Tennis News Novak Djokovic stays on course for record seventh Miami Open title

first_imgSimona Halep lost the top ranking after Naomi Osaka won Australian Open.Simona Halep could face Venus Williams in Miami Open.Andre Agassi has won most Miami Open titles with six. Djokovic moved 5-2 ahead but after he missed a set point opportunity on the Delbonis serve, his game deserted him and suddenly, the South American had a spring in his step. Delbonis had opportunities to steal ahead, yet calling on all his experience and mental resolve, the Serbian was able to hold firm and take the opener. The world number one was getting incredibly frustrated , he received a warning for racquet abuse and was furious for allowing a 3-1 lead to slip in the second, yet credit to Delbonis who stayed calm and served out confidently to force a decider, something which looked beyond him midway through the opening set.  He couldn’t keep the pressure on, however, and when Djokovic managed to get 3-1 ahead, this time there was no way back for the 28 year-old from Azul who rightly received an ovation from the center court crowd for his monumental efforts. “I think last four games were terrific, so I ended up in a positive way,” Djokovic added.  Defending champion John Isner blew Spain’s Albert Ramos-Vinolas off court with serves touching 139 mph as the American sealed an ultimately comprehensive 7-5, 7-6 (8-6) win to set up an intriguing match with Kyle Edmund in the last 16 after the British number one impressively saw off Canadian Milos Raonic 6-4 6-4. In the women’s draw, Simona Halep kept alive hopes of regaining the world number one ranking Sunday, beating Polona Hercog 5-7, 7-6 (7/1), 6-2 to reach the last 16 where she will play Venus Williams. Halep, 27, lost her place at the top of the rankings following Naomi Osaka’s triumph at the Australian Open earlier this year. But with the Japanese faltering here on Saturday, Halep can return to the position she last held at the end of 2018 if she lands the Miami Open for the first time.”It’s always tough against Venus,” said the current world number three, who has beaten the American in their previous three encounters. “I’m not going to say that it’s going to be easier because I won the last matches against her. It’s a big challenge for me.” Seven-time Grand Slam champion Williams, meanwhile, swept past Russian Daria Kasatkina 6-3, 6-1. “Simona always plays flawless tennis against me, so I have to be ready for that,” Williams said. Elsewhere in women’s action, American Sloane Stephens’s title defense ended in a 6-3, 6-2 loss to Germany’s Tatjana Maria. It was another disappointing ending for Stephens, who fell in the third round at Indian Wells. Miami: Novak Djokovic remains on course for a record seventh Miami Open title, but the world number one admitted to a loss of focus in a 7-5, 4-6, 6-1 victory over spirited Federico Delbonis which booked his place in the last 16. Djokovic is hoping to eclipse Andre Agassi’s six ATP crowns in South Florida over the next week and although the 31-year-old endured some shaky moments at Hard Rock Stadium, he still possessed enough quality during the key moments to see off the battling Delbonis. The Serbian, though, wasn’t happy with letting a 5-2 advantage slip in the first set and became furious with himself as the second squirmed from his grasp. He will need to tighten up his game if he is to reach next Sunday’s final with Roberto Bautista Agut waiting in the fourth round after the Spaniard defeated Italian Fabio Fognini 6-4, 6-4. “To be honest, I lost my focus,” said Djokovic who smashed 36 winners compared to 24 from Delbonis. “I should have done better I think mentally than I have done at the end of the first two sets. “I managed to really play well last couple games of first set, go up a break, put myself in front, then I played a couple of really bad service games. Credit to Federico, he stepped in.” Djokovic had looked impressive in the second round win over Bernard Tomic and the Serbian continued his decent form by immediately imposing himself onto the Argentine.  highlights For all the Latest Sports News News, Tennis News News, Download News Nation Android and iOS Mobile Apps.last_img read more

Rockets hang on to defeat Thunder, move on to West semis

first_imgJAMES Harden capped a miserable shooting performance with timely defensive play, and Houston Rockets held on for a 104-102 victory over Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 7 of their Western Conference first-round playoff series on Wednesday near Orlando.Harden closed out on Thunder guard Luguentz Dort and recorded a blocked shot with 4.8 seconds left and Houston clinging to a one-point lead. Following a Robert Covington free throw, Rockets blew up an inbounds play from Thunder with 1.1 seconds left to clinch the series and set a date opposite Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference semifinals.Game 1 of that series is set for today in the AdventHealth Arena at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Dort produced a game-high 30 points on 6-for-12 3-point shooting, the highest scoring total for an undrafted rookie in a Game 7. But Rockets clamped down elsewhere defensively, forcing Thunder guard Chris Paul into six turnovers while holding Dennis Schroder to 5-of-17 shooting.Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander matched Paul with 19 points and hit a corner 3-pointer that gave Thunder a 102-101 lead with 1:42 remaining. But those were the final points of the game for the Thunder, who committed 22 turnovers that Houston converted into 28 points. Harden shot just 4 of 15 and had a series-low 17 points. But he added nine assists and received help from his teammates, with Covington posting 21 points 10 rebounds three steals three blocks. Eric Gordon matched Covington with 21 points while Russell Westbrook chipped in 20 points nine boards.Paul added 11 rebounds 12 assists to complete a triple-double. Neither team led by more than eight points in a contest that featured 13 ties and 15 lead changes. With Harden off to a woeful shooting start, missing 5 of 6 shot attempts, Covington, Gordon and Westbrook carried Rockets offensively in the first quarter by recording six points apiece. But Thunder led by just one point entering the second quarter despite shooting 11 of 20 from the floor by virtue of seven first-period turnovers that Rockets converted into 10 points.Dort caught fire in the second, pouring in a dozen points during one stretch before Rockets wrestled away control. Gordon and Covington combined for 30 points as Houston led 61-59 at the intermission. (Field Level Media).last_img read more

