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    Sports - MAY

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    Abhishek

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    Re: Sports - MAY

    Post  Abhishek on Tue May 10, 2011 12:36 am

    Indian men settle for silver

    The Indian men's recurve team paid dearly for the shoddy shooting in the final end of six arrows and allowed the U.S. to win the gold medal in the World Cup (Stage I) archery meet at Porec (Croatia) on Saturday. The Americans won 221-219.

    The Indians, Rahul Banerjee, Tarundeep Rai and Jayanta Talukdar, and the Americans tied the first end of six arrows at 56-56.

    The Indians took a three-point lead in the second end of six arrows to lead the end at 58-55 for a total of 114-111.

    The American trio of Jake Kaminsk, Joe Fanchin and Brady Ellison, took advantage of two 8s by the Indians to finish the third end of six arrows at 56-54 for an overall score of 168-167 which still gave India the lead.

    The Indians seemed to have lapsed in concentration in the final end of six arrows as they shot three 8s which enabled the Americans to pull away to 54-51 in the fourth end for a final score of 221-219 in their favour.

    This was India's second successive silver medal in this tournament.

    Last year the Indian team consisting of Mangal Singh, Rai and Talukdar lost to Italy in the final.

    India took the gold medal in 2009 and a bronze medal in 2008. — Special Correspondent
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    Re: Sports - MAY

    Post  Abhishek on Thu May 12, 2011 12:02 am

    Djokovic's dominant run continues

    Novak Djokovic extended his victory streak to 34 matches when he stunned Rafael Nadal 7-5, 6-4 to win the Madrid Masters on Sunday, handing the world No.1 Spaniard his first loss on clay in two years.

    Nadal, the defending champion, was last beaten on the surface in the French Open fourth round by Robin Soderling in May, 2009, making it 37 matches without a defeat.

    World No.2 Djokovic has now won three straight Masters 1000 trophies over Nadal after defeating the number one at Indian Wells and Miami in March and April respectively.

    Sunday's win was also the Serb's first over Nadal on clay after losing their nine previous meetings on the dirt.

    His winning streak is made up of 32 matches in 2011 and his two Davis Cup victories in December. Djokovic's start is the best to a season since John McEnroe in 1984 when he went 42-0.

    He suffered his last loss against Roger Federer in the semifinals at the World Tour Finals in London on November 27, 2010.

    Happy with show

    “I walked onto the court thinking I could win,” said Djokovic. “I'm very happy with the way I played. This court was fast today, and I took advantage.”

    Djokovic had kind words for a distraught Nadal, who faces an immediate turnaround on court with the clay season continuing in Rome next week before the start of the French Open on May 22.

    “It's always a pleasure playing you - you are a great champion.”

    Nadal said he had been hoping to be “third time lucky” after his losses to Djokovic in Indian Wells and Miami.

    “I'll have to keep working to try and beat you,” said the world No.1 . “You are really off to a great start of the season.”

    Djokovic constructed his two-hour, 17-minute win through 27 winners and 26 unforced errors, while Nadal, playing in front of 15,000 of his home public at the Caya Magica, had just 17 winners.

    With his eighth career Masters triumph, Djokovic has lifted trophies at six different venues in the elite series.

    Pulling away

    Djokovic raced away to a stunning 4-0 lead with two breaks of Nadal which left the Spaniard on the back foot. Nadal retrieved them by the ninth game when he pulled to 4-5.

    He then saved two set points in the tenth game, levelling for 5-5 before Djokovic nosed ahead by taking the set on a net cord winner after 69 minutes.

    The pair traded breaks in the first two games of the second before the Serb settled, finally earning the triumph with a concluding break of the top seed.

    Nadal saved one match point put then hit a backhand wide on a second in the final game.

    Roddick crashes out

    Meanwhile at the Italian Open in Rome, Andy Roddick extended his troubled start to the clay-court season with a 6-3, 6-3 loss to Gilles Simon of France in the opening round on Monday.

    Simon broke Roddick's serve in the first game of the match and quickly recovered a break by the 12th-seeded American in the opening game of the second set, then cruised from there.

    While the sky was clear at the Foro Italico, gusty winds created difficult conditions.

    Another American, 11th-seeded Mardy Fish, rallied to beat Santiago Giraldo of Colombia 4-6, 6-2, 6-2.

    Meanwhile, 10th-seeded Gael Monfils and Japan's Kei Nishikori, who were slated to play each other, both withdrew, citing an illness and kidney stones respectively.

    Two lucky losers from qualifying met instead inside the 10,500-seat center court stadium, with Jarkko Nieminen of Finland downing Adrian Mannarino of France 7-5, 2-6, 6-3.

    Champion ousted

    In women's action, Ekaterina Makarova of Russia beat last year's surprise champion, Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez of Spain, 6-0, 5-7, 6-4, and Greta Arn of Hungary eliminated 11th-seeded and two-time finalist Svetlana Kuznetsova 3-6, 7-6 (4), 7-6 (9).

    Also, ninth-seeded Marion Bartoli of France beat Spanish qualifier Arantxa Parra Santonja 6-2, 6-3; and another Spanish qualifier, Anabel Medina Garrigues, eliminated 2005 runner-up Patty Schnyder of Switzerland 6-3, 6-2.

    The men's and women's tournaments are being played simultaneously at the Foro Italico for the first time in 33 years.

    Top-ranked Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer have first-round byes.

    The results: At Madrid: Madrid Masters: Final: Novak Djokovic bt Rafael Nadal 7-5, 6-4.

