22.09.2022
Emma Raducanu surges into quarter-finals at Korea Open with straight sets win

Emma Raducanu reached the quarter-finals of the Korea Open after easing to a 6-3 7-5 victory over Belgium’s Yanina Wickmayer.

The British No 1 and tournament sixth seed took one hour and 40 minutes to continue rebuilding in the wake of her recent first-round exit from the US Open, the event that propelled her to stardom last year.

Last week’s Slovenia Open only lasted a round longer, but in Seoul she displayed the resolve needed to overcome a fightback from Wickmayer as a 4-1 lead in the second set ebbed away.

Former world number 12 Wickmayer had dropped to 460 in the rankings after taking a spell out of the game following the birth of her first child in 2021, but she was a dangerous opponent who grew stronger in the match.

Raducanu, who faces Magda Linette of Poland in the last eight, was unable to make the most of a break point in the third game but she dominated the fifth, winning without dropping a point to gain a crucial foothold in the opening set.

Yet her earlier composure deserted her when next serving and she doubled faulted at the crucial moment to concede the lead.

But Wickmayer wobbled on her serve once again and Raducanu took full control of the ninth, taking the set through a mixture of commanding shots and errors from her opponent.

It took grit, an ace and an excellent forehand for Raducanu to preserve her advantage as the second set opened with an 11-minute game and in a flash she had eased 3-0 ahead.

A collapse followed as 3-0 became 4-3 and despite a superb backhand passing shot executed on the run, Raducanu was coming under heavy pressure from the determined Belgian.

Every point had become a battleground but match point arrived in the 12th and when Wickmayer sent a shot long, she was through to the last eight.

Raducanu had spoken earlier on Wednesday about how she is trying to ‘build up physically’ for 2023 and how training has been going with coach Dmitry Tursunov.

She said: ‘Last week I struggled a bit with my legs, just doing a lot of training, and as I said, the rest of this year is just really trying to build up physically for the next year,’ she said.

‘So I’m training a lot – like before the match today I did 90 minutes on the court, and I’m just trying to get myself in good shape.

‘And that comes sometimes with small niggles. At the moment it’s something I’m just managing, but I know it’s for a greater benefit so I’ve kind of bought into that process.

‘I have definitely done more since starting with Dmitry. I have done a lot more hours, and that’s something he and the other people in my team think is quite necessary, and myself included, just getting more robust, so long matches, or matches in a row, don’t affect me.

‘And I think also just not trying to over complicate things for myself, he’s helping with that, because sometimes I enjoy doing that, thinking of worst possible outcome, and just over-thinking it. So he’s also trying to help me become more easy-going.’

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  • 37 минут назад 30.09.2022Sport
    Barcelona ‘will move ahead with plans’ to wear white away kit thanks to ‘POSITIVE’ fan surveys

    Barcelona are controversially planning to wear a white away kit during the 2023-24 season despite the colour being synonymous with bitter rivals Real Madrid, a new report has claimed.

    The Catalan giants previously met backlash from fans at attempts to don a white strip in 2019, after the club proposed to commemorate the Catalan patron saint, St George, by wearing a white top emblazoned with a red cross.

    Those plans were swiftly scrapped by the board of directors, but according to ESPN, Barcelona ‘will move ahead with plans’ to wear a white away kit next season thanks to ‘positive enough’ surveys from fans.

    Reports also suggest that the cash-strapped club are considering the move for financial reasons, with Barcelona believing that a white away kit ‘would sell very well.’

    Sales from the new kit could go some way in helping the club rescue their dire financial situation, after the club had to execute several ‘economic levers’ to amass enough funds to register new players in the summer, such as Robert Lewandowski and Raphinha.

    But it won’t be the first time the Catalan club have pulled on a white strip, with the Catalan side donning an all-white shirt, blue shorts and striped socks back in 1978.

    It has been claimed that the club almost implemented a white strip for their away kit for the current season but in the end a grey kit was selected.

    Understandably, some fans of the club have not reacted well to the idea that Barcelona could pull on a white shirt next season.

    Spanish journalist Jota Jordi, who works for popular TV show ‘El Chiringuito’, said, per Marca: ‘The white shirt belongs to Real Madrid. Barcelona with a white jersey? It’s a shame.

    ‘You have to respect certain things. You have to respect the history of the clubs and the feelings of the people.

    ‘Barcelona’s badge on top of a white Real Madrid jersey is a disgrace, and I hope no one buys it.’

    In 2016, the club agreed a £120m-per-year deal with Nike to design their kits, with the sports brand having produced some of the most iconic Barcelona kits in history, worn by the likes of Lionel Messi, Ronaldo and Ronaldinho.

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  • 37 минут назад 30.09.2022Sport
    Former boxing referee claims ‘Olympic boxing is doomed’ after witnessing corruption in the sport

    A former boxing referee has claimed the sport is ‘doomed’ at Olympic level after wintessing corruption in the sport.

    Bill Phillips, 73, refereed at 102 international tournaments and became the first British referee to officiate at an Olympic games in 24 years at Beijing 2008.

