Videos Cricket

Watch: Ravindra Jadeja gets Finch with a ripper

Harshit Anand Updated: 13 March, 2019, 5:23 PM IST


Ravindra Jadeja bowled a terrific spell in the series decider against Australia at Feroz Shah Kotla, Delhi. He ended with figures of 2/45. But Jadeja won many a hearts with a peach of a delivery to get rid of dangerous looking, Aaron Finch in the 15th over of the game after Australia won the toss and elected to bat first in fifth and final ODI.

He got Finch out on 27 runs. The ball was fired in towards length on middle, then the ball spun away just about enough to beat the the bat of Finch to kiss the stumps. Australian openers had got the team off to a great start as they added 76 runs for the first wicket.

Here is the delivery that sent Finch packing:

Australia finished its innings on 272 runs for nine wickets. Opener Usman Khawaja scored a brilliant hundred for the Men in Yellow while last match centurion Peter Handscomb also scored a fifty.

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Opinion Cricket

‘Uncoupling’ A Golden Team?

Sreelata S Yellamrazu Updated: 13 March, 2019, 4:52 PM IST


Much has been written about the Ranchi one day international being potentially Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s swansong on Indian soil as far as playing in India’s colours is concerned. However, an important side story is the breaking apart of the leadership duo that is often less highlighted and the impact of that on Virat Kohli.

Not only was the idea behind wearing the camouflage caps in the course of the third one day international a joint pre-planned affair between India’s former captain, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, and current Indian skipper, Virat Kohli, but also, the plotting India’s successes over the years. Much was talked about the fact when Virat Kohli, emerging out of the shadows of Sachin Tendulkar post the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup, appeared to be fast catching up with Dhoni who was then India’s captain. Eventually it seemed that time for Dhoni to pass on the Test cricket captain mantle was long overdue when unexpectedly midway through the Test series in Australia in 2014, Dhoni announced his retirement, making the obvious now the norm.

However, while there were speculations about the rare, odd and rather awkward scenario where a former captain with playing ambitions would have to play under a younger, more aspirational skipper with a penchant for embracing of the public adulation, Dhoni has enjoyed being a player with modest appreciation while letting Kohli rightfully take on the spotlight.

For his part, Kohli has been nothing but respectful of Dhoni, even defending the former captain when his bat fell ominously silent and his place in the team was being questioned, particularly with the ICC Cricket World Cup not that far away. On more than one occasion, Kohli has been expressive about using Dhoni’s quick thinking-on-his-feet acumen in pressure situations and imbibing some of the coolness that Dhoni has built his reputation around.

That said, Kohli’s captaincy has been known to border on impetuosity, retaliatory and sometimes exposing captaincy credentials being somewhat in an embryonic stage vis-à-vis the more mature, composed Dhoni. An odd couple, Dhoni and Kohli seem to complement each other on the field when it comes to strategizing their next move and in that sense, perhaps Kohli will indeed fell the void should the speculation about Dhoni having played his last match on Indian soil be the truth.

For a while, it has been considered that there was far from a competitive streak and more of a camaraderie between the two captains, evident in how they interacted in the after hours. Kohli himself stated explicitly that Dhoni’s presence on the field creates not only clarity of ideas but also, serenity as Dhoni has had the penchant for not being afraid to take the match to the final over, somewhat unconventional in limited overs internationals where tradition dictates matches are finished well before panic about the pressure sets in.

It is not unusual for the manner in which the young wicketkeeper, Rishabh Pant, was treated for his wicket keeping skills vis-à-vis Dhoni and neither is it surprising that Virat Kohli’s glaring omissions about fielding and utilizing Jasprit Bumrah came under the radar, particularly as it became obvious that Australia were putting themselves in a commanding position in Mohali to pull off a second win on the trot. With Dhoni sitting out after the Ranchi one day international, while speculation suggested Dhoni had played his last match in India in his home town, it was not that far a target for Kohli and Rishabh Pant to be put on the defensive, considering the big boots that they have had to fill.

News Cricket

Sunny Leone names her favorite cricketer

Harshit Anand Updated: 13 March, 2019, 4:48 PM IST


Popular Bollywood actress, Sunny Leone has named her favourite cricketer and the name isn't too surprising. She has named India's limited-overs wicket-keeper batsman, MS Dhoni as her favourite cricketer.

