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Virat Kohli hundred sees Bangalore sneak past Kolkata in IPL

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A sublime century from Indian captain Virat Kohli has seen the Royal Challengers Bangalore seal their second win of the Indian Premier League season, earning a 10-run victory over the Kolkata Knight Riders.

Sitting bottom of the IPL ladder, the Royal Challengers’ day threatened to be a long one, with the Knight Riders winning the toss and opting to field first.

Already without South African star AB de Villiers, Bangalore lost opener Parthiv Patel in the fourth over, caught by Nitish Rana off the bowling of Sunil Narine for 11. Their cause wasn’t helped when Akshdeep Nath was the next batsman to fall, gone for 13 with the scores at 59/2 in the ninth over.

However, Nath’s dismissal saw England’s Moeen Ali join Kohli at the crease, with the pair cashing in on some poor Kolkata bowling.

The duo added 90 runs in 43 balls, Ali reaching his half-century from just 24 balls with four fours and four sixes. At the other end, Kohli played the anchor role, reaching his 50 from 40 balls.

Once Ali was dismissed for 66, Kohli went into overdrive, his second 50 runs coming in just 17 balls, reaching his century off the second to last ball of the innings, falling for 100 as the Royal Challengers posted 213/4 from their 20 overs.

Kolkata’s response was nothing short of lackluster. Australian Chris Lynn was the first to fall, caught by Kohli off the bowling of South Africa’s Dale Steyn. Kohli and Steyn would combine again, removing India’s Shubman Gill for nine.

Regular wickets would see Kolkata wobbling at 79/4, bringing West Indian master-blaster Andre Russell to the middle to join Rana.

The pair then threatened to pull off a remarkable victory, adding 118 runs in just 48 balls, Russell showing no mercy to reach 50 off just 21 balls, with two fours and seven sixes. Rana backed up Russell at the other end, reaching his half-century from 33 balls.

The onslaught left Kolkata needing 24 from the final over, with Russell dispatching the third ball into the stands for six, leaving the equation at 17 runs needed from three balls.

Having starred with the bat, Ali kept his nerve with the ball, restricting Russell, before the all-rounder was run out off the penultimate delivery, gone for 65 from 25 balls.

Rana would finish the innings with a six, unbeaten with 85 from 46 balls, however, it wasn’t enough to prevent Bangalore’s 10-run win.

The victory sees Bangalore make up ground on the Rajasthan Royals at the foot of the IPL table, while Kolkata appears destined for a mid-table finish, currently sitting sixth after nine games played and two points off the play-off zone.

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Djokovic falls to Medvedev in Monte Carlo, Nadal marches on

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World number one Novak Djokovic’s French Open preparations was dealt with a blow as he suffered a 6-3 4-6 6-2 defeat by Russian Daniil Medvedev in the Monte Carlo Masters quarter-finals on Friday.

Djokovic, twice champion in Monte Carlo, fought back to level the match after dropping the first set before the 23-year-old Medvedev claimed the biggest victory of his career.

Medvedev had lost each of his previous three clashes with Djokovic but he broke his Serbian opponent’s serve five times to move into the final four.

“He’s got a very solid backhand. He hits it very low and with depth,” Djokovic said.

“A windy day like today, conditions are changing every single game. It’s kind of tough to find the rhythm, and he doesn’t give you much rhythm.

“He improved his movement a lot since last year. He definitely deserves to be where he is.”

Medvedev will next face another Serb in Dusan Lajovic, who followed up his shock win over world number five Dominic Thiem with a 6-4 7-5 victory over Italian qualifier Lorenzo Sonego.

For Djokovic, it was another premature exit from an ATP Masters 1000 event after he crashed out in the early rounds at Indian Wells and Miami last month.

The 31-year-old has struggled for rhythm in his first claycourt event of the season and will need step up his game to have a chance of winning his fourth straight Grand Slam title at next month’s French Open.

Second seed Rafa Nadal was forced to work hard for his 18th straight match win at the Monte Carlo Country Club as he fought back to beat Argentina Guido Pella 7-6(1) 6-3.

The 11-times champion made a sluggish start and was one point away from 1-5 deficit in the opening set but recovered well to convert seven of his 13 break-point opportunities and advance after two hours and 20 minutes.

“It was a very tough first set physically and mentally, too. Losing the first three games with my serve was tough. But I found a way at the right time,” world number two Nadal said.

“I was lucky at 4-1, he had two points to be 5-1 and with 5-1 it’s almost impossible. Then I played better. Being in the semi-finals again here means a lot to me.”

Nadal has now won 25 consecutive sets on Court Rainier III since dropping one in his opening match in 2017 to Briton Kyle Edmund.

