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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Manchester United have final date with Barcelona in sight - Routers

MANCHESTER, England (Routers) - Manchester United are favourites to book a Champions League final date with Barcelona and will hope to expend the minimum amount of energy against Schalke 04 on Wednesday before this week's big domestic battle.
Holding a 2-0 lead from the first leg in Germany, United will make changes to keep players fresh for Sunday's key Premier League match against Chelsea although they are expecting Schalke to pose a stiffer challenge than last week.
"Schalke have nothing to lose and I think they'll have a go, they'll try to win the match there's nothing else they can do," United manager Alex Ferguson told a news conference before bidding to take his team to their third final in four years.
United striker Wayne Rooney faces a late fitness test on his tight hamstring but is likely to be on the bench after Ferguson suggested Premier League top scorer Dimitar Berbatov and Michael Owen would be involved.
Schalke, wounded by a 4-1 Bundesliga defeat by Bayern Munich at the weekend on top of last week's timid performance against United in Gelsenkirchen, have a point to prove and have hailed April's stunning 5-2 win at Inter Milan as proof they are capable of an upset.
"It's up to us to perform in contrast to the first leg," Schalke manager Ralf Rangnick said. "We need to take a different approach, learn from that and apply the lessons."
Rangnick has yet to decide whether to play central defender Benedikt Hoewedes, who scored in the second leg against Inter, but said he would not take "unnecessary risks" if he has not recovered 100 percent from an abdominal muscle injury.
Barcelona completed a 3-1 aggregate victory over Real Madrid on Tuesday. The final is at Wembley stadium on May 28.

Cricket-S.Africa abide by order to reinstate former president


JOHANNESBURG May 4 (Reuters) - Cricket South Africa (CSA) will abide by a high court order to reinstate former president Mtutuzeli Nyoka, the governing body said.
Nyoka was removed in February after a vote of no confidence from the board but he took CSA to court, claiming the correct procedure was not followed because he did not receive proper notification of the meeting that led to his ousting.
"The board has agreed in the interests of cricket to abide by the judgement handed down in the South Gauteng High Court on April 15," CSA said in a statement after a board meeting on Wednesday.
"Accordingly ... Nyoka has been reinstated as president and chairman of the board of directors with immediate effect. The meeting unanimously agreed to abandon any appeal process in relation to the judgement."
Nyoka had argued in an affidavit that the reason behind his ousting was his criticism of bonus payments totalling 4.7 million rand ($684,900) paid to CSA employees after South Africa hosted the Indian Premier League (IPL) and Champions Trophy in 2009.
Chief executive Gerald Majola received 1.77 million rand but was cleared of financial wrongdoing after CSA conducted an internal inquiry, with Nyoka having initially called for an external investigation.
CSA said on Wednesday there would be an external probe into the allegations of financial wrongdoing.
"There were problems and we cannot underestimate that but there are sound leadership skills in Cricket South Africa and we will be going forward for the sake of cricket," Nyoka told reporters.

Sarang Shroff enters last eight - ESPN INDIA

Former national champion Sarang Shroff defeated Anand Raghuvanshi from Pune 3-0 in the pre-quarterfinals of the MHC-Maharashtra State Senior Snooker Selection tournament, hosted by Malabar Hill Club here on Tuesday.
Despite being a snooker player, Shroff had finished second in the billiards selection tournament that began before the snooker selections, thus qualifying for the nationals.
“It is difficult for most snooker players to adapt to billiards.
Fortunately for me the games were in the frame format rather than the time format, which means that the game ends when a player reaches the score of 150. I generally compete because they are held before the snooker selections and they provide good practice for me,” he said.
Shroff is planning to compete in the nationals through the qualifying rounds that are held for cueists who do not qualify from the two positions available from the state selections. Therefore, qualifying for the billiards national tournament directly is helpful.
He said, “I am going for the nationals, I will not have to go though the qualifiers in billiards. However in 1994 when I won the national snooker title I had gone through qualifiers as I had not participated in the state selections.”
The 42-year-old is on a comeback trail and restarted playing competitively in the sport two months ago after a gap of almost five years.
“I last played competitively at the Maharashtra selections in 2006, after which I had to concentrate on the family business. Since, that involved a lot of travel I had to hang up my sticks for a while,” said Shroff.
The comeback has proved to be a good one for Shroff as he won the O B Agarwal promotional series snooker tournament at the Wodehouse Gymkhana.
He said, “I defeated Nikhil Ootam in the finals of the tournament at Wodehouse Gymkhana, which a satisfying victory because I believe he is a good player.”
Results: Pre-quarterfinals: Raj Khandawala bt Kunal Rokade 3-2 (53-28 66-76 55-15 17-59 55-18); Jatinder Singh Dawar bt Mahesh Jagdale 3-2 (53-43 9-63 47-66 67-45 60-35); Manav Panchal bt Nishad Chougule 3-1 (27-64 69-40 52-29 65-27); Nikhil Ootam bt Rahul Narang 3-2 (52-57 56-20 80-15 53-60 61-50); Hitesh Kotwani bt V.Subramanian 3-2 (5-57 67-28 60-26 56-59 61-41); Sarang Shroff bt Anand Raghuvanshi 3-0 (62-27 49-31 79-62); Rovin D’Souza bt Yogesh Sharma 3-1 (67-15 62-33 53-57 60-42); Rishab Pandya bt Chandu Shah 3-0 (76-40 61-3 74-9)

