Mourinho says pressure at Spurs ‘like oxygen’

Tottenham's manager Jose Mourinho. (AP)
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Updated 27 February 2021

Mourinho says pressure at Spurs ‘like oxygen’

LONDON: Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho said on Friday that being under pressure was “like oxygen” for him as he seeks to turn around the club’s terrible Premier League form.
Mourinho’s job has come under scrutiny after a run of five Premier League defeats in six games left them ninth in the table — nine points outside the top four.
But the Portuguese, whose team topped the table in December, said it was just part of the job.
“The problem is if you don’t have pressure,” he said. “I felt in trouble when I was at home and did not have pressure for a few months.
“That’s the problem. It comes like oxygen, it is our life; I don’t think there is any coach in the world without objectives or any kind of pressure.
“You just get used to it and also used to the way the press is at the time, you just have to adapt to it.”
Mourinho said earlier this week that he was confident he would be remembered for the right reasons at Spurs despite overseeing a collapse in their form during his first full season in charge.
The poor run in the league is unprecedented for the 58-year-old in a long and mostly successful managerial career at Porto, Chelsea, Inter Milan, Real Madrid and Manchester United.
However, Tottenham’s season could still be saved by success in cup competitions.
Spurs will meet Dinamo Zagreb in the last 16 of the Europa League after completing an 8-1 aggregate win over Austrian side Wolfsberg this week.
Mourinho’s men also face Premier League leaders Manchester City in the League Cup final in April — looking to win their first silverware
in 13 years.
 


Kyrgios ends title drought at Citi Open; Samsonova takes women’s crown

Updated 08 August 2022

Kyrgios ends title drought at Citi Open; Samsonova takes women’s crown

  • This marks quite a bit of unusual consistency for Kyrgios, who was coming off a run to his first Grand Slam final at the All England Club, where he lost to Novak Djokovic last month

WASHINGTON: Wimbledon runner-up Nick Kyrgios ended a three-year title drought by claiming the trophy at the site of his last triumph, saving the only break point he faced in the Citi Open final Sunday along the way to a 6-4, 6-3 victory over Yoshihito Nishioka.

Kyrgios’ seventh career tour-level championship came where his sixth did in 2019 — on the hard courts of the US Open tuneup in the American capital.

Earlier Sunday, Liudmila Samsonova won her second career WTA title by coming back to beat sixth-seeded Kaia Kanepi 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 in the Citi Open women’s final.

As usual when Kyrgios is on his game, the serve led the way for the 27-year-old Australian: He hit 12 aces and won 22 of 25 first-serve points. He won all nine of his service games against Nishioka, making him 64 for 64 in the tournament, wrapping up the week by saving all 10 of his opponents’ break points. The only one Kyrgios had to deal with Sunday came at 3-2 in the first set, and Kyrgios dismissed it via a volley winner.

At the other end, Kyrgios managed to break Japan’s Nishioka, who is ranked 96th and eliminated top-seeded Andrey Rublev in the semifinals, three times — in the opening game of each set and again in the match’s final game.

This marks quite a bit of unusual consistency for Kyrgios, who was coming off a run to his first Grand Slam final at the All England Club, where he lost to Novak Djokovic last month. Kyrgios did not get any rankings points for that showing — there were no points awarded to anyone at Wimbledon — but the title in Washington will push him from 63rd to 37th, within shouting range of a possible seeding at the US Open.

Play begins at Flushing Meadows on Aug. 29. That is less than a week after a court hearing in Australia is scheduled for a common assault allegation against Kyrgios.

Samsonova is a 23-year-old Russian who reached a career-best ranking of 25th in May but is currently 60th after needing to sit out part of the season, including Wimbledon, because of her country’s attack on Ukraine. She used a powerful serve that reached 119 mph against Kanepi to make her way through the bracket at the hard-court tournament, including a victory over reigning US Open champion Emma Raducanu.

Samsonova’s other championship came last year at a grass-court tournament in Berlin. Kanepi, a 37-year-old from Estonia, was seeking her first trophy since 2013. She left the court for a medical timeout in the third set Sunday because of what she said was an abdominal muscle problem.

“I guess a lot of matches and a lot of serving this week,” Kanepi said.

Kyrgios’ victory was shown on Tennis Channel, which shunted the women’s final off its main station and instead aired pickleball — because, tournament chairman Mark Ein said, of a prior commitment.

Both women are quite capable of terrific serving and showed so right away: Kanepi closed out her first service game with a 96 mph ace; Samsonova finished off hers with a 112 mph service winner.

“She served better than me today,” Kanepi said, “and maybe that was the key.”

Samsonova’s take? The vital factor was her ability to eventually attack Kanepi’s serve.

This was big-serve, quick-strike tennis between a pair of women with similar playing styles on a humid, 90-degree Fahrenheit (32 Celsius) afternoon. Some spectators held umbrellas to provide shade; portable electric fans were placed next to sideline seats to offer a bit of respite to the players during changeovers; Samsonova held a plastic bag filled with ice atop her head.

Samsonova earned her first break opportunity of the match an hour in, when Kanepi dumped a forehand into the net. Samsonova converted it and went ahead 4-3 when Kanepi sailed a backhand long.

