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History man Rafael Nadal sweeps to 12th French Open and 18th Grand Slam title

LONDON: Opener Shikhar Dhawan hit a blazing century to set up a 36-run win over Australia in the World Cup on Sunday as the reigning champions suffered their first defeat of this year’s tournament. Dhawan’s 117 and his 127-run opening stand with Rohit Sharma laid the foundation for India posting 352 for five after captain…

History man Rafael Nadal sweeps to 12th French Open and 18th Grand Slam title

LONDON: Opener Shikhar Dhawan hit a blazing century to set up a 36-run win over Australia in the World Cup on Sunday as the reigning champions suffered their first defeat of this year’s tournament.

Dhawan’s 117 and his 127-run opening stand with Rohit Sharma laid the foundation for India posting 352 for five after captain Virat Kohli won the toss on a sunny London morning at the Oval.

Kohli himself hit a brisk 82 and combined with Hardik Pandya for a 81-run third-wicket partnership that saw the pair pummel the Australian bowling attack.

India then dismissed Australia for 316 in 50 overs to record their second straight victory of this World Cup after an opening win over South Africa.

Half-centuries by David Warner and Steve Smith were not enough for the five-time champions whose record in the round-robin group stage now stands at two wins from three.

Former captain Smith and Warner have both returned to international cricket in fine form after completing one-year bans for their part in a ball-tampering scandal.

Smith top-scored for Australia with 69 off 70 balls, while opener Warner made 56 but it never looked like being enough in the face of some tight bowling from Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah, who took three wickets apiece.

Earlier, Dhawan and Sharma overcame a cautious start against Australia’s new-ball duo of Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc to put India in control with their 16th century partnership in ODIs.

Paceman Nathan Coulter-Nile finally struck in the 23rd over to have Sharma caught behind for 57 to get his first wicket of the World Cup.

Dhawan went on to reach his 17th ODI ton as he acknowledged the huge cheers from a largely India-supporting crowd.

Starc had Dhawan caught at deep midwicket to end an innings featuring 16 boundaries.

Dhawan took no further part in the match as he nursed a blow to his thumb off Coulter-Nile that needed medical attention during his time at he crease.

Kohli and all-rounder Pandya, pushed up the order, combined to good effect.

Kohli registered his 50th fifty at this level in an already illustrious career that has taken him to the top of the batting standings in both Test and ODI cricket.

Pandya, who was dropped first ball by wicket-keeper Alex Carey, made the most of his reprieve to hit 48 runs off just 27 deliveries before falling to Cummins.

MS Dhoni also chipped in with a brisk 27.

India’s total meant Australia were left needing to surpass Ireland’s 329 for seven against England in 2011, the highest score by any team batting second to win a World Cup match

They put up a spirited fight but the ever-increasing run-rate kept pulling them back.

Skipper Aaron Finch was run out for 36 while opening partner Warner survived an early scare when he edged a Bumrah delivery on to his stumps only for the bails to stay put.

Warner got going with Smith to put on 72 runs for the second wicket but the left-hander fell to the guile of leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal.

Smith kept Australia in the hunt along with Usman Khawaja, who made 42.

But Kumar saw off Smith as part of a double strike in the 40th over that also accounted for Marcus Stoinis.

Chahal got the dangerous Glenn Maxwell for 28 and the chase was all but over, although Carey’s unbeaten 55 did get Australia past 300.

 

Windies  ‘just another game’ for Archer

England’s Jofra Archer has insisted it will be “just another game of cricket” should the Barbados-born fast bowler face his native West Indies.

With Archer, who only qualified for England earlier this year, taking an impressive three for 29 in a 106-run win over Bangladesh in Cardiff on Saturday, it seems inconceivable, barring injury, that the tournament hosts leave him out of their side for Friday’s match against the West Indies in Southampton.

Archer, whose father is English, was effectively lost to the West Indies when he moved to county side Sussex after overlooking the paceman for the Under-19 World Cup four years ago.

“It’s just same as the last game, just another game of cricket,” said Archer.

“I know them pretty good. I played with a few of the guys at Under-19, so it will be good to actually play against them this time.”

Archer’s ability to routinely top speeds of 90 mph makes him a hugely valuable asset and that speed was on show when a ball that clean bowled Bangladesh opener Soumya Sarkar flew off the top of the stumps and straight over the boundary without touching the ground at Sophia Gardens.

