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Sports Shorts: Jankovic, Errani bow out in Charleston

April 05, 2014 17:14 IST

Sports Shorts: Jankovic, Errani bow out in Charleston



Second-seeded Serbian Jelena Jankovic and third seed Sara Errani of Italy were both bundled out of the Family Circle Cup in Charleston on Friday in gripping quarter-final upsets.

Rising Canadian star Eugenie Bouchard, a semi-finallist at the Australian Open in January, continued her rousing run at the tournament as she ousted Jankovic 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 after a match lasting just over two hours.

Bouchard, who beat former world number one Venus Williams in the previous round, won five of the last six games to book her place in the final four, where she will meet Andrea Petkovic, the 14th seed.

"I knew in the second set my game wasn't where I wanted it to be," Bouchard said.

"She (Jankovic) did a good job of stepping in and controlling, and she changes directions a lot, so I was really on the run.

"That's not where I want to be most of the time. I needed to get back to my game. I had to move forward. It was important to have short-term memory."

Image: Eugenie Bouchard of Canada
Photographs: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images


Petkovic ousts Lisicki

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Germany's Petkovic, who ousted compatriot and 2009 champion Sabine Lisicki in the third round, advanced to the semi-finals with a 6-3, 1-6, 6-1 victory over Czech Lucie Safarova.

Also going through to the semi-finals was 17-year-old Swiss qualifier Belinda Bencic, who stunned third-seeded Errani 4-6, 6-2, 6-1.

Bencic, ranked 140th in the world, broke her opponent's serve seven times in the last two sets to reach her first WTA semi-final.

The quarter-final between Bouchard and Jankovic featured two of the most athletic movers in the women's game and the pair slugged it out with a dazzling display of marathon rallies and brilliant retrieving.

"I tried my best out there, but it just wasn't enough," Jankovic said, before praising her opponent.

"She's very solid. She stays so low and takes your balls so early off the ground, so even if you hit hard, she just picks them up so easily and kind of directs them. That's her biggest strength."

Bencic will meet Jana Cepelova after the Slovakian continued the upset theme by bouncing compatriot Daniela Hantuchova 6-2, 6-1 in 74 minutes in the last quarter-final.

Ranked 78th in the world, Cepelova is searching for her first career title and won almost 70 percent of her first serve points to take out the 32nd ranked Hantuchova.

Image: Andrea Petkovic of Germany returns a shot
Photographs: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

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Rooney doubtful after suffering toe injury

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Manchester United's Wayne Rooney will miss Saturday's Premier League game at Newcastle United with a bruised toe and is doubtful for next week's Champions League quarter-final second leg at Bayern Munich, manager David Moyes said.

The England striker suffered the injury during the second half of the 1-1 draw with Bayern at Old Trafford last Tuesday. United face the German champions in the return on Wednesday.

"Wayne's got a badly bruised toe," Moyes told MUTV on Friday.

"He picked it up in the game the other night. Whether we were going to play him or rest him, it doesn't matter.

"He's got a terrible toe and not only will it be a problem for this game, it could be a problem for the Munich game as well on Wednesday. So we need to monitor it. We'll get him treatment all over the weekend and see if we can speed it up."

United, seventh in the league, are already missing first-choice striker Robin Van Persie for up to another four weeks with a sprained knee he picked up after scoring a hat-trick against Olympiakos Piraeus in the Champions League last month.

"It will be touch and go for Wayne for Wednesday," Moyes told reporters.

"It's a toe injury and they are never easy. You could see him limping in the game towards the end quite badly.

"There is not an awful lot you can do with a toe injury. Sometimes you can feel better quite quickly with them and sometimes you need an injection possibly to play with it if it is bruising," Moyes was quoted as saying by British media.

"With a lot of toe injuries you have to make sure there isn't a hairline fracture or crack in your toe. We will have all that checked."

