Melbourne [Australia], February 18 (ANI): Jennifer Brady beat Czech tennis player Karolina Muchova on Rod Laver Arena in three gruelling sets to earn a finals berth against Japan’s Naomi Osaka in the Australian Open on Thursday.
The American won the 115-minute long match against Muchova 6-4, 3-6, 6-4. Brady was a semifinalist at the 2020 US Open but has gone one better at the Australian Open.
Muchova showed her gutsy win over Ash Barty was no fluke, coming back from a scratchy opening set to level the match and push the contest to the brink.
However, Brady was the slightly steadier player at big moments and she sealed victory after a torturous final service game on her fifth match point. She will now face Osaka in the finals on Saturday.
Earlier in the day, Osaka secured a spot in the women’s singles final of the tournament after an impressive win over Serena Williams.
In the semi-final match, Osaka registered a comfortable 6-3, 6-4 win over Williams to advance to the fourth Grand Slam final of her career and put herself one win away from her second Australian Open crown.
Seven-time Australian Open champion Williams had been 8-0 in Australian Open semifinals over her legendary career, but took her first loss in this round Down Under against Osaka.
Williams, playing her milestone 20th Australian Open, was unable to reach her 34th Grand Slam final and ninth Australian Open final after the defeat.
During the match, Osaka looked scratchy early on and was behind 0-2 in the opening set, but from there she was rarely troubled, rattling off a string of games to clinch the first set. She then went on to win the second set to progress in the tournament. (ANI)
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Former Barcelona President Bartomeu provisionally released after arrest
Barcelona [Spain], March 2 (ANI): After spending a night in jail, Former Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has been provisionally released, Goal.com reported.
As per the report, Bartomeu has been provisionally released, with the 58-year-old having invoked his right not to testify.
The news of the former members of the club’s board being taken into custody following a raid on offices by regional police officers was broken by Cadena SER, Goal.com had reported on Monday.
Bartomeu was arrested in a case related to ‘Barcagate’ at Camp Nou. Chief Executive Officer of the club, Oscar Grau, former adviser to the presidency Jaume Masferrer, and head legal counsel Roman Gomez Ponti were also arrested.
According to the report, Bartomeu’s administration has been accused of paying PR company I3 to oversee online work for the club and it is alleged that I3 were paid to clear up Bartomeu’s image.
Also, Barcelona on Monday released a statement saying that the club offered their full collaboration to the legal and police authorities to help make clear facts which are subject to investigation.
“Regarding the entry and search by the Catalan Police force this morning at the Camp Nou offices by order of the Instructing Court number 13 in Barcelona, which is in charge of the case relating to the contacting of monitoring services on social networks, FC Barcelona have offered up their full collaboration to the legal and police authorities to help make clear facts which are subject to investigation,” Barcelona had said in a statement.
“The information and documentation requested by the judicial police force relate strictly to the facts relative to this case. FC Barcelona express its utmost respect for the judicial process in place and for the principle of presumed innocence for the people affected within the remit of this investigation,” it had added.
Bartomeu had stepped down from his position as Barcelona President in October last year. Also, the entire board had stepped down from their posts. (ANI)
Indian women’s hockey team lose 0-2 to Germany in third game
Dusseldorf [Germany], March 2 (ANI): The Indian women’s hockey team impressed in defence but couldn’t stop Germany from winning their third consecutive game in the four-match series here in Dusseldorf on Tuesday.
World No. 3 Germany won by a 2-0 margin through goals from Sonja Zimmermann (26′) and Franzisca Hauke (42′).
Encouraged by their robust defensive display in the second game of the series, the Indian side continued to frustrate the German attackers. The hosts were unable to create any early momentum and had a penalty corner saved in the first quarter.
While Germany pushed forward to break the deadlock, the Indian backline stood firm yet again. Germany was awarded a PC early into the second quarter but still couldn’t find a way past the Indian women’s hockey team’s defence. The team managed to keep out three PCs in the previous game too.
Germany ended India’s resistance in form of a goal from the third PC. This time, defender Zimmermann made no mistake as the Word No. 3 side started the third quarter with a lead.
Germany doubled their advantage shortly before the end of the third quarter with seasoned midfielder Hauke getting on the scoresheet. The German side held on to complete their third successive win.
The Indian women’s hockey team will take on Germany in their fourth match on Thursday.
On Sunday, the Indian men’s hockey team led by PR Sreejesh put up a scintillating show as they outclassed hosts Germany 6-1 in the first of their four-match Europe tour.
India’s goal scorers were Nilakanta Sharma (13′), Vivek Sagar Prasad (27′, 28′), Lalit Kumar Upadhyay (41′), Akashdeep Singh (42′), and Harmanpreet Singh (47′), who outplayed the hosts and led their team to a winning start in their first international match in over 12 months. (ANI)
World TT Contender Doha: Manika Batra, Sreeja advance into final round of qualifiers
Doha [Qatar], March 2 (ANI): Young India paddler Sreeja Akula outshone a higher-ranked opponent to progress into the last round of the women’s singles qualifiers alongside Manika Batra at the World Table Tennis (WTT) Contender Doha on Tuesday. Manika and Sreeja are now just a win away from making their way into the main draw.
The World No. 150 from Hyderabad, Sreeja prevailed over World No. 74 Vega Paulina of Chile in the previous round and sent Thailand’s 87th-ranked Orawan Paranang packing 11-5, 11-5, 11-6 in the third round.
She will now take on Russia’s Mariia Tailakova in the final round. Tailakova entered the last round with a 14-12, 11-8, 11-8 win over India’s Archana Kamath.
