Roger Federer feeling good in chase for another Australian Open title

It was yet another win for the Swiss maestro in Melbourne. (AFP)
Updated 16 January 2019

Roger Federer feeling good in chase for another Australian Open title

  • Fed-Express storms into third round of year's first Grand Slam.
  • Wins also for Wozniacki, Kerber and Nadal.

LONDON: Roger Federer revealed he is feeling in the sort of form that will see him add to his 20 Grand Slams.
The Swiss maestro was speaking after he made it to the third round of the Australian Open with a hard-fought 7-6, 7-6, 6-3 win over British qualifier Dan Evans. Federer has won the past two Slams in Melbourne and is looking for a record seventh title Down Under, and having seen of Evans he said he was in the form to add to the record books.
“I mean, look, I think we know how to win Slams, Novak, Rafa, myself,” Federer said when asked about likely Grand Slam winners this year.
“Novak is always a favorite on the hard courts, basically any court of his feeling if he plays like last year.
“Maybe just because of my amount of titles I have at Wimbledon and other places, maybe you also have to put me in the mix every time, as well … We’ll see.”
Elsewhere, women’s defending champion Caroline Wozniacki steamrolled Sweden’s Johanna Larsson 6-1, 6-3 as she bids to become the first woman to defend the title since Victoria Azarenka in 2013.
It set up a potential glamor clash next with Maria Sharapova.
“I thought I started pretty well, started aggressively, but she started making (fewer) errors and I was just trying to stay consistent,” Wozniacki said.
On a busy third day of the year’s first Grand Slam there were also wins for Rafael Nadal and Angelique Kerber.
Nadal outclassed local hope Matthew Ebden 6-3, 6-2, 6-2.
The Spaniard is bidding for his own slice of history by becoming the first man in the Open era, and only the third in history along with Emerson and Rod Laver, to win each Grand Slam on two or more occasions.
“I played a solid match, I was happy with the way I served. I did a few things very well,” said Nadal, who next plays Australian Alex de Minaur. “It is an honor to play here. Was a great atmosphere.”
Meanwhile three-tiem Sam champion Kerber beat Beatriz Haddad Maia 6-2, 6-3.

Neymar future remains up in the air as PSG reject Madrid offer

Updated 39 min 22 sec ago

Neymar future remains up in the air as PSG reject Madrid offer

  • Paris club said to turn down an offer from Barcelona of €40 million plus Coutinho and Rakitic

PARIS: Neymar remains no closer to getting his desired move away from Paris Saint-Germain amid reports Thursday the French club have rejected an offer from Real Madrid of €100 million($111 million) plus players.

French sports daily L’Equipe said Real had offered cash plus Gareth Bale, James Rodriguez and goalkeeper Keylor Navas, but PSG turned it down because “the overall value of the offer did not match their expectations.” 

Paris paid €222 million to sign Neymar from Barcelona two years ago and their sporting director Leonardo is understood to be determined to only sell the forward for a deal considered to be of the same value.

Real have spent the summer trying to offload Bale, while James is unwanted after returning from a loan at Bayern Munich and Navas is no longer the club’s first-choice goalkeeper.

Meanwhile, Barcelona remain hopeful of bringing Neymar back to the Camp Nou, but Catalan daily Sport claims an attempt to sign the player on loan with an obligation to buy for €160 million at the end of the season has been firmly rejected in Paris.

Sport claims Barcelona feel “it is very clear that PSG are trying to prevent the Brazilian from returning to the Camp Nou in any scenario.” 

PSG had previously reportedly turned down an offer from Barcelona of €40 million  plus Philippe Coutinho and Ivan Rakitic. Coutinho has since joined Bayern on loan.

Juventus are also believed to have stated an interest in signing the 27-year-old, who has not featured in any of PSG’s matches so far this season having been frozen out amid the uncertainty over his future. The transfer window closes in France, Spain and Italy on Sept. 2, meaning time is fast running out for a deal to be done.

Watford loan Sweden winger Sema to Udinese

Watford winger Ken Sema has completed a season-long loan move to Udinese, the Serie A side confirmed on Thursday.

The six-times capped Sweden international only moved to Vicarage Road last summer from Ostersunds FK and made 22 appearances for the English club.

The 25-year-old's departure follows the arrival of Senegal international Ismaila Sarr to the Premier League outfit on a club record transfer of €35 million   ($38 million) from Rennes. The northeastern Italian club and Watford are both owned by the Pozzo family.

Udinese host AC Milan in their opening match of the Serie A season on Saturday.