New Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri says Eden Hazard is going nowhere with Real Madrid set to swoop

Eden Hazard is still a Chelsea player, but for how much longer? (AFP)
Updated 10 August 2018
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New Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri says Eden Hazard is going nowhere with Real Madrid set to swoop

  • New Blues boss Sarri wants star man to stay at Stamford Bridge.
  • Belgium playmaker has intimated he would like a move to Real Madrid.

Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri believes his squad is “complete” following the arrivals of Kepa Arrizabalaga and Mateo Kovacic, and said he does not expect Eden Hazard to leave the club before the European transfer deadline on Aug. 31.
Chelsea broke the world record fee for a goalkeeper when they signed Arrizabalaga from Athletic Bilbao for €80 million ($91 million), before securing a season-long loan deal for midfielder Kovacic from Real Madrid.
Spanish media have reported Hazard as a transfer target for Real Madrid throughout the close season.
When asked about the prospect of a foreign team making a move for Chelsea players, Sarri said: “It’s impossible because, here, the market is closed. We cannot change important players now.
“Hazard is with us. I think, definitely. Not a problem. I have spoken with him three or four times for everything. He never said something about the market, so I think he’s very happy to stay here.”
Arrizabalaga has the daunting task of replacing World Cup Golden Glove winner Thibaut Courtois, who established himself as one of the finest goalkeepers in the Premier League after arriving at Stamford Bridge in 2011.
Sarri conceded Arrizabalaga will need time to adapt to the English game but praised Chelsea for acquiring “one of the most important” young goalkeepers in Europe.
“I’m very happy for both because Courtois’ situation was clear,” Sarri said.
“He wanted to go to Madrid so we lost maybe one of the most important goalkeepers in the world. But we bought a young goalkeeper, one of the most important among the young goalkeepers in Europe, so I’m really happy.
“(Also) for Kovacic, because he has the right characteristics for us. He is a very technical player who can play between the lines of the opponent. I’m very happy and now I think the squad is complete.”
Chelsea will kick off their league campaign against Huddersfield Town at the John Smith’s Stadium on Saturday.


Petra Kvitova positive ahead of Dubai final against Belinda Bencic

Updated 22 February 2019
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Petra Kvitova positive ahead of Dubai final against Belinda Bencic

  • World No. 4 wins third three-setter of the week beat Hsieh Su-wei and claim place in the final.
  • Swiss star Bencic deals a forehand smash to Svitolina's chances of unprecedented hat-trick.

LONDON: If Petra Kvitova does get her hands on the Dubai trophy against Belinda Bencic on Saturday, she will be quick to admit she did it the hard way.
The two-time Wimbledon champion was once again made to toil at the Aviation Club as she finally overcame Hsieh Su-Wei 3-6, 6-2, 6-4. It was her third three-setter in four days and came about as much through sheer grit and determination as any superior groundstrokes or serves.
“Yeah, it was (tough),” the Czech said.
“It was a tough one, for sure. She really didn’t give me anything for free.
“It was a tough first set. I’m glad that I was able to came back in the second. Anyway I didn’t play great at the end of the first.”
Coming into the event the world No. 4 admitted she was undercooked and in need of some game time. While, in hindsight, the three-setters against Katerina Siniakova and Jennifer Brady in the first two rounds probably did her some good, another match that went the distance was probably not in the ideal script for the 2013 Dubai champion.
But Hsieh is a tricky opponent and she proved it once again on Centre Court. The world No. 31 hits two-handed shots off both sides and was trying to beat her fourth top-10 seed of the week. That included wins over Angelique Kerber in the third round and Karolina Pliskova in the quarterfinals.

Bencic will try to upset Kvitova in Saturday's final at the Aviation Club (AFP) 


She started off in much the same vein as she had finished against Kerber and Pliskova, hurrying Kvitova around the court and making life as uncomfortable as possible under the hot Dubai sun.
“She’s very tricky,” Kvitova said about Hsieh, who grabbed five games in a row to take the opening set and go up 1-0 in the second.
“I didn’t really play the best at the end of the first set. But I calmed down afterwards a little bit,” Kvitova said.
“With Hsieh, I need to be a little bit patient. ... It’s not really that easy to make those winners against her.”
While she has 
not consistently displayed her A-game this week it should come as no shock that Kvitova has made today’s final. It was the second seed’s 17th victory of 2019 — a feat bettered by no one — and it will be her third final of the season and 35th of her career. She revealed that her presence in the showdown is thanks to her mental toughness and she admitted that after a long week she will have to draw on that a lot today.
“I think I’m pleased with my kind of mental focus after losing the first set, that I was more calmer when I came back and played from the beginning of the second set,” Kvitova said.
“I still kind of felt that I can do that somehow — it was something weird.
“I’m a bit tired right now, to be honest. I have a final, so I don’t know how I going to recover. Hopefully I have a few hours to do something with me.”
Of her sparkling form so far this year she said: “It’s a bit weird, to be honest. I didn’t really expect anything like that. Well, to be honest, I didn’t expect anything, which I already achieved this year. For me, everything is just bonus.
“As I mentioned, the tennis, it’s a bit like escape this week. This is unbelievable to be in the final when I’m escaping from something. Yeah, very interesting.”
In the other semifinal Bencic once again upset the odds to overcome world No. 6 Elina Svitolina 6-2, 6-3, 7-6. The Swiss went into the clash as the underdog, but from the off the world No. 45 was aggressive and deservedly won.
In doing so she ended Svitolina’s 12-match winning streak in Dubai and ended the two-time defending champion’s hopes of becoming the first woman to win three Dubai titles in a row.