SPORTS DAY: Business end of the Aussie Open hots up
Your roundup of the sporting news of the day
Red-hot Kvitova proves doubters wrong
Petra Kvitova said she had proved the doubters wrong on Thursday by reaching her maiden Australian Open final and the first in a Grand Slam since a knife attack derailed her career. Reaching the final is the highlight of what Kvitova calls her “second career”, after she returned following a terrifying attack in her home in the Czech Republic in late 2016. A burglar slashed her racquet hand, sidelining her for almost six months and causing permanent nerve damage. “It means everything, finally I can make it deep in this major and whatever happens I’m very happy,” said the two-time Wimbledon champion after beating Danielle Collins 7-6 (2) 6-0. She faces Naomi Osaka in Saturday’s final.
Firm pulls Osaka ad amid ‘whitewash’ spat
Japanese noodle firm Nissin announced on Thursday it was scrapping an “anime” advert featuring tennis star Naomi Osaka, after portraying the half-Haitian player with pale skin, sparking accusations of “whitewashing.” The firm, which sponsors the US Open women’s champion, found itself in hot water with its cartoon advert as the pale-skinned character bore scant resemblance to Osaka.
Nadal ‘didn’t expect’ stunning run
Rafael Nadal said he has surprised himself with his outstanding level of tennis at this year’s Australian Open after crushing Stefanos Tsitsipas in the semifinal on Thursday. “Is not easy to be back after four months, five months, and play the way I am playing,” he said after undergoing ankle surgery in his extended off-season. “Of course, I didn’t expect that at all,” Nadal said after setting up a final Sunday against either top seed Novak Djokovic or Lucas Pouille.
Places still open for World Cup: Faf
SA will continue to experiment in their quest to get the right balance for this year’s Cricket World Cup when they face Pakistan in the three remaining ODIs and in the coming five against Sri Lanka. Captain Faf du Plessis said on Thursday they had not yet nailed down places for the World Cup opener against hosts England at the Oval on May 30. He added that they are faced with tough decisions to make in picking a squad that will go all out to win the global tournament.
Phil Masinga’s son gives emotional eulogy
“My dad was a flower who grew out of concrete‚” Sifiso Masinga‚ son of Phil Masinga‚ said at his father’s funeral in Stilfontein‚ North West, on Thursday. Sifiso Masinga’s at times powerful‚ at times angry‚ at times touching speech had the hallmark fire possessed by the Bafana Bafana striker nicknamed “Chippa”. It gave hint to a life lived at times in adversity by the former Jomo Cosmos‚ Mamelodi Sundowns‚ Leeds United and Bari centre forward‚ who died after a fight with cancer in a Johannesburg hospital aged 49 last week Sunday.
Real knock United off top of ‘money league’ Real Madrid have knocked Manchester United off the top of Deloitte’s Football Money League, but the Premier League still flexed its financial muscle, with all of England’s “Big Six” featuring in the top 10 for the first time. The Deloitte list ranked clubs on how much money they earn from broadcasting, commercial deals and match-day revenues during the 2017-18 season. United have slipped to third behind European champions Real and Spanish giants Barcelona. Bayern Munich, Manchester City, Paris St Germain, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham make up the rest of the top 10.
Neymar suffers fresh metatarsal injury
Paris Saint-Germain talisman Neymar has suffered a fresh injury to his right metatarsal, the club said on Thursday, marring the holders’ advance to the last 16 of the French Cup with a 2-0 win over Strasbourg. A fractured metatarsal curtailed the Brazilian’s last season, and the recurrence comes just three weeks ahead of the first leg of PSG’s crunch Champions League clash against Manchester United. The severity of the new injury is not yet known.
Stormers rest Boks
None of the Stormers’ big names have been considered for a mild pre-season hit out against a Combined Club XV on Saturday as coach Robbie Fleck protects his major assets. Siya Kolisi‚ Eben Etzebeth and Pieter-Steph du Toit were not considered as they are all on individual conditioning programmes after ending their season in early December after international duty. Others such as hooker Bongi Mbonambi‚ centre Damian de Allende‚ prop Steven Kitshoff and flyhalf Damian Willemse will also be wrapped in cotton wool for a while longer.
Coles opts to stay with All Blacks
Veteran hooker Dane Coles has ruled himself out of the expected exodus of All Blacks following this year’s World Cup, signing a new deal on Thursday to stay in New Zealand until the end of 2021.
Ex-F1 champ finds thrills in ‘green mobility’
Former F1 world champion Nico Rosberg says he has no regrets about leaving the big league of auto racing, embracing his new life as an investor driving action on climate change. The German, who announced his exit from racing in 2016 just five days after winning the world title at the age of 31, is an investor in Formula E, as well as a shareholder in companies such as car-hailing service Lyft and SpaceX, companies he says have a focus on providing greener, more electric mobility.
Over 200,000 people volunteer for Tokyo 2020
Tokyo 2020 organisers said on Thursday over 200,000 people have applied to be volunteers at next year’s Olympic Games, far exceeding their expectations of 80,000 for the extravaganza.
- AFP, Reuters, TimesLIVE