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Rediff.com  » Sports » Sports Shorts: Sania-Black storm into Rogers Cup semis

Sports Shorts: Sania-Black storm into Rogers Cup semis

Last updated on: August 09, 2014 21:45 IST

Sports Shorts: Sania-Black storm into Rogers Cup semis

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Sania Mirza and Cara Black cruised past Raquel Kops-Jones and Abigail Spears in just 52 minutes to seal a semi-final berth at the WTA Rogers Cup, in Montreal.

The fourth seeded Indo-Zimbabwean pair knocked out the sixth seeded American team 6-2, 6-1 in the lop-sided contest.

Sania and Cara converted six of the 10 break chances in the match in which they won 52 points to 27 of their rivals.

They next face formidable second seeded pair of Su-Wei Hsieh from Taipei and Shuai Peng from China.

Sania and Cara have not beaten Su-Wei and Shuai in three meetings this season so far.

They had lost to them at French Open, Madrid event, and also in the final of the Indian Wells tournament.

- NEXT: IOA justifies last-minute postponement of boxing trials


Image: Sania Mirza
Photographs: Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images for Aegon

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IOA justifies last-minute postponement of boxing trials

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Star pugilist MC Mary Kom might be angry at the last-minute postponement of the trials to pick boxers for Asian Games but the Ad-hoc Committee, which is running the sport, on Saturday justified the move, saying that the Commonwealth Games medal winners needed a break after a tough competition.

The IOA-appointed Ad-hoc Committee decided to postpone the trials, which was to begin on Saturday, on the request of Glasgow CWG medal winners but Olympic bronze medallist Mary Kom termed the decision "unprofessional".

Ad-hoc Committee chairman Tarlochan Singh told PTI that the decision to postpone the trials was taken in consultation with Sports Authority of India (SAI).

"The CWG medal winners wanted a brief break after a tough competition in Glasgow. They have not even gone to their villages and hometowns. It is a natural desire to go home for a while after the CWG and share the achievement they have got with their family members. We have to consider their wishes," Tarlochan said.

"The decision was taken after consultation with the Sports Authority of India and the coaches were told to communicate to the boxers," he said.

Asked specifically about Mary Kom expressing unhappiness over the last-minute change in schedule without informing her, Tarlochan said, "She is a star boxer, an Olympic medallist. We respect her.

"But we have to think of other boxers also. We cannot ignore them also," he said, adding that the trials will now be held in the third or fourth week of this month.

- NEXT: Sushil, Yogeshwar to skip Wrestling World Championships


Image: MC Mary Kom
Photographs: Hitesh Harisinghani/Rediff.com

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Sushil, Yogeshwar to skip Wrestling World Championships

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Star grapplers Sushil Kumar and Yogeshwar Dutt have decided to skip the FILA World Wrestling Championships to be held next month in Tashkent, Uzbekistan to avoid injuries and preserve themselves for the upcoming Asian Games.

Sushil and Yogeshwar, who won a gold each in men's 74kg and 65kg freestyle in the recently-concluded Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, will not take part in the world meet to be held from September 4 to 18.

Amit Kumar Dahiya and Babita Kumari, who won a gold each in Glasgow in men's 57kg and women's 55kg freestyle, will also not take part in the World Championships.

Wrestling head coach Vinod Kumar told PTI that India will send a 'B' team in the World Championships in view of the Asian Games.

"It will be really hectic for Sushil and Yogeshwar to take part in both the World Championships and Asian Games as barely 10 days separate the two events. They have to be kept fighting fit for the Asian Games and avoid injuries. Amit Kumar Dahiya is also not taking part (in World Championships). So basically we are sending a 'B' team in the World Championships," Vinod Kumar said.

Sushil had won a bronze and silver in the 66kg (rpt 66kg) category in 2008 Beijing and 2012 London Olympics. But after a re-jig of weight categories by world governing body FILA in view of the 2016 Rio Olympics, Sushil fought in 74kg in Glasgow CWG. He will compete in the 70kg in the September 19 to October 4 Asian Games.

