Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 11th 2013 Contents A54
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Friday, October 11, 2013
Rajkot---In his second comeback after
recovering from cancer, a leaner and fit-
ter Yuvraj Singh was called upon to do
a job he has done numerous times for
India in ODIs --- revive a floundering
chase, with MS Dhoni for company, and
only the lower order to follow.
In the end, he delivered, inspiring India
to a six-wicket win over Australia in the
first T20 at Rajkot.
Only, this was a T20 and Yuvraj did
not have the luxury of building his innings
before accelerating. He duly cut out the
building part, and unleashed trademark
pick-up sixes and lofted drives to haul in
the target of 202 with two deliveries
remaining. India were facing an asking-
rate of nearly 12 at 100 for 4 in the 12th
over, but Yuvraj s response was so forceful,
that all Dhoni needed to do was give him
the strike. By the end, the partnership
was 102 at exactly two runs a ball, Yuvraj s
77 off 35 showing his dominance.
Shikhar Dhawan, Suresh Raina and
Virat Kohli had all failed to kick on from
starts and India s innings was in danger
of going Australia s way, who had lost too
many wickets in maintaining a frenetic
pace of scoring, and had run out of steam
at the death.
Aaron Finch seemed set to carry Aus-
tralia way over 200 but his exit in the
17th over for 89 off 52 helped India keep
the visitors to 201, as only 29 came off
the final four. India themselves needed
49 off the final four, but Yuvraj was in
such flow that the big shot was always
Yuvraj first took 18 off Clint McKay in
the 14th over, and then, when the pressure
escalated again, carted James Faulkner for
successive sixes in the 17th. The timing
on the boundaries was vintage Yuvraj, as
was the effortlessness and grace. George
Bailey s preferred field of three men in
the ring around point worked to Yuvraj s
advantage, as did the fact that Australia
bowled too full to him.
Dhoni did his bit, constantly scampering
twos and ones as he does in ODI chases,
and coming up with the crucial boundary,
a typical stretch-and-club to cover, when
it came down to six needed off four.
Yuvraj s cool assault meant Finch s
innings, and Australia s electric start, were
in vain. After being put in, Finch and
debutant Nic Maddinson had kickstarted
the innings with a 56-run partnership
inside five overs. It was the manner in
which the openers attacked the offspin
of R Ashwin that stood out. The high-
ly-rated Maddinson, 21, calmly stepped
out to Ashwin s first delivery and lofted
it cleanly over extra cover for four. Finch
set about cutting and lofting with intent,
and Ashwin s first over cost India 17.
Maddinson made 34 before missing a
slog to be bowled. Vinay Kumar got both
Shane Watson and George Bailey in the
eighth over. Finch, meanwhile, kept bat-
tering boundaries, generating immense
power and finding gaps consistently. He
was swift and brutal on the cut, played
the lofted drive repeatedly and when he
went to cow corner, it was more timing
and placement than slogging.
Glenn Maxwell showed Australia were
in no mood to relent even momentarily,
swinging Ashwin for three sixes in the
tenth over as the score zoomed to 114 for
3 at the halfway stage of the innings. Ash-
win s figures read 2-0-41-0, and Dhoni
was forced to turn to Virat Kohli s medi-
ums for a couple of costly overs.
Australia stalled after Finch clubbed a
high full toss straight to Vinay. The blow
split the webbing on the bowler s left
hand, but did not deter him from sending
down a couple of tight overs.
A last-ball six from Faulkner took the
score past 200, but Yuvraj hunted it down
with the calm of old.
SHANGHAI---Roger Federer s chances of qualifying
for the ATP Tour Finals took a hit yesterday when
he lost in three sets to Gael Monfils at the Shanghai
Masters, the latest early-round loss for the 17-time
Grand Slam champion.
Monfils beat the former No. 1-ranked Federer 6-
4, 6-7 (5), 6-3 in the third round, extending the Swiss
star s recent slide.
Defending champion Novak Djokovic and top-
ranked Rafael Nadal, meanwhile, moved into the quar-
terfinals with straight-set wins.
Djokovic beat Italy s Fabio Fognini 6-3, 6-3, while
Nadal rallied from 5-2 down in the second-set tiebreaker
to down Argentina s Carlos Berlocq 6-1, 7-6 (5).
Two of the tournament s other top seeded players
were ousted: No. 3 David Ferrer lost to Florian Mayer
6-4, 6-3, and No. 4 Tomas Berdych was ousted by
Nicolas Almagro 6-7 (6), 6-3, 7-6 (4).
