The HFT PurgExtra

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Fukuhara still in hunt for title

first_img IN FIVE EASY PIECES WITH TAKE 5 Ai Fukuhara got off to a winning start Friday, advancing past her opening fourth-round match in the women’s singles at the Table Tennis National Championships. Fukuhara, who has already booked her spot for this summer’s Beijing Olympics but is in a bid to win her first national title, downed Ayumi Yoshida 4-2 while Sayaka Hirano and 2007 semifinalist Kasumi Ishikawa also reached the fifth round. The 19-year-old Fukuhara got off to a jittery start, falling behind 2-1 before settling down to win three straight games at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium. But she appeared nervous and stiff throughout and failed to use her forehand effectively. Miyu Maeda, an 11-year-old elementary school student, beat Hime Togo in full sets in the third round before bowing out to 2007 quarterfinalist Moemi Terui in the next round. In men’s singles action, Aomori Yamada high school student Jun Mizutani, who became the youngest to win a national title at 17 years and 7 months last year, advanced to the fifth round along with Yo Kan and four-time champion Koji Matsushita. GET THE BEST OF THE JAPAN TIMESlast_img read more

We’ve learned how to play together – Gray

first_img“We’ve had a successful pre-season and everybody’s playing collectively as a unit,” Gray told Bristol Flyers TV.“We’ve learned a lot of things during pre-season – it was a great experience and I know everyone’s excited for Saturday.“Over our the last four games we’ve learned how to play together at as team.”We started off slow against Worcester and they got off to a hot start. They’re a very good shooting team, so we had to adjust on the defensive end and force them into taking difficult shots. The 6ft8in defensive specialist helped Flyers go unbeaten in pre-season, holding their opponents to an average of just 53 points ahead of Saturday night’s season opener against London City Royals.last_img

Lukaku, Matic send lukewarm Man United into Cup semis

first_imgMANCHESTER, England, (Reuters) – Headers by Romelu Lukaku and Nemanja Matic earned Manchester United an unconvincing 2-0 victory over Brighton and Hove Albion in a low-key FA Cup quarter-final played in freezing conditions yesterday. United, looking to make amends after their feeble Champions League defeat by Sevilla, struggled to impose themselves against Brighton before Lukaku broke the deadlock by heading home Matic’s curling, left-foot cross at the far post after 37 minutes.The goal was Lukaku’s 12th goal in 11 FA Cup games and the Belgian’s 25th of the season in all competitions, including goals in each round of the FA Cup.But once again, United were unable to build on the opener and lost their way in the second half as a slow tempo and lack of fluency restricted their attacking potency. Brighton, in contrast, grew more confident as the game went on and dominated possession in the second half to keep United goalkeeper Sergio Romero busy.Dutch forward Juergen Locadia was twice foiled by Romero and was off-target with a header from a promising Solly March cross.But Matic calmed the nerves around Old Trafford seven minutes from time when he stole in to nod Ashley Young’s teasing free kick into the net. “It was difficult for us after the defeat against Sevilla, of course we were very sad after the game. It was important to see a reaction today and we’re through to the next round and we’re happy,” Matic said.Manager Jose Mourinho’s angry 12-minute monologue on Friday contained little criticism of his players but he was less forgiving after this display.“Matic was an island of personality, surrounded by not water but lack of class and desire. I have to say that,” said the Portuguese manager. Brighton manager Chris Hughton said his team had caused United problems.“We were always in the game, certainly as regards shots and shots on target, I thought we were always a threat but we needed to work their keeper a little bit more, maybe that little bit more quality in the final third,” he said.United, bidding to win the FA Cup for the 13th time, joined Tottenham Hotspur in the last four. Leicester City play Chelsea and third-tier Wigan Athletic face Southampton in the other quarter-finals today.last_img read more