Virat will bounce back into form in Champions Trophy: Kapil

first_img(Eds: repeating after recasting the 4th para) By Nikhil Bapat Mumbai, May 17 (PTI) Cricket legend Kapil Dev is not losing sleep over the recent lean patch of Virat Kohli and is confident that the Delhi stalwart will bounce back into form in the ICC Champions Trophy commencing on June 1. “It (Kohli?s form) should not be (a worry). I know his ability and talent. He will bounce back. I don?t see any reasons (why) he will not be among the runs,” Kapil told PTI in an interaction arranged by event broadcasters Star Sports and digital platform Hotstar here today. “He is an important player (for the team) and if he starts getting runs, then the whole team gets motivated. If your captain starts getting runs, it?s the best thing that happens,” Kapil added. Kohli, who hammered 973 runs in 16 matches during the last IPL season, managed only 308 runs in 10 games in the 10th edition of the Indian Premier League, with a highest score of 64, for the Royal Challengers Bangalore who were knocked out after finishing last on the league table. Defending champions India start their campaign in the tournament, being held in England, with the much-awaited group clash against arch rivals Pakistan on June 4 in Birmingham. Kapil, who led underdogs India to an unforgettable World Cup triumph in 1983, termed the present Indian bowling attack as the best and heaped special praise on young death-over specialist Jasprit Bumrah. “When I saw Bumrah for the first time, I never expected (that he will rise). He has such a strong mind! When your action is not so clean, it is difficult to manage to bowl such good bowling line and length, yorkers. He has the strength within himself. Whatever he wants to do, he can do,” said Kapil about the Ahmedabad-born bowler. “His mindset is better than anything else and I have started respecting him much more than what I had seen on the first day when he played a ODI match,? said Kapil, who had captured 434 wickets from 131 Test matches. “If I see all these players, I don?t think anybody else can fit in. Bhuvnesh (Kumar) is very good, Umesh (Yadav) is very good, (Mohammed) Shami is extraordinary. (Ravichandran) Ashwin will be back and (Ravindra) Jadeja. This is the best bowlers we have in the country,? said the 58-year-old former India skiper, who scalped 253 wickets in 225 ODIs. Kapil emphasized that the Indian team for the Champions Trophy looks strong on paper. “On paper it (team) looks very good. Perhaps I know the team much better than other teams, so I can say, Indian team looks very good at this stage,” the cricket legend said. Asked whether yesterdays half century for Rising Pune Supergiant against Mumbai Indians in the IPL Qualifier 1 here signalled Ajinkya Rahanes return to form, Kapil said he was hoping the innings would boost the batsmans confidence in the Champions Trophy. “Ajinkya Rahane has shown time and again that he has the ability and temperament (to score runs). Just sometimes one knock can change the thought process, and I hope he will be much confident now (after the fifty) than the day before.” Kapil welcomed the presence of Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh in the team and said the duos vast experience would stand the team in good stead. “Both of them have a lot of respect among the youngsters. They have to play to their potential. We can?t expect Dhoni or Yuvraj to be the same, as they were 15 years back. Their experience can come into the game,? he added. Quizzed about the epic India-Pakistan clash in Birmingham the former skipper said that Pakistan were the underdogs. “Indian team obviously looks far better and they are playing cricket which is among the best at this stage. So on paper our (Indian) team is far better,” Kapil said. “Pakistan at this stage has nothing to lose. They have everything to gain and they are the underdogs. They have ruthless players, but Indian team, on paper, looks far better,? he signed off. PTI NRB SSR DK DK KRKadvertisementlast_img read more

India vs Pakistan, Champions Trophy 2017 Final: AC trouble kept players up ahead of big game

first_imgOn the eve of the ICC Champions Trophy final, players were deprived of some important hours of sleep as the air conditioners of their rooms were not functioning.India and Pakistan are set to play each other today at The Oval in London for the Champions Trophy title. While India are chasing their third trophy, Pakistan want to lay hands on their first-ever Champions Trophy title.On a day when the maximum temperature in London went upto 29 degree celsius and the level of humidity was also higher than the usual UK standard, players were left troubled by the technical fault.Post their practice and all activities, the players were looking to hit the bed early and get some sound sleep before the big day but they found out that the ACs of their rooms were non-functional.Several players also complained that the electricity in their room wasn’t in place either.While the work of fixing the fault started, some players went to terrace while others went out for a while, thus missing out on some important hours of sleep.After an hour and 45 minutes, the fault was fixed and everything started working again and the players were able to go to sleep.India and Pakistan are facing each other in the final of an ICC tournament after 10 years, the last being the final of the first T20 World Cup in 2007.India enjoy an upperhand in terms of head-to-head record against Pakistan in ICC tournaments, which is 13-2, while the same is level at 2-2 in ICC Champions Trophy.advertisementlast_img read more

Aegon Classic: Petra Kvitova into Birmingham semis, will face Lucie Safarova

first_imgCzech Petra Kvitova moved into the Aegon Classic semi-finals with a 6-4, 7-6(5) win over France’s Kristina Mladenovic on Friday.The seventh seed, twice Wimbledon champion, is playing in her second tournament after a lengthy layoff with a hand injury, suffered during a knife attack at her home in December.”Both of us play really fast on this surface, the grass suits her game as well, so it was about a few points here in three, one or two key breaks in the match,” Kvitova said.It took a second-set tiebreak and one hour 43 minutes for Kvitova to secure the win which sets up a semi-final clash with compatriot Lucie Safarova.Safarova came through a marathon battle with Australian Daria Gavrilova, triumphing 6-7(4), 6-3, 7-6(5).Safarova saved three match-points in the deciding set and rallied to win the last four points of the third set tiebreak to end the three-hour contest on top.”It was such an amazing fight between the both of us and I am so happy that I won,” Safarova said.”I stayed positive until the end. I had a few opportunities but she was serving well. I just believed that I could pull it out and win it,” she added.Later on Friday, Spain’s Garbine Muguruza takes on American Coco Vandeweghe and Australian Ashleigh Barty faces Camila Giorgi of Italy.last_img read more