    At Rome (Italian Masters): First round: Men: Mardy Fish bt Santiago Giraldo 4-6, 6-2, 6-2; Jarkko Nieminen bt Adrian Mannarino 7-5, 2-6, 6-3; Sergiy Stakhovsky bt Victor Hanescu 6-3, 1-6, 7-6(6); Xavier Malisse bt Guillermo García-López 7-5, 6-2; Lukasz Kubot bt Pablo Cuevas 7-6(1), 2-6, 6-2.

    Igor Andreev bt Pere Riba 6-4, 7-5; Gilles Simon bt Andy Roddick 6-3, 6-3.

    Women: Alisa Kleybanova bt Varvara Lepchenko 6-2, 6-2; Marion Bartoli bt Arantxa Parra 6-2, 6-3; Elena Vesnina bt Tamira Paszek 6-4, 6-4; Ekaterina Makarova bt Maria Jose Martinez 6-0, 5-7, 6-4; Polona Hercog bt Alexandra Dulgheru 6-1, 7-5.

    Greta Arn bt Svetlana Kuznetsova 3-6, 7-6(4), 7-6(9); Lourdes Dominguez bt Barbora Zahlavova Strycova 6-1, 0-6, 7-6(4); Iveta Benesova bt Gisela Dulko 6-2, 6-1; Anabel Medina Garrigues bt Patty Schnyder 6-3, 6-2; Christina McHale bt Shuai Peng 6-3, 2-6, 7-6(7); Vera Dushevina bt Ayumi Morita 6-3, 6-1.
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    Re: Sports - MAY

    Post  Abhishek on Thu May 12, 2011 12:03 am

    Hewitt to play through pain in French Open

    Australia's former world number one Lleyton Hewitt will play through the pain at this month's French Open as he returns to tennis after surgery, his coach Tony Roche said on Monday.

    Hewitt, 30, is planning to contest the clay court Grand Slam at Roland Garros which starts on May 17 despite not playing for more than two months.

    The two-time Grand Slam champion underwent foot surgery in March but the 66th-ranked Hewitt is once again prepared to play through the pain barrier.

    "I think he's used to that. Look, he'd be the toughest competitor that I've seen," Roche told reporters.

    "He's had a lot of setbacks over the last couple of years but he keeps bouncing back”.
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    Re: Sports - MAY

    Post  Abhishek on Thu May 12, 2011 12:03 am

    Somdev, Sania move up

    Somdev Devvarman took his singles rankings to a new high by climbing to No. 68 in the ATP chart while Sania Mirza rose three rungs to 74 in the WTA list, released on Monday.

    In the ATP doubles chart, both the veteran stars — Mahesh Bhupathi (5) and Leander Paes (7) — were unchanged while Rohan Bopanna registered a one place improvement to be at No. 13.

    In the doubles team rankings, Paes and Bhupathi continued to be world No. 2 pair but Bopanna and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi have slipped to sixth from fifth.
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    Re: Sports - MAY

    Post  Abhishek on Thu May 12, 2011 12:04 am

    India outclasses Malaysia

    India recorded yet another stunning performance, outclassing Malaysia 5-2 in the Azlan Shah hockey tournament here on Monday.

    The margin not only mirrors the dominance of India's victory but proves the loss in the last Asian Games when the team went down to a golden goal in the semifinal in Guangzhou to the same opponent was an aberration.

    On a day when everything worked to a nicety, with Arjun Halappa clearly playing the captain's role, the home team lost the match within 22 minutes. Yes, India had scored three goals in that period and added one more before the break.

    Clinical in execution and almost symphonic in weaving the patterns, the Indians bewildered the Malaysian defenders as much as they did their goalkeeper Kumar.

    Graceful run

    It was a graceful run by Arjun Halappa that set up the first goal. Roshan Minz provided the finishing touches with a delicate deflection. Then mid-fielder Ravipal sprinted down to provide Mandeep Antil a perfect pass. A quick finish by Antil rebounded off Kumar's pads, but he was quick enough to tap in the rebound. A scorcher of a penalty corner hit by Rupinder that sent the ball soaring to the roof of the net gave India the third. Close to half-time, Sunil netted off a Shivendra pass.

    Truly, the Indians were riding the crest of a wave that the nonplussed Malaysians watched in awe, as the raids came in a cascade. Halappa received excellent support from Vikas Pillay, who played brilliantly on the left, and from the seasoned Vikram. In the deep, both Mahadik and Rupinderpal ensured that the Malaysians made no progress beyond a point.

    Clearly embarrassed by the developments before the home crowd, headed by Sultan Azlan Shah, the Malaysians had no clue about the contest until Md. Azami broke through to pick up a goal.

    Shortly after the break, Sharun Nabil scored to put pressure on the Indians. Green cards for Rupinderpal and Roshan Minz, and a yellow for Sarwanjit only raised tension in the Indian camp. But the Indians managed to regain the initiative when Antil sounded the boards a minute remained for the hooter.

    India has seven points from four matches while Malaysia is yet to open its account after three matches. Harendra was delighted that the team put into play the strategy programmed before the encounter.

    Big win for Aussies

    An admirable blend of athleticism, approach-work and adeptness enabled Australia inflict a devastating 5-1 defeat on Pakistan. The Aussies underlined, rather emphatically, why they are rated World No. 1.

    While Matthew Swann controlled the mid-field with authority, the frontline functioned with methodical efficiency under the leadership of Glenn Turner and Jason Wilson.

    True, a debatable penalty stroke in the early minutes propelled the Aussies to an advantageous slot. Simon Orchard flicked in the lead. But thereafter the Aussies had everything rolling for them despite the equaliser by Sohail Abbas close on half-time. Two splendid goals by Wilson and another by Simon Orchard had class engraved on them.

    Great Britain moved a step closer to the final spot with a convincing 3-1 victory over New Zealand. With nine points, Great Britain not only leads the table but looks the most accomplished side in the competition.

