It’s a huge step in her career: Gopichand
Kashyap fights till the last, Saina simply gives up
Lyon roars, England run for cover
‘a’ tour to South Africa
Lara is cut above Sachin, Ponting, says Afridi
Scott off to bright start on stormy day
Undue pressure curbs talented young golfers
No pressure on young Jamaicans
Murray crashes out; Rafa in last 8
Seles picked for US Open Court of Champions
We have the team to win Asia Cup, says Oltmans
Advani rallies to beat McManus
Pips former World No 1 Shixian Wang 21-18, 21-17 to make semis — a first for India in singles after Padukone in 1983; has assured herself of a bronze at least
Guangzhou, August 9
Playing in her maiden World Championships, Sindhu, seeded 10th, had an easy outing against the World No. 8 and seventh seeded Wang. The Indian took just 55 minutes to get the better of her fancied Chinese opponent 21-18, 21-17. World No. 12, Sindhu will take on the winner of the match between Carolina Marin and Ratchanok Intanon in the last four round.
Before Sindhu, Prakash Padukone won a medal in the World Championships way back in 1983 when he bagged a bronze in the men singles event in Copenhagen, while the women's doubles pair of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa bagged another bronze for India in the last edition of the tournament at London in 2011.
Against Wang on Friday, Sindhu relied on her smashes, besides hitting as many as 19 clear winners.
The 18-year-old Indian started to dominate from the word go. After initially being tied at 3-3, the Hyderabadi surged ahead to open a slight 6-3 lead. Determined not to lose the advantage, Sindhu kept on increasing the gap to make it 13-8.
Wang, however, managed to bag four points on the trot to reduce the margin to 12-13. But Sindhu regained her composure pretty quickly to pocket three consecutive points to once again move ahead. Wang gave Sindhu scare one more time by making it 18-19 before the Indian eventually wrapped it up 21-18.
In the second game also, Sindhu straight-away took a 6-2 lead before four straight points from Wang served as a warning bell to the Indian.
Tied at 6-6, Sindhu roared back with three consecutive points to move ahead once again and thereafter she always maintained a lead of at least a point or two.
Comfortably placed at 20-16, Sindhu wasted just one match point before she capped it off in style to seal the game 21-17.
Sindhu is having a dream run at the tournament as she had stunned defending champion Yihan Wang of China in the pre-quarterfinals. — Agencies
It’s a huge step in her career: Gopichand
Chandigarh, August 9
World Badminton Championships presented her that opportunity and she has grabbed it with both hands. “It’s a remarkable achievement, especially given her age and how she has adapted her game according to her opponents. She has played aggressively and has tightened her defence too. Today, she took a slender lead and kept it throughout,” said Pullela Gopichand.
Sindhu next faces Ratchanok Intanon in the last four round. Gopichand is hopeful that she will repeat her performance. “Ratnachok is an experienced player and it’s not going to be easy,” he said, throwing in a word of caution. But whatever the result of that encounter may be, Sindhu has already made a name for herself. “It's definitely a big step in her growth as a top-notch shuttler. She will get a lot of confidence from this result,” said Gopi.
When asked what went wrong with Saina, he wasn’t as forthcoming. “Saina had an upset stomach last week and was feeling weak. She got tired and could not get her rhythm.”
Did Saina just gave up after first game? “I don't think so. She was not in the game right from the beginning,” he said.
Guangzhou, August 9
The London Olympics bronze-medallist, a quarterfinalist in the last two editions as well, was erratic and could not hold her nerves as she went down rather tamely 21-23, 9-21 in a 40-minute match at the Tianhe Indoor Stadium. Parupalli Kashyap, who was also playing at the adjacent court, played out of his skin but still could not get across world number three Du Pengyu of China. His gallant fight ended with a 21-16 20-22 15-21 loss in an energy-sapping contest which lasted one hour and 15 minutes here.
Saina played an aggressive game in the opening match and opened up a 11-7 lead at the interval. Her baseline smashes got her a lot of points as the Indian was in control of the match.
However, Bae, who looked off-colour initially as she struggled with her strokes and reach, slowly narrowed down the lead and clawed back at 19-19. Saina was struggling with the drift as she lost a lot of points hitting wide. The Indian also faltered at the net.
From nowhere, Bae not only came into the contest but also exerted the pressure on the Indian and after a hard fight won the opening game.
Losing the opening game dented Saina's confidence as she failed to put any resistance to Bae strokes. Bae, on the other hand, was confidence personified and decimated the Indian. World number 17 Kashyap opened up a 8-5 lead but Du clawed back and moved into the break with a two-point cushion at 11-9. He then grabbed four straight points to wrest the lead and though Du caught up at 13-13, Kashyap kept his nose ahead to pocket the first game.
