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Medvedev makes strong Shanghai Masters start




Defending champion Daniil Medvedev made a strong start to the Shanghai Masters on Saturday, with his main rival, top seed Carlos Alcaraz, due to launch his campaign later.

The world number three beat Chile’s Cristian Garin in straight sets 6-3, 6-3 to proceed breezily to the third round.


Garin put up a valiant fight, with several hard-fought rallies inducing gasps from the crowd, but ultimately the 98th-ranked player struggled with the Russian’s relentless pace.

“(There’s a) long tournament ahead, with a lot of strong players, starting from my next match,” said Medvedev at the end.

“But the goal for sure is to try and win this beautiful trophy one more time.”

Medvedev won the 2019 title, but for the next three years the tournament was cancelled because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I’m definitely happy to be back in Shanghai,” he said. “I honestly feel great and I want to stay here as long as possible.”


Medvedev is popular with Chinese fans, a chemistry on display when the indoor match was interrupted briefly when a red-and-white butterfly distracted the Russian from serving.

The crowd giggled as he played up his surprise for comic effect, before carefully handing over the insect, which had settled on one of his tennis balls, to great applause.

Fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas is also through to the next round after a straightforward job dispatching Australian qualifier Rinky Hijikata 6-4, 6-2.

“In the beginning of a tournament, it takes some time to get the pace and rhythm of how things flow,” Tsitsipas said.

“I was very confident and very sure of what I was doing and what I was following and it worked out pretty well.”


World number two Alcaraz was also in action later, playing France’s Gregoire Barrere.

Alcaraz is looking to close the gap on the absent Novak Djokovic at the top of the rankings with strong performances in China.

But he was disappointed in Beijing by Italy’s Jannik Sinner, who defeated him in the semi-final before going on to beat Medvedev and take the China Open title.

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Haris Rauf’s BBL participation uncertain as PCB delays NOC: report




Pakistan pacer Haris Rauf’s participation in the Big Bash League 2023-24 is met with a potential hurdle as the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is expected to delay the issuance of the No-Objection Certificate (NOC) required for his engagement in the league.

According to ESPNCricinfo, Rauf’s NOC is likely to face a delay until at least December 11, just four days after the start of the BBL. There is no confirmation of an immediate issuance thereafter.

The explanation for the delay revolves around the ongoing National T20 Cup in Pakistan, scheduled until December 10, which the PCB expects Haris Rauf to fully engage in.


Last week, Wahab Riaz, Pakistan’s recently appointed chief selector, disclosed that Rauf had declined participation in Pakistan’s Test series in Australia scheduled for December-January.

Wahab openly expressed his displeasure at Rauf’s decision, with both sides differing on the events leading up to this point. Reportedly, the 30-year-old cited his inexperience in Test cricket as the reason for not agreeing to play in Australia. Rauf conveyed to Wahab that focusing on his white-ball game and fitness would be more beneficial.

Rauf’s potential absence from the BBL could raise concerns, especially for Melbourne Stars, who had enlisted him as a key player. Initially, it was expected that Rauf would only miss the BBL during Pakistan’s five-match T20 series in New Zealand in mid-January. However, further delays may disrupt the league’s plans.

Melbourne Stars had introduced special memberships named “House of Rauf” for the initial three games at the MCG this year, along with a dedicated seating zone called Haris Rauf Bay.

Ongoing delays in Rauf’s NOC issuance may raise concerns among Pakistan’s centrally contracted players in general. Two more players, Usama Mir (Melbourne Stars) and Zaman Khan (Sydney Thunder), are also selected for the league.


Contract discussions between the PCB and the players faced obstacles, partly due to disagreements over the number of foreign leagues players could participate in annually. They seem to have settled on a limit of two leagues, contingent on the PCB issuing an NOC for participation.

The BBL is set to start from December 7, 2023, to January 24 2024.