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Bencic shock for Halep as Hsieh stuns Pliskova
Dubai: World number two Simona Halep was knocked out of the Dubai Championships as Swiss youngster Belinda Bencic again showed fight and resilience to reach the semi-finals. Bencic, who saved six match points before beating Aryna Sabalenka in the previous round, won 4-6 6-4 6-2. Halep, 27, struggled with her service game and was broken seven times. Bencic, 21, missed two match points before claiming her third when the Romanian
 
 
South Africa rally after Vishwa, Rajitha shine
Port Elizabeth: South African opening batsman Aiden Markram said conditions were difficult for batsmen after 13 wickets fell on the first day of the second Test against Sri Lanka at St George’s Park on Thursday. Sri Lanka were 60 for three at the close after bowling out South Africa for 222, an innings which owed much to a sparkling 86 off 87 balls by Quinton de Kock. The tourists suffered a blow when left-arm spinner Lasith
   
On-a-roll Quetta maul Multan in Sharjah opener
Sharjah: Quetta Gladiators rode on punishing half centuries from Shane Watson and Rilee Rossouw to make it three wins in three matches after their eight-wicket mauling of Multan Sultans as action shifted to Sharjah in the PSL on Wednesday. The win — achieved in the 18.3 overs after they overhauled a target of 161 – gives twice runners-up six points as they continued to top the six-team table. Quetta, who won their first two
 
 
Nabi stars in Afghanistan’s Ireland T20 win
Dehradun: Veteran all-rounder Mohammad Nabi starred with both bat and ball as Afghanistan defeated Ireland by five wickets Thursday’s first Twenty20 international. Nabi and fellow spinner Rashid Khan took two wickets each to restrict Ireland to 132 for six in the northern Indian city of Dehradun. He then hit an unbeaten 49 from 86 balls in an unbroken sixth-wicket partnership with Najibullah Zadran as Afghanistan reached the
   
Sterling winner caps late Man.City comeback at Schalke
Gelsenkirchen: Raheem Sterling sealed a dramatic 3-2 Champions League win for 10-man Manchester City at Schalke on Wednesday as the English champions scored twice in the last five minutes. Sterling tucked away the winner at the Veltins Arena in the 90th minute just after substitute Leroy Sane fired home a stunning free-kick for the Premier League leaders against his former club in the last 16, first leg. “I waited for my chance
 
 
Dortmund desperate for Reus return to revive title chase
BERLIN: Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund are hoping captain Marco Reus will be fit for Sunday’s match against in-form Bayer Leverkusen as they look to reignite their stalled title run. The Ruhr valley club have seen a seven-point lead over champions Bayern Munich cut to three after three consecutive draws. They have also been eliminated from the German Cup and lost 3-0 to Tottenham Hotspur in the first-leg of their
   
Kane in contention for Tottenham trip to Burnley
LONDON: Harry Kane is back in full training and could return for Tottenham Hotspur’s away clash at Burnley in the Premier League on Saturday, manager Mauricio Pochettino said on Thursday. The 25-year-old striker has been out since injuring his ankle in Tottenham’s 1-0 defeat by Manchester United on Jan. 13. “He is good, I think we need to assess him for one more training session tomorrow and then decide but I think he is doing
 
 
Sevilla ease past Lazio to reach Europa League last 16
Seville: Wissam Ben Yedder scored his second goal of the tie as Sevilla eased to a 2-0 second-leg win over Lazio on Wednesday to reach the Europa League last 16. The record five-time winners had claimed a 1-0 first-leg victory in Rome last week thanks to a Ben Yedder strike, and the Frenchman doubled their overall lead on 20 minutes by tapping in after Pablo Sarabia’s shot was saved by Thomas Strakosha. Ben Yedder has now
   
England coach Jones eager to ‘spoil party’ vs Wales
Bagshot: England coach Eddie Jones takes his side to Cardiff for a potential Six Nations title-decider against Wales having promised to “spoil the party” at the Principality Stadium. England and Wales are the only two unbeaten sides left in this season’s Championship after the opening two rounds. Wales are on an 11-match unbeaten run, with just one more win required to break their all-time record set from 1907-1910.
 