Yogeshwar, who won a bronze in 2012 London Olympics in 60kg (rpt 60kg) and in 65kg in Glasgow, will fight in 65kg in the Asian Games.

The head coach said that the wrestlers will be sent for a training-cum-exposure tour to Belarus from August 22 onwards.

- NEXT: India close in on three gold at Archery World Cup


Image: Sushil Kumar
Photographs: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

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India close in on three gold at Archery World Cup

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Indian men's and women's recurve teams have stormed into the finals in the Archery World Cup Stage IV in Wroclaw, Poland.

The top seed Indian trio of Tarundeep Rai, Jayanta Talukdar and Atanu Das got the better of China 5-4, while the second seeded women's team of Deepika Kumari, Bombayla Devi Laishram and Laxmirani Majhi trounced their opponents from Georgia 6-2 on Friday to make it to their respective finals.

Both the Indian teams will lock horns against their respective opponents from Mexico in the team finals on Sunday.

With the compound mixed pair of Abhishek Verma and Purvasha Shende already in the final, India have thus ensured at least three medals from the season-concluding meet.

Besides, Deepika will vie for two bronze medals in the recurve individual and mixed pair where she's been tagged with Talukdar.

- NEXT: Women archers win comfortably


Image: Tarundeep Rai


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Perfect tens for Indian women archers

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The men's recurve semi-finals went down the wire as the Indian trio came back from behind and held their nerves in the shoot-off to oust the fifth-seed Chinese trio of Xuesong Gu, Jialun Li and Zhiwei Yong.

A poor seven in the last arrow of first end meant India trailed 0-2 but they bounced back in style shooting three perfect 10s and three 9s in the second end to level scores.

It was again Chinese dominance as they hit the bull's eye twice to take the third end before Indians brought the issue on an even keel (4-4) with three perfect 10s in the last end to take it to the shoot-off.

India kept a steady head shooting two 10s, compared to one by China in the shoot-off to seal the issue.

The Indian men's team had earlier beaten the Dutchmen 5-4 in the quarterfinals and the Spanish team 5-1 in the last 16.

The women's team, however, did not have any trouble at all as they took a commanding 4-0 lead against the Georgian trio of Kristine Esebua, Yulia Lobzhenidze and Khatuna Narimanidze before sealing the win in style hitting perfect 10s and bull's eye twice each from the six attempts.

They had earlier got the better of Ukraine 5-4 in the quarter-finals and blanked Poland 6-0 in the last 16.

- NEXT: Phelps pipped in 100m butterfly at Nationals

 


Image: India's Deepika Kumari takes aim
Photographs: Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP Photo

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Woods misses fourth major cut as a pro at PGA

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A badly out-of-sorts Tiger Woods missed the fourth major cut of his professional career after again struggling with his game in the second round of the PGA Championship on Friday.

At a rain-sodden Valhalla Golf Club playing ultra-long, the American former World No 1 dropped four shots in his first seven holes before carding a three-over-par 74 to make an early exit from the year's fourth and final major.

"That was tough," the 38-year-old American told reporters after a round that included just two birdies, three bogeys and a double.

"I hit a lot of shots out there, 74 of them. It was a long day."

Woods only pronounced himself fit to compete at Valhalla on the eve of the tournament following a back scare he suffered at last week's WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in Ohio.

The 14-times major champion, who had surgery in March to treat a pinched nerve in his back, looked rusty in both rounds at the PGA Championship as he posted a six-over total of 148.

With the cut projected to fall at one-over, Woods comfortably missed out on advancing into the third round.

He had previously missed the cut as a professional at the 2006 U.S. Open, 2009 British Open and 2011 PGA Championship.

"I tried as hard as I could," said Woods.

"That's about all I got. Unfortunately, just didn't play well. So consequently a pair of 74s is not very good.

"I just need to get stronger. Obviously by playing, you can't burn the candle at both ends. I need to get stronger physically and be back to where I was."

