Aisam, Bopanna through to Chennai quarters

Aisam, Bopanna through to Chennai quarters

CHENNAI – The Indo-Pak express comprising Rohan Bopanna and Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi progressed to the doubles quarterfinals of the Chennai Open with a 6-3, 7-6 (3) win over Brazil’s Marcos Daniel and Argentine Eduardo Schwank here on Wednesday.
It was a hard earned win for the ‘Indo-Pak Express’ as the Brazilian-Argentine pair gave them a good fight. Bopanna and Qureshi broke their rivals once and crucially saved three breakpoints in the opening set to take lead in 28 minutes.

Pakistan announce preliminary Squad for World Cup – Akmal, Yousuf get selectors’ nod, heartbreak for Malik, Fawad

LAHORE – Wicket-keeper Kamran Akmal and Mohamamd Yousuf finally got the nod from the Pakistan Cricket Board as they were included in the preliminary 30-member list of probables for the 2011 World Cup here on Tuesday. Shoaib Malik and Danish Kaneria were left out.
The national selection committee under Mohsin Khan met at the Gaddafi Stadium Lahore for one last time to finalise the 30 probables for World Cup 2011. After deliberations, the Committee finalized the 30 names.

Pakistan salvage draw in tour match

AUCKLAND – Pakistan’s pre-Test warm-up match against a New Zealand XI ended in a tame draw with both sides agreeing to a truce midway through the third and final day Tuesday.
The New Zealand XI, in reality a shadow Test team, were 111 for four when stumps were pulled, an overall lead of 208.
After the hosts posted 384 in their first innings, Pakistan recovered from a woeful start, when they were 39 for four, to be all out for 287. Skipper Misbah ul-Haq,
who did not

Doha hearing starts tomorrow

DOHA – Pakistan cricketers Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer front a make-or-break anti-corruption tribunal in Doha this week with the threat of life bans hanging over their heads.
The three face charges of spot-fixing during Pakistan’s tour of England last year. It is alleged that they bowled deliberate no-balls – claims they all deny.
They were provisionally suspended by the ICC in October, with the world governing body’s code of conduct carrying a minimum

England ride their luck as Australia hit back

SYDNEY – England rode their luck through a rocky afternoon spell to reach 167-3 in their first innings at the close of play on the second day of a well-balanced fifth Ashes test on Tuesday after dismissing Australia for 280.
Alastair Cook, who was saved from dismissal by a no-ball review, had made 61 with nightwatchman James Anderson alongside him on one after a triple blow from the Australian bowlers had disrupted England’s comfortable post-lunch progress.
England have

Ajmal to return home after father’s death

LAHORE – Pakistan off-spinner Saeed Ajmal is set to return home from the national team’s tour of New Zealand after the death of his father, the Pakistan Cricket Board announced on Tuesday.
Ajmal is currently part of Pakistan’s 15-man squad for the Test series against New Zealand and is certain to miss the first Test, which starts on Friday, January 1, at Hamilton. “The PCB is making necessary arrangements to facilitate Saeed Ajmal’s early return to the country from New Zealand,”

English Premier League – Injury blow for City, Chelsea eye recovery

LONDON – Chelsea head to bottom of the table Wolves on Wednesday with manager Carlo Ancelotti insisting all is not lost for his defending champions in their quest to retain the Premier League title.
The Blues, held to a 3-3 draw by Aston Villa last time out, could kick-off nine points behind Manchester United if the leaders beat Stoke at Old Trafford on Tuesday. But Italian boss Ancelotti was in defiant mood, saying: “First they (United) have to win (the game in hand). “Second I

Xavi can play 700 for Barca, says Guardiola

MADRID – Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola believes playmaker Xavi Hernandez could go on to reach 700 games for the club after the Spanish World Cup star equalled the club’s all-time appearance record in Barcelona’s 2-1 win over Levante Sunday.
Xavi made his 549th outing in the famous shirt to draw level with legendary centre-back Migueli and at 30 the midfielder is set to go on and set a new benchmark for future generations to beat. “We wanted to win this game for him (Xavi),” said

