US beat Austria at worlds
The young US squad began their world championship with a 5-1 victory over Austria on Saturday in the eastern Slovakian town of Kosice, but holders Czech Republic had to work hard to beat a stubborn Latvia team 4-2. Finland enjoyed a revenge victory against Denmark, also by 5-1, while Norway won 5-4 in overtime against Sweden. Chris Kreider, drafted by the New York Rangers and named player of the match, celebrated his 20th birthday with the opening goal for the US after 14 minutes. Blake Wheeler extended the lead to 2-0 four minutes later. Austria failed to take advantage of a five-on-three power play in the second period, but shot a contact goal one minute later, as Marco Pewal punished the US’ inability to convert several chances. Yan Stastny, son of former NHL and Slovakian player Peter Stastny, took the US to 3-1 in the 39th minute and strikes by Kevin Shattenkirk and Craig Smith in the third finished off the Group C victory.
Sehwag carries Daredevils
Virender Sehwag smashed a 47-ball 80 on a difficult pitch to set up Delhi Daredevils’ 38-run win over Kochi Tuskers Kerala in an Indian Premier League match on Saturday. The skipper hit five sixes and eight fours as Delhi posted 157-7 before dismissing Kochi for 119 for their third victory in eight matches of the Twenty20 tournament. In Saturday’s other match, Kolkata Knight Riders scored an eight-wicket victory over Kings XI Punjab, achieving a modest 120-run target with more than two overs to spare for their fifth win in eight games. Skipper Gautam Gambhir (45 not out) and Manoj Tiwary (34 not out) helped Kolkata win with an unfinished 85-run stand for the third wicket.
Evans leads at Romandie
Cadel Evans left behind his worries over a knee injury to seize the reins of the Tour de Romandie in the penultimate stage, a wind-affected 20.1km individual time trial on Saturday. The Australian 2009 world champion finished only eighth behind five-times US time-trial champion David Zabriskie, who was lucky to start early in the afternoon when the weather was milder. It was, though, enough for Evans to move to top spot overall with an 18-second lead over Germany’s Tony Martin. Kazakh Alexander Vinokourov lay third, a further second behind. While yellow jersey holder Pavel Brutt of Russia soon drifted out of contention on a hilly, tricky course, the fight for the overall podium was between Evans, Martin and Vinokourov.
Trump eliminates Ding
Ding Junhui’s hopes of becoming China’s first world championship finalist were dashed on Saturday by English qualifier Judd Trump who won their semi-final 17-15. The 21-year-old, the second youngest man to reach the final, came from 15-14 behind to beat Ding, finishing off with a 105 break. His victory set up a final for yesterday and today against three-time champion John Higgins who defeated Mark Williams 17-14. Trump won the China Open at the start of the month, but is now just one win away from landing the sport’s greatest prize. “It hasn’t sunk in yet. I’ll have to go away and have a little think about it ... We hardly missed a ball in the whole match. Ding’s safety was a little bit better than mine and in the last few frames he got in first, but he made a couple of mistakes and I punished him.”
Simpson, Watson share lead