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ATP Finals: ATP Finals: Dominic Thiem outslugs Novak Djokovic to book a place in the title match | Tennis News

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In the opening Grand Slam of the year, the Australian Open, Dominic Thiem took Novak Djokovic the distance in their title-round clash. In the last tournament of a hurriedly patched-together season, the ATP Finals, the Austrian finished a job he started in Melbourne in January. Thiem put out Djokovic, the world No. 1, to make his second successive finals at the O2 Arena in London, coming through 7-5, 6-7 (10-12), 7-6 (7-5) in a little under three hours.
“It was a mental battle, I was so tight in the second set tie-break, playing for a finals here is very special,” the Austrian said after his 300th career victory.
Djokovic and Thiem went toe-for-toe in the opening set. If the Serb was sharp and relentless off the ground, the Austrian used his roaring power game to stunning effect, opening up the court with his single-handed backhand and wrapping it up with his forehand. The 27-year-old sent down his first double fault in the tenth game of the match, when serving to stay in the set. That’s how tidy the duo had kept the contest.

In the following game, a Thiem forehand eked out the first breakpoint of the match. Djokovic responded with a tame volley that put the Austrian in the front. Thiem then served out the set after 51 minutes of action.
Djokovic, looking increasingly rattled as the match wore on, muttering and gesturing to his box, where his coach Marian Vajda sat, saw his serve take some stick in the fifth game. He survived a breakpoint as Thiem’s forehand found the net. In the 12th game, serving to take the set into tie-break, Thiem fell behind 15-40. A backhand error and a sledgehammer serve saw the world No. 3 pull the game back to deuce before taking the set into the shoot-out.

Thiem was off the blocks quickly in the tie-break, going up 2-0, the world No.1 then reeled off four points in a row. After changing sides, Thiem levelled four-all and then five-all. It was Djokovic’s turn then to draw even, nailing his serve to save match point at 5-6. At 8-7 Djokovic had his third set point, but he sent a forehand wide. Thiem’s forehand then missed by a whisker on his third match point and Djokovic responded by saving the next with a forehand. It was Thiem who blinked first, sending a backhand into net to give the Serb the set on his fourth set point (12-10).

In the business end of the deciding third set, tempers flared and nerves frayed. Djokovic and Thiem, locked in a mental wrestling match, took the set to tie-break. Thiem opened with a double fault and then fell behind 0-3 but when they crossed over, the Austrian had stuck his foot in the door, trailing 2-4. At 6-4 Thiem had two more match points and he closed on his sixth after 2 hours and 54 minutes.



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ISL: Anirudh Thapa’s Indian feat in Chennaiyin FC’s winning start | Football News

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Chennaiyin FC have always shown confidence in their Indian youngsters. And, at Tilak Maidan in Vasco on Tuesday, that confidence reaped dividends in a 2-1 winning start against Jamshedpur FC where 22-year-old Anirudh Thapa scored the first goal by an Indian player, and the fastest so far, of the Indian Super League season.
The 52nd second strike was the mastermind of Rafael Crivellaro coupled with the quick run and cross from the wings by Esmael Goncalves to Player-of-the-Match Thapa who was at the right place in the box to guide it past Jamshedpur FC keeper TP Rehenesh.
It was just the beginning of an open encounter with Owen Coyle’s Jamshedpur searching for an equaliser and his former wards in Chennaiyin looking for the second. Brazilian Crivellaro kept creating chances and finding the gaps for Csaba Lzaslo’s Chennaiyin, whose defenders kept foiling the optimistic attacks from JFC.
In the end-to-end early action, Peter Hartley missed on his first ISL goal and the equaliser in the 7th minute with a misdirected header to a perfect Jackichand cross with only CFC keeper Vishal Keith to beat.
The story repeated at the other end with, first Goncalves in the 10th and then Thapa on the 20th minute failing to take advantage of the defensive errors by JFC and the dream chances created by Crivellano.
The scoreline finally changed in the 26th minute in favour of Chennaiyin. Isaac Vanmalsawma’ soft foul on Thapa inside the box earned Lzaslo’s team a penalty and Bissau-Guinean Gonclaves made no mistake in sending Rehenesh the wrong way and putting the ball in.
While the high line of defence from JFC kept hurting the team, there was optimism in attack with Jackichand, who had the most successful assists last season, carrying his form from the last edition.
The young playmaker’s effort was finally converted by none other than last season’s Golden Boot winner Nerijus Valskis with the perfect header to an inch-perfect cross in the 37th minute.
While Chennaiyin remained the more dominant team in an attacking encounter and confidently countered whenever JFC attacked, another goal stayed elusive to them. There was, however, no way JFC could deny CFC a winning start and the full three points.


