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Only three players have a winning record against Rafael Nadal

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Rafael Nadal has played almost 1,000 matches in his career against hundreds of opponents and, due to both his dominance on all three surfaces as well as her unprecedented dominance on clay, almost no one on earth can say they’ve got the better of Rafael Nadal — almost no one except his first-round opponent on Monday night at the U.S. Open, 18-year-old Borna Coric.

Last October, Coric, then 17, beat Nadal in straight sets in Basel when Rafa was battling an appendix injury that would later lead to surgery. That gave the young Croatian a 1-0 record against Nadal that he’ll bring into Monday’s late match at Arthur Ashe Stadium. How many others can boast having a winning record against Rafa? Not many.

Coric after beating Nadal. (Getty Images)

Roger Federer is a pathetic 10-23. Andy Murray doesn’t fare much better at 6-15. The rest of the top 10 (Kei Nishikori, San Wawrinka, Tomas Berdych, David Ferrer, Marin Cilic and Milos Raonics) is 15-68 against Rafa, with only Berdych (4-19) and Ferrer (6-23) having more than two wins against him.

So who else can boast what Coric can (at least for the next 10 hours of so?) Nick Kyrgios is famously 1-0 against Nadal after upsetting him at Wimbledon last year. Dustin Brown is the only active player to be 2-0 against Nadal, thanks to two grass wins, including one at Wimbledon this year.

Brown did it again, why not Coric? (AP)

That’s it. One, two, three. Of all active players with a current ATP ranking, it’s only Coric, Kyrgios and Brown who can boast a winning record against Rafa. Given the dip in the Spaniard’s recent play, it may not be that way for long, so revel in it while you can, gentleman (and Kyrgios). And if Borna Coric needs any inspiration for Monday’s match, look no further than Brown, who followed up a win in his first match against Nadal with a Grand Slam win in his second.

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IPL: Chennai eyeing win against Rajasthan at their new home

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Pune, April 20: After losing their previous Indian Premier League (IPL) clash by a whisker, Chennai Super Kings (CSK) will aim to start off with a win against Rajasthan Royals (RR) in their new home ground — the Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA) Stadium, here on Friday.

CSK were forced to move out of their original home venue in Chennai amid political unrest over the Cauvery water-sharing issue.

Both the teams, who have returned to the league after serving two year bans following the spot-fixing scandal, will face each other for the first time in the ongoing edition.

Image result for csk rr

While Chennai lost their previous match against Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) by 4 runs in Mohali, the Ajinkya Rahane-led Rajasthan suffered a seven-wicket defeat against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) at home.

With two wins and two defeats, Rajasthan are placed fifth with four points, while the Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led Chennai also have an equal number of points after two wins from three matches and are at the fourth position.

Rajasthan started their IPL 2018 campaign on a poor note, hammered by Sunrisers Hyderabad by 9 wickets. They however, gained momentum and registered two back-to-back wins against Delhi Daredevils and Royal Challengers Bangalore.

Later, Kolkata outclassed them by seven wickets.

With 185 runs from four games, Sanju Samson has been the most impressive batsman for Rajasthan while skipper Rahane has amassed 130 runs.

Rajasthan’s bowlers — K. Gowtham and Ben Laughlin — have performed well while leggie Shreays Gopal has also been economical.

However, all-rounder Ben Stokes, who was bought for a whopping Rs 12.5 crore, has failed to fire till now.

On the other hand, two-time champions Chennai had a great start to their campaign with back-to-back wins against defending champions Mumbai Indians and Kolkata Knight Riders.

It was Dwayne Bravo’s 30-ball 68 against Mumbai which helped Chennai register their first win and later, Sam Billings’ 23-ball 56 guided them home against Kolkata Knight Riders in a high-scoring match.

In their last match against Kings XI Punjab, Ambati Rayudu (49) and Dhoni (79) almost handed Chennai a hat-trick of wins but they fell short by four runs.

In the bowling department, Shane Watson has been impressive with five wickets from three games while Shardul Thakur and Imran Tahir have three wickets each from as many games.

It will also be Chennai’s first game at Pune, which is now their new home for this year’s edition of the cash-rich league, and the two-time champions will be keen to regain lost momentum.

Teams:

Rajasthan Royals: Heinrich Klassen, Benjamin Stokes, Jaydev Unadkat, Sanju Samson, Jofra Archer, Krishnappa Gowtham, Jos Buttler, Ajinkya Rahane (Captain), Darcy Short, Rahul Tripathi, Dhawal Kulkarni, Zahir Khan Pakteen, Ben Laughlin, Stuart Binny, Dushmantha Chameera, Anureet Singh, Aryaman Vikram Birla, Midhun S, Shreyas Gopal, Prashant Chopra, Jatin Saxena, Ankit Sharma, Mahipal Lomror.

Chennai Super Kings: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (Captain & WK), Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Faf du Plessis, Harbhajan Singh, Dwayne Bravo, Shane Watson, Kedar Jadhav, Ambati Rayudu, Deepak Chahar, KM Asif, Kanishk Seth, Lungi Ngidi, Dhruv Shorey, Murali Vijay, Sam Billings, Mark Wood, Kshitiz Sharma, Monu Kumar, Chaitanya Bishnoi, Imran Tahir, Karn Sharma, Shardul Thakur, N Jagadeesan.

IANS

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IPL: Kings XI Punjab beat Sunrisers Hyderabad by 15 runs

Earlier, Gayle struck a 63-ball 104, laced with 11 sixes and a boundary to set the jam-packed stadium on fire.

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Chris Gayle

Mohali, April 19 : A brilliant all-round effort helped Kings XI Punjab beat Sunrisers Hyderabad by 15 runs in an Indian Premier League match here on Thursday.

