Monday, April 17, 2000,
Chandigarh, India






THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
S P O R T


Paola Suarez of Argentina, returns a shot during her match with Anna Kournikova at the Bausch & Lomb Championships on Saturday
Paola Suarez of Argentina, returns a shot during her match with Anna Kournikova at the Bausch & Lomb Championships on Saturday, in Amelia Island, Fla. Suarez upset Kournikova in three sets 2-6, 6-2, and 6-4 to advance to the next round. — AP/PTI photo

Pillay helps India beat Germany
PERTH, April 16 — India pepped up their Sydney 2000 Olympics readiness with a thrilling 3-2 win against European champions Germany to claim four-nations hockey title here today.

Nazir leads Pak to 6-wkt win
ST GEORGE’S, April 16 — A stroke-filled maiden limited-overs international century from Imran Nazir helped Pakistan confirm their place in the finals of tri-nation 2000 Trophy Series, when they comprehensively beat Zimbabwe by six wickets at the Queen’s Park Stadium here.

Aparna virtually out of contention
PATIALA, April 16 — Despite the optimism expressed by the executive president of the Badminton Association of India (BAI), Mr Prakash Padukone, national champion Aparna Popat’s participation in the Sydney Olympics has been seriously jeopardised due to the three-month-long ban slapped by the International Badminton Federation (IBF) for taking a prohibited substance.


EARLIER STORIES


 
Referee Daniele Tombolini (left) foreground, argues with Fiorentina's goalie Francesco Toldo (left background) and defenders Enrico Chiesa (centre) and Moreno Torricelli (right) after awarding a penalty kick, during the Italian first division Serie A match Fiorentina vs Lazio of Rome, at the Florence Franchi stadium
Referee Daniele Tombolini (left) foreground, argues with Fiorentina's goalie Francesco Toldo (left background) and defenders Enrico Chiesa (centre) and Moreno Torricelli (right) after awarding a penalty kick, during the Italian first division Series A match Fiorentina vs Lazio of Rome, at the Florence Franchi stadium, Italy, on Saturday. — AP/PTI photo
  Fernando Vargas, right, lands a low blow to Ike Quartey during the ninth round of their IBF junior middleweight championship fight at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas on Saturday. Vargas won the 12-round fight in a unanimous decision
Fernando Vargas, right, lands a low blow to Ike Quartey during the ninth round of their IBF junior middleweight championship fight at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas on Saturday. Vargas won the 12-round fight in a unanimous decision. — AP/PTI photo

Dhindsa’s assurance on Chandrachud report
CHANDIGARH, April 16 —The report of the Chandrachud committee, which went into the issue of match-fixing in cricket might be released by the government before April 27, the day the Union Sports Minister, Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, has convened a meeting of cricket administrators, both past and present, as also players and former players to discuss the issue which has rocked the game not only in India but throughout the cricket playing world.

Match-fixing scandal
Hussain to testify in Cronje probe
LONDON, April 16 — The Scotland Yard was in touch with the Indian police over investigations in the raging cricket match-fixing allegations, “The Sunday Times” today said.
Crookes was amazed to open bowling Cronje inquiry from today Bacher in touch with BCCI officials

Pierce, Kournikova upset in Florida
AMELIA ISLAND, April 16 — Hours after Anna Kournikova’s bid for her first WTA singles title ended with a stunning quarterfinal loss to No. 62-ranked Paola Suarez, another blossoming Russian star bounced top-seeded Mary Pierce from the Amelia Island Women’s Tennis Tournament.

Goa book berth in semis
THRISSUR (Kerala), April 16 — Runners up Goa booked their semifinal berth with an easy 3-0 win over Tamil Nadu in a group ‘Y’ quarterfinal league match in the 56th Senior National Football Championship for the Santosh Trophy here yesterday.

England to play 3 Tests in Pak
KARACHI, April 16 — England will play three Tests on a 57-day trip of Pakistan later this year, including one in Faisalabad, the site of controversial incident during their last tour 13 years ago, officials said yesterday.

Moya moves into last four
ESTORIL (Portugal), April 16 — Carlos Moya showed how glad he is to be back on court after duelling for six months with a back injury, rallying past Czech Bohdan Ulihrach 4-6 6-1, 6-2 for a place in the semi-finals of the $ 765,000 Estoril Open.

