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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Tennis upset

MELBOURNE - American teenager Sloane Stephens has pulled off one of the major upsets in Australian Open history.

The 19-year-old defeated five-times champion Serena Williams on Wednesday to reach the semi-finals and a date with world No.1 Victoria Azarenka.

Stephens, seeded 29th, won 3-6 7-5 6-4 in 2 hours 17 minutes. Earlier, defending champion and top seed Victoria Azarenka beat Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia 7-5 6-1.

Racing hosts

MELBOURNE - Victoria is paying more than $30 million a year for the right to host the Formula One Grand Prix under a five-year contract that's reportedly worth close to $170 million. The Herald Sun newspaper says it has seen documents that detail Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone's licence fee, which has been kept secret by four successive state governments for almost two decades. The documents expose an "escalator" clause under which the fee rises by five per cent every year regardless of how the event fares.

Golf bar too high

LA JOLLA, California - Jason Day admits he set the bar too high for himself in 2012 and has made consistency his prime objective on the US golf tour this year. After an impressive 2011 season where he notched up 12 top-10s worldwide, 10 of which came on the US tour and two of which were runner-up finishes in majors, Day stumbled in 2012. With injuries and the birth of his first son, Day had just five worldwide top 10s and was a non-event in the majors. He withdrew from the Masters, finished 59th at the US Open, missed the British Open for his son's birth and failed to make the cut at the US PGA Championship. He has dropped from a career high seventh in the world to 39th.

Tayor recalled

WELLINGTON - Former Black Caps captain Ross Taylor begins his return to international cricket early next month after being named in a New Zealand XI squad to play two warm-up Twenty20 matches against England. Andrew Ellis will captain the 14-strong squad in matches on February 4 and 6 at Cobham Oval in Whangarei, national selection manager Kim Littlejohn said on Wednesday. In a controversial move in early December, the 28-year-old Taylor was stripped of the captaincy of the shorter forms of the game. He turned down the offer of remaining as Test skipper, deciding instead to take time out from cricket, and was unavailable for the tour of South Africa.

Hooper scores

GLASGOW - Gary Hooper didn't let the speculation surrounding his future at Celtic impact his performance on Tuesday, scoring twice as the Scottish Premier League leaders won 4-0 over Dundee United. The news that Norwich City had an improved offer for the striker turned down didn't seem to play on his mind as he handed Celtic a 19th minute lead when he finished a well-worked move he had started in his own half. Celtic then added to their early advantage when Kenyan international Victor Wanyama headed home Mikel Lustig's cross in the 33rd minute.A quiet second half was brought to life by Hooper in the 80th minute.

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