Federer Wins Basel ATP Title For 10th Time

Swiss Roger Federer celebrates his victory during the final match at the Swiss Indoors tennis tournament in Basel on October 27, 2019. FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

 

Roger Federer won in Basel for the 10th time in his career on Sunday, smothering young Australian Alex De Minaur 6-2, 6-2 to secure victory at his home-town tournament.

At 38, Federer won his 103rd trophy and his fourth of the season after Dubai, Miami and Halle.

He is now six short of the men’s title record held by American Jimmy Connors (109).

Struggling Federer Squeezes Into Basel Semi-Finals

Struggling Federer Squeezes Into Basel Semi-Finals
Switzerland’s Roger Federer celebrates after winning his quarter-final match against France’s Gilles Simon at the Swiss Indoors ATP 500 tennis tournament on October 26, 2018, in Basel. Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP

 

Roger Federer struggled into the Swiss Indoors semi-finals on Friday, the top seed eking out an error-filled 7-6 (7/1), 4-6, 6-4 defeat of Gilles Simon.

Federer has not hit top form all week in Basel and he needed more than two-and-a-half hours to hold off the troublesome French veteran.

“I’m always happy when I win, I’m happy I fought through like this,” Federer said. “There were a lot of breaks, it was all up and down.

“But I kept my cool and got the job done. I feel good right now.”

The Swiss crowd favourite was never able to comfortably take command against an opponent whom he had defeated in their last six meetings.

It took a fightback in all three sets to come through for a place in a 14th semi-final at the event where he got his start in the game as a ballboy.

The 20-time Grand Slam champion will have to re-group quickly for the semis, where he will play the winner from Greek breakthrough player Stefanos Tsitsipas and Daniil Medvedev.

Both young guns have won tournament titles this autumn.

“It will be a challenge but I’m excited to see how I feel tomorrow, playing a young guy,” said Federer.

“You’ve got to win the hard way, but I’m not complaining.

“When you’re in a situation, you find a strategy always. But you don’t want to think too far ahead.

“You have to focus on the match you are playing and hope the next day that you will be fine,” he said in anticipation of possibly playing the next two days to win the event again.

In the quarters, Federer found himself in 2-5 trouble after another sluggish start, with Simon quickly finding his range against the number three.

The Swiss had his chances to recover in the seventh game, but two break-back chances went for nought.

Federer started his slow recovery with a break for 4-5; he then saved set points to level at 6-all, winning a game in which he double-faulted twice in a row and saved a set point with an ace.

Federer came alive in the tiebreaker, racing to a 5-1 lead and earning the set after an hour of hard graft on a Simon backhand error.

Just as Federer looked to be settling into form after nearly 30 unforced errors in the opening set, more disruption ensued.

The 32nd-ranked Simon continued to make the match a struggle, with the pair trading four breaks in a row until Federer took a 4-3 lead.

But the margin lasted for only two games as the Swiss dropped serve for the fourth time to trail 4-5 as Simon struck a down-the-line winner.

The Frenchman levelled the sets at one apiece a game later.

The third set looked like going Federer’s way, with the seed breaking in the second game, but losing serve in the seventh.

Simon found level-pegging for 4-all. But a quick match point opportunity two games later allowed Federer to close as his opponent sent a return over the baseline.

This was Federer’s 18th consecutive winning match at a tournament where he is unbeaten since 2013 and is an eight-time winner.

Earlier, second seed Alexander Zverev hammered a dozen aces to reach the final four with a 7-5, 6-3 defeat of Roberto Bautista Agut.

The win was a reversal of the first main draw match of Zverev’s career when, as a 16-year-old wildcard, he lost to Bautista Agut in Hamburg in 2013.

Zverev owns three titles this season, from Munich, Madrid and Washington.

AFP

Gundogan Shines As Manchester City Run Riot At Basel

Manchester City’s German midfielder Ilkay Gundogan (L) vies for the ball with Basel’s Czech defender Marek Suchy during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 first leg football match between Basel and Manchester City at the Saint Jakob-Park Stadium in Basel on February 13, 2018.
Patrick HERTZOG / AFP

Ilkay Gundogan dazzled with two goals in Manchester City’s 4-0 romp at FC Basel on Tuesday to leave the Premier League leaders on the verge of the Champions League quarter-finals.

Pep Guardiola’s side effectively settled the last-16 tie after just 23 minutes by racing into a 3-0 lead at Basel’s Sankt Jakob Park.

Their first three goals came in a devastating nine-minute spell thanks to a Gundogan header, a Bernardo Silva volley and a long-range Sergio Aguero strike.

Basel’s misery continued just after the break when Gundogan deftly added a fourth from outside the area and he could easily have finished with a hat-trick.