First, Chris Gayle’s unbeaten 104-run knock helped Punjab posted a mammoth 193/3 and then, its bowlers managed to restrict the visitors to 178/4 in their allotted 20 overs.

Chasing a massive target, Hyderabad never looked in contention as the visitors lost wickets at regular intervals. Hyderabad’s in-form opener Shikhar Dhawan got injured on his first ball and from then, the required rate kept on increasing and none of the batsmen scored freely.

Skipper Kane Williamson (54) and middle-order batsman Manish Pandey (57 not out), however tried to narrow the gap between the runs but lack of support from other batters costly hugely.

Yusuf Pathan (19) and Shakib Al Hasan (24 not out) also displayed the signs of coming back to form but could not contribute handsomely.

For Punjab, Mohit Sharma and Andrew Tye took two wickets each.

Earlier, Gayle struck a 63-ball 104, laced with 11 sixes and a boundary to set the jam-packed stadium on fire.

Opting to bat, Punjab started on a cautious note as openers Lokesh Rahul (18) and Gayle stitched a 53-run partnership for the opening wicket.

Afghan leg-spinner Rashid Khan drew first blood for Hyderabad, dismissing Rahul in the eighth over.

Medium pacer Siddarth Kaul provided another jolt to the hosts, packing back incoming batsman Mayank Agarwal (18) in the 11th over.

Gayle was then joined by Karun Nair (31 off 21 balls; 4×3, 6×1) and the duo shared a 85-run partnership for the third wicket, taking Punjab past the 150 run mark.

By then, Gayle had brought up his sixth IPL ton in just 58 deliveries, with a squeezy drive to point off Kaul and thereafter unleashing his trademark ‘Baby in the arms’ celebration.

Pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar got rid-off Nair in the 18th over but Gayle continued to hammer every Hyderabad bowler.

Australian Aaron Finch’s 14 not out off 6 balls in the final moments propelled Punjab to a massive total even as Gayle remained a spectator at the other end.

For Hyderabad, Bhuvneshwar, Rashid and Kaul bagged one wicket apiece.

Brief Scores: Kings XI Punjab 193/3 (Chris Gayle 104 not out, Karun Nair 31; Bhuvneshwar Kumar 1/25) vs Sunrisers Hyderabad 178/4 (Manish Pandey 57 not out; Andrew Tye 2/23) .

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I will continue boxing till my body allows, says CWG gold medallist Mary Kom

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CWG gold medallist Mary Kom, File Photo

New Delhi, April 19 (IANS) After clinching her maiden Commonwealth Games medal, five-time world champion M.C. Mary Kom says she took the Gold Coast Games as a challenge and has urged other athletes to “flush out” the age factor.

Mary, 35, clinched the gold in Light Flyweight (48kg) category in Gold Coast, defeating Kristina O’Hara of Northern Ireland in the final.

“I never spoke about retirement, these are all rumours. My focus is now solely on that elusive Olympic gold. Whether I win or not is a separate thing but I am working hard to achieve that goal,” Mary told IANS putting a lid on all talks of her retirement, reiterating that she will continue boxing till her body allows her.

“Age has never been a factor for me, let’s flush this ‘age factor’ out of our minds. I will continue boxing till my body allows me,” she said.

Kom conceded she had a busy schedule — as a professional athlete, parent, gym owner and lawmaker — but sounded a warning to her opponents against assuming she had too much on her plate.

“I took the CWG as a challenge and emerged successful since I have always prioritised my training. With this medal I believe I have succeeded in silencing many of my critics. I can challenge anyone when I am on top of my training,” she added.

Asked about her chances in the upcoming Asian Games in Jakarta in August, the London Olympics bronze medallist conceded that the Asiad is a tougher tournament, considering the fact that she will have to compete in a higher weight category.

Mary, a Rajya Sabha MP, will have to compete in the Flyweight (51kg) category at the Asiad, since the 48kg division is not a part of the Asian Games and the Olympics.

“The Asian Games will be a bigger challenge, where I will have to compete in a higher weight category. So whatever the category is, I have to be fully ready and focussed on my training,” she said.

Mary, who has been competing non-stop for the past five months, starting with the Asian Championships gold in November, has no plans of taking a break.

Ahead of the CWG, Mary won a gold medal in the India Open in January before settling for a silver in the Strandja Memorial in Bulgaria in February.

When asked about the quality of India’s coaching staff, Mary was quick to pick women’s High-Performance manager Raffaele Bergamasco and her personal coach Chhote Lal Yadav as a great combination.

“Raffaele and Chhote Lal are very good coaches. Rafael is an experienced coach, Chhote Lal is young and can learn a lot from his company. If he continues in the same way, India will not require foreign coaches,” she said.

Asked about India’s bench strength in women’s boxing, Mary sounded positive, and also credited the Boxing Federation of India (BFI) for the gradual rise of Indian boxers.

“India has a rich bench strength in women’s boxing. I have seen a lot of young boxers coming up, thanks to BFI’s efforts of introducing new tournaments like the India Open boxing and also raising their hands in hosting international tournaments like the women’s Youth World Championships,” she said.

“Lovleena (Borgohain) is a very talented and promising boxer but unfortunately missed the medal (in 69kg category). But I do hope she keeps training hard and not lose focus. Medals will definitely come to her kitty one day,” she added.

After returning with an impressive haul of nine medals from the CWG, the Indian boxing contingent will take a break for a few days before heading to the United States for physical training, while the second string side will participate in a tournament in Serbia.

Commenting on the upcoming national camp, Mary said: “It’s an 18-day camp, a very good idea by the BFI and the coaches. In boxing, it is very important to maintain fitness and strengthening.”

IANS

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