Sport news, results, fixtures, blogs and comments on UK and world sport from the Guardian, the world's leading liberal voice Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. 2018
Third set: Thiem* 2-6, 6-4, 4-4 Sandgren (*denotes server) Sandgren has a break point against Thiem but, after a sinew-busting rally, he can’t take it with Thiem getting him back to deuce before taking the game. A massive hold from the No 5 seed.
Hyeon Chung is an interesting player– 21 years old and tipped by some as being a similar sort of a player to Djokovic. Strong off the backhand, he shocked Alexander Zverev in the last round and could present Djokovic with a test today. He’s ranked 58 in the world and has a repuation for digging in, much like Djokovic.
Romelu Lukaku is weighing in with some key contributions, Christian Benteke is not and Tottenham are showing how much weaker they are without Christian Eriksen
Sergio Ag?ero has had a curiosity of a campaign. He has been injured, benched and below par at times. He has been outscored by Raheem Sterling for much of the season. Yet his hat-trick on Saturday meant he has scored 20 goals for a fifth successive campaign. Further milestones await: Ag?ero is nine away from becoming the first man to score 200 for City. He is 11 behind his career-best tally of 33 and, with successive cup ties against Championship opponents, Bristol City and Cardiff, he has the chance to make further inroads before Gabriel Jesus is fit again. Besides the numbers, the encouraging element for City is that, after an autumnal slump, Ag?ero looks to have regained his sharpness. He produced purposeful, elusive dribbling, often a sign he is at his best. The sense is that he is relishing the responsibility of being the only available striker while Jesus is out. Richard Jolly
World No16 comes from set down to win 4-6, 7-5, 6-2
Madison Keys awaits after beating Caroline Garcia 6-3, 6-2
Title favourite Angelique Kerber withstood the unique challenge of Hsieh Su-wei to move into the Australian Open quarter-finals. Hsieh plays a completely different game from most of her rivals, relying not on power but a mixture of spins and slices and ball placement that bamboozle opponents and frequently drive them to distraction.
Her scalps in Melbourne had already included Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza and Agnieszka Radwa?ska, and for a long time it looked like Kerber might join them. But the German has a deep well of confidence after her unbeaten start to the season and kept her composure to turn the match around and win 4-6, 7-5, 6-2.
Cameron Bancroft has retained his spot in Australia’s Test squad, with Jon Holland and Jhye Richardson the big winners heading into March’s tour of South Africa. Bancroft was included in a 15-man squad without any other new opening options for Australia’s four-Test tour, despite failing to score a century in his maiden Ashes series this summer.
However selectors have kept their faith in the 25-year-old, deciding against calling up the likes of Matt Renshaw as a back-up opening option if the West Australian fails.
Philly back in title decider for first time since 2004 season
Nick Foles throws three touchdowns in superb performance
Maybe it’s time for Philly to forget Carson Wentz. Nick Foles may well be good enough to win the Eagles their first Super Bowl.
Foles was on fire on Sunday night against the stingiest scoring defense in the NFL. Philly made big play after big play on both sides of the ball in a stunning 38-7 rout of the Minnesota Vikings for the NFC championship.
New England need late drive to seal AFC Championship game
Tom Brady and the New England Patriots are heading back to the Super Bowl.
Brady shook off a hand injury and threw a four-yard touchdown pass to Danny Amendola with 2:48 remaining , rallying the Patriots to a 24-20 comeback victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars in the AFC championship on Sunday.
• Edmund defeats Italy’s Andreas Seppi 6-7, 7-5, 6-2, 6-3 • Briton reaches last eight of a grand slam event for first time
Kyle Edmund’s unsung victory in reaching a quarter-final against Grigor Dimitrov here on Tuesday – the British No 2’s first in a grand slam – has been staying true to his quiet nature as passions rage around him.
From the moment Andy Murray withdrew from the tournament to have surgery on his hip, Edmund – ranked 49 in the world – has endured with dignity serial inquiries about how it feels to be shouldering the expectations of a nation.
Gareth Bale departed the Santiago Bernab?u to a standing ovation and joked that this time they had applauded him, “instead of a whistle, which is always good”.
