Garbine Muguruza suffers blistering exit at Australian Open

Spain’s Garbine Muguruza walks off the court after losing her women’s singles second round match to Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-Wei on day four of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne. (AFP)
Updated 18 January 2018
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Garbine Muguruza suffers blistering exit at Australian Open

MELBOURNE: Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza refused to blame her heat-blistered feet as she became the biggest casualty of the Australian Open so far on Thursday
The third seed, whose preparation was hampered by a thigh injury, was always trailing against the 88-ranked Hsieh Su-wei from Taiwan before being edged out 7-6 (7/1), 6-4 in one hour and 59 minutes on Rod Laver Arena.
“I maybe could have done things better, but at the end, she deserves to win. That’s really it,” Muguruza told reporters.
Two-time Grand Slam champion Muguruza struggled from the start to keep pace with the tenacious 32-year-old whose last WTA Tour singles title came at Guangzhou back in 2012.
The tall Spaniard had a medical timeout at 2-5 in the first set and after having a blistered foot re-taped looked briefly regalvanized.
Muguruza said her feet were suffering in the heat as temperatures soared above 39 Celsius (102 Farenheit).
“I think the surface of the court, I don’t know how much heat, it’s terrible, very, very hot, and it’s easy to get blisters and red,” she said.
“I don’t think that was the reason why today it didn’t go my way. It was already wrapped (foot), but very quickly I started to feel a blister was coming, and I’d rather prevent it than having the problem after.”
Muguruza then broke back twice but Hsieh, who works closely with former Australian Open tournament director Paul McNamee, ran away with the tiebreak 7-1.
“He’s always been around me and supported me and was amazing,” she said of McNamee’s influence.
“My goal to hire him at the beginning was to win a Grand Slam,” she added.
Muguruza saved a first match point in the second set to get back to 5-4 but Hsieh made no mistake in the next game.
“I knew she was going to give me a lot of pressure,” said Hsieh, who was ranked number one in doubles for five weeks in 2014.
“At 5-4 I thought I’d keep hanging there and try and take my spot,” she said.
“It’s never easy to play against top 20 girls. I think mentally for sure they are much better, so when we go on the court we have to forget who we are playing and focus on our game.”
Hsieh, whose previous best at Melbourne Park was a last-16 defeat to Justine Henin 10 years ago, goes on to meet 26th seed Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland in the third round.


Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City ease past Huddersfield to cut Liverpool’s Premier League lead

Updated 20 January 2019
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Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City ease past Huddersfield to cut Liverpool’s Premier League lead

HUDDERSFIELD: Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola was far from satisfied despite a 3-0 win away to Huddersfield Town on Sunday that saw his side cut Liverpool’s lead at the top of the Premier League table to four points.
Liverpool’s compelling 4-3 win over Crystal Palace on Saturday heaped huge pressure back onto reigning champions City but they were rarely troubled by a Town side that look a certain bet for relegation this season.
City’s first goal, a deflected strike for Danilo in the 18th minute, brought up their 100th goal of the season in all competitions before Raheem Sterling scored a diving header from Leroy Sane’s cross in the 54th minute and Sane himself made it 3-0 with a calm finish just two minutes later.
For Guardiola, it should have been an afternoon of enjoyment as his side again proved their willingness to push Liverpool all the way this season.
The City manager, however, has forged a footballing reputation based on sublime performances as well as ruthless goalscoring and, on that basis, his team’s showing in West Yorkshire was not a success as the visitors never really clicked into gear on a day against a Huddersfield side who had parted company with manager David Wagner on Monday.
“During the season you have these kind of games,” Guardiola said. “It is important to win. We have scored many goals in all competitions.
“(But) the way we played, we didn’t deserve more than three goals. We will improve in the future.
“We have to demand more from ourselves in every game and do our best, but sometimes it’s difficult.
“Today we are happy we have won but after immediately we have to analyze. During the season you have games when maybe you are not in the top level and it is important to win these games.”
Although City’s fans were happier than their manager following this result, Guardiola could at least take some heart from the fact his side again refused to blink first in the race for the title.
For the second consecutive week, City kicked off knowing Liverpool had already won their weekend fixture and that, consequently, the onus was back on his players to secure three points as well.
Once again, Guardiola’s side managed to do that following up the 3-0 victory over Wolves with this showing and the City manager was more than happy to remind everybody that silverware is not handed out for another four months.
“One team has been better but we’re in January and there’s many more games to play,” he added.
“You don’t win or lose the Premier League in January. We have to focus on what we have to do. If Liverpool win, we have to win. And if Liverpool lose then we also have to win.”
This match was a baptism of fire for Huddersfield’s caretaker boss Mark Hudson and while the Terriers showed impressive fight to inspire some hope this season, this defeat still left them 10 points adrift of safety.
If, as expected, the Borussia Dortmund Under-23 coach Jan Siewert is appointed as Wagner’s permanent replacement, nobody would blame him if he spent his first day in the job preparing for a return to the second-tier Championship next season.
“It’s been a long week,” admitted Hudson.