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Roger Federer tweets will not play French Open tournament

Sonu Kanojia



Hindu World Bureau

Roger Federer announced through his twitter account that he will not play in the French Open, which is about to begins in two weeks, and will instead focus on the grass-court and hard court events ahead, including Wimbledon and the United States Open.

Federer tweeted,”Unfortunately, I won’t be playing Roland Garros this year. I’ll miss my fans in France, but appreciate your support.Federer missed last year’s French Open due to the injury – the first time he did not compete in Paris since his debut in 1999. He won the tournament for the only time in 2009 and is a four-time runner-up.

Federer has won three titles so far this season, including the Australian Open – his first Grand Slam success in five years. He also claimed the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells in March and, two weeks later, won the Miami Open. The French Open would begins on 28 May.


Green top awaits India and Australia in Perth’s new Test venue





Perth | Most Indian teams of the past would be wary of a green top but the Virat Kohli-led side will see it as an opportunity to bulldoze the Australians when the second Test begins on a pitch offering plenty of pace and bounce at the brand new Optus Stadium, here Friday.

The mood in the Indian camp was summed up best by the skipper after a green pitch was unveiled on eve of the maiden Test at the new facility. “We get more excited than nervous looking at lively pitches now,” said Kohli, who has a potent pace attack at his disposal.

Curator Brett Sipthorpe is trying to produce the ‘bounciest’ pitch he can and that could very well work in India’s favour as the visitors aim to take a 2-0 lead in the four-Test series,  India won the first Test in Adelaide by 31 runs. Keeping with tradition at the good old WACA, a raging quick wicket has been laid for this inaugural five-day game. It has a healthy layering of grass which could impact strategies for both sides.

The visitors will surely name a changed eleven as they have been hit by a couple more injuries. India named their 13-man squad for this second Test, with R Aswhin and Rohit Sharma the two notable absentees. Ashwin is ruled out owing to a left-abdominal strain while Rohit is laid low due to a back issue that he sustained whilst fielding in the first Test at Adelaide.

The batsman missed out on both days of practice leading to the second Test. Ashwin also skipped the optional training on Wednesday, and while he was present for warm-ups during Thursday practice, he didn’t bat or bowl in the nets. Meanwhile, Prithvi Shaw continues to be ruled out, meaning India will retain their opening combination of KL Rahul and Murali Vijay.

For the other two spots in the playing eleven, Hanuma Vihari, Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Umesh Yadav have been included in the 13-man squad. It gives rise to different permutations and combinations, and Kohli does have prior history of picking an all-pace attack earlier in 2018.  At Johannesburg, on another raging green-top wicket, he picked a four-pacer attack with Hardik Pandya as the all-rounder.

India also have played an all-pace attack in Perth back in 2012, when MS Dhoni fielded Zaheer Khan, Umesh Yadav, Ishant Sharma and R Vinay Kumar at the WACA Ground. Virender Sehwag bowled 7.2 overs of off-spin in that Test, and it provides a template for Kohli to follow. With Rohit out injured, Vihari is likely to play his second Test after his maiden appearance at the Oval, wherein he scored 56 runs in the fifth Test against England. Vihari is a handy off-spinner as well, and the team management hasn’t been shy to use him as such. At the Oval, when India did play with four full-time bowlers, he bowled 10.3 overs.

In the practice game in Sydney too, Vihari bowled 12 overs against Cricket Australia XI. Along with Vijay, picking Vihari allows the Indian think-tank to go in with a four-pacer strategy, with Bhuvneshwar Kumar coming in for the injured Ashwin. Even so, recent records need to be considered. In November, Western Australia hosted New South Wales for a Sheffield Shield game at this new ground as a dry-run for this maiden Test.

Out of 40 wickets to fall in that four-day game, eight went to spinners with Nathan Lyon taking seven wickets for 120 runs in two innings and left-arm spinner Ashton Agar picking the one wicket for 69 runs in two innings. Clearly, Lyon as the off-spinner was able to exploit the bounce on offer. If Ashwin had been available, Kohli perhaps would have still been tempted to play him. With Jadeja in the squad though, there is still possibility to go in with a spinner albeit the temptation is greatly reduced.

The Indian batting line-up should otherwise be unchanged. On Thursday, the three Indian pacers, who played in Adelaide, didn’t bowl at all. They did pad up and have a hit in the nets. Australia could make a tactical change to their batting line-up as well. Aaron Finch has come under sharp criticism for his shot selection in the first Test and there are growing concerns about him going into this match.  After Wednesday’s practice sessions, there was growing opinion that either Usman Khawaja or Shaun Marsh could open in his place, with Finch slotting down in the middle order.

All-rounder Mitchell Marsh still only has an outside chance to play in this Test with skipper Tim Paine declaring himself fully fit after being hurt on his right hand in Adelaide. Australia are expected to field the same bowling line-up and barring any surprising injuries, Peter Siddle is not in consideration.

Squad: India (13-players): Virat Kohli (capt), KL Rahul, Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav. Other squad players: Parthiv Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Prithvi Shaw, R Ashwin, Rohit Sharma.

Australia (expected eleven): Tim Paine (capt & wk), Marcus Harris, Aaron Finch, Usman Khawaja, Travis Head, Shaun Marsh, Peter Handscomb, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood. Other squad players: Mitchell Marsh, Peter Siddle.  The match starts at: 7.50am IST.

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World Tour Finals: Sindhu breaks Tzu Ying code, Sameer also win




Guangzhou | Olympic silver medallist P V Sindhu finally broke her jinx against world no 1 Tai Tzu Ying with a come-from-behind win in a thriller, while Sameer Verma outclassed Indonesia‘s Tommy Sugiarto at the World Tour Finals here Thursday.

