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Blockbuster Quarterfinals Await Audiences at Rogers Cup

Karthik Swaminathan

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Andreescu Sets Up Showdown with Pliskova in Quarterfinals

Toronto: Following a weather delay, the 19-year-old from Mississauga came out and defeated World No. 5 Kiki Bertens for the first time in her professional career, winning a tough three-setter 6-1, 6-7 (6), 6-4. Bertens managed to save three match points, before finally Andreescu converted on her fourth match point to close it out nearly three and half hours after it started. The Canadian sets up a showdown with the No. 3 seed Karolina Pliskova in the quarterfinals in what promises to be an electric match between two players who have never met before.

On top of the fact that Andreescu will have home-court advantage on Friday, she has been absolutely dominant against the WTA’s Top-10 in 2019. With her latest win against Bertens, Andreescu has a perfect 5-0 record against the Top-10 and a 24-4 match record this season.

On the other side of things, the current World No. 3 will present many challenges for the versatile Canadian. In her 6-3, 7-5 victory over Anett Kontaveit, Pliskova leaned on her strengths. It’s no secret that Pliskova holds one of the WTA’s best serves. She came into this event having notched 346 aces, 17 more than the next closest player (Bertens).

Third seed Karolina Pliskova defeated Anett Kontaveit of Estonia 6-3, 7-5 to reach the Rogers Cup quarterfinals.

Pliskova enters the quarters with plenty of experience. The five-time winner on tour has played in six main draws at Rogers Cup. However, she’s never gone past the quarterfinals at this major Canadian stop.

If Pliskova were to get past Andreescu and reach the semis at Rogers Cup for the first time in her career, she would have a chance at becoming the new World No. 1.

Svitolina Extends Toronto Winning Streak to Advance

Speaking of 2017, the last champion of this event in Toronto also advanced to the quarterfinals on Thursday. In clash of champions on National Bank Grandstand, World No. 7 Elina Svitolina took down Belinda Bencic in straight sets 6-4, 6-2. It marks the seventh match in a row that the Ukrainian has won in Toronto.

Elina Svitolina overcame ankle anxieties to beat Belinda Bencic

Svitolina will take on American Sofia Kenin in the quarterfinals on Friday and Kenin could be primed for another upset. She looked impressive in her 57-minute, 6-2, 6-2 effort against another Ukrainian in Dayana Yastremska. Kenin has looked impressive in her Rogers Cup debut and in recent months. She scored the biggest win of her career earlier in the week, in a come-from-behind victory over the reigning World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-4.

Serena Scores Historic Win
It was a historic night at Rogers Cup in Toronto.
Thanks to a 7-5, 6-4 straight-sets victory over Russian qualifier Ekaterina Alexandrova, Serena Williams earned her 32nd career victory on Canadian soil to match the tournament record held by Arantxa Sanchez Vicario in the Open Era.

Williams is set to play World No. 2 Naomi Osaka on Friday, setting the stage for the first meeting between Williams and Osaka since their epic in the final of last year’s US Open. It was there that Osaka outplayed the 23-time Grand Slam champion in a 6-2, 6-4 victory to earn her first career Slam.

Friday will mark the eighth time in Williams’ nine Rogers Cup appearances that she has at least reached the quarterfinals. The only time she failed to do it came back in 2005, when she was forced to withdraw from her third-round match against Flavia Pennetta with a knee injury. This is also the only occasion where she didn’t reach the semifinals in her career at Rogers Cup.

Women’s Singles – Third Round
[2] N. Osaka (JPN) d [Q] I. Swiatek (POL) 7–6(4) 6–4
[3] K. Pliskova (CZE) d [16] A. Kontaveit (EST) 6–3 7–5
[4] S. Halep (ROU) d [WC] S. Kuznetsova (RUS) 6–2 6–1
B. Andreescu (CAN) d [5] K. Bertens (NED) 6–1 6–7(7) 6–4
[6] E. Svitolina (UKR) d [11] B. Bencic (SUI) 6–2 6–4
[8] S. Williams (USA) d [Q] E. Alexandrova (RUS) 7–5 6–4
S. Kenin (USA) d D. Yastremska (UKR) 6–2 6–2
[Q] M. Bouzkova (CZE) d J. Ostapenko (LAT) 6–2 6–2

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Deepa Malik and Bajrang Punia nominated for Khel Ratna

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Deepa Malik is set to be awarded the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award 2019

New Delhi: Ace wrestler Bajrang Punia and para-athlete Deepa Malik have been nominated for Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna on Saturday. Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award is the country’s highest sporting honour.

Punia recently defended his title at the Tbilisi Grand Prix as he won the gold medal and Deepa Malik had won bronze medals in discus throw and javelin throw at the 2018 Asian Para Games in Jakarta. Punia and Vinesh Phogat were recommended by the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) for the Khel Ratna award.

Deepa is the first Indian woman to get a medal at the Paralympic Games and has won 58 national and 23 international medals. Earlier, she has received Padma Shri and Arjuna award. Also, she has entered the Limca Book of World Records four times.

In 2018, Indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli and weightlifter Mirabai Chanu were awarded with the Khel Ratna Award.

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Cricketer Ravindra Jadeja among 19 sportspersons nominated for Arjuna Award

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Jadeja has played 156 ODIs, 42 T20Is and 41 Tests for India

New Delhi: Indian cricketer Ravindra Jadeja has been nominated for the prestigious Arjuna Award by the award selection committee on Saturday. The list includes 19 other sportspersons like Poonam Yadav, track and field stars Tejinder Pal Singh Toor, Mohammed Anas and Swapna Barman, footballer Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, hockey player Chinglensana Singh Kangujam and shooter Anjum Moudgil.

Earlier, Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) had recommended fast bowlers Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja and women’s team leg-spinner Poonam Yadav for the Arjuna Award. Ravindra Jadeja showcased a spectacular show with a 59-ball 79 innings against New Zealand in the semi-final during World Cup 2019.

The Arjuna Awards are given to honour excellence in sports by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports in India. In 2018, Indian woman cricketer Smriti Mandhana was the only cricketer to receive the prestigious award.

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Russel Domingo appointed Bangladesh cricket team head coach

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Russel Domingo has coached South Africa national team from 2013 to 2017.

New Delhi: Russell Domingo has been appointed Bangladesh cricket team head coach on Saturday.

The 44-year-old South African has agreed on a two-year term with the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) and is expected to arrive in Dhaka on 21 August to take charge of the national team.

Announcing the appointment  BCB president Nazmul Hassan, said, Domingo’s vision for Bangladesh made him the ideal candidate for the role, “He has a wealth of experience and we have been very impressed with his passion and coaching philosophy. He has a clear idea of what is required to take the team forward.”

Domingo said he was eagerly looking ahead to his new challenge, “It is a massive honour to be appointed the Head Coach of the Bangladesh National Cricket Team. I have followed Bangladesh’s progress with keen interest and I am extremely excited to assist the team in reaching the goals that they are capable of.

“I look forward to continuing the ongoing development of current players whilst also looking towards the future and developing some new bright stars from within the talent pool of Bangladesh cricket,” he added.

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