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ATP Finals: Medvedev sets up title clash with Thiem as Nadal, Djokovic exit | Tennis News

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BENGALURU: The disbelief that sparked Daniil Medvedev‘s countenance on Saturday night was a contrast to the dazed look of 12 months ago, when the Russian led Rafael Nadal down the home straight, having kicked-up a 5-1 lead, even holding match point. Somehow, he fell short. This time, Nadal was serving for the match at 5-4 in the second set. Medvedev broke and didn’t look back.
It wasn’t about the 24-year-old returning a compliment, it was about making a statement. Finally, a case for consistency. This one for his generation.
The muscular Mallorcan has won 71 matches in a row after winning the opening set. In the last-four stage of the Nitto ATP Finals, he was broken at love when serving for the match. In the last 70-minutes of play, Medvedev turned the match on its head, running away with the final four games to score a 3-6, 7-6 (7-4), 6-3 win.
Nadal, who appeared a tad slow, making defensive choices with shot selection, relying heavily on his slices, applauded the victor. The Spaniard, who clinched a record 13th Roland Garros title in October, said the reverse was a combination of some good tennis by his opponent and poor play by him.
“I played a bad (tenth) game. You are nervous to win the match. Is normal to have tension. I think he played some good points and I made a couple of mistakes,” Nadal said. “Then he played a good tie-break. I should’ve held my serve in the third set. I had an easy volley to close the game.”
The world No.2, owner of a record-equaling 20 major titles, who has never won the ATP’s season finale, added, “Small details make a big difference. I had my chances. I was close to playing another final here. I was not good enough at the moment to close the match. Well done for him and not enough good for me.”
It was that very incisive combination that took Dominic Thiem to victory against Novak Djokovic in the first of the semifinal clashes — 7-5, 6-7 (10-12), 7-6 (7-5). The world No.1 led 4-0 in the deciding tie-break but Thiem won seven of the next eight points to make the title round.
Like Medvedev, who had beaten Djokovic in the league stage of the competition and followed it up with the win over Nadal in the knock-out round, Thiem had beaten the Spaniard in the league phase before topping the Serbian on Saturday evening.
Djokovic said, “What he did from 0-4 in the third-set tiebreaker was unreal. I don’t think I played bad. Actually, I made all of my first serves. He just crushed the ball. Everything went in from both corners. What can you do? I was in the driver’s position at 4-Love. I thought I was very close to winning it. He just took it away from me.”
Djokovic underlined, “I didn’t play bad any point after 4-Love. I hit the ball, I was not pushing it. He deserved it, he just went for it and everything worked.”
A year ago, the 24-year-old Medvedev went 0-3 in round-robin play at the ATP Finals, while Thiem, 27, finished runner-up to Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas.
It might be a tad premature to call it the change of guard even if it is the year in which one among the next generation of players — namely Thiem — nailed a Grand Slam title. But with the Austrian and Alexander Zverev playing the final of the US Open and then again here Thiem playing Medvedev in the title round, they are finally showing the consistency tennis’ terrific trio — Roger Federer, Nadal and Djokovic — have made a creed of.


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December 3: The day Dhyan Chand, coach Achrekar are remembered | More sports News

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NEW DELHI: In the annals of Indian sports, December 3 assumes a lot of significance. The date marks the death anniversary of hockey wizard Dhyan Chand, the winner of three Olympic gold medals, and the birth anniversary of Ramakant Achrekar, the cricket coach who moulded icon Sachin Tendulkar.
The two legends were born 53 years apart, with Dhyan Chand being the elder; he was born on August 29, 1905. Achrekar died on January 2 last year, 40 years after the hockey magician. It is, however, not known if the two ever met.
While Dhyan Chand’s anniversary was observed in several cities across the country on Thursday, one of Achrekar’s most successful pupils, former India Test batsman Indian Pravin Amre said that his coach’s anniversary is not celebrated, except when his students pay respects on Guru Purnima, the day people pay tribute to their teachers.

