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Tennis: Federer wins record third Hopman

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PERTH: Roger Federer has become the most successful player in Hopman Cup history after leading Switzerland to a 2-1 win in an enthralling final of the mixed teams tournament in Perth Saturday.
In what is tipped to be the final edition of the unique tournament, the best was saved for last as Federer became the first player to win three Hopman Cups, teaming with Belinda Bencic for the duo’s second consecutive title.
For the second year in a row, the Swiss beat the German pairing of Alexander Zverev and Angelique Kerber by claiming a deciding mixed doubles rubber loaded with drama.
It was Switzerland’s fourth title overall, behind only the United States with six. Federer first won the Hopman Cup back in 2001 when he teamed with Martina Hingis.
The 37-year-old gave the Swiss the early ascendancy with a straight sets win against Zverev before Kerber squared the tie by beating a dogged Belinda Bencic to set up the mixed doubles decider.
Federer was a dominant figure in an extraordinary doubles match as the Swiss claimed the abbreviated format 4-0, 1-4, 4-3 (5/4) to clinch the title.
Fittingly, it was Federer who served out the match in the third set tie-break, having been unable to do so earlier in the set, when after an extended rally Zverev dumped a backhand into the net to hand the Swiss victory.
In the men’s singles, Federer bounced back from a November loss to Zverev in London to beat the big-serving German 6-4, 6-2 and make it a clean sweep of his singles matches in Perth for the second year running, less than two weeks before he defends his Australian Open title.
It was a high-octane match, with plenty of big serves and clean winners, but Federer was able to answer everything the 21-year-old threw at him. He broke Zverev in the 10th game of the first set and then tightened the noose on the German, with two more breaks in the second set.
Federer, who also beat Zverev in three sets in last year’s Hopman final, clinched the match with a typically crisp forehand volley. He was pleased to maintain his unbeaten singles record during the week, during which he never dropped his serve.
“I am happy I was able to maintain the good, high-quality tennis I showed all week,” he said.
“It is good to finish on a singles performance like this, I was able to come up with some good serve and volley and it all worked out today.”

 

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Cricket

PCB regrets Durban incident

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LAHORE: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has expressed regret over the remark made by Pakistan captain Sarfaraz Ahmed and picked up by the stump mic during the second ODI against South Africa in Durban.
The PCB neither endorses nor supports any comments that have the potential to cause offense, and firmly reiterates their zero-tolerance approach towards racist comments made; in whatever context, said a spokesman of the PCB here on Wednesday night. “This incident has also highlighted the importance and significance of player education and training at all levels. The PCB endeavors to improve their player education programmes to ensure these types of incidents do not happen again,” he said.
“Sarfaraz is one of the most respected cricketers in the world. However, captaining Pakistan is a massive honor and any hurtful remarks by any cricketer, let alone the captain, is not acceptable to the PCB,” he added. The spokesman said, “The PCB is confident that this incident will not affect the series, which has been played in great spirit with some excellent performances from both sides. The PCB is also hopeful that the crowds will continue to turn up in big numbers for the remaining matches to support cricket.”

 

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Cricket

PSL: Haier joins Peshawar Zalmi as Main Title Sponsor

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LAHORE: Peshawar Zalmi and Haier Pakistan have signed a MoU for Main Title Sponsorship for Peshawar Zalmi for the 4th Edition of Pakistan Super League being played from February 14 in UAE and Pakistan.
Pakistan Super League’s most valued franchise in terms of Media and Brand, Peshawar Zalmi signed the MoU at an impressive ceremony. Chairman Peshawar Zalmi, Javed Afridi and Haier Pakistan Senior Director Li Da Peng signed the MoU here on Wednesday. Also present were Peshawar Zalmi players Kamran Akmal and Umaid Asif. Javed Afridi and Li Da Peng expressed their happiness on the signing and said that Partnership between Haier Pakistan and Peshawar Zalmi will strengthen in future and it will benefit Pakistan Cricket too along Peshawar Zalmi. Javed Afridi said that Haier Pakistan did a great part in past in promotion of Cricket in Pakistan and he is grateful for their tremendous support for Pakistan Sports and Peshawar Zalmi.
Li Da Peng highlighted the efforts of his organization for the uplift of cricket in Pakistan and expressed the hope that with the efforts of Peshawar Zalmi cricket will gain rapid promotion in China as well. “Besides being Pakistan’s number one brand in electronics, Haier is actively involved in sports-related activities and we are gaining rapid success in the field of electronics and sports,” he asserted. Javed Afridi said he has a multi-dimensional vision which focuses on generating more and more cricket activities from the platform of Peshawar Zalmi besides speeding up efforts to play due role in the fields of education and sports. “We are doing it for our country and to contribute in the national duty, we are not just focusing on cricket only we are lending support to hockey which is our national sports and needs immediate attention for its revival,” he said.
Javed Afridi called upon the need for introducing a transparent system in Pakistan Hockey Federation to ensure that funds being provided to them were being spent in the right direction purely on the development of the game. “We will soon reveal our ambitious plan to spend resources in the field of education and health as they are the two most neglected fields in the country and the future of our country heavily depends on improvement and progress of these fields “, he said. He said star-studded Peshawar Zalmi will perform to a higher level in the Pakistan Super League and its players will live up to the expectations by giving their best form and performance in the mega event. Kamran Akmal and Umaid Asif also spokesman on the occasion and reiterated their pledge to support Peshawar Zalmi by putting up their best in the PSL.

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Football

Fans baffled as Liverpool star Mohamed Salah goes offline

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CAIRO: Fans were left baffled on Wednesday after Liverpool’s star Egyptian striker Mohamed Salah appeared to have deleted all of his social media accounts where his followers number in the millions.

The Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts of Salah, who is idolised in Egypt and Liverpool, went offline without warning a day after he posted a cryptic tweet.

“2019 Resolution: Time to get in touch, for real,” said the final tweet, screenshots of which were shared widely on social media.

Those navigating to his Twitter account on Wednesday could only see a message reading “Sorry, that page doesn’t exist!”.

On Instagram, the message read “The link you followed may be broken, or the page may have been removed.” A similar message appeared on Facebook.
It was not immediately clear whether the shutdowns were deliberate.

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