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ONE Championship: Geje Eustaquio hopes to see teammate Danny Kingad become a champion

It wasn’t too long ago that Team Lakay’s Geje “Gravity” Eustaquio was on top of the ONE Championship flyweight  landscape.   In 2018, the Filipino striker defeated Kairat Akhmetov and Adriano Moraes - the division’s only other titleholders - on his way to becoming the ONE Flyweight World Champion.   Eustaquio’s reign came to a halt at the start of 2019 however, when he dropped the title back to Moraes in a trilogy match in Manila that saw the Brazilian grappler score a unanimous decision win after five rounds.   While many believed that Eustaquio deserved to win the bout, himself and his Team Lakay stablemate included, as the saying goes, “it is what it is.”   Now, Eustaquio is on the comeback trail and has bounced back with a unanimous decision win over South Korean newcomer Kim Kyu Sung at ONE: Enter The Dragon in Singapore and is hoping to once again regain his spot at the pinnacle of the division.   While the 30-year old is working his way back up, he is also helping his teammate and fellow flyweight contender Danny “The King” Kingad make it to the top as well.   The 22-year old Kingad is currently in the semifinals of fhe ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix and is set to face a familiar opponent in Akhmetov.   Eustaquio hopes that young stablemate can mirror what he did to defeat the Kazakh wrestler.   “For now, yung bata is hungry, and the skills we are working on, we are working with his distance right now, para if we can duplicate the things I did the last time that we fought for the interim title,” Eustaquio shared. “Hopefully magagawa din niya yun and we will have the same result.”   “So basically, ang ginagawa namin now, in terms of kay Danny is the distance and the timing,” Eustaquio added.   Kingad is two wins away from becoming the Flyweight World Grand Prix champion and is two wins away from once again challenging Moraes for the title, and fully behind him is Eustaquio and the rest of Team Lakay. Eustaquio is hopeful to see his teammate also become a champion in the in the biggest martial arts promotion in the world.   “We talk about it as a family here, and we encourage each and every one. We motivate him na don’t stop training, you have to keep grinding, you’re close to your goals or your dream to become a world champion, because I believe they’re going to give a belt to the Grand Prix, the Grand Prix Champion has a belt.”   “It’s a title, and it’s every athlete’s dream to become a World Champion, and he’s almost there. Two wins, and he’ll also be considered as a titleholder or a World Champion. Hopefully, he will work his ass off and he will have the right attitude in this competition,” Eustaquio continued.  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 7th, 2019

Red Bull threatens Ferrari s status as 2nd best team in F1

By Joseph Wilson, Associated Press MONTMELO, Spain (AP) — Ferrari has a fight on its hands. Just not the one it wants. Red Bull is threatening to replace it as Formula One's next-best team behind a dominant Mercedes after Max Verstappen outperformed Ferrari's drivers at the Spanish Grand Prix. Verstappen took third place on Sunday behind race winner Lewis Hamilton and his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas. That allowed the Red Bull driver to move past Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel into third place overall with 66 points to Vettel's 64. Hamilton and Bottas are far in front with 112 and 105 points, respectively. "I knew we could take the fight to Ferrari," Verstappen said after being cheered by the large number of Dutch fans who had come to the race decked in orange T-shirts. Verstappen and his supporters have good memories of the Barcelona-Catalunya Circuit. His win here in 2016 made him F1's youngest race winner at age 18. While another victory was out of the question given Mercedes' pace, Verstappen didn't have too much trouble staying in front of the Ferraris. "We were close to Ferrari in qualifying," he said. "I am happy to be back on the podium and third in the championship. It is good to close the gap." As F1's most successful team, Ferrari entered the season with renewed hopes of challenging Mercedes after rising talent Charles Leclerc joined Vettel in a potentially potent driving lineup. Ferrari was faster on this same track during two weeks of preseason testing this winter and had brought in a new engine for the race. But Mercedes was unfazed and stormed to a fifth one-two finish in as many races to further demoralize its rivals. Vettel tried to get the jump on the Mercedes at the race start from third on the grid. But the move only succeeded in making Bottas flinch and letting Hamilton go clear. After Vettel's tires locked up, Verstappen slipped past into third place. Even though there are 16 races left, it looks like Ferrari will likely have to wait another year to end its constructors title drought that dates back to 2008. "The updates we brought here to Barcelona, both on the aero front and on the engine, worked well and we are more than pleased with them, but they proved to be insufficient," said Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto. "Now we have to analyze and think about what did not work. And when it comes to that, as of today I don't think we have a precise answer." As for Hamilton, he said he had taken notice of improvements that Red Bull had made after switching to a Honda engine this season. The defending champion also said he missed a better effort from Ferrari. "We welcome a battle and it would be great to fight with Ferrari and Red Bull," said Hamiton. "I prefer it when they are in the mix with us. It is much better when we can compete with another team.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 13th, 2019

