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Sharapova pleased despite Stuttgart scare STUTTGART: Defending champion Maria Sharapova admits she had a tough opening in her bid to win a third straight Stuttgart WTA tournament title after her three-sets win over Lucie Safarova.Sharapova, who has never lost on her two appearances in Stuttgart after winning the 2012 and 2013 titles, will face Russia's Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in Thursday's last-16 tie after beating Czech Republic's Safarova 7-6(7/5), 6-7(5/7), 7-6 (7/2) late on Tuesday.Sharapova had to dig deep having been just two points away from defeat when Safarova levelled at 30-all with the scores at 6-5 in the decisive third set.The statuesque Russian, the sixth seed in Stuttgart, needed three hours, 24 minutes for the 100th clay-court victory of her career."I hadn't expected that it would be an easy match," said Sharapova, three days after her 27th birthday."There were ups and downs, but the level was good from both of us."The momentum changed hands a couple ...

Scholes makes United return to assist Giggs LONDON: Former Manchester United midfielder Paul Scholes has been drafted in to assist the club's newly appointed interim manager Ryan Giggs, United revealed on Wednesday."It's great to see Paul Scholes here at the Aon Training Complex today, assisting Ryan Giggs, Nicky Butt and Phil Neville," United said on their official Twitter feed.Giggs, 40, was placed in temporary charge of the first team on Tuesday after David Moyes was sacked as manager.Nicky Butt and Phil Neville ...
Game entering new era say Stenson, Poulter SHENZHEN: Golf is entering a new era, according to stars Henrik Stenson and Ian Poulter, with one player unlikely to dominate in the way Tiger Woods did during his prime.Injury-plagued Woods won the last of his fourteen majors six years ago and the sport's subsequent top prizes have been shared between 19 different players.Only four golfers have won more than one major since the American's triumph at the 2008 US Open -- Phil Mickelson, Padraig ...
Martinez retains IBF super-bantam title OSAKA: Spain's Kiko Martinez retained his International Boxing Federation super-bantamweight title Wednesday by beating Japan's challenger Hozumi Hasegawa with a technical knockout.American referee Robert Byrd stopped the fight one minute and 20 seconds into the seventh round when Hasegawa was floored for the third time by the Spanish champion, who remained the aggressor throughout with one-two combinations.It was the 28-year-old's second defence of the title he won by knocking out Jonathan "Momo" Romero of Colombia ...
Ian Ayre: Champions league will boost Liverpool transfer market According to Sky Sports Liverpool Managing director Ian Ayre reckons the club will be able to attract better players in the transfer market because of their Champion League qualification. Liverpool, who need seven points from their remaining three matches to claim their first Premiere League title since 1990, cannot finish lower than third place in the table, which guarantees their entry into Europe's elite next season. Reports reveal boss Brendan Rodgers will get a budget ...
FIFA suspends Barcelona transfer ban ZURICH: FIFA on Wednesday suspended a ban on Barcelona transfering players while the club makes an appeal against the sanction.Football's world body, which this month banned Barcelona from buying or selling players for 14 months for breaching rules on the registration of minors, announced the suspension in a statement.Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2014 ...
Nuremburg sack coach Verbeek BERLIN: Bundesliga strugglers Nuremburg announced on Wednesday that coach Gertjan Verbeek has been sacked.The decision to fire the 51-year-old Dutchman follows a 4-1 home to defeat to Bayer Leverkusen last weekend that left the club second bottom of the league and facing relegation."After a run of defeats for the club, we have decided to take the necessary steps to get back to winning ways while we still have three matches to play," general manager Martin ...


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