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Friday 14 August 2015

Independence Day: Indian Sportstars On Threshld Of Glory


Wow, its been a while and back on India's Independence Day eve to restart our blogging.

As India celebrates its 69th independence day tomorrow (15th Aug), some of its sportsmen have either achieved or are on the threshold of glory for their country.

#PankajAdvani was crowned World Champion in Billiards yet again just a few days ago.
What a champion and at such a young age, he's already an all time great in the game competing with Mike Russell and Geet Sethi as the greatest player ever.

#PSindhu and #SainaNehwal have reached quarterfinals of the world badminton championships in Malaysia. While Sania has never crossed this stage in 5 attempts before, Sindhu seems to be the more likely to advance to finals given her form and fitness. #JwalaGutta and #AshwiniPonappa have created history at the same event qualifying for quarters in the Women's Doubles event.

#AnirbanLahiri won the PGA long drive competition last week doing India proud and the little 10 year old prodigy #ShubhamJaglan is already doing India proud all over!

The Indian Men's #Hockey team beat Spain to win series in Europe. Spain are real tough nut to crack so this win will definitely spur the much controversy plagued team to greater heights. If only the IHF manages this team and its politics, the golden days of Indian hockey (8 Olympic gold medals, the highest by any team in a particular event at the Olympics!) can be re-dreamt of!

The #ProKabaddi fever is gripping the nation and its wonderful to see traditional sports getting so much coverage and support from media and businesses alike. This would do India a world of good..

#SaniaMirza has been nominated for the prestigious #KhelRatna award (the highest sportsman award in the country) for becoming the first woman to win a tennis grand slam at Wimbledon last month.

And last but not the least ... the much maligned Indian #Cricket team is battling it out against Sri Lanka in a three test series under new captain, Virat Kohli, and the young side will look to win this series to gain confidence going into a long and tough season ahead....

All in all ... sports moving ahead in the right direction for India
Jai Hind...

Wish all Indian viewers all over the world a Very Happy Independence Day!

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Monday 13 July 2015

Indian Tennis Golden Moments Sania and Leander Are Champs

#Wimbledon 2015

India witnessed glory on 12th and 13th July 2015 at Wimbledon.

Women's Doubles - Amazing Fightback
Tennis star #Sania #Mirza teamed up with Swiss legend #Martina #Hingis to become the first Indian woman to win a tennis Grand Slam on Saturday, 11th Jul 2015. What a feeling!!

In a three set edge-of-the-seat thriller, the duo beat Elena Vesnina-Ekaterina Makarova 5-7, 7-6, 7-5. What made the victory more sensational was that these two came back remarkably from 2-5 down in the third set to drawl level and eventually win the contest under the covered roof. Absolutely sensational! Sania dedicated her win to India's women and urged them to dream and pursue it. Wonderful feeling.
Mixed Doubles - Walk in the Park
On 12th evening, just after the men's singles final, India's tennis legend #Leander #Paes teamed up with #Martina #Hingis, yet again to win the mixed doubles crown.

The pair drubbed a hapless combination of Peya/Bohosh 6-1, 6-1 in under 40 minutes. Just amazing tennis from the two superstars to provide a master-class to newbies on tour. Lee is 42 and Hingis 34, both veterans (and old by tennis standards) but their skill and overall ability showed on Centre Court.

Leander has now won the mixed doubles crown 4 times, each time with a different partner
1999 - with Lisa Raymond
2003 - with Martina Navratilova
2010 - with Cara Black
2015 - with Martina Hingis

#ProudOfYou - Lee and Sania.
Well done Martina!!

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Djoker Reigns Supreme, Fedex Age Showing Up

#Djoker mesmerizes #Federer. Wins Clash of the Titans to lift the Wimbledon crown a third time! Who's going to stop him...
Posted by Who Will Win The Cup? on Sunday, July 12, 2015

Sunday 12 July 2015

Its SerenaSlam! Watch out CalendarSlam

#Serena #Williams completed #SerenaSlam by winning Wimbledon 2015 yesterday.
This was her 21st Grand Slam crown, just one shy of #Steffi  #Graf's 22, to become holder of the record in #tennis   #open #era. This was also her 8th Grand slam crown after age of 30, another record. Whats next for Serena? The #CalendarSlam is next with US open in a few weeks time! Way to go Serena....

