|S P O R T||
Wednesday, September 2, 1998
|Sampras toys with Goellner
NEW YORK, Sept 1 White for day, black for night. And on that fashion note, Pete Sampras and another pair of former champions got the US Open started on a run that could end in Grand Slam history.
Wimbledon memories haunt Ivanisevic
NEW YORK, Sept 1 Memories of his loss in the Wimbledon final last month tempered Goran Ivanisevics relief at getting through the first round of the US Open. Hockey: India hope to
maintain fine run
CHENNAI, Sept 1 "India have a fairly good record in Malaysia and we hope to maintain the fine run in the Commonwealth Games too", assistant coach of the Indian hockey team Ramesh Parameswaran asserted yesterday.
Uncertainty hits Aussie preparations
MELBOURNE, Sept 1 The Australian athletics team is having a tumultuous build-up to next months Kuala Lumpur Commonwealth Games.
KUALA LUMPUR : A giant mascot Wira appears on Tuesday, in front of the Sultan Abdul Samad High Court building in Kuala Lumpur, one of the city's landmarks, to welcome athletes, officials and spectators to Malaysia for the Commonwealth Games. The XVI Commonwealth Games will start from Sept. 11 until 22. AP/PTI
Lucic finds refuge on court
NEW YORK, Sept 1 Croatian teenager Mirjana Lucic, who says she fled her home last month to get away from an abusive father, found refuge from her personal problems on the court at the US Open yesterday.
||Soccer star Ginola on fund-raising
LUANDA, Sept 1 Exactly one year after the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, French football star David Ginola arrived in Angola yesterday to carry on the Princess work raising funds for victims of landmines.
Lanka protest over Lloyd comments
LONDON, Sept 1 Sri Lanka cricket chiefs have protested to their English counterparts over remarks by England coach David Lloyd about the "unorthodox action" of off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan.
Perkins back in pool but not fully fit
SINGAPORE, Sept 1 Australian Olympic champion Kieren Perkins is back in the pool after a bout with flu, but is still short of his best form ahead of this months Commonwealth Games in Malaysia, his coach said today.
ICC recommendations approved
BANGALORE, Sept 1 The technical committee of the Board of Control for Cricket in India today approved three recommendations of the ICC, including the wide ball, for implementing it in domestic cricket from 1998-99.
Team has ability to win World Cup: Kapil
CHENNAI, Sept 1 The 22 probables of the Indian cricket team for the World Cup 1999, who played the second practice match at the ongoing first preparatory camp at M A Chidambaram Stadium here, had a pep talk from celebrity all-rounder Kapil Dev, under whose stewardship India lifted the World Cup in 1983.
Hingis regains some confidence
NEW YORK, Sept 1 Winless in her last six tournaments, Martina Hingis regained a little bit of her old confidence by routing Aleksandra Olsza to launch her US Open title defence yesterday.
Muralitharan heads Ceat rankings
MUMBAI, Sept 1 Ace Sri Lankan off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan has rocketed to the top of the Ceat international cricket ratings following his sensational 16-wicket haul in the one-off Test against England which the emerald islanders won at the Oval yesterday.
Sampras toys with Goellner
NEW YORK, Sept 1 (AP) White for day, black for night. And on that fashion note, Pete Sampras and another pair of former champions got the US Open started on a run that could end in Grand Slam history.
Sampras, dressed all in white, but no country-club gentleman, starred on a sun-drenched Monday afternoon on the stadium court.
Showing a little more of his top-ranked game with each changeover, Sampras swaggered into the second round, tossing aside the big serves of Marc Goellner for a 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 victory.
Black was the color of the night on the main court, but the results were the same.
Monica Seles, wearing a black dress to mourn this springs death of her father, outslugged Florencia Labat of Argentina 7-6 (7-0), 6-2.
And Andre Agassi, merely making another in a series of fashion statements, beat Frances Sebastien Grosjean in the last match of opening day, 6-4, 6-1, 6-4.
The afternoon crowd didnt see the best Sampras, the one who took Wimbledon for the fifth time and is trying to add a fifth US title and record-tying 12th Grand Slam singles crown.
