Lesson for Haas in Rafa’s class
Bhupathi advances in doubles, Bopanna loses
Verdict reserved, Asif blames eye drop
Lanka toy with Pakistan
Dravid (118), Karthik (103 n.o.) lift South
Greg’s honeymoon with RCA ends
‘Gambhir didn’t get backing early on’
Lesson for Haas in Rafa’s class
Melbourne, January 24
The Spaniard showed no mercy and easily outgunned Haas, who had just returned to the tour after elbow problems, as he raced to victory in a little over two hours.
Nadal has never won a grand slam on a hard court but goes into the second week at Melbourne Park in devastating form having won each of his three matches in straight sets. His next opponent is Chile's Fernando Gonzalez, the 2007 runner-up.
Serena Williams and Andy Murray led a charge into the fourth round of the Australian Open on Saturday as the focus switched back to tennis and away from ethnic clashes which had marred the “Happy Slam”.
Police and security officers beefed up their presence at Melbourne Park after fighting between Serb and Bosnian ethnic fans on Friday and all aggression was restricted to action on courts.
Three-times former champion Williams coasted through with a 6-1, 6-4 win over China’s Peng Shuai and sent an ominous reminder to her younger rivals why she remains the standard bearer of women’s tennis.
“I’m feeling a little rusty, for whatever reason,” Williams said. “It was definitely a lot better than my second round but I’m still trying to work on some things and hoping they’ll come together.”
Williams’ next opponent will be Victoria Azarenka of Belarus, who sent former champion Amelie Mauresmo packing with a 6-4, 6-2 win.
Mauresmo, who won the Australian Open in 2006 when her semifinal and final opponents both retired injured, struggled to hold her serve against the in-form 19-year-old.
Azarenka broke six of Mauresmo’s nine service games as she cruised to victory in 87 minutes, leaving the Frenchwoman rueing her missed opportunities.
“It’s a little bit frustrating,” Mauresmo said. “It’s really the key points... that I didn’t play good enough.”
In the men’s draw, British fourth seed Murray removed any doubts he was not a serious contender for the title with a 7-5, 6-0, 6-3 demolition of Austria’s Juergen Melzer. He next meets Fernando Verdasco.
“Against Verdasco, it’s very important to use my head,” Murray told reporters. “I have a very good record against left handers. The only one I’ve lost to on the tour has been Nadal. I need to use my head, make him do a lot of thinking and moving. If I play like I did tonight, I can definitely win that one.”
Top seed Nadal pummelled Tommy Haas 6-4, 6-2, 6-2 to reach the fourth round. “For sure I played my best match here. I’m very happy with my level today,” Nadal said in courtside interview. “Probably I played one of my best matches in Australia.”
Last year’s runner-up Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga advanced comfortably enough with a 6-4, 6-2, 1-6, 6-1 win over Israel’s Dudi Sela.
Tsonga next meets ninth seed James Blake -- the American beat Igor Andreev of Russia 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-1.
“Overall I was playing my kind of game: aggressive and taking time away from Igor, which I think is something you got to do,” Blake said. “If you let him set up and rip that forehand, he’s going to hurt you pretty bad.”
Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro proved her shock win over Venus Williams on Thursday was no fluke when she defeated compatriot Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez 6-1, 6-4. Suarez Navarro will play another Spaniard, Anabel Medina Garrigues, in fourth round.
Despite the bright sunshine in Melbourne it was a gloomy afternoon for the Bondarenko sisters from Ukraine.
Kateryna Bondarenko, the younger of the siblings, was crushed 6-2, 6-2 by China’s Zheng Jie before Alona Bondarenko lost 7-6, 6-4 to Svetlana Kuznetsova, one of six Russian women through to the last 16.
World number four Elena Dementieva kept up the Russian charge by beating local hope Samantha Stosur 7-6, 6-4.
France, attempting to get four men through to the round of 16, made a perfect start on Saturday when Gilles Simon and Gael Monfils both won in straight sets.
Simon, seeded sixth, beat Croatia’s Mario Ancic 7-6, 6-4, 6-2 while 12th seed Monfils defeated Spain’s Nicolas Almagro 6-4, 6-3, 7-5.
Richard Gasquet was unable to join his countrymen as he let slip a two-set lead to fall to 13th-seeded Fernando Gonzalez, of Chile, 3-6 3-6 7-6 6-2 12-10. — Reuters
Bhupathi advances in doubles, Bopanna loses
24 Third seeds Bhupathi and Knowles had to fend off a tough fight from the unseeded Russian pair of Igor Kunitsyn and Dmitry Tursunov before emerging 7-5, 7-5 victorious in a 92-minute duel. The Indo-Bahamian pair will next take on Nicolas Lapentti of Ecuador and Tommy Robredo of Spain who defeated Bopanna and Nieminen 6-4, 6-4 in the second round.
Bopanna and Nieminen were error-prone and committed as many as 16 unforced errors to their opponents’ 11. Another Indian, Leander
Paes, and his Czech partner Lukas Dlouhy, seeded fourth, had also sailed into the third round defeating unseeded Italian-Croat pairing of Fabio Fognini and Ivan Ljubcic 6-3, 6-4 yesterday. Partnering Sania
Mirza, Bhupathi has also made it to the second round of the mixed doubles.
