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Rediff.com  » Sports » Sports Shorts: Cepelova shocks Serena at Family Circle

Sports Shorts: Cepelova shocks Serena at Family Circle

Last updated on: April 02, 2014 14:32 IST

Sports Shorts: Cepelova shocks Serena at Family Circle

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Top-ranked Serena Williams suffered a shock 6-4, 6-4 loss to Slovakia's world number 78 Jana Cepelova in the second round of the Family Circle Cup on Tuesday.

The World No 1 and defending champion lost the first five games and never recovered.

"Obviously things didn't go great out there, but she was a great counterpuncher today and hit a lot of balls back," Williams told reporters.

"I really knew nothing about her game going into the match, so she played a really good match against me today. And it just wasn't my day," added Williams.

The 20-year-old Cepelova had never beaten a top 15 player but held her nerve to pull off the biggest win of her career.

Williams, a 17-time Grand Slam champion, won the Sony Open on Saturday and had been on a roll coming to Charleston, South Carolina where she was a three-time champion.

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Image: Serena Williams of the USA returns a shot
Photographs: Al Bello/Getty Images

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Venus had problems in her opening round match

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Her sister Venus also had problems in her opening round match, losing seven consecutive games at one point, but recovered to beat Barbora Zahlavova 6-3, 0-6, 7-5.

Venus, who won the event in 2004, said she had been under the weather recently.

"I've actually been pretty sick lately, so it was a little rough out there today," she said. "I just kept fighting till the end."

In other early-round action, sixth seed Eugenie Bouchard breezed past Alla Kudryavtseva 6-2 6-0, while Australian seventh seed Samantha Stosur overcame a stiff challenge from Yaroslava Shvedova in a 6-3 5-7 6-1 triumph.

Eighth seed Sorana Cirstea was upset by Teliana Pereira in a 3-6 6-3 7-6(0) defeat.

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Image: Venus Williams of the USA in action
Photographs: Warren Little/Getty Images

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Chelsea striker Eto'o to miss PSG match

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Chelsea will be without Samuel Eto'o for their Champions League quarter-final first leg against Paris St Germain on Wednesday after the striker failed to recover from a hamstring strain, the Premier League club said on Tuesday.

The Cameroon international was replaced shortly after scoring in his side's 6-0 Premier League win over Arsenal 10 days ago and missed Saturday's shock loss to CrystalPalace.

Eto'o was not included in the 19-man squad which travelled to Paris, with Fernando Torres likely to play in his absence.

Midfielder Nemanja Matic and winger Mohamed Salah are ineligible, after joining Chelsea in the January transfer window, and left back Ashley Cole remains out with knee ligament damage.

The return leg in London is on April 8.

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Image: Samuel Eto'o of Chelsea does an 'Old Man' celebration
Photographs: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

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Barca, Atletico hit by injuries to Pique, Costa

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Barcelona and Atletico Madrid's chances of silverware have taken a hit after they lost key players to injury in Tuesday's Champions League clash, with Barca centre back Gerard Pique damaging a hip and Atletico top scorer Diego Costa limping off with a hamstring strain.

Pique, whose Spain international team mate and goalkeeper Victor Valdes was ruled out for seven months this week after he tore knee ligaments, had to be replaced by Marc Bartra after only 12 minutes of the quarter-final first leg at the Nou Camp when he landed awkwardly after jumping for the ball.

Barca said Pique had damaged his right hip and would be out for around four weeks, meaning he will miss next Wednesday's second leg in Madrid, the King's Cup final against Real Madrid on April 16 and several La Liga games.

He may also have to sit out the two-legged Champions League semi-final at the end of the month if Barca qualify.

Costa, who had scored seven goals in five appearances in this season's Champions League before Tuesday, and has 25 in 30 La Liga outings, pulled up clutching the back of his right leg with half an hour gone and was replaced by Diego.

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Image: Gerard Pique of Barcelona grimaces before being substituted for an injury
Photographs: David Ramos/Getty Images

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Bayern hopeful of last four spot even without Schweinsteiger

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Bayern Munich are confident they will compensate for the absences of Bastian Schweinsteiger and Javi Martinez when they meet Manchester United in the Champions League quarter-final second leg and book their spot in the next round.

Midfielder Schweinsteiger, who scored the equaliser in their 1-1 draw at Manchester on Tuesday was sent off in the last minute with a second yellow card following a hard tackle on Wayne Rooney.