The Welshman, who has occasionally been the focus of criticism from some supporters and who has been left out of the squad through injury 25 times during his career in Spain, curled in a wonderful goal and headed a second as Real Madrid came from a goal down to defeat Deportivo La Coru?a 7-1. Those strikes took him to seven in only seven league starts this season, making him the team’s top scorer.
• England youngster has played at 10, 12 and 15 for Saints • Alan Gaffney: ‘We’ve got to work out what is best for Harry’
Harry Mallinder, one of the eight uncapped members of England’s Six Nations squad, risks having his career “destroyed” if he is not allowed to concentrate on a specific position, according to the Northampton interim coach Alan Gaffney.
Mallinder started Northampton’s 62-14 thrashing by Saracens at fly?half on Saturday but was withdrawn at half-time after a torrid opening 40 minutes. The 21-year-old began the season in the No 10 shirt before moving to full?back – which he considers to be his best position – but returned to fly-half after Piers Francis was sidelined through concussion, while he spent long parts of last season at inside-centre.
Saracens have their former local rivals to thank as they scrape into quarter-finals but Scarlets are the real ones to watch
In the end it could have been worse. At no stage in the history of European club rugby have England’s clubs endured a leaner pool return in Europe but a dismal January afternoon in Coventry did belatedly yield some solace. Whatever Saracens do in the knockout phases they owe a big debt to their former local rivals Wasps for supplying their passport into the tournament’s latter stages.
Ars?ne Wenger’s pressing issues will not be solved by another creator but his front-foot tactics may galvanise a player who looked lost under Jos? Mourinho
One game – or, more accurately, one half?game – dominates the memory of Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s time at Manchester United. In the league derby at Old Trafford last season, the first meeting in England of Jos? Mourinho and Pep Guardiola, the Armenian looked lost. He was partly responsible for the opening goal because of the way he initially did not press Pablo Zabaleta and then finally went far too late, and he was withdrawn at half-time. He did not play for two months after that.
That seems to have contributed to a general sense that Mkhitaryan was somehow lightweight, unsuited to the defensive demands Mourinho makes of his players. It is true that Mkhitaryan is not as robust as many in this United squad, which is, after all, the tallest of any team in Europe’s five major leagues. It is also true that, although he had occasional flurries of good form, most notably in the Europa League towards the end of last season, there were far too many games in which he wandered about uninvolved, looking dispirited and vaguely confused.
The Portuguese coach forged a thrilling side at Vicarage Road but his courtship of Everton leaves a sour taste all round
Watford have announced the former M?laga manager Javi Gracia as their new head coach following their surprise decision to dismiss Marco Silva.
Gracia arrived in England Sunday afternoon – shortly after news of Silva’s sacking was confirmed – and has signed a contract until the summer of 2019 having been approached by club officials before Watford’s 2-0 defeat at Leicester on Saturday.
Middlesbrough fans open their pockets for the hard-up National League club and hopes rise that a new owner may soon take over
Maybe David Cameron’s “big society” does exist after all? It certainly seems to be alive and kicking in Hartlepool. A genuine sense of community, connectivity and cooperation filled the frosty streets surrounding Victoria Park as 3pm approached on Saturday and a bumper crowd of almost 7,000 filed in to watch Hartlepool United face Wrexham in the National League.
For Southampton, nothing was more satisfying than the sight of Mauricio Pochettino hopping up and down on the touchline as Tottenham Hotspur’s final attack petered out. It is almost five years since they introduced Pochettino’s gifts to English football and their gradual decline has been dispiriting to watch. Yet this gutsy performance was a reminder of happier times, filling Southampton with hope in their fight against relegation, and they took pride from making their former manager let out his frustration so visibly at the end of this absorbing game.
If there was a disappointment for Mauricio Pellegrino after weeks of mounting speculation over his future, it was that Harry Kane’s 99th Premier League goal denied his team a first league win in 11 matches, keeping them in 18th place with 14 matches left this season. They might have nicked it when Michael Obafemi, a 17-year-old striker, spurned a glorious opportunity to score on his debut after replacing Manolo Gabbiadini in the 82nd minute. Yet it spoke volumes that Southampton’s efforts earned them applause from their crowd after the final whistle. Their commitment restricted Tottenham to few clear opportunities and they can be confident of staying up if they maintain this level.
