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2016 French Open: Paes, Hingis win mixed doubles title

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Leander Paes and Martina Hingis won the 2016 French Open mixed doubles title at Roland Garros beating Sania Mirza and Ivan Dodig in a thrilling encounter 4-6, 6-4, 10-8 after being locked at one set all.

In the process, they completed a “Career Slam” in Mixed doubles. It was a historic day for Indian tennis as it was the first time the two legends of Indian tennis were facing each other with so much at stake.

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A Grand slam title was on the line and even more for Paes and his partner Martina Hingis who were looking to complete a career slam. There were the two best teams out of the 32 that had started the tournament and both pairs had to play two matches on Thursday to set up a showdown.

It was another cold evening at Paris with temperatures touching 14 degrees Celsius which meant that the players had to put on more layers of clothing. Paes started in typical fashion looking to poach any weak replies as he took up his favoured place at the net.

There were even some smiles exchanged between Mirza and Hingis as a Hingis volley found the line when the umpire came down to check the mark. Games went with serve till the end of the set when Hingis’ serve was broken when Mirza came up with a spectacular passing shot to clinch the opening set 6-4.

In the second set Paes and Hingis went up an early break but soon relinquished it. However they were able to clinch another break to lead 4-3. Both teams tried to resort to lobs to counter the heavy conditions.

Mirza then missed a volley to face set point but the second seeds fought back well to save both. Paes then served out the set without much trouble.

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The match tiebreak that would decide the title took a rollercoaster route. First Mirza and Dodig took a 3-1 lead but Paes and Hingis slowly fought back with some authoritative tennis to level it back at 5-5 and then led 7-5 at the change of ends.

At one point Paes hit a trademark forehand volley winner ad started egging on the crowd as they led 8-6. Two points from the title. And there were cries of “Come on Old Man” from the crowd. Mirza and Dodig fought back to 8-8.

Hingis then hit a backhand pass to reach championship point and then Paes and Hingis closed out the win on a forehand error from Dodig.

IANS

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My eyes fixed firmly on Women’s World Cup trophy: Mithali Raj

The right-handed bastwoman, one of India’s most successful female cricketer, has so far scored 6888 runs in 209 ODIs, 663 runs in 10 Tests and 2364 runs in 89 T20Is.

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New Delhi, Aug 8 : Veteran India batter Mithali Raj has said that she is “definitely looking” at the ICC Women’s World Cup, which has been postponed to 2022 and has added that her eyes are firmly fixed on the trophy.

On Friday, the International Cricket Council decided to postpone the World Cup, originally slated to be held in New Zealand in 2021, until February-March 2022 because of the impact the coronavirus pandemic.

“Whilst this is never great news to wake up to. I can understand the reasons why given the lack of cricket in some countries. I just hope those players who were planning to retire after the World Cup can hold on for one year…right Mithali Raj, Jhulan Goswami and Rachael Haynes,” cricketer-turned-commentator Lisa Sthalekar tweeted following ICC’s decision to postpone Women’s World Cup.

To this, Mithali replied: “Oh absolutely, my eyes are fixed firmly on the trophy. With all niggles recovered, mind and body fresh and stronger than before, I am definitely looking at World Cup 2022.”

Mithali had led the Indian eves to the final of the showpiece event in 2017 where they had to face a heart-wrenching defeat against England in the summit clash at the iconic Lord’s.

The right-handed bastwoman, one of India’s most successful female cricketer, has so far scored 6888 runs in 209 ODIs, 663 runs in 10 Tests and 2364 runs in 89 T20Is.

The 37-year-old has already retired from T20 cricket and now aspires to win India their maiden World Cup for which she will now have to wait at least until 2022.

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Madrid Masters tennis tournament cancelled: organisers

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The Madrid Open that was scheduled to take place from Sept. 12-20 has been cancelled due to the rise of COVID-19 cases in the Spanish Capital, Organisers said on Thursday.

“As an act of responsibility in view of the current situation caused by COVID-19 and having thoroughly evaluated the circumstance that the pandemic continues to generate… it has been decided that 2020 Muta Madrid Open will not take place this year,” organisers said in a satatement.

The tounament, which was to feature both men’s and women’s draws, was seen as an important event for players to prepare for the Frech Open which begins on Sept. 27.

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BCCI issues SOP; players must sign consent form before resuming training

BCCI is responsible for ensuring the resumption of cricketing activity in India to help secure employment of all its workforce and also provide a source of entertainment to the fans at the earliest.

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New Delhi, Aug 2 : The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Sunday issued the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) to the state associations for the resumption of cricket. While these will help the state bodies restart cricketing activities, all players will have to sign consent forms before getting back to training.

In the 100-page SOP, accessed by IANS, the BCCI has touched on principles while returning to training, ground and practice facilities preparation with an eye on the pandemic, gymnasium protocols, physiotherapy and medical protocols as well as protocols to manage a suspected COVID-19 case.

It also has the consent form where the players have to acknowledge that there is risk associated with resuming training and that the player has been informed about the protocols in place and the precautions taken by the association.

The player also needs to acknowledge that the association can’t guarantee complete elimination of risk despite taking necessary precautions and that the player is willing to resume training.

With an eye on the whole situation with regards to the coronavirus pandemic, the BCCI has shared its views with the state bodies with regards to resumption of cricket.

“The BCCI as the governing body for the sport of cricket in India is responsible for ensuring that appropriate protocols are put in place to protect the health and safety of players, staff and all stakeholders. Covid-19, an infectious disease primarily affecting the lungs, poses a serious threat to the health of individuals as is evident from its spread to almost all countries around the world with more than 17.5 million infections and over 0.6 million deaths as on 1st August 2020. As the world grapples with Covid-19, cricketing activity has come to a standstill and players confined to the four walls within their homes.

“It is said that cricket is a religion in India and the fanfare and fervor that cricket commands are far greater than any other sport or event in the country. Besides, it also helps generate tremendous revenue and employs players and staff across 38 State teams, both in the men and women category. BCCI is responsible for ensuring the resumption of cricketing activity in India to help secure employment of all its workforce and also provide a source of entertainment to the fans at the earliest.

“However, the BCCI is concerned about the high infectivity rate of SARS CoV-2 and in the interest of health and safety of all players, staff and stakeholders, the BCCI would not like to compromise on the preventive measures by resuming too soon,” the SOP read.

“The purpose of these protocols is to ensure the safe resumption of cricket activities and the below guidelines may be amended from time to time as may be required depending on the existing Covid-19 situation in the country and the guidelines issued by the Government of India at appropriate times. These guidelines have been prepared by the BCCI Medical Team.

“All BCCI affiliated State Cricket Associations will adhere to these guidelines and take additional measures as may be necessary to prevent the spread of Covid-19 infection. Approvals must also be sought from local administration and health authorities before commencing any cricket activity. The health and safety of players, staff and stakeholders will be the sole responsibility of respective State Cricket Associations.”

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