£2.4m for Sheffield coffers from snooker fans

editorial image A general view of England's Judd Trump at the table during the final match of the World Snooker Championships at the Crucible, Sheffield.

SHEFFIELD’S economy has been boosted by £2.4 million as visitors flocked to the city to watch the World Snooker Championship, the council has revealed.
The figure has been worked out based on increased business to hotels, restaurants, shops and other attractions from people who travelled from around the world to watch the contest.
The tournament ended on Monday with experienced John Higgins eventually triumphing over young pretender Judd Trump in a tense final.
Sheffield Council leader Coun Paul Scriven said: “It’s been another excellent year, leading up to what can only be described as classic final.
“Sheffield is of course proud to be home of World Snooker.
“The tournament brings around about £2.4m to the local economy and I’m delighted that Sheffield has been confirmed again as the host for the next four years. We’ve worked hard to showcase Sheffield as a city and I think Sheffield is finally getting the national and international recognition it deserves.”
The contest is believed to have been watched by up to 800 million people around the world.
In the UK, viewing figures for the final, shown on BBC2, reached a peak of 5.3 million although they varied between the afternoon and evening sessions.
The corporation revealed an average of two million tuned in during the afternoon - a 19.4 per cent share of the total viewing audience and a peak of 2.5 million - while the evening session was watched by an average of 3.9 million, a 15.5 per cent share of the total viewing audience and a peak of 5.3 million.
Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre has been home of the championships since 1977.
Barry Hearn, chairman of World Snooker, said: “The tens of thousands of people who come to Sheffield over the 20 days are staying in local hotels, buying meals in restaurants and buying a drink in local pubs.
“Snooker brings in millions of pounds of revenue over the year into Sheffield, culminating in this huge event in the last two weeks of April.”
Mr Hearn said this year’s event was one of the most eagerly-anticipated ever, with ticket sales before the tournament hitting record levels and seats for the last 15 sessions having sold out before the championship had even begun.
Beaten finalist Judd Trump, aged 21, was hailed for his performance after being the second youngest player to reach the final.
“We need people to stand up, get the excitement and the interest of the general public. He’s a breath of fresh air…amongst the younger people he’s going to be a new hero,” Mr Hearn said.

Golf bliss on Spain's Costa Brava -Routers

Spain is a country of variety and contrasts and nowhere is this more vividly apparent than in the fascinating region of Catalonia. A triangular wedge of mountains, valleys, plains and 360 miles of Mediterranean coastline, it sits in the northeastern corner of Spain, bursting with character, charm and an individuality entirely of its own.
Emporda Golf Resort offers 36 holes of Spain's best golf.jpg
Emporda Golf Resort offers 36 holes of Spain's best golf.
Emporda's Forest Course - Cathedral-like stands of umbrella pines present a unique challenge.jpg
Emporda's Forest Course - Cathedral-like stands of umbrella pines present a unique challenge.
Emporda's Links offers Bunkers, bunkers and more bunkers.jpg
Emporda's Links offers Bunkers, bunkers and more bunkers.
The Forest Course  is drama from start to finish.jpg
The Forest Course is drama from start to finish.
Emporda Links - 6th hole.jpg
Emporda Links -- 6th hole
Emporda Links - 3rd hole.jpg
Emporda Links -- 3rd hole

