Serena the figurehead as rivals struggle

first_imgChallengers to Serena Williams’ throne have proved as fickle as a Paris spring and as the year’s second grand slam starts the veteran American is again seemingly in a league of her own.The 34-year-old’s charge to overhaul Margaret Court’s record 24 grand slam singles titles may have stalled since she chalked up major number 21 at last year’s Wimbledon.But after fine-tuning her claycourt game by winning last week’s Italian Open she will begin the defence of her French Open title as the strong favourite.With twice French Open champion Maria Sharapova suspended pending the findings of an anti-doping hearing after she tested positive for Meldonium in Australia this year, the list of players capable of toppling a fully firing Williams is short.She has played only three tournaments since losing to an inspired Angelique Kerber in the Australian Open final. But former champion Martina Navratilova says when the big prizes are at stake, the American can be relied upon to perform.“She hasn’t played that much this year, but she came back with a vengeance (in Rome), played great tennis, as well as she has on clay, and she is the big favourite going into the French Open,” 18-times grand slam champion Navratilova told the Tennis Podcast in the build-up to Paris.“When she loses it’s an exception… Serena is now healthy, hungry, eager and fresh. She’s match-tough after Rome, but still fresh – that’s a tough combination, and it will be hard for anyone to beat her.”The main obstacles between Williams and a 22nd singles major which would take her level with Steffi Graff in second place, appear to be Germany’s Kerber and former world number one Victoria Azarenka, although both have struggled for consistency.Kerber suffered first-round defeats in Rome and Madrid, although she did win the title on clay in Stuttgart.Azarenka, ranked five, was back to her best when winning back-to-back titles at Indian Wells and Miami, but doubts have resurfaced.She suffered a back injury in Madrid and lost in the first round in Rome.“It’s just unfortunate that I can’t play my best tennis. That’s it,” Azarenka said after losing to Irina Begu in Rome.Others contenders will be Romanian former finalists Simona Halep and Spain’s hard-hitting Garbine Muguruza.Muguruza, a semi-finalist in Rome, does not have the trademark claycourt game, relying on flat, powerful groundstrokes that could however cause damage at Roland Garros, where the showcourts tend to play fast.Three-times champion Williams though, as is usually the case, appears to have the destiny of the tournament on her racket strings.“I have tried to defend there once, twice… before. Didn’t quite work so well. But this year is different,” she said. “I feel more calm and I don’t feel stress, like I have to win. I feel like just happy to be out here.”last_img read more

Italy 0 Sweden 0 (0-1 agg)

