Maria Sharapova’s quest for a second Australian Open title was halted in the fourth round on Monday when the third seeded Russian ran out of steam against an inspired Dominika Cibulkova, who emerged with a 3-6 6-4 6-1 victory on Rod Laver Arena.After her Slovakian opponent had levelled the match, the 2008 champion took a medical time-out before and third set for treatment on a hip injury but Sharapova was reluctant to use that as an excuse for her shock defeat.“Those aches and pains are expected when you spend a long time on the court,” Sharapova said after she became the second former champion to crash out in the fourth round following world number one Serena Williams’ loss on Sunday.“I haven’t been playing the best tennis of this tournament, but I found ways to get through to the last two matches.“Tried to do that again today, but she played extremely well.”Sharapova, despite being rusty after missing the latter part of the 2013 season with a shoulder injury had been expected to comfortably advance against the diminutive Slovakian despite Cibulkova having beaten her in a grand slam before.Cibulkova overcame Sharapova on her preferred surface of clay at the 2009 French Open and it was the first time the pair had met on hard courts which should have favoured the Russian’s power game, though the Slovakian was supremely confident.“I went on the court, and I was… 100 percent sure that I really can beat her. I can beat her on the big court, in the important match, you know, on the grand slam,” Cibulkova said.“I did it before, and I knew she knows me. I also knew that she knows it’s going to be a tough match.”POOR SERVESharapova has struggled with her serve throughout the tournament and her woes continued on Monday, and she was unable to dictate rallies from the baseline.Cibulkova had three break points throughout the first set though Sharapova fought them off until serving for the set at 5-2 when she faltered.Cibulkova, however, could not consolidate the break and her third double fault handed Sharapova the set 6-3 in 39 minutes.The 20th seed raced to a 5-0 lead in the second set as the Russian’s range and accuracy deserted her before Sharapova somehow rattled off the next four games to give her a sniff of sneaking into the quarter-finals in straight sets.The 24-year-old Cibulkova, however, held her nerve to hold serve and send it into a decider.Sharapova then took the medical time-out but was unable to halt Cibulkova’s momentum as the Slovak jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead and raced through to win the set and reach her first Australian Open quarter-final, against 11th-seed Simona Halep.“Actually I didn’t know,” Cibulkova said when told she had made her first quarter-final at Melbourne Park.“I just realise now. It’s great, you know. I think this was the only grand slam where I just had my fourth round and a couple of bad losses.“It feels great and especially I played well and it was a tough match.“I came out from one set down. This is what makes me really strong and proud of myself.”
By Pritha SarkarMILOS Raonic made Roger Federer feel his age on Friday as the Canadian sharp-shooter bombarded Wimbledon’s Centre Court with a succession of 140 mph missiles to flatten the seven-times champion and reach his first grand slam final in five gripping sets.Raonic appeared to be down and out as he trailed Federer by two-sets to one and 15-40 in the fifth game of the fourth set but somehow he managed to cling on for a 6-3 6-7(3) 4-6 7-5 6-3 win and became the first Canadian man to reach a major final.“It’s an incredible comeback for me. I was struggling throughout the third and fourth sets, he was playing some really good tennis and just on a little opening I managed to turn it around and finish it off in a great match,” said the sixth seed, who will meet Andy Murray or 2010 runner-up Tomas Berdych in Sunday’s final. “It’s a great feeling.”Raonic appeared to be heading for a second semi-final defeat in three years against the 34-year-old Federer but kept his wits about him to stay alive. After saving two break points in the fifth game he managed to save a third in the ninth game as his thunderbolt serve got him out of trouble again.The contest appeared to be heading for a fourth set tiebreak as Federer moved to 40-0 in the 12th game but two days after the Swiss boldly stated that “my second serve has always been there for me… it never lets me down” — guess what? It let him down.Two successive double faults brought Raonic to deuce and while Federer saved two set points — with an unreturnable serve and a volley winner — his luck ran out on the third.A blazing backhand passing shot winner had Raonic pumping his fists towards his support box as a shell-shocked Federer, who had come back from two sets and three match points down to beat Marin Cilic in the previous round, was left to wonder just how he had let that set get away from him.“Federer had it all going his way but you couldn’t script that this would go on and on,” exclaimed Raonic’s grasscourt mentor John McEnroe.The third seed, who was about to contest his 10th set in three days, called on the trainer to massage his aching limbs back to life but it was the mental scars that could not be rubbed away.Four games into the final set, with the score at deuce, Federer lunged after a flying forehand winner from Raonic and found himself sprawled face down on his beloved turf.He lay still for what seemed an eternity before getting back to his feet and then slumped into his chair rather than heading for the baseline.The crowd started to chuckle, wondering if Federer was staging a sit-in protest, but in fact he had called on the trainer again to manipulate his left leg.The Swiss, chasing a record-extending 11th appearance in the final, managed to save that break point but Raonic refused to let him off the hook and four points later the Canadian had the break for 3-1 as he ended a dazzling net exchange with a rasping crosscourt passing shot.From them on there only seemed to be one winner and, after firing down 23 aces, with his fastest serve being clocked at 144 mph, Raonic bagged a place in the final when Federer floated a tired forehand long to end the three hours 25 minutes contest.“This one clearly hurts, because I could have had it. I was so, so, close,” summed up Federer after coming off second best for the first time in 11 Wimbledon semi-final appearances.