This region, which has it's own language (Catalan) in addition to Spanish, is an increasingly important force in the world of European golf. There may not be as many courses as in some other places, but when it comes to quality, few can match Catalonia's variety and consistently high caliber of golf layouts.
Most of the courses are concentrated along The Costa Brava, a 125-mile length of ruggedly spectacular coastline, running from the French border to within 45 miles of Barcelona. There are a dozen truly stunning layouts along this balmy coast and four of these are ranked among the top 50 courses in all Europe - when it comes to golf, the Costa Brava has no room for mediocrity.
Leading the small but very distinguished course grouping is the Emporda Golf Resort, a haven for the game's true connoisseurs, with a pair of championship layouts good enough to tempt even the most jaded golf traveler. Emporda's Links and Forest Courses showcase Spanish golf in the grandest of style.
Both courses are the handiwork of Texas born master architect, Robert von Hagge, a maestro at squeezing the most (and then some) from any site. Doral's Blue Monster and TPC Woodlands in Houston are just two outstanding examples of von Hagge's more than 100 US creations, but it's on the international golf scene where the man has really excelled with brilliance. They are to be found in Australia, Japan, Mexico, the Caribbean and in France, where 3 of the country's top 10 courses, Seignosse. Les Bordes and Paris National all bear his signature. Robert von Hagge's well-earned reputation for building handsome, tough, yet thoroughly playable layouts followed him to Spain, as evidenced at Emporda.
The two courses complement each other magnificently, making it difficult to have a preference for either -- so there really is no alternative but to play both and try to decide for yourself -- things could be far worse!
The Forest Course is filled with a majestic drama as its narrow fairways wind their way through a veritable jungle of tall, umbrella pines, at times creating an almost cathedral-like feeling - and when was the last time you played golf in a cathedral? Water has been used in moderation, but it's effective, subtly adding complexity to the test, which at a very respectable 6,750 yards from the back tees, is stern and far from a simple walk in the park.
This is a layout for the thinking golfer, where accuracy, accompanied by correct club selection and a healthy dose of strategy are all rewarded well. The bunkering is bold, at times almost audaciously so and these are not the kind of mild mannered, token bunkers you may be accustomed to on your home course.
The Links Course, although not a true links, does contain many links-like elements. The rippling fairways are wide, filled with sometimes wild undulations and open to a wind that can gust and play its own games. Von Hagge has added dune-like hazards to be contended with and the rough is as close to that found on a Royal Dornoch or a Carnoustie, as you're ever likely to encounter -- deep, thick and with an insatiable appetite, it's to be avoided at all costs.
Any big hitter who lacks accuracy, but feels they must spread their shoulders and let it rip, is likely heading for trouble - this links demands respect from all and makes no exceptions.
Unlike a true links, there's an abundance of water with 8 lakes scattered around the course and Von Hagge has used them with a cunning tenacity. He brings the wet stuff into play on more than half the holes, compounding the need for careful thought before every shot.
Adding to the pleasure of playing at Emporda are the beautiful surroundings and immaculate maintenance that keeps both courses in tip-top condition, including the greens which must be among the very best to be found in Europe. There's no question that all 36 holes at Emporda deserve their ranking up there at the top of the official European rankings, but you should still play both courses and make a judgement as to which deserves first prize.
But take full advantage of your time on the Costa Brava by playing as many of the highly regarded courses as you can -- Pals, Peralada, D'Aro and PGA Golf de Catalunya, are just a few of the outstanding layouts that demand some attention. And there is much more to discover along this stunningly attractive coastline.
The picturesque, white sand beaches are irresistible and even the most ardent golfer can be excused for spending a few hours relaxing under the brilliant blue skies just enjoying the good life, in between golf and sightseeing excursions. There are medieval villages that have been standing here since the beginnings of time to be explored, together with the fascinating ancient city of Girona, which can easily occupy an entire day.
Girona has a small but excellent collection of museums, including one devoted to what was once the most important Jewish Quarter in all of Spain. Be sure to visit Girona's magnificent Cathedral, dating from the 14th century. But the real joy of this amazingly photogenic city is simply to wander the winding narrow streets of the Old Town with its tiny squares and vaulted passageways, just soaking up the centuries of history that lives here. Another excursion not to be missed is a half day or so visit to the town of Figueres, noted for its fine cuisine and as the birthplace of Salvador Dali the famous surrealist painter. The Dali museum located here will be appreciated by all, just be sure to take a sense of humor along with you.
Spain's Mediterranean Coast is blessed with an abundance of excellent golf courses and so much more, including the perfect, year round climate and the Costa Brava shares in it all. Golfer or not, this is a part of Spain that will capture your heart and provide memories enough to last a lifetime.