Asked how his back held up during the second round, Woods replied: "It was sore. No doubt it was sore. It went out on me on the range. Just had to play through it."

He gave no indication as to when he would next play in a tournament, saying: "I just need to get stronger first. We'll see from there."

- NEXT: Lahiri misses cut, makes early exit from PGA


Image: Tiger Woods of the United States reacts on the seventh tee during the second round of the 96th PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky on Friday
Photographs: Andy Lyons/Getty Images

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Lahiri misses cut, makes early exit from PGA

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India's Anirban Lahiri gave it all, but it was not enough to keep him for the weekend as he missed the cut by a fair margin at the 96th PGA Championships in Louisville.

Lahiri added a second round 73 to the 72 he had on Thursday to get to three-over 145 but the cut was likely at even or one-over at the wet and damp Valhalla Golf Club.

Meanwhile, Rory McIlroy added a round of 67 to his first 66 and moved to nine-under and to the top, two shots clear of Ryan Palmer (65-70).

Lee Westwood and Kevin Chappell, two of the three overnight leaders -- Palmer being the third -- had just begun and were even par for first two holes.

Lahiri admitted making far too many mistakes and was also clearly somewhat rusty as he was still recovering from the illness and chicken pox suffered during the British Open three weeks ago.

"That's no excuse. Yes, I have not been 100 per cent but even then I should have played much better. I made far too many mistakes. Five bogeys in a round is way too many," he said.

The 50-minute delay in the morning because of rain made things more difficult at the damp and soggy Valhalla. Lahiri was three-over on front stretch and one-under on the back nine.

Lahiri bogeyed the first, fourth, sixth, eighth and the 14th. In between he birdied the third, 10th and 15th. While he was alright with his driving, getting almost 65 per cent onto the fairways, he failed on getting to the greens in regulations -- managing a little over 55 per cent.

He left a lot of putt short and missed a good number of chances that ought to have been converted from 15 feet or even 10 feet and under.

"I had a bad start and then I had a three-putt from after being in the centre of the fairway on fourth. I consistently leaked shots on the sixth, the eight and then again on 14th. In between when I got chances I was not able to convert them," a disappointed Lahiri later said.

"It was great to get two chances at Majors in so short a time but unfortunately I was not able to use either. These have not been the healthiest weeks for me and I was not 100 per cent but I could have still played better," he said.

But Lahiri vowed to make a strong comeback.

"I have learnt a lot. I have seen the big stage now and it motivates me to get back to it. I know I have a long way to go but I will be back, for sure," he said.

Lahiri, who plays in Fiji next week, will stay on for another day to practice at Valhalla with his coach, Vijay Divecha.

- NEXT: India close in on three gold at Archery World Cup


Image: Anirban Lahiri of India hits his tee shot
Photographs: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

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Phelps pipped in 100m butterfly at Nationals

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Michael Phelps continued his return to competition with second place in the 100 meters butterfly at the U.S. National Championships in Irvine, California on Friday after Tom Shields pipped the 18-times Olympic gold medalist by 0.01 seconds.

Phelps, who came out of retirement in May, touched just after Shields, who clocked 51.29 seconds, but still booked his spot at the Pan Pacific Championships in Queensland, Australia later this month in perhaps his strongest event.

Phelps, who has won the event at the past three Olympics, clocked the fastest time in the world this year at 51.17 in the morning heats but could not replicate the performance in the final.

He was well behind after 50 meters and a mediocre turn left him with a big deficit to make up. It was only in the final few meters that Phelps challenged Shields, who just held on.

Phelps, who retired after the 2012 Olympics, finished seventh in the 100m freestyle on Wednesday, and has two more events over the weekend.

- NEXT: Ligue 1: Ibrahimovic double earns PSG draw 2-2 at Reims


Image: Michael Phelps
Photographs: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY/Reuters

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Ligue 1: Ibrahimovic double earns PSG draw 2-2 at Reims

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Paris St Germain's Zlatan Ibrahimovic struck twice and missed a penalty in an enthralling 2-2 draw at Stade de Reims as the French champions avoided an embarrassing defeat when the Ligue 1 season got underway on Friday.

