Federer eyes 100th crown in London
LONDON: Roger Federer is aiming to complete a century of titles at the ATP Finals but will likely have to find a way past the irrepressible Novak Djokovic, who is looking to round off his astonishing season in style.
The two men, with 34 Grand Slams between them, are the twin titans at the season-ending event at London’s O2 arena.
But the tournament, which starts on Sunday, lacks an element of star power without the injured Rafael Nadal and Juan Martin del Potro, both of whom were forced to pull out of the season finale.
Former champion Andy Murray, still making his way back from injury, and defending champion Grigor Dimitrov are other star names missing.
The title is contested by the eight players who have accumulated the most ranking points over the season and is in a roundrobin format, with the best four players reaching the knockout semi-finals stage.
Federer is expected to emerge from Group Lleyton Hewitt, also featuring Kevin Anderson, Dominic Thiem and Kei Nishikori, while Djokovic is highly fancied to top Group Guga Kuerten, which also includes Alexander Zverev, Marin Cilic and John Isner. After a stunning 2017 season which saw the Swiss capture seven titles, including Grand Slam crowns at the Australian Open and Wimbledon, Federer was clear that his 2018 season has been a success despite a mixed run of results in recent months.
HALEP, COACH SPLIT
PARIS: Darren Cahill, the coach of world number one and French Open champion Simona Halep, said Friday he will take a break from tennis in 2019 for family reasons.
The 53-year-old Australian helped Romanian star Halep to a maiden Grand Slam triumph at Roland Garros in June as well as a year-ending world top spot ro crown their four-year partnership. He had previously coached Lleyton Hewitt and Andre Agassi. “I would like to announce that Simona and I will not be continuing our partnership in 2019 purely for family reasons on my part,” Cahill wrote on Instagram.
HOCKEY CORE GROUP
NEWDELHI: Hockey India on Saturday named a 33-member core group for the women’s national camp beginning in Bengaluru on Monday.the camp, to be conducted under the watchful eyes of chief coach Sjoerd Marijne, will conclude on November 30.
“We have brought in a few younger players who have shown good performances in the domestic events ,” said coach Marijne.
INDIA FACE B’DESH
YANGON (MYANMAR): The Indian women’s national team will take on Bangladesh in their second match of the first round of the 2020 AFC Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament, which will be held at the Thuwunna Stadium in Yangon on Sunday.
After 1-1 draw against Nepal in their first match, team India will be eyeing full three points against Bangladesh.
GHOSAL IN FINAL
KOLKATA: World No. 11 and top seed Saurav Ghosal entered the final of the Kolkata International squash tournament here on Saturday. He beat Todd Harrity, seeded fourth, of the USA 11-4 11-7 11-3 in 41 minutes. Ghosal will meet second seed Zahed Salem of Egypt, who defeated Carlos Cornes Ribadas of Spain 11-7 11-3 11-9, in the final on Sunday.
PATNA PIRATES WIN
MUMBAI: Patna Pirates proved too strong for Bengal Warriors and romped to a 50-30 win in an enthralling Pro Kabaddi League match here on Saturday.
The Patna team, which was more effective in both raids and defence, inflicted an all-out, to extend their lead to 16-8, with six minutes remaining for the end of the first half at the NSCI complex in Worli.
Such was Patnas dominance that they inflicted three all-outs in the game to come out triumphant.
For Patna, Deepak Narwal (13 points) emerged hero and was ably supported by 21-year-old captain Pardeep Narwal (11 points) and Jaideep (5 points).
SATHIYAN BOWS OUT
NEW DELHI: G Sathiyan’s dazzling run in the prestigious 2018 ITTF World Tour Platinum Austrian Open in Linz came to an end as he went down fighting to World No. 2 Xin Xu of China on Friday .
Sathiyan, who upset World No. 17 Sangeun Jeong of Korea and World No. 14 Marcos Freitas of Portugal to earn a berth in the Round of 16, lost 1-4. The Indian table tennis star went down 11-1, 11-7, 7-11, 11-2, 11-4.
PRAJNESH FOURTH SEED
BENGALURU: Prajnesh Gunneswaran was seeded fourth at the $150,000 Bengaluru Open ATP Challenger tennis that begins on Sunday.
He will open his campaign against Russia’s Ivan Nedelko. The left-handed Indian Davis Cupper is ranked 141st while Nedelko is ranked 123 places below him.
Radu Albot of Moldova, who is ranked No. 100, will be the top seed. In an interesting first round contest, the finalists of the previous edition, defending champion Sumit Nagal and seventh seed Jay Clarke will face each other in their first match.