Two men from Maharashtra pedal to history, become 1st Indians

first_imgto finish RAAMBy Ashish AgasheMumbai, June 26 (PTI) Eleven days, 18 hours and 45 minutes after setting out from California, Srinivas Gokulnath created history by becoming the first Indian to complete what is considered to be the toughest cycle race in the world — the 4,900-km Race Across America (RAAM) in solo category.In a feat that marks the Indian arrival on the endurance cycling scene globally, another Maharashtrian, Dr Amit Samarth of Nagpur, followed him at the finish line at Annapolis on American east coast around midnight today as per the Indian time.Among the nine men who finished, Gokulnath stood 7th while Samarth was right on his heels at number 8. The race was won by Christoph Strasser.Team Sahyadri Cyclists, from Gokulnaths hometown of Nashik, completed the race in the 4-men category in eight days and 10 hrs today.Unlike a stage race like the famed Tour de France, the clock is constantly ticking at RAAM, and the riders have to pedal over 400 km a day to finish the race in the stipulated 12 days. They can rest for only a couple of hours a day at best; extreme fatigue, sleeplessness and hallucinations are not uncommon.”I am relieved…that is the feeling I am going through right now,” is all Lt Colonel Gokulnath could say at the finish line.Starting from temperate climes on the Pacific Coast, the race enters the furnace-like Mojave Desert, passes through arid Arizona, cold mountain passes in Colorado, windy plains in central America, and finally the Appalachian Mountains test the riders before they reach the Atlantic coast on the east.advertisementIn its over three-decade history, only three Indians had attempted RAAM solo, but no one could finish. Samim Rizvi, the first Indian to attempt, also took part this year but couldnt finish.Gokulnath said he went through various emotions right from the start of the race, which he termed as a “relentless effort” from the moment one signs up for it.Gokulnath, a doctor by training, is an aerospace medicine specialist working with the Army in Nashik, and was competing for the second consecutive year at RAAM (he was timed out last year after pedalling for nearly 3,000 km). Samarth, however, finished the race in his maiden attempt.Apart from Rizvi and Gokulnath, Sumit Patil from Alibag was the only one to have attempted the race in the past.More than a dozen Indian riders have qualified for RAAM during the past decade through special rides that take place in various regions like the Deccan plateau, the Thar desert and the hills of south India.After qualifying, one has to undergo gruelling training for several months, do simulated multi-day rides with a specially collected crew, and also arrange the finances that run up to over Rs 20 lakh for the race and more for training.Congratulating the finishers, Satish Patki, who virtually introduced distance cycling in the country over a decade ago, said the resources required make it an exclusive club, but there is a huge potential for endurance riding in India too which can be explored by having domestic races.Mahendra and Hitendra Mahajan, doctors from Nashik, had won the two-men category last year, marking the first Indian finish at the RAAM, but a solo finish was elusive till Gokulnath crossed the line. Mahajan brothers returned to RAAM this year as crew members in Team Sahyadri.Multi-disciplinary interests in endurance sports are almost like a given — the Mahajan brothers are active distance runners while Samarth has done multiple Ironman triathlons and marathons. PTI AA BEN KRKlast_img read more

Micromax, Eros Now set to launch Canvas Plex Tab in India in coming weeks

first_imgSoon after launching its Canvas Infinity phone – that comes with an unusual 18:9 edge-to-edge screen – home grown brand Micromax is gearing to launch its first tablet of the year in the country in the coming weeks. The tablet, to be called the Canvas Plex Tab, will be launched in collaboration with Eros International’s digital platform Eros Now, sources have confirmed to India Today Tech.Not a lot is known about the Canvas Plex Tab for now, only that it would be an affordable tablet that would ship with pre-bundled content from Eros Now. To recall, Micromax had tied up with Eros Now last year “to build its services portfolio to offer convenience and exceptional digital experience to its consumers. With this partnership, the Eros Now app will be pre-installed into Micromax’s latest smartphones,” the company had said in a statement.The Canvas Plex Tab would likely come with pre-installed Eros Now and quite possibly a bundle that would allow buyers to consume the content, as a value added service. This is, however, just a speculation for now.Moving on, India Today Tech has managed to obtain images of the Canvas Plex Tab from sources, giving us some idea what the upcoming tablet from Micromax would look like. The Canvas Plex Tab – that would likely be an affordable tablet – will be made out of plastic and also sport a rear-facing camera. The new tablet seems to continue on the lines of Micromax’s previous Canvas tablets from a design point of view. The Canvas Plex Tab, in addition, would feature DTS sound audio tech. advertisementMicromax launched the Canvas Infinity phone — a phone with an unusual 18:9 edge-to-edge screen and other top features — in India on Tuesday at a price of Rs 9,999. The Canvas Infinity phone focuses a great deal on design and camera capabilities. The USP feature of the Infinity phone, however, is its unusual display that boasts of an unusual aspect ratio of 18:9 as opposed to a regular 16:9, something that has already been commercialized by South Korean giants Samsung and LG. But while the Samsung Galaxy S8 and the LG G6 cost Rs 60,000 and Rs 40,000 respectively, the Infinity phone from Micromax, because it is priced so aggressively, brings edge-to-edge screens to the masses. The Canvas Infinity costs just Rs 9,999 and will be an Amazon India-exclusive in the country.Also Read: Micromax Canvas Infinity quick review: Premium experience for Rs 9,999. Almostlast_img read more