first_imgPhoto Getty Images. Caption: Gian Piero Ventura in discussions with Marco Parolo Not since the 1958 tournament, coincidentally held in Sweden, have the Azzurri not been at football’s showpiece event, but defeat in Solna in the first leg proved their undoing and surely signals the end of Gian Piero Ventura’s disappointing reign as coach.It was a far more industrious effort from the four-time world champions at San Siro than the drab effort produced in the first leg, and visiting goalkeeper Robin Olsen was at his best to keep Italy at bay at the end of a busy first half.But there was no way past Sweden’s stoic defence, which held firm to help book the nation’s first World Cup appearance since 2006, and – for all of Italy’s dominance of possession – the aggregate result could have been more convincing with the visitors denied two decent penalty shouts.The inquest now begins for Ventura – with reports suggesting he was under pressure even if Italy had qualified – and his decision to once again omit Napoli star Lorenzo Insigne from the starting XI will be one of several tactical decisions to face severe scrutiny.Just 16 months ago, the Azzurri were only knocked out of Euro 2016 via a quarter-final penalty shootout defeat to Germany, but the upward trajectory started by Antonio Conte has not continued under Ventura, whose position appears untenable.1958 – This is the first time Italy fail to reach the World Cup since 1958. Fall.— OptaPaolo (@OptaPaolo) November 13, 2017Ventura will have been encouraged early on as Italy dictated the tempo and Marco Parolo saw penalty claims waved away by referee Antonio Miguel Mateu Lahoz following a trip by Ludwig Augustinsson.At the other end, Sweden had a more legitimate shout dismissed when Matteo Darmian seemingly handled as Marcus Berg tried to squirm his way through the home defence.Jorginho, making his competitive debut for Italy, slipped in Ciro Immobile, but the angle escaped the striker who fired into the side-netting.Sweden then lost first-leg scorer Johansson to a serious-looking knee injury, and their misery would have worsened had Antonio Candreva not lashed over from Immobile’s pass that was allowed to travel across the face of goal.There was another moment of contention for Lahoz to deal with when Emil Forsberg appealed for handball against Andrea Barzagli – his fervent remonstration earning a yellow card.Italy cranked up the pressure as the half neared an end and Robin Olsen got a crucial touch as Immobile raced onto Jorginho’s throughball, before the visiting goalkeeper then made another smart stop to deny Alessandro Florenzi.The pressure continued after the restart and Lahoz questionably penalised Darmian for handball when the wing-back was kicked in the check by Mikael Lustig in the area.Darmian was involved in Italy’s next attack, providing the cross from which Florenzi’s acrobatic effort from just inside the box went agonisingly wide of the right post.After 1 goalless hour, @azzurri frustration is beginning to show on the pitch and in the bars.Italy last failed to qualify for the World Cup in 1958…— European Qualifiers (@EuroQualifiers) November 13, 2017Still Italy pressed and Immobile could only shoot wide with a side-foot volley from Candreva’s right-wing centre, before Olsen had to tip over when Florenzi’s deflected cross almost looped in.With three minutes remaining, Italy poured bodies forward and Stephan El Shaarawy’s expert volley drew a fine stop from Olsen, and Parolo nodded wide from an inviting position shortly after.But there was to be no late drama in Milan, as Ventura and his side were left to deal with the embarrassment of their World Cup failure.QUALIFIED!Congratulations, Sweden!They make it to a #WorldCup for the first time since 2006 #WCQ— #WCQ (@FIFAWorldCup) November 13, 2017last_img read more

K.Sharks down AFC Leopards in pre-season friendly

first_img0Shares0000Kariobangi Sharks defender Bolton Omwenga clears the ball under pressure from AFC Leopards’ Marcelus Ingotsi during a friendly match at the Kasarani Stadium on February 5, 2017. PHOTO/Timothy OlobuluNAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 5- A brace from new signing Masoud Juma and a superb solo effort from Ovella Ochieng gave Kenyan Premier League newbies Kariobangi Sharks a 3-2 win over AFC Leopards in a pre-season friendly match played at the Kasarani Stadium on Sunday evening.AFC Leopards parading a new team from the one which played last season were punished for individual errors, and Sharks showed they will be no pushovers in their top flight debut season which begins on February 11. “I think we played well in terms of tactics and structure and we only lost because of three individual errors. It was an encouraging display especially because we fielded two different teams in either half, giving a chance to 19 players to play,” AFC head coach Stewart Hall told Capital Sport after the match.Hall paraded Leopards in a new 3-5-2 formation with new boys Salim ‘Shittu’ Abdallah and Robinson Kamura tucking in between old boy Yakubu Ramadhan. Andrew Tololwa and new signing Robert Ndung’u were employed as the right and left wingbacks.Sharks also put in most of their new signings, Osborne Monday being the anchor in midfield while Bolton Omwenga recruited from Nzoia United plied the left side of defense.Robert ‘Boban’ Mboya started in goal while former Posta Rangers man Cavin Odongo plied one of the wings with Massoud leading the attack.“It was important to win such kind of a match and it shows that we are ready for the Premier League challenge next weekend,” William Muluya, the Sharks head coach commented after the game.Typical of their style, Sharks built up from midfield with Monday taking the leadership role in midfield, doing well to dish out instructions ensuring the side never lost their team shape.Kariobangi Sharks defender Geoffrey Shiveka shields the ball from AFC Leopards new signing Robert Ndung’u during a friendly match at the Kasarani Stadium on February 5, 2017. PHOTO/Timothy OlobuluThey posed the first threat in the ninth minute, Monday switching the ball to the right to Ovella whose cross was however too close to Gabriel Andika in the Ingwe goal. Odongo had a chance on the quarter hour mark after meeting a deep cross from Michael Bodo but his flick was wide.Massoud who was always posing danger had two back to back chances in almost similar fashion. First, he cut in from the left and his right footed shot curled just wide of goal. In the second instant he did the same this time from the right and shooting on the left, the effort evading the target by inches.Sharks were rewarded for their industrious start in the 28th minute, Massoud beating Andika at his near post after intercepting an intended back pass from Ndung’u.Leopards however went level five minutes later, new signing Abdallah rising strongly to head in a corner from Allan Katterega. But right at the break, Sharks restored their one goal cushion, Ovella striking a superb swirling shot after dispossessing Marcelus Ingotsi in midfield.In the second half, Hall introduced a new team that gave a run in to Ghanaian striker Gilbert Fiamenyo and 2011 KPL player of the year Anthony Kimani.Fiamenyo who was signed last year but couldn’t be registered showed signs of his quality on the hour mark after dispossessing Mathare keeper Mboya of the ball, but his goal bound effort was cleared off the line by Geoffrey Shiveka.Fiamenyo though got his goal in the 78th minute with a cool and composed finish, beating Mboya one on one after being picked out by a pin point Abwao pass from midfield.An error from experienced keeper Ian Otieno however handed Sharks the win eight minutes from time, Massoud dispossessing the keeper of the ball and shooting into an empty net.AFC Leopards will have one more friendly match on Tuesday before firming up their weak areas ahead of the league kick off.0Shares0000(Visited 2 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