“To win 4-0 away in the last 16 is an amazing result, we are almost in the quarter-finals, but I am not saying we are already there, out of respect for Basel,” said Guardiola.

“We defended well and we were clinical – we had four chances and took them all.”

The scoreline gives the Swiss side little hope for the return leg at the Etihad on March 7.

As expected, Basel were starved of the ball as City enjoyed 69 percent possession and completed 754 of their 882 passes.

“For a Champions League game, we did ever so well,” said City captain Vincent Kompany after his first Champions League appearance this season.

“In these kinds of situations, it is about more than going through — if we have a draw at home that won’t give us a good feeling.”

Germany midfielder Gundogan gave Basel a masterclass in defensive midfield play, complementing his two-goal display by repeatedly snuffing out fledgling Swiss attacks.

The only black mark against him was a late yellow card after a clash with Basel’s Ivory Coast veteran midfielder Serey Die.

Basel head coach Raphael Wicky opted to play a back five when the host were defending, but the ploy only failed to keep City out for the first 14 minutes.

Having already had an earlier effort tipped over the bar, Gundogan got in front of Fabian Frei to power home his header when Kevin De Bruyne whipped in City’s fourth corner of the game.

The visitors’ second goal followed just four minutes later.

Bernardo Silva chested down Raheem Sterling’s deflected cross and fired past Basel goalkeeper Tomas Vaclik.

Devastating Aguero 

With Basel’s defence buckling, Aguero, who terrorised Leicester City in the Premier League last Saturday with four goals in a 5-1 rout, hit his 29th goal of the season.

Basel defender Leo Lacroix stopped Fernandinho, but the ball fell into Aguero’s path who hit the bottom corner from outside the area on 23 minutes.

It was the Argentinian’s 14th goal in 11 games in 2018.

It was 3-0 at the break, but City could have ended the first half with two more goals as Sterling forced Vaclik into a desperate scramble and De Bruyne volleyed wide.

Basel made a bright start to the second half, but Gundogan left the Swiss with a mountain to climb when he hit the top right-hand corner on 53 minutes.

Sterling made way for Leroy Sane four minutes later on the left side of City’s attack.

The German winger is back just two weeks after an ankle injury, well ahead of the predicted six the club had forecasted which Guardiola admitted has surprised him.

With half an hour to go and the tie effectively won, Guardiola took off De Bruyne, saving the Belgian for Saturday’s league game at Wigan Athletic and the League Cup final against Arsenal on February 25.

With 15 minutes left, Gundogan was only denied the first hat-trick of his career by Vaclik’s determination.

Sane sprinted down the left wing and although he was tackled, Aguero scooped up the loose ball and set up the German, but Gundogan’s low shot was gathered at the second attempt.

At 4-0 down and the clock ticking, Basel finally started to test City.

Forward Dimitri Oberlin fired wide and winger Mohamed Elyounoussi shot at City goalkeeper Ederson as Basel chased a consolation goal in vain.

AFP

Barcelona Shatter Guardiola’s Hope Of Victory With Man City

Pep Guardiola, Barcelona, Manchester City, Bayern Munich, ArsenalIn the face of three games without victory, Barcelona have yet again truncated Pep Guardiola’s hope of victory, as Manchester City lost to the Spaniards on Wednesday night.

Five-time Ballon d’Or winner, Lionel Messi netted the opener for the Spanish giants in a much expected tough UEFA Champions League showdown at the Camp Nou.

Efforts by the English side to balance the scoreboard in the first half proved abortive, but led to David Silva and Fernandinho getting a yellow card apiece.

As City’s Claudio Bravo bagged a straight red card, Messi showed his former coach that he was ready for the face-off, as he netted a brace in the second half (making it a hat-trick for the football legend).

Despite Guardiola’s familiarity with the hosts, Barcelona took their stand to maintain their home unbeaten record in the Champions League since 2013, as the match ended 4 – 0 with Neymar’s late goal.

The former Barcelona player and coach took the helm of the Sky Blues last summer.

Barcelona defender, Gerard Pique had expected a completely different Manchester City, now that the British side was being managed by Guardiola.

Pique believed his former coach had tried to make Manchester play in a similar way to the Spanish side.

Arsenal Shine

In England, Arsenal recorded huge success as they humbled Bulgaria’s Ludogorets Razgrad 6 – 0 at the Emirates Stadium.

The Gunners took the lead right from the first half with a brilliant goal each from Alexis Sanchez, Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

It was an all Arsenal affair, as the English side had another reason to celebrate with Mesut Ozil netting a hat-trick in the second half.

Meanwhile, Bayern Munich have finally broken the jinx of ‘no victory’ since their last three games in all competitions.

The German side recorded a 4 – 1 win while playing host to PSV Eindhoven on Wednesday night.

