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S P O R T S

Brazil get closer to sixth triumph, thrash Ghana

Dortmund, June 27
A moment of Ronaldo class and a controversial Adriano goal helped give Brazil a 3-0 win over Ghana today but their path to the World Cup quarterfinals was far from smooth.

Brazilian fans react during the match between Brazil and Ghana in Dortmund on Tuesday.
Brazilian fans react during the match between Brazil and Ghana in Dortmund on Tuesday. — Reuters photo

Ukraine book date with Italy
Cologne, June 27
Man of the match Oleg Gusiev slotted home the decisive penalty here to book debutants Ukraine a place in the World Cup quarterfinals as they beat Switzerland 3-0 in a penalty shootout after a dull match had finished 0-0 after extra-time. The Ukrainians, whose lack of ambition matched that of the Swiss, will meet Italy in the last eight.



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Swiss dreams turn into tears

Geneva, June 27

Swiss dreams of World Cup glory turned to tears on the morning after Switzerland’s second round exit from Germany in a penalty shoot-out against Ukraine.



Dejected Swiss supporters at the end of the match against Ukraine in Cologne on Monday. — AFP photo



Dejected Swiss supporters at the end of the match against Ukraine in Cologne
No second chances for
second-string keepers 

Berlin, June 27
Oliver Kahn’s outburst at being second string goalkeeper for Germany reflects the frustrations of being a reserve at the World Cup finals.



WILL HE GET TO PLAY?: Oliver Kahn of Germany warms the bench as he watches team-mates in action during the World Cup. — Reuters photo
Oliver Kahn of Germany warms the bench as he watches team-mates in action during the World Cup

No Pele in Beckham’s dream team
Berlin, June 27
The football world may have crowned Pele as the best player ever but David Beckham thinks otherwise. He has left out the Brazilian legend from his dream team.

Who will hold the whistle on July 9?
Berlin, June 27
Who is going to be the man in the middle when the eyes of the globe are on the World Cup final here on July 9? A handful of the leading candidates appear to have ruled themselves out with blunders, blowing the field open.

Yellow and red cards flow
Berlin, June 27
Another match, another red card, another refereeing controversy. It’s becoming a trend at the World Cup.



So near, yet so far
St Kitts, June 27
India raised visions of an upset victory before settling, a bit too early, for a draw in the third Test and leave the four-match series against the West Indies tied 0-0 here on yesterday. India, set a target of 392 to win from 88 overs, brought the game alive, first through an electrifying start provided by Virender Sehwag and then by a determined pursuit by the middle order, as they took the attack to the rival camp on the fifth and final day at the Warner Park stadium.



West Indian captain Brian Lara jokes with Rahul Dravid on the fifth day of the third Test in St Kitts on Monday. — AFP
West Indian captain Brian Lara jokes with Rahul Dravid on the fifth day of the third Test in St Kitts on Monday.

Sachin hits another ton
London, June 27
Sachin Tendulkar came up with another big score for Lashings World XI, hitting 147 before electing to retire in a charity match against Reigate Priory Cricket Club, Surrey.

Indians continue to impress
Tehran, June 27
Indian chess players continued to impress in the fourth round of the Asian Youth Chess Championships and are among the leaders in all eight events being held here.

Wimbledon
Federer marches past Borg’s record
London, June 27
World No. 1 Roger Federer broke Bjorn Borg’s record grasscourt winning sequence today when he completed a dazzling 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 first round victory over Frenchman Richard Gasquet.
The Swiss notched up his 42nd consecutive grasscourt victory with some sublime tennis, allowing Gasquet just two games after the match continued today following yesterday’s rain stoppage.





Martina Hingis of Switzerland celebrates after winning against Olga Savchuk of Ukraine on the second day of Wimbledon on Tuesday. Hingis won 6-2, 6-2. — AFP photo
Martina Hingis of Switzerland celebrates after winning against Olga Savchuk of Ukraine on the second day of Wimbledon on Tuesday. Hingis won 6-2, 6-2.

