Queen Serena downs King, blasting 13 aces indoors

first_imgBy Steve KeatingAfter 17 trips to Flushing Meadows and six U.S. Open titles Serena Williams did something on Thursday she had never done before — win a match indoors.With the new high-tech retractable roof over Arthur Ashe Stadium slammed shut because of persistent rain, Williams swept past American compatriot Vania King 6-3 6-3 in a tidy 65 minutes to ease into the third round.“It was a little different playing with Ashe closed but it still feels great,” said Williams. “It’s very, very loud out there.“It’s definitely different because everywhere you play is really quiet. Here it’s super loud.”Indoors or outdoors, night or day, rain or shine, it has made little difference to Williams at the U.S. Open, the 34-year-old having now racked up 86 victories at Flushing Meadows.Williams’s victory against an over-matched King may have been one of her easiest, the world number one in complete control from the outset, looking like a champion who never had to shift out of first gear.Despite the one-sided match, Williams was extremely critical of her performance, convinced it should have been better.“I just think it should have been a different scoreline for me,” said Williams. “I feel like I made a lot of errors but there’s nothing I can do about that now.“What really matters is I got the win.”Williams arrived at the year’s final grand slam with concerns swirling around a sore shoulder that hampered her at the Rio Olympics and forced her to pull out of a tournament in Cincinnati.But she put any doubts about her fitness to rest, blasting 13 aces past King while hitting 38 winners to just four by her opponent.“It’s stable, I just got to keep it like that,” Williams said of her right shoulder. “It’s two matches in and usually you want to be able to play seven matches“I definitely want to keep it as good as it can be.”It seems every year history beckons Williams at Flushing Meadows and on Thursday she reached yet another milestone by tying Martina Navratilova for most career grand slam wins with 306.There are other marks well within the American’s grasp during the fortnight. A seventh U.S. Open title would move her past Chris Evert for the most in the Open Era.It would also be her 23rd grand slam win, moving her past Steffi Graf, again for the most in the Open Era, one shy of the great Margaret Court who tops the all-time list with 24.Results from the U.S. Open Women’s Singles Round 2 matches on Thursday 6-Venus Williams (U.S.) beat Julia Goerges (Germany) 6-2 6-331-Timea Babos (Hungary) beat Richel Hogenkamp (Netherlands) 6-2 6-4Johanna Larsson (Sweden) beat Denisa Allertova (Czech Republic) 6-3 6-110-Karolina Pliskova (Czech Republic) beat Montserrat Gonzalez (Paraguay) 6-1 7-55-Simona Halep (Romania) beat Lucie Safarova (Czech Republic) 6-3 6-411-Carla Suarez Navarro (Spain) beat Jelena Jankovic (Serbia) 6-1 6-419-Elena Vesnina (Russia) beat Annika Beck (Germany) 6-2 6-14-Agnieszka Radwanska (Poland) beat Naomi Broady (Britain) 7-6(9) 6-3Zhang Shuai (China) beat 16-Samantha Stosur (Australia) 6-3 6-325-Caroline Garcia (France) beat Katerina Siniakova (Czech Republic) 4-6 6-4 6-4Ana Konjuh (Croatia) beat Kurumi Nara (Japan) 6-3 6-3Yaroslava Shvedova (Kazakhstan) beat Wang Qiang (China) 6-0 6-117-Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (Russia) beat Kristina Mladenovic (France) 6-2 4-6 7-6(5)last_img read more

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Hunters to go into camp this month

first_imgHunters coach Michael Marum said players will go into camp starting on the 22nd of this month.Marum said that a squad of 40 players had put been put together and would undergo 6 weeks of pre-season training.He said from there, the Hunters team will be finalized for 2016.The Hunters finished in third place last season after going down to the 28-12 Ipswich Jets in the preliminary final.The Jets went to on to win the Intrust Super Cup grand final.last_img

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National Sport Conference to be held next month

