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Federer eyes 100th Wimbledon win and Nadal showdown

LONDON: Roger Federer can rack up his 100th win at Wimbledon on Wednesday and set-up a blockbuster semifinal against Rafael Nadal.In a quarter-final line-up which features five players over 30, there is a growing anticipation of a potential 40th career match-up between the sport’s two most successful players.If it does happen, it will be their…

Federer eyes 100th Wimbledon win and Nadal showdown

LONDON: Roger Federer can rack up his 100th win at Wimbledon on Wednesday and set-up a blockbuster semifinal against Rafael Nadal.In a quarter-final line-up which features five players over 30, there is a growing anticipation of a potential 40th career match-up between the sport’s two most successful players.If it does happen, it will be their first at the All England Club since 2008 when Nadal triumphed in what is widely regarded as the greatest final ever played at the tournament.However, before they reach that stage, eight-time champion Federer has to get past Kei Nishikori while Nadal, a two-time winner, tackles big-hitting Sam Querrey.Whoever battles through that side of the draw is likely to find defending champion and four-time winner Novak Djokovic waiting in the final.At 37, Federer is the oldest quarter-finalist since Jimmy Connors in 1991.He reached his 17th quarter-final at the All England Club — and 55th at the majors — with a 74-minute demolition of Italy’s Matteo Berrettini, dropping just five games.Between them, Federer, Nadal and Djokovic lost only 19 games in their fourth-round ties and faced just one break point.“I think the best guys now are fully engaged, they know exactly what to expect from the court and the conditions,” said second seed Federer.“That helps us to play better. I think with experience, that’s good. We haven’t dropped much energy in any way.”Federer will take a 7-3 record over seventh-seeded Nishikori into his quarter-final.Nishikori defeated the great Swiss in the ATP Finals last year, ending a drought which had stretched to almost five years.“I’m a big fan of his game,” said Federer of the Japanese star, who is into his second successive quarter-final at Wimbledon.“I think he’s got one of the best backhands in the game. He’s a great return player. Solid mentally. I always thought he was a great talent.”Nishikori is bidding to become the first Japanese man since Jiro Satoh in 1933 to make the semifinals at Wimbledon.Nadal, playing in his seventh Wimbledon quarter-final, faces Querrey backed up by a 4-1 record over the 65th-ranked American.Querrey made the semifinals in 2017, beating then world number one Andy Murray in the last-eight before falling to Marin Cilic.The American has pounded down 100 aces so far at the tournament, dropped serve just once and accounted for fifth seed Dominic Thiem in the first round.“When he plays well, he can be very, very dangerous on all surfaces,” said Nadal, whose recent 12th French Open title took him to 18 majors, just two back from Federer’s record.Querrey hopes to be the first unseeded player in the semifinals since Marat Safin and Rainer Schuettler both made it in 2008.Top seed Djokovic has a 5-1 record over his quarter-final opponent David Goffin who, at 28, is the youngest man left.Belgian 21st seed Goffin beat Djokovic the last time they met in 2017 but that was on the clay of Monte Carlo.Goffin is playing in his first All England Club quarter-final but was runner-up to Federer on the grass of Halle on the eve of Wimbledon.“He’s one of the quickest players on the tour. I think his footwork is probably his biggest asset,” said Djokovic ahead of his 11th Wimbledon quarter-final and 45th at the Slams.Wednesday’s other quarter-final pits Argentine 26th seed Guido Pella, who had never previously got into the second week of a Slam, against Spanish 23rd seed Roberto Bautista Agut.Whereas 29-year-old Pella is in unchartered territory, Bautista Agut is in his second Slam quarter-final of the season having also gone to the last eight at the Australian Open.Pella has spent six more hours on court than Bautista Agut in getting to his first quarter-finals at the majors.dj/pi

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Algeria beats Nigeria, sets up final match with Senegal in African Cup

CAIRO: Senegal reached the Africa Cup of Nations final for the second time with a Dylan Bronn own goal giving them a 1-0 win over Tunisia on Sunday in a tense last four clash in Cairo. With 11 minutes gone in extra time, goalkeeper Mouez Hassen pushed a free kick against the head of Bronn and…

Algeria beats Nigeria, sets up final match with Senegal in African Cup

CAIRO: Senegal reached the Africa Cup of Nations final for the second time with a Dylan Bronn own goal giving them a 1-0 win over Tunisia on Sunday in a tense last four clash in Cairo.

