Rafa, Murray roll on
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New York, September 5
Spanish third seed Nadal weathered the storm to defeat Germany's Nicolas Kiefer 6-0, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4. The reigning Australian Open showed no sign of the knee trouble that kept him out two months and caused him to miss Wimbledon.
“I feel good,” Nadal said. “I started playing well but I think he started low and later played better. It's difficult like that because you are not on rhythm. Nicolas is a very difficult player and I'm very glad to beat him.” Murray, last year's US Open runner-up, answered a sluggish second set by winning seven games in a row and fired 15 aces in defeating Chile's Paul Capdeville 6-2, 3-6, 6-0, 6-2.
“I played three very good sets and one poor one,” Murray said. “You’re allowed to play a bad set sometimes but I came back well from it. I just felt a litle lethargic, low in energy. I don't know why.
“But I managed to pick it up when I needed to.” The 22-year-old Scotsman, trying to become the first British man to win a Grand Slam title since Fred Perry in 1936, will play for a spot in the last 16 against 196th-ranked US wild card Taylor Dent.
All 16 top seeds advanced to the third round, the first time this has happened in any Grand Slam tournament in the 41-year Open era, as sixth seed Juan Martin del Potro, seventh seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, ninth seed Gilles Simon, 11th seed Fernando Gonzalez and 13th seed Gael Monfils also won second-round matches.
Nadal, whose best US Open showing was last year's semi-final run, will play for a spot in the fourth round against countryman Nicolas Almagro, who dispatched American Robby Ginepri 6-7 (7/9), 6-2, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4.
“He’s a very good player with a big serve,” Nadal said. “I’m just going to try to play my best tennis and have some chances to win.” Nadal breezed through the first set in 24 minutes but Kiefer broke him twice to claim the second set, his only set ever taken from Nadal in five meetings.
The match turned in the eighth game of the third set when the Spanish left-hander capitalized on his fourth break-point chance with a forehand winner to seize a 5-3 edge, then held at love to claim the set.
Nadal collected a final break in the seventh game of the last set when Kiefer sent a backhand beyond the baseline and served out for the triumph. Murray squandered two break points in the opening game but Capdeville netted a backhand in the fifth game to surrender a break and Murray broke again in the seventh then held to claim the set.
Sania loses in doubles, Bhupathi wins in
Sania Mirza crashed out of the women's doubles event after losing a thriller but Mahesh Bhupathi ensured the smooth sailing of Indians in mixed doubles advancing to the second round of the US Open at the Flushing Meadows here. Fourteenth seeds Sania and Francesca Schiavone of Italy made a smart recovery from a set down but failed to deliver at crucial points in the decider to lose 2-6, 6-1, 5-7 against the unseeded duo of Gisela Dulko of Argentina and Shahar Peer of Israel in a 125-minute second round match. The opening set saw Dulko and Peer having the upper hand in service by firing three aces while Sania and Schiavone struggled with their serves as they dropped two of them to give away the first set 2-6 in 27 minutes. The Indo-Italian pair staged a fine recovery in the second set as they tightened their service game and engaged their rivals in long rallies which they won most of the time. Sania and Schiavone broke Dulko and Peer twice in the second set while giving them no chance to do the same. Both the pairs reserved their best for the decider which lasted 68 minutes. Sania and Schiavone smashed three aces but they still failed to win the crucial points. With most of the games being stretched to deuces, breaks points changed sides and Dulko and Peer converted more of them than their Indo-American opponents. Dulko and Peer converted two of the nine break points, while Sania and Schiavone won one of the seven that came their way.
Sania Mirza crashed out of the women's doubles event after losing a thriller but Mahesh Bhupathi ensured the smooth sailing of Indians in mixed doubles advancing to the second round of the US Open at the Flushing Meadows here.
Fourteenth seeds Sania and Francesca Schiavone of Italy made a smart recovery from a set down but failed to deliver at crucial points in the decider to lose 2-6, 6-1, 5-7 against the unseeded duo of Gisela Dulko of Argentina and Shahar Peer of Israel in a 125-minute second round match.
The opening set saw Dulko and Peer having the upper hand in service by firing three aces while Sania and Schiavone struggled with their serves as they dropped two of them to give away the first set 2-6 in 27 minutes.
The Indo-Italian pair staged a fine recovery in the second set as they tightened their service game and engaged their rivals in long rallies which they won most of the time.
Sania and Schiavone broke Dulko and Peer twice in the second set while giving them no chance to do the same.
Both the pairs reserved their best for the decider which lasted 68 minutes. Sania and Schiavone smashed three aces but they still failed to win the crucial points. With most of the games being stretched to deuces, breaks points changed sides and Dulko and Peer converted more of them than their Indo-American opponents. Dulko and Peer converted two of the nine break points, while Sania and Schiavone won one of the seven that came their way. — Agencies
World boxing Championship
New Delhi, September 5
The 23-year-old world number two, who was conferred the Khel Ratna award last month, defeated his rival 14-8. Vijender will take on Canadian Steve Rolls, who got the better of local favourite Luca Podda, on September 8.
