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Friday
October 2019
11:09 PM IST
News Headlines
Mentally-unstable man jumps inside lion enclosure in Delhi zoo, escapes unhurt        BSF jawan killed, 1 injured in firing by Bangladeshi troops along border in West Bengal        At least 35 people killed in bus accident in western Saudi Arabia        UK, EU hail new Brexit deal, but Parliament sign-off hangs in balance        Nearly 100 people injured in Catalonia unrest on Wednesday: Medics        Indo-Pak bilateral ties subject to approval from PMs of both countries: Ganguly        Aiden Markram ruled out of Ranchi Test with wrist injury        Indian challenge ends at Denmark Open        Aussie cricketer Watson apologies for 'illicit' social media posts        India's performance was no match to atmosphere at Salt Lake: Chhetri        High-level Indian, Bangladeshi delegations to meet next week        Adani Wilmar launches ready-to-cook ''Khichdi''        US House passes Hong Kong 'Democracy Act'        India halved its poverty rate since 1990s: World Bank        Senior Odisha BJP leader Damodar Rout quits party        Play school security guard arrested for sexually harassing toddler        What craziness has taken over UP govt: Priyanka on decision to remove home guards        Crime branch freezes Rs 18 crore in Maradu flat builders accounts        ODI rankings: Injured Smriti Mandhana loses number one spot        Indian cricket will continue to prosper under Ganguly undoubtedly: Laxman        
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Sports News
Uncertainty over Serena fitness, Osaka form at Roland Garros
 
Paris, May 23 (AFP) Serena Williams heads into this year's French Open as an outsider for a Grand Slam title for possibly the first time in 20 years, with questions surrounding her fitness after a poor start to the season, while Naomi Osaka needs to rediscover her best form to solidify her position at the top of the women's game with a third straight major crown.



The 37-year-old Williams is still waiting for a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam triumph, with her last victory coming at the 2017 Australian Open shortly before taking a break from the sport due to pregnancy.

She impressed initially after returning, but last year twice fell just short of drawing level with Margaret Court's mark, losing in the Wimbledon final to Angelique Kerber before her infamous meltdown en route to another final defeat by Osaka at Flushing Meadows.

Williams' 2019 campaign has not gone to plan so far, with a series of injuries seeing her manage just four matches since her Australian Open quarter-final exit to Karolina Pliskova.

But she is confident her work off the court can help her find her best game in the biggest tournaments.

"I actually haven't been able to train or practice a lot. I was out much longer than I expected," admitted the three-time French Open champion last week in Rome, before pulling out of the tournament ahead of a second-round tie with sister Venus.

"But I did everything I could to stay fit. I knew that I love the clay season and I wanted to be a part of it.

"It's not about today or tomorrow. For me obviously it's about playing well at all the big moments... Obviously the Slams, etc, just getting ready for those events."



- Osaka remaining confident -

=============================

World number one Osaka has not been overly struggling since surprisingly splitting with coach Sascha Bajin in the wake of her Australian Open title.

But the Japanese star has not won a title since, and like Williams, withdrew from the Italian Open through injury before her quarter-final against Kiki Bertens.

It has still been the 21-year-old's best-ever clay-court campaign, having also reached the last eight in Madrid and the semi-finals in Stuttgart, and she feels her big-hitting game is now ready for the red dirt.

"I'm kind of comfortable with it now. It's just like I randomly slip. I feel like if I can get that under control, I'll be good," Osaka, who has never reached the second week in Paris, said.

She also does not feel that her lack of a title since Melbourne will have a large bearing on her Roland Garros prospects.

"I can't necessarily say it's been ups and downs because if I think about it, it's definitely been going up," she said.

"Every match that I've played, I've learned a lot. I've tried to take what I've learned into the next match. I think I've done that well."



- Halep the favourite -

=======================

Reigning champion Simona Halep will enter the tournament somewhat under the radar with much of the focus on Williams and Osaka, but the Romanian remains the world's most consistent player on clay.

The three-time French Open finalist is the bookmakers' favourite for the title, despite having lost both her finals so far this year and being knocked out in her first match in Rome by Czech youngster Marketa Vondrousova.

But she will be the third seed in Paris and a name everyone will want to avoid in the draw.

"I can't expect anything because to be a defending champion in Grand Slam is for (the) first time for me, so it's something new," said Halep, who won her maiden major title 12 months ago in her fourth final.

"I will be more relaxed. I will try to enjoy (it) more."

The women's game remains far more open than the men's, with a host of other players holding serious hopes of lifting the trophy, like Italian Open champion and second seed Pliskova and the in-form Petra Kvitova.

Anything can happen in the French capital, as shown by unheralded Latvian Jelena Ostapenko's shock victory only two years ago.


Indo-Pak bilateral ties subject to approval from PMs of both countries: Ganguly
Aiden Markram ruled out of Ranchi Test with wrist injury
Indian challenge ends at Denmark Open
Aussie cricketer Watson apologies for 'illicit' social media posts
India's performance was no match to atmosphere at Salt Lake: Chhetri
ODI rankings: Injured Smriti Mandhana loses number one spot
Indian cricket will continue to prosper under Ganguly undoubtedly: Laxman
Sourav Ganguly files nomination for BCCI Prez, set to be elected unopposed
Hazare: Bowlers, Jaiswal help Mumbai beat Kerala by 8 wickets
India crush South Africa by an innings and 137 runs, seal series
Manju Rani ends phenomenal world run with silver
Dominant Medvedev tops Zverev to win ATP Shanghai Masters
India take huge lead despite gritty fight from SA
Samson hits record-breaking 212 as Kerala maul Goa by 104 runs
Pune Test: Kohli''s 254 not out put India in driver''s seat against Proteas
Kings XI Punjab ropes in Anil Kumble as head coach for IPL 2020
Djokovic beaten by Tsitsipas in Shanghai Masters quarterfinals
Mithali, Raut steer Indian women to a comfortable five-wicket win over South Africa
Argentina hold Germany 2-2 in international friendly
Mary Kom assured of 8th world medal; Manju Rani, Jamuna Boro also enter semis
KERALA NEWS
Scribe's death:Kerala IAS officer's suspension extended
 Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala government has extended the suspension of IAS officer Sriram Venkitar  
Kerala's CPI to discuss Vedas and Marxism in seminar
Kerala Assembly session from Oct 28
Rs 10,000-crore investments to flow into Kerala from Dubai
INTERNATIONAL NEWS
At least 35 people killed in bus accident in western Saudi Arabia
 Riyadh: At least 35 were killed and four others were wounded in a bus accident in the west of Saudi
UK, EU hail new Brexit deal, but Parliament sign-off hangs in balance
Nearly 100 people injured in Catalonia unrest on Wednesday: Medics
US House passes Hong Kong 'Democracy Act'
NATIONAL NEWS
Mentally-unstable man jumps inside lion enclosure in Delhi zoo, escapes unhurt
 New Delhi: A 25-year-old mentally-unstable man leapt into the enclosure of a lion at the Delhi zoo o
Senior Odisha BJP leader Damodar Rout quits party
Play school security guard arrested for sexually harassing toddler
What craziness has taken over UP govt: Priyanka on decision to remove home guards
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