Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 22nd 2015 Contents A49
Saturday, August 22, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
MASON---Novak Djokovic played his best
match. Serena Williams? Well, she needed
to pull a Serena to move on.
Taking two different approaches, the top
seeds at Cincinnati in Ohio reached the semi-
finals yesterday, moving step closer to a title
that s been tough for either of them to win.
Djokovic beat fifth-seeded Stan Wawrinka
6-4, 6-1, knocking off the player who beat
him for the French Open title. Williams fol-
lowed on centre court, struggled with her
serve, and had to "pull a Serena" and rally
from behind to beat Ana Ivanovic 3-6, 6-4,
"It s like when you re down and maybe down
a break in a set and a set, and you pull a Serena
is when you come back and win," she said.
Third-seeded Andy Murray reached the
semifinals by beating Richard Gasquet 4-6,
6-1, 6-4, his second straight three-set match.
Djokovic has never won at Cincinnati, the
only one of the nine ATP Masters events that
has eluded him. He s trying to become the
first to win all nine.
Williams won the tournament for the first
time on her sixth try last year, beating Ivanovic
in the final. She lost in the semifinals at Toronto
last week and is using her week in Cincinnati
as a final tuneup for the US Open, where she ll
try to complete a rare Grand Slam sweep.
This one was ragged.
Williams got only 46 per cent of her first
serves in play and had 36 unforced errors.
After dropping the first set, she fell behind 3-
4 in the second set. At that point, she turned
it around, breaking Ivanovic s serve five times
while pulling away.
"Usually there isn t a point where I m like,
Oh, I m going to do this, but today there def-
initely was," Williams said.
She dominated the last six games, advancing
to a semifinal against 14th-seeded Elina Svi-
tolina. "Against top players, it s not over until
you shake the hand," Ivanovic said. "You have
to fight for each point. Especially Serena---
every time she was down and her back against
the wall, she came up with the best shots."
By contrast, Djokovic needed only 63 minutes
to reach the semifinals, looking fresh through-
out the match. He had only eight unforced
errors to 27 for Wawrinka, who was coming
off a long, three-tiebreaker win yesterday.
Djokovic has been bothered by a sore elbow
that affected his serve. The elbow is better,
and so was Djokovic s serve---85 per cent accu-
racy during the first set.
"It was the best performance I had so far
this week," said Djokovic, who is 18-4 career
against Wawrinka. "Came at the right time,
against one of my biggest rivals and the guy
I lost to last time we played in the finals of
The two hadn t played since the French
Open. At 4-4 in the first set, Djokovic broke
Wawrinka and went on to win the next five
games, taking command.
"I think maybe I m a little bit empty mentally
to stay at my top," Wawrinka said. "I m gen-
erally happy with my tournament. I know
where I am. There s a lot of positives to take
from this week: Winning two tough matches
without playing my best tennis, fighting, staying
Djokovic will play qualifier Alexandr Dol-
gopolov, who upset sixth-seeded Tomas
Berdych 6-4, 6-2. He s the first qualifier to
reach the semifinals in Cincinnati since 1994.
Top-ranked Djokovic, Serena
Williams reach Cincy semis
BARCELONA---The opening team time trial
of the Spanish Vuelta today will not count
toward individual times, after complaints
about safety from cyclists.
Vuelta spokesman Ivan Gomez said yesterday
that, after a meeting with teams and race direc-
tors, cycling s governing body UCI decided the
7.4-kilometre (4.6-mile) stage will only count
for the team classification.
That means all riders will begin tomorrow s
second stage from zero in the general classi-
Gomez said that some riders had expressed
concerns that the course---starting in the south-
ern coastal town of Puerto Banus and ending
in Marbella---"did not have sufficient safety
guarantees" because of a stretch along the sea
that goes through dirt.
Movistar rider Rory Sutherland was one rider
who had complained on social media.
The Australian teammate of hopeful con-
tenders Nairo Quintana and Alejandro Valverde
tweeted photos of patches of dirt and sand
with the message "Is the @UCI cycling serious
that this is acceptable?"
