Sports Update

Shooter Prakash wins bronze in World Cup

Praksh-NanjappaChangwon (South Korea), April 6 : India's Praksh Nanjappa won the bronze medal in the Men's 10 metre Air Pistol event at the ISSF World Cup here Saturday.

Prakash shot 180.2 points after out-doing 2010 World Champion Tomoyuki Matsuda of Japan, who finished fourth with 158.7 points.

This is Prakash's first ever medal in an ISSF competition. He had also finished in the spotlights two days ago, when he ended eighth at the Men's 50 metre Pistol Men's final. The 37-year-old shooter had never made it to a final round before.

Real Madrid beat Galatasaray in Champions League

Real-Madrid-beat-GalatasarayMadrid, April 4 : Real Madrid thrashed Galatasaray 3-0 in the first leg of their Champions League quarterfinal.

Cristiano Ronaldo opened the scoring Wednesday after just nine minutes and Karim Benzema's shot put the home side 2-0 ahead 20 minutes later, Xinhua reports.

Gonzalo Higuain came on for Benzema in the 65th and eight minutes later headed home Madrid's third from a free kick curled in by Xabi Alonso.

Didier Drogba could have scored for the visitors in the 12th minute but his shot went high.

Di Canio named Sunderland's new coach

Paolo-Di-CanioLondon, April 1 : Paolo Di Canio has become the new coach of English Premier League club Sunderland, replacing Martin O'Neill to save the relegation-threatened team.

"Sunderland AFC have confirmed the appointment of Paolo Di Canio as Head Coach on a two-and-a-half year deal," said a club statement Sunday.

Di Canio, 44, scored more than 100 goals in over 500 appearances as a player with Lazio, Juventus, Napoli, AC Milan, Celtic and West Ham among others.

He retired in 2008 and was appointed manager of Swindon in 2011, leading the team up a division into the third tier the following year. (IANS)

Murray to face Ferrer in Miami Masters final

David-Ferrer-Andy-MurrayWashington, March 30 : Second-seed Andy Murray advanced to the final of the Miami ATP Masters with a 6-7 (3), 6-1, 6-2 victory over French eighth seed Richard Gasquet.

The 2009 Miami champion Murray will in the final face Spaniard David Ferrer who ended the brilliant run of Germany's Tommy Haas 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, reports Xinhua.

Murray had to come from behind after dropping the first set in a tie breaker but quickly took command of the match in the second before easily winning the third.

Murray advances to semis at Miami

Andy-MurrayWashington, March 29 : Reigning US Open and Olympic champion Andy Murray advanced to the semi-finals of the ATP Miami Masters tennis tournament by defeating Croatian ninth seed Marin Cilic 6-4, 6-3.

The second-seeded Scot will play the winner of a later quarter-final between French eighth seed Richard Gasquet and Czech fourth seed Tomas Berdych for a spot in Sunday's final at the $8.5 million hardcourt tournament, reports Xinhua.

Murray won the Miami title in 2009 and lost to Novak Djokovic in last year's final. (IANS)

Dipika, Ghosal exit from KL Open Squash

Saurav-Ghosal-Dipika-PallikalKuala Lumpur, March 28 : India's top squash players Dipika Pallikal and Saurav Ghosal lost their respective matches in the KL Open here Thursday.

World No. 15 Dipika stretched No. 8 Jenny Duncalf to four games before losing 9-11, 5-11, 11-6, 4-11 in the pre-quarterfinals at the National Squash Centre here. The Indian had her moments in the 48-minute contest but it was not enough to trouble her experienced opponent. It was Dipika's fourth loss against the former World No. 2.

Duncalf next faces local favourite and top-ranked Nicol David in the quarterfinals Friday.

Sharapova battles into Miami semifinals

Jelena-Jankovic-Maria-SharapovaMiami, March 28 : World No. 2 Maria Sharapova will face Jelena Jankovic in the Miami Masters semifinals after battling past Sara Errani in just under three hours.

While she struggled with her serve throughout the match, Sharapova managed to save three set points in the second set to seal a 7-5, 7-5 win over the Italian Wednesday.

Real to play friendly against PSG in July

Real-Madrid-PSG-FC-LogoStockholm, March 27 : Real Madrid will play a friendly against Paris Saint Germain July 27 in Gothenburg, Sweden, match organisers confirmed Wednesday.

"It's a dream come true to welcome Real Madrid to Sweden. No one knows when they will be back again," said Affe Akbari, the managing director of organisers Sport and Evenemang, reports Xinhua.

Gothenburg hosted a friendly between Barcelona and English Premier League champions Manchester United last August, in which the match ended a goalless draw. (IANS)

Netherlands take major step towards World Cup

Netherlands-Vs-RomaniaAmsterdam, March 27 : The Netherlands continued their winning streak in World Cup qualification Group D by beating Romania 4-0 here, taking a major step towards the tournament in Brazil.

After Friday's 3-0 victory over Estonia, coach Louis van Gaal lined up Rafael van der Vaart as central midfielder instead of Wesley Sneijder, who limped off with a groin injury against the Estonians. Kevin Strootman took over the captaincy from Sneijder, reports Xinhua.

Sania-Bethanie lose to top seeds

Sania-BethanieMiami (Florida), March 27 : Top seeds Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci defeated Sania Mirza and Bethanie Mattek-Sands 6-1, 6-4 to enter the women's doubles semifinals at the Sony Open tennis event here.

The Italian pair shut the door on the Indo-American combine in more than an hour, winning the final four games of the contest played Tuesday.

Having a 21-3 record in 2013, Errani and Vinci are two victories away from their 17th WTA title as a duo and 20th as individuals. They are also both still alive in singles and will play quarterfinal matches Wednesday, reported the WTA website.