SQUAD CRISIS TAUNTON, England (CMC): West Indies Women are hoping to mark captain Stafanie Taylor’s 100th One-Day International with a win when they take on India Women in a critical fixture in the ICC Women’s World Cup today (4:40 a.m. Jamaica time). The outstanding player is poised to reach the milestone once she suits up for the contest at County Ground, but emphasised the importance of the outcome, as the Caribbean side go in search of their first win of the showpiece. “I didn’t actually remember until my media manager actually said it to me this morning that tomorrow would be [my] 100th ODI game,” Taylor told a media conference yesterday. “I’m pleased to be here and to know that the 100th [ODI] is actually in a World Cup, so hopefully, in the end, we come out victorious.” Taylor’s career took flight nine years ago as a 17-year-old and she has since blossomed into the West Indies’ leading batsman and one of the world’s finest. She assumed leadership of the squad nearly two years ago and presided over their capture of the Twenty20 World Cup last year. However, her personal milestone coincides with a crisis of sorts in the squad as they find themselves in a losing slump and in need of a victory to revive confidence. Last Monday, they were dominated by reigning champions Australia in an eight-wicket defeat in what was their opening match of the World Cup. That came on the heels of losses in the two official warm-ups last week and three practice matches prior, including a hastily arranged fixture against India. Despite the disappointing performance against the Aussies, Taylor said her teammates had analysed their performance and backed themselves to give an improved showing. West Indies are one from bottom of the eight-team standings led by New Zealand Women on three points, with England also on three points but second by virtue of an inferior net run rate. West Indies squad: Stafanie Taylor (captain), Merissa Aguilleira, Reniece Boyce, Shamilia Connell, Shanel Daley, Deandra Dottin, Afy Fletcher, Qiana Joseph, Kyshona Knight, Hayley Matthews, Anisa Mohammed, Chedean Nation, Akeira Peters, Shakera Selman, Felicia Walters.
…and Turkish failed coupThe “Turkish coup” of 2016 is the coup that never was. We woke up last Friday and heard about the attempt to take over the country. Three days later, it was over with the Government still firmly in power and 6000 persons, mainly from the Army, rounded up. What gives? Was it a case of a few bungling Inspector Cousteau types who couldn’t get their act together? Or was there more than met the eye? Your Eyewitness is interested. Not least of all because Turkey represents one possible fate of those colonial countries that attempted to graft Liberal politics over an older culture built on contrary premises.Most of us have forgotten that Turkey was the centre of the Muslim world for centuries and seat of the Islamic “Ottoman Empire”. At its height, it stretched from Europe to India and was as powerful as the Austro-Hungarian Empire that ran things in Europe for the longest while. But by the turn of the 20th century, it had run out of steam and was dubbed “the sick man of Europe”. The end of WWI in 1918 saw it humiliated with even pipsqueak countries like Serbia nibbling off its territory.One army officer, Kemal Attaturk decided to make a bold move in 1923: he seized control of the State and decided to transform the State into a “modern” one built on Western Liberal principles. Religion –- in this case Islam – would be banned from the public sphere, women would be educated, individual rights would be emphasised and elections would chose leaders – eventually. He even mandated the wearing of European clothing. In the process, Kemal and his supporters gave a whole new meaning to the term “Young Turks” – go-getters who would storm the bastions of power to change the status quo.Fast forward to the 1960s. Turkey was transformed all right – but not in the way Attaturk had envisaged. While the “Westernised” citizens had many of the forms of political life as in Europe, the promised prosperity hadn’t been delivered. And it shouldn’t have surprised anyone when some started questioning whether, in fact, the removal of Islam in Turkey from the public sphere and identity was necessary.The election of Recep Tayyip Erdogan in 1999 to power brought the varying impulses to a head. While he accepted the democratic forms he was a religiously inclined individuals who accepted the return of Islam back as the core of Turkish identity. And that’s what this coup is all about and why it is important to us in Guyana, where there are unresolved questions of the place of identity in politics and the public sphere.What, in fact, are the limits to forcing an identity on a people?