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Monday, September 14, 1998
Venkatesh Prasad trapped leg before the wicket by Saeed Anwar of Pakistan, who was hit by the ball in the shoulder in Sahara Cup action in Toronto on Saturday. AP/PTI
Ganguly helps India make winning start
TORONTO, Sept 13 Saurav Ganguly confirmed his stature as the mainstay of Indian team in absence of Sachin Tendulkar by guiding India to a six-wicket win over archrivals Pakistan in the first match of the Sahara Cup one-day cricket series, with a fine all-round performance here last night.
Davenport lifts US Open title
NEW YORK, Sept 13 Lindsay Davenport overpowered top-seeded defending champion Martina Hingis 6-3, 7-5 to win the U.S. Open womens singles championship last night and claim her first Grand Slam title.
final an all-Aussie affair
Shooting duo bags Indias first gold
KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 13 (PTI) Marksmen Mansher Singh and Manavjit Singh Sandhu upstaged Australias world and Olympic champion Michael Diamond and partner to hand India their first gold medal of the Commonwealth Games by claiming the mens trap pairs event at the Langkawi Ranges today.
Mansher Singh, the defending individual champion and his 21-year-old partner showed superb marksmanship and outwitted formidable Australian and English rivals by logging 192 out of a possible 200 points to land the top honours on the opening day of shooting competitions.
The 32-year-old Mansher Singh was in scintillating form as he returned brilliant round of a perfect 25, 24, 25 and a 23 in the final series for a personal tally of 97/100 with Manavjit Singh recovering from the first series of 22 to rattle out 25, 25 and 23 and ensure victory.
The Indian duo relegated Michael Diamond (98), fresh after claiming the world trap title at Barcelona in July, and his partner Benjamin Kelley (92) to silver standard (190/200) with European champion Ian Peel (97) and Robert Borsley (92) of England having to settle for the bronze with an effort of 189.
The Indian duo displayed their excellent form after a recent training stint in Italy.
Meanwhile, Roopa Unnikrishnan and Kuheli Gangulee missed the womens sport rifle (prone) pairs bronze by a whisker and came fourth while mens free pistol duo of Satendra Kumar and Samaresh Jung finished fifth.
The London-based business management student Rupa and her experienced Calcutta-based compatriot Kuheli were involved in a three-way tie with Scotlands Shirley Mcintosh and Susan Bell (1170 points) and Elsa Kotze and Ronel van Rhyn of South Africa on the opening day of competition.
The Scottish duo clinched the bronze by winning the countback to resolve the deadlock, at the expense of India and the Proteas, who ended up fifth.
Roopa, under intensive training in London before landing here, shot a superb 590 out a possible 600, but Gangulee could manage only 580 forcing them into the tiebreak.
The gold went to Australias Carolyn Quigley and Kim Frazer (1174) who pipped silver-medallists Christina Ashcroft and Maureen Spinney by two points.
Indian Navys 23-year-old Satendra Kumar (534 points) and Delhis Jung (528) aggregated 1062 points in free pistol pairs to finish fifth, one rung below the Pakistan duo of Inamullah Khan-Muhammad Boota. The Indians pipped Namibia and South Africa for the fifth spot via the countback after all three pairs were tied with an identical 1062.
Mens pairs trap:
India 192 (Mansher Singh
97, Manavjit Singh 95) 1,
Barbados, Kiwis march on
KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 13 (AFP) South Africa and Barbados took differing routes to victory in the Commonwealth Games cricket today which set up a tough semi-final qualifier.
South Africas flat-footed batsmen were made to sweat by Bangladesh before they surpassed a modest target of 80 for the loss of five wickets.
Barbados, who take on South Africa on Tuesday for a semi-final berth from group C, warmed up by thumping Northern Ireland by 176 runs.
South Africa and Barbados go into the final league match with two successive wins, but the West Indians have clearly been the more impressive side.
Skipper Philo Wallace (92) and Sherwin Campbell (60) put on 144 for the first wicket as Barbados posted 296-5 before restricting Northern Ireland to 120-7.
In the days third match, New Zealand thumped Scotland by 177 runs to set up the semi-final decider from group D against Pakistan on Tuesday.
The Kiwis recovered from a shaky 39 for two to score an impressive 278-6 and then shot out Scotland for 101 in the 43rd over.
New Zealand, who have four points to Pakistans three, will advance through if Tuesdays match is abandoned by rain a distinct possibility according to the weather bureau.
The South Africans, who bowled out Bangladesh for 79, lost five top order batsmen, mainly to spin bowling, before winning in the 25th over.
Pollock, understandably, was not amused.
"The batters obviously have got to pick up even if the conditions dont suit them, he said.
"Weve two days to revive ourselves before the crunch game against Barbados. We cant afford to bat badly again.
Herschelle Gibbss 26 was the top score on the crumbling wicket as experienced opener Andrew Hudson (zero), Derek Crookes (three) and Jacques Kallis (10) fell early.
Bangladesh captain Akram Khan said losing the toss quashed his teams chances as the South African bowlers made the ball seam and bounce in the overcast morning session.
Bangladesh never recovered after losing Shahriyar Hossain caught behind to the first ball of the match from Pollock.
Seamer Kallis applied the pressure with three wickets for 13 runs in seven overs and Bangladesh folded up in the 39th over.
