Tag Archives: hander

Lee Westwood paired with Vijay Singh at AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-am

Westwood paired with Singh in Pebble Beach… should former world No 1 play

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Harrington came joint seventh in the
individual event and is back now to try to improve on that in a line-up
headed by defending champion and last week’s winner Phil Mickelson.

The left-hander almost broke 60 last
Thursday, but he has fond memories too of the closing 64 last year
because it came as playing partner Tiger Woods was taking 75.

Woods, who won at Torrey Pines a fortnight ago, is not back to attempt revenge.

Harrington plays the opening round at
Spyglass Hill – three courses are used – with Spaniard Rafael Cabrera
Bello, another to make the long journey from Dubai, while Mickelson,
seeking a record-equalling fifth victory in the tournament, is at
Monterey Peninsular with fellow Australian Rod Pampling.

Michael Owen facing FA rap for throwing punch at Mikel Arteta

Saint Michael's halo slips with Owen facing FA rap for throwing punch at Arteta

By
Ian Ridley

PUBLISHED:

22:09 GMT, 2 February 2013

|

UPDATED:

09:36 GMT, 3 February 2013

Michael Owen could face a retrospective disciplinary charge from the FA after attempting to throw a punch at Arsenal's Mikel Arteta in Stoke City's 1-0 defeat at the Emirates.

The former England striker, who had been brought on as a late substitute, reacted fiercely to a strong tackle from the Spaniard and aimed a right-hander – missed by referee Chris Foy – that connected only weakly with Arteta's shoulder.

Flashpoint: Michael Owen loses his cool as he clashes with Arsenal's Jack Wilshere after a heavy tackle by Gunners' Mikel Arteta

Flashpoint: Michael Owen loses his cool
as he clashes with Arsenal's Jack Wilshere after a heavy tackle by Gunners' Mikel Arteta

Flashpoint: Michael Owen loses his cool as he clashes with Arsenal's Jack Wilshere after a heavy tackle by Gunners' Mikel Arteta

Flashpoint: Michael Owen loses his cool
as he clashes with Arsenal's Jack Wilshere after a heavy tackle by Gunners' Mikel Arteta

Owen then squared up to Jack Wilshere, who had rushed to the scene and the two players became embroiled in a pushing match.

The incident came amid a bad-tempered end to a match, in which Stoke contested Lukas Podolski's winner, between two clubs with a history of confrontation dating back to an incident when Aaron Ramsey broke a leg in a challenge from Ryan Shawcross three years ago.

Shawcross was again in trouble, receiving a yellow card that some will argue should have been red, as he slid into a challenge against Laurent Koscielny with studs up.

'I thought the Arteta challenge was a poor one but Michael shouldn't do that,' said Stoke manager Tony Pulis.

'That should be left to the referee.' Asked whether he expected Owen to be charged retrospectively, Pulis added: 'Let's see what they say. But I think it should have been a free-kick for us.

'If Michael has done what he has done and they look at it, they will deal with it.'

Pain game: This was the rash challenge that sparked the flashpoint

Stoking the flames: This was the rash challenge that sparked the flashpoint

Michael Owen and Arteta

Pulis was also aggrieved when Glenn Whelan was booked for a tackle that Stoke felt was not a free-kick and that Shawcross had needed four stitches in a leg wound after the challenge with Koscielny.

Jon Walters also required six stitches in a head wound after a clash of heads with Arsenal's 8million debutant Nacho Monreal. 'Glenn's was never a booking and when that went against us like that, it irritates you,' said Pulis. Arsene Wenger, meanwhile, felt that Shawcross should have been sent off.

'It looked it to me [to be a sending off] but I will have to look at it again,' said the Arsenal manager. 'I am maybe not completely objective with Ryan Shawcross, that is why I am cautious with my statement.'

Wenger had, however, not seen the Owen punch and so could not comment.

Australian Open 2013: Laura Robson into second round

Robson beats American Oudin to deliver first win and join Watson in round two

By
Mike Dickson

PUBLISHED:

05:33 GMT, 15 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

06:16 GMT, 15 January 2013

Laura Robson spent the first year of her life in this charming city and, just short of her 19th birthday, she has now won a grand slam match there.

