Australian Open: Day four review

Argentina's Juan Martin del Potro celebrates after victory against Russia's Karen Khachanov in their men's singles second round match on day four of the Australian Open. (AFP)
Updated 18 January 2018
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Australian Open: Day four review

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

JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO (12) STAYING: The Argentine booked a third round clash against 19th seed Tomas Berdych thanks to a 6-4, 7-6, 6-7, 6-4 Karen Khachanov. Made to fight over four sets this match should prove to be good practice for what promises to be an attritional match next up.

MADISON KEYS (17) STAYING: The American ace made light work of her second round encounter against Ekaterina Alexandrova. Last year’s US Open finalist won the first 11 games on her way to an easy 6-0, 6-1 win that took only 41 minutes. She won every point on her serve in the first set, holding at love in three games.

DOMINIC THIEM (5) STAYING: The 24-year-old Austrian recovered from two sets down to beat American Denis Kudla and reach the last 32. Thiem lost a tie-break in the opener but fought back to win 6-7 (6-8) 3-6 6-2 6-2 6-3.

ANGELIQUE KERBER (21) STAYING: The German celebrated her 30th birthday with a 6-4, 6-1 win over Donna Vekic to advance to the third round clash against Maria Sharapova. On this evidence she will take some beating, it was Kerber’s 11th win in a row to start the season.

STANILAS WAWRINKA (9) PACKING HIS BAGS: The 2014 came into the tournament struggling with a knee injury and it was always going to be a tall order for him to make much of an impression in Melbourne. That proved to be the case as the Swiss struggled during a 6-2, 6-1, 6-4 defeat to American Tennys Sandgren. “I really came without thinking I will be able to play the first match. That’s a big step for me,” he said after the match.

DAVID GOFFIN (7) PACKING HIS BAGS: The Belgian was a dark horse to win the title, but his dreams were dashed by a 1-6, 7-6, 6-1, 7-6 defeat to wild-card entry Julien Benneteau. It was only the second time in the now 59th-ranked Benneteau’s career that he’s managed to beat a player in the top 10 in a Grand Slam singles match.

GARBINE MUGURUZA (3) PACKING HER BAGS: The Wimbledon champion is out after being beaten 7-6, 6-4 by Hsieh Su-wei of Taiwan. Muguruza never looked comfortable in the match, double-faulting on break point in the second set and had as many as 43 unforced errors.

JOHANNA KONTA (9) PACKING HER BAGS: The Briton’s Melbourne mission ended in just the second round. The former semifinalist beaten by American lucky loser Bernarda Pera 6-4, 7-5. Konta arrived in Australia suffering from a hip problem.


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.