Novak Djokovic splits with coach Boris Becker

first_imgTennis world number two Novak Djokovic has split with coach Boris Becker three years after adding the German multiple grand slam winner to his team. (Latest Tennis stories)Serbian Djokovic, who won six of his 12 major titles after hiring Becker but has suffered a slump in form over the past six months, confirmed their parting of ways on his website on Tuesday.”After three very successful years, Boris Becker and I have jointly decided to end our cooperation,” Djokovic, who lost his number one ranking to Andy Murray last month, said.”The goals we set when we started working together have been completely fulfilled, and I want to thank him for the cooperation, teamwork, dedication and commitment.”The pair joined forces in December 2013.After winning the Australian Open for a sixth time and then claiming a first French Open this year Djokovic, 29, was on course to complete calendar year Grand Slam — a feat last managed in 1969 by Australian great Rod Laver.But he bowed out in the third round of Wimbledon to Sam Querrey, lost in the first round of the Rio Olympics to Juan Martin del Potro and then went down to Stan Wawrinka in the U.S. Open final.Without a title since July, Djokovic also saw an 8,000-point ranking lead over Britain’s Murray vanish.Murray dethroned Djokovic after 122 weeks at the summit in November and then beat him to win the season-ending ATP World Tour Finals, snapping the Serbian’s four-year domination of the London tournament.Djokovic did not reveal whether he would replace Becker and there was nothing to suggest long-term mentor Marian Vajda would be leaving his entourage, although the Belgrade native indicated he wanted to make his own choices.advertisement”My professional plans are now directed primarily to maintain a good level of play, and also to make a good schedule and new goals for the next season,” Djokovic said.”In this regard I will make all future decisions.”last_img read more

Virat Kohli takes a dig at England batsmen after James Anderson’s controversial remark

first_imgVirat Kohli on Monday talked about flaws in England’s Test batting line-up a day after pacer James Anderson questioned the India captain’s batting technique. Anderson had said that Kohli’s technical flaws are not visible because of the helpful Indian tracks which lacked in pace and movement.There were some visible tense moments on the field on the final morning when Anderson walked out to bat at the fall of England’s ninth wicket. R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja immediately surrounded Anderson to give him an earful before the umpires intervened. Kohli was also seen calming tempers but he did not mince words in summing up England’s abject batting performance.”I think it’s about the application. Their batsmen have hardly blocked six balls in-a-row and that’s something that we have worked on..in our defence. Defence is a very important aspect in India, if you don’t defend well, it is very difficult to counter the kind of bowling we have and we sensed that they don’t have enough faith in the way they went about their business,” Kohli, who has scored 2,580 runs in international cricket this year including three double centuries, said at the post-match presentation ceremony. (Match Highlights)Kohli has already amassed 640 runs in the ongoing five-Test series at an average of 128 and has been instrumental in India’s rise to the top of the world rankings.The 28-year-old, who scored his career-best 235 en route becoming the first captain ever to score double centuries in three consecutive series, further said India have really worked hard on their defence and they “thrive” on it.advertisement”Even in the second innings, they played a lot of high risk shots and we knew it’s just a matter of time before we get a couple of wickets and they will crumble down very quickly and they are not sure of taking the innings long. They just want to dominate and make runs. So, as soon as we plugged the boundaries, they literally had no way out because we knew our bowlers are very consistent and they are not so confident of their defence. That’s been one difference I will say that we have worked a lot on our defence in India and we thrive on it, we enjoy defending balls rather than scoring runs. I think it’s a difference in mindset as well,” he said after India defeated England by an innings and 36 runs to capture their fifth successive series.Anderson, who dismissed Kohli four times during India’s Test series in England in 2014, had said that the India captain was not tested enough in home conditions.”I am not sure if Virat Kohli has changed. I just think any technical deficiencies he has got are not in play out here. The wickets just take that out of the equation. There is not that pace in the wicket to get the nicks, like we did against him in England – with a bit more movement,” said England’s highest ever wicket-taker in Test matches.”When that (pace and movement) is not there, Kohli is very much suited to playing in these conditions. He is a very good player of spin – and if you are not bang on the money and don’t take your chances, he will punish you,” he added.’ASHWIN WASN’T PLEASED’Ashwin wasn’t pleased with whatever Anderson had said in the press conference. Ashwin told me on the ground, obviously I had no clue about it. I didn’t know what to make of it, I was laughing about it but Ashwin wasn’t too impressed. He let him know, not using any bad words honestly. He told me he was pretty disappointed with what he had said and it’s important to accept defeat. You know how Ashwin is. He’s to the point, he can really strike you well and he doesn’t need to say bad words, that’s exactly what happened and later on I told James (Anderson) that it’s fine and these things happen..so let’s move on with it.” (Delighted to have Ashwin in the team: Kohli)last_img read more

