Safina wins, Sharapova dumped
India in B’desh 1st Test: Day 2
NRAI bows to Bindra’s pressure
Khanna replaces Mattoo at IOA
Dhananjay bags gold
Melbourne, January 18
Rafa Nadal began his title defence with a 7-6, 6-1, 6-4 victory over Peter Luczak, weathering a crowd-driven onslaught before powering away from the local hope. The six-times grand slam champion came back a break down in the first set before wrapping up the tiebreaker to love and breezing through the last two sets in just over an hour.
In another match, U.S. Open champion Juan Martin Del Potro complained of some slight wrist discomfort from an injury that hampered his Australian Open buildup but still advanced to the second round. The tall Argentine, who played only one match at the invitational Kooyong Classic tournament in Melbourne before withdrawing because of the injury, overcame American Michael Russell 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 6-2.
Fifth-seeded Elena Dementieva set up a mouth-watering second-round clash with Justine Henin after dispatching compatriot Vera Dushevina 6-2, 6-1. Former world number one Henin, who returned to competitive tennis at the Brisbane International after an 18-month retirement, beat her fellow Belgian Kirsten Flipkens 6-4, 6-3.
Dementieva, who defeated Serena Williams in the Sydney International final at the weekend, had been scheduled to play an early match on Margaret Court Arena but rain delays forced it indoors.
It was a disastrous start to the year for the underdone Sharapova, seeded 14, who opted to only play exhibitions in Thailand and Hong Kong as a warm-up to the opening Grand Slam of the year. Playing with the roof closed on the Rod Laver Arena due to rain, which caused play on outside courts to be suspended, the 22-year-old struggled to find any rhythm against a player ranked 58.
The Russian pin-up was deprived of defending her Australian title last year after failing to recover from shoulder surgery. The injury kept her out of action until last May and Monday was another example of her struggling to regain the type of form that made her the top player in the world.
In contrast Safina, the number two seed who was thrashed in the final last year by Serena Williams, downed Slovakia’s 47th-ranked Magdalena Rybarikova 6-4, 6-4. But she too had her work cut out as she battled double faults and unforced errors in an emotional and spasmodic performance. Other women progressing included 30th seed Kateryna Bondarenko of Ukraine, who eased past Romania’s Raluca Ioana Olaru 6-2, 7-6 (8/6) and China’s Zheng Jie, who beat compatriot Peng Shuai 0-6, 6-1, 6-2.
Serena Williams is the bookmakers’ favourite and she gets her title defence underway on Tuesday against Poland’s Urszula Radwanska. A key threat to her will be the Belgian pair of Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin, with both in action later today.
On the men’s side, Ivan Ljubicic was the first seed through with the 24th-ranked Croat crushing 16-year-old Australian wildcard Jason Kubler, the youngest player in the draw, 6-1, 6-2, 6-2. Former finalist Fernando Gonzalez of Chile, seeded 11, progressed after a 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 6-1 win over Belgian Olivier Rochus.
World number one Roger Federer opens his tournament on Tuesday against Russia’s Igor Andreev with third seed Novak Djokovic and sixth seed Nicolay Davydenko posing the main threat for him in his top half of the draw. — Agencies
India in B’desh 1st Test: Day 2
Chittagong, January 18
In the 24.5 overs that could be played, India recovered some of the lost ground by posting 243 in their first innings before returning to claim three home side wickets to leave Bangladesh 59 for three at stumps. Raqibul Hasan and Ashraful were in the middle at stumps with the hosts trailing India by 184 runs with seven wickets in hand.
Earlier, it was Tendulkar’s masterly unbeaten 105 that guided India to a respectable 243 in their first innings. Tendulkar’s crafty unbeaten 166-ball knock included 11 hits to the fence besides a couple of six before he ran out of partners as India slumped to their lowest total against Bangladesh at the Zohur Ahmed Chowdhury Cricket Stadium.
India’s earlier lowest against Bangladesh in completed innings was 429 in the first innings at Bangabandhu National Stadium in November 2000. Bangladesh made a solid start in their reply with openers Tamim and Imrul sharing a 53-run stand before they lost way after lunch as three wickets fell in the space of 10 balls for just five runs.