…and the AFCOver in Guyana, there was another (hopefully unconnected?) articulation on identity. Through Executive Member and Minister of Business, Dominic Gaskin, we learnt that the AFC had held an all-day confab with its elected officials from both the local and national levels and decided they had to hold on to their identity. They had been in coalition for a year and a half with APNU and the question had long been noted – from inside and outside.Most folks had concluded the pre-coalition prediction of party leader Khemraj Ramjattan – that the AFC would be “dead meat” if it coalesce with APNU – had come to pass.But the question now on the table is: “What exactly IS the identity of the AFC?” When it first launched back in 2005 with one leader each from the PPP, PNC and WPA, it insisted it would be a “third force” between the two big guns.So, will it now support the PPP if they come up with a good idea?…and parking contractsAnd here we thought that the LGE meant Central Government would keep its nose out of local government matters. Now by taking a cut of the revenues from the parking meter deal, is the Central Government saying parking’s not within the City’s sole competence?
(Subject unknown)This story is one that I have not been able to get off my mind, because it is mine and it has caused me to willingly stay away from men for the past 10 to 15 years. I tell this story with no passion because I don’t get excited thinking about it, or overwhelmed that it happened to me. I just want to tell this story without emotions and any attachment whatsoever so I won’t have to remember what it felt like to be rescued only to be enslaved, beaten and abused by so many men.2002 – I decided to leave Washington D.C. after Homeland Security started harassing me to show them documents like my Liberian passport and so on. All my documents had expired before I had filed for permanent residency with the INS, who now wanted to know how that was possible.“I came to the US when I was three years old, I don’t know how that is possible, ask my parents because they are the ones who brought me here,” I would shout over the phone whenever they (Homeland Security) called.A friend I had met along the streets one night, six months earlier, had interest in sleeping with me for money and offered to take me to North Virginia on a skiing trip. I agreed with no hesitation because I had only seen skiing on television but had never tried it before. I followed him in hopes of learning how to ski and also keeping a low profile out of Homeland Security’s radar.The road trip went smoothly. There were drinks, sporadic weed sessions and good music. There were some arguments occasionally whenever he brought up having sex with me: “I can’t wait to get up in there (have sex) when we reach,” he’d say over and over again. I felt angry and at 20, I can recall thinking how unfair it was to have sex in exchange for a good holiday experience.Seven hours later, we arrived in the depths of Virginia and I was stunned by the beauty of the resort that had horses with saddles, tennis and horseshoe rings lined up. In front of us was a snow covered mountain and tons of exciting things that I knew we would get into on our four day spree there.Hours later after exhausting ourselves sightseeing, we ended up in an exotic suite. The décor was satin all over and a bed that felt like a heaven cloud. I sank deep into the sheets, into sleep and then felt his hand rub against my leg.I awoke angry.“Why are you touching me,” I hissed.“Oh, you think I will bring you way out here and not eat small thing?” he asked.He had to be twenty years my senior. As an independent man who migrated from Liberia in the 80’s, he thought he was still young and had the game of romance that I wanted to see.I angrily got up and tried to get away and that’s when he slapped me deep into my cheek. I had never felt a sting as humiliating and as sharp as the one he gave me that night. I retaliated by punching at his face and chest, all while trying to run to call the police. I was now afraid of him.However, he didn’t care that I looked like a cat caught in a trap. He frantically tried to grab hold of his belt and began to hit me with it. Through our tugging and my tugs at his belt to keep him from landing any more blows to my bare skin, I managed to get out of the hotel room and ran for dear life.I ran for hours and realized that I was going nowhere, there was not a house in sight and no cars. I dropped on my knees and gasped that God was my only refuge. I began praying while I cried my heart out.Meanwhile, after more hours of walking, two days of sleeping off and on as I walked through the dusty and iced covered roads of Virginia, a car pulled up. There inside was a man who looked warm and welcoming. He seemed like he wanted to help without the explanation of why I looked so disgruntled. He happily swung his side door open and told me to get in.This would be the last ride of my life.Writer’s note: Buy your copy of the Daily Observer next week to find out what happened.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