Indian juggernaut up against Kiwi grit

first_img(Eds: Repeating after making a correction in last para)By S S RamaswamyMumbai, Oct 21 (PTI) Hardly challenged in a dominating run this season, India will once again start overwhelming favourites when they take on an inconsistent-but-gritty New Zealand in a three-match ODI series, starting here tomorrow.The Indians are on a high after comprehensively thrashing world champions Australia earlier this month. And the Black Caps will have to come up with really a special effort to make a mark against the rampaging hosts.Banking on settled batting and bowling combinations with most of the columns ticked, the hosts appear to be too well- groomed a unit for the comfort of the visitors.Although India suffered a resounding loss to South Africa on a belter of a track at this very venue three seasons ago, they went on to win three series on the trot in their backyard and are now a force to reckon with in the upcoming series.In fact, since surrendering to Australia back in 2009-10, India have lost only to Pakistan (2012) and South Africa in 16 bilateral rubbers, a clear indication of how dominant they have been in familiar conditions.Considering that the 4-1 result over Australia was achieved without skipper Virat Kohli being in top form and despite the absence of prolific opener Shikhar Dhawan, it was a huge achievement.Vice-captain Rohit Sharma scored 296 runs, including a century and two fifties at an average just below 60. The ever-dependable Ajinkya Rahane hit 244 runs that included four half-centuries, while all-rounder Hardik Pandya amassed 222 runs. The ever-reliable Mahendra Singh Dhoni had a subdued time with the bat against Australia.advertisementIf they continue to fire with the same intensity, it would be difficult for New Zealand to contain the home team on a Wankhede track, which is expected to provide the ideal pace and bounce for the batsmen to go for the shots.With a new-look spin attack with Chinaman Kuldeep Singh and orthodox leggie Yuzvendra Chahal, along with the left-arm orthodox Axar Patel as the back-up, Indias slow bowling too sports a supremely challenging look.Among the pacers, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah are expected to trouble the Kiwis in the opening as well as at death overs.However, New Zealanders will bank on their senior-most batsman and former captain Ross Taylor, who scored a cracking century at the Brabourne Stadium against the Indian Board Presidents XI in their second practice game.The form of Taylor, opener Martin Guptill and captain Kane Williamson are going to be crucial in the Kiwis trying to match the Indian batting might.Tom Latham, who also warmed up with a ton in the second practice game along with Taylor, offers some big-hitting option in the middle. But overall, the visitors batting pales in comparison to the home teams, especially in sub- continental conditions.The experienced pace duo of Trent Boult and Tim Southee will have to take up the responsibility of getting quick wickets at the top. The spinners in left-arm orthodox Mitchell Santner and leggie Ish Sodhi may have a tough time against the Indian batsmen in the middle overs.This will be the first series for India with the new ODI playing conditions in place.Squads:India: Virat Kohli (captain), Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Ajinkya Rahane, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik, MS Dhoni (wk), Hardik Pandya, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Shardul Thakur.New Zealand: Kane Williamson (captain), Trent Boult, Colin de Grandhomme, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, Henry Nicholls, Adam Milne, Colin Munro, Glenn Phillips, Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, George Worker and Ish Sodhi.Match commences at 1:30 pm IST. PTI SSR CM PM CMlast_img read more

Cong has lost direction and plot as main Oppn party: Govt

first_imgNew Delhi, Dec 21 (PTI) The government today said the Congress has lost its “direction and plot” as the main opposition party as it disrupted cricketer Sachin Tendulkar from speaking on the non-political issue of sports in the Rajya Sabha.”The Congress today behaved in an undemocratic manner in the Upper House by disrupting Bharat Ratna Sachin Tendulkar from speaking on the important and non-political issue of sports and its development in the country,” Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar told reporters here.The cricket icon could not initiate a short-duration discussion on the right to play and the future of sports in India.”Despite repeated requests from the Chairman of the House that he (Tendulkar) should be allowed to speak on this important and public interest issue, the Congress did not allow him to speak,” Kumar said.Amid continuing stalemate between the BJP and the Congress over Prime Minister Narendra Modis remarks against his predecessor Manmohan Singh, Kumar said the opposition party has lost its “direction and plot”.”After disrupting the Lok Sabha for several days, today they are participating in the discussion on supplementary demand for the grants. But in the Rajya Sabha, they are continuing to disrupt the proceedings,” the minister said, adding that the party was “totally confused”. PTI JTR RAM SMNlast_img read more

MS Dhoni, Sakshi and Ziva at Virat Kohli’s wedding reception. Watch

first_imgMS Dhoni was among a galaxy of cricket stars at Virat Kohli and Anushka Sharma’s wedding reception in Mumbai on Tuesday.Kohli made his international debut under Dhoni way back in 2008 and has since held the wicketkeeper-batsman in high regard.Dhoni was at Mumbai’s St Regis with wife Sakshi and daughter Ziva,  and was one of several of Kohli’s India teammates to attend the star-studded party.Kohli and Anushka had tied the knot in Tuscany, Italy on December 11 and had held a reception in Delhi on December 21 which was attended by Shikhar Dhawan, Suresh Raina and Gautam Gambhir.But the reception in Mumbai was always going to be more high-profile with the entire Indian team stationed here. They recently completed a series whitewash over Sri Lanka in T20Is and the Test specialists assembled here to depart for the tour of South Africa on December 27.[EXCLUSIVE VIDEO] @msdhoni makes his way to the #VirushkaReception along with @SaakshiSRawat & Ziva. ❤️ #MSDhoniUniverse pic.twitter.com/FG72cwn07v- Mahendra Singh Dhoni (@MSDhoniUniverse) December 26, 2017However, the most high-profile guest of the evening was bound to be Dhoni, who stepped down as India’s limited-overs captain in January this year. He still enjoys cult status.When Kohli took over as captain of India’s ODI and T20I teams, he had said Dhoni would always be his captain. The 29-year-old Delhi run-machine often seeks Dhoni’s advice on the field and considers him to be a valuable member of his T20 side even though a few experts had been criticial of Dhoni’s form in the shortest format.advertisementSo when a few former cricketers suggested it was time for India to look beyond Dhoni in the T20 format, Kohli was the first to defend the 36-year-old.”I don’t understand why people are pointing him out. If I fail as a batsman three times, no one is going to point fingers at me because I am not over 35,” Kohli’s sarcastic jibe at the post-match media conference was not lost on anyone.”The guy is fit, he is passing all the tests. He is contributing to the team in every tactical way on the field. With the bat, he did really well against Sri Lanka (away series) and Australia,” Kohli had said.last_img read more