The British No 2 convincingly overcame America’s Melanie Oudin 6-2 6-3 after 75 minutes of highly efficient combat, played out in warm conditions to reach the second round of the Australian Open, where she will join Heather Watson.

Robson now has the tough task of facing former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, a left hander to whom she is not entirely dissimilar in their natural ball-striking abilities. The Czech will not hugely relish the task, given what her younger opponent did to some illustrious names in the US Open.

Double trouble: Laura Robson joined Heather Watson in the second round of the Australian Open

Double trouble: Laura Robson joined Heather Watson in the second round of the Australian Open

Double trouble: Laura Robson joined Heather Watson in the second round of the Australian Open

There was also evidence in this first round match that the hard work Robson has put in during a long training stint in Florida before Christmas with Croatian coach Zeljko Krajan has already paid a dividend.

She looked in good shape, is gradually moving better and there seems to be some extra ‘pop’ on her groundstrokes and, especially, her serve. That yielded eleven aces on a medium paced hard court and readily got her out of trouble on the few occasions she was threatened.

Oudin is a cautionary tale, a rising star at 17 who reached the US Open quarter finals and Wimbledon fourth round but has subsequently struggled to handle the pressures thrust upon her in a country anxiously looking for successors to the Williams sisters.

Blue skies: Robson impressed the healthy crowd in attendance in Melbourne

Blue skies: Robson impressed the healthy crowd in attendance in Melbourne

Robson’s rise has been more gradual due mainly to growth-related injuries, and that may not be a bad thing. Having lost here in the first round a year ago she should now move back into the top 50 having slipped this week to 53, and she looks worth that position.

Supported by a decent British contingent in the crowd Robson, who arrived in the UK aged six via a long stint in Singapore, was even treated to a version of the national anthem as she pulled ahead in the first set.

Oudin, ranked 30 places below her, was behind from the start as the Wimbledon-based southpaw repeatedly tucked into her serve and forced her onto the backfoot. When Robson came to serve she was hardly threatened, regularly able to crunch away a winner from a short return as the American struggled to cope with the swing, spin and speed of her left-handed delivery.

Eyes on the prize: Robson will now take on former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova in the second round

Eyes on the prize: Robson will now take on former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova in the second round

The British No 2 was up around the 110 mph mark on plenty of occasions and the diminutive Oudin was left flailing around in despair, not helped by her misfiring forehand in the case of rallies getting started. Such was the accuracy of Robson’s drives into the corners that most of the time she was not in a comfortable postion to play the shot.

Robson got ahead for 3-2 in the second but then played her worst service game to get broken for the only time. She broke again immediately afterwards and this time had no problem consolidating, clinching a second match point when Oudin sent another forehand wide and long.

After losing to her near contemporary Sloane Stephens in the first round of the Hobart WTA event last week this was just what was needed, and she now has very little to lose against Kvitova in what could be steaming hot conditions.

Michael van Gerwen beats James Wade to book place in World Darts final

Mighty Mike hits maximum on the way to booking final place after seeing off Wade

PUBLISHED:

22:36 GMT, 30 December 2012

|

UPDATED:

22:36 GMT, 30 December 2012

Michael van Gerwen tonight reached the Ladbrokes World Championship final and went agonisingly close to historic back-to-back nine-dart finishes in his semi-final win over James Wade.

Van Gerwen was leading three sets to one but trailing 2-0 in the fifth set when he produced a perfect leg, matching the achievement of Dean Winstanley earlier in the tournament.

The Dutchman hit a maximum 180, 177 and then finished 144 on double 12 to send the Alexandra Palace crowd wild.

Cloud nine: Michael van Gerwen hit a perfect nine dart finish on the way to booking his place in the final

Cloud nine: Michael van Gerwen hit a perfect nine dart finish on the way to booking his place in the final

And the fans were still on their feet moments later when the speedy right-hander hit two more maximums to start the next leg and narrowly missed double 12 for a checkout on 141.

Remarkably, Van Gerwen did not even win the set, with Englishman Wade holding his nerve to win the fifth leg and reduce his deficit.

The left-hander won the next set as well to make it 3-3, but Van Gerwen regained his composure to open up a 5-3 lead and looked set to seal the win when he needed 52 to win the ninth set.

