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Toronto delighted by Andreescu, Williams Wins

Serena Williams made a winning return to Toronto at the Rogers Cup. Photos: WTA
Karthik Swaminathan

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Home hope continues winning return post injury while Serena celebrated a winning return

Toronto: Having lost the opening set, the Canadian teen rallied from behind to take down Russian Daria Kasatkina in front of the home crowd—advancing thanks to a 5-7, 6-2, 7-5 victory. Setting up a blockbuster third-round matchup with World No. 5 Kiki Bertens at Rogers Cup. sports news  sports news headlines Sports update

Andreescu was the least consistent player of the two in the opening set. With Kasatkina trailing 4-3, the Russian managed to fight off two break points to hold serve. She’d follow that up with a break of her own to give herself a chance to serve out for the set. But the Canadian fought back. Andreescu saved two set points, one which was done thanks to a powerful forehand winner. She would then convert her second break point of the set to knot things up at 5-5. sports news  sports news headlines Sports update

However, Kasatkina would not be denied in this see-saw of a set. She managed to win eight of the next 10 points to get the break back and finally closed out the opener on her third set point. sports news  sports new

Bianca Andreescu ahead of her slug-fest against Daria Kasatkina

The Canadian teen would find a little more rhythm in the second set. With the set tied at 1, she saved a couple break points and managed to hold serve thanks to a forehand winner. After a couple double faults cost Andreescu, now leading 3-2, she managed to regain the break by placing a beautiful volley into the open court. From there, Andreescu would close out the set by winning four straight points. sports news  sports news headlines

In the third and decisive set, the Canadian was the first one to draw blood. In a game that held seven deuces, Andreescu finally managed to convert on her sixth break point to grab a 3-1 lead. Kasatkina didn’t let that bring her down though. The 22-year-old Russian converted two break points over a stretch of four games to jump in front 5-3. sports news  sports news headlines Sports update

But with her back against the wall, the 19 year old from Mississauga responded in turn. After holding serve to get within one, she tied things up at 5 thanks to four straight return points. She would then take the lead on her next service game, before closing out the match with a break point—much to the delight of the Canadian fans in attendance.

Andreescu is now set to face Bertens for the first time in her professional career. Her latest victory also improves the Canadian’s match record to 23-4 in 2019. Prior to Wednesday, she had advanced to the second round at Rogers Cup after defeating her compatriot Eugenie Bouchard 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 on Tuesday night.

Playing in Canada’s most populated city for the first time in four years, the 23-time Grand Slam champion bested Belgium’s Elise Mertens in straight sets 6-3, 6-3. This latest victory improves Williams’ record at Rogers Cup to 31-4. Serena was also playing her first match since losing in the Wimbledon final to Simona Halep.

sports update

Simona Halep had to shake off post-Wimbledon rust against Jennifer Brady

Osaka in Position to Become World No.1
It might not be long before Naomi Osaka is back on top as the World No. 1.

The Japanese star moved that much closer to regaining the top ranking, after Tatjana Maria retired from their second-round match due to a left abdominal injury. The two-time Grand Slam champion was playing for the first time since losing in the first round at Wimbledon to Yulia Putinseva.

With Ashleigh Barty’s surprising exit in the second round at Rogers Cup and by virtue of this match alone, the Australian will be displaced at the top of the world rankings. That is a certainty.

But there is no guarantee that Osaka will be the one to take that title. A deep run at Rogers Cup by Karolina Pliskova could derail any efforts made by the 21 year-old from Japan to regain the World No. 1. Sports update

Among the other notable winners in Toronto on Wednesday were former champions Elina Svitolina (2017) and Belinda Bencic (2015). With a spot in the quarter-finals on the line, both Bencic and Svitolina will try to extend their Canadian match-winning streaks during Thursday’s day session. Sports update

The No.3-seed Karolina Pliskova Pliskova took down American Alison Riske. A deep-run by Pliskova in Toronto could allow her to become the new World No. 1.

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Naomi Osaka can reclaim the No. 1 ranking this week

Women’s Singles – Second Round
[2] N. Osaka (JPN) d [Q] T. Maria (GER) 6–2 0–0 Retired
[3] K. Pliskova (CZE) d [Q] A. Riske (USA) 6–4 6–7(4) 6–2
[4] S. Halep (ROU) d [Q] J. Brady (USA) 4–6 7–5 7–6(5)
[6] E. Svitolina (UKR) d K. Siniakova (CZE) 6–3 3–6 6–3
[8] S. Williams (USA) d E. Mertens (BEL) 6–3 6–3
[11] B. Bencic (SUI) d J. Goerges (GER) 5–7 6–3 6–4
[Q] I. Swiatek (POL) d [15] C. Wozniacki (DEN) 1–6 6–3 6–4
[16] A. Kontaveit (EST) d C. Suárez Navarro (ESP) 7–5 3–1 Retired
D. Yastremska (UKR) d V. Azarenka (BLR) 7–5 7–5
B. Andreescu (CAN) d D. Kasatkina (RUS) 5–7 6–2 7–5
J. Ostapenko (LAT) d A. Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) 6–2 2–6 6–4
[WC] S. Kuznetsova (RUS) d D. Vekic (CRO) 7–6(4) 6–3
[Q] E. Alexandrova (RUS) d [LL] S. Zhang (CHN) 6–4 6–3

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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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