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Ravi Shastri reappointed India’s cricket coach

MASON, Ohio: Seven-time champion Roger Federer was ousted from one of his favorite tournaments in only 61 minutes Thursday, falling in straight sets to a 21-year-old qualifier he’d never faced. Andre Rublev — with only one career win over a top-five player to his credit — took advantages of Federer’s numerous mistakes for a 6-3,…

Ravi Shastri reappointed India’s cricket coach

MASON, Ohio: Seven-time champion Roger Federer was ousted from one of his favorite tournaments in only 61 minutes Thursday, falling in straight sets to a 21-year-old qualifier he’d never faced.
Andre Rublev — with only one career win over a top-five player to his credit — took advantages of Federer’s numerous mistakes for a 6-3, 6-4 victory that further depleted the top of the men’s bracket in the Western & Southern Open.
Federer has won the tournament more than anyone, using it as a springboard to the US Open. He had 16 unforced errors against the 70th-ranked Rublev, who raised both fists and wiped a teary eye in celebration after Federer’s forehand sailed long to end it.
Struggling with his serve, Federer got broken twice in the first set.
“And there you have it. It set the tone for the match a little bit,” Federer said. “He was super clean — offense, defense, serving well. He didn’t give me anything.”
Federer, who lost a classic five-set match for the Wimbledon title to Novak Djokovic, thinks he’s in good shape heading into the US Open despite the upset in Cincinnati.
Second-seeded Rafael Nadal withdrew before the start of the tournament because of fatigue after winning the Rogers Cup in Montreal on Sunday. Djokovic was the only one of the Top 3 left, set to play later in the day.
The day began with the ATP fining Nick Kyrgios $113,000 for expletive-filled outbursts that included smashing rackets, insulting a chair umpire and refusing to get ready to return serve during a second-round match the previous night.
Back against the wallIn the women’s bracket, top-seeded Ashleigh Barty reached the quarterfinals, joined by a resurgent Venus Williams.Barty beat Anett Kontaveit 4-6, 7-5, 7-5, raising her fist in triumph after fighting off one match point to take the 2-hour, 10-minute match. She was down a break in the second set before rallying on a day when she struggled to find consistency.“The best thing is when my back was against the wall, the tennis was there,” Barty said. “It may not have been there the whole match, but we were able to find it when we needed it.”Barty, the French Open champion and currently ranked No. 2, can move up to the top spot by reaching the final.With the crowd cheering for her, Williams recovered from a rough first set and beat Donna Vekic 2-6, 6-4, 6-3, her best stretch of tennis in since she won three straight matches in March at Miami.After a first-round loss in Toronto last week, her ranking slipped to No. 65, her lowest in seven years. With sister Serena cheering courtside, Venus reached the semifinals.“I mean, I’m pretty pumped,” Venus Williams said. “When you’re winning, it’s fun.”Serena Williams withdrew from the tournament because of back spasms. She calmly watched her sister advance.“I think she believed in me,” Venus Williams said. “She was rooting hard but didn’t seem panicked at all after I lost the first set.”

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Low-ranked Rublev ousts Federer in Cincinnati; Barty advances

MASON, Ohio: Seven-time champion Roger Federer was ousted from one of his favorite tournaments in only 61 minutes Thursday, falling in straight sets to a 21-year-old qualifier he’d never faced.Andre Rublev — with only one career win over a top-five player to his credit — took advantages of Federer’s numerous mistakes for a 6-3, 6-4…

Low-ranked Rublev ousts Federer in Cincinnati; Barty advances

MASON, Ohio: Seven-time champion Roger Federer was ousted from one of his favorite tournaments in only 61 minutes Thursday, falling in straight sets to a 21-year-old qualifier he’d never faced.Andre Rublev — with only one career win over a top-five player to his credit — took advantages of Federer’s numerous mistakes for a 6-3, 6-4 victory that further depleted the top of the men’s bracket in the Western & Southern Open.Federer has won the tournament more than anyone, using it as a springboard to the US Open. He had 16 unforced errors against the 70th-ranked Rublev, who raised both fists and wiped a teary eye in celebration after Federer’s forehand sailed long to end it.Struggling with his serve, Federer got broken twice in the first set.“And there you have it. It set the tone for the match a little bit,” Federer said. “He was super clean — offense, defense, serving well. He didn’t give me anything.”Federer, who lost a classic five-set match for the Wimbledon title to Novak Djokovic, thinks he’s in good shape heading into the US Open despite the upset in Cincinnati.Second-seeded Rafael Nadal withdrew before the start of the tournament because of fatigue after winning the Rogers Cup in Montreal on Sunday. Djokovic was the only one of the Top 3 left, set to play later in the day.The day began with the ATP fining Nick Kyrgios $113,000 for expletive-filled outbursts that included smashing rackets, insulting a chair umpire and refusing to get ready to return serve during a second-round match the previous night.
Back against the wallIn the women’s bracket, top-seeded Ashleigh Barty reached the quarterfinals, joined by a resurgent Venus Williams.Barty beat Anett Kontaveit 4-6, 7-5, 7-5, raising her fist in triumph after fighting off one match point to take the 2-hour, 10-minute match. She was down a break in the second set before rallying on a day when she struggled to find consistency.“The best thing is when my back was against the wall, the tennis was there,” Barty said. “It may not have been there the whole match, but we were able to find it when we needed it.”Barty, the French Open champion and currently ranked No. 2, can move up to the top spot by reaching the final.With the crowd cheering for her, Williams recovered from a rough first set and beat Donna Vekic 2-6, 6-4, 6-3, her best stretch of tennis in since she won three straight matches in March at Miami.After a first-round loss in Toronto last week, her ranking slipped to No. 65, her lowest in seven years. With sister Serena cheering courtside, Venus reached the semifinals.“I mean, I’m pretty pumped,” Venus Williams said. “When you’re winning, it’s fun.”Serena Williams withdrew from the tournament because of back spasms. She calmly watched her sister advance.“I think she believed in me,” Venus Williams said. “She was rooting hard but didn’t seem panicked at all after I lost the first set.”

