Month: August 2020

  • Nadal roars back to beat Medvedev from brink of defeat

    first_imgLONDON (Reuters) – Rafael Nadal produced an incredible fightback to beat Russian Daniil Medvedev and keep his ATP Finals hopes alive yesterday, saving a match point at 1-5 down in the decider before winning 6-7(3) 6-3 7-6(4). The 33-year-old looked beaten as 23-year-old debutant Medvedev broke serve twice in the decider to stand on the brink of a first career victory over the Spaniard he pushed to five sets in an epic U.S. Open final in September.For once world number one Nadal’s trademark fighting spirit seemed to have ebbed away but he saved a match point at 1-5 with a superb drop shot and was suddenly re-energised.Twice Medvedev served for the match, at 5-2 and 5-4, but he tightened up and world number one Nadal, roared on by the 02 Arena crowd, needed no second invitation to take advantage. Nadal has never won the ATP Finals title, the only gap on a CV that includes 19 Grand Slam titles and Olympic gold.He was beaten by German defending champion Alexander Zverev for the first time on Monday in his opening round-robin match and defeat by Medvedev, who he had also never lost to before, would have left him on the brink of elimination.After an astonishing recovery, however, he will go into his final group game against Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas, another rising force in the sport, with everything to play for as he bids to not only win the title for the first time but also seal the year-end world number one ranking. Nadal had arrived in London with worries about an abdominal injury, but even when not at his sharpest he remains one of the hardest players to finish off on Tour.“Honestly I’ve been super lucky,” he said on court. “For Daniil it’s a tough loss. He was playing much better than me in the third set of course but it was one of these days when you have a one in a thousand chance to win.”The deceptively powerful Medvedev dropped only six points on serve in the opening set and comfortably bagged the tiebreak. His focus dipped at the start of the second though, allowing Nadal a quick break and when the Spaniard broke again to take the set it seemed the momentum was with him.Medvedev played superbly in the deciding set though — until 5-1. A dreadful Nadal backhand slice gave the Russian a first break and when he chased down a drop shot to flick a winner past Nadal on his way to a 4-0 lead he was in total command.From 1-5 down Nadal reeled off five straight games and when Medvedev trailed 0-30 at 5-6 he seemed to be a spent force. Medvedev regained his composure in the nick of time to hold serve with an ace and looked dangerous again in the tiebreak.Medvedev missed an easy forehand at 4-5 to give Nadal two match points and then fractionally missed a backhand to hand the Spaniard one of the most remarkable wins of his career.Meantime, debutant Tsitsipas crushed defending champion Zverev 6-3 6-1 yesterday to book his place in the last four of the ATP Finals with a match to spare.last_img read more

  • Dwayne Bravo makes anticipated return

    first_imgCHENNAI, India, CMC – Veteran all-rounder Dwayne Bravo has finally confirmed his return to international cricket, announcing early yesterday his availability for selection to the shortest format, with the Twenty20 World Cup just 10 months away. The 36-year-old had announced his retirement 15 months ago but had in recent times openly flirted with a return to the game, following the change of administration in Cricket West Indies with Ricky Skerritt replacing the controversial president Dave Cameron.Bravo, still one of the world’s leading T20 franchise cricketers, said that change in CWI leadership had been one of the major reasons for his about-turn.West Indies all-rounder Dwayne Bravo“They understand and listen, they will have dialogues going back and forth, that’s the difference,” the Trinidadian was quoted as saying. “And that’s why it was so easy for me to make a decision to come back and represent West Indies again. I speak to the captain (Kieron Pollard), coach (Phil Simmons), the president, director of cricket (Jimmy Adams) and chairman of selectors (Roger Harper), and I’ve confirmed that I’ll be available for T20I selection.”Skerritt’s election was followed by the recent re-hiring of Simmons and the appointment of Pollard as white-ball captain, as West Indies regrouped following a disastrous 50-overs ICC World Cup campaign last June.Bravo, a former one-day captain, also quit Tests in 2015 after playing 40 games and scoring 2,200 runs at an average of 31 and taking 86 wickets at an average of nearly 40. He continued to play the white-ball formats, however, but has not suited up for the Caribbean side since the ill-fated T20 series against Pakistan in United Arab Emirates four years ago which followed the abrupt firing of Simmons.Bravo said he did not anticipate any problems gelling with the current squad, as he already had a great relationship with the players and the team management.“I’m very close to everyone on this team and I know if I walk in, everyone will be happy,” explained Bravo, a member of every title-winning West Indies side over the last two decades. “But for me, it’s not about me going back to try to be the person. It’s just me going back thankful for another opportunity to represent the team again and also help nurture these young talented players and give them my experience and knowledge. I will try to assist them in whatever way I can.”Bravo’s return has been welcomed by Skerritt, who has made the reintegration of senior players into the international sides, one of the planks of his election campaign.Several senior players had paused their international careers in recent years, apparently in dissatisfaction with the Cameron regime. “Bravo has the performance track record that should never have been lost from the West Indies cricket talent pool,” Skerritt said in a statement Friday.“One of the reasons Dr. Shallow and myself sought the Presidency was to review the team selection policy to become completely inclusive, and to ensure that selection is based strictly on merit and performance readiness. “Bravo’s return reminds us what a negative impact politics and pettiness has had on our cricket. The possibility that Bravo, a former West Indies captain, can again be a fierce and formidable all-rounder in his maroon colors, is a welcomed possibility.”Bravo has represented West Indies in 66 T20 Internationals but has played 450 T20s overall, scoring 6298 runs and grabbing 490 wickets.last_img read more