In top form: Van Gerwen has looked at his very best in the World Championships

In top form: Van Gerwen has looked at his very best in the World Championships

However, he hit single five instead of 12 and ended up missing his only dart at double 20, allowing Wade in to make it 5-4.

Wade was unable to take further advantage though, Van Gerwen racing through the next set 3-0 to complete a hard-fought 6-4 victory.

On the money: Van Gerwen celebrates his perfect leg

On the money: Van Gerwen celebrates his perfect leg

'It was unbelievable,' Van Gerwen said. 'It was a very difficult game for me because Wade is a very slow player and I had not beaten him on TV, but it was a nice one to win.”

Asked about attempting to hit his second nine-dart finish, Van Gerwen added on Sky Sports 1: 'I was very concentrated, thinking 'Just carry on' because I was 2-1 down in the set and I still lost it, but it's not about nine-dart finishes, it's about winning games.

'It's nice to be in the final of the World Championships.'

Beaten man: James Wade looks dejected after losing the semi final

Beaten man: James Wade looks dejected after losing the semi final

Manny Pacquiao says Juan Manuel Marquez deserved to win at MGM Grand

Pacquiao: Marquez deserved to beat me… but I'm not quite finished yet

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UPDATED:

13:40 GMT, 9 December 2012

Manny Pacquiao admitted Juan Manuel Marquez deserved his victory in the pair's fourth fight, at the MGM Grand in the early hours of Sunday morning.

With Pacquiao leading 47-46 on all three scorecards, he was caught by a shuddering right hand from his Mexican opponent at the end of the sixth round which left him on the canvas for the second time and earned Marquez a knockout win.

Floored: Pacquiao lays motionless on the canvas as Marquez celebrates the knockout

Floored: Pacquiao lays motionless on the canvas as Marquez celebrates the knockout

Floored: Pacquiao lays motionless on the canvas as Marquez celebrates the knockout

Floored: Pacquiao lays motionless on the canvas as Marquez celebrates the knockout

Pacquiao issued a statement to his fans following the fight, which read: 'I want to congratulate Juan Manuel. I have no excuses. It was a good fight and he deserved the victory. I think boxing fans who watched us were winners too.

'To all my fans, I would like to thank you for your prayers and assure you that I am fine. I am looking forward to a nice rest and then I will be back to fight.'

Pacquiao received medical treatment following the bout, but his advisor Michael Koncz said afterwards: 'Manny was given a CT scan and the results were negative. We were in and out in just over an hour and Manny was in excellent spirits.'

No complaints: The pair embrace after the bout

No complaints: The pair embrace after the bout

The win may bring 39-year-old Marquez no titles, but for the Mexican it ended years of frustration as he vanquished his rival at the fourth attempt.

Their previous three encounters have not been short of controversy with decisions disputed – two Pacquiao wins and a draw – but there was no doubt about this one.

After two cagey rounds, it was Marquez who landed the first telling blow in the third.

A big right-hander sent Pacquiao to the floor and, though he bounced straight back up again, it was clear the Filipino was rattled.

Stunned: Fans watch on in the Philippines as Pacquiao is beaten

Stunned: Fans watch on in the Philippines as Pacquiao is beaten

A high-octane and even fourth followed, but in the fifth it was Pacquiao who stepped up a gear, landing a big left jab on Marquez, who touched the canvas with his glove.

With Marquez cut and hurting, the 33-year-old scented blood and pressed forward in the sixth.

But in his haste to finish off Marquez he left himself open and the Mexican produced a thundering counter-punch which left Pacquiao face down on the canvas.

On top: Pacquiao had been leading on points before the knockout blow

On top: Pacquiao had been leading on points before the knockout blow

Marquez told the Guardian: 'I never thought he was going to beat me, even though I feared the knockout when he came at me in those final three rounds.

'I was coming on strong, though. When he dropped me, he caught me good, but I was thinking I was going to push hard in the later rounds.

All smiles: Marquez was delighted with the win

All smiles: Marquez was delighted with the win

All smiles: Marquez was delighted with the win

'I fought on the inside sometimes but with a lot of intelligence. This was one of my best victories.

