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Saina will climb back to No. 3 position

first_imgSaina Nehwal kept the promise she made to her mother.A couple of days before the Indian ace left to play in the Hong Kong Super Series, she told mother Usha Rani that she would return with the trophy.Saina Nehwal is all smiles during the award ceremony in Hong Kong. Photo by APOn Sunday at the Queen Elizabeth Stadium, the 20- year- old Hyderabadi outlasted third seed Chinese Wang Shixian 15- 21, 21- 16, 21- 17 in a thrilling final.It was the perfect way to end a successful year as Saina won the year’s final Super Series event.She will now be competing at the Super Series Finals to be held in Taipei from January 5.This was Saina’s third Super Series title of the year. She had won the Singapore and Indonesian titles earlier.Speaking to MAIL T ODAY a couple of hours after winning the victory, Saina said she rated her Hong Kong triumph as one of her best achievements.”The field in Hong Kong was very tough. Also the fact that I could defeat Shixian in the final makes me very satisfied. Not only is she the Asian Games champion but is also one of the most consistent players in the world,” said Saina.It must be mentioned here that Saina had lost to Shixian in straight games at the World Championships in Paris in August.”That defeat to her (Shixian) at the Worlds still rankles me. She was just too good for me on that day and there was hardy anything I could do,” she said.advertisementAnother factor which made the Hong Kong win all the more memorable was the fact that it came soon after her disappointing loss at the Asian Games in Guangzhou.”This win does go some way in making up for my disappointing loss at the Asian Games,” she said.To jump one spotSaina’s win in Hong Kong has ensured that the Indian will climb one place to No. 3 when the fresh world rankings are released next Thursday. She is likely to finish ahead of Denmark’s Tine Bine (formerly Rasmussen) The fact that she missed five Super Series events – Denmark, Japan, France, and a couple of events in China – meant Saina did not finish as the top player in the world.”She had to miss five Super Series events due to her preparations for the Commonwealth and Asian Games. That is the main reason she did not finish the year as the world No. 1,” said chief coach Pullela Gopi Chand.He went on to add that what made him happiest was the manner in which Saina fought back after losing the opening game.”After losing the first game, she ensured that she changed her tactics. She was quick to learn from the mistakes she committed in the first game and was discreet enough to avoid them in the next two games,” said Gopi.P Baskar Babu, the coach who accompanied Saina to Hong Kong, said that she was playing at a very fast pace throughout the week.”She was moving very well. Also her smashes were very good and that made all the difference today,” he said.Babu also felt that Shixian was a bit taken aback by the pace at which Saina played.”I think Saina’s speed took her opponent by surprise. She did not expect her (Saina) to play at the same pace in the decider. The fact that Saina took a 11- 6 lead in the decider shows that Shixian was clearly rattled.”last_img read more

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Prior in for Davies in England’s World Cup squad