PSG, without newly-signed Brazil defender David Luiz, are favourites for a third straight title but will be disappointed at not holding on to an early lead and allowing a physical but technically weaker Reims to get in front before halftime.

PSG's Argentina midfielder Javier Pastore found Ibrahimovic just inside the area in the seventh minute, allowing the Sweden striker to slide the ball through Reims keeper Johnny Placide's legs for his first goal of the season.

PSG then missed three easy chances to kill the game in the first 20 minutes, with Ibrahimovic hitting the post and then having a penalty saved by Placide.

"It's a waste. We gave away the game ourselves, when we should have won it," PSG coach Laurent Blanc was quoted as saying by French media.

"We gave Reims a stick to beat us with and they took advantage and used it."

After looking overwhelmed, Reims capitalised on some sloppy defending when midfielder Prince Oniangue got on the end of a freekick to score in the 22nd before Antoine Devaux linked up with striker Gaetan Charbonnier to beat keeper Salvatore Sirigu.

However, PSG regrouped at halftime and found their rhythm with Ibrahimovic's chip from near the goalline in the 63rd slipping through Placide's hands for his second of the game.

- NEXT: 'Before the match we would have taken a draw'


Image: Johny Placide (left), goalkeeper of Stade Reims fights for the ball with Zlatan Ibrahimovic of Paris St Germain during their French Ligue 1 soccer match at the Gustave Delaune Stadium in Reims on Friday
Photographs: Pascal Rossignol/Reuters

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'Before the match we would have taken a draw'

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PSG's Uruguay striker Edinson Cavani, who has been linked with a move to the English Premier League, was denied his wish to play up front instead of on the wing and looked frustrated throughout the game as Blanc kept Ibrahimovic, Ligue 1 top scorer for the past two seasons, in the number nine position.

His counterpart at Reims, Jean-Luc Vasseur, in his first coaching job in France's top division, nearly pulled off an astonishing display of lese-majeste as the reigning champions were briefly humbled in the coronation place of French kings.

His side, which finished 11th last season under Hubert Fournier, showed glimpses of what could be a promising season by exploiting gaps left by PSG's attack-minded fullbacks.

"Before the match we would have taken a draw, so we are not disappointed. It's a not a bad start to the season," said Reims' second goalscorer Devaux.

PSG's midfield trio of Thiago Motta, Marco Verratti and, Pastore, who gave the best display of the night, proved too strong for a Reims side hampered by losing last term's top performer Gregorz Krychowiak to Sevilla in the close season.

PSG began their bid for a Ligue 1 title hat-trick without the world's most expensive defender, Luiz, who was unveiled to the media on Friday after signing from Chelsea for a 50 million euros ($67.05 million) transfer fee in June.

Most of the Ligue 1 programme is scheduled for Saturday, including Bastia hosting Olympique de Marseille (1900 GMT), while last season's runners-up AS Monaco welcome FC Lorient on Sunday when Olympique Lyonnais are at home to Stade Rennes.

- NEXT: Atletico agree to sign fullback Gamez from Malaga


Image: Quentin Pereira (left) of Stade Reims fights for the ball with Marco Verrati of Paris St Germain during their French Ligue 1 soccer match at the Gustave Delaune Stadium in Reims on Friday
Photographs: Pascal Rossignol/Getty Images

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Atletico agree to sign fullback Gamez from Malaga

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Atletico Madrid have agreed to sign experienced Spanish right back Jesus Gamez from Malaga on a three-year contract pending a medical, the La Liga champions said on Friday.

Gamez, who has spent his entire career at Malaga, will provide cover for Spain fullback Juanfran and sporting director Jose Luis Perez Caminero said the 29-year-old would also be able to play in central defence if needed.

