Ferrer beats Tomic to dash local hopes at Brisbane

David Ferrer hits a return against Bernard Tomic in the men's first round at the Brisbane International tennis tournament in Brisbane on Monday. (AFP)
Updated 02 January 2017

Ferrer beats Tomic to dash local hopes at Brisbane

BRISBANE: Former world No.3 David Ferrer dashed local hopes when he downed Australia’s Bernard Tomic in straight sets in the first round of the Brisbane International on Monday.
The eighth seeded Spaniard was the model of consistency as he saw off Tomic 6-3, 7-5 on Pat Rafter Arena.
Ferrer, now the world No. 21, is ranked just five places above Tomic and had lost to the Australian on their previous two encounters.
But he proved too strong in the sweltering conditions in Brisbane, winning in 83 minutes.
The 34-year-old Ferrer concedes that his days as a top 10 player are gone, but says he now just wants to enjoy himself on tour.
“The last five or six years I was top 10, but, you know, there are younger players — it’s normal, no?,” he said.
“I am still enjoying the tennis, and I hope to improve this year, but I am happy with myself and my career.
“My goal this year is to be happy with myself and to focus on every tournament that I play, without pressure of course.”
Tomic said it was unlucky to come up against someone like Ferrer in the first round, but offered no excuses.
“I feel on a given day, whoever plays better is going to win between us, but unfortunately today he was too good for me.”
Earlier, Frenchman Nicolas Mahut came from 1-4 down in the third set to outlast fellow countryman Stephane Robert 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in a two-hour marathon.
Britain’s Kyle Edmund saw off American qualifier Ernesto Escobedo in two tiebreak sets 7-6 (7/4), 7-6 (8/6), while seventh seeded Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov cruised past US player Steve Johnson 6-2, 6-3.
In the women’s draw, reigning French Open champion Garbine Muguruza also disappointed the Queensland fans when she saw off hometown hero Samantha Stosur in a two-hour 45 minute epic.
The fourth seeded Muguruza came back from a break down in the third set to outlast Stosur 7-5, 6-7 (2/7), 7-5.
Earlier, two time Grand Slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova celebrated her 600th win on the WTA Tour when she downed American Louisa Chirico 6-2, 6-4 and will now play either US qualifier Bethanie Mattek-Sands or young Australian Destanee Aiava.
Sixth seed Elina Svitolina of Ukraine was an impressive 6-3, 6-3 winner over Puerto Rica’s Rio Olympic gold medallist Monica Puig, while China’s Zhang Shuai downed German Laura Siegemund 4-6, 7-6 (7/3), 6-3.
Eighth seeded Italian Roberta Vinci came back from 2-5 down in the third set to beat Ukraine’s Kateryna Bondarenko 7-6 (7/4), 6-7 (4/7), 7-6 (7/5), and US qualifier Asia Muhammad defeated Croatian Donna Vekic 7-6 (7/5), 6-1.


Spurs stunned by Antwerp, Milan cruise to victory

Updated 6 min 36 sec ago

Spurs stunned by Antwerp, Milan cruise to victory

  • The surprise win takes Antwerp to the top of the early Group J table after their opening 2-1 victory at Ludogorets

PARIS: Tottenham Hotspur slumped to a shock 1-0 Europa League defeat at Royal Antwerp on Thursday, while Serie A leaders AC Milan eased to victory over Sparta Prague.

Jose Mourinho’s Spurs failed to create a single chance of note in a lifeless display, with Gareth Bale, who rejoined the club on loan from Real Madrid in the close-season, lasting less than an hour before being substituted.

The surprise win takes Antwerp to the top of the early Group J table after their opening 2-1 victory at Ludogorets last week.

The Belgian outfit are playing in the main stage of a European competition for the first time since a UEFA Cup first-round loss to Newcastle United in 1994.

The hosts took the lead just before the half-hour mark, with Dieumerci Mbokani robbing makeshift Spurs center-back Ben Davies before feeding Israeli forward Lior Refaelov to drill a fierce shot into the corner.

Antwerp wasted a golden chance to double the lead in the 54th minute, as Congolese striker Mbokani contrived to fire the ball over an open net when only three yards from goal.

Mourinho threw on Harry Kane and Son Heung-min for Bale and Dele Alli in search of an equaliser, but again it was their opponents who should have scored when Norwegian wing-back Simen Jukleroed ran clean through on goal and blazed wildly over the bar.

Spurs dominated possession but never seriously threatened, and the Antwerp players were able to celebrate a famous triumph in an empty stadium.

Milan made it two wins from two in Group H with a 3-0 success over Sparta, despite Zlatan Ibrahimovic missing a first-half penalty.

Goals from Brahim Diaz, Rafael Leao and on-loan Manchester United wing-back Diogo Dalot saw Milan extend their unbeaten run to 24 matches in all competitions.

Stefano Pioli’s side sit two points clear of Lille at the top of the group, after the French outfit fought back from two goals down to grab a 2-2 home draw with Celtic.

Jamie Vardy netted a spot-kick as Leicester City made it back-to-back victories in Group G with a 2-1 win at AEK Athens, while Paco Alcacer scored a late double as Villarreal saw off Qarabag 3-1 in Group I.

 

Juve need to find a way to win without Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo’s status remains unclear going into this weekend’s Serie A games, which means Juventus may have to finally find a way to win without him.

Ronaldo has yet to be cleared to return after testing positive for the coronavirus more than two weeks ago, and his absence has been keenly felt by a young Juventus side which is going through a transition under new coach Andrea Pirlo.

The nine-time defending Serie A champion has drawn its last two league matches without Ronaldo — against last-place Crotone and Hellas Verona — and was outclassed by Barcelona in a 2-0 loss in the Champions League on Wednesday.

On paper, though, Juventus should still be able to beat newly promoted Spezia on Sunday even if Ronaldo can’t play. But the Bianconeri have only won 55% percent of their matches without Ronaldo since the Portuguese star joined from Real Madrid in 2018, and are in danger of slipping behind in the domestic title race.

The two recent draws has left it four points leader AC Milan, which tries to extend its unbeaten record when it travels to Udinese on Sunday.

Ronaldo is also struggling to watch from the sidelines as he remains in quarantine in his house in Turin.