In the second game, Du zoomed to a 7-0 lead but Kashyap played a steady game and slowly caught up with the Chinese at 16-16 and turned the tables at 19-17. The Indian also had a game point at 20-19 but Du held his nerve and roared back into the contest.
In the decider, Kashyap took a 9-4 lead but Du caught up at 12-12 and then turned the tables as he grabbed a 15-12 lead. The Indian tried his best to claw back but Du didn't give any chance and sealed the match. — PTI
Chester le street, August 9
At tea, Ian Bell was six not out with Jonny Bairstow unbeaten on nought. Captain Alastair Cook, who won the toss before the start of play and chose to bat, fell just before tea after grinding his way to a painstaking 51 while Kevin Pietersen made a quickfire 26 and Jonathan Trott an unusually rapid 49.
England appeared well placed on 149 for two but the loss of Cook and Pietersen gave Michael Clarke's Australia fresh heart ahead of the final session of the day.
Opener Cook was in tortoise mode throughout his 164-ball innings, continually shouldering arms to wide balls he refused to play at.
It appeared as though the England skipper was intent on delivering his first century of the series before he left a ball from paceman Bird that swung into the left-hander and trapped him plumb lbw.
Cook's dismissal came shortly after off spinner Lyon, bowling round the wicket, cajoled Pietersen into offering a catch behind to Brad Haddin.
Pietersen had dominated a stand of 42 for the third wicket with his captain.
Trott's knock was the most fluent of the day at the Emirates Durham, England's number three rattling his way to 49 before he inside-edged Lyon straight to Usman Khawaja at short leg. Earlier, Joe Root was the first wicket to fall when he was given out caught behind via the Decision Review System after edging Shane Watson to Haddin with the England total on 34.
'Hot Spot' technology, which has thrown up a host of controversies throughout the series, showed up the tiniest of marks on the outside of Root's bat and the Yorkshireman had to go.
England are fielding an unchanged team but Australia made one alteration to the side that drew the third test in Manchester earlier this week, giving Bird his first start of the series in place of Mitchell Starc. — Reuters
‘a’ tour to South Africa
Pretoria, August 9
Put into bat, India scored a commendable 309 for five in 38 overs due to half-centuries by the quartet of Shikhar Dhawan (85), Rohit Sharma (65), Suresh Raina (60) and Ambati Rayudu (57). In reply, South Africa 'A' scored 258 for five in 34.4 overs when rain stopped play. The D/L par score at that point of time was 276 which ensured that India went home winners by 18 runs in a high-scoring game at the LC de Villiers Oval.
Talented Jammu and Kashmir off-spinner Perveez Rasool (2/47 in 6 overs), who was ignored by the team management during the recent ODI series in Zimbabwe, made an impact as he got to play his first game of the series.
In his very second over, he removed the two rampaging openers Reeza Hendricks (30) and Rilee Rossouw (47). From 78/0, South Africa were 78 for two but Dean Elgar (84) and Vaughn van Jaarsveld (69) didn't let the tempo drop as they added 149 runs in 21 overs at an average of over seven runs per over.
It was left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem's (2/49 in 7 overs) second spell that turned the tables as he castled Jaarsveld who went for a wild slog and then removed Elgar who was caught by Jaydev Unadkat.
Earlier, after being put into bat, the Indian top-order yet again put up a good show with almost all the established players save skipper Cheteshwar Pujara contributing handsomely to team's massive total of 309 for five in 38 overs.
Dhawan yet again blazed his way to 67-ball-85 with 10 boundaries and three sixes adding 140 runs in less than 20 overs with Rohit (65) scoring his second successive half-century in as many matches.
Both were dismissed by Ontong trying to attack the part-time off-spinner. From 140 for no loss, it soon became 168 for three with skipper Pujara (9) being dismissed by fast bowler Hardus Viljoen. Raina (60) and Rayudu (57) smashed 89 runs for the fourth wicket partnership in less than 10 overs.— PTI
Brief Scores: India A 309/5 in 38 overs (Shikhar Dhawan 85, Rohit Sharma 65, Suresh Raina 60, Ambati Rayudu 57);
South Africa 258/5 in 34.4 overs (D/L Revised Target 277) (Dean Elgar 84, Vaughn van jaarsveld 69, Perveez Rasool 2/47, Shahbaz Nadeem 2/49).
Karachi, August 9
“Lara was the best batsman I have seen in my entire career spanning 16 years better. Personally I found him to be a class above the two other greats of this era, Tendulkar and (Ricky) Pointing,” Afridi said in an interview.
