Melbourne: Mahesh Bhupathi returned to Grand Slam action with a first-round win at the Australian Open but Leander Paes' bid fell flat at the first hurdle on Wednesday. Bhupathi, who is playing with Luxembourg's Gilles Muller, beat the Australian team of Alex Bolt and Andrew Whittington 7-6 (4), 3-6, 6-4 in his tournament-opener at court seven. In the two hour and 13 minute contest, Bhupathi and Muller managed to save 12 breakpoints out of 15 they faced. It was Bhupathi's third competitive event since bowing out of 2015 Wimbledon championships. He had missed the entire second half of the last year as he was busy with the conduct of his ambitious International Premier Tennis League (IPTL). He had played at the Chennai Open and then at a Challenger tournament in Thailand, where he reached the semifinals with compatriot Purav Raja. The 42-year-old Paes made an exit with French partner Jeremy Charady after losing his first round 3-6 4-6 to Colombian 12th seeds Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah. Their challenge was over in 72 minutes as they squandered five of the six break chances.
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New Delhi: Swiss tennis ace Martina Hingis has joined her Indian partner Sania Mirza at the top of the WTA women’s doubles rankings, a day after the duo bagged their second title of the season in Sydney. The WTA rankings were released on Saturday and Hingis has a whooping 11,395 points. The 35-year-old champion joined Mirza at the top. Sania and Hingis’ brilliant dominant run continued without any hindrance, as they lifted their second trophy of the season on Friday with the WTA Apia International title after clinching their 30th win in a row. The latest achievement could be seen as a major boost for the the US open and Wimbledon champions ahead of the Australian Open starting January 18. The duo definitely go in as favourites in Melbourne after conquering Brisbane and Sydney already. The Swiss legend had spent 35 weeks at the top of the doubles ranking earlier in her career. Her reign as the world number one came in six stints. She will now begin her 36th career week at the top, while Sania gets her 41st. In a statement released by the WTA on Saturday, Hingis stated that it is a really nice feeling to have that No. 1 ahead of her name. She also credited Sania for the achievement. “It’s a really nice feeling having that No.1 ahead of your name. It’s definitely something I was aiming for, and with Sania I felt like I had the opportunity to get there. The duo have been the No. 1 team in the circuit for the last 10 months and Hingis feels she has proved that with two Slams and the WTA Finals it was just a matter of time to get on top of ranking. “Being the No.1 team for the last 10 months we’ve proven it with two Slams and the WTA Finals in Singapore we definitely belong there. It was just a question of time to get that No.1 ranking.” Her partner Sania stated that she she is ecstatic that that the pair are the No. 1 as individuals as well. “Regardless of what the ranking was, we were the No.1 team in the world. I’m so happy that we’re together now not just as the No.1 team, but as individuals as well.”
Sydney: Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis' awe-inspiring run continued unabated as they lifted their second trophy of the season with the WTA Apia International title after clinching their 30th win a row, here. The triumph over Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic though was not without initial hiccups as the top seeds lost the first set meekly before eking out a 1-6 7-5 10-5 win in one hour and 13 minutes. The world number one team trailed 1-6 1-4 at one stage but they yet again came out unscathed, levelling the second set 5-5 and then sealed it to stretch it to a Super tie- breaker. The US open and Wimbledon champions raced to a 8-3 lead in the decider and clinched the issue comfortably to stretch their unbeaten run to an incredible 30 matches. It was the 11th title together for the Indo-Swiss pair as continuing the good show from 2015 when they won 9 titles including the year-end WTA finale. The year 2016 has also started on a fabulous note for the fuo, which won the Brisbane International trophy last week.
Sydney: The seemingly unstoppable duo of Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis eased past Anastasia Rodionova and Arina Rodionova in the opening round of Sydney International to extend their winning streak to 27 matches here on Tuesday. Rohan Bopanna too won his opening round alongside Romanian partner Florin Mergea to enter the quarterfinals of the concurrently held ATP event. The fourth seeds had to dig deep to beat Denis Istomin and Henri Kontinen 6-7, 6-3, 10-8. Doubles world number one Sania and Swiss great Martina mauled the Rodionova pairing, representing Australia, 6-2, 6-3 to reach the quarters. Sania and Martina began 2016 by winning the Brisbane International last week for their sixth title in a row. Their 27-match winning run is the longest since Italians Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci won 25 in a row in 2012. Sara and Roberta had won five titles in a row, at Barcelona, Madrid, Rome, the French Open and ‘s-Hertogenbosch.
New Delhi: World number one Novak Djokovic started his 2016 campaign with an easyQatar Open final win over long-time rival Rafael Nadal in Doha on Saturday. The final served as a perfect start to the new year with two of the most famous players taking on each other, adding another chapter into their storied rivalry. But it was the Serbian who dominated the match and won the one-sided title match in just over one hour, in straight sets 6-1, 6-2. Djokvic, who entered the final unscathed, without dropping a set, has now won his 60th ATP title. But it was a sad story for the Spaniard, who was playing in the 99th career final. Nadal, coming off a tough 2015 season, struggled against a superior Djokovic, lost his serve twice in the first set. The second set also witnessed the 14-time Grand Slam champion losing his serve twice. He played 23 tournaments in 2015 but managed just three titles, failing to win a single Grand Slam or a Masters 1000 event. For Djokovic, the outing was just a continuance to his superb 2015 form, wherein he made to the finals of all four Grand Slams, besides lifting host of titles and creating records galore.
