Monthly Archives: January 2017

Australian Open: Mischa Zverev ousts Andy Murray in 4th round

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Mischa Zverev, ranked 50th in tennis men’s World rankings, has ousted World No.1 Andy Murray in a surprising win at the 4th round of the Australian Open.

It was Murray’s earliest defeat in Melbourne since 2009, and the lowest-ranked player he has lost to at a Grand Slam since the 2006 Australian Open.

The Scotsman dropped serve eight times in the match that lasted three hours and 33 minutes, losing 7-5, 5-7, 6-2, 6-4 at the Rod Laver Arena.

Zverev, had played with an attacking style that he used to great effect against Murray, serve-volleying 119 times and winning 65 points at the net, while dismantling the Briton’s second serve. While Murray ended the match with an impressive 71 winners to 28 unforced errors, it was not enough as he found himself pressured incessantly.

Murray started strongly and found himself lead 4-1 in the first set, but Zverev got the break back with a return winner and would not give the world number one a place to rest. The German continued with another break in game nine and moved ahead with a delicate drop volley, before seeing out the set.

Murray levelled at a set all with a rasping winner after again being pegged back twice, but from midway through the third set it was clear that Zverev was in command — taking five straight games to move two sets to one and a break up, and despite one nervous smash into the net — managed to serve his way to a great win.

“It was kind of easy to stay aggressive but it was tough to stay calm,” said the German. “I was expecting to maybe double fault in the last game but somehow I made it.”

Could this be the long awaited return of Roger Federer?

Zverev’s next opponent, Roger Federer, made it through to the quarter-finals of the Grand Slam after a five-set showdown against tournament fifth seed Kei Nishikori.

The Swiss maestro last won a grand slam in 2012 at his favoured Wimbledon grass court, but has since struggled. Injury forced him of the world’s top 10 for the first time in 734 weeks last November, and arrived in Melbourne ranked 17th — his lowest position since May 2001.

While he is the oldest man to grace a grand slam quarter-final since 9-year-old Jimmy Connors at the 1991 US Open, the elimination of tournament favourites Novak Djokovic and Murray would very well throw the competition out for his taking.


Sporting Gijon coach steps down but refuses compensation

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Sporting Gijon coach Abelardo Fernandez has stepped down from his post but refused any compensation from his hometown club.

Abelardo, 46, native in Gijon, played for the club for five years and took over as head coach in 2014. He lead them into the Spanish top flight in 2015.

But now, the club and the manager have gone their separate ways by ‘mutual consent’ following a poor run of results.

As present, Gijon languishes at 18th place in the Spanish top flight, and with seven losses in their last eight matches. They are also five points adrift from safety.

With three and a half years left on his contract, Abelardo was due a reported €4 million in compensation, but he has turned it down — out of loyalty.

Abelardo has also pledged his help to Sporting in the future.

“I cry for these people, for this club and for the fans, who I love so much,” Abelardo said. “As a Sporting fan, even though I had a contract until 2020, I couldn’t do that [accept compensation] to the club I love.”

“I did the same at other clubs and it wasn’t going to be any different here. I don’t have a problem writing off the money. There are more important things, loyalty to my club above all.”

In Abelardo’s place, Sporting Gijon have appointed Joan Francesc Ferrer, who is also known as “Rubi,” as their new head coach.

Jan Vertonghen out six weeks for Spurs

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Tottenham defender Jan Vertonghen will be out of action for six weeks after an ankle ligament injury, according to Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino.

The Belgian centre-back turned his left ankle in the second half of Tottenham’s 4-0 Premier League win over West Brom last Saturday, leaving the pitch in tears.

However, the six-week diagnosis is much better than the two-month prognosis originally given.

“When your mind is positive it’s easier to recover,” Pochettino said. “He doesn’t require surgery.”

Vertonghen has featured for Spurs in 20 out of 21 league matches this season, forming part of a defence that has conceded just 14 goals – the best record in the league. Still, Pochettino played down fears that his absence leaves a void in the squad.

“We have players that can perform in his place and we are very happy with the squad and the players we have.”

Tottenham, who will visit Manchester City this saturday, will still play without Erik Lamela. A fellow compatriot of Pochettino’s, he has been sidelined since late October with a hip problem.

Lamela’s injury has not improved thus far.

Admitting growing concerns for the playmaker’s condition, Pochettino said: “Now we start to be concerned about him because he is three months and still in a situation that has not moved on.”

“Tomorrow he will have a scan. Still it is difficult to give the time that he can come back. We need to wait tomorrow because there is still some problems, and we are still not sure of the diagnosis.”


Manchester City 2 – 2 Tottenham

Australian Open: Novak Djokovic ousted in second round

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Novak Djokovic, defending champion of the Australian Open suffered a shock exit in the Grand Slam event after he failed to overcome world number 117 Denis Istomin in the second round.

A six-time winner of the opening Grand Slam event of the calendar year, Djokovic struggled for rhythm and lost 7-6 (10-8) 5-7 2-6 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 in four hours and 48 minutes.

He won his first service game after 15 minutes but went on to lose the first set in one hour and 25 minutes.

As his opponent faltered in the third set, he won four consecutive games but Istomin managed to come back in the fourth set to extend the match to a tie-break.

Both players served aggressively as they received vocal support from the crowd, as Istomin, who broke in game five, remained strong on his own serve. The Uzbek national wrapped things up when Djokovic, lunging on the backhand, could only block another crunching delivery long on match point.

This was the first time that the Serb has lost in the second round of a Grand Slam event — his last similar defeat was at Wimbledon in 2008.

It is also only the second time in seven years that Djokovic has lost to a player ranked outside the top 100 — his defeat by Juan Martin del Potro, ranked 145th, at the Rio Olympics in 2016 being the other occasion.

“He deserved to win. No doubt, he was a better player in the clutch moments,” said Djokovic. “Many things came together for him today and he’s a well-deserved winner. There’s not much I could do.”

“It is the biggest win of my career and means so much, now I feel I can play with these guys and be with them on the same level,” said Istomin. “From the third set I had cramp in my leg, I don’t know how I held it. I was playing so good. I surprised myself.”