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NST Online: Sports

Michaella stuns Alisa

Posted: 03 Mar 2011 09:18 AM PST

By Ajitpal Singh and Fadhli Ishak

Australia’s Jarmilla Groth beat  Japan’s Misaki Doi  7-6 (8-6), 6-3  to enter the last eight yesterday. — Picture by AIZUDDIN SAAD

Australia's Jarmilla Groth beat Japan's Misaki Doi 7-6 (8-6), 6-3 to enter the last eight yesterday. — Picture by AIZUDDIN SAAD

RUSSIA'S defending champion Alisa Kleybanova was upset by the Netherlands' Michaella Krajicek in the second round of the BMW Malaysian Open at the Bukit Kiara Equestrian & Country Resort yesterday.

The unseeded Michaella lost the first set 6-4 but then came back to beat the World No 24 6-4, 6-3 to enter the quarter-finals against qualifier Anne Kremer of Luxembourg today.

France second seed Marion Bartoli battled nausea to advance into the last eight as Czech Republic's Lucie Safarova defeated Russia's former World No 1 Dinara Safina.

Marion, the World No 17, took an early 4-2 lead in the first set against Russia's World No 166 Ekaterina Ivanova but felt uneasy after that and called for a trainer for medical assessment.

The match resumed after 10 minutes and Marion broke her opponent's serve immediately en route to win the first set 6-2.

The 27-year-old was slightly affected by her condition and the heat but she still managed to continue her momentum to break Ekaterina's serve three times in her 6-1 victory to seal the match.

Marion was under observation after the match and it is still unconfirmed if she would be able to continue today.

In the battle of baseliners, Lucie, the World No 35, emerged victorious with a 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 victory over Dinara in the 156-minute match.

After winning the first set comfortably, Lucie was expected to win in straight games but Safina battled back to force a third.

But Lucie, a left-handed player, came back strongly in the third set by using her wide serve to break Safina's momentum. She plays Marion today.

"I lost my concentration and made too many mistakes in the beginning of the second set, which allowed Safina to fight her way back into the match.

"Although, I managed to reduce the deficit to 5-4, she managed to win it," said Lucie yesterday.

"In the third, I tightened my style by using my wide serve to catch her off guard and it was an effective method.

"Safina played well and I think she will back at her best soon. Anyway, I am happy that I beat her today (yesterday) after losing twice to her."

On her match against Marion today, Lucie said she will need to hit early winners to have an advantage of beating the Frenchwoman.

"She (Marion) is aggressive as she always tries to take everything early after the ball bounces. I have to do better than her in that sense," added Lucie.

Australia's World No 31 Jarmila Groth overcome a determined Misaki Doi from Japan before prevailing 7-6 (8-6), 6-3 to book her place in the last eight where she will face another Japanese, Ayumi Morita.

Jarmila, who won in Hobart in January, displayed great fighting spirit as she fought from 4-1 down to win the first set before sealing victory in the second.

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Strauss demands England improvements

Posted: 03 Mar 2011 07:53 AM PST

BANGALORE: Shell-shocked England captain Andrew Strauss admitted his side needed to raise their game against in-form South Africa after slumping to a demoralising World Cup defeat by Ireland.

Kevin O'Brien struck the fastest-ever World Cup century as Ireland won by three wickets after setting a new record score by a team batting second to win a World Cup match, of 329 for seven.

Worryingly for England, their past four World Cup matches have seen them concede their four highest tournament totals -- 300 against the West Indies in their final match of the 2007 edition, 292 in their win against the Netherlands in this competition and 338 in Sunday's thrilling tie against co-hosts India.

England dropped several catches against Ireland, with skipper Strauss putting down a skier to hand O'Brien a reprieve when he had made 91.

Their attack was smashed for 62 runs in the five-over batting powerplay with fast bowler Stuart Broad conceding 73 runs in nine overs and seamer Tim Bresnan going for 64 in 10. Michael Yardy's spin was also expensive.

"Our bowling could have been better," a stunned Strauss said.

"We got taken by surprise there and we can't afford to give away those kind of chances here. They are very flat wickets and we were asking for trouble.

"We could have taken our catches. I dropped one and we dropped three others as well. That cost us the game, there's no doubt about it."

Ireland hero O'Brien summed up the failings of England's attack.

"Personally, I just knew that if I could stay there and I got a few boundaries away, we could get on top of the English bowlers as teams previously in this tournament have done.

"I don't think England had any answers for us, to be honest. They didn't really know what they were up to with their bowling plans and we took advantage of that."

England play the highly fancied South Africans in Chennai on Sunday with Strauss aware of the significance of the match.

"The game coming up against South Africa is a huge one for us and generally we bounce back well. We need to be honest with each other." -- AFP

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