League One champions, Paris Saint Germain (PSG) also displayed a brilliant performance, defeating Basel 3 – 0 on the French soil.

Elsewhere, FC Rostov lost 0 – 1 to Atletico Madrid, Celtic lost 0 – 2 to Borussia Moenchengladbach, Dynamo Kyiv lost 0 – 2 to Benfica while Napoli lost 2 – 3 to Besiktas.

Teams Ready For UEFA Champions League Face-offs Tonight

UEFA Champions League
Barcelona, Manchester City

As football fans all over the world look forward to viewing Wednesday night’s UEFA Champions League showdowns, various European clubs have been talking about their preparedness for the clashes.

Pep Guardiola’s formidable managerial skills will be put to the test again when his stuttering Manchester City side visit his former club, Barcelona in a much anticipated game.

Guardiola’s brilliant start in England, which saw him oversee 10 consecutive wins in all competitions, has given way to a run of three games without victory.

The former Barcelona player and coach took the helm of the Sky Blues last summer.

Pep Guardiola
Pep Guardiola

The Catalans, however, are unbeaten at their home in the Champions League since 2013.

Barcelona defender, Gerard Pique expects a completely different City, now that the British side is under Guardiola.

Pique believes his former coach has managed to make Manchester play in a similar way to the Spanish side.

Elsewhere, Ludogorets Razgrad manager, Georgi Dermendzhiev, says his side have learnt from their mistakes, as they prepare to take on Arsenal at the Emirates.

Ludogorets have been impressive so far in the campaign; drawing with Basel and leading French champions, Paris Saint Germain (PSG) last time out, before eventually succumbing to a 3-1 loss.

The Bulgarian side have won the domestic title five years in a row and have slowly built up experience of European soccer.

Coach Arsene Wenger, however, earlier warned the Gunners against their visitors’ experience and hopes his team would reflect the caution in the match.

Meanwhile, French midfielder, Francis Coquelin, is ready to fight for a place in the Arsenal squad ahead of the clash, after he was out with injury since September 24.

Arsenal midfielder, Francis Coquelin

For the Frenchman to get back in the team, he will have to beat competition from Granit Xhaka and Mohamed Elneny in a packed midfield.

On the flip side, Bayern Munich are hoping to return to winning ways in their match against PSV Eindhoven.

Bayern, who started the season well, have not had a win in their last three matches in all competitions.

Manager Carlo Ancelotti, however, says it is too early to talk of a ‘crisis’ in the team.

Carlo Ancelotti, Phillip Lahm
Manager Carlo Ancelotti

Bayern are second in Group D with three points while PSV are in fourth place with one point.

Other fixtures to look out for tonight are: PSG against Basel, Dynamo Kyiv versus Benfica, Napoli against Besiktas, Celtic versus Borussia Moenchengladbach and FC Rostov hosting Atletico Madrid.

Group Stage Draw For Champions League

Champions leagueFootball clubs that will feature in the UEFA Champions League group stage games have been drawn.

The draws held on Thursday.

In Group A are Paris St-Germain, Arsenal, Basel, Ludogorets.

Group B: Benfica, Napoli, Dynamo Kyiv, Besiktas

Group C: Barcelona, Manchester City, Borussia Mönchengladbach, Celtic

Group D: Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid, PSV Eindhoven, FC Rostov

Group E: CSKA Moscow, Bayer Leverkusen, Tottenham Hotspur, Monaco

Group F: Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, Sporting Lisbon, Legia Warsaw

Group G: Leicester, Porto, Club Brugge, FC Copenhagen

Group H: Juventus, Sevilla, Lyon, Dinamo Zagreb

According to UEFA, the round of 16 draws will hold on December 12 while the Quarter-finals draw will hold on March 17 2017.

The Semi-final draws will hold on April 21, 2017.

The match days schedule released by UEFA are;

13–14/09/16: Group stage, matchday one

27–28/09/16: Group stage, matchday two

18–19/10/16: Group stage, matchday three

01–02/11/16: Group stage, matchday four

22–23/11/16: Group stage, matchday five

06–07/12/16: Group stage, matchday six

14–15/02/17 and 21–22/02/17: Round of 16, first leg

07–08/03/17 and 14–15/03/17: Round of 16, second leg

11–12/04/17: Quarter-finals, first leg

18–19/04/17: Quarter-finals, second leg

02–03/05/17: Semi-finals, first leg

09–10/05/17: Semi-finals, second leg

03/06/17: Final (National Stadium of Wales, Cardiff)

Europa League: Liverpool Will Take This Opportunity – Jurgen Klopp

LiverpoolLiverpool manager, Jurgen Klopp, has promised that Liverpool will give everything to lift the Europa League trophy.

This came after the Reds booked a place in the final with a 3-0 victory over Villarreal at Anfield.

