Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic on Thursday stormed into the final of the ongoing Australian Open.
The 33-year-old defeated Russia’s Aslan Karatsev 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 at the Rod Laver Arena on Thursday. Now, Djokovic will lock horns with either Daniil Medvedev or Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final of the Australian Open.
In the first set, 27-year-old Karatsev was able to put up a fight and he also won three games, but the Serbian showed his class and took an early lead by winning the first set.
Djokovic carried on with his momentum in the second set and ended up winning it, and needed to win one more to enter the final.
The Serbian did not relent and the piled on the pressure on Karatsev winning the semi-finals in straight sets.
Djokovic has won the Australian Open eight times in his career so far and he also has 17 Grand Slam titles to his name.
On Wednesday, Rafael Nadal bowed out of the Australian Open after losing the quarter-finals against Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas 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.
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Women’s Trap Team wins silver as India finish year’s first Shotgun World Cup with 2 medals
Cairo [Egypt], March 4 (ANI): India’s Women’s Trap team trio of Kirti Gupta, Manisha Keer and Rajeshwari Kumari won a silver medal on the concluding day of the year’s first International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Cup Shotgun stage, in Cairo, Egypt, going down 4-6 to Russia in the final.
The trio engineered a fantastic comeback in the match, coming back from 0-4 down to tie the final at 4-4. However, they could not hold on in the last series of 15-shot per team and had to be content with the second-best.
Their effort ensured that the Indian squad finished the World Cup with two medals, with the Men’s Skeet team bagging a bronze medal earlier on in the tournament.
Kirti, Manisha and Rajeshwari shot a combined score of 444 to make it to the gold medal match along with Russia, who topped the qualifying round with a total of 463.
There were a total of seven 25-shot rounds, five of which had been shot in the previous days. On Thursday, all three Indian women shot scores of 20 or more in the final two qualifying rounds, with Manisha top-scoring for them with 158 out of 175 shots.
The Men’s Trap team, however, could not make it to the medal rounds after shooting a combined score of 469 to finish sixth out of 11 teams in the fray. Russia and Croatia made it to the gold medal match while hosts Egypt and Slovakia were to fight it out for the bronze. (ANI)
Surrey ropes in West Indies pacer Kemar Roach for County Championship start
Surrey [UK], March 4 (ANI): Surrey County Cricket Club on Thursday announced the signing of West Indies pacer Kemar Roach for the first seven games of the County Championship 2021 season.
Fast bowler Roach will join up with Surrey following West Indies’ Test series with Sri Lanka, scheduled to finish in Antigua on April 2.
According to an official statement from Surrey, subject to any COVID restrictions and quarantine rules upon entering the UK, Roach will available for their season opener with Gloucestershire on April 8. He will wear the number 66.
The 32-year-old has played 61 Test matches for West Indies, taking 205 wickets in the process. In total, he has 384 first-class wickets to his name since making his debut in the format in 2008.
14 of those wickets came in a four-match 2011 spell with Worcestershire, his only previous stint with an English county. He was last in the UK for a three-match Test series with England in July 2020.
On joining Surrey, Roach said: “I am absolutely thrilled to be joining Surrey for the early part of the summer. Two grounds I wanted to play at as a kid were the two Ovals, Kensington and The Oval, home of Surrey.
“When Alec Stewart showed an interest in me I had no hesitation in saying yes to him. The Club has a strong squad with a nice balance of youth and experience.”
“I would like to thank CWI for allowing me the opportunity to go back and play county cricket again after a number of years,” Roach added.
After Surrey’s match with Middlesex between 20th and 23rd May, he will return home to prepare for West Indies’ scheduled international programme. (ANI)
Swiss Open: Satwik-Chirag, Sai Praneeth, PV Sindhu sail into quarterfinals
Basel [Switzerland], March 4 (ANI): Indian shuttlers PV Sindhu, Kidambi Srikanth, and Ajay Jayaram all progressed to the quarter-finals of the ongoing Swiss Open on Thursday.
While Sindhu defeated her opponent Iris Wang of the USA in straight sets 21-13, 21-14, Srikanth got over the line after clinching the game in three sets 21-10, 14-21, 21-14.
Jayaram defeated Danish badminton player Rasmus Gemke to secure a quarter-final berth. Also, Sai Praneeth joined his fellow teammate Srikanth in the run-up to the Olympic Qualification as he beat Spain’s Pablo Abian by 21-12, 21-17 and secured his place in the quarter-finals.
Indian mixed doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Ashwini Ponnappa also had a good day as they confirmed the quarter-final berth after pulling off yet another convincing victory (21-18, 21-16) over the Indonesian combination of Rinov Rivaldy and Pitha Haningtyas Mentari.
Meanwhile, the Indian men’s doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty continued their rise at the Swiss Open with another sensational performance. The duo won their match 21-17, 20-22, 21-17 to seal their place in the quarters.
Earlier, ace Indian shuttlers Saina Nehwal and Parupalli Kashyap had a disappointing start as they crashed out of the Swiss Open in the first round on Wednesday.
Olympic medalist Nehwal lost in a tough-fought clash against Thailand’s Phittayaporn Chaiwan 16-21, 21-17, 21-23 that lasted for 58 minutes. While Nehwal’s husband Kashyap lost to lower-ranked Pablo Abian of Spain 15-21, 10-21 in straight games. (ANI)
Indian women’s hockey team end Germany tour with 1-2 defeat
Dusseldorf [Germany], March 4 (ANI): Indian women’s hockey team concluded their tour of Germany with a 1-2 defeat here in the fourth and final match in Dusseldorf on Thursday. Naomi Heyn (29′) Charlotte Stapenhorst (37′) scored for the World No. 3 side but Lalremsiami (51′) pulled one back for the visitors late in the game.
