Tennis: Wozniacki routs Russian to retain WTA Pan Pacific Open title

Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark hits a return against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia during the women’s singles final at the Pan Pacific Open tennis tournament in Tokyo. (AFP)
Updated 24 September 2017
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Tennis: Wozniacki routs Russian to retain WTA Pan Pacific Open title

TOKYO: Defending champion Caroline Wozniacki romped to a 6-0, 7-5 victory over Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova on Sunday to win her third WTA Pan Pacific Open.
The Danish former world number one needed only 75 minutes to complete the rout under the Tokyo sunshine, capturing her first title of the year after losing in six finals.
Third-seed Wozniacki stormed through the first set in just 22 minutes, blazing winners past a stunned Pavlyuchenkova, who was firing blanks until the start of the second.
The Russian saved a match point in the 10th game before Wozniacki converted on her third opportunity, the world number six fizzing a backhand pass down the line to claim her 26th career title.
“It was my seventh final this year and obviously after a while it gets harder and harder,” said Wozniacki after winning her first tournament since Hong Kong in October last year.
“Obviously I’ve won here in the past and it has great memories for me so I’m happy I was able to stay focused and aggressive.”
Wozniacki, also Tokyo winner in 2010 and runner-up in 2014, joined former greats Steffi Graf and Gabriela Sabatini with three Pan Pacific Open crowns.
Martina Hingis holds the record with five.
Wozniacki, who destroyed world number one Garbine Muguruza 6-2, 6-0 in semifinals, never gave Pavlyuchenkova a sniff in their first meeting since 2012.
There were early warning signs for the Russian after Wozniacki pulled off an outrageous backhand from way outside the court that flashed past the net post and nibbled the line to give her a 3-0 lead in the first set.
As she slumped dejectedly in her chair, Pavlyuchenkova squabbled with coach Simon Goffin.
Despite being told not to by her coach, the world number 23 continued to sulk as Wozniacki produced an exquisite drop volley to take the next game and a crunching backhand to claim the set.
Pavlyuchenkova managed to stop the rot in the second set and raised a sheepish grin after winning her first game of the match.
But she never looked like adding to the titles she won in Monterrey and Rabat with Wozniacki in such sparkling form, Pavlyuchenkova finally crumbling under the relentless pressure after salvaging a measure of pride in the second set.


Sublime Mohamed Salah leads Liverpool to stunning 5-2 win over Roma

Updated 25 April 2018
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Sublime Mohamed Salah leads Liverpool to stunning 5-2 win over Roma

  • Liverpool move onto 38 goals for this season’s competition — 11 more than any other team
  • Salah is now on 43 goals for the season in all competitions

LIVERPOOL: Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah put his former side Roma to the sword on Tuesday night with a scintillating performance as the Reds ran riot at Anfield, taking a commading 5-2 lead into next week’s second leg in Rome.
The Italian side had no answer to the Egyptian superstar’s sublime skill as he scored two world-class goals and set up another two for Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino.
Firmino added the fifth as the Merseyside club romped into a 5-0 lead to put the English side within touching distance of the Champions League final.
Salah’s display was as exquisite as Roma’s defending was naive, with Liverpool scoring all of their goals in a breathtaking 33-minute spell either side of halftime amid a cauldron of noise at Anfield.
But two consolation goals in the final nine minutes from Edin Dzeko and Diego Perotti has given Roma hope of recreating their heroics from the previous leg against Barcelona.
In the latest virtuoso performance of his stunning first season at Liverpool, Salah curled a shot into the top corner in the 36th minute and doubled the lead in the 45th with a dinked finish that is fast becoming his trademark. He is now on 43 goals for the season in all competitions with potentially five games left.
The Egypt forward was not finished there, taking advantage of Roma’s high defensive line to provide crosses for Mane and Firmino to score almost identical goals in the 56th and 61st minutes, respectively.
Firmino glanced home a header from James Millner’s corner in the 69th to leave Roma’s players on the floor — literally in the case of their distressed goalkeeper, Alisson.
Liverpool moved onto 38 goals for this season’s competition — 11 more than any other team — but cannot begin preparing for the final in Kiev on May 26 quite yet.
Dzeko chested down a long pass to make it 5-1 in the 81st and when Milner handled a shot from Radja Nainggolan, Perotti converted the penalty in the 89th.
Bayern Munich play Real Madrid in the other semifinal, with the first leg in Germany on Wednesday.
Roma knows all about Salah, who scored 15 goals and set up 11 more in the second of his two seasons at the Italian club before joining Liverpool for 42 million euros (then $47 million) in June.
He’s obliterating those figures at Anfield this season. His double saw him surge past Cristiano Ronaldo’s 42 goals for Manchester United in the 2007-08 season, for example.
Salah won English soccer’s Player of the Year award on Sunday. At this rate, the Ballon D’Or could be his next year.