Dont use national flag made of plastic, says MHA

first_imgNew Delhi, Jan 9 (PTI) Ahead of the Republic Day, the government today urged everyone not to use national flag made of plastic and asked the states and Union territories to ensure strict compliance of the flag code.In an advisory to the states and Union territories, the Ministry of Home Affairs said the national flag represents the hopes and aspirations of the people of the country and hence should occupy a position of honour.The ministry said that it has been brought to its notice that during important events, the national flag made of plastic is also being used in place of paper flags.Since, the plastic flags are not biodegradable like paper flags, these do not get decomposed for a long time and ensuring appropriate disposal of national flag made of plastic commensurate with dignity of the flag, is a practical problem, the advisory said.As per Section 2 of The Prevention of insults to National Honour Act, 1971 – Whoever in any public place or in any other place within public view burns, mutilates, defaces, defiles, disfigures, destroys, tramples upon or otherwise shows disrespect to or brings into contempt (whether by words, either spoken or written, or by acts) the Indian National Flag or any part thereof, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both.The advisory said that on important national, cultural and sports events, flags made of paper only are to be used by public in terms of the provisions of the Flag Code of India, 2002 and such paper flags are not to be discarded or thrown on the ground after the event.advertisementSuch flags are to be disposed of, in private, consistent with the dignity of the flag. Wide publicity for not using the national flag made of plastic should be made along with its advertisement in the electronic and print media.State governments, UT administrations, secretaries of all ministries/departments of government of India were told to ensure strict compliance of the provisions contained in the Flag Code of India, 2002 and The Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971.There is universal affection and respect for and loyalty to the national flag. Yet, a perceptible lack of awareness is often noticed amongst the people as well as organisations and agencies of the government in regard to laws, practices and conventions that apply to display of the national flag, the advisory said. PTI ACB RTlast_img read more

Former Barcelona player Sergi Barjuan becomes Hangzhou’s new manager

first_imgHangzhou Greentown have appointed former Barcelona player Sergi Barjuan as their new manager, reportedly on a two-year contract, as they target promotion to the Chinese Super League (CSL).The 45-year-old has 56 caps for Spain and made 267 appearances for Barcelona between 1993 and 2002.It will be his first coaching assignment away from Spanish football having previously managed Recreativo Huelva, Almeria and Real Mallorca.Hangzhou, who were relegated from the CSL in 2016, finished ninth in the second-tier league last season.last_img read more

Giants Rally, Beat Steelers, 20-16

first_imgEAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — With a chance for an increased role in the Giants’ running game, Rashad Jennings made a strong first impression on Aug. 9.Jennings ran 73 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter and Curtis Painter’s scoring pass with 2:50 left gave the Giants a 20-16 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers in a preseason game.“It feels good to get out there and jell with the offense,” Jennings said. “Find a big hole like that and make a big play.”Howard Jones had given the Steelers a 16-13 lead when he picked up backup quarterback Ryan Nassib’s fumble and went 28 yards for a touchdown with 10:16 to go. But Painter led a 12-play, 80-yard drive and threw a 3-yard TD pass to Corey Washington for the victory.Eli Manning played four series and was 0-for-2 for the Giants. Manning said the offense under new coordinator Ben McAdoo is a work in progress.“I thought the running game was good,” Manning said. “Whenever you have a running back break a long one, that’s a great thing to have to be able to hit that big play. I feel confident in the offense, feel confident in our ability.”The Giants opened the preseason last week with a 17-13 victory over Buffalo in the Hall of Fame game.The Giants focused on their running game after a week in which David Wilson was forced to retire because of a neck injury. Peyton Hillis missed the game because of an ankle injury.Jennings, who signed a four-year, $10 million deal with the Giants in March, finished with 85 yards to lead the team.Ben Roethlisberger played only one series for the Steelers (0-1). He was 1-for-2, with the completion a 46-yarder to rookie third-round pick Dri Archer to the Giants 14. Running back Le’Veon Bell started the drive with gains of 9 and 8 yards.The seven-play, 70-yard drive ended with the first of Shaun Suisham’s three field goals, a 26-yarder for a 3-0 lead.“I thought it was a good, solid first series,” Roethlisberger said. “Obviously, it helped that we had a huge play to Dri. But we moved the ball down the field and got points on the board.”Jennings’ long touchdown run came on the next play from scrimmage. “It was a well-executed play,” Jennings said. “Eli made sure we were in the right play, it was a hat on a hat, a gaping hole in the offensive line.”“One-on-one battles in the open field, you’ve got to win those. It’s what I did and the rest was just a race.”Steelers coach Mike Tomlin was disappointed with his team’s defense on that score.“We gave up a long run and that can’t happen,” he said. “You’re going to have guys break out and get 8 or get 12 yards, but not 78. It was an integrity issue. When those things happen, you have to be able to minimize the explosion.”Early in the second quarter, the Giants took advantage of a 21-yard punt by Brad Wing and started their drive at the Steelers 35. Josh Brown made a 45-yard field goal for a 10-3 lead.Bruce Gradkowski took over for Roethlisberger and was 8 for 12 for 66 yards.Nassib replaced Manning in the second quarter. On his second drive, he completed his first five passes, including a 12-yarder to Rueben Randle. Brandon McManus’ 46-yard field goal with 38 seconds left in the first half gave the Giants a 13-3 lead.Charles James fumbled a punt with 7:37 left in the third and Jones recovered at the Giants 21. The Giants’ defense held and Suisham made a 38-yard field goal to make it 13-6.Suisham added a 32-yarder 59 seconds into the fourth quarter to make it 13-9.(SIMMI BUTTAR, AP Sports Writer)TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