Kanepi’s mistakes kept mounting and, suddenly, the second set belonged to Samsonova as part of a five-game run.

Helped by a double-fault, Samsonova broke to lead 5-3 in the third, then served it out.


Ashleigh Buhai claims Women’s British Open in playoff

Updated 08 August 2022

Ashleigh Buhai claims Women’s British Open in playoff

  • For Buhai, the win more than made up for a near-miss at that 2019 Women’s British Open, when she led the event at the halfway stage at Woburn but finished fifth

MUIRFIELD, Scotland: After seeing a five-shot lead slip away in the final round, Ashleigh Buhai still managed to secure a first major title at the Women’s British Open.

Buhai kept her composure to beat In Gee Chun — and the setting sun — in a playoff at Muirfield on Sunday for her first career victory in an LPGA Tour event.

With the light fading, the South African golfer made a superb bunker shot on the fourth playoff hole to leave herself with a short par putt, while Chun settled for a bogey.

The 33-year-old Buhai calmly rolled in from less than three feet and then clutched her face in relief, before being drenched in water and other beverages by her entourage.

“I was surprisingly calm,” Buhai said about the clutch bunker shot that secured the victory. “My caddie said to me on the last one, I don’t want to brag, but she said ‘Show them why you’re No. 1 in bunkers this year.’ So, you know, she gave me the confidence. Maybe it’s got something to do with Muirfield and South Africans and bunker shots.”

Ernie Els also won the men’s British Open in a playoff at Muirfield in 2002 after a memorable bunker shot during the final round. This was the first time the Women’s British Open was played at Muirfield, a club that didn’t even allow female members until 2019 following a vote two years earlier.

Buhai made things a lot more difficult than they had to be, though.

She entered the final round with a commanding five-shot lead and was still three strokes ahead before a triple bogey on the par-4 15th that put her level with Chun.

Both players missed long birdie putts on the 18th as they settled for a playoff after finishing on 10-under 274.

“I know there are a lot of people in South Africa with lots of gray hairs right now after that 15th hole,” Buhai said. “But I’m very proud of myself, the way I dug deep and kept myself in it to get into that playoff.”

Buhai shot a 4-over 75 in the final round, while Chun carded a 70.

Hinako Shibuno of Japan, the 2019 champion, finished one shot back in third after missing a chip from just off the green that would have made it a three-way playoff.

Chun was in trouble on the first two playoff holes, but her short game bailed her out both times.

On the first, Chun sent her second shot into a bunker while Buhai found the heart of the green. But the South Korean hit a near-perfect bunker shot to within a few feet of the hole to salvage the par.

On the second, she needed to make an 8-foot bogey putt to stay in it after sending her second shot wide and then barely making it onto the green with a chip from the tall grass.

Buhai nearly won it on the third playoff hole, but her long putt for the win pulled up a few inches away from the hole.

For Buhai, the win more than made up for a near-miss at that 2019 Women’s British Open, when she led the event at the halfway stage at Woburn but finished fifth.

“Forgive me, there will be a few tears,” Buhai said during the trophy presentation. “Obviously there’s a lot of hard work and many years of dedication going into this.”


South Korean Kim wins Wyndham Championship to secure PGA playoff berth

Updated 08 August 2022

South Korean Kim wins Wyndham Championship to secure PGA playoff berth

  • Kim’s outstanding effort at Sedgefield Country Club, where the 20-year-old played the first nine holes of the final round in eight-under, capped a remarkable week that opened with his quadruple bogey eight at the first hole on Thursday

WASHINGTON: South Korean Kim Joo-hyung fired a stunning nine-under par 61 on Sunday to win the Wyndham Championship, his first US PGA Tour title, and secure his spot in the season-ending playoffs.
Kim’s outstanding effort at Sedgefield Country Club, where the 20-year-old played the first nine holes of the final round in eight-under, capped a remarkable week that opened with his quadruple bogey eight at the first hole on Thursday.
“It’s definitely a week I’ll remember forever,” Kim said after his 20-under total of 260 gave him a five-stroke victory over fellow South Korean Im Sung-jae and American John Huh.
“I can’t believe it — I’m speechless right now,” Kim said, his emotions finally showing after a round in which he looked in supreme control.
“I’ve worked really had to get to this point,” he said, his voice cracking. “Just walking off that 18th green, just thinking about the behind the scenes work.
“It was a hard day. I didn’t know golf was this stressful,” added the player who goes by the nickname Tom in a nod to his childhood love of Thomas the Tank Engine.
Kim roared through the front nine like a locomotive. His opening par was his lone four to go with seven threes and a birdie two.
He hit seven of nine fairways and holed a total of 112 feet of putts in the first nine holes, rolling in a 20-footer at the second and a 24-footer at the par-three third.
He rapped in a 12-foot birdie at the fourth, and gave himself a seven and a half-foot eagle at the par-five fifth.
At the sixth, he rolled in an 18-footer — over his playing partner’s ball marker — then closed the front nine with a seven-foot birdie at the eighth and a 10-footer at nine.
He was in real trouble for the first time at the par-four 10th, where he was in the deep right rough off the tee. His second shot left him short of the green and his third came up 50 feet short of the pin.
He couldn’t convert, finally making a two-footer for his first bogey of the day.
The birdies didn’t come so thick and fast on the back nine, where a testing downhill six-footer at the 12th missed left and a 21-foot birdie attempt at the tough 14th lipped out.
Back to back birdies at par-five 15th and par-three 16th — where he landed his tee shot less than three feet from the pin — boosted his lead back to four strokes and again raised the tantalizing possibility of a sub-60 round.
That failed to materialize as he closed with two pars to add a US title to his two precocious Asia Tour trophies.
Given special temporary PGA Tour membership last month, Kim finished tied for third at the co-sanctioned Scottish Open then secured his US PGA Tour card for next year with a seventh-place finish in Detroit last week.
Now he’s headed to the FedEx Cup playoffs, which start on Thursday with the St. Jude Championship in Memphis, Tennessee, his points total putting him in the top 35 in the standings that decide the 125 players eligible for the playoffs.
It wasn’t something that seemed likely after his disastrous start to the tournament.
“Yeah, I can’t believe I won with a quadruple bogey on the first hole,” he said with a laugh. “Hopefully that doesn’t happen again.”
Kim had started the final round two shots behind leader Im Sung-jae after the weather-disrupted third round concluded on Sunday morning.
Im carded a final-round 68 and Huh posted a 67 to share second on 265.


