Sports brief

No 1 Nadal pulls out of season opener

MADRID – World number one Rafael Nadal has withdrawn from his planned season opener at an exhibition event in Abu Dhabi due to lingering fitness concerns just three weeks ahead of the Australian Open. Nadal, 31, was forced to pull out of the 2017 season-ending ATP Masters last month due to a knee injury after an exhausting season in which he won the French and US Opens. “It was a tough 2017 and I need to take my calendar in a different way in order to be ready,” said Nadal. “For this reason, I have sadly announced to the organisers and now to you fans that I won’t play this time in Abu Dhabi.” Spanish sports daily AS reported that Nadal had to halt his planned training schedule in his native Mallorca this week to seek medical attention in Barcelona due to the niggling knee injury.–AFP

Nishikori out of Brisbane International

BRISBANE – Japanese tennis star Kei Nishikori has withdrawn from the season-opening Brisbane International as he recovers from a wrist injury. Nishikori, 27, has been out of action for more than four months, dropping to 22 in the world rankings. “I am so disappointed to miss Brisbane this year. For years, it’s been my first tournament of the season and I always feel so at home there,” Nishikori tweeted. He said last month he had chosen rehabilitation over surgery to repair the damage and was targeting a return to action at the Brisbane International to prepare for Australian Open. US Open champ Sloane Stephens has also been ruled out of the Brisbane women’s tournament with a knee injury. “Stephens needs an extra week’s rehab on her knee, meaning she will now not play the Brisbane International.”–AFP

Two matches of Lahore Open Polo today

LAHORE – Two important matches of the ongoing Samba Bank Lahore Open Polo Championship 2017 will be contested today (Sunday) here at the Lahore Polo Club (LPC) ground. The first match of the day will be played between Diamond Paints and Green Orchard/Rijas at 2:00 pm. Diamond Paints team consists of Mir Huzaifa Ahmed, Mir Shoaib Ahmed, Eulugio Celestino while Green Orchard/Rijas team comprises Irfan Sheikh, Ahmed Zubair Butt, Shaukat Ali Malik and Geoffredo. Allied Bank will contest against Habib Metro Lions/Master Paints at 3:00 pm in the second encounter of the day. Allied Bank team has Emran Akhtar, Mumtaz Abbas Niazi, Raja Arslan Najeeb and Saqib Khan Khakwani while Habib Metro Lions/Master Paints team includes Aun Rizvi, Ahmed Bilal Riaz, Bilal Haye and Hamza Mawaz Khan.–Staff Reporter

Enrique, Kristian lift men’s doubles title

ISLAMABAD – Spanish/Russian pair of Enrique Lopez-Perez/Kristian Lozan lifted the 3rd Shaheed Benazir Bhutto International Tennis men’s doubles title after routing Ukraine/Russia duo of Gleb Alekseenko/Ivan Ponomarenko 6-0, 6-2 in the final here at Islamabad Tennis Complex Saturday. In U-18 semifinals, Saqib Hayat beat Hamza Rehan 6-2, 6-0, M Shoaib beat Aman Atique 7-6, 6-3. In boys U-14, Hasheesh Kumar beat Abdul Hanan 4-0, 2-4, 5-3 and Hamid Israr beat Zalan Khan 4-1, 4-1. In U-10, Hamza Roman beat Moiz Gul 4-1, 4-0 and Abdullah Azhar beat Jamal Shah 4-1, 4-2. In ladies singles, Sara Mansoor beat Esha Jawad 6-0, 6-0 and Sara Mehboob beat Noor Malik 6-0, 6-3. In veterans doubles 60+ semis, Fazal Subhan/Musa Khan beat Gul Hameed/Mehboob Khan 4-6, 6-4, 10-7, Gen Naseer/Col Tahir beat Gen Hamid Akram/Col Tahawar 6-2, 3-6, 7-6.–Staff Reporter

Old Islampura Gymkhana victorious

LAHORE – Old Islampura Gymkhana defeated Aleem Dar Cricket Academy Bahria Town by 64 runs in a friendly fixture played here. Batting first, Old Islampura Gym posted 264 runs on the board in the allotted overs. Fahad Usman batted brilliantly and emerged as top scorer with 90 runs while Abdullah slammed 80 runs and Azeem 40. Ali Dar and Asif took two wickets each. Aleem Dar Academy couldn’t reply well and were all out for 200 runs. Azeem scored 66 runs and Ali Dar 51. Waseem Khan and Umar Khan bowled brilliantly and grabbed five and four wickets respectively and helped Old Islampura Gym registered a thumping victory.–Staff Reporter

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