Rosberg out to deny Hamilton a first in Brazil

first_imgBy Alan BaldwinTriple world champion Lewis Hamilton has never won the Brazilian Grand Prix and Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg intends to keep it that way for another year.“With all due respect to his ambitions, I want to win there as well,” said the German, last year’s winner at Interlagos from pole position after he had lapped fastest in every practice session.With Hamilton feeling sufficiently unwell to delay his flight to Brazil by a day on doctors’ orders, Rosberg will fancy his chances of a Latin American double after his recent triumph in Mexico.With both titles decided, Hamilton having wrapped up his third Formula One championship in Texas last month after Mercedes retained the constructors’ crown in Russia, Sunday’s race is all about the winner on the day.Hamilton has now tried eight times to win in Sao Paulo, his best result coming last year when he was runner-up, and has only twice finished on the podium.But he did clinch his first title there in 2008, when he finished fifth with a pass at the end of the last lap, and the race has a special place in his heart as home to his late boyhood idol Ayrton Senna.“It was a dream of mine to race in Sao Paulo when I was younger and I always feel his presence when I’m there,” the Briton said this week.“It’s amazing to think that it took Ayrton eight attempts to win this race and it’s one of the few I haven’t yet won myself,” he added.“If I can change that this weekend it would be a salute to him and another highlight to add to this amazing year, so I’ll be going all out to make that happen.”Rosberg will again be the man to beat, the German chasing his fifth successive pole position to again deny Hamilton a career 50th, even if his team-mate has no pressure on him.The German said he was “pumped” after Mexico, where he completed his first career hat-trick of pole, fastest lap and victory.“Last year was a good battle with Lewis, when I came out on top. Standing on the top step after a hard-earned win, following in the footsteps of so many great drivers who have won there and with the passionate Brazilian crowd cheering on – that was a great feeling,” he said.“I’d love to experience that again, so the aim is to put on another good show for the fans and to carry my form from Mexico into this race.”Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, who won in Brazil in 2013 and 2010, can still deny Rosberg second place in the championship and will be determined to finish strongly after both he and team-mate Kimi Raikkonen retired in Mexico.That failure ended a record run of 183 races with at least one Ferrari among the finishers.Brazil will have two drivers in the race, with former winner Felipe Massa hoping to get back on the podium with Williams and Felipe Nasr making his home debut with Sauber.last_img read more

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Murray shuts out noise to cruise through

first_imgAndy Murray shut out the New York noise and the game of Marcel Granollers of Spain with a 6-4 6-1 6-4 win on Thursday to reach the third round of the US Open.The Wimbledon and Olympic champion ground down the world number 45 in a match involving numerous lung-busting rallies and played under a cacophony of sound with the $150 million roof over Arthur Ashe Stadium court closed.At times, the players could barely hear the ball off their strings and the rain hammering on the roof was almost deafening but second seed Murray kept calm to clinch a convincing victory.“At first we didn’t know if there was just more people come in at the change of ends, but then we quickly realised it was the rain,” Murray said.“It was tough, you couldn’t really hear the ball which makes it tricky. But we’re lucky to play under the roof; otherwise there wouldn’t be any tennis so it’s good for everyone.”Murray led 5-2 in the first set only for Granollers to hit back but the Scot won a game lasting more than 10 minutes to break and clinch it on his seventh set point.After breaking for 3-1 in the second set, Murray pulled away to double his lead and he broke in the ninth game of the third to earn victory.Murray, the champion in 2012 and chasing a fourth grand slam title, will now play either 30th seed Gilles Simon or unseeded Italian Paolo Lorenzi.Results from the US Open Men’s Singles Round 2 matches on Thursday: 2-Andy Murray (Britain) beat Marcel Granollers (Spain) 6-4 6-1 6-4Nicolas Mahut (France) beat Paul-Henri Mathieu (France) 6-4 6-4 6-2 Results from the US Open Women’s Singles Round 2 matches on Thursday: 31-Timea Babos (Hungary) beat Richel Hogenkamp (Netherlands) 6-2 6-4Johanna Larsson (Sweden) beat Denisa Allertova (Czech Republic) 6-3 6-110-Karolina Pliskova (Czech Republic) beat Montserrat Gonzalez (Paraguay) 6-1 7-55-Simona Halep (Romania) beat Lucie Safarova (Czech Republic) 6-3 6-4last_img read more

