Daily Briefing

Sport shorts: British hopes end at the Australian Open and New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning retires

Ten things from the world of sport on Thursday 23 January

1. Brits out of Australian Open 

There are no British players left in the singles draw at the Australian Open tennis grand slam following defeats for Heather Watson and Harriet Dart this morning.

Playing in the second round of the women’s singles, 27-year-old Watson was beaten 6-3, 6-0 in just 56 minutes by Belgian 16th seed Elise Mertens. Dart, 23, was defeated 6-2, 6-4 by two-time grand slam champion Simona Halep. 

Speaking after her loss to Mertens, Watson said: “I felt like my level wasn’t there, my movement felt like I was a millimetre or a second too slow and I was letting her dictate. It was one of those days physically, you don’t feel amazing every day and today was that day unfortunately.”

In the men’s singles Dominic Thiem, Daniil Medvedev, Alexander Zverev and Nick Kyrgios are all through to the third round. 

Austrian fifth seed Thiem, who won a five-setter against Australian Alex Bolt, said: “It was great fun for both of us - it’s really nice to play under such an atmosphere. 

“The crowd was very fair - of course they were for Alex, he’s an Aussie, that’s completely obvious. But it’s nice to play in front of a full crowd that’s against you than an empty one.”

World No.1 Rafael Nadal is also through to the third round. The Spaniard secured a 6-3, 7-6 (7-4), 6-1 victory against Argentine Federico Delbonis.

Top seed Nadal said: “I think it was a tough match. I lost a lot of opportunities on the break points but I found a way to finally win that second set. In the third I played more relaxed and more aggressive tennis and had better feelings.”

2. Saracens sabbatical 

The Guardian and The Times both find space on their back pages for a story about the ongoing saga at Saracens, recently relegated to the English rugby Championship for breaching the salary cap. 

Apparently the club’s numerous England stars will stay loyal next season and treat what should be just one season in the second tier as a “sabbatical”. 

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3. Leaders Liverpool travel to Wolves

Runaway Premier League leaders Liverpool are away at Wolves tonight (8pm, live on BT Sport 1). Unbeaten in the league this season Jurgen Klopp’s side are 13 points clear of second-placed Manchester City. 

Naby Keita, James Milner and Xherdan Shaqiri will be missing from the Liverpool squad through injury and Wolves will be without Ruben Vinagre. 

EPL round-up: Leicester and Spurs win but there’s more misery at Old Trafford

Last night’s results 
  • Leicester City 4 West Ham United 1  
  • Tottenham Hotspur 2 Norwich City 1  
  • Manchester United 0 Burnley 2 
Tonight’s fixture 
  • Wolverhampton Wanderers vs. Liverpool (8pm, live on BT Sport 1)

4. Zion shines on NBA debut

Zion Williamson enjoyed a “dream” NBA debut but was unable to stop the New Orleans Pelicans from losing 121-117 against the San Antonio Spurs last night.

The No.1 draft pick scored 17 straight points in the fourth quarter to finish the match with 22 points, seven rebounds and three assists. 

“It was good to get out there, but I didn’t get the outcome that I wanted,” the 19-year-old said. “It was a dream come true to finally get out there, but, at the end of the day, I wanted to win, so just got to look at the next game.”

5. Sonny Bill to refuse to wear betting logo

The Daily Telegraph reports that new Toronto Wolfpack signing Sonny Bill Williams is set to refuse to wear the logo of Super League’s title sponsor Betfred due to his religious beliefs.

New Zealander Williams, who has switched back to rugby league after playing rugby union, converted to Islam in 2009.

He previously said about wearing shirts with betting logos: “While a logo on a jersey might seem like a small thing to some people, it is important to me that I do the right thing with regards to my faith and hope that people respect that.”

6. Giants quarterback Manning retires

New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning has announced his retirement from the NFL. The 39-year-old spent his 16-year career with the Giants and led the team to Super Bowl wins against the New England Patriots in 2008 and 2012. 

Giants president John Mara said: “For 16 seasons, Eli Manning defined what it is to be a New York Giant both on and off the field. He represented our franchise as a consummate professional with dignity and accountability. It meant something to Eli to be the Giants quarterback, and it meant even more to us.”

Super Bowl LIV parties in London: best bars and pubs to watch the NFL

7. Hogg asked to be Scotland captain

Stuart Hogg has revealed that he asked Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend to be appointed as the new captain of the national team. 

The full-back, 27, said at the Six Nations launch yesterday: “I came back after the World Cup and had a conversation with Gregor. I asked about his thoughts on leadership going forward and said I’d like to be captain; I’d like to have the opportunity to lead this team and take us forward. 

“I want to make a difference. The captains that have been before me have done terrific jobs but I want to put my mark on it.”

2020 Six Nations: squads, fixtures, TV guide, betting odds

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8. Drive to Survive returns to Netflix 

It has been confirmed that the popular Formula 1: Drive To Survive series will return to Netflix on 28 February.

The second season goes behind the scenes of the 2019 FIA Formula 1 World Championship campaign and features all ten teams.

F1: Red Bull title challenge must start at the ‘very first race’

9. Ronaldo scoring run continues 

Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 19th goal of the season as Juventus beat Roma 3-1 in the Coppa Italia quarter-final last night. 

Portugal captain Ronaldo has now scored seven goals in four games in 2020 and after the cup win Juventus head coach Maurizio Sarri hailed the 34-year-old for his performance.

Sarri said: “Ronaldo is in extraordinary physical and mental condition. He is continuing at an impressive pace and has extraordinary skills.”

10. United board ‘backing’ Solskjaer 

Sky Sports reports that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer retains the support of the Manchester United board and there are no plans to sack the Norwegian despite last night’s 2-0 defeat against Burnley.

Goals from strikers Chris Wood and Jay Rodriguez secured the three points for the Clarets at Old Trafford. 

Premier League reactions: Solskjaer admits Man Utd were just not good enough

Today’s back pages

Will it be Ole ‘Goner’ Solskjaer as Man Utd crash and Burn?

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––For analysis of the biggest sport stories - and a concise, balanced take on the week’s news - try The Week magazine. Start your trial today –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

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