Listen: Full script of Episode 216 of Spodcast where we discuss England's victory over SA, Novak Djokovic, Serena Williams' French Open 3rd round wins and more
In today's episode, we talk about England's victory against South Africa in the opening match of the Cricket World Cup, latest results from the French Open and more.
Ben Stokes’s standout all-round performance saw the hosts thrash the Proteas by a massive 104 runs.
Women’s top seed Naomi Osaka survived another scare to make it to the last 32 while Serena Williams also qualified.
In the men’s draw, Novak Djokovic cruised into the last 32 for the 14th successive year, admitting it had been an emotional day playing for the first time in front of his four-year-old son.
Cricket news first. The 2019 World Cup got underway on Thursday as England took on South Africa in the first match of the tournament. Ben Stokes’s standout all-round performance saw the hosts thrash the Proteas by a massive 104 runs.
South Africa won the toss and put England in to bat first. They dismissed the dangerous Jonny Bairstow for a first-ball duck but there was no respite as Jason Roy and Joe Root scored at a fair clip to bring up England’s 100 in the 17th over. Roy made 54 runs from 53 balls while Root made 51 from 59 balls. England captain Eoin Morgan also scored a half century, making 57 from 60 balls, as he built a 106-run partnership with Ben Stokes. The best innings of the day came from Stokes, who smashed 89 runs form 79 balls, including 12 boundaries. Lungi Ngidi was the most successful bowler for the Proteas, taking 3/66 as England finished at 311/8.
South Africa’s batting never really posed a serious challenge as England bowled with discipline. Quinton de Kock top scored with 68 runs from 74 balls while Rassie van der Dussen made 50 from 61 balls. The rest of the top and middle order failed as South Africa were all out for a paltry 207 in just 39.5 overs. Andile Phehlukwayo resisted for a bit with a belligerent 24 from 25 balls but fell to a fabulous one-handed catch by Ben Stokes who was manning the leg side boundary. Stokes then took the last two wickets in consecutive balls to wrap up a clinical win for tournament favourites England. Jofra Archer, who outclassed the South African batting line up, was the pick of England’s bowlers, taking 3/27 from seven overs. Stokes was named Player of The Match for his match-winning all round performance.
In tennis news from the French Open, women’s top seed Naomi Osaka survived another scare to make it to the last 32 while Serena Williams also qualified.
Osaka came back from a set and 2-4 down to defeat former world number one Victoria Azarenka 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 in a thrilling match on Thursday. The win comes right after her close shave in the previous round against Anna Karolina Schmiedlova, where Osaka was two points away from crashing out of the tournament. Despite squandering two match points late in the deciding set, the 21-year-old held her nerve to win in two hours and 50 minutes. She will meet Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic in the next round. Osaka said after the match, “I was lucky to have played Victoria twice before. I knew she had been playing well coming into the tournament. It was an unfortunate second round draw for me so I am happy to win.”
Serena Williams thrashed Japanese qualifier Kurumi Nara to step up her bid for a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title. The 37-year-old cruised to a 6-3, 6-2 victory and next faces fellow American Sofia Kenin. If Williams and Osaka continue to win, they could face off in the quarterfinal, the first time since Osaka’s famous win at last year’s US Open final.
In the men’s draw, Novak Djokovic cruised into the last 32 for the 14th successive year, admitting it had been an emotional day playing for the first time in front of his four-year-old son. Djokovic is bidding to become just the second man to hold all four Slams at the same time twice. On Thursday, the world no 1 cruised to a 6-1, 6-4, 6-3 win over Swiss lucky loser Henri Laaksonen. He will face Italian qualifier Salvatore Caruso, ranked 147, for a place in the last 16.
In shooting, India produced their best ever show at the ISSF World Cup after sweeping both the mixed team titles on Thursday for a final tally of five gold medals in Munich, Germany.
India topped the medal count with five golds and a silver, while second-placed China bagged nine medals — two gold, two silver and five bronze medals.
The pair of Anjum Moudgil and Divyansh Singh Panwar won the 10m Air Rifle mixed team gold, while the teenage pair of Manu Bhaker and Saurabh Chaudhary won the 10m Air Pistol mixed team title, rounding off a dominating show by the Indian squad at the year's third International Shooting Sport Federation world cup stage. In fact, in the Mixed Air Rifle, it was an all India gold medal match, and Apurvi Chandela and Deepak Kumar won India’s only silver medal, going down to their compatriots 2-16.
India’s gold medallists include Apurvi Chandela, who won the 10m Air Rifle event for women, Rahi Sarnobat, who won the 25m pistol women’s event, and Saurabh Chaudhary, who won the 10m Air Pistol Men’s event besides the Mixed Team titles won on the last day.
Indian athletes won five gold medals and three silver medals at the Under-20 Eurasian Athletics Championships held in Almaty, Kazakhstan on Thursday.
Under-20 national teams from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Iran, India and Tajikistan competed in the two-day athletics meet.
Day one on Wednesday saw Gurvinder Singh clock 10.42 seconds in the boys' 100m to claim the gold while Vikrant Panchal took the top spot in the boys' 400m with a time of 47.90 seconds. In the girls' 400m final, Florence Barla won the gold medal with a time of 54.73 seconds.
On day two, Sreekiran bagged the boys' 800m gold with a time of 1:54.62 while Rohit Yadav won a fifth gold medal for India after finishing on top in the boys' javelin throw by clearing a distance of 74.55m.
India also won a gold in mixed relay as the team comprising Abdul Razak, Priscilla Daniel, Florence Barla, Vikrant Panchal won the 4x400m race in a time of 3:30.58s.
The three silver medals were won by Abdul Razak, Priscilla Daniel and Sahil Silwal in the 400m, 800m and javelin events respectively.
Stefanos Tsitsipas triumphed as Lorenzo Musetti collapsed from the brink of a famous Paris win for the second year in succession.
Naomi Osaka admitted to battling with depression and not finding the joy in wins. She hopes to put that and knowledge of her clay record aside at the French Open.
Iga Swiatek with her 28-match winning streak is the clear favourite to win the women's singles title at the 2022 French Open but one mustn't forget that the Grand Slam has had surprising winners over the years.