Bottas takes pole at Spanish GP ahead of Hamilton

By Joseph Wilson, Associated Press MONTMELO, Spain (AP) — Valtteri Bottas is poised to become a major threat to teammate and defending Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton after clocking a scorching lap at the Spanish Grand Prix to take his third consecutive pole position on Saturday. Bottas smashed Hamilton's track record at the Barcelona-Catalunya Circuit in qualifying, finishing the 4.6-kilometer (2.5-mile) track in 1 minute, 15.406 seconds to better Hamilton's mark from 2018. More importantly for Bottas' hopes in Sunday's race was the gap of more than half a second over Hamilton's best effort. With Hamilton second on the grid, Mercedes is in great position to extend its record start after the pair swept the top two spots at the first four races. Bottas, who failed to win a race last season, leads Hamilton by one point in the standings after they have alternated places in their run of one-two finishes. "I really enjoyed that adrenaline rush from those laps," Bottas said. "It started well, this season. Just the way I hoped for. I am feeling better and better in the car." Hamilton praised his teammate, who after two years as a second fiddle has emerged as the No. 1 challenger to stopping him from winning a sixth world title. "Valtteri did a fantastic job. He has been quick all weekend," said Hamilton, who took pole in Spain in the previous three years. "I just didn't do the job on my side." Hamilton was quick to add he hoped to celebrate another Mercedes team victory on Sunday, but with him on top. "I'll be giving it everything. Great for the team to have a one-two. If I can reverse it (in the race) I'll be happy." Hamilton will look to turn the tables on Bottas in a race that he has won three times, including the last two years. But Hamilton is getting accustomed to seeing the back of Bottas' car. Bottas won the last race in Azerbaijan from pole position. He was fastest in practice on Friday, and the Finn showed no jitters in qualifying after spinning into gravel in the final practice. Bottas shouted an emphatic "Yes!" over the car radio when he knew the top spot was his after Hamilton came up short on his last run, with some gravel strewn on the course possibly slowing him down. Bottas and Hamilton both said that the 66-lap race could be decided in the opening meters. "The start and Turn 1 will be particularly important," Bottas said. "Tomorrow, Lewis and I both want to win, so I'm looking forward to a hard and fair fight." Hamilton said: "My starts have been decent so far this year, so hopefully that will continue on Sunday as it's not that easy to overtake on this track." Sebastian Vettel in his Ferrari will start from third, just in front of Red Bull's Max Verstappen. Ferrari's other driver, Charles Leclerc, will start from fifth. Vettel has yet to top qualifying, and it is clear Ferrari has made up no ground despite bringing a new engine to Spain. Vettel is 35 points behind Bottas in third place. "The car doesn't feel bad, but the car is not quick enough," Vettel said. "We are struggling a little bit to bring it together." Pierre Gasly had the sixth best time in his Red Bull, ahead of Haas pair Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen. Nico Hulkenberg was the only driver to go off the track in an otherwise clean qualifying session. The German ran into the barrier and bent one side of his front wing under his Renault. After hasty repairs, Hulkenberg could not make it out of the first qualifying section, which culls the slowest five drivers. Renault partner Daniel Ricciardo finished qualifying 10th but will have to serve a three-place grid penalty that he carried over for causing an accident with Daniil Kvyat in Azerbaijan. Williams' woes deepened after George Russell lost control during practice before qualifying. Damage from the rear-end impact into the wall required a gearbox change, which incurred a five-place grid penalty. Russell and teammate Robert Kubica were again at the bottom of qualifying with the slowest cars......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 12th, 2019

Almadro, Vicente, Acaylar lead nat'l team coach list

Ateneo de Manila University coach Oliver Almadro, University of the East’s Francis Vicente and Perpetual Help tactician Sammy Acaylar lead the shortlist of mentors Larong Volleyball sa Pilipinas, Inc. is looking into to call the shots for the national women’s team that will see action in the 29th Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur. The association has in its list 23 names limited to the members of the LVPI coaches commission. LVPI acting president Peter Cayco said that they will narrow down the list to 8 to 6 coaches for interview and in a week’s time he will recommend one to the board who will take the position. Among the names in the list, Almadro and Acaylar stood out as possible national team coaches as they led their respective collegiate teams to the throne. Almadro steered the Blue Eagles to back-to-back UAAP men’s volleyball titles and was the head coach of the men’s U-23 team and Singapore Southeast Asian Games two years ago while Acaylar led Altas back on top of the NCAA in Season 91 and was part of the coaching staff of the national squad that won gold in the 1993 SEA Games in Singapore. Acaylar also coached the national team in the 2015 AVC Asian Senior Women's Championship in China.  Vicente, meanwhile, handled the national youth team in a couple of international stints last year. Macky Carino of defending NCAA women’s volleyball champion College of St. Benilde and Obet Javier of NCAA Season 90 titlist Arellano University are some of the other prominent names on the list. Other big names like multi-titled mentor Ramil de Jesus of reigning UAAP champion De La Salle and University of Sto. Tomas’ Kungfu Reyes all begged off for various reasons but are willing to offer their help and support.                 San Sebastian College and National University mentor Roger Gorayeb, who called the shots for the national team in the 2015 SEA Games, is not included in the list “Ang kailangan natin ay ‘yung may oras,” said Cayco. “Meron d’yan magagaling pero wala naman silang oras.” LVPI is also looking to tap Serbian mentor Moro Branislav, who handled the PSL-F2 Logistics Manila in the 2016 FIVB Women’s Club World Championship and the Philippine Superliga back-to-back Grand Prix champion Foton, as team consultant.  The chosen head coach will be tasked to form a 16-woman pool. As part of the preparation the national team will play in the Asian Women’s Volleyball Championship from August 9 to 17 before heading to Malaysia for the SEA Games from August 19 to 31.   “We have all time to prepare and that’s the best part,” Cayco said. Also included in the list are Lerma Giron, Mac Gepuela, Marcelo Joaquin, Jason Gabales, Michael Inoferio, Bryan Esquibel, Raymund Castillo, Jeremiah Barrica, Raplh Dablo, Leovimo Rivera, Michael Santos, Roberto Javier, Carl Bryan Vitus, Richard Estacio, Ruel Pascual, Leonardo Toyco, Benjamin Mape, Michael Carino, Dexter Clamor and Alvin Dumalaog. The participation of the men’s team in the SEA Games is yet to be discussed.       --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 5th, 2017

ONE Championship: Motivated Honorio Banario grateful for second chance in Grand Prix

Former ONE Featherweight World Champion Honorio “The Rock” Banario will be getting a second chance at glory when he returns to the ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix to face Russian striker Timofey Nastyukhin in the tournament semifinals at ONE: Dawn of Heroes this coming August 2nd in Manila.   It was announced earlier this week that Banario would be stepping in for Hawaiian wrestler Lowen Tynanes, who had to pull out because of a back injury suffered in training, as per ONE Championship Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong.     It was actually Banario who Tynanes defeated in the tournament’s quarterfinals earlier this year to advance.   Now, the Team Lakay star gets another chance in the Grand Prix, and he’s nothing but grateful for the opportunity.   “I would like to thank ONE Championship for giving me another chance,” Banario told ABS-CBN Sports. “To sir Chatri, sir Matt Hume, sir Victor Cui, and the rest of the ONE staff. I am happy and I think I am luck to be back in the Grand Prix.”   It’s not often that second chances come by in tournaments like this, and Banario is making sure that he won’t be wasting the opportunity that is in front of him.   “My last performance was not good,” Banario admitted. “I was lacking explosiveness, speed, and power, so I am trying to improve on those areas for this second chance.”   Banario will be facing a proven lightweight contender in Nastyukhin, who earned his spot in the semifinals after a stunning first-round TKO against the heavily-favored Eddie Alvarez at ONE: A New Era in Tokyo back in March.   The heavy-handed Russian’s resumé reads like a who’s who in the lightweight division and among those he has wins over is none other than Banario’s stablemate and former ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard Folayang.   “Timofey is a warrior,” Banario stated. “He has power in both his hands and he is a legit striker.”   “He is powerful and explosive, but I am looking for a way to exploit those traits,” he added.   This will be Banario’s first time back since his loss to Tynanes back in January. Since then, a lot has changed for “The Rock”, including getting married and now, he has a baby on the way.   With a family to provide for, Banario is now motivated and more determined than ever to succeed.   “Ngayon, it’s a very big motivation for me that I have my own family and that a baby is coming,” said Banario. “It is a source of my strength, unlike when I was single na sometimes tinatamad ay pwedeng huminto, pero ngayon, hangga’t kaya pa, I’m going to go forward.”   A win against Nastyukhin will send Banario into the Finals against Turkish knockout artist Saygid Guseyn Aralanaliev.   The winner of the tournament will be crowned the ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix champion and will get a shot at the ONE Lightweight World Championship.   ONE: Dawn of Heroes will also feature a number of massive matchups, including a big-time lightweight bout between former ONE Lightweight World Champion Eduard “Landslide” Folayang of the Philippines and multiple-time lightweight world champion Eddie “The Underground King” Alvarez of the US, as well as Americian flyweight great Demetrious Johnson versus Japan’s Tatsumitsu Wada and Filipino up-and-comer Danny Kingad vs. former champion Kairat Akhmetov of Kazakhstan in the ONE Flyweight Grand Prix Semifinal matches.   The main event will be a ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Championship bout between champion Jonathan Haggerty of the United Kingdom and challenger Rodtang Jitmuangnon of Thailand.   ONE: Dawn of Heroes takes place on Friday, August 2 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City, Philippines.  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 11th, 2019