first_imgEngland selectors opted for Matt Prior as wicketkeeper ahead of Steve Davies in the 15-man squad announced hours before the deadline on Wednesday for the World Cup starting next month in the Indian subcontinent.Matt Prior en route to his maiden Test century during the fifth and final Ashes Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground. APPrior has been playing domestic cricket in Australia since playing a key role in England’s Ashes Test series victory in Australia, while Davies has been the wicketkeeper for England in their last six limited-overs internationals.The 28-year-old Prior, who hasn’t been part of England’s ODI setup for most of the last year, is now expected to jointhe England squad ahead of the second ODI against Australia in Hobart on Friday.”It was a tough decision,” England coach Andy Flower said. “Steve Davies was picked in our last one-day series, he did okay against Pakistan.”We picked him for this series in Australia because of the conditions out here, but as we get closer to the World Cup we’ve made that adjustment and we want Prior to get a few games under his belt before we get out there.”Prior, who scored a century at a fast run-rate in the last Ashes Test against Australia, is expected to partner skipper Andrew Strauss at the top of the order.”We believe that Matt Prior is best suited to the subcontinent conditions and that’s why we’ve picked him,” Flower said.”The circumstances have changed. Matt Prior did very well out here in the Test matches. He is a combative, aggressive cricketer. He fits our aggressive fielding unit so those are the reasons why he has been picked for the World Cup.”advertisement”Of course he is disappointed.” Flower said. “But those are the harsh realities of playing professional sport. Steve and the others who have been left out will have to accept it.”Chris Tremlett is the only member of the current England ODI squad who missed selection for the World Cup.James Anderson and Stuart Broad, who is recovering from injury, will join the England squad in Australia on Friday to bolster the pace bowling stocks along with Tim Bresnan and Ajmal Shahzad.The squad will contain three specialist spinners, including Graeme Swann, Michael Yardy and James Tredwell.There are some concern over Swann, who will miss the next two weeks due to an injured left knee.Selectors are expecting Paul Collingwood to return to form and have named the Durham veteran in the squad.”Paul Collingwood may not have scored as many runs as he would have liked so far on the tour of Australia but he has been a consistently strong performer for England in limited-overs cricket for a long period of time,” Flower said.”He’ll be looking to make a big impact at another global event.”England open their World Cup Group B campaign against The Netherlands at Nagpur on February 22, then plays India at Kolkata.England squad: Andrew Strauss (Captain), Jimmy Anderson, Ian Bell, Tim Bresnan, Stuart Broad, Paul Collingwood, Eoin Morgan, Kevin Pietersen, Matt Prior, Ajmal Shahzad, Graeme Swann, James Tredwell, Jonathan Trott, Luke Wright, Michael Yardy.last_img read more

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South Africa to take on West Indies today

first_imgIn what will be the first clash of the World Cup between two ‘strong’ teams, South Africa and West Indies face off at the Ferozeshah Kotla in New Delhi on Thursday, promising to be a mouth-watering encounter.Both teams have their own sets of challenges coming into the tournament.South Africa will be trying out an untested spin combination in the sub-continent and also have Jacques Kallis returning from a rib injury.For the West Indies, a change in captaincy which sees Darren Sammy leading the pack, Adrian Barath and keeper Carlton Baugh ruled out due to injury right before the World Cup, and an unsuccessful tour of Sri Lanka makes things tricky.For the Proteas, they have a lot things going for them on paper.Their batting looks settled with skipper Graeme Smith and Hashim Amla at the top of the order. AB de Villiers has developed into a world-class middle-order batsman and their pace duo of Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel can dispose of any line-up on any wicket.However, with AB de Villiers keeping wickets, the Proteas lose their best fielder in the circle and his ability to handle the sub-continent wickets and keep against the spinners, especially new import Imran Tahir, hasn’t been tested yet. Also, lack of proven big-hitters lower down the order means the South Africans have a fairly long tail.The West Indies, on the other hand, have a lot on their plate.Sammy was not even a certainty the ODI squad a year or so back and now finds himself leading the side at the World Cup after Chris Gayle gave up the captaincy. They were already missing fast bowlers Fidel Edwards and Jerome Taylor due to injuries and two more were added to the list last week. The West Indies will rely on Gayle and Kieron Pollard for big hitting and Shivnarine Chanderpaul to anchor the innings. One of the fastest bowlers in the world, Kemar Roach will be their pace spearhead. Dwayne Bravo and Pollard will be responsible for bowling in the middle overs.The last time the two met in a series, South Africa trounced the West Indies in their own backyard 0. So when the two teams lock horns at the Kotla on Thursday, it would be difficult to give a favourites’ tag to either team, especially since their head-tohead at the World Cup is 2-2.What will add to the mystique of the game is the Kotla pitch itself.This will be the first international match since the Delhi wicket was banned by the ICC for a ‘dangerous’ track during an ODI between India and Sri Lanka in November 2009. There has been no first-class game on the wicket for three months and only a couple of Ranji matches have been played on it. So there is little expectation of scores close to 300. The weather, too, will have a role to play as dew is expected during this time of the year. So the captains will be in a dilemma to bat first and bowl when the dew possibly comes in, or bowl first and hope the wicket doesn’t deteriorate later on while batting.Hope for the bestSouth African captain Graeme Smith hoped that the untested wicket at the Kotla would hold up Thursday.”We are all aware of what has happened in Delhi. From our perspective and the West Indies’ perspective, it is an unknown factor. But I think you can see they have a lot of work into the surface. Let’s hope it all works out tomorrow,” he said.For the Caribbean skipper, spin will be crucial to his team’s chances. “Spin has played an important part in the tournament so far. We have two quality left-arm spinners and Chris (Gayle) also bowls off-spin. So we have to consider all these options and choose the best team and perform,”  he said.advertisementlast_img read more

