Welcome to Spodcast, the sports update on Firstpost.
Roger Federer suffered a shock defeat in the ATP Finals tournament in London on Monday. Federer, who has won the tournament six times, was surprised by World No 9 Kei Nishikori of Japan in the round-robin match. Nishikori won the match 7-6, 6-3.
Nishikori had lost to Federer in Shanghai as well as Paris in the last few weeks, but managed to defeat an error-prone Federer in straight sets on Monday. Federer committed as many as 34 unforced errors during the match. Nishikori capitalised on the errors and forced a tiebreak in which he shot to a 6/1 lead before sealing it 7/4. It was a difficult day for World No 3 Federer. The usually cool-as-ice Swiss was warned by the umpire for ball abuse during the 12th game after Nishikori sent a blistering backhand winner down the line.
Federer broke Nishikori’s serve in the first game of the second set, only to have his own serve broken immediately. Nishikori broke Federer’s serve once more in the sixth game to eventually win the set and match.
Nishikori will face Kevin Anderson, ranked sixth in the world, in his next match. Meanwhile, World No 5, Alexander Zverev of Germany, defeated World No 7 Marin Cilic 7-6, 7-6 on Monday. It was a match littered with too many unforced errors.
Zverev was the favourite coming into the match, having defeated Cilic on five previous occasions. Cilic began by breaking Zverev’s serve and was leading 5-3, but was broken back. The Croatian is known to crumble under pressure and that is what followed. Zverev inched his way back into the set, taking it to a tiebreak, and even winning the tiebreak 7-5. The second set saw Cilic break Zverev to make it 4-3, only to have his own serve broken again to make it 4-4. The set went to a tiebreak again, and Zverev bossed it 7-1 to take the match.
In football news, Real Madrid have promoted Santiago Solari to the role of permanent coach after the team showed improved performances under his guidance.
Solari, who was coaching Castilla, was appointed interim coach of Real Madrid after the sacking of the previous coach Julen Lopetegui.
A press release from the Spanish football federation said, “Everything is in order. Real Madrid have worked out his contract and there are no problems.” Madrid club director Emilio Butragueno said, “He has done excellently. We are very happy with how things have gone.”
When he was appointed interim coach, Solari had said, “It's a great opportunity and it's a great club. I've been here with other teams, I've played and sweated in the shirt of this club. Madrid is bigger than all of us but it touches us all with its greatness. I want to be a part of it.”
After Lopetegui was fired, Real Madrid posted four wins out of four games under Solari. Real scored 15 goals and conceded just two, which made Solari look like the best man for the job. The team is now just four points behind first-placed Barcelona in the league table.
India’s spin bowler Kuldeep Yadav, who had a good T20 series against the West Indies, is now ranked 23rd in the ICC’s T20 bowling rankings, the best of his career so far.
Yadav, who was ranked 37 prior to the series, picked up five wickets in two matches at an economy-rate of 5.6 in India's 3-0 sweep of the reigning T20 champions.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar moved up nine places to the 19th rank and Jasprit Bumrah moved up five spots to number 21.
Indian batsmen Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan also improved their rankings. Sharma is now ranked seventh while Dhawan moved up to 16th place.
In team rankings, Pakistan hold on to the top spot for T20s while India are ranked second.
India will take on Australia in three T20Is between 21 and 25 November.
India’s challenge at the ongoing World Women’s Chess Championship in Russia came to an end after Harika Dronavalli was defeated by former champion Alexandra Kosteniuk of Russia.
Harika was going well until the tiebreaker of the third round. She then received a jolt in the first game of the rapid tiebreak where both players have 25 minutes on the clock. The Indian Grandmaster looked like she was done but then staged a major comeback — she won the return game with white pieces to level the score.
However, on Sunday, in the 10-minute games, she lost the first game with black. She lost the second game as well, and found herself in a must-win situation with white, but could only manage a draw against Kosteniuk.
Updated Date: Nov 13, 2018 15:15 PM