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Sports Shorts: Dipika Pallikal goes down to qualifier in Texas Open final

Last updated on: April 14, 2014 16:28 IST
Dipika Pallikal

Dipika Pallikal stumbled at the final hurdle and lost to Egyptian teenager Nour El Sherbini in the title round of the Women's Champion Fiberglass Texas Open on Monday.

Eying a first major title, the world No 12 Indian faltered against the 18-year-old qualifier and was beaten 7-11, 11-5, 7-11 in 48 minutes.

The 22-year-old Dipika was celebrating the biggest Tour final of her career, while World junior champion El Sherbini continued her purple patch.

Last month she reached the WSA World Championship final after upsetting world No 1 Nicol David.

The match brought to a climax a sensational week for Alexandrian El Sherbini, who swept aside three seeds --  including Malaysia's event favourite and world No 7 Low Wee Wern -- en-route the final of the WSA Gold 50 event at The Downtown Club at the Met.

El Sherbini was quick to share her joy on Facebook.

"So happy to win my 4th and my biggest title in my career in the Texas Open -- it's been an amazing week here started from the first round of the qualification," she posted on the social networking page.

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On-field scuffle mars Inter win after Icardi's provocations

Last updated on: April 14, 2014 16:28 IST
Inter Milan and Sampdoria players get involved in a scuffle during their Serie A match at Stadio Luigi Ferraris in Genoa, Italy on Sunday

Inter Milan ended a poor run by routing Sampdoria 4-0 away in a stormy game on Sunday, putting them back on course for a European return, after the hosts had forward Eder sent off and missed a penalty in the first 20 minutes.

Inter forward Mauro Icardi set off the fireworks at Sampdoria when he scored against his old club in the 13th minute and provoked his former teammates with his celebration.

Jeered before kickoff, the Argentine turned to the Sampdoria fans and put his hand to his ear as if encouraging them to insult him, angering the home players.

The next twist came in the 18th minute when Sampdoria won a penalty but Maxi Lopez, who had refused to shake hands with Icardi before the game, saw his kick saved by Samir Handanovic.

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Eder was booked for a blatant dive which sparked a scuffle

Last updated on: April 14, 2014 16:28 IST
Mauro Icardi of Inter Milan annoys Sampdoria spectators as he celebrates after scoring the opening goal on Sunday

Two minutes later, Sampdoria forward Eder was booked for a blatant dive which sparked a scuffle in which the Brazilian was given another yellow card and sent off.

Undeterred, Samp pushed forward, forcing several world class saves from Handanovic but they ran out of steam after halftime and Inter romped home with a Walter Samuel header, another Icardi goal and Rodrigo Palacio's 15th goal of the season.

The win lifted Inter, hoping to avoid the ignominy of missing out of European football for a second successive season, back into fifth place which earns a Europa League spot.

Walter Mazzarri's side had failed to win in their previous four outings, all against lower-placed opponents.

Gonzalo Higuain scored a hat-trick in third-placed Napoli's 4-2 win over 10-man Lazio and the goal glut continued as Fiorentina won 5-3 at Verona and Alberto Paloschi's hat-trick guided Chievo to a 4-2 win at Livorno in a relegation battle.

There was also a dramatic finale at Torino where Ciro Immobile and Alessio Cerci both scored in stoppage time to beat Genoa 2-1.

Alberto Gilardino came off the bench to give the visitors an 85th-minute lead but Immobile levelled with a curling shot in the 92nd minute, his 19th goal of the season, and Cerci scored from a similar position one minute later.

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Higuain 'tricks' for Napoli

Last updated on: April 14, 2014 16:28 IST
Gonzalo Higuain of Napoli celebrates after scoring against SS Lazio during their Serie A match at Stadio San Paolo in Naples, Italy on Sunday

AC Milan, languishing in mid-table after a dismal season, continued their improvement by winning their fourth game in a row as Riccardo Montolivo's long-range strike sealed a 1-0 win over bottom club Catania.

Leaders Juventus (84 points) visit Udinese on Monday (1845) and second-placed Roma (79) beat Atalanta 3-1 on Saturday.

They are followed by Napoli (67) in the Champions League playoff spot with Fiorentina (58) and Inter (53) in the Europa League places.

At the bottom, Chievo's win lifted them to 16th with 30 points while Bologna, who drew 1-1 at home to Parma, are next with 28, leaving Livorno (25), Sassuolo (25) and Catania (20) increasingly isolated in the relegation zone.

Napoli, who have been exasperatingly inconsistent all season, fell behind to a well-taken Senad Lulic goal but came to life when Dries Mertens scored with a superb long-range strike four minutes before halftime.

The game turned three minutes after the re-start when Lazio captain Lorik Cana gave away a penalty, was sent off and Higuain converted.

The Argentine struck again with a half-volley in the 66th minute and completed his hat-trick with a clever chip in stoppage time after Eddy Onazi had replied in between for Lazio.

Alberto Aquilani scored twice and Juan Cuadrado, Borja Valero and Alessandro Matri, from a penalty, were also on target for Fiorentina while Jacopo Sala, Luca Toni, from another penalty, and Juan Iturbe replied for Verona in an eight-goal thriller.

Toni's goal, against the team who let him go at the end of last season, took his tally to 17 for the campaign.