'I did it for me and I did it for Mexico. It would make me so happy to be there now, celebrating with my countrymen in Mexico City, but I will get there soon.'

Nasser Hussain: Alastair Cook did not impress me when I first saw him

Fletch told me 'This lad will be a great…' I just couldn't see it!

|

UPDATED:

05:50 GMT, 7 December 2012

The first time I saw Alastair Cook was
during one of my many spells when I was struggling to score runs as
England captain. I wanted to clear my head, get back to basics, so I
asked my former coach Keith Fletcher if I could play for Essex seconds.

I turned up at Colchester and was
quickly dismissed so I went for a walk round the boundary edge with
Fletch, the wise old ‘Gnome’, to ask him what I could do to get my game
right. Suddenly Keith stopped, pointed to the middle and said: ‘That lad
is going to be one of the greats.’

I couldn’t see it to be honest. All I
saw was a left-hander whose head fell over when he played his shots and
was full of nudges and nurdles. His name was Alastair Cook and
he scored his 23rd Test hundred, more than any other Englishman. At the
time I just said to Keith: ‘That’s all very well, Fletch, but I’m
worried about my game here, not him!’

Eye on the ball: Alastair Cook takes a catch at the launch of the Under 15 World Cup at Lord's in 2000

Eye on the ball: Alastair Cook takes a catch at the launch of the Under 15 World Cup at Lord's in 2000

That reminded me of the time a
young off-spinning opponent of ours walked into the England dressing
room after taking a few wickets for KwaZulu Natal in a tour match in
Durban and plonked himself down next to me, asking if I knew of any
English teams he could play for.

More from Nasser Hussain…

Nasser Hussain: Sachin just cannot work paceman out as Anderson gets the better of him again
05/12/12

Nasser Hussain: Warne's Ashes return is an exciting prospect, but Aussies must move on
04/12/12

Nasser Hussain: I'd rest Stuart against India, but he will be back for Ashes
03/12/12

Nasser Hussain: Ricky Ponting was a streetfighter, a panto villain… and a true great
29/11/12

Nasser Hussain: Triumph is thanks to fantastic four… but it's time to have a word with out-of-sorts Broad
26/11/12

Nasser Hussain: 'Public enemy No 1' Pietersen is a genius and he is worth a bit of hassle
25/11/12

Nasser Hussain: England captain Cook comes nicely to the boil in Mumbai
23/11/12

Nasser Hussain: Captain Cook must think on his feet now that the pressure is on
21/11/12

VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

I
thought he meant club cricket and almost gave him my brother’s number
and told him to try Fives and Heronians but it turned out he had bigger
ambitions than that. His name was Kevin Pietersen and in the second Test
he scored his 22nd Test hundred for England. All of which goes to show
how much I know about spotting a good young player.

Fast
forward a few months after my first meeting with Cook and I bumped into
him again when I went to the indoor school in Chelmsford for a bit of
practice —yes, you’ve guessed it, I was searching for form as England
captain.

When I got there, Cook, who had just
been named England Under 19 skipper, was with a local TV crew, I think
they might have been from Look East.

The
interviewer saw me and asked if the England captain might like to say a
few words about this young star from my county. I looked at Cook, back
at the interviewer and said, ‘Not now, son’, before going off to the
bowling machine.

Cook still
reminds me of that one every time I speak to him. There are plenty of
words to say about him now. He was brilliant here, brilliant in
scoring his record hundred, brilliant in reaching 7,000 Test runs
younger than anyone in history and brilliant in scoring his fifth
century in five Tests as captain.

Truly, this innings has to be right up there with his best. It is as good if not better than all those hundreds he made in Australia and the 294 he scored against India at Edgbaston. It was special because Cook was so fluent.

Ever since Cook scored that potentially career-saving hundred against Pakistan at The Oval in 2010, he has been an absolute run machine. And what really impresses me is that he has worked so hard on improving the areas of his game that, a couple of years ago, weren’t his best. He has never said: ‘This is how I play, it works for me.’ He has kept his strengths and improved his weaknesses.

