News Tennis

Federer, defending champ Isner to meet in Miami Open final

AP Updated: 30 March, 2019, 11:05 AM IST

HIGHLIGHTS

For an NFL stadium, it will be a different kind of Sunday showdown: Roger Federer against John Isner.

Both won Friday and advanced to the final of the Miami Open, which moved this year to the Dolphins' complex from its longtime Key Biscayne home.

Federer dominated a semifinal battle of the ages, beating 19-year-old Canadian Denis Shapovalov 6-2, 6-4. Defending champion Isner also bested a Canadian teenager, 18-year-old qualifier Felix Auger-Aliassime, 7-6 (3), 7-6 (4).

Both finalists give the new tournament site a thumbs-up, partly because they've done so well the past week.

"The venue is absolutely fantastic," said Isner, a big football fan. "To play in the stadium — the Super Bowl will be here next year — it's pretty amazing."

The atmosphere was lively for both matches, and each time experience triumphed. The age gap with Shapovalov was the largest of the 37-year-old Federer's career, and he used a wide array of shotmaking to take control with two early breaks.

"It was a tactical match by me," Federer said. "I'm happy I was able to play with variations."

Seeded No. 4, Federer improved to 17-2 this year. He lost in this month's Indian Wells final to Dominic Thiem and now seeks his fourth Miami Open title.

Federer is 5-2 against Isner, but they haven't played each other since 2015.

Isner, now 33, won his only ATP Masters title a year ago on Key Biscayne.

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News Cricket

Warner discloses what inspires him to do his best for SRH

Harshit Anand Updated: 30 March, 2019, 12:41 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

The Australian superstar, David Warner is back to what he does the best and that is scoring runs quickly and winning games of cricket for his side. Warner's international ban has also expired, which means he is now available for selection at the highest level too. Right now, he is playing for Sunrisers Hyderabad. The left-hander has made back-to-back fifties as well and is looking in red-hot form.

Warner revealed what inspires him to perform so consistently for the Hyderabad franchise. “One thing that inspires me is the local fans, they are amazing. We try and put on a good show. We didn’t get off to a good start, a serious innings from Sanju and full credit to him. He came out and played really well. He allowed himself time and the wicket got better. Actually I didn’t think it was a 200 wicket. We have played on similar wickets where if you bowl that hard length it is hard to bat,” he said.

Hyderabad defeated Rajasthan by five wickets and have finally opened their account in points table after they lost the first game against Kolkata Knight Riders.

News Cricket

Rashid Khan reveals he has five different variations

Harshit Anand Updated: 30 March, 2019, 12:24 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Rashid Khan is one of the most successful T20 players in the world of cricket. He often plays around the world when it comes to franchise-based T20 leagues. The leg-spinner has also been highly successful in the cash-rich Indian Premiere League (IPL). He has taken 40 wickets in 33 games at an average of 21.65 with an economy of 6.66.

The Afghanistan spinner disclosed the secret behind his success in the shortest format of the game. “I have five different leg-spin variations with different actions. I just back myself with my variations and pitch it in the good length area,” said Rashid.

Rashid Khan's batting has also started coming good of late. Yesterday, he batted brilliantly and scored 15 off 8 deliveries to finish off the game for Hyderabad against Rajasthan at Rajiv Gandhi International cricket stadium.

“I am working on my batting. I need to bat well when my team needs me. My coaches — (Tom) Moody, Murali (Muttiah Muralitharan) and (V.V.S.) Laxman — have always backed me and given me lot of confidence saying you can hit anywhere, just a case of backing yourself. That’s what I did.

“I think I just try my best to be positive in each game and I am working hard and believing in my own skills, so that’s what is working for me,” said the leggie.

News Football

Juventus will not risk Ronaldo against Ajax

AP Updated: 30 March, 2019, 11:19 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Cristiano Ronaldo will not be risked for Juventus' first match of the Champions League quarterfinals against Ajax if he is not fully fit, coach Massimiliano Allegri said.