Sydney: Indian tennis ace Sania Mirza and her Swiss partner Martina Hingis continued their stupendous run by clinching their 25th victory together to enter the final of the Brisbane International Tennis Tournament. The top-seeded Indo-Swiss duo defeated the Slovak-Russian combination of Andreja Klepac and Alla Kudryavtseva 6-3 7-5 to make the summit clash. Sania and Hingis will next be up against winner of the other semifinal between the Spanish team of Anabel Medina Garrigues and Arantxa Parra Santonja and the German wildcard pairing of Angelique Kerber and Andrea Petkovic. Sania and Hingis, currently the world’s No.1 team, breezed past their rivals in the opening set before facing slight resistance in the second. “It’s been a long time since we’ve lost, but it’s never easy to start a new season, especially when you’re coming off such a great season. Everyone’s gunning for us – we’re the hunted,” Sania said. “We’re just taking it one match at a time, stay positive, and pick up from where we left off.” Sania and Hingis won five titles last season and their unbeaten streak is the longest since Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci’s 25 in a row in 2012
Sydney: Roger Federer took 55 minutes to dispel all injury doubts with a 6-2 6-1 routing of the unheralded German Tobias Kamke in the second round of the Brisbane International on Thursday. Media speculations swirled around the fitness of the world number three less than two weeks before he launches his bid for a fifth Australian Open title and the Swiss maestro dismissed them by dropping only three games in a lop-sided contest. "I`m going to do my best to stay injury free and give myself a chance to win another grand slam," Federer said after setting up a quarter-final against Grigor Dimitrov. Bulgaria`s Dimitrov came from behind to beat Viktor Troicki 5-7 7-6(6) 6-2, while big-serving Canadian Milos Raonic battled through to the last eight with a 6-7(2) 6-1 6-4 win over Croatian Ivan Dodig.
Miami : Olympic champion boxer Howard Davis Jr., who won the 1976 gold medal and was named over teammate Sugar Ray Leonard as the most outstanding fighter in the Montreal Games, died of cancer. Davis, 59, died Wednesday at his Plantation home, surrounded by family, said his wife Karla Guadamuz-Davis. His diagnosis of stage 4 lung cancer in February just before his birthday came as a shock because he had never smoked, she said. The cancer spread to his liver, and the family chose to discontinue treatment in a hospital this week. In the 1976 Olympics, Davis was voted the outstanding boxer, out-polling his teammates Leonard and Michael and Leon Spinks. His mother had died three days before the Montreal Games began, and he considered withdrawing from competition. Instead he stayed, and he dedicated his lightweight gold medal win to his mother's memory. Davis was considered by many to be better than Leonard on the star-studded 1976 team. As a pro, however, his career never matched his Olympic exploits. The gold medal awarded to Davis was a story unto itself. According to Olympic historian David Wallechinsky, the medal was stolen in 1981 from Davis' Long Island home but the robber apparently tossed it from his car while fleeing police. Ten years later, a highway landscaper came across a piece of metal while at work. He cleaned it up and used it for a paperweight for the next four years. In 1991, a visitor to the landscaper's home recognized the paperweight for what it was. The landscaper, Jake Fiesel, tracked down Davis and called him. The boxer was finally reunited with his medal. Davis retired from boxing in 1996 with a professional record of 36-6-1 with 14 knockouts, according to his biography on the Howard Davis Jr. Foundation's website. He and his wife promoted mixed martial arts fights through their Florida-based company, Fight Time Promotions.
New Delhi: Roger Federer is likely to start his 2016 campaign against Australian wildcard Ben Mitchell or a qualifier at the Brisbane International. Top seed Federer has a first-round bye in the tournament, which starts on Sunday. Mitchell is one win away from earning a dream match-up with the 17-time Grand Slam champion at Pat Rafter Arena. The 34-year-old is the defending champion of the ATP 250 event. He beat Milos Raonic in last year’s final in a three-set final. In 2014, he lost to Lleyton Hewitt in the title clash. Federer is scheduled to arrive in Brisbane on Saturday morning. Besides the Swiss maestro, Kei Nishikori, Marin Cilic and Raonic are also taking part in the tournament, before the season opening Grand Slam Australian Open.
London: Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic were named the women`s and men`s players of the year by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) on Tuesday. Both won three of the four Grand Slams in 2015 and are well clear in the world rankings. Williams, who was named `ITF World Champion` for the sixth time, won five titles throughout the year, finishing with a 53-3 win-loss record. After winning Wimbledon in July she also held all four Grand Slam titles at the same time for the second time in her career, which she previously dubbed a `Serena Slam` in contrast to a calendar Grand Slam. "It means a lot to me to be named the ITF World Champion for the sixth time. I am proud to have achieved my second Serena Slam, in what has been an amazing year for me," she said in an ITF statement. Djokovic, who finished the year as men`s number one for the fourth time, won the award for a fifth time. He managed a career-best 11 titles and finished with an 82-6 record. He got even closer to the Grand Slam than Williams, who was beaten in the US Open semi-finals, as he only missed out on a first Roland Garros crown in the final against Stan Wawrinka. "My season was the best of my career with many highlights. It inspires me even more to keep on going, and I hope to continue to play at this level in 2016," he said. India`s Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis of Switzerland were named the women`s doubles champions with Dutchman Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau of Romania picking up the men`s award.