Ferrer, Wawrinka in final; Pavlyuchenkova clinches title

Updated 05 May 2013
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Ferrer, Wawrinka in final; Pavlyuchenkova clinches title

OEIRAS, Portugal: Spain’s David Ferrer will play his 37th final when he and Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka line up today for the clay title at the Portugal Open.
The top seed dispatched Italian Andreas Seppi 6-1, 6-4 in 70 minutes while Wawrinka ended the run of Spanish qualifier Pablo Carreno-Busta as the second seed posted a 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 win in a match marred by complaints about on-court coaching from the Spaniard’s box.
The women’s title was settled when Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova beat Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro 7-5, 6-2 to claim her first trophy on clay.
The third seed, coached by former Swiss great Martina Hingis, earned the fifth title of her career while leaving her opponent winless from five finals.
Ferrer was the picture of efficiency in his defeat of Seppi, with the Spaniard now in the hunt for his 21st career trophy.
“It’s good to get to the final here, I’ve always dreamed of winning this title, there is so much history at this tournament,” said Ferrer, who leads the ATP this season with match wins on 28 with Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal trailing on 26.
Ferrer stands 5-0 over Seppi, who didn’t hold his serve until the second set.
The Spaniard has won two titles already this season in New Zealand and Argentina.
Wawrinka, ranked 16th, complained to the chair umpire near the end of his second set against Carreno-Busta over what he said was coaching of his 228th-ranked, 21-year-old opponent.
“It was not the first time, it happened for him against (Fabio) Fognini (quarterfinals).
“He and his coach were speaking a lot during the match.
“That’s not what it should be like, it’s not in the rules. That’s why I spoke to the chair.”
Carreno-Busta has had a solid run on the lower-level Futures and Challenger circuits and has won an amazing 50 matches already this season.
He was playing his first semi-final at the ATP level at his fourth tour-level event.
Pavlyuchenkova has been working with Hingis officially for just a few weeks and the game style and fighting determination of Switzerland’s five-time Grand Slam champion may be rubbing off on the 21-year-old right-hander.
“She was really happy with the win,” said Pavlyuchenkova of her mentor’s first win as a coach.
The winner was less than thrilled with a slow start to her own game.
“I was pissed with the way I started. But then I relaxed, and started waiting for my chances after she had pinned me to the baseline.
“I was trying to dictate and wait for the right moment. It worked at the end.”
Pavlyuchenkova was flying straight to Spain later Saturday for a first-round start at the Madrid Masters against world number three Victoria Azarenka, who has not played for more than a month due to injury and has yet to step on to clay.
“It’s a really tough draw, but for both of us. She’s not played for a while and I already have some events on clay.
“I can’t say what will happen but I’ll try my best. I won’t be scared, that’s for sure. I’ll just go out there and try to make her play.”

Evergreen Haas back in Munich final

Evergreen Tommy Haas reached the Munich claycourt final on Saturday, 13 years after his first appearance ended in defeat.
Haas, 35, saw off Croatia’s Ivan Dodig 6-4, 6-3 and will now face defending champion Philipp Kohlschreiber in Sunday’s all-German final.
Haas reached the Munich final in 2000 when he lost in straight sets to Argentina’s Franco Squillari.
“It’s quite crazy (to be back in the final). I don’t think it’s really hit me yet,” said Haas, who will be seeking his 14th career title on Sunday.
“Thirteen years is a long time and it’s pretty impressive, I think, to achieve something like that.
“I’d like to go one step further and win the title here once, that’s my main goal right now.”
It will be the first all-German final on the tour since 2011 in Halle.
Haas is bidding to win the tournament for the first time on his 10th appearance in Munich.
“It’s great for German tennis,” added Haas, a former world number two.
“We played really well last year in all the German events and now again we’re going to have an all-German final, which I think is great for the fans.”

Victory on Sunday would be his first tournament win since beating Roger Federer on grass at Halle last year.

On Monday, he will be up to 13th in the world rankings.
Despite losing the first set of his semi, Kohlschreiber dug deep to book his place in the final with a 6-7(4/7), 6-3, 7-6(7/5) win over compatriot Daniel Brands in just over two hours.


