Jun 232017
 

BIRMINGHAM: Britain’s Johanna Konta crashed out of the Aegon Classic in the second round, suffering a 6-1 6-3 loss to impressive American Coco Vandeweghe at the event here on Thursday.

Second seed Elina Svitolina of Ukraine was also knocked out at the Edgbaston Priory Club after suffering a surprise three-set defeat by Italian qualifier Camila Giorgi.

Vandeweghe, coached by Australian former Wimbledon champion Pat Cash, dominated the first set with her strong serve too much for fourth seed Konta as she wrapped up the set in 24 minutes.

Konta, the world number seven, improved in the second but never truly looked like mounting a comeback against the 25-year-old Vandeweghe, who was a Wimbledon quarter-finalist in 2015.”I was particularly happy with how I competed.

I think that is the most important thing,” said the American.

“I was ready to go from the start and that is what you want – to be firing and moving well and I felt that way today.

“I was making her earn every service game, that was my focus. I think it finally started to wear into that second set and that is what got me the break,” she added.

Vandeweghe faces Garbine Muguruza in the quarter-finals on Friday after the Spaniard’s 6-1 6-4 win over American Alison Riske.

Giorgi won six of the last seven games to triumph 6-4 4-6 6-2 over Svitolina, who said she was hampered by a sore foot.

The 25-year-old Italian will meet Australian Ashleigh Barty in the last eight.

France’s fifth-seeded Kristina Mladenovic had to work hard to get past China’s Shuai Zhang 6-4 7-6(3) and set up what looks a fascinating quarter-final against Czech Petra Kvitova. “She is on a roll so I am expecting a tough one,” said Mladenovic.

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Jun 232017
 
Fakhar Zaman: From village boy to hero

MARDAN, Pakistan: Fakhar Zaman was once banned from playing cricket in his village and beaten by his brothers because he was simply too good — but he has returned a hero after his starring role in Pakistan’s Champions Trophy win. His eyes bright, the tall 27-year-old posed for selfies and was garlanded with flowers as he was welcomed back to his home in Katlang in northwestern Pakistan. Fakhar said he was still taking it all in after he top-scored with 114 off 106 balls to lead Pakistan to a shock victory over arch-rivals India in the final, after making his ODI debut earlier in the tournament. “I did not feel much at that time,” Fakhar told AFP, referring to Sunday’s final in London. “Then I came here, and people started coming here… They all are giving me love, so now I feel that I have done some great heroics.” Bottom-ranked Pakistan produced a breathtaking display in the climax of a tournament featuring the world’s top-eight One-day International nations. They piled up 338 for four, bolstered by left-handed opener Fakhar’s maiden hundred, in what was just his fourth One-day International. His efforts set social media alight during the match, with laudatory articles and memes quickly going viral. But, Fakhar said, it was not always so: in fact his village once refused to allow him to take part in local cricket games. “I played one or two hard-ball matches in school and scored some runs. I then became popular in the whole [Read More…]

Jun 222017
 

KABUL: Afghanistan will hold its delayed parliamentary elections on July 7, 2018, the top polling official said Thursday, nearly three years late after deadlines to choose a new assembly were repeatedly missed. Parliament’s five-year term expired in mid-2015 but polls were postponed amid concerns over whether the vote could be fair and transparent after a disputed presidential election in 2014. President Ashraf Ghani extended the assembly’s mandate until elections were feasible, prompting many to question the legality of his decision. “After long consultations with concerned government bodies, we have decided to schedule the parliamentary election for July 7, 2018,” said election commission chief Najibullah Ahmadzai. Electoral reforms vital for Afghan government He urged the government and international community to provide funding and support for the election, which will likely be held against the backdrop of a worsening security situation in Afghanistan. “We have learnt lessons from the challenges and problems of the last elections. We are committed to holding [fair and transparent] elections,” Ahmadzai said. Both Ghani and his rival Abdullah Abdullah, a former anti-Taliban resistance fighter, claimed to have won the fraud-tainted 2014 presidential election, tipping Afghanistan into a crisis that threatened to trigger nationwide unrest. It took months for both candidates to agree on a US-brokered deal to form a “national unity government”. Washington is soon expected to announce an increase in the US military deployment to bolster Afghan forces as they struggle to contain the Taliban insurgency. American military commanders in Afghanistan have requested thousands of extra boots [Read More…]

