Oman beats Singapore to go top of Asian Cup qualifying

Updated 20 August 2013
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Oman beats Singapore to go top of Asian Cup qualifying

SINGAPORE: Oman swatted aside a tentative Singapore 2-0 on Wednesday to make it two wins from two as they went top of Group A in Asian Cup qualifying.
Singapore, under the guidance of new coach Bernd Stange, dominated possession in the first half but offered little in attack with Paul Le Guen's side proving clinical with their few chances.
Qasim Said eased past a static home defense to fire Oman into a 15th-minute lead with his fellow midfielder Eid Al-Farsi blasting a low drilled shot from 22 metres to double the advantage on the stroke of halftime.
The home side wilted in the second half with Oman guilty of wasting several chances to improve their goal difference in the four-team group, also featuring Syria and Jordan, where two sides will qualify for the finals in Australia in 2015.
"I think we did the job, it was vital to win and we did it," Le Guen, who had been concerned before the game that his players would still be feeling the effects of fasting during the Islamic holy month of Ramadam which ended last week, told reporters.
"During the first half we were average, not many chances but efficient.
"I was afraid of the context, the artificial pitch. But we prepared well ... the players accepted to leave Oman before Eid which is not easy for them and I want to thank them for the effort."
Syria host Jordan in Iran on Thursday in the other Group A match in the second round.
The teams are back in Asian Cup qualifying action in October along with the other 16 sides trying to reach the finals in Australia where the hosts, holders Japan and South and North Korea all have places and do not need to qualify.

Suarez scores as Uruguay beats Japan 4-2
In Rifu, Japan, unsettled Liverpool striker Luis Suarez scored for an impressive Uruguay in their 4-2 friendly win against Japan on Wednesday.
Suarez capitalized on some calamitous defending by the hosts to stroke home Uruguay's third goal seven minutes into the second half. Diego Forlan's two goals, including a fine free-kick, earlier gave the visitors a comfortable halftime lead.
Manchester United's Shinji Kagawa scored a tap-in to pull one back soon after Suarez's effort, but Alvaro Gonzalez restored Uruguay's three-goal advantage following a goalkeeping error by Eiji Kawashima.
Keisuke Honda responded with a free-kick to make it 4-2.
Suarez spent the summer pushing for a move away from Liverpool, but a newspaper in his home country on Wednesday quoted him as having had a change of heart and deciding to stay.
Japan, who lost all three of their Confederations Cup games in Brazil this summer, were back to full strength but remain far from convincing ahead of next year's World Cup finals.
"We haven't learned our lessons (from the Confederations Cup). There is still a lot to work on before the World Cup," Kagawa said.
Japan coach Alberto Zaccheroni, meanwhile, praised the strength of the opposition.
"You have to give credit to Uruguay," said Zaccheroni. "They are one of the best teams in the world. They showed that again by reaching the Confederations Cup semifinals this year."


Petra Kvitova positive ahead of Dubai final against Belinda Bencic

Updated 22 February 2019
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Petra Kvitova positive ahead of Dubai final against Belinda Bencic

  • World No. 4 wins third three-setter of the week beat Hsieh Su-wei and claim place in the final.
  • Swiss star Bencic deals a forehand smash to Svitolina's chances of unprecedented hat-trick.

LONDON: If Petra Kvitova does get her hands on the Dubai trophy against Belinda Bencic on Saturday, she will be quick to admit she did it the hard way.
The two-time Wimbledon champion was once again made to toil at the Aviation Club as she finally overcame Hsieh Su-Wei 3-6, 6-2, 6-4. It was her third three-setter in four days and came about as much through sheer grit and determination as any superior groundstrokes or serves.
“Yeah, it was (tough),” the Czech said.
“It was a tough one, for sure. She really didn’t give me anything for free.
“It was a tough first set. I’m glad that I was able to came back in the second. Anyway I didn’t play great at the end of the first.”
Coming into the event the world No. 4 admitted she was undercooked and in need of some game time. While, in hindsight, the three-setters against Katerina Siniakova and Jennifer Brady in the first two rounds probably did her some good, another match that went the distance was probably not in the ideal script for the 2013 Dubai champion.
But Hsieh is a tricky opponent and she proved it once again on Centre Court. The world No. 31 hits two-handed shots off both sides and was trying to beat her fourth top-10 seed of the week. That included wins over Angelique Kerber in the third round and Karolina Pliskova in the quarterfinals.

Bencic will try to upset Kvitova in Saturday's final at the Aviation Club (AFP) 


She started off in much the same vein as she had finished against Kerber and Pliskova, hurrying Kvitova around the court and making life as uncomfortable as possible under the hot Dubai sun.
“She’s very tricky,” Kvitova said about Hsieh, who grabbed five games in a row to take the opening set and go up 1-0 in the second.
“I didn’t really play the best at the end of the first set. But I calmed down afterwards a little bit,” Kvitova said.
“With Hsieh, I need to be a little bit patient. ... It’s not really that easy to make those winners against her.”
While she has 
not consistently displayed her A-game this week it should come as no shock that Kvitova has made today’s final. It was the second seed’s 17th victory of 2019 — a feat bettered by no one — and it will be her third final of the season and 35th of her career. She revealed that her presence in the showdown is thanks to her mental toughness and she admitted that after a long week she will have to draw on that a lot today.
“I think I’m pleased with my kind of mental focus after losing the first set, that I was more calmer when I came back and played from the beginning of the second set,” Kvitova said.
“I still kind of felt that I can do that somehow — it was something weird.
“I’m a bit tired right now, to be honest. I have a final, so I don’t know how I going to recover. Hopefully I have a few hours to do something with me.”
Of her sparkling form so far this year she said: “It’s a bit weird, to be honest. I didn’t really expect anything like that. Well, to be honest, I didn’t expect anything, which I already achieved this year. For me, everything is just bonus.
“As I mentioned, the tennis, it’s a bit like escape this week. This is unbelievable to be in the final when I’m escaping from something. Yeah, very interesting.”
In the other semifinal Bencic once again upset the odds to overcome world No. 6 Elina Svitolina 6-2, 6-3, 7-6. The Swiss went into the clash as the underdog, but from the off the world No. 45 was aggressive and deservedly won.
In doing so she ended Svitolina’s 12-match winning streak in Dubai and ended the two-time defending champion’s hopes of becoming the first woman to win three Dubai titles in a row.