SPORTS DAY: Nadal grinds out an uneasy win on Centre Court
Your roundup of the sporting news of the day
Nadal passes tricky test
The scoreboard said 6-4 6-3 6-4 to Rafael Nadal but it was an uneasy two-and-a-half hours for the Spanish world No1 as he laboured past Kazakhstan’s Mikhail Kukushkin into the Wimbledon third round on Thursday. Nadal, 32, never quite got to grips with the unorthodox Kazakh’s low, skidding shots and faced 13 break points in an entertaining Centre Court contest. Third seed and 2017 runner-up Marin Cilic crashed out, and Stan Wawrinka’s poor run at recent Grand Slams continued when he lost 7-6(7) 6-3 7-6(6) against Italian journeyman Thomas Fabbiano. Since last year he has tumbled down the rankings from three to his current 224.
Miranda named Brazil captain for Belgium clash
Brazil have named Miranda as their captain for the World Cup quarter-final against Belgium. Coach Tite is sticking with his policy of rotating the captaincy and the 33-year old Inter Milan player will become the fourth man to wear the captain’s armband in Russia.
Juve shares rise over Ronaldo transfer reports
Shares in Juventus FC jumped almost 10% on Thursday on the back of reports that Real Madrid striker Cristiano Ronaldo might soon join the Italian club. Shares were trading 9% higher at à0.81 before lunch.
Former villain Suarez is now elder statesmanIt was mid-2006 when scouts for Dutch club Groningen travelled to Uruguay to check out a promising young striker called Elias Figueroa. Instead, they witnessed another teenage forward play like a man possessed and score a wonder goal. Groningen signed him up on an impulse and flew him to Europe. The name? Luis Suarez. Surez comes to Uruguay’s World Cup quarterfinal against France on Friday an all-together wiser and maturer, albeit lacking a bit of the spark and speed of his earlier days. “I have to be one of the calm ones, because there are a lot of youngsters here now in the squad, some for the first time. I must lead by example,” Suarez told reporters this week.
Fifa rebukes Maradona over ‘robbery’ comments
Fifa says it “strongly rebukes” Argentina great Diego Maradona’s comments that England’s win over Colombia was a robbery and that referee Mark Geiger was not up to the task. “Fifa strongly rebukes the criticism of the performance of the match officials which it considers to have been positive in a tough and highly emotional match,” said the global soccer body in a statement.
China mourns mystic moggy
A “psychic” cat in China that correctly predicted the outcome of six World Cup games has met an untimely end, prompting thousands to pour out their grief on Chinese social media. The orange-furred tabby, named “Baidian’er”, which means “white spot” in Chinese, was a stray that prowled around the Palace Museum in Beijing’s Forbidden City. The museum said the cat fell ill and finally announced its death on Monday, sparking almost 10,000 comments on Weibo.
Conte’s firing imminent as Sarri waits in the wingsThe long-running saga over Chelsea manager Antonio Conte’s future is set to be resolved imminently with his sacking to be replaced by fellow Italian Maurizio Sarri, according to British media reports. Conte’s departure has been long expected, even though he added an FA Cup in May to the Premier League he won in his first season in charge of Chelsea in 2016/17.
Markram ready for new challenge
Opener Aiden Markram is looking forward to the challenge of his maiden Test series outside of South Africa as well as the return of seamer Dale Steyn as the Proteas prepare for the first test of the two-match series against Sri Lanka in Galle on July 12. Markram has scored exactly 1,000 runs at an average of 55.55 in his first 10 tests, all at home, as he helped South Africa to series successes against India and Australia earlier in the year. But on lower, slower turning wickets in Sri Lanka, he admits it will be an altogether new challenge.
Zaman leads Pakistan to victory
Pakistan’s opener Fakhar Zaman blazed his way to a career-best 73 as his side completed a clinical 45-run victory over Australia on Thursday in the Twenty20 tri-series in Zimbabwe.
Australia dismisses reports of relaxed bans
Cricket Australia (CA) has denied reports that former Australia captain Steve Smith and batsman David Warner’s suspensions had been relaxed to allow them to participate in domestic first-class cricket ahead of the 2019 World Cup. “At no stage have we, or are we considering lessening the current sanctions in place for respective players in relation to the incident in South Africa,” a spokesperson from CA told cricket.com.au.
Willemse gets masters degreeFormer Springbok wing Ashwin Willemse has earned a Masters degree in Entrepreneurship and New Venture Creation at the University of the Witswatersrand.
Tunisian authorities hit back at ‘unethical’ Zimbabwe
The Tunisian Rugby Union (TRU) has accused Zimbabwe’s rugby team of “unethical actions” after their players slept on the street outside of their hotel in Beja on Monday in protest at their perceived poor condition of the accommodation. The TRU said the Zimbabwe delegation “started complaining as soon as they arrived”, and said hours after checking in, vacated their rooms and decided to sleep on the street outside in protest at what they perceived to be poor conditions. “The head of the Zimbabwean delegation expressed reservations about the state of the bathroom in one of the rooms, the lack of a swimming pool and the low internet speed,” the TRU added in a statement.
AFP, Reuters, TimesLIVE