Murray, Kerber start Australian Open at top

first_imgIt’s new and exciting for Andy Murray and Angelique Kerber, entering a Grand Slam tournament with the No. 1 in front of their names.Both reached the top of the rankings for the first time near the end of 2016, ending long reigns by Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams.And so they’ll open their Australian Open campaigns on Rod Laver Arena on day one – both against Ukrainians.Murray, a five-time runner-up, opens his pursuit of a first Australian title against Illya Marchenko in the last-day match on the main show court. Kerber opens the night session against Lesia Tsurenko. She’ll be followed on court by Roger Federer, who is returning from six months on the sidelines.The ‘one-round-at-a-time’ clichÈ is well worn in tennis. For Kerber, though, it’s pertinent. Seeded seventh last year, the left-handed German had to save a match point in the first round against Misaki Doi. Spurred on by that, she went on to beat Serena Williams in the final and claim her first Grand Slam title. She added a second major at the US Open and ascended to the No. 1 ranking.”I think this point where I was match point down, that was the important point for my career,” Kerber said yesterday, speaking of her first-round escape against Doi. “You never know (if) I lost the match, what would have happened.”WITHOUT PRESSUREIt gave her the freedom to play without pressure, and that made all the difference.”When I’m looking back, I was feeling that I got a second chance to stay in the tournament,” she said. “I was playing since then without expectation … just enjoying everything.”Kerber can hang on to the top ranking by reaching to the final here, but she’s already feeling there’s more to defend than her title.”It’s a new challenge for me, for sure,” she said, but we are starting from zero here. I have to be ready from the first round again.”I will try to not put too much expectation and pressure on myself. I mean, I will try to do it like last year – that was the way I had my success.”Record-chasing, six-time champions Djokovic and Williams, seeded No. 2 and anchoring the bottom half of the men’s and women’s draws, won’t be in action until day two. Djokovic is aiming to be the first man to win seven Australian titles. Serena Williams is chasing an Open-era record 23rd major title.last_img read more

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K’Ogalo slay Ingwe to clinch 17th KPL title

