Federer, Serena storm into quarters

Updated 22 January 2013
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Federer, Serena storm into quarters

MELBOURNE: Roger Federer delivered another stinging lesson to the next generation of men’s tennis at the Australian Open yesterday, mauling Canadian Milos Raonic in straight sets to extend his record to a 35th consecutive grand slam quarterfinal.
Federer completed his 6-4, 7-6, 6-2 masterclass in less than two hours under the lights of Rod Laver Arena, where defending champion Novak Djokovic had toiled for five in a huge scare against another Swiss, Stanislas Wawrinka, the night before.
Federer’s emphatic win followed Serena Williams’s 6-2, 6-0 demolition of Maria Kirilenko, which set up her own generational battle with teenager Sloane Stephens.
Williams needed a measly 57 minutes to secure her 35th grand slam quarterfinal, and will face another woman in a hurry in teenager Stephens.
The wise-cracking 19-year-old has been touted as an heir to the 15-times grand slam champion Williams and bolstered her credentials with a poised 6-1, 3-6, 7-5 win over Serbia’s Bojana Jovanovski in the afternoon sun at Hisense Arena.
Williams defeated the impressive Stephens in the leadup tournament in Brisbane, and stopped short of describing herself as a mentor to the up-and-comer.
“I don’t know. I mean, I would need a better definition of the word ‘mentor’,” the 31-year-old told reporters.
“It’s hard to be a real mentor when you’re still in competition.” If Williams needed any inspiration as to how to smack down the next generation, she would have done well to remain at Rod Laver Arena to watch the Swiss maestro.
Federer drew Raonic’s sting in a tight second set before romping to victory with 34 sparkling winners to set up a quarterfinal with France’s Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
It was the 31-year-old Swiss’s second straight win over a vaunted youngster, having swatted away Australian upstart Bernard Tomic in the previous round.
“It would be fun to play seven five-setters in a row ... but it’s not really what you want to do,” Federer said courtside after sending the big-serving 22-year-old packing.
Stephens can afford to buy something sparkling after qualifying for her first grand slam quarterfinal, which secured A$250,000 ($263,000) in prize-money.
“I’m sure my mum’s had, like, four heart attacks,” Stephens said courtside, raising a laugh from the crowd.
“I try to save all my money because I don’t want to be old and broke. I’m still trying to save my money but I’ll definitely buy something nice.” Britain’s Andy Murray has not lost a set at Melbourne Park and derived little joy from his 6-1, 6-3, 6-1 clobbering of shattered 14th seed Simon, with the Frenchman reduced to a staggering wreck in the closing stages.
Simon had been exhausted by compatriot Gael Monfils in a five-set marathon in his previous match and could do little more than stick out his racket and hope as he slumped to his 10th straight loss to the Scot.
The monotoned Murray has made an art form of sounding unexcited about rollicking victories, but struck a new depth of melancholy as he lamented the lack of competition at his post-match media conference.
“It was kind of tough. A tough situation for both players — more obviously for him ... It didn’t feel like that competitive,” said Murray, who will face another Frenchman in surprise package Jeremy Chardy.
Four Frenchmen advanced to the last 16 at Melbourne Park for the first time since 1998 and 36th-ranked Chardy kept the tricolore flag waving with a 5-7, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 win over 21st seeded Italian Andreas Seppi to continue his fairytale run.
That secured Chardy’s maiden grand slam quarterfinal and ensured France would have two men in the last eight, with seventh seed Tsonga grinding down ninth-seeded compatriot Richard Gasquet 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2.
Unfancied and unseeded, the scruffy-bearded Chardy stunned sixth seed Juan Martin del Potro in his previous match and said he had nothing to lose against Murray, who he beat in straight sets in Cincinnati last year after losing all four of their previous matches.
“(It’s) just like a dream,” the thrilled 25-year-old told reporters. “I know I can beat everybody. So when I feel confident, I believe in me. Against Del Potro, I played a very good match. So it was good for my head.
World number one Victoria Azarenka was back at her ruthless best in a 6-1, 6-1 demolition of 47th-ranked Russian Elena Vesnina after being taken the distance in her previous match by American Jamie Hampton.
She faces a stiffer challenge in the quarter-finals against another Russian in Svetlana Kuznetsova, who sent 10th seed Caroline Wozniacki spinning out of the tournament and out of the top 10 when the next round of rankings are released.
Kuznetsova, the 2004 US Open champion and winner at Roland Garros in 2009, spent much of last year on crutches with a knee injury, and was thrilled to secure her third quarterfinal at Melbourne Park.
“If you had asked me before coming to Australia I would have laughed, definitely,” Kuznetsova said of her surprising run.