    Tuesday is a rest day

    The results: Australia 5 (Simon Orchard 2, Christopher Cirello, Jason Wilson 2) bt Pakistan 1 (Sohail Abbas); Great Britain 3 (Richard Mantell, Jonathan Clarke, Richard Alexander) bt New Zealand 1 (Shay Neal); India 5 (Roshan Minz, Mandeep Antil 2, Rupinderpal Singh, S.V. Sunil) bt Malaysia 2 (Md. Azami, Sharun Nabil) .
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    Re: Sports - MAY

    Post  Abhishek on Thu May 12, 2011 12:05 am

    Barcelona closes in on title
    Mighty Barcelona moved to within a point of a third successive Spanish league title on Sunday with a 2-0 win over Espanyol in the Catalan derby.

    Goals from Andres Iniesta and Gerard Pique took Barcelona to 91 points, eight ahead of Real Madrid, which stayed alive in the title race with a 6-2 win over Sevilla on Saturday.

    Barcelona, who has a superior head-to-head record over Real, will be crowned champion if it avoids defeat against Levante on Wednesday. A Real failure to see off Getafe on Tuesday will also be enough for the championship celebrations to start.“The later that Barca wins the title, the better,” said Cristiano Ronaldo, who scored four times in Real's demolition of Sevilla to take his season's league tally to 33, two better than Barca star Lionel Messi.

    Barcelona started slowly, appearing to suffer a hangover from its Champions League semifinal against Real, where it came out on top in a turbulent double-header.

    Espanyol was still in the hunt for a place in the Europa League despite a dismal run which had seen it win just once in six games. It became seven as Barca slowly cranked up its customary passing game and started to find cracks in the defence.

    Pedro Rodriguez tested keeper Carlos Kameni with a strike from 20 yards and then Iniesta had a shot from the edge of the area before he made the breakthrough.

    Udinese in fourth

    In Italy, Udinese moved back into fourth spot in Serie A and the final Champions League qualification place with a 2-1 victory over Lazio.

    Serie A top-scorer Antonio di Natale was once again the hero as he scored both goals to give the northerners a two-point lead over Lazio and Roma in the race for fourth with two games to play. The result also meant that should Juventus beat Chievo on Monday, it will be only three points off fourth place.
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    Re: Sports - MAY

    Post  Abhishek on Thu May 12, 2011 12:06 am

    United beats Chelsea

    Manchester United defeated Chelsea 2-1 at Old Trafford here on Sunday to leave itself on the brink of a record 19th Premier League title.

    First-half goals from Javier Hernandez and captain Nemanja Vidic clinched a superb victory which means United needs just one point from their remaining games against Blackburn and Blackpool to clinch the title.

    Chelsea, whose lone goal came from the boot of Frank Lampard, had clawed back a 15-point deficit to leave itself only three points behind United heading into Sunday's heavyweight showdown.

    Quick strikes

    But the reigning champion was blown away in a devastating opening period which saw United take a 2-0 lead within 23 minutes, Hernandez scoring after only 37 seconds to spark delirium at Old Trafford.

    South Korean international Park Ji-Sung surged into space from midfield before sliding a pass through to the young Mexican, who nipped in behind David Luiz and slotted past Petr Cech.

    It got better for United in the 23rd minute, when a short corner routine saw Park feed Giggs, who jinked past Salomon Kalou before whipping over a cross for Vidic, who shrugged off Branislav Ivanovic to nod home.

    The double strike left Chelsea reeling although the team did have its chances to get back in the game, Edwin van der Sar blocking Kalou's close-range header superbly.

    The veteran Dutch keeper was pressed into action again soon afterwards, blocking a long-range Luiz shot with his midriff. Lampard gave Chelsea hope on 68 minutes, prodding in from close range after Ivanovic knocked down a deflected Ramires cross, but United was not to be denied.

    The result: Manchester United 2 (Hernandez 1, Vidic 23) bt Chelsea 1 (Lampard 68) .
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    Re: Sports - MAY

    Post  Abhishek on Thu May 12, 2011 12:07 am

    Mary Kom clinches gold

    Five-time World champion M C Mary Kom (48kg) clinched her
    first gold medal of the year by finishing on top in the Asian Cup
    Women's Boxing tournament in Haikou, China.
    The mother of two from Manipur claimed the gold after beating Asian champion Kim Myong Sim of North Korea 4-3 in the final.
    Playing her first tournament since her bronze medal at the 2010
    Guangzhou Asian Games, Mary Kom had earned a place in the last two of
    her weight division after drubbing Kate Appari of Philippines.
    In the title clash she had to work hard as her North Korean opponent
    put up a stiff challenge. In the end though, it was the skill and
    agility of the World champion that came through as she went on to clinch
    the yellow metal, the Indian Boxing Federation said in a statement.
    However, the other Indian in the fray, Pavitra (57kg) had to face defeat
    in the final as she lost 6-11 to Tossamalee Thonalan of Thailand.
    Earlier in the tournament Neetu (60kg), Kavita Goyat (75kg), Laxmi
    Padiya (81kg) and Kavita Chahal ( 81kg) earned bronze medals for their
    performances.
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    Re: Sports - MAY

    Post  Abhishek on Thu May 12, 2011 8:13 pm

    Gasquet cruises past Andreev

    Women's World No.2 Francesca Schiavone led a host of seeds in progressing at the Rome Masters at the Foro Italico here on Tuesday.

    The Roland Garros champion had few problems in seeing off American qualifier Christina McHale 6-3, 6-1 to reach the third round.

    In the men's competition 16th seed Richard Gasquet was the first player through to the third round as he thrashed Russian qualifier Igor Andreev 6-1, 6-2.

    Spanish ninth seed Nicolas Almagro also had no problems in his first round clash against Italian wild card Simone Bolelli, winning 6-0, 7-5.