Premier League fine Crystal Palace over Cardiff team news breach

first_img1 Crystal Palace have been fined by the Premier League over an allegation that information regarding the Cardiff line-up prior to the sides’ encounter in Wales last season was leaked to the London side.The Premier League board upheld a complaint from Cardiff, who alleged that team information was leaked to officials at Palace prior to the match on April 5.“The Premier League board has considered a complaint from Cardiff City regarding the conduct of a Crystal Palace official,” a statement from the League read.“The board found that Crystal Palace breached Rule B.16 and has exercised its summary jurisdiction and fined the club.”Rule B.16 states that “in all matters and transactions relating to the League each club shall behave towards each other club and the league with the utmost good faith”. Premier League fine Crystal Palace over Cardiff team news breach last_img read more

Reports – Premier League new boys continue spending with £3.5m striker bid accepted

first_img Lee Tomlin Premier League new boys Bournemouth have had a £3.5m bid accepted by Middlesbrough for forward Lee Tomlin, according to Sky sources.Tomlin struck ten times for Boro in the Championship last season, including in their play-off semi final against Brentford, as their promotion charge ended at the final hurdle.It is believed the Cherries will pay an initial £3m fee, rising with add-ons, for a player who has barely featured in Boro manager Aitor Karanka’s pre-season plans.The 26-year-old is expected to travel to the South Coast on Wednesday to complete a medical, and will become Eddie Howe’s ninth summer signing once the formalities have been finalised.Tomlin will join fellow new attacking recruit Max Gradal at the Cherries, with the club clinching a deal for the Saint Etienne winger earlier on Tuesday. 1last_img read more

