• Image and video hosting by TinyPic

    Zheng Jie of China returns a shot to Lucie Safarova of Czech Republic during their match at the Rogers Cup tennis tournament in Toronto August 20, 2009.

    BEIJING: China's number two Zheng Jie has no plans to return to the state sports system and is happy with her first year of self-management despite the extra effort and lack of security it entailed.

    Along with compatriots Li Na, Yan Zi and Peng Shuai, the 26-year-old was this year freed from the obligation to be managed by the China Tennis Association (CTA), and pay 65 percent of her winnings for the privilege.

    CTA chief Sun Jinfang said last month she thought Zheng was in decline and, like other "less talented and more hardworking" players, would be better off back inside the national system.

    Zheng, who finished last season ranked 35th in the world with $534,172 in winnings, said it was inevitable that the first year of managing herself would have been a learning experience.

    "I am one of the first to try this and in the first year, I crossed the river feeling the stones," Zheng told China Weekly magazine.

    "My obligation is to try my best to get good results. As to whether I am suitable for self-management, I am not sure what is the standard we judge by, ranking or prize money?"

    Zheng was the first Chinese player to reach the last four of a grand slam when she lost in the semi-finals at Wimbledon last year, and followed that up with a doubles bronze at the Beijing Olympics.
    [Agencies]

  • Image and video hosting by TinyPic

    Peng Shuai from Tianjin returns a shot during the women's singles semifinal of tennis against Yan Zi from Sichuan at the 11th Chinese National Games in Jinan, capital of east China's Shandong Province, Oct. 26, 2009. Peng Shuai won the match 2-0 and advanced into the final.

    JINAN, East China, Oct. 26 -- Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai from Tianjin beat Sichuan's Yan Zi 6-0, 6-1 on Monday for the women's singles final at the 11th Chinese National Games.

    "I am surprised and happy to achieve such results," said Peng Shuai, third seed of the singles event after Li Na and Zheng Jie.

    Image and video hosting by TinyPic

    Yan Zi from Sichuan returns a shot during the women's singles semifinal of tennis against Peng Shuai from Tianjin at the 11th Chinese National Games in Jinan, capital of east China's Shandong Province, Oct. 26, 2009. Yan Zi lost the match 0-2.

    "I feel more grateful to the people who support and help me. I will hold on to the next matches. And then I will have a rest after the tournament," said Peng.

    Peng has become the top favorite to win the title after Chinese number one Li pulled out of the tournament due to injury and Zheng's early exit.

    Peng, already winning two golds at the team event and the mixed doubles, will also have a chance to win the women's doubles that is to kick off later on Monday.

    Image and video hosting by TinyPic

    Peng Shuai from Tianjin returns a shot during the women's singles semifinal of tennis against Yan Zi from Sichuan at the 11th Chinese National Games in Jinan, capital of east China's Shandong Province, Oct. 26, 2009. Peng Shuai won the match 2-0 and advanced into the final.

    Image and video hosting by TinyPic

    Peng Shuai from Tianjin returns a shot during the women's singles semifinal of tennis against Yan Zi from Sichuan at the 11th Chinese National Games in Jinan, capital of east China's Shandong Province, Oct. 26, 2009. Peng Shuai won the match 2-0 and advanced into the final.
    (Xinhua/Yang Zongyou)

  • LONDON: The only way to ensure tennis never becomes a victim of match-fixing is to hand out lengthy bans to anyone caught up in it, Roger Federer said on Wednesday.

    British media reported that tennis authorities were investigating suspicious betting patterns in Juergen Melzer's first-round victory over Wayne Odesnik at Wimbledon on Tuesday after some bookmakers suspended their markets.

    "It has no place in tennis those kind of things," world No 2 Federer told reporters after his second-round win over Spaniard Guillermo Garcia-Lopez on Wednesday.

    "But it's hard to control. I'm sure the (tennis governing bodies) ATP and the ITF, we're trying our best to catch those guys if there are any out there.

    "I think we should have massive bans on those who get caught so they get really scared of doing it," he added.

    Image and video hosting by TinyPic

    Roger Federer of Switzerland returns the ball to Guillermo Garcia-Lopez of Spain during their match at the Wimbledon tennis championships, in London June 24, 2009.

    The Tennis Integrity Unit, set up by the sport's governing bodies to investigate allegations of match-fixing, was alerted by several betting operators who had noted suspicious activity around Tuesday's match.

    Media reports said one high street betting firm withdrew its odds after thousands of pounds in cash were staked at several London shops on a straight sets win for Melzer.

    The Austrian won 6-1 6-4 6-2. Both Melzer and American Odesnik deny any wrongdoing.

    Online betting exchange Betfair reported that odds on a three-set victory for the 26th seeded-Melzer had tumbled from their pre-match level of evens to 1-5.