Ronaldo injured a right thigh muscle and limped off 30 minutes into Portugal's 1-1 draw against Serbia on Monday in qualifying for the 2020 European Championship.

"He will have tests on Monday, we'll evaluate things from there," Allegri said. "There is a risk — and a lot of risk — that he will miss the match against Ajax, he knows it, too, and he knows, too, that if he is not fit then he will stay out."

Juventus travels to Ajax for the first leg of the Champions League quarterfinals on April 10, then hosts the Dutch team the following week.

The 34-year-old Ronaldo told Portuguese media after Monday's international that he "should be back in one or two weeks."

"Ronaldo is fine, he started moving again yesterday a bit, but caution is needed because it's best to miss one match than the end of the season," Allegri said. "We are in a delicate phase; he will return when he is well and there will be no danger that he may have a relapse."

Ronaldo scored a hat trick against Atletico Madrid in the return leg of the last 16 as Juventus overturned a first-leg deficit.

"Juventus has the good fortune to have an in-depth squad," Juventus president Andrea Agnelli said. "Cristiano is the best player in the world, if you have him on the pitch he gives you an extra sense of security.

"That said, when you have muscle injuries you have to be very careful. For one match you risk compromising the next two months. ... It's more important to safeguard two and a half months than one match only."

Ronaldo will definitely miss Sunday's Serie A match against Empoli. Seven-time defending champion Juventus has a 15-point advantage over second-place Napoli.

News Football

Messi upset with criticism from Argentina fans

AP Updated: 30 March, 2019, 11:13 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Argentina star Lionel Messi admitted to being upset with constant criticism in his homeland, saying in an interview that even his 6-year-old son asks why his countrymen attack his performances for the national team.

Many Argentinans feel Messi doesn't have the same enthusiasm for international soccer that he does for his club Barcelona.

They also questioned his silence after being eliminated from last year's World Cup by France, something Messi said he wanted to forget.

"I wanted to distance myself from the team, let time go by and cool myself. It was painful to end the cycle this way," Messi told radio Club 94.7.

"Many people said I should not return (to the national team). Family, friends. My 6-year-old (asked me) 'Why do they kill you in Argentina, daddy?'"

The 31-year-old Argentina captain said he still wants to win a tournament and will keep trying with the team under coach Lionel Scaloni.

"Those that don't like me will have to stand me a little longer," Messi said, adding he had already achieved "extraordinary things" with Argentina, including "a World Cup final, two Copa America finals, and that is not easy."

The five-time Ballon D'Or winner said he doesn't need to say he loves Argentina "in every instant" because he expresses his passion for his home nation "in another way."

Messi also denied he decides who plays for the national team.

"We have heard about this 'club of friends' thing for years. They say I pick the players, the coaches. I basically manage the whole AFA (Argentina's soccer association)," he ironically said.

Messi pointed out that average Argentinians are kind with him whenever he visits the South American country.

"I get upset that people are lied to," Messi said.

News F1

Ferrari's Vettel and Leclerc top both Bahrain GP practices

AP Updated: 30 March, 2019, 11:08 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc gave Ferrari a much-needed boost by topping the first two practice sessions at Formula One's Bahrain Grand Prix on Friday.

After Leclerc finished about 0.3 seconds ahead of Vettel in the hot afternoon sun, Vettel was then only 0.035 clear of Leclerc when temperatures dropped considerably on the desert circuit in the cooler evening session.

Vettel was more than half a second ahead of world champion Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes under the floodlights, which appears to give Ferrari some encouragement after neither driver managed to get on the podium at the season-opening Australian GP two weeks ago.

"The Ferraris have been quick from the get-go and picked up more pace from there. So it's completely different to what we've seen in Melbourne," Hamilton said. "We had some issues with the balance of the car. At the moment it looks like the Ferraris are ahead."