Sai beats Sonal to clinch title
MUMBAI, April 16 — Third seeded Sai Jayalakshmi of India stopped her compatriot and wild card entrant Sonal Phadke in her strides 6-2, 6-3 in the singles final to clinch the title in the $ 10,000 prize money Women’s ITF Tennis Circuit, first leg here yesterday.

Bhutia on target for Bury
BURY (England), April 16 — Indian striker Baichung Bhutia was on target for Bury in their 1-1 draw with Chesterfield in the second division clash at Gigg Lane yesterday.

REGIONAL SPORT BRIEFS
  • PSB enter final
  • PCA win

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Pillay helps India beat Germany

PERTH, April 16 (PTI) — India pepped up their Sydney 2000 Olympics readiness with a thrilling 3-2 win against European champions Germany to claim four-nations hockey title here today.

Mercurial striker Dhanraj Pillay struck a last minute goal to steer India to a deserving 3-2 win at the Perth hockey stadium, making amends for a disappointing third placing in the first leg of the tournament in Sydney last week.

"Our Olympic campaign is now well on track," declared Indian coach V.Baskaran after dynamic striker Pillay netted the decisive goal with seconds left and sealed the Germans’ fate, Australia Associated Press reported.

Australia, winners of the previous week’s contest, gained some consolation today by defeating luckless South Africa 3-1 in a third place play-off. Germany had to content with the runners-up spot in both the tournaments.

After Germany had taken lead in the 20th minute through Matthias Witthaus, Asian Games gold medallist India fought back with Pillay equalising in the 31st minute with his first of two crucial goals.

On changing ends, both sides had chances in a lightening-fast second half before Dilip Tirkey broke the stalemate in the 57th minute with a cracker of a shot to convert a penalty corner. German goalkeeper Christopher Reitz had no chance to intercept as India went ahead.

Striker Bjorn Michel gave the Germans fickle of hope when he struck an equaliser in the 68th minute to make it 2-2 and raise likelihood of extra time. But, as the final seconds were ticking away, Pillay grabbed the winner from close range.

Australia downed South Africa 3-1 in the third place play-off earlier in the day.

Craig Victory struck a brace and Lachlan Vivian-Taylor scored one for Australia as hosts coasted to their second win over South Africa in two days. Victory scored in 14th and 55th minute while Vivian-Taylor (24th) had given Australia a 2-0 interval lead.

A complacent Australian-defence in the later part of the match allowed Brenton Key to notch a consolation for the losers.

India, who beat South Africa 3-0 and Champions Trophy holders Australia 2-1 earlier in the tournament, yesterday went down 1-2 to Germany in an inconsequential league match, but today’s dramatic win boosted their Olympic hopes.

Baskaran said India’s win had come at a crucial stage in his team’s preparations for Sydney.

"The victory was very important because when the boys go back home they will have that much more confidence," he said.

"Winning a tournament like this is a big morale boost for them.

"When we came to Australia for the two tournaments my aim was to win one of them and we have done that. I told the boys before the game we were going to win this match because I felt there was a bit of fire in the team," Baskaran said.

"We won because the forwards did an exceptionally good job. For the first time they outplayed the defenders. Normally, we do not get that much room against Germany."
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Nazir leads Pak to 6-wkt win

ST GEORGE’S, April 16 (AFP) — A stroke-filled maiden limited-overs international century from Imran Nazir helped Pakistan confirm their place in the finals of tri-nation 2000 Trophy Series, when they comprehensively beat Zimbabwe by six wickets at the Queen’s Park Stadium here.

Teenager Imran struck 10 four and two sixes in an unbeaten 105 off 133 balls to anchor Pakistan to the magic number of 205, after Zimbabwe were restricted to a modest 204 for seven off 50 overs yesterday.

It was Pakistan’s second win in the series and they will face West Indies in the three-match finals in Bridgetown (April 19) and Port-of-Spain (April 22 and 23).

The two finalists, however, will get warmed-up for the real thing when they contest the final preliminary match here today.

The defeat meant Zimbabwe ended their first tour of the Caribbean winless and they will hope for greater success when they travel to England for a series of two-Tests and a tri-nation tournament also involving West Indies.

The 18-year-old Imran, playing in his 10th limited-overs match for Pakistan, had scores of six and nought in the two previous matches and his place in the side appeared tenuous for yesterday’s encounter.

He responded to the challenge, however, with a barrage of shots that left his opponents bewildered and helped his side recover from their 96-run defeat to West Indies on Wednesday in Kingstown.