It didnt have to be. Goellner, a 27-year-old German, last won a match more than two months ago. His game consists primarily of a first serve that reaches 115 mph if hes on, and against Sampras much more is needed.
Sampras had eleven aces and dropped just 15 points on his serve, clocking one first-set ace at 131 mph. He didnt allow Goellner, ranked 109th in the world, a break point, and toyed with him from both baseline and net in winning in just 84 minutes.
"You just try to get through the early rounds," said Sampras, eliminated in the fourth round a year ago. "Its nice to get that monkey off your back and get into the tournament. I tried to stay focused and I think I did."
Six more wins over the next two weeks and Sampras joins Roy Emerson as the only players to win an even dozen Grand Slam singles tournaments, the milestone the tradition-minded Californian treasures above all others.
"What more can you do in the game? Win the French Open, maybe, or all four slams in one year," Sampras said. The French Open, on clay, is the only Grand Slam tournament Sampras has not won.
"Im thinking of entering the ladies tournament next year," he said. "Maybe I can get lucky and win that."
Adding a second Grand Slam title for the year also would do plenty to clinch the no. 1 ranking for the season, the sixth straight year that would end with Sampras on top, breaking the record he shares with Jimmy Connors.
"All those records are important to me," Sampras said. "Im not focused on this tournament any more than any US Open, but I hope to get some things done over the next two weeks."
No fighting words there, nothing for defending champion Patrick Rafter, no. 2 Marcelo Rios or any other challenger to hang on the refrigerator for inspiration.
Sampras is no trash-talker. But he has an edge, and the crowd that half-filled the 20,000-seat Arthur Ashe Stadium saw it a couple times against Goellner.
The player Sampras beat at Wimbledon, 14th-seeded Goran Ivanisevic, had 23 aces in a 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 victory over Australias Mark Woodforde.
Agassi, who is seeded eighth and could meet Sampras in the quarterfinals, kept Grosjean pinned to the baseline with forehands and slicing backhands. After wasting a string of break points in the third set, the 1994 Open champ finally broke for a 5-4 lead and served out the match at love.
"I like to be here," Agassi said of a tournament where he has played consistently well and a court he called "super-fast."
Defending womens champion Martina Hingis beat Aleksandra Olsza of Poland 6-2, 6-0. The Swiss teenager, who won the Australian Open in January has struggled recently and hopes the Open will end that.
"Im definitely not as confident as I was last year," Hingis said. "This is the last Grand Slam of the year and you put all your energy into this tournament."
Seles, a two-time Open champion and a quarterfinalist a year ago, traded groundstrokes and errors with Labat before blitzing through the tiebreak, then dominated the second set.
With her grunting subdued from her heyday - and at times mixing with the squeals of a child in the stands - Seles did not allow a point on her serve in the second set until she held triple match point. Labat tied it 40-all before Seles wrapped up the victory with a service winner and a lob that labat netted.
Reuters: Collated results on the opening day of the US Open tennis championships at the national tennis centre yesterday (prefix number denotes seeding):
Mens singles (first
round): Thomas Muster (Austria) b 15-Alberto Berasategui
(Spain) 7-6 (7-1) 6-2 6-3; 14-Goran Ivanisevic (Croatia)
b Mark Woodforde (Australia) 6-3 6-4 6-4; 1-Pete Sampras
(USA) b Marc Goellner (Germany) 6-3 6-2 6-2; Gustavo
Kuerten (Brazil) b Noam Behr (Israel) 4-6 6-4 6-3 6-4;
Davide Sanguinetti (Italy) b James Sekulov (Australia)
6-4 6-4 6-2; Mikael Tillstrom (Sweden) b Andrew Park
(USA) 7-5 6-3 6-1; Martin Damm (Czech Republic) b Sjeng
Schalken (Netherlands) 6-3 6-3 7-5; Wayne Black
(Zimbabwe) b Justin Gimelstob (USA) 3-6 7-5 2-3
(retired); Bob Bryan (USA) b Marcos Ondruska (South
Africa) 3-6 6-7 (5-7) 6-1 6-4 6-4; Wayne Arthurs
(Australia) b Carlos Costa (Spain) 6-3 5-7 6-4 6-4; Slava
Dosedel (Czech Republic) b Filip Dewulf (Belgium) 6-4 3-6
6-3 6-4; David Nainkin (SA) b Mark Merklein (USA) 6-7
(3-7) 6-0 6-4 6-4.
