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Archive for November 2009

Davydenko takes Tour title

Nikolay Davydenko avenged last year's loss in the World Tour Finals final when he beat Juan Martin del Potro in straight sets in this year's final.

Last year Davydenko reached the final but he lost to Novak Djokovic.

But this year he overcame Roger Federer for the first time and I think it was to see him follow that up with a victory in the final.

I was surprised to that the final was won in straight sets especially when the latter matches in this tournament went to three sets.

Notably Rafael Nadal lost all his three round robin matches in straight sets.

So now the next tennis action will be in the New Year and I also look forward to a competitive Australian Open next January.

Bye Connex, welcome Metro Trains

Today Connex has made way for Metro Trains Melbourne(MTM) who is now the new franchisee for the Melbourne rail network.

Just last week I received a text message asking me whether I wanted to continue with the service updates from MTM and then I could see that Connex was now rounding up its service.

I have just had a look at the MTM website and it looks very impressive and there are live service updates which you can see at a glance for all lines.

I think Connex did a reasonably good job at least for the Epping line which I use for the last six to eight months.

I think the best that happened during that time was to make the morning trains more frequent. Instead of waiting 20 minutes for the next train on average, this has been reduced to ten minutes which has made missing a train not such a big deal.

I don't expect a sudden change in service but I think it would be good to make trains come at least six to seven minutes apart in pick hour especially in the morning.

Welcome Metro Trains, wish you all the best!

Davydenko to meet Del Potro in final

Nikolay Davydenko reached the final of the ATP World Tour Finals after beating world number one Roger Federer in three sets.

He will meet Juan Martin del Potro who also beat Robin Soderling in three sets.

I was surprised to see Davydenko beat Federer especially as the current world number one looked unstoppable in his first two matches and also he had more rest having playing his last group match two days earlier.

Also this was a major victory for Davydenko because he had never beaten Federer before in thirteen attempts.

Soderling who also started the tournament by winning his first two round robin matches was beaten by Del Potro who had to win his last match to reach the semis.

I think its going to be a very interesting final and I think that maybe this time Davydenko will win after losing to Novak Djokovic last year.

Australia wins Gabba Test

Australia easily won the first Test against the West Indies at the Gabba by an innings and 65 runs on the third day.

This was far easier than I thought and the Windies were no match to the Aussies from the onset.

Ricky Ponting declared his team's first innings after scoring 480 runs and losing eight wickets.

The Windies managed to get only 228 runs in their first innings and were asked to follow-on and the second innings was even worse.

Adrian Barath scored a superb century for the Windies but the problem is that none of his team-mates was able to score 25 runs or more.

In fact only three batsmen reached double figures and therefore the Windies could not force the Test into the fourth day.

The Windies have their work cut out for the remaining two Tests if they are to be competitive at all.

The second Test begins on Thursday in Adelaide and the Third and final Test will be in Perth.

Davydenko to face Federer

Nikolay Davydenko progressed to the semis of the ATP World Tour Finals after beating Robin Soderling in three sets.

Only a win could get Davydekno into the semis after defending champion Novak Djokovic beat Rafael Nadal in the first match.

For his efforts Davydenko will meet world number one Roger Federer whilst Soderling will meet Juan Martin del Potro.

This loss was the first loss for Soderling and I am keen to see how he will perform in his semi. I will not be surprised to see him in the final and once he is in there it could be very interesting.

I am expecting to see Federer in the final unless Davydenko plays the game of his life because Federer looks likes he is in top form at the moment.

Zim talks taking too long

I am surprised to see that the Zimbabwean talks between the three party negotiators are taking so long when there is nothing really new to negotiate as far I know.

I thought the talks were going to be about implementing the remaining issues as spelt out in the Global Political Agreement(GPA) but it seems like there is much more than that.

The negotiations are said to continue through into the weekend which is rather surprising.

I was expecting that by now the members of the Zimbabwe Media Commission would have been announced but it appears the release of the names is being delayed for an unknown reason.

Opening up the Zimbabwe media will do a lot for the people of Zimbabwe who have been denied media freedom for years and if you think of it in a country with such high unemployment the media sector could employ quite a few people.

But I think the day when there is an independent radio broadcaster is being delayed as much as possible.

It would appear to me that there is so much fear of media freedom by Zanu PF but I think while it can be delayed they cannot stop it forever.

I hope that these talks will conclude over the weekend so that the country can get going again and I hope soon will independent newspapers will be launching.

Del Potro in, Murray out

Juan Martin del Potro beat Roger Federer in three sets to reach the semi-finals of the ATP World Tour Finals and knock out Andy Murray.

This was a very tight group in which Murray needed Del Potro to lose in order to be guaranteed of reaching the semis but Del Potro marched to the semis instead on percentages.

Del Potro started the match strongest and won the first set but the world number one won the tight second set on a tie-break.

So in Federer's group Murray and Fernando Verdasco miss out and join former world number one Rafael Nadal who is already out after losing his first two matches.

So two out of Robin Soderling, Nikolay Davydenko and Novak Djokovic will be joining Federer and Del Potro when the group matches are concluded.

Button moves to McLaren

Reigning F1 champion will be driving for McLaren next year where he will team up with former champion Lewis Hamilton.

There has been a lot of activity this week in F1 with the biggest being Mercedes taking over Brawn GP and renaming the team Mercedes GP.

But then Jensen decided to leave the now new team to join McLaren who will now have in their stables the last two world champions.