Pakistan were given a flourishing start of 49 in eight overs from Imran and Shahid Afridi, who was caught at cover off medium-pace bowler Andy Blignaut, playing his first match of the series.

While Imran was literally having his way with the bowling, but Younis Khan and Yousuf Youhana made it look quite difficult before Pakistan declined to 78 for three in the 17th over.

Younis was caught and bowled by left-arm spin bowler Dirk Viljoen in the 16th over and Yousuf was bowled by fast-medium bowler Heath Streak in the 17th over.

A stand of 63 between Imran and Inzamam-ul-Haq put Pakistan firmly on course for their result. The two were never troubled at anytime by the bowling, although Inzamam appeared to have been lucky with an lbw verdict early in his innings.

In the 33rd over, Guy Whittal had Inzamam caught behind for 34 off 51 balls with Pakistan 141 for four.

Imran and captain Moin Khan made sure Pakistan would not lose another wicket with an unbroken stand of 64. Moin was not out on 35 off 36 balls.

Earlier, Zimbabwe were given their best opening stand of the series, but fail to mount a total to serious challenge Pakistan.

Opening batsmen Neil Johnson and Craig Wishart shared 84 in 22.4 overs, but Zimbabwe’s batsmen were tied down by Pakistan’s bowlers, whose Arshad Khan led the way with three wickets for 45 runs from 10 overs.

SCOREBOARD

Zimbabwe:

Johnson c Arshad Khan b Mushtaq Ahmed 43

Wishart c Younis Khan b Abdur Razzaq 45

Carlisle b Arshad Khan 5

Goodwin c (sub) Shoaib Malik b Arshad Khan 35

A. Flower c and b Arshad Khan 31

A. Blignaut b Abdur Razzaq 3

G. Flower not out 9

G. Whittal c (sub) Shoaib Malik b Wasim Akram 7

D. Viljoen not out 0

Extras (lb14, w9, nb3) 26

Total (7 wkts, 50 overs) 204

Fall of wickets: 1-84, 2-98, 3-118, 4-177, 5-182, 6-186, 7-200.

Bowling: Wasim Akram 8-1-27- 1(w2), Waqar Younis 10-0-44-0 (w3), Abdur Razzaq 10-2-32-2 (w4), Mushtaq Ahmed 10-1-29-1, Arshad Khan 10-0-45-3 (nb1), Shahid Afridi 2-0-13-0 (nb2)

Pakistan:

Imran Nazir not out 105

Shahid Afridi c Viljoen b Blignaut 19

Younis Khan c and b Viljoen 1

Yousuf Yohana b Streak 0

Inzamam-ul-Haq c A. Flower b Whittal 34

Moin Khan not out 35

Extras (lb6, w4, nb1) 11

Total (4 wkts, 43.1 overs) 205

Fall of wickets: 1-49, 2-77, 3-78, 4-141.

Bowling: Johnson 4-0-26-0 (w1), Blignaut 7-0-37-1, Streak 9-0-33-1 (nb1), Nkala 4-0-23-1, Viljoen 10-1-34-1 (w1), G Flower 4.1-0-24-0 (w1), Whittal 5-0-22-1.
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Aparna virtually out of contention
From Our Sport Reporter

PATIALA, April 16 — Despite the optimism expressed by the executive president of the Badminton Association of India (BAI), Mr Prakash Padukone, national champion Aparna Popat’s participation in the Sydney Olympics has been seriously jeopardised due to the three-month-long ban slapped by the International Badminton Federation (IBF) for taking a prohibited substance.

BAI sources point out that although the news about Popat being banned broke out on April 5, Padukone apparently did not take in to consideration the latest ranking list of the IBF released on April 6. The latest ranking list makes it clear that from her 28th position Aparna Popat has slipped to 46th position following the loss of points from the Uber Cup qualifiers held in New Delhi in February.

The points were taken away after Popat tested positive for a particular stimulant, due to which the IBF had banned the player from competing in any international competition till June 12.

Sources say that Popat’s steep fall to 46th position has been mainly caused by too many players being within close range of her points tally. In fact, Aparna had lost 342 team points due to forfeiting her Uber Cup points.

The Olympic qualification is based on a complex system laid down by the IBF. Based on the March 30 rankings, the IBF had prepared a “dummy” qualifying list for the Olympics in which Aparna was ranked at 28th position and was the 22nd player to get into the qualifying bracket out of projected 29 players.