Rory McIlroy happy at Quail Hollow after Masters misery - Routers

(Reuters) - Rory McIlroy, armed with advice from Australian Greg Norman, returns to the scene of his first PGA Tour title looking to regain his stride after a stunning blowup at last month's Masters.
McIlroy finished with a scintillating 66 and course-record 62 last year to move from the cut line into the winner's circle at the Quail Hollow Championship, where Tiger Woods missed the cut with the worst 36-hole score of his career.
The Northern Irishman experienced his own stomach-churning slide at Augusta. Leading by four shots going into the final round he soared to an eight-over-par 80 that put him 10 strokes behind winner Charl Schwartzel of South Africa.
A week later he finished third at the Malaysian after yet another late collapse left him two shots back of the winner, Italian teenager Matteo Manassero.
"I had a good chat with Greg Norman the week after when I was in Malaysia, and he sort of just said to me ... from now on, don't read golf magazines, don't pick up papers, don't watch the Golf Channel," McIlroy told reporters.
McIlroy, who turned 22 on Wednesday, said it was hard to avoid media altogether but agreed with the gist of the steer he was given by Norman, who squandered a six-stroke, final-round lead at the 1996 Masters.
"You can't let other people influence what you're thinking and what you should do. I've taken my own views from what happened a few weeks ago and moved on, and that's the most important thing," he said.
McIlroy will face a strong field starting Thursday that includes world number two Martin Kaymer of Germany and number four Phil Mickelson, last year's Wells Fargo runner-up, and Bubba Watson, who is fresh off Sunday's playoff win at the New Orleans Classic.
The irrepressible McIlroy said he was determined to take positives out of the 2011 Masters and move forward.
"I don't think I was ready. That was the most important thing," he said. "I displayed a few weaknesses in my game that I need to work on. But I think you've got to take the positives.
"For 63 holes I led the golf tournament, and it was just a bad back nine, a very bad back nine that sort of took the tournament away from me, I suppose. But what can you do?"
McIlroy said the lost opportunity only bothered him for a couple of days before he turned the page.
"I'm fine. It was a great chance to win a first major, but it's golf. It's only golf at the end of the day," he said.
"No one died. Very happy with my life, very happy with what's going on, very happy with my game, you know, so I'm looking forward to this week."
(Writing by Tehmina hayat Naqvi in University of Karachi, Editing by Inflation)

Ohio State to honor Bob Knight when Buckeyes host son's team - SKY SPORTS

Staff report Sporting News
Ohio State will honor former Buckeyes player and Hall of Fame college coach Bob Knight at a game in December against Lamar, which recently hired his son, Pat, as head coach, The Columbus Dispatch reported.
The game, Dec. 20 in Columbus, will come a month to the day after Bob Knight, who was a member of the Buckeyes' 1960 NCAA championship team, is scheduled to be inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in Kansas City.
Former college basketball coach Bob Knight says a few words about Ohio State's 1960 national championship team and coach Fred Taylor during a halftime ceremony honoring the coach and team Sunday, Jan. 31, 2010, in Columbus, Ohio. Some of the most notable players from the 1960 championship team include Jerry Lucas and John Havlicek, named two of the top 50 NBA greatest players in history, and Bob Knight, college basketball's winningest coach. (AP Photo)
Ohio State director of basketball operations Dave Egelhoff told The Dispatch via e-mail that he expects to receive a signed contract from Lamar within a week.
In the e-mail, Egelhoff said the game would be a “great time” to honor Knight, something Egelhoff said Ohio State coach Thad Matta has been a “big proponent of.”
Knight, who will be inducted Nov. 20, has 902 wins, the most by a Division I men’s coach, although it's likely Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski, who finished this season with 900 career victories, will have surpassed the record by then.


