The Star Online: Sports

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The Star Online: Sports


Tennis: Mattek-Sands beats Dushevina

Posted: 09 Mar 2011 10:19 PM PST

INDIAN WELLS, California (AP): Bethanie Mattek-Sands overcame illness to beat Vera Dushevina of Russia 6-4, 6-4 in the opening round of the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden on Wednesday.

Mattek-Sands called for the trainer while leading 6-4, 4-3. The match resumed after a lengthy delay that also included a visit from the WTA doctor.

Mattek-Sands said she was battling an upset stomach because "I just got sick. I was throwing up a little bit. It came on during the second set. I played in Dubai (in mid-February) and got sick there and when I came home I was in bed for a week and a half. I only had a couple of days of practice before I got here."

Mattek-Sands said she never considered retiring from the match.

"I would have thrown up on the court first," she said. "I was just going to gut it out."

She did that by breaking Dushevina's serve twice.

No. 32 Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic, the highest-ranked player on the schedule, outlasted Kristina Barrois of Germany, 7-6 (9), 6-7 (5), 6-0. Alla Kudryavtseva of Russia, Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia, Timea Bacsinszky of Switzerland, Kimiko Date-Krum of Japan, Sybille Bammer of Austria, Monica Niculescu of Romania, Sania Mirza of India and Sara Errani of Italy also advanced.

Also, French qualifier Alize Cornet earned a 6-1, 6-4 win over No. 39 Patty Schnyder of Switzerland.

As well as Mattek-Sands, two other Americans advanced: Coco Vandeweghe beat Edina Gallovits-Hall of Romania, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, in a 2-hour, 23-minute match and Melanie Oudin closed out the session with a 7-6 (2), 6-2 win over Elena Vesnina of Russia.

Three U.S. wild cards were eliminated: Vania King, ranked No. 100, was beaten by Gisela Dulko of Argentina, 2-6, 6-3, 6-2; 17-year-old Lauren Davis lost to Zuzana Ondraskova of the Czech Republic, 6-2, 6-1; and Alison Riske fell to Barbara Zahlavova Strycova of the Czech Republic 6-2, 6-1.

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Keeper Harfizi gets a break after YNS sideline Tarun

Posted: 09 Mar 2011 06:41 PM PST

KUALA LUMPUR: Yayasan Negri Sembilan (YNS) have sidelined Indian goalkeeper Tarun Tham­mannah for his poor form in the Malaysian Hockey League (MHL).

And reserve goalkeeper Mohd Harfizi Baharom has been given the task to play against league champions Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) in the semi-final tie this weekend.

The 23-year-old Harfizi is featuring in the MHL for only the second time. He donned Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) colours last season.

YNS coach Hasnizan Ah Sim said that Harfizi played much better than Tarun in Premier Division matches.

"I have faith in Harfizi and I believe that he will be at his best in the two-leg semi-final," he said.

"He is playing with full confidence and does not show any fear in stopping attempts from direct hits or penalty corners.

"And I believe that Harfizi will be able to prevent KLHC penalty corner specialist Mohd Razie (Abdul Rahim) from scoring."

National defender Razie is the leading scorer in the MHL with 26 goals – 23 of them from penalty corners.

Harfizi, who is from Malacca, said that it was honour for him to get to play in the semi-finals of the MHL for the first time.

"It will a big challenge for me to stop the penalty corners flicks from Razie, who has scored goal in almost every match thus far," he said.

"KLHC also have a good forwardline and I will have to be on my toes to prevent them from scoring."

Harfizi, who played for Malacca in Sukma (Malaysia Games) last June, added that KLHC would start as overwhelming favourites after having scored total of 101 goals in 18 matches thus far.

"They also scoring big wins over us twice (6-3 and 7-2) in the league. We will start as under-dogs against them in the semi-finals," he said.

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