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Saturday 19 March 2011

Sharapova scrapes past Peng in erratic match

The Morung Express

Nadal holds off Karlovic to reach Indian Wells semis

INDIAN WELLS ( CALIFORNIA), MARCH 18 (REUTERS): World number one Rafael Nadal withstood a barrage of power serving by Croat Ivo Karlovic to reach the semifinals of the Indian Wells ATP tournament with a thrilling 5-7, 6-1, 7-6 victory on Thursday. The Spanish left-hander, champion in 2007 and 2009, ended a tightly balanced match on the showpiece stadium court by winning the third set tiebreak 9-7 when a Karlovic forehand floated long. Nadal had earned his third match point of the night with a sublime inside-out forehand crosscourt winner and the crowd erupted with deafening roars when he converted it moments later to seal victory in two hours 23 minutes. He collapsed to the ground in delight and will next meet Argentine Juan Martin del Potro, who was gifted a place in the last four when Spaniard Tommy Robredo pulled out of their match earlier in the day with a strained left abductor muscle. “That was very tight,” a beaming Nadal said courtside after beating the six-foot 10-inch (2.08 metre) Karlovic for a fourth time in four career meetings. “For sure, it was an unbelievably difficult match. I love this court and the fans here are unbelievable.” Karlovic, who became the fastest server of all time with a 251 kph (156 mph) blast during his country’s Davis Cup tie against Germany in Zagreb this month, ended the match with a total of 23 aces. The first set went with serve until top seed Nadal was broken in the 11th game when he ran back after a protracted rally and, on the stretch, hit a forehand lob long.

INDIAN WELLS, MARCH 18 (AGENCIES): Russian Maria Sharapova advanced to the semifinals in Indian Wells after recovering from a dismal serving display in the second set to battle past China’s Peng Shuai 6-2, 5-7, 6-3. Champion here in 2006, 16th seed Sharapova appeared to be in cruise control after sweeping through the first set and going 2-0 up in the second but she then double-faulted seven times for Peng to level the match. The final set began with four successive breaks of serve before the Russian, regaining form with her crunching forehand, broke Peng in the seventh and ninth games to seal victory in two hours and 22 minutes. Sharapova won her quarterfinal despite committing 13 double faults and winning just 27 percent of her second-serve points. Neither player could hold serve at the start of the deciding set but then Sharapova found a spark in the sixth game to hold serve for the first time in the set and level the score at 3-3. Sharapova also won the next three games to take the match. Sharapova, who called for her coach to come down to the court several times, broke Peng’s serve four times in the third set, including the final game of the match to earn her ninth match win of the season to go with three losses. “I played well in the first set and a half and then my level dropped,” Sharapova said. “It was important to stay tough out there because you know the match isn’t over until the last point.” Sharapova, who is the lone former Indian Wells champion left in the women’s draw, now holds a 2-1 edge over Peng in career matches. “Was really happy to into the quarterfinal here, but Maria is a tough match,” Peng said. “In the third set I have chance, but she play well.” “I turned it on for the first set and a half and then my level definitely dropped,” Sharapova said courtside after serving up a total of 13 double faults.“She took advantage of that and it was important for me to stay tough. I knew the match wasn’t over until the last point.” Sharapova will meet Caroline Wozniacki in the semifinals.

Rafael Nadal of Spain reacts during his match against Ivo Karlovic of Croatia during a quarterfinals match at the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament in Indian Wells, Calif., Thursday, March 17. Nadal won 5-7, 6-1, 7-6 (7). (AP Photo)

Karlovic then held serve to clinch the opening set but he was broken in the second and fourth games of the second as the Spaniard began to dominate from the baseline with searing groundstrokes. Nadal levelled the match by holding serve to take the second set 6-1 when a Karlovic forehand service return floated long but the third set went into a tiebreak with neither able to break. The Spaniard raced into a 5-2 lead after pulling off an incredible volleyed drop shot on the

Wozniacki reaches semis after Azarenka injury

INDIAN WELLS, MARCH 18 (REUTERS): Top seed Caroline Wozniacki advanced to the semifinals in Indian Wells on Thursday when her opponent, Victoria Azarenka of Belarus, retired because of a hip injury while trailing 0-3. The eighth-seeded Azarenka, a close friend of Wozniacki, suffered the injury while trying to play a forehand during the second point of the third game in the opening set. She summoned her trainer, laid down on a towel on the stadium court and had her upper left thigh massaged before taking a 10-minute medical timeout. When Azarenka returned with her hip and

