Daily Archives: June 6, 2016

Djokovic completes career grand slam at Roland Garros

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Djokovic completes career grand slam at Roland Garros

Novak Djokovic has completed his career grand slam by winning the French Open title, claiming the only major trophy that has eluded even his numerous accolades.

The Serb played against arch-rival Andy Murray in the final. Starting off shakily, he mustered an astounding comeback to overpower the Scot in three hours by 3-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-4. It was also his 24th win against Murray in 34th matches.

Djokovic’s control and power may hint at more to come in the approaching Olympics and two remaining grand slams this year. He also celebrates the milestone of becoming the eighth man to win four consecutive grand slams, and is now poised to challenge Australian legend Rod Laver’s 1969 calendar slam record.

But the World No.1 also experienced a fair number of setbacks in France. Nine-time winner Rafael Nadal had denied him twice in the grand final here, while Stan Wawrinka’s muscular onslaught felled him to the runners-up trophy last year, with which he accepted in tears as the French crowd gave him an appropriate standing ovation.

“It’s really a very special moment,” Djokovic said, “perhaps the greatest moment of my career.”

“I felt that kind of support and love from the people around that allowed me to be sitting here with the trophy. That’s for sure,” he added. “That kind of support was very well present at the stadium today.”

single

In the women’s singles, it was an upset as Serena Williams was denied another Grand Slam this calendar year after Garbine Muguruza won her first grand slam after finishing the grand final by 7-5, 6-4.

The 22-year-old could very well consider the win as making amends for conceding Wimbledon to Williams last year, as she becomes Spain’s first female champion at Roland Garros since Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario in 1998.

“I am so, so excited,” said Muguruza, who looked shocked when her lob was called in at the end of the match. “This is the tournament in Spain, being on clay, Rafa is the champion and to win here is the best.”

“I can’t explain with words what this day means to me,” she added. “You work all your life to get here. I grew up on clay so for Spain and for me this is just amazing.”

Despite losing the opportunity to move alongside Steffi Graf on the Open era record of 22 grand slams, Serena Williams has only suffered her sixth defeat in 27 Grand Slam finals since 1999. Though disappointed, she was generous.

“I think she has a bright future, obviously,” Williams said. “She knows how to play on the big stage and clearly she knows how to win. She hits the ball incredibly hard and just goes for broke on every shot and it works for her.”

Top teams underperformed in Manila Major

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Top teams underperformed in Manila Major

The main event in Manila Major will kick off this week, but top teams in the tournament are already facing troubles as they underperformed against everyone’s expectations in the group stages.

The upper bracket is now rife with teams whose names were not held in high regard before the tournament. LGD Gaming, Fnatic and Digital Chaos, are the few to exceed all expectations and enjoy the rewards of a comfortable spot at the upper brackets.

Alliance, Team Secret and Evil Geniuses – three big names in the tournament – all paid the price as the smaller teams advanced. Right now, placed at the lower bracket in Manila, they are at a crossroads between survival and elimination from the $3.1 million event.

In group C, Fnatic managed to trump Alliance by 2 games to 1 and win a spot in the upper bracket. Even before that they had done well to come out a near win against Team Liquid. In their last group game, the Asian team was able to endure two long and grueling long matches before swiftly beating Alliance in the third.

But it’s more than just the game in Group B, as Team Secret hits rock-bottom. Digital Chaos may have only placed second to Na’Vi there, but the desire to see them fail is there in two-fifths the team. In fact, their support player, Rasmus “MiSeRy” Berth Filipsen, was nothing less than vocal in his desires to “knock [Secret] out entirely” from the running.

The truth is, nobody would expect anything less when you are kicked out of your former team unceremoniously after winning a major tournament. This was exactly the case as MiSeRy and current Digital Chaos midlaner Omar “w33” Aliwi were removed from Team Secret, despite winning the Shanghai Major.

Now, the result puts Team Secret in a particularly dire situation. Despite fielding an individually-talented team, the roster failed in dramatic fashion. It was indeed a situation few could have imagined, following their signing of Evil Geniuses superstars Artour “Arteezy” Babaev and Saahil “UNiVeRsE” Arora in March.