Sports Director visits camp
Ropar, June 27
Sportspersons should be provided regular training, good diet and their performance should be monitored to get better results in the national and international events, said Ms Chanchal Randhawa, Joint Director, Sports, Punjab.

Black Elephant win series
Patiala, June 27
Black Elephant Cricket Club, Patiala, clinched the Sadbhawna Trophy (u-15) which concluded at Agra recently by beating Agra School Club 3-0 in a three-match series.

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Brazil get closer to sixth triumph, thrash Ghana

Dortmund, June 27
A moment of Ronaldo class and a controversial Adriano goal helped give Brazil a 3-0 win over Ghana today but their path to the World Cup quarterfinals was far from smooth.

Ronaldo struck after five minutes but Ghana piled on the pressure and exposed the world champions’ defence on several occasions before Adriano broke their hearts, if not their spirits, in first-half injury time.

Midfielder Ze Roberto added the third in the 84th minute when he slipped the Ghanaian offside trap once more.

Ghana ended the match with 10 men, striker Asamoah Gyan sent off in the 81st minute when he collected his second yellow card for a dive. Brazil, seeking a fourth successive final appearance and a sixth triumph, now face Spain or France.

Brazil got the ideal start when Kaka sprung the offside trap with a pass into the path of Ronaldo and the striker bamboozled Ghana goalkeeper Richard Kingston with a quickstep dummy before tucking in his 15th World Cup goal, overhauling the record he shared with Germany’s Gerd Mueller.

Ghana, without suspended midfield inspiration Michael Essien, looked in disarray in the first 20 minutes but gradually settled to attack the shaky heart of the Brazilian defence and create a series of chances that had the world champions rattled.

Matthew Amoah should have scored but scuffed his shot in front of goal after 24 minutes and John Mensah then met a corner with a perfect downward header that Brazil keeper Dida somehow kept out with his foot.

Ghana were then stunned on the break with a controversial goal as Kaka fed the overlapping Cafu, making a Brazilian record 19th World Cup finals appearance.

Adriano was well offside at that point but play continued as he had not collected the ball but he was certainly involved, and probably still marginally offside, as he drove into the six-yard box to nudge home his captain’s low cross.

The Ghana players protested to no avail as did their Serbian coach Ratomir Dujkovic, who was sent to the stands for his troubles.

The last remaining African side in the competition did well to come out fighting, with Gyan forcing Dida into a good diving save after 69 minutes. — Reuters

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Ukraine book date with Italy

Ukrainian forward and captain Andriy Shevchenko celebrates at the end of the second round match against Switzerland in Cologne on Monday.
Ukrainian forward and captain Andriy Shevchenko celebrates at the end of the second round match against Switzerland in Cologne on Monday. — AFP photo

Cologne, June 27
Man of the match Oleg Gusiev slotted home the decisive penalty here to book debutants Ukraine a place in the World Cup quarterfinals as they beat Switzerland 3-0 in a penalty shootout after a dull match had finished 0-0 after extra-time. The Ukrainians, whose lack of ambition matched that of the Swiss, will meet Italy in the last eight.

Ukraine and Switzerland’s star strikers Andriy Shevchenko and Alexander Frei, respectively, had come close to breaking the deadlock in the first-half but saw their efforts come off the bar leaving the match delicately poised at 0-0 at half-time.

Ukraine were having very little of the ball in the first period but they showed they could be dangerous in the 21st minute as Maksym Kalynychenko swung in a free kick from the left and Shevchenko stooped low to get his head to the ball and saw it bounce down and against the bar with Swiss keeper Pascal Zuberbuhler beaten.

However, the Swiss went desperately close themselves a few minutes later as Frei’s superb free kick rattled the Ukrainian bar but though the ball fell to Patrick Muller a few metres out he skied his effort wide of the goal.

The Ukrainians started the second-half brightly with Andrei Voronin going close with a header, which flashed past Zuberbuhler’s post.