All s well that ends well for No. 1 Osaka at French Open

By Howard Fendrich, Associated Press PARIS (AP) — Naomi Osaka screamed "Oh, my God!" after one shanked shot. Mouthed something and clasped her hands together, as if praying, after another. There were plenty of deep sighs and exaggerated eyerolls, too. The No. 1-seeded Osaka got off to a terrible start at the French Open again, never masking her frustration. After some slip-ups near the end, Osaka also prevailed again, displaying the grit and groundstrokes that just won't let her lose during what's become a 16-match Grand Slam winning streak. Osaka trailed by a set and a break Thursday against former No. 1 Victoria Azarenka in the second round at Roland Garros, before coming all the way back to win an entertaining matchup 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 and prolong her bid for a third consecutive major championship. "I have this mindset that I feel like I can win if it gets down to the wire. Like, if I have to break a person, I feel like I have the ability to do that," Osaka said. "So I probably shouldn't wait until the last minute." Probably. In the first round, Osaka not only dropped the opening set, but did so by a 6-0 score. This time, Osaka ceded the first four games against Azarenka and was responsible for their match's initial seven unforced errors. "Technically, like, she kind of killed me in the first set," Osaka said, "and I just kept trying to find a way to stay positive." Defending champion Simona Halep required that same sort of resolve to get through her own test, blowing a big lead in the second set and a trio of match points before holding on to beat 87th-ranked Magda Linette 6-4, 5-7, 6-3. Halep, who said afterward she felt a "little bit sick" and plans to "sleep all day tomorrow," was up a set and 5-3 in the second before dropping four games in a row and getting broken twice while serving for the match. Neither Osaka nor Halep managed to put on the sort of solid performance seen from Serena Williams — barely bothered during a 6-3, 6-2 victory over qualifier Kurumi Nara — or top-seeded man Novak Djokovic, also a straight-set winners. Azarenka sought to control points with deep, attacking strokes and by going after Osaka's backhand side. "I played very smart. I really played the right spots," Azarenka said. "I was doing everything that I was supposed to do. And, especially, moving well and pushing her back." Azarenka knows a thing or two about how to perform on the sport's biggest stages: She won two titles at the Australian Open, reached two finals at the U.S. Open and was a semifinalist at both Wimbledon and, back in 2013, the French Open. She is currently ranked 43rd, though, on account of missing time over the past few seasons while pregnant and then dealing with a custody issue involving her son. So what, in terms of talent and tenacity, could have passed for a late-in-the-proceedings showdown at a major was held, instead, in Week 1, with the temperature barely above 60 degrees Fahrenheit (15 Celsius) and the occasional raindrop. When Azarenka sprinted for a cross-court forehand winner that closed a 15-stroke exchange, she led 4-2 in the second set after 77 minutes. They would play for more than 1½ additional hours, and Azarenka certainly had opportunities to edge even farther ahead, such as when she had a break point to go up 5-2 and serve for the victory but netted a forehand. Or the three times she was one point from leading 5-3 but got broken there with her second double-fault of the game. It was Azarenka's serve that faltered down the stretch. It also was Osaka's top-notch returning that contributed to a key stretch in which she grabbed 9 of 11 games. "She has, obviously, a lot of confidence," Azarenka said. Which Osaka should, of course, given that she won the U.S. Open in September and the Australian Open in January and is trying to become the first woman in tennis history to collect her first three Slam trophies in a row. "She's very powerful. She's very explosive," Azarenka said. "Her shots are pretty heavy. She can hit both sides, pretty even. She has a big serve, and she's consistent. ... And proving that she deserves to be where she's at right now." All of which is true. And all of which made it fascinating, then, to hear Osaka describe her attitude going into the match. "Today I kind of felt like a challenger," she said. "Like, I know she went to the semis here before, so obviously she has a lot more experience here," said the 21-year-old Osaka, who has never been past the third round in Paris but is 9-1 on clay in 2019 after entering the season with a 9-11 mark on the slow surface. "She won Grand Slams and she was No. 1 way before I was. I'm still kind of new at this." New at it, maybe. Good at it, definitely......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 31st, 2019

