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22nd January

Australian Open: Rafael Nadal continues his march towards title

Rafael Nadal has continued to march relentlessly towards a 21st grand slam title after sweeping past Karen Khachanov and into the Australian Open fourth round early on Saturday morning (NZ time). Nadal looked headed for...

Australian Open: Defending champion Naomi Osaka knocked out of tournament

Defending champion Naomi Osaka was knocked out of the Australian Open late on Friday night, after losing to Amanda Anisimova 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (5) in the third round. The 20-year-old Anisimova saved two match points in the third set at Margaret Court Arena ahead of the tiebreaker and ended the match with an ace. She...

Beijing Games torch relay confined to closed venues due to COVID

BEIJING (Reuters) – The Beijing Winter Olympics torch relay will be cordoned off from the public because of concern about the spread of the coronavirus, organisers said on Friday. The relay involving 1,200 torchbearers will begin on Feb. 2 and wind up just two days later, on Feb. 4, when the Games open in the...

Nadal repels Khachanov to reach last-16 in Melbourne

MELBOURNE (Reuters) -Sixth seed Rafa Nadal dropped his first set at this year’s Australian Open but still powered through to the fourth round with a 6-3 6-2 3-6 6-1 defeat of Karen Khachanov on Friday. The Spaniard, seeking to claim a record 21st Grand Slam title in the absence of great rivals Roger Federer and...

21st January

Tennis-‘I’m not God! Can’t win every match’ – Osaka proud despite early exit

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Naomi Osaka was at peace with herself after yet another failed attempt at defending a Grand Slam title at the Australian Open and the former world number one was especially proud of the way she has managed to mould her mindset to deal with tough losses. The former world number one crashed...

Olympics-Australian minister backs athletes’ right to free speech during Beijing Games

(Reuters) – Australian sports minister Richard Colbeck said restrictions on athletes’ speech at next month’s Beijing Winter Games are “very concerning”, adding that they should be free to express their opinions during the Olympics. Earlier this week, athletes travelling to the Beijing Games were warned about speaking up on human rights issues while in China...

Barty sweeps into fourth round at Australian Open

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Ash Barty cantered past Camila Giorgi in just over an hour at the Australian Open on Friday to set up a potential blockbuster fourth round tie against defending champion Naomi Osaka. The world number one, who is aiming to end Australia’s 44-year wait for a homegrown champion, was in dominant form in...

Australia court rules minister acted rationally in cancelling Djokovic’s visa

MELBOURNE (Reuters) -An Australian court said on Thursday it dismissed tennis superstar Novak Djokovic’s challenge to his visa cancellation as the minister who revoked it reasonably believed Djokovic, who is not vaccinated against COVID-19, may be a risk to the community. The Federal Court also rejected the argument there was no evidence that Djokovic had...

Djokovic bets on a COVID cure as he quests for tennis history

COPENHAGEN, Jan 19 (Reuters) – The pandemic has blocked Novak Djokovic’s march to tennis history, so the 34-year-old may be pinning his hopes on a cure for COVID to get his hands on another glorious grand slam before time runs out. The Serbian superstar, who became a focus of the global vaccine debate over his failed...

On a frozen pond far from the Olympics, meet China’s ice hockey veterans

ANSHAN, China, Jan 20 (Reuters) – “Today … the first game in the Winter Olympics … begins!” The shout rings through a coterie of onlookers by a frozen pond as 12 men, in helmets and other hockey gear, take position on a makeshift rink under a pale sun and sapphire sky. On the unscripted prompt,...

20th January

Australian Open: Naomi Osaka and Ash Barty on collision course, Rafa Nadal advances

For the first set, Naomi Osaka’s rediscovered love of the game meant it was anything but fun for Madison Brengle in the second round of the Australian Open. The defending champion conceded only four points in the first four games on Wednesday and rifled forehand winners seemingly at will as she breezed to 6-0 in...

Glenn Maxwell blazes a record 154 off 64 balls in ‘incredible’ Big Bash innings

Hobart insist they can shrug off Australian all-rounder Glenn Maxwell’s demolition job as a one-off and rebound for the BBL finals after the biggest loss in their history. The Hurricanes will face Adelaide in an eliminator on Friday night, less than 48 hours after being thumped by 106 runs by the Melbourne Stars. Hobart were...

Get vaccinated or leave tennis, three-time Australian Open champion tells Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic has a responsibility to tennis to get vaccinated against Covid-19 if he wants to continue his stellar career, says triple Australian Open champion Mats Wilander. Swede Wilander doesn’t believe the world No 1, who was deported from Australia on the eve of the tournament on Sunday, can expect to carry on playing at the top...

League to stop testing asymptomatic players after All-Star break

Jan 18 (Reuters) – The National Hockey League (NHL) said on Tuesday it will stop testing asymptomatic players after next month’s All-Star Weekend in Las Vegas unless it is needed to adhere to any cross-border travel requirements. The NHL, which pulled its players and personnel out of the Feb. 4-20 Beijing Olympics after COVID-19 forced...

Athletes warned against speaking up on human rights at Beijing Games

Jan 18 (Reuters) – Athletes travelling to next month’s Beijing Olympics were warned on Tuesday about speaking up on human rights issues while in China for their own safety by speakers at a seminar hosted by Human Rights Watch. Rights groups have long criticised the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for awarding the Games to China,...

