Australian Open: Day two review

The 2014 champion has been out with a knee injury since Wimbledon and it showed as he struggled to beat Lithuania’s Ricardas Berankis. (AFP)
Updated 16 January 2018
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Australian Open: Day two review

LONDON: Arab News takes a look at how all the other big names did on day one in Melbourne — who lived to fight another day and who has already been forced to pack their bags?

STANILAS WAWRINKA (9) STAYING: The 2014 champion has been out with a knee injury since Wimbledon and it showed as he struggled to beat Lithuania’s Ricardas Berankis. The Swiss prevailed 6-3, 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 in the end but it is tough to see him mounting a title tilt on this evidence.

JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO (12) STAYING: The highly fancied Argentine, who finds himself in Roger Federer’s half of the draw, had few problems in seeing off American Frances Tiafoe. The former US Open champion won 6-3, 6-4, 6-? to lay dawn a marker for the rest of the tournament.

ALEXANDER ZVEREV (4) STAYING: The German went through with a 6-1, 7-6, 7-5 win over Thomas Fabbiano. The 20-year-old is coming off five tournament wins last year and looking to improve on his best Grand Slam finish of the fourth round — do not be shocked if he goes deep in Melbourne.

JOHANNA KONTA (9) STAYING: Many see this as the Briton’s best chance of A Grand Slam breakthrough and she easily won her clash against Madison Brengle to forget her troubles with a hip injury. Konta, who reached the last eight a year ago, saw off the American 6-3, 6-1 in just 66 minutes.

KAROLINA PLISKOVA (6) STAYING: The Czech advanced to the second round with minimal fuss, beating Veronica Cepede Royg 6-3, 6-4. Pliskova, who held the top ranking in July of last year, is among six players who could return to No. 1 depending on what happens over the next two weeks.

SIMONA HALEP (1) STAYING: The Romanian overcame an injured left ankle to beat Australian wildcard Destanee Aiava 7-6, 6-1. She was down 5-2 in the first set and ended up showing all the grit and determination she will definitely need if she is to go all the way.

MILOS RAONIC (22) PACKING HIS BAGS: Last year’s Wimbledon finalist was given his marching orders at the first hurdle as the Canadian lost in four sets to Lukas Lacko. Raonic won the first set but Lacko made Raonic pay for too many unforced errors to take the win and shock both Raonic and the crowd.

PETRA KVITOVA (27) PACKING HER BAGS: Unable to play last year due to a knife attack the previous month, the Czech was doubtless just happy to be on court. The return was not a fairy tale one, however, as she lost 6-3, 4-6, 10-8 to Andrea Petkovic.


Morocco could be part of joint bid to host 2030 World Cup with Spain and Portugal

Updated 20 November 2018
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Morocco could be part of joint bid to host 2030 World Cup with Spain and Portugal

  • Morocco beaten by US, Canada and Mexico bid to host 2026 World Cup.
  • Spanish PM says King Mohammed VI 'welcomed the proposal warmly.'

RABAT: Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Monday that he had pitched the idea of a joint bid between his country, Portugal and Morocco to host the 2030 World Cup.
“I made the proposal, firstly to the government then to King Mohammed VI to launch a shared application with Morocco, Portugal and Spain to host the 2030 World Cup,” Sanchez said in Rabat after a meeting with the monarch.
“It will be the first two-continent application, with Europe and Africa, and King Mohammed VI welcomed the proposal warmly.”
Earlier this year the King ordered the Royal Moroccan Football Federation to launch their own World Cup bid but the office of the Moroccan prime minister, Saad Eddine el Othmani, refused to comment on Sanchez’s statement when contacted by AFP.
The north African country has failed five times to bring the tournament to the southern shores of the Mediterranean, with the United States, Canada and Mexico most recently beating them to the 2026 competition.
Uruguay, Argentina and Paraguay have proposed a bid to coordinate the 2030 event, which will mark 100 years since the first tournament.
Greece, Bulgaria, Romania and Serbia are also considering a joint bid, as are the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland.
The official bidding process is set to being in 2020.