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Page 62 stories Nishikori defeats Berdych in Tour Finals Kei Nishikori was taken to three sets by Tomas Berdych as he won his first matches…

Page 62 stories

Nishikori defeats Berdych in Tour Finals

Kei Nishikori was taken to three sets by Tomas Berdych as he won his first matches of the ATP Tour Finals 7-5, 3-6, 6-3 yesterday.

Nishikori and Berdych both lost their first matches of the tournament, and it was difficult to separate the two of the in the first set. Ultimately, Nishikori’s slight superiority told when he broke in the penultimate game to win the first set 7-5.

Nishikori then broke in the opening game of the second set in what seemed set to become an easy Nishikori victory, but Berdych took six sets in a row to move to 5-2, and he took the set 6-3. It seemed that Nishikori began to physically fade as he faced the more powerful Berdych, and the Czech Republic player took advantage of an increasing number of errors.

In the third set, Nishikori was warned at 3-3 for exchanging a cracked racquet as he looked to defend some Berdych break points, and was eventually successful. From that point, it was Berdych who looked the least fit of the two, and the Japanese player broke at 5-3, and then took four straight points in his service game for victory.

Russian athletes must be banned from Rio Olympics – INADO

Russia’s track and field athletes should be banned from competing at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics in order to send a strong signal against doping, the Institute of National Doping Organisations (INADO) said yesterday.

“The ARAF, Russia’s national federation for athletics – and its athletes must be suspended from the 2016 Rio de Janeiro summer Olympic Games. The corruption in Russian athletics deserves no less,” INADO, the Germany-based umbrella organisation with 53 members worldwide, said in a statement.

“ARAF has not demonstrated that they are capable of sending a clean team to Games. A strong deterrent message must be sent that national federations cannot participate in the highest levels of competition when anti-doping has been intentionally subverted.”

The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) suspended ARAF last week following allegations of widespread and state-sponsored doping as detailed in a World Anti-Doping Agency independent commission report.

Russia has since announced a three-month road map to clean up its act, with the nation’s Olympic Committee leading efforts to ensure honest athletes can compete at the 2016 Games.

Russia said on Sunday it would ask the world athletics body to allow its athletes to compete under an Olympic banner rather than the Russian flag to circumvent a ban, but the idea was quickly brushed aside by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

“The actions by the ARAF, which deliberately flouted the rules of sport, have tainted all Russian athletes in the sport of Athletics,” INADO said.

Goffin to lead Belgium into Davis Cup final

David Goffin will lead Belgium’s bid for a first ever Davis Cup title after captain Johan van Herck selected a four-man team yesterday for next week’s final against Britain in Ghent.

World number 16 Goffin will be joined by Steve Darcis, ranked 85, Ruben Bemelmans and Kimmer Coppejans.

Belgium have not been in the final since 1904 when they lost to Britain.

Goffin, 24, has a healthy Davis Cup singles record, winning 11 of 13 matches he has played, and will need to be at his best if Belgium are to upset favourites Britain who have world number two Andy Murray in their ranks.

Darcis is likely to be the second singles player having won the crucial deciding rubber against Argentina in the semi-final.

The final will take place on a claycourt at the Flanders Expo, starting on Nov. 27.

Fredericks, others on IAAF team to inspect Russian reforms

Ex-Olympic sprinter Frankie Fredericks is part of a five-man team that will monitor Russia’s athletics federation as it bids to regain IAAF membership.

Russia was provisionally suspended by the sport’s governing body after a World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) report alleged “state-sponsored doping”.

Anti-doping expert Rune Andersen will lead the team that includes four-time Olympic silver medalist Fredericks.

IAAF president Sebastian Coe said: “The inspection team has great experience.”

Namibian Fredericks, 48, came second in the 100m and 200m at the 1992 and 1996 Olympic Games and is also a former world champion.

Andersen, who served as chief of anti-doping at the Norwegian Olympic and Paralympic Committee, will also be joined by International Association of Athletics Federation council members Abby Hoffman, Anna Riccardi and Geoff Gardner.

“After consultation with Wada, we will set the verification criteria,” Coe added.

“The five-person inspection team, led by renowned anti-doping expert Rune Andersen, has an extraordinary amount of experience to ensure Araf [Russia’s athletics federation] meets the criteria and is eligible to once again enter athletes into international competition.”

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