Australian Open: Rafael Nadal beats Fabio Fognini to reach quarter-finals - The Daily Guardian
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Australian Open: Rafael Nadal beats Fabio Fognini to reach quarter-finals

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Melbourne [Australia], February 15 (ANI): Spanish tennis player Rafael Nadal booked his 13th Australian Open quarterfinal berth after defeating Italy’s Fabio Fognini on Monday.
The Australian Open 2009 champion surged past Fognini 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 to keep alive his hopes of winning a record-breaking 21st Grand Slam.
The Spaniard stormed to a fast start, breaking Fognini on his second attempt during the Italian’s opening service game.
However, the Italian strung together a series of winners and won a 22-shot rally on break point by steering a backhand down the line to earn the break back but still lost the first set.
Nadal then continued the winning momentum and clinched the last two sets to sail into his 43rd Grand Slam quarter-final.
Earlier in the day, World No. four Daniil Medvedev extended his winning streak to 18 matches as he defeated USA tennis player Mackenzie McDonald 6-4, 6-2, 6-3 to book a maiden Australian Open quarterfinal berth.
On Sunday, Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic progressed to the quarter-finals of the tournament after a victory over Milos Raonic.
Djokovic secured a 7-6, 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 victory over Raonic, and with this, the World No. 1 became only the second man (after Roger Federer) to record 300 match wins at the four Grand Slam championships.
The match lasted for two hours and 56 minutes. Djokovic will next meet world No.7 Alexander Zverev in the quarterfinal clash at Melbourne Park. (ANI)

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NZ vs Aus: Santner ruled out of 3rd T20I, Milne joins as cover

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Wellington [New Zealand], March 3 (ANI): Ahead of the third T20I against Australia, New Zealand spinner Mitchell Santner has been ruled out of Wednesday’s clash after “waking up this morning with a head-cold”.
“He is self-isolating as a precautionary measure while awaiting the results of a COVID test,” New Zealand Cricket said in a statement.
“Wellington-based Adam Milne will join the team for today’s match at Sky Stadium as squad cover,” it added.
Santner returned with the figures of 4-31 in the second T20I that New Zealand won by four runs.
Hosts are currently leading the five-match series 2-0 after outclassing Aussies in the first two games. On Monday, NZC had announced that the final T20I between New Zealand and Australia will be shifted to Wellington from Bay Oval.
Australia is set to make a few changes in the upcoming third T20I of the five-match series, assistant coach Andrew McDonald confirmed on Tuesday.
Wellington’s Sky Stadium will be hosting the final three T20Is between Australia and New Zealand and the visitors are likely to include Ashton Turner or D’Arcy Short in their starting XI.
All-rounder Ashton Agar can be left out of the team as he has conceded 50 runs from five overs bowled in the first T20Is against New Zealand.
“We haven’t got those middle overs right. That may be a reason for us to reinforce that area or make some changes that potentially strengthen that area with both bat and ball. They’ve played spin well at this stage. Agar has played two games in the last three and a half months as well so he’s going to be better every game that he plays,” cricket.com.au had quoted McDonald as saying.
“Zampa at this stage hasn’t gotten into the games but his quality over the last two years suggests that the next game he probably will have an impact. It is an area that we do need to improve in if we’re going to compete and beat this Kiwi side,” he had added. (ANI)

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Wasn’t expecting to be picked up in IPL auction, says Moises Henriques

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Melbourne [Australia], March 3 (ANI): Australia all-rounder Moises Henriques has said that he did not expect to be picked up by any franchise in this year’s Indian Premier League (IPL) players’ mini-auction.
Henriques was picked up by Punjab Kings in the mini-auction held on February 18 and he was bought by the franchise for Rs 4.2 crore.
The all-rounder would now be sharing the dressing room with the likes of fellow Australians Jhye Richardson and Riley Meredith.
“I was not expecting to get picked up at all. It wasn’t until I woke up to go to the bathroom that I noticed I saw a couple of messages saying congrats on the pick-up and I thought, ‘That’s nice,’ and tried to go back to sleep as soon as possible,” cricket.com.au quoted Henriques as saying.
“I just assumed I would have been picked up at base price. Then it wasn’t until I woke up properly in the morning that I realised how much I went for,” he added.
Henriques has played 57 matches in the IPL so far and he first played the tournament way back in 2009. The all-rounder has now said that is hopeful of making into Australia’s T20 squad if he has a good showing in the IPL.
“There’s no secret I was gutted when you fight your way into the international white-ball teams and then you get selected to go to South Africa and that tour doesn’t go ahead, and you don’t get your opportunity to defend your spot in that (T20) team when it goes to new Zealand,” Henriques said.
“By not playing, someone else gets that opportunity – and deservedly so. But the IPL is more T20 cricket, more white-ball cricket for me to play and learn from. If I do get that opportunity (for Australia) in the future, then I’d be ready to go,” he added. (ANI)

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Kohli thanks fans after becoming first cricketer to reach 100 million followers on Instagram

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New Delhi [India], March 3 (ANI): After hitting the 100 million followers mark on Instagram, India skipper Virat Kohli on Wednesday thanked the fans for making the journey beautiful.
Kohli shared a clip on Instagram which starts off reading “milestone reached together” and a montage of Kohli’s pictures and videos pops us on the screen.
“You have made this journey beautiful. Feeling blessed and grateful for all the love. Thank you 100 million #instafam,” Kohli wrote as the caption.