Bangladesh, who lost their first match to Barbados by four wickets, are out of the reckoning for a semi-final place.
Wallace, recalled to the West Indian one-day side for the home series against England, plundered 12 boundaries and two sixes against the hapless Irish.
Adrian Griffith and Mark Lavine built on the solid start by adding 70 for the fourth wicket off just 62 deliveries. Griffith cracked 66 off 65 balls and Lavine hit 44 off 46.
The Irish resistence ended after the fall of left-hander Stephen Smyth for 55 and managed just 120-7 in reply despite an unbeaten 20 from skipper Allan Rutherford.
World Cup champions Sri Lanka will clash with Zimbabwe tomorrow for a semi-final berth from group A. India and Australia face off in group B on Tuesday.
Mixed luck for India in badminton
KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 13 (UNI) Indian women shuttlers trounced Australia 5-0 and looked headed for more than a bronze at the Commonwealth Games but the men ran into favourites Malaysia and met their match in the superleague round robin badminton competitions which began here today.
While the mens result, 1-4, against Malaysia this evening was to be expected, despite top seed and world number five Ong Ewe Hock conceding his match to Indian number one P. Gopichand after leading 15-2, 11-8, the women looked well on course for at least a silver if not more after they outclassed Australia in a little over two hours.
In fact, it appears as if the Indian women were giving much more credit to their rivals and underestimating their own form. They easily beat Scotland and Wales in their group and had little trouble from Australia who had topped their group.
They next meet Malaysia who lost to favourites England, tomorrow morning, and the medals will be decided after the last round robin matches in the evening.
Aparna Popat, Indias number one player, ranked 28th in the world, had an easy opener against Michaela Smith, winning 11-1, 11-6 and Neelima Chaudhary outclassed Kellie Lucas 11-4, 11-3.
Manjusha Kanwar except for being down 1-3 in the first game gave no further quarters to Rayoni Head and won 11-4, 11-6 to give India an unbeatable 3-0 lead.
The two doubles were also no problems for India as the Australians knew the issue had been settled.
Madhumita Bisht and P.V.V. Lakshmi defeated Kellie Lucas and Sarah Hicks 15-7, 15-8 and Manjusha Kanwar and Archana Deodhar accounted for Rhonda Cator and Amanda Hardy 15-5, 15-6.
Indias match of the day was, however, with Malaysia, strong contenders for the title. So much was the excitement that former all-England champion and Commonwealth Games winner Prakash Padukone who had been watching the womens performance also crossed over to the other end of the stadium to watch the men fight Malaysia.
There were worries in the host camp, particularly for their Danish coach Morten Frost Hansen, as Malaysias top player Ong Ewe Hock limped off while easily leading 15-2, 11-8 against Gopichand, ranked 72nd in the world. Ong had slipped and fallen on the court and twisted his ankle. He tried to stay on but when he found the pain too much, he signalled to the umpire that he could not carry on.
This was the biggest cause of concern for the Malaysians as they comfortably won the tie thereafter. Nikhil Kanetkar gave some resistance in the second game of his match against Yong Hock Kin, taking a lead of 9-4 but then the world number eight took 11 straight points to beat Kanetkar 15-1, 15-9.
Before the Kanetkar-Yong match, the Indians had lost the first doubles. Jaseel Ismail and Vincent Lobo went down to Cheah Soon Kit and Yap Kim Hock 4-15,4-15 in 31 minutes.
The second Indian doubles pair of George Thomas and Markose Bristow were no match for the court craft and talent of Koreans Lee Wan Wah and Choong Tan Fook who won 15-2, 15-6. In the last singles world number 21 Wong Choong Hann demolished Abhinshyam Gupta 15-6, 15-10.
Despite the loss to the Malaysians, the Indian mens team is very much in contention for the silver if they beat New Zealand and England tomorrow. A bronze was anyway assured after they entered the superleague yesterday.
Malaysia hold Pak in hockey
KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 13 AFP Hockey aristocrats Pakistan narrowly avoided their first defeat in 12 years at the hands of Malaysia here at the Commonwealth Games today, equalising 16 minutes from time to draw 1-1.
In the nights other match, their fellow pool B rivals England defeated Kenya 3-1 in a far from impressive performance, which leaves Pakistan top of the pool with five points from three matches, Malaysia and England joint second with four points from three matches, and Canada on two, all having played a game less.
Pakistan, who had beaten the same team 7-2 in Mays World Cup, seized the initiative in the second-half and got a deserved equaliser when Ali Razas vicious low shot whizzed past keeper Roslan Jamaluddin with 16 minutes to go.
However, the Malaysians, who have improved out of all recognition since coach Paul Lissek was hired on loan from Germany in May, almost stole the three points at the death when Pakistani captain Muhammad Usman was sinbinned and the Bandana-wearing Nor Azlan Bakar just sent his shot wide of the post.
The Malaysians, who were inspired by the capacity 15,000 crowd, took the game to the Pakistanis from the start and scored from when Kuhan Shanmuganathans shot took a deflection off Chairil over the diving keeper Ahmed Alam.
Alam, who has been under fire for his performances here, kept the young Pakistani side in the match with several stunning saves as the host side, displaying much more fire than they had when they finished 12th and last in Mays World Cup, turned on the flair.