Here's how she completed the #SerenaSlam
US Open 2014 bt. Caroline Wozniacki 6-3, 6-3
Aus Open 2015 bt. Maria Sharapova 6-3, 7-6
French Open 2015 bt. Lucie Safarova 6-3, 6-7, 6-2
Wimbledon 2015 bt. Garbine Muguruza 6-4, 6-4

Apart from the French Open final last month where she was really challenged by Lucie Safarova in a three setter, she seems to win these finals pretty easily. Just that champion instinct probably. She ups the game couple of notches in finals of tournaments to down her hapless opponents.

Her Grand Slam record now reads 21 - 4 (25 finals played, 21 victories, 4 losses) which is phenomenal. Her only final losses include

US Open 2001 lost to Venus Williams 2-6, 4-6
Wimbledon 2004 lost to Maria Sharapova 1-6, 4-6
Wimbledon 2008 lost to Venus Williams 5-7, 4-6
US Open 2011 lost to Samantha Stosur 2-6, 3-6 

Interestingly all her final losses have been straight-set losses as well. Twice to her elder sister Venus and more recently to the unfancied Samantha Stosur in US Open 2011. Since then she has won all US Open titles and the 2015 title will give her the CalendarSlam! You wouldn't bet against her to complete it with that kind of a record.

Overall titles of Serena in Grand Slams
Australian Open - 6
French Open - 3
Wimbledon - 6
US Open - 6

At 33, she has a couple of years definitely to push that record beyond everyone's reach you'd say?

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Wednesday 8 July 2015

Two Great Matches One Classic While One Houdini Escape

#Wimbledon 2015

The Championships of 2015 have produced some exciting tennis and results over the last 10 days. Seeds have tumbled, stumbled and mumbled along the way. However, two matches have caught imagination of the crowd and media alike. Both stunners ... one an absolute classic and the other one a lesson in resolute stubbornness!

The Classic
Without doubt, the greatest tennis match at this year's ‪#‎Championships‬ by a distance and we dare say this could go down as an all time classic too! Unfancied Heather Watson pushed top seed and World No.1 Serena Williams to the limit in their Round 3 match at Wimbledon.
After an easy first set to Serena, the match looked dead and buried for Heather. But the second set saw a major turnaround as she started stroking the ball beautifully, chasing every ball down and catching Serena completely off guard. She broke Serena and tied the score at 1 set apiece.
The decider began in favor of Heather again. She raced to a 3-0 lead and Serena for once didn't look like a multiple grand slam champion - tired, frustrated and clueless! But the true champion that she is, she hung on and brought all her experience into play breaking Heather in the next game and the next and tying at 3-3. Momentum shifting towards the champion.
Heather managed to hold her next game and then broke Serena yet again to go 5-4 up! Serving for the match, she needed nerves and temperament to put it past the top player but class of Serena showed as she broke her back and tied things and served beautifully to surge ahead 6-5.
Serving to stay in the match, Heather gave her absolute everything but Serena's overall ability and champion skill broke through her resilience and won an incredible match (Serena admitted this being one of the toughest matches of her career) 6-2, 4-6, 7-5 in over 2 hours of breathtaking tennis from the youngster challenging the champ.
Everyone in the crowd was supporting Heather and Serena was feeling that heat throughout. She had words for the chair umpire about crowd behavior distracting her during play.
Nevertheless, Heather will be the talk of tennis for years to come owing to this performance. Well done Heather and she'll definitely come back stronger in other tournaments. Serena marches on to her dream of the calendar grand slam!

The Houdini Escape
If the women produced a gem, the men weren't to be left behind.
Top seed and World No 1, #NovakDjokovic faced super serving #KevinAnderson (South Africa) seeded 13th in a 4th round match. 
Anderson started brilliantly. Much faster, supple and with intent. Although no serves were broken in the first set, Kevin looked stronger and deservedly won the tie breaker to go 1-0 up. Nothing to worry for Novak since he's master of long matches.
The second set began on the same note. Anderson breaking Novak and raced to a lead but Djoker caught up with him at the right time to force another tie-breaker. Once again, it was Anderson who looked better and he went 2-0 up. He was certainly welcoming thoughts of a great upset at Wimbledon. The crowd once again rallying behind the underdog.
But, champions are champions and it showed. Djokovic came out blazing in the third set to demolish Kevin 6-1. This shook up Anderson badly and the Serb No.1 was in his usual backs to wall recovery mode. He demonstrated similar clinical display in the fourth set to tie the match at 2-2.
Kevin was certainly out of it by the time fifth set began. The momentum and ability was with Novak and he kept powering his way through. Kevin hung on though before bad light forced play to stop.
When play resumed the next day, Kevin was hoping a change of momentum but Djokovic had nothing to with it. He powered and won the fifth set 7-5 to clinch a place in the quarterfinals.
Final score
Djokovic bt Anderson 6-7, 6-7, 6-1, 6-4, 7-5
A typical Houdini escape by Djoker!
Wonderful play from Kevin Anderson and he must have been dejected after being 2-0 up in the match. But, the masterclass he received from World No. 1 should stand him in good stead as he moves his way up in the rankings and future tournaments.