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Snax Tigers minor premiers

first_imgMuruks were kept try-less in the full 80 minutes in a revenge match of the pool crossover.Their 4 points came from two penalties in the early part of the first half.Tigers crossed the line twice in the first half, with one unsuccessful conversion, to lead 10-4 at half time.As the second half resumed, both sides threw everything  into attack and defence. With some good play, Tigers made runaway tries to pile on 18 points and come home in a dominant second half.Back-rower David Loko led the Tigers forwards in a man of the match performance with a clean try to his name under the posts at the peak of the momentum in the second 40.Jackson Undi and Benny Pamunda played hard in gaining ground for the visitors however they could not complete set plays as Tigers were always up in defence, causing  errors on a rainy afternoon.A bumper crowd cheered for the visitors from Southern Highlands however home team Tigers showed no mercy in all departments for a minor premiership performance.Pictured are Tigers forwards Roy Kela (left) and David Loko, and centre Pasu Awane after the win.last_img read more

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Kerber takes Eastbourne wildcard

first_imgA runner-up in Eastbourne in 2012 and 2014, German left-hander Kerber joins a line-up that includes Great Britain’s Johanna Konta and defending champion Dominika Cibulkova, with seven of the world’s top 10 female players entered for the event which begins on June 25.Kerber, who also plays next week’s Aegon Classic in Birmingham, said: “Eastbourne is a tournament I’ve loved playing over the years. The courts are world class and the fans are wonderful, so I’m very excited to get back there and get back playing on the grass.”The 29-year-old was runner-up to Serena Williams at Wimbledon last year, and will attempt to go one better when this year’s championship begins on Monday, July 3.The men’s Eastbourne event has been boosted by the awarding of a wild card to Frenchman Gael Monfils, the world number 15 who will make his debut at the tournament.last_img read more

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Digicel Cup on two week break

first_imgOfficial, David Silovo said this is to cater for polling which has already started for the 2017 National Elections.Meanwhile, despite the Lae Snax Tigers first loss of the season last weekend, they still sit on top of the competition points ladder.On the other side of the coin, the struggling NCDC Port Moresby Vipers are still yet to register a win.The current standings after round eight are:1)Snax Lae Tigers (14), Agmark Rabaul Gurias (11), PRK Mendi Muruks (10), Kroton Hela Wigmen (9), EPG Enga Mioks (8), Bintangor Goroka Lahanis (6), Waghi Tumbe (6), NCDC Port Moresby Vipers (0).last_img read more

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Wenger focused on team amid reports board split on future

first_imgArsenal manager Arsene Wenger has said he was unsure whether there were divisions in the club’s boardroom regarding his future and that he was more focused on salvaging his team’s stuttering Premier League campaign.Wenger is out of contract at the end of the season and calls for the Frenchman to end his 20-year reign at the north London club grew louder after they suffered their fifth loss in eight league games at Crystal Palace on Monday.The Arsenal board, according to British media, are split over Wenger’s future after the 3-0 defeat at Selhurst Park left the club sixth in the league, seven points behind fourth-placed Manchester City with a game in hand.“I don’t know. What happens above in the board is not down to me,” Wenger told reporters on Friday. “I focus on what is important for me (which) is the performance of the team and what the fans are interested in is the performance of the team.”Wenger, however, believes his relationship with majority shareholder Stan Kroenke remains unchanged.“I believe our relationship has always been the same, it has not changed,” said Wenger, adding that “nothing has changed” with regard to whether he will extend his contract.Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis is pushing for change, including an overhaul of the club’s scouting network and the appointment of a director of football, say British media.Former Arsenal winger Marc Overmars, currently director of football at Ajax Amsterdam, has been widely tipped for the role but Wenger said he was not aware of the reports.“No, I am not (aware of the Overmars speculation). I like Marc Overmars. It is always difficult. We spend a lot of time in our society focusing on things that are superficial,” he said.The Frenchman added that Arsenal face a “massive” challenge to finish in the top four and qualify for the Champions League.He said injured defender Laurent Koscielny and keeper Petr Cech have an “80 per cent” chance of returning to the squad in time for Monday’s trip to second-bottom Middlesbrough.last_img read more