Gurcharan Singh wins; Dingko, Gurmeet out
KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 13 (PTI) Lightheavy pugilist Gurcharan Singh provided the lone solace by making the next round as the campaigns of bantamweight N.G. Dingko Singh and featherweight Gurmeet Singh came to a premature end at the Commonwealth Games boxing competitions here tonight.
The tall 20-year-old Gurcharan Singh kept Indias dwindling medals hopes going when he won his preliminary bout when his opponent, Enroy Toney of St Vincent Grenadines was disqualified in the third round for holding.
The 19-year-old Dingko Singh who had outboxed the superior Alfred Tetteh of Ghana 11-8 in the opening round yesterday, found his match in tough Ugandan Abdu Tebazalwa who registered a 16-7 points verdict in the last 16 contest.
Gurmeet Singh, the 24-year-old middleweight prospect, saw the luck of draw pitting him against Australian Oceania and Victoria Games bronze medallist James Swan.
In a scrappy bout replete with clinching and holding, Swan proved more adept at scoring points with superior technique and craftiness to defeat the Indian 17-7 on points.
Gurcharan Singh, the SAARC Games gold medallist who has a string of fine wins at the international level since coming into the scene two years back, began dominating from the word go. Toney frequently held to avoid his flurry of punches.
The bout was stopped by the referee in the third round as Toney was disqualified for holding.
Middleweight pugilist Jitender Kumar will fight Francis Partsoh of Samoa in his first bout tomorrow.
Aussies set the pool ablaze
KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 13 (AFP) Australia swept nine titles and smashed a swimming world record here today as they knocked England off the top of the Commonwealth Games all time medal record.
The Aussie swimmers took all five golds disputed. The men set a new world record in the 4x200 metre medleywith 15-year-old Lan Thorpe getting his name in the record books after narrowly failing to get the 200m freestyle time last night.
Australia also won two shooting golds, the womens team gymnastics and the first Commonwealth Games tenpin bowling title.
On top of their nine titles, Australians also won three silver and four bronze on the second day of the Games which have brought 4,200 athletes from 70 nations and territories together.
England, who won two gold medals, three silver and two bronze, started the games with 1,283 medals won since the first British empire games in 1930 and now have 1,290. Australia lead them now by one medal.
Michael Klim emerged from a trough of bad form to help the unstoppable Australian swimmers.
Thorpe, Daniel Kowalski, Matt Dunn and Klim set a new medley relay world record of 7:11.86. The previous record was 7:11.95 set by the unified Olympic team, the former Soviet Union, in Barcelona in 1992.
India confident against Wales
KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 13 (PTI) Fresh from their confidence boosting win over South Africa, India look forward to gaining full points against Wales in their third pool-A league match of the Commonwealth Games mens hockey tomorrow to keep semifinal hopes alive.
India, who staged a second half fightback to beat South Africa 2-1 after conceding an early goal, should find the going easy against Wales as they aim to seal the second semifinal berth behind the formidable Aussies.
Aiming to recover from the blow of an abysmal ninth place finish in the World Cup in May, they, however, have plenty of work ahead if they are to make it to medal reckoning.
An embarrassing 2-5 defeat against Australia in the opening tie gave India the simple task of having to win all remaining matches to progress. But the last two matches have exposed the chinks in their defence which could prove their undoing unless quickly repaired.
Coach M.K. Kaushik, who saw his ploy of all out attack serve the team well in the second half in both matches might look to shed the early defensive approach which has only stifled the approach.
With matches against the tough New Zealand, apart from Trinidad and Tobago, to follow a big would be an ideal boost.
Wales won their opening league match against Trinidad and Tobago 2-0 but India, despite their recent downward slide, should be too hot to handle.
New Zealand are capable of turning out to be doughty opponents, but South Africa held them for a 3-all draw which should augur well for India when they face the Kiwis.
The Indian defence, which was in a disarray against the Aussies, did a vastly better job against the Africans as they managed to shackle their star forward Greg Nicol.
The heartening news for India will be skipper Dhanraj Pillay looking sharp and fit. An added bonus will be the form and opportunism shown by forward Lakshmanan Prabhakaran.
He looked the most impressive against South Africa with his stickwork and positioning and he was largely responsible for Indias marvellous fightback.
Seasoned goalkeeper AB Subbaiah, controversially axed from the World Cup squad, appeared somewhat rusty against Australia but was much more assured yesterday. He would have to touch his peak sooner to serve Indias cause better.
India should improve on penalty
KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 13 (PTI) The Indian team began well against South Africa with the same starting eleven and surprisingly the same format of 2-3-3-2-1.
Throughout the 35 minutes of the first half, the Indians struggled to get into the rhythm, with only Mukesh Kumar and skipper Dhanraj Pillay playing up front.
Nothing noteworthy could be displayed with the South Africans defence putting up their best.
Our defence was, surprisingly, weak on the left flank allowing the rivals to do all the damage and South Africa took the lead off a free-hit from the top of the striking circle, Greg Nicol putting the ball past Subbiah.
The Indians came back after the lemon break, with a new game plan and determination to change the course of the game. They also rightly played with five forwards.
One could see the rejuvenated Indian side taking charge of the game and go on the attack at their will. It was good thinking by coach Kaushik and the management.