2 great games of tennis. 
Tennis, the winner all the way!

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Friday 3 July 2015

With Rafa Out And Seeds Falling It Gets Interesting


If Day 1 belonged to the top players cruising through their first round matches, Day 2 saw some upsets in the women's draw to make things interesting. Top seeds #Serena and #Kvitova recorded easy wins though.

The upsets came in for 3rd Seed #Simona #Halep. Last year's semi finalist and seeded very high this year, Simona was expected to challenge the bigger seeds. What turned out was drab affair where she lost in straight sets.

Similar fate awaited last year's finalist Eugenie Bouchard losing again in straight sets.

In the men's draw, things were moving according to script with some casualties here and there until Dustin Brown decided to pull out something special against Rafael Nadal. Rafa is certainly not in his elements and with injuries he's moving a touch slow. Dustin took this opportunity to howcase his power and agility to outrun Nadal in four sets to cause the biggest upset of the Championships so far. 

Other casualties included Raonic going down to upcoming star Nick Kyrgios, Goffin beating Baghdatis, Krunic beating 19th ranked Errani from Italy, Matek-Sands beating Ana Ivanovic, 11th seed Pliskova going down to Vandeweghe.

Its all becoming very interesting as we approach Week 2 at the Championships!

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Monday 29 June 2015

Day 1 - Djokovic Signals His Intent With A Professional Win


The wait was long and it was reaching impatient levels to get the #Championships underway. And so they did under wonderful and sunny #London skies!

Per #tradition, the Men's Singles #defending #champion opened proceedings on #Centre #Court. #Novak #Djokovic, looking in great shape to defend his crown but utterly disappointed by that final loss to #Warinka at #Roland #Garros two weeks ago, walked in to a huge ovation. 

His opponent, Phillip Kohlshreiber, seeded 33 was no easy push over. Phil is known for his stinging backhand and ability to stay in matches for long. He started well too. Although Novak broke him in the third game of the match, he broke back immediately in the next game to level scores at 2-2. The first set saw a see-saw battle and it was Phil who was looking sharper and fitter of the two.

As with champions, they know when to up the game and how to handle pressure situations. Novak did just that. He hung on and then brought in his tenacity and sublime skill to the fore. Game after game, he upped his ante on Phil and won the first set 6-4.

After that it was a matter of time really. Phil began to lose his sting and Novak was waiting for his opportunities to grab crucial points and surge ahead. Sets 2 and 3 went the same way.

Final Scoreline
Novak Djokovic bt Phillip Shreiberger 6-4, 6-4, 6-4

Other key games on Centre Court today involve 
#Glam #Doll #Maria #Sharapova
French Champion #Stan #Wawrinka

Important results so far on Day 1
Samantha Stosur beat Daniella Kovinic 6-4, 6-4
Radwanska beat Gallovits-Hall 6-2, 6-1
Nishikori and Bolelli have shared 1 set each
Lleyton Hewitt is fighting to stay in the championship against Nieminen in a gruelling 5 setter.

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Wednesday 24 June 2015

World Number 1 Who Never Won At Wimbledon


There have been great Wimbledon champions over the years and some glorious matches too. But how many have made headlines for not winning #Wimbledon?

#Ivan #Lendl​ - will forever remain etched in the annals of Wimbledon​ history as the greatest #tennis player never to win #TheChampionships.

He dominated the men's scene through the mid and late eighties, winning every tournament and #grand #slam along the way, except this one.
He still holds record for being ranked #1 for a stupendous 157 weeks!

During this same period he reached the Wimbledon finals twice, 1986 and 1987 losing to teen sensation #Boris #Becker​ and unseeded and unfancied #Pat #Cash​ respectively (both matches in straight sets).

Every top player dreaded playing Ivan because he was "robot" like on the court - precise, composed and never tired. Never a crowd favourite due to his almost emotionless demeanour on court and outside it but once he walked in to play, he just churned win after win.

