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Demolition Man
Reuters

Demolition Man

Rafa beats Djokovic 7-6 (4) 6-3 in semis to seek eighth Italian Open title20 May 2018 | 2:33 AM

ROME:Rafael Nadal closed in on an eighth Rome Masters title as he dismissed old rival Novak Djokovic 7-6 (7/4) 6-3 to reach the final for a record-extending 10th time.

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Rome, May 19

Rafael Nadal closed in on an eighth Rome Masters title as he dismissed old rival Novak Djokovic 7-6 (7/4) 6-3 to reach the final for a record-extending 10th time.

The last-4 success will give the Spanish top seed added confidence ahead of the French Open, where he has won a record 10 titles. Nadal, still unbeaten in semifinals at the Foro Italico, unleashed a trademark claycourt attack after winning a tight first set lasting well over an hour.

The 31-year-old world No. 2 cut the deficit in his head-to-head series with Djokovic to 26-25, after their 51st meeting since first facing off in 2006. But the Serb complained afterwards about poor scheduling which affected his preparation, playing a late-afternoon quarterfinal on Friday before returning to court on Saturday mid-afternoon.

Djokovic has rediscovered his form this week after months of elbow injury problems, including an operation earlier this year.

Nadal now stands 10-8 over Djokovic in semifinals, with the pair having played each other at all four Grand Slam tournaments, the ATP Finals, Davis Cup, the Olympics along with eight of the nine Masters 1000 events.

Nadal took 73 minutes to win the opening set after leading 5-2. But to take the early lead, the top seed had to avoid being reeled in by Djokovic. Djokovic battled back to 5-5 with a break of the Spaniard before the set went to a tie-break, which Nadal took on the first of two set points with a backhand winner down the line. Nadal took a 2-1 lead in the second set with another break of Djokovic and never lost control. The top seed wonhis second match point as he fired another untouchable backhand. Alexander Zverev meets Marin Cilic in the other semifinal.

Simona Halep beat Maria Sharapova 4-6 6-1 6-4 and Elina Svitolina beat Anett Kontaveit 6-4 6-3 in the women’s semifinals. — Agencies


Clash of Heavyweights

Djokovic 26 vs 25 Nadal

Djokovic leads Nadal 26-25 in career head-to-head record. Djokovic also leads 14-10 in tournament finals

  • 2 Nadal’s second consecutive win over Djokovic, after winning at last year’s Madrid Masters 
  • 7 Consecutive wins Djokovic had over Nadal prior to 2017 Madrid Masters: The Serb had not lost to Nadal in 7 matches in 2015-16. In 2013-16, Djokovic led 12-4
  • 4 Consecutive wins by Djokovic over Nadal in 2013-14. In these two years, Djokovic had a 5-4 win-loss record against Nadal
  • 7 Wins in a row for Djokovic against Nadal in 2011-12, including in the finals of Wimbledon, US Open and Australian Open
  • 5 Most consecutive wins recorded by Nadal over Djokovic, in 2008-09
Chelsea edge Man United to win FA Cup

Chelsea edge Man United to win FA Cup

20 May 2018 | 2:33 AM

LONDON:Eden Hazard’s first-half penalty proved decisive as Chelsea salvaged their season by beating Manchester United 1-0 in the FA Cup final in what is widely expected to be manager Antonio Conte’s swansong on Saturday.

In battle royale, Bangalore have their heads spinning

In battle royale, Bangalore have their heads spinning

20 May 2018 | 2:51 AM

JAIPUR:Rahul Tripathi’s half-century and leg-spinner Shreyas Gopal’s four-for helped Rajasthan Royals beat Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) by 30 runs in their Indian Premier League match.

Adieu gigi

Adieu gigi

20 May 2018 | 2:33 AM

TURIN:Italy great Gianluigi Buffon played his final game for Juventus on Saturday before tearfully exiting after a trophy-laden 17-year career in a 2-1 win over already relegated Verona.

Real fans return tickets, Liverpool supporters weigh up travel options

20 May 2018 | 2:33 AM

LONDON:More than 2,000 Real Madrid fans have been forced to return their tickets to next Saturday’s Champions League final against Liverpool due to the logistical complications and costs involved in travelling to Kiev.

Hockey girls hold  S Korea to a draw

Hockey girls hold S Korea to a draw

20 May 2018 | 2:33 AM

Young forward Lalremsiami’s equaliser earned India a 1-1 draw against South Korea in the last round-robin match at the fifth Asian Champions Trophy women’s hockey tournament today.

Uphill task for shuttlers at Thomas and Uber Cup

20 May 2018 | 2:33 AM

BANGKOK:A young Indian team, led by Saina Nehwal and HS Prannoy, faces the arduous task of punching above its weight at the Thomas and Uber Cup, which starts here tomorrow.

These final hours not passing easily: Iniesta

These final hours not passing easily: Iniesta

20 May 2018 | 2:33 AM

BARCELONA:FC Barcelona bid their official farewell to long-time captain Andres Iniesta with an event at Camp Nou that highlighted the legendary midfielder’s role in the team’s tremendous success over the past decade.

In Brief

Lahiri cards 67 despite missing putts in Round 2

20 May 2018 | 2:33 AM

Anirban Lahiri shot a 4-under 67 in the second round to make the cut comfortably in the tied-20th place at the AT&T Byron Nelson Championships golf tournament.

Absolute stunner

Absolute stunner

19 May 2018 | 2:32 AM

NEW DELHI:Delhi Daredevils restored some pride with an upset 34-run win over formidable Chennai Super Kings in a dead rubber of the Indian Premier League.