    It wasn't a good day for in the men's competition for the hosts as another wild card, Flavio Cipolla, lost to former World No.3 Ivan Ljubicic 6-2, 6-3.

    His compatriot Marin Cilic also reached the second round as he prevailed in the battle of big-serving Croatians with Ivo Karlovic retiring while trailing 6-4, 1-0.

    Sam Querrey (1.99m) progressed when South Africa's Kevin Anderson (2.03m) hurt his ankle and had to be helped off court. The scoreline read 7-6(1), 1-0 at that stage.

    The top eight men's seeds have received byes into the second round.

    In the doubles draw, Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi, the third seeds, advanced to the pre-quarterfinals after getting a bye in the first round.

    In the second round the Indian pair will take on the unseeded American combo of Sam Querrey and John Isner, who defeated Jamie Murray and Stanislas Wawrinka 6-3, 6-4 in their opening round.

    On the women's side, Japanese veteran Kimiko Date-Krumm lost 7-5, 6-2 to Czech Lucie Safarova and Chinese lucky loser Zheng Jie was beaten by Italian wild card Alberta Brianti 6-4, 7-5.

    Another Italian wild card, Romina Oprandi, caused the upset of the day, knocking out Estonian 14th seed Kaia Kanepi 7-5, 3-6, 6-1.

    The results: At Rome (Rome Masters): Men: Second round: Richard Gasquet bt Igor Andreev 6-1, 6-2; Tomas Berdych bt Juan Monaco 6-2, 6-2. First round: Paolo Lorenzi bt Tomaz Bellucci 7-6(5), 6-3; Stanislas Wawrinka bt Fabio Fognini 6-7(5), 6-2, 6-4.

    Marin Cilic bt Ivo Karlovic 6-4, 1-0 (retd.); Juan Ignacio Chela bt John Isner 6-4, 6-1; Sam Querrey bt Kevin Anderson 7-6(1) (retd.); Nicolas Almagro bt Simone Bolelli 6-0, 7-5; Ivan Ljubicic bt Flavio Cipolla 6-2, 6-3; Feliciano Lopez bt Michael Llodra 7-6(2), 6-1.

    Women: Second round: Francesca Schiavone bt Christina McHale 6-3, 6-1; Alisa Kleybanova bt Varvara Lepchenko 6-2, 6-2; Marion Bartoli bt Arantxa Parra 6-2, 6-3; Elena Vesnina bt Tamira Paszek 6-4, 6-4. First round: Alberta Brianti bt Zheng Jie 6-4, 7-5; Andrea Petkovic bt Maria Kirilenko 7-5, 6-1; Romina Oprandi bt Kaia Kanepi 7-5, 3-6, 6-1; Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova bt Chanelle Scheepers 6-3, 7-5; Anastasia Rodionova bt Yaroslava Shvedova 6-4, 6-4; Lucie Safarova bt Kimiko Date Krumm 7-5, 6-2; Sara Errani bt Roberta Vinci 6-2, 1-0, retd .
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    Re: Sports - MAY

    Post  Abhishek on Thu May 12, 2011 8:13 pm

    Prerna beats Rushmi
    Prerna Bhambri did her confidence a world of good with a 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 victory over fourth-seeded Rushmi Chakravarthi in the first round of the $10,000 ITF women's tennis tournament at the DLTA Complex here on Tuesday.

    It was Prerna's first victory against Rushmi in three meetings and she will clash with her fellow trainee at the Siri Fort Sports Complex, Ratnika Batra, in the next round.
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    Re: Sports - MAY

    Post  Abhishek on Thu May 12, 2011 8:16 pm

    Somdev loses
    Second-seeded Somdev Devvarman suffered a shock first round exit at the Zagreb Open, an ATP Challenger tennis event, after losing 3-6, 2-6 to local wild card Antonio Veic.
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    Re: Sports - MAY

    Post  Abhishek on Thu May 12, 2011 8:18 pm

    India has put up a heartening show so far

    Misgivings over the composition and strength of the Indian team have been misplaced. The squad's performance in the Azlan Shah hockey tournament has been impressive, even exceeding expectations.

    Save for the mis-step against Korea in the opener, the Indians have experienced exhilarating moments against Great Britain, Australia and their conqueror at the Guangzhou Asian Games — Malaysia.

    The highpoint so far has been the 3-1 verdict against Great Britain, easily the outstanding combination here.

    Heartening in India's showing thus far has been the performance of the gangling Rupinderpal Singh. Apart from the proficiency in penalty corners, he has proved his mettle in interceptions and timely clearances.

    The best part is that he capitalises on height advantage, much better than the more famous Sandeep Singh. He is destined to serve the country for long, and the selectors cannot keep him away from focus.

    Roshan Minz, Sunil and Mujtaba have also contributed immensely. So have the Pillays — Vikram and Vikas — along with the dependable Mahadik in the backline. The goalkeepers — Adrian and Chettri, the latter in particular — have excelled in their work.

    Harendra's concern should be the tardy form of Shivendra in attack and Gurbaj in mid-field. Shivendra's role so far has been very disappointing. Gurbaj has been patchy putting enormous pressure on Arjun Halappa in the pivotal spot.

    High expectations

    In the wake of the good showing so far as the defending champion, the expectations are heightened as India prepares to lock horns with Pakistan on Wednesday.

    Pakistan faltered badly against Australia on Monday. The 5-2 defeat exposed many a chink in its armour.

    Predicting the verdict of an Indo-Pak. contest is akin to guessing the weather. Statistically, India has the advantage, having won all the four previous encounters — New Delhi World Cup (4-1), Azlan Shah (4-2), CWG (7-4) and Asian Games (3-2) in 2010. But figures have no relevance in an India-Pakistan tie.

