Thursday, September 18, 2008

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Bob Bryan out of US Cup team

MADRID: American Bob Bryan, one half of the world's top-ranked doubles pair, has pulled out of the Davis Cup semifinal against Spain starting on Friday after aggravating a shoulder injury.

Bryan told the tournament website that he exacerbated the injury while winning the US Open doubles title with his twin brother Mike.

"I had to shut it down now. I can't even hit any balls," he said. Partner Mike Bryan, who has not played a tournament without his twin brother since 2002, said he had been practising with US Open quarterfinalist Mardy Fish. Captain Patrick McEnroe would not confirm if they would be the doubles pair. "The shoulder has been bothering him since Wimbledon. It's been a long summer, he has been taking anti-inflammatories and it's pretty sore," Mike Bryan told a news conference in the Las Ventas bullring, which still stages the event.

"I'm not a doctor but I think it is pretty serious."

The US team, which will depend on Andy Roddick with 20-year-old Sam Querrey also included, faces world No 1 Rafael Nadal and a strong Spanish team enjoying home advantage on their favorite clay surface.

Shoaib banned in Pakistan

KARACHI, Pakistan: Fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar will not be allowed to take part in the domestic season unless he pays a fine of 7 million Pakistan rupees .

The legal counsel for the Pakistan Cricket Board said Shoaib would not be eligible to start the season on Oct 4 with the highly popular Twenty20 national championship until he had cleared the fine.

"He has to pay the fine first or get a stay order from the court against it. Otherwise he can't play for Pakistan or anywhere in Pakistan at any level," Tafazzul Rizvi said.

The Board's appellate tribunal reduced in June a five year ban imposed on the fast bowler to 18 months. But it asked him to pay the hefty fine as punishment.

Shoaib then filed a petition in the Lahore High Court against the ban and fine and the court suspended the ban until the case was decided.

Rizvi said the court had not suspended the fine and Shoaib had to pay it to fulfil legal formalities.

Shoaib was fined following his criticism of Pakistan selectors.

McLaren defends Kovalainen

LONDON: McLaren defended Heikki Kovalainen's performance on Tuesday after the Finn lost to Toro Rosso's Sebastian Vettel in last weekend's Italian Grand Prix despite starting on the front row.

"Heikki has no reason to feel disappointed," said McLaren chief executive Martin Whitmarsh in a team debrief.

"The reality is that he didn't put a foot wrong all weekend and looked blindingly fast in dry, damp and full-wet conditions," he added.

"He struggled a little with visibility in the early stages of the race and had a few difficulties with his tyres and brake temperatures, but we are not disappointed with his result.

"Let's not forget that Heikki is fearsomely quick but is still very much developing his approach. We have a clearly defined program for him in the weeks and months ahead and feel certain that he will only grow stronger."

Kovalainen, in his first season with McLaren after a difficult rookie year with Renault, won last month's Hungarian Grand Prix but has fallen out of contention in the championship battle.

British teammate Lewis Hamilton has won four of the 14 races so far, as well as being stripped of a fifth victory in Belgium, and leads the championship with 78 points. Kovalainen is sixth overall.

Source: China Daily

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