Image: Wayne Rooney of Manchester United
Photographs: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

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My aim is to make Mourinho feel I'm his best option: Torres

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Chelsea's 50 million pound misfit Fernando Torres accepts that it is his responsibility to force himself into a position where the Spaniard is manager Jose Mourinho's number one striker.

Torres told an English newspaper on Saturday that he wanted to see out the remaining two years of his contract at StamfordBridge and was confident he could still be in Brazil with Spain for the World Cup finals in June.

Mourinho, who has been highly critical of his strikeforce this season, said on Friday that 30-year-old Torres still had a place at Chelsea despite putting the striker on the bench for this week's Champions League defeat at Paris St Germain.

"(He) puts me on the pitch when he thinks I am the best option and on the bench when he thinks I am not the best option," Torres said in an interview in the Independent on Saturday.

"My aim is to try to make him feel I am always the best option for him.

"You have to have ways to adapt to this situation. Blame the manager? Blame your team mates? Blame everyone? Or ask from yourself a bit more. I think I can do better.

"I can make Jose think I am the best option. That is what I have to do every day in training, all the matches. I just ask of myself the responsibility."

Torres has scored nine goals in 33 appearances this season and has rarely approached the heights of his time at Atletico Madrid and Liverpool since breaking the British record transfer fee to join Chelsea in 2011.

"You have to prove yourself every day," Torres added. "You have to live for today. Three years ago? Five years ago? It's today.

"If the manager thinks there is another player better than you he is going to play and this is the way.

"You have to try to improve and keep fighting and try to change the manager's mind. Hopefully one day Jose can say 'This is my striker, he is going to be my striker' like he does with some of the players who have won the appreciation from him."

That short-term outlook could also help Torres in his ambition to return to the Spain squad for the World Cup, having helped his country to successive major championship triumphs at Euro 2008 and 2012 as well as the 2010 World Cup.

"Of course I can make it. Football is about the last month and a half and that is going to be very important," he said.

"I love to play for my country and I have been lucky enough to be in two Euros and a World Cup.

"We made history. No one did it before, three in a row, and we want to do the fourth. It would be amazing for this generation.

"So I would like to be there, but if I want to be there I have to do well for Chelsea. Score goals and win trophies."

Image: Chelsea's Fernando Torres
Photographs: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

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Bundesliga: Leverkusen coach Hyypia sacked after loss to Hamburg

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Hamburg SV Defender Heiko Westermann volleyed a spectacular winner eight minutes from time to boost their hopes of avoiding relegation from the Bundesliga with a 2-1 home win over Bayer Leverkusen on Friday.

Leverkusen dismissed coach Sami Hyypia on Saturday, a day after the club slumped to a 2-1 defeat against Hamburg SV that left them with just one win from their last nine league games.

"After a lot of thought and because of the ongoing crisis we reached the conclusion that a change at this point could help us urgently turn things around," Leverkusen CEO Michael Schade said in a statement.

The former Finland international will be replaced by interim coach Sascha Lewandowski.

Hamburg, the only ever-present club since the Bundesliga was created in 1963, are now in 15th place, a point above the relegation playoff spot, after spending weeks languishing in the bottom three.

"This was a victory of the will," Hamburg coach Mirko Slomka, who took over in mid-February, told reporters.

"This is great for the team, outstanding for the fans. Now we have to keep at it."

Leverkusen are fourth on 48 points and coach Sami Hyypia's future could be in doubt following a woeful sequence of one win in nine league matches.

They risk losing a Champions League spot that looked certain in December and could miss out on the Europa League if the slump continues with VfL Wolfsburg a point behind in fifth, Borussia Moenchengladbach another two back and Mainz one more adrift.

"The result is what counts even though we were a bit unlucky," Hyypia said. "The atmosphere in the team like after any defeat is not the best."

"The media have not yet sacked a coach. No one at the club told me anything yet. I will wait and see what happens, that is how it is."

Hamburg, missing half a dozen players through injury, including striker Pierre-Michel Lasogga, got off to a dream start when Hakan Calhanoglu slotted home his ninth league goal of the campaign in the fourth minute.