The crowd started loving him once his die-hard ambition to win the Wimbledon crown became public. He even offered to exchange all his grand slams for that one elusive title he so cherished.
1987 was his best chance and he floundered against Cash. After that, he came and tried year after year but the gen next had taken tennis to next level of powerplay. He couldn't handle that and retired Wimbledon trophy-less!

He seeked redemption when his protégé, #Andy #Murray​ won the Wimbledon title in 2013. He partly lived his dream of being the champion here and the crowd saluted the hero of yesteryears who came so near, yet so far from the greatest triumph in tennis!

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Monday 22 June 2015

Golden Moments - Goran Wins In His 14th Attempt


As we move closer towards start of Wimbledon 2015, we are sharing some really golden moments from the past glory that this venue has produced over the years.

#Goran #Ivanisevic, a young Croatian, burst onto the tennis stage in late eighties (carrying forward a legacy of booming serves set by Boris Becker) and skittle opponents through sheer pace of his serves. His #aces mesmerized opponents, crowd and every critic around. The speed, precision and timing on those serves were amazing. But, his serve also became his weak point at times. In the quest to serve aces, he faulted, double faulted many times to throw away crucial games and even matches. His volatile temperament didn't help either.

His raw talent saw him rising up the tennis ladder very quickly on world stage.
In 1992, he demolished another super server youngster #Pete #Sampras in Wimbledon semi final to setup an amazing finals clash vs the flambuoyant and colorful youngster #Andre #Agassi. It was a game of Goran's serves vs Agassi' returns. As luck would have it, Agassi prevailed in that clash to win his first Wimbledon. Goran reflecting on what could have been!
Scoreline: 6-7. 6-4, 6-4, 1-6, 6-4 

Again in 1994, Goran stepped up the gas to setup a finals clash with #Pistol #Pete.
Both matching serve to serve, the first two sets went into tie-breaks and Pete with better overall technique managed to win both of them. A demoralized Goran lost the third 0-6 to hand over the finals to Pete.
Scoreline: 7-6, 7-6, 6-0

By 1998, Pete vs Goran was becoming a great duel of big servers. The difference? Pete was winning grand slams while Goran was missing out on them. After a gruelling 5-set semi final against Richard Krajicek, Goran stepped on centre court to meet Sampras once again. This time he was ready to give it back. Both shared the first two sets (again in tie-breaks), Pete won the third, while Goran roared back to win the fourth. This one had the making of a great final. At the final stretch though, it was Pete, once again, who raced ahead and won.
Scoreline: 6-7, 7-6. 6-4,3-6, 6-2

With all those final losses and age catching up, Goran was running out of time but he hung on coming back year after year to try and win the elusive Wimbledon crown. In 2001, a teenage sensation Roger Federer pushed Pete Sampras (the king of Wimbledon - 7 titles) out in the fourth round. Goran heaved a sigh of relief and pushed towards the final. Both semis were classics. Goran beating home favorite Henman in 5 sets while Pat Rafter beat Andre Agassi in a nail biter 5 set match.

When the two met on centre court, it was a case of who wanted it more badly.
They matched serve to serve, stroke to stroke, set to set.
At 2 sets apiece, it was shaping into a colossal duel and it continued in the 5th too
5-5, 6-6, 7-7, 8-7 and then Goran did what he had dreamt as a child and all those heart breaking losses! He broke Pat to win his first Wimbledon crown in 14 attempts and 4 finals.
Scoreline: 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 2-6, 9-7 

The crowd went wild, Goran's celebrations after that game were amazing and his dream had come true ultimately!!

True Golden moment from Wimbledon!

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Friday 19 June 2015

Andy Roddick Interviews Roger Federer

Why is Roger Federer Great?

Watch this video to find out...

The greatest of all time ... without doubt .. as he said - its not all about skill, its about sweating it out and loving to win rather than hating to loose. Wonderful words from a great sportsman, role model for young athletes and people in general.

His biggest quality is humility in greatness, so rare in today's world. That sets him apart from the rest by a long way. Perhaps a few more French Open titles and a Calendar Grand Slam missing from his CV. All in all, a great ambassador of the game!

Roger you are a LEGEND!

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Golden Moments: Steffi Graf Vs Monica Seles 1992

Amazing #Wimbledon moments

What rivalry!!

Arguably the greatest rivalry of all time ... had it not been for that idiot who attacked  . What a pity. She's the only player, who not just troubled   but dominated most of their contests until that fateful day!. 

Not a very great final in terms of the result, drama or neck-n-neck points but just the intensity these two brought to the game and tennis overall in that era made it spectacular.