Although there are three more ranking lists to be announced by the IBF before the Olympic entries are finalised on May 1, Aparna cannot participate in any international competition, thereby ruling out any further improvement in her ranking. The Japan Open, the last of the Grand Prix events, was over recently and there are just a few lesser rated international events left before the May 1 deadline.

Theoretically, Aparna can still move up the ranking, but that entirely depends upon how others, ahead of her, fare. Even then Aparna cannot be expected to close in on the huge gap that has surfaced.

In the men’s section, P. Gopichand, despite missing the All-England Championships due to a bout of typhoid, is already well placed to earn a slot for the Olympics. At present, in the April 6 ranking list Gopichand is placed 21st out of projected 29 players and even if he drops a few notches in the coming weeks, he is almost sure to make it to Sydney.
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Dhindsa’s assurance on Chandrachud report
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, April 16 —The report of the Chandrachud committee, which went into the issue of match-fixing in cricket might be released by the government before April 27, the day the Union Sports Minister, Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, has convened a meeting of cricket administrators, both past and present, as also players and former players to discuss the issue which has rocked the game not only in India but throughout the cricket playing world.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) had constituted the Chandrachud committee, under former Supreme Court Chief Justice, Y.V. Chandrachud, to discuss the issue of match-fixing and related matters when a former all-rounder, Delhi-based Manoj Prabhakar, had alleged that a certain player had offered him a huge sum of money to play “below his potential.” However, the Chandrachud committee report has not yet been made public.

But now the issue has once again become the eye of the storm with the Delhi police alleging that former South African captain Hansie Cronje had accepted money from an Indian bookie for throwing matches in the recently concluded five-match Pepsi series between India and South Africa. People are demanding that the Chandrachud report be made public. Very recently, the Union Home Minister, Mr Lal Krishan Advani, had gone on record to say that the report, a copy of which was also available with the government, “might be made public”.

But today, addressing mediamen at a hurriedly convened press conference, Mr Dhindsa revealed that his ministry also had a copy of the report which he would study tomorrow and “if need be it might be made public before April 27.”

The Sports Minister indicated that the issue would also come up for discussion when Parliament reconvened tomorrow and already a member had submitted a call-attention motion on the issue of match-fixing in cricket. “The Chandrachud report might also be tabled in the House,” Mr Dhindsa revealed.

Talking about the April 27 meeting convened by his ministry, Mr Dhindsa said besides the present President and secretary of the BCCI, and the current captain, coach and manager, three former Presidents, secretaries, captains, coaches and managers as also certain former players had been invited for the meeting, scheduled to be held in Delhi. He said among those specially invited for the meeting included Sunil Gavaskar, Bishen Singh Bedi, the Nawab of Pataudi, the Information and Broadcasting Minister, Mr Arun Jaitley, who is also the President of the Delhi and District Cricket Association, Kirti Azad, Mr Madhav Rao Scindia, a former President of the board, as also Manoj Prabhakar. The former Maharashtra Chief Minister, Mr Manohar Joshi, who has been a senior functionary of the board, had also been invited to attend the meeting.

Mr Dhindsa said the meeting would discuss threadbare the ills of Indian cricket. In this connection he said that the secretary of the board, Mr J.Y. Lele, had met him on April 11 and had promised that the BCCI would extend all help to the government in whatever manner the government desired. The meeting would specially discuss the poor performance of the team in the recent past and the remedial measures needed to improve the standard of the national squad. But in the same breath Mr Dhindsa said that the BCCI was an autonomous body and the government would not like to interfere in its working. He clarified that his ministry was taking interest due to the issue of match-fixing as it affected the nation as a whole.

He replied in the affirmative when asked whether the government would provide legal help to either Manoj Prabhakar or Mr Inderjit Singh Bindra, President of the Punjab Cricket Association and a former President of the board, if they revealed the names of the players who had indulged in match-fixing in the past. (Both have gone on record to say that they had specific knowledge of players who had indulged in match-fixing in the past). “But the onus is on the BCCI to act first on the issue of match-fixing and only after that can the government take any action,” Mr Dhindsa said.

The Union Sports Ministry did not rule out handing over the case to the CBI or to set up a judicial commission to conduct a thorough enquiry if the situation so warranted.

