Halep seeks French Open boost in Rome

ROME - World No 1 Simona Halep said Sunday she was looking to lay the groundwork for a Grand Slam breakthrough at the French Open in the Rome WTA clay-court tournament. The 26-year-old finished runner-up in Rome last year before losing in the final in Roland Garros for a second time. She was also a finalist in the Australian Open this year. "Of course, the Grand Slam is now for me the most important tournament," said top seed Halep ahead of the French Open which starts in Paris on May 21. Halep has received a first round bye and will open against either former two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka of Belarus or Japan's Naomi Osaka on the clay surface at the Foro Italico. "But, I cannot plan anything. So I'm taking every tournament as important. I'm giving everything I have every week.”–AFP



Vargas battles to retain WBC title

NEW YORK - Mexico's Rey Vargas has retained his World Boxing Council (WBC) title with a unanimous decision over Azat Hovhannisyan in a bloody showdown between a pair of super bantamweight fighters. Vargas made his third straight successful defense of t!he title despite finishing the 12-round fight with blood streaming down both sides of his face, the result of headbutts in the eighth and 12th rounds. Vargas, who is now a perfect 32-0 in his career, won on all three judges' scorecards including one who had it 118-110. The other two scored it 117-11, 116-112. He fought the final four rounds with blood flowing freely but the cuts above his eyes did not seem to affect his vision that much. After piling up points in the early rounds, he hurt Armenia's Hovhannisyan with a right hook in the ninth round.–AFP



Tahir helps Islamabad Police beat Huawei

ISLAMABAD – ASI M Tahir’s all-round performance helped Islamabad Police beat Huawei by 3 wickets in a friendly 35-over-aside cricket match played here at Bhutto Cricket Ground. Batting first, Huawei were bowled out for 198 in 34th over. Adnan was top scorer with stylish 60 off 55 deliveries, hitting 5 boundaries and 2 sixes while Farhan contributed 39 and Yasin 25. Right-arm fast medium M Tahir ripped through Huawei batting as claimed 5 wickets for 25 while Waqar and Gul also took 2 wickets apiece. Islamabad Police achieved the target in 25th over losing 7 wickets. Faisal made 35, Muneeb unbeaten 25, Hamid 24, skipper Malik Ayub 20 and M Tahir unbeaten 18. Yasir took 4-36 and Saad Talha 1-21. M Tahir was named player of the match for his outstanding performance.–Staff Reporter




Golden Club, Ghalib, Khan Sports advance

LAHORE – Golden Star Cricket Club, Ghalib Sports and Khan Sports entered the quarterfinals of the 1st Cannon Foam Challenge Cup One-Day Club Cricket Tournament here at PU New Campus cricket grounds. At PU Ground No 1, Golden Star beat Young Mughalpura Gymkhana by 159 runs. Batting first, Golden Star scored 298/10 in 33.5 overs. Asad Razzak slammed 57, Zohaib Amanat 50, Nadeem Khan 43, Sadaqat Ali 41 and Zeshan Shabeer 34. M Umer grabbed 4/56, Khubaib Nadeem 3/39 and Hamza Anwar 2/54. In reply, Young Mughalpura Gymkhana were all out for 139 in 25 overs. Fahad Rafiq made 26, Khubaib Nadeem 25. Sajawal Butt bagged 3/41, Imran Ali 2/33 and Zarar Shakeel 2/42. At PU Ground No 2, Ghalib Sports Club routed Shinning Club by 67 runs while at PU Ground No 3, Khan sports beat Jallo Gymkhana by 51 runs.–Staff Reporter




JAKARTA: People dressed up as the mascots for the 2018 Asian Games take part in a parade to mark 100-day countdown to the start of the games. Indonesia will host the 2018 Asian Games from August 18 to September 2 in Jakarta and Palembang.–AFP