Jun 222017
 

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yaldarim reiterated his support for Pakistan’s stance on Kashmir, a statement issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said. Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa, who is on an official visit to Turkey, thanked the premier on Turkish support to Pakistan in various international fora. COAS met Turkish PM. PM reiterated Turkish support for Pakistan's stance on Kashmir. COAS expressed Pak's sp to Turkey’s position on Cyprus. pic.twitter.com/pVNNfpiZbu — Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor (@OfficialDGISPR) June 22, 2017 According to the military’s media wing, both discussed matters related to regional security and commonality of challenges facing the two brotherly countries. Muslim countries can contribute towards global peace: Erdogan PM Yaldarim appreciated the positive role that Pakistan plays in the region as well as in the larger Muslim world. “Pakistan and Turkey share same stance on many issues and Pakistan supports Turkey’s position on Cyprus as well as its efforts against terrorism of all hue and colour,” the army chief said. The post Turkey reiterates support for Pakistan’s stance on Kashmir appeared first on The Express Tribune. Click for detailed story

Jun 222017
 

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Thursday condemned drone strikes on its soil as violations of sovereignty, after US officials suggested Washington might ramp them up against militants. The foreign office statement also came a day after an Iranian drone was shot down near the border. US officials told Reuters this week Washington was hardening its stance towards Pakistan, and a new policy on Afghanistan could see an increase in drone attacks.. “Our position is that drone strikes are counter-productive and violate the sovereignty of Pakistan,” foreign ministry spokesperson Nafees Zakaria said on Thursday in response to the Reuters report. Pakistan confirms shooting down Iranian drone The United States has been carrying out such airstrikes for more than a decade. The attacks have slowed to a trickle in the past 18 months. Pakistan has received more than $33 billion in US assistance since 2002, but some aid was withheld last year. US officials have said the Trump administration is also considering withholding some assistance. “Pakistan attaches importance to its relationship with the US,” Zakaria said. “We firmly believe that continued close cooperation between our two countries is critical for promoting peace and security in the region and beyond.” On Wednesday, an unmanned Iranian drone flying over Balochistan was shot down. Trump seen hardening line toward Pakistan after Afghan war review The incident followed warnings by Tehran that it would strike against militants carrying out cross-border attacks. Ten Iranian border guards were killed by militants in April. Iran claimed Jaish al Adl, a Sunni militant group, had shot them from [Read More…]

Jun 222017
 

LONDON: Afghanistan and Ireland will join the ranks of full Test-playing nations after receiving the backing of the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) conference on Thursday. The body said it had voted to admit the two nations into the elite group that is permitted to play traditional five-day Test matches. As new full members of the ICC, Ireland and Afghanistan will take the total of countries playing Tests to 12. Until 1982 there were only seven but that year Sri Lanka were admitted. Zimbabwe then joined in 1992 and Bangladesh became the most recent member in 2000. Cricket has a long history in Afghanistan but the country played amongst the sports minnows until gaining one-day international (ODI) status in 2011. Two years later, still suffering from the impact of war and conflict, the country was given ‘associate member’ status of the world governing body ICC. In 2015, Afghanistan played in their first 50-over World Cup and they have also featured in the World T20 competition. Ireland have steadily progressed in the game and first qualified for the World Cup in 2007 when they pulled off a shock win over Pakistan and they have qualified for both World Cups since. The post Afghanistan, Ireland become Test-playing nations appeared first on The Express Tribune. Click for detailed story

Jun 222017
 

KARACHI: Former Pakistan skipper Shahid Afridi has praised the current team for winning the ICC Champions Trophy but also criticised the domestic structure and quality of cricket being played in the country. While speaking at the MoU-signing ceremony between ICMAP and Shahid Afridi Foundation at the former’s premises, Afridi said: “No one had any expectations that this team would even reach the semi-finals but the way they played and went all the way deserves appreciation. This is the beauty of ICC tournaments that no one can expect who will be in the finals. Any team can spring surprises.” He further said that the team defeated top teams but there is still a lot of work to be done at the domestic level. Classic win wins all-round plaudits “I have been and will keep on saying that the structure of domestic cricket in Pakistan should be modified and the quality of pitches, balls and standard of umpiring should be improved,” he said. “We cannot relax after winning the trophy. We have to work a lot on the domestic structure to keep the national team consistent.” Praising the efforts of Fakhar Zaman, the former all-rounder said that in modern cricket every team needs an attacking opener. “There is a need of attacking openers who can score quick runs for the team and Fakhar fits the bill,” he said. Talking about the seniors’ place and role in the side, the 37-year-old Afridi added: “If they are able to find cricketers of the seniors’ calibre [Read More…]

Jun 212017
 
Sarfraz awarded BMW SUV, plot on ?Geo Khelo Pakistan?