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Quarantine rules in Australia, decision to send Rohit Sharma back to NCA in focus as time runs out for Tests | Cricket News

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NEW DELHI: After a month’s uncertainty over his fitness status, it has emerged Rohit Sharma may struggle to make it to Australia for the full Test series. Ishant Sharma too could miss out on the series. TOI had reported on Tuesday that the Indian team management is already looking to retain a player from the white-ball squad to cover for Rohit’s probable absence.
Rohit playing the IPL playoffs for Mumbai Indians and then not boarding the flight to Australia for the full tour raised a lot of eyebrows. The Indian cricket board (BCCI) claimed he will join the squad for the Test series that starts on Dec 17 and Rohit was advised to rehab along with Ishant at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru. The NCA now reckons that the duo will need at least three weeks to be Test-match fit. The entire Rohit saga points towards a lack of communication.

The major challenge currently facing Rohit and the Indian team management is the quarantine rules in Australia. Since both Ishant and Rohit will have to take commercial flights to Australia, they will have to undergo a strict two-week quarantine in their hotel rooms. Unlike the Indian team, which reached Australia in a bubble from Dubai, the duo will not be allowed to even train. This could also mean that the duo may even miss the entire series.

The question that has cropped up now is if the board was aware of the government protocols in Australia, why was Rohit sent back to India from Dubai? Things become all the more confusing since the team management decided to carry Wriddhiman Saha who had missed the business end of the IPL because of injured hamstrings.
Even if Rohit and Ishant were undergoing rehab at NCA, was it not possible to send both the players to Australia and let Team India physio Nitin Patel look after them there? It may be recalled that BCCI had stated on Nov 9 that Rohit’s addition to the Test squad was done after consulting with Rohit.

BCCI, it may be noted, boasts of a professional set-up which includes top professionals at NCA, Team India support staff and an experienced operations team. The NCA, under Rahul Dravid, is very clear that it will not declare any player fit for international cricket unless he clears all the mandatory tests. Ishant’s breakdown after the first Test in New Zealand has already made the team management very cautious about the veteran fast bowler.


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Staying in bio-secure bubbles a big sacrifice, says Trent Boult | Cricket News

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WELLINGTON: New Zealand pace spearhead Trent Boult feels living out of a suitcase in bio-secure bubbles is going to play a “big role” in the way cricketers plan their schedules as the international calendar picks up.
Bolt, who joins a list of big names voicing concerns about life in bio-secure bubbles amid the COVID-19 pandemic, called it “a big sacrifice”.
“I can’t speak for everyone but it’s definitely going to play a big role in the game,” Boult was quoted as saying by ‘ESPNcricinfo’.
“Having to come back to New Zealand you have to spend two weeks in a hotel before you can even be let out. It’s crazy what the world is facing at the moment, it’s almost surreal, and it’s going to be a hard one to say what guys are feeling and what they’re able to do.”

The New Zealander played a big part in Mumbai Indians‘ fifth title triumph in the IPL recently.
“Speaking from playing in the IPL I’ve just been to, it’s brilliant to be back out on the field and offer something for everyone to watch and it was closely followed all around the world,” he added.
Prior to Boult, the likes of David Warner, Mitchell Starc and Kagiso Rabada expressed their apprehensions with the South African fast bowler comparing bio-bubbles with luxury prisons.
Boult is currently undergoing a 14-day quarantine in Christchurch after returning from the IPL in the UAE.
New Zealand’s next assignment is a home T20I series against West Indies, starting November 27, for which Boult has been rested.
The pacer, however, will be part of the Test matches starting December 3 in Hamilton.
“Yeah, I think it’s going to be a tough one to forecast. Having experienced three and a half months away from my young family.
“I have two young boys and a wife back home whom I haven’t seen – so you can imagine it’s a big sacrifice to just pack up and leave for a quarter of the year and looking at potential tours next year, there’s potential to be away for nine to ten months,” Boult said.


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