The News International - Sports

Oct 072017
Halep on top of the world after reaching final

BEIJING: Simona Halep will take over as number one in the WTA world rankings after progressing to the China Open final with a dominant 6-2, 6-4 victory over Latvia’s Jelena Ostapenko here on Saturday. Halep will face unseeded Caroline Garcia in the final on Sunday (today) after the Frenchwoman beat 12th seed Petra Kvitova of Czech Republic 6-3, 7-5 in the second semi-final. The Romanian avenged this year’s French Open final defeat by Ostapenko with a ruthless all-round display in which she hit five aces and 14 winners to oust the Latvian in 75 minutes. “It’s very emotional, I think it’s the first time I cried on court,” Halep said. Ostapenko produced a lacklustre performance and recorded 32 unforced errors as she failed to make any inroads on her opponent’s solid defence. Halep also broke the 20-year-old’s serve four times, including in the first game of the match. The Latvian showed some resistance in the second set to forge a 4-3 lead but Halep won three consecutive games to seal victory. Wuhan Open champion Garcia raced to her 10th consecutive win to climb into the world’s top-10 as an error-strewn Kvitova recorded 11 double faults and won just 10 of 27 second serves. The 23-year-old took a 3-0 lead in the first set to pile the pressure on Kvitova, who failed to make a comeback and lost the set. Twice Wimbledon champion Kvitova started the second set strongly to gain a 2-0 advantage but her wayward serving cost her as [Read More…]

Oct 062017
Vettel fires Japanese GP warning before washout

SUZUKA, Japan: Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel set the pace on Friday for the Japanese Grand Prix with a blistering drive in the morning’s free practice before rain caused havoc in the afternoon. Lewis Hamilton splashed gingerly to the fastest time of a soaking second session after an absorbing morning run-out. Delayed by 50 minutes as rain lashed down, the afternoon looked like being a complete washout as team engineers amused themselves by floating paper boats along a river of water gushing down the pit lane. When the cars did finally creep out, puddles made the going treacherous but Lewis steered his Mercedes to the quickest time of one minute, 48.719 seconds. Vettel topped the timesheets in a morning session which was temporarily disrupted after Carlos Sainz smashed his Toro Rosso into a wall. Vettel’s time of 1:29.166 was almost 20 seconds quicker than Hamilton’s wet run, the German edging out the Formula One championship leader and Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo. “The results were not the best the last couple of races but I think we are strong so we have all reason to be confident,” said Vettel, who finished fourth in Malaysia last weekend from the back of the grid. “I’m pretty sure on Sunday we will be able to show what we can do.”None of Hamilton’s title rivals posted times in the afternoon when Lance Stroll had a lucky escape after his Williams aquaplaned off coming into turn one, forcing the Canadian to take evasive action to avoid hitting a [Read More…]

Oct 062017
Bayern appoint Heynckes as new manager

BERLIN: Jupp Heynckes is coming out of retirement to take over as coach of Bayern Munich until the end of the season, the Bundesliga club said on Friday. Bayern sacked Carlo Ancelotti last week.Heynckes, 72, led Bayern to the domestic league and Cup double and the Champions League title in 2013 before making way for Pep Guardiola. Ancelotti took over last season but the Italian was fired after Bayern slipped to second place in the league, squandering two-goal leads in consecutive games.“I wouldn’t have returned to any other club in the world, but FC Bayern Munchen are very close to my heart,” Heynckes said in a statement on the club website ( “My coaching staff and I will now do everything to bring back successful football for the fans. I’m very much looking forward to this challenge.”Heynckes, who also coached Bayern from 1987-91, will reunite with former assistants Peter Hermann and Hermann Gerland, who were part of his backroom staff during the club’s season. Hermann has left his post as assistant coach at Bundesliga 2 side Fortuna Duesseldorf, while Gerland — currently sporting head of Bayern’s youth set-up — will now work with the first team until the end of the season.  Click for detailed story