Boston to erect statue of Celtics legend Bill Russell

Boston is building a statue of Celtics legend and basketball Hall of Famer Bill Russell, a few months after President Obama suggested the city needed one.
The Boston Celtics announced Wednesday the statue would be designed by a local artist, and commemorate Russell as a sports champion, human rights leader and youth mentoring advocate.
In a statement, Russell, 77, said he was "uncomfortable with honors such as this," but added his years as captain of the Celtics "were the proudest moments of my career."
Russell led the Celtics to a record 11 league championships in 13 seasons.
Obama suggested Boston build a statue of Russell when he awarded him a Presidential Medal of Freedom in February. Obama said he hoped one day, children would look up to a statute "built not only to Bill Russell the player, but Bill Russell the man."
Whether winning championships, watching Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" speech or teaching basketball to an integrated group of kids in Jackson, Miss., during a turbulent period for civil rights in 1963, Russell never considered himself a part of history.
But he is the first person from the NBA to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Still sporting his trademark goatee, Russell wears the championship ring from his rookie season on his left hand and a ring given to him by NBA Commissioner David Stern commemorating every Celtics championship Russell was part of on his right hand.

Music limited at basketball games


National Basketball League
Friday at YMCA

Men: Power v Miracle
Women: UCU v A 1

THERE will be less music this basketball season. Sport governing body, FUBA has disclosed that the administration of main league venue, YMCA, has banned music during league matches before 8:15pm on Friday and a complete blackout on Wednesday.

The ban is just one of the major setbacks incurred by FUBA following fresh changes surrounding the home of local basketball. The other is in the reduction of the YMCA’s availability, which has cut back on the number of games to be played at Wandegeya despite an increase in the number of league teams from 41 to 46.

One women’s side and six men’s teams are joining the league, however, only four games can be played at YMCA on weekdays, down from six last seasons. That has forced FUBA to schedule 2nd and 3rd division games to MUBS court, Nakawa.

The changes will have a strong impact on the league, from altering the convenience of clubs to lowering the atmosphere during games. Music adds to the spectator-excitement and has been an integral part of local basketball for years.

Fortunately for FUBA, Lugogo (which has no inhibiting bans) is likely to be ready for use in July, an outcome that will see major games moved from YMCA.

The newcomers include men’s clubs Airforce Academy, City Oil, UPDF Tomahawks, Emperors and Blue Jackets, who collapsed in 2007 and ladies’ side Gladiators. KCC Lions and record eight-time women’s champions Lady Bucks will, meanwhile, not take part.

MEANWHILE, Kampala will host next year’s regional inter-cities basketball championships, adds Reuben Olita.

The Inter-cities commission president, Simon Msote made the disclosure at the end of the regional games in Nairobi.

The five-day event attracted 13 teams from Kenya, Tanzania, Somalia and Southern Sudan.

LSU basketball accepting season ticket deposits

BATON ROUGE – The LSU Athletic Ticket office is accepting deposits for new men’s basketball tickets for the 2011-12 season.
The deposit is $50 and the deposit will be applied toward the full payment for the 2011-12 season tickets.
The men’s basketball home schedule is expected to include in non-conference play: Marquette, which went to the 2011 NCAA Sweet 16, Boise State (a semifinalist in the CBI post-season tourney), Virginia and UC-Irvine. In league play, the Tigers will play all five other Western Division team including 2011 NIT finalist Alabama and Kentucky (NCAA Final Four), Georgia and
Tennessee from the Eastern Division.
The Tigers return almost their entire team from last year head with seniors Chris Bass, Garrett Green, Storm Warren and Malcolm White. Sophomore Ralston Turner is also back after being named to the 2011 All-SEC Freshman team and leading the team in scoring a year ago.
LSU will have four new additions to the team in 2011-12 including 6-11 Justin Hamilton, who practiced with the team all year after transferring from Iowa State. He will be eligible to play beginning this season and have two years of eligibility left.
The Tigers have signed three players including All-American forward Johnny O’Bryant of Cleveland, Miss. He will be joined by John Isaac of Pickering (La.) High School and the team’s latest signee, Anthony Hickey, Jr., who was named Kentucky’s Mr. Basketball.
All season ticket locations will be assigned at a later date using LSU Philanthropic Priority Point rankings. Aug. 31 is the deadline to place a deposit and receive priority consideration.
Ticket renewals for existing season ticket holders will be available beginning in July with a deadline of Aug. 31

