Al-Ahram Weekly Online   14 - 20 December 2006
Issue No. 824
Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875


Masters Haarhuis

PAUL Haarhuis reclaimed the Masters title after defeating Goran Ivanisevic 7-6 5-7 10- 7 at Royal Albert Hall.

The Dutchman clinched the first set, after taking the tie-break 7-4, only for Ivanisevic to win the second set.

The match then went to a championship tie-break and Haarhuis took advantage of a double-fault to level at 5-5 before going on to win 10-7.

The 40-year-old Haarhuis has only won this event on the Champions Tour. "I must peak at the right time," he said.

Ivanisevic, the 2001 Wimbledon champion, had beaten his rival three times in previous tour meetings, including a group match earlier in the week. "We had two good matches this week and I won the wrong one," said the 35-year-old Croatian.

"I had chances in the first set tie-break but these tie-breaks are tough. One or two points and everything changes.

"But it was a good match. He played good and I've had a great week at the Royal Albert Hall. It's a beautiful place to play tennis and it's difficult not to play well in these surroundings."

Haarhuis, who was a doubles specialist in his prime, is unsure if he will get an invitation to chase a third win in the event because of his relatively low profile compared to some of the tournament's more illustrious names.

German World Cup

GERMAN pair Bernhard Langer and Marcel Siem held their nerve to beat Scottish duo Colin Montgomerie and Marc Warren in a play-off to claim the World Cup.

Both teams finished on 16 under par after 72 holes to set up a thrilling finale at a soaked Sandy Lane course.

Montgomerie holed a clutch par putt at 18 to take the event to sudden death.

Both Langer and Montgomerie then missed the green with their tee shots but Siem's chip left Langer a tap-in while Montgomerie missed from 5ft to bogey.

It was Germany and Langer's second World Cup win, the first coming in 1990 when the Ryder Cup veteran partnered Torsten Gideon to victory in Florida.

The 49-year-old Langer was making his first appearance in the event since 1996 but came into the week in form after partnering his 16-year-old son Stefan to victory in a father/son tournament in Orlando last week. Stefan also acted as his father's caddie this week. "Every trophy is special but the last few years I didn't win a lot," Langer said.

"It was nice to be on a roll and to win two weeks in a row and have Stefan on the bag is a great experience.

"It's not easy to believe that 16 years later I am still in the winner's circle. It just shows that the golf ball doesn't know how old you are!"

Swedish pair Henrik Stenson and Carl Petterson had led going into the final round but saw their two-shot lead disappear with two bogeys as the Barbados resort was hit by torrential rain.

Stirling Moss awarded

BRITISH driving great Sir Stirling Moss has been awarded the FIA gold medal in recognition of his outstanding contribution to motorsport.

The FIA, motorsport's governing body, handed Moss the award in Monaco.

Moss finished runner-up in Formula One's drivers' championship four times, and enjoyed major success in a variety of other racing categories.

"This is the first FIA award I've ever won. It means a lot to me and I am very proud to receive it," said Moss.

The 77-year-old is widely regarded as the best driver to have missed out on the F1 title.

But Moss excelled in sports car racing, winning the Mille Miglia, the Targa Florio and the Tourist Trophy among many other famous races.

"There are few drivers in the history of motor sport who have been as deserving of this award as Sir Stirling," said FIA president Max Mosley.

"It is not just his remarkable success across all categories of racing that stands him apart but also his continuing contribution to the promotion of motor sport."

Heavyweight defence

OLEG Maskaev defended his World Boxing Council (WBC) heavyweight title with a unanimous points win over Uganda's Peter Okhello in Moscow .

The 37-year-old controlled the fight but failed to land a knockout blow.

The US-based boxer, who was granted Russian citizenship by presidential decree on Saturday, improved his record to 34-5, while Okhello fell to 18-5.

Maskaev, who was born to Russian parents in Kazakhstan, won the belt by beating Hasim Rahman in August.

The contest was the first heavyweight title fight held in Russia.

In his first title defence, Maskaev rocked Okhello, 34, with a powerful right to the head in the fifth round, then again in the eighth and ninth rounds.

But the challenger, bleeding from the mouth and with his swollen right eye almost shut, survived the assault.

Okhello, who is based in Japan, finally went down in the 10th but Maskaev, urged on by a 12,000-strong crowd with chants of "Russia, Russia", could not finish the job.

"I really wanted to knock him out, unfortunately I just couldn't get that one punch," said Maskaev.

"It was my first professional fight in Russia, in front of my countrymen, so I was really motivated to win it. Despite not scoring a knockout, I'm still happy with my performance."

Horse kills rider

A SOUTH Korean athlete has died after being crushed by his horse in a heavy fall during an equestrian event at the Asian Games in Qatar.

Kim Hyung-chil, 47, was fatally injured when his horse rolled over him after a fall at fence number eight in the individual cross country event.

He was taken to hospital but efforts to revive him were unsuccessful.

Kim, the 11th eventer to tackle the course, won silver at the last Asian Games in Pusan on the same horse.

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