Wimbledon memories haunt Ivanisevic
NEW YORK, Sept 1 (Reuters) Memories of his loss in the Wimbledon final last month tempered Goran Ivanisevics relief at getting through the first round of the US Open.
"Even now sometimes I think about it when I am alone," Ivanisevic said of his five-set loss to Pete Sampras at Wimbledon after the 14th-seeded Croatian steamrolled Mark Woodforde 6-3 6-4 6-4 in the opening match at the Arthur Ashe Stadium yesterday.
Ivanisevic is haunted most by his failure on two set points in the second set tiebreaker that would have given him a 2-0 lead over the American.
"When I hit a good return then I think why I didnt hit it like that in the two set points," Ivanisevic said. "I try to do anything just not to think about it, but it is not easy sometimes. Pictures are coming back."
Recent US Open memories have been equally painful for the volatile Ivanisevic, who has made three first-round exits in the last four years from the National Tennis Centre.
"They want to get rid of me soon, but this time I say okay now I stay a little longer. Maybe this is a good sign, who knows maybe I can go far now," said Ivanisevic, who reached the semifinals in 1996 the last time he got past opening day.
Ivanisevics outlook coming into the years last Grand Slam was given a shot in the arm by his runner-up showing at New Haven two weeks ago.
Ivanisevics optimism was further buoyed when the left-hander with the bullet serve realised how lightning fast the stadium court was playing.
"The court has never been faster," said Ivanisevic, who slammed 23 aces and never faced a break point.
Festering bad blood between the two left-handers surfaced during and after the 86-minute match.
Woodforde hit Ivanisevic in the back with an overhand slam midway through the second set and then the veteran Australian doubles specialist said afterwards he didnt much like the way Ivanisevic played.
Ivanisevic, 26, fired back verbally, suggesting that Woodfordes exit here should also mark his farewell as a singles player.
"I think it is time
for him to retire in singles," Ivanisevic said of
the 32-year-old Woodforde. "He is pretty old, he
cant move. If I have son, I just show a picture of
Woodforde and (say) you cant play tennis like
Hockey: India hope to maintain fine run
CHENNAI, Sept 1 (UNI) "India have a fairly good record in Malaysia and we hope to maintain the fine run in the Commonwealth Games too", assistant coach of the Indian hockey team Ramesh Parameswaran asserted yesterday.
In an informal chat with UNI at his hotel room, Ramesh said the players were 100 per cent focussed on coming up with a good performance in the games to raise the country's image in the wake of the team's poor showing at the World Cup at Utrecht in May last.
He said "we have done exceedingly well in Malaysia. We had won the Sultan Azlan Shah Tournaments in 1991 and 1995 besides the World Cup in 1975."
"With the blessings of the people and the Indians living in Malaysia we hope to maintain the winning streak and come off with flying colours. The most important thing is that the players are also motivated", Ramesh said.
Chief coach Maharaj Kishan Kaushik, who took over the mantle from Vasudevan Baskaran, who was sidelined after the team failed miserably in the World Cup, echoed the views of Ramesh and said "though the time is short in preparing the team, we are confident of doing well."
Asked whether he had any specific strategy for the games and that India had been placed in a tougher pool, Kaushik said "we will go only match by match". There should not be much gap between the defence and the attack and we are working on it, he added.
On penalty corner conversions, Kaushik said it needed individual talent and pointed out Dutch star Bovelander's enormous success.
Expressing satisfaction over the outcome of the camp at Bangalore, Kaushik reiterated that though he had little time at his disposal, he could not advocate any change in tactics and said "we have worked out on the mistakes committed during the World Cup."
He said he was happy with the composition of the team and said the players were selected only on the basis of the performance. He also admitted that the selection committee held discussions with him before announcing the team.
However, both Kaushik and Ramesh refused to be drawn into any controversy regarding Baskaran's report to the Union Ministry (after the World Cup debacle) in which he had recommended that some senior players should be dropped.
When asked about it, both the coaches parried the question. "I am happy with the performance of the players in the camp and their behaviour has been good till date. I am totally satisfied," Kaushik added.