“He was the most difficult batsmen I have bowled too in every format of the game. He could play and hit boundaries at will. Especially against the spinners he produced boundaries out of the hat a superb player and I enjoyed watching him bat,” Afridi said while talking about the greatest players of his era.
Afridi said there were times when he felt that Lara could play blindfolded.
“At times I felt he was so good at playing spin he could even bat well against them blindfolded. Tendulkar and Pointing are also greats but I thought Lara was a cut above them,” he said. — PTI
Rochester, August 9
The morning wave was greeted at stately Oak Hill Country Club by dark skies and pounding rain but the soggy conditions did not prevent some contenders from getting off to hot starts.
Scott, the joint overnight leader alongside American Jim Furyk, teed off on the back nine in the worst of the conditions but picked up a birdie on his opening hole and another at the par-five 13th by rolling in a slippery 15-footer.
The Masters champion notched his third birdie at 16 but then missed a five-foot par putt at 17 that left him at seven-under for the tournament after nine holes, two shots clear of Furyk, who will be among the afternoon starters.
Briton Lee Westwood, widely considered the best player not to win a major, 2010 PGA Championship winner Martin Kaymer of Germany and Canadian David Hearn were a further shot back.
Westwood, who has finished in the top three of golf's elite events eight times, is in the thick of the title chase again after dropping two early birdies before giving them back with two bogeys.
Kaymer was playing error-free golf through 10 holes to join Westwood on four-under while Hearn had yet to tee off.
Tiger Woods, stuck in a five-year major-victory drought, will go off later in the day when he will try to make amends for a sloppy opening round finish.
The heavy favorite coming into this week after romping to a seven-stroke victory at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational on Sunday, signed off with a double-bogey on his final hole for an unsatisfying one-over 71.
Defending champion Rory McIlroy, who is seeking to turn his game around after a poor season by his standards, was fighting to get above the projected two-over cut line after a horrendous start to his round.
The Northern Irishman's play was as gloomy as the weather, mixing a double-bogey, three bogeys and a single birdie on his outward nine to leave at three over for the tournament and with plenty of work to do heading into the turn for home. — Agencies
Undue pressure curbs talented young golfers
Chandigarh, August 9
However, sometimes parents can get over ambitious and the results, quite often are just the opposite.
Professional golfer Sujjan Singh recounts and incident. "I was busy practicing at the Delhi Golf Course range and a little girl was practicing in the bay behind me. Soon her father struck up a conversation and we talked about golf. I could hear the girl hitting balls behind me and suddenly I heard a sharp crack which was not the sound of a ball being struck. I turned around and could not resist telling the father that he was going about it the wrong way round."
"I do not know whether it made a difference but I think this is something we have to highlight. If children are pushed too hard they will just burn out and loose interest. We have seen it happen with a lot of young talented golfers in the past," adds Sujjan.
Unfortunately, a similar incident also happened at the driving range in Chandigarh recently.
Tiger Woods who won the WGC Bridgestone Invitational on Sunday also echoed the same views. After his win he talked about his son Charlie who watched him win for the first time yesterday. However, the world number one said that he would not force his son to play golf but do "like my dad did. He kept it light and fun and so competitive that I just fell in love with it."
Meanwhile, Dimple Minocha, past Captain of the Ladies Section of the Chandigarh Golf Course whose daughter is a top national amateur golfer also feels the same. "We often had to tell parents not to interfere too much when their children were participating in tournaments as it would often disturb other participants and make the children very self-conscious." "It is very encouraging to see the number of children who are playing the game now and it is excellent for the game of golf. And even though discipline and hard work are essential for any success, it needs to be a recreational activity for young children or they are bound to loose interest," says Jeev Milkha Singh whose son Harjai practices at the range everyday.
Children have to be guided in the right direction but eventually they have to find their own comfort zone. Forcing them to do it a certain way might end up curbing their talent rather than encouraging it. One look at Jeev's unorthodox swing is enough to prove that point. It takes a lot more than a copy book swing or a perfect stance to succeed.
Moscow, August 9
Former world 100 record holder Asafa Powell and Olympic relay silver medallist Sherone Simpson tested positive for the stimulant oxilofrine at June's national championships and were left out of the Jamaican team for the worlds in Moscow. World 200 metres champion Veronica Campbell-Brown also missed out as she is provisionally suspended after failing a test for using a banned diuretic in May.
“There's no pressure,” the quietly spoken Weir told reporters at the training track near Luzhniki Stadium where the world championships start on Saturday.
