Sania-Elena enter semis
Qatar bought 2022 FIFA World Cup: Valcke
Drop players who choose IPL over country: Gavaskar
Europe-conquering Barca return with glory
Salgaocar are champs
No Gayle for T20, ODIs against India
Bengal retain Santosh Trophy
Sania-Elena enter semis
Paris, May 30
This is for the first time that Sania has reached the women's doubles semifinals in a Grand Slam event. The quarter-final appearances in the 2007 US Open and 2008 Wimbledon were her best performances so far at the big stage. They will take on the winner of the Liezel Huber/Lisa Raymond vs Victoria Azarenka/Maria Kirilenko clash in the semifinals.
In another pleasing result for India, Davis Cupper Rohan Bopanna and Aisam-ul-haq Qureshi advanced to the men's doubles quarter-finals with a 6-3 7-5 win over Andrey Golubev and Denis Istomin earlier in the day. The fifth seed Indo-Pak pair beat the Kazak-Uzbek combination in one hour and nine minutes in the third round. It will be the third quarter-final appearance in the last four Grand Slams for Bopanna and Qureshi.
They will now clash against top seeded American twins Mike and Bob Bryan, who defeated Russia's Teymuraz Gabashvili and Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan 7-6 (6) 7-5 in their pre-quarterfinal match.
Bopanna and Qureshi had lost to Bryan brothers in the US Open final last year. Bopanna is the only Indian surviving in the men's doubles as the pair of Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi made a shock second round exit.
Another contest of Indian interest would be the mixed doubles quarter-final between Indo-Czech pair of Paes and Iveta Benesova and the top seeded combination of Slovakian Katarina Srebotnik and Serbian Nenad Zimonjic.
Nadal in last eight
Five-time champion Rafael Nadal reached the French Open quarter-finals on Monday with a 7-5, 6-3, 6-3 win over Croatia's Ivan Ljubicic and could face Roland Garros bogeyman Robin Soderling next. It was another low-key display by the top-seeded Spaniard against the veteran Ljubicic before he took his Paris record to 42 wins and just one loss. Big-swinging Swedish fifth seed Soderling, who inflicted that shock defeat in the fourth round in 2009 before Nadal gained revenge in the 2010 final, tackles French 18th seed Gilles Simon later on Monday in the last 16. Nadal, bidding for a sixth French Open title to take him level with Bjorn Borg's record, has looked a shadow of his usual powerful self in Paris, shaken by the super-charged form of Novak Djokovic. The second seeded Serb snatched his Madrid and Rome Masters claycourt titles in the run-up to Paris, and the pressure appears to be telling. The Spaniard dropped 42 games in the first three rounds, the most he has ever surrendered in his French Open career. AFP
Five-time champion Rafael Nadal reached the French Open quarter-finals on Monday with a 7-5, 6-3, 6-3 win over Croatia's Ivan Ljubicic and could face Roland Garros bogeyman Robin Soderling next. It was another low-key display by the top-seeded Spaniard against the veteran Ljubicic before he took his Paris record to 42 wins and just one loss.
Big-swinging Swedish fifth seed Soderling, who inflicted that shock defeat in the fourth round in 2009 before Nadal gained revenge in the 2010 final, tackles French 18th seed Gilles Simon later on Monday in the last 16.
Nadal, bidding for a sixth French Open title to take him level with Bjorn Borg's record, has looked a shadow of his usual powerful self in Paris, shaken by the super-charged form of Novak Djokovic.
The second seeded Serb snatched his Madrid and Rome Masters claycourt titles in the run-up to Paris, and the pressure appears to be telling. The Spaniard dropped 42 games in the first three rounds, the most he has ever surrendered in his French Open career. AFP
Zurich, May 30
Jerome Valcke, who as general secretary of world soccer's governing body is president Sepp Blatter's right-hand man, told reporters an email made public by vice-president Jack Warner was genuine.
According to Warner, who is under provisional suspension from all soccer activity, the email referred to Mohamed bin Hammam, who was at that time a candidate to stand against Blatter in the presidential election.