F1 eyes may have opened after Alonso s Indy 500 flop

By Dave Skretta, Associated Press INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Alexander Rossi had no idea what he was getting into when he moved from Formula One to IndyCar. Turning left the whole race? Looks easy. But as Rossi soon found out — and as two-time world champion Fernando Alonso and his McLaren team learned in failing to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 last weekend — getting around Indianapolis Motor Speedway at speeds eclipsing 230 mph is a lot tougher than it looks. "I didn't understand what oval racing was. I didn't understand what IndyCar racing was, because there is no exposure to it in Europe," said Rossi, an American who moved to Europe as a teenager and made his F1 dreams come true with seven starts during the 2014 and '15 seasons. "So when guys haven't been a part of it," Rossi said, "they don't understand how difficult it is, how unique it is to everything they've done. On TV, let's be honest, it doesn't look that challenging, so being a European driver, in your mind you're at the pinnacle of the sport. You think, 'Of course I can go over there and do that and it wouldn't be a problem.'" That inherent arrogance was underscored two years ago, when Alonso showed up at the Indy 500 for the first time. He ran near the front all race, only for his Honda engine to let him down. Naturally, many F1 drivers were quick to pounce on their rival open-wheel series, claiming it must not be too difficult to win in IndyCar if Alonso could be competitive right out of the gate. "I looked at the times and, frankly, for his first-ever qualifying for Fernando to be fifth — what does that say about Indy?" five-time F1 champion Lewis Hamilton mused to L'Equipe shortly afterward. "A great driver," he said, "if he cannot win in Formula 1, will look for other races to win." In other words, Hamilton was calling IndyCar second-rate. That's part of why so many eyebrows jumped at McLaren's spectacular disappointment. "Fernando may have done well in 2017, so there may have been a feeling like all he has to do is show up and take it over," said Mark Miles, the chairman of Hulman & Co., which owns Indianapolis Motor Speedway. "I think this causes that sense of, 'Hey, this is harder than we thought.'" The team that bumped the well-funded, England-based team with the rich racing heritage from this year's field? None other than Juncos Racing, the tiny team founded by Argentina-born Ricardo Juncos and to this day run on such a shoestring budget that it was still signing up sponsors on Wednesday. The moment Kyle Kaiser put their car in the field last Sunday was the moment McLaren's world collapsed, leading to the firing of Bob Fernley, who headed its IndyCar operation. "We got it wrong," the team's boss, Zak Brown, said Thursday ahead of this weekend's Monaco Grand Prix, the showcase race on the F1 calendar. "There are little stories behind each of those individual issues and how they transpired, but you know, we didn't execute and therefore we didn't qualify for the Indy 500." In doing so, they showed just how difficult it is to win the "Greatest Spectacle in Racing," and perhaps earned IndyCar drivers a certain measure of respect from their F1 counterparts. "You've got to be a good driver, but setup and all those things at those margins is so important," said F1 driver Daniel Ricciardo, who has never driven an Indy car or raced on an oval. "I don't know the ins and outs, but everything needs to work right and that's the thing with race cars. It's a love-hate relationship. Obviously, this year for (Alonso) was more of a hate one. "It's sad to see," Ricciardo added. "Obviously as part of the F1 family, we want him to do well." One of the reasons the Indy 500 is so difficult is it tests the machines — and how they are tuned — just as much as the drivers. Manufacturers such as Mercedes and Ferrari can pump $300 million into their teams and essentially buy the crucial tenths of a second they need to win races, but IndyCar teams work with a relatively stock setup that puts the onus on crew and driver. "A big team like McLaren, and you see a small team like Juncos, it just shows this competition, it's not easy no matter who you are," three-time Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves said. "It is one of the toughest places on Earth to get in, and you've seen big teams like Penske have failed." Rossi has so far bucked the trend, winning the 100th running of the Indy 500 in his 2016 debut. He was second the following year and fourth last year, each time benefiting from the experience, equipment and resources that his Andretti Autosport team has poured into its efforts over the years. "Fernando is a world champion. You expect him to do a good job," Rossi said. "But at Indianapolis, to find speed, it's experience, kind of the tricks of the trade that money can't buy, and I think that gets lost on a lot of people, and I think that was on full display this past week." ___ AP Auto Racing Writer Jenna Fryer and AP Sports Writer Jerome Pugmire contributed......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 24th, 2019

Nadal opens bid for 12th French Open title against qualifier

By Samuel Petrequin, Associated Press PARIS (AP) — Rafael Nadal will start his campaign for a record-extending 12th title at the French Open against a qualifier. And if he makes it to the second round of the clay-court Grand Slam, another qualifier will be waiting. The defending champion was handed what looked like quite an easy draw Thursday at Roland Garros stadium, where the Spanish player attended the ceremony and said he was happy with his form. Nadal won his first title of the season last week at the Italian Open, where he looked close to his best after some uncharacteristic struggles on clay. "It was an important title for me," Nadal said. "I played very well throughout the tournament, I'm very happy to find myself in this situation." In the women's draw, Simona Halep will open the defense of her title against Ajla Tomljanovic. Top-ranked Naomi Osaka, who seeks a third consecutive major championship, will be up against Anna Karolína Schmiedlová. Coming to Paris with only one clay-court match since last year's French Open, 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams was drawn into the top half of the draw with Osaka and Halep. She will take on Vitalia Diatchenko in the first round. Osaka will be up against a tough opponent if she gets past Schmiedlova, facing the winner of a first-round match pitting 2017 champion Jelena Ostapenko and former top-ranked player Victoria Azarenka. Nadal, who last year became the first male player to win 11 titles at the same Grand Slam tournament, could meet his old foe Roger Federer in the semifinals. Federer, in his first French Open match since 2015, will face Lorenzo Sonego of Italy and could face Stefanos Tsitsipas in a potential quarterfinal matchup. Federer is back on clay after skipping that part o the season for the past two years. He reached the quarterfinals in Madrid and Rome, where he withdrew because of a right leg injury. Top-ranked Novak Djokovic will begin his run against Hubert Hurkacz. The Serb has been enjoying a good run of form during the clay season, winning the title in Madrid before losing to Nadal in Rome. Organizers announced before the draw that Tomas Berdych and Milos Raonic had withdrawn from the tournament, which starts on Sunday......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 24th, 2019

Ferrari still slower than Mercedes despite new engine

By Joseph Wilson, Associated Press MONTMELO, Spain (AP) — Ferrari had hoped that a new engine would help the team finally get ahead of Mercedes. Instead, Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton put themselves in an excellent position to extend their record start to the Formula One season after Mercedes took the top two spots in qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix on Saturday. Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel will start Sunday's race from third on the grid for the fourth time this season. But the gap seems to have grown— not diminished— in the performance level between the Italian cars and their rivals during the two-week break since Bottas and Hamilton combined for Mercedes' fourth one-two finish in Azerbaijan. And this was after Ferrari had fast-tracked a new power unit for the first European race of the calendar to try to stop Mercedes from getting any further ahead. Vettel already trails Bottas by 35 points and Hamilton by 34 after four races and call ill afford another race without a victory. Seeing his best lap still 0.8 seconds slower than pole-winner Bottas, Vettel said that some "daring" was called for if Ferrari wanted to turn it around. "We are certainly not satisfied, but I am very happy with the approach, with the chance that we took in terms of trying something daring, something that ultimately will pay off," Vettel said. "It will help us in terms of pace for tomorrow, and hopefully it sets us off in the right direction for the next couple of weeks." Vettel said that while his and Charles Leclerc's Ferraris seem fast enough to match the Mercedes in flat-out speed on the straightaway, they are losing ground in the final stretch of the Barcelona-Catalunya Circuit that features several turns. "(That) seems to be more than an Achilles' heel at the moment," Vettel said. Leclerc, the only non-Mercedes driver to claim a pole position this season, had a tougher time in qualifying after he clipped a curb and did some slight damage to his car. "I don't understand how I managed to lose that much of the car," Leclerc said. "We broke quite a lot and in (the third qualifying session) the balance was strange so we need to check the car again." The 21-year-old Leclerc will start the race fifth behind Red Bull's Max Verstappen......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 12th, 2019