Ex-Dodger Howe killed in car

first_imgSAN DIEGO – Former Dodgers pitcher Steve Howe, who was the National League Rookie of the Year in 1980 but is best known for his repeated battles with drug and alcohol addiction, was killed early Friday morning in what appeared to be a one-vehicle, rollover accident in Coachella. He was 48. Howe pitched for the Dodgers from 1980 to 1983 and for part of 1985. An iconic photograph from the club’s World Series championship in 1981 shows Howe, having just closed out the clinching victory in Game 6, leaping in the air while flanked by Steve Garvey and Steve Yeager. “He had ice water in his veins,” former Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda said. “Nothing made him nervous. He was just an outstanding competitor. His only problem was getting involved in drugs. He could have been outstanding. It broke my heart, because I loved the guy.” “He was a great pitcher,” Valenzuela said. “He was one of those tough left-handers, because he threw hard, over 90 (mph), with a big sinker. He helped us win a lot of games. “(Drug problems) can happen to anybody, but he was a good pitcher having a great career. Through it all, he continued to be a family man.” “I just saw Steve last winter when his son was pitching against my son,” former teammate and Angels manager Mike Scioscia said Friday night. “Everything was looking up for him and he looked great. It makes you numb when you hear about a situation like this. He had a roller-coaster ride.” Dodgers Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully said Howe’s laid-back personality might have helped him stay calm amid the never-ending pressure of being a closer. “I always thought Steve had a sleepy demeanor,” Scully said. “It always seemed like his eyes were half-leaded and his head was cocked to one side. I don’t know for sure, but I assume that’s why he was so successful in all those situations.” Which isn’t to say he was above the crowd. “He was one of the most likable young people,” Monday said. “He was a guy we all rooted for to be able to get his life straightened out.” Howe’s drug abuse earned him a one-year suspension from then-commissioner Bowie Kuhn for the 1984 season. While the problems would continue, he wound up pitching for 12 seasons in the big leagues with the Dodgers, Minnesota, Texas and the New York Yankees.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREOregon Ducks football players get stuck on Disney ride during Rose Bowl eventDodgers coach Manny Mota, who was managing in the Dominican Winter League at the time, talked general manager Al Campanis into letting him take Howe there to pitch for him one offseason to keep him away from the temptations back home. “He used to call me Papa, because I took care of him,” Mota said. “I tried to comfort him when he was down. I had a great deal of respect for him. I’m really sad that this happened, because I loved him so much.” Dodgers broadcaster Rick Monday, a teammate on that ’81 championship team who also became something of a mentor to Howe, said Howe’s personal demons were at least partially the result of a childhood in which he had been physically abused. “What I remember is a young kid with the hopes and dreams of being a major-league pitcher who quickly became a very dominant pitcher out of the bullpen,” Monday said. “But he was a troubled kid because of his childhood and how he had been treated as a kid. … He certainly seemed to struggle with trying to find life and trying to find where he fit into life.” Fernando Valenzuela won the N.L. Rookie of the Year award the season after Howe did. last_img read more