I have always believed in using our players in their familiar place. The strategy of starting with five forwards in the second half paid off handsomely with a much- needed victory and three points.
I fail to understand why the Indians started defensively and invited pressure, that too when playing against a team like South Africa.
Today skipper Pillay made amends for his first half lapses by spearheading a foray which gave Laxmanan Prabakaran to put the rebound past South Arican goalkeeper.
The answer how to improve penalty corner conversion rate is still eluding us. There was no variation in all the nine penalty corners we got. Dilip Tirkeys direct hits are not powerful enough.
It was off the last corner awarded that Baljit Singh Dhillon scored the all-important goal with a powerful low push to the right.
To sum up the performance Indians should believe they can play their natural game, improve on the penalty corners and, most importantly, should believe that "attack is the best form of defence."
The excellent display by half back Mohd Riaz and the victory should lift our morale. I expect the team will improve and perform better.
Indian eves have task cut out
KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 13 (PTI) Boosted by two convincing victories in their league matches, India have their task cut out when they take on hosts Malaysia in their pool-A womens hockey league match in the 16th Commonwealth Games here tomorrow.
The Indians trounced Jamaica 4-0 and Trinidad and Tobago 7-1 in their opening matches, but the ride may not be so smooth against the tenacious Malaysians who are capable of turning the tables on any fancied team on their day.
The Indians, who finished last in the recent Utrecht World Cup, have been placed in a relatively easy group with only Australia being a strong team.
The Malaysians would hope to capitalise on home conditions and support to put it across India and keep their hopes alive of a semifinal berth in the championship.
The Indians would be largely depending on centre forward Pritam Rani Thakran, who has already fired in as many as six goals in two matches, to deliver the goods in the crucial match tomorrow.
Pritam scored a hat-trick against Jamaica and then pumped in three more goals against Trinidad and Tobago. But whether she can penetrate the much stronger Malaysian defence with the same felicity remains to be seen.
The Malaysians, who were pulverised 11-0 by the formidable Australians in their last match yesterday, may find it difficult to lift their game and morale after the battering from the Aussies.
The Malaysians had trounced lowly Trinidad and Tobago 6-1 in their opening match, but the humiliating defeat in the next match must have taken a toll on the players.
The Indian forwardline has looked impressive against the weaker teams and would really be tested when they take on Australia on September 16.
Captain Sita Gossain, Nidhi Khullar, Kamla Dalal and Sandeep Kaur have also been quite impressive in the championship and coach Gurdial Singh Bhangu would be hoping for a consistent performance from the girls to realise their dreams of a berth in the semis.
Indian eves peg sights higher
KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 13 (PTI) Indian shuttlers maintained their fine run and closed in further for a medal of brighter hue as they outplayed Australia 4-1 in the womens team semifinal round robin at the Commonwealth Games badminton competition at the KL Badminton Academy courts today.
The Indian eves, already assured of at least a bronze medal after storming into the last four stage yesterday, reiterated their consistency yet again with only the final doubles pair of Manjusha Kanwar and Archana Deodhar proving the weak link by going down tamely, but after the rubber had been settled in their favour.
Young Aparna Popat once again gave a splendid start to Indias first tie in the semifinal stage as she took apart top Australian Michaela Smith 11-1, 11-6. Neelima Choudary, also a trainee at the Prakash Padukone Academy like the world number 28 Popat, then thrashed Kellie Lucas 11-4, 11-3.
Former national champion Manjusha Kanwar also made shortwork of Rayoni Head at 11-4, 11-6 to effectively settle the tie 3-0 before veteran Madhumita Bisht and P.V.V. Lakshmi took their double match against Kellie Lucas and Sarah Hicks with a relatively untroubled verdict of 15-7, 15-8.
In the final tie, Manjusha and Archana lost 5-11, 6-11 to Rhonda Cator and Amanda Hardy to provide the Aussies a consolation victory.
Though Malaysia are the title favourites, Indias hitherto consistent showing should stand them in good stead as they meet the hosts and England on the final day tomorrow.
Davenport lifts US Open title
NEW YORK, Sept 13 (Reuters) Lindsay Davenport overpowered top-seeded defending champion Martina Hingis 6-3, 7-5 to win the U.S. Open womens singles championship last night and claim her first Grand Slam title.
The second-seeded Davenport, playing in her first Grand Slam final, overwhelmed the 17-year-old Swiss sensation with the power of her serve and the depth of her groundstrokes in an one-sided one hour, 21 minutes.
Davenport, the first US.-born womens champion since Chris Evert in 1982, collected $ 700,000.
"I don't really think I could say how I really feel," said Davenport, 22, in the on-court awards ceremony. "This has been the one I wanted the most and it means a lot."
Davenport, who sailed through the championship without the loss of a set, dedicated the triumph to her mother, Ann, who was celebrating her birthday, beaming down on her daughter from the stands at the National Tennis Centre.
Hingis, who repeated as Australian Open champion earlier this year, collected $ 400,000
Davenports victory capped off a spectacular summer hardcourt season for the towering Californian, who has won 21 of her last 22 matches.
Davenport, who uncorked 35 winners to just 22 for the usually sure-shooting Hingis, broke the top seed three times in the first set as she routinely drove the defending champion several paces behind the baseline during their rallies.
