Kyrgios disqualified as Federer, Nadal, Djokovic advance in Italian Open

Spain's Rafael Nadal in action during his second round match against France's Jeremy Chardy on Thursday. Reuters
Updated 16 May 2019
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Kyrgios disqualified as Federer, Nadal, Djokovic advance in Italian Open

  • The controversial 24-year-old storms off court after arguing with the umpire in the third set
  • The Australian firebrand had also criticized Djokovic and Nadal in an interview earlier

ROME: Australian firebrand Nick Kyrgios was disqualified from the Italian Open after an expletive-laden rant on Thursday as defending champion Rafael Nadal swept into the third round along with top seed Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer.
Kyrgios grabbed the headlines when he suffered a spectacular meltdown on Court Three against Norwegian qualifier Casper Ruud.
The controversial 24-year-old, who had marked his presence in Rome by criticizing Djokovic and Nadal in an interview on Wednesday, started arguing with the umpire in the third set.
World No. 36 Kyrgios had levelled the match at one set all but was given a game penalty early on in the third set for swearing.
His response was to kick out at a water bottle before throwing a chair onto the court, packing his bag and then storming off court, shouting “I am f...ing done.”
Kyrgios was automatically disqualified with Ruud winning 6-3, 6-7 (5/7), 2-1 to advance to the third round against former US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro.
Kyrgios had already been at the center of controversy during Wednesday’s washout when he told the NCR Tennis Podcast that Djokovic had “a sick obsession with wanting to be liked” and that the Serb’s post-match celebration was “cringeworthy.”
Nadal was described by the Australian as “super-salty.”
Meanwhile, Nadal crushed France’s Jeremy Chardy 6-0, 6-1, with Federer, a four-time runner-up, easing past Portugal’s Joao Sousa 6-4, 6-3, and Djokovic beating Canadian Denis Shapovalov 6-1, 6-3.
For 37-year-old Federer, returning to Italy for the first time since 2016, it was like a practice session.
“Like any other practice day when you play twice a day, you finish the first session, take a shower, eat something, relax, get ready for the next one,” said the 20-time Grand Slam winner.
“I think it gives me some good information. I believe it’s going to be similar conditions in the match this afternoon.”
Nadal said it was a “good start” as he targets a first title on clay this season before he starts the defense of his French Open crown from May 26.
“That’s important for what’s coming up,” said the eight-time Rome winner.
World number four Dominic Thiem slammed tournament organizers after he was dumped out 4-6, 6-4, 7-5 by Spain’s Fernando Verdasco.
Austrian Thiem complained competitors were left hanging around during the rain-impacted day 24 hours earlier.
“I really dislike how we players get treated at this tournament because yesterday was, in my opinion, not acceptable,” said last year’s French Open runner-up.
“I’m quite pissed about it. I was tired, exhausted, today because of all these shitty things,” he added.
Japan’s Kei Nishikori, the sixth seed, got past American Taylor Fritz 6-2, 6-4 and next meets Jan-Lennard Struff.
In the women’s competition, world No. 1 Naomi Osaka fought back after losing her serve early to ease past Dominika Cibulkova 6-3, 6-3 against the 33rd-ranked Slovak who she also beat last week in Madrid.
The Japanese star hit 44 winners and 12 aces, despite 25 unforced errors.
Osaka, the US Open and Australian Open champion, reached the third round in Rome for the first time in three appearances.
She was at risk of losing her world number one ranking to Simona Halep but the Romanian was knocked out by Czech teenager Marketa Vondrousova losing 2-6, 7-5, 6-3 having needed to win the tournament to regain top spot she last held in mid-January.
Halep’s defeat also guarantees Osaka’s top seed at the French Open.
Next up for the Japanese player on the clay of the Foro Italico is Romania’s Mihaela Buzarnescu.
Czech second seed Petra Kvitova eased past Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan 6-0, 6-1.


