SPORTS in brief

Published: Thursday | December 19, 2013 Comments 0
Pope Francis
Pope Francis

Djokovic, Serena win ITF awards for 2013


Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams are the International Tennis Federation's world champions for 2013. Djokovic captured the men's award for the third successive year and Williams took the honour for the fourth time.

Djokovic started the year by winning a third straight Australian Open and was runner-up at Wimbledon and the US Open. The 26-year-old Serb finished the season No. 2 in the ATP rankings with seven tour titles.

The 32-year-old Williams won the French Open and US Open in 2013 to end the year No. 1 in the WTA rankings for the first time since 2009.

American twins Bob and Mike Bryan were named men's doubles world champions for the 10th time in 11 years, while Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci of Italy took the women's doubles award.

Pope given San Lorenzo's trophy after victory


Pope Francis celebrated his beloved San Lorenzo's victory in the Argentine soccer championship yesterday, congratulating team members, reminiscing about going to the stadium as a child and hoisting up the team's trophy in St Peter's Square for all to see.

Club members gave Francis the trophy and the glove goalie Sebastian Torrico used to block the ball in the final minute of Sunday's 0-0 draw with Velez Sarsfield, securing the title for the opening half of the Argentine first-division season.

Referencing another big moment in Argentine soccer history - Diego Maradona's 'Hand of God' goal against England in the 1986 World Cup - club vice-president Marcelo Tinelli said Francis performed a "miracle" on Sunday: "For us, it was the hand of God, the hand of the Pope," he joked.

West Ham, Man United advance to semis


Shock therapy failed to produce the desired result as Tottenham Hotspurs conceded two goals in the last 10 minutes to go out of the League Cup in the quarter-finals after a 2-1 home defeat to West Ham yesterday. Emmanuel Adebayor enjoyed his first start of the season and put Spurs in front with a spectacular volley in the 68th. But West Ham got back into the match when Matt Jarvis scored with a clean finish in the 80th. Modibo Maiga then jumped higher than the Tottenham defenders five minutes from time and headed home past Lloris to silence the Spurs fans with his first goal of the season.

Manchester United also advanced with a 2-0 win at Stoke courtesy of goals from Ashley Young and Patrice Evra. The Red Devils next face Sunderland, with a potential final against bitter rivals Manchester City after the Blues were drawn against West Ham in the other semi-final.

Raja stuns Ronaldinho's Atletico

MARRAKECH, Morocco (AP):

Raja Casablanca converted a late penalty kick to upset Ronaldinho's Atletico Mineiro 3-1 yesterday and reach the Club World Cup final. The Moroccan club will play Champions League winner Bayern Munich after captain Mohsine Moutaouali converted an 84th-minute penalty, awarded when Atletico defender Rever tripped Mouhssine Iajour inside the area.

Iajour had put the local favourites ahead in the 51st in front of more than 35,000 fans at the Marrakech Stadium, before Ronaldinho equalised for the Brazilian team from an exquisite free kick in the 63rd. But Atletico coach Cuca could only look on in silence as substitute Vivien Mabide put the result beyond doubt with a stoppage-time goal.

Pakistan pull off sensational win

SHARJAH, United Arab Emirates (AP):

Mohammad Hafeez returned to his one-day batting form with a gritty 122 off 129 balls as Pakistan pulled off a sensational 11-run victory over Sri Lanka in the first one-day international (ODI) yesterday.

Hafeez's seventh ODI century, with seven fours and four sixes, was well assisted by half centuries from Sohaib Maqsood (73) and debutant opener Sharjeel Khan (61) in what appeared to be a strong Pakistan total of 322-5.

Sri Lanka were tottering at 221-7, but Seekkuge Prasanna (42) and Sachithra Senanayake (42) smashed 87 runs off 43 balls, before Pakistan held their nerves and bowled the opposition out for 311 in 49.4 overs.

India 255-5 after first day


Virat Kohli's century held India together after a taxing start to the short series against top-ranked South Africa, with the tourists emerging from trouble to reach 255-5 on the first day of the opening Test at the Wanderers yesterday. Kohli made 119 for his fifth century and highest Test score, having almost single-handedly lifted the No. 2-ranked Indians from an unsteady opening at 24-2.

Kohli hit 18 fours and faced 181 balls in over four hours to defy the home team's famed quicks, sharing an 89-run stand with Cheteshwar Pujara (25) for the third wicket and putting on 68 for the fifth wicket with Ajinkya Rahane (43 not out). Kohli arrived in the 16th over and left 60 overs later with India in a far superior position. Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni was unbeaten on 17 at stumps with Rahane, who played impressively in just his second Test.

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