However there was little of note for at least the next 20 minutes until Shevchenko brought the ball down, with his arm admittedly but the referee missed it, and turned Ludovic Magnin inside out before lashing a divine shot just wide of the post.

The Ukrainians were seemingly more capable of raising themselves from the turgid play and Andriy Gusin saw his 70th minute header from a corner scrape the far post with Zuberbuhler completely lost.

Extra-time required everybody having a large dose of caffeine to keep them awake with the most notable thing being the bizarre substitution with just five minutes remaining to penalties of Frei by Mario Lustrinelli.

Frei left the pitch shaking his head, but the spectators were doing the same thing but only in wonderment that these sides are reputedly two of the best 16 sides in the world.

The penalties proved catastrophic as while Shevchenko saw his saved by Zuberbuhler, who was to exit the tournament not having conceded a goal in open play, the next three Swiss players all missed theirs to allow Gusiev his deserved moment of glory. — AFP, AP

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Swiss dreams turn into tears

Geneva, June 27
Swiss dreams of World Cup glory turned to tears on the morning after Switzerland’s second round exit from Germany in a penalty shoot-out against Ukraine.

“In the end, only tears of bitterness remain,” the daily Basler Zeitung commented mournfully today. “The Swiss World Cup dream is shattered,” wrote the Tages-Anzeiger newspaper.

Instead of the expected concert of horns, cowbells and noisy street celebrations, the night passed off with an eerie silence in Geneva as fans bedecked in red and white quietly headed home.

“We cracked at the wrong moment,” said the Tribune de Geneve, after three Swiss players missed their penalties in the decisive shootout at the end of a dour 120 minute battle with Ukraine.

Following Switzerland’s 390 minute run at the World Cup without conceding a goal, the disappointment was tinged with hope for what the young squad could achieve at Euro 2008.

Switzerland will host the tournament jointly with Austria in two years time and qualifies automatically.

“Let’s celebrate, this team can do a lot more!” bellowed the tabloid Blick, with rose-tinted spectacles.

“They have not yet reached their zenith. The future of this side as European champions in 2008 is bright and rosy.” — AFP

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No second chances for second-string keepers 

Berlin, June 27
Oliver Kahn’s outburst at being second string goalkeeper for Germany reflects the frustrations of being a reserve at the World Cup finals.

While outfield players can realistically think they could come on as a substitute during a match the second choice goalkeeper has to wait for a catastrophic error by his senior to even have a hope of entering the fray.

Kahn has cut a grumpy looking figure on the bench as he has watched his replacement and bitter enemy Jens Lehmann concede just two goals in the four matches so far and evidently it has all been too much for the 38-year-old.

“I have told him (Klinsmann) clearly that I will never comprehend why I am no longer number one,” said Kahn, who was number one choice when Germany made the 2002 final losing 0-2 to Brazil.

“I would have expected a full explanation. But as there has not been one yet, there probably never will be.” Some have borne the frustration at being second choice well.

Peter Shilton had to wait years to displace Ray Clemence in between the sticks for England eventually getting the nod from the late Ron Greenwood over Clemence in for the 1982 World Cup.

He then enjoyed a golden patch under Bobby Robson reaching the 1986 quarterfinals and 1990 semifinals.

Gregory Coupet has also found being declared second choice ’keeper behind the ageing Fabien Barthez far from satisfactory as the 33-year-old five-time domestic champion with Lyon had justifiable claims that he should be the number one for this World Cup.

“I expect to be given an explanation, because when I was told the news I didn’t really think about asking questions,” said Coupet at the time he was told he was second best.

Sometimes, though, the second string ’keeper can step up to the plate when prevailed upon as Shaka Hislop displayed for Trinidad and Tobago in the 0-0 draw with Sweden earlier in the tournament.

However, one man who really did make a name for himself in the 1990 tournament was Argentina’s Sergio Goycochea, who took full advantage of Nery Pumpido’s double fracture of shinbone in the defending champions opening defeat by Cameroon.

