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Rediff.com  » Sports » Sports Shorts: Bopanna-Qureshi lose to Bryans in Rome Masters

Sports Shorts: Bopanna-Qureshi lose to Bryans in Rome Masters

Last updated on: May 15, 2014 19:31 IST

Sports Shorts: Bopanna-Qureshi lose to Bryans in Rome Masters

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Rohan Bopanna and Aisam-ul Haq Qureshi failed to get past the formidable United States’ combination of Mike and Bob Bryan, losing in straight sets in the second round of the ATP Rome Masters, on Thursday.

The unseeded Indo-Pak combination lost 5-7, 1-6 to the top seeds in the euro 3,452,415 clay court tournament, the second last event in the run-up to the French Open.

Bopanna-Qureshi broke the American twins just once and dropped serve four times in the match, which lasted just 65 minutes.

They split euro 11,080 in prize-money and earned 90 ATP ranking points each for the effort.

Meanwhile, India's challenge is still alive in the tournament as Sania Mirza and Cara Black reached the quarter-finals of the women's event being held simultaneously.

The fifth seeded Indo-Zimbabwean pair scored a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Daniela Hantuchova and Mirjana Lucic-Baroni in the second round of the euro 2,120,000 premier WTA event.

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Image: Aisam-ul Haq Qureshi of Pakistan and India's Rohan Bopanna
Photographs: Mark Nolan/Getty Images

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Sevilla win on penalties, extend Benfica's miserable run

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Sevilla defended doggedly in a 0-0 draw before beating Benfica 4-2 on penalties to win the Europa League for the third time on Wednesday as the final curse of Bela Guttmann continued to haunt the Portuguese side.

Beaten 2-1 at the death by Chelsea in the same game 12 months ago, Benfica slumped to their eighth successive European final loss, putting a dampener on what had been a triumphant season.

Benfica had the best of the opening 90 minutes but failed to take their chances and the confidence seemed to ooze away from them in extra-time.

The writing appeared to be on the wall when Sevilla won the toss before the penalties and chose the end in front of their fans.

Paraguay striker Oscar Cardozo, who has had an unhappy season and missed a penalty for his country in the 2010 World Cup quarter-final against Spain, took a stuttering run-up before Benfica's second penalty was saved by Beto.

Beto also stopped Benfica's next spot-kick, a half-hearted Rodrigo effort, although the Sevilla goalkeeper appeared to move well off his line on each occasion.

Kevin Gameiro then fired home Sevilla's fourth to clinch their third Europe League/UEFA Cup title.

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Image: Nicolas Pareja of Sevilla celebrates victory with team mates after the UEFA Europa League Final match against SL Benfica at Juventus Stadium
Photographs: Joe Robbins/Getty Images

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Emery proud of Sevilla's 'capacity to suffer'

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Few teams can have taken more tortuous routes to European success than Sevilla this season and coach Unai Emery hailed his team's "capacity to suffer" after they beat Benfica on penalties to win the Europa League on Wednesday.

Sevilla played 19 matches on their way to winning the competition for a third time and were lucky to be taking part at all.

After finishing ninth in La Liga last season, Sevilla would not normally have qualified but won a place after Malaga and Rayo Vallencano, who finished above them, were both barred after falling foul of UEFA licensing regulations.

Having progressed to the round of 16, Sevilla overturned a 2-0 first-leg deficit before beating neighbours Real Betis on penalties and another one-goal first-leg deficit against Porto in the quarter-finals.

Their semi-final win over Valencia was even more dramatic as they squandered a two-goal first-leg lead, fell 3-0 behind in the second leg and scored in stoppage time to sneak through in stoppage time.

Finally, they ground their way through a tough 120 minutes against Benfica before winning another penalty shootout, this time 4-2.

"The capacity of this team to suffer has made it," coach Unai Emery told reporters.

"We suffered against Betis, against Porto and against Valencia and here as well, so we suffered and we competed," he told reporters.

"We played our first game in August when we should have been on the beach and we had to get rid of the inertia of our own fans towards this competition.

"The team has shown great solidarity in the difficult moments and this is our prize."

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Photographs: Joe Robbins/Getty Images

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Panathinaikos claim Champions League qualifying berth

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Panathinaikos claimed Greece’ssecond Champions League spot on Wednesday after a 1-1 draw against Atromitos in the playoffs left the Greens with an unassailable lead at the top of the table with one match left.

Giannis Anastasiou’s team took a 33rd-minute leadthrough forward Victor Klonaridis, only for Stefano Napoleoni to equalise with five minutes left.

The draw was enough for Panathinaikos to go into the third qualifying round of Europe’s elite competition, however, because PAOK Salonika slumped to a 1-0 defeat at Asteras Tripolis.

Olympiakos Piraeus qualified automatically for the Champions League group stage after wrapping up their 41st Greek league title in March.

Panathinaikos top the playoff table with 11 points after five matches with Tripolis and PAOK second and third respectively on seven points. Atromitos are fourth with four points.

That will be a massive disappointment for PAOK, who finishedrunners-up in the regular season.

After losing 4-1 to Panathinaikos in the Greek Cup final PAOK have now missed out on a place in the Champions League and will have to settle for Europa League football.

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Photographs: Joe Robbins/Getty Images

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Oprah Winfrey to air docu-series on first openly gay player

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Oprah Winfrey's OWN television network said on Wednesday that it will produce a documentary series about St Louis Rams football player Michael Sam, the first openly gay player to be drafted in the NFL.

The network, which is jointly owned by Winfrey and Discovery Communications Inc, said the series will follow Sam as he prepares for a career in professional football and tries to make the Rams roster.

The Rams selected Sam, 24, on Saturday in the seventh round of the NFL Draft three months after the defensive end from the University of Missouri came out publicly.

Sam's story attracted wide attention in the lead-up to the annual draft, and his tearful embrace of his boyfriend when drafted has quickly become an emblematic moment for the sport.

A start date for the series, its title or the number of episodes OWN planned to air were not announced.

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Image: Former Missouri defensive lineman Michael Sam takes part in position drills
Photographs: Joe Robbins/Getty Images

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