After six successive losses in 13 meetings, Sindhu got the better of her nemesis Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei 14-21 21-16 21-18 in a Group A match that lasted a little over an hour.

World No 14 Sameer, who qualified for the tournament at the last moment after defending his title at the Syed Modi International last month, dished out a dominating performance to beat the 10th ranked Sugiarto 21-16 21-7 in a 40-minute group B clash.

The 24-year-old Indian had lost the opening match against world No. 1 and world champion Kento Momota.

Sindhu, who had finished runners-up in the last edition, gave ample display of her grit as she bounced back from a game down and erased a 6-11 deficit in the final game to record her first win over Asian Games champion Tzu Ying since the 2016 Rio Olympics.

In the 16-minute opening game, Sindhu couldn’t produce the winners initially and could only consolidate on the unforced errors of her rival. Tzu Ying, on the other hand, looked as impressive as ever with her deceptive strokes and technical acumen.

Sindhu was lagging 2-6 early on. Tai extended her lead to 8-4 after Sindhu went long and wide.

A couple of good-looking shots helped Sindhu to grab two points before she lifted one to the net.

Two delightful shot with her racquet head on both sides of the court gave Tzu Ying an 11-7 advantage at the first break.

After the breather, Tzu Ying unleashed two crosscourt returns on Sindhu’s backhand to continue gathering points, reaching 15-8.

Sindhu grabbed the next three points before the Chinese Taipei shuttler produced a smash to break the run of points.

Tzu Ying’s acute-angled strokes bothered Sindhu as she reached 17-12. A lucky net chord gave another point to Tzu Ying, who also played an eye-catching behind-the-back shot to win another point.

She grabbed six-game points when Sindhu went to the net and sealed the opening game as the Indian went long.

In the second game, Tzu Ying made Sindhu run around the court with her acute angled returns but made many unforced errors herself.

Sindhu jumped to 6-3 with her rival missing the lines time and again.

At 3-6, a long rally ensued which ended with Tzu Ying’s incredible crosscourt stroke from the back of the court. A winner gave Sindhu a five-point cushion before she reached 10-4.

Tzu Ying grabbed two points before going long again, giving Sindhu an 11-6 advantage at the breather.

Tzu Ying tried to stage a comeback but Sindhu managed to extend her five-point advantage, moving to 17-12. The Taiwanese girl went long and found the net as Sindhu moved to 19-13. Tzu Ying got another point before she miscued one to hand over six-game points to Sindhu.

Tzu Ying saved two before serving out as Sindhu took the match to the decider.

In the final game, Tzu Ying led 3-0 early after Sindhu went long twice. The Taiwanese’s incredible touch helped her to extend it to 5-2. She caught Sindhu at the forecourt with her over-the-head cross court shot again.

Tzu Ying sent one to the net and went wide again to allow Sindhu narrow down the lead but her angled strokes kept her ahead of the Indian at 8-5.

Tzu Ying once again exploited the corners with her crosscourt returns and then Sindhu went long and this time Tzu Ying held a five-point advantage.

After the last change of ends, Sindhu made it 11-12 before Tzu Ying unleashed a body smash. But three unforced errors saw the Indian wrest back the lead, moving to 16-13 quickly.

An over-the-head crosscourt return took Sindhu to 17-13. The Indian added another point before going to nets. A body smash took Tzu Ying to 15-18. Sindhu reciprocated with a body blow and then a lucky net chord helped the Indian grab a four-match point advantage.

Tzu Ying caught the line by a whisker to stay alive and then Sindhu smashed wide to lose another match point. But the Taiwanese went wide again after another superb rally.

In the men’s singles, Sameer, who had come into the tournament with a 1-1 head-to-head record against Sugiarto, looked comfortable the Indonesian as his sharp game made life difficult for his opponent.

The Indian lagged 1-3 and 5-6 initially but he soon wrested the lead with four straight points before entering the break at 11-7.

Sugiarto tried to stage a comeback and narrowed the deficit to 16-17 but Sameer reeled off the remaining four points to earn the bragging rights.

In the second game, Sugiarto again took a slender 5-3 advantage but the Indian stamped his authority to move from 7-6 to 16-6 with a nine-point burst and then slammed the door on his rival with another five straight points.

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Double blow for India as Ashwin, Rohit ruled out of Perth Test





Perth | India’s premier spinner Ravichandran Ashwin and batsman Rohit Sharma have been ruled out of the second Test starting here on Friday, dealing a double blow to the visitors at a time when opener Prithvi Shaw is yet to recover from an ankle injury.

With the trio unavailable for selection, India included Hanuma Vihari, Ravindra Jadeja, Umesh Yadav and Bhuvneshwar Kumar in a 13-man squad announced on eve of the second Test.

While Shaw injured his ankle while fielding in the sole warmup game before the series opener, Ashwin suffered an abdominal strain and Rohit hurt his back during the first Test which India won by 31 runs.

“Prithvi Shaw is recovering well from his left ankle injury but still undergoing treatment. R Ashwin has a left-sided abdominal strain. He is receiving treatment at the moment. Rohit Sharma jarred his lower back while fielding in the 1st Test at Adelaide. He is undergoing treatment. He too is ruled out of the second Test,” read a statement from the BCCI.

“The team management is closely monitoring these players and a call on their availability for the third Test will be taken at an appropriate time,” it added.
Ashwin’s unavailability is a big loss as he had taken a six-wicket haul at Adelaide to help India record their first win in a series opener in Australia. Rohit, who made a Test comeback at the Adelaide Oval, was expected to retain his place in the eleven after scores of 37 and 1.

India’s 13-man squad: Virat Kohli (captain), M Vijay, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant, Ravindra Jadeja, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav. PTI

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