Sania-Bethani in quarters; Bopanna-Ram out

Sania-BethaniMiami, March 26 : India's Sania Mirza and American partner Bethanie Mattek-Sands moved into the women's doubles quarter-finals of the Sony Open Miami Masters tennis while her compatriot Rohan Bopanna was knocked out from the second round.

Sania and Bethanie, seeded seventh, beat the Australia-German pair of Jarmila Gajdosova and Sabine Lisicki 6-1, 3-6, 10-7 here Monday.

Sania and Bethanie will face Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci for a semi-final berth.

In the men's doubles, Bopanna and his American partner Rajeev Ram were defeated 4-6, 5-7 (5) by the Spanish pair Mark Granollers and Marc Lopez.

Somdev, Paes and Bhupathi out of Miami Masters

Paes-Bhupathi-SomdevMiami, March 25 : It was a day to forget for Indian tennis as Somdev Devvarman, Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi were all knocked out of the ATP Miami Masters here, losing their respective singles and doubles matches.

Somdev went down 6-2, 6-4 to two-time defending champion and World No. 1 Novak Djokovic in just 68 minutes in their third-round clash Sunday night.

Messi, Higuain lead Argentina to win over Venezuela

Lionel-MessiBuenos Aires, March 23 : Lionel Messi set up two goals and scored another as Argentina defeated Venezuela 3-0 to extend their lead at the top of the South American World Cup qualifying standings.

The Barcelona star's sublime one-touch pass set up Real Madrid striker Gonzalo Higuain in the 29th minute before the four-time Ballon d'Or winner converted a penalty on the stroke of half-time after a Gabriel Cichero handball, reports Xinhua.

Higuain made it 3-0 just before the hour when he slotted in Messi's perfect through ball at the Estadio Monumental Friday.

China beat Iraq in 2015 Asian Cup qualifier

Asian-Cup-qualifierChangsha (China), March 23 : Second-half substitute Yu Dabao scored in stoppage time to help China beat 10-man Iraq 1-0 at home in Group C of the 2015 Asian Cup qualifying.

Yu lashed the ball into the net following a goalmouth scramble in the 93rd minute Friday, reports Xinhua.

Iraq were down to 10 men after defender Ali Adnan Kadhim was sent off for a second bookable offence just before halftime.

China, who lost their opening qualifier to Saudi Arabia (1-2) last month, and Iraq both have three points after two rounds of play in Group C.(IANS)

Miami Masters: Paes, Llodra ease into 2nd round

Michael-Llodra-Leander-PaesMiami, March 22 : India's Leander Paes and his French partner Michael Llodra advanced to the second round of the ATP Miami Masters here with a straight-set victory over Germany's Christopher Kas and Philipp Kohlschreiber.

The seventh seeds beat the German pair 6-3, 7-5 Thursday night and will now face the winners of the match between Grigor Dimitrov-Frederik Nielsen and Christian Harrison-Ryan Harrison.

The Indian-French duo hardly faced any difficulty in the first set and dispatched their opponents after converting one of the four break points on offer.

Somdev in second round of Miami Masters

Somdev-DevvarmanMiami, March 21 : India's Somdev Devvarman came back from a set down to make his way to the second round of the ATP Miami Masters tennis tournament here.

Somdev beat Russia's Evgeny Donskoy 4-7, 7-6 (5), 6-2 here Wednesday.

The 254th ranked Indian will now take on World No. 34 Feliciano Lopez of Spain, who got a bye in his opening round.

Somdev, who recently returned to the tennis circuit after a shoulder injury saved six break points but still failed to finish off his Russian opponent, who eventually took the set.

India win Mohali Test, seal series

Dhoni-win-MohaliMohali, March 18 : India won the third Test against Australia by six wickets to take an unassailable 3-0 lead in the four-match series here Monday.

India took 33.3 overs to overcome the 133-run target. Mahendra Singh Dhoni (18) and Ravindra Jadeja (8) took India home.

Earlier Monday, Australia were bowled out for 223 in their second innings. They had made 408 in the first innings and India made 499 in response.(IANS)

Olympic TT champion Zhang Jike defeats Ovtcharov

Zhang-JikeQingdao (China), March 18 : Reigning Olympic champion Zhang Jike beat German Dimitrij Ovtcharov, bronze winner at the London Games, in straight games at the Asia-Europe Table Tennis All Stars Challenge.

Zhang, the Grand Slam winner, established a 5-1 lead in the first game. Dimitrij fought back and narrowed the gap to one point but still lost to Zhang 11-8, Xinhua reported Sunday.

Zhang, 25, won the following two games with 11-2 and 11-9.

Milan to vie for Champions League berth: Allegri

Milan to vie for Champions League berth: AllegriMilan, March 17 : AC Milan head coach Massimiliano Allegri has said his side will vie with five other Serie A teams for a Champions League berth next season.

The Rossoneri were knocked out of the Champions League following a 0-4 loss at Camp Nou and are only two points adrift of second-placed Napoli in Italian Serie A, reports Xinhua.

Ibrahimovic unaffordable for Juventus

Ibrahimovic unaffordable for JuventusMilan, March 17 : Juventus director general Beppe Marotta has confirmed they "talked" to Paris Saint Germain about Zlatan Ibrahimovic, but his wages are a stumbling block.

Italian newspapers are filled with reports of Bianconeri's interest in the Swede, who started his Italian Serie A career in Turin before walking away post-Calciopoli in 2006, reports Xinhua.

"It is certain that Pavel Nedved and Leonardo talked about Ibra. Ibra is a great player but not the type we are looking for in terms of age and economic parameters," Marotta said Saturday.

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