then we wished them luck at the European Championship and we left."

Bulgaria lost their three games and finished bottom of Group B without scoring a goal at the tournament in Hungary.

Reports of match-fixing and corruption have been rife in Bulgaria for many years.

In December last year, Former English Premier League striker DJ Campbell has been arrested as part of a match-fixing investigation.


Image: DJ Campbell of Blackburn Rovers
Photographs: Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images

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