With 11 minutes gone in extra time, goalkeeper Mouez Hassen pushed a free kick against the head of Bronn and the ball went backwards into the net.

Tunisia thought they would have a chance to equalize when Idrissa Gueye handled in the box, but the Ethiopian referee rejected their penalty appeals after checking the incident on the VAR monitor.

Both teams missed penalties in regular time with Ferjani Sassi the Tunisian culprit before Henri Saivet failed for the Senegalese.

Senegal will miss star defender Kalidou Koulibaly for the final against Algeria or Nigeria after he was yellow-carded.

It was the second caution of the knockout phase for the Napoli center-back and triggered an automatic one-match suspension.

Senegal last reached the title decider 17 years ago, when current coach Aliou Cisse captained a team beaten on penalties by Cameroon in Mali.

Cisse made one change to the team that defeated Benin in the quarterfinals with 20-year-old forward Krepin Diatta replacing Keita Balde.

Tunisia coach Alain Giresse changed two of the side that eliminated Madagascar, promoting Mohamed Drager and Ayman Ben Mohamed and benching Wajdi Kechrida and Ghaylen Chaaleli.

The countries were meeting for the sixth time in the Cup of Nations with each winning one match and the other three drawn.

Tunisia had the first clearcut chance at the 30 June Stadium in the Egyptian capital, but unmarked captain Youssef Msakni headed a corner well over.

Senegal then took control and had three opportunities before half-time to end the deadlock and edge closer to the July 19 final.

Youssouf Sabaly unleashed a curling shot from the edge of the box that beat Mouez but cannoned back into play off the woodwork on 26 minutes.

Then, in a 60-second purple patch, Mbaye Niang and Liverpool star Sadio Mane were unable to convert chances before a small crowd. Niang swivelled inside the box only to fire well wide and Mane rounded Hassen but his shot from an acute angle finished well off target.

Giresse took off Msakni at halftime and introduced Naim Sliti, scorer of the stoppage-time goal that sealed a convincing last eight win over giantkillers Madagascar.

Senegal goalkeeper Alfred Gomis, a virtual spectator in the opening half, reacted quickly early in the second half to push away a Sassi snap shot.

Attackers Niang and Diatta were having little success and came off with Mbaye Diagne and Ismaila Sarr replacing them as an intriguing semifinal entered the final quarter.

The Sassi penalty was weak, allowing Gomis to save comfortably, while Hassen made a brilliant one-hand block to foil a powerfully struck spot kick by Saivet.

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Senegal reach Africa Cup final as own goal sinks Tunisia

CAIRO: Senegal reached the Africa Cup of Nations final for the second time with a Dylan Bronn own goal giving them a 1-0 win over Tunisia on Sunday in a tense last four clash in Cairo. With 11 minutes gone in extra time, goalkeeper Mouez Hassen pushed a free kick against the head of Bronn and…

Senegal reach Africa Cup final as own goal sinks Tunisia

CAIRO: Senegal reached the Africa Cup of Nations final for the second time with a Dylan Bronn own goal giving them a 1-0 win over Tunisia on Sunday in a tense last four clash in Cairo.

With 11 minutes gone in extra time, goalkeeper Mouez Hassen pushed a free kick against the head of Bronn and the ball went backwards into the net.

Tunisia thought they would have a chance to equalize when Idrissa Gueye handled in the box, but the Ethiopian referee rejected their penalty appeals after checking the incident on the VAR monitor.

Both teams missed penalties in regular time with Ferjani Sassi the Tunisian culprit before Henri Saivet failed for the Senegalese.

Senegal will miss star defender Kalidou Koulibaly for the final against Algeria or Nigeria after he was yellow-carded.

It was the second caution of the knockout phase for the Napoli center-back and triggered an automatic one-match suspension.

Senegal last reached the title decider 17 years ago, when current coach Aliou Cisse captained a team beaten on penalties by Cameroon in Mali.

Cisse made one change to the team that defeated Benin in the quarterfinals with 20-year-old forward Krepin Diatta replacing Keita Balde.

Tunisia coach Alain Giresse changed two of the side that eliminated Madagascar, promoting Mohamed Drager and Ayman Ben Mohamed and benching Wajdi Kechrida and Ghaylen Chaaleli.

The countries were meeting for the sixth time in the Cup of Nations with each winning one match and the other three drawn.

Tunisia had the first clearcut chance at the 30 June Stadium in the Egyptian capital, but unmarked captain Youssef Msakni headed a corner well over.

