Coach wants Eto’o demoted
Cameroon coach Denis Lavagne wants Samuel Eto’o removed as captain when he returns from suspension later this year. Eto’o was given an eight-month ban for leading a strike in November, when Cameroon refused to play a friendly in Algeria because they had not been paid promised bonuses. In a letter to the Cameroon Football Federation, Frenchman Lavagne called for them to make a decision on the captaincy before games against Cape Verde Islands in September and October in the final round of African Cup of Nations preliminaries. “Consequently, we are requesting that a meeting be held to designate the next captain of the national team and his assistants,” Lavagne wrote in the letter released to the media in Cameroon. Lavagne, who was recently warned by the federation for being disrespectful to a government minister, was appointed last year after Cameroon fired former Spain manager Javier Clemente when they failed to reach this year’s Cup of Nations finals.
Tomic, Haas knocked out
Australian third seed Bernard Tomic and German veteran Tommy Haas, the eighth seed, were both knocked out of the Stuttgart clay court tournament in the second round on Thursday. Tomic went down to a 7-6 (8/6), 6-3 defeat to Brazilian clay court specialist Thomaz Bellucci, while Slovak qualifier Pavol Cervenak, the world No. 206, saw off Haas 6-4, 6-4. In the quarter-finals Cervenak is set to tackle Argentine second seed Juan Monaco, who breezed past Germany’s Tobias Kamke 6-2, 6-3.
Robson upsets second seed
British teenager Laura Robson upset second-seeded Roberta Vinci of Italy 6-3, 7-5 to reach the Italiacom Open quarter-finals for the best result of her career on Thursday. Robson won the Junior Wimbledon title four years ago when she was 14, but this is the furthest she has advanced in a WTA event. Robson is scheduled to meet fifth-seeded Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain, who advanced when Anna Tatishvili of Georgia retired while trailing 6-1, 3-2 because of a pulled right hamstring. Third seed Julia Georges reached the last eight when Katalin Marosi of Hungary withdrew before their match with a right-shoulder injury. Georges’ quarter-final opponent will be eighth-seeded Barbora Zahlavova Strycova of the Czech Republic, who rallied past Julia Cohen of the US 3-6, 6-3, 7-5.
Former champion advances
Former champion Fernando Verdasco of Spain defeated Ernests Gulbis of Latvia 6-2, 3-6, 6-1 to reach the Croatia Open quarter-finals on Thursday. Verdasco, the top seed and 2008 champ, converted five of 18 break points in the second-round victory. Verdasco is due to face either Andrey Kuznetsov of Russia or Mate Pavic of Croatia. Pavic ousted second-seeded countryman Marin Cilic. Fifth-seeded Carlos Berlocq beat fellow Argentine Marco Trungelliti 7-6, 4-6, 6-1.
Almagro beats Minar
Second-seeded Nicolas Almagro of Spain rallied to overcome Ivo Minar of the Czech Republic 1-6, 7-6, 6-4 on Thursday to reach the quarter-finals of the Swedish Open. Third-seeded Albert Ramos of Spain advanced by beating Kazakhstan’s Evgeny Korolev 6-3, 6-3, while sixth-seeded Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria ousted Portugal’s Federico Gil 6-3, 6-4. Another Spaniard, Daniel Gimeno-Traver, beat Brazil’s Alessandro Giannessi 6-4, 6-3.