Rohan Bopanna, Pablo Cuevas reach quarterfinals of Monte Carlo Masters

first_imgRohan Bopanna and his partner Pablo Cuevas knocked out fifth seeds Raven Klaasen and Rajeev Ram after a three-set battle to progress to the quarterfinals of the ATP Monte Carlo Masters event here.The unseeded Indo-Uruguay pair pipped the Protea-American combination 6-7(6) 6-4 10-6 in the pre-quarterfinals.They next face top seeded team of Henri Kontinen from Finland and Australia’s John Peers, who ensured exit of Novak Djokovic and Victor Troicki with a 6-3 6-4 win.The Monte Carlo Masters is fifth tournament Bopanna is playing with Cuevas and this is their best performance together after joining forces at the beginning of the season.Bopanna won the season-opening ATP 250 Chennai Open with compatriot Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan and reached final of ATP 500 Dubai Championships with Polish partner Marcin Matkowski.last_img read more

Army hero Lt Ummer Fayaz and Hizbul terrorist Zakir Musa: The story of two Kashmiri lives

first_imgThe two men, both 22 and of Kashmiri origin, lived almost 50 kilometres apart, one in Sudsona Kulgam, and another in a palatial house in Noorpora, Tral.Both learned to use weapons, but their causes couldn’t have been more different.Lt Ummer Fayaz, who was abducted, tortured, and killed by terrorists earlier this month, swore by the Indian Constitution and lived his dream to become an Army officer and serve his country.Zakir Musa, on the other hand, picked up a gun at the age of 18, and joined the terrorist group Hizbul Mujahideen (HM). After death of Burhan Wani, it was left to him to lead HM.Both were good in academics. Both liked sports.Ummer Fayaz studied in an Army good will school, moving away from the militancy fields of Shopian, and eventually making it to NDA. He was a good hockey and volleyball player.Zakir Musa passed all his exams in the first division. A good cricket and carrom player, he represented Jammu and Kashmir on more than one occasion in inter-state carom championships. He participated in Varanasi in 2010 and in Faridabad in 2012.Ummer Fayaz would often take out time to guide young boys from his village to join the mainstream. He inspired boys to take up a job in the government, the Army or the paramilitary.Zakir Musa, with his chiseled good looks and his enthusiasm for bike stunts, moved to Chandigarh to do his B Tech from Ram Devi Jindal College.But his father, Abdul Rashid Bhat, says it was ill-treatment in the Chandigarh college that triggered Musa to take up arms.advertisementNeither Lt Fayaz nor Musa was particularly religious.Although Musa claimed – in a Whatsapp video – to run the Kashmir movement to establish an Islamic state, his father said he “would offer namaz only on Fridays.”Zakir Musa’s carrom certificate A FATHER’S HEARTBREAKThere’s hardly any room in Lt Ummer Fayaz’s household. It is brimming with people, but there is a muted silence.His parents are stunned and shocked at the loss of their son. His two sisters grieve for him.”If we knew this is the fate he would meet, we would never have called him here,” says his father, a small-time apple grower.He is almost teary-eyed.His heart aches every time he speaks of him, he says.Lt Ummer Fayaz’s father with relatives MY HEART BLEEDS FOR LT UMMER FAYAZ, SAYS ZAKIR MUSA’S FATHERMeanwhile, Zakir Musa’s father Rashid, 56, is 4 years away from retiring from his job as an assistant engineer in the Irrigation department in Pulwama.His elder son is a doctor in Barzalla’s Bone and Joint hospital.Rashid says: “My heart bleeds for Lt Ummer Fayaz, for every parent who has lost a son of the soil.”He blames the government for pushing young men into militancy.”My son in 2010 was booked for stone-pelting while he was just 14. He never got over it.”There is no effort to get youth into the mainstream, he said. While Lt Ummer Fayaz was killed – while unarmed – in cold blood by suspected HM Terrorists, a massive manhunt is on to take down Zakir Musa.The father of the militant dreads taking calls, suspecting bad news. ALSO READ | Why Hizbul Mujahideen is rattled after murder of Army officer Ummer Fayaz ALSO READ | Who is Zakir Musa? Why Hizbul Mujahideen distanced itself from his ‘Islamic Kashmir’ remarkALSO WATCH | Nation stands with Lt Ummer Fayaz: Candlelight vigil at India Gate to honour fallen herolast_img read more

Morgan Schneiderlin aiming high after settling in at Everton

first_imgMorgan Schneiderlin has settled on Merseyside following his January move to Everton and the French international midfielder is hoping the side can improve to seal a top-four finish in the Premier League next season.Schneiderlin, who made the switch from Manchester United, became a regular squad member under Ronald Koeman and played in 14 of Everton’s 18 fixtures following his arrival after a frustrating one-and-a-half season spell at Old Trafford.”I’m very happy to be here, very happy to come in every day and happy, to find the joy on my face again, to play week in and week out and, most importantly, have good games,” Schneiderlin told the club website. (www.evertonfc.com)”I think that’s what I did, even if I know myself that I can be even better and improve…That’s my main focus and I want to improve and help this team to be in the top four.”Everton finished seventh in the league to qualify for next season’s Europa League and will play in the qualifying round starting on July 27.last_img read more