Mr Dhindsa also clarified that he never suggested that betting in cricket could be made legal. What he had said (to a national news agency) was that the issue could be discussed at the meeting of April 27. “Now that the government is cracking down on lotteries how can the same government allow betting?” he asked. “In any case the issue of allowing or not allowing betting in not in the purview of my ministry,” he added.
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Hussain to testify in Cronje probe

LONDON, April 16 (PTI) — The Scotland Yard was in touch with the Indian police over investigations in the raging cricket match-fixing allegations, “The Sunday Times” today said.

The newspaper quoting a Scotland Yard spokesman said officers of its organised crime group were liaising with Indian detectives over the match-fixing issue.

The London-based Indian Sanjiv Chawla, named by the Delhi police in their sensational case of match-fixing involving sacked South African skipper Hansie Cronje, is still in London.

The Scotland Yard told PTI here that it had not received any request from Indian police to detain him.

Meanwhile, media reports here said England skipper Nasser Hussain will be asked to give his testimony in the South African judicial inquiry into the match-fixing scandal following new allegations against Cronje on the rain-hit fifth and final Test between the two in January.

The desire to hear Hussain’s deposition was confirmed by United Cricket Board of South Africa (UCB) Managing Director, Dr Ali Bacher, as it was alleged that Cronje took money from a bookmaker to ensure a positive result to the rain-hit final Test between South Africa and England at Centurion Park.

“The Sunday Express” claimed the latest allegation against Cronje — named by the Delhi police alongwith four team-mates and two Indians — was not that he fixed a victory for England, but that he arranged for there to be a positive result rather than letting the heavily rain-hit tie to peter out to a draw.

Cronje has admitted to receiving money from an Indian bookie during the triseries at home against Zimbabwe and England earlier this year, but has denied any involvement in match-fixing.

It is alleged that a South African bookmaker was facing heavy losses if the match was drawn, and that in return for a payment of around 5,000 Cronje made the unprecedented offer of each side forfeiting an innings to set up the chance of either side winning on the last day, the paper said.

England won the January 14 to 18 Test by two wickets after Cronje’s proposal to decide the game over one innings each was accepted by Hussain.

As the Indian police extended their investigations into the Cronje affair, media reports here said England players and former Indian skipper Mohammad Azharuddin were brought into the frame.

“Sunday Times” quoted Sangita Bijlani, Azharuddin’s wife, as saying that she was not aware of the new allegations. “He totally denies being involved. This is a vendetta against him. He is a fighter and has proved it on the field. If required, he will prove it off the field as well,” the paper quoted her as saying.
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Crookes was amazed to open bowling

JOHANNESBURG, April 16 (Reuters) — South African off-spinner Derek Crookes has admitted he was "surprised" when disgraced former captain Hansie Cronje asked him to open the bowling in the final one-day match against India last month.

"I was completely amazed when I heard that my name had been mentioned. I’ve been following the whole thing in a state of shock, trying to remember if I ever thought anything was suspicious at the time. But I didn’t,’’ Crookes said yesterday.

"I was certainly surprised when Hansie told me the evening before that I would be opening (the bowling) because earlier in the tour he had said that I would not even be considered for the new ball.

"But I love a challenge and even though it was a tiny ground with a fast outfield, I looked forward to it,’’ Crookes said.

Crookes had been taking the new ball for his provincial side, Gauteng, in domestic matches before the tour but things did not work out well during the international when he conceded 53 runs during his opening six overs.

"But I never suspected anything underhand, nothing at all. I’m still stunned by the whole thing.’’
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Bacher in touch with BCCI officials

CAPE TOWN, April 16 (AFP) — Managing Director of the United Cricket Board of South Africa Ali Bacher has been in contact with his Indian counterparts for the first time since the Hansie Cronje match-fixing scandal broke eight days ago.

UCB communications manager Bronwyn Wilkinson said here Bacher had telephonic discussions with the Indian cricket board officials in order to “reaffirm the close ties between the two countries.”

“India were instrumental in helping South Africa return to international cricket after the isolation years and Dr Bacher wants to ensure that the ties between the two countries remain strong,” Wilkinson told the SAPA news agency.

“He also told them he would keep them informed of developments in South Africa.”

Cronje was sacked last Tuesday after he admitted receiving $ 8,200 from a bookmaker in return for information about a match. Cronje claims the payment was for forecasting and not for match-fixing.




