Serena wins Australian Open title Barca aim to

Indian Open golf to have strongest field ever
New Delhi, Jan 31
(IANS) : A strong contingent from Europe, which
has more than 60 titles in
their collective kitty,
besides another heavy
field of Asian Tour golfers
who have won more than
100 titles, have entered for
the 2015 Indian Open,
which becomes a co-sanctioned event between the
European and Asian Tours
for the first time.
With entries from 16
players from the top-100
on the European Tour's
2014 Race to Dubai (Order
of Merit) rankings, and 27
from the top-30 of the
Asian Tour's 2014 Order of
Merit, the field is set to
become one of the
strongest ever assembled
in India. The field also
includes five players in the
world's top-100, including
India's Anirban Lahiri.
The tournament will be
held Feb 19-22 at the par71 Delhi Golf Club
Every top Indian has
entered the event and it
includes the famed 'Big 3'
of Indian golf -- Jeev
Milkha Singh, Arjun
Atwal and Jyoti Randhawa
-- who between them have
won more than 30 titles on
Asian, European, US and
Japan Tours.
Besides them, the current crop led by Anirban
Lahiri, Gaganjeet Bhullar,
Chowrasia and the 23year-old Rashid Khan will
also be seen in action.
Indian golf had a great
2014 as players won no
less than six titles on Asian
Tour -- the most by any
country during the season.
The 27-year-old Lahiri,
now the highest ranked
Injury forces Guinea's
Pogba out of Afcon
Guinea), Jan 31 (IANS) :
Guinea head coach Michel
Dussuyer Saturday confirmed that Florentin Pogba
is ruled out of the knockouts
of the 2015 Africa Cup of
Nations (Afcon).
"Pogba picked a bad
thigh injury in our game
against Cameroon and he
will have to be out for some
months. We have even recommended that he travel
back to his team in France
to further assess the nature
of the injury," said
Dussuyer, reports Xinhua.
Guinea will face the
'Black Stars' of Ghana in the
quarter-final Sunday at the
Dussuyer's team was lucky
to win the lottery Thursday
which was carried out by
the Confederation of
African Football (CAF).
Guinea and Mali were tied
on points and goal difference and CAF went ahead
Indian in the world, and
Rashid won two titles each
while Chowrasia and
Atwal won one each.
Another title came on the
Asian Development Tour
(ADT) from the promising
S. Chikkarangappa.
From the European contingent, as many as five
players accounted for
seven titles on the 2014
European Tour with
Alexander Levy and the
seasoned Miguel Angel
Jimenez winning twice
Dane Thorbjorn Olesen,
Australian Scott Hend and
Swede Mikael Lundberg
are the other winners to
send their entries for what
will be the 51st edition of
the event.
The star cast includes
Asia's most successful
winner of all time
Thaworn Wiratchant, who
has 18 titles on Asian Tour,
and Spaniard Jimenez,
who has 21 European Tour
titles, and figures 10th on
the all-time list of most
successful players on
European Tour.
The field also has all the
Indian Open champions
from 2004 onwards and
five players who have won
the Asian Tour Order of
Merit seven times since
2002 including Jeev and
Wiratchant, who have won
it twice each.
Sardar Singh suspended
for one game
to follow the rules and draw
the lots.
Dussuyer said they will
miss the St. Etienne player
who was instrumental in the
team's qualifiers. Pogba is
the fourth player at the tournament to suffer injury serious enough to rule them out
for the duration of the finals
in Equatorial Guinea.
Team captain Ibrahima
Traore said they will miss
Pogba but will use the other
available players.
Ranji Trophy: Karnataka
in command against UP
Bengaluru, Jan 31 (IANS) :
secured a massive 499-run
first innings lead over Uttar
Pradesh, who managed a
meagre 220 as the hosts
decided against enforcing a
follow-on and were eight
without loss at stumps on the
third day of the Group A
Ranji Trophy league match
here Saturday.
Gopal (4/51), who had contributed 90 runs to
Karnataka's first innings tally
of 719/9 declared, and seamer Arvind Sreenath (3/48) did
the bulk of damage as the
Uttar Pradesh batsmen, save
Himanshu Asnora (70, 172b,
8x4) did not offer much of a
resistance. UP were never
really in the hunt after losing
three wickets for 61 before
Asnora and Parvinder Singh
(34) added 83 runs for the
fourth wicket to retrieve the
situation. However, once the
partnership was broken, the
end of the innings followed
swiftly, leaving Karnataka
with a lead of 499.