Maria Sharapova of Russia, returns a shot to Shuai Peng of China, during a quarterfinals match at the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament in Indian Wells, Calif., Thursday, March 17. (AP Photo)

Bopanna-Qureshi Bin Hammam to run for FIFA presidency upstaged in semifinals INDIAN WELLS, MARCH 18 (PTI): The Indo-Pak express of Rohan Bopanna and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi suffered an upset defeat at the hands of Belgian Xavier Malisse and Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov in the men’s doubles semifinals to bow out of the BNP Paribas ATP Tour 1000 tournament. There was not much difference between the two sides but the Ukrainian-Belgian pair managed to win 6-3, 3-6 (8-10). The 15th ranked IndoPak duo, who had a successful tournament, beating World No 2 duo of Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi in the second round before

getting the better of the Serbian pair of Novak Djokovic and Viktor Troicki in the quarterfinals, failed to live up to their reputation at the crucial juncture of the match yesterday. Starting on a positive note, the IndoPak pair raced away with the opening set quite comfortably, winning it 6-3. But Malisse and Dolgopolov, who had earlier caused a major upset by beating top seeds Mike and Bob Bryan in the quarterfinals, came back hard to bag the second set. The issue was settled in the tie breaker in which the Ukrainian-Belgian duo held their nerves to emerge triumphant.

KUALA LUMPUR, MARCH 18 (AGENCIES): AFC chief Mohamed Bin Hammam on Friday launched his bid to unseat Sepp Blatter as head of global soccer with a campaign built on transparency and technology. The 61-year-old Qatari ended weeks of speculation about a possible bid to become FIFA president by informing reporters of his decision at Asian Football Confederation (AFC) headquarters in Kuala Lumpur. He rated his chances of success as “50-50.” “After careful consideration I have decided to stand in the FIFA presidential elections on June 1 at the FIFA congress,” he said. “The AFC executive committee have encouraged me. “Change is necessary and needed in FIFA. I have the wish and will to serve FIFA -- I have always declared that competition is good.” Blatter, 75, who is seeking a

Saina avenges loss to Eriko, reaches quarters in Swiss Open

NEW DELHI, MARCH 18 (PTI): Saina Nehwal avenged her All England quarterfinal loss to Eriko Hirose with a thrilling three-game victory over the Japanese in the second round of the Wilson Swiss Open Super Series in Switzerland. Second seed Saina beat All England finalist Eriko 21-15 17-21 21-11 in a match which lasted close to an hour to set up a clash with sixth seed Bulgar-

ian Petya Nedelcheva in the quarterfinals. Nedelcheva defeated qualifier Karin Schnaase of Germany 21-12 21-11 last night. Eriko had beaten Saina in the quarterfinals of the All England Championships last week and the Japanese got off to a good start in the first game in Switzerland. She opened up a fourpoint lead at 9-4 in the second round but Saina caught up with her and moved

stretch but the Croat, helped by a 210 kph (131 mph) ace, fought back to 5-5 before saving match points at 5-6 and 6-7. Former US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina earned his place in the last four when former world number five Robredo withdrew before their scheduled quarterfinal. The Spaniard had been troubled by his injury for a month and he aggravated it in the second set of his 6-1, 6-3 fourth-round victory over American Sam Querrey on Wednesday.

ahead to pocket the opener. Her back against the wall, Eriko came back strongly in the second game and moved neck-and-neck with Saina before surging ahead from 17-16 to equalise. In the decider, world number four Saina didn’t give any chance to her rival and shut the match with ruthless precision moving to 13-5 first and then holding on to it as Eriko crumbled. In men’s singles, Ajay Jayaram also reached the quarterfinals with a hard-fought 15-21 23-21 21-19 victory over 16th seed Hans-Kristian Vittinghus of Denmark in the third round last night. He will take on fourth seed Sung Hwan Park of Korean in the next round. Rupesh Kumar and Sanave Thomas beat sixth seeds Mads Conrad-Petersen and Jonas Rasmussen of Denmark 17-21 21-15 21-15 in the men’s doubles category. The Indian duo will next take on fourth seeds Chieh Min Fang and Sheng Mu Lee of Chinese Taipei in the quarterfinals.