Federer, who has slipped to No. 7 in the rankings,
was playing for the first time since losing in the fourth
round of the U.S. Open. He was in need of a strong
showing in Shanghai to secure a berth in the elite sea-
son-ending ATP Tour Finals in London --- a tournament
he played every year since 2002.
Federer is currently seventh in the standings, with
only a slight lead over several other players vying to
get into the eight-man field in London. He plans to
play in Basel and Paris in hopes of making it into the
Nov. 4-11 tournament.
Federer fell to a player ranked outside the top 40
for the fourth time in his last six matches. He came
into the match with a 6-1 record against Monfils, who
returned to the tour recently after an injury layoff.
Federer remained upbeat despite the loss --- and his
subsequent defeat in doubles with Chinese partner
Zhang Ze. He said the most important thing was not
to worry about every setback.
As has been his problem in recent months, Federer
struggled to find consistency, hitting 36 unforced
errors, with many coming at critical points in the
match. Still, he looked to have a chance to pull it out
after fighting back from a break down in the second
set.On Monfils serve in the next game, Federer hit an
overhead smash to get a break point and then converted
with a deeply angled crosscourt winner, pumping his
fist as the decidedly pro-Federer crowd roared.
LINZ---Second-seeded Sloane Stephens
defeated Andrea Petkovic of Germany 7-
6 (1), 4-6, 6-3 at the Generali Ladies to
reach her seventh quarterfinal of the sea-
The 12th-ranked American won just
two of the first 14 points and later dropped
5-2 behind, but saved three set points
before taking the opener in a tiebreaker.
"I let out some screams which I normally
don t do," Stephens said about her slow
start. "I am just happy to get through."
Stephens went 3-1 up in the second set
before Petkovic reeled off 10 straight points
to turn it around.
Stephens managed an early break in the
decider and the Australian Open semifi-
nalist closed out the victory on her third
Stephens next plays Stefanie Voegele of
Switzerland, who rallied to defeat Karin
Knapp of Italy 4-6, 6-2, 7-5 to advance
to her first quarterfinals since April.
Earlier, Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia
routed Katarzyna Piter of Poland 6-0, 6-
1 in less than 53 minutes. Piter, playing in
her first main draw of the year, broke the
seventh-seeded Cibulkova in the second
set for her only game.
In her fourth quarterfinal of the season,
one-time finalist Cibulkova will take on
two-time former champion Ana Ivanovic.
Also, Patricia Mayr-Achleitner of Austria
missed two match points at 5-3 in the
second set before defeating Maryna
Zanevska of Ukraine 6-1, 6-7 (1), 6-4 to
set up a quarterfinal against top-seeded
Angelique Kerber or Alexandra Cadantu
VILAMOURA---Alviro Quiros knowhow
of his home course was of little advan-
tage as six others tied the 2008 cham-
pion for the lead after the first round
of the Portugal Masters yesterday.
All seven scored 6-under 65, four of
them finishing their rounds with birdies
on their last holes at Oceanico Victoria
Nine other players shot 66. In all, 68
players, more than half of the field, went
under par in ideal conditions.
Jamie Donaldson of Wales had the lead
at 7 under until he bogeyed the 8th, his
Quiros, 2 over after five holes, shot 29
on the front nine after making the turn,
and the Spaniard birdied his last hole
along with Simon Thornton of Ireland,
Max Kieffer of Germany and Graeme
Storm of England.
Kieffer s bogey-free round included an
eagle on the par-5 12th, his third hole.
Also sharing the lead were Felipe
Aguilar of Chile, who had six birdies on
the back nine, and David Lynn of Eng-
land, who finished his round with two
Defending champion Shane Lowry of
Ireland was at 1 under.
Yuvraj blinder overcomes
Yuvraj Singh hits one down the ground
during his blistering unbeaten 77 yesterday.
India 202 for 4 (Yuvraj 77*) beat
Australia 201 for 7 (Finch 89, Vinay 3-
26) by six wickets
Stephens into quarters in Linz
Seven-way tie for lead in Portugal Masters
by Monfils in
France's Gael Monfils returns a shot during a match
against Switzerland's Roger Federer at the Shanghai
Masters tennis tournament at the Qizhong Forest Sports
City Tennis Center in Shanghai, China, yesterday. Monfils
won 6-4, 6-7, 6-3. AP PHOTO
Links Archive October 10th 2013 October 12th 2013 Navigation Previous Page Next Page