Ferrari boosts engine in Barcelona to try to catch Mercedes

By Tales Azzoni, Associated Press MADRID (AP) — Five rounds into the Formula One season and Ferrari is already running out of time to catch Mercedes in the championship race. Ferrari drivers Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc trail the Mercedes duo of Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton headed into the Spanish Grand Prix, so the Italian organization fast-tracked the rollout of a new power unit aimed to give Vettel and Leclerc a boost in Barcelona. "We are currently behind in the championship and we have to catch up," said Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto, who noted the team used a new aerodynamic package in Baku last round. "We will also bring some developments in this area to Barcelona. On top of that, we will have a new power unit that we are introducing ahead of schedule, as the second specification was due to be brought to Canada." The Canadian GP in June is only two races from now, but the team needed the extra power to compete with Mercedes this weekend at the Barcelona-Catalunya Circuit. Binotto said a new "formulation of race lubricant" will also be introduced along with the new power unit, "delivering increased performance." Ferrari is attempting to reverse a dismal start to the season in which Mercedes finished 1-2 through the first four races for the best start for a two-car team in F1 history. Bottas leads the drivers' standings with 87 points, one more than five-time champion Hamilton. Vettel is already 35 points off the lead, with Leclerc 40 points behind. Hamilton won last year's title despite just a five-point lead over Vettel at this stage of the season. He finished the year 88 points ahead of the German driver. "The results seem to paint a relatively clear picture, but the truth is that they're too flattering," Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said. "The performance has fluctuated in the first four races. So, there is no complacency about our situation because we know that it's not truly representative of the balance of power this season so far." Wolff noted that Ferrari dominated in preseason testing in Barcelona and is expected to bring a strong package to the race in Spain. "Our opponents were blisteringly quick in winter testing, so the Spanish Grand Prix will be anything but easy," he said. "Despite the good start to the season we remain quite skeptical of our own performance and know that there are a number of areas where we can and must improve. We anticipate a tough and competitive weekend, first against our rivals and also between our drivers. Everything is still very much up for grabs this season and we will be keeping our foot firmly to the floor." Hamilton won the Spanish GP three times, including the last two, while Vettel will be seeking his second win in Barcelona and first at the track since 2011, when he was still with Red Bull. "I've always had very positive weekends in Barcelona with Ferrari, even if we've never won," Vettel said. "I hope this might be the moment to put that right.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 9th, 2019

Strikers and Submission Specialists headline ONE Championship in May

A pair of explosive Muay Thai world title fights takes to the grand arena of ONE Championship this Friday (May 10) when Muay Thai superstars Nong-O Gaiyanghadao and Petchdam Petchyindee Academy take on separate foes in ONE Championship’s WARRIORS OF LIGHT card that will air LIVE on ABS-CBN S+A, S+A HD, and iWant Sports starting at 9:30 pm. The two Thai superstars will be fighting for the ONE Muay Thai Bantamweight World Championship and ONE Flyweight Kickboxing World Championship belts respectively. Nong-O will be competing against Japanese warrior Hiroaki Suzuki while Petchdam faces Elias Mahmoudi of Algeria. The largest fight promotions outfit in Asia also prepared an explosive MMA card for May 17, that will be ONE Lightweight World Champion Shinya Aoki’s first defense against Singapore’s submission artist, Christian Lee, in ONE: ENTER THE DRAGON which will also air LIVE on S+A, S+A HD, and iWant Sports at 8:30 pm.   Aside from the striking masters, Pinoy MMA fans can also look forward to the return of Geje “Gravity” Eustaquio to the cage, months after his defeat from Adriano Moraes, in the ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix against Korean Kim Kyu Sung. Former UFC fighter Sage Northcutt will also make his ONE Championship debut against Brazilian mixed martial artist Cosmo Alexandre. Fight fans will be able to witness explosive kickboxing and Muay Thai masterclasses from the likes of Italian stallion Giorgio Petrosyan, against Petchmorakot and Dutch striking master Nieky Holzken versus compatriot Regian Eersel, in the successive fightcards. The names of the fighters lined up may be new to Filipino fight fans’ ears with the exception of Eustaquio and Aoki, who put to sleep Filipino MMA hero Eduard Folayang in Japan, and Lee. But the competing Muay Thai and kickboxing masters have already been introducing themselves via the ONE Super Series that focuses on the art of striking with powerful roundhouse kicks, dangerous elbows, as well as flashy spin attacks.   Don’t miss the two explosive ONE Championship fightcards airing on S+A, S+A HD, and streaming LIVE on iWant Sports starting with ONE: WARRIORS OF LIGHT this Friday (May 10) at 9:30 pm. ONE: ENTER THE DRAGON will air on May 17 LIVE on S+A and S+A HD, with livestreaming on iWant, at 8:30 pm.   For more stories and news on Aisa’s largest fight promotions company, follow @ABSCBNSports on Twitter and Facebook or visit sports.abs-cbn.com. For updates, follow @ABSCBNPR on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram or visit www.abscbnpr.com......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 9th, 2019

Petron seeks back-to-back

Shortly after successfully defending their Grand Prix title, head coach Shaq Delos Santos declared they still have enough talent to fill the void to be left by Stephanie Niemer, Katherine Bell, and Princess Gaiser......»»