On long term planning, he
said "we need at least two or three standby teams at
the senior level. During the late eighties and early 90's
we had two teams, Kaushik said and quickly pointed out
that the second string team defeated the "A"
team in the Nehru Cup in 1991. The teams should be
selected purely on merit.
Uncertainty hits Aussie preparations
MELBOURNE, Sept 1 (AFP) The Australian athletics team is having a tumultuous build-up to next months Kuala Lumpur Commonwealth Games.
The team, which lost star athlete Cathy Freeman last week with a foot injury, is beset with problems.
Withdrawals, walkouts, the complications of a legal challenge and injury clouds over two star athletes have upset the final run into Kuala Lumpur.
Melindia Gainford-Taylors troubled right knee continues to plague the national 100m and 200m record holder, while 1994 Commonwealth Games high jump gold medallist Tim Forsyth arrived at the team camp in Darwin yesterday on crutches.
The athletics squad has also been rocked by marathon runner Nicky Carrolls shock decision to pull out of the games, citing liver and kidney complaints and fears that the heat in Kuala Lumpur would dehydrate her.
Add to this the burden of Nova Peris-Kneebone challenging Athletics Australia in a tribunal hearing today over her non-selection in the 100m and it is clear things are not rosy in the Australian camp.
Gainsford-Taylor has been forced to reschedule her build-up to the games and she will be unable to have a test run on Thursday.
The sprinter suffered a setback last week when her knee was swollen after a 100m race in Darwin.
"My whole plan has changed", Gainsford-Taylor said yesterday.
"Because it has taken me three days to get on the track, were now just trying to put in a week of solid training."
Gainsford-Taylor, who is scheduled to run in the 100m, the 200m, and both relays at the games, said she now realised she was not fully prepared for last Wednesdays 100m race.
Peris-Kneebone is covering all bases and will appeal her 100m omission in the court of arbitration for sport in Sydney to replace Tania Van Heer as the third Australian runner in the 100m.
Peris-Kneebone finished third at the Commonwealth Games trials in 11.95 sec earlier this month behind Lauren Hewitt (11.69) and Tania Van Heer (11.84 sec). They were both chosen along with Gainsford-Taylor, who had pre-qualified.
Commonwealth high jump champion Forsyth arrived in Darwin after spraining his ankle in training 10 days ago, and was immediately examined by team medical staff.
The team doctor said he was hopeful a programme of two intense sessions a day over the next four days would see him fit for the games.
Forsyth rolled his ankle after landing on a bar during training.
Commonwealth marathon runner Steve Moneghetti proved his fitness for the 10,000m at the KL Games after finishing third at the Cross Country Championships in Canberra last weekend.
SYDNEY: An influenza scare has hit the Australian swimming team in the leadup to next month's Kuala Lumpur Commonwealth games.
Defending 100m breaststroke champion Phil Rogers has been isolated from the rest of the 41-member Australian team at a training camp in Singapore because of illness.
Rogers flew into Singapore a day earlier than the rest of the team last Thursday after coming down with the flu.
"He's been isolated from the rest of the squad so he won't infect the other kids", team media manager Ian Hanson said from Singapore.
Rogers is the oldest member in the Australian team at 27, but is still ranked number one in the Commonwealth in the 100m ahead of compatriots Ryan Mitchell and Simon Cowley.
Hanson said dual Olympic gold medallist Kieren Perkins had resumed training after coming down with the flu earlier this month.
"His coach John Carew is certainly not completely satisfied with his preparations but it's one of the things that you can't do anything about", Hanson said.
Hanson said Perkins would be helped by the fact that 1500m freestyle is on the last day of the games swimming programme on September 17.
Lucic finds refuge on court
NEW YORK, Sept 1 (Reuters) Croatian teenager Mirjana Lucic, who says she fled her home last month to get away from an abusive father, found refuge from her personal problems on the court at the US Open yesterday.
"I tried to forget about everything that is going on, all the bad things, and just focus on my tennis, and that is what I did well here," Lucic said after slamming an ace on match point for a 6-3 6-2 first-round win over Dutch woman Kristie Boogert under the lights at the National Tennis Centre.
