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Greece last at World Cup September 18, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Athletics.
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Pigi Devetzi makes best effort in long, triple jumps; Pericles Iakovakis pulls out

Greece ended in ninth, and last, place in both the men’s and women’s competitions in the Athletics World Cup held over the weekend at Athens’s Olympic Stadium.

The World Cup, a competition begun in 1977, pits continents, as well as the best individual countries in track and field, against each other. Greece fielded a team of its own by virtue of being the host.

Europe won the men’s competition with 140 points, four more than the United States. They were followed by Africa (116 points), Asia (110), the Americas (104), Russia (89), France (79), Oceania (78) and Greece (44).

In the women’s competition, Russia (137 points) won over Europe (128), the Americas (117), the USA (101.5), Poland (97), Africa (96.5), Asia (85.5), Oceania (73) and Greece (60.5).

The women’s relatively better performance was due to Pigi Devetzi, who finished second in Saturday’s triple jump, behind Russia’s Tatyana Lebedeva, and third in yesterday’s long jump. Dimitris Regas was the best performer among Greek men, improving the national 400-meter record by almost half a second to finish third in 45.11 seconds. Pericles Iakovakis, the 400m hurdles favorite, pulled out at the last moment with an injury.

Despite the fact that the World Cup has suffered from relative neglect since the World Track and Field Championships became a biennial event, there were several big performances:

On Saturday, the USA’s Sanya Richards won the women’s 400m in 48.70 seconds, breaking the US record that had stood since the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics; and Tyson Gay, also of the USA, won the 100m in 9.88 seconds.

Yesterday, Poland’s Kamila Skolimowska won the hammer throw with 75.29 meters; and the USA’s Allen Johnson, 35, won the 110m hurdles in 12.96 seconds. Richards also won the 200 meters.

Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis wins China Open Tennis September 18, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Tennis Squash.
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Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus won his first career ATP title in beating Mario Ancic of Croatia 6-4, 6-0 in the China Open final on Sunday.

Third-seeded Baghdatis won the last eight games to finish off fourth-seeded Ancic in 72 minutes.

“It’s my first title, it’s a great moment and I’m really happy about that, especially playing a great match today,” Baghdatis said. “I didn’t let him play. I made a lot of returns and put pressure on him. It was one of my best matches.”

The final was the third in Baghdatis’ career, and the first since the Australian Open.

He also beat Ancic for the first time in four matchups.

“Marcos is an unbelievable player,” Ancic said. “In the second set he stepped up.”

Ancic excelled in his first tournament following a two-month injury layoff. After making the quarterfinals at Wimbledon, he hurt his back and knee in a yachting accident. The China Open was his fourth final this season.

“This was an unbelievable week for me. Every match for me was like a final,” he said. “I played five matches singles and four matches doubles, but I’m very proud of myself as it’s not easy after not playing for two-and-a-half months.

“Playing nine matches was something I was really looking for.”Ancic, who injured his leg unexpectedly at the end of the opening set while stretching to save a net-close ball, gave up rather tamely, handing an easy win to Baghdatis.

The injury badly affected Ancic’s movement on the court allowing Baghdatis to win the second set easily.

The Cypriot, who was crowned at the first ever ATP tournament in his short career, improved his record to 1-3 against the Croat.