Nadal, Federer on collision course in Shanghai

Rafael Nadal of Spain hits a return during his men’s third round singles match against Fabio Fognini of Italy at the Shanghai Masters tennis tournament in Shanghai on Thursday. (AFP)
Updated 12 October 2017
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Nadal, Federer on collision course in Shanghai

SHANGHAI: Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer breezed into the quarterfinals of the Shanghai Masters on Thursday and Juan Martin del Potro defeated racquet-smashing Alexander Zverev.
World No. 1 Nadal blew away Fabio Fognini in 63 minutes and plays sixth seed Grigor Dimitrov as he pursues one of the few tournaments to have eluded him.
Timeless rival Federer was even faster, dismissing Ukrainian qualifier Alexandr Dolgopolov 6-4, 6-2 in 61 minutes.
The 31-year-old Spaniard Nadal, fresh off the back of triumphs at the US Open and China Open, anticipates a tough encounter against the Bulgarian Dimitrov.
“I played a very good match, I don’t know how many mistakes I made, but very few,” said the 16-time Grand Slam winner and top seed in Shanghai.
“I have a tough match against Grigor and know I will have to play my best... but I am playing well.”
Nadal, enjoying a late-career flourish, defeated good friend Dimitrov on his way to winning the China Open on Sunday, his sixth title of the season.
And he underlined his status as the man to beat in Shanghai as he battered the Italian Fognini 6-3, 6-1.
Dimitrov, chasing a spot at the season-ending ATP Finals in London, beat American Sam Querrey to set up a Chinese reunion with Nadal.
Federer, the Swiss world No. 2, plays Richard Gasquet in the last eight on Friday after Gasquet outlasted fellow Frenchman Gilles Simon in a marathon three-setter.
A mouthwatering Nadal-Federer final on Sunday awaits if the celebrated pair continue at the current rate.
Gutsy Del Potro recovered from a set down to win 3-6, 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 against rising star Zverev and will play Serbia’s Viktor Troicki, after he beat John Isner in the final match of the day.
The talented 20-year-old Zverev was going after his sixth title of a breakthrough season and was comfortable in the first set against Argentine Del Potro, the 2009 US Open champion and 16th seed.
The German prodigy and the 29-year-old, whose career has been beset by injury, went toe to toe in the second set and the tie break was just as tight until Del Potro grabbed the crucial mini-break.
And then came the turning point — and a flash of anger from third seed Zverev — as he yielded the crucial service break to go 3-2 down in the third set.
“Right now I’m very pissed off, as you can probably tell,” said Zverev afterwards, having smashed the racquet on the court, then trodden on it, and brutalized it further as he stomped back to his chair.
A fan at least came away with a demolished racquet for a souvenir after the young German handed it to a spectator.
“I don’t understand how I can lose a match where I get broken one time in three sets and not managed to get any chances on his serve,” said Zverev, who is tipped to one day make world number one.
“I’m a bit pissed off because I feel like I played well and that’s the upsetting part of it — I could have done great in this tournament.”
Del Potro, pushed to the brink of retirement by four wrist surgeries that saw his ranking slip as low as 1,045 at one point in his career, said Zverev would learn.
“I saw his frustration, for sure... But I think he’s still very young and he needs to keep learning, as he’s doing now,” said the Argentine, 23 in the world.
“He has everything to be in the top positions in the future, but these things happen.
“Remember when Roger (Federer) was young? He broke racquets too.”
Fourth seed Marin Cilic and Spain’s Albert Ramos-Vinolas go head to head in the other quarterfinal.


Sri Lanka’s Lakmal replaces banned Chandimal as skipper

Updated 23 June 2018
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Sri Lanka’s Lakmal replaces banned Chandimal as skipper

  • The West Indies are 1-0 up in the series with the final match, the first ever day-night Test in the Caribbean, due to begin later on Saturday in Barbados
  • Earlier this year, Australian cricket was rocked to its foundations after a player was caught applying sandpaper to the ball in a match in South Africa

COLOMBO: Sri Lanka on Saturday named Suranga Lakmal as skipper for the potentially series-saving third Test against the West Indies after Dinesh Chandimal lost his appeal against a one-match ban for ball tampering.
“Lakmal was appointed as the captain, in the absence of Dinesh Chandimal,” Sri Lanka Cricket said in a brief statement, without commenting on Chandimal’s case.
The West Indies are 1-0 up in the series with the final match, the first ever day-night Test in the Caribbean, due to begin later on Saturday in Barbados.
Chandimal, 28, was given the ban after being spotted by television cameras during the second Test applying saliva to the ball, apparently with a sweet in his mouth.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) on Friday dismissed Chandimal’s appeal. A fine of 100 percent of his match fee and two suspension points were also upheld.
Chandimal, coach Chandika Hathurusingha and manager Asanka Gurusinha also face possible disciplinary action after refusing to take to the field for two hours after the incident.
The three admitted on Friday “conduct... contrary to the spirit of the game” and will face a preliminary ICC hearing on July 10.
Hathurusinghe and Gurusinha were on Friday however allowed to continue to perform their duties in the meantime, including in the third Test.
Chandimal’s ban is the latest blow to Sri Lankan cricket following a string of defeats — including a Test and one-day whitewash to India — and corruption allegations.
Earlier this year, Australian cricket was rocked to its foundations after a player was caught applying sandpaper to the ball in a match in South Africa.
Steve Smith and David Warner were stripped of the captaincy and vice-captaincy respectively and banned from playing international cricket for 12 months.