Morgan set to become ICC chief
B’desh delay the inevitable
Carvalho warns team against complacency
London, June 27
The American powerhouse needed just one break of serve in each of the opening two sets with the 114th-ranked Udomchoke struggling to make much impression on Centre Court.
When Roddick then went a break ahead in the third set the outcome looked a formality but his Thai opponent gradually began to make inroads on the American’s atomic serve.
Roddick held from 0-40 down at 3-2 but he was pegged back at 4-3 when Udomchoke belted a sublime backhand winner down the line to get back into the set with his first break of the match.
Udomchoke suddenly began to look dangerous but the busy Roddick snuffed out the threat with some solid all-court tennis in the tiebreak.
Double former Wimbledon champion Serena Williams claimed her place in the third round despite looking far from her best in a 7-6, 6-3 win over Australian Alicia Molik. The seventh seed looked deflated at 4-1 down in the first set after Molik broke her in the fourth game but she composed herself to break back in the seventh and the 11th.
The 25-year-old American had set point on her serve at 6-5 but sent a forehand into the net and eventually lost the game. In the ensuing tiebreak, Williams came from behind to nail the set with an ace and a loud “Come on!”.
World number one Justine Henin outclassed Vera Dushevina 6-0, 6-4 in the second round in her bid to capture the only grand slam title to elude her. French Open champion Henin broke the Russian in the opening game and went on to ease through the first set in 20 minutes.
Dushevina settled down in the second set, holding her serve in the opening game. After being broken in the third game, the world number 83 even managed to level things up again at 3-3 when the Belgian put a forehand into the net.
Unperturbed, Henin immediately broke for the second time and at 5-4, having saved a break point, went on the attack to secure her place in the third round with an ace.
Number three seed Jelena Jankovic swept into the third round with an emphatic 6-1, 6-1 win over Slovakian Jarmila Gajdosova. Jankovic, having a superb year after rising from 12 to three in the world rankings, put her cross-court speed and powerful serve to deadly effect against an overawed opponent who never stood a chance.
Czech teenager Nicole Vaidisova, twice a Grand Slam semifinalist, moved smoothly into the second round with a workmanlike 7-6, 6-2 victory over Italy’s Karin Knapp.
Vaidisova’s all-court game and powerful serve were enough to wear down the determined Italian, who is ranked 55 places below the world number 10.
The Czech 18-year-old, already the holder of six titles, has been a semifinalist at the Australian and French Opens and also reached the fourth round at Wimbledon last year.
Russian Elena Dementieva got her Wimbledon off to a belated start today with a 6-1, 7-6 defeat of France’s Nathalie Dechy. The tall 12th seed, a quarterfinalist here last year, romped through the opening set of her delayed first round match and had a break early in the second set before rain threatened to throw her off track.
The Russian, a former French and US Open runner-up, had kept her nose in front in the second set but Dechy, playing with much more aggression than in the early stages, broke back at 5-4 down.
Dechy then led 5-1 in the tiebreak and had a set point at 6-5 but a fired-up Dementieva dug herself out of trouble with some fierce baseline hitting to set up a second round against Czech Iveta Benesova.
French Open finalist and seeded sixth Ana Ivanovic of Serbia overcame Hungarian Melinda Czink 6-0, 7-6 in the first round today.
Left-hander Czink, who had lost both their previous meetings, rallied at the start of the second set, breaking Ivanovic when she sent the ball long.
Ivanovic broke back in the fourth game, which was interrupted for 40 minutes for rain but the 1.86 metres tall Serb was made to work for her points from then on.
Czink, ranked 133 in the world, forced the set to a tiebreak, only to give Ivanovic the match when she put a forehand out. — Reuters
It is always satisfying to win your first round at a Grand Slam and it is even more special for me at Wimbledon. Playing the fifth game of the day is always a dicey proposition, and particularly so if you have the threatening rain to contend with. You never quite know when your turn will come.
I had two practice sessions, one in the morning and the second about an hour or so before the game got underway. I started off with a couple of aces in the very first game and had a great feel on my groundstrokes. It was important not to let up after winning the first set 6-0.
I could see my opponent Yaroslava Shveddova struggle as I was ‘in the zone.’ My serve improved as the match went on and the groundstrokes continued to be fluent. One win under the belt and it does make one feel so much more relaxed and at ease.