Monica was World No 1, had won the last 5 grand slam tournaments and looking ominous to win her sixth. Her double handed ground strokes and agility being her key strengths. She was the boss of tennis winning almost every tournament she participated in and there were rumours, other top players including Steffi had begun to "fear" her domination on court.

She had a flawless run to the finals except that epic clash vs #Martina #Navratilova in the semi finals where she won in 3 sets. At 18 years age, she was certainly looking to rule women's tennis for years to come.

Steffi, on the other hand, was looking a bit off-color and overwhelmed by Seles on the tennis circuit. She had just lost to Seles in a close match at Roland Garros previous month and not looking as solid coming into the final. She had struggled in the earlier rounds against unseeded players but got the better of #Gabriella #Sabatini in the semi finals with ease. 

The big "issue" in this tournament was hounded with conspiracy theories though. Monica made a huge grunting noise when hitting balls fiercely. Her opponents had started complaining about it and she even received a warning for that. Whether the noise levels were too high or others were trying to put her off her bull run? we will never know but that warning was certainly playing on her mind as she entered the Centre Court for the women's final.

The build up in media about this game was huge!
All tabloids, newspapers, TV, radio (there wasn't "The Web" then!) were anticipating a mouthwatering clash of the titans.
As the match started, it became evident that Seles without her grunting was a shade of her usual self. Trying to play safe than her usual freedom, she started making errors and Steffi pounced on that opportunity winning the first set 6-2.

The second set was no different, and Seles inexplicably did not get into her groove at all. What was affecting her? Steffi steamrolled through the second set 6-1. Game Over....

Steffi lifted her fourth Wimbledon crown and young Monica pondered on what could have been an monumental achievement. This kind of rivalry and media hype about it was never seen in women's tennis before. This is what made this moment special and golden!

Both these superstars went to play some memorable tennis matches in their career against each other until Monica was stabbed in the back by a self-proclaimed Steffi fan, in 1993. She did make an amazing comeback from that injury but wasn't able to terrorize other players with her gruesome powerplay and presence on the court. What a pity!

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Tuesday 16 June 2015

Golden Moments Jana Novotna Weeping On Duchess Shoulder


As 2015 edittion of #WimbledonAwaits gets underway from 29th Jun 2015, we bring to you some of the greatest moments from over the years.

We start with an emotional one that broke most traditions at the halo'd venue and captured millions of hearts world over. 

Women's Final 1993
#Steffi #Graf vs #Jana #Novotna
As both ladies cruised into the final defeating their opponents pretty comfortably along the way, the stage was set for a grand finale. World number 1 and hot favorite to win the trophy, Steffi Graf seemed all geared up to add to her Wimbledon and Grand Slam crowns but the crowd favorite was definitely Jana Novotna.

And the match lived up to its billing.
After sharing the first two sets, it was a matter of who blinks first!
Novotna surged ahead in the decider, completely putting Graf off guard, breaking her twice and took a 4-1 lead. Graf looked listless while the momentum and crowd were right behind Jana.

But, what makes sports so enduring and beautiful is the uncertainty factor!
What looked like a straight win, Novotna started making mistakes (perhaps the big stage nerves got to her). She dropped serve. Graf, the ever efficient champion, was sniffing at this opportunity and went for the kill. With awesome power, fine placements and amazing focus she disintegrated Novotna completely and pulled off a miraculous feat to win 6-4 and complete her hat-trick of Wimbledon crowns.

Final Score
7-6, 1-6, 6-4

The real moment was yet to come though.
At the presentation, the Duchess held Jana's hand and said "You can certainly do it again ...". A disconsolate Novotna broke into tears and buried her head on the shoulders of her highness. The wonderful lady, stroked her back and head to console her. What a moment! The show and heart stealer of millions around the world. Wimbledon had never witnessed this and will never do so again probably.

The champion was overshadowed by tears of loser and her picture with the duchess made bigger headlines than Graf's hat-trick!   

Novotna went to win Wimbledon in 1998 beating Natalie Tauziat but this one were her best 10 seconds of fame!

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Tuesday 9 June 2015

After French Open History Its Wimbledon Glory

#Wimbledon #2015

From Red hot Clay the Green Soothing Grass!
From vibrancy in colors (did you see Stan Wawrinka's color shorts?? they were talk of the town all through the tournament) to all WHITES
From casuals to ultra formals and etiquette

Yes, we off to #Centre #Court at the legendary #Wimbledon know as "The Championships". The oldest and arguably the best of all #Grand #Slam tournaments (with all due respect to Australian Open, French Open and US Open) gets underway from 29th June 2015.