Women take third, men 20th at NCAA Track and Field Championships

first_imgKatie Chin | Daily TrojanTrojan spirit · Freshman Kayla Richardson and the USC track team finished their season last weekend at the NCAA Championships. The men’s team came in 20th at the end of the four-day meet in Eugene, Ore., and the women’s squad boosted itself to third place with a strong final day.The USC track team finished its NCAA Championships on Saturday, as the six-month season culminated in last week’s meet against the nation’s elite programs at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore. The men’s squad finished 20th overall and second among Pac-12 schools — behind only ninth-place host Oregon. The Trojans clinched a third overall finish on the women’s side, sliding in behind the champion Ducks and runner-up Georgia.The men kicked off the NCAA Championships on Wednesday, and USC scored six points to end the first day of the meet tied for 14th in a field of 78 teams. Redshirt juniors Eric Sloan and Nick Ponzio finished sixth in the long jump and shot put, respectively. Freshman Michael Norman punched a ticket to the 400m dash finals alongside redshirt sophomore Marquís Morris, who qualified for Friday’s 110m hurdles finals.USC’s women began their quest for a national title on Thursday, and the Trojans matched their male counterparts identically on the scoreboard, ending the day in 14th place with six points. Unlike the previous day, however, USC scored thanks to one third-place finish from redshirt senior Brittany Mann, and eight Trojans also advanced to Saturday’s event finals.Norman and Morris returned to action on Friday, as they looked to score points in the men’s event finals. Norman took home fourth in the 400m dash with a personal-best time of 44.88 seconds. The performance earned USC five points and also marked the fifth-fastest time ever run by a Trojan in the 400m final. Norman also improved on his program freshman record and earned a seventh-place standing on USC’s all-time list.Morris scored three points after finishing sixth in the 110m hurdles finals, becoming the first USC runner to score in the event since 2014. The Trojans finished the NCAA Championships with a total of 14 points, which tied them with Penn State for 20th overall.Finally, USC ended the weekend with a bang on Saturday, as the women’s event finals lifted the team to a third-place finish. The Trojans’ 43 points overall were the program’s most since a 57-point showing more than a decade ago (2002).Freshman Anna Cockrell and senior Amalie Iuel headlined USC’s final day at Hayward Field, as the pair clinched a 2-3 finish in the 400m hurdles to score 14 key points. Cockrell clocked a season-best time of 55.36 seconds, moving up to third on the program’s all-time list. Cockrell also scored a point for the Trojans with an eighth-place finish in the 100m hurdles alongside redshirt sophomore Dior Hall, who came in seventh.Junior Kendall Ellis earned USC’s final top-three finish of the weekend, as she took third in the 400m dash final with a time of 51.06 seconds. Senior Cameron Pettigrew trailed in seventh place (52.52) to combine with Ellis for eight points. Redshirt sophomore Ky Westbrook and junior Deanna Hill rounded out the individual Trojan scoring with eighth and sixth-place finishes in the 100m and 200m dash, respectively.The championships’ pivotal moment came in the final event, however, as USC’s 4x400m relay team claimed second to boost the Trojans from sixth to third place overall, leapfrogging Florida and Kentucky. Pettigrew, Ieul, Hill and Ellis’ combined time of 3:23.35 beat the previous collegiate record of 3:23.75, but Oregon still finished 0.22 seconds ahead of USC to set the new record and clinch a national title. With only eight seniors graduating from a deep roster before the start of next season, the Trojans now set their sights on next spring, when they will look to build on their strong showing in Eugene.last_img read more

Eagles Not Taking Egypt Friendly Lightly, Says Rohr

first_imgNigeria’s Franco-German Coach, Gernot Rohr, has revealed that his wards will not be taking their international friendly against Egypt lightly.The Super Eagles and the Pharaohs will meet in a friendly game at the Stephen Keshi Stadium in Asaba on March 26.The fixture is expected to be played four days after the two teams are scheduled to wrap up their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying campaign: Nigeria will be at home to the Seychelles in Group E, while Egypt is away to Niger in Group J. Gernot Rohr The qualifying matches are both dead rubbers, as the West and North Africa heavyweights have already secured their berths at this year’s AFCON.In addition, Egypt was on Tuesday confirmed as the hosts for the tournament (following the Confederation of African Football’s decision to strip Cameroon of the rights in November last year). The country defeated South Africa in the Executive Committee voting process 16-1 on Tuesday morning.Both Nigeria and Egypt can be considered genuine contenders for the 2019 AFCON title and the meeting on March 26 will be a key part of both camps’ preparations – something Rohr has already alluded to.“I and my assistants are not taking the friendly match against Egypt lightly,” Rohr told Nigeria’s Football Live.“In fact we are planning to win the friendly match in preparations for the Africa Cup of Nations this year.”Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegramlast_img read more