Special innings: Cook answered his critics at The Oval with a gutsy 110

Special innings: Cook answered his critics at The Oval with a gutsy 110

Not too long ago Cook relied heavily on his cut, pull and nudge off his hips. But now he is playing far more shots down the ground and is sweeping much more effectively. He may not have the flair of Pietersen or the shot selection of Graham Gooch, but he is becoming almost a complete batsman.

Cook keeps himself so well grounded. A lot of players might have been tempted to be a bit flashy after scoring hundreds in the last two Tests but he plays every innings with the same application as the last and at the same tempo. And how mentally strong must he be to score each of those hundreds after he has lost the toss and spent all that time in the field as a young and inexperienced captain

It’s good, too, that he has interests outside the game, in particular the family farm. /12/06/article-0-14214923000005DC-331_634x414.jpg” width=”634″ height=”414″ alt=”Hot on his heels: Kevin Pietersen (right) will be keen to match Cook's milestone” class=”blkBorder” />

Hot on his heels: Kevin Pietersen (right) will be keen to match Cook's milestone

I’m sure Cook’s team-mates will be inspired by him. Pietersen will want to quickly catch him up after falling one Test century behind him and Jonathan Trott will have been prodded after a relatively lean spell of his own. What will please Cook most of all is that his hundred has put his team in a potentially decisive position in this third Test and the series.

India were not very good on the second day, even though I cannot fault the effort of their four bowlers. They were flat and looked an old side in the field. If England can run them ragged they really will be on the verge of something special.

Nasser Hussain: Fletch told me "This lad will be a great…" I just couldn"t see it!

Nasser Hussain: Fletch told me 'This lad will be a great…' I just couldn't see it!

|

UPDATED:

21:08 GMT, 6 December 2012

The first time I saw Alastair Cook was
during one of my many spells when I was struggling to score runs as
England captain. I wanted to clear my head, get back to basics, so I
asked my former coach Keith Fletcher if I could play for Essex seconds.

I turned up at Colchester and was
quickly dismissed so I went for a walk round the boundary edge with
Fletch, the wise old ‘Gnome’, to ask him what I could do to get my game
right. Suddenly Keith stopped, pointed to the middle and said: ‘That lad
is going to be one of the greats.’

I couldn’t see it to be honest. All I
saw was a left-hander whose head fell over when he played his shots and
was full of nudges and nurdles. His name was Alastair Cook and
he scored his 23rd Test hundred, more than any other Englishman. At the
time I just said to Keith: ‘That’s all very well, Fletch, but I’m
worried about my game here, not him!’

Eye on the ball: Alastair Cook takes a catch at the launch of the Under 15 World Cup at Lord's in 2000

Eye on the ball: Alastair Cook takes a catch at the launch of the Under 15 World Cup at Lord's in 2000

That reminded me of the time a
young off-spinning opponent of ours walked into the England dressing
room after taking a few wickets for KwaZulu Natal in a tour match in
Durban and plonked himself down next to me, asking if I knew of any
English teams he could play for.

More from Nasser Hussain…

Nasser Hussain: Sachin just cannot work paceman out as Anderson gets the better of him again
05/12/12

Nasser Hussain: Warne's Ashes return is an exciting prospect, but Aussies must move on
04/12/12

Nasser Hussain: I'd rest Stuart against India, but he will be back for Ashes
03/12/12

Nasser Hussain: Ricky Ponting was a streetfighter, a panto villain… and a true great
29/11/12

Nasser Hussain: Triumph is thanks to fantastic four… but it's time to have a word with out-of-sorts Broad
26/11/12

Nasser Hussain: 'Public enemy No 1' Pietersen is a genius and he is worth a bit of hassle
25/11/12

Nasser Hussain: England captain Cook comes nicely to the boil in Mumbai
23/11/12

Nasser Hussain: Captain Cook must think on his feet now that the pressure is on
21/11/12

VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

I
thought he meant club cricket and almost gave him my brother’s number
and told him to try Fives and Heronians but it turned out he had bigger
ambitions than that. His name was Kevin Pietersen and in the second Test
he scored his 22nd Test hundred for England. All of which goes to show
how much I know about spotting a good young player.

Fast
forward a few months after my first meeting with Cook and I bumped into
him again when I went to the indoor school in Chelmsford for a bit of
practice —yes, you’ve guessed it, I was searching for form as England
captain.