Blood donation, recalling personal anecdotes of Dhyan Chand, and religious functions in various parts of India marked the 41st death anniversary of the former national captain. The mobile phone of former India hockey captain Ashok Kumar, who is Dhyan Chand’s son, was inundated with all kinds of messages, including nostalgic ones.
“I have received scores of messages on my mobile since morning from all over the country. People organised events in different cities – Amravati, Bhopal, Betul, Ayodhya, and Jhansi, our home town,” Ashok Kumar, who scored the title-winning goal in the 1975 World Cup final, told IANS.
“Like always, puja was performed at our home in Jhansi. Also, the Vyapar mandal of Jhansi went to father’s samadhi at Jhansi Heroes ground, where his funeral was held, and paid their respect. In Ayodhya, a blood donation camp was organised by a local organisation in father’s memory. Then, events were held in Bhopal and Betul, both in Madhya Pradesh, and Amravati as well,” informed the 70-year-old Ashok Kumar.
Dhyan Chand died in the early hours of December 3, 1979, at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi, and his body was taken in a helicopter to his hometown Jhansi. But the helicopter came only after Ashok Kumar underwent some anxious moments as he went out of the hospital looking for a vehicle that could carry the body of his illustrious father to Jhansi for the funeral.
“By the time I returned from Pusa Road with the vehicle, word had spread that the hockey wizard had departed and a crowd had gathered at AIIMS. The central government also heard the news through the Indian Hockey Federation, probably, and provided a helicopter to take the body to Jhansi,” recalled Ashok Kumar.
Just like the government of the day at the time of his death did not initially care for the legend — it provided the helicopter only under public pressure — successive governments have ignored the late Dhyan Chand’s rightful claim to the Bharat Ratna.
Interestingly, Achrekar’s best known pupil, Tendulkar, received the well-deserved Bharat Ratna in 2014. Many experts, however, feel that while the batting maestro deserved the award, the government should have first decorated Dhyan Chand with it.
Amre, who played 11 Tests and 37 ODIs between 1991 and 1994 and was one of the most famous pupils of Achrekar after Tendulkar, said there were no functions in Mumbai on the occasion of his coach’s 88th birth anniversary.
“We never celebrate the birthday or birth anniversary of Achrekar sir. So, there were no events here in Mumbai today as well. We the students of sir only pay our respects to him on the occasion of Guru Purnima, when teachers are honoured. Only once did we celebrate his birthday in a big way about six-seven years ago at Shivaji Park here in Mumbai. About eight Test players and 30 Ranji Trophy players produced by sir attended that function,” Amre told IANS.



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EFL to receive 250 million pounds bailout package from Premier League | Football News

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The Premier League has reached an agreement with the English Football League (EFL) to provide a 250 million pounds ($336.13 million) bailout package for lower division clubs struggling financially due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Premier League clubs gave their final approval to the agreement at a shareholders’ meeting on Thursday.
“A fund of 50 million pounds in the form of a grant and monitored grant payments has been agreed for League One and Two clubs,” the Premier League said in a statement.
“The Premier League will provide a further financial commitment to assist the EFL in securing a 200 million pounds loan facility that Championship clubs will be able to utilise interest free.”


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Barca should have sold Messi, says interim president | Football News

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MADRID: Barcelona‘s interim president Carlos Tusquets feels the club should have cashed-in on Lionel Messi during the summer transfer window.
Messi was heavily linked with a move to Manchester City and sent a recorded delivery (Burofax) letter stating his intention to leave. He later said the decision was due to being disillusioned with the direction the now former board had taken the club.
Ex-Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu resigned in October rather than face a vote of no confidence, with Tusquets taking temporary charge until January’s elections.
“Economically speaking, I would’ve sold Messi in the summer window,” Tusquets told RAC1 radio station.
“Both in terms of what you save on the wage bill as well as the money you make, it would’ve been desirable. But this is something the coaching staff have to consent to and that’s not my place.
“La Liga are setting salary limits at the moment and this would’ve helped on that front.”
Messi’s current contract expires in June, when he is expected to leave for free and on Wednesday former Barca team mate Neymar spoke of his desire to link up with the Argentine again.
“What I want most of all is to play with Messi again, to be able to enjoy him once again on the pitch,” he said after his club PSG’s 3-1 Champions League win against Manchester United.
“I want to play with him next year, for sure. We have to do it next season.”
Tusquets conceded that scenario was unlikely to transpire at the Nou Camp, where the purse strings have been tightened following the COVID-19 crisis.
“If he (Neymar) became available on a free transfer then maybe we could think about signing him,” he said.
“Without making sales, there’s no money for new signings unless the new president has incredibly deep pockets.”


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