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Sunday, April 11, 1999
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Rejuvenated India take on England today
SHARJAH, April 10 — India have much to think about at the mid-way stage in the three-nation Coca Cola Cup Cricket Tournament, despite their 20-run win over England last night.

Anand loses to Kramnik
DOS HERMANAS April 9 — Grandmaster Viswanathan Anand lost to Russia’s Vladimir Kramnik last night to suffer his second defeat in the third round of the Dos Hermanas Chess Tournament here.

Anna Kournikova
AMELIA ISLAND: Anna Kournikova, of Russia, watches as she returns a volley during her quarter-round match against Patty Schnyder, of Switzerland, at the Bausch and Lomb Championships on Friday, April 9, 1999 in Amelia Island, Fla. Kournikova beat Schnyder 6-0, 6-2. — AP/PTI


Pak wrestlers dominate
ANANDPUR SAHIB, April 10 — Wrestlers from Pakistan dominated most of the bouts they figured in the World Khalsa Wrestling Competitions which began at the Charan Ganga Stadium here this evening.
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Punjab in dire straits
AMRITSAR, April 10 — After conceding a huge first innings lead of 232 runs, Punjab put up another disastrous and irresponsible performance with the bat in the second innings crashing to 190 for six, still requiring another 42 runs to avoid an innings defeat against defending champions Karnataka in the Ranji Trophy semifinal at the Gandhi Grounds here today.
Jadeja was brave, confident
Geoff Boycott writes
INDIA redeemed themselves and won over their long suffering supporters with a tense nail biting victory against England. For the players it was a god-send after the way Pakistan have been beating them badly. It was getting to the stage where some of them were beginning to wonder if they would ever win another match.
Regional Sport Briefs

Baboor, Basak in semis
MUMBAI, April 10 — National champion and world number 72, Chetan Baboor of Indian Oil and third seeded Arup Basak of Hindustan Petroleum have entered the men’s singles semi-finals of the Rs 1.75 lakh prize money India Cup Table Tennis Tournament.

Agassi, Kournikova win; Pierce ousted
HONG KONG, April 10 — Andre Agassi put his pending divorce from actress Brooke Shields out of mind, concentrating totally on tennis today to sweep into the final of the $ 350,000 Salem Open with a 6-3, 6-0 win over Hendrik Dreekmann of Germany.

Did Simpson inspire the team to victory?
DUBAI, April 10 — Did a pep talk given by consultant Bobby Simpson lift the Indian Cricket team back to its winning ways after being down in the dumps for too long?

Black, Schuttler enter final
CHENNAI, April 10 — Zimbabwe’s Byron Black and Germany’s Rainer Schuttler will clash in the final of the Gold Flake ATP Tour Tennis Championship here tomorrow.

High-altitude training ‘vital’ for players
CHANDIGARH, April 10 — The second day of the all-India badminton coaches seminar in progress here at the Sector 42, Sports Complex, was devoted to the strength development and training, nutritional demands during training and after, the latest rules and laws governing badminton and the altitude training at higher places than sea level.

Spirited reply by Madhya Pradesh
HYDERABAD, April 10 — An unbroken 84-run fourth wicket stand between Devendra Bundela (48) and left-hander Abbas Ali (54) lifted Madhya Pradesh to 172 for 3 in 71 overs in their first innings on the second day of the Ranji Trophy semifinals here today.

IAAF ratifies indoor world records
MONTE CARLO (Monaco), April 10 — The International Amateur Athletic Federation has officially ratified Haile Gebrselassie’s 5,000-metre indoor world record in Birmingham on February 14 and Gabriela Szabo’s run over the same distance in Dortmund the previous day.

PSB, AFC play 2-2 draw
CALCUTTA, April 10 — Punjab and Sind Bank of Jalandhar and AFC played a barren 2-2 draw at the quarterfinal league match of the Beighton Cup here today.

 

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Rejuvenated India take on England today

SHARJAH, April 10 (UNI, PTI) — India have much to think about at the mid-way stage in the three-nation Coca Cola Cup Cricket Tournament, despite their 20-run win over England last night.

Yesterday’s victory came a day after a humiliating 116-run loss to Pakistan and the rest day today gave the team a chance to reflect on their approach so far as well as their preparedness for the World Cup beginning in England next month.

The Indians now have two points from as many outings here while Pakistan have four points after two straight wins against England and India. England lost both their matches and are at the bottom of the league table.

The three teams will play each other once again in the second stage of the league before the top two sides clash in the April 16 final.

India will meet England again in their next league engagement tomorrow and yesterday’s win, snatched in pretty adverse conditions, has definitely boosted their morale.

The team showed great spirit when the odds were heavily loaded against them and came back with a gusto. They took the field without skipper Mohammed Azharuddin who was injured while batting. Wicket-keeper Nayan Mongia was also hurt half-way through the England innings. There was a dearth of substitutes, with several players on the sick list.