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Marquez vrooms to victory in Texas

Last updated on: April 14, 2014 16:28 IST
Marc Marquez of Spain and Repsol Honda Team celebrates at the end of the MotoGp Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix of The Americas race at Circuit of The Americas on Sunday

Pole-sitter Marc Marquez extended his perfect start to the MotoGP season by storming to victory at the Grand Prix of the Americas on Sunday to cap another dominating week in Texas.

It was the second consecutive wire-to-wire win for the 21-year Spanish world champion, who also took the checkered flag at the season-opener in Qatar last month after starting from pole.

Marquez, who claimed his first career MotoGP premier class win at the Circuit of the Americas last year, continued his love affair with the Austin layout, storming home 4.12 seconds in front of compatriot and factory Honda team mate Dani Pedrosa.

Italy's Andrea Dovizioso on a Ducati was a distant third 20 seconds back of the winner followed by Germany's Stefan Bradl and Britain's Bradley Smith.

"I'm so happy for this victory," said Marquez, who ended the race with a bit of drama with a wobble on the final corner. "OK, we can say the race was too quiet and then for the show I did something in the end...but anyway I am very happy.

"The start was good, looks like I improved a little bit at that point.

"But anyway the race I think was, even for me, a little bit boring but those 25 points are important.

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Marquez will head to Argentina for the third round of the c'ship leading the standings

Last updated on: April 14, 2014 16:28 IST
Marc Marquez of Spain and Repsol Honda Team celebrates on the podium at the end of the MotoGp Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix of The Americas race at Circuit of The Americas on Sunday

"This is my favourite circuit, so for that reason I get that victory. The next races will be different."

It was the 11th time in 20 career starts that Marquez had started from pole and he reached the podium all 11 times.

The Spaniard's legend continues to grow, becoming the first rider to win the first two races of the year from pole in the premier-class since Mick Doohan in 1995.

Boring or not, Marquez will head to Argentina for the third round of the championship sitting firmly atop the standings with a maximum 50 points with Pedrosa 14 back.

His performance all the more remarkable considering that the Spaniard fractured the fibula in his right leg while dirt-bike riding in February and is still recovering from the mishap, taking painkillers to race.

After dominating every practice session and qualifying, Marquez was quick to stamp his authority on the race as he and Pedrosa steadily pulled away from the field.

By the midway mark of the 21 lap-race, the contest had boiled down to a two-way battle between Marquez and Pedrosa, the two Honda riders opening up an 11 second gap on the chasing pack.

But by the final lap, Marquez was in complete control having built a nearly six-second advantage on Pedrosa and after a little scare at the finish celebrated another win.

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'The feeling is special because we (Ducati) have been struggling for one year'

Last updated on: April 14, 2014 16:28 IST
Third place winner Andrea Dovizioso of Italy and Ducati Team celebrates on the podium on Sunday

"He (Marquez) was just a little too fast today," said Pedrosa.

"He had this three tenths maybe per lap and there was really no part of the track where I could pick up again. Every time I lost more.

"At the end it was hard because I had nothing to win in front, nothing to lose at the back. I just tried to keep my pace and get today a second because Marc was too fast."

It was a surprise third place finish for Dovizioso and a big day for Ducati as they returned to the podium for the first time since September 2012.

"The feeling is something really special because we (Ducati) are struggling a lot for one year and we are still struggling but we keep pushing, we keep working," said Dovizioso.

"We didn't have the pace to make a podium but we always tried.

"At the beginning I didn't have the pace to stay at the front but I was focused and I didn't make a mistake.

"I was really consistent all race and many riders have problems with the tyres. We had a problem but maybe less.

"To get the podium at the end is an amazing feeling after one really difficult year."

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Ligue 1: PSG grind down title charge after another loss

Last updated on: April 14, 2014 16:28 IST
Jordan Ferri of Lyon

Paris St Germain suffered another setback on Sunday when they were beaten 1-0 at Olympique Lyon to slow their pursuit of a second straight Ligue 1 title and inflict further disappointment after their midweek Champions League exit.

Jordan Ferri scored the only goal for the hosts in the first half as PSG's lead over Monaco, who beat Stade Rennes 1-0 away on Saturday, was cut to 10 points with five games left.

The result left Lyon in fifth place on 54 points, two behind arch rivals St Etienne in fourth, and 25 adrift of PSG.

A Monaco defeat and a PSG win would have handed Laurent Blanc's side the title.

PSG, whose 2-0 defeat at Chelsea in their Champions League quarter-final return leg ended an 11-game winning streak in all competitions, have now lost their last two matches despite Blanc ringing the changes after their elimination from Europe's elite club competition.

Yohan Cabaye started in place of Marco Verratti in midfield while fullbacks Christophe Jallet and Maxwell were replaced by Gregory van der Wiel and Lucas Digne respectively.

In the absence of the injured Zlatan Ibrahimovic, forwards Edinson Cavani and Ezequiel Lavezzi have so far failed to rise to the occasion.

The goal came when Argentine Lavezzi's weak pass was intercepted by Ferri, who beat Sirigu with a curled effort from 25 metres in the 31st minute.

Shortly before the hour, midfielder Blaise Matuidi made way for forward Lucas, but the Brazilian disappointed once again as he failed to make inroads with his individual runs.

Lyon came close to doubling their tally through Ferri again but Sirigu tipped away the midfielder's half volley.

Lyon keeper Anthony Lopes then made a brilliant save to keep out Javier Pastore's angled volley with five minutes remaining.