On Monday, Kohli added another feather to his illustrious cap as he became the first cricketer to hit 100 million followers on photo and video sharing social networking platform Instagram.
The Indian skipper joined Juventus striker Cristiano Ronaldo, Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) striker Neymar, Argentine forward Lionel Messi, Hollywood actor and former pro-wrestler Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, American singer-songwriter Beyonce, and Ariana Grande in the 100 million club.
Kohli is also the fourth most followed sportsperson on Instagram. Ronaldo tops the list (sportsperson) with 266 million followers while Messi is second on the list with 187 million followers on the Facebook-owned platform.
Kohli, who holds the top spot in ICC’s ODI batting rankings, made his debut in the format in August 2008. The Indian skipper has scored 12,040 runs in 251 ODIs at an average of 59.31. Kohli has represented India in 90 Tests, scoring 7,490 runs with the highest of 254*.
In T20I cricket, he has played 85 matches, piling 2,928 runs at a strike rate of 138.43.
The Indian skipper is currently gearing up for the fourth and final Test against England which gets underway on Thursday. The hosts are leaving no stone unturned to prepare for the upcoming fixture at the Narendra Modi Stadium.
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.
If India manages to win or draw the final Test against England, then the side will qualify for the finals of the World Test Championship (WTC) and the side would take on New Zealand in the summit clash at the Lord’s Cricket Ground from June 18-22. (ANI)

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IPL GC to take final call on venues: BCCI official

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By Nitin Srivastava
New Delhi [India], March 3 (ANI): Indian Premier League’s (IPL) governing council is monitoring the situation of Covid-19 in Mumbai and the body would be soon deciding how to go about conducting the 14th edition of the premier T20 tournament.
A source in the know of developments revealed that nothing has been decided as of now regarding the venues for this year’s edition and it has also come to light that the BCCI would be seeking assurance from the state governments before letting them host IPL matches this year.
“As if now it’s all speculation whether it’s Punjab or Hyderabad. We will soon have IPL GC in which we will decide what needs to be done and how the IPL needs to be conducted this year, as of now nothing has been decided yet. BCCI will seek assurances from state governments before allowing them to host the matches,” a source within the BCCI told ANI.
“Whether it can be held in a state while elections are taking place and when talking about Punjab, BCCI needs concrete assurance from authorities that no unwanted incident will take place when the matches happen there,” the source added.
When talking about Mumbai being an IPL venue or not, the source said: “We are keeping a close watch on Mumbai also because of Covid cases.”
On Tuesday, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh had said that he was surprised to see Mohali not being chosen as one of the IPL venues and he also asked the BCCI to reconsider their decision.
Speaking on Amarinder Singh’s appeal, the source within the BCCI said: “We will discuss everything in the governing council meeting.” (ANI)

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ICC to take up CSA’s formal complaint if Australia qualify for WTC final

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Sydney [Australia], March 3 (ANI): Even if England manage to defeat India in the fourth and final Test, Australia might not qualify for the World Test Championship (WTC) final.
If England wins the last Test against India, then Australia was to qualify for the WTC final. But, the International Cricket Council (ICC) is now looking to bring forward Cricket South Africa’s (CSA) formal complaint against Cricket Australia (CA) should the latter qualify for the WTC final, reported Sydney Morning Herald.
Earlier this year, Australia postponed its three Tests tour of South Africa due to the Covid-19 pandemic and as a result, CSA lodged a formal complaint with the ICC, seeking financial compensation and deduction in WTC points for Australia.
As per a report in Sydney Morning Herald, if the ICC decides to deduct points from Australia then the side would be eliminated from the WTC even if England was to win the final Test against India. Cricket Australia has been given the time until the end of this week to meet the deadline set by the ICC to inform whether the matter can be resolved through good faith negotiations.
If that is not the case, then the matter would be transferred from the dispute committee of the ICC and it would be given to an independent panel and they would be deciding whether Cricket Australia was within its right to postpone the series in South Africa.
The independent panel may also decide to award full 120 points for the postponed three Tests to South Africa and if this happens, it would ensure that Australia finishes below India even if Virat Kohli’s team is beaten by England in the fourth and final Test.
On the other hand, the panel may also decide to give CSA and Cricket Australia the opportunity to find an alternative date for the series before the current FTP finishes in April 2023. (ANI)

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Swiss Open: Rankireddy, Ponnappa outclass second-seeded Indonesian pair to progress to 2nd round

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Basel [Switzerland], March 3 (ANI): Indian mixed doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Ashwini Ponnappa started their campaign on a high as they outclassed second-seeded Indonesian pair of Hafiz Faizal and Gloria Emanuelle Widjaja in the first round of the Swiss Open 2021 on Tuesday.
Rankiredddy and Ponnappa defeated the World no. 8 pair in straight games 21-18, 21-10 in the encounter that lasted for 38 minutes. Indian pair will now proceed to the second round of the tournament.
The first game saw a high competition between both sides but the Indian pair stood up strong in the closing of the set to claim the game with 21-18.
It was the one-way in the second game as Rankireddy and Ponnappa did not give any chance to the Indonesian pair to make comeback in the match.
In the other clash of the day, Indian mixed doubles pair of Pranaav Jerry Chopra and N Sikki Reddy were ousted by third-seeded pair of Marcus Ellis and Lauren Smith of England 21-18, 21-15 in 39 minutes.

Later in the day, PV Sindhu, Saina Nehwal, Kidambi Srikanth and Parupalli Kashyap will start their campaign in the tournament. (ANI)

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