Living up to her reputation, Commonwealth Games gold medalist and star Indian paddler Manika got the better of Romania’s Irina Ciobanu 11-7, 15-13, 11-8 comfortably in the third round of women’s singles qualifiers and will face Ganna Gaponova of Ukraine in the last round.
Earlier in the final round matches of mixed doubles qualifiers, the Indian pair of Sathiyan Gnanasekaran and Sutirtha Mukherjee grabbed a spot in the main draw after straight-sets victory against Puerto Rico’s Daniel Gonzalez and Melanie Diaz (11-5, 11-7, 11-5).
However, the country’s other pair of Sharath Kamal and Batra failed to take advantage of an early game lead and lost out to Russia’s Alexander Shibaev and Polina Mikhailova 11-9, 11-13, 11-13, 3-11.
Harmeet Desai also suffered an 11-9, 11-7, 9-11, 8-11, 2-11 defeat against Russia’s Alexander Shibaev in the third-round match of the men’s singles qualifiers. Despite dominating the first two games, Desai couldn’t hold his nerves and conceded an unexpected loss. (ANI)
Ravindra Jadeja makes a return to the field post surgery
New Delhi [India], March 2 (ANI): India all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja has made a return to the field after undergoing surgery following a thumb injury he sustained during the Australia tour.
“Back on the field #firstday #postsurgery,” Jadeja tweeted, along with a video of him running on the field.
In January, Jadeja had suffered a blow to his left thumb while batting on day 3 of the third Test against Australia. He had later gone for scans and the results showed that he had dislocated his thumb.
After the surgery, Jadeja had tweeted: “Out of action for a while, surgery completed. But will soon return with a bang.”
India is currently preparing for the fourth Test against England, set to begin on Thursday at the Narendra Modi Stadium.
In the ongoing series, Rohit Sharma, Axar Patel, and Ravichandran Ashwin have been the standout performers and now in the fourth Test, skipper Virat Kohli would look to come to the party and end his century-drought.
Kohli had last scored a century way back in 2019 in a day-night Test against Bangladesh at the Eden Gardens.
Currently, India is leading the series 2-1 and if the hosts manage to win or draw the final Test against England, then the side will qualify for the final of the World Test Championship (WTC) and the side would take on New Zealand in the summit clash. (ANI)
Ringing Pujara’s doorbell and scampering: Rohit teases batsman
Ahmedabad (Gujarat) [India], March 2 (ANI): Ahead of the fourth and final Test against England, India opener Rohit Sharma on Tuesday teased premier Test batsman Cheteshwar Pujara by giving a quirky caption to a picture from the fielding drill.
The Indian cricket team shifted focus to fielding on Tuesday to ensure utmost sharpness in the upcoming fourth Test after training in the nets on Monday.
Rohit shared a picture from the hosts’ fielding drill in which he can be seen running along with spinner Kuldeep Yadav at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad.
But what made the posts unique was the hilarious caption given by Rohit. The opening batsman wrote, “This is us ringing Pujara’s doorbell and scampering, after fielding for 2 days.”
During the drill on Tuesday, while batsman Mayank Agarwal was seen taking a diving catch, all-rounder Washington Sundar was seen throwing the ball back seconds after collecting it.
Earlier on Monday, the BCCI shared a video on Twitter to give a sneak peek of the net session. In the video, India skipper Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane can be seen batting in the nets while Rohit Sharma can be seen having a chat with head coach Ravi Shastri.
Meanwhile, India’s Test deputy Ajinkya Rahane has said that the pitch for the fourth Test against England would be similar to the second and third Test.
“The wicket would be similar to the third Test and also the second Test what we played in Chennai. The wicket would be similar, yes the pink ball made the difference, it was coming much quicker off the wicket as compared to the red ball. That was an adjustment we had to make but as I said the wicket would be a lot similar to the last two Test matches,” Rahane said during a virtual press conference on Tuesday.
In the ongoing series, Rohit, Axar Patel, and Ravichandran Ashwin have been the standout performers and now in the fourth Test, skipper Kohli would look to come to the party and end his century-drought. Kohli had last scored a century way back in 2019 in a day-night Test against Bangladesh at the Eden Gardens. (ANI)
Whenever the team needs me to perform in a particular situation, I have always done that: Rahane
Ahmedabad (Gujarat) [India], March 2 (ANI): Ajinkya Rahane may have hit just one hundred in his last seven Test appearances, but the India Test vice-captain isn’t concerned about his recent show with the bat.
After hitting a match-winning hundred in Melborune, Rahane has failed to convert his other starts into big scores. But the right-handed batsman highlighted how he has always stood for the side and will continue to do so in the future.
“I was expecting this question. You need to check your facts right, you know my contribution to the team. Whenever the team needed me I scored runs for my team. So you need to focus on your facts to come up with the question,” said Rahane in a virtual press conference.
“I am team man and whenever the team needs me to perform in a particular situation, I have always done that so I am not too concerned about it. As a player I always look to learn, look to grow which is really important,” he added.
India fielded three spinners in the pink-ball Test against England but Washington Sundar bowled only four balls and that too in the second innings. Rahane explained why Washington wasn’t given the ball in the third Test.
“Ashwin and Axar were bowling well, they were taking wickets that’s why he (Washington) didn’t bowl. He was in the team because of his all-around ability and that’s why as a team we took that call. He is a quality player and has done really well for the team in the last two three-Tests,” Rahane said.
India currently has a 2-1 lead in the ongoing four-match series against England and the final Test will begin on Thursday. (ANI)
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