The 21-year-old Gopal
took four wickets, including
those of Parvinder and
Asnora, in a little over 10
overs to break the UP resistance.
The hosts opted to bat
again rather than enforce the
follow-on with very little
time left before the stumps
and also to provide some
breather to their bowlers.
Brief scores: Karnataka
719/9 declared and 8/0 in 3
overs vs Uttar Pradesh (first
innings) 220 all out in 87.4
overs (Mukul Dagar 30,
Himanshu Asnora 70,
Parvinder Singh 34; Shreyas
Gopal 4/51, Arvind Sreenath
3/48, Vinay Kumar 2/58).
Bronze for Indian squash teams
Kuala Lumpur, Jan 31
(IANS) : The Indian girls
and boys settled for bronze
medals at the Asian Junior
Saturday after losing 1-2
to Malaysia in both the
It was a massive effort
by the Indian girls to take
Malaysia into the decider
but were unable to cross
the line against the top
seeded team.
It was a great start for
Akanksha Salunkhe who
won the first game and
held a game ball 10-9 in
the second. However, she
was unable to capitalise as
Teh Min Jie took the game
and the next two to put
Malaysia 1-0 ahead.
With Harshit Kaur
Jawanda and Rachael Mae
Arnold, it was a see-saw
battle with both players
leading in games and
throwing away the advantage. Harshit clawed her
way back with a gritty
effort winning the fourth
game convincingly and
held her nerves to win the
decider. In the third tie,
Sivasangari Subramaniam,
a seasoned campaigner,
won in four games despite
a fine effort by Adya
Advani to put Malaysia in
the final.
In the boy's event,
gave India the start that
was required against the
higher ranked Malaysian
Velavan matched Kamal
stroke-for-stroke and took
control of the game.
Although the Indian
dropped the third game, he
had kept Kamal on court
for long enough to win the
fourth with ease for an outstanding victory.
In the second singles,
Indian Kush Kumar very
quickly found out why Ng
Eain Yow is a triple British
Junior Open champion.
Yow was clinical in his
straight game victory to
level the tie.
In the decider, Sandeep
Ramachandran fought gallantly but was unable to
keep pace with the charged
up Darren Chan, going
down 3-0.
The results (semifinals):
Girls: Malaysia beat
India 2-1: Teh Min Jie bt
Akanksha Salunkhe 2-11,
12-10, 11-4, 11-4; Rachel
Mae Arnold lost to Harshit
Kaur Jawanda 12-14, 1210, 11-8, 4-11, 8-11;
Sivasangari Subramaniam
bt Adya Advani 11-5, 11-3,
7-11, 11-8.
Boys: Malaysia beat
India 2-1: Mohammad
Syafiq Kamal lost to
Velavan Senthilkumar 1214, 8-11, 11-7, 3-11; Ng
Eain Yow bt Kush Kumar
11-7, 11-8, 11-4; Darren
Chan Ti Lunn bt Sandeep
Ramachandran 11-7, 11-9,
New Delhi, Jan 31 (IANS) : Delhi Waveriders captain
Sardar Singh was Saturday handed a one-match suspension
for "inappropriate physical contact with the opponent player" during a Hockey India League (HIL) match.
HIL's disciplinary committee met Saturay morning to discuss Sardar's conduct in Friday’s match against Jaypee
Punjab Warriors at the Major Dhyan Chand Stadium here.
"The incident involved Sardar Singh’s inappropriate physical contact with the opponent player which clearly breached
the HIL Code of Conduct. The incident was proved by the
video footage as well as Sardar Singh accepting the breach
on the field," said an HIL statement.
"HIL disciplinary committee has suspended Sardar Singh
for one match. He will not play the match against Dabang
Mumbai scheduled to be played Feb 1 in New Delhi."
MELBOURNE, Jan. 31, 2015 (Xinhua) -- Tereza Mihalikova (L) of Slovakia and Katie
Swan of Britain show their trophies after the Junior Girls' Singles final match at the
2015 Australian Open tennis tournament at Melbourne Park in Melbourne, Australia,
Jan. 31, 2015. Mihalikova won 2-0. (Xinhua/Bai Xue/IANS)
Serena wins
Australian Open title
Melbourne, Jan 31 (IANS)
: American star Serena
Williams held off a determined Maria Sharapova of
Russia to win her sixth
Australian Open title and the
19th Grand Slam title of her
career, separating herself
from Chris Evert and
Martina Navratilova for the
second-most Grand Slam
titles in the Open Era.