Djokovic, Murray Win at US Open

first_imgNEW YORK — Spinning in 70 mph second serves, grabbing at his hamstring during points, Andy Murray gritted his way through head-to-toe cramps to win at the U.S. Open.Murray outlasted Robin Haase 6-3, 7-6 (6), 1-6, 7-5 in the first round Aug. 25 during an afternoon that was hot but not particularly humid. He was mystified that the cramps came on so early — at the start of the third set after only about an hour and a half on court.“When it starts to kind of go everywhere, you don’t know exactly where it’s going to creep up next,” he said. “When you stretch one muscle, something else then cramps, too.”It started in the back of his left shoulder, and then quickly spread to his forearm. The right-handed Murray couldn’t toss the ball high enough to get any pace on his serves.Between points, he’d twist his body to awkwardly stretch his left side. After hitting a winner, he’d reach for his quad.Murray was twice down a break in the fourth set, but the 70th-ranked Haase unraveled with a string of unforced errors. He wasted three break points in the final game, when a missed call also cost him.The eighth-seeded Murray had felt confident in his conditioning after productive training sessions in Miami, where he weathered far more heat and humidity than this. He wondered if something was amiss in his nutrition.“Cramping in my left forearm?” a bewildered Murray said. “I mean, I didn’t use my left forearm a whole lot today.”Haase, also bothered by some cramping, said he didn’t eat and drink enough beforehand because of an earlier-than-expected start — the first match on Louis Armstrong Stadium lasted just 47 minutes. But Murray said dehydration didn’t seem to be his problem.Serving for the fourth set at 5-3, Haase double-faulted on break point to allow Murray to get back on serve. Murray then went up 6-5 when he took Haase’s second serve high and whacked a forehand winner.With Murray trying to serve out the match, Haase smacked a deep return on his second break point that might have set him up to win the game. But the ball was called out, and after it was overturned on review, they had to replay the point. This time, Haase hit a volley into the net.Murray is notorious for suddenly clutching at an ailment after a poorly played point. On this day, though, the misery was clearly real. The two-time major champion went after winners to shorten points, tried to stay upright to keep the strain off his legs. It was just enough to eke out the victory.“I don’t think if it would have gone to five sets I would’ve been the favorite,” Murray said.Three years ago, he and Haase did go five in New York, with Murray rallying from a two-set deficit to win in the second round.After the loss, Haase planned to complain to the ATP that he was denied treatment during the match for a sore foot. But the Dutchman insisted he wasn’t distracted by Murray’s shows of discomfort.“I was more busy with myself, and I was struggling myself,” Haase said. “I tried to play my game. It didn’t bother me what he did.”No such struggles for top-seeded Novak Djokovic, who breezed past U.S. Open novice Diego Schwartzman 6-1, 6-2, 6-4. Djokovic wrapped up the final match on opening day at the year’s last Grand Slam event as the hour grew late, with fans calling out to him from the far-away seats at Arthur Ashe Stadium.“I hope it was a midnight delight for all you guys,” he told them in an on-court interview.Fifth-seeded Maria Sharapova, who missed last year’s tournament because of an injured right shoulder, made a successful return by winning the final 10 games to beat Maria Kirilenko 6-4, 6-0 in a matchup of 27-year-old Russians and longtime friends. Actor Alec Baldwin got into the action, too, catching an out-of-bounds shot that sailed over Sharapova and bounced into the seats.Also, 10th-seeded Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark advanced 6-1, 3-6, 2-0 when Magdalena Rybarikova of Slovakia had to stop because of an injured left hip.Ninth-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga also needed four sets to beat Juan Monaco 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (2), 6-1. Nick Kyrgios — the Australian teen who stunned Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon — came back from three code violations, just one outburst away from default, in a 7-5, 7-6 (4), 2-6, 7-6 (1) upset of 21st-seeded Mikhail Youzhny.Julien Benneteau, seeded 24th, was upset in five sets by fellow Frenchman Benoit Paire. Third-seeded Stan Wawrinka and fifth-seeded Milos Raonic both advanced in straight sets.Earlier, Venus Williams, 34, beat 43-year-old Kimiko Date-Krumm 2-6, 6-3, 6-3. The combined age of 77 was believed to be the oldest for a women’s Grand Slam pairing, the WTA said.Along with the 19th-seeded Williams, 21st-seeded American Sloane Stephens also advanced by routing Annika Beck.Second-seeded Simona Halep rallied from a set down for a 6-7 (2), 6-1, 6-2 victory over 20-year-old Danielle Rose Collins, who was playing her first main draw match at a tour-level event. As a sophomore at Virginia, an unseeded Collins won the NCAA title to earn a wild card into the U.S. Open.TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

N.Y. Islanders Edge Bruins, 3-2

first_imgBOSTON — The Boston Bruins lost the game to the New York Islanders 3-2 and then waited to find out how long they will be without their captain and No. 1 defenseman, Zdeno Chara.The 2009 Norris Trophy winner left the Oct. 23 game in the first period with an undisclosed injury and didn’t return. Coach Claude Julien said after the game he had no update, but inside the Boston locker room, Chara’s teammates seemed resigned to a long absence.“He’s a presence in all aspects of the game,” said Bruins forward Chris Kelly, who scored to cut a two-goal deficit in half midway through the third period. “He’s a captain for a reason. He’s played in 1,000 games. We’re going to miss him.”Former Bruins backup Chad Johnson stopped 30 shots, and Kyle Okposo scored the go-ahead goal in the second period to help New York snap a two-game losing streak. Frans Nielsen and Cal Clutterbuck also scored for the Islanders.Milan Lucic added goals for Boston. Niklas Svedberg, making his third start as Vezina Trophy-winner Tuukka Rask got the night off, made 35 saves.The Bruins played the Canadian national anthem and observed a moment of silence in memory of the soldier who was killed at the war memorial in Ottawa.The team also played a highlight video for former Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk, a member of the 2011 Stanley Cup champion team who was traded to the Islanders on the eve of the season. He belatedly realized the cheering was for him, flashed a smile, and finally took off his glove and waved to the crowd.Johnson served as Rask’s backup last season.“I think both those guys were excited to come back,” Clutterbuck said. “Obviously, they loved their time here and you can kind of feel the love for Johnny Boychuk out there.”Chara collided with Islanders captain John Tavares midway through the first, then played one more shift that ended with 8:04 remaining in the period. There was no outward indication of an injury at that time.The team didn’t elaborate on why Chara didn’t return to the bench at the start of the second period except to confirm that it was an injury. The 6-foot-9 Slovakian, a third-round pick of the Islanders in 1996, spends more time on the ice than any other Bruins player.“He’s not just big in stature; he’s a leader out there,” fellow Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg said. “He takes up a lot of space in the defensive zone. He’s the biggest part of this team.”Julien said he wouldn’t have an update until doctors have a chance to look at Chara.“When you lose your captain and one of your better defensemen, there’s no doubt it’s going to have an effect on your team,” the coach said. “You’re going to lose guys during the season; those things happen. How you react to it and how you respond is what’s important.”The Islanders had a goal waved off in the first few minutes for goalie interference, but that barely slowed them down. They made it 1-0 six minutes into the game when Nielsen got to a puck in the crease and made a one-handed reach with his stick to tip it in.Lucic crashed the net for his first goal of the season to make it 1-1 near the end of the first, then Okposo made it 2-1 just 90 seconds into the second period.Clutterbuck gave New York a 3-1 lead midway through the second before the Bruins mounted sustained pressure in the Islanders’ zone in the third and cut the deficit to one on Kelly’s rebound with 10:11 remaining.(JIMMY GOLEN, AP Sports Writer)TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

