Firstpost Spodcast Episode 84: Alexander Zverev clinches ATP Finals title, Mary Kom win in Women's World Boxing Championships and more
Alexander Zverev clinches ATP Finals title, Mary Kom win in Women's World Boxing Championships — we discuss these stories and more on Episode 84 of Spodcast.
Hello and welcome to Spodcast, the sports update on Firstpost.
Young Indian boxer Manisha Moun sent reigning world champion Dina Zhalaman of Kazakhstan packing with another authoritative win in the 54kg category to place herself one step away from grabbing a maiden medal in the AIBA Women's World Championships, currently being held in New Delhi. The 20-year-old Manisha won a 5-0 unanimous verdict against her more experienced rival in a pre quarter-final bout in her maiden World Championships.
Two other Indians, Lovlina Borgohain (69kg) and Kachari Bhagyabati (81kg), also made it to the quarter-finals with 5-0 and 4-1 wins on points in their respective pre quarter-final bouts.
Shubhankar Sharma became the first Indian to emerge as the Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year on the European Tour despite a disappointing final round of 80 at the DP World Tour Championships on Sunday. Arjun Atwal (1995), Shiv Kapur (2005) and C Muniyappa (2009) had emerged as Rookie of the Year on the Asian Tour, but this is the first time an Indian has emerged on top on the European Tour.
Sharma has been slowly, but steadily, expanding his tournament presence. Through the season, Sharma played 26 events, including all four Majors, but made the cut in only the Open Championships, which was in the same week as his 22nd birthday.
India are yet to shed their "poor travellers" tag but head coach Ravi Shastri feels that it's unfair to pick on one particular side when most of the nations have fared poorly on away tours. For the record, India have lost two away Test series in 2018, against South Africa (1-2) and England (1-4). This was after both tours were seen as best chance for Virat Kohli's men to set the poor overseas record straight.
Asked how important it is for India to win the series in Australia, Shastri said: "You have got to learn from your mistakes. When you go overseas and when you look at teams that travel around now, there aren't too many sides (that travel well).” He did remain optimistic about India’ chances Down Under. He said, "… we are taking no prisoners and we want to go out and put our best foot forward, focussing on our game rather than focussing outside.”
Australian cricket authorities are bracing up for a final round of deliberations on reducing the ball-tampering ban on Steve Smith and David Warner, with a face-off against an upbeat India awaiting the weakened home team.
According to sources, the CA board will convene a meeting early this week to discuss whether the ban on Smith, Warner and Cameron Bancroft should be reduced.
Harry Kane fired England into the Nations League semi-finals as Gareth Southgate's side scored twice in the last 12 minutes to seal a dramatic 2-1 victory over Croatia on Sunday. England were on the brink of relegation to the second tier of the competition after Andrej Kramaric gave Croatia the lead against the run of play in the second half at Wembley. But Southgate's vibrant young side pulled off a stirring escape act in the closing stages to gain a measure of revenge for their World Cup semi-final defeat against Croatia earlier this year.
This victory over Croatia was a special moment for England, who have in the recent past, not had the greatest run against Croatia – the latest World Cup woes, and of course, the 2007 loss that cost them a place at Euro 2008.
21-year-old Alexander Zverev emphatically announced his arrival at the top of the men's game by overpowering Novak Djokovic 6-4, 6-3 to win his first ATP Finals title on Sunday. The young German, making his second appearance at the end-of-season showpiece, outlasted six-time champion Roger Federer in the semi-finals and repeated the feat against the World No 1.
Zverev, coached by Ivan Lendl, played a tight game throughout, except once when Djokovic broke him early in the second set. Djokovic had not been broken once in the tournament coming into the match, winning all 36 service games and only facing two break points but Zverev wrecked his numbers, breaking four times in the match.
World number one Djokovic will try to complete the first calendar Slam since Rod Laver in 1969 and only the fourth ever after Laver in 1962 and Don Budge in 1938.
US Open: Djokovic scripts another comeback win to reach final, nears calendar-year Grand Slam milestone
He will face Daniil Medvedev in the final who defeated Felix Auger-Aliassime in the last four.
Medvedev will play Sunday's final at Arthur Ashe Stadium against the winner of a later semi-final between top-ranked Djokovic and Tokyo Olympic champion Alexander Zverev.