Oct 062017
Lalak Jan Niners edge Saif Ali Niners

KARACHI: Havaldar Lalak Jan Niners trounced Naik Saif Ali Janjua Niners in their match of Nishan-e-Haidar Hockey tournament here at Abdul Sattar Edhi stadium. In another match, Major Tufail Muhammad Niners defeated Major Raja Aziz Bhatti Niners. In the first match, Havaldar Lalak Jan team played aggressively throughout the match as they sounded the board twice and won the match by 2-0. Ali Aziz hit one goal, which was followed by Abdullah. Naik Saif Ali Janjua team got one point for winning the shootout 4-3. In the second match of the day, Sarwar Shaheed Niners defeated Tufail Shaheed Niners by 2-1 in the field phase. Tufail Shaheed Niners had won the shootout 4-2, gaining one point. Sarwar Shaheed got three points, while Tufail Mohammad got one point.   Hasan Anwar scored one goal for Tufail Muhammad Shaheed. Samiullah and Fayyaz Yaqoob scored one goal each for Sarwar Shaheed.  In the third match, Muhammad Akram Shaheed Niners defeated Muhammad Mahfooz Shaheed Niners by 3-2 to gain three points. But the penalty shootout had been won by Akram Shaheed Niners 5-4, so they got one point. Shahn Irshad was the main striker as he scored two goals. One was netted by Muhammad Zubair. From the losing side Bilal Qadir and Mohsin Sabir scored one goal each.  Click for detailed story

Oct 062017
Ruthless Nadal sets up semi-final showdown with Dimitrov

BEIJING: Rafael Nadal got some fibre from a tennis ball lodged in his eye but that did not stop the world number one setting up a China Open semi-final on Saturday with “great guy” Grigor Dimitrov. The Spaniard tamed the big-serving American John Isner 6-4, 7-6 (7/0) on Friday to set up the clash with the third-seeded Bulgarian. Dimitrov booked his place in the last-four on Beijing’s outside hard courts with a 7-6 (7/5), 4-6, 6-2 victory over another Spaniard, Roberto Bautista Agut. The other semi-final will be an intriguing encounter between two rising talents, with temperamental but talented Nick Kyrgios playing starlet Alexander Zverev of Germany. Nadal, 31, the 16-time Grand Slam champion, revved up a gear against Isner to surge through the second-set tie break, although there was concern at one point during the set when he appeared to be suffering an eye problem. “Just something came to my eye, that’s all,” said Nadal, who is chasing a sixth title this year. “I think it was just a hair or something, a hair from the tennis ball. It was bothering me for a while.” “Not important, (but) I am still feeling (it) a little bit by the way,” Nadal, who attempted to wash the suspected fibre out with water, added with a smile. Nadal will face a familiar figure in Dimitrov — the pair practised together at Nadal’s base in Mallorca before the US Open, where the Spaniard won the title for a third time this year. They [Read More…]

Oct 062017
Ammad reaches UAE Open semis

KARACHI: Pakistan’s Ammad Fareed reached the semi-finals of $5,000 5th UAE Open at Indian Social & Cultural Centre, Abu Dhabi, on Friday. Unseeded Ammad, who recently won NSW Open, stunned fifth seed Sajad Zareian of Iran 8-11, 11-9, 6-11, 11-7, 11-3 in 60 minutes in the quarter-finals. Earlier, he had surprised fourth seed Matias Tuomi of Finland 10-12, 14-12, 17-15, 11-4 in 75 minutes in the first round. He will play against second seed Edmon Lopez of Spain in the last-four stage. Top seed Ammar Altamimi thrashed Pakistan’s Zeeshan Khan 11-8, 11-2, 11-2 in 25 minutes in their quarter-final. In the first round, unseeded Zeeshan had stunned seventh seed Sandeep Ramachandran of India 11-3, 2-11, 11-7, 11-8 in 55 minutes. Eighth seed Robert Downer of England won against Pakistan’s qualifier Ali Bokhari 11-9, 11-7, 11-13, 11-1 in 50 minutes. Click for detailed story

Oct 042017
?Giant tents? could end rain delays: report

LONDON: English cricket chiefs are exploring deploying “giant tents” to ensure rain no longer stops play, a report said on Wednesday. Britain’s Daily Telegraph newspaper said research was being carried out into placing mesh netting over grounds after a US company approached the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB). The ECB has spoken to the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), which owns Lord’s in northwest London, about the issue, the report said.A fine, transparent mesh would be held up by wires suspended from floodlights with a hot air balloon in the centre to lift it up and create a tent-like effect. “We would look at any new technology and ways to get games on and more people playing cricket,” a spokesman for the ECB told the Telegraph.“There is some interesting technology around trying to create protection from rain and keep the game on in wet weather,” Guy Lavender, the new MCC chief executive, was quoted as saying. Click for detailed story