Last week, the 16-year-old Lucic charged in a story published in a Croatian newspaper that her father and lifelong coach Marinko had physically and mentally terrorised her for the past 10 years.
Her father denied the charges in a letter published last week in a Zagreb newspaper.
The situation became unbearable, according to Lucic, at Wimbledon when her father struck her and her mother Anjelka during a dispute.
Lucic, her mother, two sisters and two younger brothers left her father for the USA, where they have been staying since.
"There were a lot of things going on for all these years. It was just a really tough time. I mentally and physically couldnt handle that anymore," said Lucic, who won her first tournament after turning professional last year to join the growing list of promising teenagers on the WTA circuit.
Lucic has asked her agent to look into legal means of keeping her father away from her in a situation reminiscent of the drastic steps Mary Pierce took a few years ago to bar her father, Jim, from attending tournaments she was playing in.
After her victory, Lucic said: "I did everything to protect myself and my family and I feel very safe."
Asked what she expected from the WTA, she said: "I have protection. I took all the steps and I am on the tennis court. That is what I always wanted to do."
Lucic found all the support she wanted from her mother and siblings at courtside in the cosy grandstand setting.
"My family was there with me today and almost after every point I would look at them and all I would get from them would be this, "come on", and that is great."
Soccer star Ginola on fund-raising mission
LUANDA, Sept 1 (Reuters) Exactly one year after the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, French football star David Ginola arrived in Angola yesterday to carry on the Princess work raising funds for victims of landmines.
"I hope to sensitise everyone - through football, the media and the international Red Cross - to the problems of landmines," Ginola told journalists on his arrival in Luanda.
Ginola is in the West African country on a three-day visit organised by the French Red Cross.
The footballer, who plays for the English Club Tottenham Hotspur, will visit Huambo and Kuito, the two cities which suffered the greatest devastation during Angolas 20-year civil war.
Aside from watching mine clearers at work and visiting amputees, Ginola will lace up his football shoes for a friendly game with some mine victims.
"Ginola will play with two teams of amputees. They are quite remarkable, they play very well and very fast," Red Cross spokesman Paolo Delloca told Reuters.
what people without one leg can do in order to run and
control a football, so I think this will be an impressive
experience for him," he said.
Lanka protest over Lloyd comments
LONDON, Sept 1 (Reuters) Sri Lanka cricket chiefs have protested to their English counterparts over remarks by England coach David Lloyd about the "unorthodox action" of off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan.
Muralitharan, called for throwing in Australia three years ago but subsequently given clearance by the International Cricket Council for his action, has so far taken 13 England wickets in the current one-off Test at The Oval.
Lloyd, whose comments at the close of play on Sunday cast doubt over the legality of Muralitharans action, said he would be making his views known after the match to the cricket authorities.
"The way he bowls and with the action he has got, he will always be a handful," said Lloyd, who refused to be drawn any further.
Muralitharan, who bowls with an unusual double jointed wrist action, has a permanent deformity in his right arm, which he cannot straighten.
Thilanga Sumathipala, president of the Board of Control for Cricket in Sri Lanka (BCCSL), said yesterday: "We want the ECB (England and Wales Cricket Board) to take some action over this."
"We are disappointed Lloyd expressed his views through the public (media) instead of going through the proper channels. I told Tim Lamb (ECB chief executive) that we were disappointed Lloyd had not gone through the proper procedures.
"Lamb has told our team manager Ranjit Fernando that he is disappointed with Lloyds remarks.
Sumathipala said he had
already had calls from Australia expressing concern that
the controversy over Muralitharans action had
Perkins back in pool but not fully fit
SINGAPORE, Sept 1 (Reuters) Australian Olympic champion Kieren Perkins is back in the pool after a bout with flu, but is still short of his best form ahead of this months Commonwealth Games in Malaysia, his coach said today.
"Hes had the flu. Hes nowhere near where he should be, but hes coming back," Perkins coach John Carew said today during pre-games training in Singapore.
"This flu has been a very bad one. Its really knocked people around. Its probably the worst Ive ever seen," said Carew, whos been coaching Perkins since the swimmer was eight.
After a sluggish 50m at the Singapore swimming club, national coach Don Talbot asked Perkins, 25, if he was diving or pushing off the pools edge. "I wish I was pushing," Perkins said, shaking his head.