Punjab CM assures probe into irregularity in sports kits

first_imgdistributionChandigarh, Jun 22 (PTI) Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh today said a thorough probe will be conducted into the alleged irregularities in distribution of sports kits to youth clubs during the previous SAD-BJP rule.The assurance came from the chief minister in the Vidhan Sabha in response to a question by Congress MLA Rajinder Beri during question hour.”No misappropriation in the intended use of sports kits meant for youth across the state would be tolerated or condoned, and if any irregularity comes to light the responsibility will be fixed and guilty will be sternly dealt with,” he said in the House.Singh said the selection of beneficiaries by the previous government was done by a Beneficiary Selection Committee under the chairmanship of deputy commissioner, with no political persons as members.Reaffirming his personal commitment to the overall development of the youth, the chief minister said his government was duty-bound to facilitate them in their all-round development, of which sports was a vital aspect.Involvement in sports activities will also help drug-affected youth to come back into the mainstream of the society, he added. PTI VJ KISlast_img read more

Kanu, Cambiasso to attend official draw for FIFA U-17 WC

first_imgMumbai, Jul 5 (PTI) Legendary footballers Esteban Cambiasso and Nwankwo Kanu along with Indian sporting icons Sunil Chhetri and PV Sindhu will attend tomorrows official draw for the FIFA U-17 World Cup to be held in India later this year. The draw scheduled for tomorrow here will also be attended by officials from the participating teams and the host cities. The event will be telecasted live on FIFA.com. Kanu and Cambiasso are no strangers to the FIFA U-17 World Cup. Kanu held the winners trophy aloft with Nigerias Super Eaglets in 1993 while Argentine great Cambiasso participated in the 1995 edition. Kanu, who won Olympic gold in 1996, was twice chosen as African Player of the Year, and played for the Super Eagles at the 1998, 2002 and 2010 editions of the FIFA World Cup. Cambiasso, meanwhile, won the FIFA U-20 World Cup 1997 and was part of Argentinas team at the 2010 FIFA World Cup. “The FIFA U-17 World Cup 1993 really spurred my career ? within years of winning the title, I won the Olympic gold and from there as I would like to believe, there wasnt any looking back,” Kanu said in a statement released by the FIFA and Local Orgainsing Committee. “This tournament provides youngsters the necessary stage for development and I believe this years edition will provide us all with exceptional talent ? much like the previous tournaments.” The two football icons will be joined by India national football team captain Sunil Chhetri and Olympic medallist shuttler Sindhu, both of whom will take part as draw assistants. PTI SSC SSCadvertisementlast_img read more

Amritraj brothers disappointed with Chennai Open shift

first_imgShifting of India’s only ATP event from Chennai to Pune after 21 years has disappointed the Amritraj brothers, Vijay and Anand, who played a key role in bringing the event to the city.The former Davis Cuppers, who hailed from Chennai, had worked hard to bring the tournament here in 1997 as the Gold Flake Open ATP tournament, generating great fan following.It also helped the emergence of the famed “Indian Express” comprising Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi, who after winning here, went on to become a formidable force on ATP Tour.”The tournament has been run for 21 years, which is a very long run. It is sad that the city (Chennai) has lost the event. However, it is good that it will remain in India,” Vijay Amritraj told PTI.He recalled the efforts made to bring the ATP event to the country and said, “now that a decision has been made to shift the tournament out of Chennai, it has to be seen how it goes in Pune.”Meanwhile, Anand Amritraj said, “it is a shame that the Chennai Open is moving out of the city. I am very disappointed.””It would have been more disappointing if the tourney had been taken out of India. Pune is a good choice. We played a Davis Cup tie there recently and the facilities are good,” he said.”There are issues like absence of direct connectivity to Pune and the location of the tennis stadium but players will get used to that,” he added.advertisementHe, however, said that for the crowds to come in, Indian players need to do well in singles.”Whether it is Chennai or Pune, the spectators want to see our players do well in singles. Doubles is one thing, but singles is the main event. Indian players need to do better.Yuki (Bhambri) and Ramkumar Ramanathan have made the quarterfinals in recent years but that isn’t enough.”About the forthcoming Davis Cup World Group play-off tie against Canada in Edmonton, Anand Amritraj said, “from what I gather, their top singles player (Milos) Raonic may not play.The others aren’t big names and it gives our team a chance.””Our boys are playing well currently. Ramkumar and Yuki have had some good results. Rohan Bopanna has been doing well in doubles and won the mixed doubles at French Open. We have a better chance than we had in the ties against Spain, Serbia or Czech Republic,” he said.last_img read more

No reason for opposition to seek Baralas resignation: Vij

first_imgChandigarh, Aug 11 (PTI) Senior Haryana minister Anil Vij said today that there was no reason for opposition parties to demand the resignation of Haryana BJP chief Subhash Barala, whose son is an accused in the Chandigarh woman stalking case.”Why should Subhash Barala resign, what wrong has he committed? A case has been registered under the sections just as the victim wanted. Subhash Baralas son and another person have been arrested. The victim says they have full faith in the police investigation,” the outspoken health and sports minister said.He said the womans father had said that there was no pressure on the family.”Then for what reason is the opposition seeking Subhash Baralas resignation? What wrong has he done?,” Vij asked while speaking to reporters here.He said when the police had summoned Vikas Barala, the accused in the case, his father Subhash Barala himself asked his son to visit the police station at Sector 26 here and cooperate with the police investigations.”Subhash Barala is a law abiding, he respects law. He even said that the victim is like her daughter…opposition is doing cheap politics over this issue, they have no other issue. They are just fighting for their existence,” Vij said.Subhash Baralas son Vikas and another accused were re-arrested in the stalking case involving the 29-year-old daughter of a IAS officer, here on Wednesday after they were charged with the non-bailable offence of attempted abduction under section 365 of the IPC and section 511, which relates to an attempt to commit an offence punishable with life or other imprisonment. PTI SUN ADSadvertisementlast_img read more