Williams recorded a straight
sets 6-3, 7-6(5) victory over
the No.2-seeded Sharapova.
Going into the final,
Williams was the favourite not just because she was
World No.1 and Sharapova
No.2, but because she had
won the pair's last 15 clashes, 12 of those coming in
straight sets.
Early on in the match that
pattern continued, with
Williams breaking in the
very first game and, after a
short rain delay, grabbing a
second break for 5-2.
Sharapova got one of the
breaks back in the next
game but Williams broke
one last time to take the first
set 6-3.
All of that went out of the
window in the second set, as
the top 2 players in the
world held tightly to all of
their service games, with
absolutely no breaks of
serve - Williams did have
her chance to finish the
match with Sharapova serving at 4-5, 30-40, the first
match point of the night, but
the Russian bludgeoned a
forehand down the line for a
winner and subsequently
held that service game.
The tie-break was tight
but Williams forged ahead,
building a 6-4 lead, and after
Sharapova fought off a second match point with another huge forehand down the
line. Williams had the match
on her racquet, stepping up
to the baseline to serve on
match point No.3. There
was a bit of a hiccup - she
fired what looked like a
Barca aim to keep good times
rolling against Villarreal
Madrid, Jan 31 (IANS) :
Villarreal face each other
Sunday evening in what is
a dress rehearsal for the
Kings Cup semi-final
between the two sides.
Both Barca and Villarreal
booked their places in the
last four of the knockout
competition during the
week as Barca knocked out
Atletico Madrid, while
Villarreal beat Getafe,
reports Xinhua.
It promises to be an
entertaining tie between
two sides which like to play
a passing game, but before
the business of the Cup,
both sides have to focus on
the BBVA Primera Liga,
where Barca are battling
for the title and Villarreal a
place in the top four.
Barca are second in the
table and Luis Enrique's
side have enjoyed a turnaround in form in recent
weeks following the minicrisis which surrounded the
club after their defeat away
to Real Sociedad in the first
match of the year.
That turnaround may be
due to the calmness which
has come following the
decision by club president
Josep Maria Bartomeu to
call for elections at the end
of the season, but it is more
likely a result of the fact
that Luis Enrique has largely ditched his policy of
squad rotation and tried to
play a more settled starting
That has benefited everyone with the defence looking more stable and cohesive, the midfield more creative and complete, whilst
the attacking trio of
Neymar, Luis Suarez and
Lionel Messi is now the
threat on the pitch that they
looked to be on paper.
Whilst it's true Suarez
has not scored the goals
that were expected of him,
the Uruguayan has contributed with his movement
and has provided more than
his share of assists.
Meanwhile, Messi has
Ronaldo by two goals to
one in 2015, whilst Neymar
has been a revelation.
"He's still progressing
and he's making the differ-
ence in this Barca side,
which isn't easy when you
are just 22 years old," said
Hernandez, who nevertheless, believes the turnaround in recent weeks has
not been so important.
changed, but if we had won
in San Sebastian people
would be talking about a
great run of form. We were
not so bad in the past and
we are not so great now,"
he said.
massive ace out wide, and
she even began celebrating,
but the serve was called a
let. But she regrouped and
fired the exact same ace to
finally close it out.
Williams came into the
Australian Open tied with
Evert and Navratilova for
the second-most Grand
Slam titles in the Open Era,
but she now has the standalone second-most with 19.
Steffi Graf has 22.
Windies coach
Williams takes
charge of
Castries (St. Lucia), Jan 31
(IANS) : Current West Indies
coach Stuart Williams will be
in charge of St. Lucia Zouks
for the upcoming Caribbean
Premier League (CPL).
The 45-year-old, currently
with the Caribbean side in
Australia, will replace
Maynard, who has taken up a
post as Director of Cricket at
English county Somerset.
Williams served as Maynard’s
assistant last year, reports
CMC. The Antiguan is a former West Indies batsman who
played 31 Tests and 57 OneDay Internationals (ODI). He
was dominant at first class
level, amassing nearly 10,000
runs at an average of 40. He
quit international cricket in
2005. Williams joins another
former West Indies batsman
Carl Hooper, who has already
been appointed Guyana
Amazon Warriors head coach.
Meanwhile, South African
Mickey Arthur will head 2013
Tallawahs, Australian Simon
Helmot will again be incharge of the Trinidad &
Tobago Red Steel while
India's Robin Singh has
returned to lead reigning