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Dominic Thiem to face Alexander Zverev in US Open 2020 men’s singles final


Dominic Thiem to face Alexander Zverev in US Open 2020 men’s singles final

Thiem displayed his trademark fighting spirit to beat third-seeded Medvedev 6-2, 7-6(7), 7-6(5) in a match that lasted almost three hours.

Second-seeded Dominic Thiem overcame a left ankle injury to enter his first US Open final, beating Daniil Medvedev in a pulsating semi-final clash at the Arthur Ashe Stadium.

On Friday evening, Thiem displayed his trademark fighting spirit to beat third-seeded Medvedev 6-2, 7-6(7), 7-6(5) in a match that lasted almost three hours. He will play No. 4 Alexander Zverev of Germany in Sunday’s final. Each is looking for his first major win.

“After the first set, it could easily have been two-sets-to-one down,” Thiem said after the match as per the official tournament website. “I played my best tennis at the ends of the sets and both tiebreaks were amazing. Tiebreaks are really mentally a tough thing.”

“I don’t like them at all, to be honest,” he added.

Earlier, Zverev made it to his first Grand Slam final, dismissing Pablo Carreno Busta, 3-6, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-3 in three and a half hours to advance to the championship round of the tournament.

“Even though I was down two sets to love, I stayed in it,” Zverev said of his mental toughness after the match. “I gave myself the best chance I could. I think a lot of players would have gone away. Today I dug deep, dug very deep. At the end of the day, I’m sitting here as the winner of that match, which could have been very different.”




Need to keep mentality that helped Liverpool in winning Premier League: Trent Alexander-Arnold


Need to keep mentality that helped Liverpool in winning Premier League: Trent Alexander-Arnold

Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool begin the new campaign at home to newly-promoted Leeds United on Saturday.

Liverpool defender Trent Alexander-Arnold feels the reigning English Premier League champions have to adapt and improve if they are to defend their crown.

Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool begin the new campaign at home to newly-promoted Leeds United on Saturday.

“For us it’s not about topping the points that we got or scoring more goals, it’s about if we can all develop as a team and keep winning,” Alexander-Arnold told Sky Sports News.

“We need to keep that mentality, that is the main thing that helped us get this far.”

Alexander-Arnold added they need to match the mentality of their previous season and march on.

“We know that there’s now a big target on our backs being the champions and teams are going to be extra motivated when they play us, so we need to match that mentality and take it to the next step. Winning it back-to-back is harder than winning it once.”




US Open: Victoria Azarenka rallies to defeat Serena Williams, sets up final clash with Naomi Osaka


US Open: Victoria Azarenka rallies to defeat Serena Williams, sets up final clash with Naomi Osaka

In a pulsating semi-final match at the Arthur Ashe Stadium on Thursday, Victoria Azarenka defeated Serena Williams 1-6, 6-3, 6-3.

Former world number one Victoria Azarenka on Thursday rallied to beat 23 times Grand Slam champion Serena Williams in the semifinals of the women’s singles competition of the ongoing US Open.

In what was a pulsating last-four encounter, Azarenka went past the six-time US Open champion 1-6, 6-3, 6-3 after one hour and 55 minutes to reach her third final. The 31-year-old will face Japan’s Naomi Osaka in the marquee clash.

“Seven is my favourite number, so I guess it’s meant to be,” Azarenka noted, joking about the gap between major final appearances during her on-court interview as per the WTA website.

“I’m very grateful for this opportunity, to be able to play such a champion in a semifinal. The road to the final requires you to beat the best players, and today was definitely that day.

“Hopefully this inspires women to go after their dreams. I feel like you can’t always identify yourself as just one thing, because we have many things we can do in our lives.

“A parent is the most important thing I can be in my life, but I’m also a tennis player, a fighter on the court. I want to go after my personal dreams, to inspire my child. I hope women around the world know they can do anything. Being a parent is the toughest thing, so once you can balance that, you can do anything,” the unseeded player added.

In the other semi-final, 2018 US Open champion Osaka edged past number 28 seed Jennifer Brady in a three-set thriller. The world number 8 won 7-6(1), 3-6, 6-3.

