Chelsea downs Hull to go 6 points clear

Updated 22 March 2015
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Chelsea downs Hull to go 6 points clear

LONDON: Chelsea regained their six-point lead over Manchester City at the top of the Premier League table and took a step closer to the title thanks to a hard-fought 3-2 victory at Hull City on Sunday.
Eden Hazard's thumping strike gave Chelsea the advantage inside the first two minutes and Diego Costa added a second before Hull responded in blistering fashion to score twice in 74 seconds through Ahmed Elmohamady and Abel Hernandez.
Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois made a fantastic treble-save to deny Hull in the second half and substitute Loic Remy restored the visitors' lead with a shot that squirmed under Hull stopper Allan McGregor.
Chelsea, who still boast a game in hand over Manchester City, have 67 points from 29 matches, while Hull are 15th with 28 points from 30 games.
Queens Park Rangers' hopes of Premier League survival were dealt a blow by 13th-placed Everton, who stole a 2-1 win at Loftus Road through on-loan Tottenham Hotspur winger Aaron Lennon. QPR remain 19th, four points adrift of fourth-bottom Sunderland.
Earlier, Juan Mata struck twice, including a sublime volley, for Manchester United in a 2-1 Premier League victory over Liverpool who had substitute Steven Gerrard sent off for a stamp 38 seconds after the break at Anfield.
Fourth-placed United have 59 points from 30 matches, five more than Liverpool in fifth.

Feyenoord upsets PSV as Ajax closes gap
Anass Achahbar scored two dream goals for Feyenoord as they beat runaway leaders PSV Eindhoven 2-1 on Sunday to delay their opponents' march to the Dutch league title.
PSV's slip enabled champions Ajax Amsterdam to cut Eindhoven's lead at the top to eight points when Davy Klaassen conjured up a late winner in their 1-0 home victory over ADO Den Haag.
The 21-year-old Achahbar, handed a place in the starting line-up for the first time this season after his match-winning performance as a substitute against FC Dordrecht last week, opened the scoring in front of his home fans with a beauty just before the hour mark.
Taking a long ball hit high into the PSV box onto his foot, he swivelled and struck it on the volley into the back of the net.
Achahbar then netted a second with similar aplomb just four minutes later.
In between, Memphis Depay missed a good chance to equalise for PSV but he did reduce the two-goal deficit in the 68th minute.
PSV stay top on 70 points as Ajax moved on to 62 points with their win. "We mustn't suffer any championship stress," warned PSV coach Phillip Cocu after his side's defeat.
"What is now important is that we impose ourselves (in the next game) against Twente. We mustn't panic because we lost a game. It is not dramatic, it is rather something to learn from."
Feyenoord consolidated third place as they advanced to 54 points, eight behind Ajax, who prevailed despite a laboured performance following their Europa League exit on Thursday.
The Dutch international Klaassen eventually earned them the points in the 80th minute when he headed home a free kick.
Earlier on Sunday, PEC Zwolle continued their slide down the table and dropped to seventh as they were held 1-1 at home by Excelsior Rotterdam while Groningen and Twente Enschede drew 2-2.


Petra Kvitova rolls back the years as Rafael Nadal makes statement of intent

Updated 5 min 52 sec ago
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Petra Kvitova rolls back the years as Rafael Nadal makes statement of intent

  • Two-time Wimbledon champion Kvitova looking back to her best.
  • Rafa yet to drop a set at year's first Grand Slam.

LONDON: We are now at the business end of the year’s first Grand Slam. Here is how the draw is shaping up in Melbourne.

PETRA KVITOVA

It has understandably been an emotional couple of weeks for the two-time Wimbledon champion as, thanks to a 6-1, 6-4 win over Ashleigh Barty, she made her way to a first Grand Slam semifinal since being victim of a knife attack.
She beat home hope Barty in an impressive display indicating the Czech was close to being back to her best.
The sixth seed suffered a serious hand injury when attacked in her home in December 2016, and said: “It wasn’t easy to see myself in a semifinal after everything.
“I’m calling it my second career. So it’s the first semifinal of the second career.”
Kvitova overpowered the smaller Barty in a 27-minute first set.
The 22-year-old Aussie provided resistance in the second, Kvitova saving two break points before taking the last three games.
She will play unseeded Danielle Collins in the last four tomorrow after the American beat Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 2-6, 7-5, 6-1 to reach her first major semifinal.



RAFAEL NADAL

The Spaniard continued his relentless march to what he hopes is an 18th Grand Slam title with another impressive, dominating performance in Melbourne.
The Spaniard defeated unseeded American Frances Tiafoe 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 in another ruthless display from a man who has not dropped a set so far.
Tiafoe had announced himself by beating fifth seed Kevin Anderson, but was no match for a player at the peak of his powers as he attempts to become only the third man to win all four Slams twice and the first to do so in the Open era.
“I had some trouble at this event all my career, so I’m very happy with the way I played tonight,” said the Spaniard, who faces another young gun Tsitsipas in the semifinals.
“I feel incredibly lucky to be where I am,” Nadal admitted.


STEFANOS TSITSIPAS

The conqueror of Roger Federer proved that shock was no flash in the pan as the Greek star became the youngest man to reach the last-four in Melbourne since Andy Roddick in 2003.
The 20-year-old also became the first player from Greece — man or woman — to get so far at Grand Slam having beaten Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut 7-5, 4-6, 6-4, 7-6.
“I’m just living the dream, living what I’ve been working hard for,” said the 14th seed, who lives in Cyprus but trains at the academy of Serena Williams’ coach Patrick Mouratoglou in France.
“I feel a bit emotional but not too much — I know I really worked hard to get here, playing in semis of a Grand Slam.”
Do not be surprised if he pulls another shock and sends Nadal the way of Federer.