Mixed luck for India
Buoyant Team India reaches London
ICC amends anti-doping code
Spikers back in winning mode
London, July 4
In a match spanning three days and hit by five frustrating rain breaks, the showers relented long enough for the 2006 runner-up to squeeze past Sweden's Robin Soderling 6-4, 6-4, 6-7, 4-6, 7-5.
Arms aloft, Nadal fell to his knees in relief when he clinched the contest on his sixth match point, the last five coming two days after the first.
Nadal meets Mikhail Youzhny in the fourth round.
Novak Djokovic had also been left in limbo since Monday and he celebrated his 7-6, 6-7, 6-2, 7-6 win over Nicolas Kiefer with a silent prayer and sign of the cross.
A misfiring backhand from Kiefer finally ended third round proceedings at 12.57 pm local time on Monday, five days behind schedule.
On a day usually reserved for men's quarterfinals, Andy Roddick found himself lagging behind by a round but he had to endure only a two-day battle with Paul-Henri Mathieu and duly dispatched the Frenchman 6-2, 7-5, 7-6.
Richard Gasquet advanced to his first grand slam quarterfinal when he tamed wildcard Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 in an all-French duel.
The 12th seed's reward for a reaching the last eight was a showdown with American Andy Roddick. Gasquet has slipped through the draw with the minimum of fuss and without dropping a set but faces a tougher prospect in the twice former finalist.
Venus Williams pummelled second seed Maria Sharapova 6-1, 6-3 in the fourth round of Wimbledon today, using her power to outplay the Russian whose serving went from bad to worse.
Sharapova, who missed two months of this year with a shoulder injury struggled to hold serve and in the fourth game saved three break points before double-faulting to give Williams the advantage.
Bartoli, Henin in semifinals
France’s Marion Bartoli battled her way into the Wimbledon semifinals today with a determined 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 victory over Michaella Krajicek. Krajicek started confidently, dominating the first set. But Bartoli, achieving her best result at a grand slam, took control when the players returned after one of Wimbledon's many rain breaks. In the second set, the 22-year-old number 18 seed dropped just five points on her own serve. In the decider, Bartoli twice broke the disconsolate Dutch teenager's serve to coast to victory. Justine Henin, the top seed from Belgium is also through to the semifinals with 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 win over seventh seed Serena Williams of the US. In a first round mixed doubles match, the pairing of Mahesh Bhupathi and Sania Mirza beat David Skoch of the Czech Republic and Janette Husarova of Slovakia 6-3, 6-4 to advance to the second round.
France’s Marion Bartoli battled her way into the Wimbledon semifinals today with a determined 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 victory over Michaella Krajicek. Krajicek started confidently, dominating the first set. But Bartoli, achieving her best result at a grand slam, took control when the players returned after one of Wimbledon's many rain breaks.
In the second set, the 22-year-old number 18 seed dropped just five points on her own serve.
In the decider, Bartoli twice broke the disconsolate Dutch teenager's serve to coast to victory.
Justine Henin, the top seed from Belgium is also through to the semifinals with 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 win over seventh seed Serena Williams of the US.
In a first round mixed doubles match, the pairing of Mahesh Bhupathi and Sania Mirza beat David Skoch of the Czech Republic and Janette Husarova of Slovakia 6-3, 6-4 to advance to the second round. — Reuters
Mixed luck for India
London, July 4
Paes and Czech Republic’s Martin Damm, the fifth seeds, made a quick work of Scott Lipsky and David Martin of the US to record a 6-2, 6-4, 6-2 victory in the third round.
The Indo-Israeli combine of Sania and Shahar Peer, however, bowed out despite a strong comeback after losing the first set to love against top seeds American Lisa Raymond and Samantha Stosur of Australia.
Lisa and Samantha lost the second set in tie-break, but either side of it, they won 11 out of 12 games to win 6-0, 6-7, 6-1 in the third round. — PTI
London, July 5
Senior players Anil Kumble and VVS Laxman and opener Wasim Jaffer, all of whom arrived here on Tuesday, have joined the team. Ishant Sharma and Ranadeb Bose, the pace bowlers picked for the Test series, are already with the squad.