She said, “My favourite is Dhoni. I think he has the cutest child, doesn’t he? I see him post pictures of him with his child (daughter Ziva Dhoni) and it just looks so cute. Therefore, he is my favourite cricketer as he is a family man.”

MS Dhoni is one of the most popular Indian cricketers at the moment. He has a big fan-base. And why it wouldn't be like that? He is the only international captain to have led his country to win in all the ICC events- Champions Trophy, World Cup and WT20.

The Ranchi lad has also led Chennai Super Kings to victories in IPL and Champions League T20. The veteran Indian cricketer still remains a key part of the Indian team.

News Cricket

MS Dhoni is better than Virat Kohli in pressure situations

Staff Writer Updated: 13 March, 2019, 4:29 PM IST


Indian skipper is a terrific leader, but India need the services of someone like MS Dhoni to handle pressure situations, according to Shane Warne.

Dhoni's absence was felt during the fourth ODI in Mohali, where India failed to defend a total of 358 runs.

Talking to ANI, Warne said it is easy to lead a side when things are going your way, but one needs the presence of experienced players like Dhoni in crunch moments.

"Virat Kohli is a terrific leader but many a time we can have experience of MS Dhoni to help Virat when pressure is on. It's easy to captain a side when things are going well but when it's tough you need experience like you saw in MS Dhoni," the former Australian cricketer said.

He slammed the critics of the former Indian skipper."MS Dhoni is a great player. He can bat anywhere whatever the team needs. He is adaptable and anyone criticising him has no idea what they are talking about. India need him in the World Cup. They need his experience and leadership skills on the field to help Virat Kohli as well," he said.

News Cricket

Usman Khawaja achieves new ODI milestone against India

Staff Writer Updated: 13 March, 2019, 4:19 PM IST


Australian opener Usman Khawaja has been in tremendous form in the ongoing ODI series against India. He is the main reason behind Australia's emphatic comeback after losing the first two ODIs. The left hand batsman is the leading run-scorer in the series with two tons to his name.

He surpassed AB de Villiers' record of scoring most runs against Men in Blue in a five-match ODI series. Khawaja accumulated 383 runs while De Villiers scored 358 runs in 2015. His tally is also the highest against India in a bilateral five-match ODI series across the globe.

Khawaja went past Kane Williamson, who scored 361 runs in 2014.

Earlier, Australia captain Aaron Finch won the toss and decided to bat first in fifth and deciding one-day international against India.

"Looks like a pretty dry wicket, hopefully we can post a big score and defend it," Finch said.

Australia made two changes, with Shaun Marsh replaced by Marcus Stoinis and Nathan Lyon coming back into the team to replace Jason Behrendorff.

India also made two changes, with K.L. Rahul and Yuzvendra Chahal making way for Mohammed Shami and Ravindra Jadeja.

India captain Virat Kohli said he would have batted first if he had won the toss.

"Hopefully it doesn't break down so much. Hopefully there's dew later," Kohli said. "This is a knockout game for us. Everyone is pumped up."

India won the first two ODIs in Hyderabad and Nagpur but Australia tied the series with successive wins in Ranchi and Mohali.


India: Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli (captain), Vijay Shankar, Kedar Jadhav, Rishabh Pant, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah.

Australia: Aaron Finch (captain), Usman Khawaja, Peter Handscomb, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Ashton Turner, Alex Carey, Jhye Richardson, Pat Cummins, Nathan Lyon, Adam Zampa.

News Cricket

Surprising! Umesh Yadav opens batting for Vidarbha

Staff Writer Updated: 13 March, 2019, 3:33 PM IST


Indian speedster, Umesh Yadav is known for his bowling prowess but he was surprisingly promoted to open the batting for the two-time defending champions of Ranji Trophy, Vidarbha against Karnataka in the Super League of the Syed Mushtaq Ali trophy.

Umesh Yadav started off with a bang and smacked a four but he was brought down to earth the very next delivery as he lost his wicket. He could score merely fours runs and this fancy experiment by Vidarbha failed miserably. This was the first time when Umesh batted in the top five in his cricket career.