A Bruno Soriano own goal in the seventh minute was followed by Daniel Sturridge and Adam Lallana strikes in the second half, which overturned a deficit from the first leg in Spain.

The Reds therefore progress to a meeting with Sevilla in Basel on May 18 – and deservedly so according to Klopp, who was delighted with his team’s display.

During his post-match press conference, Kloop was full of praises for his players admitting excitedly that their performance surpassed his expectations on the night.

“The problem is I’m not a native speaker so I don’t have the right words for this performance. It was nice to watch and nice to be part of it; the whole performance, not from the first, second (but) from 6.45pm when we drove through the road again. It’s nice.

“The first half-hour… what power! The will was obvious, I would say. Then for 15 minutes we lost a little bit of patience, that’s normal. We tried (to be) a little bit different and it made not too much sense. In the second half, (it was) back to the plan – still very emotional plus very smart, wonderful goals, well deserved.”

Kloop also had good words for striker Daniel Sturridge, who he admitted had a great game but mainly because he had a great team to play with, maintaining that the entire team was outstanding.

The 2016 Europa League final is Liverpool’s first European final since 2007 and Kloop considers this a great feat considering how the season has been for the club and particularly how difficult the Europa League started for them.

“When I came here, the tournament didn’t sound too nice for the people – three draws or something like that. It was a difficult group I thought and we came through with a nice game in Russia. That was good. We felt really comfortable in this tournament…

“I think, especially in 2016, the team has showed a lot of times what they are capable of and what they could be capable of in the future. That’s a really good sign. That’s more important for me as a manager.

“But then when you perform in the right moments like we did tonight, or against Dortmund or against United or Augsburg then you want to have more. That’s what we try now.

“Europe is big and a lot of teams want to go to finals, it’s not too easy. Now we are there. It’s a great opportunity and we will take it as an opportunity,” he said.

He admitted, however, that while outstanding performances are required, the club would also need some luck to win the title.

Klopp Extols Liverpool’s Europa League Performance

Liverpool-Jurgen-Klopp-Europa-League-DortmundLiverpool manager, Jurgen Klopp, is full of praise for his team after they staged an amazing performance to beat Borussia Dortmund in the Europa League.

Kloop described the victory as everything a coach would desire from his team on a big match day.

Dortmund coach, Thomas Tuchel admitted that Liverpool took a lot of risks that worked for them.

Liverpool had done the unthinkable fight back at the Anfield Stadium from being 1-3 down to defeat Dortmund 4-3 and also qualified for the semi-final, 5-4 on aggregate.

Villarreal will subsequently host Liverpool in the first leg of the Europa League semi-final on April 28 while the return leg would be played in England on May 5.

On the flip side, Sevilla will travel to Ukraine for the first leg against Shakhtar Donestk while the return leg would be played in Spain.

The Europa League final would take place in Basel, Switzerland on Wednesday, May 18.

Federer Advances To Swiss Indoors Semi-Finals

federerTop seed Roger Federer is on course for a seventh title at his home tournament in Basel.

Federer was given a slight scare by David Goffin before he prevailed 6-3 3-6 6-1 to reach the Swiss Indoors semi-finals.

The first set against Goffin flew by with Federer at his clinical best, taking the one break point on offer while saving two on his serve.

The Belgian thoroughly deserved to level in the second and Federer had to shift gears to race through the final set, with the extra backing of his home crowd.

Federer’s semi-final opponent will be Jack Sock after the American overcame compatriot, Donald Young, 5-7 6-4 6-2.

Ferguson promises to redeem champions’ league glory

Sir Alex Ferguson has promised Manchester United fans and ardent followers that last season’s champions’ league campaign of the Red Devils which he qualified to be disastrous will never replay itself again.

Going back a few months ago before Chelsea was crowned the new European champion, Manchester United got eliminated from the competition at the group stage after losing to Swiss side Basel, and that capped off a poor performance in their group, meanwhile the then-defending English Premier League champions were tagged favourites to lead the group, with Benfica and Romanian newcomers Otelul Galati the other teams in their pool.

The Red Devils had previously reached the final in three of the previous four editions of the tournament.

Sir Ferguson has however sent a warning message to Europe that United will not make the same mistakes again in 2012/13, that the club is ready to take back its place because the few year the club has not move far in the champions’ league competition was used an opportunity to groom the young ones coming in the line-up of the club even though last season was the worst of it because changes that were made to the team was just too much and lessons has been learnt from that mistake. He said.

Where we realised our mistake was the game against Basel at home as we could only get a draw due to our careless as we could have gone ahead to seal the game .

Ferguson is confident he has a squad capable of emulating the united teams of 1999 and 2008 by delivering another Champions League crown to Old Trafford next season.