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Rediff.com  » Sports » Sports Shorts:Sania-Cara advance, Torres mulls Chelsea future

Sports Shorts:Sania-Cara advance, Torres mulls Chelsea future

Last updated on: March 21, 2014 19:01 IST

Sports Shorts:Sania-Cara advance

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Indian tennis sensation Sania Mirza and Zimbabwe's Cara Black started their campaign in the Sony Open, $5,427,105 WTA Premier tournament, on a positive note.

The duo made it to the second round with a hard-fought victory over the unseeded Taipei pair of Hao-Ching Chan and Yung-Jan Chan.

The fifth seeds faced stiff resistance before prevailing 6-3, 6-7(8), 10-8.

They next face Georgia's Oksana Kalashnikova and Russia's Alisa Kleybanova.

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Image: Sania Mirza of India and Cara Black of Zimbabwe celebrate
Photographs: Michael Dodge/Getty Images

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American pair upset Paes-Stepanek

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It was curtains, however, for India’s Leander Paes.

The veteran player made his third first-round exit in five tournaments this year when he and Radek Stepanek, seeded fourth, were beaten by Americans Eric Butorac and Raven Klaasen 3-6, 6-7(7) in the opening round in Miami.

Paes and Stepanek also lost in the first round of the season-opener in Chennai and then in Sydney. They reached quarter-finals of the Australian Open and Indian Wells Masters.

India's challenge is still alive in the men's doubles though, with Rohan Bopanna and Mahesh Bhupathi yet to play.

Bopanna and his Pakistani partner Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi face the Italian team of Simone Bolelli and Fabio Fognini.

Unseeded Bhupathi and South Africa's Kevin Anderson are up against the second seeded pair of Alexander Peya of Austria and Brazil's Bruno Soares.

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Image: Radek Stepanek of Czech Republic looks on next to his partner Leander Paes of India
Photographs: Alex Trautwig/Getty Images

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Mourinho to contest improper conduct charge

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Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho will contest a charge of improper conduct by the FA following the Premier League leaders' 1-0 defeat at Aston Villa last Saturday.

The Portuguese, who was sent to the stands for encroaching on the turf and approaching the match referee at the end of the match, told reporters on Friday that he did not accept the charge.

"I have a meeting on Monday and I have to make my defence privately, not with you," he said. "For you it is enough to know for obvious reasons I don't accept the charges."

Mourinho had been angered after referee Chris Foy showed Chelsea's Brazilian midfielder Ramires a straight red card for a stamp on Villa's Moroccan international Karim El Ahmadi.

The manager said after the match that Foy, who also sent off Brazilian Willian, should not be allowed to take charge of any more Chelsea matches.

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Image: Jose Mourinho
Photographs: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

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Mahindra Racing set for new Moto GP season

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Mahindra Racing is all set for the third season of Moto3, beginning in Qatar on Sunday.

The team from India is competing with its own 4-stroke, 250cc motorcycle: Mahindra MGP3O, developed with respected Swiss firm Suter Racing Technology AG.

Astride these bikes will be Portuguese teenager Miguel Oliveira (19), and new teammate this season Australian Arthur Sissis (18).

The team made history last year when Oliveira claimed Mahindra Racing's first-ever World Championship podium finish at the  2013 Malaysian Grand Prix.

The team finished the season strongly in third place in the constructors rankings with 10 top-five finishes from 17 rounds.

Mahindra Racing became the first Indian in the FIM MotoG World Motorcycle Racing Championship series when they participated in 2011. 

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Image: File picture of Miguel Oliviera and Efran Vasquez during Moto3 2013


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Does frustrated Torres want to leave Chelsea?

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Chelsea striker Fernando Torres has admitted that he still does not know whether he will be sold this summer even as he celebrated his 30th birthday on Thursday.

Torres, who signed from Liverpool for 50 million pounds three years ago, has only scored four Premier League goals under Jose Mourinho this season.

According to the Mirror, Torres has refused to rule out a swap deal to Atletico Madrid in return of Diego Costa, which, if happens, will return him to his first professional club, adding that it is impossible to know in football where a player would be in the future.

Torres further said that there is nothing to say that he would end up with Atletico or stay with Chelsea, adding that no one could have predicted that he was going to coincide with Rafael Benitez at two different English clubs.

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Image: Fernando Torres of Chelsea
Photographs: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

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Rodgers 'right at home' at Liverpool despite Barcelona rumours

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Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has reportedly played down suggestions of an upcoming connection with Barcelona and insisted that he is 'right at home' at Anfield and not planning to move.

Rodgers has won many admirers for the way he has turned Liverpool into genuine title contenders and has seen his name bandied about as a possible successor to Gerardo Martino at the Nou Camp.

However, Rodgers is focusing on his long-term plans at Liverpool, saying that he feels at home in Liverpool and cannot think about being anywhere else.