“We like to look on the positive side of life, we don't let any negative news get the best of us. We try to stay on a clear path and keep a steady head. "We work with a young team and we are coping,” Weir, wearing a black, yellow and green Jamaican team top, said leaning over the fence to talk to journalists after finishing his training session.
The 23-year-old, a training partner of six-times Olympic champion Usain Bolt, pointed out that Jamaica had plenty of up and coming athletes to replace the big-name absentees. “We're just glad we have a young team that's coming up and we'll have a fresh team going into the championships. “Our high school championship is doing tremendously good so that means that the young at least will be moving up in the long term,” he said.
Weir burst on to the international scene at last year's London Olympics where he completed a podium sweep for Jamaica in the 200 behind Bolt and Yohan Blake.
Bolt is hot favourite to retain the world 200 title next week but asked if he thought he could beat his taller, faster, more famous team mate, Weir said: “Hopefully — it's stepping stones.”
“I've improved on the turn and strength-wise — I'm much stronger than before and I'm running a more compact race,” added Weir, who set a personal best of 19.79 this year when winning the Jamaican title in the absence of world record holder Bolt.
He returned to the Olympic stadium last month to win the London Diamond League in 19.89, his last race before the world championships. — Agencies
Montreal, August 9
Murray, who had won all five previous meetings with the colourful Gulbis, saw his 13-match winning streak ended. The world number two now heads to Cincinnati for a final chance to tune his hardcourt form ahead of his US Open title defence starting in New York on August 26. Gulbis went through in less than 90 minutes with three breaks of Murray, twice a champion in Canada.
Gulbis, ranked 38 in the world, reached his third career quarter-final at the Masters 1000 level but first since Madrid in 2010 where he lost to Roger Federer.
“I struggled at the start of the first set from the baseline, but then I got more aggressive and took my opportunities,” said Gulbis, who next faces either Juan Martin del Potro or Milos Raonic.
Nadal, playing his first event in 7 weeks since losing in the first round at Wimbledon to Steve Darcis, needed one and three-quarter hours to see off Polish 15th seed Janowicz, a Wimbledon semi-finalist. — Agencies
New York, August 9
Known for her two-tone grunts and two-handed swings, Seles spent more than 175 weeks ranked No. 1 and was elected to the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2009. She won the U.S. Open in 1991 and 1992, part of her 9 Grand Slam titles, including eight before she turned 20.
In 1993, she was stabbed in the back by a spectator during a changeover in Hamburg, and was away from the tour for more than 2 years. — Agencies
New Delhi, August 9
Star forward S V Sunil and strikers Akashdeep Singh, Danish Mujtaba and Gurwinder Singh Chandi -- all were ruled out of the Asia Cup because of injuries but Oltmans said he has players who can score goals for India.
“I don't think there would be too much pressure. We scored one penalty corner and five field goals today (against ONGC). We have guys who can score,” said Oltmans, who has been appointed as the interim chief coach of the men's team after Michael Nobbs' ouster.
“Mandeep have scored a lot of goals in Hockey India League. Prabhdeep (Singh) is a goal scorer. Nithin (Thimmaiah) was the top-scorer in the nationals.
“Of course, they are young. But that doesn't mean they are not good. They are good and they have showed that. There will be a lot of young faces,” he added.
Oltmans said he will take one match at a time in Asia Cup to be held in Ipoh, Malaysia from August 24 to September 1, a tournament which India need to win to qualify for 2014 World Cup in Hague, The Netherlands.
“Every tournament starts with one opponent and for us that is Oman. That is how a tournament should be approached.
For me it is the first game that counts and at the moment we are working on our structures and way of playing. Of course we are making analysis of other teams which we might face in the tournament,” he said.— PTI
New Delhi, August 9
A best of 9 frames encounter that lasted almost six hours saw the Glaswegian engage in heavy scoring to be a frame away from victory at 3-4. However Pankaj, the highest ranked Indian at the moment at 73 and the reigning world billiards champion, fought tooth and nail draw parity and enforce the decider.
In the 9th, Pankaj surged ahead with some strong potting, making a crucial 34 break to take the score to 65-7 before his more experienced opponent who is ranked currently at 43 conceded the match.
Pankaj, the lone Indian in the fray, now faces Gloucester`s Michael Wasley in the third round. In the first round of the qualifying event, Pankaj won another thriller defeating the Robin Hull of Finland 5-4.
Aditya Mehta, ranked number 74, cruised through his first round against Hammad Miah winning 5-0. However, he failed to convert his next round match against Welshman Jamie Jones, going down 5-4. — PTI
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