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Chris Hoy to carry British flaf at London Olympics

first_imgFour-time Olympic gold medal-winning cyclist Chris Hoy has been given the honour of carrying the British flag at his home Olympics in London, he said on Monday.Hoy was reportedly the clear winner of a poll of the 31 teams of athletes Britain is sending to the Olympics.”Delighted to be able to say that I’ll be carrying the flag at the Opening Ceremony! Massive honour!” Hoy said on Twitter.Hoy is set to participate for the team sprint and keirin at the Games, two of the three events he won in Beijing in 2008, where he carried the British flag at the closing ceremony.Winning both events would make him the most successful British Olympian in history, surpassing rower Steve Redgrave’s tally of five gold medals.Hoy also won the individual sprint in Beijing, but was not selected for the event in London, with Jason Kenny preferred instead.The British team will enter the Olympic Stadium as the last of the 204 countries, as is traditional for the host nation.last_img read more

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Karnataka High Court stays ban on Bhupathi, Bopanna

first_imgThe Karnataka High Court on Saturday stayed the ban imposed by the All India Tennis Association (AITA) on tennis stars Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna against representing the country till June 2014.Staying the ban, Justice Mohan Shantanagoudar issued notice to the association and the union sports ministry.The tennis duo had moved the high court challenging the ban imposed on them for refusing to play with Leander Paes in the recent London Olympics.”The impugned decision of the association has been stayed by the honourable court through an interim order,” Bhupathi’s counsel Aditya Sondhi said.last_img read more

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R Balki’s next starring Big B titled Shamitabh

first_imgDirector R. Balakrishnan, fondly called Balki, has been busy filming his new project starring Amitabh Bachchan, but it is only now that he has revealed the title of the film – Shamitabh. Interestingly, it sounds similar to the Bollywood megastar’s name.The movie, also starring Dhanush, marks the Bollywood debut of southern superstar actor Kamal Haasan’s daughter Akshara.This is for the third time that Big B and R Balki has teamed up.”We are happy to announce that the film is titled Shamitab’. As in SH before Amitabh. We are half way through the shoot of the film, so will finish and talk more about it.”Right now, I’m enjoying watching the lethal combo of the intensity of Amitabh Bachchan, the intelligence of Dhanush and the innocence of Akshara in action daily,” Balki said in a statement.The two had also worked together in films like Cheeni Kum and Paa so, it comes as no surprise that the film’s title has similarity with the actor’s name.last_img read more

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Sweet Lou helps Clippers trim LeBron-less Lakers

first_imgLou Williams had a season-high 36 points and the Clippers scored 22 consecutive points during the second half of a 118-107 victory over the depleted Lakers on Friday night.Danilo Gallinari added 19 points and 10 rebounds for the Clippers, who held the Lakers without a field goal for more than six minutes while matching the longest unanswered scoring run by any team in the NBA this season.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSUrgent reply from Philippine ‍football chief“We were just a little sluggish,” Williams said. “We were just a step slow. We knew they were on a back-to-back, but for whatever reason, we just weren’t playing our best until we put a good stretch together in the third and then busted the game wide open in the fourth.”The Clippers turned a seven-point deficit into a 15-point lead early in the fourth quarter of their fourth win in five games. Williams torched his former team yet again, scoring 23 points in the second half, yet the game turned with the suffocating defense played by Patrick Beverley, Montrezl Harrell, Avery Bradley and Sindarius Thornwell during that 22-0 run. —AP SEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completion SEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completion PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games PLAY LIST 02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss Clippers guard Lou Williams puts a shot up against the Lakers’ Josh Hart. APLOS ANGELES—Even while playing without LeBron James on the tail end of a back-to-back set, the Los Angeles Lakers managed to carve out a double-digit lead in the third quarter against the Los Angeles Clippers.That’s when the Clippers’ four toughest defenders clamped down and Sweet Lou went wild to win this basketball-loving city’s first rivalry game of the season.ADVERTISEMENT BREAKING: Corrections officer shot dead in front of Bilibid Is Luis Manzano planning to propose to Jessy Mendiola? Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting LATEST STORIES View comments LOOK: Joyce Pring goes public with engagement to Juancho Triviño MOST READ Pressure? No problem, ‘chill’ Kobe ready to help UP win TS Kammuri to enter PAR possibly a day after SEA Games opening Hotel management clarifies SEAG footballers’ kikiam breakfast issuelast_img read more