In the second set, Davenport broke serve in the sixth game to lead 4-2 and was in position to serve out for the match. But some nervousness crept in, and after missing an easy, backhand volley into the open court, she was broken by Hingis to level the set 4-4.
Hingis broke Davenport again to lead 5-4, but Davenport gathered herself and with Hingis serving to send the match into a third set, the big American stepped up her game and broke the world no. 1 at love, the last point coming on a Hingis double fault.
Davenport held the next serve and then broke Hingis once again to claim the crown, getting to a poorly conceived drop shot from the Swiss and putting it away with a slashing backhand winner.
However, the 17-year-old Swiss will still just cling onto the world Number 1 ranking she has held for almost 18 months. She will stay on the lead with a slender points lead of 146.
"You have to be aggressive and overpower her," said the 6-foot, 2-inch (1.89m) Davenport, who has beaten Hingis three times this year. "I dont think she likes to play big hitters."
Hingis has gone without winning a tournament since claiming the Italian Open crown in May. In her last seven tournaments, she has reached only two finals at Manhattan Beach last month and the Open.
"She is not as aggressive as she used to be. I had more time to set up and go for my shots," said Davenport, who dictated the match by keeping Hingis scrambling behind the baseline with deep punishing groundstrokes.
Searching for something to build on from the Open, Hingis looked back on successive Open victories against Monica Seles and Wimbledon champion Jana Novotna as positive steps.
"You know after those wins I think I have the confidence back. I have my willpower back," said Hingis.
"In the last two tournaments in the Grand Slams I made the semis, now it is a big improvement. I made it to the finals again," said the precocious 17 years old.
"So Im kind of happy about that. I hope you know there are some more years to come from me."
US Open final an all-Aussie affair
NEW YORK, Sept 13 (Reuters) Defending champion Patrick Rafter, exploiting a hobbled Pete Sampras and flaunting a nearly unbreakable serve, scored a five-set victory to earn a return trip to the final of the U.S. Open tennis championships.
The third-seeded Australian, who has lost his serve just six times in six matches, including two five-setters, downed the top seed and four-time open champion 6-7 (8-10) 6-4 2-6 6-4 6-3 in three hours and five minutes yesterday.
Rafter will defend his title today in the first all-Australian U.S. Open final in 28 years when he takes on unseeded compatriot Mark Philippoussis, who rode an explosive serve to a 6-1 6-4 5-7 6-4 dismantling of 10th-seeded French Open champion Carlos Moya of Spain.
"Its Gonna be great for Australia," Rafter said of the upcoming all-Aussie affair, the first at the Open since Ken Rosewall beat Rafters advisor Tony Roche at Forest Hills in 1970.
By stopping Sampras, who had never lost a U.S. Open semifinal in five previous trips to the Flushing final four, Rafter kept intact countryman Roy Emersons place in the Grand Slam record book, holding Sampras at 11 major titles, one shy of Emersons mark.
In between the mens semifinals, second-seeded American Lindsay Davenport captured her first career Grand Slam title by toppling top seed and defending champion Martina Hingis 6-3 7-5 in the womens singles final.
A tight serve and volley duel with lightning fast points and few service breaks, took a dramatic twist late in the third set when Sampras pulled up clutching his left leg coming in for a volley in the seventh game.
His thigh was wrapped in a medical timeout at the changeover and the trainer continued to work on it when he had the chance. Trainer Doug Spreen said the world number one strained a muscle in his left quadricep close to his hip.
"It kind of shocked me a little bit, and I wasnt sure if I was going to be able to continue to play," Sampras said. "The adrenaline was really the only thing that kept me going. It was just bad luck."
Sampras, who has had a long history of physical setbacks in his brilliant career, pulled out that third set by breaking Rafter in the next game.
But it was painfully obvious that he was not running or bending for many shots and moving gingerly when he did, although he was still pretty dangerous at the service line, where he tried to keep points as short as possible.
"I didnt want to get into any long rallies. It was really my only alternative," Sampras said.
"If I had gotten through it somehow, I dont know if I would have been able to play tomorrow."
The fleet-footed Rafter, meanwhile, began chasing down everything in sight in stark contrast to the top seeds physical struggles.
"But he just kept serving big serves and I was getting pretty hacked off about that," said Rafter, who extended his U.S. Open winning streak to 13 matches and his red hot summer hardcourt record to 24-2.
"Youve got to try and focus on trying to hit the ball away from him. I just tried to make him move a little bit more," added Rafter, who is 7-0 this year against top-10 players.
After a first set in which neither player faced a break point, Sampras stared down two set points before pulling out the tie-break 10-8. He pumped his fist and exhorted the crowd to make some noise.
But Rafter, with perhaps the best volley touch in the game, turned up the heat to take the second set with the help of a lone service break in the third game.
Even with Sampras up two sets to one, after the injury it was clear that only a miracle would keep the dashing Australian from his second consecutive U.S. Open final.
"It was just one of those hard luck stories for Pete. Obviously Im happy I won, but it takes a little bit away from it. It was a genuine injury," added Rafter, who also faced an unseeded opponent in last years final in Greg Rusedski.
It would have taken a genuine injury to stop the 22nd-ranked Philippoussis earlier on Saturday.