In such a situation, the fact that they performed under the leadership of Ajay Jadeja, deputising for Azharuddin, speaks volumes about their will to win.

But the players are also aware that things are not quite the way they should be.

For one, their batting failed to click for the second straight day yesterday and appeared rather mediocre at times.

More than anything else, the batsmen appeared to be ignoring some of the basics of the one-day game, including the need to keep looking for ones and twos by finding the gaps in the field.

Coach Anshuman Gaekwad said the team’s morale had always been high, despite their losses against Pakistan.

"Our bowlers performed extremely well yesterday, but then our batting did not click again", he said.

Against Pakistan, the indians allowed them to pile up 279 for eight and then found it impossible to chase it. Yesterday their batsmen struggled against the England attack and laboured to reach 222 for five in their 50 overs. However, the bowlers proved more than equal to the task.

"The small scores are always difficult to defend or chase. We are happy to finish on a winning note", Azharuddin said after last night’s win.

On the positive side, Azharuddin will be happy that he is back among the runs. His unbeaten 74 held the Indian innings together against England yesterday though he had come a cropper against Pakistan.

Pakistan, with two straight wins have virtually made it to the April 16 final while India need one more win to seal a spot in the summit clash while England need to win both their remaining matches after losing the first two ties.

'Keeper Nayan Mongia, who required five stitches on his lower lip after being struck on his mouth by an Anil Kumble kicker is likely to play tomorrow while Azhar is also expected to lead the side after escaping with only a bruise on his left toe after being struck by a yorker from paceman Darren Gough.

Azhar hoped India’s fighting win over England would mark a turnaround in their fortunes and said his team would come together to go all the way to claim the title.

India, who caved in for their eighth straight defeat to Pakistan in their opening tie here, have been grappling with various problems.

Affected badly by the absence of maestro Sachin Tendulkar due to back injury, viral fever to Nikhil Chopra, Vinod Kambli, Amay Khurasia, Mongia and Ajit Agarkar here had further set them back.

But the cricket board, which flew in Hrishkesh Kanitkar on the team management’s request, has decided against bringing in any more replacements with board sources saying the five players have recovered from the viral infection and will be available for selection tomorrow.

The positive turnaround came last night when the mainline Indian bowlers Venkatesh Prasad, Javagal Srinath and Anil Kumble bowled a tight line to keep the English batsmen under check though Robin Singh and Saurav Ganguly proved very expensive under batsmen friendly conditions.Top

 

No reinforcements for Indian team

MUMBAI, April 10 (PTI) — The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) today decided not to send young all-rounders Virender Sehwag and Laxmi Ratan Shukla to Sharjah for bolstering the viral-infection hit team taking part in the ongoing tri-series there.

"It was first decided late last night to send Sehwag and Shukla to Sharjah. But the decision has since been shelved following the full recovery of all six players who were down with viral infection in Sharjah," Executive Secretary Sharad Diwadkar told said.

"Jaywant Lele spoke to me (after the day-night match against England, which India won last night, and said there was no need for any reinforcements as all those on the sick list have fully recovered," he said.

The players, are Nayan Mongia, Venkatesh Prasad, Ajit Agarkar, Vinod Kambli, Amay Khurasia and Nikhil Chopra.

Maharashtra all-rounder Hrishikesh Kanitkar, who was not in the original team, had joined the team yesterday.Top

 

Bowling at the nets helped me: Jadeja

SHARJAH, April 10 (PTI) — Ajay Jadeja who completed a dream job as stand-in captain with three wickets in an over to help India snatch victory from defeat was modesty personified in his hour of glory.

"Venkatesh Prasad bowled superbly. All the boys bowled superbly," Jadeja said playing down his own achievement after he was named 'Man of The Match' for the victory over England here tonight.

In a lighter vein, he confessed that leg-spinner Anil Kumble wanted to bowl the dramatic 47th over but he preferred to take a gamble.

"I may not have bowled in matches but I do a lot of it at the nets. My coach (Anshuman Gaekwad) insists on it," Jadeja said.

Captain Azharuddin, who top-scored with 74 not out but did not take the field due to a toe injury, complimented the bowlers and said the boys stuck to their task.

"It was important for me to play a good knock. It has not been happening for some time. A win was important at this time," Azhar said, adding that there was no fracture in his foot and expected to be fit for the return league-tie against England on Sunday.

England captain Alec Stewart said his team had done pretty well under the circumstances and expressed hope to turn the next match against India into a win.Top

 

Anand loses to Kramnik

DOS HERMANAS April 9 (PTI) — Grandmaster Viswanathan Anand playing with white pieces lost to Russia’s Vladimir Kramnik last night to suffer his second defeat in the third round of the Dos Hermanas Chess Tournament here.

