Global sports round-up
Serena bows out
MELBOURNE – Serena Williams went down fighting like the five-times champion she is but bowed out of the Australian Open quarter-finals today, hampered by a back injury and stunned in three sets by fellow American Sloane Stephens.
The injury robbed Williams of her serve – the most effective weapon in women’s tennis – but teenager Stephens will take much credit for holding her nerve to finish off the ailing 15-times grand slam champion 3-6 7-5 6-4.
Stephens, one of a band of promising young American women, will next face defending champion and world number Victoria Azarenka, who earlier came through a first-set scare to beat experienced Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova 7-5 6-1.
Meanwhile Roger Federer beat Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in a five-set thriller 7-6 (7-4) 4-6 7-6 (7-4) 3-6 6-3 in an epic three hours, 34 minute quarter-final. He will now face Britain’s Andy Murray in Friday’s semi-final. Murray, 25, advanced with a swift 6-4 6-1 6-2 win against France’s Jeremy Chardy.
Aussies square ODI series
HOBART – Australia beat Sri Lanka by 32 runs to salvage a 2-2 draw from their one-day series thanks to a huge slice of luck for Phil Hughes on his way to a match-winning century today.
Hughes survived with his wicket intact despite a miss-timed pull shot resulting in the ball hitting the base of the stumps – and he took full advantage from his stroke of fortune to go on to strike an unbeaten 138.
Hughes’ knock was by far the biggest input from the Australian batting line-up in Hobart as the team made 247-5 from their 50 overs, with only David Hussey’s 34 not out anything like a contribution.
A couple of players got starts for Sri Lanka, but only Angelo Mathews went on to make a sizeable score (67) and his partnership with Ajantha Mendis of 72 did keep the visitors in with a shout of pinching a series-winning victory.
Once Mathews went, though, so did Sri Lanka’s chance of victory, as they could only muster 215 all out inside the 49th over to see Australia square the five-match series 2-2.
Xavier Doherty had failed to take a wicket in the series but took three in one spell as he returned figures of 3-21 from eight overs, while Moises Henriques took 3-32 from his full ten overs.
Raina guides India to victory
MOHALI – India clinched the one-day international series against England 3-1 after a comfortable five-wicket victory in the fourth match in a chilly Mohali today.
Captain Alastair Cook and Kevin Pietersen both hit 76 for England as they improved on their previous two efforts with the bat to post 257-7 in the fourth ODI in the five-match series.
India only occasionally looked troubled in their response, with Rohit Sharma hitting 83 and Suresh Raina guiding them home with an unbeaten 89 in their winning total of 258-5.
After a careful start, Pietersen and Joe Root, who added a quick-fire 57, upped the tempo and took England beyond the 250-mark and into the realms of a competitive total even if it was one which was still short of ideal.
Tim Bresnan removed Gautam Gambhir early and two wickets from James Tredwell gave the tourists some hope, with India reduced to 90-3 in the 23rd over as the home side started on a similar slow pace to England.
Had Pietersen held on to a catch off Rohit Sharma when the batsman was on 12 it could have been a different story, as he went on to make a solid 83 off 93 balls before being trapped lbw by Steven Finn.†