The 21-year-old Aussie launched 21 rocket aces, produced an incredible 75 winners and while swinging for the fences with nearly every serve still put 67 per cent of them on target against a helpless Moya.
"I played some great tennis today," said Philippoussis, who picked up his intensity level right where he left off in his heart-stopping quarter-final victory in a 12-10 fifth-set tie-break with Swede Thomas Johansson.
Philippoussis made Moya look like a target at a shooting gallery as the Australian fired bullets while the Spaniard shuffled from one side of the court to the other in the face of stunning firepower.
"First of all, he played a great match," said Moya, the 1997 Australian Open runner-up who made his Grand Slam breakthrough at Roland Garros this year. "His serve was unbelievable."
"I feel great out there. I do feel unbeatable," he said. "If I serve the way I am, volley the way I am, its going to be tough to break me."
Ganguly helps India make winning start
TORONTO, Sept 13 (PTI) Saurav Ganguly confirmed his stature as the mainstay of Indian team in absence of Sachin Tendulkar by guiding India to a six-wicket win over archrivals Pakistan in the first match of the Sahara Cup one-day cricket series, with a fine all-round performance here last night.
Ganguly, who won the Man of the Series award with a brilliant performance here last year, first took three wickets for 33 runs to restrict Pakistan to 189 for nine off 50 overs, and then braved a painful hamstring in scoring an unbeaten 54 to help India reach 193 for four off 43.4 overs.
The elegant left handers all-round performance put in shade telling comebacks by two other seasoned players for India Javagal Srinath and Navjot Sidhu. Srinath bowled with fire for his match figures of three for 37 and Sidhu made a fine 45 to give India a good start.
Sidhu and skipper Azharuddin rescued India from what looked like a difficult position when Ganguly was forced to return back to the pavilion with an hamstring injury when he had made 10 runs.
They saw India through to 50, which came just 10.3 overs. The captain was the first to go, run out while attempting for an non-existant third run with the Indian score reading 91.
Sidhu soon joined Azhar in the pavilion seven runs later. He was bowled by Mohd Zahid for 45 and India looked set for a collapse losing two wickets for 98.
But Ganguly, who came back into the field after taking medical help only to return back with India three runs short of victory, put a fine 47-run partnership with Hrishikesh Kanitkar (28) for the third wicket to take India to safety.
Earlier, Javagal Srinath returned from injury layoff to lead a fine bowling performance by India to restrict Pakistan to a modest 189 for nine off 50 overs.
Only Salim Malik (41), Saeed Anwar (35) and Ijaz Ahmed (21) put up a semblance of fight as rest of the Pakistan batting order failed to tackle the Indian seamers on a pitch which gave some assistance to seam bowlers.
The lanky paceman Srinath prised out three wickets for 37 runs and Ganguly claimed three for 33 with their young counterpart Ajit Agarkar (2/47) chipping in well as the Indian seamers rattled the Pakistan line-up.
After a spell of rain in the morning which delayed the start by 40 minutes after the toss at the Toronto Skating and Curling Club ground, the Indian bowlers picked up wickets at regular intervals to take full advantage of the conditions.
Left-hander Saeed Anwar compiled 35 and veteran Salim Malik, inducted into the team despite the match-fixing charges he is embroiled in with Ijaz Ahmed, top-scored with 41, but the Indian bowlers who tasted early success kept pegging away to restrict Pakistan to well under the 200-run mark.
Srinath struck the first blow by having big-hitter Shahid Afridi, who began by smashing Ajit Agarkar for a huge six, caught in the second slips by Azharuddin. Skipper Aamir Sohail contributed 21 before Ganguly trapped him leg before and then claimed the prize scalp of Inzamam ul Haq (20).
Inzamam contributed 35 from 61 balls with three fours as he tried to force the pace of the scoring. He went for a big shot off Ganguly and was caught brilliantly in the deep by Jatin Paranjpe.
Ganguly and Kanitkar bowled well in tandem for India in the middle overs of the Pakistani innings slipping in 12 overs for only 32 runs.
Malik, who struggled at the start of his innings and clearly looked out of touch, tried to take the fight to the Indian camp but could not make much progress and out trying a big shot.
He was caught in a dramatic fashion by Srinath in front of the squareleg umpire off his own bowling, despite a colliding with Saurav Ganguly.
Ijaz Ahmed, who was surprisingly demoted in the batting and came at number seven, hardly a position for a batsman who scored a brilliant hundred against India the last time the sides clashed in the Coca Cola Cup final in Dhaka in January, tried to force way out of trouble but without much success.
He hit a couple of fine fours but was out, caught Azhar off Srinath, at a time when he looked set to take Pakistan beyond 200.
'Lucky' Ganguly bowled well: Sohail
TORONTO, Sept 13 (PTI) "He bowled well but he was lucky as a batsman," was how the defeated Pakistan captain Aamir Sohail summed up man-of-the-match Saurav Gangulys all-round performance in the first game of the Sahara Cup here last evening.
Ganguly, who must be in some doubt for todays game because of a pulled hamstring, was rated by skipper Mohd Azharuddin as the "best player" and why not? since he won his fifth man of the match award at this venue.
Azhar felt there was a bit of help for bowlers in the morning. Coach Anshuman Gaekward went further and said: "The wicket improved towards the latter part of the game. It was all bowlers in the morning but the batsmen were in the picture in the afternoon.