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Nikola Jokic explodes for 31 as Nuggets stun Rockets

first_imgGrace Poe files bill to protect govt teachers from malicious accusations ‘We are too hospitable,’ says Sotto amid SEA Games woes PDEA chief backs Robredo in revealing ‘discoveries’ on drug war Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting Thunder win 7th straight, roll past Heat Guard Jamal Murray (left ankle sprain) missed his fourth straight game and probably won’t return soon. Murray is known for his ability to play through pain, so there is concern about how long he will be out.“Jamal is a guy we’re not used to see miss games, so you know it’s a really serious injury he’s dealing with,” coach Michael Malone said. “I definitely have concern with Jamal’s ankle, but I know that he’ll come back ready and he’ll help us out moving forward.UP NEXTRockets: Play at Utah on Saturday night.Nuggets: Play at Northwest Division rival Minnesota on Saturday.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next The Nuggets couldn’t stop Harden, but they ended a nine-game losing streak against Houston.Harden’s streak started with a 50-point night against the Los Angeles Lakers on Dec. 13, and nearly ended on a tough shooting night for the reigning league MVP. He hit five of his first six shots and scored 15 points in the first quarter but then went cold. He missed 10 of his next 11 shots and also missed four free throws.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSUrgent reply from Philippine ‍football chiefSPORTSPalace wants Cayetano’s PHISGOC Foundation probed over corruption chargesHe hit two 3-pointers in the fourth quarter to pull Houston within nine points, but Jokic scored six straight points to put it away. Harden’s step-back 3-pointer with 1:05 left gave him 30.Torrey Craig had a career-high 22 points for the Rockets, who scored 43 points in the first quarter. The Nuggets responded in the second with a 48-point outburst. They had 35 of those in the final 7:31 when they transformed a five-point deficit into an 83-71 lead at halftime. Denver led by 20 in the third quarter, but the Rockets got within nine twice before the Nuggets pulled away.TIP-INSRockets: Kenneth Faried scored a season-high 23 points against his former team. … The 43 points in the first period were a season best for a quarter. … Houston is being careful with guard Chris Paul, who missed 17 games with a hamstring strain, so he will “probably” sit out Saturday’s game at Utah, coach Mike D’Antoni said. “It’s not definite but he probably won’t play,” D’Antoni said.Nuggets: Denver’s 48-point second quarter matched its highest since March 16, 2008, against the Seattle SuperSonics. … Guard Gary Harris was out due to a right adductor strain. Harris missed 11 games in December with a hip injury and five more in January with left hamstring soreness.SORE POINTADVERTISEMENT ‘We are too hospitable,’ says Sotto amid SEA Games woes View commentscenter_img SEA Games hosting troubles anger Duterte MOST READ LATEST STORIES US judge bars Trump’s health insurance rule for immigrants Oil plant explodes in Pampanga town Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic checks the clock during a timeout in the first half of the team’s NBA basketball game against the Houston Rockets on Friday, Feb. 1, 2019, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)DENVER — Nikola Jokic had 31 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists, Malik Beasley had a career-high 35 points and the Denver Nuggets beat the Houston Rockets 136-122 on Friday night.Houston’s James Harden scored 30 points to extend his streak to 25 games of scoring 30 or more points. He needed a late 3-pointer to keep the streak alive, and it came well after the game was in hand for Denver.ADVERTISEMENT Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games PLAY LIST 02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krausslast_img read more

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