When I got there, Cook, who had just
been named England Under 19 skipper, was with a local TV crew, I think
they might have been from Look East.

The
interviewer saw me and asked if the England captain might like to say a
few words about this young star from my county. I looked at Cook, back
at the interviewer and said, ‘Not now, son’, before going off to the
bowling machine.

Cook still
reminds me of that one every time I speak to him. There are plenty of
words to say about him now. He was brilliant here, brilliant in
scoring his record hundred, brilliant in reaching 7,000 Test runs
younger than anyone in history and brilliant in scoring his fifth
century in five Tests as captain.

Truly, this innings has to be right up there with his best. It is as good if not better than all those hundreds he made in Australia and the 294 he scored against India at Edgbaston. It was special because Cook was so fluent.

Ever since Cook scored that potentially career-saving hundred against Pakistan at The Oval in 2010, he has been an absolute run machine. And what really impresses me is that he has worked so hard on improving the areas of his game that, a couple of years ago, weren’t his best. He has never said: ‘This is how I play, it works for me.’ He has kept his strengths and improved his weaknesses.

Special innings: Cook answered his critics at The Oval with a gutsy 110

Special innings: Cook answered his critics at The Oval with a gutsy 110

Not too long ago Cook relied heavily on his cut, pull and nudge off his hips. But now he is playing far more shots down the ground and is sweeping much more effectively. He may not have the flair of Pietersen or the shot selection of Graham Gooch, but he is becoming almost a complete batsman.

Cook keeps himself so well grounded. A lot of players might have been tempted to be a bit flashy after scoring hundreds in the last two Tests but he plays every innings with the same application as the last and at the same tempo. And how mentally strong must he be to score each of those hundreds after he has lost the toss and spent all that time in the field as a young and inexperienced captain

It’s good, too, that he has interests outside the game, in particular the family farm. /12/06/article-0-14214923000005DC-331_634x414.jpg” width=”634″ height=”414″ alt=”Hot on his heels: Kevin Pietersen (right) will be keen to match Cook's milestone” class=”blkBorder” />

Hot on his heels: Kevin Pietersen (right) will be keen to match Cook's milestone

I’m sure Cook’s team-mates will be inspired by him. Pietersen will want to quickly catch him up after falling one Test century behind him and Jonathan Trott will have been prodded after a relatively lean spell of his own. What will please Cook most of all is that his hundred has put his team in a potentially decisive position in this third Test and the series.

India were not very good on the second day, even though I cannot fault the effort of their four bowlers. They were flat and looked an old side in the field. If England can run them ragged they really will be on the verge of something special.

Judd Trump beats Neil Robertson to claim International Championship crown

Trump beats Robertson to claim International Championship title

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UPDATED:

22:50 GMT, 4 November 2012

Judd Trump became the first winner of the International Championship, beating Neil Robertson 10-8 in the final in Chengdu.

The 22-year-old Bristolian became
world No 1 with his semi-final hammering of Peter Ebdon and on Sunday added
the 125,000 first prize.

Champion: England's Judd Trump

Champion: England's Judd Trump

A tight match seemed to have swung Robertson's way when he led 8-6 but his rival left-hander found another gear, breaks of 96 and 119 helping him turn the contest around.

The first four frames were split before Robertson returned from the first interval to open up a 4-2 lead, with breaks of 51 and 41 in frame four.

Trump took two contrasting frames to level – the first at one visit after a stunning opening red, the second a messy affair – but Robertson took the last of the afternoon session with a 50 break to lead 5-4.

The evening began with a re-rack and then a cagey start to frame 10, but Trump took it with a run of 57 to level the match once more.

He nudged ahead but Robertson responded with breaks of 68 and 88, and a 73 after the interval took the Australian 8-6 ahead.

Trump looked to be in trouble when he hammered the black off the table having gone 22 ahead in the vital 15th frame, but responded to close to within one.

And the world number one proved his mettle, going close to a century in the next and then making 119 to go ahead at the perfect time with just one frame needed for the title.

He opened up in the next with a swerve to pot a long red and then split the pack well, but could only make 39. Robertson failed to respond, though, and another superb opening red and pink set Trump on the way to victory.