The world number two Indian, still stunned by his first round defeat to Judit Polgar of Hungary, occupies the last place with only 0.5 points.

Anand, who erred in the opening itself, kept on fighting to save the match but Kramnik handled the middle and end games very well after a good opening and went on to win.

The Indian accepted the queen’s gambit and the game lasted a marathon 70 moves.

He now faces an uphill task as he has only a half point from his draw against Michael Adams in the second round. He has lost the first round to Hungarian Judit Polgar, who interestingly has lost her next two games after that stunning win in the opening round.
Michael Adams, who defeated Viktor Korchnoi in the third round, is the sole leader by half point as he has 2.5 points from three rounds. Kramnik, Anatoly Karpov and Miguel Illescas, the home challenger from the Spain, all have two points each.

Anand, who figured in each of the four big tournaments so far in 1999 and is expected to play more as the year goes by, needs to pace himself well in order to repeat last season’s success.

The third round exploded into action after a rather sedate second round, in which there was just one win in five games, but in the third there was just one draw and even that was bitterly fought for 56 moves between Boris Gelfand, the last minute replacement in the event, and Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria.

Of the four wins, three came from white and Miguel Illescas of Spain scored the lone win with black beating Judit Polgar in an exciting battle.

Karpov secured a fine win against Peter Svidler, whom he has seldom beaten in recent times. In fact it was a major win as he defeated a player with more than 2700 ELO rating after a long time. The win came in 49 moves.

Illescas was the surprise packet of the day on which four of the five games produced result. He defeated Polgar in a pelikan game lasting 63 moves.

The tournament ends on April 18.

Standings (after 3 rounds): 1. Adams (Eng) 2.5, Karpov (Rus) 2.0 Illescas (Spain) 2.0, Kramnik (Rus) 2.0, Topalov (Bul) 1.5, Gelfand (Blr) 1.0, Korchnoi (Sui) 1.0, Polgar (Hun) 1.0, Anand (Ind) 0.5, Svidler (Rus) 0.5.Top

 

Pak wrestlers dominate
From Harbans Singh Virdi
Tribune News Service

ANANDPUR SAHIB, April 10 — Wrestlers from Pakistan dominated most of the bouts they figured in the World Khalsa Wrestling Competitions which began at the Charan Ganga Stadium here this evening.

Strong and well-built Pak wrestlers not only showed better technique but also showed more staying power in case the issue was extended. For instance in the 85 kg category, Mohammed Umer was too much for the Chandigarh wrestler Baljit. In a one-sided bout the Chandigarh wrestler could hardly do anything as he failed to match the prowess of the Pakistani wrestler. Without wasting much time the Pakistani wrestler won the bout on points, the outcome of which was never in doubt.

In the 54 kg category Haroon Khan was equally impressive as he had his rival, Neeraj Kumar of India, on the mat a number of times. At times the Pakistani wrestler scored points at will. The winner's holds were strong and affective. However, in the end the bout was decided on points in favour of the Pakistani wrestler.

However, Chandigarh did not draw blank as Raj Singh took the better of Jagbir Singh of Delhi, also on points.

In the morning, Defence Minister inaugurated the Dashmesh Academy of Martial Arts. Present on the occasion were Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and Finance Minister Captain Kanwaljit Singh.

Though thousands watched the wrestling bouts with interest, yet the event which drew great applause from the mostly village gathering was the bullock cart race. The competition is not only adventurous but at times it seems risky, both for the participants as well as the spectators. As the animals run, they would not have lanes to run into, so they often stray into the spectators who appear to gather round the competitive arena. On the second day today, this event aroused great interest of the spectators. Though wrestling bouts were also being organised simultaneously, yet the organisers took care to stop the bout during the cart race.

The race today again raised great amount of dust as well as putting up a fierce competition. Coaxing the pair of bullocks to run fast, Bhag Singh of Sarvarpur was richer by Rs 50,000 at the end of a gruelling race which he won in a nail-biting finish. Chanan Singh of Lalehri was close enough but had to be satisfied with the Rs 40,000 second prize. Darshan Singh of Chhamat village finished third and pocketed Rs 30,000. Jarnail Singh of Bagli was fourth and earned Rs 20,000 for his effort.

But the next four who finished in that order, from fifth to eighth sports, also did not return empty-handed. Each of them was richer by Rs 10,000. They were Jarnail Singh of Chehlan, Major Singh of Janetpur, Mangat Ram and Roshan Lal, both of Barwa village, falling in Nurpur Bedi.Top

 

Punjab in dire straits

AMRITSAR, April 10 (UNI) — After conceding a huge first innings lead of 232 runs, Punjab put up another disastrous and irresponsible performance with the bat in the second innings crashing to 190 for six, still requiring another 42 runs to avoid an innings defeat against defending champions Karnataka in the Ranji Trophy semifinal at the Gandhi Grounds here today.