Pacer Zaheer took two wickets for 32 runs while Ishant claimed one victim for 14 runs. Tea was taken 30 minutes before schedule but the thick thick fog, which had delayed the start by 90 minutes, returned again and play was called off for the day at 4:40 pm local time after a long inspection by the field umpires ahead of revised closing at 5:30 pm. The post-lunch session was delayed by 10 minutes due to bad light.
Both the Bangladeshi openers denied the Indians an early breakthrough but once the duo were separated 11 overs into the second session, two other wickets fell in quick succession undoing the solid start. Tamim and Kayes mixed caution with aggression and resisted from the temptation of playing away from their body as the Indian pacers kept the ball outside their off side consistently.
They played some delightful shots off the Indian pacers - Zaheer, Ishant and Sreesanth - whenever the ball was short of length. Kayes hit two fours off Zaheer in the first over after lunch and another boundary off Sreesanth. He then punished Ishant in the pacer’s second over.
Kayes was the first to go, lbw to Zaheer after he had stitched a 53-run stand from 84 balls for the first wicket. He played across the line an angling Zaheer delivery only to miss it and the ball hit his pads in front of leg stump. Kayes hit five fours in his 46-ball innings.
Next over, Shahriar Nafees, who made it to the home team squad after severing ties with rebel Indian Cricket League, came in and left in a hurry, caught at second slip by Laxman off Ishant to undo the good start as Bangladesh were reduced to 58 for two.
Zaheer reduced Bangladesh to 58 for three as he clean bowled Tamim. Tamim, who hit six fours in his 45-ball innings, failed to defend a delivery which kept low and nipped back after landing outside the off to find his off stump going for a walk. — PTI
India: (Overnight 213 fro 8)
Tendulkar not out 105
Ishant c Rahim b Hossain 1
Sreesanth c Imrul b Shakib 1
Extras (b 1, lb 6, w 1, nb 5) 13
Total (all out; 70.5 overs) 243
Fall of wickets: 9-230, 10-243.
Bowling: Islam 9-1-41-0, Hossain 18-2-71-5, Rubel 10-0-40-0, Shakib 29.5-10-62-5, Mahmudullah 3-0-17-0, Ashraful 1-0-5-0.
Tamim b Khan 31
Imrul lbw b Khan 23
Nafees c Laxman b Sharma 4
Ashraful not out 0
Hasan not out 1
Total (3 wickets; 17 overs) 59
Fall of wickets: 1-53, 2-58, 3-58. Bowling: Zaheer: 9-1-32-2, Sreesanth 3-0-13-0, Ishant 5-1-14-1.
New Delhi, January 18
The National Rifle Association of India (NRAI), however, made it clear that Abhinav’s inclusion in the first and second edition of the mega-event and the Commonwealth Shooting Championships was out of question as the squads for the three events have already been approved by the Sports Ministry.
NRAI has also requested the Indian Olympic Association president Suresh Kalmadi to intervene and sort out the issue, which created a flutter after the Beijing Olympic Games gold-medallist expressed his desire to quit.
“Being the IOA president, we have asked Mr Kalmadi to talk to Bindra and settle the matter. We have called his father A S Bindra for a meeting tomorrow and asked him to bring Abhinav’s international scores alongwith,” NRAI secretary-general Baljeet Singh Sethi said here.
“But Abhinav’s selection in the first and second World Cup and Commonwealth Shooting Championships is impossible. We will consider his international scores for the next two World Cups.” “The teams have already been selected and the government has also given its approval, so we can't make any changes right now,” he added.
Abhinav, who has been training abroad, has not been included in the Indian squads for next month’s Commonwealth Shooting Championships to be held here as well as the ISSF World Cups in Sydney from March 20-28 and in Beijing from April 16-25 as he failed to turn up for the selection trials.
However, after the recent controversy, the NRAI decided to exempt the ace shooter from attending the trials for the next two World Cups to be held in Fort Benning, USA from May 22-31 and in Belgrade from June 26-July 7.
Sethi also made it clear even though Abhinav has been exempted from taking part in third and fourth World Cup trials, the shooter will have to go through the selection process of Commonwealth Games to be held here in October. “The trials for CWG have not yet taken place but he will have to confirm his participation for the CWG trials,” the NRAI secretary general said. — PTI.
