SPORTS BRIEFS

Staff writer, with agencies

Wed, Jun 19, 2013 - Page 18

TENNIS

Jimmy Wang advances

Taiwan’s Jimmy Wang, the No. 29 seed in qualifying for the Wimbledon men’s singles, defeated Boy Westerhof of the Netherlands 6-1, 6-4 on Monday to advance to the second round. Wang next faces Frank Dancevic of Canada. Two other Taiwanese exited the men’s qualifying on Monday, with Yang Tsung-hua retiring injured while leading Mirza Basic of Bosnia-Herzegovina 7-6 (7/4), 3-3, while No. 15 seed Marc Gicquel of France knocked out Taiwan’s Chen Ti 6-2, 6-2.

TENNIS

Taiwanese teen claims title

Taiwanese tennis player Yang Shao-chi claimed the Thamrin Cup International Junior Championships title in Jakarta on Sunday, giving himself a belated present for his 17th birthday. Top-seeded Yang did not have an easy road to the championship match, falling behind in the first set both in the second round and the semi-final before fighting back to advance to the next round. “These two challenging matches taught me that the more critical the moment, the less I should think. Instead of worrying about falling behind, I should focus on the match and win one point at a time,” Yang said. He had wished for his first international championship victory on his birthday on June 11 and the wish came true on Sunday. He defeated Filipino Alberto Lim Jr in the semi-finals before toppling Hong Kong’s Hei Yin Andrew Li 6-3, 5-7, 6-3 in the final to claim his first title.

CYCLING

Cavendish to lead Omega

British sprint great Mark Cavendish will spearhead Belgian team Omega Pharma-Quick-Step’s hopes for stage wins in the upcoming Tour de France after they announced their team lineup on Monday for the race, which begins on June 29. Cavendish, who has won 23 stages in the Tour since 2008, will rely on his faithful lieutenant Gert Steegmans to set him up for stage victories in the three-week race. The team’s target for the 28-year-old Isle of Man native is a big one from the outset. “One of the principal goals is for him to don the yellow jersey after the first stage,” a team director said. Omega Pharma also have high hopes that world time-trial champion Tony Martin will also collect stage wins in the time-trial legs. “We have for sure one of the best teams,” team manager Patrick Lefevere said. “Mark can count on a strong group built around him. For the team, it will also be important to show their class at every opportunity.”

BASKETBALL

‘UnFrench’ Parker praised

San Antonio Spurs television announcer Sean Elliott said Tony Parker’s gritty performance in Game 5 of the NBA Finals shows that he is not your typical French citizen. “Everything that they’ve said about French people doesn’t apply to him. It just doesn’t apply. He’s as tough as they come,” Elliott told the San Antonio Express-News. Parker had a game-high 26 points on 10-of-14 shooting from the field, despite playing with a mild hamstring strain in the Spurs’ 114-104 win over the Miami Heat on Sunday. Parker suffered a strained right hamstring in Game 3 of the series on Tuesday last week and has been receiving extensive medical treatment ever since to allow him to play. He said that if it was the regular season he would have taken 10 days off to rest and recover. “If he was in a bigger market they would be comparing him to a guy like AI [Allen Iverson],” Elliott told the newspaper. Parker scored 15 points, but none in the second half, in a Game 4 loss to Miami. The Spurs lead the series 3-2.

RUGBY UNION

Daniel Carter set to return

Flyhalf Daniel Carter is likely to return to the starting side for New Zealand in their final Test against France on Saturday with expectations he can spark the side to even higher performance levels. The All Blacks produced a near perfectly executed game plan as they overwhelmed France 30-0 in Christchurch, New Zealand, last Saturday with their tactical kicking forcing Philippe Saint-Andre’s team back into their own territory. It was a stark contrast to the expansive approach the team took last year and in the first Test at Eden Park, where they were rusty in a 23-13 victory, and assistant coach Ian Foster said their development was about blending both styles. “It’s not our goal just to do one or the other, it’s to do both and I was really impressed with the decisionmaking of ... when to kick,” Foster said in comments published in the New Zealand Herald yesterday. “It’s exciting where we got to, don’t get me wrong ... but we’re fully aware that there’s still plenty of potential to get smarter and better at how we see that space.” Carter, who missed the first two Tests with a broken hand, is expected to be one of a small handful of changes for the third Test in New Plymouth.

RUGBY UNION

Ioane declares himself fit

Flying Wallaby winger Digby Ioane has declared himself fit to tackle the British and Irish Lions in the first Test on Saturday, just four weeks after knee surgery. The 34-Test veteran had been a real doubt after an arthroscopy to clean up damaged cartilage last month. “It’s feeling good, I’ll be ready for this weekend,” Ioane told reporters yesterday after taking a full part in team training sessions. “I just had to do the little things first to get it right, but now I’m right to go. All I have to do is just get picked for this weekend.” Coach Robbie Deans looks certain to select Ioane on the left, with Israel Folau making his Test debut on the right.

RUGBY UNION

De Villiers a doubt for final

South Africa captain Jean de Villiers is doubtful for a four-nation tournament final against Samoa on Saturday. Team doctor Craig Roberts said on Monday that the 32-year-old inside center injured a rib in the 30-17 triumph over Scotland in Nelspruit, South Africa, last weekend. “Jean was able to continue playing, but was in some discomfort after the match,” Roberts said. “He could not train Monday and we will reassess him in the next few days before making a final call on his availability to face Samoa.” Springboks coach Heyneke Meyer is scheduled to name his starting lineup and eight replacements today. Prop Jannie du Plessis and No. 8 Pierre Spies (facial lacerations), and lock Eben Etzebeth (shoulder discomfort) also missed training in Pretoria. Outstanding ball-carrier and flanker Willem Alberts (side strain), who missed the wins over Italy and Scotland, should be available for selection.

SOCCER

‘JIM’ inks Valladolid deal

Real Valladolid have appointed former Levante UD coach Juan Ignacio Martinez to replace Miroslav Djukic on a two-year contract, with an option for a further year, the La Liga club said on Monday. Known affectionately as “JIM,” Spaniard Martinez left Levante at the end of last season after the Valencia-based club decided not to extend his contract following an 11th-placed finish. He was to be presented to the media yesterday, Valladolid said on their Web site. The coaching job was vacant because Djukic left at the end of last season to take over at Valencia, where he was once a player.