"I thought Azhar captained the side very well in the middle today. He brought in right changes at the right time, for instance he introduced Srinath and Agarkar when Pakistan had sent in their pinch hitters," Gaekward said.
"I thought we bowled, fielded and batted well but if I have to pick up one area of improvement, I would say we gave away too many runs by way of extras and wides towards the closing part of the Pakistan innings," Azhar said.
Pakistan coach Javed Miandad and Sohail were not in particularly pleasant mood as could be understood, and Sohail restricted himself to lot of one-liners to question why Ijaz Ahmed was demoted low in the batting order, below Abdul Razzak and should not Yousuf Youhanna have been played.
Sohail snapped: "Thanks for your advice. We will think about it."
Somebody asked: "Would you like to shuffle your batting order tomorrow?" Sohail replied: "Batting order is our business. We will keep this to ourselves. We dont need to discuss this with the media."
Sohail was not in a mood
to blame the pitch for all of Pakistans ills.
"I would not like to blame the pitch really. I would
say the Indian bowlers bowled with a lot of discipline
they must be praised."
Ganguly a priceless asset
Another outstanding innings by Ganguly made sure of victory for India. How he loves playing in Toronto. Last year he was 'Man of the Series' with four 'Man of the Match' prizes and he did it again yesterday. At one stage he retired hurt with a hamstring strain when 10 not out but returned at the fall of the first wicket when he saw the quality, or the lack of it, from the Pakistani bowlers.
The Pakistan tactics were wrong. Bowling wide of off-stump to packed off-side fields was bowling to the strength of Sidhu, Azhar and Ganguly, Sohail set fields for bad balls and the bowlers bowled too many easy hittable balls amongst the occasional good ball. Having Mushtaq out for an all seam attack meant there was no variation. Afridi bowled a few wrist spinners when the match was all but lost. There needs to be an improvement in the Pakistan bowling and a re-think about field settings. But this takes nothing away from India's win. They outplayed Pakistan with an almost perfect performance.
India made winning easy by giving an impressive performance in the field. Hardly a bad ball was bowled and it was the quality of this bowling and fielding that shackled the Pakistani batsmen. There was always something in the pitch for the seamers to exploit and by keeping the ball pitched up and straight there were few opportunities to score. Every Pakistani batsman was made to work hard for runs.
Afridi smacked his first ball for a six over long off but was in trouble fending off a short bouncy ball from Srinath. His pace caused a lot of discomfort for the batsmen as they struggled against him and the lack of pace from Ganguly. It's an old saying in cricket of 'horses for courses' Ganguly always does well in the Sahara Cup. He has a golden arm that can get wickets with good balls and bad balls. A priceless asset not to be underestimated. Sohail was put out of his misery when trying to pull a short ball missed and was plumb lbw. Inzamam hit over long hop over midwicket, first bounce through an open window into the match referee's room, but than smacked another long hop straight at deep cover point on the boundary edge.
Anwar had made a nice 35 runs before failing to get forward to the off spinner and Razzak went 'fishing' outside off stump to a gentle teasing delivery from Ganguly.
Try as they might Pakistan were being frustrated and outplayed.
There was some frenetic
throwing of bat at ball in the last 10 overs. Even Malik,
after a circumspect innings, had to resort to trying to
slog Srinath over the top only to sky the ball 'many a
mile'. Batsmen had to commit themselves to outrageous
shots grateful for any runs off the edge or the middle of
the bat. Wickets tumbled in the desperate scramble for
runs but at no time did India lose control of the game.
Prabhakar threatens to sue BCCI
NEW DELHI, Sept 13 (PTI) Former all-rounder Manoj Prabhakar, whose match-fixing charges had raised a hue and cry in Indian cricket, has fired another bouncer by threatening to sue cricket board for non-release of his benevolent fund.
Prabhakar, who had represented India in 129 one-day internationals and 39 Tests, in a legal notice to the board warned that if it failed to release the funds within four weeks, he would "initiate appropriate legal proceedings."
The notice issued through advocate Nidhesh Gupta said though Prabhakar retired from international cricket in March 1996, the BCCI has ignored several representations for the release of the funds running into several lakh of rupees.
The notice said a substantial part of prabhakars match fees was deducted by the BCCI for deposition of the same in the benevolent fund meant for him.
Prabhakar had captured 96 wickets and scored 1567 runs in Tests while claiming 157 "victims" and notching up 1855 runs in one-day internationals.
The notice said, "A substantial part of Prabhakars match fee was deducted by the board for depositing into benevolent fund. The said amounts having been deducted from the match fees belonging to Prabhakar and having been deposited into his benevolent fund, formed part of the cricketers property."
"BCCI was required to immediately release the aforesaid benevolent fund in Prabhakars favour after his retirement from cricket. In spite of requests having been made by him, no action has been taken by the board and the board continues to retain the funds," it said.
"The inaction on the part of the board and its failure to release the fund has caused tremendous mental agony and distress to him," Mr Gupta said in the legal notice addressed to the BCCI Secretary.
Mr Gupta said without prejudice to Prabhakars right to recover the damages from board, "I call upon you to release the benevolent fund belonging to my client within four weeks of the receipt of this notice along with interest at the rate of 18 per cent per annum from March 1996 till the date of payment."