first_imgThe conference will run from September 8-10 at the Sir John Guise Indoor ComplexThe main outcome of the Conference is to begin consultation for the review of the National Sports Policy. Other outcomes includes strengthening relationships with key partners and stakeholders, establishing systems and strategies required to maintain and sustain sports at all levels, creating awareness of the importance of physical education and school sports and finally to determine a way forward in the country.Chairperson of the organising committee, Janet Gimots said progress on preparations towards the conference is well underway and is confident that this important event will be delivered successfully.She said invitations have been sent out to the provinces, National Sporting Federations and Government departments such as the NDOE, NDOH, Finance, Treasury, Community Development, and National Planning, and other key stakeholders from the corporate sector. She said over 200 people from the sporting fraternity including the media are expected to attend.This includes Sports Minister, Justin Tkatchenko, President of the Pacific Games Council, Vidyah Lakhan and CEO for the PNG Sports Foundation, Peter Tsiamalili Jnr.“The Editorial Committee Chairman, Professor Mark Solon, from the University of Goroka, was amazed and pleased with quality of the 24 abstracts for papers to be presented at the conference.To add international flavour to the conference a four man team from Gold Coast, will be attending and presenting papers as well,” said Gimots.Gimots expressed her appreciation to Avis, Prima Small Good, Coca-Cola Amatil and Theodist for their sponsorship support to the conference.last_img read more

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Arsene Wenger says Patrick Vieira ‘has the potential’ to manage Arsenal

first_imgVieira won three Premier League titles under Wenger and is now in third season as manager of New York City FC following a spell in charge of youth development at Manchester City.When asked if he could see Vieira succeeding him, Wenger replied: “He works in the moment in New York and he works for Man City. He’s a guy who has the potential one day, yes.”I’ve followed his managerial career. I think he does very well but overall, this Premier League is special. You have to come in and there are plenty of former players who played here who have potential, the intelligence and knowledge to do it.”Meanwhile, Wenger has called for safe standing at football matches in England and says the Premier League needs to be less conservative and stop waiting for someone else to take the lead.Earlier this month, sports minister Tracey Crouch turned down a proposal from West Brom to introduce safe standing in the Smethwick End at The Hawthorns for both home and away fans next season.The Premier League say they ‘understand and appreciate’ why Crouch would require more evidence before considering a change of policy.”The atmosphere is much better when people stand,” said Wenger. “The closer you are to the position of the player, the more supportive you are.”Imagine if people were lying in bed watching a game; they could fall asleep sometimes. It is better they stand up.”It’s a tradition of English football as well. Overall it is much better. I can understand the safety reasons but if the safety is right it has my 100 per cent backing.”He added: “At the moment, I would say that the Premier League is very conservative in all its decision-making. You can see that with VAR and you see it as well with standing.”I’m a bit more [understanding] with standing because you can raise government rules or safety rules, than with VAR. Personally I’m in favour of it.”The Premier League has been created by people who wanted to be in front of everybody else. At the moment we look a little more like we look first at what happens everywhere else, then if it goes well we follow it.”But it’s a bit more of a conservative approach. That’s the tendency when you are successful, not to take many risks anymore and let’s continue like that.”last_img read more

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Defending champion Kerber knocked out in US Open first round

first_imgDefending champion Angelique Kerber of Germany was knocked out of the U.S. Open in the first round when she lost 6-3 6-1 to Japanese teenager Naomi Osaka on Tuesday.The last defending women’s champion to lose in the first round at Flushing Meadows was Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova in 2005.The 19-year-old Osaka, the 2016 WTA newcomer of the year, was rarely troubled by the sixth-seeded Kerber, who has not won a title since she prevailed here last year.Osaka broke for 5-3 in the opening set and never looked back to claim her first victory against a top-10 player.last_img read more

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Man City’s Aguero heads late winner in League Cup semi first leg

first_imgManchester City forward Sergio Aguero’s last-gasp strike secured a 2-1 victory over Bristol City in their League Cup semi-final first leg on Tuesday after the second-tier side had frustrated the Premier League leaders.City, who have dished out a string of maulings in a stellar league campaign, found the Championship side a tough nut to crack and had to wait until the 92nd minute to grab the winner when Argentine substitute Aguero darted in to head home.The visitors had opened the scoring with a penalty just before halftime after central defender John Stones had fouled Bobby Reid, who dispatched the spot kick with aplomb.Kevin De Bruyne’s equaliser soon after the break turned the tide and City then laid siege to their opponents’ defence in the closing stages before Aguero’s goal gave them a vital advantage ahead of the return leg in two weeks’ time.last_img read more

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Is it possible for Cyprus to qualify for the World Cup?