As Diego Maradona had done for Argentina in 1986 so Goycochea dragged an uninspiring and increasingly cynical side to the final with outstanding saves in penalty shootouts with Yugoslavia in the quarter-finals and hosts Italy in the semi-final. — AFP

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No Pele in Beckham’s dream team

Berlin, June 27
The football world may have crowned Pele as the best player ever but David Beckham thinks otherwise. He has left out the Brazilian legend from his dream team.

Beckham picks Northern Ireland’s flawed prodigy George Best, Argentine legend Diego Maradona and Real Madrid team-mate Ronaldo in the attack but Pele is conspicuous by his absence.

Under the bar, Beckham selects former Manchester United team-mate Peter Schmeichel, ahead of the likes of Lev Yashin and Gordon Banks while going for another Real Madrid team-mate, Roberto Carlos, at left-back.

“One of my two central defenders would have to be the great Bobby Moore,” Beckham told FIFA World Cup website.

The remaining team: Franz Beckenbauer, Gary Neville, Lothar Matthaus, Zinedine Zidane. — UNI

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Who will hold the whistle on July 9?

Berlin, June 27
Who is going to be the man in the middle when the eyes of the globe are on the World Cup final here on July 9? A handful of the leading candidates appear to have ruled themselves out with blunders, blowing the field open.

The referees’ committee is due to meet tomorrow to decide who will officiate the quarter-finals. Their choices will give a clear pointer as to who could get the nod for the final.

For the 2002 climax in Yokohama, it was an easy decision to make, but with the incomparable Pierluigi Collina now retired, FIFA have a problem.

Quite simply, there is no outstanding refree in the world at the moment. Two men tipped to take charge of the final, Graham Poll of England and Germany’s Markus Merk, have made uncharacteristic mistakes in Germany.

Poll was guilty of the now infamous three-yellow-card trick when a man once thought unflappable suddenly lost the plot in the highly charged first-round match between Australia and Croatia.

When Josip Simunic committed his first foul he was booked, but when the Croatian should have been sent off for a second infraction, Poll noted down the Australian number three, Craig Moore, instead. That meant that Simunic was finally only dismissed in stoppage time.

It was a terrible howler for a World Cup referee and Andreas Werz, a spokesman for the referees’ committee, had little comfort for the Englishman.

“Under normal circumstances, he would not take charge of any other matches at this World Cup,” Werz said.

German official Markus Merk impressed when he took charge of the Euro 2004 final between Greece and Portugal. But his stock dropped at the World Cup after the United States criticised his officiating in their tournament-ending 2-1 defeat to Ghana.

US coach Bruce Arena said Ghana’s match-winning penalty in first-half stoppage time should never have been given.

Russian referee Valentin Ivanov showed so many cards in the full-blooded Netherlands vs Portugal second-round game that he broke the World Cup record with four sendings-off.

Losing coach Marco van Basten criticised Ivanov’s performance, but so did FIFA President Sepp Blatter, who said the refereeing itself “deserves a yellow card”. “The referee’s actions harmed what could have been an excellent football match,” the Swiss said.

Argentinian referee Horacio Elizondo was in charge for the opening game of the tournament and tradition dictates that the same man will not do both that game and the final. So one name appears to be rising to the top of the list, Lubos Michel of Slovakia.

He has a solid CV, with three matches at the 2002 World Cup, five at Euro 2004 as well as two first-round games in this World Cup and the Brazil v Ghana second-round match today.

And unlike another contender, Carlos Simon of Brazil, there is no danger of Michel’s country reaching the final. Under FIFA rules, the referee cannot be from the same nation as either of the finalists. — AFP

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Yellow and red cards flow

Berlin, June 27
Another match, another red card, another refereeing controversy. It’s becoming a trend at the World Cup.

The record stream of red and yellow cards mounted yesterday, hours after the sport’s top official gave his own caution to a referee for being overzealous and inconsistent.

