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Friday,27-May-2022

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Australian Open: Contrasting first-round wins for teenager Alcaraz and Shapovalov

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Spanish teenager and last year’s US Open quarterfinalist Carlos Alcaraz lived up to his status as a first-time Grand Slam seed as the world No. 31 scored a 6-2, 6-2, 6-3 win over Chilean qualifier Alejando Tabilo on Day One of the Australian Open here on Monday.

The 18-year-old Alcaraz’s first serves proved too much for the 24-year-old Tabilo, who was making his second Grand Slam main-draw appearance, as the Spaniard put his game on full display after an offseason spent on improving his skills.

“I felt really good,” said Alcaraz after the match. “I didn’t expect that this first match was going to be really good for me. I played a great level the first match of the season. Really good feelings… hope the next matches are going to be the same.”

With Alcaraz at No. 31 and Tabilo at No. 135, it was never going to be an easy job for the latter and the gap in the rankings showed as the Spaniard advanced comfortably after the pair traded early breaks.

Alcaraz went on a six-game winning streak to wrestle away control. The Spaniard built his opening-round game on intense aggression from the baseline, but he also deftly mixed well-placed returns in building the lead.

Alcaraz faced just one break point in the match, while breaking seven times in 16 chances of his own.

“I’m starting to get more comfortable on hard court than on clay courts,” said Alcaraz. “I think the most tournaments of the year are on hard court, so you have to be ready.”

Alcaraz enters the new year on the heels of a breakout year that also saw him reach the US Open quarterfinals, win his first ATP title (Umag) and break into the ATP’s top-40 for the first time. Alcaraz had started the 2021 season inside the top-150.

This season, his goals include reaching the top-15 and playing in the Nitto ATP Finals.

“It’s a really good goal for me, but so difficult as well,” he said.

With the top quarter of the Australian Open draw now missing world No. 1 Novak Djokovic, Alcaraz will take on Dusan Lajovic of Serbia, who defeated Marton Fucsovics of Hungary 6-3, 4-6, 6-1, 6-7(6), 6-1. One step further, No. 7 seed from Italy Matteo Berrettini looms as a potential third-round opponent.

Less than a fortnight after helping Canada win the ATP Cup, Denis Shapovalov survived a first-round matchup against Croatia’s Laslo Djere. After being two points away from a fifth set, the Canadian advanced in four, 7-6(3), 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(3). Djere had an opportunity to serve for both the first and fourth sets, but each time the No. 14 Canadian seed denied him.

“I felt like the fourth set was slipping away from me after that set point,” Shapovalov said in his on-court interview. “But I’m very happy with the outcome.

“He did a great dob to come back from two sets to none,” Shapovalov was quoted as saying by atptour.com. “He changed his tactics, tried to go for it more and was very tricky.”

Next up for the Canadian is South Korea’s Soonwoo Kwon, who edged past Holger Rune of Denmark 3-6, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2.

Bollywood

Akshay Kumar-starrer ‘Prithviraj’ name changed to ‘Samrat Prithviraj’

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The title of Bollywood star Akshay Kumar’s upcoming film ‘Prithviraj’ has been changed the film is now called ‘Samrat Prithviraj’, according to a letter issued by Yash Raj Films.

The letter has been sent to the Shree Rajput Karni Sena. The move comes after a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) by Shree Rajput Karni Sena, through Advocate Raghavendra Mehrotra.

The letter reads: “We, Yash Raj Films Private Limited, have been one of the leading production houses and distribution companies since its inception in the 1970s and continue to grow as one of India’s largest film studios. We have produced some of the most iconic films in the history of Indian cinema and have goodwill from over 50 years in the entertainment industry.”

“We are committed to constantly creating and producing content for enjoyment of all audiences.”

“The letter further read: “We sincerely appreciate your effort in alerting us about your grievance in relation to the current title of the Film, and assure you that we did not, and do not, intend to hurt the sentiments of any person(s) or disrespect the late king and warrior, Prithviraj Chauhan.

“In fact, we wish to celebrate his bravery, achievements, and contribution to our nation’s history, through this Film.”

“As per the multiple rounds of discussions between us, and to peacefully and amicably resolve the raised grievance, we will change the title of the Film to ‘Samrat Prithviraj’.

“We are highly appreciative of the mutual agreement reached between us that you have no further objections with regards to our Film and that all other points raised by you earlier are no longer a point of contention between us. We thank Shri Rajput Karni Sena and its members for understanding our good intentions pertaining to the depiction of the great warrior in the Film.”

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Is ‘Adhikari’ the title of Ram Charan-Shankar’s film with Kiara Advani?

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The upcoming big-budget film starring Ram Charan and directed by Shankar Shanmugham has been in the works for some time. There are rumours aplenty now that a tentative title has been circulated.

According to online sources, the tentative title for ‘RC15’ is ‘Adhikari’. The title has been well received in social media, as it is appropriate for all of the languages in which the film is being produced.

Ram Charan plays an IAS officer and the plot revolves around politics. Kiara Advani, who previously appeared alongside Ram Charan in ‘Vinaya Vidheya Rama’, will also be seen with the Telugu star in this political drama.

Ram Charan, who made national headlines with S.S. Rajamouli blockbuster ‘RRR’, has shifted his focus entirely to this film with Shankar following the failure of ‘Acharya’, where he appeared with his father Chiranjeevi.

‘RC15’, which is being bankrolled by Dil Raju, has been written by Karthik Subbaraj of ‘Petta’ fame.

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Varun Dhawan, Kiara Advani enthrall fans in Delhi with ‘The Punjaabban’ song

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Bollywood stars Varun Dhawan and Kiara Advani got a warm welcome in the national capital as they were greeted with loud cheers, hoots and whistles.

The actors were in New Delhi on Friday for launching their new number ‘The Punjaabban’ song from their upcoming film ‘Jug Jugg Jeeyo’. Officially dropping on Saturday, in an exclusive showcase to media and fans of the two stars.

Varun and Kiara also danced and showed their fans the hook step of the number, which also stars Neetu Kapoor and Anil Kapoor, in the Connaught Place area of New Delhi.

‘The Punjaabban’ song is the same number which recently got pulled into a controversy as Pakistani singer Abrar ul Haq accused filmmaker Karan Johar on Twitter on “copying” his song ‘Nach Punjaban’ in his upcoming production without his permission.

Addressing the copyright issue at the song launch, Varun said: “T-series has put out an official statement about this they legally licensed the rights. I think when you have international companies like Youtube, Spotify … When they are playing music they have very strict laws about copyrights. It’s no joke. All the processes have been followed.”

Slated to release in theatres on June 24, ‘Jug Jugg Jeeyo’ is directed by Raj Mehta.

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