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Sheringham named head coach of Indian side Kolkata

first_imgFormer England and Manchester United striker Teddy Sheringham has been named head coach of Indian Super League franchise Atletico de Kolkata.Sheringham, 51, replaced Spaniard Jose Francisco Molina, who led ATK to their second title in three years in his only season as coach.The Kolkata-based side, owned by a consortium including Spanish club Atletico Madrid and former India cricket captain Sourav Ganguly, also won the inaugural edition in 2014.Sheringham, who won three Premier League titles and the Champions League with United, most recently managed English League Two (fourth division) side Stevenage.The Jamshedpur Football Club, one of the two new entrants and owned by Tata Steel, have named another former England and Manchester United player, Steve Coppell, as their manager for the upcoming season.The 62-year-old Coppell took Kerala Blasters to the ISL final against ATK last year and has previously managed numerous English clubs including Manchester City and Crystal Palace.The fourth edition of the ISL will start on Oct. 1 with two new teams making it a 10-team league, running for five months.last_img read more

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Nadal battles Del Potro for place in final

first_imgWorld number one Rafa Nadal will play Argentine Juan Martin del Potro in his 11th French Open semi-final appearance on Friday.It will be the second time Nadal and Del Potro meet at Roland Garros. The previous match up saw the Spaniard beat del Potro in straight sets in the opening round in 2007.Seventh seed Dominic Thiem will appear in his third straight semi-final in Paris against Italian Marco Cecchinato, who will hope to continue his dream run having beaten former champion Novak Djokovic in the last round.Cecchinato, who never won a grand slam match prior to this tournament, will face Thiem for the first time in his career.Order of play on the main showcourts (times GMT, prefix numbers denote seeding):Court Philippe Chatrier (play starts at 1100)Semi-finals:Marco Cecchinato (Italy) v 7-Dominic Thiem (Austria)Not before 13301-Rafa Nadal (Spain) v 5-Juan Martin del Potro (Argentina)last_img read more

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Djokovic crushes Nikishori to meet del Potro in US Open final