But he admitted that it will be very difficult to catch them in the title race.After four consecutive wins, including last Sunday’s comprehensive demonstration of supremacy from defending drivers champion Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull sit atop both championships after 17 of this year’s 20 races.Vettel, who has reeled off those four straight wins for the Milton Keynes-based team, has 240 points to lead nearest rival two-time champion Fernando Alonso of Ferrari, on 227, by 13 points with three races remaining.In the teams’ title race, Red Bull lead by 91 points with 407 ahead of Ferrari on 316 and McLaren on 306 — and will take the title if they leave Abu Dhabi with a lead of 86 points, or 87 if a McLaren driver wins the race.This allows for many different permutations for title success, but the minimum for Red Bull is to finish first and eighth, or second and third, to take the title.Michael, however, believes there is a good chance that McLaren, or Ferrari, can postpone any celebrations in the paddock on Sunday night.“The performance can swing from one track to another by a couple of tenths,” he explained. “There are two or three tenths in terms of qualifying and, if you have that performance from (starting on) the front row, then you have a better chance.“So if no-one upgraded cars, there would still be a reasonable chance you can have a go at (Red Bull). But in terms of the overall championship it is quite different, because they need to have DNFs (did not finish) for people to take the title and the chances of that happening are pretty slim.”McLaren have demonstrated competitive pace and consistency in recent races, but will need to find some additional performance to threaten to wreck Red Bull’s dream of claiming a third consecutive constructors’ championship and then seeing Vettel crowned as the youngest triple champion of all time.Michael added: “There is a swing from one circuit to another, and it is not to do with the developments you put on the car. In days gone by, when you had a one second advantage over other cars, you could be confident you would not get those trends. But now there are no favourite tracks, so you don’t know if you are going to be competitive until you get there.”If McLaren finish Sunday’s race in the points, they will set a new record of 56 consecutive points finishes — moving one ahead of Ferrari.That record may be enjoyed, but it will hardly be celebrated by a team that is desperate for major success and has felt outshone in recent years by Red Bull’s surge to glory — an era of domination that began when Vettel seized his first title at the amazing Yas Marina Circuit two years ago.Since then Vettel has made a record-breaking impact on Formula One and revelled in overcoming all challenges including clocking up 205 consecutive laps as race leader since taking charge of the Singapore Grand Prix on lap 23 on September 23.He is currently just 100 laps behind Italian Alberto Ascari’s all-time record and could, if he keeps dominating the sport, overhaul it later this month at the United States Grand Prix in Austin, Texas. This Sunday’s contest in the twilight event is run over 55 laps from bright sunshine into the night, with falling temperatures, and could be a major examination of his and Red Bull’s ability to continue performing at such a high level.Vettel is sure to face fierce opposition with Alonso determined to realise his belief that he will lift the title in the final race in Brazil on November 25 and both his Ferrari team and McLaren doing their utmost to end the Red Bull run.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000ABU DHABI, November 1 – The McLaren team go into this weekend’s unique ‘day-night’ Abu Dhabi Grand Prix believing they can prevent the runaway Red Bull express from clinching the constructors’ world championship with two races to go.McLaren sporting director Sam Michael said that differing track characteristics from one circuit to another could see rampant Red Bull’s advantage wiped out and give other teams a chance to win.