Over in Group D, LGD Gaming was the undisputed group winner ahead of Korea’s MVP Phoenix. It was a much greater achievement when one considers that nobody had much expectations for them, given their results up until the Manila Major have been anything but impressive.

But here in Manila, they managed to win their series against both Evil Geniuses and recent WePlay Season 3 champions MVP Phoenix. There had been backlash and criticism, but now it would appear that Valve made the right decision in extending them a direct invitation to the Manila Major.

As the main event begins, LGD’s series against Fnatic is poised to become one of the more interesting matches. Both Asian teams will meet in their first international LAN setting, and we shall see show the results of their consistently improving gameplay over the past few months.

Bartra joins Dortmund, Vardy to ponder Arsenal deal

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Bartra joins Dortmund, Vardy to ponder Arsenal deal

Borussia Dortmund has agreed to sign on Barcelona defender Marc Bartra for an undisclosed contract length.

The Bundesliga club has triggered the eight million Euros clause prepared in the centre-back’s contract with the Catalans, which cannot be rejected.

Bartra has been playing with the Spanish double winners since the meager age of 12 and has starred with the youth team up to senior appearances. He made 12 appearances in all competitions last season.

The Spaniard’s departure coincides with teammate Dani Alves’s, which in turn means that Barca is set to revamp their defensive line. Rumours had indicated they had shown an interest in their former player, Arsenal’s Hector Bellerin.

However, complications may arise given that there is no inclination from the Gunners to sell Bellerin so far.

In the meantime, Barca parted with Bartra on good terms and wishes him good luck for his future at Dortmund as well. A statement written on their official site read:

“FC Barcelona wish Marc Bartra all the best in his new phase of his career as a player and he will be invited to say goodbye to the fans personally at the start of next season.”

england

In England, Arsenal has reached an agreement with Leicester City for Jamie Vardy, and the striker is expected to decide whether he will join Arsenal from Leicester City before leaving for Euro 2016 with England soon.

29-year-old Vardy will inform the Gunners of his decision before flying to the national team’s base for the tournament in Chantilly, France.

Arsenal is prepared to make a £20m and has triggered the release clause in Vardy’s contract. Should he sign, the former non-league player would receive a 4-year contract along with significantly higher wages.

However, Premier League champions Leicester City reportedly is prepared to offer a better contract to counter fourth-placed Arsenal’s.

Djokovic ‘lucky’ to stay in French Open after racket toss

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Djokovic ‘lucky’ to stay in French Open after racket toss

World number one Novak Djokovic has admitted that he was ‘lucky’ for staying in the French Open after his backwards racket-toss nearly hits a linesman behind him.

Tennis players were known to vent their frustrations in the game with or on their racket which would then be noted down by the umpire for racket abuse, but Djokovic flirted with a worse possibility.

The 29-year-old was already went two sets up but still showed frustration too as he was unable to convert a break point in the third set. In response to anger or excitement, Djokovic flung his racket backwards, which, unbeknownst to him, flew straight for a linesman.

Fortunately, by chance or good reflexes, the linesman went into evasive action and managed to dodge the racket in time and spare Djokovic disqualification as well as another year of waiting.

Had the racket hit the linesman, there was little doubt that Djokovic would have been disqualified immediately.

Djokovic immediately held up a hand in apology, and escaped with just a code-violation.

“I am aware that I have been lucky, and I apologised to people that have been in this particular situation with me and that could have been hurt by my racket,” he said after the game.

“But it was never the intention. It was just some unfortunate bounce, but fortunate ending of that scenario. That’s all I can say.”

But Djokovic’s frustrations pales in comparison to Berdych’s, who appealed fruitlessly for officials to stop the game due to rain. Indeed, the weather had dogged the entire tournament in Roland Garros, but the longest delay lasted little over 10 minutes – Djokovic merely wrapped things up as play resumes, winning 6-3, 7-5, 6-3.

And with that, Djokovic reaches his sixth-straight semi-final in the French Open to meet Austrian Dominic Thiem.