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Nadal's Monte Carlo mastery over

PARIS: Rafael Nadal’s mastery of the Monte Carlo clay courts seems to be over. The top-ranked Spaniard hopes his confidence isn’t gone, too. Nadal lost to fellow Spaniard David Ferrer 7-6 (1), 6-4 in the quarter-finals on Friday, his earliest exit since 2003 at an event that helped build his reputation as perhaps the greatest clay-court player of all time. Nadal won eight consecutive titles here from 2005-12, before losing to Novak Djokovic in last year’s final. This was Nadal’s first loss on clay to Ferrer since 2004. Djokovic looked like he might follow him out, b...
Published On: 2014-04-19

Moores appointed England coach

LONDON: Peter Moores has been given a second chance as England head coach, after the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) announced his appointment on Saturday. Moores, the first man to twice be appointed England coach, replaced Andy Flower after the former Zimbabwe batsman stood down following the team’s 5-0 Ashes thrashing in Australia. In a two-year spell from 2007 to 2009, the 51-year-old Moores led England in seven Test series, starting with a 3-0 victory over the West Indies, after replacing Duncan Fletcher as the coach. However, he was forced out in 2009 following a rift with...
Published On: 2014-04-19

Tottenham beats Fulham 3-1 in Premier League

LONDON: Tottenham kept its small hopes of a top-four finish alive with a 3-1 win over Fulham in the Premier League on Saturday. Spurs remained sixth in the standings but cut their deficit to fourth-place Arsenal to four points after goals from Paulinho, Harry Kane and Younes Kaboul ended relegation-threatened Fulham's run of two consecutive wins. The Gunners have played one game less. Paulinho put Tottenham ahead with a simple tap-in after Christian Eriksen's free kick beat the Fulham defense but Steve Sidwell equalized just two minutes later. Kane restored Tottenham's lead after the interva...
Published On: 2014-04-19

Martino defends Messi‚ takes blame for Barca fall

BARCELONA, Spain: Barcelona coach Gerardo Martino has defended Lionel Messi from criticism for his erratic play during three consecutive losses, while acknowledging he isn't "satisfied" with his own coaching performance. In the past two weeks, Barcelona has been eliminated from the Champions League, lost the Copa del Rey final and fallen behind in third place in the league. Martino says he puts no faith in media speculation that Messi's mini-dip in form might lead to his departure after the season. The Argentine manager says "everything is overblown with (Messi). His future m...
Published On: 2014-04-19

It's getting increasingly tough for bowlers‚ says Pakistan's Ajm ...

KARACHI: Pakistan's Saeed Ajmal, widely regarded as the world's best off-spinner, says that life is becoming increasingly tough for bowlers in limited-overs cricket. The 36-year-old believes the Twenty20 format and rule changes in 50-over matches have made a real difference. "Times have changed and there is hardly any respect for bowlers these days. The attitude and approach of batsmen has become more brazen and it has become very difficult for bowlers," Ajmal told Reuters in an interview. "Cricket is very fast nowadays and as a bowler you are always under pressure." Aj...
Published On: 2014-04-19

Player to Watch: Mukesh Kumar (India)

• Mukesh Kumar is currently placed seventh on the 2014 Rolex Rankings having posted three top-10s in the season so far. • He won the PGTI Players Championship at Chandigarh and secured seven other top-10s including two runner-up finishes to end up in fifth position on the 2013 Rolex Rankings. • He was fifth on the 2012 Rolex Rankings with two wins (IndianOil XtraPremium Masters and PGTI Players Championship at Poona Club) and 13 other top-10s. • Mukesh posted 11 top-10s in 2011 PGTI season to be ranked third on the Rolex Rankings. His best results in the year were runner...
Published On: 2014-04-18

Maxwell blitzes Punjab to victoryOUT

SHARJAH: Glenn Maxwell's whirlwind 95 off 43 balls gave Kings XI Punjab a comprehensive four-wicket win against Chennai Super Kings in a mammoth run chase in the Indian Premier League (IPL) at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium here Friday. Maxwell's brutal knock was studded with 15 fours and two sixes and David Miller made an unbeaten 54 off 37 balls as Kings-XI reached 206-4 with one over to spare. Chennai had made 205-4 after Dawayne Smith made 66 and Brendan McCullum struck 67. On Thursday, a fantastic partnership between Virat Kohli and Yuvraj Singh guided the Royal Challengers Bangalore to a co...
Published On: 2014-04-18

Trott stands down again after relapse of stress problems

England batsman Jonathan Trott has suffered more stress-related problems on his return to first class action and will take another break from the sport to undergo treatment, the country's cricket board said on Friday. Trott, who will turn 33 next week, left England's Ashes tour of Australia in November after the first test in Brisbane due to a stress-related illness. The right-handed batsman later cited "burnout" as the problem and said he was targeting a return to international cricket. However, the South African-born batsman's illness relapsed while playing in the English domes...
Published On: 2014-04-18

Barcelona faces end of winning era

BARCELONA: Barring a drastic turn of fortune, Barcelona is on the brink of finishing its worst season since former coach Pep Guardiola molded it into one of the most successful teams to play soccer. Barcelona's stinging 2-1 loss to Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey final Wednesday completed an eight-day span that can best be described as a debacle for the Catalan club. Sports daily Sport summed it up with the headline: "This winning era is over, let the new one begin!" Barcelona hadn't lost three games in a row since the 2002-03 season, and a campaign that promised to bring home at ...
Published On: 2014-04-18

Djokovic cruises‚ Nadal claims 30th clay win in a row

Novak Djokovic lost just one game to join Roger Federer in the Monte Carlo Masters quarter-finals after Rafa Nadal breezed to his 30th consecutive win on clay on Thursday. Nadal barely broke sweat in his 6-1 6-3 thrashing of Italy's Andreas Seppi while Federer recovered from a break of serve in the first set to beat Czech Lukas Rosol 6-4 6-1. Champion Djokovic demolished Spain's Pablo Carreno Busta 6-0 6-1. The Serbian is on the same side of the draw as Federer and heading for a semi-final with the Swiss fourth seed. "I've had more time, compared to last year, to practise on the clay co...
Published On: 2014-04-18