first_img“You can’t put a limit on anything. The more you dream, the farther you get.” Michael Phelps“Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it”. Michael JordanAs the World Cup 2018 draws to a close in Russia, you can see kids everywhere have again caught the ‘footie bug’ and just want to kick a football.Fast forward four or eight years in time and imagine Cyprus competing on the World Cup stage.Am I talking nonsense or is it possible for Cyprus to qualify for the World Cup in future?How? Cyprus needs to have a plan and to learn from other successful European models.1 Upgrade existing and provide new stadiums and training facilities (centres of excellence) to meet the latest UEFA and FIFA standards, in Nicosia, Limassol, Larnaca and Paphos regions.2 Reassess technical coaching at youth level, inviting top European coaches and elite players to participate in a programme of elite coaching sessions and seminars.3 Encourage and incentivise the top Cyprus football clubs to build cooperation and partnership agreements to develop and exchange talent with top European football clubs in the major leagues; the English Premier League, the Spanish La Liga, the Italian Serie A, the German Bundesliga or the French Ligue 1.4 Look for opportunities for the elite Cyprus youth players to gain experience playing at the highest possible level in the European leagues.The World Cup has come at the right time to rescue and rejuvenate Cyprus football just as in recent times fans have been voting with their feet in increasing numbers and staying away from matches.A start must be made by knocking on the door of Prez Nic as Cyprus needs better facilities with more FIFA standard pitches and stadiums. The new stadium proposed for Limassol is taking far too long. Top clubs such as APOEL, Apollon, AEL and Omonia really should have their own stadiums and Limassol teams shouldn’t have to travel to Nicosia or Larnaca to play European matches.A revised programme of elite technical coaching is the essential foundation for the development of future Cyprus football talent. Northern Ireland (a country of similar population to Cyprus) is a perfect model for the CFA. There isn’t even a fully professional football league in Northern Ireland, so how did the country manage to qualify for three World Cups and one UEFA European Cup?The IFA focus heavily on technical coaching and then encourage the elite youth talent to try to play in the English Premier League, or Championship, or Divisions 1 or 2 as well as the Scottish Leagues. I once asked a Dutch football coach from the Johan Cruyff era what he considered to be the most important elements to starting a youth football academy and he replied: “it’s simple – technical, technical, technical!”I had witnessed some elite coaching sessions in the past which helped to convince me that no matter how many coaching manuals a coach had swallowed or badges they have qualified for, that for example they cannot coach the striking technique as well as a top striker such as Thierry Henry.Iceland (a country of circa 330,000 population) team has competed in the World Cup 2018 and the UEFA European Cup in 2016 and presently has a squad of players playing in leagues throughout Europe; England, Scotland, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, Russia and Israel amongst others.Looking at football in Europe, leagues dominated by one football club are presently being scrutinised by their own football associations to try to increase competitiveness and improve quality; German Bundesliga – Bayern Munich, French First Division – Paris Saint Germain, Scottish Premier League – Glasgow Celtic.Cooperation partnerships established between top Cyprus football clubs and elite European football clubs makes sense as there are benefits for both parties. Top European clubs can have first team squads of up to 40 players but generally only 23 players can be registered for the league and European cup competitions leaving a large number of unregistered players. The benefits for top European clubs would be that their fringe players and/or young talent could get experience ‘on loan’ playing for the top Cyprus clubs in the Champions League and the Europa League cup competitions, a ‘win win’ situation.The World Cup has seen standards rising at the highest level and Cyprus must take steps not to get left behind.Some smaller country statistics appropriate to Cyprus as follows:FIFA World football rankings 07/2018 Population22 Iceland 337,00029 Northern Ireland 1,810,00087 Cyprus 1,170,00091 Trinidad and Tobago 1,365,000FIFA World Cup (and UEFA European Cup) Appearances1x Iceland 20183x Northern Ireland 1958, 1982, 1986(1x UEFA European Championship 2016) Cyprus ????1x Trinidad and Tobago 2006Hail, rain, snow or sunshine you will always be guaranteed a full house at Windsor Park, Belfast when Northern Ireland play qualifying or friendly matches at home. It would be good to see the Cyprus supporters turn out in numbers to cheer on the national team when they are playing at home.last_img read more

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What’s brewing… coffee or a storm?