The second-round clash against Nadia Petrova, a top-10 player, will be a challenge. But I do have the confidence of having beaten her the only time we've met. When you play a seeded opponent, you have to expect her to play some big shots and big winners. There are bound to be periods in the match when she will dominate proceedings with top quality play.
‘Hanging in there’ when your opponent is on a roll is important. One also needs to be on the lookout for the smallest of openings to get one's foot in and then to pile on the pressure on the opponent. Petrova has a big serve, and that makes her a dangerous opponent to handle on grass. I need to ‘return’ well, and that is what I am working on at the moment. My support team of coach, Gabriel Urpi, trainer, Heath Matthews and dad are doing what they can to help me prepare for a big match against a top-10 player.
It will eventually boil down to the ‘area between the ears.’ Anyone who has played or followed tennis will know that it isn’t always that fancied players end up thrashing their supposedly weaker opponents. Venus Williams, Martina Hingis and Svetlana Kuznetzova struggled in their respective first-round clashes over the last two days at Wimbledon this year although they did manage to eke out wins against rank outsiders. My aim will be to play to my strengths and let everything else take care of itself.
I might be playing two matches tomorrow my second round singles encounter, and a doubles although the schedule will only be out in the evening. I'm looking forward to my singles as well as the doubles and mixed doubles matches.
I'm so happy to have recovered well enough from my knee surgery to be able to compete at Wimbledon again this year. It helps if your state of mind is equable when you are playing as prestigious a tournament as this.
Home-cooked food is a major factor as far as I am concerned. I am getting a lot of it at the moment, thanks to the fact that we have rented a house about two miles from the All-England Club. My sister and parents are here, and my mother’s food is doing its bit to make me feel at home and raring to go. — PMG
London, June 27
The 27-year-old fell in love with Wimbledon after spending his childhood in Lahore watching the likes of Stefan Edberg and Boris Becker battle it out on the famous lawns.
He had strived to reach the main draw at the All-England Club for 10 years and, after missing out in the final qualifying round several times he finally made it this year, becoming the first Pakistani to play in the Wimbledon men’s singles since Haroon Rahim in 1976.
Qureshi’s only previous experience of Wimbledon was in the doubles in 2002, when he created a storm by opting to defy his federation and play with Israel’s Amir Hadad.
So when the Pakistan number one hit a volleyed winner to clinch his first Grand Slam singles victory, a 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 success over Britain’s Lee Childs that set up a second round clash with Marat Safin, it was the culmination of his childhood dream.
“It feels unbelievable because it has always been my dream to play in the main draw at Wimbledon,” Qureshi told AFP.
“Even match point in the last round of qualifying was a big deal because three times I’ve lost in last round qualifiers to get into Wimbledon, so I was unbelievably happy then, let alone now.
“In Pakistan when I was younger they only used to show the Wimbledon finals, so I was always watching Edberg and Becker.I grew up watching those guys and that’s why I like to serve ad volley.”
Qureshi’s win was only the second by a Pakistani in the men’s singles and it was no surprise that his celebrations were the most extravagant at Wimbledon this year.
He fell to his knees and kissed the court before rushing o celebrate with his vociferous supporters, including his parents, brother and two cousins, at courtside.
“I wanted to share the moment with my family,” he said. “I just got 20 missed calls and 20 text messages. It’s going to be mad back home. The day I qualified people were really happy for me and this is even bigger.”
Qureshi, ranked 279th, honed his serve and volley game on grass courts in Lahore as a youngster and is reaping the rewards.
He beat talented Frenchman Richard Gasquet in Halle earlier this month and believes he can give Safin, a former world number one, a taxing test in the next round.
“I’ve never played Marat,” he said. “Obviously he is a world class player, but grass is definitely my favourite surface and it’s not Marat’s.
“The first four years of my career I didn’t play on anything else, so I’ll just try to give him a tough time. I’ll give my best and the rest is up to God.”
The Lahore-based player believes this victory can be a springboard to end the year as a top 100 ranked player.
He said, “Since I started playing juniors everyone has said I am capable of winning matches like this. It’s been a rollercoaster ride, but I got to 80 in doubles, so I always believed if I could do it in doubles I could do it in singles.
