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Sports Shorts: Srikanth enters semis of Singapore Open

Last updated on: April 11, 2014 20:15 IST

Image: K Srikanth
Photographs: Stanley Chou/Getty Images

India's Kidambi Srikanth registered a hard-fought victory to enter the semi-finals of the men's singles at the Singapore Super Series, even as P V Sindhu and B Sai Praneeth crashed out in straight games, on Friday.

Srikanth beat world No 14 Hun Yu of Hong Kong 17-21, 21-14, 21-19 in a marathon quarter-final that lasted 63 minutes, to set up a semi-final date with top seed Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia.

By virtue of the victory, Srikanth, ranked No 25, took a 2-0 lead over Yu in career meetings.

The last time the two met was at the Malaysia Open Super Series Premier in January.

Sindhu and Praneeth, the other Indians in the fray, however, fell by the wayside.

Eighth seed Sindhu started brightly before surrendering to second seed and world No 3 Yihan Wang of China 21-19, 21-15, in 37 minutes.

Wang now had a 2-1 head-to-head record against Sindhu.

In the other men's singles quarter-final, Praneeth played his heart out before losing 15-21, 15-21 to fifth seed Du Pengyu of China in 39 minutes.

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Sports Shorts: Pallikal in Texas Open QF; Joshna loses

Image: Dipika Pallikal
Photographs: Stanley Chou/Getty Images

Indian squash star Dipika Pallikal survived some anxious moments before beating Australian qualifier Donna Urquhart in the opening round of the US $50,000 Texas Open, in Houston.

Pallikal, who did not have the best of starts to 2014, needed 36 minutes to get past her 26th-ranked opponent 12-10, 11-8, 11-5 on Thursday.

The Chennai-girl saved five game balls in the first game.

The 22-year-old plays World No.19 Nicolette Fernandes in the quarter-finals on Friday.

The Guyanese upset fifth seed Annie Au of Hong Kong 12-10, 10-12, 11-5, 8-11, 11-8.

"I think I played well today so would not like to change much for the quarterfinal. I played Nicolette about three years ago. She has improved a lot since then. I am expecting a tough match," said Pallikal, reflecting on her 3-2 victory over the Guyanese.

Joshna Chinappa, the other Indian in the main draw, however, lost her opening match.

The World No.21 went down to 16th-ranked Rachael Grinham of Australia 7-11, 5-11, 5-11.

Results (1st round):

[2] Madeline Perry (IRL) bt [Q] Joey Chan (HKG) 7-11, 11-4, 11-6, 12-10 (38m); [Q] Emma Beddoes (ENG) bt [6] Kasey Brown (AUS) 11-4, 11-5, 4-11, 11-8 (42m); [4] Dipika Pallikal (IND) bt [Q] Donna Urquhart (AUS) 12-10, 11-8, 11-5 (36m); Nicolette Fernandes (GUY) bt [5] Annie Au (HKG) 12-10, 10-12, 11-5, 8-11, 11-8 (65m); [8] Rachael Grinham (AUS) bt Joshana Chinappa (IND) 11-7, 11-5, 11-5 (24m); [3] Camille Serme (FRA) bt Amanda Sobhy (USA) 10-12, 11-6, 11-4, 11-8 (40m); [Q] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt [7] Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY) 11-4, 11-4, 12-10 (29m); [1] Low Wee Wern (MAS) bt Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) 11-9, 11-9, 9-11, 11-7 (64m).

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'Schumacher showing improvement although still long way from full recovery'

Image: Michael Schumacher
Photographs: Mark Thompson/Getty Images

Former Formula One star Jean Alesi has revealed that he believes the legendary Michael Schumacher is showing signs of improvement, although he is still a long way from recovering fully.

The seven-time retired world champion has been in an induced coma in Grenoble hospital since Dec 29 after a skiing accident in the resort of Meribel.

According to the Mirror, Alesi, who raced against Schumacher for a decade until his retirement in 2001, said that he felt his former on-track rival seemed to be getting better during his last visit to the hospital, albeit he is a long way from recovering fully.

Alesi further said that he felt a relief among Schumacher's family, 'a great happiness' at how things were developing.

The report mentioned that it is the second positive piece of news about Schumacher in the last week after his manager, Sabine Kehm, said that the F1 star is showing 'moments of consciousness and awakening'.

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PCB agrees to 'conditional support' for ICC revamp

Image: Mohammead Hafeez of Pakistan kneels down to offer prayers
Photographs: Francois Nel/Getty Images

The Pakistan Cricket Board has reportedly agreed to support the move to revamp the International Cricket Council on the condition that it is granted the chance to play bilateral series with other teams.

