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'Nishikori effect' comes to Malaysia KUALA LUMPUR: Japanese tennis sensation Kei Nishikori returns to the court this week for the first time since his breakout US Open performance, leading the field as the clear favourite in the Malaysian Open.Nishikori's exploits in the United States, where he beat world number one Novak Djokovic en route to the first Grand Slam singles final appearance by an Asian man, have sent expectations for the 24-year-old soaring.Malaysian organisers, crediting the "Nishikori effect", say ticket sales for the men's event have surged well past previous years.More than 18,000 tickets had been snapped up as of Friday for the sixth edition of the Malaysian Open, they said, surpassing total sales for the entire tournament last year.Despite his crushing straight-sets loss in the US final to Croatia's Marin Cilic, Nishikori's showing vaulted him to his highest-ever ranking of eighth in the world."It was obviously frustrating to lose the (US Open) final," he ...

Watson out of Pakistan Test series with injury SYDNEY: Australia all-rounder Shane Watson was Sunday ruled out of next month's Test series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates with a calf injury.The injury-prone Watson was recovering from an ankle he sprained in training which forced him out of last month's tri one-day series in Zimbabwe when he suffered complications."While Shane has made steady progress with his rehabilitation he has suffered a setback, experiencing some right calf soreness," national team physiotherapist Alex Kountouris ...

Wenger never doubted Ozil would regain form BIRMINGHAM: Arsene Wenger insists he never thought about dropping Mesut Ozil after the Germany midfielder finally delivered a dominant display in Arsenal's 3-0 victory against Aston Villa.Ozil produced a fine finish to open the scoring from Danny Welbeck's pass and then the England striker scored his first Arsenal goal two minutes later after his team-mate had returned the favour.Aly Cissokho's own goal made it three goals in four minutes for the rampant Gunners, but it ...

Rodgers promises Liverpool revival LONDON: Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers insisted results would improve after the Merseysiders suffered their third defeat in five Premier League matches this season with a 3-1 loss away to West Ham on Saturday.A dreadful start that saw both Winston Reid and then Diafra Sakho score for the Hammers in the opening seven minutes at Upton Park ended up costing Liverpool dear.Raheem Sterling pulled a goal back in the 26th minute and Liverpool were the better ...

Pardew relieved as Cisse hands lifeline to under-fire boss NEWCASTLE: Beleaguered Newcastle boss Alan Pardew admitted he was a relieved man after Papiss Cisse's late double temporarily silenced his critics in a 2-2 draw against Hull.Pardew's struggling side were trailing 2-0 at St James' Park with just 21 minutes remaining when Senegal striker Cisse was introduced as a substitute for his first action since suffering a fractured kneecap in March.With another defeat looming, the already tense atmosphere was in danger of turning ugly for ...

Williams dreams of glory after firing Dragons to shock win LONDON: Match-winner Sam Williams is eyeing up a shot at the Super League Grand Final after Catalan Dragons kept their bid alive in dramatic fashion.The French outfit dumped former champions Leeds out of the competition at the first play-off hurdle, courtesy of Australian scrum-half Williams's late try for a 24-20 away win on Saturday.It was the 23-year-old's second score of the afternoon, while former Newcastle Knight Zeb Taia and Kiwi forward Louis Anderson also dotted ...

Local hero Park below par in swim heats INCHEON: Heavyweight rivals Park Tae-Hwan and Sun Yang won their heats in the men's 200 metres freestyle on the first day of the Asian Games swimming Sunday but local hero Park looked less than comfortable.Park, the Games poster boy after whom the Incheon aquatics arena is named, sauntered onto the pool deck looking relaxed in a pair of headphones to loud cheers from a packed crowd.But he left with a wry look after clocking one ...


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