The Chilean has similarities to Carlos Tevez, a key man in the 2007-08 side, and may give Jos? Mourinho’s attack an edge
In Alexis S?nchez, Jos? Mourinho is about to acquire another world?class player as he plots to make Manchester United an elite domestic and European force again. Manchester City hold a 12-point advantage over Mourinho’s team so a credible title challenge will have to wait until next season. Yet S?nchez’s arrival can help to propel United to a strong finish and light up the Champions League campaign that they will resume next month with a last-16 tie against Sevilla.
This is why Mourinho was hired: to make United England’s dominant side once more and return them to the rank of continental heavyweights. To achieve this the XI must be decorated with footballers who can consistently turn matches. S?nchez’s arrival – his switch from Arsenal to United is expected to be completed by Tuesday – completes a triumvirate of these, as he joins David de Gea, a near-peerless goalkeeper, and Paul Pogba, one of the game’s pre-eminent midfielders. S?nchez’s preferred starting position may be on the left but, as he will be United’s focal point, the Chilean’s arrival will mean the team have a formidable spine.
A series win wrapped up at the earliest opportunity. For once in Australia, it was England’s to celebrate. In a match during which the tourists clawed back the initiative, England kept their cool in the final throes to seal a 16-run victory that gives them an unassailable 3-0 lead in this five-match contest – their first bilateral one-day international series win in Australia.
“Our best performance as a group to date,” the captain, Eoin Morgan, said. They’ll toast their glory tonight, maybe even lift the midnight curfew. If anyone deserves to be out all night, it is Jos Buttler, who turned the match with a brilliant fifth ODI century.
• Video has led to speculation that he rubbed lip balm on ball • ‘It’s the way I get spit from the side of my mouth and on the ball’
Steve Smith has quashed talk of ball?tampering after footage emerged of the Australia captain wiping his lip before shining the ball in the 34th over of England’s innings during the one?day international in Sydney on Sunday.
While West Ham and Stoke score more goals when Andy Carroll and Peter Crouch play, there is little evidence that Chelsea using them – or Ashley Barnes – as a Plan B would work
How times change. At the dawn of the Premier League the news that Chelsea wanted a rugged English striker to hurl himself at crosses, preferably after smashing through a centre-half in the brusque style of Kerry Dixon or Mick Harford, would barely have caused a ripple. Yet when it emerged last week that they were lining up a ?20m bid for Andy Carroll – and then started making eyes at Peter Crouch – their fans were entitled to check their calendars to make sure it was not 1 April.
Reports on Sunday morning that Chelsea had turned their attention to the Roma striker Edin Dzeko suggested sanity had returned to the Stamford Bridge boardroom – until, that is, they were linked with Burnley’s journeyman forward Ashley Barnes hours later.
Champion athletes Cheriece and Shannon Hylton only started running competitively five years ago. Now both sisters aim to represent Britain in 2020. By Tim Lewis
When the Hylton sisters were teenagers – they are now 21 – they were netball ninjas, terrorising the courts of southeast London. “It was our second favourite sport,” they say in unison, before combusting in a fit of giggles – a laugh that, since primary school they say, has been compared, pretty accurately, to a dolphin celebration.
Their main weapon was that they are twins and, to the untrained eye, identical. This made them devilish to mark. Shannon was a wing attack and Cheriece played centre but, to add to their opponents’ bemusement and frustration, they would fluidly switch position. “People would get so confused,” says Shannon, who is fractionally taller than her sister and has a tiny beauty spot on her left cheek. “And then they’d start shouting: ‘You’re marking the wrong twin! She’s over there! No, she’s there!’”
Marking 30 years of grand slam tennis at Melbourne Park, our photographer Jonny Weeks captured the opening days of this year’s tournament
Almost 750,000 spectators will flood into Melbourne Park over the course of the Australian Open to watch one of the showpiece events in the tennis calendar. It’s been the home of Australian tennis since 1988, when the facilities were purpose-built to replace those at Kooyong.
The takeover uncertainty leaves Newcastle in limbo, with no obvious direction, a willing but limited team and a manager happy to leave everyone wondering whether he will quit
When Kevin Keegan took over as manager at Newcastle United in 1992, the first thing he wanted to do was restore some pride in the place. Keegan had been at St James’ Park as a player eight years earlier and nothing seemed to have been touched since he left. He was shocked by how filthy everything was and sure they were still the same stains on the communal baths at the club’s training ground that had been there in his day.
