Sock scents redemption in Auckland

AUCKLAND - American fourth seed Jack Sock reached the final of the ATP Auckland Classic on Friday, earning a chance to make amends for a disappointing loss in last year's decider. Sock beat compatriot Steve Johnson 6-4, 6-3 to set up a clash against Portugal's Joao Sousa, who brushed aside Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus 6-1, 7-5 in his semi-final. Sock made the Auckland final last year but was forced to retire due to a bout of flu and concede the title to Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut. Sock lost his only previous meeting with Sousa at the Masters in Madrid last year. He faced a tough task against Johnson, with the pair going toe-to-toe for much of the first set until Sock finally seized a break in the ninth game. Another followed early in the second and Sock never looked back.–AFP

 Trump not to Nadal's taste

MADRID - Former tennis world number one Rafael Nadal said Friday that US President-elect Donald Trump was not quite to his taste while lamenting Spanish politics has also, in his view, become too razzmatazz. "It's not my style. I was in the United States when Trump was on the campaign trail," Nadal told Spanish online site El Espanol as he limbered up for the Australian Open. "It is true that I don't care for his manner of speaking -- his way of expressing himself is not a style I appreciate," added Nadal, while conceding he was no expert on the US political scene. "Also, I'll be honest -- the other option didn't do much for me either," added the Spaniard. Nadal consoled himself with the thought that in a globalised world Trump would not necessarily be able to have things all his own way.–AFP

 Muzammil enters ITF Juniors final

ISLAMABAD – Muzammil Murtaza beat French Lucien Forrestier to enter the ITF Juniors Championship 2017 final in Abu Dhabi on Friday. Muzammil won the semifinal 7-5, 4-6, 6-4. Earlier in quarterfinal, he stunned top seed Italian Andrea Trapani 2-6, 6-2, 6-1. Muzammil’s coach Hameed-ul-Haq said this lad was very talented and capable of winning glories for Pakistan. “After watching him some 4 years back, I started grooming Muzammil and his brother, because I knew they were from a poor background and couldn’t even afford to buy rackets. PTF president Salim Saifullah is kind enough to pay heed to my suggestions and lent a helping hand to Muzammul, who now had been taking giant strides and played seniors final against Aqeel. If provided with funds, he can be a future champion.”–Staff Reporter

 Umar bats AAN Sports to win over Bangalore

ISLAMABAD - Umar Hameed batted AAN Sports to one-wicket victory over Indian side Bangalore in the inaugural match of the 8-nation mixed cricket tournament in Colombo on Friday. AAN skipper former Test cricketer Rana Naved won the toss and opted to field first. The decision failed to bear fruit as Bangalore hit massive 164-6 in the allotted overs with Nehal Shilar hammering 42-ball 51, hitting 6 fours while Suthanshu smashed 11-ball 26. All-rounder Ali Imran bagged 2-27. AAN Sports almost lost the match despite Test cricketer Faisal Iqbal hammered 51 with the help of 5 fours and 1 six. Ahsan Bhatti scored 35 and Ali Imran 15, but it was Umar Hameed, who stole the limelight and saved the day for AAN Sports, as he hit unbeaten 23 in only 8 balls. He hit winning six on the second last delivery to help AAN Sports achieve the target in 19.5 overs losing 9 wickets. Talking to The Nation from Colombo, Test cricketer Imran Nazir, who runs his academy namely ‘AAN Sports’, termed the victory as highly impressive and said: “Bangalore has highly experienced players and they arrived in Sri Lanka well before start of the event, while we reached yesterday, but it was tremendous team work, which helped us register inspiring win.” “Although the inaugural match was quite close yet it provided us good result. We will try to quickly learn from our mistakes and wouldn’t repeat same mistakes in the second encounter against Joy Bangla today (Saturday),” Imran concluded. –Staff Reporter