The Haryana-boxer, who got a bye in the first round, was on the backfoot to start with and was trailing 0-3 in the first round but staged a remarkable comeback in the next two rounds. He made it 9-8 in the second round before blanking his rival in the final round to finish 14-8.
"I am relieved and very happy. It's great to start off with a win," Vijender said.
National coach Gurbax Singh Sandhu lauded Vijender for changing his strategy well after the initial setback. "Vijender started with counter-punching but Azamat managed to get three points with some rather soft touches.
Then Vijender changed his strategy and became more aggressive," Sandhu said. — PTI
BCCI Corporate Trophy
Mohali, September 5
Shedding some light on the strategy Air India Blue might be coming up with on Sunday, RP Singh said, “To win is our aim and we are sure to go all out for it. Our players are in rhythm, so it will help the team keep the winning momentum.”
However, Rohan Gavaskar of Tata Sports Club said, “Though our rival team has some international level players like Dhoni, Harbhajan, RP, yet they would have to face tough times to defeat us. Moreover, Cricket is a game, where only one mistake can cost you the match.”
He further lauded the concept of a corporate tournament and said that it would help in boosting the career of even fringe players. “One thing is sure, during the time of recession, these type of tournaments will help the players to get some work and money, as the corporate houses will come and choose them for their teams,” Rohan said.
Rohan added that their team was not to be underestimated as they had genuine match winners in former India stars like Agarkar and Ramesh Powar.
London, September 5
England was jeered by the crowd for its slow scoring before a seventh-wicket blitz of 46 from 33 balls from Luke Wright and Adil Rashid made the score competitive. Mitchell Johnson took three wickets in a 13-ball spell that cost just five runs to finish with 3-24.
The target had looked attainable on a slow pitch but England quickly fell behind Australia's scoring rate as none of the top-order batsmen could build a game-changing score. Only Wright, with 38 from 27 balls, Rashid and No. 10 batsman Ryan Sidebottom seemed to fully get to grips with the conditions and situation. — AP
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Muktsar, September 5
It is a sight to watch young women, barely out of their teens, at the Red Cross boxing hall being run so successfully by Bhupinder Singh, a former national champion in the super heavy weight category. He, at present, is churning out women boxers a dime a dozen in this nondescript township.
Meet Supinder Kaur. She won a medal in the junior Punjab state championship held at Domeli (Kapurthala) in the 63 kg class this year and, with it, enthused dozens of other girls to take up the sport, normally known to be dominated by brawny men.
She is doing her post graduation in Physical Education from Punjabi university, Patiala and intends to take up boxing as a profession in the future. Her parents have backed her to the hilt and now she is seeking sponsors for her entry into big time women boxing. So passionate and ambitious is she about boxing that she used to travel by bus from village Ladhuwala Uttar in nearby Ferozepur district to train at Muktsar. That is before she got admission in Patiala university.
“She is the one to watch out for. Mark her out,” says Bhupinder Singh. Her coach is right if her performance in the senior nationals held at Ruddarpore (Uttarakhand) this year is anything to go by.
Says Manjeet Singh, who assists Bhupinder as a coach, “We get tremendous response from rural areas. We scout for talent in village schools and we get it on a platter. There are so many talented girls in the area and their main advantage is that they have quicksilver footwork and good reflexes. Their hand-eye co-ordination is extremely good. This is a natural trait found in sportspersons in this area. We also make them spar with the male boxers to make them more confident.”
Now meet baby faced Charanjit Kaur, barely 5 feet. She stuns everyone when she throws punches at the bag with the hardness and finesse one normally associates with a top drawer pugilist. After winning a medal in the junior Punjab state championships this year, she travelled to Panjim (Goa) to take part in the Junior National women championship. She lost to her much fancied rival Suman, a national champ, but Charanjit made a name for herself.
The daughter of a man who plies his retail trade in numerous fairs held across the city, Charanjit’s story is symbolic of so many of her colleagues. Living in poverty, these girls have chosen the ring to create an identity for themselves.
She says, quoting a man of the soil, “Dreams are not what you aspire for. Dreams are those which don’t let you sleep.”
Bobby Rani, who has won numerous medals in various state and national meets, is the daughter of a Lineman working with the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB). In the ring her dexterity, once the gloves are fastened, has to be seen to be believed. Then there is Anju Sharma, a student of the local Guru Nanak college, who is confidence personified after winning a Gold in the Punjab state championship.
Coaches say she can give her male counterparts a run for their money. That is if anybody dares to box with her! Being a bit on the heavier side once she steps in the ring she is lightening fast and manages to douse her opponent’s fire with more of brain and less of brawn.
To name a few, there are young pugilists like the highly talented Asha Rani and Manpreet Kaur... and the list goes on and on. However, the bottom line is that Muktsar, a town known primarily for water logging problems and fine footwear, is probably taking a big step up, as far as women’s boxing is concerned.
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