Islanders Cruise Past Avalanche, 6-0

first_imgUNIONDALE, N.Y. — Returning from a five-game road trip, the New York Islanders made defense a priority against the Colorado Avalanche. Scoring six goals was a bonus.Nick Leddy and Anders Lee scored early and Jaroslav Halak stopped 20 shots for his second straight shutout as the Islanders routed the Avalanche 6-0 Nov. 11 for their fourth straight win.Travis Hamonic, Nikolay Kulemin, Casey Cizikas and Ryan Strome also scored to help the Islanders get their first home win since Oct. 25. New York extended its shutout streak to 181:11 and has allowed just three goals in the last four games.“This was probably our most complete game this season,” Hamonic said. “We want to be as strong at home as we’ve been on the road. Now we have to work on playing even better.”Leddy opened the scoring at 1:33 on a shot from the left point, and Lee added a power-play goal at 5:21 from in close for his second of the season.Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov finished with 40 saves as Colorado was outshot 13-5 in the first period, 15-8 in the second and 18-7 in the third.Hamonic made it 3-0 at 6:38 of the second, the 10th goal scored by the Islanders’ defenseman this season. They had 23 goals from blue liners all of last season.Kulemin extended the lead to 4-0 with a short-handed goal at 11:32 on a pass from Frans Nielsen. Cizikas and Strome each scored their first of the season in the third period.“This was a blueprint for how we have to play,” said Strome. “We have a lot to be proud of tonight. Getting almost 50 shots is really impressive.”The Islanders came in with a three-game winning streak to finish a five-game road trip that began with a 5-0 loss at Colorado on Oct. 30.After losing again at San Jose to extend their skid to three games, they had one-goal victories over Anaheim, Los Angeles and Arizona.“We’re creating good habits,” Islanders coach Jack Capuano said. “Our attention to detail was really good. I was impressed that we stayed with it all night.”The Islanders, who improved to 10-5-0, didn’t get their 10th win last season until late December. They finished the night one point behind the Pittsburgh Penguins for the Metropolitan Division lead.Colorado is moving in the opposite direction since last playing the Islanders with just one win in six games.“It’s beyond frustrating at this point,” Avalanche center Matt Duchene said. “We’re taking way too many penalties and we’re not being smart with the puck.”The Avalanche came in rested having last played Nov. 8, when they lost 4-3 at Philadelphia.Colorado has struggled this season after tying their franchise record last year with 52 wins and finishing with 112 points. “We have to play smarter,” Duchene added.New York has won seven of last eight games at Nassau Coliseum against Colorado. The longest shutout streak in Islanders history is 199:24, achieved in 1998.The last goal scored against them was by Dwight King of Los Angeles at 3:49 of the first period on Nov. 7.“When we do the right things defensively, we give ourselves a chance,” Capuano said. “We have to sustain success shift-by-shift and period-by-period.”(ALLAN KREDA)TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

Panathinaikos, Olympiakos Big Winners

first_imgATHENS – Unbeaten Panathinaikos ran away from overmatched Korivos Amaliadas, 72-59 on Dec. 1, a day after the league-leading Greens archrival Olympiakos defeated KAO Dramas away in the Greek basketball league.Panathinaikos led from beginning to end although Korivos closed to within 59-53 toward the end before the winners surged to pull away behind 16 points from Janis Blums, although suffering an injury to center Loukas Mavrokefalidis.Olympiakos, the other major power in a league dominated by two teams for more than two decades, pounded helpless KAOD, 82-64 thanks to Vangelis Mantzaris’s 17 points.PAOK held off improved Panelefsiniakos in Thessaloniki to win 69-59, but got bad news it will have to replay at game against Aris whose fans had disrupted it after Supreme Sports Court (ASEAD) rejected a sports judge’s decision to award the game to PAOK by forfeit.Slumping Aris lost its third straight, 71-65 at Nea Smyrni to rising Panionios. Nea Kifissia beat back Trikala 96-69 to share third place with AGO Rethymnou which beat visiting Apollon Patras 88-81.AEK climbed into fifth with a resounding 96-73 victory over Kolossos Rhodes in Athens.TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