Foreign coaches under scanner, bad Asiad can lead to sacking

Foreign coaches under scanner, bad Asiad can lead to sacking

19 May 2018 | 2:14 AM

NEW DELHI:The Sports Authority of India (SAI) and Sports Ministry have got into a perform-or-perish mode: Non-performing athletes and coaches are in the line of fire.

Former captains flip out over plans to scrap coin toss

Former captains flip out over plans to scrap coin toss

19 May 2018 | 2:14 AM

NEW DELHI:The proposal to scrap the time-honoured tradition of a coin toss prior to Test matches defies logic and should not be considered, according to several former South Asian cricket captains.

Boxing trials for Asiad only if needed: Nieva

19 May 2018 | 2:14 AM

NEW DELHI:The Indian boxing team’s selection for the Asian Games will be completed by the end of next month after an assessment of the pugilists’ international performance and the selection trials will be held only if it is too close to call in any weight category, High Performance Director Santiago Nieva said on Friday.

India up for Korean test

19 May 2018 | 2:14 AM

The Indian women’s hockey team will take on hosts South Korea in its last round-robin match at the fifth women’s Asian Champions Trophy tomorrow.

Stop whingeing, get on with the game, Warne tells Aussies

Stop whingeing, get on with the game, Warne tells Aussies

19 May 2018 | 2:14 AM

MELBOURNE:Spin legend Shane Warne has urged the current Australian cricket team to stop “whingeing” and get on with the game.

Lahiri opens with 68, lies at T-44

19 May 2018 | 2:14 AM

DALLAS (US):Anirban Lahiri shot a 3-under 68 in the opening round to be tied-44th at the AT&T Byron Nelson Championships golf tournament.

Star  wars

Star wars

19 May 2018 | 2:14 AM

ROME:Rafael Nadal brushed aside Canadian teenager Denis Shapovalov with a 6-4 6-1 victory at the Italian Open as Novak Djokovic showed he is on the comeback trail by reaching his first quarterfinal of 2018.

Mourinho says Conte feud over ahead of FA Cup final

Mourinho says Conte feud over ahead of FA Cup final

19 May 2018 | 2:14 AM

LONDON:Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho says the bitter feud between himself and Chelsea counterpart Antonio Conte has ended ahead of the sides’ meeting in Saturday’s FA Cup final.

England’s Hart broken over World Cup snub

19 May 2018 | 2:14 AM

london: Former England first choice goalkeeper Joe Hart admitted he is finding it hard to accept being omitted from the England World Cup squad by Gareth Southgate.

Briefly

‘Achieved targets meant for US trip within India’

18 May 2018 | 1:46 AM

They couldn’t make it to the Michael Johnson Centre due to visa hassles but the setback didn’t come in the way of the Indian boxers achieving their training targets at an institute within the country, High Performance Director Santiago Nieva said today.

Back from beyond

Back from beyond

18 May 2018 | 1:54 AM

BENGALURU:AB de Villiers and Moeen Ali struck breezy half-centuries as Royal Challengers Bangalore held their nerves under pressure to eke out a 14-run win over table-toppers Sunrisers Hyderabad in a must-win match and stay afloat in the Indian Premier League here on Thursday.

‘Skipped camp due to injury’

‘Skipped camp due to injury’

18 May 2018 | 1:46 AM

NEW DELHI:A day after news emerged that 15 wrestlers, including the four Phogat sisters, had been axed from the national camp, Geeta Phogat said that the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) knew of her and her sisters’ whereabouts.

Indian market is a strength, not weakness: ICC CEO

18 May 2018 | 1:46 AM

NEW DELHI:The International Cricket Council (ICC) chief executive Dave Richardson has played down ICC’s SWOT analysis that listed overreliance on revenues from India as a “weakness”.

Warner to play club cricket  in Sydney

Warner to play club cricket in Sydney

18 May 2018 | 1:46 AM

SYDNEY:Banned Australia batsman David Warner will attempt to get his career back on track by playing the start of the Sydney grade cricket season with Randwick Petersham.

Now, Bhajji questions India’s reluctance to play D-N Test

Now, Bhajji questions India’s reluctance to play D-N Test

18 May 2018 | 1:51 AM

NEW DELHI:India must shed their apprehensions and embrace day-night Tests, seasoned spinner Harbhajan Singh said on Thursday.

Toss may be flicked out of Tests

Toss may be flicked out of Tests

18 May 2018 | 1:46 AM

NEW DELHI:Should international cricket toss away the toss to ensure an even playing field? The relevance or rather the fairness of the tradition, which is as old as the game itself, will be up for discussion at the International Cricket Council’s cricket committee meeting scheduled for May 28 and 29 in Mumbai.

Rafa through, Venus stunned

18 May 2018 | 1:50 AM

Rome: Simona Halep boosted her bid to retain her world No. 1 ranking as the top seed advanced to the quarterfinals of the Italian Open after Madison Keys withdrew injured on Thursday.

Atletico win Europa League

18 May 2018 | 1:46 AM

Lyon: Antoine Griezmann was the hero for Atletico Madrid as the French striker scored twice in their 3-0 win over Marseille in Europa League final, allowing his club to win the trophy for the third time in nine seasons.

Indian women enter final

Indian women enter final

18 May 2018 | 1:46 AM

Defending champions India qualified for the summit clash of the women’s Asian Champions Trophy after edging past Malaysia 3-2 on Thursday.

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