‘Excited’ Caroline Wozniacki stutters into Australian Open semifinal

Caroline Wozniacki celebrates after defeating Spain's Carla Suarez Navarro during their quarterfinal at the Australian Open. (AP)
Updated 24 January 2018
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‘Excited’ Caroline Wozniacki stutters into Australian Open semifinal

MELBOURNE: Second seed Caroline Wozniacki withstood a fightback from Spain's unseeded Carla Suarez Navarro to stutter into the semi-finals of the Australian Open 6-0, 6-7 (3/7), 6-2.
"I knew it was going to be tough against her because in the first set a lot of games were very close," said the Dane, who is into a second semi-final at Melbourne Park, after losing her first against China's Li Na back in 2011.
"Another semi-final here, I'm excited," she added after completing a see-saw win in 2 hour 11 minutes.
Wozniacki will face another unseeded player, Elise Mertens of Belgium, on Thursday for a place in the final.
"She's had a very good start to the year, she's unbeaten I think," she said of Mertens.
The former world No. 1 has often failed to live up to the hype in the majors, but in the opening set she outplayed Suarez Navarro who was trying to become the first Spaniard to make the last four since Conchita Martinez in 2000.
Wozniacki was 100 percent successful with service returns and had just three unforced errors in as near a perfect display as is possible over 34 one-sided minutes against the world No. 39.
Her level inevitably dropped and she had to fend off a break point at the start of the second.
Suarez Navarro finally got on the board in the eighth game to prevent a dreaded "double bagel" 6-0, 6-0 scoreline.
It fired up the gritty Spaniard and she sparked the late night crowd into life by breaking Wozniacki, whose accuracy began to desert her.
"She improved and made me step behind the baseline," said Wozniacki. "That made the difference."
Suarez Navarro suddenly found her timing and had a break point in the next service game which the Dane saved with her sixth ace before breaking back to level at 4-4.
Serving at 4-5 Suarez Navarro, who was in her sixth Grand Slam quarter-final and third in Australia but had never progressed further, saved a match point before taking it to a third on her first set point in the tiebreak.
"I was disappointed after I had my chance to win in the second set," said Wozniacki.
"But I'm proud to have stayed cool and close it out in the third."
Wozniacki regrouped and at 1-1 broke Suarez Navarro's serve.
When she repeated the dose to lead 5-2, the Spaniard's resolve was broken and she served out at 1:38 am on Wednesday morning in another late-night finish.


Danish Kaneria admits guilt in spot-fixing scandal

Updated 18 October 2018
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Danish Kaneria admits guilt in spot-fixing scandal

LONDON: Pakistan’s Danish Kaneria has finally admitted his role in a fixing scandal that led to the imprisonment of former Essex team-mate Mervyn Westfield after six years of denials.
Kaneria, who was given a life ban by English cricket chiefs that effectively applied worldwide, said: “My name is Danish Kaneria and I admit that I was guilty of the two charges brought against me by the England and Wales Cricket Board in 2012.”
Leg-spinner Kaneria, who insisted he was repentant as he called for his life ban to be overturned, added: “I want to apologize to Mervyn Westfield, my Essex team-mates, my Essex cricket club, my Essex cricket fans. I say sorry to Pakistan.”
Westfield spent two months at Belmarsh prison in south-east London after pleading guilty to accepting £6,000 ($7,862) from an illegal bookmaker, Anu Bhatt, to concede 12 runs in his first over of an English county 40-over game against Durham in 2009. He conceded only 10, but still took the money.
Kaneria was the “middle-man” in the scam, having introduced Westfield to Bhatt, but avoided criminal charges when English legal authorities decided they lacked the evidence for a conviction.
Now 37, Kaneria remains Pakistan’s leading spinner with 261 Test wickets.

FORGIVENESS

He last played for Pakistan in the Trent Bridge Test of 2010, and has not appeared in any first-class game since March 2012, with all major boards upholding the ECB ban under International Cricket Council guidance.
“I want to ask people’s forgiveness,” said Kaneria.
“Cricket has given me so much in my life and I want to give something back.
“If the ECB and ICC and other bodies would give me a second chance I can help to educate young people in cricket, teach them that if you do wrong you are finished like me.”
Kaneria said the fear of embarrassing his father, who died in 2013 and had been suffering from cancer, explained part of the reason behind his repeated denials of wrongdoing.
“His health was getting worse and worse,” he recalled.
“I didn’t have the courage to face him and tell him that I was wrong. He was a very, very proud guy. Very, very proud of me and what I did, representing Pakistan, representing my country.
“I want to apologize to my father, who has always been a role model for me.”
Meanwhile Westfield told the Daily Mail he accepted Kaneria’s apology, saying: “This whole chapter of spot-fixing changed my life, but I have never blamed anyone for the terrible mistake I made.
“However, opening up about my wrongdoing and telling the truth allowed me to move on,” added Westfield, now 30, who was banned from professional cricket for five years after being released from jail but has since played club and minor county matches.
“I hope that Danish finds peace and closure by doing this, and I wish him all the best for the future.”