Senegal then took control and had three opportunities before half-time to end the deadlock and edge closer to the July 19 final.

Youssouf Sabaly unleashed a curling shot from the edge of the box that beat Mouez but cannoned back into play off the woodwork on 26 minutes.

Then, in a 60-second purple patch, Mbaye Niang and Liverpool star Sadio Mane were unable to convert chances before a small crowd. Niang swivelled inside the box only to fire well wide and Mane rounded Hassen but his shot from an acute angle finished well off target.

Giresse took off Msakni at halftime and introduced Naim Sliti, scorer of the stoppage-time goal that sealed a convincing last eight win over giantkillers Madagascar.

Senegal goalkeeper Alfred Gomis, a virtual spectator in the opening half, reacted quickly early in the second half to push away a Sassi snap shot.

Attackers Niang and Diatta were having little success and came off with Mbaye Diagne and Ismaila Sarr replacing them as an intriguing semifinal entered the final quarter.

The Sassi penalty was weak, allowing Gomis to save comfortably, while Hassen made a brilliant one-hand block to foil a powerfully struck spot kick by Saivet.

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England eye World Cup glory as New Zealand plot shock

London: Eoin Morgan’s England face New Zealand at Lord’s on Sunday desperate to win the World Cup for the first time after four years of hard graft.When England exited the 2015 tournament after an embarrassing defeat by Bangladesh, few tipped them as potential champions four years later.As captain Morgan put it: “If you had offered…

England eye World Cup glory as New Zealand plot shock

London: Eoin Morgan’s England face New Zealand at Lord’s on Sunday desperate to win the World Cup for the first time after four years of hard graft.When England exited the 2015 tournament after an embarrassing defeat by Bangladesh, few tipped them as potential champions four years later.As captain Morgan put it: “If you had offered us the position to play in a final the day after we were knocked out of the 2015 World Cup, I would have laughed at you.”One person not laughing was Andrew Strauss, the former England director of cricket.Drafted into the newly created role, Strauss set about an overhaul that saw the former England captain appoint Australia’s Trevor Bayliss as coach, and place greater emphasis on white-ball cricket.The value of that work showed when England, now top of the one-day international rankings, thrashed reigning champions Australia by eight wickets in the semifinal at Edgbaston with the kind of performance that justified their billing as pre-tournament favorites.Pacemen Jofra Archer and Chris Woakes destroyed the top order, leg-spinner Adil Rashid chipped in and the dynamic duo of Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow launched the run chase with another blistering century partnership.Australian World Cup-winning captain Steve Waugh said England could go down as one of the greatest teams in one-day international history if they win on Sunday.

But the challenge for the host nation, as they seek a first title in the 44-year history of the World Cup, is to embrace Sunday’s occasion at Lord’s without it inhibiting their “fearless” brand of cricket.“It’s the culmination of four years of hard work and dedication, a lot of planning and it presents a huge opportunity to go on and try and win a World Cup,” said Morgan.Back-to-back group-stage defeats by Sri Lanka and Australia effectively saw England playing knockout cricket before the semifinals but they got their campaign back on track with impressive victories against India and New Zealand.“I think it has helped us because it’s lent itself to actually being more positive and aggressive and a bit smarter about how we play. It’s sort of been the last-chance saloon,” explained Morgan.New Zealand, who have also never won the World Cup, helped shock England into a change of approach by humiliating them in Wellington four years ago and cannot be underestimated after seeing off Virat Kohli’s India in the semifinals.The 2015 losing finalists boast a well-balanced attack led by left-arm quick Trent Boult but their batting has been hugely reliant on captain Kane Williamson, who has scored 548 runs in the tournament at an outstanding average of 91.33, and Ross Taylor.Williamson said his side were happy to embrace their underdog status, acknowledging that England deserved to be favorites.“But whatever dog we are, it’s just important that we focus on the cricket that we want to play,” he said. “And we have seen over the years that anybody can beat anybody — regardless of breed of dog.”While some members of the home side were not even born when England made the last of three losing appearances in a World Cup final in 1992, the Black Caps have the experience of their heavy defeat by co-hosts Australia in the climax of the 2015 edition in Melbourne to call on.But there is a sense that England will never have a better chance.“I haven’t allowed myself to think about lifting the trophy,” said Morgan.“Cricket and sport in particular is very fickle. If you ever get ahead, it always seems to bite you in the backside. For us to win it, I think around the country it would be awesome, great for the game.”

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