Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 29th 2015 Contents A59
March 29, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
KEY BISCAYNE---Seven-time champion
Serena Williams won her opening match
at the Miami Open yesterday, beating Mon-
ica Niculescu 6-3, 6-1.
The match was the first for Williams since
she withdrew before the semifinals at Indian
Wells last week with a right knee injury.
Williams showed no lingering effects and
pulled away after a slow start, winning nine
of the final ten games. She hit 29 winners
and erased six of the seven break points she
The two-time defending champion has
won her past 13 matches on Key Biscayne,
and she s on a 16-match winning streak on
the tour this year.
She had a first-round bye and will face
15-year-old American CiCi Bellis in the third
In men s play, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga made
a successful 2015 debut by beating American
Tim Smyczek 6-4, 3-6, 6-3.
Tsonga, seeded No 11, was playing for the
first time since France s loss to Switzerland
in the Davis Cup final in November. He sat
out the start of this year with a right arm
A three-time Key Biscayne quarterfinalist,
Tsonga had 11 aces and lost only nine points
on his first serve as he advanced to the third
round. All seeded players received a first-
"I didn t expect to play my best tennis
today," Tsonga said. "But it s normal when
you didn t play a couple of months. I hope
it s going to be better and better."
American John Isner beat 17-year-old wild
card Andrey Rublev of Russia, 6-3, 6-4.
Rublev is the world s No 1-ranked junior.
Eugenie Bouchard was upset in her open-
ing match by qualifier Tatjana Maria 6-0,
7-6 (4). Bouchard, seeded No 6, won less
than half her service points, had five dou-
ble-faults and was broken five times.
The Canadian, a Wimbledon finalist last
year, is only 6-4 this year. Her career record
at Key Biscayne fell to 1-3.
Maria, a German ranked 113th, beat a top
10 player for the first time since 2010.
In the opening stadium match, No 4 Car-
oline Wozniacki rallied to beat Kaia Kanepi
4-6, 6-1, 6-3. No 8 Ekaterina Makarova,
No 9 Andrea Petkovic, No 11 Sara Errani,
No 12 Carla Suarez Navarro and No 13
Angelique Kerber also advanced.
On the men s side, No 4 Kei Nishikori
defeated Mikhail Youzhny 6-2, 6-1. American
Jack Sock eliminated No 21 Fabio Fognini 7-
6 (4), 6-1.
Precocious amateur CiCi Bellis, a 15-year-
old American who made a big splash at last
year s US Open, advanced Friday to a poten-
tial third-round match against Williams by
beating Zarina Diyas 6-2, 6-1.
Sloane Stephens won an all-American
match on the stadium court, converting five
of six break-point chances to beat No 17
Madison Keys 6-4, 6-2. It was the first
meeting between the two Fed Cup team-
mates, and Keys teared up near the end of
No 2-seeded Rafael Nadal, showing no ill
effects from an ankle injury suffered in prac-
tice Monday, defeated fellow Spaniard Nicolas
Almagro 6-4, 6-2.
"I am well," Nadal said. "The day after,
I had pain, but after two days I improved
50 per cent. It s not limiting my movements."
Others advancing in the women s draw
included No 3 Simona Halep, the titlist last
week at Indian Wells. She won 6-4, 2-6,
6-1 against wild card Nicole Vaidisova, a
two-time Grand Slam semifinalist mounting
a comeback from two shoulder operations.
Two-time champion Andy Murray beat
American Donald Young 6-4, 6-2. Other
men s winners included No 7 Stan Wawrinka,
No 8 Tomas Berdych and No 25 Bernard
Tomic. American Sam Querrey had 19 aces
but lost to No 15 Kevin Anderson 6-7 (5),
7-6 (3), 6-4.
No 10 Feliciano Lopez was eliminated by
Dominic Thiem, 7-6 (4), 4-6, 6-3. Four-
time champion Novak Djokovic lost in dou-
bles and plays his opening singles match
"Hopefully I can have another great week
in Miami," Djokovic said. "Some of my best
tennis I have played here in these courts."
Two-time champion Victoria Azarenka
reached the third round by beating No 20
Jelena Jankovic 6-1, 6-1. Azarenka faced 13
break points and saved them all.
"I stayed composed," Azarenka said. "I
was very sure what I had to do, and I was
really executing that." (AP)
SEPANG---Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel
believes he can end Mercedes dominant
run in Formula One by winning today s
Malaysian Grand Prix after qualifying
second yesterday and ending the Silver
Arrows long run of front-row lockouts.
Mercedes had taken the front two grid
spots for the past nine races dating back
to last season, but that ended on a rain-
swept qualifying session at Sepang Inter-
national Circuit as Vettel split the Mercedes
cars and came within seven hundredths
of a second of beating Hamilton to pole.
