Australian Open: Djokovic overcomes Zverev to book semi-finals berth - The Daily Guardian
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Australian Open: Djokovic overcomes Zverev to book semi-finals berth

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Melbourne [Australia], February 16 (ANI): World no. 1 Novak Djokovic on Tuesday defeated Germany’s Alexander Zverev in the Australian Open at the Rod Laver Arena to register a place in the semi-finals.
It was an intense clash between the two top-ranked players as the sixth-ranked Zverev fought till the end against the Serbian in a bid to progress to the next round of the tournament.
Djokovic came from behind and after losing the first set he won the clash 6-7(6), 6-2, 6-4, 7-6(8) that lasted for three hours and 30 minutes.
German started the game on a high note as he clinched the first set in a tie-breaker despite facing a tough challenge from the world number one.
After going down in the match, Djokovic came out with all guns blazing and claimed the next two sets easily. He won five games in a row to steal the third set from Zverev, taking it 6-4.
In the fourth set, Zverev took the early lead but he could not hold it long as Djokovic saved nine of 12 break points, including a set point at 5-6 in the fourth set with an ace, to earn his sixth ATP head to head victory in eight matches against Zverev.
The 33-year-old has now won 11 straight matches against top 10 players at Melbourne Park, dating back to his quarter-final loss to eventual champion Stan Wawrinka in 2014.
Djokovic will now play against Grand Slam debutant Aslan Karatsev for a place in the championship match. The 27-year-old defeated Grigor Dimitrov 2-6, 6-4, 6-1, 6-2 to become the first player in the Open Era (since 1968) to reach the semi-finals in his maiden major championship appearance. (ANI)

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‘Intelligent ‘Ashwin always reinventing himself, says Laxman

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Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], March 2 (ANI): Former India batsman VVS Laxman has praised Ravichandran Ashwin, saying the seasoned off-spinner is reinventing himself and is always looking to improve.
Ashwin had gone past the 400 wickets milestone in the third Test against England at the Narendra Modi Stadium which India won by 10 wickets to take a 2-1 lead in the four-match series. Courtesy his performance, Ashwin is now ranked number three in the ICC Test bowler rankings.
“I think he (Ashwin) is a very intelligent person. When you are playing at the highest level, then it’s not only about your skill, it’s about your preparation, your planning and execution is so critical. So, he works out what are the weaknesses of the batsman. He plans those dismissals and that’s why I think he is reinventing himself,” Laxman said while speaking on Star Sports’ show ‘Cricket Connected’.
“We saw recently in the Australia series how he troubled, someone as great as Steve Smith, and that’s another thing that makes Ashwin or any champion player special, that he wants to be the best and compete against the best,” he added.
Ashwin was a standout performer in India’s remarkable 2-1 Test series win over Australia and his resilience was on show in the third Test in Sydney where he battled it out alongside Hanuma Vihari to help India walk away with a famous draw.
“78 Test matches for 400 Test wicket. Let the naysayers be! He’s been absolutely phenomenal with the craft that he has displayed over a period of time and as he’s growing as a bowler he’s picking a lot of wickets. So, that question mark is also getting answered quite nicely,” said former India batsman Aakash Chopra while praising Ashwin.
“I feel that he’s an absolute rockstar. He’s one of the biggest match-winner, that India has ever produced. Of course, Anil Kumble will still remain at number one,” he added.
Earlier, when Ashwin was asked about possibly going past Kumble’s tally of 619 wickets, the 34-year-old said that he just wants to stay in the moment and not look too far ahead.
“I stopped thinking about all the landmarks a long time ago. It has been about how I can get better and what more I can offer to the team. I am looking to get better as an individual and cricketer every single day. I am not looking forward to what lies ahead and probably this is the reason why I am really enjoying my game right now. I would like to be in this space,” said Ashwin during a virtual press conference last Saturday.
India currently has a 2-1 lead in the ongoing four-match series against England and if the hosts manage to win or draw the final Test, they would secure their berth in the final of the inaugural ICC World Test Championship (WTC) where they will be facing New Zealand at the Lord’s, London from June 18-22. (ANI)

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Ravi Shastri gets first dose of COVID-19 vaccine

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Ahmedabad, [India], March 2 (ANI): Team India head coach Ravi Shastri on Tuesday morning received the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine. Shastri, 58, got the jab at the Apollo Hospital here.
“Got the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine. Thank you to the amazing medical professionals & scientists for empowering India against the pandemic,” Shastri tweeted along with a picture of him receiving the jab.
“Extremely impressed with the professionalism shown by Kantaben & her team at Apollo, Ahmedabad in dealing with COVID-19 vaccination,” he added.
The second phase of Covid-19 vaccination — for those above 60 years of age, and people between 45 and 59 years of age with specific comorbidities — began on Monday. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, along with other political leaders, got vaccinated on the first day.
Shastri is currently with the Indian cricket team participating in a four-match Test series against England.
Virat Kohli’s men are 2-1 up in the series, having won the third Test, played with the pink ball, by 10 wickets at the Narendra Modi Stadium here last week.
The fourth and final Test of the series is slated to begin on Thursday.
India require only a draw in that game in order to seal their berth in the final of the inaugural ICC World Test Championship (WTC) final, scheduled to be played at the Lord’s, London from June 18-22. New Zealand have already secured their spot in the WTC final. (ANI)

