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- Monday, April 20, 2009 - From Print Edition


PCB may boycott Cup games in India


LAHORE: The 2011 World Cup, scheduled in the sub-continent, ran into fresh trouble with a senior cricket board official here indicating that Pakistan might decline to play its matches in India. Saleem Altaf, chief operating officer of the Pakistan Cricket Board, said PCB would take its time before deciding where it would play its 2011 World Cup matches. "It is our right to decide where we play our World Cup matches now that the games have been relocated from Pakistan," he said.



Nadal wins fifth Monte Carlo title


MONTE CARLO: Rafael Nadal became the first player to win five straight Monte Carlo Masters titles by beating Novak Djokovic 6-3, 2-6, 6-1 on Sunday. The top-ranked Spaniard dropped his first set since the 2006 final against Roger Federer as the third-seeded Djokovic rallied to win the second set, pinning Nadal behind the baseline and picking him off at the net. Nadal extended his winning streak at Monte Carlo to 27 and won his 21st straight victory on clay.



Roddick marries swimsuit model


LOS ANGELES, California: American tennis star Andy Roddick married swimsuit model Brooklyn Decker on Friday, the second top 10 player to tie the knot recently after Roger Federer went down the aisle last weekend. The 26-year-old Roddick, a former world number one and 2003 US Open champion, married the 22-year-old Decker at the player's home in Austin, Texas, it was reported by American media. Fellow players James Blake and Mardy Fish, as well as Davis Cup skipper Patrick McEnroe were amongst the guests, while Elton John provided the entertainment. Brooklyn Decker is best known in the US for appearing in the sought-after swimsuit edition of Sports Illustrated magazine.



Shot selection is key in IPL-II: Dravid


CAPE TOWN: Shot selection would be key to the success of batsmen in the second edition of the IPL in the South African conditions, feels Rahul Dravid, who scripted Royal Challenger Bangalore's stunning win over Rajasthan Royals. Dravid, adjudged Man of the Match, played a gritty 66-run knock under pressure situation and led his team to a emphatic 75-run win. "You got to play some good cricket shots under these conditions. You can not hit every ball here. Conditions were ideal for me and will help batsmen like me," Dravid said after the match.



IPL Miss Bollywood S Africa contest begins


CAPE TOWN: The hunt for a film star during the second edition of the Indian Premier League got underway here in style with Raeesa Goga and Jasmita Chauhan hand picked to represent Mumbai Indians and Rajasthan Royals in the IPL 2009 Miss Bollywood South Africa contest. Raeesa and Jasmita won the beauty contest from among thousand of fans gathered during the opening matches at Newlands here on Saturday. The Miss Bollywood SA contest is a search for a South African beauty with star qualities from among the crowds during the matches.



Australia to appeal India venue decision


SYDNEY: Tennis Australia said on Sunday it will appeal the International Tennis Federation's decision to allow Chennai to remain the host venue for the Asia-Oceania Group I play-off against India. TA said it will lodge its appeal on Monday and was still hopeful of having the tie moved because the play-off is taking place during the Indian elections with security services already stretched. TA pointed to cricket's IPL Twenty20 tournament being shifted from India to South Africa over security concerns.





Spaniard to defend title at home


BARCELONA: World number one Rafael Nadal bids for a fifth consecutive title at his home Barcelona Open from Monday. And in spite of dominating on the surface, the reigning Wimbledon, Paris and Australian Open champion warned: "I haven't played to my level on clay yet, I'm still not at my best. So I have to improve if I want to have chances." That is considered fair warning to second-seeded compatriot Fernando Verdasco as well as returning Russian Nikolay Davydenko, the third seed, out for much of the season with a heel injury but revitalised by a Monte Carlo quarter-final. Spaniard David Ferrer and wild card Fernando Gonzalez of Chile make up the top five seeds.



Holder Kirilenko into final of Barcelona event


BARCELONA, Spain: Defending champion Maria Kirilenko of Russia will face Italian Roberta Vinci in the final of the Barcelona WTA claycourt event here on Sunday. Kirilenko, the world number 37 and sixth seed, overcame home favorite Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain 4-6, 6-1, 6-2 in the semifinals of the 220,000-dollar tournament on Saturday. Both had played rain-delayed quarter-final matches earlier in the day, Kirilenko defeating Spain's Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez 6-1, 3-6, 6-0, and Suarez Navarro easing past Germany's Tatjana Malek 6-4, 6-0. Vinci, ranked 61, had a tough battle to defeat her compatriot Francesca Schiavone 0-6, 7-6 (7/2), 6-4 to reach the final.



