Baghdatis, Muller go through
Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus and Gilles Muller of Luxembourg claimed straight-sets victories over German opponents on Monday to move into the second round of the Moselle Open in Metz, France. Baghdatis won seven straight games on his way to a 7-5, 6-2 win over Matthias Bachinger, while Muller edged Philipp Petzschner 7-6 (2), 7-6 (5). Baghdatis, the Australian Open runner-up in 2006, won the last three games of the first set and jumped into a 4-0 lead in the second set before wrapping up the win, earning him a second-round match against third-seeded Alexandr Dolgopolov of Ukraine. Baghdatis converted three of seven break points, while Bachinger failed to convert his only break chance. Muller had a much tougher time, saving five break points in the first set to force a tie-breaker. The left-hander took a 5-0 lead before sending down an ace to clinch the set. Petzschner broke for a 4-2 lead in the second set but failed to serve it out at 5-3. Muller will next face Andrey Golubev of Kazakhstan or Benoit Paire of France.
Breno escapes blaze
Bayern Munich defender Breno was treated in hospital for smoke inhalation early yesterday after his house caught fire and was almost completely destroyed, police said. Brazilian Breno, 21, was alone at the time of the fire and was otherwise unhurt. Police said they were investigating the cause of the blaze that swept through the villa in Munich’s Gruenwald neighborhood. Breno joined Bayern as an 18-year-old back in 2008.
Injury downs Southee
New Zealand fast bowler Tim Southee pulled out of the Champions League Twenty20 cricket series yesterday after suffering a knee injury. Southee, who recently won the ICC Twenty20 International Performance of the Year award, was to have flown to India this week to join the Chennai Super Kings ahead of their first match on Saturday. However, he will now stay home for treatment in an attempt to be fit for New Zealand’s upcoming tour of Zimbabwe. Southee’s performance of the year award was for his five wickets in eight balls, including a hat-trick, when New Zealand beat Pakistan by five wickets last December.
RUGBY WORLD CUP
‘It’s a girl’ for Pritchard
Canada fullback James Pritchard missed the birth of his daughter Hayden Emily on Sunday to take on mighty France. Pritchard took the decision play one of the biggest games of his life instead of attending her birth, which took place about two hours before kick-off. “I wasn’t able to be there, but I’ll definitely remember where I was,” he said. “It would have been even better to remember if we were able to turn the French. It was hard to concentrate knowing I had just had a baby girl,” Pritchard admitted. “Just before the game it was hard to concentrate, but once the game started it was all rugby.”
RUGBY WORLD CUP
Japan visit ancient tree
Japan took time out after their heavy defeat to New Zealand to visit a sacred tree reverered by the Maoris on Monday. Tane Mahuta, meaning “Lord of the Forest,” is the world’s oldest kauri tree, dated at 2,000 years old. “Today is our spiritual day. We can practise and train all we want, but if you don’t stop and respect our past and our future, then our spirits will be dead,” Japan’s coach John Kirwan said.