    Can Pakistan break this sequence for India? This is the poser waiting for an answer on Wednesday.

    Meanwhile, the intensity of competition is picking up as the pace for reaching the summit increases. Great Britain looks firmly ensconced, followed by the Aussies, who are improving match by match, shrugging off the “rustiness” that coach Charlesworth is anguished about.

    It is difficult to recall a weaker Korean outfit in any competition.

    The frustration of the host, Malaysia, without a point after three matches, can well be imagined. The 5-2 defeat against India was a humiliation hard to stomach for any aficionado here.
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    Re: Sports - MAY

    Post  Abhishek on Fri May 13, 2011 12:27 am

    Novak Djokovic too good for Kubot

    Novak Djokovic took his winning streak at the start of this year to 33 matches with an embarrassingly one-sided 6-0, 6-3 destruction of Pole Lukasz Kubot in the second round of the Rome Masters here on Wednesday.

    The Serbian 23-year-old is edging closer to American John McEnroe's 27-year-old record of a 42-match winning start to a season.

    World No.1 Rafael Nadal survived a scare as he overcame a sloppy start to beat Italian qualifier Paolo Lorenzi 6-7, 6-4, 6-0 in his second round match.

    Winning streak

    Djokovic, the World No. 2, has won all six tournaments he has entered this year, including the Australian Open.

    Djokovic raced through the first set taking all three of his break-point opportunities, making half the number of errors and four times as many winners.

    On the final point he pounced on a net-cord to send a forehand winner down the line.

    Serve and volley specialist Kubot seemed to gather his strength and put up much more of a fight in the second set.

    In the second game he set up a game point with a big serve and backhand volley.

    But he netted a backhand and then a lucky net-cord gave Djokovic break point, which he secured with an inside out forehand.

    Kubot had a chance again in the fourth game but he doubled faulted on game point.

    However, a winning smash gave him another opportunity which he took with a delicate drop shot that brought up the biggest cheer of the match and an appreciative smile from the outclassed Kubot.

    He was again on the attack in his next service game, and he secured that at the third attempt with a forehand volley winner after the previous two saw him first passed at the net and then go long with a backhand.

    But in the next game Djokovic ran through his full repertoire, with a backhand drop shot from the baseline bringing Kubot to the net where the Serbian nonchalantly passed him down the line.

    Kubot held serve once more but Djokovic finished off the match when Kubot blazed a forehand into the tramlines after just one hour seven minutes on court.
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    Re: Sports - MAY

    Post  Abhishek on Fri May 13, 2011 12:28 am

    Indian girls lose to Japan


    The Indian girls lost 0-2 to second-seeded Japan in the last league match of group ‘B' in the Asia-Oceania world junior under-14 girls' tennis tournament at the Sarawak Centre, Kuching, Malaysia, on Wednesday.

    India finished second in the group behind Japan and will meet third-seeded China in the quarterfinals.
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    Re: Sports - MAY

    Post  Abhishek on Fri May 13, 2011 12:28 am

    Prerna quells Ratnika's challenge

    Prerna Bhambri played an inspired game to outwit the reigning National Games champion Ratnika Batra 6-2, 3-6, 6-4 in the pre-quarterfinals of the $10,000 ITF women's tennis tournament at the DLTA Complex here on Wednesday.

    On a day when former National champion Ankita Raina got a walkover from Kim Da Hye of Korea as the latter was troubled by a stomach ailment, it was a fierce battle between two trainees of leading coach Aditya Sachdeva that provided a ray of hope for Indian women's tennis.

    High-quality fare

    It was high-quality fare, a rarity in a match featuring two Indian girls, as both players hit beautifully and with considerable punch on both flanks. It was the better serve and stroking prowess of the 18-year-old Prerna that saw her prevailing over the 16-year-old Ratnika, in a battle of wits that lasted two hours.

    It was Prerna who had looked the better player as she hardly put a foot wrong in racing away with the first set in just about 30 minutes and went a break up at 3-2 in the second. However, the gutsy Ratnika who had won the National women's title at the same venue when she was 14 years, revealed her fighting qualities by turning the match around with breaks in the sixth and eighth games.

    Gripping contest

    In the decider, it was Ratnika who got ahead with a break in the first game, as Prerna delivered a double fault on breakpoint in losing the game at love. However, Prerna picked up her game in spectacular fashion, and broke Ratnika in the fourth and sixth games. In fact, it was a gripping contest at this stage, as Prerna needed five breakpoints in the fourth and three breakpoints in the sixth to break Ratnika's resistance.

    Prerna herself saved a breakpoint to hold serve for 5-2. She had a matchpoint on Ratnika's serve in the next game, but the champion delivered an ace to stretch the contest. On top of it, Ratnika broke Prerna with ease in the ninth game, but was unable to extend the revival script any further.

    Down 0-40 Ratnika saved two more matchpoints, but Prerna put an end to her agony by smacking a forehand inside-out winner.

    In the quarterfinals, Prerna will face qualifier Jang Su Jeong of Korea, while Ankita Raina will be challenged by lucky-loser, Misa Kinoshita of Japan.
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    Post  Abhishek on Fri May 13, 2011 12:31 am

    India goes down to Pakistan

    The spectacular victory sequence that India constructed since the last World Cup in New Delhi was shattered when Pakistan inflicted a 3-1 defeat on Wednesday in the Azlan Shah hockey tournament here. India led 1-0 at half-time.

    It was not a classic tie by any stretch of imagination but close enough to create pulsating moments that an India-Pakistan encounter generates without fail.

    Over-elaboration and needless accent on defending the goal secured midway in the first half caused India's downfall.

    Almost throughout the first half, India had the upper hand. There were neat passes from the mid-field, where Vikas Pillay played a leading role with Vikram Pillay, and the deep defenders, Mahadik and Rupinder were perfectly placed.