 
Di Maria and Mbappe star as PSG hammer Montpellier
Paris: Angel Di Maria scored a sumptuous free-kick and Kylian Mbappe was also on target as Paris Saint-Germain continued their relentless march towards another French title by hammering Montpellier 5-1 on Wednesday. With Neymar and Edinson Cavani still absent, Layvin Kurzawa also scored for PSG at the Parc des Princes, while two own goals completed the rout. Florent Mollet had equalised at one point in the first half for the
   
‘Cardiff will deal with Sala fee in right way’
London: Manager Neil Warnock said Thursday he is confident that Cardiff will deal with the payment issue over late Argentine striker Emiliano Sala “in the right way”, admitting the matter could have been better handled. A small aircraft carrying Cardiff’s record £15 million ($19 million) signing from his former club Nantes in France to Britain, disappeared from radar on January 21, two days after he signed for the Premier League
 
 
England post record chase to beat Windies in series opener
Bridgetown: Contrasting centuries by Jason Roy and Joe Root paced England to a comfortable six-wicket victory over the West Indies with their record one-day international run chase in a high-scoring opening game of a five-match series in Barbados on Wednesday. Set what looked a daunting target after Chris Gayle’s 24th ODI hundred anchored the home side to 360-8, Roy blazed 123 off 85 balls at the top of the order while Root
   
Isner sets up Mannarino last 8 clash at Delray Beach Open
Miami: Second-seeded John Isner booked a quarter-final berth at the ATP Delray Beach Open on Wednesday with a confident 6-4, 6-3 victory over Slovakia’s Lukas Lacko. Isner fired 18 aces, saved both break points he faced and broke Lacko three times on the way to victory, his fourth in four career meetings with Lacko. Isner next faces eighth-seeded Adrian Mannarino of France, who beat Uzbekistan’s Denis Istomin 6-2, 7-6 (7/3).
 
 
India’s Pandya ruled out of Oz series with injury
New Delhi: Star Indian all-rounder Hardik Pandya will miss the upcoming limited-overs series against Australia due to lower back stiffness, the country’s cricket board said Thursday. India will field a 14-player squad instead of the original 15 for the two Twenty20 matches starting Sunday in Visakhapatnam. Ravindra Jadeja will replace Pandya for the five one-day internationals that follow the T20s, the Board of Control for
   
Mitch Marsh goes under the knife for groin injury
Perth: Mitch Marsh’s miserable summer has got worse with the all-rounder needing surgery following a blow to the groin in training, officials said. The 27-year-old, who has been dropped from the Australian Test, one-day and Twenty20 teams, was struck during a net session in Perth ahead of Western Australia’s Sheffield Shield clash with New South Wales. “As a result of the impact, Mitch has undergone a minor surgical procedure
 
 
Nizzolo claims sprint finale, Lutsenko overall champ
MANAMA: Make that two years in a row for Tour of Oman champion Astana’s Alexey Lutsenko, while Dimension Data’s Giacomo Nizzolo closes 10th edition with bunch sprint stage win. The sixth and final stage was a formality for Astana’s Alexey Lutsenko, who had solidified his second straight Tour of Oman (UCI 2.HC) overall race win a day earlier atop the gruelling Green Mountain finish — the 26-year-old Kazakh’s third stage victory
   
4-time Masters champ Woods ‘ramping up’ for Augusta
Mexico City: Tiger Woods, who counts four Masters titles among his 14 majors, has been laying plans for Augusta National in April ever since October. “Started probably back in October, November,” Woods said on Wednesday when asked just when he began thinking about the first major championship of 2019. “Thinking about shots I would need, clubs I’d be using for the event, what kind of swings I have been struggling with or doing
 
 
IAAF clears 21 Russians to compete as neutrals
Paris: The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) said Thursday it had cleared 21 Russian athletes to return to international events, albeit competing under a neutral banner. IAAF banned Russia in November 2015 because of evidence of state-sponsored doping, but Russian athletes cleared by the IAAF can compete as neutrals. “The IAAF Doping Review Board has agreed that the applications of 21 Russian athletes
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