first_img0Shares0000AFC Leopards fans celebrate their win over AFC Leopards on August 25, a win that saw them clinch a 17th Kenyan Premier League title. PHOTO/Raymond MakhayaNAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 25 – Gor Mahia clinched a record 17th Kenyan Premier League title on Saturday afternoon after beating their arch rivals AFC Leopards 2-0 in a trouble ridden Mashemeji Derby at the Moi Sports Centre Kasarani.K’Ogalo defended the title with six matches to spare. With focus fixed on their CAF Confederations Cup tie against USM Alger in Algeria on Wednesday, Gor head coach Dylan Kerr fielded a second string team, the same that thrashed Sofapaka 3-0 in midweek and they did not disappoint.In an eventful match, the game had to be stopped for nine minutes after a section of AFC Leopards supporters started throwing projectiles into the pitch following Gor’s second goal.After resumption, Ingwe had a chance to draw back level from the penalty spot, but Whyvonne Isuza struck his effort wide.Gor had gone ahead with super fine goals from Boniface Omondi and Bernard Ondiek.AFC Leopards defender Isaac Oduro shields the ball away from Gor Mahia’s Lawrence Juma during a Kenyan Premier League match at the Moi Sports Centre Kasarani on August 25, 2018. PHOTO/Timothy OlobuluUp until Omondi’s 31st minute goal, the game had broken off into a procession, none of the two sides injecting pace into the game. Incidentally, it was goal scorer Omondi who seemed the liveliest of the 22 players on the pitch as he attempted to get into speed whenever he got the ball.The pint sized winger provided the first chance of the game in the third minute when he lifted the ball into Samuel Onyango’s path, but the striker took a heavy first touch allowing keeper Ezekiel Owade to come out and pick the ball.Two minutes on the turn, Joachim Oluoch was almost punished when a missed pass straight into the middle of the pack was intercepted by Alex Orotomal who sent Brian Marita through, but the winger’s shot was awry.Gor had a good chance to break the deadlock on the quarter hour mark when Cersidy Okeyo’s freekick landed on Bernard Ondiek at the back post but his header was weak, straight into Owade’s arms.AFC should have been one up after 27 minutes but the gods of luck never smiled their way after Gor defender Wesley Onguso almost turned the ball into his own net as he looked to clear away a flicked ball from Marita.Gor Mahia’s Boniface Omondi celebrates with teammate Lawrence Juma after scoring against AFC Leopards in a Kenyan premier League match on August 25, 2018. PHOTO/Raymond MakhayaFour minutes later, Gor broke the deadlock, the game’s liveliest player hitting the back of the net with a low shot from the edge of the box after drifting into space when the ball was played out to him from the left.AFC were stunned while the green half of the divide danced in joy.The level of happiness should have gone same in the 37th minute, but AFC missed a great chance with Isaac Oduro’s freekick from a good scoring position went straight into the wall.Two minutes later, they were punished.Gor won the ball in midfield and Karim Nizigiyimana spread it wide on the other end to Omondi who cut into the box and sliced a pass back to Ondiek who took the simplest of finishes beating Owade one on one.After the second goal, hell broke loose with a section of Ingwe supporters breaking seats and throwing into the pitch, protesting that in the build up to the goal there was a foul on their player.After nine minutes, the game resumed though and AFC should have surely clawed back some hope of a comeback. They were given a penalty after Charles Momanyi handled inside the box as he defended a cross, but Whyvonne Isuza blasted the kick wide.In the second half, AFC came brighter with head coach Rodolfo Zapata making a double switch bringing on Vincent Oburu and Eugene Mukangula for the ineffective Baker Lukooya and Edward Seda.AFC Leopards skipper Duncan Otieno wins the ball ahead Gor Mahia’s Samuel Onyango during a Kenyan Premier League match at the Moi Sports Centre Kasarani on August 25, 2018. PHOTO/Timothy OlobuluAFC were more incisive going forward, but they could not crack the backline of Momanyi and Joachim Oluoch which had stood firm, Oluoch particularly putting in a huge shift.Four minutes from the restart, Mukangula swung in a sweet looking cross after skipping away from Wesley Onguso on the left, but Isuza’s effort on the volley went over unmarked inside the box.AFC’s Nigerian striker Orotomal was causing all the danger and had two chances, one with a shot from the left which was well handled by the keeper while minutes later, his effort from the edge of the area was blocked.In the 71st minute, Orotomal was presented with another glorious opportunity when Oduro’s cross from the left picked him out, but his shot went straight to keeper Fredrick Odhiambo.Gor turned the game into a training session, passing the ball around much to the cheer of the fans who enjoyed every touch of the ball.With champagne chilling in ice, the Gor bench and the fans stood on their feet over the entire final five minutes of the game and once the referee’s final whistle sounded, the party flowed over from the stands into the pitch.0Shares0000(Visited 2 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

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Uganda appoints Irishman McKinstry as new coach

first_img0Shares0000New Uganda coach Johnny Mckinstry was previously in charge of Sierra Leone and Rwanda © AFP/File / Issouf SANOGOKAMPALA, Uganda, Sep 30 – Northern Irishman Johnny Mckinstry has been appointed as the new coach of Uganda, the national federation announced on Monday, replacing Frenchman, Sebastien Desabre.“Johnny Mckinstry will now take over the Cranes,” said Edgar Watson, the chief executive of the Federation of Uganda Football Associations (FUFA). He later told AFP he hoped the new coach would “build further on the successes the team has attained in the past months.”McKinstry, 34, formerly worked as coach for the Sierra Leone and Rwanda national teams as well as Lithuanian side Kauno Zalgiris and Saif Sporting in Bangladesh.He takes over from Desabre, who left the position in July for Egypt’s Pyramids FC after guiding Uganda to the last 16 of the 2019 Afcon finals.“I am delighted and honoured to serve Uganda and I thank FUFA for choosing me as the new coach,” McKinstry told AFP.“The Cranes is one of the best teams on the African continent and I am excited about the opportunity and I promise to make the team better.”0Shares0000(Visited 9 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

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