Australian head coach Don Talbot said the team had all been inoculated and were taking precautions ahead of the September 11-2 games.
"Its the flu. (current 1,500m world champion Grant) Hackett picked it up. Kieren picked it up. The warmer weather helps. Acclimatisation is improving the immune system. Were getting used to the humidity, to the heat," Talbot said.
Perkins set the existing world record for 1,500m when he won the 1994 Commonwealth Games title in Canada, before defending his Olympic crown in Atlanta in 1996.
Despite his title, Perkins has struggled during the past two years, failing to make the Australian team for the world championships in Perth earlier this year.
Defending 100m breaststroke champion Phil Rogers was also back in the pool today after being isolated from the rest of the 41-member team following a bout of flu.
Meanwhile, Talbot is in a quandary about which swimmers to include in his freestyle relay teams for the games.
Talbot typically uses the relay heats to make his final decision for the teams, but it remains unclear whether there will be sufficient entries to justify heats for the event in Kuala Lumpur.
Without heats, he is forced to rely on training performance and selection trials for the games which were held five months ago in Melbourne.
ICC recommendations approved
BANGALORE, Sept 1 (UNI) The technical committee of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) today approved three recommendations of the ICC, including the wide ball, for implementing it in domestic cricket from 1998-99.
Sources told UNI that the committee agreed to amend the rule number 25 on wide ball. Now an additional run would be awarded even if runs were allowed off any wide ball besides an additional ball. At present one run or runs scored whichever was higher is allowed in addition to one extra ball.
Another suggestion accepted by the committee, chaired by Sunil Gavaskar, was that the umpires would mandatorily change the ball after the completion of 100 overs in a match of three days or more. The fielding side would have the option to take a new ball after 80 overs. Till very recently, about two seasons ago, the fielding side were allowed to take a new ball after 75 overs.
The third change accepted by the committee was to reduce the condoning time for a fielder from 15 minutes to eight minutes. If a bowler, returns within eight minutes, he would be allowed to bowl, now straightaway. Otherwise, he would have to wait the exact number of minutes he was out of the field before he could bowl.
When contacted for details, BCCI Secretary J.Y. Lele only said that the committee had agreed for three changes which would have to be ratified by the annual general meeting of the BCCI scheduled at Calcutta on September 26 and 27.
Mr Lele said all the members of the committee attended the meeting.
To another question, he said immediately after the selection of the team for Commonwealth Games at Kuala Lumpur, he would inform the Indian Olympic Association (IOA). He pointed out that even Pakistan had named its team only yesterday in an obvious reference to the IOAs outbursts against the BCCI on the delay in picking up the team.
The BCCI which had threatened to send the team through ICC had now decided to forward its entry for the Commonwealth Games through the IOA.
The meeting, which was scheduled for August 28, had to be postponed in view of the general body elections of the Karnataka State Cricket Association on August 29.
Team has ability to win World Cup: Kapil
CHENNAI, Sept 1 (UNI) The 22 probables of the Indian cricket team for the World Cup 1999, who played the second practice match at the ongoing first preparatory camp at M A Chidambaram Stadium here, had a pep talk from celebrity all-rounder Kapil Dev, under whose stewardship India lifted the World Cup in 1983.
"I told them to put their heart into the game and give out 100 per cent," the worlds highest wicket taker said talking to newsmen later.
Kapil said he believed that the present team has the ability to win." If we could do it in 83, I see no reason why we cannot do it next year", he said answering a question on Indias chances of winning the World Cup again.
But to achieve this the players have to be mentally strong. They should start thinking how to win the first match, then from then on "take it match by match", the mercurial all rounder said.
Kapil Dev said, however the results would follow, "if you give 100 per cent to the game."
Asked what he thought about conducting camps much before the the World Cup competition, Kapil said the programme at the camp is excellent. These days there is no "off season. The boys have to be in touch with the game continuously", he said.
When pointed out that there were five to six genuine allrounders in the World Cup team which he led in 1983, but few presently, Kapil Dev said, lets not crib about it. "All you need is a good balanced side. Just think positive and start winning."
"I personally think that we should win the first match. This will give enormous confidence to do well subsequently. From then on take it match by match", he said.