Category: newsSource:  tempoRelated NewsMay 7th, 2019

PSL officials, players grace PSA Forum

Officials of the Philippine Super Liga (PSL) and reigning back-to-back Grand Prix champion Petron are coming over as guests in an all-volleyball session of the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum today at the Amelie Hotel-Manila......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsMay 6th, 2019

Blaze Spikers charge back, force do-or-die

Stung by F2 Logistics Tuesday, Petron showed its true might last night, overcoming an early slip with a scrambling and imposing victories in the next two sets then sustained its charge in the fourth to fashion out a 23-25, 25-23, 25-14, 25-19 victory and force a winner-take-all for the Philippine Superliga Grand Prix crown at the packed Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsMay 2nd, 2019

Power Hitters take bronze

PLDT Home Fibr blew a 2-0 set lead and four match points but battled back from the brink of defeat to repulse Cignal, 25-19, 25-18, 20-25, 20-25, 19-17, for the bronze that glittered like gold in the Philippine Superliga Grand Prix at the Filoil Flying V Center in San Juan last night......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsMay 1st, 2019

Nadal holds off Zverev to reach 4th round at Australian Open

JOHN PYE, AP Sports Writer br /> MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Rafael Nadal held back time, for one match at least, when he rallied for a 4-6, 6-3, 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-2 win over German teenager Alexander Zverev to reach the fourth round of the Australian Open. The 14-time major winner is on a comeback after an extended injury layoff, yet he finished stronger in the 4-hour, 6-minute match on Rod Laver Arena as Zverev tightened up with cramping and nerves. 'I enjoyed a lot this great battle. I was losing the last couple of times in the fifth set and I said to myself, 'today's the day',' said ninth-seeded Nadal, who had lost eight of the previous nine times he'd trailed 2-1 in a best-of-five set match. His 30-year-old legs, conditioned by 236 Grand Slam matches, carried him all the way. 'Well, fighting — and running a lot,' Nadal said, when asked to explain the difference. 'I think you know, everybody knows how good Alexander is — he's the future of our sport and the present, too.' Serena Williams has done it more easily, reaching the fourth round without dropping a set to stay on course in her bid for a record 23rd Grand slam title. Williams beat fellow American Nicole Gibbs 6-1, 6-3 and didn't face a break point until she was serving for the match. Dropping serve in that game was her only lapse in a match that then extended just beyond the hour — to 63 minutes to be precise. The six-time Australian Open champion next faces No. 16 Barbora Strycova. 'I don't have anything to prove in this tournament here. Just doing the best I can,' Williams said. 'Obviously I'm here for one reason.' Milos Raonic is here pursuing his first major title, aiming to improve on his runs to the semifinals in Australia and the final at Wimbledon last year. He reached the fourth round with a 6-2, 7-6 (5), 3-6, 6-3 win over No. 25 Gilles Simon and will next play No. 13 Roberto Bautista Agut, who beat David Ferrer 7-5, 6-7 (6), 7-6 (3), 6-4. Nadal, who had two months off with an injured left wrist at the end of 2016, will get another veteran next after U.S. Open semifinalist Gael Monfils beat Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-3, 7-6 (1), 6-4. In another gripping five-setter, but on an outside court, wild-card entry Denis Istomin followed his upset win over defending champion Novak Djokovic with a 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 victory over Pablo Carreno Busta. No. 8 Dominic Thiem beat Benoit Paire 6-1, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 to set up a fourth-round match against No. 11 David Goffin, who ended Ivo Karlovic's run 6-3, 6-2, 6-4. Zverev's creative shot-making gave the 19-year-old German a confident start. He had won his previous three matches against top-10 players, and has been widely touted as a future Grand Slam champion. But Nadal, the champion here in 2009, didn't let him get too far in front. In an exchange of breaks in the fifth set, Nadal broke to open, then dropped his own serve, before breaking Zverev again. Nadal finished with 43 winners and 34 unforced errors, while Zverev — hitting harder and trying more to find the lines — had 58 winners and 74 unforced errors. In early women's matches, Ekaterina Makarova led by a set and 4-0 but had a mid-match fade, needing three sets and almost three hours to finally beat WTA Finals champion Dominika Cibulkova 6-2, 6-7 (3), 6-3. 'An amazing fight,' Makarova said of her first win over sixth-seeded Cibulkova, the 2014 finalist at Melbourne Park. 'I got, to be honest, a bit tight at 4-0 in the second set. But I'm still here.' She'll now take on last year's semifinalist Johanna Konta, who beat former No. 1-ranked Caroline Wozniacki 6-3, 6-1, in a rematch of their fourth-round encounter here last year. Mirjana Lucic-Baroni continued her unlikely run with a 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 win over Maria Sakkari, and so did American qualifier Jennifer Brady. Before this week, the 34-year-old Lucic-Baroni hadn't won a match at Melbourne Park since her debut here in 1998. The 19-year gap in between match wins at a Grand Slam tournament broke the record set by Kimiko Date-Krumm. The 1999 Wimbledon semifinalist next plays No. 116-ranked Brady, who had never played in the main draw of a major before she qualified for this week. The 21-year-old Brady had a 7-6 (4), 6-2 win over 14th-seeded Elena Vesnina on Show Court 2. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 21st, 2017