"For MBH, I never understood why he was running," Warner quoted the email from Valcke as saying. "If really he thought he had a chance or just being an extreme way to express how much he does not like anymore JSB (Blatter).
"Or he thought you can buy FIFA as they bought the WC (World Cup)."
Bin Hammam withdrew from the presidential race before the ethics committee suspended him and Warner on Sunday. The committee decided both men had cases to answer over allegations that the Qatari paid bribes to Caribbean officials to vote for him in Wednesday's election instead of Blatter.
Valcke told reporters in Zurich on Monday he did send the email but that Warner had only published selected parts of it. "It was a private email and we will discuss it," Valcke said ahead of the FIFA congress which starts on Tuesday.
"He sent me an email asking if I want that (Bin Hammam to run). He said that I should ask Bin Hammam to pull out."
On Monday, an Australian senator demanded a refund from FIFA on the $48.8 million the country spent on its bid for the 2022 World Cup, won by Qatar.
Earlier this month, Qatar's World Cup bid team strongly denied allegations, made by a British member of parliament, that it had paid two exco members to vote for the Gulf nation.
Blatter, the 75-year-old Swiss, is due to address a news conference on Monday. He is set to stand unopposed for a fourth term in charge of FIFA on Wednesday amid widespread calls for reform of the organisation, which has been dogged by allegations of corruption.
Problems have been stacking up for FIFA and Blatter, who was cleared of any wrongdoing in the bribes-for-votes hearing on Sunday, since the vote to stage the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. Last November, exco members Reynald Temarii and Amos Adamu were banned over allegations that they agreed to sell their votes in the 2018 and 2022 World Cup hosting contest to undercover newspaper reporters.
In total, 10 of the 24 members of the powerful executive committee have been subject to allegations of corruption in the last year.
Questioned by reporters on Sunday, Valcke had agreed that FIFA was facing "a watershed moment", drawing comparisons with the International Olympic Committee's crisis when IOC delegates were found guilty of taking bribes for votes to award the 2002 Winter Games to Salt Lake City.
During Blatter's 13 years in charge, FIFA has grown rich through sales of TV rights, sponsorship and merchandising opportunities and currently boasts reserves of over $1 billion. Reuters
Kolkata, May 30
Kapil had said that just like any individual of the country, the cricketers also have the right to choose whether to play for the country or for the clubs. Gavaskar agreed with Kapil as fas as the players' right to choose but said that the Cricket Board should not select those who prefer IPL over country in the Indian team.
"It is the prerogative of the players whether to play for the country or the club but they have to be made accountable for their choice. If a player chooses IPL over playing for India, the selectors can say hang on you have preferred IPL over country so we also have the right not to consider you for the national team," Gavaskar said.
Top Indian cricketers like Sachin Tendulkar, Gambhir, Yuvraj Singh and Virender Sehwag will be missing the West Indies tour due to injury or pulling themselves out and this has kicked up the country versus club debate that the cricketers have started to prefer IPL over playing for national team. PTI
Barcelona, May 30
Brandishing the Champions League trophy from their sublime 3-1 victory over Manchester United in London's Wembley stadium, players made a victorious entry one by one to their home pitch yesterday.
The bigggest cheer from the 98,000-capacity crowd erupted for man-of-the-match Lionel Messi, who scored the second goal.
"Actually, I have nothing to say to you," said the Messi, famed as a man of few words. "Simply, let's enjoy all this.
Thank you for this season. And I hope we will be able to enjoy a lot more." French international Eric Abidal, who has recovered from surgery to remove a liver tumour only two months ago, thanked captain Carles Puyol for allowing him the honour of receiving the trophy in Wembley.
"Thanks to the captain for his gesture. It was the best day of my career," he said.
Defender Gerard Pique chose the venue to hit out at a slew of allegations against the team in the past season, some made by arch rivals Real Madrid, who they defeated to take the league title.
"We don't take drugs. We don't take dives. And we don't buy referees. We just play football," said Pique.
The team landed from London just a few hours earlier in Barcelona-El Prat airport.
