Sat, Feb 03, 2018 - Page 16 News List




Germany take early lead

Alexander Zverev yesterday handed Germany a 1-0 lead in their Davis Cup World Group first-round tie against Australia when he outlasted Alex de Minaur in a four-hour marathon in Brisbane, Australia. Zverev was forced to fight every step of the way before seeing off the challenge of the 18-year-old De Minaur 7-5, 4-6, 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7/4) on Pat Rafter Arena. The world No. 5 had looked down and out when De Minaur, playing superb defensive tennis, took a two sets to love lead. However, Zverev fought back to win the fourth set before recovering from an early break in the fifth to force a tiebreak. He then created a mini-break at 3-4 in the tiebreak and served superbly to take the match and give his country the early advantage. Zverev, 20, has had a disappointing Davis Cup record, with one win and four losses before yesterday’s match.


Haas leads at Phoenix Open

Bill Haas used a hot start to jump to the first-round lead on Thursday, as several big names queued up close behind at the Waste Management Phoenix Open in Arizona. Haas shrugged off a late tee time to card seven-under-par 64 in front of a typically raucous and large crowd at TPC Scottsdale, two strokes ahead of a five-strong group including fellow American Rickie Fowler. Spanish world No. 2 Jon Rahm is three behind, while American Justin Thomas trails by four. In a field that includes four of the top five players in the world rankings, Japanese two-times defending champion Hideki Matsuyama made a decent start to trail by five shots, but out-of-sorts American Jordan Spieth struggled to a one-over 72.


Russians hail ban ruling

Russia has hailed a decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport on Thursday to overturn Olympic doping bans on 28 of the country’s athletes, with the Russian Ministry of Sports declaring that “justice has finally triumphed.” The court ruled that there was insufficient evidence that 28 Russians, including several medalists, had broken anti-doping rules at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics in Russia. “This, of course, cannot but give us joy,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said. “It confirms our position on the fact that the vast majority of our athletes are clean.” On Tuesday, Putin had admitted that some Russian athletes had been involved in doping, but he portrayed allegations of a state-sponsored doping program at the 2014 Sochi Games as a politically motivated attack on Russia by Western countries.


Grid girls, start times out

Having controversially dropped grid girls from Formula One, chiefs on Thursday axed another long-standing tradition — the 2pm start time. From this year, races are to start 10 minutes later, while the European and Brazilian grand prix are to begin an hour later than in previous years, Liberty Media Co said. “Some broadcasters usually go on air precisely on the hour, hence missing the tension and emotion that characterize the minutes before the start of each Grand Prix,” a statement said. “Thanks to this change, television viewers will be brought closer to the teams and the drivers and fully enjoy the spectacle offered just before the red lights go out.”

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