Federer returns with a win, joins Murray in 2nd round

JOHN PYE, AP Sports Writer br /> MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Roger Federer shanked a few shots and was unsettled by how nervous he felt after six months on the sidelines, despite the familiar surroundings at the Australian Open. No other man on tour knows the way around a Grand Slam tournament better than Federer, who is playing in his 69th major and has won a record 17. He served 19 aces and had only one double-fault in a 7-5, 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 win Monday over fellow 35-year-old Jurgen Melzer, but dropped serve three times and experienced frustrating moments. 'I was feeling nervous once the match actually started,' said Federer, who hadn't played at tour level since Wimbledon after taking time off to let his injured left knee heal. 'In the warmup ... I felt fine. Then I hit four frames in a row. It was like, 'Whew, it's not as easy as I thought it was going to be.' 'I struggled for a while to find that groove, that rhythm.' Federer had surgery on the knee after a semifinal exit at the last Australian Open and missed the French Open, ending his streak of 65 consecutive Grand Slam tournaments. He returned for Wimbledon, reached the semifinals, then didn't play again in 2016. In November, he fell out of the top 10 for the first time in 734 weeks. The 17th-seeded Federer wasn't the only highly-ranked player to find the going tough Monday. Stan Wawrinka, the U.S. Open champion, was pushed to five sets. So was No. 5-seeded Kei Nishikori. Angelique Kerber, defending champion and ranked No. 1 at a major for the first time, had some nervous moments in her 6-2, 5-7, 6-2 win over Lesia Tsurenko. Kerber won her first Grand Slam title in Melbourne last year, beating Serena Williams in the final after saving a match point in the first round. After wasting a match point before her serve was broken as Tsurenko rallied to win the second set, Kerber said her mind raced back 12 months. 'When I lost the second set, and I had match point, I was thinking about my match last year in the first round,' she said. 'First rounds are always tough.' In his first Grand Slam match with the elevated status of having a knighthood and the No. 1 ranking, Andy Murray berated himself when he made mistakes and frequently yelled during a 7-5, 7-6 (5), 6-2 win over Illya Marchenko. In other words, nothing much has changed. The five-time finalist comfortably navigated what he hoped was the first step to a drought-breaking Australian Open title. Murray has lost four of the last six finals in Melbourne to six-time champion Novak Djokovic. Gaining the top ranking and receiving the civic honors doesn't change anything for Murray, who said he faces 'the same pressure, same expectations. I've never won here — I'm going to try to change that this year.' Wawrinka, who made his Grand Slam breakthrough in Australia in 2014, narrowly scraped past 35th-ranked Martin Klizan 4-6, 6-4, 7-5, 4-6, 6-4. In the ninth game of the fifth set, Wawrinka smashed a soft half-volley from Klizan straight back into the Slovakian's body, clipping the frame and just missing his midsection. He stepped over the net and ensured Klizan was OK, then held serve in that game and broke in the next game to finish it off. Nishikori beat Andrey Kuznetsov 7-5, 1-6, 6-4, 7-6 (6), 6-2. Joining him in the second round are 2014 U.S. Open champion Marin Cilic, 2008 Australian Open finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, No. 19 John Isner, No. 23 Jack Sock, No. 27 Bernard Tomic, No. 29 Viktor Troicki and No. 31 Sam Querrey. Also, No. 14 Nick Kyrgios returned from his suspension for underperforming in Shanghai last year and raced through a 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 win over Gastao Elias. No. 16 Lucas Pouille was the highest-ranked of the three men's seeded players to lose. Five of the women's seeded players went out, including No. 4 Simona Halep, who lost 6-3, 6-1 to Shelby Rogers in the first match on Rod Laver Arena, and No. 15 Roberta Vinci, who lost to CoCo Vandeweghe. Seven-time major winner Venus Williams beat Kateryna Kozlova 7-6 (5), 7-5, and 2014 Wimbledon finalist Eugenie Bouchard continued her recent resurgence by routing Louisa Chirico 6-0, 6-4. Joining them in the next round will be French Open champion Garbine Muguruza, Olympic gold medalist Monica Puig, No. 8 Svetlana Kuznetsova, No. 10 Carla Suarez, No. 11 Elina Svitolina and No. 20 Zhang Shuai. Sixteen-year-old Destanee Aiava became the first player born in this millennium to play in the main draw of a major, but the milestone match ended in a 6-3, 7-6 (4) loss to Mona Barthel. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 17th, 2017

Murray wins in straight sets in 1st major match as No. 1

JOHN PYE, AP Sports Writer br /> MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — In his first Grand Slam match with the elevated status of having a knighthood and the No. 1 ranking, Andy Murray berated himself when he made mistakes and frequently yelled during his 7-5, 7-6 (5), 6-2 win over Illya Marchenko. In other words, nothing much has changed in his approach. The five-time finalist, back in Melbourne trying to end his drought, started on Rod Laver Arena on Monday and took the first step in his bid for a first Australian Open title. Murray has lost four of the last six finals here — including the last two — to six-time champion Novak Djokovic. But he did take something off his long-time friend at the end of last year when he replaced Djokovic in the top ranking during a stunning finish to the season. In Queen Elizabeth II's New Year's honors list, Murray received a knighthood from the British monarch for reaching the pinnacle of the sport. Murray said the ranking and the civic honors won't change anything, and he faces 'the same pressure, same expectations.' He admits there's one thing he desperately wants to change. 'I've never won here — I'm going to try to change that this year,' he said. Two players who could potentially stand in his way — No. 5 Kei Nishikori and No. 10 Tomas Berdych — had first-round wins earlier in the day. Another, Roger Federer, was set to play his first tour-level match in more than six months when he played Jurgen Melzer in a night match on Rod Laver. There are 18 American women in the draw, and two recorded wins in the first two matches on Rod Laver. Venus Williams went onto main court right after Shelby Rogers' upset win over fourth-seeded Simona Halep, a result which sent the former French Open finalist out in the first round again. Williams also lost in the first round last year, and didn't plan to replicate Halep's early exit again. The seven-time major winner beat Kateryna Kozlova 7-6 (5), 7-5, twice recovering breaks in the first set and despite her 48 unforced errors. 'It's never easy playing the first round — you're just trying to find the rhythm,' Williams said. 'She played amazing. It's very satisfying to get through a match against an opponent who is on fire.' Rogers caused the first upset of the tournament with her 6-3, 6-1 win over Halep. Rogers made a surprising run to the French Open quarterfinals before losing to eventual champion Garbine Muguruza last year, when she was ranked No. 108, but only advanced to the second round at one other tournament in 2016. But the run at Roland Garros gave her confidence. 'The biggest thing I took away from that was just that I can compete with the top players in the world and I'm good enough,' said Rogers, who was playing just her second main draw match at the Australian Open. 'So I have definitely carried that away from the French Open and just been enjoying it a little bit.' Halep, a two-time quarterfinalist in Australia, said she'd been hampered by left knee pain that was compounded by the pressure of the match. Seventh-seeded Muguruza saved a set point in the first set, needed a medical timeout and had to fend off three break-point chances at 1-4 in the second set before advancing with a 7-5, 6-4 win over Marina Erakovic. Olympic gold medalist Monica Puig raced through her opening match, beating Patricia Tig 6-0, 6-1, and No. 20 Zhang Shuai, No. 24 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and No. 27 Irina-Camelia Begu also advanced. Australian teenager Destanee Aiava's milestone match ended in a 6-3, 7-6 (4) loss to German qualifier Mona Barthel. The 16-year-old Melbourne high school student became the first player born in this millennium to play a main draw match at a major. In two all-U.S. matches, Samantha Crawford defeated Lauren Davis 4-6, 6-3, 6-0 and Alison Riske beat Madison Brengle 7-5, 6-3. Fellow American CoCo Vandeweghe recovered from a break down, and an illness, in the second set to beat No. 15-seeded Roberta Vinci 6-1, 7-6 (3). Two other seeded players lost early women's matches, with Varvara Lepchenko beating No. 19 Kiki Bertens 7-5, 7-6 (5) and former No. 1-ranked Jelena Jankovic beating No. 26 Laura Siegemund 6-1, 1-6, 6-4. On the men's side, Nishikori needed 3 hours, 34 minutes to beat Andrey Kuznetsov 7-5, 1-6, 6-4, 7-6 (6), 6-2, but Berdych only played a set — which he won 6-1 — before Luca Vanni retired from their match. No. 19 John Isner beat Konstantin Kravchuk 6-3, 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-1 and advanced along with No. 27 Bernard Tomic, No. 29 Viktor Troicki and No. 31 Sam Querrey, who beat Quentin Halys 6-7 (10), 7-6 (4), 6-3, 6-4. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 16th, 2017