The water had scum floating on the surface and Keegan’s first request to the board for money was not for a new player but for the kind of secret makeover, on his first weekend back, that has become fashionable on daytime television. The walls got a lick of paint, the baths were jetted down and the first the players knew about it was the following Monday morning when they turned up to find the place gleaming. Newcastle, Keegan told them, needed to have standards. The club was too important, with too much going for it, not to be treated with care.
In different circumstances, Manchester City might have been parading Alexis S?nchez as their new A-list signing and Sergio Ag?ero, one assumes, might have been left wondering what it meant for his own position. It is all hypothetical now S?nchez is heading Manchester United’s way but, on this evidence, it does seem perplexing that Ag?ero’s place had ever come under threat and that Pep Guardiola felt it necessary to investigate changing his attacking options.
Aitor Karanka secured his first win as the Nottingham Forest manager with a stunning victory against the runaway Championship leaders at Molineux. Goals from Kieran Dowell, his 10th of the season, and Ben Osborn in the final five minutes of the first half ended Wolves’ 13-game unbeaten run in the league.
It was Forest’s first Championship win in seven games, after taking two points from the previous six matches. The victory also extended Karanka’s amazing run when facing Wolves. The former Middlesbrough manager has won his past five games against them.
Marco Silva dismissed any fears over his job after watching his injury-hit Watford lose at Leicester. Jamie Vardy’s penalty and Riyad Mahrez’s late strike left Watford with one win from 11 games and five points above the relegation zone.
Sam Allardyce would have chosen a more salubrious way to celebrate managing 1,000 games in English football, but was left to console himself with the knowledge that things should have been even worse.
Everton, bereft of confidence and any semblance of cohesion, deserved nothing against West Brom but came away with a drop of encouragement that had never seemed likely. It will do Theo Walcott’s self-esteem no harm that, on an otherwise quiet debut, he provided the headed assist from which Oumar Niasse equalised 56 seconds after arriving on the pitch. A point was saved but Everton still had a heavy cost to count.
Ars?ne Wenger spoke about clarity and – perhaps inevitably – his subject was Alexis S?nchez. The Arsenal forward was not at the Emirates Stadium because, according to Wenger, he had driven north to put himself in position to complete his January transfer to Manchester United. Yet S?nchez still managed to colour the narrative.
Wenger talked about how the saga involving his club’s best player had affected everybody. “For us, it’s not only to lose a world-class player – it’s a period of uncertainty that creates a strange feeling in the dressing room,” the manager said. “What is very difficult is that, for the first time, we are losing one of our big players in January. It’s a bit more destabilising than usual.”
This was not necessarily the breeze for the champions suggested by the scoreline yet, in the end, Chelsea’s first league win of the year felt restorative and will be remembered most for the exquisitely incisive rat-a-tat of passes which earned them breathing space.
There was something hypnotic about that early exchange between Willian, Michy Batshuayi and the irrepressible Eden Hazard, a flurry of accurate touches fizzed first time at breakneck speed while six Brighton players, all in the vicinity, were left feeling dizzy.
The New England Patriots will take on the Jacksonville Jaguars in the AFC Championship Game on Sunday with a place in Super Bowl 52 up for grabs. The Jags head into the game after winning on the road over the Pittsburgh Steelers whilst the Patriots saw off the Tennessee Titans. The Pats are favourites to reach their 10th Super Bowl but Jacksonville could yet surprise everyone again
Sean Dyche does not eat worms. We know this, because at a press conference on Thursday, a grown man working for a reputable media outlet asked him if recent revelations that he used to eat worms during his time at as a player at Bristol City were true. If nothing else, it was a more original and interesting query than the media briefing staple of “any knocks?” and there to conduct a media briefing before his Burnley side’s match against Manchester United, Dyche joked that he did used to eat worms, has a bucket of gravel for breakfast each morning and occasionally smokes car exhaust pipes. That, he explained, is why he has a notoriously deep and husky voice, before denying he does any of those things and has emphatically, for the record, never knowingly eaten a worm.
Theo Walcott says he is intent on making his move to Everton from Arsenal a success. The forward leaves the Gunners after 12 years at the club and insists he holds no grudges with manager Ars?ne Wenger. ‘I can’t thank him enough,’ says Walcott
Watching the Brazilian score four goals in PSG’s 8-0 thrashing of Dijon this week was breathtaking but a lack of tension is not good for anyone
An hour into Paris Saint-Germain versus Dijon at the Parc des Princes on Wednesday there was a scramble in the Dijon penalty area, the thrilling spectacle of three world-class players tussling over the ball in the tightest of spaces.
Not that this was entirely straightforward. Some might point to the slight oddity that all three players were wearing PSG shirts. ?ngel Di Mar?a, Edinson Cavani and Neymar tangling furiously with one another in their eagerness to pick up another loose ball and shoot. It is tempting at this point to describe the Dijon goal as “beleaguered”. But this would assume, incorrectly, it was ever actually leaguered in the first place.
Who spat out a wriggler? Who screamed? And who showed up?
Wales played 40 friendlies between Ryan Giggs making his Wales debut in 1991 and his retirement from international football in 2007. In how many of them did Giggs play?
Who said: “I didn’t actually eat the worms. It was a bit of banter I used to have. You get a nice, big juicy worm hanging out of your mouth. It wobbles, wriggling around. You look as if you’re chewing it but then spit it out"?
How many Chelsea players were booked for diving in their FA Cup tie against Norwich City?
Anthony Joshua and Joseph Parker – two unbeaten heavyweight champions – have agreed to fight in Cardiff on 31 March. Which British boxer did Parker defeat in his last fight?
Who said: “Whether I was 15th or 50th choice, it didn’t matter to me one bit”?
What did 15-year-old Marta Kostyuk achieve this week?
She became the youngest player to beat a top seed at a Grand Slam
She became the first women’s footballer to be signed for a fee of over ?1m
She reached the third round of the Australian Open
She became the youngest UFC champion ever
Which European club remains unbeaten in their league this season?
Who responded to defeat by saying: “I had to show up. If I was a football player I would have missed this game”?
Who earned ?29m while "on holiday for seven months"?
What did Kevin Durant ask of LeBron James this week?
To be his VP if he runs for President in 2024
To present the Oscars with him
To join Common Goal, the charitable initiative set up by Juan Mata
To sort out the showers at The Q, the Cleveland Cavaliers' home ground
Burnley manager Sean Dyche jokingly denies he's ever eaten worms. Dyche's former Bristol City teammate Soren Andersen jovially claimed the Burnley manager would eat earthworms during training session and that it is the cause of his gruff voice
Having been mentioned in jest on yesterday’s award-winning Guardian podcast Football Weekly Extra, a move for Peter Crouch from Stoke City to Chelsea now looks like it might actually happen. The Premier League champions had been linked with Andy Carroll, but the West Ham totem’s state of perma-knack means that particular switch – like the player himself – is not currently a runner. An ankle injury means the unfortunate Carroll faces another extended period on the sidelines and if Stoke aren’t prepared to sell Crouchie, Chelsea will move for Brian Deane, John Carew or Jan Koller. The Roma striker Edin Dzeko is another one of several big men with a goodish touch who is is being reported to be on Antonio Conte’s radar, but it’s understood they have a more pressing need for a homegrown player to meet their Premier League squad quota. Dzeko’s team-mate, the Roma left-back Emerson Palmieri and his Juventus counterpart Alex Sandro also feature prominently on the Chelsea shopping list.
Manchester City are prepared to try to hijack any move Juve make for Liverpool midfielder Emre Can, who may not go anywhere now that his current employers have been unsuccessful in their bid to sign Schalke’s Leon Goretzka, who has joined Bayern Munich. In similar party-pooping mode, Tottenham Hotspur might try to scupper Manchester United’s well-documented attempts to sign Paris Saint-Germain outcast Lucas Moura. Italian pink paper La Gazzetta Dello Sport reports that United are also interested in taking Juve’s Argentinian striker Paulo Dybala, but say the 24-year-old will have to submit a transfer request before any bids are considered.
Now the dust has settled on the Ashes series, Geoff Lemon and Adam Collins welcome broadcaster Daniel Norcross to dissect the last few months of cricket
With Geoff now recovered from a stint in a Sydney hospital – where he kindly gave up his bed for Joe Root – he and Adam take a deep breath and kick off the latest podcast with a more circumspect look back at the series, which has left the pair slightly unfulfilled.