While medium pacer Doda Ganesh destroyed Punjab in their first innings yesterday, it was spinner Anand Yalvgi who put the hosts on the mat in their second innings.

He scalped four Punjab batsmen for 43 runs including the prize wickets of openers Vikram Rathore and Navjot Sidhu.

At draw of stumps on the second day today, Amit Sharma was unbeaten on 28 while Sarandeep was batting on 19.

Earlier in the day Karnataka resumed their first innings at 206 for five and were all out for 322 shortly after lunch with Tilak Naidu scoring 125.

Punjab could have been in a worse position had Amit Sharma’s easy catch been held at short mid-on off the bowling of Doda Ganesh.

As in the first innings it was the dismissal of their star batsman Sidhu at the score of 104 soon after the tea break that triggered off the Punjab collapse, and they lost five wickets for addition of just 33 runs.

The hosts despite conceding a huge first innings deficit, began their second innings on a positive note with both the openers Sidhu and skipper Rathore putting on 91 runs. Just as when the partnership was threatening to look dangerous Yalvgi bowled a delivery which kept low and had Rathore offering a nick to Siriguppi at first slip. Rathore scored 33 runs.

Then at the score of 104 it was turn of Doda Ganesh to trap Sandeep Sharma leg before wicket in the last over before tea to take his match haul to seven wickets and his season’s tally to 56 wickets. In the first over after tea Sidhu was bowled by Yalvgi for 60 runs without any addition to the Punjab total.

Dinesh Mongia and Harminder Jugnu too fell to Yalvgi while Pankaj Dharmani was run out, a decision which he contested. From 104 for one Punjab slid to 137 for six.

The unbeaten seventh wicket stand between Amit Sharma and Sarandeep has so far yielded a valuable 53 runs. Earlier in the Karnataka first innings Tilak Naidu who was batting on 70 when stumps were drawn yesterday went on to complete his century studded with 19 hits to the fence.

(Score board)

Punjab: (Ist innings) 90 all out.

Karnataka (Ist innings):

Somasunder b Bhushan 16, Arun Kumar c Jugnu b Sharma 11, Anil Kumat st Jugnu b Harbhajan 9, Vijay Bhardwaj c Harbhajan b Bhushan 67, A Vijay c Bhushan b Sarandeep 9, Tilak Naidu c Jugnu b Sharma 125, Siriguppi c Dharmani b Navdeep 20, Yalvgi c Jugnu b Bhushan 16, Katti not out 10, Ganesh lbw Sharma 12, Ali Khan b Sharma 0.

Extras (nb-3, lb-16, b-8) 27.

Total 322 all out.

Fall of wickets: 1/20, 2/36, 3/42, 4/68, 5/186, 6/245, 7/286, 8/302, 9/322, 10/322.

Bowling: Bharat Bhushan 17-2-61-3, Sandeep Sharma 24.5-3-75-4, Harbhajan Singh 27-3-78-1, Sarandeep Singh 7-0-42-1, Navdeep Singh 16-2-42-1.

Punjab (IInd innings):

Rathore c Siriguppi b Yalvgi 33, Sidhu b Yalvgi 60, Sandeep lbw Ganesh 5, Dharmani run out 14, Mongia c Anil Kumar b Yalvgi 5, Amit batting 28, Harminder c (sub) B Akhil b Yalvgi 2, Sarandeep batting 19.

Extras (nb-11, lb-6, b-7) 24.

Total 190 for six at close.

Fall of wickets: 1/91, 2/104, 3/104, 4/129, 5/129, 6/137.

Bowling: D Ganesh 17-4-50-1, M.A. Khan 7-1-19-0, A Katti 14-1-49-0, V Bhardwaj 6-1-16-0, A Yalvgi 12-3-43-4.Top

 

Jadeja was brave, confident
Geoff Boycott writes

INDIA redeemed themselves and won over their long suffering supporters with a tense nail biting victory against England. For the players it was a god-send after the way Pakistan have been beating them badly. It was getting to the stage where some of them were beginning to wonder if they would ever win another match.

When India won the toss and got 'bogged down' it must have worried them that their total would be inadequate. Azza was the only batsman who had the skill to manoeuvre the ball on the slow pitch and then hit out to good effect in the last few overs. When he had to go to hospital for X-ray on his foot, Jadeja stepped in with a superb display of captaincy. Under great pressure trying to protect a small total he was able to lift the players. He was constantly talking to them and offering advice. There was bounce in his step and a smile on his face that said to the players enjoy, it will be OK.