The home side then sat back, allowing Leverkusen far too much space to attack.

Hyypia's team had a golden chance after 35 minutes but Hamburg keeper Rene Adler fisted away a close-range header from Son Heung-min.

Leverkusen finally levelled when Julian Brandt, making his first start, took a pot shot from 25 metres and Adler allowed the ball to slip through his hands in the 58th.

Hamburg then went back in front when Westermann drilled home a perfect right-foot volley from eight metres after a fine cross by Dennis Diekmeier.

Champions Bayern Munich travel to Augsburg on Saturday when second-placed Borussia Dortmund entertain VfL Wolfsburg.

Image: Sami Hyypia manager of Bayer Leverkusen
Photographs: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

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Rehabilitating Woods Could Miss U.S. Open

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Tiger Woods could be sidelined from competitive golf for at least three months after undergoing back surgery, casting doubt over his participation in the June 12-15 U.S. Open, say several leading sports surgeons.

The world number one, whose back pain surfaced last year and intensified this season, will miss the Masters next week for the first time in his career after being advised by his doctors on Monday to have a microdiscectomy in Park City, Utah.

Woods, whose back problems forced him to retire from last month's Honda Classic before he skipped the Arnold Palmer Invitational, his traditional Masters warm-up event, has been told by his doctors that he will miss "several upcoming tournaments" during his rehabilitation.

His surgery involved the removal of herniated disc material that pressed on a nerve root or the spinal cord.

"In general, it takes six weeks for the soft tissues to heal, even from the microdiscectomy surgery," Michael Leighton, a surgeon at the Palm Beach Orthopaedic Institute in Florida, told Reuters by telephone on Friday.

"Tiger certainly can be working his short game sooner than that, probably after three or four weeks at the latest.

"But it will take him six weeks before he is ready to start swinging a club with his usual ability. He will probably be ready to play somewhere around three months after his surgery."

An absence from competition of that length would rule Woods out of the year's second major, the U.S. Open to be played at Pinehurst, North Carolina in mid-June.

David Geier, an orthopaedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist based in Charleston, South Carolina, predicted that Woods could be out of competitive golf for up to four months.

"You never know for sure how it will take, and sometimes it depends on how long the pressure on the nerve lasted," said Geier who like Leighton has also not worked with Woods.

"It depends on exactly what he had done but if it was just a single-level, herniated disc where there was just one disc causing pressure on the nerve roots and there were no other issues, I would say he will be out for three to four months.

"Some of that, of course, will depend on how quickly he gets his strength back and how quickly his pain goes away."

Image: Tiger Woods with his girlfriend Lindsey Vonn
Photographs: Chris Keane/Reuters

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Glasgow Commonwealth Games to go off with a bang

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This year's Commonwealth Games in Glasgow will literally begin with a bang when tower blocks that have shaped the city's skyline for five decades will be blown up as part of the opening ceremony.

Five of the six remaining Red Road blocks of flats will be brought down simultaneously in the space of 15 seconds during the opening ceremony at CelticPark on 23 July.

Their demise, the likes of which has never been seen at a sporting event before, is the biggest demolition of its kind in Europe and it will be sh        own live on a 100-metre wide screen at the stadium and to a TV audience.

"This spectacular start to the games within the opening ceremony will send a strong signal about the power of the Commonwealth Games," Shona Robison, the Commonwealth Games Minister, said.

"For many people, these games are more than sport, they are a chance for regeneration, renewal and having better places to live and work."

The 30-storey structures, which were built in the 1960s and were once the highest flats in Europe, are being demolished as part of a Glasgow Housing Association regeneration project.

The Commonwealth Games run from 23 July to the 3 August.


Image: A general view of the iconic Red Road flats in Glasgow, Scotland. Five of the six tower blocks are to be demolished, which will apparently take just 15 seconds, during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games being held in the city on July 23, 2014
Photographs: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

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