Osaka fired home 35 winner while committing 17 unforced errors en route to her second final at the Flushing Meadows in New York. The 22-year-old has so far player only two Grand Slam finals (2018 US Open and 2019 Australian Open) and won them both.

“Sometimes I think I have no choice but to play as hard as I can, because my opponent isn’t giving me any looks,” Osaka said in her post-match press conference. “For me, normally if I focus that much, then the match potentially could be over in two. But I felt like it just kept going on.

“Honestly, it was a bit fun because that quality of an opponent… at the final stages of a tournament. Yeah, it was fun,” she added.


 
 

 

 




US Open: Rohan Bopanna, Denis Shapalov move to second round of men’s doubles


US Open: Rohan Bopanna, Denis Shapalov move to second round of men’s doubles

Bopanna and Shapovalov will now lock horns with German pair of Kevin Krawietz and Andreas Miles — who had defeated the Australian pair of Luke Saville and Max Purcell

The Indo-Canadian pair of Rohan Bopanna and Denis Shapovalov have made it to the second round of the men’s doubles event at the ongoing US Open after defeating the American pair of Ernesto Escobedo and Noah Rubin in straight sets.

On Friday, Bopanna and Shapovalov beat 6-2,6-4 in a match that lasted one hour and 22 minutes.

After the win, Bopanna took to Twitter and wrote, “Through to the second round. Denis Shapovalov #USOpen.”


 
Bopanna and Shapovalov will now lock horns with German pair of Kevin Krawietz and Andreas Miles — who had defeated the Australian pair of Luke Saville and Max Purcell — for a place in the quarterfinals.




‘Imposssible to pay 700m’: Lionel Messi takes u-turn, decides to stay at Barcelona


‘Imposssible to pay 700m’: Lionel Messi takes u-turn, decides to stay at Barcelona

However, Lionel Messi was very critical of Bartomeu, accusing him of “not keeping his word” and also criticising the direction of the club in recent years.

Barcelona veteran Lionel Messi has taken a U-turn and decided to remain at the club till the end of the next season. Citing that it would be impossible to pay the 700m euro release clause, Messi said he would complete his four-year contact.

Messi, whose contract with Barcelona runs till the end of the 2020-21 season, had earlier expressed his desire to leave the Catalan club. But, on Friday he said that he would want to leave as a free agent and not drag his childhood club to a legal battle.

Also, his explosive interview with goal.com, where Messi shed light on his future, should ring an alarm bell in Barcelona management. The 33-year-old has explained how he felt in recent months.

“I didn’t feel happy this last year at the club,” explained Messi.

“I have been (wanting to leave) all year. I thought the team needed younger players and I thought my epoch at Barcelona had ended. It was a complicated year. I suffered a lot in training, in games and in the dressing room. Everything was very difficult and there came a moment when I decided to look for new objectives.”

“I wanted to go, and I was in my right to do so, because my contract said I was free. I wanted to go because I was thinking about being happy in my last years in football,” he commented.

Messi’s father and agent, Jorge, had arrived in Barcelona on Wednesday to find a solution to tussle between the footballer and the club. Barcelona had maintained that Messi’s contract had a clause that allowed him to move out of the club for free, but it needed to be activated by June 10.

The lawyers of the six-time Ballon d’Or winners, on the other hand, argue that the clause doesn’t refer to a specific date but to 10 days after the end of the 2019-20 season.

European season generally ends of May 30. But, due to coronavirus pandemic, the last season ended last week with the final of Champions League being played on August 23.

Thus, Messi’s lawyers believe that the Argentine captain was in his legal right on wanting to leave. But the Argentine has refused to move to the court against the club which he had joined at the age of 13.

“I will continue at Barca and my attitude will not change no matter how much I have wanted to go. I will do my best. I always want to win, I’m competitive and I don’t like to lose anything. I always want the best for the club, for the dressing room and for myself,” Messi said.

“I thought and was sure that I was free to leave, the president always said that at the end of the season I could decide if I stayed or not.

“Now they cling to the fact that I did not say it before June 10, when it turns out that on June 10 we were competing for La Liga in the middle of this awful coronavirus and this disease altered all the season.

