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Sharapova back in groove, Berdych powers through

first_imgBy Martyn HermanMaria Sharapova got back in the groove at her happiest hunting ground with the Russian opening her bid for a third French Open title with a 6-2 6-4 win over Kaia Kanepi on Monday.The claycourt convert, champion last year and in 2012 and runner-up in 2013, went through her usual routines to great effect to ease through into the second round with few alarms.With her nemesis and top seed Serena Williams keeping her powder dry until Tuesday when men’s number one Novak Djokovic and nine-times champion Rafa Nadal also set out, Sharapova shared top-billing with Britain’s Andy Murray on a breezy day in swanky western Paris.Murray followed her on Court Phillipe Chatrier to face Argentine lucky loser Facundo Arguello.Men’s fourth seed Tomas Berdych’s long march in search of a maiden grand slam title resumed with a 6-0 7-5 6-3 victory against Japanese qualifer Yoshihito Nishioka.Seeded in the top four at a grand slam for the first time, 29-year-old Berdych was relieved to a sixth first-round fall at the French Open where he reached the semi-final in 2010.Nishioka was one of five Japanese men to start in the main draw, the most since 1967, but only highly-fancied Kei Nishikori remains two days into the claycourt grand slam.Berdych, a member of the world’s top 10 for five years but with only one grand slam final to his name, at Wimbledon in 2010 when he lost to Nadal, was far too streetwise for his 19-year-old opponent and was only briefly tested in the second set.“I’m feeling well. I’m feeling physically, mentally strong, and that’s the best possible start that I can have,” Berdych told reporters. “Just now be patient, keep working for the two weeks, and try to go as far as I can.”Sharapova racked up her 21st victory in her last 22 matches on the Parisian clay, only sporadically having to find top gear against an opponent who matched her for power on occasions but lacked the conistency to really cause trouble.She dropped serve while leading 3-1 in each set, but her class ultimately shone through as she set up a second-round against fellow-Russian Vitalia Diatchenko.Spain’s Feliciano Lopez, the men’s 11th seed, became the highest casualty so far, losing 6-3 7-6(9) 6-3 to Russian Teymuraz Gabashvili women’s 14th seed Agnieszka Radwanska’s slump continued as the former world number two succumbed 6-2 3-6 6-1 to Germany’s Annika Beck.Overcast skies greeted home favourite Alize Cornet for the start of the action and despite a sparse lunchtime crowd she treated the home fans who had arrived on time to a comeback win against Roberta Vinci.The French number one, saddled with the pressure of trying to provide a home winner for the first time since Mary Pierce in 2000, looked on course for a fifth consecutive defeat by Vinci before recovering to win 4-6 6-4 6-1.She was relieved to avoid the same fate as her Fed Cup team mate Caroline Garcia who lost in the first round on Sunday.Unlike Garcia, Cornet said she loved the big stage.“I was really glad that this court was chosen for me today,” the 29th seed. “The ambience on this court is amazing.“I think that’s why I could actually come back in this match, because the people were behind me. It’s just a great atmosphere in this court.”Women’s eighth seed Carla Suarez Navarro underlined her “dark horse” tag with an impressive 6-2 6-2 win over Monica Niculescu of Romania.last_img read more

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The entrepreneurs making a business of fun

first_imgPlaytime and cupcakes; delicious fruits and gifts. Who would not want to be enjoying those, particularly during the long August vacation: But for some entrepreneurs like Athalyah Yisrael of Fun Park Rentals, Devi Mulai of Dessert Delights and Indra Mekdeci of online gift shoppe Reminiscence, fun is serious business. Here are their tips for succeeding in business:Play to your strengths“I really like children… They make you so happy around them; there is never a dull moment,” says Yisrael, who has co-founded another company Outliers Zone, which provides financial advice intended to create generational wealth, with a special focus on teaching children financial responsibility . “I believe success comes when you become your greatest self….”Mulai, who started her business at home out of her love for “baking and cooking the fancy things”, agreed.Start small“Walk before you leap – Do not overextend yourself financially, most businesses fail within the first year in operation, because they overspend and do not get a solid return on investment as they first proposed, [and] have a back-up plan, as an entrepreneur you must be able to adjust to market demands,” Mekdeci stressed.Build a winning team“I have also gained a lot of insight into choosing the right partners. My biggest lesson by far is to trust others; I now believe that to be really successful, you do better in numbers. Everyone wins,” she noted.Embrace failure as necessary to success“To succeed you have to fail. People [wanting to get] in business have an illusionary idea of business….Learning to overcome failure is a lot of what it takes to succeed,” she noted, adding that resilience (to keep getting up in the face of failure) and nurturing your leadership quality (to inspire a team to bring your vision to life) are the most important traits of an entrepreneur.“I live my life like a GPS. I put in my destination…I may make a lot of wrong turns, but I reroute to get to my final destination.”While Mulai said: “Always keep trying. ‘Cause every failure is another step towards success. You love doing something? Push towards it. There will be room for mistakes, but with every try, you only get better.”last_img read more