first_imgThese spectacular links are complemented by an array of parkland courses which combine high-quality facilities and scenic beauty and offer a challenge to every golfer from beginner up to championship level.  Welcoming IAGTO’s decision to come to Ireland, Padraig Harrington – in his capacity as Ireland’s Golf Ambassador – emphasised what the delegates would find here. He said today: “Ireland is world-renowned for the high quality and wide choice of golf courses.“However, there’s much more than just fantastic golf. There’s award winning accommodation, a range of outdoor activities to complement a golf tour, and a unique culture and heritage that can only be found in Ireland. Keith McCormack, Head of Fáilte Ireland’s Golf Division, explained: “This is big news for the golf industry. As many of these tour operators do not feature or sell Ireland as a golfing holiday destination at the moment, they represent rich potential for significantly increasing visitors to our shores.“To achieve this, it is important to give them an opportunity to sample, for themselves, exactly what is on offer in Ireland and to get them to meet with a wide range of our golf clubs, accommodation providers, transport providers and local tour operators. The Irish golfing community meets and welcomes almost 150,000 visitors annually.  Golf is one of Ireland’s greatest tourist attractions, contributing an estimated €110 million to the economy.  “The Irish people really make Ireland stand out amongst other golf destinations, it’s the friendly welcome that makes a tour to Ireland memorable and will make any golfer want to return.” IAGTO hosts several workshops for their members around the world each year but this is the first time Ireland has hosted one.The workshops allow golf destinations, such as Ireland, an opportunity to give the world’s most important tour operators and buyers an experience of what this country has to offer – golf and otherwise. “We in Fáilte Ireland will also have our own experts on hand to promote all areas and activities available besides golf throughout Ireland. We hope to persuade these operators to sell Ireland to their clients and to significantly increase the number of inbound golfers along with the revenue they can generate for Ireland.” IRELAND’S STAR golfer Padraig Harrington today welcomed a convention to Donegal – with tour operators with a billion euros worth of business attending a convention at the luxurious Harvey’s Point Hotel this Friday.The world’s top golf trade organisation visits Ireland for the first time this Friday – and Donegal is the place they have chosen to stay.Delegates from IAGTO (The International Association of Golf Tour Operators) will be attending a special Fáilte Ireland workshop at Harvey’s Point Hotel  where they will learn first-hand from Irish golf industry members and Fáilte Ireland representatives all about what Ireland has to offer the overseas golfer. IAGTO is the global trade organisation for the golf tourism industry.  Established in 1997, IAGTO’s membership comprises almost 400 of the top specialist golf tour operators in over 50 countries.It is estimated that IAGTO’s operators control over 80% of golf holiday packages sold worldwide (outside of Asia) and turnover of more than €1 billion per year. Fáilte Ireland has significantly increased its golf budget for 2011.  A new golfing brand has been developed – “Golf Ireland – Time to Play” – which is designed to rival competing destinations such as Scotland and Wales. A new national quality assurance scheme for golf courses in Ireland has also been introduced. This new quality standard will ensure that golfing visitors are assured of the consistency and quality of services they will experience in golf courses throughout Ireland.The move is a major coup for Deirdre McGlone and the staff at Harvey’s Point.BREAKING NEWS: PADRAIG HARRINGTON WELCOMES €1BILLION GOLF TRADE CONVENTION TO DONEGAL was last modified: March 29th, 2011 by gregShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) President and Chief Executive of IAGTO, Peter Walton, welcomed the opportunity for IAGTO members to visit Donegal. He said: “This is by far the largest and most important international golf tourism event to have been staged in Ireland and it is taking place at a crucial time when outbound golfing markets are recovering, at different paces, from the economic downturn.“This event will allow buyers and suppliers to fine tune this summer’s product and offers, whilst planning ahead for the 2012 season.” Ireland has been chosen to host a succession of international professional golf championships over the past number of years – from the hugely successful Ryder Cup in 2006, to the Smurfit European Open (1995-2007), The American Express WGC Championship (2002 and 2004) and the Seve Trophy in 2002 and 2007.In 2011, the highlight of Ireland’s sporting calendar will be The Solheim Cup.  This event, the ladies’ version of the Ryder Cup, will be hosted in Killeen Castle, County Meath, between 23rd and 25th September.Fáilte Ireland will continue to support and capitalise on the recently rejuvenated Irish Open, which remains a key event on the annual European Tour Calendar. The golfing industry has faced a number of significant challenges in the last few years.  To address these, Fáilte Ireland has been working with the golf industry, through a national Golf Forum, to put in place a number of initiatives that will support the industry and help it back towards growth. Golf plays a big part in Irish tourism. There are more than 400 golf courses throughout Ireland, many set against backdrops of spectacular scenic landscapes.  Indeed, Ireland is famous for having a third of the world’s links courses. Mr McCormack added: “The arrival of our guests from the International Association of Golf Tour Operators is in keeping with our plans for the future development of the Irish golf industry. We need to be sharp in how we present our golf product and how we sell it abroad. “Ultimately, we need to fight hard alongside our overseas competitors for a significant share of the international golfing market and the event in Donegal this week will help us towards that.”last_img read more