  • Chess player ‘won’t play for Iran’ due to ban on Israeli players

    first_imgDUBAI, (Reuters) – Iran’s top rated chess champion has decided not to play for his country, Iranian news agencies reported yesterday, in an apparent reaction to Tehran’s informal ban on competing against Israeli players. Alireza Firouzja, the world’s second-highest rated junior player, would be the second Iranian sports figure in recent months to try to renounce his citizenship over pressures on Iranian athletes to forego matches with Israeli competitors.In October, Iran was banned indefinitely from international judo by the sport’s world body until it could guarantee that its athletes would be allowed to face Israelis. The move came after an Iranian judoka said he was pressured to drop out of bouts to avoid facing an Israeli athlete.“Firouzja has made his decision and has told us that he wants to change his nationality,” the president of Iran’s Chess Federation, Mehrdad Pahlavanzadeh, told the semi-official news agency Tasnim. “Firouzja is currently living in France … and may want to play under the French or U.S. flag,” Pahlavanzadeh told the news agency ISNA.Firouzja wanted to take part in an upcoming world championship in Russia even though Iran had decided not to attend, Pahlavanzadeh said, without referring to Israel.Firouzja could not be reached for comment. In April, Iranian media reported that Firouzja had refused to play against an Israeli player in a tournament in Germany.Iranian political and sports officials have openly called on the country’s athletes not to compete against Israelis as a sign of opposition to Iran’s arch-enemy and solidarity with the Palestinians.Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has repeatedly praised athletes who have refused to face opponents from Israel. Since its Islamic Revolution in 1979 Iran has refused to recognise Israel.last_img read more

  • ICC postpones World Cup qualifiers due to coronavirus

    first_imgMUMBAI (Reuters) – The International Cricket Council (ICC) said yesterday that all qualifying events for the 2021 Twenty20 World Cup and 50-overs version in 2023 that were scheduled to be held before June 30 have been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. The flu-like virus has infected more than 470,800 people around the world and killed over 21,200, according to a Reuters tally, since appearing in China at the end of last year.The pandemic has also brought global sport to a standstill and the ICC said in a statement the World Cup qualifiers would also be impacted.“In light of the significant global health concerns at the current time and the restrictions on movement imposed by governments across the world, the ICC has taken the decision to postpone all events up until the end of June subject to further review,” Chris Tetley, ICC head of events, said. “Work will continue on contingency plans and options for both men’s qualification pathways. We will provide updates in due course on these plans and decisions on the staging of the remaining events this year.” India host next year’s T20 World Cup and the 50-overs event in 2023. As many as eight events will now be postponed due to the ICC decision.This year’s women’s T20 World Cup was held in February-March in Australia, which will also host the men’s version starting in October. The World Cup trophy tour for the men’s event, which was scheduled to start next month, was also postponed.last_img read more