India recorded their first-ever one-day series triumph against the Proteas in the three-match series in Belfast.
Their one-off tie against Pakistan in Glasgow for the Friendship Cup, however, was washed out without a ball being bowled.
Thanks to heavy rain and biting cold, the Indian experienced some extremely difficult conditions in Belfast which will come in handy during their tough tour of England.
“Our Belfast experience will help because you won’t get conditions worse than that. It was absolutely freezing and the conditions were tough. I’ve never encountered anything like this in my entire career. This is something we are not used to, and experiencing that just before the series against England is wonderful,” remarked Sachin Tendulkar who completed his 15,000 one-day runs in the Future Cup series.
With big guns, Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid and Yuvraj Singh, pulling their weight in the side and guiding the youngsters with their experience, India did not feel the absence of a coach.
In fact, the Indian captain lauded the seniors in the side for taking responsibility and doing a good job.
“The senior players are the leaders in the team. Irrespective of whether you have a coach or not, the junior guys always look up to them and they are the ones who set the tempo in the team. It’s not just the captain but also four or five senior players who got to set example for others to follow,” said Dravid, putting things in perspective.
Coming as it did after an eminently forgettable World Cup campaign, Dravid duly stressed what the Future Cup triumph meant to his side.
“It meant a lot for the team. We had a few disappointments lately, so it was nice to win this. It was a good competition to win away from home. I was just happy for the boys. They have been through a lot. They put in a lot of hard work so just for them to taste victory and enjoy success is good for them.”
The Indians will be playing Sussex in the tour opener from July 7-10 at Hove before moving on to Chelmsford to take on the England Lions in the second warm-up game from July 13-15.
The first Test of the three-match series gets underway at Lord’s from July 19. — PTI
Dubai, July 4
“Following this case, we have amended the ICC anti-doping code to ensure we have more powers to intervene if we feel a member is not doing all it can in the fight against drugs in cricket,” ICC’s acting chief executive Faisal Hasnain said in a statement.
“In line with the amendments, the ICC now has a right of appeal if a member that is not WADA-compliant makes a decision which is inconsistent with the WADA code. Furthermore, while such an appeal is pending, the relevant players can be target tested by the ICC up to 60 days before one of our events.”
CAS, the apex court for judging on disputes in sports, had rejected an appeal by WADA against the PCB’s overturning a doping ban on its fast bowlers Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif.
CAS said it had no jurisdiction to rule in the case since the statutes of neither the ICC nor the PCB had a direct reference providing for an appeal to CAS in such matters.
Akhtar and Asif tested positive for nandrolone in an in-house testing programme by the PCB prior to the ICC Champions Trophy in India last October.
Akhtar and Asif were subsequently banned for two years and one year, respectively, by a PCB anti-doping commission in November.
But the decision was overturned and the sanctions imposed were revoked by an independent anti-doping appeals committee of the PCB following which WADA decided to take the issue in CAS.
The ICC is a signatory to the WADA code.
Hasnain, acting in the absence of ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed who was on leave, said the ICC was “engaged in a robust campaign to make sure all our Members become WADA-compliant by 2009 at the latest.”
“We at the ICC have learnt a lot from this experience. The ICC remains committed to a zero-tolerance to the use of banned substances in cricket and we are working hard with our members to ensure a like this does not happen again,” he said.
Meanwhile, the WADA urged the ICC to ensure all members adopt its codes to prevent another case of overturned doping punishments.
“The fight against doping will be severely hampered if international federations, such as the ICC, and national governing bodies, such as the PCB, do not ensure that their anti-doping rules are able to avoid unsatisfactory decisions as the majority decision of the PCB appeals committee in this case,” Associated Press quoted WADA as saying in a statement. — PTI
Colombo, July 4
Sangakkara was the cornerstone of Sri Lanka’s 451 for six declared, scoring 200 not out to leave Bangladesh 389 runs in arrears.
Bangladesh, bowled out for a record low of just 62 in the first innings, started their second innings positively before slumping to 69 for four as they lost the wickets of Shariar Nafees, Rajin Saleh, Javed Omar and Mehrab Hossain jnr.