Srinath and Prasad came out fired up with a terrific opening burst. A wicket each pegged England back and the out fielding was tigerish. Kumble was solid and mean as ever so that India kept control and never let England gain any momentum. Joshi spun the ball and teased Hick and Thorpe into mistakes out of frustration. Robin Singh and Saurav Ganguly's medium pace was expensive and gave England hope but it was then that Prasad returned to bowl a great spell under pressure. Just when the match was swinging England's way Venkatesh Prasad rose to the occasion with a series of magnificent leg cutters that bowled Flintoff and Ealham. But with Fairbrother belting Singh around the park it was then that captain marvel took a calculated risk and bowled himself. Jadeja bowled eight balls in one day cricket throughout 1998 and last took a wicket 2 years ago. It was one hell of a time to take the ball with a record like that. It was brave and confident and spoke volumes to his players about his character.

He couldn't have imagined the success he would have. Three wickets in one over and they weren't lucky. He seamed the ball and delivered the knock-out blow to England. It took courage to bowl with so much at stake. If he had lost the match by giving away a lot runs, people would have said he was foolhardy or stupid to have bowled. I take my hat off to him for being bold and calculating that the England batsmen had not seen him bowl before in the match and that might make all the difference. With that sort of thinking and his general body language he's a captain in waiting.

These two teams meet again on Sunday after the rest day. For England it is do or die.

The question for India is will this victory be the beginning of an upsurge in their fortunes. The players will be hoping it's not just a one off and that they can get some momentum going with another win against England and then make a serious challenge against Pakistan. However it was achieved a win is a win and gets the monkey off the Indian players backs.
— PMG
Top

 

Baboor, Basak in semis

MUMBAI, April 10 (PTI) — National champion and world number 72, Chetan Baboor of Indian Oil and third seeded Arup Basak of Hindustan Petroleum have entered the men’s singles semi-finals of the Rs 1.75 lakh prize money India Cup Table Tennis Tournament.

In the quarterfinals here today, top seeded Baboor crushed junior national champion Subhajit Saha of Bengal 21-10, 21-11, 21-15, while Basak sidelined unseeded Deepak Thukral of Punjab 19-21, 21-11, 21-10, 21-19.

In the other quarter-finals, fourth seeded Arjun Dutta of Indian Oil downed local lad George Joseph 21-9, 21-16, 22-20 and second seeded S Raman rallied magnificently after dropping the first two games, to pip unseeded Sunil Babras of Maharashtra 20-22, 18-21, 21-16, 22-20, 21-10.

In the women’s quarter-final, national champion and top seed Poulami Ghatak of Bengal crushed unseeded B Bhuvaneshwari of Petroleum Sports Control Board (PSCB) 21-12, 21-15, 21-13.

Earlier in the morning, former Indian cricket captain Kapil Dev inaugurated the tournament by confidently playing a few rallies with Chetan Baboor.

He also announced Rs 1000 to a budding boy and girl player each as monthly scholarships.

The Raman-Babras match was real thriller with both the players playing an attacking game.

Southpaw Raman, looked jaded initially but picked up his game as the match progressed.

Raman dropped the first game on extra points after taking a slim lead in the early part of the game. In the second, Raman was totally outplayed by the bespectacled Babras, who won 21-18. In the third, Raman took an early lead and never looked back to win at 21-16 and then managed to win the fourth on extra points with the lead changing hands regularly.

In the decider, however, Raman proved too good and won comfortably at 21-10.

In the other women’s quarter-final, third seeded Mouma Das of Bengal pipped unseeded Arul Selvi of Tamil Nadu 21-18, 19-21, 21-13, 14-21, 21-17.

In the morning, Subhajit Saha from group-A, George Joseph from group B, Sunil Babras from group-C and Deepak Thukral from group-D qualified for the men’s singles quarter-finals.

Former national champion Kasturi Chakraborty of Bengal from group-A, M S Mythili of Tamil Nadu from group-B, Arul Selvi from group-C and B Bhuvaneshwari from group-D made it to the last eight stage.

Results (quarter-finals): Men’s singles: Chetan Baboor (IOC) b Subhajit Saha (Ben) 21-10, 21-11, 21-15, Arup Basak (HPCL) b Deepak Thukral (Pnj) 19-21, 21-11, 21-10, 21-19, Arjun Dutta (IOC) b George Joseph (Mah) 21-09, 21-16, 22-20, S Raman (IOC) b Sunil Babras (Mah) 20-22, 18-21, 21-16, 22-20, 21-10.

Women’s singles (quarter-finals) Poulami Ghatak (Bng) b B Bhuvaneshwari (TN) 21-12, 21-15, 21-13, Mouma Das (Bng) b Arul Selvi (TN) 21-18, 19-21, 21-13, 14-21, 21-17.

N R Indu (TN) b Kasturi Chakraborty 23-21, 21-15, 21-17. Anandita Chakravorty b M S Mythili (TN) 15-21, 21-16, 19-21, 21-15, 22-20.Top

 

Agassi, Kournikova win; Pierce ousted

HONG KONG, April 10 (DPA) — Andre Agassi put his pending divorce from actress Brooke Shields out of mind, concentrating totally on tennis today to sweep into the final of the $ 350,000 Salem Open with a 6-3, 6-0 win over Hendrik Dreekmann of Germany.