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France, England in Euro stalemate

first_img0Shares0000DONETSK, Ukraine, June 11 – France and England fought out a 1-1 draw here on Monday in their Euro 2012 Group D opening match.England had opened the scoring in the 30th minute when Joleon Lescott rose brilliantly to meet captain Steven Gerrard’s perfectly-delivered freekick on the half hour mark and give Hugo Lloris no chance.The French went close to drawing level in the 35th minute as midfielder Alou Diarra’s header was goalbound but England ‘keeper Joe Hart pulled off a brilliant reaction save. However, the French did equalise in the 39th minute as Samir Nasri fired in a right-footed shot from just outside the area to beat his Manchester City clubmate Joe Hart, who dived late perhaps having been unsighted.Nasri celebrated in rather bizarre fashion running towards the dugouts holding a finger to his lips and then mouthing to an unidentified target ‘shut your mouth’.France had come into the match on a 21-game unbeaten run but searching for their first win in a group match at a finals since beating Togo in the 2006 World Cup.Despite moments of promise, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was narrowly outshone by rival left winger Franck Ribery on his competitive England debut in Monday’s 1-1 draw with France at Euro 2012.Oxlade-Chamberlain, 18, was a surprise inclusion in Roy Hodgson’s starting line-up and became the second-youngest player to represent England at a European Championship after Wayne Rooney at Euro 2004.Rooney’s performances in Portugal eight years ago announced his arrival as a major talent on the global scene, and although Arsenal’s Oxlade-Chamberlain showed glimpses of his class, he found himself eclipsed by the resurgent Ribery.The Bayern Munich winger has long been lambasted for failing to reproduce his club form in the blue shirt of his country, but he scored three goals in France’s three warm-up matches and he was influential again at Donbass Arena.In the first half, he was at the source of much of France’s best football, slipping past Scott Parker on the right flank in the 13th minute and finding Yohan Cabaye, who could not get a shot away.He headed the ball back across goal to set up Alou Diarra for a header that went narrowly wide in the 35th minute, and it was he who teed up Samir Nasri for France’s 39th-minute equaliser.Ribery has campaigned long and loud to be allowed to play on the left, but England’s compactness in central areas obliged him to roam to the right flank and it proved fruitful territory.Nevertheless, the 29-year-old was fortunate to escape censure for a robust challenge on Glen Johnson shortly before the hour that ought to have given England a free-kick in threatening territory.He was also guilty, on occasion, of dwelling on the ball, and his influence diminished in the second half.Making only his third England appearance, former Southampton player Oxlade-Chamberlain showed plenty of enterprise in the first period.He sparked panic in the French defence by robbing Adil Rami of the ball in the third minute and then freed Ashley Young after neat footwork took him past two defenders, only for the flag to go up for offside.Part of Hodgson’s thinking in fielding the teenager may have been to keep marauding France right-back Mathieu Debuchy occupied, but the Lille man frequently ran in behind him and drew a foul from his marker in the 34th minute that earned Oxlade-Chamberlain a booking.Having tackled Ribery just before the hour, the pitch ahead of him opened up for a surging run, but he left the ball behind him and in the 78th minute he was replaced by Jermain Defoe.He may not keep his place for England’s next outing, against Sweden on Friday in Kiev, but time, at least, is on his side.The other two teams in the group co-hosts Ukraine and Sweden were to play later in Kiev.France 1 (Nasri 39) England 1 (Lescott 30)TeamsFranceHugo Lloris (capt) – Matthieu Debuchy, Adil Rami, Philippe Mexes, Patrice Evra – Samir Nasri, Yohan Cabaye (Hatem Ben Arfa 84), Alou Diarra, Florent Malouda (Marvin Martin 85), Franck Ribery – Karim BenzemaEnglandJoe Hart – Glen Johnson, John Terry, Joleon Lescott, Ashley Cole – James Milner, Steven Gerrard (cap), Ashley Young, Scott Parker (Jordan Henderson 78), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Jermain Defoe 77) – Daniel Welbeck (Theo Walcott 90)Yellow cards: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (34), Ashley Young (71)Referee: Nicola Rizzoli (ITA)Attendance: 50,0000Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

