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Sports Shorts: Lopez and Keys clinch titles in Eastbourne tennis

June 22, 2014 17:26 IST

Sports Shorts: Lopez and Keys clinch titles in Eastbourne tennis



Feliciano Lopez proved that there is more than one left-handed Spaniard capable of doing damage at Wimbledon when he beat Richard Gasquet to win the Aegon International grasscourt title at Eastbourne on Saturday.

Lopez fired down 14 aces in a 6-3, 6-7(5), 7-5 win as he made up for the disappointment of losing in the prestigious Queen's Club final to Grigor Dimitrov the previous weekend.

Long in the shadow of his more celebrated compatriot Rafael Nadal, Lopez will arrive at Wimbledon on Monday with the knowledge that he, rather than the world number one, will be the in-form Spaniard on grass courts.

While Nadal has lost his last three matches on grass dating back to 2012, Lopez showed that he has found his groove on the slick turf by making it to consecutive finals.

The 32-year-old, who will be a dangerous floater seeded 19th at Wimbledon, lost serve only once against Gasquet in an interesting clash of styles.

After breaking serve in the 11th game of the decider, Lopez clinched the title on his second match point with a second serve ace.

"The way I play here is completely different from where I play on other surfaces around the world," said Lopez, who had never beaten Gasquet in five previous matches.

"I was fighting. Some times you give up a little bit earlier than normal and today I didn't."

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Image: Feliciano Lopez of Spain celebrates with the trophy after beating Richard Gasquet of France during their Men's Singles final of the Aegon International at Devonshire Park on Saturday
Photographs: Jan Kruger/Getty Images


'It's incredible to be able to win this tournament along with so many other great players'

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In the women's final big-hitting American teenager Madison Keys claimed her first WTA title when she beat fifth seed Angelique Kerber of Germany 6-3, 3-6, 7-5.

The 19-year-old Keys is being tipped as the big future hope of American women's tennis and she showed why against Kerber, the world No.9.

Keys, the youngest player in the women's top 50, clocked the fastest serve on the women's tour this year (126mph) during a scintillating display of attacking tennis.

"It's incredible to be able to win this tournament along with so many other great players," Keys said after being presented with the trophy by Martina Navratilova.

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Image: Madison Keys of USA celebrates with the trophy after beating Angelique Kerber of Germany on Saturday
Photographs: Jan Kruger/Getty Images

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ISL joins hands with EPL to gain expertise

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The Indian Super League has entered into a strategic partnership with the English Premier League, the world's most popular and successful football league, to bring its best practices to India under an exchange programme.

The Co-operation Agreement between the ISL, co-promoted by IMG-Reliance, the joint venture between IMG and Reliance Industries, Star India with support from All India Football Federation, and the English Premier League will allow the ISL to leverage the league's expertise in nurturing and growing a high quality football competition.

The Indian Super League, set to kick off in September, will receive strategic support, advice and assistance from the Premier League to further the development of the league and its clubs, a release said.

The EPL will also assist in establishing club governance, shaping the brand, fan engagement, defining anti-corruption and anti-doping policies for the ISL, as well as joint promotion of the ISL and Premier League football in India.

Through the alliance, Indian Super League will help Premier League and its clubs in staging football matches and assist in other business development initiatives in India.

This will encourage exchange programmes and partnership building between clubs of two leagues. ISL and Premier League will also cross-promote football coverage on Star India's platform to the growing Indian fan base, the release said.

The co-operation between Indian Super League and the Premier League lends credence to ISL's mission to engage the 200 million-plus Indian football fan base by showcasing a quality football offering with international standards of governance and an unparallelled viewing experience, it added.

ISL will feature eight franchises from Bangalore, Delhi, Goa, Guwahati, Kochi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Pune.

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Phelps second to Olympic champ Agnel in 200m freestyle

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Michael Phelps tired near the end to finish a distant second to France's Yannick Agnel in the 200 metres freestyle at the Arena Grand Prix at Santa Clara on Saturday.

Olympic champion Agnel led Phelps only narrowly after 100m but extended his lead in the second half of the race to clock 1:46.99.

Phelps was second in 1:48:20, more than five seconds slower than his American record of 1:42.96, set at the 2008 Olympics.

"I got left like I was standing still in the last 50 by this guy," Phelps, standing next to Agnel, told Universal Sports, describing it as his 'slowest 50 ever'.

Phelps, 28, is back at sea level after a stint of altitude training and is using the northern California meet, his third since coming out of retirement, as part of his preparation for the U.S. nationals in August and, hopefully, the Pan Pacific Championships in Australia later the same month.

He tied for first in the 100m butterfly on Friday, and was second in the 100m freestyle.

Phelps stayed with Agnel for the first half of Saturday's final in the outdoor pool, only 0.04 behind after 100 metres.

But Agnel pulled 0.36 clear at the final turn and Phelps barely held on for second place, slowing noticeably over the final 50m.

Phelps is scheduled to swim the 200m individual medley on Sunday.

In other events, American Elizabeth Beisel notched an impressive double, winning the 400m individual medley in 4:33.52, the fourth fastest time in the world this year.

Less than an hour later, she won the 200m backstroke in 2:09:11, the seventh fastest world time of 2014. 

Image: Michael Phelps
Photographs: Christian Petersen/Getty Images

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