Agassi, seeded third, made good on the wild card entry he asked for just a few days before the start of the event and awaits tomorrow final against either Boris Becker or Bernd Karbacher of Germany.

Agassi stumbled for only a moment against Dreekmann, losing his first service game before taking complete control against the world number 98.

The 28-year-old American clinched the first set after just 27 minutes and was unchallenged in the second.

"I had a couple of errors and didn’t find my rhythm right away," said Agassi, who will play next week in Tokyo. "But after I lost my serve, I knew there was still a lot of tennis to be played."

According to a statement from a Los Angeles publicist, Agassi and Shields, married for two years, are to split up.

The couple filed for divorce in Las Vegas, where they have a home, said publicist Mia Ricchiuti. She would not say when the papers were filed.

AMELIA ISLAND (Florida) (AP): Ninth-seeded Anna Kournikova stayed on her hot streak, recording a 6-0, 6-2 victory over No. 6 Patty Schnyder to reach the semifinals of the Bausch and Lomb Championships.

Schnyder lolled around the court like she didn’t really care during the 40-minute match yesterday, but the Swiss’ performance on the court wasn’t nearly as strange as the short interview session afterward.

"I hate playing her," said Schnyder, who took the Russian to three sets last week before falling at the Family Circle Cup.

In an earlier quarterfinal yesterday, Ruxandra Dragomir of Romania, the world’s 38th-ranked player, continued her solid run with a 6-3, 6-1 victory over Fabiola Zuluaga of Colombia. Dragomir has yet to lose a set in this tournament, and hasn’t given up more than three games in any of the eight sets she has won.

Dragomir is seeking her fifth tournament victory and her first in the USA.

Also, No. 7 Conchita Martinez outlasted defending champion and No. 4 seed Mary Oierce, 3-6, 7-6 (7-4), 6-2 in another of Martinez’ long-winded affairs. The match took 2 hours, 43 minutes, three minutes longer than her three-set victory over Chanda Rubin the day before.

Martinez will now play the winner between No. 2 Monica Seles and No. 5 Amanda Coetzer.

Schnyder rarely made any extra effort to get to the groundstrokes Kournikova has been hitting with precision all week. On end changes, Schnyder rarely waited more than 30 seconds before popping out of her chair and waiting for the next game to begin. It seemed clear she couldn’t wait to get off that court.

"I hate playing her and I don’t play if I’m on the court against her," Schnyder said. "It’s her person and everything around her. It’s not her game."

Kournikova, the dynamic 17-year-old Russian who is one victory from a second final in two weeks, discounted any feud. She gave no credence to the notion that Schnyder wasn’t giving her best effort.

"I think everyone who’s playing wants to win," Kournikova said. "Yeah, she was trying. I played a very good first few games of the first set. Then she got frustrated. She didn’t know how to break my rhythm or my game, with the way I was playing."

LISBON (Reuters): Third seed Marcelo Rios, sidelined with a back injury for much of this year, showed he was back to his best yesterday when he cruised past Brazil’s Gustavo Kuerten 6-4, 6-3 into the Estoril Open semifinals.

The Chilean baseliner, who slipped to 13th in the world after becoming the first Latin American to reach the number one slot last year, took fifth seed Kuerten apart in the first set.

The 23-year-old broke Kuerten’s serve at 3-2 in the second set and scored his biggest victory this year on his favourite clay surface.

Rios, the top seed, pulled out of the Australian Open in January with the back injury and has only recently returned to the circuit. He lost in the fourth round of the Key Biscayne tournament last month.

In the semifinals, Rios will face the winner of the match between second seed American Todd Martin and Brazilian Fernand Meligeni.
In the other quarterfinals yesterday, fourth seed Albert Costa of Spain beat sixth-seed compatriot Felix Mantilla 6-2, 6-4.

Costa, a 1995 Estoril finalist, will now play Frenchman Jerome Golmard, who beat Morocco’s Karim Alami 6-4, 7-6 (7-1).Top

 

Agassi, Shields announce split

WASHINGTON, April 10 (AFP) — Tennis ace Andre Agassi and actress Brooke Shields are divorcing after two years of marriage, the New York Post reported today.

In a joint statement, Shields and Agassi announced the split, but said they still have "the utmost love and respect for each other and remain the best of friends".

The pressures of competing careers and Agassi’s absences on the tennis circuit were to blame for the split, the Post said.

In an interview with the Post a year after the wedding, Shields complained she and her husband had never been together for more than three weeks at a time.

Agassi, 28, is based in Las Vegas, while Shields, 33, pursues her acting career in Los Angeles, starring in the NBC sitcom "Suddenly Susan".

