Angelique Kerber puts aside Roberta Vinci to move into US Open semis

first_imgAt 4-all in the opening set of her U.S. Open quarterfinal Tuesday, Angelique Kerber noticed the loud roar of a jet flying past. She missed a shot, lost that point, glared overhead – then followed with a trio of unforced errors to get broken.In the past, that sequence might have been her undoing. The distraction. The deficit. The opponent outplaying her. Not now, though. Kerber’s game has improved, sure, and so has her attitude. On this afternoon, she wouldn’t drop another game.Making a push to move up from No. 2 in the rankings, and to earn a second Grand Slam title of 2016, Kerber moved into the semifinals at Flushing Meadows by taking the last nine games in a 7-5, 6-0 victory over Roberta Vinci, last year’s runner-up.”I know that I can beat everybody,” Kerber said, “and this is what gives me also a lot of confidence and motivation.”She has a chance to overtake Serena Williams at No. 1 after the tournament and moved into her third major semifinal of the year, which will be played Thursday against Caroline Wozniacki, a two-time U.S. Open runner-up who advanced with a 6-0, 6-2 victory over an Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia. (Also read: Caroline Wozniacki thrashes Anastasija Sevastova to reach US Open semifinals)Sevastova twisted her right ankle on the first point of the second game and was unable to move properly the rest of the way against Wozniacki, a former No. 1 who is now ranked only 74th and hadn’t won a Grand Slam match in 2016 until last week.advertisementIt’s the fifth trip to the semifinals at Flushing Meadows for Wozniacki, who lost the 2009 final to Kim Clijsters and the 2014 final to her good friend Williams.Kerber beat Williams in the Australian Open final this January, then lost to Williams in the Wimbledon final in July.”In tough moments,” Vinci said about Kerber, “the mind is important.”In 2015, Vinci reached her first major final by stunning Williams to end the American’s bid for the first calendar-year Grand Slam in tennis in more than a quarter-century.But after being two points from taking the first set against Kerber while serving for it at 5-4, 30-all, the No. 7-seeded Vinci faltered badly. She missed a forehand long, then netted a backhand to get broken there – and that was just the beginning of her collapse.Trailing 6-5, and serving at love-40, Vinci missed her first serve, then was called for a foot fault on a second serve. That resulted in a double-fault, ceding the set.As she walked to the sideline, Vinci looked at the line judge who made the call and smiled sarcastically, giving him a thumb’s up and applauding with her racket.”If they called it,” Vinci said later, “I must have done it.”It’s a rare ruling in Grand Slam tennis, especially at a critical juncture, although there was, of course, the most famous foot fault of all on the very same court. In the 2009 U.S. Open semifinals, Williams was angered by the same type of call: a foot fault that resulted in a double-fault; in that instance, it set up match point for her opponent, Kim Clijsters. Williams brandished her racket and yelled at the line judge, and the point she was docked for that ended the match. (Also read: Sania Mirza knocked out of women’s doubles at US Open)This time, the call ended the competitive portion of Vinci’s quarterfinal: She managed to take only 10 of 38 points the rest of the way.Vinci has been dealing with an injured left Achilles tendon – she wore black tape in the shape of a “V” that framed her left calf – and a bad back. Still, her varied game, filled with slices and drop shots and net rushes, gave Kerber fits for most of the first set.”I was playing better than her,” said the 33-year-old Vinci, who mentioned at her news conference that she will decide after the season whether to retire.But Kerber hung in there to reach her first U.S. Open semifinal since 2011.”I’m staying more positive and believing in my game,” Kerber said. “I think that right now, I can win matches like that.”last_img read more

Former skipper Brendan Taylor back to strengthen Zimbabwe team for West Indies series

first_imgFormer captain Brendan Taylor and bowler Kyle Jarvis were both included in the Zimbabwe Test squad for the first time after lengthy absences when a 16-man party was named on Tuesday for the two-Test series at home to the West Indies.Taylor and Jarvis had opted to play county cricket in England under Kolpak contracts, which meant they could no longer play for Zimbabwe, but have since been convinced to return to the team.Taylor, 31, has an average of almost 35 in 23 previous Tests and brings a wealth of experience to the side. The 28-year-old Jarvis last played Test cricket in early 2013.Graeme Cremer will continue as captain but the squad has been overhauled after July’s tour to Sri Lanka with all-rounders Tendai Chisoro and Solomon Mire and wicket-keeper Nyasha Mayavo all in line for a first cap.There were also recalls for bowlers Chamu Chibhabha and Michael Chinouya.Both Tests are being played at the Queens Club in Bulawayo. The first Test starts on Saturday with the second scheduled for Oct. 29 to Nov. 2.Squad:Graeme Cremer (captain), Regis Chakabva, Chamu Chibhabha, Michael Chinouya, Tendai Chisoro, Craig Ervine, Kyle Jarvis, Hamilton Masakadza, Nyasha Mayavo, Solomon Mire, Christopher Mpofu, Peter Moor, Sikandar Raza, Brendan Taylor, Malcolm Waller, Sean Williams.last_img read more