first_imgAfter an indifferent campaign by their standards last season, I had expected that for Apoel normal service would have been resumed and that it would have been Apollon who struggled this season after coming so close and failing to win the Championship or the Cup in 2017/18.How wrong I was in my thinking! Firstly congratulations to Apollon who took a brave decision not to sack their manager Sofronis Augousti and they have been rewarded with a fine start to the season both in the domestic league and the Europa League. I must admit that I don’t always agree with their decisions as I considered Ton Caanen to be a quality coach who should have been given more than six games as manager.Anyway back to Apoel. Although they scrambled to the title last season, this season has been a very different story as they have all too quickly dropped out of the Champions League and the Europa League and a fortunate scoreline against Nea Salamina was then followed by a totally unexpected and inexplicable 5–2 loss to Doxa and a Super Cup loss on penalties to AEK.Clearly Apoel will never be an easy club for anyone to coach as not only will they be expected to win from the off but also to play in a style dictated by the directors and supporters and consequently the manager will only ever be three games from the sack. Could Apoel be suffering from the recent Liverpool ‘Steven Gerrard syndrome’? Players like Stathis Aloneftis, George Efrem and George Merkis have been top performers in recent years for Apoel and in particular the very influential Nuno Morais. When Morais and the others decide to step down there will be big boots to fill.At present AEL sit proudly at the top of the league under the guidance of new manager Dusan Kerkez who can do no wrong for the moment. I guess though after a few good results the pressure and expectation is about to increase dramatically for Kerkez as AEL face first Alki at the weekend before a trip to Nicosia to face Apoel.I am reminded of a conspiracy theory held amongst AEL supporters that when Christakis Christoforou was manager he was still on the payroll of Apollon, which seemed to be the only logical conclusion to explain the dismal performances and the departure of Esteban Sachetti.Afterwards came Bruno Baltazar who was another AEL manager to woefully underachieve, with his tactics and substitutions resembling the National Lottery as he appeared to pull numbers at random out of a hat. So what on earth possessed Apoel take him?Apollon, AEK, AEL and Omonia have shown signs of improvement in early-season matches so could they now pose the main threat to Apoel? OK a couple of results can change everything but many questions will be asked and answered in the coming weeks. Will competing in the Europa League group stage have a detrimental effect on the league fortunes of Apollon and AEK? Can AEL and Omon ia sustain their promising starts in the league? Can teams like Doxa, Nea Salamina, Ermis and Paphos take points from the bigger clubs?On a sour note, spare a thought for Ronny Levy who dragged Anorthosis from mediocrity into Europe with skills more akin to a magician than a manager, only to be sacked after four games. Surely he deserved better.last_img read more

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Premier League managers call for severe punishment for racism

first_imgPremier League managers have called for racism in football to be severely punished to act as a deterrent.The problem has arisen again this week with Danny Rose and Callum Hudson-Odoi subjected to monkey chants during England’s Euro 2020 qualifier against Montenegro in Podgorica.UEFA has opened disciplinary proceedings against Montenegro, including a charge of racist behaviour, and there have been calls for the punishments to be harsh.“I think that all those things that happened, my feelings are that the punishments must be very hard,” said West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini.“If you give a hard punishment then it is difficult to repeat. The media must not give time to three or four stupid people, it is a huge problem.“But the time it happens, the punishment must be very, very hard.“Not one player must accept this but for me, the best way is for players to keep playing and not give importance to these things and the people in charge must give big punishments.”Everton boss Marco Silva was in complete agreement.“Racism has no place in football or in society,” he said.“It is completely wrong and if they have to punish, they have to be strong in this situation.“When you do something you have to try to stop it so it doesn’t happen again.”This week’s incident was not an isolated one with Chelsea’s lodging a complaint with UEFA regarding the alleged racist abuse directed at Hudson-Odoi during their 5-0 win over Dynamo Kiev in the Ukrainian capital on March 14.Watford manager Javi Gracia expressed his surprise that incidents were still occurring in football.“I think it’s incomprehensible that nowadays these things happen.“It’s a very big lack of respect,” he said.Huddersfield manager Jan Siewert felt there was, however, plenty of effort being put into eradicating the problem on home soil.“First of all I appreciate everyone is working against it. Racism should not be tolerated at all and I appreciate the Premier League’s position on that,” he said.“This is an important thing for me.”last_img read more

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Premier League clubs vote to allow VAR replays on big screens

first_imgEnglish Premier League clubs voted on Wednesday to allow replays of incidents reviewed by Video Assistant Referees (VAR) to be shown on big screens in stadiums.“If the VAR believes there is a definitive video-clip which helps explain an overturned decision to fans, it will be broadcast on giant screens,” the Premier League said in a statement.VAR, which allows incidents to be reviewed with the help of video replays, was used at last year’s World Cup in Russia and this season’s Champions League knockout stages and will be implemented in the Premier League from next season.The Premier League confirmed it was also looking at ways for supporters to view the clips on handheld devices via an app.For clubs that do not have giant screens in their stadium, VAR communications will be made through a combination of announcements and messages on scoreboards.The Premier League has also created graphics that will be displayed on giant screens to explain any VAR-related delay to a match, and any overturned decision.VAR has already been in use in other top European leagues such as Germany’s Bundesliga and Spain’s La Liga but replays have never been shown to the supporters inside the stadium, leaving them in the dark while referees take a closer look.last_img read more

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