KARACHI: Sarfraz Ahmed – the captain of Pakistan cricket team – honoured Geo Khelo Pakistan game show today in its 25th episode as a guest, alongside hosts Wasim Akram and Shoaib Akhtar, and was presented two gifts in acknowledgement of his and the team’s service to the country.Entering to thunderous applause and loud chants of ‘Sarfraz Zindabad’, the captain appeared surprised and humbled at the welcome he received. He was awarded luxury SUV BMW X1 as a joint thank-you from JS Bank and Dewan Motors as well as a plot of land by Bahria Town.Pakistan under the captainship of Ahmed bagged an unexpected win on Sunday against the longstanding archrival India in the ICC Champions Trophy final held at The Oval in Lambeth, South London. The victory was not only memorable but celebrated by Pakistanis all around the world. Pakistan create history, thrash India in Champions Trophy finalFakhar Zaman scored his maiden century while Mohammad Amir tore apart the Indian top-order as Pakistan defeated India Speaking to Geo.tv, Ahmed thanked God and also expressed his gratitude to the team and fans. “I’m really thankful to Allah for providing us with so much honour and giving us the opportunity to enhance our reputation. In addition, it is our parents’ and fans’ prayers that got us to this place,” he said, adding that the team worked really hard for this victory.Ahmed was pleased to attend the game show and enjoyed being in the presence of legendary cricketers Akram and Akhtar, who he [Read More…]

Jun 212017
 
Afridi terms Pakistan?s win historic, stresses importance of consistency

[embed_video1 url=http://stream.jeem.tv/vod/60489c8e3542725c9b74e732af04627b.mp4/playlist.m3u8?wmsAuthSign=c2VydmVyX3RpbWU9Ni8yMS8yMDE3IDEyOjI2OjI1IFBNJmhhc2hfdmFsdWU9a0k3bUpxSTJ5M1NDYXBJbE9ZZ3hFdz09JnZhbGlkbWludXRlcz02MCZpZD0x style=center] KARACHI: Former captain Shahid Afridi has termed Pakistan’s win in the ICC Champions Trophy as one which will go down in the history books.Speaking to journalists after attending an event here on Tuesday, Afridi said: “What Sarfraz and his team have done will go down in history. When miracles happen they are remembered for a long time.”Afridi added that only a few people had expectations from the team to reach the semi-final.“They won the trophy and I would like to congratulate the entire country and in my opinion, the way the Pakistani people treated those cricketers with respect, love and the way they were welcomed is the most important thing for me.”More needs to be doneThe former skipper stated that more needs to be done to improve the state of Pakistan cricket and there should be no complacency with this win. Afridi called for an improvement in the structure, pitches, umpiring and equipment moving forward.“We should not think that after winning one trophy we have conquered the world. A lot needs to be done in domestic cricket. Winning and losing are part of the game as we saw with Australia and New Zealand. Consistency is the most important thing. There needs to be a system to ensure that Pakistan keeps winning trophies.”Pakistan the lowest-ranked team in the tournament shocked the world when they defeated India by 180 runs in the ICC Champions Trophy final on Sunday.Since the victory, there have been celebrations all across the country and [Read More…]

Jun 212017
 
Venezuelan football fan gets record for most FIFA World Cup tournaments attended

The Holy Grail of football is the FIFA World Cup tournament held once every four years and if you would ask any die-hard football fan their ultimate dream would be to attend the event once in their lifetime. But for Venezuelan businessman Hely Garagozzo, it has now become a ritual tradition. Garagozzo has now attended a whopping nine of the tournaments in a row beginning in 1982 when it was held in Spain to the last in Brazil. This unique feat has been acknowledged by the Guinness World Records for the most FIFA World Cup tournaments attended by an individual. The Venezuelan estimates he has traversed over 231,000 kilometres to attend these matches, which is the equivalent of 5.67 full circumnavigations of the Earth. Bodla breaks world record for most punches in an hour Despite the main attraction always being the football itself, he has been able to see many interesting sites along the way such as the Roman Coliseum, Iguazu Falls, ground zero in Hiroshima, and the Berlin Wall. “It’s the magic of football that transcends the field and transforms into a culture,” he said. Hely carries a large Venezuelan flag to every game he goes to, which can sometimes cause him to stand out in the crowd. “A lot of people know me as the guy with the flag,” he joked. In addition to the nine World Cups, he also attended the Under-17 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates in 2013 as well as the Under-20 World Cup in Egypt [Read More…]

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