"Gamez is a fullback with quality and experience who will reinforce our defence and increase the group's internal competitiveness," Perez Caminero said on Atletico's website (www.clubatleticodemadrid.com).

The club also said they had agreed to loan French midfielder Josuha Guilavogui to Bundesliga club VfL Wolfsburg for the next two seasons.

Atletico begin their La Liga title defence on August 25 at city rivals Rayo Vallecano. They play the first leg of the Spanish Super Cup at Real Madrid on Aug. 19, with the return leg at the Calderon on August 22.

- NEXT: Goalkeeper Reina joins Bayern Munich


Image: Jesus Gamez of Malaga CF
Photographs: Denis Doyle/Getty Images

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Goalkeeper Reina joins Bayern Munich

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Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina has signed for Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich on a three-year contract, the Premier League club said on Friday.

Reina, who spent last season on loan at Italian side Napoli, made 394 appearances for Liverpool since joining in 2005.

The 31-year-old Spaniard was signed from Villarreal and won the FA Cup during his time at Anfield but he fell out of favour with manager Brendan Rodgers and Belgian Simon Mignolet was Liverpool's first-choice keeper last season.

Reina will compete with Germany's World Cup-winning goalkeeper Manuel Neuer for the number one spot at the Allianz Arena next season.


Image: Jose Pepe Reina
Photographs: Michael Regan/Getty Images

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Blatter wants his critics to stand for president

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Sepp Blatter wants his detractors to stand up and take him on in a FIFA presidential election rather than just criticise him, the FIFA president said on Saturday.

“If I were not criticised, I would not have any value,” the Swiss, who is in his fourth mandate after first being elected in 1998, told reporters. "People who say I should not be a candidate or I should not get elected, they can take the risk to be in an election. I took the risk in 1998.”

“If you never take the risk, you will never have a chance. But if you take the risk you also have the chance to lose,” added Blatter, speaking at the annual football tournament he organises in a small Alpine village in his home canton of Valais.

“Now I say, if (other people) want to take the risk then take the risk. Don’t speak, go out and fight, then you will see. That is good. I am happy to fight. I am a fighter.”

Blatter’s words appeared to be aimed at UEFA president Michel Platini who is seen as a possible rival to Blatter, although the Frenchman has yet to decide whether he will enter the race.

Blatter is seen as almost certain to run for what would be a fifth term in next year’s election although he has not made any official announcement.

"I will not announce for the time being that I am a candidate, I am not in a hurry, I have until the end of January next year," he said.

Blatter also suggested that five-times World Cup winners Brazil needed FIFA development programmes just like other countries, following their debacle at the World Cup where they lost 7-1 to Germany in the semi-finals.

Blatter said that when former FIFA president Joao Havelange introduced development programmes, he said that 'there are some nations, they don’t need development programmes, especially in Brazil.'

Next: Keeper Lopez to join Milan from Real


Image: FIFA President Sepp Blatter
Photographs: Paulo Whitaker/Reuters

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Keeper Lopez to join Milan from Real

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AC Milan have agreed to sign Spanish goalkeeper Diego Lopez from Real Madrid, the Italian Serie A club's coach Filippo Inzaghi said on Saturday.

"Diego Lopez is very important," Inzaghi, who was celebrating his 41st birthday, said on Milan's website.

"He is an experienced goalkeeper and will improve our squad," added the former Milan and Italy striker.

Inzaghi did not provide details of the deal but Italian media reported Lopez was set to sign a four-year contract.

The 32-year-old is surplus to requirements at Real after the European champions signed Costa Rica keeper Keylor Navas from Levante this month.

Lopez, who played for Real as a teenager, was brought in as cover for injured captain Iker Casillas in January last year following stints at Villarreal and Sevilla.

He remained first choice at Real in La Liga last season, with Casillas playing in the Champions League and the King's Cup as part of an awkward rotation policy.


Image: Goalkeeper Diego Lopez
Photographs: Sergio Perez/Reuters

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