SPORTS DAY: Pat Lambie hangs up his boots
Your roundup of the sporting news of the day
Pat Lambie calls time on his career
At the young age of 28 former Springbok flyhalf Pat Lambie has retired from rugby to protect his health. Lambie made the announcement in Paris on Saturday following nearly three years of battling the effects of a series of concussions. Racing 92 owner and president Jacky Lorenzetti praised Lambie as a player and as a person: “Patrick Lambie has decided to stop his professional rugby career. We understand his decision‚ made by mutual agreement‚ but we regret that such a genius of the game has been forced to retire. Sportingly‚ his decision is a blow for Racing. Humanly‚ it’s sad news for me and for the whole club. “Patrick is a huge champion‚ a lovely boy‚ as elegant on the field as outside. In a word‚ an angel! At the club‚ we all had a sincere and friendly relationship with him‚ and were astonished by his desire to integrate. His French teacher could testify‚ as well as his coaches‚ about his involvement and his seriousness on a daily basis.”
Federer stunned by fiery Tsitsipas
Roger Federer’s hopes of winning a third consecutive Australian Open title were crushed by 20-year-old Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas, who earned the biggest victory of his career to reach the quarterfinals on Sunday. The 37-year-old Swiss committed 55 unforced errors and wasted all 12 of his break-point opportunities in a 6-7(11) 7-6(3) 7-5 7-6(5) defeat under the lights of Rod Laver Arena. Tsitsipas, who won the 2018 ATP Next Gen Finals, will face Roberto Bautista Agut for a place in the semifinals. In the other big upset of the day, world No 2 Angelique Kerber was beaten 6-0 6-2 by American Danielle Collins, who made her main-draw debut at Melbourne Park this year. Men’s second seed Rafael Nadal continued his steady progress by defeating Czech Tomas Berdych 6-0 6-1 7-6(4). The Spaniard will next meet world No 39 Frances Tiafoe, who celebrated his 21st birthday by overcoming Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov 7-5 7-6(6) 6-7(1) 7-5.
Sundowns coach blasts Wydad Casablanca
Irate Mamelodi Sundowns coach has fired a salvo at Moroccan side Wydad Casablanca and accused the visitors of trying to intimidate the match officials during a highly charged and emotional CAF Champions League group-stages encounter at Lucas Moripe Stadium on Saturday night. Mosimane took strong exception to the Moroccans’ conduct after the Brazilians won the match 2-1 courtesy of a brace from Themba Zwane. “They are used to winning‚ a loss to them is something different and they know how to manipulate the system by pressurising referees‚” he said. “It is for the first time I saw a referee and an assistant moving out of the pitch to look for balls. This happens every week but I have never seen referees going to look for balls‚ but the bench put pressure on them. That’s why the North Africans dominate this space. We don’t know how to play with them but we are getting there.”
Pacquiao win sparks Mayweather rematch hopes
Thousands of ecstatic Filipino fans erupted in celebration after boxing hero Manny Pacquiao defeated Adrien Broner in a unanimous decision in Las Vegas on Saturday, with many hoping the victory could get the southpaw boxer a rematch with Floyd Mayweather. The 40-year-old Filipino senator put on a dominant performance against the 29-year old American boxer to retain his WBA welterweight world title. Two judges handed down scores of 116-112 in favour of Pacquiao, while the third had the score at 117-111. “He is a world champion. You really can’t beat him,” said one fan, Boy Maniari. “This will lead to Pacquiao’s rematch with Mayweather. Mayweather will lose.” Retired Mayweather attended the fight, fuelling speculation of a rematch against Pacquiao whom he defeated in their 2015 bout that was dubbed “The Fight of the Century” but never lived up to its billing.
