Mertens reaches semifinals on debut at Australian Open

first_img“If you believe in yourself, then anything can happen,” she said. “But of course semis is, ‘Wow.’”She’s the first Belgian since Kim Clijsters in 2012 to reach the semifinals in Australia, and knew she had plenty of support at home.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSLillard, Anthony lead Blazers over ThunderSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutout“Kim, thanks for watching, I knew you sent me a message before the match — don’t be too stressy,” said Mertens, who trains at Clijsters’ academy. “I’m trying to be in your footsteps this week.”The No. 37-ranked Mertens successfully defended her Hobart International title — she decided last year to target that title instead of entering Open qualifying — two weeks ago, and has now won five matches at Melbourne Park. 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His fine of $45,000 nearly equals his first-round prize money of 60,000 Australian dollars ($47,900).Zverev’s fine was the largest ever assessed to a player for an on-site Grand Slam offense. Other players have been fined larger amounts following a Grand Slam tournament, such as Serena Williams’ $82,500 fine in 2009 for her tirade at a U.S. Open line judge.Italian player Fabio Fognini was fined $96,000 last year after insulting a chair umpire at the U.S. Open, an amount that could be reduced to $48,000 if he doesn’t have any further offences over the next two years.The new rule came in response to a rash of first-round retirements at Wimbledon last year. View comments 2 ‘newbie’ drug pushers fall in Lucena sting Mertens dominated against Svitolina, who also entered her first quarterfinal in Australia on a nine-match winning roll after winning the Brisbane International two week ago.Svitolina had won their only previous tour-level match, but had no answers on Rod Laver Arena and later said hip trouble had been bothering her all year.“She played great from the beginning of the year,” Svitolina said. “But, you know, when I give her opportunities to play and to play a good level, then of course she’s going to play. She’s going to go for shots.“Now she’s in semifinal. Now she’s not just a player that’s up and down. She’s quite consistent, and we can see this.”Mertens raced out to a 5-2 in the first set before Svitolina got her only service break. The second set was no contest. Mertens won a 27-point rally while holding serve in the fourth game, then hit a backhand winner into the open corner to break Svitolina in the next game for a 5-0 lead.ADVERTISEMENT Belgium’s Elise Mertens celebrates after defeating Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina in their quarterfinal at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2018. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)MELBOURNE, Australia — A year after opting out of qualifying for the Australian Open, Elise Mertens has reached the semifinals in her debut at the season-opening Grand Slam.Mertens upset fourth-seeded Elina Svitolina 6-4, 6-0 on Tuesday to extend her winning streak to 10 matches and be the first woman through to the semifinals at Melbourne Park.ADVERTISEMENT NEXT BLOCK ASIA 2.0 introduces GURUS AWARDS to recognize and reward industry influencerslast_img read more

Graft-hit government postpones Monsoon session of Parliament

first_imgDeviating from convention, the Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs (CCPA) has decided to convene the monsoon session of Parliament on August 1, to be concluded on September 8, triggering strong protests from the BJP and the Left parties.The Opposition alleged that the government was trying to run away from discussions. Usually, the month-long monsoon session begins around the third week of July.Apart from the Lokpal Bill, the government is also contemplating to bring the controversial women’s reservation Bill in the ensuing session in its bid to divide the Opposition and divert attention from the Lokpal Bill.Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar has convened an allparty meeting on Wednesday to discuss the women’s quota Bill. Congress spokesperson Jayanti Natarajan said the party wants the Bill cleared in the monsoon session itself.Refuting the BJP-CPM charge that the government had deliberately delayed the session, parliamentary affairs minister P.K. Bansal said there have been instances of the session being called in August.Some Congress leaders, trying to justify the delay in the monsoon session, said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh may go in for a cabinet reshuffle in the first week of July and the new ministers would need time to familiarise themselves with their portfolios.However, the BJP and the CPM slammed the move.Describing the decision as “shocking”, the BJP – led by veteran leader L.K. Advani – requested the President to call an early session “because there are pressing issues that Parliament needs to discuss. Instead of heeding that advice, the government has postponed the session,” BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said.advertisementThe convention is broken only in “extreme” situations, he said. “You alter the timings of Parliament sessions only when there is a war or natural calamity or elections. Of course, if there is an undeclared Emergency, the ruling party can do anything it likes,” he said sarcastically.CPM politburo member Sitaram Yechury said the government’s decision was “most regrettable and unfortunate”.He said, “The budget session was also curtailed. We have been demanding that Parliament should be in session at least 100 days a year. This is the lowest in parliament democracy anywhere in the world. But this government, instead of even holding session for 100 days, is curbing it further.”Congress sources, however, said there was no hidden agenda behind the decision.”In the wake of Gandhian Anna Hazare’s threat that he would resort to fasting again from August 15 if the Lokpal Bill is not passed by then, the government’s first priority is to bring the anti-graft legislation to Parliament,” the sources said, adding that the government needed time to prepare the Bill.The draft report may be ready by the end of this month and an all-party meeting will be called in the first week of July to discuss it.The ministries concerned would then work on the draft Bill, which has to be approved by the cabinet.This process itself would take about a month, a senior Congress leader said.At the same time, sources in the party said the government wanted to counter the threat of Anna Hazare beginning the August 15 fast.”Once the Bill is tabled in Parliament, the government has no more any role to play. It is up to the political parties then to discuss it threadbare and either pass it or send it to the standing committee,” the sources said.For more news on India, click here.For more news on Business, click here.For more news on Movies, click here.For more news on Sports, click here.last_img read more