    He reports being turned away from international boxing after the Olympics by the level of bribery he witnesses.

    Speaking to the Times, Phillips recalled a trip to Kazakhstan where he witnessed bribery as soon as he arrived. He said: ‘I was still unpacking when I heard a knock at the doo.’

    ‘So I open it and a young girl, absolutely stunning, is standing there. “Mr Phillips (she knew my name), I’ve come to keep you company.” I said: “No, I’m okay thank you.” So she went.

    ‘Then about an hour or two later, two came to the door. I started laughing. I said “I can’t handle one, let alone two.”‘

    ‘I’ve been married for 48 years. I have two sons and eight grandchildren. But that wasn’t the only reason for saying no. It’s a bribe, isn’t it? You’re in their pocket. I don’t need all that crap. I’ve been lucky to have good jobs. I also like to be able to sleep at night.’

    There was more to come on the trip, as Phillips was also offered an envelope containing $500 in cash and invited to s banquet in a sauna attended by naked women.

    He went on to discuss the dangers of accepting bribes as a referee, saying: ‘If I had accepted bribes it’s the boxers who would have suffered and they have always come first for me. I’ve refereed about 30,000 fights and no boxer I’ve had has ever spent a night in hospital.’

    Phillips called bribery ‘endemic’ in Olympic boxing, and remembered how in Beijing the problem was so bad that referees and judges had to be moved around, meaning he missed out on officiating in an Olympic final.

    ‘I was in my late fifties. The first Englishman for 24 years. I had the final and I deserved it, based on the way I was performing. Wayne Rose, an Australian I’d stake my reputation on, was also there. Two of the most honest officials in the sport didn’t get a final.’

    On the current state of Olympic boxing, Phillips gave a bleak view: ‘I fear Olympic boxing is doomed,’ he said. ‘I can’t even watch the Olympic boxing on the TV.’

    He did suggest the situation could be rectified, though. He said: ‘Of course it could be cleaned up.

    ‘If I were ten years younger and they let me pick a team of officials, I’d clean it up.’

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  • 37 минут назад 30.09.2022Sport
    Hull City SACK manager Shota Arveladze just eight hours ahead of Luton clash

    Hull City have sacked manager Shota Arveladze just eight hours before their next fixture.

    The 49-year-old has been relieved from his duties at the Championship club with the Tigers 20th in the table with three wins from 10 games so far this season.

    The sacking comes at a bizarre time, with Hull set to play Luton Town this evening in the Championship after two weeks off for the international break.

    A quarter of clubs in the division have now changed managers just 10 games in, with Rotherham, Cardiff and Watford among those to have jumped ship.

    A new managerial appointment is imminent.

    Some players were told during the international break that Arveladze was going, only for him to remain in charge until today, which points to right candidate becoming available.

    A statement on Hull City’s website said: ‘Hull City can confirm we have parted company with head coach Shota Arveladze.

    ‘We can also confirm that assistant head coach, Peter van der Veen, will leave the club with immediate effect.

    ‘Andy Dawson will assume the role of interim head coach until a permanent appointment is made.

    ‘Everyone at the club would like to thank Shota and Peter for their efforts and wish them both well for the future.’

    Hull chairman, Acun Ilıcalı, said: ‘During the international break, we had a number of meetings with Shota to discuss the direction of the team and the future of the club. As these meetings went on, it became clear our views weren’t aligned so we have made the decision to part ways.

    ‘Shota and Peter leave with our thanks, greatest respect and fond wishes for the future.

    ‘Our focus is now supporting Andy and the squad and finding the best possible candidate to drive this club forward.’

    Hull’s game against Luton this evening kicks off at 8pm at the MKM Stadium.

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  • 38 минут назад 30.09.2022Sport
    Man Utd star Marcus Rashford wins Premier League Player of the Month for September

    Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford has won the Premier League’s Player of the Month award for September.

    Rashford beat Philip Billing, Kevin De Bruyne, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, Jacob Ramsey and Alex Iwobi to the award.

    The 24-year-old, who has found a new lease of life under Erik ten Hag, put on an impressive showing against Arsenal at the start of September, scoring twice as the Red Devils ran out 3-1 winners.

    In total, Rashford picked up two goals and two assists in September.

    United only played two games in September after they had two matches postponed following the death of Queen Elizabeth II and the international break, but the forward was involved in all four goals the Red Devils scored in the month, also teeing up two assists for team-mates Jadon Sancho and Antony.

    He seemed set to earn an England recall for his performances, but picked up a hamstring injury in the Arsenal game and has been out ever since.

    Winning the monthly award is a well-timed boost for Rashford as he tries to force his way into Gareth Southgate’s squad for the World Cup in Qatar.

    Rashford has been playing up front for United so far this season, returning to a position that saw him break onto the scene as a teenager.

    He has been keeping Cristiano Ronaldo out of the side, but missed the Red Devils’ last two games in the Europa League with the hamstring issue.

    United face rivals Manchester City in the Manchester derby this weekend, with Rashford a doubt for the tie.

    City star De Bruyne was shortlisted for the award but Erling Haaland was not nominated despite a string of impressive performances.