Third seeds Bhupathi and Knowles had to fend off a tough fight from the unseeded Russian pair of Igor Kunitsyn and Dmitry Tursunov before emerging 7-5, 7-5 victorious in a 92-minute duel.
The Indo-Bahamian pair will next take on Nicolas Lapentti of Ecuador and Tommy Robredo of Spain who defeated Bopanna and Nieminen 6-4, 6-4 in the second round.
Bopanna and Nieminen were error-prone and committed as many as 16 unforced errors to their opponents’ 11.
Another Indian, Leander Paes, and his Czech partner Lukas Dlouhy, seeded fourth, had also sailed into the third round defeating unseeded Italian-Croat pairing of Fabio Fognini and Ivan Ljubcic 6-3, 6-4 yesterday.
Partnering Sania Mirza, Bhupathi has also made it to the second round of the mixed doubles. — PTI
Karachi/Mumbai, January 24
In a statement, Asif claimed both the medical experts from his defence counsel and the prosecution agreed that he had taken "Keratyl", an eye drop containing Nandrolone, and this was the reason for testing positive during the IPL last year.
"The minimum sentence for using a banned substance is two years under WADA rules, but since Asif used by mistake an eye drop containing Nandrolone, the tribunal has decided to take a few days before giving its verdict," the statement said.
The three-member tribunal comprised former Indian captain Sunil Gavaskar, ex-Vice Chancellor of Maharashtra University of Health Sciences Ravi Bapat and legal expert Shirish Gupte, who heard testimony from a host of witnesses besides Asif's lawyer Shahid Karim's representation. — PTI
Lahore, January 24
Opting to bat first, Sri Lanka piled up 309 for five before unleashing their bowlers who skittled out Pakistan for a meagre 75 in just 22.5 overs to inflict on the hosts a humiliating defeat in the all-important series decider.
Dilshan's 139-ball 137, studded with 10 fours, turned out to be the bedrock of the Lankan innings even though Sanath Jayasuriya (45), Kumar Sangakkara (50) and Thilina Kandamby (32) also came up with useful contributions.
For Pakistan, only two batsmen -Umar Gul (27) and captain Shoaib Malik (17) - managed double digit scores while four had ducks against their names as the hosts folded for their lowest score at the venue.
Lankan pacer Nuwan Kulasekara (3/17) and Thilan Tushara (3/33) mowed down the Pakistani top order before Muttiah Muralitharan (2/2) and Ajantha Mendis (1/12) completed the rout.
Muralitharan castled Sohail Khan (4) for his 500th ODI scalp which also dropped curtains on Pakistan's innings.
Muralitharan, already the highest wicket taker in Test cricket with 769 scalps against his name, needs three more wickets to overtake Wasim Akram (502) to top the ODI chart as well.
T Dilshan not out 137
Jayasuriya c Ajmal b Gul 45
Sangakkara run out 50
T Kandamby c Manzoor b Khan 32
Jayawardene c Akmal b Gul 18
Kapugedera c Akmal b Gul 0
Maharoof not out 8
Extras (lb-5, w-13, nb-1) 19
Total (for five wickets, 50 overs) 309
Fall of wickets: 1-76 2-180 3-237 4-284 5-284
Bowling: Gul 9-2-45-3; S Khan 10-1-52-1; Iftikhar 5-0-53-0; Ajmal 9-0-51-0; Afridi 10-0-60-0; Malik 7-0-43-0.
Manzoor c Maharoof b Kulasekara 3
Younis lbw b Thushara 4
Butt c Kandamby b Kulasekara 0
Akmal lbw b Thushara 9
S Malik c Jayawardene b Maharoof 19
Misbah c Sangakkara b Thushara 0
Afridi b Kulasekara 0
Gul lbw b Mendis 27
R Iftikhar lbw b Muralitharan 0
S Khan b Muralitharan 4
S Ajmal not out 2
Extras (lb-1, w-6) 7
Total (all out; 22.5 overs) 75
Fall of wickets: 1-4, 2-5, 3-17, 4-17, 5-18, 6-22, 7-68, 8-68, 9-72.
Bowling: Kulasekara 7-2-17-3; Thushara 7-1-33-3; Mendis 3-0-10-1; Maharoof 4-1-12-1; Muralitharan 1.5-0-2-2. — PTI
Bangalore, January 24
South Zone ended the day 345 for six riding on the duo's 125 run fifth-wicket partnership. Earlier, Central Zone's first innings ended two balls into morning session.
L Balaji removed Umesh Yadav for a duck to bundle out the team for 326, falling three runs short of South Zone's first innings total of 329.
South's second essay didn't start all that well either and openers Abhinav Mukund (1) and Robin Uthappa (16) were dismissed early on.
While Uthappa fell to Pankaj Singh, Bhuvneshwar Kumar cleaned up Mukund's defence. S Badrinath, sent up the order at number three, came a cropper too and was dismissed for a nought by Bhuvneshwar leaving South reeling at 24 for 3 in the ninth over.
