Thai star, beauty queen split
Thai star Paradorn Srichaphan and his wife, former Miss Universe Natalie Glebova, are separating after three years of marriage. The couple said in a statement on Thursday that they decided to split in July last year because work commitments had kept them apart. The former No. 9-ranked player and the Canadian pageant queen have launched beauty products, diet supplements and a Bangkok restaurant together. They said in the statement they planned to continue to do business with one another. The pair met at the Thailand Open on the ATP Tour in 2006, a year after Glebova was crowned Miss Universe. They quickly became one of Bangkok’s most recognizable celebrity couples and were married in September 2007, the year that Paradorn’s tennis career ended due to a wrist injury. Paradorn’s father, Chanachai Srichaphan, was quoted in Thai newspapers as saying the couple continued to share the same house, but no longer as husband and wife.
Ferrer rallies to win
Top-seeded David Ferrer of Spain rallied from a set down on Thursday night to defeat Argentine Juan Monaco 2-6, 7-5, 6-2 and reach the semi-finals of the Mexican Open. Ferrer’s countryman, Nicolas Almagro, also advanced with a 7-6 (0), 5-7, 6-4 win over Colombian Santiago Giraldo, moving within two victories of winning his third straight ATP title. Ferrer saved 10 of the 14 break points he faced and overcame six double faults to win the two-hour, 43-minute match. In other quarter-final matches, Thomaz Bellucci of Brazil needed just over three hours to defeat Poland’s Lukasz Kubot 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-4, and Alexandr Dolgopolov of Ukraine upset No. 4 Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland 6-4, 7-6 (6). In quarter-final matches on the women’s side of the joint ATP-WTA event, Johanna Larsson of Sweden upset third-seeded Greta Arn of Hungary 6-2, 4-6, 6-2, No. 6 seed Arantxa Parra Santonja of Spain defeated compatriot Loudres Dominguez Lino 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, and fourth seed Gisela Dulko of Argentina outlasted Laura Pous-Tio of Spain, 3-6, 7-5, 6-0. Anabel Medina Garrigues of Spain also advanced when Carla Suarez Navarro, retired from their match trailing 6-2, 2-2.
Irizar wins Ruta del Sol
Spaniard Markel Irizar (Radioshack) secured overall victory in the Ruta del Sol in Spain on Thursday after the fifth and final stage, won by compatriot Oscar Freire of Rabobank. Irizar took a one-second overnight lead over Jurgen Van den Broeck into the 162km ride from Cordoba to Antequera, and defended his slim advantage to secure his first major success. Van den Broeck finished second, with another RadioShack rider, American Levi Leipheimer third. “This is unbelievable,” Irizar said. “I am so happy with this victory, but even more with the way my teammates worked for me.”
Fabregas to miss final
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has vowed to win the League Cup for stricken skipper Cesc Fabregas after injury ruled the club captain out of tomorrow’s clash with Birmingham. Fabregas limped out of Wednesday’s Premier League win over Stoke with a hamstring strain and will now miss the final at Wembley, where Arsenal are bidding to win their first silverware since 2005. Wenger said he hoped Arsenal would go on to lift the trophy as a tribute to Fabregas, who is now battling to be fit for the club’s Champions League second leg match with Barcelona on March 8.