Left field

The Reuters global sports blog

from India Insight:

In Dada, Yuvraj finds a way to use his unutilised hair gel

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Yuvraj Singh has finally found a way to make sure the hair gel lying unused in his cupboard is not completely wasted.

The Punjab cricketer, known for experimenting with hairdos, has gone completely bald following chemotherapy sessions in his battle against cancer.

In his absence, Yuvraj's former India captain Sourav Ganguly is leading Pune in this year's Indian Premier League and the 39-year-old provided what could be the lasting memory of IPL5 after castling Delhi's Kevin Pietersen at Ferozeshah Kotla on April 21.

Ganguly darted across the field at a speed unexpected of a cricketer never known for his athleticism even in his prime, pumping air and jumping in joy, his thinning hair dishevelled by the evening wind.

Greg Rusedski: Nadal shows he is still the clay king

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The Monte Carlo Master Series is a good indicator for who is in good clay court form early during the run up to the French Open. Rafael Nadal has won this event the last 7 years in a row, which has never happened before on the ATP Tour.

This year it looked like his streak could come to an end because World Number 1 Novak Djokovic, who missed last year’s event, was in the draw. The only player missing in the top 4 was Roger Federer who needed a little break this week.

There may not be a Superclasico in Munich after all

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A mouth-watering clash between Real Madrid and Barcelona in this season’s Champions League final in Munich appeared to be on the cards when the two Spanish giants were kept apart in the draw, but the prospect of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi watching the showpiece on television instead of taking centre stage on May 19 now looks just as likely.

While Barcelona missed a hatful of chances in their 1-0 defeat by Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in a pulsating first leg of their semi, Real were maybe fortunate to escape with only a 2-1 defeat at Bayern after they were undone by a stoppage-time winner from Mario Gomez.

Two trophies may still prove too little for Liverpool

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By Phil O’Connor

Andy Carroll’s winner in the FA Cup semi-final against Everton might have put Liverpool on course for a second trophy, but even if they go on to win the competition it will still represent a poor return for the season.

In most major football nations, the national cup competition comes in a very distant second to the league in terms of importance, but for years England bucked that trend and the FA Cup retained huge prestige.

Could Pardew take Champions League spot and England job from Redknapp?

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By Phil O’Connor

Unheralded and unpopular when he took over at Newcastle United, Alan Pardew has led them into the upper reaches of the English Premier League, and within touching distance of a Champions League place.

The question is whether he can beat Tottenham Hotspur’s Harry Redknapp to fourth spot and the last Premier League place in football’s top club competition – and make himself a contender for the England manager’s job at the same time.

Has ‘Bubba golf’ got the legs for world domination?

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Inspired by Bubba Watson’s brilliance, beautifully encapsulated in that wedge from the pine needles on Augusta’s feared 10th hole en route to winning the Masters on Sunday, I took to the range for a good old clout of the golf ball rather than worrying about a textbook swing.

Ugly noise. Ball darts off right. Left-handed kid receiving a lesson two bays away, who when asked who his favourite player was replies “Bubba Watson”, hits it better with the same club (7 iron).

Masters Live

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Follow all the action and excitement of the Masters with our team of reporters and photographers at Augusta National as Tiger Woods goes in search of his fifth Masters title while a host of rivals, including Rory McIlroy, Phil Mickelson and world number one Luke Donald seek the famous green jacket for themselves.

Click here for updates, pics, quotes, commentary and behind the scenes news from golf’s most iconic venue.

APOEL Nicosia and Jovanovic could prompt further Cinderella stories

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The Champions League is heading for another spectacular climax after the quarter-final clashes produced expected winners in holders Barcelona, Real Madrid, Chelsea and Bayern Munich, who must be relishing the prospect of taking centre stage in the final in their own stadium on May 19.

But rather than the usual suspects who predictably reach the latter stages of the money-spinning competition every season, it was the highly unheralded outfit of APOEL Nicosia that lit up the scene this time.

Sweden hope Ibrahimovic can sparkle now Milan are out

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Phil O’Connor

There was one soccer coach just as happy as Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola on Tuesday when his side knocked AC Milan out of the Champions League at the quarter-final stage.

That man is Sweden coach Erik Hamren.

With Euro 2012 approaching fast, Hamren will be quietly pleased that top striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic won’t be involved in the final in Munich on May 19 and can instead avoid injury and stay fresh.

Miami courts too slow – Rusedski

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By Greg Rusedski

All the talk at the Miami Masters Series was again about the top four and if Roger Federer would be able to continue his amazing run. Miami is a tough event to win immediately after Indian Wells due to its slower conditions, heavy humidity and at times; strong winds.

Federer was trying to win Indian Wells and Miami back-to-back for the third time in his career. Federer has been on an amazing run since losing in the semi-finals of the US Open. He has won 6 of his last 8 events and has amassed the most points of any player since mid-September of last year. Unfortunately for Roger, he lost to Andy Roddick in the third round when he ran out of gas with Roddick playing well. This will hurt Roger because he owns Roddick and had beaten him in 24 out of 26 matches up until this match.

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