Rafael Nadal into fourth round of Australian Open

Spain's Rafael Nadal hits a forehand return to Damir Dzumhur of Bosnia and Herzegovina during their match at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne. Nadal reached the fourth round in Australia for the 11th time with a 6-1, 6-3, 6-1 win over Dzumhur. (AP)
Updated 19 January 2018
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Rafael Nadal into fourth round of Australian Open

MELBOURNE: The heat wasn’t a factor for Rafael Nadal this time against Damir Dzumhur, despite the searing temperature causing trouble for players earlier Friday at the Australian Open.
Nadal reached the fourth round in Australia for the 11th time with the 6-1, 6-3, 6-1 win, and leveled his career head-to-head record with Dzumhur.
The 16-time major winner lost their only previous meeting when he had to retire because of heat-related issues in the third set at Miami in 2016, giving Dzumhur the win that day.
It was also a change of scenery for Nadal, who was playing on Margaret Court Arena — the No. 2 venue at Melbourne Park — while local hope Nick Kyrgios played Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in a night match at Rod Laver Arena.
The youngest player in the tournament and the oldest player in the men’s draw went out earlier on Day 5.
Fourth-seeded Elina Svitolina ended 15-year-old Marta Kostyuk’s run with a 6-2, 6-2 victory, then met her fellow Ukrainian at the net for a warm embrace and some words of encouragement.
“She’s a great fighter,” Svitolina, one of five women in contention for the No. 1 ranking, said of her fellow Ukrainian. “We’re going to hear a lot more about her.”
Andreas Seppi withstood 52 aces from 38-year-old Ivo Karlovic for a 6-3, 7-6 (4), 6-7 (3), 6-7 (5), 9-7 win in 3 hours and 51 minutes in an afternoon match.
Players were bothered and spectators clamored for shade and mist-spraying fans in searing heat earlier Friday, and organizers were on the verge of enforcing the tournament’s extreme heat policy before temperatures dropped significantly after peaking around 2 p.m. local time.
Play can be suspended at the Australian Open if the temperature 40 Celsius (104F) and a combination of factors — including temperature, humidity and breeze — reaches an unbearable limit.
Alize Cornet, who needed a medical timeout and a doctor to take her blood pressure as she struggled with heat stress in her 7-5, 6-4 third-round loss to Elize Mertens, was among those suggesting the extreme heat policy needs reviewing.
“I started to feel dizzy. ... I was feeling super, super hot. I kind of felt that I could faint at any moment,” she said, adding that while precautions were taken by tournament officials, “playing in this condition is of course very dangerous for the health of the player.
“The limit of not playing the match is really high. ... I think this limit should be a little bit lower.”
No. 3-seeded Grigor Dimitrov beat No. 30 Andrey Rublev 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 in just over three hours after the change came through and said “the heat didn’t scare me at all today.”
Kyle Edmund overcame Nikoloz Basilashvili 7-6 (0), 3-6, 4-6, 6-0, 7-5 in 3 ½ hours on an open court in the peak of the heat, earning a spot in the next round against Seppi. No. 10 Pablo Carreno Busta had a 7-6 (4), 4-6, 7-5, 7-5 win over No. 23 Gilles Muller.
Kostyuk entered the tournament ranked No. 521 — a number that will likely be halved next month — and had wins over 25th-seeded Peng Shuai and Olivia Rogowska to become the youngest player to win main-draw matches at the Australian Open since Martina Hingis in 1996.
The step up to facing a top 10 player was too much.
Svitolina, the only seeded player still in contention in her quarter, had five aces, only 11 unforced errors and didn’t serve a double fault in the 59-minute match.
Kostyuk, who had nine double-faults — including one on match point — sobbed into a towel in the tunnel soon after leaving the court, but could joke about the defeat when asked later what she could take out of the experience.
“Well, a lot,” she said. “How much you have to pay Svitolina to have one-hour lesson? I got it for free.”
Svitolina will next play Denisa Allertova, who beat Magda Linette 6-1, 6-4. No. 19 Magdalena Rybarikova had a 7-5, 3-6, 6-1 win over Kateryna Bondarenko.
Petra Martic celebrated her 27th birthday with a 6-3, 3-6, 7-5 over Thai qualifier Luksika Kumkhum.
“That was really ugly,” Martic said of the heat. “We were lucky to play on Rod Laver because we had some shade behind so you could hide for a few seconds in between the points.
“Other than that, you need to be mentally tough and ready to just suffer out there.”