Its all about history, tradition and glory at the #AELTC Club in #Wimbledon.
The #Championships began way back in 1877 where 22 amateurs (all men, women's tennis was introduced 7 years later in 1884) participated with an entrance fee and had to get their own playing kit (racquets, shoes)! The AELTC only provided green balls as sponsorship. Wow...

Fast forward to 2015 where BBC will be covering the entire event like never before.
Its already being talked as the biggest, costliest and most watched sport event ever!!

The 138 year old tournament has seen it all.
Amateurs turning in legends. Canvas shoes to Nike and Reebok, Wooden racquets to Fiber ones, long maxis to mini skirts, one thing has not changed is the TRADITION and that is why this tournament is loved by everyone.

The rituals, discipline at the venue with time precision make it a treat to watch alongside tennis greats cracking serves and volleys. The Duchess and Duke of Kent don't seem to be old for years as they stride to give away the awards and trophies. the ball boy parades and drills, the only whites on all players, organizing committee member meetups, the rain songs, the covers being pulled to the court, the bow to the royal box and so on.... Its all there for everyone to see, witness and wonder how they do it with precision year on year?

Wimbledon has produced some of the most breathtaking sports moments in history. Magaret Court and her legendary wins, Rod Laver's great rivalry against Newcombe, Smith and Rosewall, McEnroe's outbursts of anger and equally brilliant strokeplay against his great rivals, Bjorn Borgs 5 consecutive titles, Martina Navratilova with 9 titles and her amazing rivalry with Chris Evert, German teen sensations turned all time greats, Steffi Graf and Boris Becker, Pistol Pete Sampras and the every lovable Andre Agassi, the Williams sisters, Yana Novotna's tradition breaking crying on the shoulder of her highness the Duchess of Kent, the epic battles between Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal, emerging talents in Djokovic, Murray, Sharapova and the list goes on... 

So what do we have in store for this year?  
A piece of history ... one more time!

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Wednesday 27 May 2015

Attention Shifts To Roland Garros - Nadal Vying For 10th Title

#French #Open #Tennis
#Grand #Slam 2
From Paris

#Rafa #Nadal is vying to become the only player to win a grand slam tournament for an unprecedented 10th time. No one has come close. #Pete #Sampras and #Roger #Federer have won #Wimbledon crown 7 times each and thats the second best effort. 

Such has been his dominance on this famed #clay #court of #Roland #Garros, he has lost just one match here in the last 10 years! Isnt that an extraordinary record in an era where technology, skills, fitness standards, lifestyles are rapidly changing making it difficult for athletes to sustain playing any game, let alone dominate it?

Fondly called the #KingOfClay, #Rafa has defeated all top names in tennis including #Federer, #Djokovic, #Murray from the current generation while #Agassi, #Sampras, #Muster from the previous gen to lift this crown year after year. The only time he lost was in a semifinal clash against Djokovic in 2011. Incidentally, Federer went on to win that tournament (his only success at this slam ever)

Plagued with injuries, a string of surgeries, short on match-practice and consecutive losses coming into this tournament, #Rafa was in danger of missing the competition out completely. But, this is his den. He can come and win matches here half-asleep against anyone. That's been his prowess and this could just mark his revival of fortunes!

We hope #Rafa makes is a perfect 10 at #RolandGarros on June 7th 2015!
All eyes on him.

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Monday 25 May 2015

MI Are New IPL Champs - Decimate CSK To Lift The Cup

#CSK vs #MI

#EdenGardens #Kolkata
24th May 2015

In an amazing display of determination and courage throughout the season, #MI completed a fairytale ending to this year's IPL season defeating a lacklustre #CSK by 41 runs to lift the cup for a second time.

Asked to bat first (first of the multiple blunders committed by CSK), they put on a strong 202 for 5 in 20 overs thanks to a stunning blitzkrieg by Lendl Simmons, Rohit Sharma. Kieron Pollard and Ambati Rayudu played the end game to perfection to smash the hapless and hopeless CSK bowling all over the park. At one stage they even looked to get 220-230 but were pulled back a bit.

Chasing this massive score, the one team that had potential to do it was CSK with their batting lineup. But, it looked as if they had surrendered already and their batsman crawled in the initial overs. That was remarkable batting to play steadily when chasing that big a target. No one stood counted and they capitulated to 161 for 8 in 20 overs.

