Thomas
Hunter at the Crikey sports desk writes:

Federer
and Sharapova criticise French Open organisers.
It
has the potential to be one of the great moments in sport for 2006 – a Federer-Nadal
final in the French Open, which started in Paris overnight.
But it’s a dream match-up that almost fell over at the first hurdle, with
Federer having to work harder than usual to get through his first round match
(7-5 7-6 6-2) against Argentine qualifier Diego
Hartfield. “I requested not to play Sunday, so I wasn’t happy to play
today. I didn’t want to be the guy who starts the tournament. I was never happy
about that idea,” he said after
the match
.
Maria Sharapova also struggled in her opening
match, losing the second set and facing three match points to American
Mashona Washington. The shrieking Russian finally won 6-2 5-7 7-5,
before giving a serve to organisers. “It doesn’t make you feel great
when you
know that the French federation, all they’re thinking about is selling
tickets,
making money and about their players,” she said.

Lara
farewells home ground.
Brian Lara has played his
last one day international at his home ground in Trinidad, with the West Indies beating India by
19 runs to win the home series 4-1. Lara put on 36 before being run out by
Chris Gayle (51), with the Windies posting 6-255. India’s
Virender Sehwag again put his side in a commanding position with 95 (103
balls), but his flying start couldn’t be matched by his team mates, India
crumbling to be all out for 236. Meanwhile, England
recorded a six wicket win against Sri Lanka
in the second Test at Edgbaston, with captain Andrew Flintoff saying Kevin
Piertersen’s first innings 142 set up victory for the English team. “The
difference between the teams was KP’s knock,” Flintoff told the BBC.
“Whoever saw it witnessed something special – who knows how good he can be?”

Finally, Bonds overtakes Ruth’s record. It might have taken almost a month to score the
handful of runs he needed to overtake Babe Ruth’s record of 714 home runs, but
Barry Bonds has finally hit his 715th career home run, placing himself second
on the all-time run-scorers list behind Hank Aaron’s 755. Regular Crikey
readers will know Bonds’ effort to overtake the Babe’s mark has been surrounded
by controversy, with fans and commentators questioning the legitimacy of his
record following drug allegations. Reaching Aaron’s record is no certainty for
Bonds, who is in the last year of his contract with the San Francisco Giants. But
Bonds, who will earn $US18 million this year, could play elsewhere next year,
with his agent suggesting even if Bonds has to play a diminished role, he’ll keep chasing Aaron’s record.

Peter Fray

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