Vinci wins WTA tournament


MADRID: Roberta Vinci of Italy won the WTA Barcelona claycourt tournament on Sunday defeating title-holder and sixth seed Maria Kirilenko of Russia 6-0, 6-4.



'Sky the limit now'


SHANGHAI: Red Bull team chief Christian Horner said "the sky is the limit" for his team after they delivered a one-two triumph in a rain-swept Chinese Grand Prix on Sunday. It was Red Bull's maiden win and delighted the entire team, based in Milton Keynes in England, and left Horner grinning. "It's a breakthrough result for us. It's a long season ahead, and we can see that we're competitive with both drivers, so I think the sky's the limit," he said. Horner added that the achievement was a team effort and, in particular, due to the excellence of technical director Adrian Newey who missed the race because he was back England working on a new diffuser.



Cisse steers Sunderland closer to safety


SUNDERLAND: Djibril Cisse ended Sunderland's losing streak as he scored the crucial goal in a 1-0 win at the Stadium of Light against Hull City, fellow-strugglers near the foot of the Premier league. The French international, who is on loan from Marseille, headed the winner in stoppage time at the end of the first-half of Saturday's match to send Sunderland above Hull. The importance of the match to Hull was shown by the animated touchline antics of their manager Phil Brown, who displayed a wide range of emotions throughout the 90 minutes. His main concern in the opening stages was referee Mike Dean's failure to award a penalty when Craig Fagan appeared to be held down. But he was given a scare in the 28th minute when Kamil Zayatte's mis-kick inside the area allowed a cross to reach Calum Davenport. The Sunderland defender seemed as surprised as anybody by Zayatte's error and the opportunity vanished as he failed to control the ball.





United want Pastores: Agent


LONDON: Huracan midfielder Javier Pastores has rejected a 10 million euro offer from Premier League champions Manchester United, according to his agent. Marcelo Simonian claims the 19-year-old Argentinian is not interested in moving to Old Trafford due to the high competition. The offer was made directly to Pastores, according to Simonian, as Huracan do not own the rights to the player. "We have received a 10 million euro offer from Manchester," said Simonian. "But the player is not interested in money as he wants to be in a team where he can play regularly and where he can grow." Lazio are also believed to be interested in the highly-rated teenager, but Simonian denied any contact has been made.



Strange wins Volvo China Open


BEIJING: An emotional Scott Strange shot a closing 68 for a one-stroke victory over Spain's Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano at the Volvo China Open on Sunday. The Australian began the final round four off the pace but birdies at the fifth and eighth saw him move into contention on a congested leaderboard. A par putt at the 12th slid by the hole but it proved a temporary setback as birdies at the 14th and 15th were followed by another at the 17th which earned him victory in the European Tour and OneAsia Tour co-sanctioned event. Fernandez-Castano birdied the par-five last for a 72 and his second straight runner-up finish after losing a play-off in the Estoril Open in Portugal. Englishman Richard Finch, the third-round leader, closed with a 74 to finish on six-under, level with Australian Ashley Hall (71) and New Zealander Mark Brown (69), both of whom had posted a course-record 65 in the third round.



FIFA to launch fashion ranges


LONDON: FIFA, football's world governing body, is branching into fashion, announcing plans on Sunday to sell branded clothes and merchandise from this summer through new FIFA stores and retail partners. The Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), which groups 208 football associations from around the world, said it would initially launch five collections, ranging from the preppy 1904 (the year in which FIFA was founded), through the edgier, youth-focused Code to upmarket Trophy. It will also introduce an Event range for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. FIFA said it had signed a license agreement with brand management and licensing company Global Brands Group, which is working with designers and signing up distributors.



Wasim wins bronze at Istanbul


By our correspondent


KARACHI: Pakistani boxer Muhammad Wasim finished with bronze medal on Sunday after he lost to Oleksandr Gryshchuk from Ukraine in the 51 kg semifinal of the Ahmet Comert International Boxing tournament being held in Istanbul. Wasim did not show enough resistance against his opponent, going down 2-8. Wasim had also won bronze medal in the Kings Cup held in Bangkok earlier this month. Meanwhile, Nadir also lost his 48kg quarter-final bout to Irish boxer Patrick Barnes with 0-5.



Ballack set to miss Germany's tour


BERLIN: Germany look set to lose captain Michael Ballack for their tour to China and the United Arab Emirates later this summer after his club Chelsea qualified for next month's FA Cup final on Saturday. Germany leave for the Far East on May 26 and will play China in Shanghai on May 29 before facing the UAE in Dubai on June 2, but they look set to be without Ballack who will be involved in the FA Cup final at Wembley on May 30. Germany are using the summer tour to prepare for next year's World Cup in South Africa.