Oct 042017
Argentina hopes on line in crucial Peru clash

MONTEVIDEO: Argentina’s stumbling 2018 World Cup qualification campaign faces another awkward hurdle on Thursday (today) as the misfiring South American giants take on in-form Peru in Buenos Aires. The 2014 World Cup finalists have lurched from one disappointment to the next since South America’s qualifiers kicked off two years ago, with the two-time champions invariably failing to add up to the sum of their talented parts. Despite a formidable arsenal of attackers led by Lionel Messi, the Argentinians have scored just 16 goals in 16 games, the second lowest total behind already-eliminated Bolivia. A lacklustre 1-1 home draw with Venezuela in their last outing on September 5 left Argentina’s hopes of automatic qualification for next year’s finals in Russia hanging by the slenderest of threads.With just Thursday’s game against Peru and next week’s challenging trip to Ecuador remaining, Argentina are in fifth place in the table, outside the top four automatic qualifying places. While a fifth-place finish would likely still see them qualify for Russia — with what ought to be a straight forward playoff assignment against New Zealand awaiting — a crowded table means Argentina can’t take anything for granted. If South American champions Chile — currently in sixth place, one point adrift of Argentina — win their home match against Ecuador, and fourth-placed Peru win or draw in Buenos Aires, Argentina will head into the final round of games next week outside both the automatic qualifying and playoff places. In a bid to avoid that scenario, Argentina have [Read More…]

Oct 042017
Tokyo 2020 water venue polluted

TOKYO: Tokyo Olympic organisers said on Wednesday that prolonged summer rain had temporarily brought high levels of bacteria to a venue intended for triathlon and marathon swimming at the 2020 Games.The admission came during a visit by International Olympic Committee officials to assess Tokyo’s readiness to host the Games, with just a little over 1,000 days to go. Many samples taken from late July through early September at the Odaiba Marine Park showed elevated levels of pollution, said Koji Murofushi, sports director for the Tokyo 2020 organising committee. “The timing and the volume of rainfall impacted the data,” said Murofushi, blaming unusually long rains — the Japanese capital saw three straight weeks of precipitation at that time — that brought pollutants from offshore. Tokyo officials said underwater screens and better infrastructure, including beefed up local sewage, should help maintain the water quality to international standards.The facility routinely hosts triathlon and swimming events that meet international quality standards, sports officials said. Murofushi rejected the idea of changing the venue, pledging that “measures will be taken so that we can provide an excellent environment for the sports” during the 2020 Games.IOC vice president John Coates warned the Japanese capital should prepare for the worst possible weather conditions. The IOC expected Tokyo to take steps “to ensure that even in the worst of conditions that those matters will be addressed and the health of athletes in those two sports will not be prejudiced in any way,” Coates said. Swimming’s governing body FINA said [Read More…]

Oct 032017
Raonic tramples Troicki on tennis return in Tokyo

TOKYO: Canada’s Milos Raonic looked sharp on his return from wrist surgery Tuesday as he battered Serbian Viktor Troicki 6-3, 6-4 in the first round of the Japan Open. The third seed, who was forced to sit out the US Open due to a persistent problem with his left wrist, displayed very few signs of rust after a seven-week absence, taking just 71 minutes to blast his way into the last 16. A right-hander with a double-fisted backhand, Raonic tore through the opening set in bright Tokyo sunshine and secured the key break early in the second with a cleverly disguised drop shot. Troicki fought gamely but when a Raonic volley clipped the net and trickled over, the Serb slammed his racquet to the ground in disgust and bellowed furiously at courtside spectators.Raonic, a former world number three, rifled 16 aces to pile the misery on Troicki, completing victory with a kicking serve that his opponent could only waft into the net. The former Wimbledon finalist next faces Japan’s Yuichi Sugita, who progressed after 2015 Tokyo runner-up Benoit Paire of France threw in the towel upon losing the first set 6-4, citing fatigue. Elsewhere, Frenchman Richard Gasquet, another former Japan Open finalist, upset American sixth seed Sam Querrey 6-4, 7-6 after clinically winning the second-set breaker 7-2.In other matches, eighth seed Diego Schwartzman of Argentina beat American Donald Young 6-2, 7-5 while Australia’s Matthew Ebden ousted big-serving Croat Ivo Karlovic 6-4, 6-3. Click for detailed story

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