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The Malaysian Insider :: Sports

Barrichello puts Williams on top in testing

Posted: 13 Feb 2011 09:03 PM PST

Rubens Barrichello takes his Cosworth FW33 Sauber to the top in testing at the Ricardo Tormo racetrack in Cheste, near Valencia. — Reuters pic

LONDON, Feb 14 — Brazilian veteran Rubens Barrichello lapped fastest for Williams on the final day of the second pre-season Formula One test at the Jerez circuit yesterday.

After a troubled first few days for the British team, Williams enjoyed a far more positive day in southern Spain, with Barrichello doing 103 laps and with a best time of one minute 19.832 seconds.

"Nothing was going to stop us from doing over 100 laps today," said technical director Sam Michael.

"We did suffer from a hydraulic leak during the middle of the day but overall it's encouraging that we've had no major fundamental failures on the car — especially considering how tight the package is.

"All of the faults that have been causing our downtime in the recent days are small things that systems will quickly put right."

Japanese driver Kamui Kobayashi was second fastest for Sauber and Spaniard Fernando Alonso third, with 115 laps under his belt, in the new Ferrari.

Brazilian reserve Bruno Senna had his first taste of the Lotus-backed Renault and was fifth on the timesheets after Germany's Nick Heidfeld had tested on Saturday with the fastest time.

Heidfeld is expected to get the nod to stand in for Poland's injured Robert Kubica, who could be out for the whole season after suffering serious injuries in a rally crash, at Renault alongside Russian Vitaly Petrov.

"I'm pleased with how things went," said Senna, nephew of the late triple champion Ayrton, in a team statement.

"It was very much a learning day for me. I had never used the adjustable wing or the KERS before, so I had to adapt to these.

"It's not easy at first, because there is a big workload and you are operating two factors that change the balance of the car, but by the end of the day it became more like second nature," he added.

McLaren had a frustrating day with Jenson Button, the 2009 champion, unable to find a good balance with the car. A component failure then called a halt to proceedings in the afternoon.

Two more tests remain before the start of the season in Bahrain on March 13. — Reuters

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Powerful Kvitova beats Clijsters to Paris title

Posted: 13 Feb 2011 07:29 PM PST

"Not logical": Petra Kvitova celebrates her first win in three match-ups against Kim Clijsters at the Paris Open. — Reuters pic

Pain in the neck, but Kim Clijsters is graceful in defeat.. — Reuters pic

PARIS, Feb 14 — New world No. 1 Kim Clijsters refused to blame a slight neck injury for a 6-4, 6-3 defeat by Czech fourth seed Petra Kvitova in the Paris Open final yesterday.

Top seed Clijsters, who retained her US Open title in September and won the Australian Open last month before helping Belgium into the Fed Cup last four, secured her place as the new No. 1 by reaching the semi-finals at the Stade Coubertin.

However, her winning streak came to a sudden halt as the tall, ponytailed Kvitova took her third career title thanks to sheer power and superb returns on the fast hardcourt.

"It's nice to win today against Kim because she is world No. 1, I think it's my biggest achievement," Kvitova, 20, said in a courtside interview.

"It's not logical, I lost my last two matches against Kim so I'm glad I won today."

Clijsters had come back from adversity in the previous rounds of the US$618,000 (RM1.9 million) tournament, now run by former French world No. 1 Amelie Mauresmo, but she had no answer to the Czech world No. 18.

"I'm not surprised. I know she can play like that," Clijsters said. "I had a little bit of a neck problem but it's not an excuse. She deserved to win."

As French tennis officials were deciding just up the road that the French Open should stay at a renovated Roland Garros, Kvitova was instead intent on overturning the status quo.

She broke Clijsters in the first game, thanks to a lucky netcord, only for the Belgian to break back immediately with a superb backhand down the line.

Clijsters began to get her serve working but she could do anything to stop Kvitova's flashing return to break again and go 3-2 up before securing the set when Clijsters netted.

The favourite settled more into her rhythm in the second set but sent an easy volley into the net to be broken in the seventh game and Kvitova, one of the best returners on the circuit and a name to watch, sealed the title with another break.

An emotional Kvitova said she had lost her grandfather just last week while Clijsters has decided not to spend Valentine's Day in Paris because her young daughter needs to be back at school in Belgium today. — Reuters


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