“And this is the reason why I am going to continue in the club. Now I am going to continue in the club because the president told me that the only way to leave was to pay the 700 million clause, and that this is impossible.

“I love Barcelona and I’m not going to find a better place than here anywhere. Still, I have the right to decide. I was going to look for new goals and new challenges. And tomorrow I could go back, because here in Barcelona I have everything.”




Coronavirus in sport: Why the ICC needs to expand the possible ways to shine the cricket ball


Coronavirus in sport: Why the ICC needs to expand the possible ways to shine the cricket ball

On Thursday after the second day of the first Test between England and West Indies, fast bowler Mark Wood said that the English seam bowlers were using sweat from their back instead of their saliva to let the ball swing the ball better.

The fast bowlers union – a name coined by the late great Malcolm Marshall – had agreed that they would not use saliva on the ball, given the dangers it could pose given the impact the novel coronavirus, COVID-19 has had on the world, leave alone sport.

Wood – and in all likelihood – most fast bowlers, talking about ways to get the ball to do their bidding and most of them may use their sweat. Twenty-five years ago, another fast bowler – South Africa’s Fanie de Vlliers – had a unique way of getting the ball to swing. Instead of using saliva, Fanie would shove the ball into his armpit. Although the umpires often grumbled about it, Fanie reckoned using spit to shine the ball was even worse.

Australian paceman Merv Hughes had a different approach. He used the shining the ball as a way to intimidate the batsman. Tall, big built and with a walrus-like moustache, Hughes would lick the ball while glaring at the batsman and then rub the ball on his crotch while snarling at them. It’s difficult to point out the reason behind his success: the effect of the swing the ball got or the intimidatory tactics that he employed.

But the coronavirus pandemic and the reintroduction of cricket after a lengthy gap is the perfect moment for the ICC to rethink its rules for fast bowlers

Given that batsmen have the advantage in both Tests and ODI cricket, given the width of the bats, bowlers need to have some leeway and the best way they can have this by legalizing the tampering of the cricket ball.

Of course, we’re not talking about the way Steve Smith and Cameron Bancroft did it, using sandpaper or a sharp object. We’re talking more of the use of petroleum jelly such as Vaseline instead of sweat, so that getting the additional reverse swing will help the bowlers.

Vaseline has been used a few times in international cricket, the most infamous case in 1977 when John Lever, a fast-medium bowler from Essex used it to give the ball extra swing in the third and final Test in Madras (now Chennai). England, which was led by the late Tony Greig, was leading the series 2-0. Lever reportedly tampered with the ball in the first two Test matches, but was called out for tampering with the ball only in the third Test.

England tried defending their actions saying that the Madras heat forced them to keep rubbing their eyes to take out the sweat, which inadvertently ended up on the ball, causing it to swing more. India captain Bishan Singh Bedi even commented that had there been an ICC at the time, a number of people from the English side would have been without jobs.

But 1977 was 43 years ago, and a lot has changed in cricket starting with neutral umpires, third umpires, and the use of technology to review an umpire’s decision.

If the ICC does expand the possible ways to shine the ball, it will be good for the game, and will give fast bowlers something to look forward to in a game that has suddenly become dominated by batsmen. And while Kane Williamson, Virat Kohli, Steve Smith and Joe Root are some of the best in the business today, it’ll be interesting to see how their technique changes if the bowlers are given equal advantage. And adding that extra shine to the ball, may help make cricket great again.




Manchester United beat Aston Villa 3-0 – highlights, stats and comments


Manchester United beat Aston Villa 3-0 – highlights, stats and comments

On Friday, Manchester United became the first team to win four consecutive matches with a margin of 3 goals or more as they spanked Aston Villa 3-0 in a Fernandes-inspired performance that also saw another precise finish from Mason Greenwood.

Aston Villa actually had the better shots in the first exchanges and Trézéguet should’ve done better he dispossessed Paul Pogba in midfield.

The miss proved vital as Fernandes won and converted a penalty which Aston Villa felt was unfair.

The second goal was a thing of beauty, as Mason Greenwood continued to show why Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says he is the best teenage finisher he has seen as he took a 20-yard shot, with his ostensible weaker right foot, that left Pepe Reina rooted to the spot.