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Fergie eyes United directorship upon quiting

first_img‘There’s no getting rid of me. I’ll probably become a director,’ said Ferguson, speaking the new magazine twentyfour7 Football. ‘Nobody knows (my retirement date), neither do I. It won’t be a doctor that tells me to quit!’As for his successor, he added: ‘They’ll ask me but I think it’ll be a club decision, not mine. With the structure we have here, it can’t be an impossible job.Former United defender Viv Anderson has rejected the idea that Ferguson might be tempted to step down this summer, even if they win the Champions League and Premier League.Anderson, who played under Ferguson from 1987-91, said: ‘There is no chance that Sir Alex will retire this summer. He loves the club. He lives and breathes it.’In his wide ranging interview, the United boss also discussed his deliberate decision to use his former players among his staff.The likes of Nicky Butt and Brian McClair are already involved, and Ferguson has backed Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs and Darren Fletcher to follow suit.He added: ‘Looking at my present crop, it’s difficult, but the likes of Giggs and Scholes wil be part of the structure here. Darren Fletcher is a long term possibility, and Nicky Butt is with the reserves.‘We try to get as many former players in the set-up as we can, we’ve got a good back up.‘We look ahead because that is succession planning in terms of structure – they’ve the experience of being at the club, being a player here, knowing what it takes to be a winner.’0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000LONDON, England, March 1- Sir Alex Ferguson has said he is keen on becoming a director at Old Trafford when he finally decides to quit management.The 71-year-old Manchester United boss said that he is determined to stay at the club after initially intimating that he would step away.last_img read more

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Arsenal transfer news! Wenger admits star is close to Gunners exit

first_img Lukas Podolski 1 Arsene Wenger has confirmed Inter Milan have tabled a ‘more serious offer’ for Arsenal star Lukas Podolski.The Germany international could have played his final game for the Gunners, with the transfer window opening on January 3.Podolski missed Arsenal’s 2-0 Premier League defeat at Southampton on New Year’s Day with a “tight groin”, with manager Wenger confirming Inter are pushing hard to land the 29-year-old.Wenger conceded Podolski would have “had a big chance to start” at Southampton had he been fit, but will now miss Sunday’s FA Cup clash with Hull City.“Podolski was injured today, he has a tight groin,” said Wenger.“He has not practised for a few days now, since our last game at West Ham because of a tight groin.“So I don’t think he will be available for Sunday.”Podolski was an unused substitute in Arsenal’s 2-1 win at West Ham on December 28, his last Gunners action coming in the 4-1 victory over Newcastle on December 13.Wenger refused to admit Podolski’s January departure for Italy is all-but signed and sealed, but conceded talks with Inter remain ongoing.“The first proposal was farcical; after they came back a bit more serious, then we will see what happens now,” said Wenger.“Inevitable? Not in the transfer market, it’s very difficult to say, but we’ll see later.“He was not available because of injury, but he would have had a big chance to start, yes.”last_img read more

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Mourinho to Man United is the “logical” move given Man City’s next boss

first_imgJose Mourinho becoming the next Man United manager is the “logical” move.That’s according to former Red Devils midfielder and Chelsea coach Ray Wilkins, who warned that title rivals Man City could dominate the game for the next few years with Pep Guardiola at the helm.A similar appointment at Old Trafford is a must, says Wilkins and Mourinho appears to be the likely replacement for Louis van Gaal if the Dutchman leaves his post, having won domestic and European honours in England, Italy, Spain and Portugal.“United will feel they have to match [Guardiola’s appointment] in that department,” Wilkins told talkSPORT.“Things haven’t gone as well as they would like to have gone this year and Mourinho is the man waiting in the wings.“He’s obviously a top class coach and a top class bloke, so it would be logical that they would take him on board.”last_img read more