    According to media reports, all but 1,000 pounds ($1,657) of the 255,000 staked on Betfair's correct-score market came down on a Melzer win in straight sets.

    "Those (incidents of match-fixing) are things definitely we're trying to fight," said Federer.

    "We have a good set up, so we can't avoid that there are some funny results sometimes here and there.

    "That doesn't mean it's really happening. I never knew it existed until a few years ago when all of a sudden I heard about it. So I've been shocked to hear it.

    "We always hope that the players also want the best for the sport. That's what it comes down to," added the Swiss.

    Corruption in tennis came under the spotlight in 2007 when a match in Poland between Nikolay Davydenko and Martin Vasallo Arguello was reported for irregular betting patterns. Both players were cleared of any wrongdoing.

    Since then a number of players have been fined and banned for betting on matches they were not involved in dating back several years but no one has been found guilty of match-fixing in tennis.

  • A table tennis competition between foreign diplomats living in China was held at the Beijing Gymnasium last Saturday.

    Some 100 foreign diplomats from 37 embassies and international organizations, including Australia, Pakistan, Venezuela and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), participated in the contest, which was organized by the Maldives embassy in China.

    "We are organizing this event to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China," Ahmed Latheef, the Maldives Ambassador to China, told chinadaily.com.cn.

    Mr. Latheef said that as the national sport of China, ping-pong is "the best choice" for foreign diplomats to commemorate the 60th anniversary.

    "It is an important milestone which we thought, as diplomats, will celebrate jointly with the people of China to mark this important occasion." said Mr. Latheef.

    As a table tennis player himself, Mr Latheef represented Maldives in table tennis in 1973 at the AAA Friendship Invitational Tournament and in 1990 at the Asian Games.

    Image and video hosting by TinyPic

    Foreign diplomats and organizers pose for a photo before the "2009 Diplomats' Table Tennis Tournament" at the Beijing Gymnasium in Beijing, June 20, 2009.

    Being the second of its kind, this year's "Diplomats' Table Tennis Tournament" marked 60th Anniversary of the People's Republic of China".

    The first tournament, initiated and also organized by the Maldives embassy in China, was held last year to observe the 50-day countdown to the 2008 Olympic Games.

    Image and video hosting by TinyPic

    The Maldives Ambassador to China, Ahmed Latheef (2nd L, front), who won Men's Singles during last year's Tournament, plays an exhibition match at the opening ceremony of the "2009 Diplomats' Table Tennis Tournament" at the Beijing Gymnasium, June 20, 2009.

    The Russian embassy became the biggest winner in the end, claiming the team champion, and both the champion and the second place in the men's singles.

    The contest included team matches, singles for men and women, as well as a friendly match between the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs team and one made up of foreign diplomats, as in the previous tournament.

    "Today's competition is fantastic," said Mr. Ser Sim, Project Manager from the Australian embassy, during a rest session. "It's my second time here and the event is much better organized. I really enjoyed it."

    Dr. Bernard Coquelin, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Representative, readily concurs. But he says there is much more than competition.

    "The purpose is the friendship and also partnership among all the diplomats," he explained, "And I think that is a more important message we should really put forward for all the international communities."

    He said that he will definitely return if the tournament continues next year.

    Image and video hosting by TinyPic

    Chekunkov O.(2nd L) and Primak Vadim (L) from the Russian embassy play with Bambang (R) and Firdous from the Indonesian embassy during team's finals of the "2009 Diplomats' Table Tennis Tournament" at the Beijing Gymnasium, June 20, 2009.

    Image and video hosting by TinyPic

    Dr. Bernard Coquelin, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Representative, returns a shot during men's singles of the "2009 Diplomats' Table Tennis Tournament" at the Beijing Gymnasium, June 20, 2009.

    (chinadaily.com.cn)

  • WIMBLEDON, England - The new roof wasn't tested. Roger Federer was - briefly.

    The retractable roof stayed open Monday at Wimbledon, and Federer fell behind early in the opening match on Center Court before charging past Yen-hsun Lu of Chinese Taipei, 7-5, 6-3, 6-2.

    Image and video hosting by TinyPic

    Roger Federer of Switzerland serves to Chinese Taipei's Lu Yen-hsun during their Wimbledon tennis championships in London, June 22, 2009.

    In his first match since winning the French Open, Federer failed to convert his first four break-point chances, then lost serve to trail 3-2. But he immediately broke back, broke again in the final game of the opening set and dominated from there.

    "I'm very happy with my first round," Federer said. "I thought it was a very solid performance."

    Seeking his sixth Wimbledon title, Federer won for the 41st time in his past 42 matches at the All England Club. The lone loss came in last year's final to Rafael Nadal, a match hailed by some as the sport's best ever.

    The tournament began in cloudy but dry weather. When it rains, the translucent roof on the 87-year-old stadium will be closed so play can continue.