Leclerc is in his first season with Ferrari and placed nearly one second ahead of Valtteri Bottas — Hamilton's teammate at Mercedes — in the first practice.

"It looks like it's going to be very close between us and Ferrari," Bottas said. "They are clearly faster around here than they were in Melbourne."

News Wrestling

Rock Icon Joan Jett to Perform at Wrestle Mania

AP Updated: 30 March, 2019, 11:03 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

WWE announced that Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Joan Jett will perform at WrestleMania on Sunday, April 7 in front of a capacity crowd at MetLife Stadium and live on WWE Network around the world. Jett will play her hit song “Bad Reputation” as WWE Raw Women’s Champion Ronda Rousey makes her entrance to the ring and defends her title in the women’s triple threat match vs. WWE Superstars Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair.

“The Queen of Rock ‘N Roll, Joan Jett, is a music legend and icon for powerful women everywhere. Her performance at this year’s WrestleMania promises to be both exhilarating and inspiring, and we are honored to watch her join a distinct list of extraordinary performers who have lit up the WWE stage,” said Neil Lawi, Senior Vice President and General Manager, WWE Music Group.

Jett will join the likes of renowned artists such as Motörhead, Snoop Dogg, Pitbull, Kid Rock, Diddy, Machine Gun Kelly, Skylar Grey, Travis Barker, and fellow Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Run D.M.C. who have performed at WWE’s annual pop-culture extravaganza.

Joan Jett is a founding member of the Runaways, a rock band that paved the way for female artists to enter the male-dominated arena of rock music. After five albums, Jett would take her career to even greater heights when she launched Joan Jett & the Blackhearts with hits such as “I Love Rock ‘n Roll” and “I Hate Myself for Loving You”. A feminist icon for more than 40 years, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2015.

News Cricket

IPL 2019 Orange Cap: David Warner leads the table

Staff Writer Updated: 30 March, 2019, 10:55 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

David Warner scored a magnificent 37-ball 69 during Sunrisers Hyderabad victory over Rajasthan Royals and is now the leading run-scorer in the ongoing season of the league. Warner, who returned to the IPL after one year ban, had amassed 85 runs in his team's opening match against Kolkata Knight Riders.

The left hand batsman has now scored 154 runs from 2 matches at an average of 77 and has a strike rate of 171.11. "One thing that inspires me is the local fans, they are amazing," Warner said after he received the Orange Cap. "We try and put on a good show."

Warner stated he was happy with the way his opening partnership with Jonny Bairstow has panned out in the two games so far. The duo stitched a partnership of 110 runs in only 9.4 overs to lead Sunrisers' charge in their pursuit of 199 runs.

"Me and Jonny have partnered really well since Kolkata. There have been a few hiccups with him trying to get off the mark, I have been hogging the strike a little bit, but over the years I have been held back a little bit. We know this ground pretty well.

"We know the dimensions well. There has been a breeze from one side for the last two days but tonight it wasn't there. You have to be calculative with your batting. I enjoy playing in front of this crowd. They are fantastic," he said.

News Cricket

Australia pulls off 6-run win over Pakistan

AP Updated: 30 March, 2019, 10:01 AM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Australia pulled off a sensational six-run victory over inexperienced Pakistan in the fourth one-day international on Friday as centuries by debutant Abid Ali and Mohammad Rizwan went in vain.

Ali hit 112 off 119 balls and Rizwan smashed 104 off 102 deliveries before Australia came back to restrict Pakistan to 271-8 and pick up its fourth straight win in the five-match series.

Ali and Rizwan shared a third-wicket stand of 144 but once leg spinner Adam Zampa broke it, Australian seamers Nathan Coulter-Nile (3-53) and Marcus Stoinis (2-20) held back Pakistan's chase.

Earlier, Glenn Maxwell got two chances before getting run out on 98, lifting Australia to 277-7 after Pakistan stand-in captain Imad Wasim won the toss and elected to field.

