India star Sania Mirza confident of winning Asian Games medal, despite injury

Updated 14 February 2018
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India star Sania Mirza confident of winning Asian Games medal, despite injury

NEW DELHI: Indian tennis star Sania Mirza is confident of continuing her Asian Games record with another medal in this year's event — if she recovers from injury in time.
Mirza, regarded as India's best ever women's tennis player, has achieved at least one medal at every Asiad meet since 2006 and hopes this year's games in Indonesia will be no different.
But the 31-year-old has been sidelined since October with a knee injury, and her former No. 1 doubles ranking — the first ever for an Indian in the women's event — has slipped to 14.
Mirza said she has every intention of competing in the Games starting August, if her knee had recovered.
"I am hoping to be back within a couple of months," she told AFP in an interview in New Delhi on Tuesday.
"I have always come back with a medal so if I go, then hopefully I will come back with one again."
Her last Asiad appearance in South Korea in 2014 resulted in a gold in the mixed doubles and bronze in the doubles event.
Mirza made waves in 2005 as the first Indian to win a WTA singles title. She reached the fourth round of the US Open in the same year, and by 2007 was among the best 30 women's players in the world.
But a wrist injury ended her singles dream and focused her energies into doubles tennis, where a partnership with Swiss great Martina Hingis earned them three Grand Slam titles.
They later split in 2016.
The Indian star rated Serena Williams the "greatest player" of the open era, and predicted she would return top of her game after giving birth to a girl in September last year.
There was "unbelievable depth" in the women's game, she added.
"A person who is five in the world may win a slam, or a person you have never heard of may win," Mirza said.


Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City ease past Huddersfield to cut Liverpool’s Premier League lead

Updated 20 January 2019
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Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City ease past Huddersfield to cut Liverpool’s Premier League lead

HUDDERSFIELD: Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola was far from satisfied despite a 3-0 win away to Huddersfield Town on Sunday that saw his side cut Liverpool’s lead at the top of the Premier League table to four points.
Liverpool’s compelling 4-3 win over Crystal Palace on Saturday heaped huge pressure back onto reigning champions City but they were rarely troubled by a Town side that look a certain bet for relegation this season.
City’s first goal, a deflected strike for Danilo in the 18th minute, brought up their 100th goal of the season in all competitions before Raheem Sterling scored a diving header from Leroy Sane’s cross in the 54th minute and Sane himself made it 3-0 with a calm finish just two minutes later.
For Guardiola, it should have been an afternoon of enjoyment as his side again proved their willingness to push Liverpool all the way this season.
The City manager, however, has forged a footballing reputation based on sublime performances as well as ruthless goalscoring and, on that basis, his team’s showing in West Yorkshire was not a success as the visitors never really clicked into gear on a day against a Huddersfield side who had parted company with manager David Wagner on Monday.
“During the season you have these kind of games,” Guardiola said. “It is important to win. We have scored many goals in all competitions.
“(But) the way we played, we didn’t deserve more than three goals. We will improve in the future.
“We have to demand more from ourselves in every game and do our best, but sometimes it’s difficult.
“Today we are happy we have won but after immediately we have to analyze. During the season you have games when maybe you are not in the top level and it is important to win these games.”
Although City’s fans were happier than their manager following this result, Guardiola could at least take some heart from the fact his side again refused to blink first in the race for the title.
For the second consecutive week, City kicked off knowing Liverpool had already won their weekend fixture and that, consequently, the onus was back on his players to secure three points as well.
Once again, Guardiola’s side managed to do that following up the 3-0 victory over Wolves with this showing and the City manager was more than happy to remind everybody that silverware is not handed out for another four months.
“One team has been better but we’re in January and there’s many more games to play,” he added.
“You don’t win or lose the Premier League in January. We have to focus on what we have to do. If Liverpool win, we have to win. And if Liverpool lose then we also have to win.”
This match was a baptism of fire for Huddersfield’s caretaker boss Mark Hudson and while the Terriers showed impressive fight to inspire some hope this season, this defeat still left them 10 points adrift of safety.
If, as expected, the Borussia Dortmund Under-23 coach Jan Siewert is appointed as Wagner’s permanent replacement, nobody would blame him if he spent his first day in the job preparing for a return to the second-tier Championship next season.
“It’s been a long week,” admitted Hudson.