Unrivaled: India now 7-0 in World Cup games against Pakistan

Updated 17 June 2019
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Unrivaled: India now 7-0 in World Cup games against Pakistan

  • Conditions did not dampen the enthusiasm of a predominantly pro-India crowd 

MANCHESTER, UK: For such an intense rivalry, it is still a lopsided contest when India and Pakistan meet at the Cricket World Cup.

India extended their record to 7-0 against Pakistan at the World Cup with an 89-run victory in a rain-interrupted encounter Sunday that likely will remain the most-watched game of the six-week tournament.

India started ominously with Rohit Sharma scoring 140 from 113 deliveries and skipper Virat Kohli contributing 77 in a total of 336-5, a record for a One-Day International at Old Trafford.

Pakistan were always behind the run-rate required.

Fakhar Zaman (62) and Babar Azam (48) put on 104 for the second wicket but when both were dismissed by left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav within nine balls, Pakistan’s hopes faded with them.

When Hardik Pandya took wickets with consecutive deliveries in the 27th over, Pakistan were 129-5. And with a result in play because both teams had batted more than 20 overs, there was no chance of sharing points if rain prevented any more play. A delay after the 35th with Pakistan at 166-6 just prolonged the inevitable.

Pakistan were  set a revised target of 302 from 40 overs and the last five overs were a non-event with Pakistan finishing 212-6. India remained unbeaten in four games to start the tournament.

The conditions did not dampen the enthusiasm of a predominantly pro-India crowd that filled the 162-year-old venue to its 23,500 capacity. Seats were in excessively high demand, after all, with the International Cricket Council reporting more than 800,000 ticket applications for the game.

There is always extra significance when the nuclear-armed neighboring countries meet at ICC tournaments because India and Pakistan play cricket so infrequently in bilateral series.

This was no different, with a 1 billion-plus TV audience and an almost football-like atmosphere at the ground.

Kohli’s single to get off the mark was met by “Kohli-Kohli-Kohli” chants from the predominantly pro-India crowd.

Sharma set the tone with his second century of the tournament, sharing partnerships of 136 with KL Rahul (57) for the first wicket and 98 with Kohli for the second.

He seemed ready to really unleash when he needlessly paddled a ball from Hasan Ali to Wahab Riaz at short fine leg in the 38th over.

Kohli continued, becoming the third Indian batter to pass 11,000 ODI runs. In doing so in his 222nd innings, he became the fastest to reach the milestone.

Kohli was on 71 and India was 305-4 when rain stopped play for the first time in the 47th over. The India captain was caught behind off Mohammad Amir’s bowling not long after he returned from the 55-minute rain break and, surprisingly, walked off before umpire Marais Erasmus had a chance to signal him out.

There was some speculation Kohli did not edge the ball but it was inconsequential in the end, as India passed Sri Lanka’s 318-7 against England in 2006 to set the highest ODI total in Manchester.

After a batting onslaught at the top, Pakistan pegged back the run-rate slightly as Amir (3-47) dismissed Pandya (26) and then had MS Dhoni (1) and Kohli caught behind — both the ex-captain and captain walking.

Things started going haywire for Pakistan after skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed won the toss and fielded, going against the advice sent via social media by Prime Minister and 1992 World Cup-winning captain Imran Khan.

Overcast and cool overhead conditions that usually would favor swing and seam bowling didn’t greatly assist the Pakistan attack, with India racing to 52-0 in its most productive opening power play of the tournament.

The Pakistan pacemen had trouble with the umpires, with Amir and Wahab each cautioned twice for running on the protected area in the middle of the pitch. One further warning would have resulted in a suspension.

It also didn’t help that opener Imam-ul-Haq got out in rare circumstances to Vijay Shankar’s very first delivery at a World Cup — it coming on the fifth ball of Pakistan’s fifth over after Shankar was asked to finish it off for injured teammate Bhuveshwar Kumar.

Pakistan’s next game is at Lord’s against South Africa, which also has three points and only remote prospects of reaching the semifinals.