With three days still remaining, Bangladesh are still 320 runs in arrears with Habibul Bashar on three and skipper Mohammad Ashraful on seven.
Sangakkara began the day on 51 and progressed smoothly to a 13th Test century, reaching three figures just before lunch with a straight six before reaching 200 for the fifth time in his career in the final session.
The 29-year-old left-hander, the seventh batsman in Test history to have scored five or more double hundreds, batted for just short of eight hours in an innings that spanned 325 deliveries and included 20 fours and two sixes.
Sri Lanka declared on 451 for six as soon as Sangakkara reached his double hundred, leaving Bangladesh with a tricky 17-over session before the close.
Chaminda Vaas grabbed the breakthrough as Nafees (20) was caught behind off an expansive cover drive. The innings plunged into freefall with four wickets falling for just 11 runs.
Saleh fell to a stunning diving catch by Mahela Jayawardene at second slip off Dilhara Fernando, Omar was trapped lbw by a Vaas inswinger and debutante Hossain jr was bowled by Fernando.
Bangladesh trail the three-match series 1-0 after losing the first game by an innings and 234 runs last week.
Bangladesh (1st innings) 62
Sri Lanka (1st innings)
Vandort b Mortaza 14
Warnapura c Nafees b Hossain 82
Sangakkara not out 200
M. Jayawardene c Nafees b Hossain 49
Silva c Mortaza b Hossain jr 33
Dilshan b Hossain jr 0
P. Jayawardene c Omar b Mortaza 14
Vaas not out 30
Extras (b-6, lb-7, w-3, nb-13) 29
Total (6 wkts dec, 124.5 overs) 451
Fall of wickets: 1-41, 2-169, 3-267, 4-359, 5-359, 6-395.
Bowling: Mortaza 30-7-77-2, Hossain 21-3-81-2, Sharif 24-4-86-0, Rafique 35-3-134-0, Ashraful 7-0-31-0, Hossain jr 7.5-0-29-2.
Bangladesh (2nd innings)
Omar lbw Vaas 28
Nafees c P. Jayawardene b Vaas 20
Saleh c M. Jayawardene b Fernando 0
Hossain jr b Fernando 8
Bashar not out 3
Ashraful not out 7
Extras (b-2, nb-1) 3
Total (4 wkts, 14 overs) 69
Fall of wickets: 1-48, 2-51, 3-55, 4-59.
Bowling: Vaas 6-3-13-2, Malinga 2-0-22-0, Fernando 5-0-28-2, Muralitharan 1-0-4-0. — Reuters
London, July 4
Shivnarine Chanderpaul hit an unbeaten century and Marlon Samuels thumped 77 as West Indies reached 278 for five.
West Indies, unchanged after their defeat at Lord’s on Sunday, were put into bat by England captain Paul Collingwood.
Gayle c Anderson b Sidebottom 36
Devon Smith c Prior b Anderson 17
Chanderpaul not out 116
Samuels c Sidebottom b Broad 77
Dwayne Smith lbw Broad 7
Morton c Bell b Sidebottom 3
Ramdin not out 2
Extras (lb-5, w-15) 20
Total (5 wkts, 50 overs) 278
Fall of wickets: 1-50, 2-67, 3-242, 4-257, 5-274.
Bowling: Anderson 10-3-78-1, Sidebottom 9-1-56-2, Broad 10-0-49-2, Mascarenhas 10-1-31-0, Collingwood 5-0-30-0, Yardy 6-0-29-0.
Cook c Edwards b Powell 19
Prior c DS Smith b Powell 52
Bell lbw Rampaul 2
Pietersen b Rampaul 9
Shah c Ramdin b Rampaul 45
Collingwood lbw Edwards 1
Yardy c DR Smith b Bravo 19
Mascarenhas c Powell b Rampaul 3
Broad c Ramdin b Edwards 22
Sidebottom run out 15
Anderson not out 3
Extras (lb-10, w-13, nb-4) 27 Total (all out; 46 overs) 217
Fall of wickets: 1-23, 2-30, 3-64, 4-113, 5-117, 6-171, 7-172, 8-179, 9-195.
