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The Malaysian Insider :: Sports

Del Porto beats top seed Soderling to reach Estoril semi

Posted: 29 Apr 2011 06:11 PM PDT

Argentina's Juan Martin del Potro returns a shot against Sweden's Robin Soderling during their match at the Estoril Tennis Open in Lisbon. — Reuters pic

LISBON, April 30 — Former US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro staged a remarkable second-set comeback to beat top-seeded Swede Robin Soderling 6-4 7-5 and reach the last four of the Estoril Open today. 

Argentine Del Potro, a former world number four currently ranked 46th after missing most of last year with a wrist injury, broke Soderling's serve in the fifth game to claim the first set. 

World number five Soderling battled back, however, and raced to a 4-1 lead in the second set before heavy rain and a hailstorm forced the players to run for the locker-room. 

Eighth seed Del Potro, who beat Roger Federer to win the US Open in 2009, made an immediate impact when play resumed over two hours later, winning six out of seven games to turn the second set around.

The tall Argentine will meet Pablo Cuevas in today's semi-final after the Uruguayan, ranked 61st in the world, beat sixth-seeded Brazilian Thomaz Bellucci 6-4 6-2. 

The other quarter-finals were delayed until today due to the rain, with South Africa's Kevin Anderson to play second-seeded Spaniard Fernando Verdasco and Frenchman Gilles Simon meeting Canada's Milos Raonic. — Reuters

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Blatter willing to expand vote for World Cup hosts

Posted: 29 Apr 2011 05:19 PM PDT

Fifa president Sepp Blatter smiles before an executive committee meeting in Luque. — Reuters pic

BERLIN, April 30 — Fifa president Sepp Blatter has vowed to consider changing the way World Cup hosts are chosen if he is re-elected to his post in June. 

Blatter, 75, told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung that he would like future hosts to be chosen by the Fifa Congress where all 208 member associations vote. 

The system would be similar to the one used by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for choosing Olympic Games hosts. 

"It's a project which I have in the back of my head," said Blatter, who is running for a fourth term as Fifa president and is being challenged by Asian Football Confederation president Mohamed Bin Hammam. 

Voting is currently restricted to the 24-man executive committee, which was reduced to 22 when Russia and Qatar were chosen as 2018 and 2022 World Cup hosts last December as two members were suspended after being found guilty of corruption. 

Critics have said the small size of the executive committee means it is not sufficiently representative. 

"I would like to adopt the example of the International Olympic Committee to avoid what has happened in the future," he added. 

"The executive committee receives 10 or 12 examples, has a look at them, suggests which are the best ones and then lets the general assembly vote. 

"This would be a solution for Fifa, something positive." 

Blatter added that he was confident of beating Bin Hammam in the June 1 election. 

"I think have about half the voices in Africa and Asia and a big majority in the rest of the world," said the Swiss, who criticised Bin Hammam for standing against him. 

"I don't know why Bin Hammam has suddenly become so aggressive. 

"He said in the executive committee that he would not run against me and now, despite that, he is doing so." 

Blatter said he would also set up a watchdog committee to oversee Fifa following the corruption allegations which led to the suspension of executive committee members Reynald Temarii and Amos Adamu last year. 

That incident also led to criticism that Fifa, where most decisions are taken behind closed doors at its Zurich headquarters, lacks transparency. 

"It would consist of people who are not from football," said Blatter of the watchdog committee. 

"I have already found the president, whose name I cannot yet give. They should understand something about football, but mainly bring back credibility." — Reuters

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