19th January

Appana welcomes boxing promoter

The chairman of the Boxing Commission of Fiji, Dr Subhash Appana, has confirmed the registration of a new professional boxing promoter in the country. Dr Appana said his inclusion would add an exciting dimension to the list of promoters registered with the commission. “The BCF has officially endorsed the application of Allan Prasad of Bula...

Britain’s Emma Raducanu shines in Australian Open debut

Teenage tennis sensation Emma Raducanu beat experienced American Sloane Stephens in her debut at the Australian Open on Tuesday, with fellow Briton Andy Murray also scoring his first win at the tournament for the first time since 2017. Raducanu won 6-0, 2-6, 6-1 in a topsy-turvy contest which saw Stephens capitalising on some of the...

Barty clinic cheers Australia after Djokovic turmoil

MELBOURNE, Jan 17 (Reuters) – Ash Barty showed a good host can lift spirits at the most subdued of parties as she thumped Lesia Tsurenko 6-0 6-1 in a blistering start at the Australian Open on Monday to reach the second round. With the deportation of men’s champion Novak Djokovic leaving a massive hole at...

Beijing Olympics tickets will not be publicly sold due to COVID-19

BEIJING, Jan 17 (Reuters) – Tickets for the Winter Olympics set to begin on Feb. 4 will be distributed to “targeted” groups of people and will not be sold to the general public, the organising committee said on Monday, in the latest setback to the Games inflicted by COVID-19. Organisers had said in September that...

Yao Ming says he and Peng Shuai ‘chatted merrily’ at event last month

BEIJING, Jan 17 (Reuters) – Chinese basketball legend Yao Ming said on Monday that tennis star Peng Shuai, who became the subject of concern after she accused a former senior politician of sexually assaulting her, was in good spirits when they appeared at an event last month. “She seemed well. We chatted merrily,” Yao said...

18th January

Ice hockey players hustle to Beijing after NHL pullout

Jan 17 (Reuters) – Brian O’Neill treasured the chance to represent the United States at the 2018 Winter Games but the 33-year-old Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) forward never thought he would be back in his country’s uniform for the Beijing Olympics this year. Then COVID-19 intervened, obliterating the National Hockey League’s (NHL) schedule and leading...

Zverev digs deep to outlast fellow German Altmaier

MELBOURNE, Jan 17 (Reuters) – Alexander Zverev took time to warm up and had to dig deep against fellow German Daniel Altmaier in his first match of the Australian Open on Monday as the world number three kick-started his bid to add a maiden Grand Slam title to his Olympic gold. The 24-year-old Zverev defeated...

Raducanu faces big test against Stephens on Australian Open debut

MELBOURNE, Jan 18 (Reuters) – Britain’s Emma Raducanu claimed a Grand Slam trophy even before she played a major champion but the 19-year-old could face a daunting task on her Australian Open debut when she meets former U.S. Open winner Sloane Stephens on Tuesday. Raducanu became the first qualifier to win a Grand Slam in...

‘Our champion’: deported Djokovic welcomed home after Australian fiasco

BELGRADE/MELBOURNE, Jan 17 (Reuters) – Novak Djokovic returned to a rapturous welcome in Serbia on Monday after Australia deported the world men’s tennis No. 1 for being unvaccinated against COVID-19, a stance jeopardising his quest for a record 21st Grand Slam title. Most Australians had wanted him gone, but Serbian fans cheered and waved national...

17th January

Osaka overcomes Osorio obstacle in Melbourne Park opener

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Defending champion Naomi Osaka overcame an unexpectedly stiff challenge from Colombian Camila Osorio to reach the second round of the Australian Open 6-3 6-3 on Rod Laver Arena on Monday. The Japanese former world number one looked all business as she raced to a 5-0 lead in the opening set but a...

Cummins wins Ashes and hearts with Khawaja gesture

(Reuters) – Pat Cummins’ leadership qualities were on full display even after his side sealed a 4-0 Ashes series win on Sunday as he ensured Usman Khawaja, the first Muslim cricketer to play for Australia, was not showered by champagne amid the celebrations. As his euphoric team mates started popping champagne bottles on the stage...

Prince Charles Park spared

Nadi Town Council acting chief executive officer Muni Reddy has dismissed fears of damage by the recent tropical disturbance 03F to Prince Charles Park. Reddy said the facility was not affected by the recent floods. “Nothing major except the normal clearing of debris left behind when the floodwaters receded,” Reddy said. “The sporting facility wasn’t...

Djokovic’s actions could weaken COVID-19 safety adherence – Australia govt lawyer

MELBOURNE (Reuters) -Lawyers argued over what impact Novak Djokovic would have on support for vaccination in Australia as the Federal Court was set to decide on Sunday whether or not the unvaccinated tennis superstar can stay and defend his Open title. Three Federal Court judges will decide the fate of the world number one tennis...

Djokovic ‘extremely disappointed’ with cancellation of visa

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Tennis world number one Novak Djokovic said in a statement on Sunday that he was “extremely disappointed” with the decision to cancel his visa to enter Australia, but would cooperate with the authorities in relation to his departure from the country. The Serbian champion said he hoped the focus would now return...

Djokovic’s court defeat to shake up Australian Open draw

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – A court decision to uphold the cancellation of Novak Djokovic’s visa on Sunday has shaken up the Australian Open draw on the eve of the tournament, handing a boost to his rivals and adding intrigue to the race for the Grand Slam titles record. The world number one had been favourite to...

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