Women’s Hockey C’ship underway

LAHORE – The 26th National Women’s Hockey Championship is in progress at the Hockey Club of Pakistan Stadium, Karachi. To spot talented female players, the PHF has constituted a Committee comprised of Mrs. Tanzeela
Aamir Cheema, Secretary PHF Women’s
Wing, Mr Iftikhar Syed and Mr Jan
Mohammad. The Committee will
observe the performance of players
during the Championship and forward
its recommendations to PHF, soon after
the conclusion of the

Colts win SPM Cricket League

LAHORE – SPM Colts won the 4th SPM League Cricket Tournament, beating Global Technologies on Tuesday.
In the Professional Group of the league, SPM Colts beat Global Technology by seven wickets here at Model Town Greens ground. Global Technology scored 163 runs for the loss of nine wickets after batting first.
Mohammad Raja (28), Tahir Riaz (23) and Awais Masood (22) were top-scored for Global. SPM Colts achieved the target for the loss of three wickets, with Yasir Ali (55),

Chelsea boss rules out Beckham bid

COBHAM – Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti insisted on Tuesday that his club will not make a bid to sign David Beckham in the January transfer window.
Beckham is keen to return to the Premier League on a three-month loan from the LA Galaxy during the MLS off-season as he tries to show England coach Fabio Capello he is still worthy of a place in his squad.
Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp has already gone public on his interest in Beckham, but a deal has yet to be concluded for

Japan eye Asian Cup as World Cup stepping stone

TOKYO – Japan coach Alberto Zaccheroni is chasing a record fourth win at this month’s Asian Cup as a crucial stepping stone in the build-up to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. A win in Qatar would guarantee the Blue Samurai a berth at the Confederations Cup, held by the World Cup host nation a year before the four-yearly showpiece and featuring the various continental champions. The tournament gives teams a crucial taste of conditions ahead of the World Cup.
“The Asian Cup is a

Bowyer banned after Sagna challenge

LONDON – Birmingham City mifielder Lee Bowyer will be suspended for three games after accepting a Football Association charge of violent conduct for a challenge on Arsenal’s Bacary Sagna, the English governing body announced Tuesday.
Referee Peter Walton told the FA he would have sent-off Bowyer if he had seen the incident during title challengers Arsenal’s 3-0 Premier League win away to Birmingham at St Andrew’s on Saturday. Bowyer will now miss Tuesday’s league match at

Spanish Primera Liga – Ronaldo double steers Real Madrid to tense win

MADRID – Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 18th and 19th league goals of the season as Real Madrid started 2011 with a tense 3-2 win at derby rivals Getafe on Monday to close to within two points of champions Barcelona at the league summit. Portuguese star Ronaldo smashed home an 11th-minute penalty to open the scoring before Angel di Maria set up German international Mesut Ozil for a second on 19 minutes.
Ronaldo grabbed his second on 57 minutes after Getafe had got a foothold in

Goalkeepers need more attention, says Faisal

LAHORE – The Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) will organise the first-ever AFC Level 1 Goalkeeping Coaching Course from March 10 at Lahore, under directives of President Faisal Saleh Hayat. Coaches will be trained in skills pertinent to goalkeeping. This course covers a more specialised aspect of football, as goalkeepers are of great importance for the outcome of the game. Coaches for this specialist course must have at least the AFC C-Coaching Certificate, and have to continue

Govt supports Milan, claims Berlusconi

ROME – Italy Prime Minister and AC Milan president Silvio Berlusconi claimed on Tuesday that his club has the backing of the country’s government.
Berlusconi visited the team at a preparation camp in Rome ahead of Thursday’s trip to Cagliari in Sardinia.
And after doing so he bizarrely claimed that Milan’s success is directly tied to national happiness. “When Milan win everyone in Parliament celebrates with me and there are happy faces, but when we lose everyone is a little

ATP Chennai Open – Berdych starts new season in style

CHENNAI – Top seed Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic opened his campaign in the 450,000-dollar ATP Chennai Open with a fluent win over Frederico Gil of Portugal on Tuesday.
The world number six needed just 45 minutes to defeat the 101st-ranked Gil 6-0, 6-1 in a first round match at the Nungambakkam Tennis stadium in the southern Indian city. Gil was facing a total rout when he trailed 5-0 in the second set, but managed to hold his serve at that stage to win his only game in