Rafael Nadal Fights Off Gael Monfils To Reach Australian Open Quarterfinals
- MELBOURNE : Rafael Nadal fought back to deny mercurial Frenchman Gael Monfils over four sets and reach his first Grand Slam quarter-final since 2015 at the Australian Open on Monday. Ninth seed Nadal, a 14-time Grand Slam champion, defeated the sixth-seeded Monfils 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 on Rod Laver Arena in almost three hours and will play Canada's world number three Milos Raonic in the quarters. It was a gutsy effort from the never-say-die Spaniard, who was down a service break with a fifth set looming before he broke Monfils twice to clinch victory. The 2009 champion reached the quarter-finals in Melbourne for the ninth time and it was his first since the 2015 French Open.
- "I'm very happy being in the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam after a couple of years without being there," he said. "It's very special for me, especially here in Australia where I feel (it's) a little bit like home." He added: "Gael is a special player. He is able to play unbelievable shots. It is a pleasure to see him in the top rankings." It was Nadal's first win over a top-10 player at a Grand Slam since he defeated number two Novak Djokovic to win the title at Roland Garros in 2014, his last Grand Slam win. He will go into his Australian quarter-final with a 6-2 lead over Raonic in their previous meetings. Monfils was broken in his opening service game as Nadal went on to take the first set in 46 minutes. Nadal lost his service in the sixth game but broke the unpredictable Frenchman three times to open up a two-set lead and was closing in on a straight-sets victory.
- But Monfils fought back, breaking Nadal in the ninth game and saving three break points in serving it out to trail 2-1 in sets. Nadal began to struggle in the fourth set as Monfils fought off two break points and broke the Spaniard in the next game with a net cord on one of his three break points. But Nadal fought back, breaking the Frenchman with a marvellous backhand winner to level at 4-4 before holding serve to 5-4. Nadal then got to his first match point in Monfils' next service game, which was saved. On a second match point, the Frenchman's backhand was narrowly wide to send Nadal through.
Turner's Double Strike Sets Up Win For Kalinga Lancers
- BHUBANESWAR : Australian Glenn Turner struck twice as Kalinga Lancers beat Ranchi Rays 4-2 in an entertaining match of Hockey India League here on Monday. Turner scored in the 44th and 50th minutes while Sarvanjit Singh pulled one back for Ranchi Rays in the 53rd minute. Played in front of a vocal and partisan home crowd, there was no doubt that this top of the table clash was going to be dished out with pace and skill and the teams did not disappoint the spectators at the Kalinga Stadium. Both the sides raced out of the blocks at a frenetic pace, attacking each other constantly, almost without a break from hooter to hooter. It was Kalinga Lancers' young custodian Abhinav Kumar Pandey who had a busier first quarter in the goal, his saves keeping his team from dropping behind too early in the game. He padded away Christopher Ruhr's drag flick in the 7th minute of the game, a superb effort to keep his team in the game.
- Pandey's brilliant show continued in the second quarter when he dived towards the right to stop the ball fiercely struck by Ranchi Rays drag flicker Ashley Jackson attempting to convert a penalty corner in the 23rd minute. Jackson asked for a video referral for dangerous play within the striking circle, as the ball deflected off Pandey's stick. The umpire upheld his appeal but Jackson failed to convert yet again. Later, Kalinga Lancers earned as many as five penalty corners but failed to convert a single goal as both teams went into the first half in stalemate. Starting the third quarter at 0-0 score, the hosts were quick to earn a penalty corner in the 31st minute of play but captain Moritz Fuerste could not convert this opportunity.
- While the pattern continued into this quarter with both teams constantly rushing at each other looking for opening, it was interesting to see how Kalinga Lancers' top scorer from last season Glenn Turner was constantly marked by at least three Ranchi Ray's men at any given time. But the lanky Australian forward was relentless. He attempted a penetration in the 43rd minute and earned a penalty stroke for his team, thanks to a sloppy tackle by a Ranchi Rays defender. Turner made no mistake in converting the stroke as he fiercely put one past Tyler Lovell to give Lancers the much-needed 2-0 lead. Turner struck again for Kalinga Lancers in the 49th minute when he converted a remarkable field goal that came off a rebound. It was not the end of the action though as Ranchi Rays made a late comeback in the 53rd minute when Sarvanjit Singh scored a field goal to make the score 4-2 but it was not enough to stop the hosts from ending the match in Kalinga Lancers' favour.
Swafford Claims First PGA Win In 93rd Start
- LOS ANGELES : Hudson Swafford finally joined the winner's circle Sunday, firing a five-under 67 for a one-stroke victory at the PGA Tour's CareerBuilder Challenge. The 29-year-old American birdied three of his last four holes to claim his maiden USPGA Tour win in his 93rd Tour start. He compiled a 20-under 268 total to finish one stroke ahead of Canada's Adam Hadwin, who closed with a 70, one day after storming to a 13-under 59 in the third round at the La Quinta Country Club near Palm Springs, California. Bud Cauley and Brian Harman both shot 69s and finished in a tie for third at 18-under 270. Swafford is in his fourth year on the Tour and had never finished higher than a tie for eighth.
