Venus preparing for Konta serving barrage

LONDON - American veteran Venus Williams was sharpening her reactions for the barrage of big serves she can expect in her Wimbledon semifinal against British favourite Johanna Konta on Thursday, going through a relentless practise routine on the eve of battle. The 37-year-old spent 45 minutes on the dusty Aorangi Park practise courts on Wednesday, hitting back serves delivered at high velocity by a male hitting partner. Williams sent many returns whistling back to the baseline, occasionally getting a thumbs up from her coaching team, while others sailed way beyond the margins of the court. Talking about her match against Konta, Venus said: "Aggressive, serve well, return well, very solid off the ground. So really it's just about playing that game better and see where you find openings on that day."–Agencies



Carrick takes over as United captain

LONDON - Michael Carrick has succeeded Wayne Rooney as captain of Manchester United after the club's all-time top goalscorer's move back to Everton. "It feels great and it is such a huge honour to captain such a great club," Carrick told the club's MUTV on Tuesday. The 35-year-old added: "It is my 12th year now and I came as a 25-year-old. I never thought I could be here for so long and achieve so much. "Now, to lead the boys and look after the young boys, to guide them in some ways, it is a nice thing and a real pleasure. "I came to this club as a footballer and I am now a huge fan. I have grown to love the club over the years and to be in this position is very special for me." Carrick joined United from Tottenham in 2006 and after Rooney's departure is the longest serving player at Old Trafford.–Agencies



Westwood splits from management company

DUNDONALD - Former golf world No 1 Lee Westwood has split from long time management company, International Sports Management (ISM) bringing to an end a relationship that lasted over two decades. His manager Andrew 'Chubby' Chandler -- who also manages 2016 Masters champion Danny Willett and South African star Louis Oosthuizen -- confirmed to The Press Association Westwood has "decided to go down a different path" after 24 years together. During that time 44-year-old Westwood -- who along with close friend Darren Clarke are major shareholders in ISM -- reached number one in the world and won more than 40 tournaments worldwide. Westwood and good friend former Open champion Darren Clarke were among the first signings for the Manchester-based sports management firm when it was founded in 1991.–Agencies



Pacquiao 'not surprised' by review result

MANILA - Manny Pacquiao is "not surprised" the World Boxing Organization affirmed the loss of his welterweight title to Australian Jeff Horn, but the Philippine ring legend railed at large at judges who ‘manipulated results’. The WBO ordered a review of the scoring of the July 2 Brisbane bout at the request of the Philippines' Games and Amusements Board, which criticised the judges and the referee. The WBO set up a panel of independent and anonymous judges to watch and score a recording of the bout without sound. On Tuesday it said the judges found Horn won seven rounds to Pacquiao's five. "We have seen worse Judgments in the past where judges manipulated results. Nothing surprises me now," Pacquiao said. He did not name the judges nor mention the specific fights in his allegations.–Agencies


Uzair, Huzaifa win Junior Open titles

ISLAMABAD - Uzair Rasheed and Huzaifa Ibrahim won the 3rd CMS Borneo Junior Open U-19 and U-13 categories titles in Malaysia. In the U-19 category, Uzair surprised second seed local hero Dheena Dharshan Sivabalan 3-0. Uzair won the first game 11-9, took the second 11-6 and third 11-8. In the U-13 category, top seed Huzaifa beat Australian Oscar Barry Curtis in straight games. Huzaifa won the first game 13-11, while won the second game with great style by 11-1 and after some tough battle, he took the third game 11-9 to lift the title. Amna Fayyaz won the bronze medal in the U-15 (girls) category. It is pertinent to mention here that Huzaifa has already won Houston Int’l Junior Squash Championship and Washington Int’l Junior Squash Championship in the US.–Staff Reporter