“This year the door has been opened. I’m feeling mentally very relaxed and positive. I’m working hard and after 10 years the tennis courts are finally listening to me. — AFP
Morgan set to become ICC chief
London, June 27 A formal announcement to this effect is expected later in the week as ICC officials are holding a series of meetings here ahead of the ICC’s annual conference at Lord’s on Friday. — PTI
London, June 27
A formal announcement to this effect is expected later in the week as ICC officials are holding a series of meetings here ahead of the ICC’s annual conference at Lord’s on Friday. — PTI
Belfast, June 27
“Sachin (Tendulkar) probably realises like everyone else that this is probably the last time he will be touring the UK. He is very keen to have a good tour of England,” Dravid said after India's four-wicket loss on Tuesday.
Tendulkar was run out on 99 in India’s 242 for eight, which the South Africans overhauled without much discomfort with the help of captain Jacques Kallis’ unbeaten 91.
Apart from Tendulkar and Dravid, who made 74 during the duo’s 158-run stand for the third wicket, Piyush Chawla was the other key performer for India.
The 18-year-old leg-spinner picked 3-47, his third three-wicket haul in as many matches after his 3-37 against Bangladesh last month and 3-29 against Ireland on Saturday.
“This time around, he (Chawla) bowled against some experienced players and gave a good account of himself,” Dravid said while praising his rookie bowler.
“The conditions were not perfect for spin bowling. It was difficult to grip the ball because it was really cold.”
“He has done a great job. The more he can bowl in these conditions the better he will be for the experience,” Dravid said.
He also said that the team would have to make do with a depleted bowling line up for the second match on Friday after three of their pacers became victims of a virus.
“Ishant Sharma and Ranadeb Bose will join us on Thursday, so we should have some cover in the pace bowling department. But, again, they would be joining us after a long flight and to
“Both Sreesanth and (Ajit) Agarkar are quite bad. But Mahendra Dhoni (vice-captain) should be okay for the next game although with flu you never know.
“It’s going to be a tricky decision for us.” Looking back on the match, Dravid was happy to see his players show a lot of character.
At the same time he felt it was frustrating not to finish on the winning side in a close game.
“There were aspects of our game that were quite heartening, not least the fact that lot of guys in the eleven were not hundred percent fit but they came out and fought hard.”
“There were some good performances with the bat and with the ball. It was a close game and it would have been nice to win,” Dravid said.
“It’s a little frustrating in the end. I thought we played some good cricket right through the game but unfortunately we couldn’t pip them at the post.
“I thought Kallis’ innings was really good. He controlled the innings very well. His wicket was crucial in the context of the game.
“If we had got him with even 30-40 runs to go, we had a great chance. Although we got wickets at regular intervals we couldn’t get Kallis and that cost us dearly.” Dravid thought his team could have done well to get a few more runs on the board in the last 10 overs.
“In the morning, the conditions helped the seamers. We had to rebuild after losing two early wickets. We had to fight hard and we did well to get to about 180 in 40 overs.
“With eight wickets in hand, we would have liked to add a few more than the 60 runs we got on the board, maybe 10-15 more runs in the slog was par for the score.
“But some of the shots carried straight to the fielders and they also bowled well in death overs.” — PTI
Colombo, June 27
Opener Javed Omar led Bangladesh’s resistance with 62 as the tourists, bundled out for a feeble 89 in the first innings, forced Sri Lanka’s bowlers to toil hard for their wickets on a docile pitch.
Bangladesh started the day on 3-0 in their second innings, facing a daunting task with 485 runs required to avert an innings defeat and finished still 255 runs in arrears with two days remaining.
The tourists prospered particularly well in the first two sessions, losing only Shahriar Nafees (38) during the morning and then Omar and Habibul Bashar (17) in the afternoon, but Sri Lanka’s spinners hit back in the evening session.
Part-time spinner Tillakaratne Dilshan snared Rajin Saleh’s (51) four-hour resistance with a flighted delivery that was edged to slip.
Captain Mohammad Ashraful (37) self-destructed just minutes before the close, lofting a catch straight to Chaminda Vaas at long on off Muttiah Muralitharan.
When play was called off early due to bad light Shakib Al Hasan was four not out and wicket-keeper Khaled Mashud was on nought.
Omar and Nafees started the fightback with a positive 86-run opening stand, a record for Bangladesh against Sri Lanka.
Off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan finally broke through shortly before lunch, holding on to a sharp return catch as Nafees used his feet and tried to loft straight down the ground.
Omar was solid in defence during his 118-ball rearguard and keen to score at every opportunity, as he showed with three boundaries in a Vaas over soon after the start of play.
After bringing up his eighth test 50, the right-hander was trapped lbw by a vicious reverse-swinging yorker from Lasith Malinga.