Cronje inquiry from today

JOHANNESBURG, April 16 (AFP) — A judicial inquiry into allegations of match-fixing against former South African captain Hansie Cronje will be launched here tomorrow, the United Cricket Board of South Africa (UCB) announced today. Mr Bronwyn Wilkinson, communications manager of the UCB, said a judge was expected to be named tomorrow and discussions would start immediately to establish the terms of reference. It would be up to the judge to decide whether the inquiry would be held in public or in camera, she said.
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Pierce, Kournikova upset in Florida

AMELIA ISLAND, April 16 (Reuters) — Hours after Anna Kournikova’s bid for her first WTA singles title ended with a stunning quarterfinal loss to No. 62-ranked Paola Suarez, another blossoming Russian star bounced top-seeded Mary Pierce from the Amelia Island Women’s Tennis Tournament.

Elena Likhovtseva, who failed to close out a three-set match against Pierce last month at Indian Wells, got revenge on Saturday night when the No. 12 seed from Moscow rallied for a 2-6 6-4 6-4 victory

The win over France’s Pierce, the fourth-ranked player in the world, was the day’s second biggest upset, as Suarez also came from behind to knock off Kournikova 2-6 6-2 6-4. Suarez is the lowest ranked player to reach the Amelia Island semifinals in the 21-year history of the tournament.

Suarez’s win advances her into Sunday’s meeting with third-seeded American Monica Seles, who continued her career-long domination of Spain’s Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario with an easy 6-1, 6-3 victory. It improved Seles’ lifetime record against Sanchez-Vicario to 18-3.

Likhovtseva will face No. 4 seed Conchita Martinez in the other semifinal. Martinez eliminated eighth-seeded Barbara Schett of Austria 6-4, 6-3. Likhovtseva’s win avenged a loss to Pierce last month in which the 24-year-old Russian had a 5-3 lead in the third set before falling 6-3 5-7 7-5.

“I had so many chances against her at Indian Wells, but this is a clay court and a slower surface,” said Likhovtseva. “Mary hit hard, but I could get to more of her shots.”

Pierce, who also beat Likhovtseva 6-4 6-1 two years ago at Amelia Island on her way to winning that tournament, looked like she might cruise again when she jumped out to a 5-0 lead. But Likhovtseva recovered from a break down in the second set, winning four of the last five games to force a third set.

Likhovtseva, who had never beaten a top seed in any tournament, secured the victory on Pierce’s serve in the tenth game after missing on one match point. The two-hour, eight-minute match finally ended with Pierce hitting a forehand long.

“I had my chances,” Pierce said. “It was frustrating because I was up 5-0 and all of a sudden, you’re playing against a player that starts to hit shots hard and deep because she’s going for winners and making them.”

Kournikova, who has now played in 67 WTA-sanctioned events without winning a singles title, took advantage of Suarez’s six double faults to easily win her opening set. But the 18-year-old Russian’s game diminished greatly after that, especially on her second serve where she lost 22 of 25 points.

Suarez led 5-2 in the third set, but squandered three match points in allowing Kournikova to get within 5-4. Suarez benefited from a changed call when the chair umpire over-ruled a linesman at deuce in the 10th game, ruling Suarez’s backhand down the line good to give her a fourth match point. It ended on the next point when Kournikova’s backhand sailed beyond the baseline.

“Anna made a lot of mistakes,” Suarez said. “I tried to move her around because she doesn’t like moving on these courts. I got a little nervous when I was up 5-2. I’m glad they changed that call. I was sure the ball was in.”

It marked the second big upset for Suarez at Amelia, coming four days after she eliminated second-seeded Serena Williams in the second round.

Williams, trailing 5-2 in the third set, retired from that match with tendonitis in her left knee.

There were no health issues with Kournikova. She just never got back on track after easily winning the first set.

“It’s always disappointing to lose, especially in a match that was so up and down,” said Kournikova. “She wasn’t into the match in the beginning. Then I started to play defensive in the second set and that got it started. The momentum switched over to her.’’

Kournikova says the pressure to win her first tournament isn’t a distraction.

“No,” she said. “I have a lot of things to block out. That’s just one of them.”

The day was a big disappointment for Sanchez-Vicario, who never got into the match with Seles and easily went down in straight sets. Seles is the defending champion at Amelia Island.

“I didn’t serve very well and Monica has one of the best returns on tour,” said Sanchez-Vicario. “She has more trouble if you move the ball. But if you hit short balls like I did, she’s going to attack. She was solid, but I let her be solid, too, by making so many unforced errors.”