Australian Open quotes: Rafael Nadal says no plans to retire

DENNIS PASSA, AP Sports Writer br /> MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Rafael Nadal isn't planning to give up tennis anytime soon. Johanna Konta won't take too seriously her dominating win in the Sydney International last Friday. And Sam Stosur, who has never done well at her home Grand Slam tournament, isn't getting too down on herself after her preparation — or lack of it— for Melbourne Park. Following are some thoughts and impressions from players who spoke on Sunday, the day before the start of the Australian Open: ___ RAFAEL NADAL The takeaway: Rafa is not about to call it quits anytime soon. Nadal, a 14-time major winner, is coming off two lengthy injury layoffs last year, including 2 ½ months off after pulling out of the French Open before the third round with left wrist injury and another rest at the end of the season. Just don't ask him if he's ready to pull out a rod and reel, or a 9-iron. 'If I don't believe that I can be competitive, and when I mean competitive, is fighting for the things that I fought for during the last 10 years, I will be probably playing golf or fishing at home,' Nadal said. 'I am being honest ... I am here because I believe ... I can fight for the things that really motivate me.' Given his history with injuries, Nadal was asked if he was playing pain free. 'What do you mean 'pain-free'?' he said. 'I am not injured, no. Pain-free is a long time ago.' ___ JOHANNA KONTA The Sydney-born British player, a surprise semifinalist at Melbourne Park last year, won the Sydney International final against Agnieszka Radwanska last Friday, a victory so dominating that the Polish player, ranked third in the world, said: 'I can't remember playing someone like this on that level, that consistent for the whole match. I couldn't really say that I did something wrong. She was just playing amazing tennis.' Konta said Sunday she's not reading too much into those plaudits. 'Obviously to have beaten a player like Aga, I'm definitely very pleased with the level I played,' Konta said. 'But we all know that it's not a given. It doesn't decide how you will do in the next event. I'm taking it as a positive from the week itself, but I'm looking to, again, work hard here and really try to do the best that I can here.' ___ SAMANTHA STOSUR Competing in her 15th Australian Open, the highest-ranked Australian woman in the draw has never made it past the fourth round at Melbourne Park. Her preparation for her home major wasn't helped with first-round losses at Brisbane and Sydney 'I can't change it, it is what it is,' Stosur said of her early exits. 'I'm not going into my first round freaking out that I haven't had more than two matches. Like I said, I've done everything else that I can. Obviously it would have been really nice to have played more. But I'm pretty sure I'm not the only person in that situation from the first two weeks of the year.' The 18th-seeded Stosur has a tough first-round match against Heather Watson of Britain. ___ SIMONA HALEP The fourth-seeded Halep lost in the first round last year at Melbourne Park. This year she'll have the distinction of opening play on the main Rod Laver Arena on Monday, against American Shelby Rogers. 'I hope is going to be better this year ... it's special to open the tournament on the biggest stadium. I'm not thinking very much at that thing. I just have to go there. I know the opponent pretty well.' Halep beat Rogers in straight sets in the third round at the 2015 U.S. Open in their only previous meeting. ___ TOMMY HAAS The 38-year-old German veteran has said 2017 will be his last year on tour — he's taking over as tournament director at Indian Wells. Haas, who plays Benoit Paire of France in the first round, wants to go out with some dignity after a career of injuries. He has been ranked as high as No. 2, won 15 ATP Tour titles, reached the semifinals of the Australian Open three times and Wimbledon once, and won a silver medal at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. His career has been stalled by injuries since he had shoulder surgery two years ago and right foot surgery in the middle of last year. 'I think it's important to find that right time, or that moment for you when you feel it's over and it's time to do something else,' Haas said Sunday. 'For me it's very important just to be back on tour and back here at the Australian Open. It's been a while since I've played here and I'm excited to get the opportunity to go out on the court one more time and compete.' And to keep playing, hoping that his best is once again around the corner. 'When you are a dreamer, and a lot of us are, you obviously like to play at your best level again, maybe play against some of the top players somewhere on a big stage and play a great matches,' Haas said. 'Maybe get far in a tournament one more time.' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 15th, 2017

Former, current Tigresses reunite in Petron

Foton’s loss is Petron’s gain. The Tornadoes may have asserted its mastery over the Tri-Activ Spikers twice in the Philippine Superliga Grand Prix in the past couple of years but Petron surely scored a big knockout punch in the recruitment war. Former Foton players Cherry Rondina and seasoned playmaker Rhea Dimaculangan bolted out of their former squad to join Petron. The Tri-Activ Spikers also landed Marivic Meneses while Carmela Tunay is also expected to sign a deal with Petron in a reunion of former and current University of Sto. Tomas players. The Tigresses will join former UST star Aiza Maizo-Pontillas, who led the Espana-based squad to its last UAAP crown seven years ago. Aside from the players, Petron also retained former Tigresses coach Shaq Delos Santos and ex-Foton assistant coach Ian Fernandez.      Tunay will only play in the Invitational Conference and will share the court with Petron’s biggest acquisition and fellow Virtual Playground talent Mika Reyes, who signed a two-year deal with the San Miguel Corporation club Wednesday after leaving F2 Logistics.         Rondina and Meneses would be coming in the All-Filipino Conference together with Far Eastern University stars Bernadeth Pons and Remy Palma, who already suited up for Petron last year, after their campaign in the UAAP. Petron’s recruitment coup sends a serious warning that the Tri-Activ Spikers desire to bring back their glory days when they won the 2014 PSL Grand Prix and 2015 All-Filipino Conference highlighted by a clean sweep of the tournament. Foton dethroned Petron in the 2015 Grand Prix in a dramatic three-game upset before sweeping the Tri-Activ Spikers in their conference finals rematch a month ago. The severely depleted Tornadoes lost seven players with Angeli Araneta, Patty Orendain, Carol Cerveza, Bia General, Kara Acevedo, Dimaculangan and Rondina making a mass exodus. In the Invitational Conference, only Dindin Santiago-Manabat, Maika Ortiz and Ivy Perez are the available holdovers with EJ Laure of UST and Jaja Santiago of National University playing in the UAAP. Foton is now recruiting players and holding tryouts to fill their roster.       --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles           .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 14th, 2017