Davenport enters Aussie Open

SYDNEY, Australia -- Three-time Grand Slam-winner Lindsay Davenport has signaled a return to the WTA Tour by entering the Australian Open.

Davenport, 32, who won the 2000 Australian Open, has not played a tournament since the U.S. Open in August, fueling speculation she was planning to retire.

"We are really excited that she has entered," tournament director Craig Tiley said Thursday. "She is a world-class player and a great ambassador for our sport."

As well as her Australian Open singles title, Davenport won Wimbledon in 1999 and the U.S. Open in 1998. She took part in this year's Australian Open, losing to eventual champion Maria Sharapova in the second round.

Davenport took a break from the WTA Tour for part of the 2006 and 2007 seasons before giving birth to a son, Jagger, in June 2007.

Entries for next year's Open have closed and the top 100 men and women are all on the list for the main draws.

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

Chinese take women's doubles gold

Du Jing and Yu Yang - Photo

China's Du Jing and Yu Yang eased past South Korea's Lee Hyojung and Lee Kyungwon in the women's doubles to take the first badminton gold of the Games.
Du and Yu won 21-15 21-13 as the South Koreans failed to recover from an early injury to Lee Kyungwon.

The victory for China's second seeds reassured a roaring home crowd, who saw top seeds Yang Wei and Zhang Jiewen go out at the quarter-final stage.
Another Chinese pair, Zhang Yawen and Wei Yili, won the bronze play-off.

The competition's third seeds reached the podium with a 21-17 21-10 victory over Japanese pair Miyuki Maeda and Satoko Suetsuna.
China have now won gold in the women's doubles for the fourth straight Olympics, and the victory sets in motion the hosts' plan for a clean sweep of this year's badminton medals.ce


Agent: Sharapova will be ready for 2009 season

Maria Sharapova expects to be back on the tennis tour at the start of 2009 and defend her Australian Open title after being sidelined since July with an injured right shoulder.
Sharapova’s agent, Max Eisenbud, told The Associated Press on Tuesday that she is “on track” to return to action at the Jan. 7-10 exhibition in Hong Kong that she usually enters.
The three-time Grand Slam title winner then plans to head to the Australian Open, which begins Jan. 19 in Melbourne.
“She’s doing good,” Eisenbud said in a telephone interview. “Everything’s on track.”
Sharapova has not played competitively since pulling out of a tournament in Montreal in late July after winning a nearly three-hour match in which she double-faulted 17 times. The right-hander was examined by a trainer midway through the three-set victory, and she withdrew from the event before her next match.
Medical tests later found a torn rotator cuff tendon in the 21-year-old Russian’s shoulder.
Sharapova missed the rest of the just-concluded season, including the Beijing Olympics and the U.S. Open, ending her streak of 23 consecutive major tournaments.
She hadn’t missed a major since her Grand Slam debut at the 2003 Australian Open. Sharapova won the singles championships at Wimbledon in 2004, the U.S. Open in 2006 and the Australian Open in 2008.

While she briefly held the No. 1 spot this year, the time away led her to slide in the rankings and she finished the season at No. 9.
Sharapova went 32-4 with three titles in 2008, earning nearly $2 million in tour prize money.

Nicol David looking for treble at Hong Kong Open

Fresh from jetlag and sporting a new appearance, Nicol David, Malaysia's unstoppable world No 1, will attempt to win her third successive Hong Kong Open this week.
Amr Shabana, the men's top-ranked Egptian, will also begin his quest for a third-straight title in the $145,000 event, the third-richest purse on the PSA Tour.

Two former men’s champions are also in the men’s draw – France’s 2004 winner Thierry Lincou is seeded to reach the quarter-finals for the fifth time, and David Palmer, the fifth seed from Australia, is looking for his sixth successive semi-final berth since winning the trophy in 2001.

Lincou’s first round opponent is India’s Saurav Ghosal – one of three Asians to make it through today’s qualifying finals – while Palmer takes on England's Chris Ryder.

With 11 successive Tour titles under her belt since November 2007, David has notched up 48 matches without defeat – and will be looking to chalk up her half-century in the second round. The 25-year-old from Penang faces New Zealand’s Jaclyn Hawkes in the opening round.

But David will face stiff opposition from a number of quarters – led by the Australian-born sisters Rachael and Natalie Grinham, seeded two and three, respectively, and Natalie Grainger, the fourth seed from the USA.

Hong Kong celebrated two notable victories in the women’s qualifying finals when Joey Chan beat top qualifying seed Latasha Khan 11-6, 6-11, 11-5, 6-11, 11-3, and Elise Ng battled to a 56-minute 11-6, 11-8, 3-11, 6-11, 18-16 win over New Zealander Kylie Lindsay.

Chan and Ng join Annie Au, Christina Mak and 13th seed Rebecca Chiu to provide the biggest ever local main draw entry in the history of the women’s event.

With the Abu Dhabi Open postponed next month, the tournament has given the players extra incentive to perform on the world stage ahead of squash's richest event, the Saudi Open in mid-December.

Sania, Bhupathi, Bopanna come together for camp

Indian tennis sensations Sania Mirza, Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna will come together for a camp at the Tennis Vill. This will be a three-week camp, which is held at Bhupathi's state-of-the-art facility in Bangalore.

The camp will include a high-intensity fitness programme with tennis. Shayamal Vallabhjee, a trainer from South Africa is hired to give tips on fitness front. However, American Scott Davidoff will be in charge of the tennis.

The fitness programme will include medium to high intensity aerobic work. Vallabhjee had earlier worked with the Indian cricket team. He explained, "We will start with medium to high intensity aerobic work to tax the cardiovascular and respiratory system. We'll have long training runs coupled with high intensity interval and shuttle runs. There will also be high intensity ladder drills."

"Our training will focus on functional strengthening, according to each individual's biomechanical strengths and weaknesses," added Vallabhjee.

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