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Djokovic defeats Federer in Paris Masters thriller

The opening set saw no break en route to the tie-break, where Djokovic saved a set point with three consecutive points for an 8-6 win.

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Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic edged Swiss veteran Roger Federer in full sets in a spotlight semifinal duel to set up his encounter against unseeded Russian Karen Khachanov at the ATP Paris Masters here.

In their 47th career head-to-head on Saturday, the Serbian moved to one win away from his fifth title at the tournament after triumphing 7-6 (6), 5-7, 7-6 (3) in over three hours to improve the record to 25-22, Xinhua reported.

“We had epic matches throughout our rivalry but this one definitely ranks as one of the best matches we played,” Djokovic told a news conference.

“When I get to play Roger, I know I have to get the best out of myself in order to win. That’s why our rivalries and matches are so special,” he added.

Following current world number 1 Rafael Nadal’s withdrawal, it has undoubtedly become the most highly-anticipated clash at the tournament. In the full-capacity Bercy Arena, the two superstars didn’t let crowds down as their encounter went in a dramatic manner with two sets forced into tie-breaks.

The opening set saw no break en route to the tie-break, where Djokovic saved a set point with three consecutive points for an 8-6 win.

The following set was underway in a much similar path, as both players did quite well on their serves, before Federer registered the only break throughout the match in the 12th game to force a decider at 7-5.

In the decider, Djokovic surrendered a glorious chance of breaking in the ninth game, only to see his 40-15 advantage slip away. The to-be world number 1 threw his racket onto the court in frustration.

After the duel recorded another tie-break, Djokovic took the initiative at 6-1. Federer displayed his persistence by saving two match points, but still lost 7-3.

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Serena Williams outlasts Simona Halep in epic battle in Australian Open

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Serena Williams
Photo Credit- Twitter/AustralianOpen

Melbourne, Jan 21: Serena Williams of the US advanced to the quarterfinals of the Australian Open on Monday after a hard-fought 6-1, 4-6, 6-4 victory over Romanian world No 1 Simona Halep.

The 37-year-old shone at the Rod Laver Arena to again demonstrate her remarkable longevity and ability to compete at the game’s highest level, reports Efe news.

“It was an intense match and there were some incredible points,” Williams said on court after the match. “I really needed to elevate my game. She’s the number one player in the world.”

The number 16 seed started strongly, storming into a comfortable lead before taking the first set 6-1 as the number one seed Halep struggled to get a foothold in the match.

After bossing the opening exchanges, Williams let her opponent back into the contest as Halep took the second set 6-4.

The American broke Halep’s serve in the seventh game of the third set to go 4-3 up; she was soon serving for the match at 5-4, sealing the win on the first of two match points.

Williams advances to the last eight of the tournament as she continues her bid to add an eighth Australian Open title to her 23 career Grand Slam wins.

IANS

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Tendulkar eagerly waiting for Anil’s Netflix web series ‘Selection: Day Part 2’

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Tendulkar Selection Day Part 2

Batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar engaged in a Twitter conversation with actor Anil Kapoor to announce the second season of “Selection Day”. The official Twitter handle of Netflix then announced that “Selection Day: Part 2” will start streaming from April 22 this year.

The series is a coming-of-age drama about two brothers Radha and Manju who are raised by their strict, obsessive father to be star cricket players in India.

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Happy to bat at any number: MS Dhoni

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Melbourne, Jan 18 (IANS) With just a handful of ODIs to be played ahead of the ICC Cricket World Cup, the No.4 slot in the Indian batting order is still up for grabs and with former skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni staking a strong claim with a hat-trick of half-centuries against Australia, it will be interesting to see if the team management persists with him in the quadrennial event.

Ask Dhoni, who was on Friday promoted to the No. 4 spot and ended up belting a 114-ball unbeaten 87 to guide India to a maiden 2-1 ODI series win against the Kangaroos in their own backyard, the 37-year-old is “happy to bat at any number”.

“It is not about where you want to bat; I am happy to bat at any number and after playing for 14 years I can’t say that I don’t want to bat at number six and want to bat at four,” said Dhoni, who was adjudged the Man-of-the-Series.

Dhoni’s selfless approach was echoed by none other that his successor Virat Kohli, who said “nobody is more committed to Indian cricket than Dhoni.”

Kohli also heaped praises on middle-order batsman Kedar Jadhav, who despite being benched for the opening two ODIs, grabbed the opportunity with both hands in the final ODI, as the right-hander scored an unbeaten 61 and more importantly forged an 121-run unbeaten stand with Dhoni to see India home by 7 wickets.

“It wasn’t a great wicket to bat on, so we had to take it deep, but they were professional in getting the job done. We were a bit nervous but two set batsmen in knew exactly what they wanted to do. Kedar with bat and ball is always handy. We have been here for a long time,” he said.

Dhoni also praised Jadhav’s efforts saying: “Kedar did a great job in playing unorthodox shots and it is important to hit boundaries.”

Similarly, man-of-the-match Yuzvendra Chahal also made the most of the opportunity, returning 6/42 to restrict the hapless Aussies for a meagre 230 at the MCG.

Commenting on the leg-spinner’s effort, Kohli said: We wanted to get in a good combination. We wanted to give Kuldeep (Yadav) a rest and we don’t want to be too predictable as well. Chahal came in and bowled beautifully. 6/42 was magnificent.”

“It’s been an amazing tour for us. We drew the T20 series, won the Test and the ODI series. If someone gave me these results before the tour I would have taken it with both hands.”

“I am really grateful and proud of the side. It was a collective effort. We are feeling confident and balanced as a side with the World Cup in mind. Few games against New Zealand and few more back home to strengthen the areas that we need to work on as a team,” Kohli added.

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