While Mercedes took pole for the 13th
successive race, Vettel showed it might be
possible to change the script on race day.
Asked if he believes he can win, Vettel
replied: "I think yes we can."
"It will be very tight. It would be nice
to give them (Mercedes) a hard time; it
has been a little too chilled for them for
the last couple of months," Vettel said.
"There is rain in the air and if it hits the
track at the right moment it can be good
for you, but it can also work against you.
Our pace looks decent, but we have to be
realistic, Mercedes have an advantage and
that hasn t just disappeared."
Hamilton will start a firm favorite, as
he has converted his past seven pole posi-
tions into victories and has the best car
beneath him. Saturday s performance
delivered his 40th pole position, becoming
the fourth man to reach that mark after
Michael Schumacher, Ayrton Senna and
Hamilton s first lap in the treacherous
wet conditions blew the field away, as he
was more than a second ahead of Rosberg
and two ahead of Vettel. Though they
made up ground on subsequent laps, it
was not enough to beat that initial time
by the Briton, who took pole despite being
temporarily blocked by Rosberg on his
second flying lap.
"The first lap was quite good," an under-
stated Hamilton said. "It s always difficult
because none of us had driven a lap this
weekend in the wet. The first lap is just
the unknown and you don t want to take
too much risk.
"It is going to be a hard race, being
earlier (than qualifying) it is going to be
hotter and a bit tougher on the tires."
Rosberg made no excuses for his third
place and again being overshadowed by
Hamilton, as he was in the season opener
in Australia, and for the second half of
last season as the Briton claimed the cham-
"I just didn t drive well enough and I m
annoyed by that, third place is not good
enough for tomorrow," Rosberg said. "The
clean side of the grid should definitely
help me get past Sebastian."
A drenching thunderstorm arrived early
in the second sector of qualifying, with
Ferrari s Kimi Raikkonen the main victim
as he was in 11th when the rain came and
did not have an opportunity to improve
as the track was quickly soaked. The final
part of qualifying was delayed for 15 min-
utes while the tropical storm subsided.
Red Bull profited from the rain, with
Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat qualifying
fourth and fifth respectively, which was
better than they could have expected in
dry conditions. (AP)
Serena Williams wins
opening match in Miami
Hamilton on pole, Vettel 2nd in qualifying at Malaysian GP
AGADIR---Romain Wattel of France produced a
late charge yesterday to share the lead with Scot-
tish pair Richie Ramsay and Andrew McArthur
on 7-under par heading into the final round of
the Trophee Hassan II.
McArthur and Wattel shot 5-under 67s while
overnight co-leader Ramsey had to be content
with a 71 after hitting five birdies and four bogeys.
"It was a thrilling back nine," said Wattel, who
picked up four shots in his last four holes. "I was
two under quite quickly then I had a few mistakes
... You have to be patient here and on the good
side every time."
South African George Coetzee (71), who must
win to secure a place at the Masters in less than
two weeks, remains in the mix after a superb back
nine at the Golf du Palais Royal.
Coetzee, who carded five birdies and one bogey
on the back nine, is among seven players lying
just one shot off the leaders, along with former
champion David Horsey. (AP)
MOSCOW---Azerbaijan insists its hosting of the
European Games in June will be safe despite clash-
es over the separatist Nagorno-Karabakh region
last week which left at least three dead.
Azerbaijan and neighbouring Armenia, which
backs the separatists, have remained technically at
war since a conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh in the
late 1980s and early 1990s.
Azerbaijan foreign ministry spokesman Hikmet
Hajiyev said in e-mailed comments that the games
would not be affected by the fighting, and the
region affected is more than 400 kilometers away
and that fighting is confined to the separatist region.
He added that "safety and a peaceful environment
for both the athletes competing in the Games and
for the spectators in attendance will be provided."
The defense ministry of the separatist Nagorno-
Karabakh region said three of its soldiers were killed
and another four were wounded last week while
repelling an Azerbaijani incursion.
It said an unspecified number of Azerbaijani
invaders were killed during the clash, which lasted
about two hours. Azerbaijan s Defense Ministry, in
turn, blamed the Armenian side for the clash and
claimed that 20 Armenian soldiers were killed or
wounded. The conflicting claims couldn t be inde-
pendently verified. (AP)
Trio share lead after 3
rounds at Trophee Hassan II
Azerbaijan insists European
Games safe despite violence
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain waves in front
of Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany after
qualifying for the Malaysian Formula One Grand Prix at
Sepang International Circuit in Sepang, Malaysia,
yesterday. Hamilton took pole position for today's race as
Vettel finished second. AP PHOTO
Serena Williams, of the United States,
returns the ball to Monica Niculescu, of
Romania, during their match at the
Miami Open tennis tournament in Key
Biscayne, Florida, yesterday. Williams
won 6-3, 6-1. AP PHOTO
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