    Like Rashford, he also scored two goals in September, with strikes against Aston Villa and Wolves.

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  • 38 минут назад 30.09.2022Sport
    Gabriel Jesus loving life at Arsenal as he admits he needed a ‘change’ from Pep Guardiola

    Arsenal striker Gabriel Jesus has claimed he feels ‘free on the pitch’ under Mikel Arteta and admits he could no longer ‘accept’ Pep Guardiola’s style of football at Man City.

    The Brazilian forward has been a revelation at the Emirates since making a £45million switch from the Etihad Stadium in July and has quickly become one of the first names on the Arsenal team-sheet.

    Ahead of this weekend’s North London derby, the 25-year-old has now revealed that he enjoys the ‘different ways to play’ in Arteta’s Arsenal system, compared to what was asked of him under Guardiola.

    Speaking to ESPN Brasil, Jesus said: ‘The thing was the way [Guardiola] understands football and what he wanted. Then it was up to you to accept it or not. If you don’t accept it, “thank you” and let’s go for another challenge.

    ‘I accepted it for a while, but there came a moment when I said: “I want another thing for myself.” I thanked him, “thanks for everything,” he understood, and we moved on.’

    The 25-year-old called an end to his four-and-a-half year stint at the Etihad Stadium earlier this summer, after the club bolstered their attack with the arrivals of Erling Haaland and Julian Alvarez.

    Jesus continued: ‘It is different here at Arsenal. The football is different – different players, different ways to play. At City, it was different. The striker didn’t touch the ball that much, you see this by watching the games.

    ‘And, when it was time to touch the ball, it was not the striker, because [Guardiola] ended up putting a midfielder to come closer. OK, fine. So, I decided to change.’

    He added that he talked ‘a lot’ to Arteta about Arsenal’s style before joining and that being able to be ‘free on the pitch’ made a switch to north London attractive.

    ‘I’m free on the pitch, playing football with a smile on my face and trying to do my best all the time,’ he said.

    The Arsenal No 9 has already registered four goals and three assists across seven Premier League games so far for the Gunners, compared to his eight goals and eight assists during the entirety of City’s last campaign.

    Arsenal’s next challenge sees them host local rivals Tottenham in the North London derby on Saturday afternoon, which Jesus is looking forward to.

    Having experienced fierce derbies with Palmeiras, Manchester City and Brazil, he is under no illusions of the intensity he is going to face on Saturday lunchtime.

    ‘I know what a derby is, but I never played one Arsenal versus Tottenham here,’ he added. ‘So, it will be my first and I hopefully to get the win, not only in my first but all the derbies that I will play.’

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  • 38 минут назад 30.09.2022Sport
    Man City vs Man Utd: Carragher insists Martinez CAN’T deal with Haaland physically

    Jamie Carragher has warned Lisandro Martinez to ‘keep away’ from Erling Haaland in Sunday’s Manchester derby, as the centre back is unlikely to outmuscle him.

    Martinez was criticised for being too small after Manchester United lost 4-0 to Brentford earlier this season, but has since become a cult hero at Old Trafford for his tenacious defending and leadership.

    The 24-year-old has formed an impressive partnership with Raphael Varane, with the pair keeping three clean sheets in their last five games.

    For Carragher, though, facing City’s number nine will prove a much tougher test for the defender. He wrote in the Telegraph: ‘Haaland may have been kept quiet by Martínez in Ajax’s Champions League game against Borussia Dortmund last season (the Dutch won 4-0) but the Norwegian is currently the best striker in the world.’

    The former Liverpool man offered advice on how Martinez could curb his natural game to deal with Haaland. He said: ‘The most visible asset in his first United appearances – his desire to engage by continuously hunting down and tackling his opponents – is what he may need to curb most this weekend.

    ‘Haaland will be waiting for him to dive into challenges knowing one mistake can be fatal.

    ‘Some battles can be won by outmuscling or outplaying an opponent. Other players need out-thinking.’

    The 44-year-old compared the battle to when he played against Didier Drogba: ‘He wanted to sense the breath of his marker on his shoulder. If you got too close it made his mind up what he was going to do whenever the ball was played into his feet.

    ‘Hence, the idea when higher up the pitch was to keep away from him as much as could be reasonably allowed and give him more to think about when he received possession.’

    ‘Like Drogba, Haaland is one of those strikers who can produce extraordinary moments out of nothing. That’s why such players are so expensive.’

    Despite his success in recent months, Carragher still felt Martinez’s height could hold him back. He said: ‘It is well known that some of the greatest centre-backs of all time, including Italy’s Franco Baresi, Argentina’s Daniel Passarella and England’s Bobby Moore, were less than 6ft, proving size is no barrier to being a world-class centre-half.

    ‘The difference is they were pretty much 10 out of 10 in every other department, compensating for the one weakness they could do nothing about. It is premature to suggest Martínez will be so flawless in every other facet of his game.’

    The Manchester derby will take place at the Etihad this Sunday.

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Sport Emma Raducanu surges into quarter-finals at Korea Open with straight sets win