The tournament resumed on Saturday morning after rain suspended or cancelled most of the matches on Thursday and Friday. Seles and Martinez both completed their suspended third-round matches to advance to the quarterfinals. Seles finished off American Christina Morariu 6-3 6-1, and Martinez completed a 6-1, 6-4 win over Australia’s Jelena Dokic.

Pierce and Likhovtseva both had to win two complete matches in one day to reach the semifinals. Pierce beat 14th-seeded Silvija Talaja of Croatia 6-4, 7-5. Likhovtseva, after blowing three match points, outlasted Switzerland’s Patty Schnyder 6-3, 7-6 (7-4).

ATLANTA: Eighth-seeded Andrew Ilie and unseeded Jason Stoltenberg established an all-Aussie final at the Atlanta Tennis Challenge with semifinal victories.

Ilie beat fourth-seeded Michael Chang 6-3 1-6 6-2 and Stoltenberg stopped seventh-seeded Jeff Tarango 6-2 6-4.

This will be the first final between Australians since Lleyton Hewitt defeated Stoltenberg in Auckland in January.

Ilie, ranked 79th, reached his first final since Delray Beach in 1998, when he defeated Davide Sanguinetti for his only tour title. Ilie dictated the points against the counter-punching Chang, slugging 38 winners to Chang’s 14.
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Goa book berth in semis

THRISSUR (Kerala), April 16 (UNI) — Runners up Goa booked their semifinal berth with an easy 3-0 win over Tamil Nadu in a group ‘Y’ quarterfinal league match in the 56th Senior National Football Championship for the Santosh Trophy here yesterday.

In the crucial tie Goa dominated in the first half, scoring twice through ace striker Francis Silvera and Alvito D’ Cunha, but struggled a bit in the latter half before increasing the tally through veteran Bruno Coutinho.

With this win, Goa took their points tally to four in the four team group after they were held to a draw by Punjab in their first match. They play group leaders Maharashtra who stormed into the last four winning both the matches they have palyed so far.

Tamil Nadu, last year’s semifinalists, made the exit with just one point they earned from the draw against Punjab and two losses.

After their below par performance against Punjab, the Goans bidding for the title after finishing runners up to Bengal in the last four years on the trot, played with great confidence yesterday. The half-line gave able support to strikers, who scored the two first half goals in the 25th and 28th minutes. But with the young Tamil Nadu side waging a desperate fightback in the latter half. Goa struggled to maintain the momentum.

Goa went on the attack from the kickoff and made early forays into the Tamil Nadu area. But Custodian Felix Edward did well to thwart the Goan forwards. He brought off brilliant saves, foiling hardworking Venkatesh who charged into the box after being put on by Alvito in the 7th minute and nine minutes later saved a sure goal diving to his left to punch out a Alvito’s drive.

Gaining in confidence, the Goans proved hard to stop, thereafter securing the two first half goals in a space of three minutes.

Francis opened the score for Goa, snatching the ball from Tamil Nadu defender Adarshan Raju and clipping over advancing Felix. With the Goan domination complete, Alvito increased the lead three minutes later in a brilliant move by the forwards. Venkatesh, initiating the move from the right, passed on to the overlapping Anthony Pereira who found Alvito just outside the box and the Salgoncar striker unleashed a leftfooter sending the ball to the far corner of the net.

Goan defence too played to their plan and gave no room for Tamil Nadu forwards Hamilton Bobby and Sabir Pasha. The only chance the Tamil Nadu players came close to scoring was in the 38th minute but goan keeper Juje Siddi effected a fine save to Deny Sabir after the striker was put through by Hamilton.

In the second half the young Tamil Nadu outfit tried their best to match the Goans. But the inexperienced half line failed to give able support to hardworking Indian Bank forwards Sabir and Hamilton. Tamil Nadu did have their chances in the second half but were unlucky.

In the 45th minute Hamilton came close to scoring after working in Tandem with Sabir but his sizzling shot was well saved by Siddi making a full length dive to his right. In the 66th minute Marcel Salden sent a long drive, but the curving shot sailed over the horizontal.

Three minutes from close Bruno who came in for Francis Silverra netted the third goal for Goa off a rebound from a defender. In the action packed moment Alvito’s first shot was blocked by Felix and Venkatesh tried to score of the rebound, only to find defender Rajan thwarting it.