Big celebrations for Mumbai and they will come next year to defend their crown.
For CSK, this was their 6th final. They have won it twice as well but this was abject surrender to some really disciplined and determined Mumbai heroes.

MI - 202 for 5
CSK - 161 for 8

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Sunday 24 May 2015

CSK vs MI - Who Will Win IPL Final

#CSK vs #MI
#EdenGardens #Kolkata
24th May 2015

After 6 weeks of absolute "dhamaal (fun)" on the field and some scorching cricketing action, its all come down to this day! The day of the #IPL Final...

Two teams, certainly not at their best, have made it there (owing to some poor performances from other teams) and will vie for the coveted trophy at the #Eden #Gardens in #Kolkata tonight.

On the one hand, "Team Consistent" #CSK will be gunning for a hat trick of trophies (they won in 2010, 2011 and finished runner-up in 3 other finals) while on the other #MI will be looking to emulate their 2013 success (they had won defeating CSK)

On a head to head comparison, there is pretty much nothing to choose.
Games played between the two teams: 21
MI Wins - 11, CSK Wins - 10
Its that close...

And while MI have been at best mercurial and topsy-turvy in this tournament, they have gained momentum at the perfect moment to go all the way. What also goes in their favour is they are the only side to trouble and lead CSK on head-to-head contest wins. Something brings out the best in them against the most balanced and consistent team of IPL over 8 seasons!

Having said that, do not discount #WhistlePodu boys. They have been there, done that on many occasions and can change gear very quickly. Skipper #Dhoni has had a silent IPL and these moments brings out the best in him. If that happens, he can turn games around from any situation and inspire his boys to do the same. Such is his aura and capability.

Man to Man comparison is a very interesting read as well

1. Lendl Simmons/Parthiv Patel  vs Mike Hussey/Dwayne Smith
MI hold the edge here. Their opening pair has been instrumental in getting MI to the finals with some amazing consistent performances off-late. Steady starts to lay foundation for the big boys down the order has been MI's recipe for success. Don't discount Hussey and Smith though. Hussey's super innings against RCB in Qualifier2 was a lesson for youngsters. In McCullum's big absence, Smith can "tee-off" from ball 1 as well.

2. Rohit Sharma vs Faf Du Plessis
Evenly matched on form. Rohit more classical but Faf more all round with his fielding abilities.

3. Kieron Pollard vs Suresh Raina
Again, MI hold the edge here on form and all round ability. Raina hasn't played a blinder of a knock this season .. just yet. Could it be his day. If it is, MI will suffer badly.

4. Ambati Rayudu vs MS Dhoni
Surprise, surprise ... MI slightly ahead here too. Rayudu has finished games, MS hasn't but we all know what he can do? and this is his business end. He gets dangerously professional here.

5. Hardik Pandya vs Pavan Negi
Two terrific youngsters vying for the best new comer award, looking to outdo the other. Both have played match winning knocks. Can they withstand pressure of a #IPL Final?

6. Jagdeesh Suchith vs Dwayne Bravo
The calyso guru is at the height of his game. Bravo edges out the youngster by some distance.

7. Vinay Kumar vs Mohit Sharma
Both have struggled really and need to pull up a gear

8. Harbhajan Singh vs Ravi Ashwin
This is going one heck of a contest! Both are in sublime form. Bhajji is the eternal effervescent himself and Ashwin the disciplined tactician. Wow.. this is definitely a contest within a contest

9. Mitch McClaneghan/ Lasith Malinga vs Ashish Nehra/Ravindra Jadeja
Jadeja is the odd one out in this comparison but he seems to be the "odd" one out in the CSK outfit too. Woefully out of form, he has been a liability for that team. The other three have been in super form off late. Malinga has caught up well after a poor start but Nehra and McClenaghan (since he was brought in half way through the tournament) have been good right through.  

Its that close with MI holding slight edge on form and momentum.
Its all to play for today. May the best team win. All the best

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Saturday 23 May 2015

Did Dhoni Cross The Line With Horrible Decision Comment?

"Smith got a horrible decision really...." spoke #MSDhoni (Mr. Cool himself) in the post-match interview after losing to #MI comfortably in #Qualifier1.

The media went berserk ... The public was stunned ... and everyone was talking about the #horrible #decision comment over the last few days. It culminated in a penalty for King Cool by the #ICC.