  • BetVictor extends partnership with Chelsea-themed game

    first_img BetVictor has been making the most of its association with Premier League Champions Chelsea Football Club by launching a new product featuring the club’s branding,The bookmaker is billing the new game as the world’s first Premier League football club-branded online slot and features some of the reigning champions’ greatest players, while its soundtrack recreates the famous Stamford Bridge atmosphere. The game has been created by Realistic Games.To celebrate its launch, BetVictor are offering players an exclusive £5 bet on Saturday’s clash between Chelsea and Bournemouth when they wager £25 or more on the slot before the 5.30pm kick off.BetVictor spokesperson Paul Louis said: “Our thanks go to Realistic Games and Chelsea FC in enabling us to create an engaging slot that we think our customers will enjoy regardless of whether they’re a Chelsea fan or not. With the success of this project we expect to launch more BetVictor exclusive content during 2016.”Andy Harris, Commercial Director at Realistic Games, said: “We were very excited when BetVictor asked us to create the world’s first Premier League club-branded slot and have been very encouraged by its reception.“Both BetVictor and Chelsea have been great to work with on the project which is a real game changer for branded slot content and we’re very confident that it will be a winner for both of them.”Earlier on this year, bwin created a casino app featuring players from the Manchester United side and more of the sport’s betting and gaming partners are looking to extend their assocaition with co-branded product. Submit Share StumbleUpon Related Articles Premier League looks to broadcast every behind-closed-door fixture August 28, 2020 Share Jason Ader – No Boogeyman… Activism will play a vital part in reshaping gambling August 20, 2020 Spotlight ups matchday commentary reach and capacity for new EPL Season  August 21, 2020last_img read more

  • GamCare launches Gamble Aware Week in Cardiff, Glasgow & Manchester

    first_img Dirk Hansen,Gambling harm and addiction prevention charity GamCare has launched its ‘Gamble Aware Week’ in the UK cities’ of Cardiff, Glasgow and Manchester.Aiming to raise public awareness of problem gambling conditions GamCare will be offering free drop-in information and advice sessions for anyone concerned about gambling.GamCare detailed that the sessions would be ‘friendly and informal’, focusing on giving the public the chance to speak on personal situations in a safe and relaxed atmosphere. Furthermore, the sessions aim to inform the public of national support services available concerning problem gambling.Throughout the week, betting shops across the UK will also be taken over with posters highlighting the message ‘Never bet more than you can afford to lose’, with clear advice:Set a limit and stick to itTake regular breaksSpeak to a member of staff if you need advice.Gamble Aware Week, coordinated by the Association of British Bookmakers, will also include the launch of new mandatory alerts for electronic gaming machines, which appear on screens after someone has spent £150 or played for 20 minutes. This compares to the £250 and 30 minute alerts previously in place.Dirk Hansen, CEO at Gamcare, says: “Gamble Aware Week provides a unique platform to reinforce the issue of responsible gambling in major UK cities, and to raise awareness of the help and support available to anyone concerned about their gambling or that of someone close to them.” Share StumbleUpon GambleAware forms ‘Lived Experience Group’ supporting treatment research July 23, 2020 UKGC launches public awareness campaign on gambling controls, rights and safeguards August 3, 2020 Share Submit Degree 53 expands technical and product development teams   July 22, 2020 Related Articleslast_img read more

  • Breaking news to Baltimore about glories of modern-day Indy & Jim Irsay isn’t easy