Ripjeet bags top honours
CHANDIGARH, Sept 13 Ripjeet Singh bagged top honours in the air rifle (NR) senior men and junior men categories with an aggregate of 286 and 276 out of 400 points in the Ropar District Rifle Shooting Championship being held at the Sector 25 Patiali Rao Ranges here today.
Mr B.K. Bassi, president of the association gave away the prizes.
Bhanmeet Singh was declared the best marksman in men's section while Jasmeen Kaur Brar was declared the best woman shooter of the district.
The results are: Air rifle (NR) men: Ripjeet Singh 1, Gagandeep Singh Sahota 2, Sandeep Sarai 3. pts 286/400, Junior men: Ripjeet Singh 1, Gagandeep Singh Sahota 2, Harparneet Singh 3. pts 376/400.; Subjunior (NR): Amanjot 1, Livjot Singh 2, Gurpreet Singh 3. pts 243/400.
Senior women air rifle (NR) Jasmeen Kaur Brar 1, Gurleen Kaur Brar 2; Junior women: Jasmeen Kaur Brar 1; Subjunior (NR) Gurleen Kaur Brar 1.
Air rifle (ISU) men's section Sandeep Singh 1, Karan Sandhu 2, Gurparneet Singh 3.
Air pistol (NR) men's section: Banmeet Singh 1, Raja Ahluwalia 2, Sahasdeep Singh 3. pts 346/400; junior men: Banmeet Singh 1, Sahasdeep Singh 2, Ripjeet Singh 3. pts 346/400. Air pistol (NR) women section: Jasmeen Kaur Brar 1, pts 185/400.
Canadian bowler gets dream ball
KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 13 (AFP) Canadian seamer Davis Joseph will take home a prize he considers more valuable than a Commonwealth Games gold medal the ball with which he dismissed Sachin Tendulkar.
Joseph celebrated yesterday after removing the Indian master for two with a vicious inswinger.
The ball swerved in sharply to uproot the off-stump as Tendulkar shouldered arms to what he perceived was a harmless delivery outside the off-stump.
Josephs delight at securing the most important wicket of his life knew no bounds.
He leapt high in the air and danced around his team-mates as a bemused Tendulkar trudged back to the pavilion.
"Its a day I will never forget," the 35-year-old part-time cricketer said. "There are not many bowlers in world cricket who can claim they got the great man out cheaply.
"I am taking the ball home with me. Its more valuable than winning a gold medal," he said after getting it autographed by Tendulkar.
Indian coach K. Srikkanth admitted he had never seen the Indian dismissed in such fashion.
Arrest warrants against ex-Pak cricketers
KARACHI, Sept 13 (AFP) A Pakistani Judge probing a match fixing and betting scandal issued arrest warrants against four former cricketers for not appearing before a commission to give statements, official sources said today.
Malik Mohammad Qayyum, a Judge of the Lahore High Court and appointed head of a one-man commission by the government, issued bailable warrants yesterday against former captains Javed Burki, Intikhab Alam and Ramiz Raja and middle order batsman Basit Ali.
Senator Iqbal Haider, a member of the senate committee also investigating the matter, was also issued a warrant but it was later withdrawn following an explanation he was busy attending a parliament session.
The four cricketers were supposed to appear before the commission yesterday.
A statement from former team manager Yawar Saeed has already been taken as a part of the ongoing inquiry.
Saeed, who managed the Pakistan team on the 1996 tour of England, told the commission he had never found any players involved in match fixing.
The commission, formed last month, has asked the four players to appear on September 19. Chairman of the cricket board, Khalid Mahmood, and chief executive Majid Khan will also record their statements the same day.
Besides Qayyums Commission and the senate standing panel, a three-member cricket board probe panel has also held sessions. An interim report by the cricket boards committee implicated Wasim Akram, Salim Malik and Ijaz Ahmed in match fixing.
Former soccer Olympian dead
KOHIMA, Sept 13 (PTI) Dr Talimeren Ao, the first captain of independent Indias Olympic soccer team, died here today after a brief illness. He was 80.
Born in Changki village in Nagalands Mokokchung district, Dr Ao, a barefooted player, led the Indian football team at the 1948 London Olympic Games.
Dr Ao, who retired as Director of Nagaland Health Services in 1978 and devoted his time to the promotion of sport in the North-East, used to represent Calcuttas glamorous Mohun Bagan club during his playing days after making his debut for Guwahatis leading Maharana Club.
A legendary sporting figure in the North-East, he studied medicine from the R.G. Kar Medical College, Calcutta.
Leading Calcutta Club Mohun Bagan flew its flag at half-mast as a mark of respect to Dr Ao.
Churchill Brothers finish third
CALCUTTA, Sept 13 (PTI) Churchill Brothers from Goa took the third spot in the KBL Federation Cup Football Tournament defeating Mohammedan Sporting by a solitary second-half goal yesterday.
The visitors scored the match winner through Cyril Barreto from a pass by Elvis Fernandes in the 86th minute, whose powerful shot entered the end of the net.
Mohammedans got a chance of scoring as early as in the fifth minute but their striker Gopal Ghoshs shot was saved by Churchill defender Osman Hussain from the goal-line.
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