Goffin extends Tomic's winless streak

MELBOURNE – Defending champion David Goffin put another dent in Bernard Tomic's Australian Open preparations Wednesday when he sent the local hope packing 6-2, 6-4 at the Kooyong Classic. The win handed the Belgian a place in Friday's final against Croat Ivo Karlovic and extends Tomic's winless streak, which stretches back to September. "It was not easy, the wind was a little bit tricky and against Bernie with his game," Goffin said. "It was a good match, conditions were fast and windy so I was really happy with how I managed." Tomic was joined in defeat by compatriot Andrew. Last-minute replacement Jerzy Janowicz, brought in after Richard Gasquet pulled out with an abdominal muscle injury, won his second match in 24 hours by beating Japan's Yoshihito Nishioka 7-6 (7/3), 7-6 (7/4).–AFP

 

Nadal praises new generation, old foe Federer

MELBOURNE - Rafael Nadal says the emergence of a new generation is just what tennis needs, while welcoming back old foe Roger Federer to help him keep them at bay. The Spanish great, a 14-time Grand Slam champion, is on the comeback trail after his 2016 season was ruined by a wrist problem which has seen him slip to nine in the world. Fellow warrior Federer is also easing his way back after six months out with a knee injury, with both of them keen to return to winning ways at the big tournaments. They will have their work cut out at the opening Grand Slam of the year at Melbourne Park next week with not just Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic to contend with but an emerging new breed. Leading the pack are the likes of Austria's Dominic Thiem, Germany's Alex Zverev and Australia's Nick Kyrgios.–AFP

 

Bautista pulls out of Auckland Classic

AUCKLAND – Injury and upsets hit the ATP Auckland Classic Wednesday, with illness forcing out top seed Roberto Bautista Agut and David Ferrer's bid for a record fifth title ending with a whimper. Sixth seed Feliciano Lopez also conceded a walkover, while John Isner and Marcos Baghdatis both flirted with disaster. The only seed to advance was fourth seeded Jack Sock after beating American Ryan Harrison 7-6 (7/5), 4-6, 6-1. Bautista was the first to exit, pulling out with a stomach bug. Ferrer soon followed with tame loss against Robin Haase. Lopez conceded a walkover after suffering back spasms. Isner had to survive match point before overcoming Tunisia's Malek Jaziri 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (8/6). Baghdatis also struggled against German wildcard Dustin Brown for a 4-6, 7-6 (7/4), 6-4 victory.–AFP

 

Mahin upsets Sara to reach final

ISLAMABAD - Mahin Aftab stunned Pakistan No 1 Sara Mansoor in the Bank Al-Falah Subh-e-Nau Ladies National Tournament semifinals 2-1 here at Senator Dilawar Abbas PTF Tennis Complex on Wednesday. Mahin played breathtaking tennis in the first set but lost it 7-5 in 1 hour and 10 minutes. She took the second set 6-1, after breaking 3rd, 5th and 7th games of Sara in 40 minutes and took the third set 6-4, after breaking 10th game of Sara to set final date against Sarah Mehboob. In the second semifinal, Sarah Mehboob outclassed Meheq Khokhar in straight sets winning 6-0, 6-2. Pairing with Meheq Khokhar, Sara reached doubles final after beating Khunsha Babar/Shimza Tahir. They will take on Sarah/Mahin in the final. Sarah/Mahin won the semifinal against Esha Jawad/Nida Akram.–Staff Reporter

 

200 Pak athletes to feature in I-Games

Islamabad – Pakistani contingent of 200 athletes and officials will take part in 14 disciplines of the 4th Islamic Solidarity Games to be held at Baku, Azerbaijan from May 12 to 22. A meeting was held between PSB DG Akhtar Nawaz Ganjera and POA secretary Khalid Mehmood on Wednesday. Ganjera said the meeting discussed the POA-forwarded proposal regarding participation of Pak contingent in the Games. The meeting proposed around 200-member strength of Pakistani contingent to feature in the Baku Games, he said. "As per POA proposal, Pakistani players will participate in 14 disciplines including athletics, basketball, boxing, handball, karate, shooting, swimming, table tennis, taekwondo, tennis, volleyball, weightlifting, wrestling (freestyle), wrestling (Greco roman) and wushu,” he said.–Staff Reporter