 

Rafael Nadal outclasses Grigor Dimitrov to rack up 70th Monte Carlo win

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Three-time defending champion Rafael Nadal made short work of Grigor Dimitrov to rack up a 70th win at the Monte Carlo Masters on Thursday.

The Spaniard held a formidable 11-1 record against Dimitrov prior to the third-round contest and has now won five straight matches against the Bulgarian after a 6-4 6-1 triumph.

Nadal, seeking a 12th title in Monte Carlo, dropped just five games in a semi-final meeting with Dimitrov 12 months ago and repeated the trick in a match lasting just over an hour and a half.

Dimitrov responded to an early break with some neat touches at the net and leveled the set when Nadal tried to wrongfoot his opponent with a forehand that went long.

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Rafa looking regal 👑@RafaelNadal overcomes Dimitrov 6-4 6-1 to notch his 70th win at the !

But, when serving to stay in the set, Dimitrov skewed a forehand wildly out and was outclassed in a one-sided second set.

Dimitrov went long with a forehand to fall behind 2-0 and, after saving a break point at 3-0, was broken again at 4-1 down when he could only put a fierce Nadal shot back into the net.

Nadal then routinely served out for the match to book a quarter-final meeting with Guido Pella.

Nadal, Djokovic ease into Monte Carlo quarter-finals

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Monaco: Rafael Nadal has rolled through Grigor Dimitrov with his characteristic ease as he secured his place in the quarter-finals at the Monte Carlo Masters with a 6-4, 6-1 victory.

The match was not quite the demolition job experienced by Roberto Bautista Agut the previous day, but it was a gratifying triumph for Nadal who will come away knowing he is again close to peak level.

He had to withdraw from Indian Wells and the Miami Open after more pain in his right knee, but his mood and his power tennis were back on the upswing as he dispelled any lingering doubt here in Monaco.

The bid for a record 12th title, moreover, still looks very much on course after two days of successive play. Nadal will next face Guido Pella, who he has defeated both times they have played.

For Nadal, it almost seemed too easy.

He needed two match points to take the win, and in a match peppered with errors – they both totalled 21 – it was fitting he won when Dimitrov hit the net.

Earlier on Court Rainier III, world No.1 Novak Djokovic also enjoyed success as he topped Taylor Fritz 6-3, 6-0 in an entertaining but thoroughly predictable third-round match.

The suspense was mostly gone shortly after the match began, and after one hour eight minutes it was all over for real as Djokovic checked the young phenom Fritz quite decisively without having to break a sweat.

Djokovic is now back in the quarter-finals and will look forward to rekindling a rivalry with Daniil Medvedev.

He has won all three times the pair have met, though this will be the first on clay.

Djokovic seems to have regained some of the confidence he might have lost after early exits at Indian Wells and then the Miami Open.

Novak Djokovic is regaining form in Monaco.
Novak Djokovic is regaining form in Monaco.CREDIT:AP

While Djokovic cruised, Medvedev needed three sets to dismiss Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-2, 1-6, 6-4.

Marco Cecchinato beat Pella 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 and Lorenzo Sonego downed Cameron Norrie 6-2, 7-5.

The shock exit of the day came after Nadal’s victory, when Dominic Thiem, who beat Nadal at his own game on the clay last year in Madrid, was defeated 6-3, 6-3 by Dusan Lajovic.

2019 NBA Draft: Texas Tech star Jarrett Culver, Big 12 Player of the Year, declares for draft

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In a ceremony at the United Supermarkets Arena in Lubbock, Texas, on Thursday afternoon, Texas Tech star Jarrett Culver, the Big 12 Player of the Year, announced his intentions to enter the 2019 NBA Draft.

Culver, a 6-foot-6, 195-pound sophomore shooting guard, is a projected top-10 pick in the upcoming NBA Draft. He’s the second Red Raiders standout in two seasons to leave early for the NBA, joining 2018 first-round pick Zhaire Smith. Smith left early as a freshman in 2018 and went on to be drafted No. 16 overall.

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I want to thank God and my family for the talent to play this game and always supporting me.

Thank you Texas Tech, my coaches & teammates, and Lubbock. We did things people thought weren’t possible because of you. 🙏🏽

It’s time to take the next step, always a Red Raider❗️

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Smith’s path is not dissimilar to Culver’s, as both were lightly recruited out of high school and both burst onto the NBA’s radar with strong freshmen seasons. Culver, though, became a real commodity after Smith left, posting averages of 18.5 points, 6.4 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game last season.

Culver improved his stock overall in the NCAA Tournament, too, by leading the Red Raiders to their first-ever Final Four and first-ever national championship game appearances. Though Virginia star De’Andre Hunter got the better of him in the head-to-head matchup in the title game, Culver’s stock is still sky — and his potential limitless.