Usman Khawaja scored a gritty 62 to become the leading ODI scorer in 2019, and Alex Carey hit his maiden one-day half century before falling off the last delivery for 55.

"I thought our composure with the ball was really good," Australian captain Aaron Finch said.

"We knew how slow the wicket was, we knew if we could get some new batters in, it would be tough. Credit to our boys, though Abid and Rizwan getting hundreds were great knocks."

Australia looked on the back foot for the first time in the series when Ali and Rizwan put up Pakistan's best ever third-wicket stand against Australia.

Ali, 31, had been long waiting to get his chance in international cricket after scoring heavily in the domestic game the past two seasons.

He was included on Friday at the last minute after Imam-ul-Haq couldn't recover from flu.

Ali hit nine fours in his hundred, which could earn him a spot in World Cup squad after he joined Salim Elahi and Imam in scoring centuries on their ODI debuts for Pakistan.

But Zampa struck finally when Ali holed out at long on and that ignited Pakistan's middle-order collapse.

Umar Akmal (7), Saad Ali (7) and Wasim (1) all fell while going for extravagant shots against seamers.

Rizwan, who hit nine fours and a six, raised his second hundred of the series in the penultimate over before falling to Stoinis, leaving Pakistan needing 17 off the final six balls.

"They bowled beautifully," said Wasim, who led Pakistan after captain Shoaib Malik was ruled out due to bruised ribs before the match.

"We were lacking the power hitting ... some of the shots were not on in that situation. But if you're not learning after playing so much cricket, you can't do anything."

Maxwell and Carey propelled Australia with their 134-run sixth wicket stand after spinners Wasim (2-56) and Yasir Shah (2-57) had reduced the visitors to 140-5 in the 29th over.

Maxwell was dropped by wicketkeeper Rizwan on 10 and then was called back on 76 after Usman Shinwari had him clean bowled off a no-ball.

Both batsmen went in the last over with Maxwell falling short and Carey being caught in the deep.

News Cricket

Stuart Broad trolls Yuzvendra Chahal for his take on Yuvraj Singh’s three sixes

Staff Writer Updated: 29 March, 2019, 11:48 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Royal Challengers Bangalore spinner Yuzvendra Chahal was hit for three consecutive sixes by Yuvraj Singh. Chahal stated that he felt like Stuart Broad after Yuvi went after him. He was referring to Yuvraj Singh's six sixes against Broad in the 2007 T20 World Cup.

Broad gave an epic reply to Chahal's comment. "Hope he feels like me in 10 years’ time with 437 Test wickets," he commented.

Earlier, Chahal, who was taken for plenty by Yuvraj, dismissed the left hand batsman in the same over. "After Yuvraj hit me for three sixes, I felt like Stuart Broad. He is a legendary batsman and I knew I had to back myself. It was a smaller ground and to be hit for boundaries is fine. I knew I had to come up with my best deliveries and so I was bowling the wide googlies," he said.

News Cricket

Whatever happens laughter is the best medicine – Virat Kohli  

CT Contributors Updated: 29 March, 2019, 11:45 PM IST

HIGHLIGHT

Virat Kohli, who was furious with on-field umpire for not spotting Lasith Malinga’s no-ball during the IPL match against Mumbai Indians, has moved on from the incident.

After his team’s match with Mumbai Indians on Thursday, he shared a video on his social media pages which shows Yuzvendra Chahal, AB de Villiers and Kohli shaking a leg and then breaking into laughter.

"Whatever happens laughter is the best medicine," he wrote. However, the video was deleted after two hours.

Earlier, Kohli spoke in detail about the howler committed by umpire during the match between RCB and MI.

“We playing at the IPL level and not playing club cricket. The umpires should have had their eyes open. That is a ridiculous call at the last ball. If it is a game of margins, I don’t know what is happening. They should have been more sharp and careful out there. When they were 145 for 7, we should have done better. The last few overs were brutal for us,” Kohli had said after the post-match presser.