Italy was reduced to 10 men in the 51st minute of the second-round match against Australia when Marco Materazzi was sent off for bringing down Marco Bresciano just outside the penalty area. That raised the number of red cards to 24 from 53 matches.

The previous mark was 22 from 64 matches in 1998 at France.

The Italians persevered, and in the last seconds of injury time, left back Fabio Grosso beat one defender and went down under a challenge by Lucas Neill almost within touching distance of the goal.

Spanish referee Luis Medina immediately pointed to the penalty spot, under desperate protests from the Australians who claimed that Grosso dived.

The decision, certain to be heavily dissected and debated, stood. Unfazed, Francesco Totti drove a penalty kick past goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer and the Italians advanced to the quarterfinals.

Medina issued the direct red card and six cautions, raising the total of yellow cards to 297 for the tournament, surpassing any previous World Cup. — AP

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So near, yet so far
Ashish Shukla

St Kitts, June 27
India raised visions of an upset victory before settling, a bit too early, for a draw in the third Test and leave the four-match series against the West Indies tied 0-0 here on yesterday.

India, set a target of 392 to win from 88 overs, brought the game alive, first through an electrifying start provided by Virender Sehwag and then by a determined pursuit by the middle order, as they took the attack to the rival camp on the fifth and final day at the Warner Park stadium.

The visitors took the lunch at 109 for no loss and further needed only 148 runs from 25 final overs with eight wickets in hand.

But the dismissal of the cavalier Sehwag and later that of Mahendra Singh Dhoni took the wind out of their sails, and they closed the game at 298 for four with three mandatory overs still to be bowled.

Two century stands for the first and third wickets between Wasim Jaffer (54) and Sehwag (65) and then between VVS Laxman (63) and Rahul Dravid (68 not out) sparked a new life in India's bid.

India showed their intent when they promoted Dhoni (20) at number five after Laxman had fallen to a catch in the slip cordon off left-arm paceman Pedro Collins.

Dhoni hoisted the first ball he faced from Collins for a towering straight six and suddenly everyone at the ground, no less the fielding side, could sense the rumblings of an unusual end.

The next few balls, however, proved decisive in shaping India’s approach for the rest of the game.

Dhoni made some ungainly attempts to cut, swish and tap the deliveries and once he failed to do so, a mid-pitch conference between him and his captain cooled the tempo.

Dhoni hit one more sizzling six to keep everyone interested but once he was out to a catch in the cover, India downed the shutters.

India deserved both praise and condemnation for the way they shaped up the chase on the final day. They were impressive in raising vision but conservative in giving up too early.

Sehwag set the cat among the pigeons with a blistering 65 from 75 balls with eight fours and raised 109 runs with his partner Jaffer from only 26 odd-overs.

The first ball after lunch though claimed him leg before and it appeared the game would meander into a draw.

But Laxman and Dravid infused new life with a century stand which gained real thrust after the tea break.

Laxman made his runs from 106 balls with 10 fours while Dravid occupied the crease for 131 balls and hit four fours and a six.

India were 200 for two at the tea break but then runs came in spurt on resumption with 43 runs realising from 25-minutes of hectic play.

With an equation of six an over and wickets in hand, India looked hot favourites to claim an unlikely win. That was before conservatism got the better of them.

Earlier, West Indies resumed their second innings at the overnight score of 113 for four and declared at 172 for six, a combined lead of 391 runs.

Sehwag made the most of a lucky reprieve Chris Gayle dropped him on five at first slip off the bowling of Jerome Taylor.

There was another let-off for him when Ramnaresh Sarwan, one of the two short extra cover posted for him, dropped a catch off Dwayne Bravo.

Sehwag was then on 56 and the team total was 94 for no loss.

Sehwag was distinctly in unease when West Indian quicks targeted short-pitched deliveries on his ribs and he tried to counter it by going for ungainly hooks.

His first four was a top edge over the wicketkeeper which raised his 4,000th run in Test cricket in his 48th Test. He needed three runs before the start of this innings.

