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Zverev, Tsitsipas sent crashing out of ATP Indian Wells Masters

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Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia hits a forehand return to Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece in their quarter final match at the Indian Wells tennis tournament in the California desert

American Taylor Fritz survived two match points to come from behind and eliminate third seeded Alexander Zverev 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (73) in the quarter-finals of the ATP Indian Wells Masters on Friday.

Fritz dropped the first set and was down 5-2 in the third when he flicked a switch and rallied to oust Zverev, who fell shortly after second seed Stefanos Tsitsipas was shown the door by Nikoloz Basilashvili.

The exits of Zverev and Tsitsipas means Great Britain’s Cameron Norrie, who is seeded 21st, is the top seed left in the final four.

The semi-finals are now set with 31st seeded Fritz facing Basilashvili and Norrie going up against 23rd seeded Grigor Dimitrov for a spot in Sunday’s championship match at the Tennis Garden in the California desert.

Germany’s Zverev jumped out to a big lead in the final set and appeared to be heading to victory before he started to struggle mightily on his second serve.

He blasted a 135 mph ace to get to match point but then immediately double faulted and Fritz won the next point to take the game and cut the lead to 5-4.

Crowd favourite Fritz dominated the third-set tiebreaker clinching the match with a cross court forehand winner.

This was just the second loss for Zverev since losing in the fourth round at Wimbledon. Zverev is 20-2 over that stretch.

Tsitsipas fell 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 to the 29th seeded Basilashvili, who recorded one of his biggest career wins.

Georgia’s Basilashvili beat Tsitsipas for the first time in three career meetings and recorded his first win over a world number three player.

He defeated Roger Federer en route to the Doha title in March, when the Swiss great was playing just his second match since a 13-month injury absence.

Leading up to Indian Wells, Basilashvili said he had been working on polishing his serve.

“I am not surprised. I have been playing good tennis for a long time especially in practices,” he said. “I just didn’t have the kind of first serve. It was missing. I had big minus in my serve.

“I improved my serve a lot lately. That’s why I’m in the semis now.”

Basilashvili had never won a round in Indian Wells until this year’s tournament.

– High energy –

Tsitsipas, of Greece, blasted 10 aces but made two double faults and was undone by unforced errors in the two hour, 10 minute match on the main stadium.

Basilashvili jumped out to early leads by breaking Tsitsipas in the opening games of the first and third sets. He won four of the final five games in the third and clinched the match when Tsitsipas blasted a backhand wide.

“I was under stress. My energy level was going up and down but I am happy with the way it ended and I kept my energy level up,” said Basilashvili, the son of a Georgian national ballet dancer. “At the end I was really tired but I was physically able to stay on the court.”

Read Also: Veteran Azarenka books spot in Indian Wells final against Badosa

Besides saving a match point to beat Federer on the way to the title in Doha, Basilashvili also won his fifth career title in Munich in May.

After Friday’s win, Basilashvili, said beating his hero Federer had been a springboard.

“My win against Roger meant a lot to me because he was my idol,” Basilashvili said. “Roger’s win was very important in my career. Beating Stefanos today was as well, a really, really important match.”

 

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Gifted Cole boxing talent hunt attracts 500 Boxers

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Gifted Cole

 

Over 500 boxers have indicated interest in the third edition of Gifted Cole boxing talent hunt slated to hold on Saturday in Lekki, Lagos.

Speaking on the event, undefeated boxing champion, Gifted cole, said: “I am eager to see Nigerians dominate boxing and after what we saw during the 4th edition where a dumb and deaf boxer Segun thrilled fans.

READ ALSO Boxing: Joshua Angry, Wants “War” With Usyk  In Rematch

“We have decided to continue to engage grassroots boxers and the third edition promises to be greater than the previous editions.”

Gifted Cole
Gifted Cole boxing talent hunt for Saturday

Gifted cole boxing academy has also promised a brand new car for the best boxer of the day and the sum of One million naira, while the second placed and the third placed boxers would smile home with the sum of N500,000 and N300,000 respectively.

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Tyson Fury must face Whyte in next defence: WBC

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fury

World heavyweight champion Tyson Fury must face Dillian Whyte in his next title defence following a ruling on Tuesday by the World Boxing Council (WBC).

The WBC said Whyte has now been installed as mandatory challenger to Fury, who retained his crown with a thrilling knockout victory over Deontay Wilder in Las Vegas in October.

“The WBC hereby orders the start of the free negotiations period pursuant to the WBC Rules & Regulations for the mandatory bout between WBC World Heavyweight Champion Tyson Fury and Mandatory Challenger and WBC Interim World Champion Dillian Whyte,” the WBC said in a statement on Twitter.

The WBC initially said in October Fury would only have to face Whyte if he was unable to arrange an undisputed world title fight with Ukraine’s Oleksandr Usyk, the unified WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight champion.

However after the 30-day window for Fury and Usyk to agree terms expired, the WBC have now moved to install Whyte as Fury’s next opponent.

Whyte last month accused Fury of “running away” from a planned showdown.

Read Also: UCL: Real Madrid seal top spot with Inter Milan win

“Fury has been mandated to fight me twice… he just keeps making excuses,” Whyte told Sky Sports.

“Hopefully now he’s got no choice. What’s he going to do? Throw the belt in the bin and run away from more money than he got to fight Wilder?”

Usyk is expected to face a rematch against former champion Anthony Joshua in early 2022. Usyk outclassed Joshua in September to dethrone the former unified champion.

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Rangnick confirms two imminent Man United backroom appointments

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Rangnick confirms two imminent Man United backroom appointments

Ralf Rangnick has confirmed two imminent additions to his backroom team at Manchester United.

The German arrived at Old Trafford as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s interim managerial successor last week following Michael Carrick’s caretaker stint in charge, winning his first match against Crystal Palace on Sunday.

While Carrick subsequently relinquished his role as first-team coach and left the club in something of a surprise, the likes of Mike Phelan, Darren Fletcher and Kieran McKenna all remain from the old coaching regime.

Rangnick was expected to confirm his own backroom additions in due course and confirmed speculation at a press conference held before Wednesday’s Champions League tie against Young Boys that former American international and New York Red Bulls and Toronto FC head coach Chris Armas would be arriving as assistant coach.

Sport psychologist Sascha Lense is also set to join United, but Rangnick insists there won’t be sweeping changes behind the scenes.

“It won’t be that many,” Rangnick said of his backroom additions. “So far I’m very happy to work with the staff I have met last week and they gave me a lot of help in the last couple of days in preparation of the Crystal Palace game.

“We have decided to bring in a sport psychologist with Sascha Lense. He’s from Germany, he is a former Second Division player. I used to work with him for three years at Leipzig.

“He will be introduced to the team as soon as he’s got his visa and work permit, so I very much hope that we will have him on board either tomorrow or at the latest on Thursday.

Everything Ralf Rangnick said in Manchester United press conference as two  appointments confirmed - Manchester Evening News

Read Also: UCL: Real Madrid seal top spot with Inter Milan win
“I will also have one other assistant coach with Chris Armas, who used to be the assistant coach at the New York Red Bulls under Jesse Marsch. That was five years ago when I first met him.

“Since then we have met quite frequently, also in my role as head of global for Red Bull.

“For the last three-and-a-half years he was head coach for the New York Red Bulls and for Toronto in the MLS and he will again hopefully be able to join us in our next two days.”

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