Umesh Yadav was overlooked from India's squad for the five-match ODI series against Australia. It would be interesting to see whether he gets selected for the ICC showpiece event or not. Umesh Yadav didn't do too well in India's historic Test series win in Australia as well. And his stocks are on the down when it comes to the highest level.

News Cricket

Whatever PCB is saying, it is not in our control, says Bharat Arun on complaint over Army Caps

Staff Writer Updated: 13 March, 2019, 2:05 PM IST


Bharat Arun, bowling coach of India, has defended Team India for wearing camouflage caps during the third ODI between India and Australia in Ranchi. According to him, players wanted to express solidarity with the Indian soldiers and complaint of Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is beyond their control.

“We did what we really felt to show solidarity for the country. BCCI got permission for it. Whatever PCB is saying, it is not in our control,” Arun told reporters on the eve of fifth ODI between India and Australia.

Despite ICC's clarification that the BCCI had sought permission from it to wear the caps, the governing body of Pakistan cricket wrote to the International Cricket Council (ICC) that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) was politicizing the game of cricket and should be penalized for their act.

"The BCCI sought permission from the ICC to wear the caps as part of a fundraising drive and in memory of fallen soldiers who have died, which was granted," ICC spokeswoman Claire Furlong had told The Associated Press in an e-mail on Monday.

Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Ehsan Mani had said he has "strongly taken up the matter with the ICC."

"There's absolutely no misunderstanding in the ICC about our position," Mani said late Sunday in Karachi. "We believe that cricket and sports should not be used for politics and we have said this very clearly. Their (India) credibility in the cricketing world has gone down very badly."

News Cricket

PM Modi urges Dhoni, Virat , Rohit and Sachin to encourage people to vote

Staff Writer Updated: 13 March, 2019, 1:55 PM IST


Prime Minister has reached out to influential personalities from different categories to inspire people to come out and vote during the Lok Sabha Elections, which will being in April.

He urged cricketers MS Dhoni, Virat Kohli, Sachin Tendulkar, Rohit Sharma, Anil Kumble, VVS Laxman, Virender Sehwag; shuttlers PV Sindhu, Saina Nehwal, Kidambi Srikanth; wrestlers Sushil Kumar, Yogeshwar Dutt, Bajrang Punia, Geeta Phogat, Vinesh Phogat, Babita Phogat, Ritu Phogat and athlete Neeraj Chopra to encourage youth to vote in the elections.

In one of his tweets, he wrote: “Dear @msdhoni, @imVkohli and @ImRo45, You are always setting outstanding records on the cricketing field but this time, do inspire the 130 crore people of India to set a new record of high voter turnout in the upcoming elections. When this happens, democracy will be the winner!”.

Addressing Laxman, Sehwag and Kumble in another tweet, Prime Minister wrote: “Dear @anilkumble1074, @VVSLaxman281 and @virendersehwag – your heroic deeds on the cricket pitch have inspired millions. Come, it is time to inspire people once again, this time to vote in record numbers.”

He also requested other famous personalities to help him in this noble cause.

News Cricket

Confer knighthood on Kapil , Sachin, Akram: Pak-origin UK MP urges the government

Staff Writer Updated: 13 March, 2019, 1:49 PM IST


Conservative MP Rehman Chishti has requested the UK government to confer knighthood on Kapil Dev, Sachin Tendulkar, Imran Khan, Wasim Akram and other legends from the Commonwealth Countries.

He stated when cricket legends such as Don Bradman (Australia) and Richard Hadlee (New Zealand) can be conferred knighthood, why not honour other cricketers from the Commonwealth region.

Chishti, MP from Gillingham and Rainham in Kent,raised the issue when foreign office minister Harriett Baldwin credited cricket for its positive influence on the region.

He said: “She mentioned cricket—many things bring happiness to us in the Commonwealth, and one of them is cricket—and perhaps she can clarify an anomaly.”

“In Australia, Sir Don Bradman was knighted, and in New Zealand, Sir Richard Hadlee was knighted, but there has been no knighthood for cricketers from Pakistan, India, South Africa or Sri Lanka, which have produced some brilliant cricketers”.

“From Sri Lanka we had Muralitharan; from Pakistan we had Wasim Akram and Imran Khan; from South Africa we had Jacques Kallis; and from India we had Sachin Tendulkar and Kapil Dev. This is the year when we host the cricket World Cup. Can the Minister ensure that we rectify that anomaly so that all our counterparts in the Commonwealth are treated fairly and equally?”