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LISTEN: David Moyes insists only PRESSURE he feels at Sunderland is from himself

first_imgDavid Moyes insists the only pressure he feels as Sunderland manager is the expectations he places on himself.The Black Cats currently languish in 20th place in the Premier League and have yet to record a victory under Moyes since the Scot signed a four-year contract in the summer to replace Sam Allardyce.According to reports, Moyes will lose his job this weekend should his side fail to beat Bournemouth.LISTEN LIVE TO EXCLUSIVE AND NATIONAL RADIO COVERAGE OF BOURNEMOUTH V SUNDERLAND ON TALKSPORT2 FROM 3PM, BST.But Moyes is adamant that the speculation surrounding his future is not a hindrance and is keen to satisfy his own standards by changing the club’s poor form this season.“I only put pressure on myself,” Moyes told talkSPORT.“Certainly not from the Ellis Short [Sunderland chairman] or from Martin Bain [Sunderland chief executive], or the people inside the building. But when you’re not winning games and you’re at the bottom of the Premier League, that’s the pressure from yourself.Sunderland have recorded the worst ever start in Premier League history with no wins, two points and a goal difference of minus 13 after 10 games.Moyes faces a potential third managerial sacking in the space of three years should he lose his job at the Stadium of Light. Having been shown the door at Manchester United in April 2014, Moyes followed up his Old Trafford nightmare with an equally disappointing spell in Spain with Real Sociedad.And Moyes explained that he is still searching for the solution to his club’s troubles.“We look every day to find a way of trying to be better. And what you have to do is trust your manager – trust the staff that work alongside you – that they’re thinking of all the equations that could possibly get a result. So we’re looking at all that as well.“We actually opened up a bit when we got to 1-1 against Arsenal – due to injuries as much as anything – and that didn’t help us. We are looking at every way that can get us the best results.”Sunderland have struggled with injuries to key players this season as the likes of Jan Kirchhoff, Lee Cattermole and Fabio Borini have spent significant time on the sidelines.But Moyes was keen to distance himself from blaming his side’s woeful form purely because of fitness issues.“We are struggling. And if I was on top talking about injuries, people would say I’m making excuses, I try not to talk about my injuries because they’re no good to me at this time while they’re injured.“But the fact of the matter is; with the size of the squad we’ve got, the level of player we’ve got, we nearly need everybody out there – and we’ve not got that. But every club has the same [problem].”last_img read more

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‘Gerrard would have made any world XI’ – Tony Cascarino hails Liverpool legend

first_imgTony Cascarino believes Steven Gerrard will be remembered as one of the great midfielders of his generation, following the 36-year old’s retirement,The former Liverpool legend called an end to his 19-year playing career on Thursday after choosing to leave LA Galaxy at the end of his contract.Gerrard moved to the MLS side back in 2015, but he will forever be associated with his boyhood club Liverpool, where he appeared over 700 times in the red jersey.And Cascarino believes that Gerrard will be regarded as one of the world’s best midfielders.“At his pomp, he was one of the world’s best – he would have made any world XI – he’s just a very gifted player,” Cascarino told talkSPORT.“I’ve got to be honest; I’m delighted he’s retiring. Because I’ve seen a few MLS games this season and I just felt that Steven was struggling.“Some people come to a sudden end – or people like Steven – it just dwindled out slightly. I think we all have to remember what a tremendous player he was.“It just wasn’t so good for him in the MLS, he did have injuries as well, but he struggled. “Gerrard made his debut for Liverpool back in 1998 and went on to collect eight major trophies during his time at Anfield. The midfielder famously inspired the Reds to come back from 3-0 down, to defeat AC Milan in the 2005 Champions League final.But having failed to collect a Premier League winners medal during his time with the club, Cascarino believes that Gerrard is unlikely to be held in the same regard as the other influential midfielders of his generation“Steven was great, [but] because England didn’t win anything and Liverpool struggled to compete with Manchester United, and [Roy] Keane was shining for United and thriving with other midfielders like [Paul] Scholes -Steven always felt like he didn’t quite achieve.“But I think we have to remind ourselves of the Champions League final. If you ever wanted an example of a player driving on a team to win a trophy, I think that was Steven.“He didn’t quite achieve the maximum – yes in caps – but like many good England players, he didn’t win anything.”last_img read more

