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Teenager Coco knocks out Venus, World No. 2 Osaka ousted in Wimbledon first round

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Coco Gauff of USA in action against compatriot Venus Williams during their women's singles first round match on Monday. Gauff won 6-4, 6-4. Photos: Twitter @wimbledon

London: American teenager Cori “Coco” Gauff knocked off compatriot Venus Williams 6-4, 6-4 in the first round at Wimbledon.

“She said congratulations. I told her thank you for everything that you did. I wouldn’t be here without you. I always wanted to tell her that,” the 15-year-old Gauff said after the match on Monday, reports Efe.

The World No. 301, the youngest player ever to qualify for Wimbledon in the Open Era, took out a player who is 24 years her senior, setting a record for the match with the biggest age difference between opponents at the grass-court event.

“Honestly I don’t really know how to feel. That’s the first time I have ever cried after winning a match. I don’t even know how to explain how I feel,” Gauff said.

Williams, a five-time Wimbledon champion, appeared to be getting back into the match at 4-4 in the second set, but Gauff did not falter and continued to put the pressure on.

“I definitely had to tell myself to stay calm, I had to remind myself that the lines are the same lines, the courts are the same size and after every point I told myself ‘stay calm,’” Gauff said.

With this victory, Gauff, who had just 31 professional matches under her belt heading into Wimbledon, will move up to world No. 215 in the WTA rankings.

Up next for Gauff is Slovak veteran Magdalena Rybarikova, who took out No.10 seed Aryna Sabalenka, of Belarus, 6-2, 6-4 earlier in the day.

Meanwhile, World No. 2 Naomi Osaka of Japan was upset by Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan 7-6 (4), 6-2 in the women’s singles first round. Seventh seeded Romanian Simona Halep began her Wimbledon campaign with a convincing 6-4, 7-5 victory over Aliaksandra Sasnovich of Belarus.

On the men’s side, defending champion Novak Djokovic enjoyed a comfortable 6-3, 7-5, 6-3 over Philip Kohlschreiber of Germany. Unseeded Jiri Vesely of Czech Republic stunned sixth seed Alexander Zverev of Germany 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 7-5. Swiss ace Stan Wawrinka had it easy against Rubel Bemelmans of Belgium, winning in straight sets 6-3, 6-2, 6-2.

Golf Lounge

With dream pairing in his favour, Shubhankar hopes to ‘Open’ campaign

Joy Chakravarty

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India's Shubhankar Sharma during a practice round for The 148th Open at Royal Portrush Golf Club in County Antrim, Northern Ireland.

Antrim, Northern Ireland: The week of the Open Championship holds a special significance for Shubhankar Sharma. Not only did he make his first cut in a Major in this tournament, but it also coincides with his birthday almost every year.

This year, Sharma will turn 23 on Sunday, the day when the 148th Open Championship is decided at the hallowed Royal Portrush Golf Club. And he expects the celebrations to be even better than last year, when it fell on the Moving Day of the tournament at Carnoustie.

It’s not been the best of seasons for Sharma so far, and completely pales when compared to 2017-18. He won twice on the European Tour, played all four Majors and became the Asia No. 1. In comparison, a tie for 27th place at the Hero Indian Open has been his best result in 2019 so far.

However, Sharma can sense a change in his fortunes. He may have missed the cut at the Irish Open in the run-up to the Open Championship, but he was happy with his ball-striking there. At the Scottish Open, he needed an 18th hole birdie from 45 feet to make the cut on the number before finishing tied 34th.

“I made a few changes in my swing and I can now feel that it is getting in the groove. I was happy with the way I played in Scotland and I have worked hard over my game in the past few weeks. My coach (Jesse Grewal) is here and I am feeling quite confident going into the fifth Major of my career,” said Sharma on the eve of the tournament.

Sharma has been handed a dream pairing—he goes out on the first two days with the reigning World No. 1 Brooks Koepka and the 2010 Open champion Louis Oosthuizen.

“I was very surprised when I saw the grouping, but I am really looking forward to it. Brooks is obviously the World No. 1 and Louis is a former champion. I have played with Brooks before in India (at the 2013 Challenge Tour event in Kensville, Ahmedabad, where they were paired during the final round),” added the World No. 196.

“Obviously, there is going to be a lot of people following and a lot of people watching back home in India. I think it will very exciting and it is always nice to get a draw like that.”

Sharma, then just 16 and making his professional debut, beat Koepka by three shots that day, but the American has made giant strides since then.

Talking about his upcoming 23rd birthday, Sharma said: “Last year was obviously very special as I made my first cut in a Major. Hopefully, we can make it even more special this year on a Sunday.”

Sharma will tee off at 13:04 local time (17:34 IST) on Thursday. On Friday, he will start at 08:03 local time (13:33 IST).

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Cricket Lounge

BCCI begins hunt for new coach, incumbent Shastri eligible as auto entry

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Ravi Shastri and Co. have been given an extension of 45 days beyond the World Cup.

New Delhi: The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Tuesday invited applications for the positions of head coach, batting coach, bowling coach, fielding coach, physio, strength and conditioning coach and administrative manager for the Indian team. Current head coach Ravi Shastri and his team will get an automatic entry into the recruitment process.

The release from the BCCI said: “The interested candidates have to send in their application(s) on or before July 30, 2019, by 5 p.m. at recruitment@bcci.tv.

“Pertinent to note, that the decision of the BCCI for the said position, will remain final and binding.”

It will be interesting to note that the last time, the deadline had to be extended as final choice — Shastri — had not applied for the position till the deadline got over. In fact, it was believed that former India opener Virender Sehwag was among the most eligible candidates from the new set of applicants apart from then coach Anil Kumble. Like Shastri this time, Kumble had an auto entry into the process.

Speaking to , a BCCI functionary confirmed the same. “Yeah, we did extend the deadline last time due to certain reasons. Hopefully the same won”t be required this time.”

The current coaching staff were handed a 45-day extension after their tenure ended with the World Cup. Assistant coach Sanjay Bangar is under the scanner after India”s exit in the World Cup and the inability to find a number four batsmen over the last two seasons.

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Cricket Lounge

No one lost, yet there was a winner in World Cup final: Williamson

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Kane Williammson has been named the player of the tournament.

London: Coming to terms with the heart-wrenching defeat against England in the World Cup title clash, New Zealand captain Kane Williamson said that “no one lost the final but there was a crowned winner”.

On Sunday, Black Caps missed an opportunity to win their first World Cup after losing on boundary count to England in the finals as the match as well as the Super Over ended in ties.

England scored 26 boundaries in total in the entire duration of the match as compared to 17 by the Black Caps and were thus crowned as champions.

“At the end of the day nothing separated us, no one lost the final, but there was a crowned winner and there it is,” Williamson told Newstalk ZB on Tuesday.

He said the World Cup final was “pretty tough to get your head around – I think it will take time to reflect with a rational mind”.

He said that it was a real good effort from his team to get to the knockout stage. New Zealand, who were cruising at one stage, lost their last three round-robin games and it was on superior net run-rate that they managed to book a place in the semifinals.

They then went on defeat India in the semifinals to set up a title date with England.

“It was a really good effort to get knockout stages,” he said.

“We were forced to play a style of game because of the conditions and adopted that really well. We thought it took us all the way but it was not to be.

“The rules are the rules and we all try and play by them as did England who also had a very good campaign,” the Black Caps skipper added.

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