The teenager now has one goal less than most goals by a teenager in United colours, a record held by George Best, Brian Kidd and Wayne Rooney.

Paul Pogba finished off the game with a precise shot from outside the box to score his first goal since April 2019.

United could have had far more goals as Aaron Wan-Bissaka missed a sitter from six yard and Anthony Martial hit the bar.

Highlight:


Stats

- Manchester United haven’t lost a game since January.

- They have gone 10 games unbeaten, the current longest unbeaten run in the league.

- Manchester United are the firs team to beat an opponent on every day of the week in the Premier League

- Man Utd are the first team in Premier League history to win four consecutive games by 3+goals.

- The result leaves United one point behind Leicester City as the race for Europe hots up

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Commentary

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on Mason Greenwood:

On Greenwood’s potential: “We’ll have to wait and see. He’s got to look after himself. I’m doing my bit to help him but he’s got to do it. He’s the one that’s got to turn in performances at training, in the games and to live his life properly. It’s all down to him. He can go as far as he wants to. He’s an exceptional finisher. He’s been in the club for so long and he knows what we want for him and he knows we believe in him. You can’t leave players out when they score goals. It’s almost impossible.”

Pogba on United’s season -

“We didn’t win the Premier League. We didn’t win anything this year so obviously we have to keep working. There is a lot to do. A lot. We’re pleased with ourselves but we know we have to carry on. We are a big club and we want to keep the level up always. The performance today and the last few weeks have been very good and are the standard of Manchester United.”

Former United captain Gary Neville on front three

“Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane are matured, they are established, they are the real deal - the best front three in the Premier League. I was saying that even when Manchester City were winning the league. The three that United have got are not at the level of Liverpool's front three yet, you wouldn't expect them to be, but they have the talent and ability. "There were questions whether Rashford was good enough, whether Martial was good enough and Greenwood hadn't obviously emerged back then, but they are proving they are good enough, that they can play and that they will get better. The Liverpool front three are ahead, but it is exciting for Manchester United. If you believe in young players and give them opportunities in the positions they want to play in, you will be amazed what you can achieve."




Happy Birthday Sourav Ganguly: Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, others extend birthday wishes to former Indian captain


Happy Birthday Sourav Ganguly: Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, others extend birthday wishes to former Indian captain

The legendary former India captain and current BCCI president Sourav Ganguly turned 48 on Wednesday, and the Indian cricket fraternity took to social media to extend birthday wishes.

Touted to be one of the best captains the country has ever produced, Ganguly is widely credited for making India an aggressive side and instilling belief in the team that they could win overseas conditions as well.

Sachin Tendulkar was among the first ones to extend birthday wishes to his former opening partner. "Happy birthday Dadi! Hope our off-field partnership keeps going strong like our on-field ones. Wish you a blessed year ahead," Tendulkar said on Twitter.


"Many more happy returns of the day Sourav Ganguly. May you taste ever more success and receive more and more love. Have a great day and year ahead #HappyBirthdayDada," said VVS Laxman.


Mohammad Kaif wrote: "From a fine batsman to an outstanding captain & now leading Indian cricket on the whole-here's wishing my favourite captain & mentor Sourav Ganguly a very happy birthday. But FAULADI SEENA dikha ke aise kaun chadhta hai, Dada #HappyBirthdayDada."


"Wishing a very happy birthday to the most dynamic and visionary captain of his time. It's a matter of immense pleasure to work with the man who took Indian cricket to new heights. Subho Janmodin Sourav Ganguly," tweeted BCCI Secretary Jay Shah.


"Leader of Men. God of off-side. Fighter. Happy Birthday, Dada. #HappyBirthdayDada," said Aakash Chopra.


Ishant Sharma said: "Shubho Jonmodin Dada Sourav Ganguly. A true inspiration for many! Lots of love and best wishes to you! Have a great #QuarantineBirthday!"


"Happy birthday dada! From a great captain to a brilliant administrator, you have donned them magnificently. Hope you continue your good work for the betterment of Indian cricket... Godspeed. Sourav Ganguly #HappyBirthdayDada," tweeted Pragyan Ojha.