"The highs are extremely high. The lows are very low," the daily quoted Shields as saying about her marriage.

More recently, Shields was reported to be pressuring Agassi to retire from tennis so they could start a family, the daily said.

The pair began their romance in 1993 and exchanged vows at an April 19, 1997, wedding in California, the Post said.Top

 

Did Simpson inspire the team to victory?

DUBAI, April 10 (PTI) — Did a pep talk given by consultant Bobby Simpson lift the Indian Cricket team back to its winning ways after being down in the dumps for too long?

The former Australian skipper, who nursed his national team to top form during Alan Border’s time, had flown into Sharjah and spent time with the Indian team before its match against England yesterday telling the players a few things without mincing words.

He told them that to win, a team has to be aggressive, must have concentration and responsibility. Being aggressive, he told them, did not mean clouting the bowler for sixes but placing the ball through gaps for stealing easy singles to put the opposition under pressure.

He made them realise that in their match against Pakistan that was what they failed to do, which cost them at least 100-odd runs. As a result, at no point of time did the Pakistanis ever feel threatened.

India was in a tough World Cup group and it is high time the players learnt that they had to do well in their campaign, Simpson said yesterday. He was at the stadium conferring with coach Anshuman Gaekwad who should be pleased with India’s win in the cliff-hanger last night.

The win comes after Sunil Gavaskar, former captain and at present a commentator, slammed the team for a listless performance against Pakistan, saying commercial considerations may have been the bane of Indian cricket.

"Whether it is due to tiredness with too much cricket or because commercial considerations are taking the focus away from the game, one does not know," Gavaskar wrote in his column.

New opener S. Ramesh, who was flayed by another former opening batsman and at present a commentator, Geoff Boycott of England, came good in the nick of time in the match against England to justify his selection for the World Cup.

Playing under pressure after a dismal performance against Pakistan, Ramesh hit 60 off 97 balls which stabilised the innings and partly answered Boycott’s criticism that he had no footwork against genuine pace bowling and "was a huge disappointment".Top

 

Black, Schuttler enter final

CHENNAI, April 10 (PTI) — Zimbabwe’s Byron Black and Germany’s Rainer Schuttler will clash in the final of the Gold Flake ATP Tour Tennis Championship here tomorrow.

The singles semi-finals petered out to be one-sided affairs today with fourth-seeded Black thrashing Dutchman John Van Lottum (Eighth) 6-1, 6-1, while Schuttler too had little difficulty in disposing of Peter Wessels, also of the Netherlands 6-1, 6-3.

It was a disappointing birthday for Van Lottum as he surrendered rather meekly. He just could not get his serve working and was down 1-4 in the first set which he went on to lose to the Zimbabwe in just 36 minutes.

The second also went in the same manner and lasted five minutes less with Byron raising his game after winning points rather easily.

Van Lottum (ranked 78 by the ATP) showed his frustration by banging the racquet and was once warned by the chair umpire for his behaviour.

In the Schuttler-Wessels match, the German, a regular to this tournament for the last three years, played from the baseline, bringing in his powerful forehand into play most of the time.

In the first set, Schuttler raced to a 4-0 lead but was broken in the fifth game. However, the German went up 5-1. Down two break points. Wessels could not stop Schuttler, who played superb ground strokes and forehand smashes, from taking the set.

In the second, Schuttler played aggressively but committed too many errors and the Dutchman seemed to be getting back into the match.

But in the seventh game Wessels made two unforced errors and also double-faulted twice to give the vital break to the German who went on to wrap up the match.

On his match tomorrow, Byron said he had not played Schuttler before and had not watched him play on the tours. "It should be an interesting final", he added.

Second seeded pair of Wayne Black and Neville Godwin advanced into the doubles final with an emphatic 6-2, 6-1 win over Jonathan Stark and Paul Goldstein of the U.S.

Zimbabwean Wayen Black, younger brother of Byron Black who has made it to the single final, combined well with South African Godwin as even the experienced Stark found it tough to get his volleys working.

Goldstein was the weak link in the all-American pair and Black-Godwin exploited it to the hilt. They never dropped serve and got the needed breaks at the right time.

Black-Godwin will meet the winner of the other semi-final between the top seeded Indian pair of Leander Paes-Mahesh Bhupathi and Mikael Tillstrom-Jens Knippschild.Top

 

High-altitude training ‘vital’ for players
By Our Sports Reporter

CHANDIGARH, April 10 — The second day of the all-India badminton coaches seminar in progress here at the Sector 42, Sports Complex, was devoted to the strength development and training, nutritional demands during training and after, the latest rules and laws governing badminton and the altitude training at higher places than sea level.

Mr T.P.S. Puri, ex-national badminton coach, explained at length how the strength of any player can be measured and increased keeping in view the momentum of the game. The body strength has further been segmented into arm, shoulder and toning up of the general muscles.