Pakistan's Arshad Nadeem sets new record, wins gold for his country at Commonwealth Games

Updated 08 August 2022

Pakistan's Arshad Nadeem sets new record, wins gold for his country at Commonwealth Games

  • Pakistan's medal tally has increased to eight after Nadeem's extraordinary performance
  • The country won another gold when weightlifter Nooh Dastagir Butt lifted 173 kilograms

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan's leading athlete, Arshad Nadeem, set a new record in Commonwealth Games in the early hours of Monday and won a gold medal for his country in Men's Javelin Final by throwing 90.18 meters in his fifth attempt.

Nadeem’s exceptional performance brought Pakistan’s medals tally in the ongoing games to eight.

Prior to that, Pakistani wrestlers Mohammad Tahir Shareef and Ali Asad bagged silver and bronze medals, respectively, for their country on Saturday.

"Arshad Nadeem, IOC [International Olympic Committee] Scholarship holder, made a history by throwing Javelin beyond 90 m," Pakistan Olympic Association confirmed in a Twitter post. "Breaking records he has won 2nd Gold Medal for Pakistan! Congratulations Champion!"

 

 

Pakistani athletes have complained of not receiving enough support from sports authorities in the form of training and infrastructure, yet have continued to perform impressively in global tournaments.

After last year’s Olympics, Nadeem also mentioned how Pakistani athletes found it difficult to compete with international rivals due to a lack of facilities. He maintained the national sports authorities were putting in quite a lot of effort, though more needed to be done.

Despite limited resources, several other Pakistani athletes performed quite well in the Commonwealth Games. These included Pakistani wrestlers Muhammad Inam Butt and Zaman Anwar who won two silver medals on Friday after being overpowered by rival athletes in +86- and +125-kilogram categories.

Prior to that, another wrestler, Inayatullah, secured a bronze medal in the +65-kilogram competition.

Pakistan’s weightlifter Nooh Dastagir Butt was the only one who bagged a gold for his country before Nadeem's performance on Monday.

Butt made a new record by lifting 173 kilograms.


Haaland scores twice in Man City’s 2-0 win at West Ham

Updated 07 August 2022

Haaland scores twice in Man City’s 2-0 win at West Ham

  • Haaland lived up to the hype since his transfer from Borussia Dortmund to give the champions a perfect start to the season
  • Kevin De Bruyne split open the West Ham defense for Haaland to gallop clear on goal and slot low past Areola for his second

LONDON: Erling Haaland scored twice on his Premier League debut as Manchester City opened their defense of the title with a 2-0 win at West Ham on Sunday.
Haaland lived up to the hype since his transfer from Borussia Dortmund to give the champions a perfect start to the season in the searing heat of East London.
West Ham nearly derailed City’s title chances when they led 2-0 at half-time in the penultimate game of last season before Pep Guardiola’s men battled back for the point that ultimately edged out Liverpool at the top of the table.
But they were no match this time as Haaland immediately proved the value of City adding a proven goalscorer to their arsenal.
The Norwegian has been signed as the long-term successor to Sergio Aguero and started his City career just like the club’s all time record goalscorer with a double on his league debut.
Haaland had missed chances in City’s 3-1 defeat to Liverpool in the Community Shield, but Guardiola’s warning that the goals would soon flow proved to be correct.
City’s patient possession game wore the Hammers down as temperatures in the English capital soared above 30 degrees celsius on Sunday.
Haaland took responsibility from the penalty spot to open his Premier League account after he had been brought down by Alphonse Areola.
West Ham started the second half with more attacking intent but that simply played into the hands of City’s new weapon as Kevin De Bruyne split open their defense with one pass on the counter-attack for Haaland to gallop clear on goal and slot low past Areola.

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