Putting out various important achievements of Ganguly, the International Cricket Council (ICC) on their official Twitter handle wrote: "Third-fastest to 10,000 ODI runs. Holds the record for the highest individual score in CWC for India. 2003 ICC World Cup runner-up. Captained India to 11 wins in 28 overseas Tests. Happy birthday to one of India's most successful captains, Sourav Ganguly."


Popularly known as 'Dada', he had made his Test debut against England in the summer of 1996. He immediately made headlines as he went on to score a century in his maiden Test at Lord's. The left-handed batsman also went on to score a century in his second Test. Thus, he became only the third batsman to score a century in each of his first two innings.

The 'Prince of Kolkata' then announced himself in the ODI format as he won four consecutive Man of the Match awards in 1997. In the 1999 Cricket World Cup, Ganguly played a knock of 183 runs against Sri Lanka and was involved in a 318-run partnership with Rahul Dravid. In 2000, the match-fixing scandal engulfed the Indian camp and Ganguly was then made the captain of the side. It was a herculean task to manage the team in turbulent times.

The former skipper played 113 Tests and 311 ODIs for India. The left-handed batsman scored 18,575 runs across all formats in his international career. Ganguly had led India in 195 matches across all formats and managed to win 97 matches out of those.

(Inputs from Agencies)




Revealed - why no bookie dared to approach Sourav Ganguly to fix matches


Revealed - why no bookie dared to approach Sourav Ganguly to fix matches

In 2010, Sourav Ganguly admitted that he was never approached by a bookie. The real reason for that appears that Indian captain was seen as such a ‘patriotic captain’ that they were afraid he’d turn them in.

A bookie was quoted saying by Sports Keeda: “During the time Sourav Ganguly was the captain, most bookies wanted him to fix matches. Not just him, even Sachin Tendulkar and Anil Kumble, because they knew if they could have them on their side, they could influence the entire team as per the odds. But, they also knew that it could never happen, because Dada was one of the most patriotic captains. The bookies were scared to approach him as they knew, he would turn them in. So, it was a grown consensus that Ganguly cannot be sold and no one had the guts to approach him, as it could put their business into jeopardy.”

It’s common consensus that Sourav Ganguly changed the face of Indian cricket when he took over, injecting a bad boy, arrogant attitude that was neither associated with Indians nor Bengalis.

While Dhoni is often credited with sudden decisions, Sourav Ganguly also made many of them including VVS Laxman to bat at number 3 in the iconic 2001 Eden Gardens Test.

Also, he decided to ask Virender Sehwag to open in Tests, which many argue changed the face of Test cricket.

He also backed MS Dhoni his eventual successor, picking Dhoni ahead of Parthiv Patel and Dinesh Karthik. He told Mayank Agarwal, it was his job to pick the best team.


He also believed that Dhoni wasn’t just a ‘finisher’, but was equally adept as a top-order batsman.

Sourav Ganguly said: “He batted at No. 3 when I was captain and he got a 148 against Pakistan in Vizag in the old stadium and it was fantastic. I always believed that he should bat up the order because he was so destructive. The best players in the shorter format had the ability to hit boundaries at will. “You look over a period of time in the history of ODI cricket, the best players can find the fence under pressure consistently and MS Dhoni was one of the best. That’s why he was special.”




India vs South Africa- 3rd Test: India wins by an innings and 202 runs, complete 3-0 whitewash


India vs South Africa- 3rd Test: India wins by an innings and 202 runs, complete 3-0 whitewash

Ranchi: India completed a 3-0 whitewash of South Africa with yet another comprehensive innings and 202 runs in the third and final Test here on Tuesday.

South Africa were all out for 132 in their second innings as the final two wickets taken by Shahbaz Nadeem fell without adding any runs to the overnight total. South Africa were all out for 162 in the first innings after India declared at 497 for 9 in their first essay. Mohammed Shami took 3 for 10 while Umesh Yadav and Nadeem finished with two wickets each.

Brief Scores: India 497/9 decl. South Africa 162 and 132 all-out.

 
 
 



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