first_imgNovak Djokovic will face Juan Martin del Potro for the U.S. Open title after the Serb beat Kei Nishikori 6-3 6-4 6-2 in their semi-final on Friday.Djokovic, this year’s Wimbledon champion, kept Nishikori under relentless pressure, carving out 17 break point opportunities and winning 80 percent of his own first serve points to win in two hours and 23 minutes.Twice champion Djokovic, who reached his eighth final at Flushing Meadows and is seeded sixth this year, broke Nishikori in his first service game and closed out the opening set with an ace in 37 minutes without facing a break point.“It felt really good,” Djokovic said courtside. “Easier said than done – you have to execute the shots against Kei Nishikori, who is one of the quicker movers on the tour.”Nishikori improved in the second set, coming to the net more often, but Djokovic was in imperious form. He fended off the only two break points he faced and broke the Japanese again for a 3-2 lead.“I thought in the important moments I came up with some good second serves, some good first serves. I was returning well,” Djokovic added.“I was putting constantly pressure on him, trying to move him around the court, take away the rhythm from him, not give him the same look always. The match was really, really good from my side.”The Serb dominated from the baseline while Nishikori’s cause was undermined by 51 unforced errors.“He was playing very solid everything: serve, return, groundstrokes,” Nishikori said. “Wasn’t easy to stay with him tonight.”Djokovic, who was forced to skip last year’s tournament due to an elbow injury and returned to the tour this year after surgery, said he was thrilled to be back on the big stage.“It means the world to me obviously,” he added. “Like thousands of other tennis players around the world I’m trying to be the best I can be.”Reaching a second consecutive Grand Slam final suggests the 13-times major champion is nearly back to his best, though he will need to be even more clinical against Del Potro, who has only dropped one set in six matches in New York.“He’s a dear friend,” Djokovic said of Del Potro, who won the title in 2009. “He always possessed that big forehand, big serve … one of the biggest forehands ever in the history of this game.”“One of the keys … will be how well can I return, how many returns I can get back in play, but also try to have some depth in that return, and how accurately I can serve myself.”Nishikori began the third set with a confident hold of serve but the 28-year-old made four unforced errors in his next service game to set Djokovic on the road to victory.The Japanese player’s spirit was finally broken and his serve followed, with Djokovic claiming his fourth break with a fist-pumping celebration before serving for the match.The 31-year-old, who was beaten by Nishikori at Flushing Meadows in 2014, sealed victory on his second match point to improve his head-to-head record against the Japanese to 15 wins from 17 meetings.Del Potro comforts Nadal as the Spaniard retires from their game injuredMartin del Potro v Rafa Nadal(R) 7-6 6-2 A weary and wounded world number one Rafael Nadal retired from his U.S. Open semi-final while trailing Juan Martin del Potro 7-6(3) 6-2 on Friday, sending the Argentine back to the Flushing Meadows final for the first time since his 2009 triumph.Nadal, who had never before retired from a U.S. Open match, showed signs of distress almost from the start as he limped noticeably after a gruelling 69-minute opening set.Grimacing with every sudden move, the 17-time Grand Slam winner called for the trainer during the changeover on serve at 2-1 in the second.The defending champion had his knee massaged and re-taped and bravely continued through the second set before telling the umpire he was unable to continue.“I think it was two-all in the first, 15-love, something like this in the first set, that I felt (something),” said Nadal. “I said to my box immediately that I felt something on the knee.“After that, I was just trying to see if in some moment the thing can improve during the match.“But no, was not the day.“I waited as much as I can. You could imagine very difficult for me to say goodbye before the match finish but at some point you have to take a decision.”Nadal’s stamina and famous fitness have been put to the test on the sweltering Flushing Meadows hardcourts as he has logged nearly 16 hours through five matches.The Spaniard was made to work for his place in the last four, needing a fifth set tiebreak to see off Dominic Thiem in the quarters.It was the second time this year that the world number one has retired from a slam as he also quit during his quarter-final against Marin Cilic at the Australian Open in January.“This year have been a fantastic year until this moment,” said Nadal. “I lost four matches. Two of them I had to retire.“Negative thing is two of them have been in quarter-finals and semi-finals of a Grand Slam, close to fight for titles.“That’s frustrating. Is tough for me.”“I feel that I fight all my career against these kind of things.”One of the greatest players of all time, the one chink in the Spaniard’s armour has always been his knees with injuries plaguing him throughout his career.Nadal’s all out, take-no-prisoners attacking style has seen his body absorb more punishment on the court than perhaps any other player, leaving many to wonder just how long the 32-year-old can continue to pound away.“All my career everybody say that because of my style, I will have a short career,” said Nadal. “I am still here.”Del Potro, who has also had his career disrupted by injuries, was not happy to get the victory the way he did but the big-hitting Argentine will now get a chance to raise a Grand Slam trophy nine years after his first.The third seed will now await the winner of the second semi-final between Japan’s Kei Nishikori and Serbia’s Novak Djokovic.“It’s not the best way to win a match,” said Del Potro, who also beat Nadal at the same stage of the 2009 U.S. Open to reach what had been his one and only Grand Slam final.“I love to play against Rafa because he’s the biggest fighter in this sport.“I’m sad for him.”last_img read more

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