Vaas also got the old ball to reverse swing and successfully found the outside edge of Basher's bat with a full-length delivery that tempted him into a cover drive.
Sri Lanka then had to wait 35.2 overs for their next breakthrough as Saleh and Ashraful added 67 runs in a slow-scoring partnership.
The hosts grew increasingly frustrated, especially star spinner Muralitharan who was forced to work unusually hard for his wickets, finishing with 2-82 from 34 overs.
Bangladesh (1st innings) 89
Sri Lanka (1st innings) 577
Bangladesh (2nd innings)
Omar lbw Malinga 62
Nafees c&b Murali 38
Saleh c M. Jayawardene
b Dilshan 51
Bashar c P. Jayawardene
b Vaas 17
Ashraful c Vaas b Murali 37
Al Hasan not out 4
Mashud not out 0
Extras (lb-8, w-1, nb-15) 24
Total (5 wkts, 82.3 overs) 233
Fall of wickets: 1-86, 2-126, 3-160, 4-227, 5-231.
Bowling: Vaas 12-3-36-1, Malinga 14.3-2-68-1, Muralitharan 34-12-82-2, Fernando 15-5-28-0, Dilshan 7-3-11-1. — Reuters
Carvalho warns team against complacency
Boom, June 27
The back-to-back wins against England (3-2) and Belgium (4-1) have provided a huge boost for the team especially after the 2-0 defeat to New Zealand on the rain-marred opening day.
“If memory serves me right, it has been a long time since India have scored back-to-back wins in a major international tournament. This has certainly given our players confidence for the game with Argentina tomorrow,” Carvalho told PTI.
“It is going to be a tough match, but we are confident of a good show, especially if the good weather holds.”
Carvalho said India had defeated Argentina 3-0 in their last meeting at the eight-nation Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh, Malaysia, in May, but it would be a different ball game that promises plenty of action with the worst of weather seems to have blown over.
“Argentina have been our nemesis for many years. They have always troubled us in major competitions like the Olympics and the World Cup. So, I expect a close game and we have to convert our chances,” he said.
“In Ipoh, Argentina were not at full strength unlike in this competition where they had the likes of Jorge Lombi, their inspirational player and undoubtedly among the best in World hockey today. Argentina would be again looking up to this brilliant all-round player to inject all the dynamism and passion needed to get past India.”
Carvalho was quick to point out the up-and-down form that was so typical to Argentina whose players are known to be highly temperamental.
“At the 2006 World Cup last year, when they were considered among front-runners for the title, Argentina went down 4-3 to Japan in the league, a result that put them out of contention, and eventually finished 10th in the overall standings, just ahead of India (11th).
“You can never say about Argentina. Here, they lost to Belgium 3-2, but beat England (4-3) and Japan (2-0). So, they can be pretty inconsistent. But then, all that is history and tomorrow, we can expect a quality game, provided of course the weather Gods are kind,” the coach said.
Carvalho said after the stormy weather that hit parts of Belgium on Monday night, sunny weather was predicted in the next few days and Indians were hoping to be playing at full steam after the rest day to book a berth in Sunday’s final.
“The wet and cold weather has been one of the key factors in our performance so far, but then, I would not offer it as an excuse,” he said.
“Our first two games were played in atrocious weather, but against Belgium, we were lucky that it was dry though extremely cold with strong winds. Of course, it was the same for all the teams, but when the ball did roll true and fast, as it did in the Belgium game, then it makes for a higher level of play,” Carvalho said.
After three league rounds, India are tied with Argentina, both having six points apiece. But the South Americans are higher placed on account of scoring more goals (8). Indians have netted seven. New Zealand head the points table with nine points and an all-win record.
So far, the Kiwis, eighth at the 2006 World Cup, have looked the best of the lot while England are at the other end of the spectrum with three defeats and no points, quite a climb down from their fifth place finish at the World Cup.
Japan promised a lot with their 2-1 win against Belgium, but have since faded away. The hosts, though not lacking in crowd support, have disappointed, notwithstanding the shock 3-2 decision against Argentina.
Carvalho also said the players were being treated to some “home food” for lunch by some local Indians who have been absolutely delighted at the team’s winning-spree.
“The players have been without Indian food for a while now and I am sure they will welcome roti, dal, curry and rice that has been missing from their menu so far. Under the circumstances, I am pretty pleased at the way they have been going about their task and winning difficult matches,” he said. — PTI
India beat Pak in volleyball opener