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Image: Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers watches his players train
Photographs: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

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Murray says will be 'very hard' to replace coach Lendl

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Wimbledon champion Andy Murray has said that it will be 'very hard' to replace coach Ivan Lendl, with whom he split after a two-year partnership.

Under eight-time Grand Slam champion Lendl, Murray won the 2012 US Open, an Olympic gold and Wimbledon last year.

According to the BBC, the Scot said that Lendl would be a very hard person to replace as it is very difficult to get a coach of his calibre easily.

The report mentioned that Murray thrived under the guidance of Lendl, who had earlier said that he could see himself coaching the Wimbledon champion until the end of his career.

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Image: Andy Murray talks to Lendl during a training session
Photographs: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

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Ukraine boxing champ urges Putin to avoid 'mistakes of history'

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Heavyweight boxing champion Vladimir Klitschko urged Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday not to ‘repeat the mistakes of history’ in his confrontation with Ukraine, the boxer's homeland.

Klitschko is the younger brother of Vitaly Klitschko, a member of parliament in Ukraine and a leader of the opposition that helped topple Russian-backed President Viktor Yanukovich last month.

"You cannot repeat the mistakes of history and there were a lot of mistakes," the 37-year-old boxing champ told reporters in his training camp in Hollywood, Florida, where the side of a ring was draped with a Ukrainian flag.

"Every country, every former Soviet republic has its own desire and will to look in the direction they want to look - east, west, south, north. It's their own decision," he said.

Russian forces took control of CrimeanPeninsula from Ukraine last month and Crimean voters on Sunday overwhelmingly backed joining Russia in a referendum that the West called illegal.

Vitaly Klitschko, a former world champion boxer who left the sport to run for office, plans to compete for the Ukrainian presidency in elections scheduled for May 25.

The younger brother has held the IBF, WBO and IBO heavyweight championships longer than any other fighter in history, according to Boxrec.com, an online boxing encyclopedia.

A superstar in the boxing world known as ‘The Steel Hammer,’ Vladimir Klitschko is the second longest-reigning heavyweight champion.

Vladimir Klitschko, whose father is Ukrainian and mother Russian, described the tensions between Russia and Ukraine as a fight between siblings, with Moscow playing the part of big brother.

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Image: Ukrainian heavyweight boxing world champion Vladimir Klitschko
Photographs: Lisi Niesner/Reuters

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Brazil's first World Cup-winning captain Bellini dies

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Hilderaldo Luiz Bellini, the first Brazilian to lift the World Cup as captain of the triumphant 1958 side, has died in Sao Paulo aged 83, local media reported on Thursday.

He had been suffering from Alzheimer's for many years.

Bellini led a side including players such as Garrincha, Mario Zagallo and a 17-year old Pele. The Brazilians beat hosts Sweden 5-2 in the final to win the first of a record five World Cup titles.

Bellini was part of the squad that lifted the trophy in Chile four years later although he never played in that tournament. He got the last of his 51 caps at the 1966 World Cup in England.

After a stint with the youth team of his hometown club Itapirense, he made his name at Vasco da Gama, where he stayed for nine years. He also had spells at Sao Paulo and Atletico Paranaense.

He is perhaps best remembered for the iconic way he hoisted the Jules Rimet trophy high above his head with two hands - and successive Brazilian captains have repeated the gesture.

A statue built outside Rio de Janeiro's Maracana stadium, which will host the World Cup final on July 13, shows him holding aloft the trophy with his right hand.

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Image: FIFA World Cup Trophy
Photographs: Paolo Bruno/Getty Images

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Punjab constable shines at Amateur bodybuilding C'ship in Ohio

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Hira Lal Khillan, a Punjab police head constable from Jalandhar was crowned runner-up in the Arnold Amateur Bodybuilding Championship in Columbus, Ohio, on March 1.

This is the second time that Khillan won a medal at the competition.

Earlier this year, the 36-year-old policeman won the Mr India title in Pune.

Among his other feats is the Mr Universe title in 2011, when he clinched gold in the 65 kg category at the 65th World Bodybuilding Championships, in Mumbai.

He is also winner of the 2010 Mr Asia competition, held in Bahrain.

Khillan was introduced to bodybuilding by his father at an early age when he visited the akhada (gym/wrestling ring).

He follows a pure vegetarian diet and has won all his titles without the help of a trainer and other facilities.

"It is a hobby for him," said Khillan’s brother-in-law Paramjeet Singh, who lives in Hebron, Kentucky.

His dedication to the sport was soon converted to titles.

"He wants to continue bodybuilding for as long as possible; he dedicates a lot of his time for it."

Singh also stressed that Khillan does not get any support from the Punjab police for participating in the contests.


Image: Hira Lal Khillan (right) during the competition


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