Pakistan is the only country which has not yet approved of the move to reorganise the game's governing body with reforms handing the majority of the powers and revenues to the 'Big Three' of the game -- India, Australia and England.

According to Sport24, however, the PCB announced its conditional support of the plans, after a two-day ICC board meeting, regarding the future governance structure and financial model approved previously by all members except them.

The board also stated that if their conditions are approved, then they will 'end their isolation within the international community and open the doors to international cricket in a vital manner', adding that they want the opportunity to play bilateral series, especially with arch-rivals India, from 2015-23 as they are an important source of revenue.

However, PCB chairman Najam Sethi said that the board had received assurances of renewing cricket series, including with India.

The report mentioned that India has not played a full bilateral series with Pakistan since the 2008 terror attacks on Mumbai, although Pakistan toured India for a short limited-over series in December 2012-January 2013.

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Asafa Powell slams JADCO for 'unjust, unfair' doping ban

Image: Asafa Powell
Photographs: Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

Jamaican sprinter Asafa Powell has reportedly slammed the 18-month doping ban meted out to him by the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO) and called it as 'unfair' and 'unjust'.

Powell's lawyer has vowed to appeal the decision handed down by a three-member panel of the JADCO Disciplinary Panel, which unanimously ruled that Powell, who blamed his positive result for a banned stimulant on a nutritional supplement, was negligent.

According to Sport24, the suspension of Powell, who along with training partner Sherone Simpson tested positive for banned stimulant oxilofrine after the 100m final at the Jamaican National Championships on June last year, is due to end on December 20 this year.

However, the former 100m world record holder insisted that the banned substance was not listed on the contents of his legal supplement- Ephiphany D1, adding that upon realising his error, he and his team promptly contacted the World Anti-Doping Agency ( WADA) and the United States Anti-Doping Agency ( USADA).

Powell, who held the 100m world record between June 2005 and May 2008, said that he believes the punishment is too severe for the level and nature of the offence as it is the first time in 12 years in the sport that he have had an adverse finding.

Stating that sanctions for a stimulant and this kind of infraction usually range from public warnings to a ban of three months, Powell also said that he is still more than prepared to accept a sanction that is in line with the offence, adding that instead the punishment he was handed is not based on the 'offence nor the facts surrounding it'.

Powell blamed Canadian physical therapist Chris Xuereb for the positive test, saying he provided Epiphany D1 that resulted in the positive test.

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IOC warns Pakistan of suspension

Image: General view of outside the International Olympic Committee headquarters
Photographs: Ian Walton/Getty Images

The International Olympic Committee has warned Pakistan that they face a possible expulsion from the Olympic roster unless they comply with rules banning government interference.

The IOC had set a previous deadline of December 1 for Pakistan to show that its Olympic committee and sports federations are being run without interference.

According to The Dawn, however, the IOC accused the Pakistan government of 'not keeping their promises' and said that the executive board will suspend Pakistan from the Olympic movement at its next meeting in July if the country did not conform to rules guaranteeing the independence of elected sports officials.

The report mentioned that suspension would mean that Pakistani athletes could not compete for their country in the Olympics while Pakistani Olympic officials would also be barred from international Olympic meetings.

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Everton's Martinez endorses Hillsborough tributes

Image: The Hillsborough memorial is seen in Liverpool
Photographs: Phil Noble/Reuters

Everton's long-term support for their neighbours Liverpool regarding the Hillsborough disaster continued on Thursday when Roberto Martinez endorsed this weekend's plans to mark the anniversary.

The 25th anniversary of the tragedy that claimed the lives of 96 Liverpool fans at the FA Cup semi-final against NottinghamForest on April 15 1989 falls next week.

The game was abandoned after six minutes and all matches in England's top eight divisions being played between April 11 and 14 as well as the FA Cup semi-finals at Wembley on Saturday and Sunday are kicking off seven minutes later than scheduled with a minute's silence included in the delayed time.

"It's a very important gesture," Everton manager Martinez told reporters ahead of his side's match against bottom-of-the-table Sunderland on Saturday.

"It's an important week, in terms of showing our respect and giving all the support we can to the families and to be all together in this moment.

"It is a gesture from the whole league, and everyone in world football, to pay their respects towards what happened 25 years ago."

Liverpool have held an annual memorial service at Anfield since the tragedy and Everton are joining them this year in holding a service at Goodison Park.

"In the city we are going to have an opportunity to have our own service, at Goodison, alongside the service at Anfield," Martinez added.

"We very much have that in mind, to be able to pay our respects, and every Evertonian will have the opportunity to do that."

New inquests have started into the deaths of the 96 fans -- the worst sporting disaster in British history which was due to overcrowding at the Leppings Lane End of the Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield.