L A T E S T      N E W S

Paes-Stepanek win Australian Open men's doubles title

MELBOURNE: Veteran star Leander Paes today created history by becoming the first Indian to complete a career Grand Slam by winning the Australian Open men's doubles title with Radek Stepanek, taming the dangerous top seeds Bob and Mike Bryan in straight sets, here today.

The unseeded Indo-Czech pair played tremendously to win 7-6(1), 6-2 in the summit clash, which lasted one hour and 24 minutes.

Thrice Paes had reached the Australian Open final but lost on all occasions—twice to Bryan brothers.

This title has eluded Paes since the late 90s, when he along with estranged partner Mahesh Bhupathi dominated the doubles tennis and reached the number one spot as a team in 1999.

In their quest to complete their slam tally, Paes and Bhupathi had joined hands in 2011 after a gap 11 years, but the title slipped out of their hands as they lost to Bryan brothers.

Paes and Bhupathi broke partnership again with the latter choosing Rohan Bopanna as partner on tour for the 2012 season.

Paes began the season by winning the Chennai Open with Serbian Janko Tipsarevic.

This is the 13th Grand Slam title for Paes with seven men's doubles trophies and six mixed doubles titles and is India's most successful doubles player in majors. Bhupathi has won 11 Grand Slam titles.

Paes won French Open thrice (1999, 2001, 2009) and Wimbledon (1999) and US Open (2006) once each.

Paes now has a chance to repeat the rare success of winning both men's doubles and mixed doubles titles in the same Grand Slam tournament as he is due to play the mixed doubles final tomorrow with Russian partner Elena Vesnina. — PTIBack



Senior players not retiring: Team India

Adelaide: Miffed with reports that its senior players were contemplating retirement after failing in the Test series loss to Australia, the Indian team management on Saturday rejected the speculation as "baseless" and refused to answer queries on the matter.

India were whitewashed 0-4 in the Test series that concluded today and the senior batting trio of Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman were heavily criticised for their poor show. Their flopshow, in fact, led to speculation that the three could bow out after the series. But the team management rubbished the rumours.

"The team management categorically denies this. Reports about senior players retiring are baseless," said team manager G S Walia in the post-match press conference on Saturday.




India slip to 3rd spot in ICC Rankings

Adelaide: The humiliating 0-4 whitewash at the hands of Australia resulted in India dropping a rung to third spot in the ICC Test rankings with Michael Clarke's team breathing down their neck just a fraction of a point behind in the table.

India, who entered the series in second place on 118 ratings points, have fallen to 111 ratings points while fourth-ranked Australia have boosted their standing in the Championship table after gaining eight ratings points which put them alongside their rivals, the ICC said in a statement.

However, Mahendra Singh Dhoni's men are still ranked above Clarke's men by a fraction of a point. When the ratings are calculated beyond the decimal point, India have 111.10 ratings points while Australia are on 110.80 ratings points.
Nevertheless, Australia will have a chance to move ahead of India when they travel to the West Indies in March to play in a three-Test series which will start in Barbados on April 7.




Obama's Indian American IT head quits

Washington: Aneesh Chopra, President Barack Obama's information technology honcho, who was the highest ranking Indian American in the Obama administration, is leaving the White House, apparently to try his hand at politics. Announcing the departure of Chopra, Assistant to the President and the federal government's first Chief Technology Officer (CTO), Obama said "Chopra did groundbreaking work to bring our government into the 21st century.

"Aneesh found countless ways to engage the American people using technology, from electronic health records for veterans, to expanding access to broadband for rural communities, to modernizing government records."
"His legacy of leadership and innovation will benefit Americans for years to come, and I thank him for his outstanding service."

While the official announcement gave no reason for Chopra's resignation from White House, the Washington Post citing unnamed Democrats said he is widely expected to announce that he will run for lieutenant governor in Virginia.




Cong advertisement in Guj praises Modi

Ahmedabad: In a possibly embarrassing gaffe, the main opposition Congress has praised Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi in an advertisement in this election year.

A pull-out by Congress, distributed with newspapers on the Republic Day in some parts of the state, features Modi's photograph, and describes him as "a master organiser and astute election strategist".

The two-page advert tries to say that Gujarat has been a progressive state from its birth, and seeks to highlight contribution of all the Chief Minsters of the state, including Modi.






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