His remarks drew a positive response from the foreign office minister.

She said: “Madam Deputy Speaker, have you ever heard such a compelling application to Her Majesty to recognise more cricketers from around the Commonwealth? I am sure that it will have been heard by the relevant people”.

“My hon. Friend is right; I mentioned Bangladeshi women’s cricket. I am also thrilled that in Rwanda, which is one of the newer members of the Commonwealth, cricket is fast growing into a very popular, if not leading, national sport. He is right to make the link between the Commonwealth and cricket”, Baldwin added.

News Cricket

Tind Chamak rahi hai teri Gabbar: Bhajji trolls Shikhar Dhawan in the most epic way

Staff Writer Updated: 13 March, 2019, 1:43 PM IST


Shikhar Dhawan, who slammed a magnificent hundred in the fourth ODI against Australia in Mohali, took to Instagram to post a picture from an event before the fifth and final ODI of the series. “Piche kaun kaun baitha hai? Can you spot some familiar faces? ”

The left hand batsman was trolled by his former Indian teammate Harbhajan Singh. "Tind Chamak rahi hai teri Gabbar," he wrote.

Dhawan was under the scanner following his poor run of form in the limited-overs cricket before the fourth ODI against Australia.

He had scored just 22 runs in the previous three games but produced a well compiled hundred in Mohali to signal his comeback to form.

He shared a record 193-run partnership with Rohit Sharma, who scored 95 runs.

Despite India's mammoth total of 358/9 in fifty overs, Usman Khawaja (91), Peter Handscomb (117) and Ashton Turner (84 not out) took Australia to win with 13 balls to spare.

News Cricket

After Dhoni and Siddharth, Shami hosts Men in Blue at his home

Staff Writer Updated: 13 March, 2019, 12:22 PM IST


Mohammed Shami hosted members of Team India for dinner at his residence in Delhi ahead of the fifth and final ODI against Australia at the Feroz Shah Kotla on Wednesday. The Indian pacer took to Twitter to thank teammates for making his evening special with their presence.

He also posted a picture with some of the players. In the photograph posted by him, he can be seen standing with Rishabh Pant, Kedar Jadhav and family members.

Earlier, MS Dhoni and Sakshi had also hosted Men in Blue for dinner at their home in Ranchi ahead of the third ODI against Australia. Yuzvendra Chahal had thanked the hosts for their hospitality.

India pacer Siddarth Kaul had hosted the whole team at his residence in Zirakpur ahead of the fourth ODI in Mohali. A day before hosting his teammates, Kaul had tied the knot with Harsimran Kaur.

News Cricket

Fit-again Hardik Pandya joins Mumbai Indians camp

Staff Writer Updated: 13 March, 2019, 12:08 PM IST


Hardik Pandya has joined the pre-season camp of three-time IPL champions Mumbai Indians. He was ruled out of the limited overs series against Australia due to lower back stiffness. Hardik did "strength endurance training" on the first day of the camp.

Hardik had returned to action during the limited-overs series in New Zealand after his ban was lifted by the BCCI. The Indian all-rounder was lambasted for his sexist comments on Koffee With Karan.

He was thinking of playing some matches of the ongoing Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy but his team Baroda didn't qualify for the Super League.

Apart from Hardik and his brother, Jayant Yadav, Rahul Chahar, Barinder Sran, Rasikh Salam, Mitchell McClenaghan and Ishan Kishan have also joined the camp.

Mumbai Indians will open their IPL campaign against Delhi Capitals on March 24 at the Wankhede stadium.

News Football

Man City routs Schalke 7-0, into Champions League quarters

Staff Writer Updated: 13 March, 2019, 11:33 AM IST


A record-tying victory in the last 16 and a quarterfinal lineup lacking at least three of Europe's top teams suggests this just might be Manchester City's year in the Champions League.

No matter how much Pep Guardiola protests to the contrary.

With a 7-0 thrashing of Schalke on Tuesday that completed a 10-2 aggregate victory, City eased into the last eight of European soccer's most prestigious competition for the third time in four seasons and confirmed its status as one of the favorites — whatever Guardiola might be saying in public.