Janesville Parker, Craig tennis teams fall

Janesville Parker won the No. 1 and No. 2 singles matches, but Sun Prairie swept the rest of events to down the Vikings, 5-2, in Big Eight Conference boys tennis Tuesday.
Matt Knutson and Ian Weiland were the only Viking winners.
Parker coach Mike Fuhrmann said the nearly three-week layoff due to postponements has hampered the development of this squad.
“I saw a lot of good things in practice and at times, that translated on the court,” Fuhrmann said.
The Vikings (0-4) play at Janesville Craig on Thursday, and in the Parker Quadrangular Friday at Palmer Park.
Singles—Matt Knutson (JP) def. Amos Voung, 6-0, 6-1; Ian Weiland (JP) def. Sam Cloughe, 6-2, 6-3; Jordan Noble (SP{) def. Ryan Ploff, 6-0, 6-0; Drew Reindl def. Ethan Zweifel, 6-1, 6-2.
Doubles—Joe Collingwood-Andrew Blectner (SP) def. Austin McDonald-Nick Garey, 7-6, (7-2), 6-4; Kevin Bernard-Calien Rosseter (SP) def. David Palan-Jordan Peyer, 6-1, 6-1; Keegan Modenhauer-Ryan Fitzpatrick (SP) def. Spencer Debroux-Jaren Norrell, 6-2, 6-1.
Junior varsity—Sun Prairie 6-1.
Middleton sweeps
Janesville Craig High School lost to Middleton, 7-0, Tuesday.
“Middleton by far is the best team in the conference,” said Craig coach Justin Long.
Craig (2-2 Big Eight) hosts Madison Memorial today at Palmer Park.
Singles—Ian Markson (M) def. Joel Neher, 6-0, 6-0; Jon Luskin (M) def. Derek Masters, 6-2, 6-2; Bin Luskin (M) def. Sam dePoutiloff, 6-1, 6-0; Tyler Markel (M) def. Ross Sroda, 6-0, 6-1.
Doubles—Erin Schmitz-Ashwin Ramaswami (M) def. Mo McCrone-Stewart Winter, 6-0, 6-0; Joey Niesen-Charlie Cope (M) def. Zack Hardin-Cody Lipetri, 6-0, 6-1; T.J. Webber-Sam Naden (M) def. Joe Worple-Scott Catlin, 6-3, 6-0.
Junior varsity—Middleton 7, Craig 0.

Djokvovic and Nadal extend winning streaks

Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal both extended their win streaks with opening victories at the ATP-WTA Madrid Masters on Wednesday as Roger Federer waited for his chance to join them in the third round.
Djokovic, who beat South Africa's Kevin Anderson 6-3 6-4, extended his run of 2011 success to 28 consecutive matches, putting the Serb within striking distance of the record for the all-time best season start in tennis.
The second seed now has a chance to draw level with Ivan Lendl, who went 29 matches without defeat at the start of the 1986 season.
Nadal won a 35th consecutive match on the surface, efficiently dispatching former Australian Open finalist Marcos Baghdatis 6-1 6-3 in just under 90 minutes. Nadal has not lost on clay since 2009 in the French Open fourth round to Robin Soderling.
The top-seeded title holder next faces a high-voltage third-round showdown with Argentine Juan Del Potro, who thrashed Marin Cilic 6-3 6-0 after complaining of hip pain a day earlier.
Third seed Federer was opening against Spaniard Feliciano Lopez later having won all seven of their previous encounters.
Djokovic, the world No.2, says he is only interested in replacing Nadal atop the ATP rankings.
"It's a great honour and flattering to be part of the elite, but it's not my priority," said Djokovic.
"I'm only taking it one match at a time and just hoping I can keep winning."
Djokovic needed one hour and 40 minutes to beat Anderson, winner of his home title at Johannesburg in February and a clay quarter-finalist last week in Estoril.
"Where there is altitude it's tough to control the ball, there are more mistakes," said Djokovic, who has won five titles this season.
"It's crucial to stay really focused for each point. You don't get that much time on this court and serving well is an advantage.
"It's a fact that I'm playing the best tennis of my life. I'm definitely happy about it," he added.
Former grand slam finalist Soderling and Tomas Berdych also came through their opening matches.
Two-time Roland Garros runner-up Soderling, seeded fifth, beat Colombia's Santiago Giraldo 6-3 6-3, while seventh-seeded Wimbledon finalist Berdych overcame Spaniard Marcel Granollers 6-4 6-0.
In the women's event, China's Li Na defeated Czech Iveta Benesova 6-1 6-4 to set up a match with Italian Roberta Vinci, who beat Russian Alisa Kleybanova 6-2 6-2.
Li secured her win in 58 minutes with five aces and three breaks of serve.
In the third round, Czech 16th seed Petra Kvitova upset second-seeded Russian Vera Zvonareva 6-1 6-4 to earn the first of the quarter-final spots.