“It’s not as if we conceded five goals,” he added.Cech, who joined Arsenal from Chelsea before this season, offered a few good saves on Tuesday but failed to stop Lionel Messi who scored 71 minutes into the game before adding a second from the penalty spot on 83 minutes.“The second goal trimmed our chances for the second leg. But nothing’s lost yet,” said Cech.“If we play the same way and improve productivity, we still have a chance to turn the fight for the last eight into a drama.”The return leg tie is at the Camp Nou on March 16.Cech bemoaned the Gunners’ failure to score, which he said made the biggest difference between both teams.“If you play against one of the favourites to win the competition and you create chances, you have to convert at least one,” said Cech.Messi beat Cech for the first time in their seven encounters, but Cech waved his record aside.“I regret our loss, not being beaten by one of the best footballers in history,” he said.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Petr Cech watches as Arsenal’s Hector Bellerin clears the ball from his goal mouth during the Champions League defeat against Barcelona at The Emirates on February 23, 2016LONDON, February 24 – Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech said Wednesday his team still had a chance to reach the Champions League quarter-finals despite a 2-0 loss to reigning titleholders Barcelona.“We are still alive,” the 33-year-old Czech Republic keeper said on his website following Tuesday’s loss at the Emirates.
Burnley have given Michael Duff a new deal which will take him into his 12th season with the Championship club.The one-year contract was signed and sealed on the club’s first day back at training as they plan their next assault on the second tier of English football.The 37-year-old defender was one of many Burnley players who impressed in the Premier League last season as they held their own against clubs with budgets they could only dream of and went down with immense dignity.The Irishman is currently the club’s joint-15th highest appearance maker and has more than repaid the mere £30,000 the club paid Cheltenham Town for his services back in 2004. Michael Duff 1
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Oakland, names Chrysler Motors Corp., General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co., Toyota Motor North America, Honda North America and Nissan North America. The automakers responded to Lockyer’s lawsuit by issuing a statement saying they already are building cleaner and more fuel-efficient vehicles. The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers did not respond to the substance of Lockyer’s lawsuit, saying manufacturers would need time to review the complaint. But the L.A. Area Chamber of Commerce was quick to blast the suit, which it said would hurt the state’s working families and businesses. “Suing car companies for global warming will lead to more layoffs of America’s auto workers,” said chamber President Gary Toebben. “It’s time to look ahead and support hybrid and alternative fuel vehicles, and not use California’s economy for political purposes.” Lockyer is suing on the theory that greenhouse gases are a “public nuisance” under both California and federal law, an argument similar to one being pursued in a case before the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York. Connecticut and seven other states, including California, have sued five power companies to get them to reduce their greenhouse-gas emissions. The Connecticut lawsuit was dismissed by a district judge who said it attempted to address political questions. In a brief filed in support of the utility companies, the automakers alliance argued that such a suit “opens the door to lawsuits targeting any activity that uses fossil fuel for energy.” Lockyer’s is the first that seeks monetary damages from the auto industry for greenhouse gas emissions. That court case relates to rules adopted in 2004 by the state Air Resources Board. They were designed to cut polluting exhaust from cars and light trucks by 25 percent and from sport utility vehicles by 18 percent. The auto industry challenged the state’s ability to set such regulations shortly after the rules took effect. In that case, automakers argue that California is acting outside its jurisdiction because the only way they can meet the more stringent emission standards is to raise fuel efficiency. Setting fuel-efficiency standards is the exclusive responsibility of the federal government.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREThe Christmas Truce of 1914 proved that peace is possibleLast month, the state Legislature passed a landmark bill designed to regulate emissions of greenhouse gases from industries. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is expected to sign the measure into law by the end of the month. Two years ago, the state enacted similar requirements for auto emissions, prompting carmakers to file suit in federal court. Lockyer’s action comes 48 days before the November election. He is termed out of office this year and is running for state treasurer. “This is the silly season of elections in the fall, and obviously he thinks this will gain him a few marginal votes,” said Sean McAlinden, an economist with the nonprofit Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Mich. “I don’t think it means anything more than it says. It’s California politics.” Lockyer said the complaint has nothing to do with election-year politics. His Republican opponent, state Board of Equalization member Claude Parrish, could not immediately be reached for comment. SACRAMENTO – California’s attorney general on Wednesday sued the six largest U.S. and Japanese automakers, including GM, Ford and Toyota, for damages related to greenhouse-gas emissions. The federal lawsuit alleges that emissions from their vehicles have harmed Californians’ health, damaged the environment and cost the state millions of dollars to combat their effects. “It’s part of a strategy to address global warming,” Attorney General Bill Lockyer told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. “The goal of this one is to hold these automobile manufacturers accountable for the monies taxpayers are spending to address these harms.” The lawsuit is the latest effort from California to combat the effects of global warming.