- In five previous starts this season his best finish was a tie for 13th at last week's Sony Open. Beginning the day two shots off the lead, Swafford got off to a rocky start with a bogey at the par-four No. 1 before stringing together five straight pars. Swafford then caught fire with a burst of three straight birdies to close out his front nine. On the par-four seventh, he hit his approach to five feet from the hole then easily made the short birdie putt. After making birdie on the par-five eighth, he drained a 14-foot putt for birdie on the par-four ninth. The win comes with some nice perks, as Swafford is now qualified for the Masters, the Players Championship, the Dean and Deluca Invitational, the Memorial, the PGA Championship and the 2018 SBS Tournament of Champions.
- Third round leader Hadwin was also in search of his first PGA Tour win but his two-under 70 left him just shy of victory. On Saturday, the 29-year-old from suburban Vancouver became the first Canadian shoot a 59, leaving him one stroke off the Tour record 58 fired last year by American Jim Furyk at the Travelers Championship. He birdied two of his final three holes Sunday to finish at 19-under 269. Of the nine players to card a 59 (or better) on tour, Hadwin is the fourth who failed to win the event. Dominic Bozzelli, who grabbed the first-round lead with a 64, finished in fifth place at 271, closing with a 71. Brendan Steele (70) and Chad Campbell (71) tied for sixth place at 272. Scott Stalling (66) took eighth at 273, and Sean O'Hair (69), Richy Werenski (70) and Scotland's Martin Laird (69) all came in at 274, tied for ninth.
Jallikattu Protest: Former Judge Acts As Mediator, Calms TN Agitators
- CHENNAI : Violence broke out in Chennai and other parts of Tamil Nadu on Monday as police cracked down on protesters even as the six-day-old "Marina uprising" was called off after the state assembly passed a bill to replace the ordinance allowing the banned jallikattu. The agitation in Madurai, famous for its Alanganallur bull taming event, Tiruchirapalli, Coimbatore and other places were also withdrawn late in the evening. After the crackdown early in the morning, the sands of Marina beach and areas around it, Teynampet and Sellur in Madurai and Gandhipuram in Coimbatore witnessed pitched battles between protesters and police who fired teargas shells and resorted to lathicharge to disperse the large crowds. There was stone-throwing and burning of vehicles and sundry items at various places in protest against the police action.
- Police personnel and their vehicles along with those of public were targeted, in which several cops and passersby were injured. Meanwhile, a 30-year-old man who suffered serious injuries during the jallikattu held in Pudukottai district died at a hospital on Monday, taking the of people killed during the sport to three, police said. Police suspected that some protesters belonged to ultra left organisations like CPI-ML and Revolutionary Youth Front of India but the agitators said the students and youth who had given the call were not involved in the violence. Initially, crowds defied appeals for withdrawing the agitation as the protesters were not in a mood to relent. Acting quickly, the AIADMK government tabled the bill in the assembly after the governor's address to replace the ordinance for conducting jallikattu without any hindrance.
- The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Tamil Nadu Amendment), Act, 2017 piloted by chief minister O Panneerselvam was adopted unanimously by a voice vote after a brief debate. After the ordinance, for which the Centre gave quick approval last week, was enacted, pro-jallikattu organisations and film director Gautaman appealed to the protesters to withdraw the stir. Meanwhile, former Madras high court judge Justice Hari Paranthaman acted as a mediator by explaining the process of lawmaking through ordinance and said for the moment this was a "permanent solution" that is a victory for the agitators. The agitators numbering a few thousands withdrew their protest after appeals by the former judge and office bearers of advocates associations. Tamil stars Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan also expressed concern over the violence and called for restraint by the agitating students. The protesters fought pitched battles with police in several pockets in Chennai, especially around Marina Beach from where thousands were evicted, and blocked roads in various parts of the city.
- Police fired teargas shells and resorted to lathicharge at some places as sections of protesters, removed from Marina in an early morning crackdown, pelted stones. The agitators went on a rampage, setting on fire vehicles at a few places, including in front of Ice House police station near the beach. While vehicles were gutted, the front portion of the station and the name board were damaged in the fire. Similarly, vehicles including some cars were set on fire by unidentified elements near Nadukuppam in Triplicane area, close to Marina. Several schools chose to shut early in view of the sudden turn of events while city buses went off the roads as a preventive measure. In Coimbatore, police forcibly evicted the protesters from VOC Park grounds and lathicharged students in Gandhipuram bus stand.
- As the appeal made by senior officials to clear the grounds failed, police in large numbers started to bodily lift them and shift them out of the venue. Some 200 people sat on dharna near the central bus stand in Gandhipuram to protest police action. Police managed to chase them away. Even as some protestors were seen leaving the venue voluntarily, police removed nearly 300 protesters from there, police said. Protesting against the police action, some youths formed human chain on the main Avanashi chain and police made a cane charge to disperse them, police said.