SHANGHAI: Novak Djokovic, the hottest player on the men’s tour in the second half of the year, stepped up his bid to dethrone Rafael Nadal from the top of the world rankings with a 6-3, 7-5 win over Frenchman Jeremy Chardy in the second round of the Shanghai Masters.
The 31-year-old Serb was playing his first match on the ATP tour since lifting his 14th Grand Slam title at the US Open last month and looked in complete control as he won 34 of 40 points on his first-serve to book a place in the last 16.
Djokovic, who received a first-round bye, could pass Roger Federer at number two in world rankings if he reaches Sunday’s final. Nadal’s lead at the top will be trimmed as he is skipping the Asian swing to recover from a knee injury.
The Serb’s victory improved his perfect record against the 41st-ranked Chardy to 12-0 in matches played, and 28-0 in sets won, and will play either Italy’s Marco Cecchinato or South Korea’s Chung Hyeon next.
Fifth-seeded Marin Cilic became the highest seed toppled in Shanghai when 48th-ranked Nicolas Jarry of Chile rebounded for a 2-6, 7-6 (8-6), 7-5 second-round win.
Cilic served for the match at 5-4 in the third set but couldn’t. Jarry won the next two games to advance to the third round.
World number seven Dominic Thiem’s bid to qualify for the next month’s ATP World Tour Finals suffered a blow as the sixth seed was edged out 6-4, 6-7 (8-10), 7-6 (7-4) by Australian Matthew Ebden.
Thiem, who also received a first-round bye, struggled to find his rhythm in a tightly contested encounter which lasted two hours and 45 minutes.
A couple of champions from last weekend also progressed.
Nikoloz Basilashvili, who downed Juan Martin del Potro for the China Open title on Sunday, won his sixth straight match after beating Canadian Denis Shapovalov 6-2, 6-2 in just under an hour to open his Shanghai account.
Up to a career-high ranking of 23, Basilashvili never faced a break point on his serve. The 26-year-old Georgian earned his first win in Shanghai after qualifying in 2015 and 2017 and will meet fourth-seeded German Alexander Zverev in the second round.
Daniil Medvedev, who upset Kei Nishikori to win the Japan Open on Sunday, struggled but beat Chinese wild card Zhang Ze 3-6, 7-6 (8-6), 6-4.
Briton Kyle Edmund, who moved to a career-high ranking of 14 this week, continued his impressive run in Asia with a 7-5, 6-3 win over Serbia’s Filip Krajinovic. Also, French qualifier Benoit Paire upset 15th-seeded Pablo Carreno Busta 6-3, 6-4.
Stokes, Hales fined but free to play for England
London : All-rounder Ben Stokes and right-hand batsman Alex Hales were fined for their involvement in a nightclub altercation but were cleared to play for England after match bans were either suspended or declared served.
The duo had appeared before a two-day disciplinary hearing after the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) charged the pair with bringing the game into disrepute following the September 2017 incident in Bristol.
Stokes was handed an eight-match ban by the disciplinary panel, which accepted that he had already missed that number of games and, therefore, remained eligible for immediate selection.
The player, who was cleared of affray at Bristol crown court last August, was also fined a total of 30,000 pounds ($38,193.00) with half to be paid to charity.
Hales, who faced no criminal charges, was given a six-match ban from England white-ball (one day) matches, of which two had been missed already and the rest were suspended for 12 months — leaving him also available for selection.
He was fined a total of 17,500 pounds, with 10,000 of that sum also suspended.
The pair, who have both resumed their international careers, had risked anything from a warning to the termination of contract.
Each was charged with two counts of breaching an ECB directive concerning acts “which may be prejudicial to the interests of cricket or which may bring the ECB, the game of cricket or any cricketer or group of cricketers into disrepute.”
England take on West Indies in three Tests, five one-day internationals and three Twenty20 internationals from January to March.
Stokes had been accused of knocking out Ryan Ali and Ryan Hale in a brawl in Bristol, southwest England, just hours after he had played in a one-day international against the West Indies in September last year.
His lawyer had said in a statement after he was cleared of affray that the case had cost the player the England vice-captaincy as well as his place on an Ashes tour to Australia and other England matches.
“Cricket and family are my life,” the 27-year-old Stokes said in a statement on the ECB`s website.”This incident has been a huge burden for the last 15 months. I am relieved to get back to playing the game that I love without this hanging over me.Although the disciplinary process is now over, I have learned lessons that will stay with me for much longer,” he added.
Guardiola confident Man City will not face Champions League ban
London : Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola says he has received assurances from the club`s hierarchy that they will not be banned from the Champions League over allegations of a breach of UEFA Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules.
European football’s governing body are investigating allegations made in German publication Der Spiegel last month that City`s Abu Dhabi owners inflated sponsorship agreements in order to comply with FFP requirements.
In response, Premier League champions City said information had been “hacked” and that they were victims of an “organised and clear” attempt to damage the club`s reputation.
Punishment for clubs found guilty of breaking the rules could extend to being excluded from the Champions League.
Guardiola, appointed with the task of trying to win Europe`s biggest club prize, said he was calm about the situation.
“We will not be banned, no. That`s what I think because I trust in my chairman (Khaldoon al-Mubarak), with my CEO (Ferran Soriano), what they have explained to me. I trust in them,” the Spaniard was quoted as saying by British media.
“If it happens, because UEFA decide that, we will accept it and move forward.”
Der Spiegel`s report, based on documents received by the whistle blower platform Football Leaks and reviewed by Reuters, in partnership with European Investigative Collaborations, a network of international media, alleged that some of City`s Abu Dhabi sponsorships were three times more lucrative than independent experts deemed they were worth.
City said the claims were “erroneous conclusions and assertions.”
KU students bags gold medal in 4th International Thang Ta Championship
Srinagar: Adil Pervaiz Wani -a student of The Business School (MBA-FM) University of Kashmir brought laurels to the Varsity by winning Gold medal in 80+kg weight category in 4th International Thang Ta Championship held at Imphal Manipur after defeating the counterparts from Nepal, Bangladesh, Thailand and eventually Russia in the finals.
A felicitation ceremony was organised by Directorate of Physical Education and Sports University of Kashmir to honour Adil Parvaiz for shining the name of University at international level.
Dr. Nisar Ahmad Khan, Coordinator Directorate of Physical Education and Sports KU voluntarily presented cash prize as a goodwill gesture for encouragement to Adil Parvaiz and praised his efforts and performance at international level.
He also assured all possible support to him and other athletes in future too.
Dr Khan appreciated the efforts of State Thang Ta Association for deputing him for the event and supporting talented students who excel at National and International level.