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Rafael Nadal beats Stefanos Tsitsipas to reach last four at ATP Finals | Tennis News

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LONDON: Rafael Nadal kept alive his hopes of a first ATP Finals title on Thursday, beating defending champion Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 in London to qualify for the last four.
The Spaniard, whose haul of 86 singles titles includes just one on indoor hard courts, is chasing the biggest prize missing from his resume at the eight-man elite event.
The 34-year-old has qualified for the ATP Finals for a record 16 consecutive years but has been forced to withdraw on six occasions.
The second seed won his opening round-robin match against Andrey Rublev but defeat against Dominic Thiem meant he faced a shootout against 2019 champion Tsitsipas to reach the semi-finals.
Both players were rock solid on serve until Nadal earned the first two break points of the set in the seventh game, which he failed to convert.

Tsitsipas was again under pressure in his next service game and this time he cracked, double-faulting on break point.
Nadal pressed home his advantage, serving consecutive aces to take the set 6-4 against his 22-year-old opponent.
The Spaniard, twice a finalist at the tournament, had another chance to break in the first game of the second set but the Greek sixth seed dug himself out of danger with a searing backhand.
Tsitsipas did well to cling on against his illustrious opponent who was serving with metronomic efficiency and dominating the longer rallies.

But out of nowhere the Greek earned two set points on Nadal’s serve and levelled when the Spaniard double-faulted on the second of those.
The match took a bizarre twist at the start of the decider, with neither player able to hold serve until Nadal finally held to lead 3-1.
An over-hit forehand handed Nadal another break and he served out to take the match
The Spaniard last month joined the absent Roger Federer on 20 Grand Slams but his record at the end-of-season tournament pales in comparison with the Swiss and Novak Djokovic.
Earlier on Thursday, Thiem, who had already qualified for the semi-finals, slumped to a 6-2, 7-5 defeat against debutant Rublev in a dead rubber.
The Russian seventh seed raced into a 4-0 lead in the first set and defied a fightback from the US Open champion in the second set to seal the match, breaking the Austrian four times in total.
“With the fact that I was already qualified in the back of my mind, it was maybe difficult today to keep that intensity alive,” said Thiem, who had already clinched top spot in Group London 2020.
The third seed will face the winner of Friday’s match between Alexander Zverev and top seed Djokovic in the semi-finals.
Russian fourth seed Daniil Medvedev has already sealed top spot in Group Tokyo 1970 and will play Nadal.
The O2 Arena is hosting the event for the 12th and final season before the championships move to Turin.



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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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