HIMALAYAN MIRROR GANGTOK, THURSDAY 29 JANUARY 2015 Djokovic to face Wawrinka in Australian Open semis Melbourne, Jan 28 (IANS) : World No.1 Novak Djokovic will face Stanislas Wawrinka in the Australian Open semifinals after defeating Milos Raonic 7-6(5), 6-4, 6-2 here Wednesday night. Fans will be hoping for another epic as Djokovic and Wawrinka clash for the third year in a row at the Melbourne Park. Two years ago, Djokovic denied Wawrinka 12-10 in the fifth set of their fourthround clash, but last year the Swiss got his revenge with a 9-7 fifth set victory in the quarter-finals. "I take a lot of confidence (into the match). I try to carry that in every next match, next challenge. Obviously I'm going to play Stan, who is the defending champion here. We played five-set matches at the 2013 and '14 Australian Opens," said Djokovic. "I'm going to be ready for a fight. But knowing that I have raised the level of performance tonight, and probably playing the best match of the tournament so far is affecting my confidence in a positive way. Hopefully I can carry that into next one." The 27-year-old Djokovic is bidding to become the second man in history to win the Australian Open for the fifth time, joining Roy Emerson. The Belgrade native won his first major title in Melbourne in 2008 and followed with three successive victories in 201113. He has a 48-6 match record at the Melbourne Park. Djokovic is yet to drop a set in a ruthless run. The right-hander is through to his 25th Grand Slam semi-final, one behind Andre Agassi on 26, the fourth most in the Open Era. The top-seeded Djokovic improved to a 50 ATP career meetings record against Raonic as he dismissed the Canadian in two hours. The Serb was not at his best in the first set, not quite finding his timing under the lights on Rod Laver Arena. But a costly forehand unforced error from Raonic at 5-6 in the tie-break - having just saved two set points - gifted the Serb the opener. From there, Djokovic was clinical. He lost just two points on serve in each of the second and third sets, while breaking Raonic three times in total. "It was a close first set, but I thought I had more chances in the first set than him. I managed to stay tough and win the crucial first set. Obviously winning it in a tie-break and making the break of serve first game of the second set was definitely huge for me," said Djokovic. "I could start swinging through a little bit more, be more aggressive into the court. After that first game of the second set I played a great match." The 24-year-old Raonic was looking to become the first Canadian in history to reach the Australian Open semi-finals. The Toronto native reached his first Grand Slam semifinal last year at Wimbledon, losing to Roger Federer. "I just think (the first set) gave him a bit more belief. I wish I would have served better in certain moments, but I didn't lose because of my serve. He just didn't allow me to organise my game," said Raonic. "Even when he was returning well, by the end of the match he was doing a good job of playing deep and never allowing me to go forward. Obviously if Sania-Bruno enter Australian Open semis you watch the footage, he was pretty much on the baseline the whole time and I was further back." Boxing India introduces new league, ranking system New Delhi, Jan 28 (IANS) : Boxing India (BI) Wednesday launched the Indian Series of Boxing (ISB) and introduced a national ranking system following the conclusion of its second Executive Committee Meeting (ECM). The ISB - the new national league - is a platform for grooming pugilists and popularising the sport in India. Male boxers, across weight categories, will participate and have a chance to win prize money besides their regular salaries. ISB will act as qualifier for the World Series of Boxing (WSB) and this qualification will give the boxers an opportunity to directly qualify for the World Championships and Olympics. For the ranking system, a core committee is Cristiano Ronaldo Suspended for Two Matches Madrid, Jan 28 : Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo was handed a two-game suspension on Wednesday following his red card in the 2-1 win over Cordoba CF at the La Liga weekend. The prolific striker lost his temper in the closing stages of the game after failing to make an impact, kicking out and raising a hand to strike Cordoba defender Edimar in the face, leaving referee Alejandro Hernandez no other choice but to dismiss him, reports goal.com. Ronaldo was quick to apologise after the incident, while Edimar called SPORTS 7 for La Liga's disciplinary committee to show leniency, and the Portugal captain has escaped a lengthy ban. The 29-year-old will miss the La Liga games against Real Sociedad and Sevilla as a result of his suspension. Ronaldo has been in sublime form for Madrid in 2014-15, netting 36 goals in 31 appearances in all competitions. The former Manchester United star's absence means Ancelotti could turn to promising youngster Jese Rodriguez, who recently made his comeback after a lengthy spell on the sidelines due to injury. Hockey Olympian Jaswant Rajput dead designing a chart that will ensure that all boxers get ranked on the basis of their participation in various state, zonal, national and international tournaments. The purpose of the ranking system is to bring meritocracy and transparency which will give the highest ranked boxers a chance to represent the country. Further, there will be a grading system such that boxers of vari- ous ranking systems will get permanent contracts. “In the best interest of the sport, the boxers and the nation, it was imperative to take a decision and introduce reforms to transform the sport. Introduction of the ISB is one such reform that is poised to bring in a new boxing economy. These reforms are aimed at giving maximum exposure to our pugilists by providing a solid training platform and grooming them to perform well at the international sporting events," BI president Sandeep Jajodia said. "Therefore, these new reforms would not only be instrumental in enhancing the overall popularity of the sport and enhancing the skills of the