Even if history is not on their side — Guardiola recently called City a "teenage" side that is "still not ready to fight for the latter stages" — the form of his players certainly is.

Make that 61 goals in 18 games in 2019, with only eight conceded. Perhaps more extraordinarily, it was the seventh time that City have scored six or more goals in a game this season.

"This club, the best success in the history (in the Champions League) is a semifinal, compared to Real Madrid with 13 (titles). Or Barcelona, Liverpool, Juventus, who have how many? Six, seven, eight?" Guardiola said. "It is why when the people say, 'You have to win, you have to win,' when you are out in the quarterfinals it is a disaster. It is not fair."

But City and Guardiola, the man brought in at huge expense so the Abu Dhabi-backed club can finally conquer Europe, are running out of excuses.

City have arguably its deepest and most talented squad ever. Paris Saint-Germain and titleholder Real Madrid are already out. One of Bayern Munich and Liverpool will be eliminated. Barcelona still has it all to do against Lyon on Wednesday, with the teams locked at 0-0 after the first leg.

There is no denying it has opened up for City.

Certainly Schalke was in no shape to stop Guardiola's side.

This season's round of 16 has featured some memorable comebacks so far — notably from Ajax and Manchester United last week — but Schalke's chances of overturning a 3-2 first-leg deficit virtually disappeared when Sergio Aguero chipped home a 35th-minute penalty to make it 1-0 in the second leg at Etihad Stadium.

Aguero doubled the lead three minutes later after running onto Raheem Sterling's deft backheel, Leroy Sane stroked in another goal before halftime, before Sterling, Bernardo Silva, Phil Foden and Gabriel Jesus added second-half goals for City against the demoralized visitors from Germany.

The win equaled the 7-0s recorded by Bayern Munich against Basel (2012) and Shakhtar Donetsk (2015). The latter was achieved when Guardiola was coach at Bayern.

"We fell apart. The look of tension is the worst since I have been here," said Schalke coach Domenico Tedesco, who is fighting for his job with his team just four points above the relegation zone in the Bundesliga.

With two months left of the season, a quadruple of trophies remains on for City, which has already won the English League Cup, is top of the Premier League, and plays second-tier Swansea in the FA Cup quarterfinals on Saturday.

Winning the Champions League for the first time will be the toughest task, especially with Juventus still involved. Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hat trick on Tuesday, including a late penalty, as Juventus beat Atletico Madrid 3-0 and advanced 3-2 on aggregate.

Manchester United, Tottenham, Porto and Ajax are the other teams to qualify for the quarterfinals, the draw for which takes place on Friday.

"Madrid is out but still Juventus and Cristiano Ronaldo," Guardiola said. "He goes there to win the Champions League with Juventus. He has all the pressure on his shoulders, he scores three against Atletico Madrid and goes through — that is the type of guy you face (in) the next stages. We are going to try. If it doesn't work, I am sorry but I assure you next season we are going to try."

News Football

Ronaldo nets hat trick to send Juventus into CL quarters

AP Updated: 13 March, 2019, 11:29 AM IST


Cristiano Ronaldo made a mockery of Atletico Madrid's vaunted defense, and then mocked its coach as well.

Ronaldo scored a hat trick against the normally resilient Spanish side to send Juventus into the Champions League quarterfinals with a 3-0 win on Tuesday as the Bianconeri fought back from a two-goal first-leg defeat.

The former Real Madrid player outjumped Atletico's defenders to score a header in each half and then converted a late penalty for his first hat trick since joining Juventus in the summer — and just when they needed it most.

He celebrated at the final whistle by mimicking the obscene gesture Atletico coach Diego Simeone made after the Spanish side's second goal in the first leg — having the final say against a rival he so often defeated as a Real Madrid player.

Simeone was fined 20,000 euros ($22,500) by UEFA for improper conduct and it remains to be seen whether Ronaldo will face a similar punishment.

It was Ronaldo's eighth hat trick in the Champions League, moving him level with Barcelona's Lionel Messi and demonstrating why Juventus paid Real Madrid 112 million euros (then $131.5 million) for the Portugal star who has dominated the competition in recent years.

It was the first time Juventus came back from a two-goal defeat in the first leg.

"Maybe that's why Juventus signed me," Ronaldo said. "To help it do things that it had never done before. This result is a great push for the future, we're strong and we showed it."