Juan Antonio Pizzi is still the right man to lead Saudi Arabia, says former Green Falcons boss

Updated 22 June 2018
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Juan Antonio Pizzi is still the right man to lead Saudi Arabia, says former Green Falcons boss

  • Saudi Arabia's 1996 Asian Cup-winning coach Nelo Vingada backs Pizzi to lead side into next year's Asian Cup.
  • Green Falcons face Egypt on Monday with both looking to land their first point in Russia.

MOSCOW: Saudi Arabia’s 1996 Asian Cup-winning boss Nelo Vingada has called on the country’s football authorities to keep faith with head coach Juan Antonio Pizzi despite a disappointing showing in Russia.
The Green Falcons still have to face Egypt in the final match of Group A, but have already been eliminated following a 5-0 defeat at the hands of Russia in the opening game on June 14 in Moscow and a 1-0 loss to Uruguay five days later in Rostov.
 “I was expecting a little more from Saudi Arabia to be honest,” Vingada told Arab News.
“In the first game they were disappointing but a first game of the World Cup is always hard and especially when it is the first game and everyone is watching. Plenty of teams at the World Cup did not play well in the first game.
“But playing Russia in Russia and to lose is what you would normally expect from Saudi Arabia and while it was far from positive, people should not get carried away.
“The game with Uruguay was much improved in terms of organization and defense and it showed more of the character of the Saudi Arabia team.”
In the past, coaches have been axed following disappointing World Cup campaigns but with the 2019 Asian Cup just seven months away, the Portuguese tactician would prefer to see some stability rather than yet another new man in the dugout.
 “The Asian Cup is in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia will be one of the contenders,” Vingada said. “It is better to stay with the same coach. He has a vision of how he wants the team to play and he now knows the players and the players know him.”
Constant changing has not helped Saudi Arabia in the past and Pizzi himself has been in the job just seven months.
“The problem is not the coach. He should not be changed, that has happened before but results did not improve, but the mentality has to change.”
Despite that Vingada, who has coached 
Egyptian club giants Zamalek and the country’s Under-23 team, believes that the Pharaohs, also eliminated, will prevail when the two regional rivals meet on Monday in Volgograd.
 “This is an important game for pride, the players and the countries. It is still the World Cup. Egypt have a little more quality I think and have Mohamed Salah too.” 
The Liverpool striker has been recovering from a shoulder injury sustained in the Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid in late May and missed the opening game 1-0 loss to Uruguay. He played in the second game, a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Russia, scoring from the spot late in the match to earn a consolation.
“Any coach would take Salah because he can win you games but overall Egypt have been a little disappointing and a little unlucky.”
The bad luck came when conceding a last-minute goal to Uruguay and a fluke own goal to get Russia off the mark. “Uruguay are a tough team and it is no shame to lose 3-1 to a Russia team at home who are playing to qualify for the next round. It showed that European and South American teams still have a little more quality.”
 “Egypt just made some mistakes at the wrong time but this is football and without mistakes there are no goals.”
Ahead of the clash against Egypt Pizzi confirmed his intention to stay as Saudi Arabia boss, looking to build on the seven months he has had to imprint his ideas on the team ahead of the Asian Cup.