In Gary Parrish’s latest NBA mock draft, Culver is selected comfortably inside the top-10 and he is No. 7 on the CBS Sports Big Board ahead of the pre-draft process. Due to new NCAA rules, Culver can sign with an agent, explore the draft process and still return to school so long as he withdraws by 11:59 p.m. ET on May 29.

FINAL FOUR Champions League semi-final draw confirmed

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It has been a thrilling tournament so far this term and now just four teams remain ahead of the final in Madrid on June 1.

Barcelona outclassed Manchester United while Ajax stunned Juventus on Tuesday night to book their places in the semi-finals.

Liverpool then saw off Porto and Tottenham stunned Manchester City to complete the line-up of sides left in Europe’s elite competition.

We will have a new champion this term after Real Madrid, who have won it three years running, were dumped out in the Round of 16.

But who will be competing for the trophy in June? Here’s everything you need to know about the semi-final ties.

Champions League semi-final draw: Dates and times

First semi-final: Tottenham vs Ajax

Spurs will be at home in the first leg with Ajax hosting the second.

Second semi-final: Barcelona vs Liverpool

Barca will be at home in the first leg with Liverpool hosting the second.

The first legs of the ties will be held on April 30 and May 1 with the return legs on May 7 and May 8.

The exact dates will depend on TV coverage and will be confirmed soon.

All ties will kick off at 8pm UK time.

The final will be held at the Wanda Metropolitano in Madrid on June 1 with kick-off at 8pm UK time.

The winner of Tottenham vs Ajax will be the designated home team for the final.

Spurs survive seven-goal thriller to end Man City’s quadruple quest

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Manchester City’s bid for an unprecedented quadruple of trophies ended in dramatic fashion as Tottenham went through after a thrilling quarter-final tie.

Spurs progressed to the Champions League semi-finals on away goals as a 4-3 win for City on Wednesday was not enough to overturn their 1-0 first leg deficit.

Four goals were scored in a crazy opening 11 minutes as Raheem Sterling and Bernardo Silva cancelled out two Son Heung-min away goals for Tottenham.

City finally looked set for the last four when further goals from Sterling and Sergio Aguero put them ahead in the tie for the first time.

But there was a further twist when Fernando Llorente’s controversial goal 17 minutes from time was allowed to stand despite a VAR check for handball by the Spaniard.

VAR intervened again deep into stoppage time to save Spurs again when Sterling thought he had completed his hat-trick only for Aguero to be ruled offside in the build-up.

Tottenham’s reward is a semi-final clash against Ajax.

Pep Guardiola will face more questions over his failure to land the Champions League three seasons into his City’s reign, but after a more conservative approach for the first leg was criticised, he set the tone for a thrilling 90 minutes.

Kevin de Bruyne was restored to the starting 11 among four changes from the first leg. The Belgian showed why the decision to leave him out last week had been under question.

De Bruyne drove at the heart of the Spurs defence before feeding Sterling, who cut inside and curled a wonderful shot into the far corner.

Guardiola had called for the home fans to produce an intimidating atmosphere on a European night at the Etihad.

But they had barely retaken their seats by the time Tottenham were level.

Aymeric Laporte cut out Dele Alli’s forward pass but only turned the ball into the path of Son, whose shot had too much power for Ederson.

Three minutes later, City’s quadruple quest appeared in tatters as Laporte was again caught in possession, this time by Lucas Moura, and the Brazilian teed up Son to curl into the top corner for his 20th goal of the season.

But the kamikaze opening 11 minutes had another twist as Bernardo’s effort deflected off Danny Rose and wrong-footed Hugo Lloris at his near post.

By the midway point of the first half, City was back in front as Bernardo and De Bruyne played creators once more and Sterling finished off a low cross at the back post.

Spurs’ hopes of holding on to their advantage on their away goal suffered another blow when Moussa Sissoko was forced off with an injury.

Mauricio Pochettino chose attack as the best form of defence by replacing the midfielder with Llorente in what proved to be a decisive change.

City started the second period with the same menace they did the first as Lloris denied Sterling before the French World Cup winner made a brilliant stop to deny De Bruyne the goal his performance deserved.

But De Bruyne had his hat-trick of assists on the hour mark as he surged through midfield before timing his pass for Aguero to perfection and the Argentine rifled past Lloris.

Finally ahead for the first time in the tie, Guardiola soon sent on Fernandinho to restore some sense of control, but City has pegged back again as an incredible tie swung back in Tottenham’s favour.

Kieran Trippier’s corner was bundled in by Llorente, but there was controversy as the ball seemed to hit the striker’s arm on its way in.

After a VAR check, Turkish referee Cuneyt Cakir stood by his original decision and the goal was deemed good.

VAR also went against City again deep into stoppage time as delirium soon turned to disbelief inside the Etihad, when Sterling’s third was ruled out.