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Relegated Rotherham appoint Paul Warne as manager despite terrible record

first_img Rotherham manager Paul Warne 1 Relegated Rotherham have appointed Paul Warne as their new manager, despite the team’s terrible losing run during his stint as interim boss.Warne has been in temporary charge of the Millers since November following the quickfire exits of Alan Stubbs and Kenny Jackett.However, he was unable to reverse their fortunes, losing 19 of 23 games in temporary charge of the side.Relegation from the Championship was confirmed on Saturday after losing to Fulham, and they followed that up with a South Yorkshire derby defeat to Sheffield Wednesday on Tuesday – a club-record ninth in a row.Nevertheless, Warne has been chosen to lead the club in League One next season, after signing a one-year rolling contract.Rotherham chairman Tony Stewart said the club would look to develop home-grown players as a way of trying to ensure long-term stability.“Paul has greatly impressed the board in a number of areas, in what has been a very difficult situation over the past few months,” said Stewart.“Paul knows the club inside out. He is a Miller, through and through. While he has held the title of fitness coach, he has always been much more than that under a succession of managers who have all tapped into his knowledge, motivational skills and coaching ability.“He may be new to management, but all first-time managers have to start somewhere. Just look at our club as an example of the past where many of our most successful managers joined at a relatively early point in their managerial career.“The club has learned many lessons during the campaign but we are determined to ensure, under Paul Warne, that going forward we will play the type of football that brought us so much success in recent seasons.“In Paul we have someone who understands this club, and also understands the type of players and characters needed to succeed. As such, he will work closely with our head of recruitment Jamie Johnson, on what will be an improved and in-depth recruitment and scouting operation which is well under way.“There will also be a greater emphasis on developing our own players more effectively to try and ensure greater long-term stability for the club.”Stewart also spoke of his confidence in future success for the club.“Next time we are in the Championship, and I have no doubt that there will be future success for this club, we will be stronger and the foundations will be rock solid,” he said.“I would like to thank the fans for the tremendous support throughout my tenure here. I urge you all to get right behind Paul for the remainder of this season and beyond, and rest assured everyone at the club will be working overtime to bring success and winning football back to the AESSEAL New York Stadium.”last_img read more

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More school money on tap

first_imgThe Hart School District plans to use its roughly $2 million in equalization funding to pay for rising medical plan costs for employees, so there will not be much money left over. “It’s going to be pretty much a wash there,” she said. Winning the political fight to get equalization funding for local schools was easier this year because the governor’s budget provided plenty of money for education, Runner said. “If everyone’s getting substantial increases,” he said, “then it’s harder to complain that these underfunded schools are getting more.” alex.dobuzinskis@dailynews.com (661) 257-5253160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! The money for local K-12 schools is part of $350 million in equalization funding provided for in the budget adopted for this fiscal year, which began on July 1. Runner was one of the authors of the bill that called for the equalization funding, and he also co-authored another bill that provided $160 million in equalization funding to community colleges. The equalization funding is, in part, a remedy for inequalities that got worked into the state funding system about eight years ago, when the state changed the funding formula for schools with high levels of excused absences, said Marry Perry, deputy director for the not-for-profit organization EdSource. “On one level, the presumption of equalization might be that somehow districts are going to be equal,” Perry said. “What it does for me is highlight how complicated our school finance system is.” In fact, Sue Guthrie, director of fiscal services at the William S. Hart Union High School District in Santa Clarita, said that rather than being due to changes made to funding for excused absences, unequal funding arrangements were a result of funding formulas established way back in the 1970s. North County schools and colleges are getting a budget boost – millions in cash to make up for being shortchanged in past years. The money, called equalization funding, was included in this year’s state budget for underfunded schools in the Santa Clarita and Antelope valleys. State Sen. George Runner, R-Lancaster, who pushed for the equalization funding, has released estimates showing that community colleges in the two valleys will get a total of $4.7 million in equalization funding. Local K-12 school districts will get $9.6 million. “I think most people are surprised to know that schools are not equally funded across the state of California,” Runner said. “And it’s because of some old rules, formulas that are in place that create the funding mechanism.” last_img read more