    Exciting sequence

    An exciting sequence arose early on when Shivendra slammed in the ball from a penalty corner sequence that prompted the Dutch umpire, Roderick Wijsmueller to signal a goal. But on a protest from the Pakistanis that an infringement had taken place when the ball bounced off the umpire consulted his colleague, Martin Madden and reversed the decision.

    India still held the territorial advantage and took the lead through a withering penalty corner hit by Rupinderpal Singh, giving him his sixth goal in the competition. His second effort close on half-time was neatly saved by goalkeeper Imran Shah. However, the match transformed in the second half. The Indian defenders were slow to meet the thrust of the Pakistani attack. If the strategy was to hold on to the lead, it backfired completely.

    Progressively, the bite in the Pakistani attack became sharper as the Indian defenders struggled to keep the raids of Abbasi, Rehan and Fareed under check.

    Midway through came the equaliser off a splendid effort from Fareed, who dodged the defenders delectably to help Umar Butta beat Adrian all ends up.

    That triggered a Pakistani resurgence, generating penalty corners in quick succession. Muhammad Imran produced a stunner for the lead and this was followed by a powerful flick by veteran Sohail Abbas to put the issue beyond doubt.

    There were a few feeble attempts by India to get back into the groove but the frontline, where Chandi, Shivendra and even Roshan Minz failed repeatedly, could do precious little to reverse the trend. The two penalty corners that India forced in the final minute did not help matters in any way.

    Aussies on top

    Overcoming intense resistance in patches, the Aussies managed to obtain full points against Korea to move to the top of the table with 10 points.

    There was a palpable hint of aggression in the Korean attack. Though the Aussies established a comfortable 2-0 lead within 10 minutes from the start, the defenders had to face immense pressure from the Koreans who netted through You Hyo Sik with a delicate deflection.

    Pepped up by this the Koreans stepped up the pace only to concede another goal when Glenn Turner capped the effort of Kiel Brown and Jason Wilson. An early goal by Hyun Hye Sung heightened tension with Korea forcing three penalty corners but the defenders held on gamely.

    In the last quarter the Aussies wrested the initiative and increased the lead when Mark Patterson struck off a cross from Wilson.

    Agony for Malaysia

    Malaysia tumbled to its fourth successive defeat conceding the match-winner to New Zealand — the Kiwis' first win in four matches — 17 seconds before the hooter. The agony for the home team continued as nothing worked well for it.

    The Kiwis, struggling to find their rhythm in the searing afternoon heat, managed to call the shots and held the lead right through.

    Six penalty corners against just one by the local team (67th minute) was an indication of the trend of the contest.

    Hugo Iglis was the prominent performer for New Zealand, which earned him the Man-of-the-Match award. The Kiwis have four points in as many encounters while the home team is yet to open its account.
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    Post  Abhishek on Fri May 13, 2011 12:32 am

    FIH to launch ‘Project Chak De'


    The International Hockey Federation (FIH) has announced its intention to make India a hub of hockey activities.

    Unveiling its plan of reviving its erstwhile Project India, now called ‘FIH Project Chak De,' the FIH has charted out the major features of the initiative.

    Under the project, the FIH promised five important tournaments to be held in India in the next three years, establishment of invitation places for the country in elite events like the Champions Trophy and other televised tournaments, creation of a professional Indian league, administrative and international coaching support to assist Hockey India and support to schools and academies.

    Addressing a press conference here on Wednesday, FIH President Leandro Negre and Chief Executive Kelly Fairweather — encouraged by the success of the World Cup and Commonwealth Games last year — committed a few more events to India apart from those already allotted.

    The major competitions, including the ones already scheduled, are the Champions Trophy (December 3-11), men and women's Olympic qualifiers (February 15-26, 2012), men and women's junior World Cups (2013), a new event in World League Finals (2013) and women's Champions Trophy (2014). The FIH indicated that it could also assign a few more tournaments.

    City-based league

    Following the pattern of the popular cricket showpiece, the Indian Premier League (IPL), the FIH will start a city-based club league in India.

    The winner of the league will join seven other sides from around the globe in the World League Finals. It is likely to be organised in the early part of 2013.

    “From 2013, the professional league and the World club championships will be held every year,” said Mr. Negre.

    Apart from the money-spinning exercise, the FIH also stressed the development at the grassroots level and advocated greater investment in youth and infrastructure.

    “Project Chak De represents a first-of-its-kind evolution in our strategic plan and offers unparalleled commitment from FIH to the development of hockey in India.

    “In partnership with our national association, Hockey India, we aim to stimulate a renaissance in hockey, which is still defined in India's constitution as its National Sport,” said Mr. Negre.

    Meanwhile, the FIH said that it would streamline its own governance, improve the quality and presentation of its events and create a complementary and short format of the game.
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    Post  Abhishek on Fri May 13, 2011 12:32 am

    Ronaldo scores hat-trick in Real Madrid's win

    Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hat-trick to make it an incredible 36 league goals in the current campaign as Real Madrid defeated local rival Getafe 4-0 at the Santiago Bernabeu on Tuesday. Thus it prevented Barcelona from winning the league title for atleast one more day.

    If Real had failed to win, Barcelona would have been crowned champion without playing, but Pep Guardiola's side needs a point from its final three matches, with Wednesday's match at Levante the first opportunity to collect a third successive league crown.

    The league may seem lost, but Ronaldo has his own agenda to become the league's top-scorer and followed up his quadruple against Sevilla last time out with a hat-trick.

    The Portuguese star is now in the box seat to win the ‘Pichichi' crown for the league's top-scorer, with his 36-goal haul taking him five goals ahead of Barcelona's Lionel Messi.

