Federer reaches Rogers Cup final

Roger Federer of Switzerland hits a backhand against Robin Haase of the Netherlands (not pictured) during the Rogers Cup tennis tournament at Uniprix Stadium Saturday. (USA TODAY Sports)
Updated 13 August 2017
0

Federer reaches Rogers Cup final

MONTREAL: Roger Federer continued his longest winning streak in five years by reaching the Rogers Cup final.
The second-seeded Federer used a 6-3, 7-6 (5) victory over unseeded Robin Haase of the Netherlands on Saturday to reach his sixth final of the year and win his 16th consecutive match.
He had considering skipping the event, which would have been disastrous for the promoters with world No. 1 Andy Murray as well as Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka already out with injuries. But Federer decided to play and now has a chance to add to a tally that includes Australian Open and Wimbledon titles this year.
“I’m very happy that I’ve made it here,” he said. “It was a good decision for me. If I would have known I would have gone to the finals, I would have said ‘yes’ right away. Sometimes you’ve just got to wait and see how you feel. I’m most happy that I’m actually really healthy going into the finals. I haven’t wasted too much energy. I’ve been able to keep points short. I’ve been really clean at net. I think my concentration and just my playing has gone up a notch. I’m just playing better.”
Federer is looking for a third Rogers Cup title, but his first in Montreal, having won in 2004 and 2006 in Toronto. A victory would give Federer, currently ranked third in the world, one of the top two seeds at the US Open beginning Aug. 28 in New York.
The 36-year-old Federer has his longest winning streak since 2012. Next up is 20-year-old Alexander Zverev, who stopped Denis Shapovalov’s impressive run with a 6-4, 7-5 victory in the second semifinal.
Federer has won their three meetings, including a victory over the German on grass in June.
Shapovalov’s tournament included consecutive wins over 2009 US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro and top-seeded Spanish star Rafael Nadal. The victories, and the shaggy-haired youngster’s style and skill on the court, announced his presence not only to Canadian fans but to the tennis world.
“My whole life has changed in the past five days,” he said. “It’s crazy how it is.
“I mean, I go from being not known to being so known in the tennis world, in Canada in general. It’s going to be a little bit of a change to me. I’m going to have to adapt. But that doesn’t change things. I still have to work really hard every day.”
Flag-waving fans in the packed grandstands at Uniprix Stadium were hoping for more magic, but Zverev was too strong, winning 81 percent of the points off his serve compared to 64 percent for Shapovalov.
Haase, who upset seventh-seeded Grigor Dimitrov in the third round, was in his first career semifinal of a Masters Series tournament.
“I hope it gives me a lot of confidence,” Haase said of his performance for the week. “Next week (in Cincinnati), different conditions, different courts, so it’s tournament by tournament. But, in general, to make an achievement like this is good because it shows you can do it.”


FIFA: Iran must allow women into football games

Updated 20 September 2019

FIFA: Iran must allow women into football games

DUBAI: The ban on women attending football matches in Iran is “unacceptable” and must be lifted, the head of the sports’ world governing body said in a statement.

FIFA’s position is “clear and firm” and that women “have to be allowed” into football stadiums in the country, according to president Gianni Infantino.

Iran’s ban on women attending sports stadiums was put in place shortly after the 1979 Islamic Revolution, despite international pressure to let them attend.

Infantino’s call comes shortly after the death of Sahar Khodayari, a female fan who set herself on fire after she was denied access to a football stadium in Tehran.

Khodayari, dubbed the “Blue Girl” because of the colors of the team she supported, Esteghlal FC, was detained and charged with “openly committing a sinful act” by “appearing in public without a hijab” after attempting to enter a stadium “dressed as a man” in March.

She died of her injuries on September 9 in a hospital after setting herself on fire outside a court earlier this month.

“I am hopeful that the Iranian Federation and the Iranian authorities were receptive to our repeated calls to address this unacceptable situation,” Infantino said in a statement.

“I contacted them several times in the recent past and so has the FIFA administration. We have a delegation of FIFA members in Iran at the moment and I am looking forward to hearing good news from them.

“We understand there are steps and processes that need to be taken before this is done in a proper and safe way but now is the moment to change things and FIFA is expecting positive developments starting in the next Iran home match in October.”

Iran’s Vice President for Women and Family Affairs Masoumeh Ebtekar has asked the judiciary to investigate the circumstances of Khodayari’s death, although the department’s spokesman, Gholamhossein Esmaili, has said that Khodayari “had clearly confessed her mistake during questioning, accepted it and expressed regret.”

FIFA has sent a letter to the to the Iranian Football Federation in June, requesting a timeline that would allow women to be able to buy tickets for World Cup qualifiers. Iran’s men’s national team takes on Cambodia in a World Cup qualifying game on October 10.