It was Trump's third ranking title, having won the China Open and the UK Championship last year, while for Robertson it was only a second defeat in 12 ranking finals.

Paris Masters: David Ferrer beats Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to reach semis

Ferrer confidently strides past Tsonga to reach Paris Masters semis

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UPDATED:

23:52 GMT, 2 November 2012


Power play: David Ferrer was excellent

Power play: David Ferrer was excellent

Fourth seed David Ferrer marched into the semi-finals of the
Paris Masters with a comprehensive straight sets victory over Jo-Wilfried
Tsonga.

The home favourite, a finalist here last year and champion
in 2008, had no answer to the on-song Spaniard's unerring accuracy and crashed
out 6-2 7-5 in 80 minutes.

Sixth seed Tsonga gamely fought off two break points in his
second service game but could not stop the Spanish juggernaut from taking the
next four games.

The decisive break in the second set came in the 12th game
when Ferrer, seeking back-to-back titles after triumphing in Valencia last
week, wrapped up the win with his only match point after Tsonga miscued a
forehand wide.

Tsonga may have the opportunity to gain revenge with both
players qualifying for next week's ATP World Tour Finals while Ferrer, the
highest seed left in the draw, will face Michael Llodra for a place in the
showpiece event.

Llodra is the only Frenchman left in the draw after he
battled past Sam Querrey 7-6 (7/4) 6-3.

The left-hander knocked out Juan Martin Del Potro on Friday and is yet to drop serve in his four matches this week.

Andy Murray's conqueror Jerzy Janowicz continued his
spectacular run by ousting eighth seed Janko Tipsarevic to become the first
Polish player to reach a Masters semi-final.

Qualifier Janowicz was leading 3-6 6-1 4-1 before his
Serbian opponent withdrew citing illness – perhaps not wanting to worsen his
condition with the World Tour Finals in mind.

Taken apart: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga was not on top form

Taken apart: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga was not on top form

Nearly there: Ferrer has reached the semis

Nearly there: Ferrer has reached the semis

Tomas Berdych can also start focusing on his preparations
for London after he suffered an upset 6-4 6-4 defeat by France's Gilles Simon.

The Czech fifth seed opened up a 3-0 lead in the second set
but Simon stormed back to take six of the next seven games and claim his fifth
win over Berdych from seven meetings.

What England need to do to beat West Indies: Nasser Hussain

England expects: How to get on top of West Indies

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UPDATED:

21:44 GMT, 26 September 2012

Blow out Gayle early

West Indies opener Chris Gayle is a match-winner who could take the game away by smashing the bowlers as no-one else really can. England may remember how Steven Finn got him out pulling a short ball to deep fine leg when these teams met in the Twenty20 at Trent Bridge last summer and open with his pace, and use Graeme Swann’s off-spin at the other end. It can’t be easy pulling Finn with that big heavy bat that Gayle uses and Swann could bring slip and lbw into play because Gayle likes to have a look for an over before he goes on the attack.

Master blaster: Chris Gayle is a very destructive batsman

Master blaster: Chris Gayle is a very destructive batsman

Solve the mystery

England were able to pick ‘mystery spinner’ Sunil Narine in the third Test in the summer but on these pitches in the shorter game he is a different proposition. We have noticed that the position of his thumb is different for his off-spinner than the one that turns away from the right-hander and if England can pick that then they can use their feet and get to the pitch of the ball. But if they don’t know which way it is going to turn, the much-maligned sweep could become a valuable asset.

Work it out: Sunil Narine can be a threat with his mystery spin

Work it out: Sunil Narine can be a threat with his mystery spin

Read the conditions

Stuart Broad's side did not read the conditions quite right in Colombo because even though the pitch for the India match was a little drier, they decided not to play a second spinner against India. This time they have to forget about the opposition, look at the surface and if they think it will turn, then bring Samit Patel back. Indications are that the pitches at Pallekele will be true and the ball should come on to the bat which will suit England. Forget India, the tournament starts now for Broad and his men.

Read it right: Stuart Broad needs to understand the conditions

Read it right: Stuart Broad needs to understand the conditions