    Real took the lead on 23 minutes with Mesut Ozil bending in a superb cross with the outside of his left foot and Ronaldo leapt highest to power in a header.

    German international Ozil set another up for Ronaldo on 57 minutes, cutting the ball back for the former Manchester United man to stroke home into an empty net.

    Karim Benzema came on and less than 60 seconds after his arrival the French forward scored his 13th league goal on 77 minutes.

    Ronaldo then converted a 90th minute penalty for his hat-trick with a cheeky chip down the middle to deceive the goalkeeper.

    It sealed a 15th home win of the season for Real and moved it five points behind Barcelona, but the champion needs just a draw to retain the title due to its superior head-to-head record over Madrid.
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    Post  Abhishek on Sat May 14, 2011 8:30 pm

    Federer loses; Nadal, Murray advance

    Rafael Nadal quickly put behind him what he described as his worst clay performance in memory to move into the last eight with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Feliciano Lopez. Just 24 hours earlier, the World No. 1 cut a frustrated figure following his troubled three set victory over Italian qualifier Paolo Lorenzi in the second round.

    He told reporters after the game that he had played badly and couldn't remember a worse performance on his favourite surface.

    Some suggested he might have been adversely affected by his loss to recent nemesis Novak Djokovic in the Madrid final on Sunday — his first clay defeat in 10 outings against the World No. 2. But Nadal insisted he was feeling no pressure and that he would improve — he claimed it wouldn't be possible to play so badly again.

    And he was proved right as he was more like his old self in notching up his fourth straight-set victory against his countryman on this surface.

    Nadal began with an early break in the second game as Lopez went long on a sliced backhand.

    Nadal suffered a break back; his forehand looked out of sorts as he hit one into the net on break point in the seventh game. However, Lopez played a sloppy game when serving to stay in the set at 4-5, a poor drop shot into the net bringing up 0-40 and three set points to Nadal, who took the first with a rasping backhand passing shot.

    Nadal needed only one opportunity in the second set as he hit an inside-out forehand winner to bring up two break points at 3-2 and then Lopez went long to hand his countryman a decisive advantage.

    And a ruthless Nadal didn't let Lopez win another game, breaking him again in the eighth game.

    In fairness, Lopez was far from his best, hitting 30 unforced errors to just 12 by Nadal, including on match-point when he went wide with an easy sliced backhand.
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    Post  Abhishek on Sat May 14, 2011 8:30 pm

    Serena out of Roland Garros

    Former World No.1 Serena Williams has pulled out of Roland Garros, the tournament she won in 2002, after failing to recover from a long-term foot injury, the French tennis federation said.

    Williamsas not played a top-level match since winning last year's Wimbledon title, after cutting her right foot on broken glass last July, an injury that required two operations. She also suffered a pulmonary embolism in February that led to an emergency operation to remove a blood clot from her lung.

    Serena's sister Venus is also a doubt for Roland Garros. She has not played since she pulled out of the Australian Open in January with abdominal pain and a sore right hip.

    The FFT has also confirmed that former World No.1 Dinara Safina, the 2008 and 2009 runner-up, has also pulled out with a back injury.
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    Post  Abhishek on Sat May 14, 2011 8:31 pm

    New Zealand hammers India

    In what will go down in history as the worst ever showing against New Zealand, a 3-7 reverse for India became a traumatic reality in the Azlan Shah hockey tournament on Thursday. Not once, but thrice India had secured the lead. But it shockingly slumped in the second half, conceding no less than five goals.

    This only mirrors the pathetic pool of errors by the defenders and the abysmally low level of performance by goalkeeper Chetri.

    For those who reckoned India as having a possible chance in Sunday's final, the outcome was baffling.

    With seven points after finishing the engagements, India can, at best, fight for the 5-6 placings in the competition.

    Admittedly, the credit should go to the indefatigable Kiwis. Their fortitude in coming back to reduce the lead three times was amazing.

    True, India scored splendid goals, each one as spectacular as the other, but the team lost the plot in the second half, showing no strategy to contain the pace, precision and punch of the Kiwi attack, which forked up six penalty corners and netted three.

    Sunil and Gurvinder netted in the first half, each time giving India the lead that the team could not hold on to.

    The Kiwis neutralised it in style with Nicolas Wilson and Blair Hilton producing shots that embellished their work at the finish. A peach of an effort by Chandi off Antil put India on top again shortly after resumption. But again the Kiwis fought back.

    What a devastating 30 minutes it turned out to be for the Indian defenders! All the good work done by Vikas Pillay, Vikram Pillay and Mahadik in the first half vanished into thin air. The indomitable Kiwi front-line performed the demolition job with unimaginable fury.

    Now the Kiwis, with seven points and a match in hand against Australia, enjoy an outside chance of figuring in the final.

    A clear picture will however emerge after the final set of matches involving Britain, Pakistan and Korea on Saturday.

    Aussies in final

    Earlier, Australia subdued a spirited challenge from Great Britain to ensure a place in Sunday's final with a game to spare. The Aussies are on top of the table with 13 points.

    Brent Dancer, son of the famous former coach, Barry Dancer, gave an early lead which was built on by Christopher Cirello — both from penalty corners in the first half.

    The Aussies held the initiative for a major part of the contest thanks to the good midfield play where Matthew Swann was the livewire. Jason Wilson, Liem de Young and Jonathan Charlesworth sparkled in the front-line, exerting enormous pressure on the rival defence in which veteran Glenn Kirkham was outstanding.

    It was only in the second half that the Britons made their presence felt.

    The sinuous runs by Simon Mantell and Matt Daly stretched the Aussie defenders to their wits' end.

    Britain forced three penalty corners in the second half.

    The towering Richard Mantell produced a near perfect penalty corner hit midway in the second half, bringing the match to life.