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Premier League: Would be a dream to finish in top four, says Everton’s Ancelotti

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London [UK], March 2 (ANI): Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti has said that his club is dreaming of a finish in the top four of the Premier League 2020-21 standings.
Everton defeated Southampton on Monday after Richarlison got on the scoring sheets and as a result, the side is now just two points of the top-four with a game in hand.
If Everton manages to finish in the top four, then the club will attain qualification for the Champions League.
“We have a great opportunity to be in the top four and we would like to touch that position. We have to put all our effort into the game on Thursday to try to be there, it is a real possibility,” Ancelotti told Everton’s official website.
“It doesn’t matter how long we can be there, but just to see how we feel if we are there. There will be a big fight until the end of the season and we have to be pleased we can fight for that position. It will be a dream to be in the top four, we are quite close… but the season is long,” he added.
Everton has won eight of their 12 games away from home. However, of 13 games played at their home turf, the side has won five and lost six.
“To fight for the European places, we need to improve the home. It was not good and this performance and victory can help us have a better run at home,” said Ancelotti.
Everton is currently at the seventh spot with 43 points from 25 matches. The club will next take on West Brom on Thursday. (ANI)

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NZ vs Aus: Crowd to be allowed for fifth T20I if Wellington’s alert level status is relaxed

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Wellington [New Zealand], March 2 (ANI): New Zealand Cricket (NZC) on Tuesday announced that the order of Sunday’s T20I double-header at Wellington’s Sky Stadium has been reversed.
As a result, New Zealand’s men’s team will be taking on Australia in the early game and New Zealand’s women’s team (White Ferns) will be squaring off against England later in the afternoon.
“The decision follows discussions between New Zealand Cricket and Cricket Australia and will allow the Australia squad to catch a charter flight home immediately after the game – and avoid having to transit through Auckland,” NZC said in an official statement.
“Should Wellington’s Alert Level status be relaxed ahead of Sunday’s doubleheader, a crowd will be allowed inside the venue,” it added.
On Monday, NZC had announced that the final T20I of the five-match series between New Zealand and Australia has been shifted to Wellington from Bay Oval.
The final T20I of the three-match series between New Zealand women (White Ferns) and England women will also be played in Wellington.
Earlier, it was confirmed that the upcoming third and fourth T20Is between New Zealand and Australia will be played behind closed doors. The first and second T20I between New Zealand Women (White Ferns) and England Women will also be played behind closed doors following the change to New Zealand’s alert levels with an eye on the Covid-19 pandemic.
On Saturday, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced that Auckland would return to level 3 for seven days. As a result, no sport can be held at level 3, reported stuff.co.nz.
The fourth T20I between New Zealand-Australia and White Ferns-England was to be played in Auckland, but as per the new guidelines, the matches were relocated to Wellington.
The rest of the country has moved to alert level 2 and the restrictions will last for a period of seven days. While announcing the new restrictions, Ardern said that the lockdown was needed due to there being no immediate transmission link between the new mystery case and the latest Auckland cluster. (ANI)

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MARCUS TRESCOTHICK NAMED AS ENGLAND’S BATTING COACH

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LONDON : Former opener Marcus Trescothick has been appointed as England’s new elite batting coach, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) announced on Monday. In the bowling department, Jon Lewis and Jeetan Patel have been named as England’s pace and spin bowling coaches respectively.

Trescothick will take up the new role in the middle of March. He will step down from his role as assistant coach at Somerset County Cricket Club. Current Young Lions head coach Lewis has been promoted to the role of Elite Pace Bowling Coach. The former England seamer has held numerous roles within the pathway set up after a successful playing career primarily with Gloucestershire but also including stints at Surrey and Sussex.

In addition, Jeetan has been appointed as a permanent elite spin bowling coach. Jeetan, the former New Zealand and Warwickshire spinner, joins the group permanently after several short-term spells working with the men’s team.

“Following an extensive recruitment process, I’m really excited about the calibre of the individuals that we’ve appointed into these specialist roles. Marcus, Jon and Jeetan have demonstrated their ability at the highest level and also show huge potential for the future. ” said England Wales and Cricket Board’s (ECB) Performance Director Mo Bobat in an official statement.

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KOHLI HAS INSTILLED A STURDY BELIEF IN TEAM, SAYS WAUGH

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Steve Waugh

MUMBAI: Former Australia skipper Steve Waugh feels India captain Virat Kohli’s “new attitude” has instilled in his team the habit of taking on every hurdle and then getting over it rather than being intimidating by the opposite team.

Waugh made these comments on his latest documentary “Capturing Cricket: Steve Waugh in India” which captures the very essence and undying love for the game in India. In the documentary, Waugh recollected his initial perception of India. “Landing in Bombay or Mumbai, as it is now, was a total culture shock, there were just people everywhere, there were cars and bikes and animals and rats and cats running along the footpath and it was just like, where am I? I am in a different world which was just a total shock and a bombardment of the senses,” Waugh said in the documentary on discovery+.

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