Sehwag then overcame the early jitters and then settled down to play in his characteristic assured manner. He initially concentrated on picking his singles and playing in the gaps but then opened out alarmingly for the hosts.

His straight drive off Dwayne Bravo, his sixth four, raised his half century from 60 balls.

Jaffer was also solid as rock at the other end and concentrated on playing in front.

The 100 of the innings was up because of misfields and overthrows which gave Sehwag two extra runs in the penultimate over of the session.

Scoreboard

West Indies (1st innings) 581

India (1st innings) 362

West Indies (2nd innings) 172 for 6 dec

India (2nd innings)

Jaffer c Gayle b Collins 54

Sehwag lbw Collymore 65

Laxman c Lara b Collins 63

Dravid not out 68

Dhoni c Gayle b Taylor 20

Yuvraj not out 8

Extras (b-9, lb-8, w-1, nb-2) 20

Total (4 wkts, 85 overs) 298

Fall of wickets: 1-109, 2-143, 3-243, 4-273.

Bowling: Pedro Collins 18-1-66-2, Jerome Taylor 11-1-40-1, Corey Collymore 15-3-40-1, Marlon Samuels 20-3-68-0, Dwayne Bravo 7-1-36-0, Chris Gayle 14-2-31-0. — PTI

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Sachin hits another ton

London, June 27
Sachin Tendulkar came up with another big score for Lashings World XI, hitting 147 before electing to retire in a charity match against Reigate Priory Cricket Club, Surrey.

Tendulkar was supported by his skipper Richie Richardson who chipped in with 95 runs as Lashings declared at 292 for 4 in 41.3 overs after winning the toss and electing to bat on Sunday.

In reply, Reigate Priory made 197 for seven in 51 overs with Jon Gale top scoring with an unbeaten 64 and Aleks Richards contributing 31.

Vasbert Drakes took two wickets for 12 while Aaron Pope was the most successful bowler for Reigate, snaring three Lashings wickets for 61.

Tendulkar, testing himself in match conditions before making a comeback to international cricket, had hit a strokeful 155 in his first outing for the star-studded club last Wednesday.

The Indian batting star underwent a shoulder surgery in March this year and had to miss out on the one-day series against England at home and the entire tour of West Indies.

He is looking to make a return to the top league in August when India play a tri-series in Sri Lanka. — PTI

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Indians continue to impress

Tehran, June 27
Indian chess players continued to impress in the fourth round of the Asian Youth Chess Championships and are among the leaders in all eight events being held here.

They can expect several medals from the event, which comprises eight events with separate championships for boys and girls in the under-8, under-10, under-12 and under-14 age groups.

B. Adhiban recorded his fourth victory in as many rounds to emerge sole leader in the u-14 boys group. He defeated Amirreza of Iran to lead the field ahead of compatriots S. Nitin and K Priyadarshan who are on 3.5 points.

Bhakti Kulkarni scored over erstwhile leader P. Laxmi Sahiti to share the lead with Pallabi Roy with 3.5 each. Laxmi Sahiti, Pon Kruttikha, Hoang (Vietnam), H. Mitra and F Setareh (both Iran) are trailing the leaders by half-a-point.

Indian hopes Vidit Gujarathi and Prasanna Rao are leading with four points each in the boys’ u-12 section. Vidit defeated A.V. Prasad in the fourth round while Prasanna scored over P Srinivasa Varma.

Hosseinpour Mehdi (Iran) is following the leaders on 3.5 points. Vidit and Prasanna will clash in the crucial fifth round game.

In the girls’ u-12 section, Padmini Rout is leading the field with four points after defeating Hakimifar Ghazal of Iran. Compatriot Priyanka Kumari defeated Nguyen Thi Mai Hung of Vietnam to stay in second spot with 3.5 points. Another Indian Mohana Priya is in third place with three points.

G. Vijaysai Krishna got the better of Javanbakht Neema to lead the boys’ u-10 section. Mirzai Saleh of Iran defeated Vo Hoai Thoang (Vietnam) to reach 3.5 points and stay in striking range of the leader.