Maria Sharapova awarded main draw wildcard at US Open

first_imgFormer world number one Maria Sharapova will make her first Grand Slam appearance in over 18 months after she was awarded a main draw wildcard for the upcoming US Open, the tournament organisers confirmed on Tuesday.The 30-year-old Russian, who returned from a 15-month doping ban earlier this year, was denied a wildcard at the French Open before she missed the grasscourt season, including Wimbledon, with a thigh injury.Sharapova’s US Open preparations have been disrupted by an arm injury suffered during her first round win over Jennifer Brady earlier this month.The world number 148 was forced to withdraw from the Rogers Cup and the ongoing Cincinnati Open as a precautionary measure ahead of the final grand slam of the year.The US Open runs from August 28 to September 10 at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center at Flushing Meadows, New York.last_img read more

Yamaha launches new MT-09 superbike priced at Rs 10.88 lakh

first_imgNew Delhi, Nov 24 (PTI) India Yamaha Motor Pvt Ltd today launched a new version of its superbike Yamaha MT-09, priced at Rs 10.88 lakh (ex-showroom in Delhi).The new Yamaha MT-09 is powered by a newly developed 847 cc, 3-Cylinder engine. It is also equipped with anti-lock braking system (ABS) technology, the company said in a statement.Yamaha Motor India Sales Pvt Ltd Senior Vice-President, Sales and Marketing Roy Kurian said, “The new MT-09 will reiterate Yamahas commitment to offer in India the very best mix of Yamahas superior expertise coupled with its unique flair for innovation.”The new bike has been constructed with excellent rigidity balance that contributes towards the bikes agile handling performance and power delivery, he added.The company is targeting youngsters who are stepping up from 600 cc sports model or those who are thinking for downsizing from a large-displacement model.This model will be imported as a completely built unit by India Yamaha Motor, the statement said. PTI RKL SBTlast_img read more

Rashpal confident of retaining marathon crown

first_imgMumbai, Dec 9 (PTI) Rashpal Singh, of the Army Sports Institute, is confident of defending the mens title in the 7th Indiabulls Home Loans Vasai-Virar Mayors Marathon to be held here tomorrow.Rashpal had the full Marathon by leading from start to finish last year and has warmed up nicely by recording his personal best of 2:20.23 at the National Marathon in Delhi.The 32-year-old Rashpal will face a threat from last years runner-up Pankaj Dhaka of JSW and Karan Singh of BEG, Kirkee, Pune.Dhaka, who is with the Territorial Army, has been training on his own and is determined to better upon his last years finish.Karan, a two-time winner of the Mumbai Marathon (2014 and 2015), is making a return to long distance running after a lay-off of almost two years due to injury, and believes he has fully recovered and in good condition to challenge for the title.The other fancied names in the full marathon are Jabalpur Armyman Sanaton Singh, who has a personal best of 2:20.11, ASI?s Bhram Prakash, who clocked 2:24.06 while winning the NSG Marathon in Delhi, Anu Sathyadas, winner of the Rourkee Marathon and G B Patle.”I have been preparing well and am currently in peak form having won an even in Allahabad just 21 days back and that gives me more confidence. This time the competition will be much stiffer with Karan also running, but that would only help me to run faster which would certainly improve my timing,” said Rashpal.The 27-year-old Karan was pleased to return to competition after recovering from injury.advertisement”After being out of running for a long time it feels good to get back. I have been working hard during training and I am determined to get back to winning ways. This is my first big race after injury and it would be nice if I can come out a winner,” stated Karan, who clocked a time of 2:21 min in winning the 2015 Mumbai Marathon.The mens half marathon will be spearheaded by Kalidas Hirave, who has a seasons best timing of 1:03.27, clocked while winning the BSF Half Marathon in Delhi.Also in the fray will be Pradeep Singh, who clocked 1:04.34 at ADHM 2017, Man Singh who clocked 1:04.39 at the IDBI HM and National camper Govind Singh, who clocked 1:05.49 at ADHM 2017, besides Chandrakant Manwadhkar and Savhin Patil of the Railways.The womens half marathon will also have a strong field and should see stiff competition between Swati Gadhave and Monika Atahare, who clocked 1:15.21 and 11:15.36 at ADHM 2017.The other strong contenders are Monika Raut, Meenakshi Patil and Manisha Salunkhe.The winner of the Full Marathon for men will stand to gain Rs 2.50 lakh, while the male and female winners of the Half Marathon will take home Rs 1.25 lakh each.There is an increase in the prize money for amateur runners as well in the different age groups. PTI SSR RSY SDMlast_img read more

Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho fears Marouane Fellaini exit

first_imgManchester United manager Jose Mourinho fears that midfielder Marouane Fellaini will leave the Premier League club at the end of the season.Fellaini was criticised by United supporters for his inconsistent performances after arriving from Everton in 2013 but the Belgian international has since become a key figure in Mourinho’s midfield.United triggered a one-year extension in the 30-year-old’s contract at the start of the year, but agreeing a deal beyond the end of the current campaign is proving difficult.When asked if he was concerned about the uncertainty surrounding Fellaini’s future, Mourinho replied: “Yes, I am.”The decision, however, is out of the Portuguese manager’s hands.”It’s a discussion between the player and the board — I’m not involved in contracts or deals — and I respect both,” Mourinho said.”I respect the player because the player has the right to decide his future when he finishes his contract. And I respect the board because the decisions are not in my control. I adjust to it, wishing that they have an understanding.”Mourinho confirmed that United defenders Eric Bailly and Phil Jones will miss Saturday’s Premier League visit of Brighton and Hove Albion through injury.Bailly picked up a knock this month and has missed United’s past two fixtures, while Jones aggravated a thigh problem on England duty during the international break.”Bailly and Jones, they are out, but we are okay because we have (Chris) Smalling, (Marcos) Rojo and (Victor) Lindelof,” the manager added.United are second in the Premier League behind rivals Manchester City, who are eight points clear at the top and unbeaten after 12 league matches. However, Mourinho shrugged off concerns over the gap between the two clubs.advertisement”We cannot think about the gap to City, we cannot think about the gap to fifth position. We just have to focus on ourselves,” he said.”We haven’t yet reached 50 percent of the season, so let’s be calm. We have four competitions to play. Let’s go step by step.”last_img read more

Greece 200-1 Shot in World Cup

first_imgTweetPinShare0 Shares If you’re a betting man and missed your chance to score a fortune by not picking Buster Douglas at 42-1 to beat Mike Tyson for the World Heavyweight Championship, you could get rich betting on Greece to win the World Cup in soccer – what the world outside of the U.S. calls football – in 2014 in Brazil, as the Greeks are a 200-1 shot.Greece got a decent draw being in Group C with Japan, Colombia and Ivory Coast and will be appearing in a second straight world title run after a disastrous 1996 appearance in the U.S. where a ho-hum team of older veterans went through the motions, being outscored 10-0 in three games and sent packing in humiliation.An analysis from Reuters estimated the Greek side can do well if it sticks to the defense-oriented strategy of coach Fernando Santos,  a style which suited the team well in the qualifying campaign.In the stages to get to Brazil,  Santos’ team finished behind eventual Group G winners Bosnia only on goal difference, with a 3-1 loss to the Bosnians in Zenica proving their only defeat of another solid qualifying campaign – albeit in one of Europe’s weaker sections.With a playing style which makes them hard to beat but unspectacular up front, Greece chalked up an impressive record of eight wins in their 10 group matches, five of them by 1-0 scorelines, the analysis noted.If Greece suffers anywhere it’s in firepower once again as the Greeks prefer to backpedal and try to keep the other team from scoring instead of attacking aggressively, which cost them dearly in some previous campaigns. Santos has a strong core of veterans in Giorgos Karagounis, Fanis Gekas and Kostas Katsouranis.The Greeks have shown an ability to counter-attack off their defense though, with a strong front line of  Celtic’s Giorgos Samaras, Olympiacos striker Kostas Mitroglou and the tireless Dimitris Salpingidis.In the cautious world of soccer, where teams often hope for a 0-0 tie and scores are infrequent, Santos sticks to the script of trying to keep the other team off the board and hoping for a score by his own side. His motto is: “tactics first, technical ability second,” and his style can probably be described as more Hank Iba than Pat Riley, more defense than fast-break.The Greek team played dutifully, if not exciting, in Euro 201, losing to the top side Germans in the quarter finals, eight years after stunning the world by winning the European championship in Portugal in 2004, that grand Olympic year for Greece before the country’s economy went sour and so did the mood of Greeks and that play of their beloved national soccer team.After a creditable display at Euro 2012, where Greece were beaten by Germany in the quarter-finals, Santos’ men only lost out on an automatic place at Brazil 2014 to Bosnia on goal difference.An important factor of Santos’ success is his extensive knowledge of Greek football and culture from his time as a club manager, having coached some of the country’s top clubs in AEK Athens, Panathinaikos and PAOK Salonica. He lives permanently in Greece and knows the talent, while relying on team manager Takis Fyssas, who was part of Greece’s Euro 2004 winning squad, as well as working with the younger teams.Santos is betting on Mitroglou, 25, who has emerged as the team’s star with a flamboyant presence and striking ability, and shown his stuff after a disappointing career up to this year.Despite being somewhat media shy, Mitroglou – who has scored 41 goals in 84 appearances for Olympiakos – is affectionately known as “Mitrogoal” and “Pistolero” by his club’s fanatical fans for his gun-toting goal celebrations.The 2013-14 campaign has unquestionably been his breakthrough season. He became the first Greek player to score a hat-trick in the UEFA Champions League with a treble at Anderlecht in October, and has notched 14 goals in 10 matches – including three hat-tricks – in the Greek league this season, dominating play.While not noted for his pace, Mitroglou’s key attributes are his intelligent movement off the ball, physical strength and a powerful long range shot. He’ll need to have it all if Greece wants to get past the first stages in Brazil.last_img read more