    first_imgAs many of you might remember, my dear friend and mentor John Steadman would often channel Babe Ruth and write wacky letters to Baltimore sports fans from The Bambino in heaven. So, on the eve of what would’ve been my father’s 93rd birthday, I’m writing an open letter to Steadman – and my Pop (and maybe even to Charlie Eckman) – to tell them what my eyes have seen in the years since their deaths in regard to the legacy of the Indianapolis Colts. I now realize in many ways I only really saw the Baltimore Colts and their glory through their eyes because other than three years of Bert Jones from 1975-77 when I was a kid, the Colts of Robert Irsay weren’t worth having in Baltimore.The Baltimore Colts packed up the Mayflower vans on March 28, 1984. Twenty-eight years later and about that many trips to Indy over the years have taught me many life lessons about greed, loss, regret, hatred, football, forgiveness, civic responsibility and pride.I spent nine days in Indianapolis last week and I’ll be back there again in 14 days for the NFL Combine. I’ll probably be going to Indianapolis for the rest of my life – or as long as they have the Colts – and I’m finally gaining some appreciation, clarity and personal growth for my adventures in the “friendly heart of The Midwest.”Dear John & Pop:I know you’re going to have a hard time believing this – and you might even think old Nasty Nestor has gone soft – but I have a very hard, long-term and deep-seated admission I’m going to make and you’re probably going to be very disappointed with me.After all of these years, I have to admit that I like Indianapolis.And I like Jim Irsay.And I even like the Mayor of Indy, Greg Ballard, who I introduced to Chuck Pagano on our WNST set last week in Indy.And I have to make the tough, honest admission that the Indianapolis Colts have become one helluva success story for the NFL and for their community in Indiana.I know you might not have liked my “pardon” of all things Irsay and Colts and Indianapolis almost two years ago now, and you’re probably flipping over in your respective graves as you read this but the people of Baltimore almost found out last week what Indiana and “Hoosier Hospitality” is all about.It’s a shame, really, because the people of Baltimore would’ve been there to see firsthand just how far Indianapolis has come in 28 years if Ravens’ WR Lee Evans would’ve just held onto a sure-touchdown pass from this scrappy kid named Joe Flacco up in New England in the AFC Championship Game. Half of the Charm City would’ve been packing up the family for Indiana like Jed Clampett going to Beverly Hills if the Ravens would’ve pulled out that win over the Patriots.And that trip might’ve once-and-for-all “healed the war” between Indy and Baltimore. And it might’ve gotten us what we really want — pictures like THIS taken off the walls of local taverns like Kilroy’s because they are as disrespectful as a Confederate flag is to some men in their symbolism:(And if you’re reading in Indy: Stop selling the Johnny Unitas jerseys in the Circle Center Mall downtown. And stop pushing Raymond Berry’s sorry ass onto the national platform as your own because he’s foolish enough to play along with the charade. This stuff STILL bothers all of us in Baltimore! A lot…Do that, and perhaps, all will be totally forgiven.)But as much as it is hard for anyone from Baltimore to admit it — but time and facts have proven it all true — you have to give Jim Irsay some immense and serious credit. He inherited one of the most screwed up situations this side of Peter Angelos and his boys when he woke up as a 28-year old general manager in India-No-Placelast_img read more

  • Ravens free agents Grubbs, Redding taking visits elsewhere

    first_imgTwo Ravens free agents have already scheduled visits with other teams after failing to come to terms on new contracts prior to hitting the open market on Tuesday afternoon.Pro Bowl left guard Ben Grubbs has scheduled a Wednesday visit with the New Orleans Saints, according to multiple reports. With Saints guard Carl Nicks the top interior lineman on the open market and rumored to be heading to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Grubbs would be a suitable — and more affordable — replacement on the New Orleans offensive line.Veteran defensive end Cory Redding was on his way to visit Chuck Pagano and the Indianapolis Colts on Tuesday evening, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter. With Pagano targeting free agents from the defense he worked with as the Baltimore defensive coordinator in 2011, Redding would provide strong veteran leadership as well as a more affordable price than linebacker Jarret Johnson, who has also been rumored as a potential target for Indianapolis.last_img read more