Two of the leading favourites to win the race,
and the one-two finishers from this year s Tour
de France, both criticised the course.
Tour winner Chris Froome said the decision
to not count the team time trial for individuals
was "correct" for putting riders safety first.
Quintana, the Tour s runner-up, was more
scathing in his description of the start to the
three-week Grand Tour.
"It s a little embarrassing," Quintana said.
"This type of route is a lack of respect for the
cyclists. Fortunately, it won t be too bad since
the time won t count. I hope the organisers
learn from the experience. We are the ones
who will provide the show."
The exclusion of the team time trial from
the general classification could help those team
leaders who don t have speedy supporting casts
over short distances. The Vuelta has pro-
grammed eye-catching starts and finishes in
the past, including a start from an aircraft
carrier and an arrival at Pamplona s bull ring.
Vuelta's unsafe first stage won't count for individual times
clocked the fastest time in yesterday s
practice for the Belgian Grand Prix
despite a scary puncture coming into one
of the fastest corners of the circuit.
Rosberg s rear right tire burst as he sped
into the Blanchimont corner in the after-
noon session but he did not crash into
any of the barriers and stopped across the
outside of the track, bringing out the red
Despite the incident, Rosberg was 0.302
seconds faster than Mercedes teammate
Lewis Hamilton. Rosberg also edged
Hamilton in the morning session.
Mercedes chief engineer Paddy Lowe
said the team would investigate what he
called "a very unusual" incident. He said
there seemed to be some structural damage
before the tire exploded.
Rosberg also had engine trouble at the
start of the morning session and then suf-
fered the puncture about 25 minutes before
the end of the afternoon trial.
Rosberg s wife is about to give birth and
the German driver has a plane at standby
to be able to attend.
Hamilton leads Rosberg by 21 points in
the Formula One drivers standing, but
both Mercedes cars underperformed in
the final race before the summer break in
Red Bull s Daniel Ricciardo, who won
the Belgian race last season, was third,
ahead of teammate Daniil Kvyat. The per-
formance signals a definite improvement
for Red Bull, with Kvyat and Ricciardo
finishing second and third, respectively,
Kvyat was surprised by the sunny
weather since Spa is notorious for wet
and cool conditions.
Ferrari s Kimi Raikkonnen, a four-time
winner in Belgium, was fifth, more than
a second behind Rosberg. His teammate
Sebastian Vettel, who won in Hungary
before the break, was a disappointing 10th.
Vettel won in Belgium in 2013.
Pastor Maldonaldo crashed his Lotus
coming out of a turn in the morning ses-
sion and lost his front right wheel but was
Marcus Ericsson crashed hard into the
wall in his Sauber in the afternoon but
still managed to post the eighth fastest
Rosberg s fastest lap on the longest track
(4.35 miles) in the F1 series was 1 minute,
Ricciardo was third---0.751 seconds slow-
er than Rosberg---and Kvyat was more
than a second off the pace.
Rosberg tops Hamilton in Belgian GP practice
CARDIFF---Former New Zealand rugby union inter-
national Mils Muliaina has appeared in a Welsh court
to face accusations of sexually assaulting a woman.
Muliaina has been charged with one count of sexual
assault, which the prosecution claims occurred in cen-
tral Cardiff on March 7.
Muliaina did not enter a plea at the court in Cardiff
yesterday. The case will resume at Cardiff Crown
Court on September 7.
Hours before the alleged incident, Muliaina played
for Irish side Connacht in an away game against Cardiff
Blues. A month later he was shown being led away
by police from a stadium in Gloucester following his
team s European Challenge Cup quarterfinal.
Muliaina won 100 caps for the All Blacks before
retiring from international duty in 2011. (AP)
Ex-NZ rugby player
with sexual assault
Serena Williams returns the ball to Ana Ivanovic, of Serbia, during a quarterfinal match at the
Western & Southern Open tennis tournament, yesterday, in Mason, Ohio. Williams won 3-6, 6-
4, 6-2. AP PHOTO
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