Sharapova triumphs in Tianjin opener

Maria Sharapova of Russia serves to Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania during their women’s singles first round match at the WTA Tianjin Open tennis tournament in Tianjin on October 11, 2017. (AFP)
Updated 11 October 2017

Sharapova triumphs in Tianjin opener

TIANJIN, China: Maria Sharapova made an impressive start to the Tianjin Open on Wednesday, beating Romania’s Irina-Camelia Begu in straight sets.
Seeded ninth, Begu loomed as a tricky first-round opponent for Sharapova, but the former world number one from Russia swept to a 6-4, 6-2 victory.
Currently ranked 86th after returning from a 15-month doping ban, Sharapova — granted a wildcard in Tianjin — plays unseeded Magda Linette of Poland next.
The 30-year-old Sharapova, who returned to tennis in April after serving a suspension for taking the banned substance meldonium, has yet to win a tournament since then.
The five-time Grand Slam winner exited the China Open last week in the third round at the hands of Romania’s Simona Halep, the newly crowned world number one.
But Sharapova had no such trouble against Begu, seeing off the 57th-ranked Romanian in 82 minutes.
The opening matches of the Tianjin Open have been badly disrupted because of rain.


Waqar urges Afridi and Gambhir to end social media war

Updated 01 June 2020

Waqar urges Afridi and Gambhir to end social media war

  • Both involved in heated social media exchanges over the troubled Kashmir region
  • Gambhir is now a lawmaker in the Indian parliament, while Afridi has his own foundation and is a vocal activist

New Delhi: Former Pakistan star Waqar Younis has called on Shahid Afridi and Gautam Gambhir to end their social media war, and for India and Pakistan to resume playing cricket.
After being fierce on-field rivals, Pakistan’s Afridi and former Indian opener Gambhir have become involved in heated social media exchanges over the troubled Kashmir region, which is claimed by both countries.
Gambhir is now a lawmaker in the Indian parliament, while Afridi has his own foundation and is a vocal activist.
Waqar advised the pair to “calm down” in an online chat show.
“The banter between Gautam Gambhir and Shahid Afridi has been going on for a while now. I think they both got to be smart, sensible, and calm down,” said Waqar.
“It has been going on for way too long. My advice to them is to maybe catch up somewhere around the world and talk it out if you cannot really calm it down.”
India and Pakistan have not played a series since 2012-2013 and have hit a new peak in tensions over Kashmir, which they have fought over since their independence in 1947.
India frequently accuses Pakistan of organizing militant attacks in the sector of the Himalayan region that it administers.
Waqar, 48, said a cricket series would boost relations between the arch-rival neighbors.
“I think that it would be the biggest hit of the world,” said Waqar.
“I think Pakistan (and) India should play, and should play on a regular basis to avoid depriving cricket lovers.”