Forest Hills Stadium Loses Bid to Be a Landmark

West Side Tennis ClubJoshua Bright for The New York Times The derelict former United States Open stadium at the West Side Tennis Club last May.
Its courts were the site of the United States Open tennis championship for 62 years and they hosted the Beatles, Frank Sinatra and the Rolling Stones. But time may be finally running out for the now crumbling West Side Tennis Stadium in Forest Hills Gardens, Queens, one of the world’s most famous tennis arenas.
The city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission notified supporters this week that it had decided not to grant landmark status to the dilapidated 50,000-seat stadium where, among other historic accomplishments, Arthur Ashe in 1968 won the Open, becoming the first black man to win a Grand Slam tournament.
The supporters were hoping that the designation would encourage the stadium’s restoration — now they say they worry that without that protection it could be sold for redevelopment or, worse, razed to the ground.
“It is part of the history of tennis and all the greats played there,” said Tony Trabert, 80, the president of the International Tennis Hall of Fame who himself first played at Forest Hills in 1948, at the age of 18, and later won titles there in 1953 and 1955. “I am sad. I have very fond memories of playing at the stadium and from a sentimental point of view I would hate to see it demolished and have a bunch of condos there.”
But city officials said sentimentality had to be weighed against the economic costs of preserving a place whose wooden seats were rotting and whose interior court was unfit for play.
Elisabeth de Bourbon, a spokeswoman for the preservation commission, said the stadium’s disrepair made it an unlikely landmark — for now. “After several visits to the stadium and months of careful study, our staff found that while the stadium does have some architectural, historic and cultural significance, the very architectural features that could render it a landmark are so compromised — with crumbling concrete and water damage — that it can’t be designated a landmark at this time.”
The stadium — which occupies about 2.4 acres within the West Side Tennis Club, a private center in one of the city’s most exclusive enclaves — has already come perilously close to a stark makeover.
In September, members of the club narrowly rejected plans to sell the stadium for about $9 million to a developer, Cord Meyer, which sought to build condominiums and a pool. The plans called for incorporating the stadium’s distinctive arches into the development, but that was little comfort for many nostalgic tennis fans disturbed at the thought of suburbanites watching television or doing dishes over the once-hallowed courts.
The prospect of a sale had prompted furious jockeying by some members to find a benefactor willing to finance the stadium’s restoration. It also fostered a bitter divide between those who say the stadium should rest as it is and others who say it is a white elephant and should be sold to bring in much-needed cash for the tennis club.
Kenneth J. Parker, the club’s president, declined to comment on the decision not to make the stadium an official landmark. But he insisted that the club was financially secure and said it was reviewing its options about the stadium’s future. “We are considering any proposals that come to us,” he said.
Mr. Trabert said one of his most memorable moments at the club was seeing the look on the face of the former Wimbledon champion Dick Savitt when RenĂ©e Richards — the former Dr. Richard Raskind — greeted the towering Mr. Savitt with a kiss on the cheek during a game she was attending as a spectator. In 1976, Ms. Richards was famously denied admission to the United States Open tennis tournament in Forest Hills after refusing to take a chromosome test for all women entrants.
From 1915 through 1977, the Open championships were held at the West Side Tennis Club. But by the late 1970s the tournament had become enormously popular and the stadium became too small to handle the crowds. The Open was moved to Flushing Meadows in 1978, which some say heralded the beginning the stadium’s gradual decline.

Sania Mirza will do modeling in lakhani summer collection 2011 - Lawn prints by House of Zunn

Lakhani silk mills is going to launch its lawn catalogue of summer collection by lakhani for 2011.For this they want to hire Indian tennis star Sania Mirza for modeling photo shoot.Sania is in contact with Lakhani silk mills.Shoaib Malik is convincing her for modeling.