Beckham, Giants Run Over Rams, 37-27

first_imgST. LOUIS — The New York Giants are peaking behind a rookie that no one can cover. They all have Odell Beckham Jr.’s back, too.Beckham caught two touchdowns and rolled up 118 of his 148 yards receiving in the second half after absorbing two late hits in a 37-27 victory over the St. Louis Rams on Dec. 21. The Rams hadn’t allowed a TD in three straight games.“Absolutely, they played dirty,” Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul said. “Man, they are a dirty team,” linebacker Jameel McClain yelled as he entered the locker room.Rams coach Jeff Fisher blamed the Giants. “Very disappointing in the actions on the other side,” Fisher said. “There’s no place for it in the game. It’s unfortunate it got out of hand.”Beckham set a franchise rookie record with his 10th and 11th TD catches, shattered another rookie mark for receptions and topped 1,000 yards. The second late hit by linebacker Alec Ogletree led to a brawl and three ejections, none of them to starters.“Emotions got into the game,” said Rams safety T.J. McDonald, whistled for taunting after a sideline hit on Beckham earlier in the second quarter. “We took it a little too far.”Ogletree’s hit finished with some back-and-forth with Beckham — football to the face, slap to the facemask, attempted kick — that led to fisticuffs. Wide receiver Preston Parker jumped Ogletree as he was backing away.Before the penalties were announced, Beckham returned to the field clapping his hands. He thought Ogletree had been trying to “dunk” him. “I love it. As a team, that’s playing for the man next to you,” Beckham said.Eli Manning was 25-for-32 for 391 yards and three touchdowns, rookie Andre Williams had 110 yards rushing on 26 carries in place of the injured Rashad Jennings, and Rueben Randle also topped the century mark with six catches for 132 yards and a score.New York won handily despite committing 12 penalties for 141 yards — 96 of them in the first half. The Giants excelled in every other phase, scoring 10 points off two first-half turnovers while committing none and dominating in time of possession.Shaun Hill was 24-for-32 for 290 yards with TD passes to Lance Kendricks and Chris Givens in the second half. Tre Mason had 13 carries for 76 yards and a score, and Kenny Britt had nine receptions for 103 yards.Their defense riled up the wrong guy, too. “That stuff after the play, we just have to give that up,” tackle Michael Brockers said.Beckham has 79 receptions, most in NFL history for a player in his first 11 career games and five more than the previous franchise rookie mark by Jeremy Shockey in 2003. He’s had at least 90 yards receiving in eight consecutive games and could tie the NFL record of nine straight by the Cowboys’ Michael Irvin in 1995 in the finale against Philadelphia.The 11 touchdown catches broke a team record set in 1948 by Bill Swiacki.Beckham’s 9-yard TD catch in the first quarter capitalized on a fumble by Benny Cunningham on a kickoff return and put the Giants up 10-0 along with ending the Rams’ 12-quarter streak without allowing a TD.The Giants had a short field after rookie Orleans Darkwa forced the fumble while Cunningham attempted to spin free. Defensive end Kerry Wynn’s first career interception — on a pass in and out of the arms of Tavon Austin — set up a first-half field goal.The Rams allowed four field goals in their last game, a 12-6 loss to the Cardinals. They shut out the previous two opponents, Washington and Oakland.Attendance was announced as 55,851, but there were thousands of empty seats at the Edward Jones Dome, which holds 66,000. Players heard some boos at the end of the game.“It’s pretty disappointing, but you’ve got to also understand where they’re coming from,” Mason said. “We have to give them a good show.”(R.B. FALLSTROM, AP Sports Writer) TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

Spieth Lines Up British Open

first_imgST. ANDREWS, Scotland — With a chance to match history at the home of golf, Jordan Spieth is trying to make the British Open feel like just another event.That might be one of his toughest challenges at St. Andrews.Ben Hogan in 1953 is the only other player to capture the Masters, U.S. Open and British Open in the same year. Only three players since then — Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods — have ever come to Scotland with hopes of a Grand Slam.Spieth’s news conference attracted a full house July 15, creating an atmosphere normally reserved only for Woods and Rory McIlroy.The 21-year-old Texan is the main attraction at St. Andrews, especially with McIlroy — the defending champion and No. 1 in the world — out with an ankle injury.And yes, Spieth is very aware of what’s at stake this week.“I like to study the history of golf, and it’s extremely special what this year has brought to our team,” he said. “And to have a chance to do what only one other person in the history of golf has done doesn’t come around very often. I’m sure embracing that opportunity.“But by the time I start on Thursday, it won’t be in my head. It’ll be about how can I bring this Open Championship down to just another event, get out there and try and get myself into contention.”He set out for his final practice round on a cool morning with an overcast sky, occasional rain, and not much wind, and there is plenty of talk about how ready Spieth will be for his shot at history.He chose last week to play the John Deere Classic so he could find out where he needed work, and feel the pressure of contending. In that respect, the preparation went well. He wound up winning in a playoff for his fourth victory of the year, and he arrived at St. Andrews on Monday.“I don’t think anybody is going to argue with a win,” he said.Spieth played 18 holes that day, 10 holes on Tuesday, and planned a full round July 15. His only other experience at St. Andrews was in 2011, when he was a freshman at Texas on his way north to the Walker Cup.“Coming over earlier certainly could have helped,” he said. “I just liked the fact that I could go somewhere I could play hard, and possibly win a PGA Tour event in preparation. But certainly, more time on this golf course couldn’t ever hurt anybody.”The jet lag hasn’t been a problem. Besides, Spieth won the Australian Open in late November, flew straight to Dallas, went to Florida the next day for the Hero World Challenge and beat an 18-man field of top 50 players by 10 shots.The only concern is the weather. It has been reasonable all week, though the forecast is for wind to increase to as much as 35 mph (55 kph) with shifting directions.“It seems a little easier than I think it’ll play,” Spieth said. “So I would have liked to see tougher conditions in practice rounds to get used to prevailing winds and wind switches. That’s part of the fun and the adjustment.”Everything seems fun to Spieth at the moment.Just two years ago, he didn’t even have a full PGA Tour card when he won the John Deere Classic by holing a bunker shot on the 18th and winning a playoff.The next day he was in Muirfield, and the 19-year-old was three shots off the lead going into the weekend. He faded badly.“I remember almost thinking like that was too big for me at the time in a way,” Spieth said. “I felt like I wanted to compete, I loved the pressure, and I felt like I could do it, but it was a position I’d never been in, and it was an odd feeling being in contention in a major on a weekend. It was brief. I didn’t finish well that round.”It’s different now.Spieth played in the final group at the Masters a year later, losing to Bubba Watson, and this year he dominated at Augusta National and tied Woods’ record score of 270 in a wire-to-wire victory. In the final hour of the U.S. Open, he kept reminding himself that he had won a major and others in contention had not.Now, the trick is to forget about the green jacket and the U.S. Open trophy.“When I step on the tee Thursday, I don’t look at this as trying to win three in a row,” Spieth said. “I look at this as trying to win The Open Championship at a very special place. That’s the hardest thing for me, is trying to forget about where you are because being here at St. Andrews and looking at the past champions and who wins Open Championships here, that’s elite company.“And that’s something I’m just going to have to forget about more than the other two majors.”(DOUG FERGUSON, AP Golf Writer)TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

AEK Use Extra Man and Ease into Semi-Finals

first_imgTweetPinShare0 Shares An early sending off for Platanias allowed AEK to cruise into the semifinals of the Greek Cup as the Kitrinomavri defeated the Cretans 3-0 in today’s second leg fixture.After a 0-0 draw in Crete for the first leg, a place in the semifinals remained open for both sides in today’s second leg fixture in Athens. However, AEK quickly gained the advantage as Platanias’ Banana was controversially sent off with a straight red in the 13th minute (foul on a clear goal scoring opportunity) , which resulted in a penalty for AEK. From the spot, Christodoulopoulos gave AEK the early lead.With the extra man, AEK had an easy night as Araujo doubled the hosts’ lead 15 minutes later and a second half strike from Johansson sealed the Enosis’ place in the semifinals with a 3-0 win. Platanias, who have been a surprise packet in both the Superleague and Cup, bow out of the tournament in an overall successful campaign.The defending champions will join Panathinaikos in the final four as PAOK/Xanthi and Olympiacos/Atromitos battle it out for the last two places in the semifinals.Source: AGONAsport.com http://bit.ly/2mheS0dFacebook, Instagram, Twitterlast_img read more