I think it will be very interesting to see both Hamilton and Button fighting it out for the world champion.

I think Button had a good start to the season this year whilst towards the end Hamilton finished quite strongly.

Mercedes GP hasn't announced yet who will replace Button and also Rubens Barrichello who left for Williams.

Home advantage fails for Victory

Melbourne Victory had its worst home loss when it lost 4-nil to the Central Coast Mariners over the weekend.

This is the second humiliating defeat after losing 3-nil to Sydney FC and it looks like there is no home advantage at all this season for Victory at the Etihad Stadium.

If I look at it closely though its not as bad as it sounds because Victory has only lost three games at home - twice to the Mariners and once to Sydney.

Out of the remaining five matches played so far at the Etihad Stadium Victory has won two and drawn three.

What causes concern for me though is the magnitude of the losses. They seem to be getting bigger and bigger at the moment.

I think the team can lose at home like any other team but even then the magnitude of the loss should be reasonable.

The first loss was a 2-nil loss and this was followed by a 3-nil and now a 4-nil. Its interesting to see that so far when Victory has lost at home, it has failed to score a consolation goal.

The next home match will be against Gold Coast United and I hope we are going to see a better performance from Victory whatever the result.

Australia clinches series

Australia clinched the one day international series against India after winning the sixth match by six wickets.

Australia had gone into the match leading the series 3-2 and needing a win the series and India struggled in its innings to score just 170 in 48 overs.

I knew that kind of total was never going to trouble Australia and the tourists reached with nearly nine overs to spare.

So far this has been an interesting series even though the last match will now be a dead rubber.In fact I think this particular match has been probably been the worst.

I think what makes this victory so significant is the fact injury plagued Australian team has gone to the sub continent and won a series so convincingly.

After this series I will now look forward to the summer Test series against the West Indies and then later on Pakistan.

The one day triangular series in January and February 2010 will also involve the West Indies and Pakistan.

Toyota leaves F1

Toyota has left F1 joining BMW Sauber in the teams who competed this year and are not going to return next year.

The team cited the financial crisis as reasons for the withdrawal and its sad to see that looked like finally getting everything together leaving the sport.

Toyota's withdrawal means there will be no Japanese team on the grid next year and also next year will be last year for the Japanese tyre manufacturer Bridgestone.

I thought that this year Toyota did very with Jarno Trulli on the podium three times - in Australia, Bahrain and then Japan. In the Japanese grand prix he was actually second.

I hope that somebody will be able to buy the team like what happened to Honda which became Brawn GP and went on to win both the drivers and constructor's championships.

Serena claims Doha title

Serena Williams beat her sister Venus in straight sets to claim the Sony Ericsson Championships in Doha.

I was not surprised by the result because Serena had earlier beaten her sister in the group stages and Venus just made it to the knockout stage.

This tournament has seen a number of injuries and retirement and it wasn't surprising to see the Williams sisters coming strapped and it seemed like one of them was going to retire hurt before match finish.

It was good to see that the match went the full length with no retirements.

Serena will now end the year as number one which might hand now because I think next year its going to be more competitive with Kim Clijsters starting from the start and Justine Henin making a comeback.

Red Bull finishes strongest

Red Bull finished the F1 season in style as its drivers Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber claimed the top two places in the inaugural Abu Dhabi Grand prix.

In Brazil Webber won the race at Interlagos and Vettel settled for fourth in that race but both drivers finished ahead of the Brawn GP drivers.

If the start of the season belonged to Brawn GP then in a way the end of it belonged to Red Bull.

But I have to mention that had McLaren's Lewis Hamilton not retired in the race he would probably have won it because he had the fastest car all weekend.

In third place was the new champion Jensen Button who failed to overtake Webber in the last few laps of the race. I think he should have overtaken Webber to show off his driving skills as champion but Webber also defended his position very well.

Rubens Barrichello finished fourth just ahead of BMW Sauber's Nick Heidfeld.

I should say I was impressed by Toyota's Kamui Kobayashi who finished sixth despite starting twelfth on the grid. Also this was Kobayashi's second F1 race as he stood in for Tim Glock.

The last two points were taken by the other Toyota driver Jarno Trulli ahead of Torro Rosso-Ferrari's Sebastien Buemi who claimed the last point.

So there were no points for both McLaren and Ferrari in Abu Dhabi. Heikki Kovalainen finished eleventh just ahead of Kimi Raikkonen.

Giancarlo Fisichella finished in 16th position and thus failed to score a single point with his Ferrari.

I was very impressed by the Yas Marina Circuit and I think its one of the best F1 circuits if not the best. Also this night race was far more interesting than the other night one in Singapore.

Venus, Serena in Doha final

Defending champion Venus Williams will meet her sister Serena in the Sony Ericsson Championship final in Doha.

To reach the final Venus beat Jelena Jankovic in three sets in their semi-final and it was a great comeback after losing the first set.

Serena on the other hand won her semi when Caroline Wozniacki retired injured when she was leading 6-4, 0-1.

Serena has won all her four matches in Doha whilst Venus has only won the last two.

Infact she was in danger of missing the semis but Svetlana Kuznetsova's win over Russian Elena Dementieva enabled her to scrap through.

I think Serena will win the final after beating Venus in their group match and I think it will be a tight match because Venus seems to be picking up form now.

Its amazing the number of injuries in this tournament or maybe is that to be expected in a season ending tournament.