Recharged Bouchard sets up Sydney semi with Konta

Eugenie Bouchard exults after her win over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova during their women's singles match at the Sydney International tennis tournament on Wednesday. (AP)
Updated 11 January 2017
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Recharged Bouchard sets up Sydney semi with Konta

SYDNEY: Eugenie Bouchard reached her first semifinal for 10 months as she battled intense heat to down higher-ranked Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova at the Sydney International on Wednesday.
The former Wimbledon finalist wore down the 27th-ranked Pavlyuchenkova 6-2, 6-3 in 76 minutes to set up a semifinal with Britain’s world No. 10 Johanna Konta.
It will be the 49th-ranked Canadian’s first WTA Tour semifinal since the Malaysian Open in March last year.
“It’s a good step in the right direction. I know there is a long way to go to achieve what I want,” Bouchard said.
“But to match up against solid players like I have this week, it’s a very tough tournament here. So I’m proud of that, for sure.”
Bouchard beat Konta in three sets in the second round at last year’s Wimbledon, but it was a battle.
Konta continued her impressive progress through the Sydney International draw with a 6-3, 7-5 win over rising young Russian Daria Kasatkina, who had eliminated German world No.1 Angelique Kerber in Tuesday’s second round.
Elsewhere on a stifling day where temperatures topped 42 degrees Celsius (108 Fahrenheit), former world No.1 Caroline Wozniacki went down in a punishing three hour, 20 minute battle with Barbora Strycova 7-5, 6-7 (6/8), 6-4.
Both players needed treatment for foot blisters on the broiling Ken Rosewall Arena hardcourt.
Strycova in the semis will face the 2013 winner Agnieszka Radwanska, who eliminated Chinese qualifier Duan Yingying 6-3, 6-2 in the evening match.
Duan was the first Chinese woman through to the quarterfinals in Sydney since Li Na in 2013.
Wozniacki was attempting to end a run of seven Sydney International visits without getting past the quarterfinals.
She battled back from 5-2 down in the second set and 5-0 in the tiebreaker but fell in the third set.

Thiem struggles

Austrian top seed Dominic Thiem had a three-set struggle with Portuguese qualifier Gastao Elias before clinching a quarterfinal spot at the Sydney International on Wednesday.
Thiem, the world No.8, had several chances to put away the plucky 81st-ranked Elias, only to be broken back before he eventually won 6-7 (5/7), 6-3, 7-5 in a match that finished at midnight.
Thiem will now face Britain’s No.3 Daniel Evans in Thursday’s quarters.
Evans fought back from dropping the opening set to down Spanish eighth seed Marcel Granollers 1-6, 6-3, 6-3.
Gilles Muller earlier beat the heat to be one match away from a third straight semifinal appearance at the Sydney International, following a big-serving victory over Australian Matt Barton.
The sixth seed from Luxembourg prevailed over Barton 6-1, 3-6, 6-4 as temperatures nudged 42 Celsius (108 Fahrenheit) to reach the quarterfinals.
Muller, who lost to Grigor Dimitrov in last year’s semifinal, will next face Uruguayan second seed Pablo Cuevas, who overcame Frenchman Nicolas Mahut 6-4, 2-6, 6-2.
German fifth seed Philipp Kohlschreiber knocked out Australian Jordan Thompson 7-5, 6-4 and will face the two-time defending champion Viktor Troicki.
Third seed Troicki from Serbia won his 13th consecutive match at the Sydney international with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Italy’s Paolo Lorenzi.
Kohlschreiber needed just 84 minutes to cruise past Thompson, who failed to save a single break point.
Spanish fourth seed Pablo Carreno-Busta dropped the first set before overcoming German Mischa Zverev 3-6, 7-6 (7/4), 6-3.
Carreno-Busta will face Andrey Kuznetsov in the last eight after the Russian beat Australian teenager Alex De Minaur on an injury retirement at the start of the second set after winning the opening set 6-2.


Modi forecasts IPL players will earn ‘$1m a game’

Updated 19 April 2018
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Modi forecasts IPL players will earn ‘$1m a game’

  • Modi believes that if that $12 million cap is relaxed, leading IPL players could earn as much as English Premier League footballers and even NFL stars
  • London-based Modi forecast the end of country versus country contests, which effectively finance professional cricket structures all round the world and the demise of the International Cricket Council, the sport’s global governing body

LONDON: Indian Premier League founder Lalit Modi believes there will come a time when players will earn $1 million dollars per game while warning that the traditional program of matches between countries “will disappear.”
A Twenty20 domestic franchise competition launched a decade ago, which has spawned a host of imitators worldwide, the IPL is now the most lucrative of all cricket tournaments.
“The IPL is here to stay,” Modi told Britain’s Daily Telegraph newspaper in an interview published Thursday. “It will be the dominant sporting league in the world.”
IPL teams are bankrolled by wealthy businessmen operating in an environment where the passion for cricket in India, the world’s second-most populous nation, makes the game an attractive target for sponsors and broadcasters.
At present there is a team salary cap, with the likes of England all-rounder Ben Stokes earning $1.95 million per season from the Rajasthan Royals.
But Modi believes that if that $12 million cap is relaxed, leading IPL players could earn as much as English Premier League footballers and even NFL stars.
That would have a huge impact on international cricket, with players torn between making an IPL fortune and representing their countries.
“You will see players making $1-$2m a game,” said Modi. “It will happen sooner rather than later.
“In a free market the person with the deepest pockets will win. The players will gravitate toward who pays the biggest salary.”
Meanwhile, in a chilling argument for cricket traditionalists, London-based Modi forecast the end of country versus country contests, which effectively finance professional cricket structures all round the world and the demise of the International Cricket Council, the sport’s global governing body.
“Today international cricket does not matter,” he said. “It is of zero value to the Indian fan.
“Tomorrow you will see bilateral cricket disappear,” Modi added. “Big series will happen once every three or four years like the World Cup.
“The ICC will become an irrelevant body. It will be full of fat lugs who have no power. They can scream and shout now and in the future they will threaten to throw India out if they try to expand the IPL but India has the power to stand on its own feet...They have a domestic league that it is going to be 20-times the size of international cricket.”
Modi said the only way five-day international Test cricket, long regarded as the pinnacle of the sport, could survive was if the ICC introduced a long talked-about championship.
“I think there is a window for Test cricket and a World Test championship will survive if all nations get together and make it a proper tournament,” he explained.
“But it has to be a championship. If the ICC does not do it I see no reason why the IPL would not do it instead as a knockout IPL Test championship.”
Modi left India to live in London and has not returned home since 2009. The Board of Control for Cricket in India found him guilty of eight offenses relating to irregularities in the administration of the IPL.
He has never been charged by the Indian government with a crime and denies all accusations, but Modi has repeatedly insisted he cannot go back to India because of underworld threats to his life.