Mayor: Thousand Oaks is in sound shape, improving

first_imgGillette said city finances are in good condition and projects are in the works that will boost sales tax revenues for the city even more. One of those projects approved by the Planning Commission this year, is a 130,000-square-foot expansion of The Oaks mall with new parking, entertainment center and Nordstrom department store expected to be completed in 2008. Other projects include plans for a Costco in Newbury Park, a Home Depot off Hampshire Road and an expansion of the Hyatt Westlake Hotel. (805) 583-7602160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESurfer attacked by shark near Channel Islands calls rescue a ‘Christmas miracle’Gillette said the city of nearly 130,000 continues to rank among the safest in the United States because of aggressive police work supported by the residents. He cited a Thousand Oaks-led investigation last year that broke a major Southern California burglary ring and recovered more than $3 million in stolen landscaping equipment. He also pointed to the “social host” ordinance adopted by the City Council and Ventura County supervisors to help police crack down on teenage parties and hold adults responsible for illegal drinking by minors on their property. Gillette said the city has initiated several projects that should save money for residents in the future, including clearing the way for cable television competition and building solar and methane gas-powered generating plants to make the city’s wastewater treatment plant nearly self-sustaining by 2007. The city is also looking at ways of using used restaurant grease to generate electricity. Residents apparently seeking alternatives to the high price of gasoline boosted ridership on the city’s bus system by 28 percent, and the city plans to support mass transit by improving its Haaland Drive transportation center with a new ticket counter, restrooms and onsite security officers. THOUSAND OAKS – With the opening of a new children’s library, construction of soundwalls along the 23 Freeway, 82,000 local jobs and $29 million a year in sales tax revenue, Thousand Oaks is in good condition, Mayor Dennis Gillette said Tuesday at the annual State of the City luncheon. “Thinking back 42 years ago to when I was a rookie with the very first Thousand Oaks Police Department, I never imagined I would stand before you today delivering this State of the City Address in 2006 as mayor,” Gillette told more than 250 business and community leaders at the event hosted by the Thousand Oaks-Westlake Village Regional Chamber of Commerce. The mayor, who was re-elected to the City Council earlier this month, is a retired Ventura County assistant sheriff and a former Thousand Oaks police chief. “The city is in good hands,” said former Mayor Bob Wilson, who joined the audience in giving Gillette a standing ovation after his speech. last_img read more


first_imgJoel Elias Gonzalez, 53, formerly of Franklin, N.C. was sentenced yesterday to 151 months in prison followed by five years of supervised release for trafficking large quantities of crystal methamphetamine, announced Jill Westmoreland Rose, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. Gonzalez pleaded guilty in February 2016 to one count of distribution of methamphetamine. U.S. Attorney Rose is joined in making today’s announcement by Daniel R. Salter, Special Agent in Charge of the Atlanta Field Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), which oversees the Charlotte District Office; C.J. Hyman, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Charlotte Field Division; Sheriff Robert L. Holland of the Macon County Sheriff’s Office; and Sheriff Chip Hall of the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office. According to filed court documents and statements made in court, from in or about June of 2015, Gonzalez was responsible for trafficking large amounts of crystal methamphetamine (crystal meth) in the Franklin, N.C. area and the Rabun County, Georgia area. Court records indicate that Gonzalez purchased the crystal meth from a source of supply in and around Atlanta, Georgia. According to court records, Gonzalez and was responsible for trafficking approximately 1.3 kilograms of crystal meth. Gonzalez is in federal custody and will be transferred to custody of the Bureau of Prisons upon designation of a federal facility. Federal sentences are served without the possibility of parole. In making today’s announcement, U.S. Attorney Rose noted that multiple agencies worked together to bring this prolific crystal methamphetamine trafficker to justice and thanked the DEA, the ATF, the Macon County Sheriff’s Office, the Jackson County’s Sheriff’s Office for investigating this case. Assistant United States Attorney Thomas Kent of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Asheville handled the prosecution.last_img read more

Sheriff Hall Receives Award

first_imgToday, May 30, 2018, Sheriff Chip Hall was recognized by the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) Committee as a Patriotic Employer.  This recognition comes in support of Guardsman Jesse Aiken, who is currently deployed with our local 210th MP Company.  In addition to Aiken’s service to our Country, Aiken is also a deputy sheriff  here in Jackson County.  Aiken nominated Sheriff Hall for this award and Pete Haithcock with the ESGR presented it today.  Aiken stated during his recommendation, “Sheriff Hall hired me as a deputy sheriff knowing that I am a member of the National Guard and he considers this as an asset to the position.  Sheriff Hall and the entire Sheriff’s Office staff openly and actively support my service in the Guard.  I consider myself very fortunate to work for this organization.”For more information about the ESGR, please follow the link below. read more