Ch Sahja Sri shares the lead with Do Hoang Min Tho of Vietnam in the girls’ u-10 section. They have won all their games so far and there fifth round encounter may prove decisive. — PTI

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Wimbledon
Federer marches past Borg’s record

London, June 27
World No. 1 Roger Federer broke Bjorn Borg’s record grasscourt winning sequence today when he completed a dazzling 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 first round victory over Frenchman Richard Gasquet.

The Swiss notched up his 42nd consecutive grasscourt victory with some sublime tennis, allowing Gasquet just two games after the match continued today following yesterday’s rain stoppage.

Leading 6-3, 1-2 overnight, Federer had a mini scare when he immediately needed to fend off a break point but soon took command, rattling through the set with two breaks.

The first four games of the third set went with serve before Federer, looking for a fourth consecutive Wimbledon title, changed gear and romped to victory.

Meanwhile, Former Australian Open champion Thomas Johansson became the first seed to exit Wimbledon this year when he was beaten 3-6, 7-6, 6-1, 6-1 by fellow Swede Jonas Bjorkman.

Twelfth seed Johansson, a semifinalist last year, had won six of their 10 previous meetings but Bjorkman proved to be a stubborn opponent in their rain-delayed match at the grasscourt championships and ran away with the last two sets.

In another match, fourth seed David Nalbandian quickly found his rhythm to dispose of South African Wesley Moodie 6-3, 6-4, 6-1 in the first round.

Moodie, surprise winner of the doubles here last year with Australian Stephen Huss, looked ill-equipped to give the burly Argentine a real test and paid for a string of errors.

Nalbandian, runner-up at the All England Club four years ago, had not played since retiring with an abdominal injury during his French Open semifinal against Roger Federer.

Among women, Martina Hingis firmly banished her worst Wimbledon nightmares on Tuesday, sweeping into the second round with a stylish 6-2, 6-2 win over Ukrainian teenager Olga Savchuk.

Hingis, revelling in a comeback that has already taken her to the quarterfinals of the Australian and French Grand Slams, showed all her old deftness of touch with some exquisite drop shots that left Savchuk flat-footed.

It was the Swiss former world No. 1 first appearance at Wimbledon for five years. Last time Spain’s Virginia Ruana Pascual knocked her out in the first round.

Russia’s Svetlana Kuznetsova celebrated her 21st birthday with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Italian qualifier Romina Oprandi in the first round today. The fifth seed and French Open runner-up made good use of her power on a green court two.

Justine Henin-Hardenne buried memories of her shock exit last year with a ruthless 6-0, 6-1 win over China’s Yuan Meng in the first round.

The French Open champion, who was beaten in the opening round here 12 months ago, showed little mercy to an opponent making her debut at the grasscourt Grand Slam. — Reuters

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Sports Director visits camp
Tribune News Service

Ropar, June 27
Sportspersons should be provided regular training, good diet and their performance should be monitored to get better results in the national and international events, said Ms Chanchal Randhawa, Joint Director, Sports, Punjab. She was here to interact with over 200 students of various academy and school from all over the state participating in the fitness training camp of hockey, football, basketball, athletics, gymnastic. The training camp in Anandpur Sahib began on June 15 and will end on June 30.

She also advised the students here to give their best in the studies also and complete at least graduation.

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Black Elephant win series

Patiala, June 27
Black Elephant Cricket Club, Patiala, clinched the Sadbhawna Trophy (u-15) which concluded at Agra recently by beating Agra School Club 3-0 in a three-match series.

In the first match, the Patiala team downed the Agra team by 32 runs. Batting first, Black Elephant, aided by fine knocks by Shivan Goyal (47 n.o) and Ujjwal Sharma 39, scored 152 for 9 while Agra school ended up scoring 120 all out with Ashish Chowhan scalping 5 for 11.

In the second match the Patiala youngsters beat Agra by 88 runs while in the third and last match, Black Elephant scraped past their rivals by one wicket. OSR

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