    "I guess the moment will come that I'll play indoors here," Federer said. "But you don't really hope for it during the match."

    The No 2-seeded Federer is a strong favorite to win his 15th major title, which would break the record he shares with Pete Sampras.

    Advancing on the women's side were 2002-03 champion Serena Williams and 2004 winner Maria Sharapova. No 17 James Blake was the first seeded player eliminated, but fellow Americans Mardy Fish and Vince Spadea advanced. No 4-seeded Novak Djokovic also won.

    Federer made his entrance sporting a sleek new white warmup outfit with gold trim that included a jacket with a turned-up collar, a vest, slacks and two-toned shoes. The crowd roared when he appeared, and he responded with a wave and smile.

    There were more cheers - and a few whistles of approval - when he removed his jacket to reveal the vest.

    "Kind of a little bit more modern look - a bit more military jacket this time, but obviously staying true to Wimbledon with the white colors," Federer said. "I hope people like it."

    By the time the match started, Federer had stripped down to shorts and a short-sleeve shirt. He was assigned to play the first match on Centre Court after defending champion Nadal withdrew Friday because of sore knees.

    "Rafa deserves it obviously more than I do this year," Federer said. "But somebody had to do it, so I'm very happy that they chose me. It gets your heart beating, that's for sure."

    After being broken early, Federer held every service game. He finished with 10 unforced errors and hit 42 winners from all over the court.

    One winner was a running backhand from several steps beyond the sideline, which he ripped up the line into the corner to win the point. It was a spectacular shot even by Federer's standards, and the stoic Swiss celebrated with a raised fist as the crowd roared.

    (Agencies)

  • PARIS - Roger Federer ended his French Open jinx when he swept past Swede Robin Soderling 6-1 7-6 6-4 in the final to clinch his first Roland Garros title on Sunday.

    Image and video hosting by TinyPic

    Roger Federer of Switzerland reacts after winning the men's final against Robin Soderling of Sweden at the French Open tennis tournament at Roland Garros in Paris June 7, 2009. [Agencies]

    The Swiss equalled Pete Sampras's record of 14 grand slam titles and became the sixth man to win all four major tournaments, sealing victory in just under two hours in cloudy conditions.

    "It was really not easy to deal with my emotions," said the 27-year-old Federer, who lost to world number one Rafael Nadal in the three previous finals.

    "It might be the greatest victory of my career."

    The 23rd-seeded Soderling had ended Nadal's four-year reign on the Paris clay in the fourth round.

    "To me, he is the best player in history," the Swede said.

    Federer, the second man after Andre Agassi to win all four grand slam titles on four different surfaces, started the match confidently by racing into a 4-0 lead with two breaks.

    Soderling held serve for 4-1 but Federer, who had never lost to Soderling in nine previous matches, kept up the pressure and clinched the first set on the Swede's serve with a crosscourt passing shot.

    BRIEFLY INTERRUPTED

    The match was briefly interrupted after a man came on to Centre Court with a red and blue flag during the fourth game of the second set.

    The man jumped from the stand opposite the media box and approached Federer, touching him with the flag.

    Leaping over the net towards Soderling, the man was tackled by Roland Garros security officers and carried away from the court.

    Federer lost three points in a row after the incident as Soderling levelled for 2-2.

    Both players held serve to a tiebreak which Federer cruised through 7-1 after serving four aces.

    The Swiss broke in the first game of the third set when his opponent sent a forehand wide and he never found a solution to turn the situation around.

    Federer ended his wait on the first match point when Soderling netted a service return, the Swiss falling on his knee in tears and triggering a deafening roar from the 15,000 crowd.

    Image and video hosting by TinyPic

    Roger Federer of Switzerland holds the trophy in the locker room after winning his men's final against Robin Soderling of Sweden at the French Open tennis tournament at Roland Garros in Paris June 7, 2009.

    Image and video hosting by TinyPic

    Roger Federer of Switzerland cries as he receives his trophy during the presentation ceremony after winning the men's final against Robin Soderling of Sweden at the French Open tennis tournament at Roland Garros in Paris June 7, 2009.

    Image and video hosting by TinyPic

    Roger Federer of Switzerland kisses his trophy during the presentation ceremony after winning the men's final against Robin Soderling of Sweden at the French Open tennis tournament at Roland Garros in Paris June 7, 2009.

     

    Image and video hosting by TinyPic

    Roger Federer of Switzerland kisses his trophy during the presentation ceremony after winning the men's final against Robin Soderling of Sweden at the French Open tennis tournament at Roland Garros in Paris June 7, 2009.

    Image and video hosting by TinyPic

    Roger Federer of Switzerland cries as he receives his trophy during the presentation ceremony after winning the men's final against Robin Soderling of Sweden at the French Open tennis tournament at Roland Garros in Paris June 7, 2009.