Bowling: Rampaul 10-0-41-4, Powell 10-0-45-2, Edwards 10-0-43-2, Smith 9-0-54-0, Bravo 7-0-24-1. — Reuters
Irina all set for British Open
Chandigarh, July 4
The 25, plus those who tie at different positions, will move to the new course at St Andrew’s for the final qualifying round on July 30. The British Open will be played on the old course of St Andrew’s from August 2 to 5.
Irina, who has already made a mark for herself in the Indian Open and the Asian Open, has been practising hard for the British challenge.
Only one Indian lady golfer has made it to the British Open. She is Simi Mehra. She not only qualified, but also finished sixth in the championship some years back.
Irina, who has appeared for the MA (final) examinations, had initially abandoned the idea of going for the British Open because of lack of funds. But then Women’s Golf Association of India secretary-general Champika Sayal roped in DLF to fund the British Open tour for Irina.
Irina will also take part in the Ladies European Tour qualifying round in November and the Ladies Futures Tour qualifying event in Florida in December.
But at the moment it is the British Open, considered the Wimbledon of golf, which will be the first small step for this Chandigar girl into the big world of women's golf.
Irina will be accompanied by her mother Madhu Brar, herself a keen golfer and a former table tennis champion of Punjab. “My mom is my sports psychologist. I always play better when she is around,” said Irina.
The Ricoh Women’s British Open is one of the four Majors in women’s golf and boasts the most international field of any women’s golf event. This year’s field will include Annika Sorenstam, Michelle Wie, Paula Creamer, Se Ri Pak, defending champion, Sherri Steinhauer & Ai Miyazato amongst others.
Not only will it mark the first time the world's best-known and most revered golf course has hosted a women's professional event but it will have a record breaking total prize fund of £1,050,000.
Spikers back in winning mode
New Delhi, July 4
The 16-member Indian team, who arrived here from Islamabad today, were accorded a warm reception by Volleyball Federation of India (VFI) president Dr B. Sivanthi Adityan. The team not only won the Central Zone Championship, played from June 24 to July 2, but also shared a four-Test series against hosts Pakistan, winning the first and last Tests while the hosts won the second and third.
Dr Adityan not only allowed the team to share the prize money among themselves, but also presented each member of the team with a 20-gram solid gold medal, besides giving some cash in his personal capacity. The function was attended by the entire Indian team, led by captain P.S. Srikanth, secretary in the department of sports and youth affairs S.K. Arora, VFI secretary-general K. Murugan and VFI vice-president Kuldeep Vats, who is also the president of the Delhi Volleyball Association (DVA). Vats also presented a wrist watch to each member of the team on behalf the DVA.
Former international and chief coach of the senior team G.E. Sridharan said the Indian team, consisting seven players from the junior ranks, who were making their debut for the senior team, put on a remarkable display as after losing their opening match against Iran, they fought back to tame defending champions Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Turkmenistan and Maldives to lift the gold.
He said this was a remarkable turnaround for the Indian team after finishing third in the inaugural edition of the Asian Central Zone Championship at Colombo (Sri Lanka) two years ago.
Sridharan attributed the defeat against Iran to lack of acclimatisation, as they had to play their opening match just four hours after landing in Islamabad. But he said the defeat was a real eye-opener as in the rest of the matches, the Indian players put solid performances to not only make a podium finish, but also earn the best setter award for Ukkra Pandiyan and best blocker award for Sube Singh.
Adityan said among team games, volleyball has been doing very well in India in all the age groups, and the senior team are presently ranked 27th in the world, out of a total of 217 countries who play the game world-wide, which is the highest for any team-game in the world. He said the youth and junior teams now occupy the 10th position in the world, which again is a remarkable boost for the game in the county as the VFI’s efforts to put thrust on junior talent is now bearing fruits.
Adityan said the gold victory in Islamabad would give a big boost to the Indian team as they gear up for the Commonwealth Championship, to be held in Kolkata from July 27 to August 4, and the Asian Championship to be held in Jakarta (Indonesia) from September 1 to 9.
Orissa athletes for youth meet