Accompanied by the deafening blast of Brazilian samba music and cheered by thousands of fans under a baking hot sun, the heroes weaved through the city in their bus, decked out in Barcelona's red and blue and the word "Champions" on the sides.
Wearing t-shirts emblazoned "CHA-MPI-ONS", coach Joseph Guardiola and his men were driven past the city's statue of Chrisopher Columbus, thronged with fans, some clinging on to the memorial for a better view.
David Villa, who scored the third goal, could be seen spraying team mates with canned beer. Andres Iniesta leaned over the top of the bus to snap pictures.
"Messi, Messi, throw me a shirt," shouted one young fan.
His friend carried a girl on his shoulders and, as the bus moved through the palm-lined streets, he instructed her: "Throw a kiss to Messi." A few paces in front of the bus, Catalan mounted police paraded in red full-dress uniform. AFP
Salgaocar are champs
Ludhiana, May 30
With 56 points, Goan outfit finished well ahead of other teams to emerge winners of the 2011 league.
Started the proceedings on a high note, Salgaocar FC produced a brilliant goal in the 13th minute through medio Francis Fernandes who ran down the left flank, dodged past defenders to put the ball into the net (1-0).
Francis and Ryuji Sueoka exhibited superb coordination and weaved excellent moves. The duo managed to pierce through, reached the striking zone but former's attempt went over the horizontal bar.
Whereas, in a counter move, JCT men swarmed the rival's territory but Gurtej Singh's powerful grounder was well saved by Goa's custodian, Karanjit Singh.
After changing ends, the home team appeared in a different mode initially, making forays in the visitor's area repeatedly but the much desired equaliser eluded them.
However, Salgaocar players continued tormenting JCT's defence and eventually succeeded in consolidating the lead (2-0) in the 83rd minute as subsitute, Marcus Mascarenhas found the target which sealed JCT's fate.
Francis Fernandes was named the man of the match. After the match, an elated, Karim Bencherifa, coach of Salgaocar FC said that he was proud of his boys who played extremly well in the league.
"This is the fine bunch of boys who helped the club to script victory after a long gap of 12 years. The team had earlier won the National League in 1998-99," said Karim.
St John's (Antigua), May 30
"Chris Gayle will not be considered for selection to the West Indies team before an intended meeting with himself, the Selection Committee, the WICB Management and the West Indies Team Management," the WICB said in a statement. "The Selection Committee views this meeting as necessary as a result of Gayle's comments in a widely publicised radio interview in Jamaica," it added.
Gayle, who was recently ignored for the series against Pakistan, has had a massive war of words with the WICB after claiming that he was left to fend for himself during recent injury problems.
An angry WICB retorted by saying that the batsman was well looked after and it was he who kept the Board uninformed while flying out to India to play in the IPL for eventual runners-up Royal Challengers Bangalore.
The 31-year-old Gayle was the star of the recently-concluded Twenty20 league finishing as the top-scorer with 608 runs, including a couple of hundreds, but even this destructive form could not fetch him a place in the two national sides to be captained by Darren Sammy.
Pacer Kemar Roach has been rested for the lone Twenty20 and the first two ODIs in Trinidad. PTI
Guwahati, May 30
Manipur were playing in only their second final after winning the title in 2002. Both the teams started on an aggressive note. While Manipur went all out for an early goal, Bengal preferred to play sensibly and gained in confidence as they played the waiting game. Branco put Bengal ahead in the 21st minute.
He blasted a Francis Fernandes pass from the top of the box as Bengal went into the interval with a one-goal lead. After changing ends, Bengal doubled the lead in the 48th minute. Midfielder Budhiram Tudu found the back of the net when he tapped in from close.
With no other option left, Manipur went all out. And it paid dividends when Nabachandra Singh reduced the margin in the 75th minute. Inspired by the goal, Manipur launched a series of attacks to restore parity but it all came a bit too late. Bangal now have won their second consecutive title after a lull of 11 years since emerging champions in 1999. In the last edition, Bengal had beaten Punjab 2-0 in the final to regain the trophy. PTI