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Aqeel, Ushna reach finals

LAHORE: Pakistan’s No.1 Aqeel Khan and top seed Ushna Suhail reached the men’s and women’s singles finals in the fourth Hassan Tariq Rahim Masters Cup (Invitational) Tennis Tournament here at Lahore Gymkhana on Saturday.

Top seed Aqeel faces Mohammad Abid while Ushna takes on Sara Mehboob in their respective finals to be staged on Sunday.

In his semi-final, Aqeel faced tough resistance from Muzammil Murtaza before the top seed edged past his rival 7-6(5), 7-5.

Muzammil stretched Aqeel as both held their respective serves to be tied at 6-6 to enter the tie-breaker in the opening set. Here Aqeel using his vast experience, ultimately prevailed over his opponent and bagged the set.

The same situation arose in the second set as both players were tied at 5-5 before Aqeel managed to break his rival’s serve in the 11th game and then held his own to win the battle and book a place in the decider.

Meanwhile, Abid overwhelmed Ahmed Chaudhry 6-0, 7-6(2) in the other semi-final.

Though Abid cruised to victory in the first set, Ahmed tested him in the second set, which went into tie-breaker. However, Abid on crucial moments proved too good to complete the victory.

In the women’s last-four match, Ushna proved too good for little-known Mehak Khokhar as the former seized a 6-0, 6-4 victory.

Sara Mehboob carved out a 6-2, 6-4 victory over Sara Mansoor to claim a place in the final.

In the boys’ U-18 semi-finals, Mohammad Shoaib struggled to beat Abdullah Adnan 6-3, 7-6(2) while Huzaifa Abdul Rehman defeated Mohammad Nauman Aftab 6-1, 6-2.—Sports Reporter


Wife of ex-England captain Strauss dies

LONDON: Ruth Strauss, whose cancer diagnosis prompted her husband Andrew Strauss to step down from his role as England’s director of cricket, has died, her family announced in a statement on Saturday.

The statement said Ruth had died aged 46 of the rare form of lung cancer she suffered from in her home country of Australia.

Strauss, a former England cricket captain, announced in early October he was standing down permanently as the national side’s director of cricket following a period of compassionate leave.

Ruth was diagnosed with cancer during the Ashes in December 2017 and he took a break from his position earlier this year after she began a new course of treatment.

“It is with great sadness and immense grief that we have to announce that Ruth passed away today as a result of her rare lung cancer,” read the statement by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on behalf of the Strauss family.

The Strauss family thanked the medical team who had treated her and said they would be helping others with the disease.

“Ruth desperately wanted to help those affected by this terrible disease,” read the statement. “We will be launching a foundation in due course to raise much needed funds to aid research and also to offer support to patients and their families.”—AFP


Army edge Wapda to clinch women’s baseball

LAHORE: Army defeated Wapda in a thrilling final 13-12 to win the 15th Khawar Shah National Women’s Baseball Championship at the Bahria Town’s Baseball Stadium here on Saturday.

Higher Education Commission (HEC) finished third.

In a close match in which every run was important, Army were served well by Attia Ishaq, who scored three with Hira Nassar and Rabia Shahid adding two runs each, while Attia Saif, Irum Khalid, Fariha Nayab, Humaira Khan, Rashida and Zahida chipped in with one run apiece.

Noreen was Wapda’s main scorer with three runs. Ayesha Ejaz, Saira Zulfiqar and Umm-e-Hani scored two runs each while Zainab, Madiha Gujjar and Sidra all scored one apiece.

Shaukat Javed, chairman of Pakistan Federation Baseball, was the chief guest and distributed the prizes.

Attia Saif of Army was declared as best player of the championship and received the Khawar Shah Award.

Before the prize distribution ceremony, all teams and guests offered Fateha for the departed soul of Khawar Shah, the pioneer of baseball in Pakistan who died last year.—Sports Reporter


Javed stars with six wickets

KARACHI: Mohammad Javed returned figures of 6-16 as City Gymkhana defeated UBL Academy Lions by seven wickets and in KCCA Zone-VI ‘B’ Division League Cricket Tournament match at the UBL B Ground here on Friday.

In a thrilling finish at the Eastern Star Ground, North Shire CC shocked National Gymkhana by a slender margin of just one wicket.

Summarised scores:

City Gymkhana beat UBL Academy Lions by seven wickets at UBL B Ground.

UBL ACADEMY LIONS 105 in 29.3 overs (Ali Moin 29, Asfar Javed 21; Mohammad Javed 6-16, Ijaz Ahmed 2-24); CITY GYMKHANA 107-3 in 13.2 overs (Deen Mohammad 51 not out, Mohammad Javed 23 not out; Wahid Ali 2-35).

North Shire CC beat National Gymkhana by one wicket at Eastern Star Ground.

NATIONAL GYMKHANA 129 in 34 overs (Mir Hamza 47, Mohammad Sami 21 not out, Ebadullah Khan 4-31, Naseebullah Khan 2-8, Mohammad Danish 2-14 Arsalan Hanif 2-30); NORTH SHIRE CC 130-9 in 25.5 overs (Abrar Warsi 64, Azan Hadi 24; Shahzaib Khan 3-13, Naveed Ahmed 2-19, Mohammad Sami 2-27).—Sports Reporter


Wild Oats XI survives protest to keep title

HOBART: The crew of Australian super-maxi Wild Oats XI retained their ninth Sydney to Hobart yacht race line honours victory after a protest lodged by the independent race committee was deemed invalid, local media reported on Saturday.

The Mark Richards-skippered yacht clinched line honours early on Friday, about 28 minutes ahead of fellow super-maxi Black Jack, whose owner claimed Wild Oats XI had not activated their Automatic Identification System (AIS) during the race.

The rules require the AIS transponder to be activated throughout the race as a safety measure.

The race committee lodged the protest after they conducted an investigation and concluded that Wild Oats XI may have breached the rules.

Australia’s state broadcaster the ABC, however, reported the protest had been judged invalid because it had needed to be lodged by a competitor.—Reuters


Double glory for Bilal

LAHORE: Bilal Asim clinched double crown in the Rafum Junior Tennis Championship, which ended here at PLTA courts on Saturday.

In the U-14 doubles final, Bilal partnering Ahmed Nael defeated Shakeel-Shaeel Tahir 4-3, 4-3. Earlier, Bilal also won the U-14 singles final, crushing Shaeel Tahir 6-1, 6-3.

In the U-16 decider, Rayan Jawad outplayed Hamza Khan 6-1, 6-0, Hamza Ali Rizwan overwhelmed Mohammad Haziq Asim 8-0 in the U-10 final while the U-8 title was lifted by Xeerak Mustafa, who overpowered Abdur Rehman 6-3.

Zahra Sulean played exceptionally well against Astifila Arif in the girls U-14 final, and grabbed the title. The U-6 title went to Muzammil Danis who defeated Eshal Sajjad 15-4.—Sports Reporter


National women’s handball starts tomorrow

LAHORE: The 13th National Women’s Handball Championship will be held in Faisalabad from Monday.

The matches will be played at the Government Women’s University until Dec 31, while University of Agriculture will be the venue from Jan 1 to 4.

Army, who will defend their title, are competing alongside Wapda, Police, Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan, Islamabad and hosts HEC.

Published in Dawn, December 30th, 2018