Asked about all rounder Ajit Agarkars projected problems with his bowling action being too side on, Kapil said Agarkars performance was more important. He is very talented but has to learn the tricks of the trade, he said.
Everybody has positive and negative points, he added.
Kapil said Agarkar would be able to emerge on top, if he learns things fast. He is a fine athlete. He has a great future.
Hingis regains some confidence
NEW YORK, Sept 1 (Reuters) Winless in her last six tournaments, Martina Hingis regained a little bit of her old confidence by routing Aleksandra Olsza to launch her US Open title defence yesterday.
"Once you keep losing, one day you get sick of it, so I am kind of moving up again," Hingis said following her 6-2 6-0 thumping of Olsza on the Arthur Ashe Stadium court.
"I am very positive now. I am in a good mood now," said Hingis, after hitting 17 winners and taking less than an hour to dispatch the overmatched Polish Poe.
Hingis mindset had been decidedly less upbeat for much of this year as she struggled in a failed attempt to duplicate last years stunning success, when she won three Grand Slam titles and finished runner-up in the fourth.
"I am definitely not as confident as I was last year or at the other tournaments in the beginning of the year," said the top-seeded Hingis, who successfully defended her Australian Open crown but fell short at Wimbledon and is mired in something of a slump by her high standards.
The Swiss teenagers bid for a rare Grand Slam sweep last year was thwarted in the French Open final by Croatian Iva Majoli, whom she will meet in the second round here.
She began 1998 where she left off in 1997, winning four of her first seven tournaments, including the Australian Open.
Muralitharan heads Ceat rankings
MUMBAI, Sept 1 (PTI) Ace Sri Lankan off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan has rocketed to the top of the Ceat international cricket ratings following his sensational 16-wicket haul in the one-off Test against England which the emerald islanders won at the Oval yesterday.
Murali, whose figures of 16 for 220 was the fifth-best in Tests, fetched him 26 points and boosted his overall points tally to 62 which was 18 more than second-placed South African pace ace Allan Donald.
England skipper Alec Stewart was in third place with 41 points, followed by his teammate Angus Fraser and Lankan opener Sanath Jayasuriya who were jointly occupying the fourth spot with 35 points each.
The memorable win over England, the first in tests for the Lankans on English soil, not only fetched them nine points but also took them to the top of the team charts with 36 points, twice more than India and England (joint second).
The rankings: 1. M
Muralitharan (Lanka, 62 pts), 2. Allan Donald (SA, 44),
3. Alec Stewart (Eng, 41), 4. Angus Fraser (Eng) and
Sanath Jayasuriya (Lanka) 35, 6. Mark Boucher (SA, 25),
7. Darren Gough (Eng) and Aravinda de Silva (Lanka) 24,
9. Jacques Kallis (SA, 23), 10. Dominic Cork (Eng, 22).
Novotna ranked second
NEW YORK, Sept 1 (AFP) Czech star Jana Novotna rose past American Lindsay Davenport to second in the WTA rankings released here as the US Open began yesterday.
But the move came one week
too late to do Novotna any good in the final grand slam
tournament of the year. Novotna is the third seed at the
14 million-dollar event while Davenport is second.
SANGRUR, Sept 1 The District Subjunior Boxing Championship will be held at War Heroes Stadium here from September 7 to 9, according to Mr Daljit Singh, president, District Boxing Association.
Rural sports meet
ROPAR, Sept 1 The three-day 27th annual rural sports tournament, organised by village youth club, concluded at Balamgarh-Mandwarra village about 15 km from here, last evening.
Mr Gobind Singh Kanjla, State Minister for Youth Services, Punjab, gave away the prizes to the winners.
The following are the results:
Kabaddi open: Dusarna village I, Mandwarra 2.
Kabaddi (62 kg) Dusarna 1.
Mandwarra 2. (57 kg): Sehon Majral, Cherrian 2. 52 kg
Mandwarra 1, Barroli 2. 48 kg Purkhali 1, Mianpur 2. 42
kg Dhangrali 1, Babani 2. 37 kg Mugal Majri 1, Punjola 2.
32 kg Mugal Majri 1, Cherrian 2. Volleyball: Mianpur 1,
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