Daily Archives: April 19, 2016

Rafael Nadal wins at Monte Carlo for 28th Masters title

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Rafael Nadal wins at Monte Carlo for 28th Masters title

Rafael Nadal sank to his knees as he defeats Gael Monfils with a brilliant forehand winner at the Monte Carlo Masters grand final by 7-5, 5-7, 6-0 to claim his 28th Masters title.

But it was not all smooth sailing for the Spaniard; Nadal had to overcome a rather shaky serve to earn his points against the Frenchman. Both conceded 34 breaks points in between, but Nadal converts eight of his 21 chances to edge his opponent, although Monfils showed a better ratio with 13 out of 5.

Monfils also earned the backing of his home crowd as he made challenges against Nadal throughout. But having earlier saved set point, the pressure took its toll on the Frenchman and he double-faulted to hand fifth seed Nadal a close-fought opening set.

The pair traded five breaks of serve in a gruelling second set, but it was Monfils who edged the former world number one to level. Nadal then took control of the decider and raced into a 5-0 lead, and simply ended with his winner.

The record was Nadal’s 28th Masters title, and the increase in his tally moves him alongside Novak Djokovic. It was also his first Monte Carlo win here since 2012, when he had been winning it for eight consecutive years.

The Serbian had been beaten in the same tournament by 22-year-old Jiri Vesely, a Czech national. Vesely was then defeated at the hands of by Monfils.

After his win at the Monte Carlo Country Club, Rafael Nadal used “so special” to describe his first Masters title since Madrid two years ago.

“I had a tough season last year, but I’ve had better preparation this year – even with a tough start to the season,” he added. “It’s great to win a Masters title again. I hope this week will help me a lot.”

Golden State Warriors route Houston Rockets in playoffs

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Golden State Warriors route Houston Rockets in playoffs

The Golden State Warriors marked their NBA playoffs opener with a bang, as the team does well to suppress the Houston Rockets by 104-78 albeit on home ground.

Reigning MVP Stephen Curry did Stephen Curry things in whatever time he had in the first half, as a tweaked ankle finally slow the baby-faced killer down.

He utterly flustered defensive Patrick Beverley. But as Jason Terry took his turn to stop Curry, Curry simply pulled up for long 3s and drove the baseline for reverse layups on the left side. He dribbled right through traffic in the paint late in the first half before double-pumping and beautifully spinning the ball off the glass.

But after scoring 24 points, he rested as the rest of his team completed the job.

“Right now I don’t see a scenario I would be out,” Curry said post-game. “Pain tolerance, all that stuff, I kind of know what I can deal with on the court.”

But the rest of the Warriors showed concern with the inclusion of Draymond Green, who helped himself to 12 points and 10 rebounds.

“You lose the MVP of the NBA it definitely changes your team,” Green said. “There’s some concern.”

Even as his status for the next return game seems uncertain, everything the Rocket threw at the Warriors: lineup-change, physical against curry and changing offense leaders were futile.

Rockets fans were even more disappointed as they saw their players bicker on the bench, and at one point, interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff had to go loud during one timeout before charting a play.

Houston trailed by a postseason franchise-record 27 points at halftime, but the locker room did not resemble a team that believed that their season was over. They just need to James Harden going despite his flopping.

Harden scored 17 points and did not even get a free throw attempt for a cold-shooting Houston, held to six field goals in the first quarter of the rematch from last year’s Western Conference finals, won by Golden State in five.

Leicester draws as Vardy sees red; Aston Villa relegated

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Leicester draws as Vardy sees red; Aston Villa relegated

Jamie Vardy reacts angrily towards referee Jon Moss after seeing red.

It was hardly a routine day for Leicester City in their quest for a fairy tale Premier League title this season. The Foxes saw two penalties in a single half of one game against West Ham United, and were forced to a dramatic 2-2 draw in front of their tremor-causing home supporters.

But to begin the narration, one would need to begin with the curious case of Jamie Vardy’s red card. The English top striker made a crisp finish following a fast break, netting his 22nd goal of the season to equal Harry Kane’s record.

And no one would argue that his second yellow card was deserved; referee Jon Moss made the right call as Vardy clearly went into Angelo Ogbonna, falling theatrically as his legs tangled with the defender’s. It was the first; almost everyone saw that Vardy hardly touch Cheikhou Kouyat – the yellow was perhaps a warning too harsh.

Leicester held on regardless, but things looked hardly looked optimistic for the Foxes as Andy Carroll slotted home to end Leicester’s run of 574 minutes without conceding a league goal and Aaron Cresswell looked to have opened the door to the Tottenham with a stunning left-footed finish two minutes later.

In injury time and perhaps in the spirit of being balanced, another controversial decision when he pointed to the spot once more after Carroll made the lightest of contact with Jeff Schlupp.

West Ham clearly felt Moss had evened things up after earlier decisions in their favour, but Ulloa was not concerned as he took the chance to secure what might yet be a vital point – although Leicester will be without Vardy for next weekend’s home game with Swansea.

Even then, they will be wary and looking behind their shoulders. Tottenham could very well gain on them with their game in hand against Stoke. Furthermore, as Spanish giants Barcelona had demonstrated over the course of the past few weeks, no one is above a very bad fumble.

Aston Villa is confirmed for relegation following their 1-0 defeat to Manchester United.

Aston Villa is confirmed for relegation following their 1-0 defeat to Manchester United.

But that as it may, when comparing the number of complaints, this season’s Premier League sufferers Aston Villa will have plenty more than Leicester City but deserve none.

With their defeat at the hands of Manchester United and the single Marcus Rashford goal, an atmosphere of sadness and recrimination shrouds every single Villa supporter in Old Trafford.

Their first relegation in 29 years, Aston Villa is now left with four pointless matches to play after their ninth straight loss which saw them lagging behind with 15 points from safety.

Caretaker boss Eric Black experienced relegation from the Premier League at rivals Birmingham City, and knows how difficult it will be to bounce back.

“The physicality is different to the Premier League and we are a big, big fish in that division,” said Black. “I don’t think anybody is under any illusion this is going to be plain sailing.”

“But I’m sure there will be a thousand people who will want to sit in that (manager’s) seat,” Black added. “I don’t know how many clubs would have 30-35,000 coming to games when they have hardly seen a victory.”

“We need to rebuild the team into something the supporters can be proud of.”