boxers but would also ensure their financial growth.” Kenyan Kirui eyes Boston Marathon with aim at Worlds Nairobi, Jan 28 (IANS) : Two-time world marathon champion Abel Kirui is keen to compete at the Beijing World Championships in August. However, his selection depends on his performance at the Boston Marathon in April. The Olympic marathon silver medallist will not be giving up on his quest to make history as a threetime world champion, reports Xinhua. "It is not easy to make the Kenyan team, especially now that younger athletes are emerging. But I still have something to offer for the team and I hope, I will be able to prove it in Boston," said Kirui. The 32-year-old won in 2009 with a time of tow hours and 06:54 minutes, then defended his title with a winning margin of two minutes and 28 seconds - the largest ever margin at the World Championship event. He won the silver medal in the 2012 Olympic marathon. He has also won the Vienna Marathon and was runner-up at the 2007 Berlin Marathon. But that will not matter when he runs in Boston where he will come up against Boston champions Meb Keflezighi, Lelisa Desisa, Wesley Korir and former world marathon champion Patrick Makau. Winners in Boston will join the chase for the lucrative World Marathon Majors. The chase for the 2015 men's title will be aggressive, with seven men in the field holding personal-best marathon times under 2:05:30 and ten men with times under 2:06:30. Former world marathon record-holder and two- time Berlin Marathon champion Makau leads the group. Makau recently won the challenging 2014 Fukuoka Marathon and is also a past winner of marathons in Frankfurt and Rotterdam. Desisa, the 2013 Boston Marathon champion and 2013 World Championships Marathon silver medallist, is also a strong contender for the crown. Kiran leads in Hero women's golf Melbourne, Jan 28 (IANS) : Top-seeded mixed doubles duo Sania Mirza and Bruno Soares marched in to the semifinals of the Australian Open, beating local pair Casey Dellacqua and John Peers 6-2, 6-2 in a lasteight match here Wednesday. The Indo-Brazilian pair started the match on a bright note, breaking their opponents twice to claim the first set 6-2 in just 23 minutes at Melbourne Park. They continued their ascendancy in the second set leading 4-2, going on to win the second set by an identical first set score, taking a mere 30 minutes to claim the second set on Court 2. The victors hit 18 winners and committed 10 unforced errors on their way to victory. They are scheduled to play the win- ner of the quarter-final between third seeds Kristina Mladenovic of France and Canada's Daniel Nestor and fifth seeds Cara Black of Zimbabwe and Juan Sebastian Cabal of Colombia. Meanwhile in boys' singles, India's Sumit Nagal went down to Australia's Marc Polmans 1-6, 1-6 in the third round in just 45 minutes. Jobs for National Games medallists from Kerala Thiruvananthapuram, Jan 28 (IANS) : Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy Wednesday said sportspersons from the state who win medals at the 35th National Games will be offered government jobs. "We have decided to offer government jobs to all the medal winners of our Kerala team in individual events. Medal winners include all the three -- gold, silver and bronze," said Chandy. The 35th National Games will be held at 30 venues across seven dis- tricts in the state Jan 31Feb 14. The Kerala government is racing against time to complete the construction of new venues. The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) has appreciated the state government for making all the arrangements in time. Kolkata, Jan 28 (IANS) : Former Olympic gold medal-winning hockey player Jaswant Singh Rajput Wednesday died at a city hospital following prolonged illness. "He had been suffering from a chest infection and was quite serious for the past two weeks. He died Wednesday morning at a city hospital. He was aged 86," Bengal Hockey Association (BHA) assistant secretary Khalid Hussain told IANS. Rajput, who played both as a left-half and centrehalf, was part of the hockey team which won independent India's first Olympic gold at the 1948 London Games and a squad member of the gold medal-winning team at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics. Born in Delhi, Rajput picked up the game during his school days before shifting base to Kolkata. He started off as a left-half but later in his career preferred playing from the centre and was known for his excellent dribbling skills and ball-control. Kolkata, Jan 28 (IANS) : English golfer Kiran Matharu played out an even par round on Day 1 of the third leg of the Hero-RCGC Women’s Professional Golf Championship at the Royal Calcutta Golf Club to lead after Round 1 here Wednesday. Order of Merit leader Vani Kapoor is second with a score of one over 73 while Chandigarh's Amandeep Drall ended at third place. Kiran began on a cautious note, carding a solitary birdie on the fourth hole in the front nine as opposed to two bogeys. She played a more controlled back nine with birdies on the 15th and 17th holes and had just a single bogey on the 18th. She finished with a score of par 72 after 18 holes. Vani had an inconsistent front nine carding a bogey on the first hole but came back strongly to card three consecutive birdies on the second, third and fourth. However, a double bogey on the fifth cost her dearly. She followed it with a birdie but had two more bogeys on the seventh and ninth. After an erratic front nine, she seemed to settle down and played an even par back nine. Amandeep finished with 2 over 74. She had birdies on the ninth and 15th and bogeys on the third and 10th. She also carded a double bogey on the seventh. Sharmila Nicollet made a cautious comeback as she finished on 3 over 75 to be placed fourth. She carded bogeys on the third and seventh and a double bogey on the ninth. Her lone birdie came on the 13th. Kolkata's Smriti Mehra and Neha Tripathi finished at tied fifth with identical scores of 4 over 76. Delhi's Ankita Tiwana and Gauri Monga are tied seventh, finishing at 5 over 77.
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