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Djokovic beats Del Potro to clinch US Open title

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New York:For Novak Djokovic, a season that got off to a gloomy start is heading for a brilliant finish after he dismissed Juan Martin Del Potro 6-3 7-6(4) 6-3 to win the US Open on Sunday and earn back-to-back Grand Slam titles.
Working his way back from elbow surgery he underwent following the Australian Open, Djokovic did not expect to feature in the Grand Slam picture this season.
But in the last eight weeks the 31-year-old has resembled the Grand Slam machine that held all four major titles at the same time in 2016, wining three of his last four events, including Wimbledon and US Open.
“If you told me in February this year when I got the surgery that I’ll win Wimbledon, US Open, and Cincinnati, would be hard to believe,” said Djokovic, after pushing his career total to 14 Grand Slams to sit equal third with Pete Sampras on the all-time list.
“Life showed me that it takes time for good things, it takes time to really build them, for things to fall into place.
“The last two months have been terrific.” The sixth seed had suffered in the ferocious heat and humidity through the early days of the season’s final Grand Slam but dropped only two sets for the tournament and none since the second round.
Playing on the same court where Sampras claimed his 14th and final Grand Slam crown, Djokovic has endured more disappointment than joy on Arthur Ashe, winning three titles from eight finals.
All that frustration was washed away when he struck the overhead winner to clinch victory over Del Potro, Djokovic falling to his back, arms and legs spread savouring the moment.
“Pete Sampras is one of the biggest legends ever to play the game,” explained Djokovic. “He was my childhood idol.
“There is a lot of significance of me being now shoulder to shoulder in terms of Grand Slam wins with him.
“It’s truly incredible when you think about it. I watched him win one of his first Wimbledon championships, and I grew up playing and thinking that one day I’ll be able to do what he does.
“To actually be here, it’s a dream come true.” Djokovic and Del Potro walked onto Arthur Ashe Stadium court with the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center still buzzing over the controversial women’s final on Saturday, won by Japan’s Naomi Osaka after Serena Williams incurred three code violations.
Britain’s Alison Hughes, the second woman to umpire a US Open men’s singles final, kept a low profile as the two former champions went to work.
The tension and fireworks of the Osaka-Williams clash were left behind during a relatively calm and composed baseline battle between two friends and familiar foes, who had played each other 18 times, with Djokovic holding a commanding 14-4 edge.
While there was joy in victory there was none to be taken from beating a teary Del Potro, who knows the pain of a comeback having undergone four wrist surgeries that caused him to miss 14 Grand Slams and at one point looked to be derailing his career.
Del Potro’s sole Grand Slam title came at the US Open in 2009 and he said it had been an emotional journey back to the Flushing Meadows final.
“I’m very sad for being a loser today but Novak deserved to take the trophy,” said Del Potro, who wept into his hands before being comforted by Djokovic.
“I was playing almost at the limit all the time, looking for winners with my forehands, backhands, and I couldn’t make it because Novak were there every time.
“The worst part to me is the chances that I couldn’t make but then when you see a friend holding the trophy, it’s good, too.
“I’m glad that Novak is the champion.”


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Pakistan announce 15-man squad for World Cup, no place for Amir

Mubashir Bukhari

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LAHORE, Pakistan: Pakistan on Thursday announced their Squad for the upcoming ICC Cricket World Cup 2019.

Pakistan Squad ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 include:

  1. Fakhar Zaman
  2. Imam Ul Haq
  3. Abid Ali
  4. Babar Azam
  5. Shoaib Malik
  6. Mohammad Hafeez
  7. Haris Sohail
  8. Sarfaraz Ahmed (Captain & Wicket Keeper)
  9. Shadab Khan
  10. Imad Wasim
  11. Hassan Ali
  12. Faheem Ashraf
  13. Junaid Khan
  14. Shaheen Shah Afridi
  15. Mohammad Hasnain

The Chief Selector Inzamam Ul Haq also announced Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif for the five-match Series against England.

The 10-nation ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 will be held in England from May 30 to July 14.

 

However prior to that, Pakistan would play one T20 International (T20I) at Cardiff on May 5 and five One Day Internationals (ODIs) against England.

The first match of five-match ODI Series between Pakistan and England will take place at London on May 8, second at Southampton on May 11, third at Bristol on May 14, fourth at Nottingham on May 17, and fifth at Leeds on May 19.

