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Sports Shorts: Big 3, Murray to play in ATP Cup

Last updated on: September 14, 2019 23:14 IST
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Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer are part of the 30 players who will be part of the inaugural ATP Cup

IMAGE: Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer are part of the 30 players who will play in the inaugural ATP Cup. Photograph: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have committed play in the new ATP Cup in Australia, which is slated to begin in January next year, organisers confirmed on Saturday.

Twenty-seven out of top 30 players have committed themselves to play in the tournament. Andy Murray will also take part in the event after returning from hip surgery.


"We are delighted to see such a star-studded player field lining up for the inaugural ATP Cup. Our belief was that week one in the calendar, together with Tennis Australia, would work best for player schedule, and today's announcement is a confirmation of that," ATP Executive Chairman Chris Kermode said in an official statement.

"Having the top players competing in this new global event is critical, and the ATP Cup looks set to kick off the ATP Tour season in a big way in 2020," he added.

The ATP has also announced the top 18 countries in the ATP Cup standings.

"This is an incredibly exciting time for tennis fans. We are thrilled with the amazing support the ATP Cup has attracted from the players. This event will globally launch the tennis season in a manner that will enthral fans and entice the next generation to our sport. January can't come quick enough," Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley said.

The top two players for each country are committed to play in the tournament, subject to change based on the ATP Rankings at the second entry deadline on November 13, when remaining team members (up to an additional three players) will gain acceptance.

On that date, a further five countries will qualify to compete at the 24-country ATP Cup based on the ranking of their number one singles player.

In the event, more than 100 players from 24 nations will compete for USD $15 million in prize money and 750 ATP Ranking points.

Sourabh seals final spot at Vietnam Open badminton

India's Sourabh Verma outwitted Japan's Minoru Koga in straight games to progress to the men's singles final of the US$75,000 Vietnam Open BWF Tour Super 100 in Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam, on Saturday.

Second seed Sourabh, who had won the Hyderabad Open last month, overcame world no 112 Minoru 22-20, 21-15 in 51 minutes in the semi-final.

The reigning national champion, who had won the Dutch Open and Korea Open last year, will now take on China's Sun Fei Xiang in the summit clash.

Sourabh had beaten Minoru en route to his title win at the Slovenian International earlier this year.

"Through to the finals here in Vietnam open super 100 tournament with a victory over japan's minoru koga 22-20,21-15. Will be playing against chinese tomorrow for the title," tweeted Sourabh after the win.

Sourabh fell behind 0-4 early on in the opening game but the Indian made amends quickly to grab a slender 11-9 advantage at the interval.

He reeled off three quick points to make it 14-9 but Minoru slowly clawed back at 18-18 and even held a game point at 20-19 but the Indian pocketed three straight points to earn the bragging rights.

In the second game, Minoru once again marched ahead to a 7-2 lead initially and enjoyed a 11-8 cushion at the breather.

The Japanese shuttler managed to keep his nose ahead after the break before Sourabh produced a five-point burst at 12-14 to turn the tables on his opponent.

Sourabh then reeled off another four points to seal his place in the final.


Nagal enters final of Banja Luka Challenger


India's Sumit Nagal sailed into the final of the Banja Luka Challenger with a straight-set win over Slovakia's Filip Horansky in Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina,  on Saturday.


 Nagal, placed at a career-best 174 right now, knocked out the fifth seed Horansky  7-6 (1), 6-2 in match that lasted one hour and 44 minutes.


He will face Tallon Griekspoor of the Netherlands in the final.


This will be Nagal's first title clash on ATP Challenger Tour since winning the Bengaluru open in November 2017.


Last month Nagal made his maiden Grand Slam appearance. The 22-year-old from Haryana came through three qualifying rounds of the US Open and took a set off Swiss maestro Roger Federer in the first round before losing 6-4, 1-6, 2-6, 4-6.


In the Challenger in Shanghai, top seed Prajnesh Gunneswaran crashed out in the semifinal. The Indian went down 6-7,- 4-6 to Japan's Yasutaka Uchiyama.


Martic sets up final with Pliskova at Zhengzhou Open


Croatia's Petra Martic and top seed Karolina Pliskova marched into the final of the inaugural Zhengzhou Open with commanding straight sets victories on Saturday.


Seventh seed Martic dispatched Frenchwoman Kristina Mladenovic 6-0, 6-3 in 67 minutes to reach her first Premier showpiece, sealing victory with her third ace of the match.


Mladenovic had a mounting error count and six double faults while Martic, who faced only one break point, broke her unseeded opponent four times, helping her win seven games in a row.


Czech Pliskova dominated her semi-final as she beat Ajla Tomljanovic 6-3, 6-2 in 68 minutes. It was her third victory of the year over the Australian after wins in Brisbane and Rome.


World number two Pliskova won 93% of her first serve points, and broke four times en route to her fifth final of the season.


