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Sports Briefs

Published:Saturday | February 21, 2015 | 2:00 AM
Simona Halep.

Green light for

B'dos stadium

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC):

The National Stadium here has been given the green light to host next month's 2018 World Cup qualifier after passing a CONCACAF inspection, the Barbados Today online newspaper has

reported.

This follows upgrades to the government-owned facility which had not hosted an international since 2011, incidentally also a World Cup qualifier in the build-up to the 2014 World Cup.

Christopher Craig, representing CONCACAF, carried out the inspection last week, paving the way for local fans to witness Barbados' opening game on the road to Russia 2018, when they take on the United States Virgin Islands on March 22.

"Obviously, I am very proud because the National Stadium is the home of football in Barbados and it's good to see that we will be able to provide the local fans with a taste of international football," Barbados Today quoted Barbados FA president Randy Harris as saying.

"The stadium has undergone some upgrades, especially as it relates to the outfield and the lighting, so we are very pleased that work has not been in vain and we have been given a passing grade."

Halep in Dubai final

DUBAI, UAE (AP):

Top-seeded Simona Halep beat Caroline Wozniacki 2-6, 6-1, 6-1 yesterday to reach the Dubai Tennis Championships final.

Halep will face 17th-seeded Karolina Pliskova in today's final.

Pliskova reached the final with a 6-4, 5-7, 7-5 victory over unseeded Garbine Muguruza.

Halep is looking for her second title of the year, having won in Shenzen the first week of the season.

Pliskova will be playing in her second final of the year after getting to the championship match in Sydney last month.

Wawrinka beaten at Open 13

MARSEILLE, France (AP):

Second-seeded Stan Wawrinka was knocked out of the Open 13 by Sergiy Stakhovsky of Ukraine after a 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 loss yesterday.

The 29-year-old Stakhovsky, who will play his first semi-final since last year in Sydney, saved four of the five break points he faced in a nearly two-hour battle at the indoor tournament.

The in-form Wawrinka was handed his second loss this year after wins in Chennai and Rotterdam. The Swiss also reached the Australian Open semi-finals, losing to eventual champion Novak Djokovic.

Stakhovsky will next play the winner of an all-French match between the 2007 champion Gilles Simon and Jeremy Chardy.

Fourth-seeded Roberto Bautista Agut will take on local favourite Gael Monfils in the other semi after defeating Dominic Thiem 7-6 (7), 6-3.