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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.

Cricket News

Saha’s inclusion symbolic of Team India’s horses for courses policy

Makarand Waingankar

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Wriddhiman Saha
Wriddhiman Saha is India's most technically accomplished wicketkeeper.

Mumbai: Everything fell into place in the Pune match for India. They won the toss and batted on a batting-friendly pitch. Everyone predicted that the wicket would be a turner but it was far from it.

As predicted in these columns the pitch curator Pandurang Salgaonkar, who was unnecessarily made the scapegoat for the Pune pitch fiasco in 2017, sprayed a tinge of grass on the 22 yards.

The red soil on which the pitch is made requires a lot of water for nourishment. Grass helps to bind the pitch together. In the morning there was a bit of seam movement and carry for the pacers.

The ball came on to the bat, enabling strokemakers to go for their shots, which wasn’t the case at Vizag where the ball kept low and the wicket was slow.

India made perfect use of the pitch, piling up a huge first innings score and then declaring at an opportune time to capitalise on the tired minds and legs of the South Africans. Not only the batsmen, the bowlers too excelled. They had a plan in place to dismiss the South Africans.

For the last three years, the Indian team has adopted a horses for courses approach in Tests. The inclusion of wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha was a classic example. Rishabh Pant is talented and young. He got his chance but couldn’t cement his place, paving the way for Saha.

After the third day at Pune, the pitch became dusty and the ball started turning. Saha showcased all his skills while keeping against the tall Ravichndran Ashwin. He made keeping look easy, particularly the diving catches he took on both sides of the wicket.

Saha is by far the most technically accomplished wicketkeeper in the world right now. England and Australian wicketkeepers are adept at keeping against pacers. But Saha keeps wickets on Indian conditions primarily to spinners at both ends of the wicket.

After Day Three in Pune, the South Africans team became completely demoralised. The entire team was heartbroken as their captain Faf du Plessis admitted that Virat Kohli possessed answers for all questions asked of him by them.

Indirectly, du Plessis praised Kohli’s mental toughness. It is a trait that is contagious. Team India is supremely fit, be it mentally or physically, which make them supremely confident. They are like a family in a successful business venture.

After 4 Tests, India are now at the top of the points table of the ICC World Test Championship.

After their emphatic victories, India would continue with the same team. Way back in 1983, Sir Wesley Hall, who toured India as manager of the West Indies team told that the Windies team of the 60s and 70s were a combination of 5 batsmen, 5 bowlers and a wicketkeeper.

He had said, “If 5 batsmen cannot score 450 runs the sixth batsman is not going to do that and if 5 bowlers can’t take 20 wickets you cannot expect the sixth bowler to take any. You don’t expect bowlers to bat and vice versa. In that case a team would lose and they deserve to lose.”

Now, after so many years, India played with 5 bowlers. Towards the end of the third day, when the South Africans were all out in the first innings, the debate was about when India would enforce the follow on.

It is understood that the bowlers only told captain Kohli to enforce the follow-on. It was not a judicious move because the amount of Test matches these players nowadays play. But they did that and India won.

To maintain this momentum, India must continue with this combination. This Indian team is very competitive and for a place in the playing XI each and everybody will have to compete.

When Umesh Yadav didn’t get a chance to play in the Tests against the West Indies, he called up the selectors and requested them to let him play for India A.

He wanted to play rather than cool his heels. Because he wanted to keep himself ready whenever he was called up to play for Tests. He played a couple of matches for India A against South Africa A to get his rhythm back.

It’s like a musical instrument, if you don’t use it for days and when you’ll be called to perform, you’ll struggle. Yadav’s case is a perfect example of the healthy competitiveness that is present within the players in the squad, which augurs well for the future of Indian cricket.

Find more columns from our cricket columnist at Makarand Waingankar.

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Sports News

4 national-level hockey players killed in MP accident

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car accident
Image Credits: ANI

Hoshangabad: Four national-level hockey players were killed while three others sustained injuries after the car they were travelling in met with an accident here on Monday, police said.

The players were travelling from Itarsi to Hoshangabad to play in Dhyan Chandra Trophy when their car met with an accident near Raisalpur village on National Highway 69.

The deceased players have been identified as Shahnawaz Khan from Indore, Aadarh Hardua from Itarsi, Ashish Lal from Jabalpur and Aniket from Gwalior. All four were hockey players of MP sports academy in Bhopal.

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Athletics

AFI includes Neeraj, Hima among national campers for Tokyo Olympics

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Neeraj Chopra (left) and Hima Das
Neeraj Chopra (left) and Hima Das

New Delhi: Star javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra, quarter-miler Hima Das and sprinter Dutee Chand figured among the list of national campers named by the Athletics Federation of India for the period up to the Tokyo Olympics next year.

Both Neeraj and Hima did not take part in the recently concluded World Championships while Dutee failed to qualify for the semifinals after a disappointing performance.

Dutee, who broke her own 100m national record during the National Open in Ranchi, was named as part of a nine-member women’s 4x100m relay team to be based at NIS Patiala. Both Neeraj and Hima have also been named for the same camp.

Neeraj underwent a surgery on his right elbow in May and is on course to full recovery while Hima pulled out of the showpiece event in Doha in the eleventh hour due to her persistent back injury.

Shot putter Inderjeet Singh, who was handed a four-year ban by the Court of Arbitration for Sport earlier this month, was also included in the list of NIS Patiala campers, but AFI later said that his name will be removed.

“The list of national campers keeps on changing and his name was earlier there. So, after his ban by the CAS, he cannot be there. We will remove his name,” an AFI official said.

The CAS had overturned National Anti-Doping Agency’s Appeal Panel decision to give a clean chit to Inderjeet.

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