Khanna replaces Mattoo at IOA
New Delhi, January 18
Kalmadi then nominated Anil Khanna, secretary of the All India Tennis Association, as the treasurer of the Organising Committee. Anil Khanna, a chartered accountant-cum-businessman by profession, is also the president of the Asian Tennis Association.
Mattoo was caught in the cesspool of the hockey politics when the national campers at Pune went on a six-day strike, seeking clearance of their pending dues. Mattoo apparently felt that the unrelenting stand of the players and his failure to persuade them to end their strike had undermined his authority, and then took the decision to step down from all the posts he held in the IOA, HI and the OC of the CWG.
“It is with great reluctance and after consulting my senior colleagues I have decided to accept my colleague Mr Ashok Kumar Mattoo’s resignation as treasurer of the Organising Committee Commonwealth Games 2010 Delhi”, Kalmadi said here today.
“I wish I could have persuaded him to change his mind and not have to make this statement. We tried hard to convince Mr Mattoo to stay on but he has made up his mind. We have to respect his sentiments and accept his wish to retire from sports administration”, Kalmadi explained.
“We will miss his valuable inputs as we head to the home stretch of our preparations to host the XIX Commonwealth Games 2010 Delhi. We will miss him in the office of the OC CWG 2010 Delhi. We wish to place on record our appreciation of his meticulous work over a number of years”, he added.
Meanwhile, Suresh Kalmadi presented incentive cheques to players and the support staff at the Balewadi training camp at Pune. Kalmadi said he was happy that Hockey India had given the players cheques as per his commitment to them last Wednesday and hoped that “this incentive would propel the boys to perform even better in the forthcoming Hero Honda FIH World Cup in New Delhi”.
Twelve players from among those rewarded are currently training in Lucknow for the South Asian Games at Dhaka. Hockey India said they would be presented their cheques when they come to Delhi next week. An amount of Rs 1 crore was paid to the players in accordance to what they had desired for their performances last year in the Punjab Gold Cup in Chandigarh, Azlan Shah Cup at Ipoh, Test series in Argentina, New Zealand and Canada, besides the Champions Challenge Tournament in December. Those who were part of the victorious Indian U-21 Asia Cup team at Hyderabad in 2008 were also rewarded
Dhananjay bags gold
Anandpur Sahib, January 18
RESULTS: Kabaddi girls (league matches): Andhra bt Manipur, Haryana bt Karnataka, MP bt Uttarakhand, Rajasthan bt TN, UP bt Bihar, Punjab bt Gujarat, AP bt Chhattisgarh, Tripura bt Sikkim, Delhi bt WB, Maharashtra bt UP, Orissa bt Chhattisgarh, HP bt WB, Kerala bt Orissa, Haryana bt Bihar, MP bt HP, TN bt Gujarat, Chhattisgarh bt Manipur, Karnataka bt Bihar, HP bt Uttarakhand, Rajasthan bt Sikkim, AP bt Kerala, Haryana bt Maharashtra, Delhi bt Madhya Pradesh, Punjab bt Tripura, AP bt Orissa.
Kabaddi boys (league matches): Haryana bt Manipur, Delhi bt Uttrakhand, Karnataka bt MP, Punjab bt Rajasthan, Kerala bt Orissa, Maharashtra bt TN, UP bt AP, HP bt Sikkim, Orissa bt Tripura, WB tied Maharashtra, Bihar bt Gujarat, Haryana bt Kerala, Delhi bt TN, UP bt MP, Rajasthan bt Bihar, Haryana bt Tripura, Delhi bt WB, Karnataka bt UP, Punjab bt HP, Kerala bt Manipur, TN bt Uttarakhand.
Kho-kho girls (league matches): Bihar bt Manipur, Kerala bt Uttarakhand, Punjab bt Orissa, WB bt Sikkim, Punjab bt TN, AP bt Tripura, Maharashtra bt Delhi, Karnataka bt Uttarakhand, Orissa tied Chhattisgarh, Gujarat bt MP, Kerala bt Sikkim, Bihar bt Rajasthan, WB bt Kerala 9-6, TN bt Orissa.
Stokes to head HI
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Police games inaugurated
Lyallpur Khalsa win