    Near thing

    Britain fought hard to snatch a point. The Aussies not only denied it, but almost increased the margin in the last minute.

    Adam Dixon brought off a superb goal-line save after goalkeeper James Fair was beaten lock, stock and barrel by a surging Aussie sally.

    Britain has nine points with a match remaining against Korea on Saturday. Malaysia notched up its first win in five matches when it recovered from a 0-1 deficit at half-time to beat Korea 3-1. Friday is a rest day.
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    Post  Abhishek on Sat May 14, 2011 8:31 pm

    Barcelona begins title celebrations

    Barcelona was crowned Spanish champion for the third successive season with a 1-1 draw at Levante on Wednesday, thus clinching a 21st domestic title with two games to spare.

    Barcelona needed just a point to retain the title and it duly obliged to become the first side to win three consecutive league titles since 1993 when Johan Cruyff's ‘Dream Team' won the third of its four straight league crowns.

    Mali midfielder Seydou Keita headed in a 27th minute opener for Barcelona only for the Ecuadorian striker Felipe Caicedo to equalise on 40 minutes, but it didn't matter as a draw gave the Catalan side the title.

    “It's always a nice feeling to win the title and the fans really deserve this,” said midfielder Xavi. “I imagine we're going to celebrate this title win with them tonight in the streets of Barcelona.”

    Barcelona stands six points ahead of second-placed Real Madrid and it lifted the title courtesy of its superior head-to-head record over its rivals.

    Coach Pep Guardiola has won the league title in each of his three seasons in charge and can now concentrate on going for the double with the Champions League final against Manchester United at Wembley on May 28.

    “Winning the title is always difficult and this one was tough just like the others were before,” said Guardiola. “Now, we can enjoy this win.”

    Real Madrid's 4-0 win over Getafe at the Santiago Bernabeu on Tuesday meant Barcelona had to finish the title job by itself.

    Guardiola vowed not to rest his stars and was true to his word as the likes of Lionel Messi, David Villa and Xavi started, although Andres Iniesta began on the bench.

    French international Eric Abidal also started at left back in his first league start since mid-March, having successfully undergone surgery on a liver tumour.

    Levante sounded an early warning with Valdo firing just wide, but the visitor drew first blood through Keita on 27 minutes. Xavi picked out Keita as he made a late run into the box and produced a terrific header.

    Barcelona had one hand on the trophy, but got complacent with Spanish international Gerard Pique making a schoolboy defensive mistake to confuse goalkeeper Victor Valdes and Caicedo was on hand to equalise.

    Messi went close with a free-kick before the interval, but at the break the title was in its hands despite a below-par display.

    The champion came out with more urgency in the second half and Messi took centre stage on 57 minutes with a neat turn and dribble past three men with his quick feet, but his shot crashed against the left hand post to safety.

    The Ballon D'Or holder then went on another mazy run, but his shot crept wide as Barcelona waited for a goal to ease its nerves.

    Both teams appeared happy with the draw, with Levante moving four points above the relegation zone, as the game petered out and Barcelona popped the champagne corks.

    Valencia held

    In other matches, Valencia missed the chance to seal third spot in the league following a 2-2 draw at Espanyol.

    Ernesto Galan scored a 76th minute equaliser for Espanyol to salvage a point and leave Valencia, five points ahead of fourth-placed Villarreal, needing a point from their remaining two games to clinch third and the automatic Champions League berth.
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    Post  Abhishek on Sat May 14, 2011 8:32 pm

    Vijender, Akhil claim bronze


    Vijender Singh (81kg) and Akhil Kumar (56kg) settled for bronze medals after losing in the semifinals, but the women kept India's chances of a boxing gold in the Arafura Games alive as all three advanced to the finals of their respective categories in Darwin, Australia.

    On a disappointing day for the men, Vijender and Akhil bowed out with contrasting defeats. While Vijender lost 16-17 to New Zealand's Sam Rapira in a thrilling encounter, Akhil went down 13-24 to Australian Balla Ibrahim.

    But, Pinki Jhangra (51kg), Meena Rani (60kg) and Pooja Rani (75kg) advanced to the finals, keeping India's hopes for a gold afloat. Among the men, Akhil was the first to enter the ring today and though he left his rival bloodied, the 29-year-old trailed in points count.
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    Post  Abhishek on Mon May 16, 2011 12:12 am

    Prerna Bhambri loses to Kinoshita

    Prerna Bhambri failed to capitalise on a fine chance to move ahead as she lost to lucky-loser Misa Kinoshita of Japan 2-6, 2-6 in the semifinals of the $10,000 ITF women's tennis tournament at the DLTA Complex here on Friday.

    Shlomo cruises

    In the other semifinal, the champion last week in Hyderabad, the third-seeded Keren Shlomo of Israel, with coaching assistance from former champion Manisha Malhotra, cruised to a 6-0, 6-3 victory over Manisha Foster of Britain.

    In the doubles final, the second-seeded Ankita Raina and Aishwarya Agrawal scored an impressive 6-4, 6-3 victory over the top-seeded Fatma Al Nabhani of Oman and Rushmi Chakravarthi.

    The doubles title was worth $637 and 12 WTA points while the runners-up had to be content with $343 and eight WTA points.
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    Post  Abhishek on Mon May 16, 2011 12:13 am

    Indian girls win

    The Indian girls beat Uzbekistan 2-1 in a play-off match in the Asia-Oceania World junior under-14 girls' tennis tournament at the Sarawak Centre, Kuching, Malaysia, on Friday.

    India will meet the second-seeded Japan that tamed Thailand 2-1, in the match for the fifth place on the morrow. The top four teams had qualified for the World Group competition to be staged at Prostejov, Czech Republic, in August.

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