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Liverpool beats Chelsea on penalties to lift Super Cup

PARIS: The saga of Neymar’s seemingly inevitable departure from Paris Saint-Germain is proving a long, drawn out affair bringing the curtain down on what will ultimately feel like a fleeting and failed experiment.Having arrived in France in 2017 hoping a world-record transfer to PSG would help him emerge from the shadow of Lionel Messi at…

Liverpool beats Chelsea on penalties to lift Super Cup

PARIS: The saga of Neymar’s seemingly inevitable departure from Paris Saint-Germain is proving a long, drawn out affair bringing the curtain down on what will ultimately feel like a fleeting and failed experiment.Having arrived in France in 2017 hoping a world-record transfer to PSG would help him emerge from the shadow of Lionel Messi at Barcelona and win the Ballon d’Or, two years on he looks set to leave with his reputation having taken a serious hit.There is no doubting the 27-year-old forward is a brilliant player, and there is every chance he will get the success he craves — collectively and, chiefly, individually — by returning to Spain, whether with his old club or Real Madrid.However, there is every reason to believe a Kylian Mbappe-led PSG, and football in France in general, will ultimately be better off without him.The French champions’ first Ligue 1 game of the campaign last Sunday, a 3-0 win against Nimes, saw supporters unfurl banners insulting the 222 million-euro ($264 million at the time) man.Neymar himself was not involved in that game, left out amid the uncertainty over his future. He already missed the season-opening Champions Trophy against Rennes in China due to suspension.Since moving to the Parc des Princes, he has played in almost exactly half of his club’s matches.When he has been on the field he has frequently been brilliant, scoring 51 goals in 58 games, but when it has really mattered he has been absent.Foot injuries saw him miss three of the four Champions League knockout matches the Qatar-owned club have played in since his arrival. Without him, they lost in the last 16 to Real Madrid in 2018 and then to Manchester United this year.“I like Neymar, I want to keep playing with him, with Kylian and with everyone,” coach Thomas Tuchel said last weekend.“But the reality is that we must find solutions without ‘Ney’. You can’t lose Neymar and just find someone else who will do the same things.”Mbappe added that “without Neymar, it’s not the same team,” but PSG can still improve by investing in a more balanced squad — summer signings made so far under sporting director Leonardo are a step in the right direction.Center-back Abdou Diallo, midfielders Ander Herrera, Pablo Sarabia and Idrissa Gueye have arrived. With the money recouped from the eventual sale of Neymar, not to mention the saving on his 36 million-euro annual wage, more reinforcements can be brought in.The off-field circus around Neymar has been an unwelcome distraction for too long. On the field, Paris will still have Mbappe.The other side of the coin is what this means for PSG’s brand. After all, Neymar’s following on social media far outstrips that of his current club.Similarly, when the French league (LFP) put their television rights up for auction last year, they capitalized on the Brazilian’s presence. Rights for the four seasons from 2020 were sold to Chinese-owned group Mediapro for 1.15 billion euros a year, a huge increase on previous deals.Television stations could be forgiven for being a little concerned now, but LFP chief Didier Quillot remains bullish.“It’s always better to have several stars in your league. That said, during the Champions Trophy in China, it was Kylian Mbappe who was the star. His popularity is growing around the world,” he told sports daily L’Equipe.In any case, Ligue 1 is in a constant state of renewal, forever prepared to see star players move abroad. Nicolas Pepe, Ferland Mendy, Tanguy Ndombele and Ismaila Sarr have all left this summer.The game in France can move on from Neymar, and everyone will be relieved to let the football on the field do the talking if and when he departs.

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