Andy Murray becomes first Brit to win Grand Slam men’s singles title in 76 years

first_imgAndy Murray became the first British man to win a Grand Slam men’s singles title in 76 years after defeating Serbia’s Novak Djokovic in five gruelling sets in the US Open final.After losing four Grand Slam finals, the Scotsman at last won a major title by battling it out in blustery conditions at Arthur Ashe Stadium 7-6, 7-5, 2-6, 3-6, 6-2, here at Flushing Meadows on Monday.It looked as if Murray had the measure of the windy conditions as he took the first two sets before Djokovic came back roaring to take the next two.The Briton quickly regained his equanimity in the deciding set and jumped into a 3-0 lead pulling on his reserve stamina by breaking the Serb’s serve twice. Then and there the Serb’s fight was over and the Briton raced to take the set and the match.Djokovic thus failed to become the first to defend the title at the US Open since the five straight wins by Federer (2004-2008), reports Xinhua.The last British male champion to win a Grand Slam title was Fred Perry, who claimed the US Open in 1936.Murray, 25, had an extra day’s rest than his opponent as Djokovic’s semifinal against David Ferrer was postponed to Sunday.The Serb had to play two matches in two days and that gave Murray the edge over the defending champion, especially in the fifth set.The defeat cost Djokovic heavy. Had he won he would have collected $2.9 million payout instead of the $1.45 million runner-up cheque as he would have pocketed $1 million bonus for leading the US Open series.Murray earned $1.9 million, bringing his career prize money to more than $23 million.Djokovic, 25, was the 2-5 favourite at the Las Vegas Hotel’s Super Book, translating to a 71 percent probability of a sixth major title. A successful $100 dollars bet on underdog Murray yielded a 210-dollar profit.The win also broke a stranglehold on major titles by Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Djokovic, who combined to win 29 of the previous 30. Juan Martin Del Potro’s 2009 US Open victory was the lone exception.Murray’s breakthrough came in his 28th Grand Slam event and after losing four finals. He lost the 2011 Australian Open final to Djokovic and was beaten by Federer in three others — at the 2008 U.S. Open, in Australia in 2010 and this year at Wimbledon.There were four service breaks in the first eight games of the opening set as the players tried to adjust to the swirling 26 kph wind.Playing tentatively instead of going for winners, the two men exchanged 54 strokes on one point in the sixth game of the 87-minute set. The tie-breaker lasted 24 minutes.After Murray won the first-set tie-breaker on his sixth set point, he took a 4-0 lead in the second set by breaking Djokovic’s serve twice.Djokovic stormed back to win five of the next six games, only to have Murray break his serve again in the 12th game to win the set.Djokovic rallied to clinch the next two sets to stay alive and revive hopes of defending the title. But Murray repeated what he did in the second set by breaking the Serb’s first two service games, establishing a 3-0 lead.Though Djokovic broke one back in the fourth game, but could not hold off the sliding and was broken for the ninth time in the match in the seventh game to lose.With the win, Murray, who took the gold medal at the London Games in July, also became the first man to win both a gold medal and the US Open title since tennis returned to the Olympics in 1988.Murray called the three-set Olympic gold medal-winning victory against Federer “the biggest win of my life.”Now Murray has a Grand Slam as well, moving past Nadal to become the ATP World Tour’s third-ranked player.advertisementlast_img read more