AHEPA Bone Marrow Basketball Tournament Begins on March 8

first_imgCHICAGO – The 9th Annual AHEPA Marrow National Invitational Basketball Tournament takes place on March 8-12 at Chicago venues, including the Northeastern Illinois University Athletic Facility, North Park University Gymnasium, and Northside College Preparatory High School.The 28 teams will compete in 7 groups in the tournament that promotes the AHEPA Marrow Program, education, raises awareness of the marrow transplant process, recruits eligible donors, and serves as a national fundraising event.This large, national, competitive, multi-ethnic, pan-Orthodox tournament concludes with the Ahepa Marrow Award Ceremony immediately following the play of the Men’s Gold Division Championship game on Sunday, March 12.Individual awards will also be distributed for categories including Most Valuable Player for each Group in Group Play, Gold and Silver All-Tournament Team, and the Most Valuable Player Gold and Silver Divisions, and the Steve Pappas Award will be given to the coach selected for his or her ability during the tournament to exemplify the characteristics of great coaching (i.e. leadership, motivation, strategy, decision making, substitution decisions, team preparation, and ultimately getting the most out of his or her team).The top official of the tournament will also be selected and awarded the Referee Award of Excellence during the award ceremony immediately after the Gold Division Championship Men’s Game. The complete tournament rules and information are available online at www.ahepamarrow.org/files/2017/2017TeamPacket.pdf.This year the AHEPA Bone Marrow drives are for Nick Dombalis, a 66-year-old husband and father of four. Nick was diagnosed with Myelodysplastic Syndrome at age 64. Since his diagnosis, he has undergone chemotherapy, but a bone marrow transplant is his only chance for a cure. AHEPA Marrow is hosting drives at North Park University on Saturday, March 11 and Sunday, March 12.More information on the Basketball Tournament is available online at www.ahepamarrow.org/tournament/. Information on AHEPA Marrow Donor Registry is also available online at www.ahepamarrow.org.TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

US Ties Japan 2-2 in Women’s World Cup Tuneup

first_imgCHESTER, Pa. (AP) — Jill Ellis watched her team lose a chance to beat a rival in the final minutes. The U.S. women’s soccer coach did not, however, lose any confidence ahead of the Women’s World Cup.Alex Morgan scored her 99th international goal, but Yuka Momiki responded with a stoppage-time equalizer and Japan tied the United States 2-2 on Wednesday night in the SheBelieves Cup tuneup tournament for the World Cup.Megan Rapinoe also scored for the Americans in a rematch of the last two World Cup finals.“I feel like the result was disappointing, for sure,” Ellis said. “But I thought the performance in both halves, there were some really good things.”Emi Nakajima scored in the 67th minute for eighth-ranked Japan after a poor clearance from Tierna Davidson, and Morgan chested home the go-ahead goal in the 76th minute off a pass from Christen Press — a minute after Press entered the game.“It’s not my first chest goal with the national team,” Morgan said. “At the end of the day, a goal is a goal. I don’t care what part of the body it comes off of.”United States’ Alex Morgan, right, scores a goal as Japan’s Erina Yamane, left, looks on during the second half of SheBelieves Cup soccer match, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019, in Chester, Pa. The match ended in a 2-2 tie. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)Ellis called Press’ immediate impact “freaking awesome,” and indicated she could push for a starting spot in a loaded frontline.“Something you look at going into the World Cup is your depth and if you have players who can change the game,” the US coach said. “She’s posing a lot of challenges now in terms of selection because I thought she was an instant game-changer for us.”Momiki stunned the crowd with a 91st-minute goal from close range. Japan finished with two shots on goal, scoring on both of them.“We made two mistakes in the back that cost us,” Ellis said.The match was part of the opening day of the round-robin tournament that features four of the world’s top 10 teams. England beat Brazil 2-1 in the first game of the doubleheader at Talen Energy Stadium, home of Major League Soccer’s Philadelphia Union.Exactly 100 days before the World Cup kicks off in France, Ellis deployed a mostly first-choice lineup with the exceptions of the injured Lindsey Horan and Becky Sauerbrunn.United States’ Megan Rapinoe reacts to the crowd after scoring a goal during the first half of SheBelieves Cup soccer match against the Japan, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019, in Chester, Pa. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)In the 23rd minute, Tobin Heath beat defender Saori Ariyoshi to the end line and set up Rapinoe for an easy tap-in goal.Rapinoe had other scoring opportunities in the first half, including a 39th-minute free kick that goalkeeper Erina Yamane pushed off the post. Japan’s best chance came in the 11th minute when Kumi Yokoyama smashed a shot off the crossbar.“That’s a very organized team, and I think it was actually the best we’ve ever broken Japan down,” Ellis said. “Ironically, (we beat them 4-2) last year but we feel better about this performance.”The Americans moved to 28-1-8 against Japan, with the only loss coming in the 2011 World Cup final. The U.S. beat Japan in the 2012 Olympic final and in 2015 World Cup final behind a hat trick from Carli Lloyd.Lloyd, who grew up about 30 miles from Talen Energy Stadium, entered the game for Morgan in the 85th minute to a rousing ovation from the hometown crowd. She took the final shot of the game, but it was easily saved.“I think we needed about 10 more minutes to get another goal,” Heath said. “I hate that when the game kind of cuts you short. I think we definitely had control of the game and momentum, especially at the end. We always have that last kind of push.”The Americans will face England in Nashville, Tennessee, on Saturday, and close out the tournament against Brazil in Tampa, Florida, on Tuesday.“Having this disappointing tie right now, all eyes are on England,” Morgan said. “They’re a good team defensively, they’re very organized, so it will be a tough challenge for us.”By: Dave ZeitlinTweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more