Ventspils and Skonto Riga have taken big strides into setting up an all-Latvian final in the Triobet Baltic League. On the opening legs of their semifinals, Ventspils and Skonto both experienced little opposition from their hosts, defeating Siauliai 2-0, and Liepaja Metalurgs 5-0, respectively. While Siauliai had been expected to struggle against Ventspils, the second result was something of a surprise, given that Metalurgs had defeated Skonto 2-0 in the Latvian domestic competition just a few days earlier. Metalurgs will now need to score at least six goals on the return leg on May 25 to stand any chance of making it into the final. Down in Siauliai, Ventspils’ Olegs Zatkins struck the killer blow, striking his team’s second goal in the third minute of added time, meaning Siauliai now need to score at least three times when they play in Ventspils on May 24.
Lithuania won their opening rugby test match of 2011, defeating Croatia 29-12 in Zagreb on Saturday. Playing in the European Nations Cup (ENC) Division 2a, Lithuania struggled to get going in the first half, leading just 10-5 at halftime. Lithuania, however, quickly took control in the second half with three tries in the first 17 minutes following the break to take them out to a comfortable 27-5 lead. With the game all but in the bag, the Lithuanians took their foot off the pedal over the final period of play, allowing the Croatians to score one more try late in the game. Lithuania is now looking good to gain promotion to ENC Division 1b. This Saturday (May 14), it will be Latvia’s turn to take to the field, playing Sweden at Daugava Stadium in Riga. Latvia’s situation is in stark contrast to that of Lithuania as they fight relegation to ENC Division 2b.
Estonia’s Kaia Kanepi continues to struggle on her return from injury, falling to wildcard local Romina Orpandi in the opening round of the Internazionali BNL D’Italia in Rome on Tuesday. Looking strong in the opening two sets, Kanepi - similar to a week previous in Madrid - tired quickly in the final set, eventually losing 5-7, 6-3, 1-6. Kanepi only had herself to blame with her worst service performance to date this season, serving 11 double faults, or the equivalent of two and a half games. In the opening set, Kanepi was clearly becoming frustrated, pushing Orpandi to break point on nine occasions, only to break her twice. At the same time, Orpande pushed Kanepi to break on five occasions, breaking her three times. Even after her convincing performance in the second set, her fitness would always be called into question in the final set, which was not assisted by more erratic serving. Still holding a world ranking of 18, Kanepi can soon expect to see that number balloon, with this latest loss her fourth on the trot.