The 34-year-old Ronaldo has won the Champions League five times, including in four of the last five seasons. Without him, Madrid was eliminated by Ajax last week.

However, Ronaldo had only scored one goal in the competition for Juventus until Tuesday.

"It would have been strange if Ronaldo's Champions League season ended with only one goal," Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri said. "Juventus signed him for nights like this and tonight he made the difference."

For Atletico, it was more heartache in the competition in the year the final is being held in its Wanda Metropolitano Stadium — and more pain caused by Ronaldo. While at Madrid, Ronaldo helped beat Atletico in two Champions League finals.

He has also now scored 25 goals against Atletico in his career.

"He's the best in the world," Simeone said. "We suffered, as happened to them in the first leg. They're through and that's right. They deserved it ... Maybe I didn't manage to transmit to my players what we needed."

News Tennis

Bad day for No. 1s: Djokovic, Osaka upset at Indian Wells

AP Updated: 13 March, 2019, 11:24 AM IST


It was a tough day for seeded players at the BNP Paribas Open, with Novak Djokovic and Naomi Osaka, the world's top-ranked players, ushered out in the desert.

Djokovic and Philipp Kohlschreiber resumed their third-round match that was suspended because of rain a night earlier. The unseeded German knocked off the five-time tournament champion 6-4, 6-4.

Osaka lost to Belinda Bencic 6-3, 6-1 in just over an hour in the fourth round of the first title defense of her career.

"She sort of came out there really aggressive," Osaka said. "She sort of knew what she wanted to do more than me."

Since Osaka won the title at Indian Wells a year ago, she won the U.S and Australian opens. Her triumph in Australia made her No. 1 for the first time, but her time at the top has been rocky. Osaka fired her coach and lost in the first round in Dubai before taking on a new coach, Jermaine Jenkins, who came on court during the match.

"It's always a bit tricky whenever you change someone in the team, but I feel like for a first tournament we did really well," Osaka said. "We communicate well, so I think that's a really big plus. I don't think it's going to be difficult."

On Tuesday, the 23rd-ranked Bencic served and returned better.

The bottom half of the men's draw still includes No. 2 seed Rafael Nadal and fourth-seeded Roger Federer, both of whom breezed to victory.

Djokovic owned an 8-1 record against Kohlschreiber, who beat a No. 1 player for the first time.

Kohlschreiber liked the weather — sunshine and temperatures in the low 70s — much better than the cold and rain on Tuesday night.

"I liked my chances more at night against Kohlschreiber, but it wasn't to be last night," Djokovic said. "Completely different conditions today. I congratulate him for playing tactically really well and getting me out of my comfort zone. He deserved to win."

The 35-year-old German started thinking he had a chance early in the first set when he survived a handful of break points on his serve.

"I would say after 3-all in the first set I felt like getting closer to the set, holding my service games, which is not easy against Novak, because he's such a great returner," Kohlschreiber said. "I know from that point on it's gonna be a very interesting match."

Djokovic was just 1-for-5 on break-point opportunities. Kohlschreiber converted three of his four chances.

Next up for Kohlschreiber is Gael Monfils, who owns a 13-2 record against the German.

Djokovic remains alive in doubles with partner Fabio Fognini. Djokovic returned about an hour after his loss for their match.

"When I hit a good return, I was wondering why this didn't happen in singles," he said.

Also ousted were No. 6 Kei Nishikori, No. 10 Marin Cilic and No. 14 Daniil Medvedev.

Nadal eased by 25th-seeded Diego Schwartzman 6-3, 6-1, while Federer defeated Swiss countryman Stan Wawrinka 6-3, 6-4.

In women's fourth-round matches, No. 2 Simona Halep lost to Marketa Vondrousova 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 and No. 7 Kiki Bertens was beaten by 20th-seeded Garbine Muguruza 5-7, 6-1, 6-4.

Venus Williams reached the quarterfinals with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Mona Barthel.

"I haven't played that much, so I wanted to make it count," said Williams, who expects to play about 12 tournaments this year. "I need to do what I want, and what I want is to play the tournaments I want to play."

Bianca Andreescu, an 18-year-old Canadian, beat 18th-seeded Wang Qiang 7-5, 6-2.