Once the basic conditioning of any player is correct, the specific form of exercises are undertaken, the strength building is done with the weight training.

Dr A. Ghosh spoke about the benefits of high altitude training at about the 2000-5000 metres above the sea level and the HATC at Shilaru near Shimla can be best utilised for holding of camps, etc. This, apart form building of the endurance level, also keeps the oxygen intake at the optimum level. The four weeks camp during the lean season will follow the graph pattern with optimum level reaching after two weeks and then slowly the endurance exercise being reduced with introduction of less strenuous ones.

Practical difficulties being faced by the players during the matches were discussed at length by the former India champion, Satish Bhatia. He disclosed how, during the intervals, between match, the adequate coaching can help the player in performing better.

Mr S. Murlidharan, the IBF referee in India, disclosed that now onwards the use of coloured shorts will be allowed to the males with top being while.

The nutritional demands during the training and when any player completes the schedule or after the match were described by Dr Ashok Ahuja. He told the coaches about the glycogen level to be maintained for the trainee during the session.Top

 

Spirited reply by Madhya Pradesh

HYDERABAD, April 10 (PTI) — An unbroken 84-run fourth wicket stand between Devendra Bundela (48) and left-hander Abbas Ali (54) lifted Madhya Pradesh to 172 for 3 in 71 overs in their first innings on the second day of the Ranji Trophy semifinals here today.

Earlier, hosts Hyderabad were all out for 280 in their first innings. Resuming at their overnight score of 237 for 6, Hyderabad managed to add only 43 runs.

MP claimed the new ball this morning and continued with spinners Rajesh Chouhan and Manish Majithia to start the day’s play. True to expectations of skipper Chandrakanth Pandit, Majithia claimed the wicket of Youvraj Singh (14) and Narendra Pal Singh (9) while Chouhan scalped R Sridhar (36) and Kanwaljit Singh (3) to pack off the hosts in just 69 minutes.

MP, who began on a cautious note, lost three wickets before the draw of stumps, with Hyderabad skipper Venkatapathy Raju claiming the wickets of J P Yadav (19) and Santosh Sahu (12) while Kanwaljit Singh claiming opener C P Sahu (33).Top

 

IAAF ratifies indoor world records

MONTE CARLO (Monaco), April 10 (AP) — The International Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF) has officially ratified Haile Gebrselassie’s 5,000-metre indoor world record in Birmingham on February 14 and Gabriela Szabo’s run over the same distance in Dortmund the previous day.

Roared on by some 200 of his Ethiopian fans, Gebrselassie smashed the mark owned by his big rival, Kenya’s Daniel Komen, when he clocked 12 minutes 50.38 seconds at the national indoor arena.

He took more than a second off Komen’s time after the Kenyan had failed to break Gebrselassie’s 2,000-metre record.

A day earlier, Szabo ran 14:47.35 to break the seven year-old mark owned by Britain’s Liz McColgan by almost 16 seconds.

The IAAF also ratified Claudia Iovan’s record of 11:40.33 clocked for the 3,000-metre walk in Bucharest on January 30.Top

 

PSB, AFC play 2-2 draw

CALCUTTA, April 10 (UNI) — Punjab and Sind Bank of Jalandhar and AFC played a barren 2-2 draw at the quarterfinal league match of the Beighton Cup here today.

Baljit Singh Saini of the bank scored in the 17th minute of the Ist half off a pass from Sandip Singh, while in the 34th minute former international K K Punacha of AFC restored parity (1-1).

In the 36th minute, Daniel Toppo of AFC took his side ahead off a pass from Jayanto Topno.

Then Harpreet Singh junior of Punjab and Sind Bank scored an equaliser off a penalty corner.

In the other quarterfinal league match last the champion BSF-Jalandhar lost to Uttar Pradesh XI 2-1.Top

  H
  REGIONAL SPORT BRIEFS

Hockey trials
Tribune News Service
CHANDIGARH, April 10 — Trials to select under-15 and under-17 players for the Namdhari Hockey Academy at Bhaini Sahib will be held on April 17 and 18 at Bhaini Sahib. Those interested can report for the trials at Bhaini Sahib on April 17 at 10 a.m., Thakur Udai Singh, chairman of the academy, announced here today. He said that those selected will be provided free board, lodging and education at the academy. The candidates must bring their date of birth certificates with them.

Similarly, trials to select under-15 and under-17 players for Grewal Sports Academy at Kila Raipur will be held on April 19 at Government Senior Secondary School, Kila Raipur on April 19 at 8 a.m., Mr Paramjit Singh Grewal, secretary of the Grewal Sports Association, announced today. Those desirous of joining the academy must bring with them their date of birth certificates. The Society provides free board, lodging and education facilities to those admitted, Mr Grewal added.Top

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