Welcome to Spodcast, the sports update on Firstpost.
World No 1 Naomi Osaka has parted ways with coach Sascha Bajin just over two weeks after winning the Australian Open.
Osaka tweeted yesterday, "...I will no longer be working together with Sascha. I thank him for his work and wish him all the best in the future." Bajin, a former hitting partner to Serena Williams, replied, "Thank you Naomi. I wish you nothing but the best as well. What a ride that was. Thank you for letting me be part of this."
Osaka, the first Asian to hold the top ranking in women's tennis following the win in this year's Australian Open, had worked with the German coach for just over a year. She joined forces with Bajin in late 2017 and enjoyed a breakthrough year, winning the prestigious Indian Wells tournament and then won her first Grand Slam at Flushing Meadows. Bajin was named WTA coach of the year.
No reason has been given for the split between Osaka and Baijin.
Osaka is, of course, the new darling of women's tennis. Chris Evert said about her, "Winning back-to-back grand slam tournaments is a rare and special achievement, and I'm thrilled these results have propelled Naomi to the top of the women's game. Her exciting brand of tennis, coupled with the dignity she displays on and off court, is a winning combination that tennis fans really embrace."
News from the Champions League. Manchester United taste defeat in first leg against PSG, while AS Roma beat FC Porto
Despite the absence of Neymar and Edinson Cavani, Paris Saint-Germain beat Manchester United 2-0 at Old Trafford in the first leg of their Round of 16 encounter. Kylian Mbappe and Presnel Kimpembe got on the scoresheet, while United's Paul Pogba was sent off. After a run of 10 wins and one draw in 11 games since Solskjaer replaced the sacked Jose Mourinho in December, a first defeat for the Norwegian is a reality check for United's revival and they have a mountain to climb when the sides meet again for the second leg on 6 March.
In Rome, Nicolo Zaniolo scored twice to give AS Roma a 2-1 victory, but the away goal means Porto are still in the contest.
In other tennis news, World number ten Caroline Wozniacki has become the latest star name to pull out of the Qatar Open. World No 1 Naomi Osaka also pulled out a few days before the start of the tournament because of a back injury.
Wozniacki told reporters, "I'm sick, basically, It's a short story. Just not feeling well. I had a fever. Yeah, just don't feel well. Gonna go back to bed and rest up." Tournament organizers said she has a "viral illness."
It has not been a happy week for the organizers of the Qatar Open. Australian world number 14 Ashleigh Barty, and 19th-ranked Caroline Garcia of France, also announced on Tuesday that they would not be able play in the tournament. Barty said, "Unfortunately I have withdrawn from Doha and Dubai with a minor hip injury. After consulting with the WTA doctors, I have taken their advice to have a few weeks' rest."
Some sad news for football fans. Gordon Banks, England's goalkeeper when they lifted the World Cup in 1966, died on Tuesday. He was 81. His passing was announced by his former club Stoke City.
Banks played every game of the 1966 campaign on home soil, and is also remembered for a wonderful save that denied a goal to Brazilian great Pele in the 1970 World Cup. His family said Banks, who lost an eye in a car crash in 1972, had passed away in his sleep. They released a statement that said, "It is with great sadness...we announce that Gordon passed away peacefully overnight. We are devastated to lose him but we have so many happy memories and could not have been more proud of him."
His teammate in that '66 final, Geoff Hurst - who scored a hat-trick in the 4-2 win over West Germany - tweeted, "Very sad to hear the news that Gordon has died. One of the very greatest...Sad for football, Stoke City and for England fans. Will be very sadly missed."
West Indies fast bowler Shannon Gabriel was warned by on-field umpires for using abusive language after an altercation with England captain Joe Root during the third day of the third Test in St Lucia, according to British media reports.
According to The Guardian, Gabriel's comments were not picked up by stump microphones but Root was heard telling the bowler:
"There's nothing wrong with being gay". Umpires Rod Tucker and Kumar Dharmasena had a word with Gabriel soon after.
Root, who finished the day on 111 not out, refused to divulge what Gabriel remarked, saying it should stay on the field. He said, "It's Test cricket and (Shannon) is an emotional guy trying to do everything he can to win a test match. Sometimes people say things on the field that they might regret. I don't want anything said in the middle to ruin what's been a good Test series for him and his team. He's a good guy who plays hard cricket and is proud to be in the position he is. The battle was a good contest."
West Indies' coach Richard Pybus claimed he was not aware of what transpired but promised to address the issue if anything "untoward" was said. By the end of play on day three, England were 325-4 in the second innings, giving them a lead of 448 runs with Root and Ben Stokes still at the crease.
We reported yesterday about the shocking attack on DDCA selector Amit Bhandari by a U-23 cricketer from Delhi. The Delhi & Districts Cricket Association is all set to impose a life ban on Anuj Dedha, the U-23 player who had assaulted Bhandari for not selecting him in the state U-23 side.
Dedha, along with 15 others, attacked Bhandari with hockey sticks, cricket bats and rods, due to which the former pacer sustained injuries on his forehead and other body parts. Bhandari was later taken to hospital and discharged after treatment. Dedha is currently under police custody.
DDCA president Rajat Sharma said a meeting will be held today to decide the quantum of punishment. He explained, "We have a meeting... but as our former captain Gautam Gambhir has suggested, I think there is no other option left apart from imposing a life ban on this man Anuj Dedha. Whatever he has done, he only deserves exemplary punishment...We need to discuss selection issues but I want to assure all selectors that they should continue to fearlessly select sides. I am with them. I have met the Lt Governor Anil Baijal and requested him to ask the police authorities to probe all angles. I would like to know if there is any deep rooted conspiracy in this attack."
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Updated Date: Feb 13, 2019 12:58:02 IST