World Hoops: Greece Tops Senegal, 87-64

first_imgRanked number five in the world coming in, Greece easily dispatched Senegal, 87-64 in the opening round of the World Cup basketball championships in Spain on Aug. 30.The rout was bigger than the score indicated with 6-8 forward Kostas Kaimakoglou lighting up the nets with 20 points to go along with eight rebounds as Greece easily brushed back an athletic and big Senegal team that hadn’t played in the event in eight years.A rising star, 19-year-old Yiannis Antetonkoumpo, a Nigerian immigrant who plays for the Milwaukee Bucks in the NBA, was second high-scorer for Greece with 11 points and wowed with his athleticism and moves.Greece now plays a tougher Philippines squad on Aug. 31.In other action, Marcelinho Huertas had 16 points and five assists, and Brazil held on to edge European champion France 65-63. The French were playing without star Tony Parker of the San Antonio Spurs who didn’t want to participate.His Spurs’ teammate, Boris Diaw, had 15 points, six rebounds and five assists but the Antetonkoumpo’s Cleveland Cavaliers’ Anderson Varejao blocked his 3-point attempt as time expired in the Group A game.Serbia beat Egypt 85-64 in the opening game in Granada, while host Spain played Iran at night.Bojan Bogdanovic of the Brooklyn Nets scored 26 points to help Croatia pull out an 81-78 victory over the Philippines, which got 28 points and 12 rebounds from American Andray Blatche, their naturalized player. Blatche played last season with the Nets but doesn’t have an NBA contract for next season.Also in Group B in Seville, Luis Scola of the Indiana Pacers had 20 points and nine rebounds to power Argentina past Puerto Rico, 98-75. Andres Nocioni added 18 points and 11 rebounds, while New York Knicks guard and fellow longtime Argentine star Pablo Prigioni chipped in nine points and 10 assists.The defending champion U.S. played against Finland in Group C. Earlier at Bilbao, Turkey rallied with a big fourth quarter to beat New Zealand 76-73; and Ukraine got 16 points from Pooh Jeter to beat Dominican Republic 72-62.Goran Dragic of the Phoenix Suns had 21 points and seven rebounds to lead Slovenia to a 90-80 victory over Australia in Group D. Angola started the action in the Canary Islands by downing South Korea 80-69, while Lithuania and Mexico met in the late game.(Material from the Associated Press was used in this report)TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

Maple Leafs Rout Rangers, 6-3

first_imgNEW YORK — The New York Rangers spent the first part of the night celebrating the success of last season, and the rest of it trying to figure out what has gone wrong so far in this one.Phil Kessel, James van Riemsdyk and the Toronto Maple Leafs broke out of their scoring slumber with five goals in the second period against Henrik Lundqvist and wrecked the Rangers’ home opener with a 6-3 victory on Oct. 12.“Obviously, there are things we need to work on,” said Lundqvist, who watched the third period from the bench with a baseball cap on. “They’re a good team … we just made it a little too easy for them to score.”The Rangers were outscored a combined 11-5 in a pair of weekend losses on consecutive days. Their only highlight was the recognition of the banner commemorating New York’s Eastern Conference championship of last season.“We’ve got to look at each other here and look at our team and figure out what we need to do to be successful,” new captain Ryan McDonagh said. “When things aren’t going as well as we want them to, we have to learn to pull back and just simplify instead of trying to force too much.”McDonagh and fellow veteran defenseman Dan Girardi were on the ice for four of Toronto’s goals.“No one in our group wanted to perform the way we did,” Rangers coach Alain Vigneault. “Every opportunity seemed to find the back of the net. “We don’t have a reason or an explanation right now,” he added.Toronto (1-2) mustered only five goals in its first two games of the season, but busted out, fueled by Kessel and van Riemsdyk, who both notched their first goal and first point of the season. Kessel chipped in two assists, and van Riemsdyk had one.“This was a step in the right direction,” van Riemsdyk said. “We’re a team that needs contributions from all four lines, and we had that.”Defenseman Cody Franson staked the Maple Leafs to a 1-0 lead in the first during a power play, and Kessel, Nazem Kadri, van Riemsdyk, Tyler Bozak and David Clarkson connected in the second — driving Lundqvist from the net after he stopped only 18 of 24 shots.“You need to get that first one, and I was glad to get that first goal,” Franson said. “It was a big boost for us.”Kessel’s goal was also on a power play, and van Riemsdyk stuffed a puck under Lundqvist on a short-handed breakaway. Toronto has scored five power-play goals this season. New York (1-2) didn’t allow any in its first two games and hasn’t scored any, either.Franson and Bozak both had a goal and assist, and Leo Komarov had two assists. James Reimer made 24 saves before being leaving with 13:17 remaining after being struck in the head during a collision with Rangers forward Dominic Moore.New York’s Rick Nash, a question mark to even play due to the impending birth of his first child, tied the game with a first-period goal and then left after the second period. Lee Stempniak brought New York to 4-2 in the second period.Derick Brassard scored with 5:41 left against Toronto backup goalie Jonathan Bernier to close the scoring. Cam Talbot, who took the loss in the Rangers’ 5-2 defeat at Columbus on Oct. 11, mopped up and stopped all 12 shots he faced.The last time the Rangers allowed at least five goals in a period was Feb. 6, 2009, in a 10-2 loss at Dallas that Lundqvist missed because of illness. He hadn’t yielded five in a period since Dec. 16, 2006, at Toronto when he was touched for eight — including five in the first period — of a 9-2 loss.“We had a good night against a goaltender that doesn’t have many bad nights,” Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle said.Toronto opened the scoring on Franson’s power-play goal at 7:45, his first tally of the season. Kessel worked the puck down in the Rangers end to Bozak in the left circle. Bozak then fed Franson in the right circle for a drive that eluded Lundqvist.Nash scored his fourth of the season and extended his streak of netting at least one in each game. He took a quick pass across the zone from Martin St. Louis and deftly deflected the puck underneath the crossbar to tie it 1-all with 2:38 left in the first.Then Toronto took over.The Maple Leafs regained the lead 5:19 into the second on Kessel’s goal and made it 3-1 just 2:31 later when Kadri scored. Van Riemsdyk pushed the advantage to three goals at 9:43 before Stempniak was awarded a goal when video replay confirmed he scored before the net was knocked off its moorings.But 59 seconds later, Bozak killed the Rangers’ momentum with his third of the season. Clarkson ended Lundqvist’s night with his first at 15:13.(IRA PODELL, AP Hockey Writer)TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

