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Monday, July 19, 2010

Edition 25: Sports

Schiavone creates history in Paris
Francesca Schiavone became the first Italian woman to win a Grand Slam singles title after defeating Australian favourite Samantha Stosur in the French Open final on Saturday. The 29-year-old from Milan is the first Italian woman to lift a Grand Slam trophy and is the first Italian player overall to play a Grand Slam final since Adriano Panatta won Paris in 1976.

Schiavone dominated on the clay against the seventh-seeded Stosur, who reached the semi-finals a year ago. Schiavone, seeded 17th, rallied from 4-1 down in the second set and triumphed on the first of four match point in the tiebreaker.

The best previous result at Roland Garros by an Italian woman was in 1954 when Silvia Lazzarino lost a semi-final against Maureen Connolly.The Italian will rise to a number six ranking according to the WTA, taking over as top Italian. Schiavone was playing the event for the tenth time.

History Imminent For Nadal
Meanwhile, Rafael Nadal won the French Open for the fifth time in six years on Sunday with a crushing defeat of Robin Soderling 6-4, 6-2, 6-4 to re-establish himself as the best on the clay. The Spaniard, beaten in 2009 by Soderling in the fourth round, becomes only the second man to win five French crowns.

Swede Bjorn Borg holds the record of six title between 1974 and 1981. Nadal won his 38th career match at Roland Garros against the one loss to Soderling. The emotional Spaniard could not contain himself as he sobbed into his towel when considering the enormity of his achievement — it came on the 54th birthday of Borg.

'Most emotional win'
“Robin has played an amazing two matches against me, I had to play my best to beat you today.” Choking back tears, Nadal, who has lost only two sets in the clay this season, thanked the crowd for its support. “This is very emotional, the most emotional win of my career.

“This is a dream for me, I’ve felt at home here for the past six years.” The victory sends Nadal back to the world number one ranking, dropping Roger Federer to second.

First woman to row solo across Pacific
A British environmentalist has become the first woman to row alone across the Pacific Ocean, receiving a rock star welcome in Papua New Guinea after finishing a nearly 13,000-kilometre journey.
Thousands turned out to welcome Roz Savage, 42, as she rowed her 7-metre boat named Brocade toward Madang on Friday.

Several people paddled canoes alongside her as she cruised into the harbor, where well-wishers adorned her with colorful leis.

"Once on dry land I must have shaken about 1,000 hands, everybody wanting to touch me and congratulate me. It was phenomenal," she wrote on her blog. "I feel like I have 5,000 new friends."

Savage's trip was meant to raise awareness about climate change and plastic debris polluting the ocean. She wants people to use biodegradable trash bags and reusable grocery bags.

She estimates she made 2.5 million oar strokes during her 250-day trip, which was broken up into three different legs. She set off from San Francisco on 25th May, 2008, and rowed 4,640 kilometres over 99 days to Hawaii.

On 22nd May, 2009, she left Hawaii and rowed 5,053 kilometres or an estimated one million oar strokes before reaching the tiny South Pacific nation of Kiribati in September. She left Kiribati on 19th April.

Savage said she officially finished the row late Thursday night but wasn't allowed to dock immediately because she had to clear customs the next morning.

Instead, she spent the first night post-adventure on another boat albeit a fancier one than the vessel that has carried her across the ocean.

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