Serena topples gutsy Sharapova to win sixth Oz Open title

Serena topples gutsy Sharapova to win sixth Oz Open title

Melbourne, Jan 31 : Serena Williams has clinched her 19th career Grand Slam and sixth Australian Open title by trouncing second seed Maria Sharapova in straight sets in Melbourne.

The American world number won the first grand slam of the year with a 6-3, 7-6(7-5) victory over her Russian opponent Sharapova in a pulsating thriller that lasted one hour and 50 minutes.

Losing the first set, Sharapova showed glimpses of resilience as she fought back stoutly to fend off a championship point at 4-5 to force a tie-break.

Kiwis rout Pak by seven wickets with 63 balls to spare in first ODI

Mohammad Hafeez

Wellington, Jan 31 - Pakistan's tour of New Zealand, in preparation of the World Cup, started on a losing note, as the visitors lost the first match of the two-match ODI series by seven wickets at the Westpac Stadium in Wellington.

Put into bat first, Pakistani batsman failed to get any stable partnership going with openers Mohammad Hafeez and Ahmed Shehzad going for a duck and 15 runs respectively.

Only skipper Misbah-ul Haq and swashbuckling all-rounder Shahid Afridi managed to get past the half-century mark, scoring 58 and 67 runs respectively, as the team crumbled around them.

Livid Czech fans tells Kim Sears to 'die' post outburst during high-octane semi-final clash

Kim Sears

London, Jan 31 - Czech tennis fans have expressed their anger against Britain number one Andy Murray's fiancee Kim Sears after she was filmed apparently aiming an outburst at the Czech's team when Murray broke back in a tense first set against Tomas Berdych.

Sears was filmed apparently saying a "Czech flash f***" during the Australian Open semi-final, where her boyfriend trounced Czech opponent Berdych with a four-set victory.

Australia vs England; tri-series final - Preview

Australia vs England; tri-series final - Preview

Perth: In what seems to be a dress rehearsal of their opening game in the World Cup, an unbeaten Australia take on England in the cricket tri-series final, here on Sunday.

Having accumulated 15 points from four matches, the George Baily-led Australia undoubtedly start as overwhelming favourites with a fit-again Mitchell Johnson set to bolster the attack at the WACA.

Despite the absence of Michael Clarke, they have appeared to be a gelled unit, with both their batting and bowling clicking during the tournament.

Ex PCB chief Ashraf claims 'remorseful' Amir should be given chance to serve Pak

Muhammad Zaka Ashraf

Karachi, Jan 31 - Welcoming the decision of the ICC of allowing paceman Mohammad Amir to resume domestic cricket, seven months before the five-year spot-fixing ban ends, former Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Zaka Ashraf has said that the bowler should be given a chance to serve his country.

Ashraf said that now it was up to Amir to restore his image in the world of cricket, which, he emphasised, would be a difficult task.

Coach Mauresmo backs 'focused, intense' Murray ahead of Oz Open final

Amelie Mauresmo

London, Jan 31 - Andy Murray's coach Amelie Mauresmo believes that the Britain number one has shown remarkable progress this year, describing him as more focused and intense ahead of the Australian Open final in Melbourne.

Murray, who is eyeing his third major, reached his fourth Australian Open final following a dramatic four-set semifinal win over Czech opponent Tomas Berdych.

The former world number, who became his coach last June, said that Murray was in a better place now and he was happy and relaxed in his own way, the Mirror reported.

Taylor 'delighted' to score runs under pressure against India

London, Jan 31 - England batsman James Taylor has said that he was delighted to score crucial runs under pressure to anchor his side to a three-wicket win over reigning world champions India in Perth.

Chasing a paltry target of 201, England batting order collapsed like a pack of cards as they were 66-5 at one point of the game. However, a robust sixth wicket partnership of 125 runs between James Taylor (82) and Jos Buttler (67) steadied the sinking ship to achieve the target with 19 balls to spare.

Morgan claims 'winning' England growing in 'confidence' ahead of WC

Eoin Morgan

London, Jan 31 - England cricket team captain Eoin Morgan has said that the team is growing in confidence ahead of the World Cup, after they reached the final of the Carlton Mid Tri-series tournament in Australia.

England beat India by three wickets in Perth on Friday to set up a decider against Australia on Sunday.

Morgan said that they had a bad run before this tour but added that now they are winning games, insisting that winning on Sunday would be huge, the BBC reported.

Van Gaal admits 'attractive' Man U needs to score more goals to start entertaining fans

Louis Van Gaal

London, Jan 31 - Manchester United football team manager Louis van Gaal has admitted that the club needs to turn on the style and become more attractive to start entertaining fans with their goals again.

United have failed to score in their last two games and were slammed for drawing a blank in their embarrassing goalless FA Cup draw away to League Two Cambridge United.

Ex-France international David Ginola drops out of FIFA presidency race

Former France international David Ginola

London, Jan 31 - Former France international David Ginola has confirmed that he would not stand up against Sepp Blatter for FIFA's presidential election in May, after failing to secure the backing of five football associations.

Anyone who is willing to stand up for FIFA's presidency has to secure the backing of five football associations, which is a basic requirement for standing in the elections for the same.

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