Fellow holding midfielder Martinez was also booked in the game and has been ruled out of the return leg in Munich next week.

"The 1-1 is a good result and we will happily take that with us," said winger Arjen Robben.

"In a week we have to finish the job. Every player suspended will be missed and without Schweinsteiger and Javi we will have to up our performances," said the Dutchman.

Coach Pep Guardiola is also missing midfielder Thiago Alcantara through injury, leaving a gaping hole in his midfield for the return leg.

His options for the holding midfield positions have now been reduced to captain Philipp Lahm and attacking midfielder Toni Kroos.

Guardiola, however, will have Brazil central defender Dante, who was suspended for Tuesday's encounter, back for the return leg.

Dante's return should help seal Bayern's defence, vulnerable on Tuesday against United's quick counter-attacks that could have seen them take a lead late in the first half.

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Image: Wayne Rooney of Manchester United looks on as Bastian Schweinsteiger of Bayern Muenchen receives yellow card from Referee Carlos Velasco Carballo
Photographs: Alex Livesey/Getty Images

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Woods to miss Masters after back surgery

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Tiger Woods announced on Tuesday he would miss next week's Masters after undergoing back surgery for a pinched nerve that has troubled him for months.

The World No 1 pulled out of his traditional Masters warm-up event in Florida last month and released a statement on his website on Tuesday saying he was withdrawing from the first major of 2014, starting at Augusta National on April 10.

"After attempting to get ready for the Masters, and failing to make the necessary progress, I decided, in consultation with my doctors, to have this procedure done," said Woods.

"I'd like to express my disappointment to the Augusta National membership, staff, volunteers and patrons that I will not be at the Masters.

"It's a week that's very special to me. It also looks like I'll be forced to miss several upcoming tournaments to focus on my rehabilitation and getting healthy."

Woods won the Masters four times, in 1997, 2001, 2002 and 2005, and had never missed the event since he made his debut at Augusta National as an amateur in 1995.

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Image: Tiger Woods
Photographs: Harry How/Getty Images

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Cahill's World Cup dream alive despite hamstring injury

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Australia midfielder Tim Cahill will be out for two weeks after a hamstring injury proved less serious than thought, his club manager said, ending fears the injury could force him out of the World Cup.

The 34-year-old Cahill was forced off in the 29th minute of the New York Red Bulls' Major League Soccer clash against Chivas USA at the weekend.

It was initially feared that he had torn his hamstring, which would have left him racing to be fit for the June 12-July 13 global showpiece.

Tests on Monday, however, confirmed it was only a strain and Red Bulls manager Mike Petke hoped to have him back in two weeks.

"What were looking at is a mild hamstring strain," Petke told the team's website on Tuesday.

The lack of serious injury will be welcome news to Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou as he finalises his squad ahead of the tournament in Brazil.

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Image: Tim Cahill of Australia
Photographs: Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

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Olympic Champion Adams expected life ban for Ostapchuk

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Olympic shotput champion Valerie Adams had expected her former rival Nadzeya Ostapchuk to get a life ban for doping offences that saw her stripped of the London Olympics and 2005 world championships gold medals, the New Zealander's manager has said.

Ostapchuk has been handed a retrospective four-year ban, which ends on August 14, 2016, after she tested positive for the banned steroid metenolone after pipping Adams for gold at the London Games in 2012.

Tests last year of samples the Belarusian gave at the 2005 world athletics championships, where she won gold, also found traces of the steroids formestane and 4-hydroxytestosterone.

Her ban will virtually rule her out of the 2016 Olympics with the suspension due to end during the athletics competition in Rio, though Adams' manager Nick Cowan said they felt the Belarusian had deserved a life ban for a second offence.

"Our understanding is that Ostapchuk has tested positive twice for drugs," Cowan told Radio New Zealand. "You would normally expect that you could face a life ban.

"To be honest we were expecting for it to be a bit heftier than four years but it is what it is."

Cowan said he had only been made aware of the ban on Wednesday after Ostapchuk's name appeared on the latest list of banned athletes issued by the world governing body International Association of Athletics Federations.

They were not told of the process or reasoning, he said.


Image: Silver medalist Valerie Adams of New Zealand, gold medalist Nadzeya Ostapchuk of Belarus and bronze medalist Evgeniia Kolodko of Russia pose on the podium during the medal ceremony for the Women's Shot Put during the London 2012 Olympic Games
Photographs: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

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