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Sharapova, Kvitova crash out; Nadal, Djokovic enter 2nd round

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London:Maria Sharapova suffered her first opening round Wimbledon defeat and earliest Grand Slam exit in eight years when she was shocked by fellow Russian Vitalia Diatchenko, the world number 132.
Sharapova, the 2004 champion, was joined yesterday at the exit by 2011 and 2014 winner Petra Kvitova who was stunned by Belarusian world number 50 Aliaksandra Sasnovich.
However, two-time men’s champion Rafael Nadal and three-time winner Novak Djokovic eased into the second round.
Sharapova was cruising to victory at one stage on Court Two with a set and 5-2 lead before qualifier Diatchenko shrugged off a back injury to win 6-7 (3/7) 7-6 (7/3) 6-4 after more than three hours of tense action.
Sharapova, playing Wimbledon for the first time in three years after missing 2016 through a drugs ban and 2017 due to injury, gave up the match on her 11th double fault.
It was her earliest exit at a Slam since a first round defeat at the 2010 Australian Open.
“It’s always tough to assess your motivation levels after a first round loss but I won’t shy away from learning from my errors,” said 31-year-old Sharapova.
Eighth seed Kvitova was the bookmakers’ favourite for a third Wimbledon crown after winning five titles in 2018, including the grass-court tournament at Birmingham last weekend, while amassing an WTA Tour-leading 38 match victories.
But she slumped to a disappointing 6-4 4-6 6-0 loss to Sasnovich.
“When I was younger, I played better on the Grand Slams than the other tournaments. Now is the time when I’m playing better on the other tournaments than the Grand Slams,” said the 28-year-old Czech.


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India batsmen will struggle if Australia bowlers find swing: Ponting

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Mumbai:Former Australia skipper Ricky Ponting feels that Indian batsmen will struggle Down Under in the four-Test series later this year if the embattled Aussie bowlers find swing during the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
The world No 1 Test team’s 1-4 thrashing in England has raised Australian hopes amid gloom as they prepare to take on Virat Kohli’s inconsistent side that has lost six out of eight Tests overseas in 2018 so far.
After losing 1-2 in South Africa, India went to England hoping to end their misery but were humiliated once again by James Anderson and Co, powered by swing and seam. India last won a Test in Australia about a decade ago.
“If the ball does swing or seam around a lot then India will find it difficult in Australia. Any time we saw India struggle through the England series was when the ball moved,” Ponting was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au.
“As soon as the ball started to move in the air, or seam, the Indian batsmen will always struggle. It’s no different to when Australia go to the subcontinent and the ball spins from Day 1. We always struggle with that as well.”
Ponting added that barring South Africa, no team has been successful playing away from home.
“It’s a 22-yard strip and you’ve got to find a way to get the job done. Most teams find it difficult (to win in Australia) and that’s the way Test cricket has been for a long time. South Africa are the team over the last 10-15 years that have been able to do it more than anyone else,” he said.
The former Australia captain said captaincy is 30-40 percent being in control of what is happening on the field. “I’ve never sat back and tried to analyse what playing captains do as I know when I was captain on field is about 30-40 per cent of what you need to be in control of,” Ponting said.
“The rest of it happens behind closed doors or in the change rooms and quite often back in the hotel when you’ve got time to yourself. Trying to find ways to spend time with your teammates, learn about them inside out and trying to find a way to make them perform better on the field.”
India’s tour of Australia 2018-19 begins on November 21 with a three-match T20I series, followed by four-Test series and will conclude with a three-match ODI series in mid-January.

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I don’t have to prove anything to anyone: Jadeja

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Dubai :Ravindra Jadeja kept count of the number of days he was out of India’s One-day squad. Once in, he made it count with four wickets and stated “I don’t have” to prove anything to anyone.
The left-arm spinner, who is also a handy bat, returned, in his own words, after around 480 days, with very impressive figures of 4/29 and bagged the Man-of-the-Match Award in India’s seven-wicket win over Bangladesh in the Asia Cup.
“I will always remember this comeback because I returned to the team after a gap of around 480 days. The earlier gaps have not been this long,” Jadeja told reporters at the post-match press conference. Making a statement of sorts, he said, “I don’t have to prove anything to anyone. What my ability is, I need to sharpen it. I don’t have to show anyone what I can do. I need to challenge myself.”
With less than a year left for the 2019 World Cup, Jadeja might have sent a timely reminder to the selectors about his prowess but said that he was not thinking that far ahead. “The World Cup is still some time away, we’re going to play a lot of matches before that, and I can’t comment on that yet. My ambition is to perform the way I did today whenever I get the opportunity. Can’t think about it now. My focus is to perform in this series.”
Jadeja, back in the Indian One-Day International team for the first time since July 2017, foxed the Bangladesh batting line-up with his smart bowling. “Even in Test cricket, because the last few series have been overseas, I haven’t been getting chances consistently. So I was determined that whenever I get the chance I will perform, that’s all that I can control. I was only focused about my own game and how I can improve further,” he said.
The Saurashtra cricketer is known for his ability to bowl his spinning deliveries quickly. “On a normal wicket, the ball goes through quickly after bouncing so it doesn’t give the batsman as much time. But on a slow wicket you have to bowl with more effort,” said Jadeja.
Regarding the last-minute developments prior to his latest limited overs comeback, he said, “I didn’t know that I got a call for the one-day team because I was playing in the Vijay Hazare trophy. I didn’t know what is going on here. Day before, I got a call from one of the selectors who asked me to be ready as I might have to go to Dubai.”
“I was playing Test cricket. The last few series were away so I didn’t play any role in them. I was concentrating on what is in my control, how to improve my game in away conditions. When I got a chance in England, I did well. Here, unfortunately, Axar (Patel) got injured and I got my opportunity and did well.”
Asked about Sunday’s Super Four match against arch-rivals Pakistan, he said, “Be it India-Pakistan or any other country, playing for India is a matter of pride. But India-Pakistan is something everyone is excited about.”

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Dhawan achieves unique feat as India beat Bangladesh

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Dubai: India remained unbeaten in the ongoing Asia Cup 2018 tournament after easing past Bangladesh in their first Super Four encounter, beating them by seven wickets.
While stand-in skipper Rohit Sharma played a captain’s knock of 83 runs, Shikhar Dhawan too played his part by contributing 40 runs.
However, early on during the Pakistan innings, Dhawan achieved a unique feat after he claimed four catches in the match, becoming the seventh Indian fielder to do so in an ODI.
The 32-year-old completed the catches of Nazmul Hossain Shanto, Shakib Al Hasan, Mehidy Hasan and Mustafizur Rahman as Bangladesh faltered to 173 runs.
In terms of this achievement, this list includes the likes of Sunil Gavaskar ( vs Pakistan, 1985), Mohammad Azharuddin (vs Pakistan 1997), Sacxhin Tendulkar (vs Pakistan, 1998), Rahul Dravid (vs West Indies 1999), Mohammad Kaif (vs Sri Lanka, 2003) and VVS Laxman ( vs Zimbabwe , 2004).
India will once again lock horns with Pakistan on Sunday, this time in the Super Four stage. Their upcoming match comes just days after a dominant Men in Blue team outclassed Sarfraz Ahmed’s men by eight wickets in their Group A encounter.

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