Devil Rays Sting The Yanks, 8-1

first_imgTweetPinShare0 Shares NEW YORK — After a week without a win, the Tampa Bay Rays were hardly shy about describing their celebration July 5.James Loney got doused with an ice bucket. David DeJesus banged away on his cymbals. Loud music thumped through the clubhouse.And it all started with Erasmo Ramirez.The right-hander pitched out of early trouble in his latest terrific outing against the New York Yankees, and Tampa Bay took advantage of some shoddy defense for an 8-1 victory that snapped its longest losing streak of the season at seven games.“At the plate we got going, finally,” Logan Forsythe said. “It’s nice to have a quality game.”Loney and Forsythe each had a two-run single for the Rays, who had dropped 11 of 13 while falling out of first place in the AL East.They salvaged the finale of a frustrating series at Yankee Stadium that included walk-off defeats in the first two games.Alex Rodriguez hit his 670th home run, the only damage against Ramirez (7-3) in six innings. Yankees hitters entered 2 for 27 (.074) against him this year and didn’t fare much better.“They have a bunch of big left-handed hitters, lot of power, and I think his changeup really plays well for him against these hitters,” Rays Manager Kevin Cash said. “He’s able to separate a lot with the fastball and the changeup combination.”It’s not just the Yankees, though.Ramirez is 5-1 with a 1.18 ERA in seven starts since May 30, yielding no more than two runs in any of them. He is 7-2 with a 2.17 ERA since joining the rotation on May 14.“The right pitch, the right moment. Good defense behind me. Everything just came through,” Ramirez said. “Just happy how everything is going right now.”The only bad news for the Rays came in a four-run eighth, when rookie outfielder Steven Souza Jr. was hit by a pitch on his right hand. He was removed in the bottom half and said X-rays were negative.But he received stitches for a “really deep” cut that left his pinkie numb.“I can’t really bend it too well right now,” said Souza, who will see a hand specialist in Kansas City and is day to day. “I’ll take some more lacerations if it gets us more wins, if that’s what it takes.”Ivan Nova (1-2) gave up four runs — three earned — and six hits in five innings, the shortest of his three starts since returning from Tommy John surgery. He has lost five consecutive decisions against Tampa Bay after winning six of his first seven.The right-hander walked three and threw wildly past third base on a bunt, allowing a run to score on the error.“I thought he did a pretty good job for not having anything,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “He just had a hard time throwing strikes.”Second baseman Jose Pirela, who entered as a pinch hitter in the seventh, made two errors on one play in the eighth. Forsythe knocked in two runs with a bloop single that landed on the right-field line beyond a drawn-in infield.Loney grounded a two-run single in the first and made a nice play at first base in the bottom half to thwart a bases-loaded threat.New York didn’t get another hit until A-Rod’s 16th homer of the season leading off the sixth.“It was more of a mechanical thing,” said Curt Casali, who caught Ramirez. “As soon as he figured that out, it was smooth sailing. … I was proud of the way he battled today because we needed him bad.”Casali had a sacrifice fly in the second following Kevin Kiermaier’s leadoff triple, which glanced off the glove of a rapidly retreating Brett Gardner in center field after he initially misjudged the line drive.“We didn’t play our best game today — both sides of the ball,” Yankees catcher Brian McCann said. “You tip your cap to Ramirez. He kept us between speeds all day.”(MIKE FITZPATRICK, AP Baseball Writer)last_img read more