In the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019, Pakistan will play their matches as following schedules;

Two Warm-Ups:

  • On May 24 against Afghanistan at Bristol
  • On May 26 against Bangladesh at Cardiff

World Cup Matches:

  • On May 31 against West Indies at Nottingham
  • On June 3 against England at Nottingham
  • On June 7 against Sri Lanka at Bristol
  • On June 12 against Australia at Taunton
  • On June 16 against India at Manchester
  • On June 23 against South Africa at London
  • On June 26 against New Zealand at Birmingham
  • On June 29 against Afghanistan at Leeds
  • On July 5 against Bangladesh at London

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Finch expects ‘no issues’ with Smith, Warner’s return

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London: Australian skipper Aaron Finch has welcomed the return of Steve Smith and David Warner into the national squad, saying that the duo’s comeback would not be of any issues to the team.

Former skipper Smith and vice-captain Warner are all set to make a return to the international arena after being named in the 15-member Australian squad for the 2019 International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup, which is slated to take place in England and Wales from May 30 to July 14.

Smith and Warner are currently playing for Rajasthan and Hyderabad respectively in the Indian Premier League (IPL) after serving their one-year bans for their role in the ball-tampering scandal that took place in South Africa in March 2018.

 

Reflecting on their return, Finch said that the pair had done everything they were asked for in the last couple of months and, therefore, there would be no problem with Smith and Warner coming into the side.

“As far as I’m concerned, they’ve done everything they’ve been asked in this last 12 months. They were very good around the group and continuing to do everything they can, that’s in the best interests of the side, and that’s a real key,” the ICC quoted Finch as saying.

“Knowing them both personally as well as I do, I don’t think that will be any kind of issue whatsoever. They’re both great guys and I can’t see there being any kinds of issues,” he added.

Echoing similar views, chief selector Trevor Hohns said that the duo’s reintegration into the team would be seamless.

“I’m quite comfortable and quite confident that they know what is expected and they know the environment they are stepping into, which is quite different to when they left,” he said.

Hohns further expressed confidence that Smith and Warner would cope well with the potential backlashing from English crowds.

“Probably going to England there will certainly be a little bit of aggro.I’m sure everyone expects that, particularly the two players themselves. The team will come in for a bit of heckling I would say,” he said.

Australia will kickstart their campaign at the 2019 ICC World Cup against Afghanistan on June 1.

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Ajax eliminate Ronaldo’s Juventus with scintillating display

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TURIN: Ajax Amsterdam followed up their elimination of Real Madrid by producing a spell-binding display of inventive, passing football to win 2-1 away to Juventusand end the Serie A team`s dreams of winning the Champions League.

Ajax`s 19-year-old captain Matthijs de Ligt headed the winner from the corner in the 67th minute of the quarter-final second leg as the Dutch side came from behind to clinch a 3-2 aggregate win and reach the last four for the first time since 1996/97.

Cristiano Ronaldo, aiming for a fourth successive Champions League title after winning the last three with Real Madrid, put Juventus ahead in the 28th minute with a typically emphatic header, his sixth goal of the competition.

 

But Donny van de Beek levelled six minutes later before the visitors swept Juventus aside in the second half with wave after wave of attacks as they earned a semi-final against Manchester City or Tottenham Hotspur.

“Can we can go on to win the competition? Well, we are in the semi-finals now. And we have eliminated two of the favourites in the last two rounds. The next games will be very difficult, but so were these ones. So who knows?,” said De Ligt.

Frenkie de Jong added: “We dominated after the break and were well worth our victory. In fact, we probably should have won by more.”

Ajax goalkeeper Andre Onana gave his team an early scare when his clearance was charged down by Emre Can but the rebound flew wide.

Ajax settled well after that but, despite not playing well, Juventus went ahead when Ronaldo got away from the defenders to score the 126th Champions League goal of his career.

There was a long delay for the VAR review, the referee eventually going to the pitchside monitor with the ball back on the centre circle ready for the re-start, before the goal was confirmed.

Ajax kept their cool and took six minutes to level, helped by a somewhat lucky break.

Hakim Ziyech`s long-range shot hit a defender and fell perfectly for Van de Beek who, unmarked and onside, slotted the ball calmly past Wojciech Szczesny, and then had to wait for another long VAR check before the goal was confirmed.

Ajax took complete control in the second half and their geometric passing repeatedly opened up the Juventus defence, which sorely missed injured veteran Giorgio Chiellini.

Szczesny made one-handed save from Ziyech after Juventus were opened up again and then turned Van de Beeks curling shot over for a corner. Juventus were rocking but, ironically, Ajaxs winner came from an old-fashioned header as De Ligt outjumped two defenders to score.

Ajax had chances for further goals and Ronaldo`s frustration boiled over in stoppage time when he was booked for a lunging tackle from behind near the centre circle.

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