Saudi Arabia step up their World Cup preparations by flying to Switzerland for training camp

Updated 20 May 2018
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Saudi Arabia step up their World Cup preparations by flying to Switzerland for training camp

  • Squad of 28 to be based in Zurich
  • Friendlies on the horizon against Italy and Peru

Juan Antonio Pizzi has taken a 28-man squad to Zurich for the final stage of the Green Falcons’ World Cup preparations.
The party flew out of Jeddah late last night and landed in Switzerland early this morning. There they will be joined by Fahad Al-Muwallad and Salem Al-Dawsari who will fly in from Spain after playing for Levante and Villarreal on Saturday night.
The three-week training camp in the Swiss resort town of Bad Ragaz gives Pizzi the chance to get stuck into some intense tactical and physical work with his players and decide which five players to leave out of his squad. He must whittle down his list down to 23 by June 4, which gives the players get two final chances to stake their claim for a seat on the plane in friendlies against Italy on May 28 and Peru on June 3. By the time they play Germany in Leverkusen on June 8, Pizzi will have named his party for the assignment in Russia.
Pizzi is clearly much nearer knowing who he will take as he has only made minor changes to the squad he named for the recent wins against Greece and Algeria.
Al-Ittihad goalkeeper Assaf Al-Qarni replaces his club teammate Fawaz Al-Qarni as the fourth stopper in the squad, as Pizzi looks settled on retaining Al-Ahli duo Yasser Al-Mosaileem and Mohammed Al-Owais in addition to Al-Hilal’s Abdullah Al-Mayouf. One of those four will fail to make the cut as no team takes four goalkeepers to the World Cup.
There were no changes in the backline where the former Chile boss is opting for harmony. Eight of the nine defenders called up ply their trade at Al-Hilal or Al-Ahli, while Al-Nassr’s Omar Hawsawi rounds off the selection. One defender might have to make way and Al-Hilal teammates Mohammad Jahfali and Ali Al-Bulayhi could well find themselves vying for one spot on the plane to Moscow.
Abdullah Otayf and Taisir Al-Jassim look to be firm favorites to make the starting XI in the base of midfield, while the third central spot is up for grabs. Hussein Al-Moqahwi has regularly featured in that position, but Salman Al-Faraj’s return from a long injury saw him start both friendlies in the Spain training camp. Abdulmalik Al-Khaibari could emerge as the more conservative midfield enforcer against stronger sides.
The center of the pitch is where the most intense battle of positions will take place. As many as three midfielders could be left behind come June 4. Ibrahim Ghaleb has already been left out and he may be joined by Al-Shabab duo Hattan Bahebri and Abdulla Al-Khaibari. One of Mohammad Kanno and Mohammed Al Kuwaikbi could be the last man to be dropped in two weeks’ time.
Up front, Harun Kamara, a surprise call-up for the recent friendlies, failed to retain his spot in the squad so Mohannad Assiri and Mohammed Al-Sahlawi will battle it out for the sole striker position.

Squad
Goalkeepers: Mohammed Al-Owais, Yasser Al-Mosaileem (Al-Ahli); Abdullah Al-Mayouf (Al-Hilal); Assaf Al-Qarni (Al-Ittihad)
Defenders: Motaz Hawsawi, Saeed Al-Muwallad, Mansour Al-Harbi (Al-Ahli); Osama Hawsawi, Mohammed Jahfali, Ali Al-Bulayhi, Mohammed Al-Burayk, Yasser Al-Shahrani (Al-Hilal); Omar Hawsawi (Al-Nassr).
Midfielders: Abdullah Al-Khaibari, Hattan Bahebri (Al-Shabab); Abdulmalik Al-Khaibari, Abdulla Otayf, Salman Al-Faraj, Mohammed Kanno, Nawaf Al-Abid (Al-Hilal); Taisir Al-Jassim, Hussein Al-Moqahwi (Al-Ahli); Mohammed Al-Kuwaikbi (Al-Ettifaq); Salem Al-Dawsari (Villarreal); Fahad Al-Muwallad (Levante); Yahya Al-Shehri (Leganes)
Forwards: Mohammed Al-Sahlawi (Al-Nassr); Mohannad Assiri (Al-Ahli)