But Bruno waiting just inside the box seized the chance to complete the tally.

Sreenivasan of Tamil Nadu got a yellow for a hard tackle on Jules a Dias while Jules himself invited the wrath of referee M.G. Mohan of Kerala for re-entering the field without his permission after attending to an injury.
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England to play 3 Tests in Pak

KARACHI, April 16 (Reuters) — England will play three Tests on a 57-day trip of Pakistan later this year, including one in Faisalabad, the site of controversial incident during their last tour 13 years ago, officials said yesterday. England arrive in Karachi on October 16 and will play one-dayers at Karachi, Lahore and Peshawar, while Lahore and Karachi will also play host to Tests.

Faisalabad was the site of an ugly incident during England’s previous tour of Pakistan in 1987-88, when then England captain Mike Gatting was involved in a finger-wagging on-field confrontation with umpire Shakoor Rana.England lost the Test series 1-0, but swept all three one-day internationals.

England have not toured Pakistan since then, although Pakistan made trips in 1992 and 1996 to England.

The tour itinerary is: October 16 — arrival; October 20 — practice match at Karachi; October 22 — practice match at Karachi; October 24 — first one-day international at Karachi; October 27 — second one-day international at Lahore; October 29 — third one-day international at Peshawar; November 1-4 four dayers at Peshawar; November 8-11 — four dayer at Rawalpindi; November 15-19 — first Test at Lahore; November 23-25 — three dayer at Lahore; November 29-December 3 — second Test at Faisalabad; December 7-11 — third Test at Karachi; December 12 — return.
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Moya moves into last four

ESTORIL (Portugal), April 16 (AFP) — Carlos Moya showed how glad he is to be back on court after duelling for six months with a back injury, rallying past Czech Bohdan Ulihrach 4-6 6-1, 6-2 for a place in the semi-finals of the $ 765,000 Estoril Open.

Moya, who last played on clay in his home of Mallorca in September just before a stress fracture forced him out of competition, said the six months he spent in Barcelona having treatment for the problem was a confidence-testing time.

“But it gave me motivation to come back,” he said of his days spent watching tennis on television at home on a sofa resting his back. Moya overcame a moment of fear in the fourth game of the opening set against Ulihrach. Racing for a drop shot he felt some brief pain.

The 1998 French Open champion has not claimed a title since Roland Garros two years ago, the fifth of his career.

Moya will take on Ukranian Andrei Medvedev, another player on a comeback roll. The 1993 Estoril champion ousted fourth seed Tim Henman of Britain 6-2, 6-3. It was his third match victory of the week after scoring just two wins during the previous months of the season.
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Sai beats Sonal to clinch title

MUMBAI, April 16 (PTI) — Third seeded Sai Jayalakshmi of India stopped her compatriot and wild card entrant Sonal Phadke in her strides 6-2, 6-3 in the singles final to clinch the title in the $ 10,000 prize money Women’s ITF Tennis Circuit, first leg here yesterday.

The 17-year-old Mumbai lass, who had conquered second seed Urska Veserjak of Slovakia and fourth seed Satomi Kinjo of Japan in earlier rounds, was no match to the Hyderabad-based Sai Jayalakshmi.
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Bhutia on target for Bury

BURY (England), April 16 (AFP) — Indian striker Baichung Bhutia was on target for Bury in their 1-1 draw with Chesterfield in the second division clash at Gigg Lane yesterday.

The 22-year-old hitman, the first Indian to play professional football in England, struck for the home side six minutes before half time but Anthony Carss levelled for the visitors with 15 minutes to go.
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PSB enter final

CALCUTTA, April 16 (UNI) — Reigning champions Punjab and Sind Bank and giant killers Tamil Nadu XI will lock horns in the final of 105th All-India Servo Beighton Cup Hockey Tournament tomorrow after they scraped past Army XI and Chittaranjan Locomotive Works in the semis by 1-0 and 2-1 margins, respectively, here today.

This was the first entry of Tamil Nadu into the final of the country’s oldest hockey tournament as their former international Pravakaran converted a penalty corner in the 55th minute of play today.

PCA win

PATIALA April 16 (FOSR) — The Patiala Cricket Association beat MES Coaching Centre by 4 wickets in a league match of the Triangular Series (under-14) Cricket here today. The other team in the tournament is NICS Cricket Academy.

Earlier MES Coaching Centre beat NICS Cricket Academy by 8 wickets.


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