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Medvedev Sinks Shapo, Clinches Vienna Crown

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Daniil Medvedev didn’t have things all his own way Sunday at the Erste Bank Open in Vienna, but he stepped up when needed, overcoming Denis Shapovalov 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 to capture his second tour-level title of the season.

The top seed was overpowered by Shapovalov in an entertaining first set, with the Canadian firing 21 winners to move ahead. However, the World No. 4 refused to go away throughout the two-hour, 16-minute clash, hitting with greater depth and accuracy in the second and third sets to force Shapovalov into errors at the ATP 500 event.

“I am really happy,” Medvedev said. “This match was the best of the week because Denis was really playing unreal until probably 4-3 in the second set. He dropped his level by maybe two per cent and I was able to use it. This is one of the best victories when you know your opponent is on top of you, but you try and stay there and do what you can.”

Medvedev now leads the 23-year-old Shapovalov 4-2 in their ATP Head2Head series, while he has improved to 45-15 on the season. Earlier this year, he reached the final at the Australian Open before he won the title in Los Cabos.

The 26-year-old looked back to his very best during a dominant week in Austria. He did not drop a set or lose serve en route to the championship match, securing his spot at the Nitto ATP Finals – to be held in Turin from 13-20 November – along the way.

In front of a packed crowd in the championship match, Medvedev produced moments of magic in the third set as he blunted the attack of Shapovalov with a range of stunning passing shots. The top seed hit 24 winners and broke serve five times, sealing the title on his sixth match point.

Medvedev, who reached the quarter-finals in his only previous appearance in Vienna, has now won 15 tour-level titles, with seven coming on indoor hard courts. The 2020 Nitto ATP Finals champion will now head to the Rolex Paris Masters, where he will aim to capture his second title at the ATP Masters 1000 event.

“I like to play indoor hard courts at the end of the season,” Medvedev said. “I feel that I do a great job with my team not to arrive burnt out. I am looking forward to the last two tournaments of the year which are really important and I usually play well.”

Shapovalov was competing in his second tour-level final of the month after advancing to that stage in Seoul. The Canadian, who is up to No. 16 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings, was unable to match Medvedev’s intensity in the third set as he looked to win his second tour-level crown and first since 2019, when he triumphed in Stockholm.

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BREAKING: Senegal powers into Round of 16 in Qatar

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Senegal has become the first African side to qualify for the next stage of the World Cup presently going in on Qatar after beating Ecuador 2-1 in an action-packed final match at the group stage, the first time they African champions would be doing so since the 2002 edition.

Senegal, current holder of the African Cup of Nations (AFCON), which they won in Egypt in February, had opened scoring through a penalty, but Ecuador was later to equalise, only for the African champions to power home again, two minutes later and sustained the lead till the 96 minutes the encounter lasted.

They will join The Netherlands, which won 2-0 against the host nation, Qatar, which neither won a match nor scored a goal, but lost their three matches.

Details later…

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BREAKING: Morocco shocks Belgium in Qatar with 2-0 victory

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It would have been three in all, but with just part of the arms sticking out, was all it needed to cancel a beautiful freekick that would have sent Morocco in front at the nick of the first half after the Video Assisted Referee (VAR), was contacted.

But it did not deter the African side, 22 in the world ranking from their continuous onslaught, until the pressure paid off with another splendid freekick in the second half, from Abdelhamid Sabiri, which found its way at the back of the Belgian net, without touching anybody.

All attempts to equalise failed until well into three minutes of five minutes extra time, when a combination of a back-pass and one touch shot from Zakaria Aboukhlal, gave the African side, which had the best result ahead of the qualifiers without losing a match chance to complete the rout, becoming the first team in the continent to win a match in the ongoing global football event.

 

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BREAKING: Mighty Argentina, falls at S’Arabia’s feet in W’Cup shocker!

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Football pundits may take longer a longer time to unravel the mystery of Argentina, two-time World Cup winner falling at the feet of lowly-rated Saudi Arabia at the ongoing World Cup mundial in Qatar, despite parading some of the world’s most celebrated stars including seven time Balon D’or winner, Lionel Messi.

The world had been expecting a whitewash from the South Americans La Scaloneta, but it seems that the ginnie came out of the bottle to do the magic for Al-Suqour Al-Akhdhar otherwise known as the Green Falcons, leaving everyone stunned.

The game played at the Lusail Iconic Stadium, also left the Argentine team in blushes of shocks as most of them stood in one place, stupefied, apparently wondering what would have happened in a match, they began with a lot of promise, hitting the back of the net of the team of the world’s richest oil-producing country.

Messi, had stamped his authority by converting a penalty awarded his team masterfully, and expectations, was high that the downpour would commence from ther, but it was not to be, as Harve Renard, saw to it that his boys picked up the gauntlet to do maximum battle.

Two goals in quick intervals was all it took to get a stunned Argentine side and the world gaping in disbelief and remaines so till the full blast of the whistle, with the players smiling to the dressing room triumphantly, clinching the sweet memories of their victory, the first ever in a World Cup game to their heart.

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