Kyrgios wins the longest match of his career

Nick Kyrgiost reacts during his match against Karen Khachanov. (Reuters)
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Updated 26 January 2020

Kyrgios wins the longest match of his career

  • Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic, the sixth seed, won only one game against Estonia’s Anett Kontaveit, the world No. 31, as she went down 6-0, 6-1

MELBOURNE: Home favorite Nick Kyrgios went five sets to ensure an Australian Open showdown with Rafael Nadal on Saturday as a series of shocks caused carnage in the women’s draw. Kyrgios survived the longest match of his career to beat Russia’s Karen Khachanov 6-2, 7-6 (7/5), 6-7 (6/8), 6-7 (7/9), 7-6 (10/8), collapsing on his back after the fifth-set tie-breaker.
“That was insane — I’ve got no words to how I’m feeling right now,” he said, after the 4hr 26min marathon marked by his trademark tweeners and exchanges with the umpire.
“This is just epic man, I don’t even know what’s going on. My legs feel about 40 kilos each.”
The outspoken Aussie now heads into a last-16 clash with Nadal, with whom he has history after calling him “super salty” following criticism from the Spaniard last year.
“Whatever happens between us, he’s an amazing player, he’s arguably the greatest of all time,” said Kyrgios.
Top seed Nadal had a comparatively easy ride against his Davis Cup teammate Pablo Carreno Busta, racing through 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 in what he called his “best match of the tournament so far.”
While the men’s Big Three of Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic are all still alive, it’s a different story in the women’s competition where six of the top 10 seeds crashed out in the third round.

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Nick Kyrgios now heads into a last-16 clash with Rafael Nadal.

After Serena Williams and title-holder Naomi Osaka fell by the wayside on Friday, second seed Karolina Pliskova bombed on Saturday with a 7-6 (7/4), 7-6 (7/3) defeat to Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.
“I was about 40 percent today of my game,” lamented the Czech.
Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic, the sixth seed, won only one game against Estonia’s Anett Kontaveit, the world No. 31, as she went down 6-0, 6-1.
And a resurgent Garbine Muguruza, a two-time Major-winner, thrashed fifth seed Elina Svitolina 6-1, 6-2. Tenth seed Madison Keys lost to Maria Sakkari on Friday.
“I was very concentrated and focused on what I wanted to do, it all went fast my way,” said Muguruza, who raced through the first set in just 23 minutes.
Croatian 19th seed Donna Vekic also crumbled to lower-ranked opposition when she lost 7-5, 6-3 to Poland’s Iga Swiatek, who is returning from a stress fracture in her foot.
However, Wimbledon champion Simona Halep stayed on course with a 6-1, 6-4 victory over Kazakhstan’s Yulia Putintseva.


UEFA warn clubs risk Champions League exclusion if seasons are not completed

UEFA and the European Club Association said that they were working on the possibility of playing on into July and August if need be. (AP/File)
Updated 04 April 2020

UEFA warn clubs risk Champions League exclusion if seasons are not completed

PARIS: UEFA and Europe’s top clubs have stated their determination that the current football season should be played to a conclusion and threatened that teams may be excluded from the next Champions League if their domestic competitions are ended prematurely.
In a joint letter released late on Thursday, UEFA, the European Club Association (ECA), and the European Leagues body representing nearly a thousand clubs in 29 countries, said that they were working on the possibility of playing on into July and August if need be.
The Champions League and Europa League — both of which are frozen in the last-16 stage — could be completed once the domestic seasons are finished, and “stopping competitions should really be the last resort after acknowledging that no calendar alternative would allow to conclude the season.”
The joint response came after the Belgian Pro League announced on Thursday that it recommended declaring the season over with the present table accepted as final.
It is the first European league to take such a measure, although more could follow.
That means Club Brugge would in theory go straight into the next Champions League group stage, but UEFA, the ECA and the European Leagues indicated that they may be barred from continental competition if the Belgian league decision is finalized.
“It is of paramount importance that even a disruptive event like this epidemic does not prevent our competitions from being decided on the field, in accordance with their rules and that all sporting titles are awarded on the basis of results,” the joint letter said.
“We are confident that football can restart in the months to come — with conditions that will be dictated by public authorities — and believe that any decision of abandoning domestic competitions is, at this stage, premature and not justified.
“Since participation in UEFA club competitions is determined by the sporting result achieved at the end of a full domestic competition, a premature termination would cast doubts about the fulfilment of such condition.”
The letter concluded: “UEFA reserves the right to assess the entitlement of clubs to be admitted to the 2020/21 UEFA club competitions.”
The Belgian Pro League said it had had “constructive” discussions with UEFA on Friday in which it “contested any approach which would force a league to continue in the current health crisis.”
It has called for a “varied approach” based on the specifics of individual leagues and countries.
UEFA has set up two working groups to devise a way for European football to get out of the crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic.