In-form Harrington upbeat ahead of Singapore Open

In-form Harrington upbeat ahead of Singapore Open

SINGAPORE: Three-time Major champion Padraig Harrington is looking to continue his return to form at this week’s Barclays Singapore Open after ending his two-year title drought in Malaysia last month.
After a practice round in Singapore the Ryder Cup star fancies his chances when the six-million-US-dollar tournament starts Thursday at Sentosa Golf Club.
“I won well three to four weeks ago… in Malaysia, so the form is good,” the 39-year-old Irishman said Tuesday. “Looking

Nadal confident of fitness for London finale

PARIS: World number one Rafael Nadal expects to be fit for the ATP World Tour finals in London later this month despite withdrawing from this week’s Paris Masters with a shoulder injury.
Nadal, who will end the year ranked number one in the world after winning the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open, is suffering from tendinitis in his left shoulder but said he will return to training this week.
“I am not worried at all about London,” the Spaniard told a news conference

Woods out to break 2010 drought at Australian Masters

MELBOURNE: Tiger Woods will be searching for his first tournament success of the year when he returns to Melbourne to defend his title at Thursday’s Australian Masters.
The 14-time major winner has endured a spectacular fall from grace since confessing late last year to committing adultery in a sex scandal that engulfed his personal and professional life.
Once seemingly unchallengeable, Woods lost his world top ranking to Englishman Westwood last week after a 281-week

Chelsea look to steady ship as United scent blood

LONDON: A Premier League season that threatened to see Chelsea run away with the defence of their title resumes on Tuesday and Wednesday with teams at both ends of the table having plenty to play for.
Chelsea’s 2-0 loss to Liverpool revived the title race and cut the Blues lead at the top of the table to two points over Manchester United, the only unbeaten side in the top flight.
Only five points now separate big-spenders Manchester City, currently fourth, from Chelsea

Haider quits international cricket over death threats

LAHORE: Pakistan wicket-keeper Zulqarnain Haider on Tuesday announced his retirement from international cricket after abandoning the team and flying to London, saying he had received death threats.
The 24-year-old on Monday failed to report in Dubai for Pakistan’s one-day international against South Africa. The latest scandal to hit the country’s national game follows a slew of spot and match-fixing allegations, and disciplinary problems.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB)

Nadal pulls out of Paris-Bercy Masters

PARIS: Rafael Nadal has ruled himself out of the Paris-Bercy Masters 1000 next week because of tendonitis in his left arm.
The world number one from Spain had been due to make his much-anticipated comeback here having not competed since October 14 when he was eliminated from the Shanghai Masters in the third round by Austria’s Jurgen Melzer. Nadal was set to arrive in the French capital later Friday to certify the nature and extent of his injury setback – of which organisers

Lahm’s extension will not influence Schweinsteiger

MUNICH: Bayern Munich star Bastian Schweinsteiger has said Saturday
the decision of his Germany team-mate Philipp Lahm to extend his contract will not influence his own decision on whether he stays at the club.
Spanish giants Real Madrid are rumoured to be chasing Germany star Schweinsteiger and Bayern are keen for their playmaker to sign an extension to his contract which expires in 2012.
Last week, Germany defender Lahm signed a contract extension which keeps him at

Bayern close to agreeing with Dutch over Robben

MUNICH: Bayern Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge admitted Saturday the German giants are close to agreeing a compensation deal with the Dutch Football Federation (KNVB) over Arjen Robben.
Play-maker Robben is not expected to return to Bayern’s colours until at least January and has missed the entire season so far after damaging his thigh helping Holland reach the World Cup final in South Africa.
Bayern are angry the Dutch allowed the winger to play most of the

Molinari fends off Westwood to stay a shot clear

SHANGHAI: Francesco Molinari held off a dogged Lee Westwood on Saturday to maintain a one-stroke lead over the new world number one and set up an enticing final-round battle at the HSBC Champions in China.
The Italian, ranked 30th in the world, answered every challenge from his English playing partner and Ryder Cup teammate on day three in Shanghai with a smart, conservative game to card a five-under 67.
The Italian, who stands just 1.72 cm (five feet eight inches) tall,

Raul to the rescue as Schalke end home win drought

BERLIN: Former Spanish international great Raul scored a brace as Bundesliga strugglers Schalke 04 finally ended their jinx at the Veltins-Arena with a 3-0 home defeat of St. Pauli on Friday.
Schalke finished runners-up last season but have made a disastrous start to the 2011 campaign with one win in their first 10 games, prior to this victory, leaving them hovering precariously around the relegation zone.
Raul moved to the German side in July on a 2-year deal after making

Tauqir surprised by PCB’s decision to sack employees over 60

LAHORE: Former PCB Chairman Lt. General (retd) Tauqir Zia has expressed his surprise at the decision of PCB to retire regular employees above the age of 60 years.
The PCB yesterday terminated the services of its regular employees including Chief Operating Officer Wasim Bari. A PCB official said the board’s HR committee informed around 15 employees that their services were no longer required as they had become ineligible under the service rules act.
“The service rules

Smith, Waqar praise exciting one-day cricket

DUBAI: South African skipper Graeme Smith and Pakistan team coach Waqar Younis both described the fourth one-day match between their two teams as having been exciting and good for 50-over form of cricket.
Pakistan pulled off a sensational one-wicket win on the penultimate delivery of the match after being set a challenging 275-run target on Friday, to level the five-match series at 2-2 and set an intriguing fifth match for Monday. Smith, whose 98 was the cornerstone for the South

Nazir blitz sets up easy first win for Pakistan

LAHORE: Pakistan team led by Shoaib Malik lived up to expectations as they overpowered arch-rivals India to win the opener of the Hong Kong Super Sixes event at the Kowloon Cricket Club on Saturday.
Pakistan swept to a 22-run victory over India to be well-placed in the preliminary round Sobers Group on the opening day of the US$150,000 tournament which saw more than three-quarters of the programme cancelled due to rain.
“It’s always good to start with a win,” a website

Defiant Ryder, Williamson thwart India

AHMEDABAD: Jesse Ryder struck a remarkable 103 and shared a 194-run stand with debutant Kane Williamson to defy world number one India on the third day of the first Test against New Zealand on Saturday.
Ryder struck 10 fours and a six in his 205-ball knock while Williamson was equally impressive in making 87 not out as New Zealand reached 331-5 at stumps at the Sardar Patel Stadium in Ahmedabad. That left the visitors 156 runs adrift of India’s first-innings 487.

Sri Lanka win first series in Australia

SYDNEY: Sri Lanka claimed their first-ever series success in Australia with a win against Ricky Ponting’s team in the rain-marred second one-day international at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Friday.
The Sri Lankans won by 29 runs under the Duckworth-Lewis method after several rain interruptions and followed their stunning one-wicket victory in the opening match in Melbourne on Wednesday.
Sri Lanka condemned Australia to a seventh straight international defeat in all forms

India in control in first New Zealand Test

AHMEDABAD: Tailender Harbhajan Singh struck a career-best 69 before India picked up two early wickets to put New Zealand under pressure on the second day of the first Test on Friday.
Harbhajan slammed three sixes and five fours in his 97-ball knock to steer India’s first innings to 487 after the hosts had been reduced to 412-8 on a deteriorating wicket at the Sardar Patel Stadium in Ahmedabad.
At stumps, New Zealand were 69-2, trailing the Indians by 418 runs with eight

Pakistan corruption probe gathers pace

LONDON: The probe into allegations that Pakistan cricketers accepted bribes for spot-fixing during the Lord’s Test against England gathered pace
on Friday as a second evidence file was passed to prosecutors.
Scotland Yard said evidence that there was a conspiracy to defraud bookmakers will be considered by the Crown Prosecution Service. Detectives interviewed four players under caution and arrested businessman Mazhar Majeed as part of the inquiry.
Majeed is accused of