Sports News in Brief
PARIS - Julien Benneteau was among three French winners in the opening round of the Paris Masters yesterday, downing Victor Troicki of Serbia 6-4 7-5 to set up a match against countryman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Benneteau broke twice in each set despite Troicki serving 14 aces. The other local winners were Gilles Simon and Benoit Paire. Simon beat 2006 Australian Open finalist Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus 7-5 6-1, and Paire defeated Pablo Andujar of Spain 6-3 6-4. Tsonga is among the favourites for the event.
Tom to bat first
WELLINGTON - Tom Latham will open the batting for the first time in his fledgling New Zealand cricket career in the Twenty20 international against Sri Lanka in Pallekele today. Captain Ross Taylor confirmed 20-year-old Latham would be promoted alongside Brendon McCullum in the absence of Martin Guptill, who has been rested for the limited-overs leg of the tour. Taylor believed a promotion would suit the left-hander who made his international debut and produced solid, if unspectacular, returns in seven ODIs and two Twenty20 internationals.
No. 1 ranking
LONDON - The ATP says Novak Djokovic has clinched the year-end No. 1 ranking in men's tennis. Djokovic lost the top spot to Roger Federer in July but will return to No. 1 next week. The ATP says Federer will drop points from his 2011 title wins at the Swiss Indoors and Paris Masters. He lost in the Swiss Indoors final on Monday to Juan Martin del Potro, and then pulled out of next week's Paris tournament. The ATP says Federer will not be able to earn enough points to finish the year ahead of Djokovic.
LONDON - The English FA opened an investigation yesterday into Chelsea's claim that a referee used "inappropriate language" toward its players during the 3-2 loss to Manchester United. Chelsea has accused referee Mark Clattenburg of insulting two players in Monday's match and lodged an official complaint. "The FA has begun an investigation relating to allegations made following the fixture," English football's governing body said in a statement.
MUMBAI - Controversial batsman Kevin Pietersen gets an early chance to re-establish himself for England after he was picked for the opening match of the Indian tour in Mumbai starting today. Team coach Andy Flower said Pietersen would bat at number four in the three-day match against India 'A' at the Brabourne stadium. "Kevin will play tomorrow and bat at four," Flower told reporters a few hours after the tourists arrived in Mumbai for the four-match Test series that starts in Ahmedabad on November 15.
Fight in doubt
SYDNEY - Sonny Bill Williams says his heavyweight fight with South African veteran Francois Botha next month is in doubt because of a pectoral muscle injury he suffered playing rugby in Japan. With Japanese rugby on a five-week break, All Blacks centre and New Zealand heavyweight champion Williams arrived in Sydney yesterday to prepare for the Botha fight but said he needed to get scans on the injury suffered playing for his club Panasonic at the weekend.