President of Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Mohamed bin Hammam speaks during a press conference at the AFC House in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on March 18. Bin Hammam confirmed Friday he will run for the FIFA presidency, posing the first challenge to Sepp Blatter in nearly a decade. (AP Photo)

fourth term as the head of FIFA, and Bin Hammam will stand in an election at the two-day FIFA Congress in Zurich starting on May 31. Bin Hammam, who was sworn in unopposed for a third and final four-year term as AFC head in January, is hoping to become the ninth president of FIFA and the first from Asia. The Qatari said much of FIFA’s administration was too bureaucratic and promised to decentralise it if voted in, adding that he would also expand the executive committee to give more people more say in decision making. Bin Hammam, who played an influential role in securing the 2022 World Cup for Qatar, also made clear he would support the introduction of goal line technology if his bid for the top job was successful and said he would be in favour of introducing two more officials behind the goals.

upper leg heavily wrapped, she played two more points for Dane Wozniacki to take 3-0 lead before forfeiting the match on the stadium court. “Victoria is one of my best friends on the tour, and to see her in pain on the court and to see her get injured was not nice for sure,” Wozniacki told reporters after the reaching the last four at Indian Wells for a second successive year. “I would like to have won it in another way, but I’m through to the semifinals and I’m happy to be there.” “I wish Victoria all the best and hope she can play Miami next week,” world number one Wozniacki added, referring to the elite WTA event at Key Biscayne.

Open Naga wrestling tournament 2011 KOHIMA, MARCH 18 (MExN): The 7th Open Naga Wrestling Tournament 2011 will take place on March 23 at Kohima Local Ground from 9:30 AM onwards. K. Sankaranarayanan, Governor of Maharastra will grace the tournament as the chief guest while Kekhriengulie Linyü, president, Angami Public Organization will be the guest of honour. Naga wrestlers from outside Nagaland have confirmed their participation at the tournament. Senior/veteran players have also been asked to come forward with the application to join the tournament. All the wrestlers have been asked to report at the ground on March 22 at 2:00 PM for collection of players entry card and related information. All the tournament officials have been requested to report at the venue at 3:00 PM on March 22 for final briefing.

CASH AWARDS

•Ist: Rs. 90,000 •2nd: Rs. 60,000 •3rd: Rs. 40,000 •4th: Rs. 20,000 •All Quarter finalist: Rs. 5,000 each

•All Pre-Quarter

finalist: Rs. 2,000 each

•All winners of

2nd round- Rs. 1000 each

•All winners of Ist

round- Rs. 500 each

BULLS TOP EAST AFTER NETS WIN

DERRICK Rose scored 21-points as the Chicago Bulls won their eighth straight game with an 84-73 win over the New Jersey Nets today at the Prudential Center.

NEWARK, MARCH 18 (AGENCIES): The Bulls, sporting an allgreen uniform to celebrate St Patricks Day, re-gained outright top spot in the Eastern Conference. Their MVP candidate - Derrick Rose shone late in the game to halt the Nets winning streak at five. Luol Deng had 19 points for the Bulls, and rookie Omer Asik impressed in the absence of Carlos Boozer with an 11-point, 16-rebound performance off the bench. For the Nets, Brook Lopez had 22 points and Deron Williams 11 assists, but the all-star point-guard shot just 1-12 from the field Elsewhere, Carmelo Anthony scored 28 points to help the New York Knicks to a comfortable 120-99 home win over the Memphis Grizzlies. Reserve guard Toney Douglas added 29 points, including a franchise record tying nine three pointers, as the Knicks overcame a slow start to consolidate sixth spot in the East. Chauncey Billups finished with 18 points and 8 assists while Amare Stoudemire 16 points and 9 rebounds. In the late game, Portland continued its recent form surge with a 111-70 massacre of the owner of the NBA’s worst record, the Cleveland Cavaliers LeMarcus Aldridge had 20-points on 9-10 shooting with 11 rebounds and Aussie Patrick Mills fin- Chicago Bulls’ Omer Asik, of Turkey, is fouled by New Jersey Nets’ Kris Humphries, right, as Nets’ Sundiata ished with 11 points to give the Trail Gaines, left, helps out during the third quarter of an NBA basketball game, Thursday, March 17, 2011, in Newark, Blazers its biggest win of the season. N.J. The Bulls won 84-73. (AP Photo)


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