    (china daily)


  • Marat Safin of Russia reacts during the first round match of men's singles against Juan Monaco of Argentina at BNP Paribas Masters in Paris, France, Oct. 27, 2008. Safin lost 0-2(0-6,6-7). (Xinhua Photo)


    Marat Safin of Russia returns the ball during the first round match of men's singles against Juan Monaco of Argentina at BNP Paribas Masters in Paris, France, Oct. 27, 2008. Safin lost 0-2 (0-6,6-7). (Xinhua Photo)


    Juan Monaco of Argentina returns the ball during the first round match of men's singles against Marat Safin of Russia at BNP Paribas Masters in Paris, France, Oct. 27, 2008. Monaco won 2-0 (6-0,7-6). (Xinhua Photo)


    Juan Monaco of Argentina returns the ball during the first round match of men's singles against Marat Safin of Russia at BNP Paribas Masters in Paris, France, Oct. 27, 2008. Monaco won 2-0 (6-0,7-6). (Xinhua Photo)

  • Switzerland's Roger Federer returns a shot to Argentina's David Nalbandian during their final match at the Swiss Indoors ATP tennis tournament in Basel October 26, 2008.Federer beats Nalbandian 6-3, 6-4 in the Swiss Indoors final.(Xinhua/Reuters Photo)


    Switzerland's Roger Federer celebrates his victory over Argentina's David Nalbandian in their final match at the Swiss Indoors ATP tennis tournament in Basel October 26, 2008.(Xinhua/Reuters Photo)


    Switzerland's Roger Federer holds his trophy after his victory over Argentina's David Nalbandian in their final match at the Swiss Indoors ATP tennis tournament in Basel October 26, 2008.(Xinhua/Reuters Photo)


    Switzerland's Roger Federer kisses his trophy after his victory over Argentina's David Nalbandian in their final match at the Swiss Indoors ATP tennis tournament in Basel October 26, 2008.(Xinhua/Reuters Photo)


    Switzerland's Roger Federer returns a shot to Argentina's David Nalbandian during their final match at the Swiss Indoors ATP tennis tournament in Basel October 26, 2008.(Xinhua/Reuters Photo)


    Argentina's David Nalbandian reacts during his final match against Switzerland's Roger Federer at the Swiss Indoors ATP tennis tournament in Basel October 26, 2008.(Xinhua/Reuters Photo)
  •     GENEVA, Oct. 26 (Xinhua) -- World number two Roger Federer beat second-seeded David Nalbandian of Argentina 6-3, 6-4 in the final of the Swiss Indoor Tennis Open on Sunday for his third straight title on home soil.

        The top-seeded Federer's serve was dominant. He hit eight aces and conceded just seven points on his serve all match.

        The 27-year-old Swiss broke to lead 4-2 in the first set and again in the third game of the second set.


  • Serb Ana Ivanovic plays back at the Kremlin Cup on Wednesday. Ivanovic lost to Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia 1-2 Wednesday.

    MOSCOW, Oct. 8 (Xinhua) -- It was a mixed day for seeded players at the Kremlin Cup on Wednesday as the first round wrapped up and the second round kicked off at the prestigious 1.34 million U.S. dollars event.

    Among the upset victims was Serb Ana Ivanovic, whose dismal second half of 2008 continued with a loss to Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia.

    Ivanovic, who won her first Grand Slam title at Roland Garros in June and subsequently rose to No.1 in the world, had won only five matches in her five events since, losing early at Wimbledon, Montreal, the U.S. Open, Tokyo and Beijing.

    "I really enjoyed playing out there, the crowd was really supportive, and I hope to be out there again next year," Ivanovic said. "I'm healthy, enjoying my time on the court and just happy to be back competing. I'm just trying to get as many matches as I can, it'll take to get back to my best."

    Cibulkova, unseeded at the Kremlin Cup, nearly fell to the No.4seed, falling behind 15-40 while serving to stay in the match at 4- 5 in the third set. But she hung tough and took the match in a tie- break.

    It was her fifth top 10 win of the year (and her career), following previous wins over Venus Williams, Anna Chakvetadze, Elena Dementieva and Jelena Jankovic.

    "I knew she was a tough opponent coming in, she played really well when it counted," Ivanovic said. "I felt like I was playing better and better as the match was going on, but she played some great shots when I had match points. I'm taking the positives from this match, though, so I can't be disappointed."

    Elsewhere, No.3 seeded Elena Dementieva of Russia outrallied Katarina Srebotnik of Slovenia 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(2), and fellow Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova had to wait out 12 close games before taking complete control over Italian Sara Errani in the first set tie- break to prevail in straights, 7-6(0), 6-1.

    There was also win for No.2 seed Dinara Safina who beat French veteran Amelie Mauresmo 6-7(2), 6-4, 6-4.