Djokovic overpowers Pouille to reach Japan Open semifinals

Novak Djokovic won 82 percent of first serve points and five of six break points in his match against Lucas Pouille at the Japan Open on Friday. (Reuters)
Updated 04 October 2019

Djokovic overpowers Pouille to reach Japan Open semifinals

  • Top-ranked Novak Djokovic is attempting to win a title on his tournament debut for the 10th time
  • It was a dominant performance for the world’s No. 1 player

TOKYO: Showing no lingering effects of a shoulder injury, Novak Djokovic coasted into the semifinals of the Japan Open on Friday with a straight-sets win over Lucas Pouille.
Top-ranked Djokovic, who is attempting to win a title on his tournament debut for the 10th time, needed just 50 minutes at Ariake Colosseum to dispatch the fifth-seeded Pouille 6-1, 6-2 and set up a semifinal with either Hyeon Chung or David Goffin, who won here in 2017.
Djokovic got off to a strong start, winning the first game with a powerful ace, one of five in the first set.
He broke Pouille in the next game to take a 2-0 lead and went up 5-1 after another break before serving to win the first set in just 20 minutes.
The second set was more of the same with Djokovic breaking Pouille in the first game and taking a 4-0 lead before Pouille won his first game of the set.
Pouille showed a brief sign of life by breaking Djokovic to make it 4-2 but that was as close as he would get. Djokovic broke in the next game and then served out to win with a powerful forehand to the corner.
It was a dominant performance for the world’s No. 1 player who won 82 percent of first serve points and five of six break points.
Djokovic retired with a left-shoulder injury during his fourth-round match against Stan Wawrinka at the US Open.
In his first competitive match since facing Wawrinka, Djokovic was knocked out of the doubles with Filip Krajinovic on Monday but beat Alexei Popyrin in the first round and Japanese wild card entry Go Soeda in the second round.
In other matches, Reilly Opelka beat Yasutaka Uchiyama 6-3, 6-3 and will face John Millman in the semifinals. Millman overpowered Taro Daniel 6-4, 6-0.


England cricket players donate, take pay cuts amid COVID-19 crisis

Updated 05 April 2020

England cricket players donate, take pay cuts amid COVID-19 crisis

  • The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has said the season will not start before May 28
  • ECB’s centrally contracted women players to take a salary reduction for the months of April, May and June

LONDON: England’s centrally contracted male cricketers will donate £500,000 ($613,000) to the Board and charities while their women’s team counterparts have volunteered a three-month pay cut amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the players’ association (PCA) said.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has said the season will not start before May 28 and speculation has been mounting over how their leading players would respond to the situation.

“Following a meeting today of all of the England men’s centrally contracted cricketers, the players have agreed to make an initial donation of £0.5 million to the ECB and to selected good causes ...” the Professional Cricketers’ Association said in a statement.

“This contribution is the equivalent of all of the England centrally contracted players taking a 20 percent reduction in their monthly retainers for the next three months.

“The players will continue to discuss with the ECB the challenging situation faced by the game and society as a whole and will consider how best to support the ECB and both the cricketing and wider community going forward.”

The ECB’s centrally contracted women players have volunteered to take a salary reduction for the months of April, May and June in line with their coaches and support staff.

England women’s captain Heather Knight said: “All the players felt like it was the right response in the current climate to take a pay cut in line with what our support staff are taking.

“We know how the current situation is affecting the game and we want to help as much as we can.

“We will be discussing with the ECB further ways we can help the game in the coming weeks,” added Knight, who has signed up with the National Health Service (NHS) as a volunteer.

The ECB has announced a 61 million pounds aid package to help the local game withstand the financial impact of the pandemic.

Wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Buttler is currently auctioning the shirt he wore in England’s 2019 World Cup final victory to raise funds for efforts to fight the coronavirus.