  • Ovechkin Unable to Carry Caps Past 1st Round

    first_imgIt’s no secret the Washington Capitals go as Alexander Ovechkin goes. The Gr8 carried the Caps on his back over the second half of a short lockout season to help them make the postseason, but the New York Rangers were able to shut him down in the playoffs, holding him to just a goal and an assist in seven games.As a result, the Caps lost four of the last five games of the series, including a 5-0 whitewashing on home ice in the series finale, and their season is over. Afterwards, Ovechkin told Slava Malamud of Soviet Express that he wasn’t close to 100%, which was no surprise to several of us who cover the team throughout the year. Apparently the injury occurred before the playoffs and it was made known to me that the Gr8 played through injuries much of the season. But that is hockey and injuries are no excuse for losing the series. Neither are the referees, as bad as they were in some of the games.Where did the Caps fail to win this series? Well it started in game three when they put three pucks past Henrik Lundqvist, but due to penalty trouble and mostly shoddy defensive zone play, they lost 4-3. In game four, they played poorly in their own end again and it cost them despite getting three more goals on King Henrik.After that, the Swedish goalie was extremely difficult to beat giving up two goals in game five in a Rangers overtime loss and then none over the last 120 minutes of the series. Lundqvist, who was playing so well that the Caps went into overpass mode, and the Capitals defensive miscues did Washington in.The Caps won the faceoff battle in game seven, like they needed to, 38-26, and they outshot the Rangers pretty handidly (35-27 in shots on net and 79-47 in shot attempts). They even got off to a good start with coach Adam Oates calling it the best the team had in five games. But they failed to get a puck by Lundqvist and when Mike Green got caught in the offensive zone trying to score, the Rangers broke back 4 on 3. Jack Hillen then made a defensive mistake by going down to block fourth liner Aaron Asham’s shot and as a result, Braden Holtby didn’t get a good look at the slapper and it went in the net. That gave the Rangers momentum and when they pumped in two goals early in the second frame as a result of point shots that bounced around, it was all over. Holtby lost his confidence and you could see the wind come out of Washington’s sails.It was another tough end to a Capitals season and they drop to 2-7 on home ice in game seven’s and 3-9 overall in the final game of best of seven series’.This one stings but given where the team started, at 2-8-1, it is pretty amazing they made it this far. Ovechkin, Green, and Holtby, for the most part, carried this club to the postseason and a series lead, but they didn’t have enough to get over the hump. The Rangers played better defense and had excellent goaltending and that’s why they won.Once again Caps fans will ponder the what ifs and in a couple of days we’ll be talking about next season, which will be here before we know it.But being a Caps fan seems to always end with heartbreak in the spring and this year is no different.Still, it could be worse on this night, you could be a Leafs fan.Notes: Ovechkin told Malamud that he did what was needed to play from a medical standpoint…Green took the loss especially hard and had a tough time talking with the media but kudos to him and just about every other player for not dodging the loss and answering the difficult questions…after the series ending handshake the Capitals players, at centre ice, saluted the remaining fans thanking them for their support this season.last_img read more

  • Twelve Orioles thoughts following 2-1 loss to Toronto

    first_imgWith the Orioles falling 2-1 on a walk-off home run from Kendrys Morales on Saturday, I’ve offered a dozen thoughts, each in 50 words or less:1. You won’t find a worse breaking ball than the one Tyler Wilson threw to Morales. Since Brad Brach warmed up in the top half of the inning, I was surprised to see Wilson still out there, but Brach was only available to close, according to Buck Showalter.2. Marco Estrada labored early for the Blue Jays, but the starter gave the Orioles lineup fits with his changeup over seven shutout innings. Baltimore consistently has problems against pitchers who are more about finesse and changing speeds than velocity.3. You never want to lose, but the performance of Alec Asher in his Orioles debut was an encouraging development for the big picture. Showalter couldn’t have asked for more from the former Philadelphia hurler, who was only acquired late in spring training.4. Asher threw an impressive breaking ball to get some big outs when he needed them. He’s not going to overpower you with the two-seam fastball, so he needs his secondary stuff in order to compete.5. The right-hander left a few too many fastballs up in the zone early as he benefited from some good defense behind him. The transition from the four-seam fastball to the two-seamer last year has paid dividends, but Asher clearly wants to live lower in the zone moving forward.6. Asher certainly earned another opportunity as the fifth starter, but it’s fair to wonder how much of his success was the result of a Toronto offense that’s been woeful so far in 2017.7. The Orioles certainly wasted early chances against Estrada, leaving five runners on over the first three innings. They went 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position on Saturday.8. Jonathan Schoop missed a golden opportunity to double off Jose Bautista with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning. I’m still not sure what happened there as Darwin Barney then picked up the go-ahead RBI single off Donnie Hart two pitches later.9. Adam Jones made a strong throw to the plate on Barney’s run-scoring hit to almost nail Bautista, but the one-bounce throw skipped away from Welington Castillo. The Orioles likely would have gotten a cleaner hop if that game were being played on grass instead of turf.10. Craig Gentry showed in the ninth why the Orioles like him, stealing second and tagging up on a fly ball to go to third before scoring on Schoop’s game-tying sacrifice fly. His speed is an asset if he can hit a little bit, but that’s a big question right now.11. You could tell by Mark Trumbo’s reaction that he missed a very hittable pitch from Estrada as he flied out to end the top of the third with two runners on. He was 0-for-4 and doesn’t have an extra-base hit since his walk-off homer and double on Opening Day.12. Seeing all uniformed personnel wearing No. 42 on Jackie Robinson Day has become one of my favorite traditions in recent years. The importance of this man to both baseball and America needs to be celebrated and remembered.last_img read more