Sharapova storms into Tianjin quarterfinals

Maria Sharapova of Russia hits a return against Magda Linette of Poland during their women’s singles second round match at the WTA Tianjin Open tennis tournament in Tianjin on Thursday. (AFP)
Updated 12 October 2017
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Sharapova storms into Tianjin quarterfinals

TIANJIN: Maria Sharapova surged into the Tianjin Open quarterfinals on Thursday as she pursues her first tournament victory since her return from a doping ban.
The Russian former world No. 1 defeated Magda Linette of Poland 7-5, 6-3 and will play Swiss qualifier Stefanie Voegele.
The 30-year-old Sharapova has been on the comeback trail since April after serving a 15-month suspension for taking the banned substance meldonium.
Sharapova, a five-time major-winner, is now ranked a lowly 86 in the world and she needed a wildcard to enter the Tianjin tournament.
She saw off 71st-ranked Linette in just over 98 minutes to reach only her second quarterfinal since her return to action.
“We did a really good job of holding serve in the first set,” Sharapova was quoted as saying by the WTA website.
“I feel like I made a few too many errors on my return game which ultimately led to a difficult first set.
“But once I broke her early in that second set I played a really good aggressive game and I felt like I had the momentum in the second.”
Tearful Wozniacki and Svitolina pull out injured in Hong Kong
Defending champion Caroline Wozniacki and world No. 4 Elina Svitolina both withdrew from the Hong Kong Open with injuries Thursday, leaving the WTA event devastated after a spate of pre-tournament pullouts and early big name exits.
A tearful third seed Wozniacki appeared on center court just after her second-round match against Lizette Cabrera had been due to start to announce she had injured her elbow in practice.
“I want to apologize to everyone who came out today to watch this match,” said an emotional Wozniacki, who won the title on the same court 12 months ago.
“I did everything I could possibly to get ready for today,” she told the crowd.
“But unfortunately I hurt my elbow during practice and there’s just no way I could perform my best out here today.
“Unfortunately I have to withdraw from the tournament,” she added choking back tears.
Top seed Svitolina earlier withdrew from her last-16 match against Nicole Gibbs citing a right groin strain sustained during a mammoth, 3hr 21min quarterfinal defeat in Beijing last week to the eventual champion there, Caroline Garcia.
“I picked up the injury a little bit in Beijing,” she said. “It’s the groin. All the time when I go for wide shots or stretch I feel it.
Ukraine’s Svitolina and Denmark’s Wozniacki both have one eye on this month’s lucrative WTA Finals in Singapore where the top eight will battle it out for a massive $7 million prize fund.
“I will probably do some scans now to see how it is, because you know I have Singapore,” admitted Svitolina. “It’s a tough decision because I really wanted to play here.”


Five memorable India vs, Pakistan clashes

Updated 18 September 2018
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Five memorable India vs, Pakistan clashes

  • Arch-rivals to meet in Dubai on Wednesday.
  • Cricket's biggest rivalry is one of the biggest in sport.

LONDON: Sparks generally fly when India take on Pakistan at cricket, and Wednesday’s Asia Cup clash in Dubai will be an emotionally charged fixture as always.

Here are five of the most memorable clashes between the two cricketing powerhouses.

DARK DAY

On the same day the teams were playing a one-day match at Sialkot in Pakistan on Oct. 31, 1984, the Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated by two of her bodyguards in New Delhi.
Dilip Vengsarkar and Ravi Shastri were piling on runs for India when the news came. Pakistan’s president Zia ul Haq ordered the match stopped, and India’s captain Sunil Gavaskar wanted the same.
“Obviously, we weren’t in any frame of mind to carry on and, sure enough, the ODI had to be abandoned,” Vengsarkar told India’s Telegraph later.
“Thirty years have gone by, but it’s a day one can’t forget,” he said.

IMRAN KHAN’S CLASH

Imran Khan’s best bowling figures of six for 14 were in a one-day international against India March 22, 1985, but for the swashbuckling Pakistan fast bowler it was all in vain.
Khan ripped apart the Indian batting line-up in Sharjah in the UAE to send the opposition packing for 125. But Pakistan’s own batting imploded, skittled for just 87.
Khan — now Pakistani prime minister — was still man of the match, however.

SIX WINS IT

The match that will always evoke the bitterest memories for India, and the sweetest ones for Pakistan, was on April 18, 1986, again an ODI in Sharjah.
With Pakistan needing four off the last ball to win, India’s Chetan Sharma ran in and bowled a full toss — which Javed Miandad swatted for six.
Miandad, who was presented with a golden sword, became a national hero, while Sharma faced barbs and insults on his return home.

TENDULKAR’S TEARS

A century from Sachin Tendulkar, India’s most celebrated batsman, was usually a recipe for success in the 1990s and 2000s but not in the 1999 Test match against Pakistan in Chennai.
Chasing 271 for victory, Tendulkar brought India close with a sparkling 136, but Pakistani off-spinner Saqlain Mushtaq got him out and India eventually lost by 12 runs.
A sporting Indian home crowd gave the Wasim Akram-led side a standing ovation, but Tendulkar was heartbroken.
Weeping in the dressing room, according to then-coach Anshuman Gaekwad, the “little master” refused to come out of the dressing room to receive his man-of-the-match award.

MISBAH’S MISHIT

An India-Pakistan final in the inaugural Twenty20 World Cup and a sell-out crowd in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2007 was a perfect setting for cricket’s newest format.
Pakistan’s Misbah ul-Haq was on the cusp of taking his team to a memorable win with his gritty batting in a chase of 158.
But then came a moment of madness as Misbah tried to play an audacious paddle shot to seal victory against paceman Joginder Sharma in the final over.
The ball went high into the waiting hands of Shanthakumaran Sreesanth. Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s India celebrated like never before as Misbah missed a chance of a lifetime.