A-Rod Rests, Yanks Rock

first_imgTweetPinShare0 Shares MINNEAPOLIS — Nathan Eovaldi pitched impressively into the ninth inning, Chase Headley and Stephen Drew each homered, and the New York Yankees beat the Minnesota Twins 7-2 on Sunday for a series win.Eovaldi (10-2) had only five strikeouts, but looked dominant nonetheless, easily topping 90 mph in the later innings and inducing Twins batters into harmless grounders and popups in reaching double-digit wins for the first time.The right-hander hasn’t lost a start since June 16 at Miami, allowed eight hits and a walk. He came out to start the ninth but was quickly pulled after giving up a leadoff double to Miguel Sano.Headley had two big hits against Kyle Gibson (8-8) — the first a solo homer in the fifth that made it 1-all, and then a two-run single the next inning that knocked the Twins starter out of the game.Two batters later, Drew sent a 0-1 slider from reliever Ryan O’Rourke into the right field seats for his 13th homer to cap a six-run sixth.Gibson allowed six runs and six hits before being pulled after 5 1-3 innings. Torii Hunter had an RBI groundout in the third that scored Aaron Hicks, and Trevor Plouffe added a run-scoring single in the ninth against reliever Justin Wilson.After being outscored 15-1 in the first 12 innings of the three-game series, the Yankeesreturned the favor by outscoring the Twins 15-2 over the final 15.TRAINER’S ROOMYankees: Alex Rodriguez got a day off after hitting three homers Saturday night. Manager Joe Girardi said he had been planning to give Rodriguez a day off either in Minnesota or Texas. Seeing as how his team will face at least two left-handed starters in Texas, Girardi said he decided to sit Rodriguez for the series finale against the Twins. Earlier, Rodriguez told reporters he was planning to celebrate his 40th birthday on Monday in Texas with family and friends. Asked if he viewed turning 40 years old as a traumatic event, Rodriguez said: “All of that happened for me last year.”Twins: GM Terry Ryan said RHP Ryan Pressly (shoulder) should be able to start throwing soon. “He’s healthy now, got no pain and now he can move to the next step, which is picking up a ball. … It’ll be a while for him, but we can at least start the process now.”UP NEXTYankees: RHP Ivan Nova (2-3) tries for a second-consecutive win after snapping a three-game skid last week against Baltimore, when New York opens a four-game set in Texas. Nova is 2-0 in two career games against the Rangers. LHP Matt Harrison (1-1) starts for Texas.Twins: have Monday off before a two-game interleague series against Pittsburgh. Mike Pelfrey (5-7) makes his eighth-career start against the Pirates (3-2, 4.33 ERA), who send RHP Charlie Morton (6-4) to the mound.last_img read more

Yankees Slip Against Rays, 6-3

first_imgST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The New York Yankees wasted a golden chance to gain ground in the AL East.Nick Franklin hit a go-ahead two-run homer in the sixth inning and the Tampa Bay Rays beat the AL wild-card leading Yankees 6-3 on Sept. 15.Hobbled Alex Rodriguez and Greg Bird homered for the Yankees, who remain three games behind division leading Toronto, which lost 3-2 at Atlanta.“It’s tough that we’re not able to hold them down,” New York Manager Joe Girardi said after Tampa Bay won for the third time in nine games.The Yankees have lost six of eight.Franklin, who entered when shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera left after four innings with a left knee strain, put the Rays up 4-3 on his homer off Nick Rumbelow (1-1).“He came up with the big hit right there and got us the win,” Rays starter Jake Odorizzi said.J.P. Arencibia made it 6-3 with a two-run single in the eighth.Rodriguez hit his 32nd homer this season and 686th of his career off Odorizzi (8-8) in the first hours after the team learned he is playing with a bruised left knee. Rodriguez moved past Craig Biggio into sole possession of 21st place all-time with his 3,061st hit.Rodriguez had an MRI earlier and was also examined by team orthopedist Daniel Murphy. It is thought that Rodriguez was hurt sliding in the Sept. 13 game against Toronto.“He’s fine,” Girardi said.Odorizzi allowed three runs and three hits in six innings. Brandon Gomes pitched the ninth for his first save, getting a fly ball from Brett Gardner with runners on second and third and two outs.Bird gave the Yankees a 3-2 lead on a two-run homer in the fourth that came on the 10th pitch of the at-bat.Logan Forsythe had an RBI single in the first and Tampa Bay went ahead 2-1 when Mikie Mahtook doubled, stole third and scored on catcher Brian McCann’s throwing error in the second.Tampa Bay center fielder Kevin Kiermaier took away a potential game-tying extra-base hit from Gardner with a running catch on the warning track to end the seventh.“He’s an amazing center fielder,” Girardi said. “He’s as good as I’ve seen.”Rodriguez nearly had his second opposite-field homer of the game in the eighth, but his leadoff drive was caught on the warning track.Adam Warren gave up two runs and six hits over four innings in a spot start for the Yankees.(MARK DIDTLER) TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more