Jones wary of Sexton’s ‘bat phone’ to ref
England coach Eddie Jones believes Jonathan Sexton has a “bat phone to the referee” as he suggested the Ireland star receives preferential treatment from match officials. Jones’s side have the toughest possible start to their Six Nations Championship campaign, away to Grand Slam reigning champions Ireland on February 2. Fly-half Sexton, the World Player of the Year, is out of action with a knee tendon injury but is expected to be fit for the match at Dublin’s Lansdowne Road. “Sexton is a reasonably big player who has the bat phone to the referee,” said Jones in a reference to the device police used to summon Batman in the TV series. “He is the only one allowed to pick up the red phone to talk to the referee.” ‘Targeting’ an opposition No 10, who is usually the main playmaker, is standard practice. Many Ireland fans feel that, consequently, Sexton is often on the receiving end of late tackles, while opponents suggest their legitimate challenges on him result in unfair punishment.
Son trounces Chen in Malaysia final
South Korea’s Son Wan-ho put on a masterful display of badminton to easily beat China’s Chen Long 21-17, 21-19 and clinch the Malaysia Masters title Sunday. Chen appeared no match for Son throughout their showdown, with the South Korean hitting impressive baseline smashes and pushing his opponent to make a series of unforced errors. After Son cruised through the opening game, third seed Chen put up more resistance in the second – but the South Korean stood firm to clinch victory.
Manchester City ease past Huddersfield
Manchester City barely got out of second gear as they easily beat bottom club Huddersfield Town to close the gap on leaders Liverpool to four points on Sunday. Danilo’s deflected shot gave City the lead in an opening half in which they were not at their sharpest. That goal took City’s goal tally to 100 in all competitions this season – making them the only club in Europe’s top five leagues to reach that total. Pep Guardiola’s side upped the tempo early in the second half and Raheem Sterling headed in their second goal in the 54th minute before Leroy Sané made it 3-0 two minutes later. City’s fourth consecutive win since back-to-back losses over Christmas took them to 56 points from 23 games with Liverpool on 60 after they beat Crystal Palace on Saturday 4-3.
Olympic chief ‘did not know’ of lobby firm’s links
The head of Japan’s Olympic Committee told French investigators he had not known that a consultancy firm used by the 2020 Tokyo bid committee had links to a controversial Senegalese man at the centre of corruption allegations, documents seen by AFP show. Tsunekazu Takeda was charged this month by French investigating magistrates probing two payments totalling $2.3m made before and after the Japanese capital was chosen to host the Olympics in a September 2013 vote. Officially the payments, made in July and October 2013, were made for “consultancy work”, but the French investigators believe they were aimed at obtaining “favourable votes from members of the International Olympic Committee (IOC)”.
This might be my final race, says Vonn
American ski star Lindsey Vonn said there was a “possibility” Sunday’s World Cup Super G at Cortina d’Ampezzo, which she failed to finish, would be her final race. “There’s only so much my body can take,” a tearful Vonn, 34, told journalists after a disappointing return from a knee injury in the Italian Dolomites where she has won a record 12 times. “My body is inhibiting me for doing what I want to do. I’m just not able to ski the way I want to and know I can,” said the former Olympic champion who competed with braces on both knees. “I really don’t know what to think at this point. Definitely it isn’t the way I had hoped that things would go. “I’ve been able to fight through a lot of injuries in my career but I think my injuries might get the better of me at this point.” Vonn, with 82 World Cup wins to her name, has set herself the challenge of overhauling Swedish great Ingemar Stenmark’s all-time record of 86 World Cup wins before retiring.
Jazz wins Singapore Open
Thailand’s Jazz Janewattananond played a sparkling final round to win the Singapore Open golf with a record-breaking score Sunday, seeing off tough challenges from Paul Casey and Matthew Fitzpatrick. Jazz was impressive on the front nine and made the turn with a three-stroke lead, before finishing with two birdies in the last three holes to seal victory. The 23-year-old shot a final round 65 for an 18 under 266 total. It was the best four-round score in a Singapore Open staged at the Sentosa Golf Club, and beat Adam Scott’s record 17 under set in 2010. “I had a good 2018 and I did not know if my game was still there or not as I had a big break (from playing) – but I am happy that I have still got it,” Jazz said. He finished two shots ahead of world No 24 Casey of England, who matched Jazz’s final round 65, and overnight leader Yoshinori Fujimoto of Japan, whose birdie at the last saw him card a 68.
– AFP, Reuters and TimesLIVE