But Dravid and Arjun Yadav (68) steadied the innings to close the morning session at 102 for 3.
The duo's partnership yielded 154 runs for the fourth wicket before Yadav edged a Murali Kartik delivery to wicketkeeper Ojha.
South Zone (1st innings): 329
Central Zone (1st innings): 326
South Zone (2nd innings):
Mukund b Pankaj 1
Uthappa c Chawla b Kumar 16
Dravid c Ojha b Kumar 118
Badrinath c Ojha b Pankaj 0
Yadav st Ojha b Kartik 68
Karthik not out 103
Suresh c Ojha b Yadav 15
Ashwin not out 4
Extras (b-4, lb-9, w-6, nb-1): 20
Total (6 wickets; 88 overs): 345
FoW: 1-23, 2-23, 3-24, 4-178, 5-303, 6-337.
Bowling: Pankaj Singh 17-5-61-2, B Kumar 23-2-66-2, U Yadav 19-0-77-1, M Kartik 15-3-56-1, Parvinder Singh 5-0-29-0, P Chawla 9-0-43-0. — PTI
Greg’s honeymoon with RCA ends
Jaipur, January 24
The controversial Australian coach brought specially by Lalit Modi in all admiration has turned out to be a big embarrassment now with people terming him as a "White Elephant" on the resources of the state cricket association.
"Greg Chappel's contract with us has not been renewed. It was only need based," told a senior functionary of the RCA to The Tribune.
Chappell, who had a forgetful tenure as coach of Indian cricket team and later hardly got praise as Australian team's advisor, is also getting brickbats for bad performance Rajasthan cricket team as well as his failure to nurture big talent from the Future Cricket Academy.
Chappell had introduced the much-talked about commando training for Indian players with the setting up a virtual army training hurdles in a large area of the academy.
The use of such commando training was discontinued when Chappell was no longer associated with the Indian cricket team.
But more than that is the revelation that he was a big burden on the exchequer of the Rajasthan Cricket Association.
Lalit Modi has reportedly has failed to find favour for getting him a second term as the chairman of the RCA.
Chappell got a whopping Rs 75,000 per day for his assignment. This was besides the Rs 1.5 crore as salary and other allowances to the coach.
He burnt a big hole in association coffers with his stay in a prestigious hostel costing Rs 3000 daily tariff. He was provided with a car that cost Rs 30,000 per month.
An official said Chappell's results are nil with his balance sheet only talking about the expenses on him.
"As much as Rs 36 lakh were spent on his transportation and there were miscellaneous expenses of Rs 10,000 per month as well."
Despite the huge expenses incurred on him, not a single player emerged from Rajasthan at the national scene.
The team had the worst performance in the Ranji Championship with players returning without winning a single match.
Only notable talent was Gajendra Singh, a left arm spinner, who knocked five Australian wickets but only in a practice match.
‘Gambhir didn’t get backing early on’
New Delhi, January 24
Sehwag made this remark in an interview he and Gambhir gave to CNN-IBN, to be telecast tonight. Sehwag said he was game for any format of cricket, whether it was Test, one-day or Twenty20.
"When I was growing up, I was playing a lot of 10-over, 15-over, 20-over games in Najafgarh. So I did not want to waste a single ball and score runs on every ball because there are only 90 or 120 balls. It's just my natural approach to batting and it doesn't matter if it's a Test, one-day or Twenty20. I play the same way".
Gambhir said being friends with Sehwag made a lot of difference to him "both on the field and off the field".
"I can share a lot of things with him about my cricket and that's one big difference that has happened in 2008 and made me score a lot of runs".
Making some plain speaking about frequent dropping of Gambhir, Sehwag said the captain and the coach did not back when Gambhir came on the scene and did well.
"When he (Gambhir) came into the team, he scored a hundred against Sri Lanka, 90 against South Africa and 100 against Bangladesh in Tests. The only problem was that the captain and coach were not backing him. I told them to stay with him, but they refused and after he flopped in three-four innings, they dropped him. Then he scored six consecutive fist class centuries and got back into the side, and since then he has showed that he can score runs against Australia, England, Sri Lanka and everyone, even in the Twenty20 World Cup. In my opinion, after Sourav Ganguly, he is the best left-hander India have".
Sehwag said he had told Gambhir that "if you want to stay here, you have to score big hundreds. The moment you flop, they will drop you, saying 'he is not good enough to score runs at the international level".
Sehwag said he would like to play the way Gambhir treated the fast bowlers, but was scared to do so.
"I am very scared to step out to fast bowlers, and when he does that against Brett Lee, Shoaib Akhtar and Shane Bond, who bowl at 150kmph...he just steps out against them and hits boundaries at mid wicket and mid on. It's uncomplicated".
Gambhir, on the other hand, would like to bat like Sehwag, "in every way. If I can bat like him, it will be a dream come true".
Gambhir said his new year resolution was not to elbow anyone (remember his elbowing Australian bowler Shane Watson at the Ferozeshah Kotla ground which led to a one-Test ban at Kanpur).