River edge out Boca after extra time to win Copa Libertadores

River prevailed 5-3 on aggregate after the first leg finished 2-2. (AFP
Updated 10 December 2018
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River edge out Boca after extra time to win Copa Libertadores

  • River Plate came from behind to beat bitter Argentine rivals Boca Juniors 3-1 in extra time
  • The fixture postponed on three occasions and then relocated from Buenos Aires to Madrid

MADRID: River Plate won the Copa Libertadores by beating their fiercest rivals Boca Juniors 3-1 after extra time on Sunday, bringing an end to a final tainted by violence and moved more than six thousand miles away from Argentina.
Boca took the lead through Dario Benedetto but Lucas Pratto equalized before Juan Quintero and Gonzalo Martinez scored in extra time, aided by Wilmar Barrios being sent off, to win a fittingly dramatic contest for River.
It means River prevailed 5-3 on aggregate after the first leg finished 2-2 and the club reclaim the trophy they had last won in 2015, lifting it for the fourth time in their history.
“The only thing I feel is sadness for not winning the cup and giving it to the people of Boca,” Boca coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto said.
“It is difficult to say to people that we haven’t won, especially those that made so much effort to come from Argentina.”
Postponed on three occasions and then relocated from Buenos Aires to Madrid, the supporters of these two great clubs showed in the Santiago Bernabeu why this fixture had been billed as one of football’s greatest ever.
Lionel Messi, Antoine Griezmann and Diego Godin were among the 62,200 in attendance.
But, despite the bouncing huddles in the streets, the plumes of blue and red smoke, the swinging scarves, fluttering flags and fans that were chanting in their seats three hours before kick-off, there was nothing to extinguish the lingering sense of regret.
There was no repeat of the scenes that cast a shadow over Argentinian football and saw the original game at River’s El Monumental on November 24 postponed, when around 50 fans attacked Boca’s team bus and left some of their players injured.
Madrid, which will also host the Champions League final in June, was chosen in part because of its record of hosting major events and the security, which included around 2,500 police officers, did its job before kick-off.
Fans were separated into zones either side of the stadium and had to go through checks even to enter the area immediately surrounding it.
The shame was only that the operation was not as thorough 15 days ago and that a minority decided to take advantage.
Both clubs were allocated 25,000 tickets, with 5,000 of those reserved for residents of Argentina. The fear had been most of those buying would be tourists and neutrals, but the atmosphere suggested different.
Both teams had initially refused to play in Spain’s capital but as the losers, Boca’s sense of grievance will now become more entrenched.
They felt River were responsible for the chaos two weeks ago and should have forfeited the trophy. They took their case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, but the appeal was rejected on Saturday.
When the players shuffled out two hours before kick-off to inspect the pitch, they held up their phones to capture the thousands already inside and the view of a stadium most of them had never played in before.
The cheers grew louder when they came out for kick-off. Then there were whistles as the teams swapped ends and each were greeted by their opponent’s fans behind the goal.
Jonatan Maidana was playing for Boca when they last won the Copa Libertadores 11 years ago and, now in the red and white of River, he almost gave his former club an early lead, slicing just over his own crossbar.
The game lacked quality but came alive one minute before half-time. Nahitan Nandez’s superb pass split two River defenders and Benedetto kept a cool head, guiding into the corner, before taunting the beaten Gonzalo Montiel.
River had been inferior but improved. Their first real attacking move was also a brilliant one as Leonardo Ponzio and Quintero exchanged passes before the latter pulled back for Pratto to sweep home.
The game meandered toward full-time and seemed destined for penalties until Barrios was shown a second yellow card for a tackle on Exequiel Palacios and soon after, Quintero struck.
It was a goal worthy of winning the tournament, as he collected 25 yards out, glanced up and whipped the ball in off the underside of the crossbar.
Leonard Jara almost snatched a late Boca goal but his shot nicked the outside of the post. Then, with Boca’s goalkeeper Esteban Andrada up for a corner, River added the final touch.
Martinez ran the ball into the empty net and River’s substitutes and staff were already pouring onto the pitch to begin the celebrations.