World number three Daniil Medvedev booked his place in the China Open men’s semi-finals with a 6-4, 3-6, 6-1 victory over France’s Ugo Humbert in Beijing on Monday.
An error-strewn first set saw a combined five breaks of serve but Medvedev edged ahead in the ninth game and finished it off with an ace.
Both men were more consistent in set two until the Russian, at deuce, hit back-to-back double faults to hand the crucial break to Humbert.
But Medvedev finally tightened up in the decider, notching two quickfire breaks before seeing out the match on his serve.
The 27-year-old will battle it out with Germany’s Alexander Zverev for a place in the final.
Medvedev again attributed the see-saw victory to the match balls, which he has said fluff up too quickly and lead to lengthy rallies.
“It’s very slow,” he told a post-match press conference.
“(On) any other normal hard court with normal balls, no chance I win the match like this. No chance I would lose my serve so much,” he added.
“It’s great that I managed to still find, in this tough match, these moments of consistency — which was enough to win.”
Zverev, ranked number 10, edged a tight encounter with Chilean Nicolas Jarry 6-1, 6-7 (5/7), 6-3.
World number two and tournament favourite Carlos Alcaraz is due to play his quarter-final against Casper Ruud on Monday evening.
Top-ranked men’s player Novak Djokovic is not playing the China tournaments this season.
In the first round of the women’s draw, world number two Iga Swiatek defeated Spain’s Sara Sorribes Tormo in straight sets.
The Pole, who recently relinquished her hold on the number-one spot to Aryna Sabalenka, enjoyed considerable success at the net on her way to a 6-4, 6-3 victory.
Swiatek will play France’s Varvara Gracheva in the second round.
“I feel like I was pretty patient. You have to be patient with her because she’s running for every ball,” the 22-year-old said after the match.
“I kind of wanted to just be solid and be intensive but not make too many mistakes with risking,” she added.
“I’m pretty happy I could balance that. It just worked, so I’m happy.”
Also on Monday, world number seven Ons Jabeur beat American Ashlyn Krueger 6-3, 6-4 to set up a second-round tie against Ukraine’s Marta Kostyuk.
US Open champion Coco Gauff takes to the court against Ekaterina Alexandrova on Monday afternoon.
Sabalenka knocked out former Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin on Sunday to seal her spot in the second round.
The China Open is taking place for the first time since 2019 after Beijing abandoned its long-standing zero-Covid policy.
PCB reveals schedule of National T20 Super 8
The schedule for the National T20 Super 8 has been revealed by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) following the advancement of the top two teams from each group to the Super Eight stage. This stage is set to take place in a round-robin format spanning from December 1 to December 8.
🚨 Schedule of the @AHGroup_Pk Presents Jazz Super 4G National T20 Cup 2023-24 Super 8 🗓️
— Pakistan Cricket (@TheRealPCB) November 30, 2023
Following the Super Eight stage, the top four teams will qualify for the semi-finals. Both semi-finals are scheduled to be played on 9 December at National Bank Stadium, at 1500 PKT and 2000 PKT respectively.
The final is scheduled to be played at the same venue on 10 December. The toss will take place at 1930 PKT and the first ball will be bowled at 2000 PKT.
The winning team of the tournament will pocket a prize money of PKR 5 million.
Meanwhile, the tournament runners-up will be awarded PKR 2.5 million. The player of the tournament will be rewarded with PKR 250,000. The same amount has been allotted to three other awards; best batter, best bowler and best wicket-keeper of the tournament. The player of the final will receive PKR 50,000 while player of the match in each of the
Super Eight games and the semi-finals will be given PKR 25,000.
This is the first edition of the tournament played since the PCB 2014 Constitution was reinstated. The previous edition of National T20, which featured six sides, was won by Sindh who clinched their maiden title after defeating defending champions Khyber Pakhtunkhwa by eight wickets. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa lost out on securing a hat-trick of titles after winning both the 2020-21 and 2021-22 editions.
British Gymnastics bans weighing young athletes
British Gymnastics has introduced new safeguarding rules that will prevent coaches from weighing athletes to stamp out methods it said are “on the fringe of abuse”.
The rules are part of a series of policies that the governing body is introducing following the 2022 Whyte Review, which found there was “systemic” physical and emotional abuse within the sport.
British Gymnastics has said it intends to go beyond the recommendations of that report to stamp out “harmful practices”.
Under the new rules, no gymnasts aged 10 or under can be weighed. Those above that age can only be weighed with the consent of both the gymnast and if they are under the age of 18, a parent or guardian.
If athletes are weighed, it must be done by a sports science or medical practitioner, with a “scientifically valid rationale” for it, including measuring growth or designing strength and conditioning exercises.
British Gymnastics said the policy had been introduced “to prevent inappropriate practices and prevent potential areas of concern around weighing, due to some of the related psychological distress and risks of the development of mental health problems such as eating disorders/disordered eating, anxiety, and depression”.
“Inappropriate or excessive weighing of gymnasts is an example of poor practice which may be on the fringe of abuse, and if/or repeated could amount to abuse,” it added.
The Whyte Review focused on 2008 to 2020 and received more than 400 submissions of those, more than 40 percent described physically abusive behavior towards gymnasts from coaches.
In a statement, British Gymnastics chief executive Sarah Powell said: “Above all else, we care about gymnasts as people, and these new policies make clear that what matters most in gymnastics is the welfare of those involved.
“While practices have moved on a long way, we know there has been poor practice in these areas and so by providing clarity for gymnasts, parents and carers, coaches, clubs, volunteers, and officials through the statements set out in these policies it will ensure everyone understands what is OK and what is not OK and help prevent that happening in the future.”
Iftikhar Ahmed joins Multan Sultans, Rossouw returns to Quetta Gladiators
Pakistan all-rounder Iftikhar Ahmed will don the Multan Sultans’ jersey in the ninth edition of Pakistan Super League (PSL).
In a trade, Iftikhar has moved to Multan Sultans, whereas Rilee Rossouw has returned to his previous franchise, Quetta Gladiators.
🔥🚨 Box-office Trade Alert 🚨🔥
🔁Iftikhar Ahmed joins Multan Sultans
— PakistanSuperLeague (@thePSLt20) November 30, 2023
The trade deal with Quetta Gladiators also sees Multan Sultans get the first pick in the platinum round one in exchange for Rilee Rossouw and the first Silver category pick.
Iftikhar has evolved into a formidable all-rounder for his power-hitting and foxy off-spin. He brings an experience of 229 T20 matches in which he has scored 4,476 runs. He also has a century in the format to go with 30 half-centuries. Since the start of his career in October 2010, the muscular batter has been smashing a boundary every 6.75 balls. He recently reached the 50-wicket landmark and his economy stands at 7.31.
Iftikhar Ahmed: “I am delighted to become a Sultan. It is an honour for me to represent the people of Multan as their passion for this game is second to none. Multan Sultans have evolved into a strong team and their record in the last three seasons speak for itself. Now, it is my ambition to help them bag the prestigious HBL PSL trophy,” Iftikhar said.
Captain Muhammad Rizwan: “I am very excited to welcome Iftikhar Ahmed. He brings outstanding all-round skills, which we need to be a champion team.
“It was not only his on-field skills that made us finalise this trade, but he is also a brilliant team player who uplifts dressing rooms with his presence. We are eager to put together a set of players whose skills are in sync with our positive, bold and aggressive brand of cricket.”
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