Will the ‪#‎horrible‬ ‪#‎decision‬ comment by MS Dhoni take away the sheen from Chennai Super Kings' ‪#‎fair‬ ‪#‎play‬ award? ‪#‎CSK‬ have always been the best behaved team in all seasons till date and ‪#‎MSD‬ has been instrumental in keeping that team behavior in check and taken it to a new level.

But, that "comment" in an interview after ‪#‎Qualifier1‬ game againstMumbai Indians (CSK lost that game) about a decision to give Dwayne Smith out lbw by umpire Richard Illingworth has everyone raising eyebrows on his surprising aggressive remark. This led to wild spread speculations about Mr. Cool and his composure to lead CSK to the title again.

For a captain of his stature, the comment did look rough (as was the lbw decision to begin with). I think the media took it too seriously and the #horrible #decision comment spread like widlfire. 

Just looked like it was not his day on that fateful night against MI.
1. He was first seen arguing with umpire Dharmasena over a couple of iffy wide ball decisions when MI was batting. Those two extra deliveries cost Chennai 10 extra runs which seemed to have peeved MS.
2. When he came out to bat, match was in the balance and his innings was going to be decisive. What happened? He moved across his crease to sweep Harbhajan and was trapped plumb leg-before. Golden duck! Dear O Dear!!!   
3. Then the #horrible #decision comment made it worse for him.

Am sure #MSD will take note and make amends as CSK prepare for the mega #IPLFinal on Sunday vs?? you guessed it right ... its MI again!!!

By the way, CSK have won the #Fair #Play award at this years IPL season by a long distance from the other teams. Just goes to show you can behave well and win all at the same time!!

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Thursday 21 May 2015

RCB Annihilate Hopeless Royals - Breeze Into Qualifier 2

#RCB vs #RR
#MCA Stadium, Pune
20th May 2015

A much anticipated duel between the two "Royal" teams Royal Challengers Bangalore and Rajasthan Royals ended in a damp squib at the MCA stadium in Pune.

#RCB outclassed a clueless and planless #RR team in all departments to secure a Qualifier 2 entry to meet #CSK. The winner there will compete with #MI for the #IPL crown on Sunday in Kolkata.

Today's game was rightly called the Eliminator, since losers would pack bags.
Hence it was expected both teams to compete really fiercely but only one team landed up and played this match. Royals were nowhere after first 9 overs of their bowling innings. It all went horribly wrong for them there on.

At 47 for 2 in 9 overs, RCB were under serious pressure and looked out of sorts. That's when #ABDevilliers and #MandeepSingh got together and delivered a stunning 113 run partnership off just 70 balls to set tone for a massive first innings total of 180 for 4.

The wicket wasn't easy to bat on, hence it was important to score decent and put the bowlers in action. Not only did RCB score brilliantly but when they came out to bowl, they delivered a perfectly clinical bowling performance too.

None of the RR batsman got going or carried on after a start.
Rahane top score with 42 but never got going.

Watson was out in the 2nd over followed closely by Samson and Smith (a hugely disappointing IPL for him after the glory of CWC15). Every batsman came in, tried to hang in and then got out. Karun Nair, Deepak Hooda, James Faulkner, Stuart Binny completed a procession of wickets to complete a royal misery.

What was surprising that head coach Rahul Dravid didn't plan this well at all? This was abject, not poor. Not that RCB didn't do very well but the manner in which RR cracked indicated poor intensity, application and skill.

RCB are not complaining. They are flying to Ranchi to take on CSK, a bogey team for them.
They need to much better in all departments to beat that MS Dhoni led super side.

RCB - 180 for 4, 20 overs
RR - 109 all out, 19 overs

Man of the Match: A B Devilliers

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Wednesday 20 May 2015

Devilliers Stunner Mandeep Special Sets Up RCB Innings Vs RR

#RCB vs #RR
#MCA Stadium, Pune
20th May 2015

Explosive innings by both #ABDevilliers and #MandeepSingh have ensured RCB score 180 for 4 in their stipulated 20 overs.

Struggling at 47 for 2 in 9 overs, these two got together and transcended the game to a completely new level. Mandeep Singh started the charge with some bold shots to infuse life in this RCB struggle. Even AB was struggling to score quickly then.

Once he got in, AB got into his groove and smashed the Royals' bowlers all over the park in his inimitable style. Mandeep joined the party with his style of hitting to smash runs at will. The Royals didn't know what hit them really. All bowlers went for many including Chris Morris, their best bowler.

Now its over to the Royals' batsmen to chase 181 to win this game against Starc and company. Wow... we have great game on here! 

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