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Germany win thrilling Davis Cup doubles clash to lead tie vs Australia

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Brisbane :Tim Puetz and Jan-Lennard Struff won a thrilling doubles clash to give Germany a 2-1 lead after the second day of their World Group Davis Cup tie against Australia in Brisbane on Saturday.
The German duo silenced the big crowd at Pat Rafter Arena as they overcame John Peers and Matthew Ebden 6-4, 6-7 (1), 6-2, 6-7 (4), 6-4 in just over three-and-a-quarter hours.
The Germans made a late switch to their doubles team, bringing in Struff for Peter Gojowcyzk.
Struff played alongside Puetz in the World Group playoffs against Portugal last year, when they also won in five sets.
He also made the semi-finals of the Australian Open in doubles last month.
But it was the lesser known Puetz who shone on a gloomy Brisbane afternoon.
The 30-year-old, who is ranked 140 in the world in doubles and 293 in singles, was the more solid of the German pairing, his beautifully disguised forehand constantly causing the Australians trouble.
“He’s in their team for a reason — they’re a world class team and we know to expect the best from them,” Ebden said.
German captain Michael Kohlmann said he had had a good feeling about the match once he knew Australia hadn’t decided to bring Nick Kyrgios in for Ebden.
“In my mind they (Peers and Ebden) hadn’t played together before, or not a lot, and I knew my guys know each other pretty well,” he said.
“In Davis Cup it’s not only about the tennis, it’s also about how you put your emotions together, how you connect.
“And in this I had a feeling that my guys would connect better together.”
The tie will now hinge on Sunday’s first reverse singles between Kyrgios and world number five Alexander Zverev.
“We are in a good position, 2-1 up, but we know it’s not all over,” Kohlmann said.
“I think that if Nick is on, if he’s feeling it, he’s tough to play for everyone, not just Sascha (Zverev).
“If he’s serving like he did on Friday (when he blasted 21 aces past Struff) he’s a tough opponent for everyone.
“I guess that Nick is not orthodox, not a rhythm player. That makes it difficult for Sascha.
“But tomorrow is a different circumstance — Sascha doesn’t have the pressure to deliver at 1-2.
“Being 2-1 up might change the mental game and the mental game right now is pretty big.”


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Ganguly backs Dhawan to shine at ICC World Cup

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Mumbai:There is not a bowler in the world that can stop Shikhar Dhawan when the opener is in determined mood and the left-hander will be crucial to Indias hopes at this years Cricket World Cup, former captain Sourav Ganguly has said.

Dhawan smashed 97 not out off 63 balls in Delhi Capitalsseven-wicket victory against Kolkata Knight Riders in Fridays Indian Premier League (IPL) contest at Eden Gardens, much to the delight of Ganguly, an advisor to the Capitals.

Captain Virat Kohli and his deputy Rohit Sharma are India`s batting mainstays in one-day cricket but Ganguly puts Dhawan, who has 16 centuries from 128 ODIs with a 93-plus strike rate, in the same league.

 

“The three best players in one-day cricket — Dhawan, Rohit, Virat,” Ganguly told the IPL website. “When he (Dhawan) gets set and gets in he`s unstoppable.

“All I expect from him is determination. When he is determined, no bowler in the world can stop him.”

Dhawan`s second fifty of this IPL season, which catapulted Delhi into the top four, augurs well for India ahead of the May 30 to July 14 World Cup in England and Wales.

Along with opening partner Rohit, the onus will be on Dhawan to give India strong starts in the tournament and the southpaw has performed well on English soil.

Named man of the series in their triumphant 2013 Champions Trophy campaign, Dhawan was also the tournament`s leading scorer four years later when India lost in the final to Pakistan.

“If he gets set, he takes the game away. This is how he plays for India,” Ganguly, who led India to the final of the 2003 World Cup, later told reporters. “He`s a class act.”

Two-time champions India begin their World Cup campaign against South Africa in Southampton on June 5.

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Olympique Lyon’s Champions League spot under threat after Nantes defeat

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London: Olympique Lyonnais` Champions League qualifying hopes were hit as they were beaten 2-1 at Nantes in Ligue 1.

Third-placed Lyon, who hold the final Champions League qualifying spot, were undone by Anthony Limbombes late free-kick after Martin Terrier had cancelled out Kalifa Coulibalys opener for Nantes.

Lyon are on 56 points with six games left, six ahead of fourth-placed St Etienne, who play their game in hand at home against Girondins de Bordeaux on Sunday.

 

It was Lyon`s third straight defeat in all competitions after they were knocked out of the French Cup semi-finals by Stade Rennes and lost at home to lowly Dijon in the league last weekend.

The result leaves an even bigger question mark over coach Bruno Genesio`s future, with the club set to make a decision on whether to extend his contract at the end of the season.

With Nabil Fekir, Memphis Depay and Marcelo on the bench, Lyon got off to a bad start.

Coulibaly opened the scoring in the 11th minute after collecting a though ball from Majeed Waris.

Lyon were shaken by the hosts but weathered the storm and equalised one minute before the interval when Terrier curled a fine shot into the back of the net to finish off a counter-attack.

Limbombe earned Nantes victory seven minutes from fulltime with an inch-perfect free-kick, lifting the Canaries up to 15th in the table on 34 points.

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Defender Gomez sign two-year contract extension in East Bengal

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Mumbai: East Bengal fans will heave a huge sigh of relief after their star defender Borja Gomes decided to sign a contract extension with the club and not follow Jobby Justin to go out. The Kolkata-based club is in the process of becoming a part of the ISL next season with I-League’s future looking bleak.

East Bengal came agonizingly close to lift the I-League title yet again this season before Chennai City FC eventually won it as the Kolkata club finished second.And with I-League looking to either get dissolved or set to get demoted to the second division, it was important for East Bengal to finish high on the table.

However, that wasn’t enough for the club to retain their star striker Jobby Justin, who signed a pre-contract with two-time ISL champions ATK just after the I-League ended and the Super Cup was in its quarter-final stage. But, the club was quick to react after that setback and on Friday handed a two-year contract extension to Spanish defender Borja Gomez.

 

“East Bengal FC are pleased to announce the renewal of contract with Borja Gomez Perez for the next two seasons,” the club said in a statement.

“According to him, this is the best team and ‘fans are the best in India’,” the statement added.

The Madrid-born La-Liga star, who is nick-named as the ‘Senapati’, was one of the key members for the club last season and has been a motivator for the team both on and off the field. Gomez has previously played for Granada CF, Real Oviedo, Hercules CF, Real Murcia and more before East Bengal had signed him from UD Sanse in January last year.

East Bengal has already announced their bid for ISL in a board meeting and are currently waiting for the terms to get financially acceptable.

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