However, the German side held on in the last few minutes of the match to keep their winning run intact.
After rain delayed the start of proceedings, Germany found a lively tempo to their attack and earned a Penalty Corner with just ten minutes on the clock.
Savita and her defence stood firm to see off the threat. India, too, were awarded a PC just minutes later. But Germany’s defensive line ensured that the score remained goalless after the first quarter.
With barely a minute left before the end of the second quarter, Heyn put the hosts in the lead with a brilliant field goal. Germany continued to push forward after the interval and got their second PC. India once again showed good composure in defence but the German side steadily started to build a series of attacks.
The hosts took a 2-0 lead after Stapenhorst found the back of the net in the 37th minute.
The Indian side fought hard in the fourth quarter and put extensive pressure on the German defense line. Lalremsiami found the back of the net in the 51st minute, but Germany protected their lead well in the closing stages to pick up their fourth successive win of the tour. (ANI)
Ind vs Eng: Gavaskar doesn’t want importance to be given to foreign players criticizing pitches
Ahmedabad (Gujarat) [India], March 4 (ANI): Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar does not want importance to be given to foreign players, who are criticizing the Indian pitches, and said they will keep doing it till the time they are getting publicity out of it.
Former England skipper Michael Vaughan has been quite vocal in his criticism of the pitches used in the ongoing Test series between India and England. Ahead of the fourth Test, Vaughan had shared a picture of him standing in dugup soil with a bat in his hands. “Preparations going well for the 4th Test !! #OnOn #INDvENG,” he had written in the caption.
“The discussion should have been around bowling and batting. The batsmen got bowled or were given LBW, how can we call it a bad pitch. Why do we give this much importance to foreign players? Why should we discuss what they are saying,” Gavaskar told host broadcaster Star Sports on Thursday.
“When India gets all out on 36 runs, then are the comments of Kapil Dev, (Sachin) Tendulkar, (Sourav) Ganguly or (Virender) Sehwag given importance by that country’s media or TV channel. Not at all. Then why are we giving importance to them. And when we will not give them importance, they will learn the lesson. Till the time they know that they will get importance and publicity, they will keep doing it. England team did not complain. Joe Root did not complain,” he added.
India had managed to defeat England by ten wickets within two days in the pink-ball Test. The match saw both India and England batsmen failing to shine and getting out to balls that didn’t turn and skidded through from the spinners.
But critics have looked to blame the pitch for the failure of the batsmen. Commenting on the pitch during the match, Vaughan had tweeted: “Let’s be honest this is not a 5 day Test pitch !! #INDvENG.”
Also, former England spinner Monty Panesar on Sunday criticised the pitch and said: “It was like playing club cricket on a Saturday in England. When we play club cricket, we will bowl a team out for under 100, and then it’s difficult to chase because it’s a turning pitch. I think being the biggest stadium in the world, Narendra Modi Stadium deserves longer Test matches because people want to see how good the wicket is, you look at the stadium, beautiful views, and what an amazing stadium India has produced. It does not deserve a two-day Test match that’s under 900 balls, you might just play on a park, if you are going to play this type of cricket.”
However, after the third Test, Rohit Sharma had clarified that he did not think the pitch had any demons. Even India skipper Virat Kohli was vocal about the dreadful batting display from the two teams.
Both the team are currently competing against each other in the fourth and the final Test of the series. At stumps on Thursday, India’s score read 24/1 with Rohit (8*) and Pujara (15*) at the crease — trailing the visitors by 181 runs in the first innings. (ANI)
India Legends favourites as Road Safety World Series returns
Raipur (Chhattisgarh) [India], March 4 (ANI): India, which had a great start to the Road Safety World Series with two back-to-back wins, are going to start strong favorites against Bangladesh in Raipur, which is yet to host a white-ball international fixture.
Cricket fans are going to have some seriously busy days ahead. With Team India already locked in some fun contests with England in daylight Tests, the evenings are going to be nostalgic as well as entertaining as India is set to host the Legends in the Road Safety World Series from Friday for the next 11 days.
Chhattisgarh’s capital city Raipur will roll out the lush green carpet of Shaheed Veer Narayan Singh International Stadium for Sachin Tendulkar’s Indian Legends and Bangladesh Legends led by Mohammed Rafique, the first match of the series which will see teams like Sri Lanka, South Africa, West Indies, and England participate.
And the series which got a massive response from cricket fans last year before being disrupted by coronavirus pandemic after four games, promises to be one exciting affair this year once again.
While Bangladesh may have their legends and past superstars like Rafique, Khaled Mahmud, Mohammed Sharif, Mushfiqur Rahman, A N M Mamun Ur Rashed, Nafees Iqbal, Abdur Razzak, Khaled Mashud in their line-up, Tendulkar’s team is going to have the upper-hand purely on their T20 and IPL experience.
Tendulkar himself has led multiple times IPL champions Mumbai Indians’ in the initial years. Virender Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh, and the latest addition to the squad Yusuf Pathan will give the firepower to an already strong top order.
Recently retired India cricketer and wicket-keeper Naman Ojha’s inclusion will not only help the Men In Blue behind the wickets but also give their solid batting more depth.
The bowling department of Tendulkar’s side is as strong as their batting. White ball in hand backed by Munaf Patel, Irfan Pathan, Manpreet Singh Gony, and Noel David.
Left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha, who retired from professional cricket not long ago, will be the star in the middle overs.
The wicket that has hosted IPL and Champions League T20 matches will play true to its nature which is a little slower. It will also be a challenging task to clear the big boundaries in Raipur.
Going by the stats, no team has managed to go 170 runs in the stadium, thus expect the games to be nail-biting affairs. (ANI)
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