QPlay: Saina in QF, Serena Avoids Upset & Sania/Soares Knocked Out
All the latest sports news in The Quint’s morning wrap.
Saina Nehal Lone Indian Left In The Australian Open
World number 1 Saina Nehwal was made to fight hard, but she managed to get the better of China’s Sun Yu to emerge as the lone Indian survivor in the Australian Open Super Series on Thursday.
It took Saina an hour and 18 minutes but the defending champion eventually beat her 9th ranked Chinese opponent 21-19 19-21 21-14. The Olympic bronze medallist will take on two-time All England champion Shixian Wang in the quarterfinals.
Men’s World Number 4 Kidambi Srikanth and 2010 Commonwealth Games champion pair of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa however ended their campaigns on Thursday.
Fourth seed Srikanth squandered a first-game advantage to go down fighting to China’s Tian Houwei 21-18 17-21 13-21 in men’s singles, Jwala and Ashwini lost to fourth seeded Indonesian pair of Nitya Krishinda Maheswari and Greysia Polii 14-21 10-21 in a women’s doubles match.
French Open: Serena Escapes as Women’s Seeds Continue to Fall
Former world number one Caroline Wozniacki was the big casualty of the day as she was knocked out 6-4, 7-6 by Julia Goerges, meaning the third, fifth and sixth seeds had all gone before round three.
And for a little while on Thursday, Serena Williams too almost looked certain to be on her way out.
Up against 21-year-old German Anna-Lena Friedsam ranked 105th in the world, Serena seemed out of sorts as she dropped the first set 7-5. However the women’s top seed managed to recover just in time to win the remaining sets 6-3, 6-3 to scrape into the third round 5-7 6-3 6-3.
Top Seeds Sania-Soares Knocked Out In First Round
Top seeds Sania Mirza and Bruno Soares of Brazil crashed out in the first round of the mixed doubles event after suffering a shocking straight sets defeat at the hands of unseeded Anna-Lena Groenefeld and Jean-Julien Rojer at the French Open.
Sania and Soares lost 2-6 2-6 in just 56 minutes against the unseeded German-Dutch combination at the Rolland Garros.
Abhinav Bindra Earns India’s Fourth Quota Place for Rio Olympics
Abhinav Bindra became the fourth Indian shooter to win a quota place for the Rio Olympics after he finished sixth in the Men’s 10m Air Rifle final at the ISSF Shooting World Cup in Munich.
Bindra, India’s only individual Olympic gold medallist, shot a score of 122.4 in the final. He had shot 627.5 to qualify for the final in his pet event.
Gagan Narang, Jitu Rai and Apurvi Chandela are the other Indians to have secured an Olympic quota earlier.
Each country can win a maximum of 30 quota places from a total of 15 shooting disciplines (including shotgun events), two each from each discipline. If Bindra could make it to Rio, it will be his fifth consecutive Olympic Games.
Blatter Defies Calls to Quit as FIFA Scandal Widens
FIFA President Sepp Blatter rejected an emotional plea to resign from one of the world’s soccer greats on Thursday as the corruption scandal engulfing the game’s governing body drew warnings from sponsors and political leaders.
As FIFA faced the worst crisis in its 111-year history, Michel Platini, the former French international who now heads UEFA, Europe’s soccer confederation, said he had told Blatter to go but the 79-year-old had refused.
“I said, I’m asking you to leave, FIFA’s image is terrible. He said that he couldn’t leave all of a sudden,” Platini told a news conference.
Platini said 45 or 46 of UEFA’s 53 eligible member associations would vote for Jordan’s Prince Ali bin Al Hussein to succeed Blatter at an election due on Friday.
But it appeared that Blatter still commanded enough of FIFA’s 209 member associations and could expect to be anointed for a fifth term as president.
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