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Djokovic wins ATP Finals opener

first_imgRelatedPosts Djokovic clinches fifth Italian Open title Djokovic zooms to 10th Italian Open final Djokovic fined $10,000 for ‘unsportsmanlike conduct’ Novak Djokovic began his quest for a sixth ATP Finals title in style with a 6-2 6-1 victory against Italian Matteo Berrettini on Sunday.Berrettini, the 23-year-old debutant, relied on his big serving to keep things competitive against the world No 2 but a costly error handed the Serb a break in the sixth game and he soon wrapped up the set with a break to love.The eighth-ranked Italian, who reached the US Open semi-finals earlier this year, was not helped by 17 unforced errors, which were two more than the 15 points he won in the opening set.Berrettini was already looking deflated but Djokovic burst his bubble as he raced through the second set, despite a blip after dropping serve having won eight-straight games, to make a statement to world No 1 Rafael Nadal.Djokovic has made no secret of how much he values records and tying Pete Sampras by finishing a year ranked on top of the world for a sixth time, but he must at least reach the final of the season-ending tournament to stand a chance of overhauling Nadal. However, on this form it will take a juggernaut to stop him claiming the end-of-season title for a sixth time. Tags: Novak DjokovicRafael Nadallast_img read more

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FIFA tells Iran it is time to allow women into stadiums

first_imgBy Brian HomewoodZURICH, Switzerland (Reuters) – FIFA president Gianni Infantino has told Iran it is time to allow women into football stadiums and the global soccer body expects “positive developments”, starting with their next home match in October.While foreign women have been allowed limited access to matches, Iranian women have been banned from stadiums when men’s teams have been playing, since just after the 1979 Islamic revolution.Infantino said in a FIFA statement he was hopeful that the Iranian football federation and government authorities had been receptive to “our repeated calls to address this unacceptable situation”. He added, “Our position is clear and firm. Women have to be allowed into football stadiums in Iran. Now is the moment to change things and FIFA is expecting positive developments starting in the next Iran home match in October.”Iran, who have qualified for five World Cup finals, including each of the last two, host Cambodia on October 10 in their first home game of the 2022 qualifying competition. This month, a female fan died after setting herself on fire to protest against her arrest for attending a match.Sahar Khodayari, dubbed ‘Blue Girl’ for the colours of her favourite team, Esteghlal, died in hospital after her self-immolation outside a court where she feared being jailed for six months, having attended the match in disguise as a man.Khodayari’s death has caused widespread outrage in Iran and internationally, prompting calls on social media for Iran’s football federation to be suspended or banned by FIFA.Critics say FIFA’s own statutes hold discrimination on grounds of gender punishable by suspension or expulsion. There were signs the situation regarding female fans in Iran was changing when a group of women got permission to attend the second leg of the Asian Champions League final in Tehran last November, a match where Infantino was present.Female fans, however, have been denied access to matches since. At Iran’s friendly against Syria in June, women were locked out of the Azadi Stadium and detained by security forces. Infantino said a FIFA delegation was now in Iran. “I am looking forward to hearing good news from them,” he said.last_img read more

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Kershaw flirts with no-hitter but Dodgers end up in nail-biter

first_img“I can’t appreciate what it’s like to be a superstar. But I think guys like Clayton always have something to motivate them,” Roberts said. “Obviously there was a lot of talk about him giving up homers. That might have been something that sparked something. I don’t know. But obviously since that talk, it’s been quieted.”That unexpected barrage by a sagging Mets team did indeed run Kershaw’s total to a career-high 17 home runs allowed in just 15 starts. He offered no hint of any adjustments made since then. But Kershaw has shown throughout his career what he can do when he puts his foot down. He has only allowed one unearned run and nine hits in 20 innings over his past three starts while striking out 31 and holding the opposing hitters to a .130 batting average (9 for 69).“You guys kept telling me I was giving up too many homers so I tried to stop doing that,” he said.He went a step farther against the Diamondbacks, not allowing a hit through the first six innings and retiring 19 of the first 21 batters he faced. Chris Iannetta drew walks in his first two plate appearances, giving the Diamondbacks their only baserunners.“Kershaw was unbelievable,” Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner said. “He had all his stuff going, working both sides of the plate. When he’s commanding like that, it makes it awfully tough on hitters.”Kershaw’s bid for a second career no-hitter ended with one out in the seventh when Chris Owings squibbed a ground ball to the right side of the infield. Rookie first baseman Cody Bellinger – highly regarded for his defensive skill at first – ranged far to his right, chasing the grounder. That left Kershaw racing Owings to the bag at first.“Where he (Bellinger) was at and where the second baseman was at, it was kind of in no-man’s land,” Roberts said, pointing out the infield was shifted to the left against the right-handed hitter. “You don’t know if you’re going to continue to sell out and try to get it or just give up and hope the second baseman has enough time to get there. It’s one of those tough plays and there’s really no right or wrong answer on that one.”Kershaw couldn’t quite handle the throw from second baseman Logan Forsythe and find the base in time to stop Owings from beating out an infield single.“I think I made Doc’s job a little easier by giving up a hit,” Kershaw said. “He didn’t have to worry about keeping me in or not.”Iannetta added a clean single to left field before Kershaw got out of the inning. But his pitch count was at 117, one short of his career-high and that was as far as he would go.Meanwhile, Turner was making his own emphatic point. Snubbed by the All-Star selections on Sunday, he missed a home run by a foot or two in the first inning, settling for an RBI single off the top of the wall instead, and then did homer in his second at-bat.The Dodgers led 3-0 in the eighth when Chris Taylor led off with a single, moved to second on a ground out and stole third. That put him in position to trot home with an insurance run on Yasmani Grandal’s third hit and second RBI single of the night.“Big baserunning play there,” Turner said of Taylor’s stolen base.It proved essential when Brandon Morrow got into trouble in the ninth. Jansen came in – cheered routinely by the Dodgers’ fans he criticized for not voting Turner or Corey Seager in as All-Star starters – and gave up a two-out homer to Daniel Descalso before closing it out. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error LOS ANGELES >> The New York Mets might owe the rest of baseball an apology for more than Mr. Met’s behavior.Two weeks ago, the Mets hit four home runs off Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, roughing him up for six runs in a game the Dodgers won anyway. But it was the first time in Kershaw’s career he had been taken deep four times in a game. The next day, referring to the opponent in Kershaw’s next scheduled start, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said “I wouldn’t want to be the Rockies.”center_img He could have added “or the Angels … or the Diamondbacks … or ….”Kershaw has not given up an earned run in 20 consecutive innings since the Mets’ effrontery and took a no-hitter into the seventh inning Tuesday night before the Dodgers held on to beat the second-place Arizona Diamondbacks 4-3.It was Kenley Jansen’s fault it was that close. He gave up a three-run home run with two outs in the ninth inning before closing out the Dodgers’ 21st win in their past 25 games.last_img read more

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