Despite three consecutive double faults in the second set, her superior counter-punching was also on display as she hit 28 winners, while Tomljanovic made 13 unforced errors.


Pliskova will seek her first title in China on Sunday after finishing as runner-up in Zhuhai in 2015 and Tianjin last year.


Doi, Hibino set up rare all-Japanese final in Hiroshima


Japan's Misaki Doi upset Russian second seed Veronika Kudermetova 6-4, 6-3 on Saturday to set up a final with compatriot and doubles partner Nao Hibino at the Hana-cupid Japan Women's Open in Hiroshima.


It will be the first all-Japanese WTA Tour final in 22 years after Naoko Sawamatsu beat Yuka Yoshida in Jakarta in 1997.


Doi and Hibino are also in Sunday's doubles final where they face Russian Valeria Savinykh and American Christina McHale.


Although Kudermetova fired down nine aces, Doi kept up with the powerful Russian, who is ranked 59 places higher at world number 48, and broke three times in the 82-minute contest.


Doi broke early in the second set to take a 3-0 lead and although Kudermetova broke back to make it 3-2, the Japanese reclaimed a break advantage before serving out for the match.


In the day's earlier semi-final, Hibino recovered from a set down to beat Romanian Mihaela Buzarnescu 4 6,-0 6-3.


Hibino, ranked 146 in the world, was broken twice in the opening set to hand Buzarnescu the advantage but stormed back in the second with nine winners.


Buzarnescu strguggled on serve and faced 14 break points, with the 24-year-old Hibino converting six to move into the final after two hours and 10 minutes.


Doi and Hibino have beaten each other twice in their careers and both are seeking their second career WTA singles title.

Fury, Wilder agree to terms of rematch, third fight - report

Heavyweights Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder have agreed to terms for their highly anticipated rematch, promoter Bob Arum told BT Sport, while also signing a deal for a third fight.

The pair is expected to face off in a Feb. 22 rematch in Las Vegas after fighting to a draw in December in Los Angeles, a match that allowed Wilder to retain his WBC heavyweight title.

Each side of the February match will get 50 percent of the purse, according to the sports broadcaster, while the winner of the third gets 60 percent and the loser 40.

Fury, a 31-year-old Briton who will face off against Otto Wallin on Saturday at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, stunned boxing fans in 2015 when he defeated Wladimir Klitschko for the IBF, WBA and WBO belts, but he later struggled with his mental health, drinking and drug use, derailing his career.

US groups investigated on handling of sex-abuse claims - report

The United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) said on Friday it was cooperating with government inquires after it was reported US agencies were conducting a widespread investigation into US Olympic sport organizations.

The Wall Street Journal, citing people familiar with the investigations, reported US Justice Department is pursuing multiple wide-criminal investigations into sexual abuse in US Olympic sports organizations and into potential financial and business misconduct throughout the US Olympic system.

The inquiries follow in the wake of the sexual-abuse case against former national gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar and include not only the USOPC but USA Gymnastics, USA Taekwondo and other organizations, the Journal said.

Nassar, 55, was given an effective life sentence by a Michigan court for sexually abusing young female gymnasts entrusted to his care. He is also serving a 60-year sentence for a federal child pornography conviction.

The USOPC declined, in a late afternoon teleconference, to comment on the report beyond reading a prepared statement.

"Every instance related to potential or actual abuse of athletes warrants thorough investigation," spokesman Mark Jones said.

"We have cooperated with all government inquiries and will continue to do so."

Jones added if there were inquiries on the call, "you will receive the same answer."

The Journal reported that federal prosecutors have spoken with potential witnesses about alleged abuse and misconduct in Olympic sports organizations, including USA Gymnastics and USA Taekwondo.

One focus of the investigation appeared to be on failures in the Olympic system to respond to signs of widespread child abuse, the newspaper said.

It said prosecutors have already spoken with some witnesses and have received documents from SafeSport in response to a grand jury subpoena.

The US Center for SafeSport is the organization formed in 2017 to handle sex-abuse cases in the Olympic world.

The newspaper also reported that USA Gymnastics said in bankruptcy filings that it has been responding to Justice Department subpoenas as recently as April.

In response to the report, US Senators Jerry Moran, R-Kan., and Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn, issued a joint statement.

"The US Olympic Committee and its affiliated national governing bodies enabled Larry Nassar by turning a blind eye to criminal conduct and then trying to sweep it under the rug.

"Everyone who allowed abuse to continue must be held responsible for any and all violations of the law."

USA Gymnastics said it "is striving to become an athlete-centric organization that keeps athlete safety and well-being at the forefront of everything it does."

It added USA Gymnastics has cooperated fully with any governmental investigation and will continue to do so in the future."

In a separate statement, USA Taekwondo said: "While we are limited in what we can say while legal proceedings move forward, we want to state clearly that above all else, our top priority at USA Taekwondo is the safety of our athletes."

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