Test Match Special commentator Daniel, who has just completed his first tour of Australia, joins them to give a refreshing – and rather English – perspective on the five Tests. Among the topics of conversation are the state of Australian pitches, the key moments of the series and how a tweak in the scheduling can make everything that little bit more interesting.
Dozens of abuse victims testify at the sentencing hearing of sports doctor Larry Nassar in Michigan on Tuesday. Nassar, who was the USA Gymnastics team doctor at four Olympic Games, was sentenced to 60 years in prison on child pornography charges last month. Now he faces an additional punishment after pleading guilty to further charges of criminal sexual conduct
Champions Cup victory over Bath at the Rec brings back memories of Wales’ 2005 Grand Slam
Watching the velvet Scarlets reducing Bath to despair was to be transported back 13 years when Wales won the Grand Slam after ripping up the coaching manual and playing with a lot of swash and even more buckle.
Wales’s architect was Stephen Jones, a fly-half who made his name at Llanelli. He was not a twinkle-toed tantaliser like other Stradey Park alumni, such as Barry John, Phil Bennett, Jonathan Davies and Colin Stephens but his thinking was as acute.
Surprising frontrunner for the job of England women’s manager sums up the FA’s continuing bumbling approach
What an amusing inevitability to learn that Phil Neville is the frontrunner for the job of managing the England women’s side. I very much enjoyed my colleague Louise Taylor’s report into the matter, which stated: “It is understood the 40-year-old’s name was initially suggested to the Football Association in a lighthearted manner by a well-known broadcaster at a drinks reception last month.”
This is my favourite How Job Applications Work story since George Osborne’s friends asked the former chancellor for his advice on their pitches for the Evening Standard editorship. Sorry, guys – he had a look at your proposals, but in the end the opportunity was just too good to pass up. A failed candidate for the Times’s graduate trainee scheme back in the day, he proceeded straight to newspaper editor.
“The beautiful city of Bristol has had two league clubs pretty much consistently since 1920, combining for a total of 212 years of league football, with only three Football League Trophies and one Welsh Cup to show for it,” mails Andy Field. “Does this make it the least successful multi-club city?”
Paul Levay thinks Stoke-on-Trent can challenge Bristol. “I admit that Bristol has a pretty rubbish record but Stoke-on-Trent is a competitor for the country’s most inglorious multi-club footballing city,” he says.
Mathieu Bastareaud and James Haskell are the latest players in the dock for offences that, while nothing new in the game, are on the rise and suggest a growing trend of poor behaviour
The moral high ground has long been a dangerous place to call home. Rugby union, particularly in the amateur era, used to pitch its tent there regularly and still occasionally lectures its football brethren on class and integrity. The old cliche about rugby being a game for hooligans played by gentlemen is still casually recycled on a regular basis.
Today’s footballers, frankly, should sue next time anyone with an oval-ball background seeks to use a superior tone. The weekend delivered more fresh ammunition: Toulon’s Mathieu Bastareaud has issued an apology for the homophobic abuse he appeared to direct at the Benetton lock Sebastian Negri but the reputational damage has been done, both to him and his sport. So much for noblesse oblige and sportsmanlike conduct.
The former West Bromwich Albion and England striker Cyrille Regis has died aged 59, it was announced on Monday. Regis was a pioneer for black footballers in England in the late 1970s at West Brom where he played between 1977 and 1984. He also won five caps for England and lifted the FA Cup with Coventry City in 1987
Manchester United midfielder’s Common Goal project, in which players and managers donate 1% of their salary to charity, makes him a worthy recipient
The Guardian Footballer of the Year is an award given to a player who has done something truly remarkable, whether by overcoming adversity, helping others or setting a sporting example by acting with exceptional honesty. The inaugural winner was Fabio Pisacane in 2016
Each time you meet Juan Mata it’s a surprise how small he appears in person. You never expect a giant of a man to be only 5ft 7in tall, and to cut such a slight figure or to flash a warm smile, but the Guardian’s Footballer of the Year for 2017 has always made a habit of confounding expectations about himself and the game he loves.