World Sports News in Brief

Murray shines in Antwerp to reach first semi-final in two years

Saturday, 2019-10-19 09:55:34
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FILE PHOTO - Tennis - China Open - Men's Singles - Quarterfinals - National Tennis Center, Beijing, China - October 4, 2019. Britain's Andy Murray in action against Dominic Thiem of Austria. (Photo: Reuters)
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Andy Murray battled past Romanian qualifier Marius Copil 6-3 6-7(7) 6-4 at the European Open in Antwerp on Friday to reach his first singles semi-final in two years.

The Briton, back on the ATP Tour after a career-saving hip resurfacing operation in January, came through with flying colours, converting five out of 14 break points and winning 87% of points on his first serve in the match that lasted two hours and 35 minutes to reach his first singles semi-finals since the French Open in 2017.

* Angel Di Maria once again proved his worth with a double that earned Paris St Germain a 4-1 win at Nice and a five-point lead in the Ligue 1 standings on Friday. The result put PSG on 24 points from 10 games as Nice, who reduced the arrears in the second half through Ignatius Ganago, finished with nine men after Wylan Cyprien and Christophe Herelle were sent off during the last 20 minutes.

* Liverpool defender Joel Matip has signed a new long-term contract, the Premier League club said on Friday. The terms of the new deal were not disclosed but British media reported the 28-year-old agreed a five-year contract until 2024. Matip has established himself alongside Virgil van Dijk at the heart of Liverpool's defence, playing an integral part in their Champions League success last season.

* Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne and John Stones could be in contention for Saturday's Premier League trip to Crystal Palace, manager Pep Guardiola said. Belgium playmaker De Bruyne has returned to first-team training this week for the first time since suffering a groin injury in a win over Everton last month. Centre back John Stones is also back after recovering from a thigh problem, as is Benjamin Mendy, although the French full back may have to wait for his first-team comeback.

* Manager Roy Hodgson hopes French centre back Mamadou Sakho will make a swift comeback from injury to reinforce Crystal Palace's defensive line. Sakho, who joined Palace from Liverpool in 2017, picked up a knee injury in a Premier League clash against Leicester City in February and underwent an operation a few days later.

* Everton boss Marco Silva has described Saturday's Premier League clash against West Ham United as a must-win game in their quest to climb out of the relegation zone and said the pressure can extract the best out of his players. The Merseyside club are 18th in the league with seven points from eight games and another loss will turn up the heat on Silva, but the Portuguese manager said the home game against eighth-placed West Ham could be a turning point.

* Atalanta coach Gian Piero Gasperini has labelled international friendlies as useless after leading scorer Duvan Zapata was injured playing for Colombia one week ago. Zapata is expected to be out for three weeks, including next week's Champions League match at Manchester City, with an adductor strain which forced him out of the 0-0 draw against Chile, played in Alicante, Spain, last Saturday.

* Chelsea manager Frank Lampard has criticised France's handling of an injury that has ruled N'Golo Kante out of the Londoners' Premier League clash at home to Newcastle United on Saturday. Lampard told reporters on Friday that midfielder Kante, who has had a stop-start season, was unavailable after returning from international duty.

* Newcastle United teenager Matthew Longstaff has livened up the dressing room with his refreshing personality after a sparkling Premier League debut against Manchester United, manager Steve Bruce said on Friday. Newcastle are in 16th place in the Premier League with just eight points from eight games but have momentum on their side after an upset win over Manchester United, courtesy of academy graduate Longstaff's winning goal.

* Liverpool boss Juergen Klopp said media predictions that his team will swat aside a misfiring Manchester United on Sunday could be creating a banana skin for the Premier League leaders at Old Trafford. Liverpool top the table with eight wins from as many games while their rivals, the record 20-times league champions, have made their worst start to a campaign in 30 years to sit 12th with nine points.

* Barcelona's rescheduled La Liga game at home to Real Madrid is set to take place on Dec. 18 as both clubs came to an agreement after the match, due to be played on Oct. 26, was postponed amid violent political demonstrations in Catalonia.

* A testimonial match for former Manchester United and Uruguay striker Diego Forlan will be held in Uruguayan capital Montevideo in December. The fixture will pit members of Uruguay's 2010 World Cup and 2011 Copa America squads against "Forlan's friends" and will be played at Estadio Centenario on December 28.

* Eintracht Frankfurt leapfrog Bayer Leverkusen in the standings after Goncalo Paciencia provided a brace at the opener of the 8th round in Bundesliga on Friday. With the win, Frankfurt climb from the 9th to the 7th place whereas Leverkusen slipped from the 7th to the 8th position in the standings.

Reuters, Xinhua