2nd ODI: Shikhar Dhawan, Dinesh Karthik fifties give India series levelling victory in Pune

first_imgTight bowling and fifties from Shikhar Dhawan and Dinesh Karthik helped India secure a series-levelling six-wickets victory against New Zealand in the second one-day international on Wednesday.Opener Dhawan top-scored with 68 and Karthik remained not out on 64 down the order as the hosts reached the 231-run victory target with four overs to spare at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium.There was drama before the match when the ground curator was suspended following a TV sting operation in which he allegedly agreed to tamper with the wicket.Indian bowlers, especially new ball colleagues Bhuvneshwar Kumar (three for 45) and Jaspreet Bumrah, laid the foundation for their comprehensive victory by restricting New Zealand to 230 for nine after the tourists opted to bat. (Ban Pune pitch curator, demands Mohammad Azharuddin after India Today sting operation)50s from Shikhar Dhawan and Dinesh Karthik help India chase down 231 to win the 2nd #INDvNZ ODI by 6 wickets. ICC (@ICC) October 25, 2017On a slow track, the pace duo combined slower balls with bouncers, conceding 83 runs in 20 tidy overs while sharing five wickets between them.New Zealand were reduced to 58 for four in the 16th over and none of the touring batsmen managed a 50, crawling to the 100 mark in 26 overs.Following their poor start, Tom Latham (38) and Henry Nicholls (42) tried to rebuild the Kiwi innings and Colin de Grandhomme subsequently made 41 off 40 balls to lend some respectability to the New Zealand total. (Committee of Administrators reacts to India Today’s Operation CricketGate: ‘Zero tolerance to corruption’)advertisementLeg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal dismissed de Grandhomme and Adam Milne off successive deliveries but New Zealand, who won Sunday’s series opener in Mumbai by six wickets, somehow avoided being bowled out in the contest. (Just to fire BCCI for what Pune pitch curator has done is not correct: Sourav Ganguly to India Today)India lost Rohit Sharma early in their reply but Dhawan added 57 runs with skipper Virat Kohli to help them overcome the early loss. (BCCI joint secretary Amitabh Chaudhary ‘shocked’ after India Today expose on Pune pitch curator)Kohli fell for 29 but the left-right combination of Dhawan and Karthik thwarted the tourists, mixing caution with aggression during their 66-run association.Dhawan, who was adjudged caught behind on 46 before the decision was overturned, hit five boundaries and a couple of sixes before falling to Milne. (MCA president Abhay Apte promises strict action after India Today expose on Pune pitch curator)Karthik then combined with Hardik Pandya, who chipped in with a 30-run cameo, to keep India on course, and Karthik went on to hit Tim Southee for his fourth boundary to seal India’s victory.Kanpur hosts the third and deciding one-dayer on Sunday.India captain @imVkohli was very pleased with the contribution from @Jaspritbumrah93 and @BhuviOfficial as they levelled series #INDvNZ ICC (@ICC) October 25, 2017last_img read more

Noisy protests by Cong prevent Tendulkar from speaking in RS

first_imgNew Delhi, Dec 21 (PTI) Hes opened many an innings on the trickiest of pitches yet master blaster Sachin Tendulkar realised that politics is a different ball game when opposition protests in Rajya Sabha today washed away his “maiden” attempt to initiate a discussion on sports.As the Upper House met at 2 PM after a previous adjournment, a combative Congress members buoyed by the 2G case verdict began demanding an apology from Prime Minister Narendra Modi over remarks against predecessor Manmohan Singh.Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu was keen that a short duration discussion on the right to play and future of sports in India, to be initiated by Tendulkar, be taken up.Samajwadi Party (SP) leader Naresh Agrawal, however, raised a point of order, in the context of the 2G verdict. After Agrawal had spoken Naidu again asked the cricketer to proceed with his “maiden” speech.Tendulkar readied to elaborate on a subject he is most qualified to speak on but belligerent Congress members were in no mood to play ball.Several of them were on their feet seeking an apology from Modi. In the din of their slogans, the proceedings were almost drowned.Seeking to restore order, Naidu repeatedly chided the protesters. He sought to remind the Congress leaders that Tendulkar was a Bharat Ratna, an inspiration for the youth, and someone who had done so much for the country, but the opposition party stuck to its stance.In his characteristic style, Naidu told the shouting members that all they would achieve by shouting will be “sore throats” and “wastage of time” and again advised them to listen to the little master.advertisementActor Jaya Bacchhan also appeared to be supporting Tendulkars bid to speak. But the protests continued.A livid Naidu said that the comments made by the protesters would not go on record and asked Tendulkar to proceed.The cricketer, however, could only stand and watch.”I dont want these sorts of scenes to be telecast around the country. A person who is a Bharat Ratna and who is speaking for the first time in the House is being obstructed like this. I dont want this message to go to the country,” an exasperated Naidu said as he adjourned the House for the day. PTI ADS ADSlast_img read more