Safarova out of Beijing with wrist injury

PRAGUE - Lucie Safarova, the women's doubles world number one, said Thursday she was pulling out of the China Open in Beijing starting on Saturday because of a wrist injury. The 30-year-old Czech, ranked 29th in singles, has already skipped the ongoing Wuhan Open. "I'm sad to announce I won't be coming to Beijing for the China Open this year," Safarova said on Instagram. "My wrist injury still doesn't allow me to come back on court." Together with Bethanie Mattek-Sands, Safarova won at both Wuhan and Beijing last year. Following Mattek-Sands' serious knee injury at Wimbledon, Safarova climbed to the doubles number one post, replacing her American partner. But she will lose that honour to former world singles number one Martina Hingis on Monday because of the loss of points from China.–AFP



Saunders off to hot start with 59

ATLANTIC BEACH - Sam Saunders, who is the grandson of golfing icon Arnold Palmer, started quickly in the season-ending Tour Championship Thursday with a 12-under 59, becoming the seventh player in Tour history to break 60. Playing on his home course at the Atlantic Beach Country Club, Saunders posted 13 birdies for a three-stroke lead over fellow Americans Matt Atkins and Steve Wheatcroft, who both shot 62. Scoring conditions were ideal as Canada' Ben Silverman and Tyler Duncan are tied for fourth with 63s. And with five others at seven-under 64, it means there are nine golfers within five shots of Saunders heading into the second round. But only Saunders was able to break 60 with the help of three straight birdies beginning at No 10. His only blemish was a bogey on the par-three 15th.–AFP



SSGC thrash Islamabad in Quaid Trophy

ISLAMABAD – SSGC thrashed Islamabad by 360 runs in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy 2017-18 round one Pool A match played here at Diamond Ground on Friday. Despite relying heavily on outsiders and not giving chances to local youth, who are always deprived of their due rights, Islamabad Region failed to deliver. Islamabad resumed their sorry run-chase at the overnight score of 66-5 in 24 overs and were bundled out for a meager 97 in just 34.2 overs. Zia-ul-Haq ripped through Islamabad batting by grabbing 4-31 while Kashif Bhatti took 3-16 and Amir Yamin 3-36. The time is high when the region, instead of depending on others, should rely on local lads. Shakil Shakih must provide due chances to local players, especially the zones, who are being long neglected.–Staff Reporter




Al-Fatima Academy enter U-16 Cricket final

LAHORE - Al-Fatima Academy Karachi outplayed FG Sir Syed School Rawalpindi in the PCB National Under-16 School Cricket championship Abdul Hafeez Karadar Cup second semifinal of Karachi Region played here at the cricket centre on Friday. FG Sir Syed School Rawalpindi, batting first, scored 118 runs in 29.3 overs which Al-Fatima Academy Karachi achieved for the loss of four wickets. For Al-Fatima Academy, Sher Bahar grabbed five wickets and scored 18 runs to emerge as player of the match. Cricketer Junaid Zia graced the occasion as chief guest and gave away Rs 5,000 to the player of the match. Now Al-Fatima Academy of Karachi Region will take on Qila Laxman Singh of Lahore Region in the final of the tournament, the venue and date of which will be announced later.–Staff Reporter



GIR programme gaining popularity

LAHORE – The ‘Get into Rugby’ (GIR) programme has been successfully going on in Pakistan under the Pakistan Rugby Union (PRU) initiative and its services manager Moazzam Ali Shah has been looking after the entire activity. He informed that their coaches are conducting training at various schools and college of South Punjab cities. He said that PRU coach Idrees Ahmed gave coaching to around 150 children at Government High School Kot Addu. Similarly, 80 entered into the ‘GIR’ programme at Govt High School Tonsa Baraj and another 40 girl students were trained in Govt English Elementary School Kot Addu. Twelve girls were given knowledge about the programme at Govt Degree College Kot Addu, he said and added that Pakistan stood eighth in world where 150 countries are holding this programme.–Staff Reporter