Cooper faces hearing
The Queensland Reds’ playmaker Quade Cooper’s hopes of playing in the Super Rugby playoff against South Africa’s Coastal Sharks on Saturday hinge on a judiciary hearing today. The Wallaby flyhalf was sin-binned by referee Steve Walsh and later cited for a high tackle that forced NSW Waratahs counterpart Berrick Barnes to be replaced in the defending Super 15 champions’ 32-16 win in Brisbane on Saturday. South Africa New Zealand Australia Rugby (SANZAR) yesterday said Cooper would face a hearing today. A SANZAR statement said Cooper was alleged to have tackled Barnes in the 63rd minute of the match, making contact above the shoulders. Cooper was one of Queensland’s outstanding players in the five-tries-to-two win over the Waratahs to claim the Australia conference and the third ranking playoff spot ahead of the ACT Brumbies.
Errani, Strycova in final
French Open runner-up Sara Errani beat Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania 6-4, 6-1 to reach the Italiacom Open final on Saturday and shoot for her fourth title of the year. The top-seeded Errani has dropped just 16 games in four matches. She also won in Palermo in 2008. Her other victories this year were in Budapest, Barcelona and Acapulco. British teenager Laura Robson’s impressive run was ended in a 2-6, 7-5, 6-2 defeat by eighth-seeded Barbora Zahlavova Strycova in the other semi-final. Robson, a Junior Wimbledon champion four years ago at 14, appeared in her first WTA semis. Zahlavova Strycova, a Czech, won her only WTA title in Quebec City last year.
Cilic contest Croatia final
Marin Cilic of Croatia and Marcel Granollers of Spain were to play in the Croatia Open final yesterday. The second-seeded Cilic defeated defending champion Alexandr Dolgopolov of Ukraine 7-5, 6-2, while Granollers upset top-seeded countryman Fernando Verdasco 6-2, 6-7 in the semi-finals on Saturday. Cilic aims to become the first Croat since 1990 to win his home tournament and Granollers seeks his fourth career title. Cilic has a 4-1 record against Granollers, who won their last clash in Valencia last year. Cilic made a slow start as Dolgopolov broke twice and led 5-4. However, Cilic broke back amid a six-game winning streak that gave him a set and 3-0 lead. Last year, Cilic lost to Dolgopolov in the Umag final. Fourth-seeded Granollers broke twice to win the first set against Verdasco. Verdasco reached 5-3 in the second, but Granollers forced a tiebreaker. Verdasco, the 2008 Umag champion, carried momentum into the third set by breaking immediately, but Granollers broke back and never lost a game to the end of the semi-final.
Tipsarevic, Monaco face off
Top-seeded Janko Tipsarevic of Serbia and No. 2 Juan Monaco of Argentina were to contest the final of the Mercedes Cup. Tipsarevic reached his first final on clay by beating Thomaz Bellucci of Brazil 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 in the semi-finals on Saturday. Monaco had to work even harder against Guillermo Garcia-Lopez of Spain. Monaco wasted five match points in squandering a 5-0 lead in the third set before prevailing 6-3, 3-6, 7-5. Monaco was looking for his third title of the year.