World Sports News in Brief

Kvitova topples Kerber to reach Sydney semis

Friday, 2019-01-11 05:43:29
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Czech Republic's Petra Kvitova in action during her group stage match against Czech Republic's Karolina Pliskova - WTA Tour Finals - Singapore Indoor Stadium, Kallang, Singapore - October 25, 2018. (Photo: Reuters)
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Czech Petra Kvitova overcame rain delays to beat defending champion Angelique Kerber 6-4 6-1 on Thursday and reach the Sydney International semi-finals.

Fifth seed Kvitova will face Belarusian qualifier Aliaksandra Sasnovich. In the men’s draw, Andreas Seppi came back from a set down to knock out Greek top seed Stefanos Tsitsipas 4-6 6-4 6-4. World number 37 Seppi will next face third seed Diego Schwartzman, who overcame Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka 6-1 3-6 7-6(1).

* Former Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has ruled himself out of the vacant job at Benfica, saying he has no intention of coaching in his native Portugal for the time being. Mourinho was sacked by United last month after two and half years in charge of the Premier League club. He began his coaching career in 2000 at Benfica but was in charge for only nine games before spells at Porto, Chelsea, Real Madrid and Inter Milan.

* Matches from the second tier of Spanish football, known as La Liga 123, are to be broadcast on Youtube with English commentary in a bid to boost the division's international appeal, the league's organising body has announced. The broadcasts, which begin on Friday with Cadiz's game against Granada, will be available in Africa, Asia, the Americas and the rest of Europe but not in Spain, where they will continue to be shown on national television.

* Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba is likely to be fit for this weekend's Premier League visit to Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley, manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said on Thursday. The France international picked up a knock in a challenge by Newcastle United midfielder Jonjo Shelvey in United's 2-0 win at St James' Park on Jan. 2 and was struggling to recover.

* West Ham United say striker Marko Arnautovic is not for sale after the Austrian's brother said he wanted to sign for a Chinese Super League club that have reportedly tabled a 35 million pound bid. The 29-year-old former Stoke City player has become a favourite at West Ham since joining in 2017, scoring eight goals in 17 matches this season. He is contracted until 2022.

* Spanish winger Ibai Gomez has taken the surprising decision to leave high-flying La Liga side Alaves to return to struggling Athletic Bilbao, swapping a push for Champions League football for a relegation dog-fight. Ibai, 29, left Athletic for Alaves in 2016 when they were promoted to the Spanish top flight but despite helping the team climb above Real Madrid to fourth in the standings, he is heading back to his boyhood club after signing a three-and-a-half year deal.

* McLaren announced on Thursday the appointment of former Porsche Le Mans team boss Andreas Seidl as managing director of their Formula One team. They said in a statement that the 46-year-old German will report to chief executive Zak Brown and have responsibility for all aspects of the team’s F1 racing programme when he starts later this year.

* World number one Novak Djokovic gave Andy Murray a stinging reality check in the lead-up to next week's Australian Open, dominating the Briton 6-1 4-1 in a practice match at Melbourne Park on Thursday. Murray has struggled to regain form since undergoing hip surgery last January, and was quickly dismantled by the six-times Australian Open champion at Margaret Court Arena before the players called time on their match after less than an hour.

* Bayern Munich winger Franck Ribery has been ruled out for an indefinite period after picking up a thigh muscle injury in training, the German champions said on Thursday. Ribery was hurt during a training match on Wednesday.

* Double defending champion Roger Federer will start his bid for a hat-trick of Australian Open titles next week against unseeded Uzbek Denis Istomin, who caused a huge upset when he defeated Novak Djokovic in the second round two years ago. The draw for the first Grand Slam of the season was made on Thursday and the top seeds could face some early tests of their title credentials when play gets underway on Monday.

* Ligue 1 strugglers Monaco on Thursday announced the signing of left back Fode Ballo-Toure from Lille through a contract running until June 2023. The 22-year-old Ballo-Toure, who had developed through the Paris Saint-Germain academy, made his professional debut at Lille last season.

Reuters, Xinhua